Iraq war seen likely late-Feb to mid-March
Eighty-four percent of people oppose a war with Iraq without a fresh mandate from the United Nations and 43 percent are against it under any circumstances, a poll shows. - reuters


hehe... (god, I'm hungover...)
jesse you're so cool with your streaming media! boys and toys hey! havent heard you complaining re: ladies situation either.. hmmmmm...


A guy at LSE managed to sneak into the handpicked crowd of sychophants at a blair speech and disrupted it with war questions watch or read sky news or bbc.


OK, a rough translation:

"Nietzsche's writings were initially well balanced, still tactful and full of educational will.


Towards the end you can hear madness laughing in the cutting and overheated cleverness of his lyrics, and in the precision with which they are formulated. The german language was taken to its greatest possible heights by Nietzsche. Nobody has written better german."
You must read this by Thomas Friedman in the IHT. He's the guy who recently wrote in the NYT that "you can't have mcdonalds without mcdonnell douglas" agrees with chomsky basically (except on the subsidy thing!) but seems to be in favour. As cynical neo-liberal operators go this guy is priceless - article is hilarious, spot the logic.

"Harvard's president, Lawrence Summers, has said: "In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car." It is true of countries as well. Until the Arab peoples are given a real ownership stake in their countries - a real voice in how they are run - they will never wash them, never improve them as they should."

building stake holder societies along american lines? 1% own 50% of wealth? and i thought the americans were modelling their distribution model on the arab's (watch that wealth migrate upstairs!)

"Nietzsche's Schriftstellerei was anfangs ausgewogen, gemässigt noch, voll guten erzieherischen Willens.


Zum Schluss kichert schon der Wahnsinn in der schneidenden, überhitzten Gescheitheit des Gesagten, wie in der Präzision, mit der es gesagt wird. Die deutsche Sprache trug Nietzsche so hoch, wie sie getragen werden kann. Es hat niemand ein besseres Deutsch geschrieben."

Auszug aus: Golo Mann, "Deutsche Geschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts" (Phil, must read if you haven't...)


(Analytical philosophy - an imperialist instrument?)

quite. have survived earthquake, was 200 km further south- did not feel a thing- horribly trashed last night anyway.

sorry to hear re: terrible day michael!
'New shit has come to light...'

Confidential Vol. 2, Issue 92, January 10, 2003
Intelligence – Terror – Mid East – Islam – International Conflicts – Security – Political Analysis

DNW is available on subscription only. Details below.

Turkey backs off
Washington’s Iraq strategy stymied
US Candidate
for Iraqi PM
Kurdish Leader Talabani?
Saddam’s Martyrs, Cardboard Soldiers and Tunnels
Phony soldiers
Underground fortresses
Saddam’s courier legion
Keeping casualties down
Pakistani Intelligence Zigzags on Kashmir

Arrow anti-missile test
Road to Baghdad through Tel Aviv
US war planners study Israeli counter-terror tactics
Muckraking won’t decide Israel’s election

Turkey backs off

Washington’s Iraq strategy stymied

The new Turkish government has performed a spectacular about-face with respect to US war plans for Iraq and its post-Saddam aftermath, thereby dropping a large monkey wrench in Washington’s Iraq strategy.

Ankara’s turnaround may have started out as huffing and puffing for better terms on the eve of the war. However, with dramatic suddenness, the ploy – if that’s what is was - appears to have gone too far. The Bush administration is confronted with the threatened collapse of the Turkish-Kurdish keystone of its war plan. This latest development, discovered by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources in Washington, Ankara and Tehran, brings to crisis point almost two years of painstaking work on putting together the complicated political and military arrangements for the conduct of the war in North Iraq.

Before the war is even launched - and as Saddam Hussein looks on from Baghdad - America’s war allies are already at each other’s throats over the post-war spoils, i.e. the control of government in Baghdad and Iraq’s oil riches. The newly-elected Gul government in Ankara is displaying a combativeness unfamiliar to the American diplomats who negotiated the war pacts with former prime minister Bulent Ecevit.

Serious cracks have consequently formed in the past week in the wall of US-Turkish arrangements and understandings for defining Turkey’s role in the assault on the Saddam regime and in post-war power-sharing for Iraq’s northern oil fields and its two oil cities, Kirkuk and Mosul. Also in tatters are the understandings on the future of Kurdistan, laboriously hammered out in months of diplomatic wrangling among US, Turkey and Kurdish leaders – who first had to be pacified. These understandings, like the future of Iraq’s Turkomen minority, are now up in the air.

On the ground, the Turkish 2nd and 3rd Corps, deployed along and across the Iraqi border to fight Saddam’s troops, are instead exchanging hostile glares with the pro-American Kurdish armies of Massoud Barzani and Talal Jalabani.

At some points, the two armed camps have taken up combat positions.

Senior Turkish officials in Ankara - and at least one senior Western source in Kurdistan - described the situation in northern Iraq to DEBKA-Net-Weekly, shortly before we published, as an explosive charge waiting to flare into a Turkish-Kurdish military clash. Such an eruption would have the effect of disabling the vital northern flank of the American warfront.

According to a Turkish military source in the field, “In a few short days, the once firm northern front against Saddam has degenerated into a Turkish-Kurdish standoff. The confrontation with Saddam Hussein has dropped to second place.”

A Western source was calmer: “The Bush administration will have to spend the next few weeks in arduous diplomatic wrangling to arrest the slippage. The effect on the war’s timeline and outcome will be significant.”

An American source on the spot, in an attempt to play the crisis down, said: “It is very understandable that the closer we come to military action, the more demanding the various coalition partners will be. They are naturally posing fresh terms for their participation, whatever they may have signed with Washington, even in secret documents. Now, we’ll have to get down to renegotiating the last details with the Turks.”

But when we asked him how long re-negotiation would take, and whether it would necessitate another postponement of the offensive against Iraq, he admitted that, as things stood now, further delay was in the cards.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report that the eve-of-crisis situation on Iraq’s northern front is what brought General Tommy Franks, head of the US Central Command and designated war leader, rushing to Washington this week. His mission was officially described as briefing President George W. Bush and his top security advisers on military preparations for the war.

However, the news he brought the White House was grave enough to warrant urgent decisions on at least four fresh problems:

1. The military tension between Turkey and Kurdish is crippling and must be defused.
2. Turkish divisions in northern Iraq may have to be re-deployed in the light of the new setback.
3. Rethinking will be needed to establish who controls Iraq’s northern oil fields and the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
4. The fresh deals and arrangements Washington needs to renegotiate with the Turks and Kurds will have to be made compatible with understandings reached with Tehran.

Before approaching these decisions, US policy leaders will be updated on the following developments, as revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly:

1. At the beginning of this week, the two Kurdish chiefs, Talabani and Barzani, informed US and Turkish field commanders they were henceforth barring the passage of Turkish troops though the Kurdish areas that cover most of northern Iraq. They also demanded the evacuation without delay of all Turkish commando and tank forces already inside Iraq to behind the Turkish frontier.
2. The Turks countered by laying Kurdistan to siege, halting traffic from Turkey into the territory, as well as drastically cutting down on the food convoys from Turkey to Kurdistan. Kurdish products are no longer allowed into Turkey. Travelers wishing to enter Kurdistan must go round through Syria or Iran.
3. Barzani, who arrived in Ankara for talks with Turkish leaders on Wednesday, January 7, was greeted according to our sources with “stony faces and blunt military threats”, such as: “The Kurds had better beware of making enemies,” and “Any wrong move will prompt Turkish military reprisal.”
4. Turkey has been constantly pouring troop reinforcements into northern Iraq. A heavy concentration has been posted on the Turkish-Syrian frontier, to keep Syrian forces from coming to the aid of the Kurds and fend off possible Kurdish terrorist operations in southern Turkey.
5. High-ranking American officers, including General Franks, who went to Ankara on troubleshooting missions, asked Turkish army chiefs how deep their divisions meant to advance into northern Iraq. The same question was put to Turkish field commanders. They replied that their orders were to keep moving forward - even as far as Baghdad.
British defense minister Geoffrey Hoon received the same answer when he arrived in Ankara Wednesday, January 8 to try and mediate the dispute.
6. Turkish leaders informed Washington they were tearing up all the understandings concluded on the disposition and management of the northern oil fields and oil cities. A Turkish government team of experts, including lawyers and oilmen, had been instructed to rummage through Ottoman Empire archives for the deeds and certificates affirming property ownership in the two cities, the oil fields and other parts of the region. Turkish officials said they were certain they would find legally-binding documents proving Turkish ownership in the oilfields before World War One. If these properties are not restored, the Turkish army will fight to regain them.
7. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, whose Islamist Justice and Development Party won a landslide victory in the November 3, 2002 election, made the rounds of Middle East capitals last week to drum up Arab support for Turkey’s new stance on the Iraq war.

Western diplomats, probing for the immediate trigger of the Turkish volte face, reported to Washington two reasons cited by their Turkish sources: One, they were dismayed when they saw the leadership role the Americans assigned Kurdish representatives at the conference of Iraqi opposition leaders that took place in London last December. They also took note of Kurdish tribes making advanced political and military preparations for the foundation of an autonomous Kurdish state. Ankara believes the Kurds are on course for much more than self-rule, independence, which no Turk will countenance.

Two, A secret American move which the Turks like even less than Kurdish independence. This move will be revealed in the next article in this issue.

Before the crisis is over, Ankara will most probably backtrack on its most extreme demands. But the process will be time-consuming.


US Candidate for Iraqi PM

Kurdish Leader Talabani?

Officials in Washington insist that no suitable Iraqi candidate has yet been found for the post of Iraqi ruler after Saddam Hussein. They say they are still looking for a unifying figure of national stature on the Afghan Hamid Karzai model.

Drawing on the Afghan lesson, the Bush administration is reconciled to the US military commander being the dominant figure in the administration of occupied Baghdad alongside a provisional civilian governor. This interim post-war period could go on for as long as 18 months.

The US president’s adviser on Iraqi affairs, Zalmy, Khalil-Zad, would be a candidate to fill the latter position until Iraq’s democratic institutions are installed.

At the same time, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources hear that members of the Bush team are promoting a revolutionary plan in Iraq, Ankara, Tehran and key Arab capitals, to name the veteran Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, 69, as the head of state or prime minister of a democratic Iraq.

Khalil-Zad, the man who installed Karzai in Kabul, has been the go-between for Washington and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan chief. According to our sources, Talabani’s chances of making it to the top in Baghdad are beginning to look good.

Secret messengers sent out by Khalil-Zad in the last few weeks to canvass opinion met surprisingly favorable responses in Iraq. The most important Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders understand that, after being loyal to Saddam Hussein and collaborating with his regime for three decades, they stand little chance of putting up an acceptable candidate of their own, even if they could agree on one. They also understand that, if a suitable Sunni leader is not found, they could well be saddled with a member of the Shiite community, which constitutes 60 percent of the Iraqi population.

Furthermore, if Saddam’s armed forces lose the war to the Americans, Baghdad will be left without a Sunni-commanded fighting force, excepting only for the Kurdish militias: Talabani’s and Barzani’s US-trained and equipped forces, 20,000-strong each. The two forces would combine as the backbone of a new Iraqi army capable, with American help, of defending Iraq’s Sunni community against the Shiites.

Khal-Zad’s emissaries are currently in intense dialogue with Barzani and his men for the purpose of joining the two foremost Kurdish leaders in a power-sharing pact that would form the bedrock of central government in Baghdad.

One proposal under discussion, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources, is to replicate the Afghanistan formula whereby Talabani would be prime minister and Barzani defense minister. Another would place Barzani at the head of autonomous Kurdistan.

The Talabani formula is being taken seriously enough in Washington to bring before Iran. Talabani himself visited the Iranian capital this week to promote his prospects.

Our sources in Tehran report that Iran’s leaders are not averse to the notion, but have set a high price; they want Washington to promise them a strong Shiite representation in the new regime and provide them with a list in writing of government jobs reserved for Shiites. The American side does not object to tendering this list, but first demands the annulment of Barzani’s collaboration pact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as a matter of principle; no part of the central government in Baghdad may be allowed private military relations with an outside body.

Turkish leaders, when they first heard three weeks ago of a Kurd possibly becoming Iraqi prime minister, did not reject the idea out of hand. US envoys made a different presentation in Ankara to their pitch in Tehran. They argued that installing a Kurdish prime minister in Baghdad as ruler over a federated Iraq, that included a self-governing Kurdish province, would mute Kurdish independence claims. Their national pride and aspirations would find satisfying expression in this appointment.

However, Turkish resistance to the plan grew as the talks in Ankara went on, the American argument failing to convince. Turkish officials countered that promoting a Kurdish leader to the highest office in Baghdad would whet Kurdish nationalist appetites and they would fight on until they had carved Greater Kurdistan out of the Kurdish areas of Iraq, Iran and Turkey. These talks continue.

Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, shares control of Iraqi Kurdistan with his long-time rival, Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Based in Sulaymaniyah, the PUK’s lands lie in southeastern Kurdistan, while the KDP rules the west.

The two Kurdish leaders, who fought on and off for decades, made common cause in 1998 and threw in their lot with the American campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and commit their armies to the war effort.

In 1976, Talabani launched an armed revolt against the Baath government in Baghdad. His people suffered a tragic setback in 1988 when Saddam murdered an estimated 50,000 in a chemical attack against Halabjah on the Iranian border.

Talabani sought refuge in Iran, where he has friends. A law graduate of Baghdad University, he has displayed a flair for politics since the 1991 Gulf War, when the declaration of a no-fly zone by the Western alliance provided Kurdish tribes with a safe haven.



Saddam’s Martyrs, Cardboard Soldiers and Tunnels

Wednesday, January 9, while the Americans were deep in negotiation for the next Iraqi prime minister, Saddam Hussein called a war council at one of his palaces in Baghdad. For the first time, he seated his two sons, Uday and Qusay, at the same table as top Iraqi officials, announcing, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Gulf sources, that he had decided to place them in command of the two most important military forces in the land.

The younger son, Qusay, was to head the 6-8 special brigades of the Republican Guards, made up of 35,000 men, while Uday, the eldest, was given command of the 30-40,000-strong Fedayeen Saddam (Saddam’s Martyrs).

Saddam’s sons thus control the 60-70,000 fighting men with responsibility for defending the capital, Baghdad. According to our military sources, these men have converged on the city and each unit assigned a district to defend.

While the Republican Guards special brigades are an elite corps whose fighting skills should in theory match those of the American 101st Airborne Division, the capabilities of the Fedayeen are unknown, one of the deepest and darkest secrets of the Saddam regime.

However, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources have ferreted out some information on this mystery unit.

A motorized infantry force, it is made up of teenage recruits from Saddam’s own Tikrit clan, fielding an armored force, artillery and a small number of fixed wing and rotary craft. But most important, the Martyrs also have a special chemical platoon with a chemical reconnaissance section. Some of its personnel are scuba-, airborne- and air assault-trained. The unit’s secret training program prepares them for covert operations, assassinations, bombing, kidnapping and chemical and biological warfare. They are taught to hijack airlines, trains and buses. A select few learn the languages of their target destinations such as English, Persian and Hebrew.

It is drilled into these men that they must never fail in a mission.

The Fedayeen, reserved as the regime’s ultimate pre-emptive suicide force, is not the only card up Saddam’s sleeve.

Phony soldiers

The United States intends to throw state-of-the-art military technology into its war against Iraq, using sophisticated bombers, missiles, aircraft carriers, satellites, surveillance planes and spy ships to paralyze and destroy Iraq’s military command systems, communications, computers and supply networks.

Saddam Hussein is fielding a bogus army of metal and cardboard decoys, cellular and satellite telephone communication and a proxy force of about 300,000 “soldiers” – effectively secret agents of the military and special intelligence services under the direct control of the Iraqi leader and his family.

Iraq is also creating tank, missile, artillery and armored infantry divisions, comprised entirely of decoys. As part of the mock-up, numerous tank and tank carrier divisions have appeared over the past weeks in and around various Iraq cities. Their “armor” is tin or cardboard painted in Iraqi military colors, as are fearsome missiles on their launchers and thousands of uniformed Iraqi soldiers wearing fiberglass helmets seen in formation.

Iraq has planted heat and radiation-emitting instruments among the fake forces, including a large number of cellular telephones that can be remotely activated by simply dialing their numbers. The decoy army was not meant to fool the US airborne divisions that will land at the start of the attack on Baghdad (more about this in HOT POINTS at the end of this issue), but to attract the smart bombs and missiles US warplanes intend to drop.

Underground fortresses

But it is his system of well-protected and fully-stocked tunnels that has military planners concerned.

Intelligence data obtained by DEBKA-Net-Weekly sources shows that Saddam has built tunnel systems in and around 15 Iraqi cities, including the capital, Baghdad. Each tunnel is believed to be 20 to 25 meters (65 to 80 feet) deep, a record for underground tunnels in active military use. Similar tunnels dug in the West to withstand nuclear, chemical or biological are only 18 meters (60 feet) deep.

The southernmost tunnel complexes are located in Al Qurnah, north of the port city of Basra and span the meeting point of Iraq’s two biggest rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris. The northernmost system is in Tikrit, Saddam’s tribal hometown, midway between the northern oil city of Kirkuk and Baghdad.

The following is a list of 15 cities or towns where intelligence operatives now in Iraq report the military is using tunnel systems:

Southern and eastern Iraq: Al Qurnah, Al Nasiriyah, Al Kut, Ar-Rifai, Amarah.

Central Iraq: Baghad, Al Mahmudiyah, Al Hillah, Afak, As Samawah, Al Haditha, Hit, Fallujah.

Northern Iraq: Tikrit, Baqubah.

The tunnels were built by hundreds of North Korean and Chinese engineers, members of their respective countries’ engineering corps, and trained intelligence officers. Several dozen Bulgarians and Belarusians took part in the construction as well. According to reliable intelligence data, at least 15 to 20 Russian engineers and technicians – most of them military intelligence officers – were attached to the Bulgarian and Belarusian contingents. The special excavation equipment still in Iraq came mainly from China, South Korea and France.

Most of the entrances and exits of the tunnel systems fall within the defensive perimeter of the Iraqi army. They are wide enough to enable forces fighting in the area to seek shelter inside, where they can refuel and rearm before returning to the battlefield. Alternately, they can fight from the upper entrances to the tunnels, some five to six meters (15 to 20 feet) under ground. In the event of an overwhelming bombardment by aircraft, missiles, artillery or tanks, they can abandon their weapons, which will then become an integral part of the tunnel’s fortifications, and move to deeper levels to fight a guerrilla war.

Each tunnel system is self-contained and most have enough water, fuel and ammunition to sustain three weeks of fighting. The tunnel system around the Tigris River running through Baghdad includes purification facilities in the event of nuclear, chemical or biological attack and two fuel reservoirs. The larger reservoir holds 250,000 liters (58,000 gallons) of mainly diesel fuel. The smaller one contains 140,000 liters (33,000 gallons).

Intelligence officials believe that soldiers or other government forces using a given tunnel will require an average of 80,000 to 100,000 liters (19,000 to 25,000 gallons) of fuel per week. With frugal use, the supply could last up to two months.

Those inside will also be able to tap another source of supplies: the essential commodities – fuel, candles and first aid kits – which the government has been handing out to the civilian populations of the 15 cities over the past 10 days. Water should be no problem because underground sources were discovered during construction. Water can also be pumped in from aquifers scattered over vast areas of Iraq.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources, a total of 50,000 to 70,000 soldiers and government functionaries will be able to use the 45 tunnel systems. Tunnel entrances and exits have been found so far in heavily populated urban areas – mainly in narrow alleyways – and on open ground in or near cities. In a bid to confuse US reconnaissance planes and satellites, millions of reeds have been planted in open areas where the tunnels are located. It is an old Iranian trick, used by Tehran in its war with Iraq in the 1980s. The Iranians found that US reconnaissance satellites over the Shaat al-Arab area had a hard time picking up troop concentrations and military movements – mainly speed boats hidden during the day but moving at night – in the reed marshes.

Several Iraqi tunnel entrances are linked to nearby rivers by wide canals obscured by reeds. These channels will be used as escape routes or conduits for reinforcements.

Saddam’s courier legion

According to DEBKA-Net Weekly’s military and intelligence sources, Saddam will order troops inside and outside the tunnels to maintain complete radio and data transmission hush before the US attack, on the assumption that the invading force will try to shut down Iraqi communications lines and centers.

Therefore, the sophisticated US monitoring equipment will pick up only static and be unable to track Iraqi forces movements by their usual electronic trails.

Even the communications and public address systems in the tunnels will be silenced. With communications down, Saddam will use an army of as many as 50,000 couriers in small, fast vehicles, including motorcycles and motor scooters, or even on foot. Saddam got the idea from Chinese intelligence officers who operated until recently out of Baghdad and from al Qaeda operatives, who have arrived in the Iraqi capital over the past two months or maintained courier contact with the Iraqi leadership.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report that the Chinese intelligence officers who helped the Iraqis set up the courier service, modeled it on a similar system run by the Chinese MSM intelligence agency. The MSM has no communications networks and uses couriers instead for delivering orders to its agents in the field.

Keeping casualties down - at first

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources, Saddam was busy last week holding meetings in his central bunker in Baghdad with small groups of senior political figures and military and intelligence officers. He personally assigned each group its mission, its tunnel or bunker and its area of responsibility, whether political or military.

Information reaching DEBKA-Net-Weekly indicates that Saddam told his officers and followers frankly that hard times lay ahead of them and their families. Some would be called upon to lay down their lives for “the noble cause of the Iraqi people”. Iraqis, he said proudly, were the only people prepared to fight for “Moslem, Arab and Iraqi honor”. But he gave each the chance to opt out. Those who felt unable to move into the tunnels or other assigned positions, were removed from duty and allowed to rejoin their families.

Saddam also shared some of his thinking on the tactics he planned for the opening phases of the American assault. His primary goal, he said, was to lead the first stage to a stalemate – no major US victory and no massive Iraqi defeat. By waging war from fortified tunnels inside Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, he would prevent the Americans from capturing those cities as quickly as they had planned – that is, if those defenses hold up. The Americans and their allies will have no option but to pour massive reinforcements into the campaign and revise their war plans.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources, Saddam left his audience impressed by his determination to spare no means to achieve this objective.

As soon as the US assault begins, he intends to order the use of chemical and biological weapons against what he described as “the attacking forces and their helpers”, and inflict as many casualties as possible. Saddam did not disclose the location of the non-conventional weapons systems or say who would operate them. He also gave no clue about any nuclear weapons in his arsenal. But in several conversations, he raised the following two points:

1. Iraq’s cities will not suffer alone. Key cities in the United States and in European countries taking part in the war will also come under attack. Saddam did not name them or say how they would be struck. But he did mention that “Iraqi-made weapons” would almost certainly be used. It was the first time Saddam has given any sort of clue that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction would be used by Iraqi military intelligence’s secret terrorist cells or by other terrorist groups. He said he believed the number of casualties in Iraqi cities and in those Iraq punished would be “colossal in relation to any previous war”.
2. Saddam dwelt on the fighting spirit of the US army. He claimed that several of his most loyal officers had recently talked to CIA officers serving under cover in Iraq and found that US morale was not high. He said that there were deep differences of opinion within the Bush administration on the conduct of the war, its final goals and the ways in which Iraq would be remolded.

Saddam declared that the combination of Iraqi fighting prowess, high American casualties and strikes on US and allied cities would guarantee Iraq’s survival in the first stage of the offensive. After that, Saddam said, the world will have changed and countries and their armed forces will rally to Iraq’s side. He did not name his potential allies.



Pakistani Intelligence Zigzags on Kashmir

Almost exactly one year ago, Pakistani president Pervez Musharref, acting under pressure from Washington, announced he was closing down the Kashmir division of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency that was running terror groups into Kashmir. He also announced that Pakistan would no longer support non-indigenous militants operating in the divided region. The Pakistani ruler said at the time that lowering the level of the insurgency plaguing Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 was not too big a price to pay to protect Pakistan against attack by India.

India never believed any of this, claiming the Pakistani ISI had faked its withdrawal from backing cross-border attacks across the Line of Control into Indian-controlled Kashmir, to make a show of meeting Washington’s demands.

This week, the Inter Services Intelligence was reported to have finally rolled up its sleeves to the Islamic terrorists. An estimated five militant training camps housing about 2,300 terrorists that were used for forays against India, were ordered to move out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) into Pakistan proper. Furthermore, the United Jehad Council (UJC) was forced to begin restructuring to give the ISI tighter control over its 13 violent member-groups.

Attempts were made to encourage the groups to merge in order to reduce their number. Most of those attempts fell foul of squabbles between the groups meant to amalgamate over the choice of leaders and new names.

As to the training camps moved to Pakistan, the ISI has placed severe restrictions on their inmates.

According to some reports, some 500 militants from ten groups were shifted to a closed factory in the Punjab province, which the Pakistani government rented and handed to the intelligence service.

Another 2,300 Hizbul Mujahideen activists are held in the Taxila and Haripur camps near Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and dozens more at smaller and more remote locations.

They are not allowed to leave those camps and visitors may arrive only at night and leave before sunrise.

According to the same report, the ISI was now confining itself to launching foreign terrorists into Kashmir as the local militants are liable to turn themselves in to Indian troops. Those foreigners now occupy the vacated training camps in Pakistani Kashmir. The local Kashmiri terrorists are so angry with Pakistan that for the first time since the insurgency began, Pakistani soldiers are posted to stop them stealing into India.

On Wednesday, January 8, India’s defense minister George Fernandez charged that al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who had lost their bases in Afghanistan had settled in Kashmir with the active support of the ISI and the Pakistani government.


(that you may have missed in DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock)
A Digest of the Week’s Exclusives

5 January: The official announcement that Israel’s anti-ballistic missile Arrow 2 system is to be tested Sunday, January 5, in “difficult and unusual flying conditions, in a complex targeting environment”, raises questions – especially when US defense officials have come especially to observe the first nearly simultaneous launching of four Arrow missiles, one of them armed.

One of those questions is this: How come this multi-billion ballistic missile system, tested-fired 9 times, is only being test-launched in “difficult and unusual conditions” on the eve of war with Iraq?

Another is: What are those difficult conditions?

It is worth remembering, as DEBKAfile’s military sources stress, that the two Arrow batteries deployed in central and southern Israel are capable of shooting down 5 to 6 incoming missiles. The Arrow’s big asset lies in its radar. While Green Pine is capable of judging the path of an enemy missile and its target shortly after it takes off – from as far away as 500km - questions exist about its ability to simultaneously track a large number of incoming missiles and calculate the number of warheads needed to intercept them before they hit target. The difference between doubt and certainty is measured in seconds. While Israeli may be the first country with complete anti-missile capability, it has its limits.

To stop this gap in Israel’s anti-ballistic missile defenses, the IDF has deployed all the Patriot and Hawk batteries in its armory, while the Americans have rushed over improved Patriot batteries.

Sunday’s hurried test-launching is being staged to settle a difference of opinion between Israel and American air defense experts. The Israeli side is certain the batteries in place can be safely counted on to defend the country against enemy missile assault; the Americans are less certain and want to see Israel’s assertion stand up to field testing.

6 January: The US is expected to launch the coming war against Iraq with parachute drops on Baghdad, together with commando landings in the city from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.

A large-scale force will meanwhile encircle the Iraqi capital, while a mighty tank force dashes north from Kuwait and Qatar, bypassing the southern Iraqi Shiite cities of Najef and Karbala and circumventing the Iraqi army defending Baghdad. Those tanks will join the encircling force.

The object of this colossal movement of military strength is to lay Baghdad to siege.

This tactic and the consistency of the strength for its execution, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, have been taken from the Israeli doctrine of besieging Palestinian West Bank cities in order to lower the level of terror. The doctrine was initiated by defense minister Shaul Mofaz in his last job as IDF chief of staff and has been carried on by his successor, Lt. General Moshe Yaalon.

For over four months, American military officers have been observing Israeli units at first hand, as they operate against terrorists in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem and Ramallah, watching also the IDF method of isolating Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters.

According to our sources, American military planners are transposing the anti-terror tactics they have witnessed on the West Bank as battle plans for the 101st Airborne Division fighters destined for Baghdad. Israeli tank maneuvers under helicopter cover have been studied in Jenin as a model for the 3rd US division’s M1 Abrams main battle tanks to follow, in the streets of the Iraqi capital. This strategy consists essentially of pouring with stunning speed into targeted urban districts large-scale tanks columns armed with heavy firepower, together with armored units under helicopter and drone air cover, as well as crack fighting units, such as paratroops.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the American strategists were also interested in the second half of the Israeli doctrine, namely the way in which Arafat has been corralled in his Ramallah administration and terror headquarters for more than 10 months, together with 20 to 30 Palestinian terror chieftains who dare not come out from under his protection.

US war leaders are planning to use tanks, drones and crack troops in a similar fashion to beleaguer Saddam Hussein, his family and top staff in the palace or bunker in Baghdad or Tikrit in which they are holed up – for as long as it takes. They see no need to break in and capture him, only to wait patiently outside his gates until he surrenders or agrees to leave the country.

The road of departure is also open to Arafat.

With this tactic accepted in Washington – a source of no little pride in Sharon’s circle – the Israeli prime minister and his inner defense cabinet – Mofaz, foreign minister Binyamin Netanyahu and public security minister Uzzi Landau – agreed Sunday night, January 5, not to deport Arafat from Ramallah, despite the cruel provocation of the terror massacre perpetrated a few hours earlier in Tel Aviv.

Two suicide bombers from Nablus, activists of the military wing of Arafat’s Fatah, the al Aasa Martyrs’ Brigades, blew themselves up in a poor Tel Aviv district frequented by migrant workers from East Europe, Thailand, China and West Africa and bus commuters. The killers held their 15-kilo charges, packed with nuts, ball-bearings and shrapnel, high in the air to wreak maximal carnage – 23 dead, more than one hundred injured.

Israelis are being called upon to pay a terrible price. But Sharon remains convinced, as he told injured victims of the Tel Aviv attack whom he visited in hospital Monday, January 5, that though the struggle is protracted and savage, Israel is bound to vanquish the terrorists in the end.

Defense minister Mofaz, coming earlier out from briefing the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, predicted that Arafat would step down, an action that would make way for Israel and the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table. The dictates of reality, he said, are bringing the moment for a new Palestinian leadership to take over ever closer.

8 January: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Likud is losing ground over this week’s revelations that a long-time friend, South African textile tycoon Cyril Kern, made a low-interest loan to son Gilad Sharon to pay back illegal foreign contributions to the Likud leader’s 1999 primaries campaign.

Even if Sharon was guilty of wrongdoing – which he is not -- the average Israeli knows that corruption is rampant in Israeli society and is more concerned with Palestinian suicide bombings that have turned life in the Jewish state into a Russian roulette.

Sharon’s main opponent in the January 28 ballot, Labor leader Amram Mitzna, has demanded the prime minister resign or make a full public accounting.

By focusing on so-called election scandals, Israeli media are missing the real picture: corruption and a real criminal underworld do exist in Israel but it is all being swept under the table while the dirt is being dished elsewhere.

In the 1990s, elements linked to mafia in Russia and other former states of the Soviet Union tried to penetrate the center of the Israeli political system. But their efforts were largely unsuccessful.

It is now the Palestinians’ turn. Since he and his henchmen returned to the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1993 Oslo accords, Yasser Arafat has been trying to establish links with Israeli businessmen, some of whom hold political office or influence, through his wide-ranging financial interests in Europe and South America and the casino project in Jericho.

A small number of courageous Israelis, such as defense minister Shaul Mofaz and army chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, have managed to block these attempts and keep the Jericho gambling den closed. And here is where there is a big light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite their attempts to buy their way to the top and eagerness on the part of Israeli banks to accept their money, mafia kingpins have failed to achieve political influence in Israel.

Most of the crooked millionaires who came here -- Americans, Argentines, Mexicans, Britons, Swiss, Russians, Poles and Palestinians – have left the country and taken their money elsewhere.

By focusing on corruption, Mitzna and Labor secretary general Ofer Pines are running a muckraking campaign of the basest kind. They won’t win; some of the mud they are slinging will end up sticking to them.



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Yesterday, thought I'd share it with you... am still feeling the pains.

Subject: (no subject)
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:30:43 +0100

There's gotta be something about this day, check this out.
I got up this very morning with the intention of spending a few hours of undistracted study in the libray, until lunchtime at least. Full of enthusiasm I began my waking hours by spilling my coffee all over my carpet floor, followed by half an hour of desperate cleaning (the carpet is beige...), my mother shouting at me, breathing down my neck like a vulture. Then, thinking that I might just catch the bus, I leg it to the station, falling down a flight of stairs, totally scraping my hands to flesh. Some old biddy walking by: "Oh those young people, always in a hurry, you're whole life will sail past you...!" I was just about to unleash an avalanche of abuse in her language when I thought 'The bums will always lose, Mr. Lebowski!', which put me onto other emotions and even made me chuckle then. Obviously the day had only started...
Needless to say that I missed the bus, hence got on the train for which I had no ticket (since I was going to take the bus) and promptly that one in a thousand times when a conductor checks the ticket had to be today. So, busted! 60 CHF fine, got the bill there and then. Cigarette? No lighter. 'Great...'
So I get to town eventually, thought I'd best walk to the library after all that, and what do I notice after finding a suitable desk to work on? I left the required literature at home. At this point I realized that this whole day would turn out to be an utter catastrophe so I thought, why not just go to the newspaper and magazine section and read any odd shit for an hour, escaping the uselessness of my current situation and hopefully have a brighter perspective after. To my amazement, this guy I went to school with and never stops talking is sitting there, drinking coffee, typically reading Newsweek like any province nonce who thinks he's exposing himself to some international shit. Before I can turn the other way he sights me and starts blablabla-ing me about the war and 'all those dirty terrorist Arabs' and Bush being stupid, 'they're all just stupid anyway, there no point to this war', starts getting philosophical 'there's no point to any war actually, war is no good, it's fundamentally wrong, this can't be the right solution'. I just nod and after about half an hour I try to excuse myself by referring to my desire to go out and get something to eat. He's like 'Great! Am quite hungry myself, what shall we get!?' We? Needless to say that I got a little salami sandwich, swallowed it in haste, mumbled something about an appointment for which I'm late, literally ran off and took the bus home.
At home I felt this 'phew', quite pleasant actually until I noticed my modem being down and me not having any skins in order to build an undoubtedly necessary and well-deserved bifter. So I get in the car, make the 10 minute drive to the petrol station and buy some skins. Half an hour later, back home, I realize that I left the skins on the counter. At this point I started wondering whether I had actually gone mad. On my second run to the shop I kept trying to verify that this is all just bad luck. Anyway, home finally, I sat down to make one of this month's largest bifter and, how could it be any different, spilled the fucker all over the place. The scrapings from that spillage didn't exactly make the resulting spliff this month's largest dick, in fact there wasn't anything large about it. Got me high a little, so might have to smoke another. So here I am, with some Freesurf Tiscali dial-up wank costing me per minute (and obviously took me another painstaking period of frustration to make it work, but won't go into that), browsing like an old grandma.
I don't know, it's only 3 pm, but I'm not going to make any larger movements anymore. I'm just going to stay high all day - maybe that's what it was, I was sober earlier today, fucking dangerous. I've resigned from this day. Time for a beer.
All good, Mr. Phil?

Powerful Earthquake Shakes Mexico, 21 Dead
Wed January 22, 2003 02:42 AM ET
By Alistair Bell

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake struck central and western Mexico on Tuesday night, killing at least 21 people on the Pacific coast and sending panicked residents rushing into the streets in tears.

"There are many houses that have fallen down and many buildings destroyed," Red Cross volunteer Marta Requena said from the western city of Colima near the epicenter.

The earthquake was at least 7.6 in magnitude, big enough to cause substantial damage.

Emergency workers said they could barely cope with the casualties in Colima, a city of some 125,000 people where walls and homes collapsed.

"We don't have electricity. we don't have medicine, we don't have anything," Requena told Reuters by telephone.

The city is the capital of a small state of the same name which is devoted mostly to agriculture. It is also home to the active Volcano of Fire which last erupted in 1998.

The Seismological Service at Mexico City's UNAM University said the quake struck at 8:09 p.m. (9:09 EST), and measured 7.6. The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 7.8.

Fernando Moreno, governor of Colima state, said at least 19 people were killed there. "There is extensive damage to homes, mostly in the (state) capital, there are many houses damaged," he told Televisa television news.

A woman and a baby also died in the neighboring state of Jalisco, emergency services said.


The quake rocked homes and offices in Mexico City, 310 miles to the east, where power was briefly cut and cracks appeared on buildings.

Still, the shaking earth brought back unpleasant memories of a 1985 quake in Mexico City that killed more than 10,000 people.

"I was putting my kid to bed when everything started to move. We ran out with all our neighbors. I was just thinking of '85, the earthquake of '85," said Beatriz Reyes, a resident of the central Mexico City neighborhood of La Roma, which was one of the hardest hit in 1985.

On Mexico City's central boulevard, Reforma, two twenty-story buildings, the Sevilla Palace Hotel and a government building, bumped together during the quake, said witnesses who briefly evacuated both buildings.

But the city appears to have dodged a bullet, with only a few dozen people treated for shock. "So far we do not have any injured people or any fatalities," Mexico City Police Chief Marcelo Ebrard told local radio.

(With reporting by Karina Balderas, Kieran Murray, Fiona Ortiz and Chris Aspin)


Phil, Habermas Re:Knowledge and Interest - objective/technical/instrumental knowledge, the establishment and use of guided by specific interests in turn guided by maximizing wealth and power (science, technology, [cf. Nash equilib.] hihi...). Education plugged straight in there. Highly political if you ask me, plus stagnating emancipatory reflection due to no apparent need. Is this a dimension?

(Analytical philosophy - an imperialist instrument?)


even more so ironically, this whole philosophy is now being interpreted via Nash equilibrium and 'prisoner dilemma' - the maths must be appealing to hawks, Nobel Prize after all, plus movie - movie propagandaistic of philosophical/mathematical implications of US foreign policy? Hehe... all you need is imagination and a new word. 'Security'? Presto! 'Who said Nobel Prize isn't politically motivated?' It's like Chomsky and Mr. Fortune 500 winner for Econ prize.).

what you're doing here is essentially a critical evaluation of the ideological aspects to mainstream pol sci achievement alongside the history of ideas construed in order to legimitise it- its so intuitive, is it not, it must be right!

realism in IR is just fascist ideology, an incoherent system of thought devised to support the status quo, that is, legitimise the violence necessary to sustain gradients of power, which are in turn required to sustain inequality of distribution of material wealth. The name is telling enough i should think..
Just been studying Locke's contractualism in critical light of Hobbes and discovered some interesting analogies/synergies to current unilateralist and 'pre-emptive strike' policies.
What fundamentally differentiates Locke from Hobbes in the contractualist structure seems to be that for Locke, the natural state is nonetheless one of justice. Hobbes believed that where there is no political authority, there is no law, therefore no justice. He grounds this in his descriptions of human nature which are materialistic to the extent of allowing him to produce some severe ethical relativism, far removed from the cunning beauty of scientifically reduced Nietzsche and his 'moral as necessary fiction' (and I see this in such analogy to capitalism vs. current ethical agenda). Hobbes defines the natural state as one of constant war, the relationship between his natural laws and natural rights being so that there is no injustice, hence even suggesting the rationality of a pre-emptive strike. In this scenario then, it's quite reasonable to assume that the only way peace can be guaranteed, is via the forceful implementation of an absolutist, juidicially positivist ('what we say goes') ruler (even more so ironically, this whole philosophy is now being interpreted via Nash equilibrium and 'prisoner dilemma' - the maths must be appealing to hawks, Nobel Prize after all, plus movie - movie propagandaistic of philosophical/mathematical implications of US foreign policy? Hehe... all you need is imagination and a new word. 'Security'? Presto! 'Who said Nobel Prize isn't politically motivated?' It's like Chomsky and Mr. Fortune 500 winner for Econ prize.).
Locke's liberal position on the other hand, defines the natural state as one of peace with working natural laws and via the right of self-justice, leading to conflict undoubtedly, justifies the existence of a constitutional authority that can nonetheless be removed when in breach of the natural laws. Locke's central argument contra Hobbes' absolutism seems to be that entities in the natural state would have never consented to the forceful implementation of an absolute ruler. And it's this consent that Hobbes' doesn't seem to require due to his ethical relativism ('auctoritas non veritas facit legem' - not the truth but the legislative authority decides what is just and what is unjust).
So what is it with the realism? Is it essentially a different theory of justice, grounded in different epistemological approaches? Rumsfeld: "The US must defend itself against the unknown, the uncertain, the unseen, the unexpected". Or: "Not only do we not exclude possibilites; we don't even announce it when we do exclude a possibility." (Besides "Good for you"), what is all this epistemic banter...?! Can you see it? Kant would turn in his grave, Donald..!

Anyone have any more insights into Hobbes/US foreign policy a la Kaplan? Am I just tripping over the game theory? Phil? Jesse?
Here it is, reposting...

My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty...

Rokke said: "Verified adverse health effects from personal experience, physicians and from personal reports from individuals with known DU exposures include reactive airway disease, neurological abnormalities, kidney stones and chronic kidney pain, rashes, vision degradation and night vision losses, lymphoma, various forms of skin and organ cancer, neuropsychological disorders, uranium in semen, sexual dysfunction and birth defects in offspring.

"This whole thing is a crime against God and humanity."

Speaking from his home in Rantoul, Ill., where he works as a substitute high school science teacher, Rokke said, "When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy, and we got trashed."

Rokke, an Army Reserve major who describes himself as "a patriot to the right of Rush Limbaugh," said hearing the latest Pentagon statements on DU is especially frustrating now that another war against Iraq appears likely.

"Since 1991, numerous U.S. Department of Defense reports have said that the consequences of DU were unknown," Rokke said. "That is a lie. We warned them in 1991 after the Gulf War, but because of liability issues, they continue to ignore the problem." Rokke worked until 1996 for the military, developing DU training and management procedures. The procedures were ignored, he said.

"Their arrogance is beyond comprehension," he said. "We have spread radioactive waste all over the place and refused medical treatment to people . . . it's all arrogance."

"DU is a snapshot of technology gone crazy."
re: depleted uranium... sometime last month I posted an article about this, basically saying that the gov't is well aware that it's causing these problems, it knows all about them, and it's ignoring them. Will try to find link (don't remember which page I put it on...)

Lockes zentraler Einwand gegen Hobbes lautet also, dass sich die Menschen im herrschaftlosen Zustand nicht auf die Einsetzung einer absoluten Herrschaftsgewalt geeinigt haetten. (a) Herrschaft bleibt an Rechte gebunden, die Individuen bereits im Naturzustand haben. (b) Zum Schutz dieser Rechte ist nach Locke - notfalls - bewaffneter Widerstand gegen die Regierung erlaubt. (a) und (b) sind die Kernaussagen der Zwei Abhandlungen.


Mixed Messages Call for Healthy Skepticism
By Norman Solomon

A special issue of Time, the nation's biggest newsmagazine, was filled with health information in mid-January, offering plenty of encouragement under the rubric of medical science with an ethereal twist: "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body."

The spread on "The Power of Mood" begins with this teaser: "Lifting your spirits can be potent medicine. How to make it work for you." An article about "Mother Nature's Little Helpers" is a discussion of alternative remedies. Other pieces probe techniques of psychotherapy, investigate high-tech ways of scanning the brain, and ponder "Are Your Genes to Blame?"

Of course, more than altruism is at work here. While the Jan. 20 issue of Time contains page after page of informative journalism, it also includes dozens of lucrative full-color ads pegged to the theme of health. There are elaborate pitches for laxative capsules, a purple pill for heartburn, over-the-counter sinus medication, and prescription drugs for allergies and Alzheimer's. On a preventative note, there's even a full-page ad for an inhaler that "helps you beat cigarette cravings one at a time" and another for a "stop smoking lozenge."

While all this was going on inside Time magazine, the same kind of advertising appeared in Newsweek to harmonize with its cover's keynote: "What Science Tells Us About Food and Health."

We may feel that it's nice of America's largest-circulation news weeklies to print so much healthful information. But if you picked up the previous week's Time and turned past the cover, the first thing you saw was a two-page layout for Camels, with the heading "Pleasure to Burn." Like the multi-entendre slogan, the ad's graphic is inviting; a handsome guy, presumably quite debonaire as he stands next to a liquor shelf, lights up a cigarette as he eyes the camera.

And so it goes. Many big media outlets tell us how to make ourselves healthy while encouraging us to make ourselves sick. They offer us tips and new scientific data on how to maximize longevity. But overall complicity with the lethal cigarette industry -- whether through glamorization or silence -- is widespread and ongoing.

The media's mixed messages about health are unabashedly self-contradictory, but they're also customary to such an extent that they're integral to a media cycle that never quits. The same news organizations that produce innumerable downbeat stories about obesity in America are beholden to huge quantities of ad revenue from fast food -- and usually wink at the most popular artery-clogging chains. If most people are ignorant of the deep-fried dangers posed by McDonald's and Burger King, they can thank the news media for dodging the matter.

With television, radio and print media now devoting plenty of coverage to health concerns, and with aging baby boomers serving as a massive demographic target, the media emphasis is tilted toward high-end health expectations. But we need much more than news about the latest theories and scientific findings on preventative measures, palliatives and cures.

Until news outlets shift their commitments, they will continue to undermine public health as well as promote it. The present-day contradictions are severe: Journalists do not equivocate about cancer; we all understand that there's nothing good about the disease. Yet journalists routinely go easy on proven causes of cancer, such as cigarettes and an array of commercially promoted chemicals with carcinogenic effects.

Air pollution from gas-guzzling vehicles certainly qualifies as cancer-causing. But for every drop of ink that explores such causality, countless gallons are devoted to convincing Americans that they should own air-fouling trucks or SUVs. While the health-oriented front covers of Time and Newsweek now on the stands are similar, the back covers are identical -- an advertisement for Chevy's Silverado diesel truck. The headline trumpets the appeal: "A Sledgehammer in a Ballpeen World."

In a 1986 essay, the American writer Wallace Stegner wrote: "Neither the country nor the society we built out of it can be healthy until we stop raiding and running, and learn to be quiet part of the time, and acquire the sense not of ownership but of belonging."

Such outlooks are antithetical to the functional precepts of the media industry. It is largely dedicated to "raiding and running." It perceives quiet as dead air and squandered space. It portrays ownership as the essence of success and human worth. How healthy can such operative values be?
Check this, neo-Frankfurtian? For a re-politicisation of critical theory (as discussed before, Phil... appeal for contemporary intellectual left nonse-wankish...). For historical materialism from Marx, reconsidering the dialectical genealogy...

Like this line though, a bit like the other day 'democracy and its implications improperly understood during anti-communism'.

Would like to hear comments re: CT aspect in this Phil... can't quite see yet, have no time, must focus on pol. sci.


Marx was and remained a philosopher. This simple fact was forgotten when Marxism became a system. Now that the system has been defeated, the philosophy re-emerges. However, its "Marxist" adherents have never understood that this philosophy was always political - in short, they have never understood politics, and therefore will never understand philosophy. Thus, the claim of the article is that, correctly read, Marx can be seen as the true philosophical founder of a modern theory of democracy.

Full article

Rorty on leftist politics IMPORTANT
Blitzer, Blitzer... you Turner fool, pretty poor performance - laughable.

Yes, and why isn't everyone talking about the fact that of the 567'000 GI's in the last war, 307'000 have visited a hospital upon return and 200'000 have filed for state support because they're not able to work due to an 'unknown disease'? Would be sort of relevant in light of current military build-up.

The official line on this? Is there one? 'Unknown disease?'

Fucking fascists...

Wolf Blitzer for the Defense (Department)

Making sure the official line is the last word

By Jim Naureckas

On the rare occasion when a mainstream news program interviews a forthright critic of U.S. policy, the interviewer often seems less like a journalist and more like a government spokesperson. That's what happened when CNN's Wolf Blitzer (11/7/02) interviewed Dr. Helen Caldicott, a nuclear critic (and a member of FAIR's advisory board), about the connection between the U.S.'s use of so-called depleted uranium in anti-tank shells during the 1991 Gulf War, and the dramatic rise in birth defects in southern Iraq.

Blitzer at first challenged her facts, appropriately enough: "Dr. Caldicott, let me interrupt and point out what the Pentagon has said repeatedly over these years. That in all of their testing of these depleted uranium shells, they found no scientific evidence whatsoever that any rates of cancer, any kinds of cancer are higher when subjected to these areas as any other areas."

Caldicott responded by pointing to evidence in her recent book, The New Nuclear Danger, that the Pentagon was well aware of the dangers of depleted uranium: "You'll find in the chapter on Iraq, Pentagon documents that were written before they went into Iraq, warning that none of the troops should be exposed to radiation from these depleted uranium shells. They had to wear total body suits, respirators--the whole thing. They shouldn't go near it, because it's carcinogenic, can cause cancer of the bladder, the lung, the kidney, and the like."

The CNN anchor then moved the topic to the question of sanctions, which Caldicott had mentioned as making it more difficult to treat birth defects. Blitzer again presented the official line: "The Pentagon also points out, the Bush administration also points out very, very strongly that the Iraqi regime itself is to blame for all of these problems. If they simply complied with U.N. Security Council resolutions and disarm, there would be no sanctions, there would be no problem getting medical supplies, doctor, pediatricians, to all parts of Iraq."

When Caldicott tried to tell Blitzer that the main issue with birth defects was not the sanctions but the fact that the U.S. left radioactive uranium 238 all over Iraqi battlefields, he cut her off and pointed out that the Iraqi government has used torture. "Do you feel comfortable, in effect, going out there and defending the Iraqi regime?," he asked--a line similar to CNN colleague Connie Chung's suggestion (10/7/02) that a congressmember who questioned George W. Bush was telling people to "believe Saddam Hussein" (Extra! Update, 12/02).

After Caldicott's last answer, Blitzer made an unusual closing rebuttal to her interview. After ending the interview-- "we have to unfortunately, Dr. Caldicott, leave it right there, because we are all out of time"--he returned to the assertion he had made earlier about sanctions: "Let me just repeat what the U.S. government has said on many occasions. If the Iraqi regime were to comply with U.N. resolutions, none of these problems would exist. If the Iraqi government would not have invaded Kuwait in 1990, none of these problems would have existed. We have to leave it right there, Dr. Helen Caldicott."
Wrong on the facts

While it's odd enough for a TV host to insist on making a government denial the final word in an interview, it's particularly disturbing that the assertion Blitzer used twice to dismiss what his guest was saying was simply inaccurate. It's not true that sanctions would automatically be lifted if Iraq disarmed; shortly after the sanctions were imposed, President George Bush the first declared, "My view is we don't want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power" (Washington Post, 5/21/91). And his secretary of state James Baker concurred: "We are not interested in seeing a relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/21/91).

President-elect Bill Clinton made a point of saying that his policy toward Iraq was exactly the same as his predecessor's (New York Times, 1/15/93). His secretary of state Madeleine Albright stated in her first major foreign policy address in 1997 (Federal News Service, 3/26/97): "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted. Our view, which is unshakable, is that Iraq must prove its peaceful intentions.... And the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam Hussein's intentions will never be peaceful." (See Institute for Public Accuracy, 11/13/98.)

It's rarely pretty when an interviewer insists on getting the last word. When that last word is a distortion of facts in defense of the official line, it's downright ugly


On this ridiculously stoned afternoon at the pacific coast, heat slight breeze and those blues i'm not even going to attempt to describe, reading kundera, loving kundera. and this is what suddenyl occurs to me: loving kundera means nostalgic longing for that firm embrace of modernity.. I say no more, will let the don speak:

The last time he had left her apartment he suddenly thought of Hertz, an opera director in the small Central European town where he had spent his youth. Hertz required his women singers to perform their entire roles for in in private during special nude blocking rehearsals. To ensure that they held their bodies just so, he had them insert pencils into their rectums. Since the direction in which the pencil pointed indicated the position of the spinal column, the meticulous director was able to control every step, every motion of the singer's body, with scientific precision.

Once a young soprano lost her temper and denounced him to the management. Hertz defended himself by saying he never even touched them, which was true enough, but only made his pencil antics seem more perverse. Hertz was finally run out of town.

His case became famous, however, and Jan began attending opera performances at a tender age. All the women- with their overblown gestures, twisted heads, and wide-open mouths- he would picture naked. As the orchestra wept and they clasped their left breasts, he would see pencils sticking out of their bare behinds. His heart would pound. He was aroused by Hertz's arousal! (To this day he cannot see an opera in any other light, and to this day whenever he enters an opera house, he feels like a little boy sneaking off to watch a dirty movie.)

Hertz was the sublime alchemist of vice, Jan said to himself. He found the magical formula of arousal in the form of a pencil stuck up the rectum. Jan was ashamed. Hertz would never have let himself be hoodwinked into the exhausting command performance Jan had just played on the body of the girl from the sporting goods rental place.


a) discovered this nice little introductory page to all the frankfurt school thinkers!

b) this guy.. hehe.. check it out:

The 'cultural Marxism' that has invaded our military academies and other military institutions is pervasive. As a result, these future naval officers will not have an understanding of the essence of what they are chosen to protect, that is, American civilization [2] -- the most vital and precious descendent of Western civilization.One must wonder who 'they' are. Who in America today is at work destroying our traditions, our family bonds, our religious beginnings, our reinforcing institutions, indeed, our entire culture? What is it that is changing our American civilization?

ok where is he going to take us from here?

'Cultural Marxism' and 'critical theory' are concepts developed by a group of German intellectuals, who, in 1923 in Germany, founded the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University. The Institute, modeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow, became known as the Frankfurt School [3]. In 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany, the members of the Frankfurt School fled to the United States. While here, they migrated to major U.S. universities (Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley). These intellectual Marxists included Herbert Marcuse, who coined the phrase, 'make love, not war,' during the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.

By promoting the dialectic of 'negative' criticism, that is, pointing out the rational contradictions in a society's belief system, the Frankfurt School 'revolutionaries' dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed [4]. "Their Critical Theory had to contain a strongly imaginative, even utopian strain, which transcends the limits of reality." Its tenets would never be subject to experimental evidence. The pure logic of their thoughts would be incontrovertible. As a precursor to today's 'postmodernism' in the intellectual academic community, [5] "...it recognized that disinterested scientific research was impossible in a society in which men were themselves not yet autonomous...the researcher was always part of the social object he was attempting to study." This, of course, is the concept which led to the current fetish for the rewriting of history, and the vogue for our universities' law, English literature, and humanities disciplines -- deconstruction.

he's trying to posit blame for french p-m disease here.. disagree on last paragraph.. classical misunderstanding of what utopia "is"/means.. dick
"If Marx had not thrown together interaction and work under the label of social practice (Praxis), and had he instead related the materialist concept of synthesis likewise to the accomplishments of instrumental action and the nexuses of communicative action, then the idea of a science of man would not have been obscured by identification with natural science. Rather, this idea would have taken up Hegel's critique of the subjectivism of Kant's epistemology and surpassed it materialistically. It would have made clear that ultimately a radical critique of knowledge can be carried out only in the form of a reconstruction of the history of the species, and that conversely social theory, from the viewpoint of the self-constitution of the species in the medium of social labour and class struggle, is possible only as the self-reflection of the knowing subject."

Haberdon, knowledge as social T as below, on where/how Marxdon went wrong ;-)
Dollars and Sense magazine - the magazine of economic justice

looks pretty good and macewan has a column
Frida Kahlo- Mexican Surrealist with political ambition- saw this autobriographical film last night.. what a donness!

Born and brought up in Coyoacan, Mexico. Kahlo got polio at age of seven, and suffered a terrible accident when she was 18, the painful effects of which she suffered throughout her life. A prominent artist, her only public exhibition was in 1953, shortly before her death. In 1929 she married the famous muralist, Diego Rivera, who had joined the Fourth International in 1936. In January 1937, Trotsky and Natalia came to Coyoacan, where Rivera rented Trotsky a house. Trotsky and Kahlo had a brief love affair in 1937. Rivera co-authored the Manifesto Towards a Free Revolutionary Art with Andre Breton and Trotsky in 1938. In January 1939, under intense pressure from his fellow-artists, Rivera resigned from the FI. Trotsky broke off relations with Rivera, but tried to retain Frida Kahlo's support. Frida resisted pressure to denounce Trotsky, until rejoining the CP in 1948, eight years after Trotsky's assassination in Mexico.

my favourite one..


"Die Analyse des Zusammenhanges von Erkenntnis und Interesse soll die Behauptung stuetzen, dass radikale Erkenntniskritik nur als Gesellschafstheorie moeglich ist."

Don Habermas


Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil

Hohohohoho! "Bullshit, officer!"


An Unnecessary War

In the full-court press for war with Iraq, the Bush administration deems Saddam Hussein reckless, ruthless, and not fully rational. Such a man, when mixed with nuclear weapons, is too unpredictable to be prevented from threatening the United States, the hawks say. But scrutiny of his past dealings with the world shows that Saddam, though cruel and calculating, is eminently deterrable.

By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Should the United States invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein? If the United States is already at war with Iraq when this article is published, the immediate cause is likely to be Saddam’s failure to comply with the new U.N. inspections regime to the Bush administration’s satisfaction. But this failure is not the real reason Saddam and the United States have been on a collision course over the past year.

The deeper root of the conflict is the U.S. position that Saddam must be toppled because he cannot be deterred from using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Advocates of preventive war use numerous arguments to make their case, but their trump card is the charge that Saddam’s past behavior proves he is too reckless, relentless, and aggressive to be allowed to possess WMD, especially nuclear weapons. They sometimes admit that war against Iraq might be costly, might lead to a lengthy U.S. occupation, and might complicate U.S. relations with other countries. But these concerns are eclipsed by the belief that the combination of Saddam plus nuclear weapons is too dangerous to accept. For that reason alone, he has to go.

Even many opponents of preventive war seem to agree deterrence will not work in Iraq. Instead of invading Iraq and overthrowing the regime, however, these moderates favor using the threat of war to compel Saddam to permit new weapons inspections. Their hope is that inspections will eliminate any hidden WMD stockpiles and production facilities and ensure Saddam cannot acquire any of these deadly weapons. Thus, both the hard-line preventive-war advocates and the more moderate supporters of inspections accept the same basic premise: Saddam Hussein is not deterrable, and he cannot be allowed to obtain a nuclear arsenal.

One problem with this argument: It is almost certainly wrong. The belief that Saddam’s past behavior shows he cannot be contained rests on distorted history and faulty logic. In fact, the historical record shows that the United States can contain Iraq effectively—even if Saddam has nuclear weapons—just as it contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Regardless of whether Iraq complies with U.N. inspections or what the inspectors find, the campaign to wage war against Iraq rests on a flimsy foundation.

Is Saddam a Serial Aggressor?
Those who call for preventive war begin by portraying Saddam as a serial aggressor bent on dominating the Persian Gulf. The war party also contends that Saddam is either irrational or prone to serious miscalculation, which means he may not be deterred by even credible threats of retaliation. Kenneth Pollack, former director for gulf affairs at the National Security Council and a proponent of war with Iraq, goes so far as to argue that Saddam is “unintentionally suicidal.”

The facts, however, tell a different story. Saddam has dominated Iraqi politics for more than 30 years. During that period, he started two wars against his neighbors—Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. Saddam’s record in this regard is no worse than that of neighboring states such as Egypt or Israel, each of which played a role in starting several wars since 1948. Furthermore, a careful look at Saddam’s two wars shows his behavior was far from reckless. Both times, he attacked because Iraq was vulnerable and because he believed his targets were weak and isolated. In each case, his goal was to rectify Iraq’s strategic dilemma with a limited military victory. Such reasoning does not excuse Saddam’s aggression, but his willingness to use force on these occasions hardly demonstrates that he cannot be deterred.

The Iran-Iraq War, 1980–88
Iran was the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf during the 1970s. Its strength was partly due to its large population (roughly three times that of Iraq) and its oil reserves, but it also stemmed from the strong support the shah of Iran received from the United States. Relations between Iraq and Iran were quite hostile throughout this period, but Iraq was in no position to defy Iran’s regional dominance. Iran put constant pressure on Saddam’s regime during the early 1970s, mostly by fomenting unrest among Iraq’s sizable Kurdish minority. Iraq finally persuaded the shah to stop meddling with the Kurds in 1975, but only by agreeing to cede half of the Shatt al-Arab waterway to Iran, a concession that underscored Iraq’s weakness.

It is thus not surprising that Saddam welcomed the shah’s ouster in 1979. Iraq went to considerable lengths to foster good relations with Iran’s revolutionary leadership. Saddam did not exploit the turmoil in Iran to gain strategic advantage over his neighbor and made no attempt to reverse his earlier concessions, even though Iran did not fully comply with the terms of the 1975 agreement. Ruhollah Khomeini, on the other hand, was determined to extend his revolution across the Islamic world, starting with Iraq. By late 1979, Tehran was pushing the Kurdish and Shiite populations in Iraq to revolt and topple Saddam, and Iranian operatives were trying to assassinate senior Iraqi officials. Border clashes became increasingly frequent by April 1980, largely at Iran’s instigation.

Facing a grave threat to his regime, but aware that Iran’s military readiness had been temporarily disrupted by the revolution, Saddam launched a limited war against his bitter foe on September 22, 1980. His principal aim was to capture a large slice of territory along the Iraq-Iran border, not to conquer Iran or topple Khomeini. “The war began,” as military analyst Efraim Karsh writes, “because the weaker state, Iraq, attempted to resist the hegemonic aspirations of its stronger neighbor, Iran, to reshape the regional status quo according to its own image.”

Iran and Iraq fought for eight years, and the war cost the two antagonists more than 1 million casualties and at least $150 billion. Iraq received considerable outside support from other countries—including the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and France—largely because these states were determined to prevent the spread of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution. Although the war cost Iraq far more than Saddam expected, it also thwarted Khomeini’s attempt to topple him and dominate the region. War with Iran was not a reckless adventure; it was an opportunistic response to a significant threat.

The Gulf War, 1990–91
But what about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990? Perhaps the earlier war with Iran was essentially defensive, but surely this was not true in the case of Kuwait. Doesn’t Saddam’s decision to invade his tiny neighbor prove he is too rash and aggressive to be trusted with the most destructive weaponry? And doesn’t his refusal to withdraw, even when confronted by a superior coalition, demonstrate he is “unintentionally suicidal”?

The answer is no. Once again, a careful look shows Saddam was neither mindlessly aggressive nor particularly reckless. If anything, the evidence supports the opposite conclusion.

Saddam’s decision to invade Kuwait was primarily an attempt to deal with Iraq’s continued vulnerability. Iraq’s economy, badly damaged by its war with Iran, continued to decline after that war ended. An important cause of Iraq’s difficulties was Kuwait’s refusal both to loan Iraq $10 billion and to write off debts Iraq had incurred during the Iran-Iraq War. Saddam believed Iraq was entitled to additional aid because the country helped protect Kuwait and other Gulf states from Iranian expansionism. To make matters worse, Kuwait was overproducing the quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which drove down world oil prices and reduced Iraqi oil profits. Saddam tried using diplomacy to solve the problem, but Kuwait hardly budged. As Karsh and fellow Hussein biographer Inari Rautsi note, the Kuwaitis “suspected that some concessions might be necessary, but were determined to reduce them to the barest minimum.”
Saddam reportedly decided on war sometime in July 1990, but before sending his army into Kuwait, he approached the United States to find out how it would react. In a now famous interview with the Iraqi leader, U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam, “[W]e have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” The U.S. State Department had earlier told Saddam that Washington had “no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait.” The United States may not have intended to give Iraq a green light, but that is effectively what it did.

Saddam invaded Kuwait in early August 1990. This act was an obvious violation of international law, and the United States was justified in opposing the invasion and organizing a coalition against it. But Saddam’s decision to invade was hardly irrational or reckless. Deterrence did not fail in this case; it was never tried.

But what about Saddam’s failure to leave Kuwait once the United States demanded a return to the status quo ante? Wouldn’t a prudent leader have abandoned Kuwait before getting clobbered? With hindsight, the answer seems obvious, but Saddam had good reasons to believe hanging tough might work. It was not initially apparent that the United States would actually fight, and most Western military experts predicted the Iraqi army would mount a formidable defense. These forecasts seem foolish today, but many people believed them before the war began.

Once the U.S. air campaign had seriously damaged Iraq’s armed forces, however, Saddam began searching for a diplomatic solution that would allow him to retreat from Kuwait before a ground war began. Indeed, Saddam made clear he was willing to pull out completely. Instead of allowing Iraq to withdraw and fight another day, then U.S. President George H.W. Bush and his administration wisely insisted the Iraqi army leave its equipment behind as it withdrew. As the administration had hoped, Saddam could not accept this kind of deal.

Saddam undoubtedly miscalculated when he attacked Kuwait, but the history of warfare is full of cases where leaders have misjudged the prospects for war. No evidence suggests Hussein did not weigh his options carefully, however. He chose to use force because he was facing a serious challenge and because he had good reasons to think his invasion would not provoke serious opposition.

Nor should anyone forget that the Iraqi tyrant survived the Kuwait debacle, just as he has survived other threats against his regime. He is now beginning his fourth decade in power. If he is really “unintentionally suicidal,” then his survival instincts appear to be even more finely honed.

History provides at least two more pieces of evidence that demonstrate Saddam is deterrable. First, although he launched conventionally armed Scud missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel during the Gulf War, he did not launch chemical or biological weapons at the coalition forces that were decimating the Iraqi military. Moreover, senior Iraqi officials—including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and the former head of military intelligence, General Wafiq al-Samarrai—have said that Iraq refrained from using chemical weapons because the Bush Sr. administration made ambiguous but unmistakable threats to retaliate if Iraq used WMD. Second, in 1994 Iraq mobilized the remnants of its army on the Kuwaiti border in an apparent attempt to force a modification of the U.N. Special Commission’s (UNSCOM) weapons inspection regime. But when the United Nations issued a new warning and the United States reinforced its troops in Kuwait, Iraq backed down quickly. In both cases, the allegedly irrational Iraqi leader was deterred.

Saddam’s Use of Chemical Weapons
Preventive-war advocates also use a second line of argument. They point out that Saddam has used WMD against his own people (the Kurds) and against Iran and that therefore he is likely to use them against the United States. Thus, U.S. President George W. Bush recently warned in Cincinnati that the Iraqi WMD threat against the United States “is already significant, and it only grows worse with time.” The United States, in other words, is in imminent danger.

Saddam’s record of chemical weapons use is deplorable, but none of his victims had a similar arsenal and thus could not threaten to respond in kind. Iraq’s calculations would be entirely different when facing the United States because Washington could retaliate with WMD if Iraq ever decided to use these weapons first. Saddam thus has no incentive to use chemical or nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies—unless his survival is threatened. This simple logic explains why he did not use WMD against U.S. forces during the Gulf War and has not fired chemical or biological warheads at Israel.

Furthermore, if Saddam cannot be deterred, what is stopping him from using WMD against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, which have bombed Iraq repeatedly over the past decade? The bottom line: Deterrence has worked well against Saddam in the past, and there is no reason to think it cannot work equally well in the future.

President Bush’s repeated claim that the threat from Iraq is growing makes little sense in light of Saddam’s past record, and these statements should be viewed as transparent attempts to scare Americans into supporting a war. CIA Director George Tenet flatly contradicted the president in an October 2002 letter to Congress, explaining that Saddam was unlikely to initiate a WMD attack against any U.S. target unless Washington provoked him. Even if Iraq did acquire a larger WMD arsenal, the United States would still retain a massive nuclear retaliatory capability. And if Saddam would only use WMD if the United States threatened his regime, then one wonders why advocates of war are trying to do just that.

Hawks do have a fallback position on this issue. Yes, the United States can try to deter Saddam by threatening to retaliate with massive force. But this strategy may not work because Iraq’s past use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iran shows that Saddam is a warped human being who might use WMD without regard for the consequences.

Unfortunately for those who now favor war, this argument is difficult to reconcile with the United States’ past support for Iraq, support that coincided with some of the behavior now being invoked to portray him as an irrational madman. The United States backed Iraq during the 1980s—when Saddam was gassing Kurds and Iranians—and helped Iraq use chemical weapons more effectively by providing it with satellite imagery of Iranian troop positions. The Reagan administration also facilitated Iraq’s efforts to develop biological weapons by allowing Baghdad to import disease-producing biological materials such as anthrax, West Nile virus, and botulinal toxin. A central figure in the effort to court Iraq was none other than current U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was then President Ronald Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East. He visited Baghdad and met with Saddam in 1983, with the explicit aim of fostering better relations between the United States and Iraq. In October 1989, about a year after Saddam gassed the Kurds, President George H.W. Bush signed a formal national security directive declaring, “Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East.”

If Saddam’s use of chemical weapons so clearly indicates he is a madman and cannot be contained, why did the United States fail to see that in the 1980s? Why were Rumsfeld and former President Bush then so unconcerned about his chemical and biological weapons? The most likely answer is that U.S. policymakers correctly understood Saddam was unlikely to use those weapons against the United States and its allies unless Washington threatened him directly. The real puzzle is why they think it would be impossible to deter him today.

Saddam With Nukes
The third strike against a policy of containment, according to those who have called for war, is that such a policy is unlikely to stop Saddam from getting nuclear weapons. Once he gets them, so the argument runs, a host of really bad things will happen. For example, President Bush has warned that Saddam intends to “blackmail the world”; likewise, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice believes he would use nuclear weapons to “blackmail the entire international community.” Others fear a nuclear arsenal would enable Iraq to invade its neighbors and then deter the United States from ousting the Iraqi army as it did in 1991. Even worse, Saddam might surreptitiously slip a nuclear weapon to al Qaeda or some like-minded terrorist organization, thereby making it possible for these groups to attack the United States directly.

The administration and its supporters may be right in one sense: Containment may not be enough to prevent Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons someday. Only the conquest and permanent occupation of Iraq could guarantee that. Yet the United States can contain a nuclear Iraq, just as it contained the Soviet Union. None of the nightmare scenarios invoked by preventive-war advocates are likely to happen.

Consider the claim that Saddam would employ nuclear blackmail against his adversaries. To force another state to make concessions, a blackmailer must make clear that he would use nuclear weapons against the target state if he does not get his way. But this strategy is feasible only if the blackmailer has nuclear weapons but neither the target state nor its allies do.

If the blackmailer and the target state both have nuclear weapons, however, the blackmailer’s threat is an empty one because the blackmailer cannot carry out the threat without triggering his own destruction. This logic explains why the Soviet Union, which had a vast nuclear arsenal for much of the Cold War, was never able to blackmail the United States or its allies and did not even try.

But what if Saddam invaded Kuwait again and then said he would use nuclear weapons if the United States attempted another Desert Storm? Again, this threat is not credible. If Saddam initiated nuclear war against the United States over Kuwait, he would bring U.S. nuclear warheads down on his own head. Given the choice between withdrawing or dying, he would almost certainly choose the former. Thus, the United States could wage Desert Storm II against a nuclear-armed Saddam without precipitating nuclear war.

Ironically, some of the officials now advocating war used to recognize that Saddam could not employ nuclear weapons for offensive purposes. In the January/February 2000 issue of Foreign Affairs, for example, National Security Advisor Rice described how the United States should react if Iraq acquired WMD. “The first line of defense,” she wrote, “should be a clear and classical statement of deterrence—if they do acquire WMD, their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.” If she believed Iraq’s weapons would be unusable in 2000, why does she now think Saddam must be toppled before he gets them? For that matter, why does she now think a nuclear arsenal would enable Saddam to blackmail the entire international community, when she did not even mention this possibility in 2000?

What About Nuclear Handoff?
Of course, now the real nightmare scenario is that Saddam would give nuclear weapons secretly to al Qaeda or some other terrorist group. Groups like al Qaeda would almost certainly try to use those weapons against Israel or the United States, and so these countries have a powerful incentive to take all reasonable measures to keep these weapons out of their hands.

However, the likelihood of clandestine transfer by Iraq is extremely small. First of all, there is no credible evidence that Iraq had anything to do with the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or more generally that Iraq is collaborating with al Qaeda against the United States. Hawks inside and outside the Bush administration have gone to extraordinary lengths over the past months to find a link, but they have come up empty-handed.

The lack of evidence of any genuine connection between Saddam and al Qaeda is not surprising because relations between Saddam and al Qaeda have been quite poor in the past. Osama bin Laden is a radical fundamentalist (like Khomeini), and he detests secular leaders like Saddam. Similarly, Saddam has consistently repressed fundamentalist movements within Iraq. Given this history of enmity, the Iraqi dictator is unlikely to give al Qaeda nuclear weapons, which it might use in ways he could not control.

Intense U.S. pressure, of course, might eventually force these unlikely allies together, just as the United States and Communist Russia became allies during World War II. Saddam would still be unlikely to share his most valuable weaponry with al Qaeda, however, because he could not be confident it would not be used in ways that place his own survival in jeopardy. During the Cold War, the United States did not share all its WMD expertise with its own allies, and the Soviet Union balked at giving nuclear weapons to China despite their ideological sympathies and repeated Chinese requests. No evidence suggests Saddam would act differently.

Second, Saddam could hardly be confident that the transfer would go undetected. Since September 11, U.S. intelligence agencies and those of its allies have been riveted on al Qaeda and Iraq, paying special attention to finding links between them. If Iraq possessed nuclear weapons, U.S. monitoring of those two adversaries would be further intensified. To give nuclear materials to al Qaeda, Saddam would have to bet he could elude the eyes and ears of numerous intelligence services determined to catch him if he tries a nuclear handoff. This bet would not be a safe one.

But even if Saddam thought he could covertly smuggle nuclear weapons to bin Laden, he would still be unlikely to do so. Saddam has been trying to acquire these weapons for over 20 years, at great cost and risk. Is it likely he would then turn around and give them away? Furthermore, giving nuclear weapons to al Qaeda would be extremely risky for Saddam—even if he could do so without being detected—because he would lose all control over when and where they would be used. And Saddam could never be sure the United States would not incinerate him anyway if it merely suspected he had made it possible for anyone to strike the United States with nuclear weapons. The U.S. government and a clear majority of Americans are already deeply suspicious of Iraq, and a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies would raise that hostility to fever pitch. Saddam does not have to be certain the United States would retaliate to be wary of giving his nuclear weapons to al Qaeda; he merely has to suspect it might.

In sum, Saddam cannot afford to guess wrong on whether he would be detected providing al Qaeda with nuclear weapons, nor can he afford to guess wrong that Iraq would be spared if al Qaeda launched a nuclear strike against the United States or its allies. And the threat of U.S. retaliation is not as far-fetched as one might think. The United States has enhanced its flexible nuclear options in recent years, and no one knows just how vengeful Americans might feel if WMD were ever used against the U.S. homeland. Indeed, nuclear terrorism is as dangerous for Saddam as it is for Americans, and he has no more incentive to give al Qaeda nuclear weapons than the United States does—unless, of course, the country makes clear it is trying to overthrow him. Instead of attacking Iraq and giving Saddam nothing to lose, the Bush administration should be signaling it would hold him responsible if some terrorist group used WMD against the United States, even if it cannot prove he is to blame.

Vigilant Containment
It is not surprising that those who favor war with Iraq portray Saddam as an inveterate and only partly rational aggressor. They are in the business of selling a preventive war, so they must try to make remaining at peace seem unacceptably dangerous. And the best way to do that is to inflate the threat, either by exaggerating Iraq’s capabilities or by suggesting horrible things will happen if the United States does not act soon. It is equally unsurprising that advocates of war are willing to distort the historical record to make their case. As former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson famously remarked, in politics, advocacy “must be clearer than truth.”

In this case, however, the truth points the other way. Both logic and historical evidence suggest a policy of vigilant containment would work, both now and in the event Iraq acquires a nuclear arsenal. Why? Because the United States and its regional allies are far stronger than Iraq. And because it does not take a genius to figure out what would happen if Iraq tried to use WMD to blackmail its neighbors, expand its territory, or attack another state directly. It only takes a leader who wants to stay alive and who wants to remain in power. Throughout his lengthy and brutal career, Saddam Hussein has repeatedly shown that these two goals are absolutely paramount. That is why deterrence and containment would work.

If the United States is, or soon will be, at war with Iraq, Americans should understand that a compelling strategic rationale is absent. This war would be one the Bush administration chose to fight but did not have to fight. Even if such a war goes well and has positive long-range consequences, it will still have been unnecessary. And if it goes badly—whether in the form of high U.S. casualties, significant civilian deaths, a heightened risk of terrorism, or increased hatred of the United States in the Arab and Islamic world—then its architects will have even more to answer for.

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political science at the University of Chicago, where he codirects the Program in International Security Policy. He is the author of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001). Stephen M. Walt is the academic dean and the Robert and Renee Belfer professor of international affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is faculty chair of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is writing a book on global responses to American primacy.