Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What is in Iraq to win?

I wish I had a penny for every time someone said Iran is winning in Iraq, Afghanistan... Liberal or Conservative (particularly neocons) have a common ground in creating fear and hysteria over Iran. It comes either for its non-existing nuclear weapons program, or the hypothetical wins. Take for example this artile: Chaos in Iraq Sends Shock Waves Across Middle East and Elevates Iran's Influence

Any one that knows anything about middle east would have to say Iraq is a lose-lose situation. There is nothing there for anyone to win, well other than the Halliburton, KBR, etc. It is a mess At best you have to limit your loses. For instance, Spain, it was quick to recognize the trouble in Iraq, it pulled out and was able to cut its losses. They won, or Spain lost less that then say England.

What is there to win for Iran (or that matter any country in the region) if there is a civil war on its eastern border. Would US win any influence if there was a civil war in Mexico? The arguments that Iran is somehow winning in Iraq, I believe are all nonsense. It is designed to distract attention from George Bush's disastrous policies. This is not unprecedented either, if you remember in Vietnam war, Laos and Cambodia were the scapegoats.

Here is the funny part.... let say we accept these arguments that Iranian influence is growing in Iraq. So there is US, a democratic government run by secular forces, invades a country, spends billions of dollar and spills blood of thousands of its soldiers. Then there is Iran, a non-secular, some say non-democratic government, without firing a shot, without spending any money, come out winner in the political games. Well if you believe this I have a bridge to sell you, or may be a conclusion:

If you truly believe this then you have to also believe that democracy, secularism, election... simply don't work. If they did you would expect the policies of a democratic government (such as US or UK) to be more in line with its interest than that of a non-democratic, religious government (like Iran)? Another world, if Iran is really winning in Iraq, then it would seem to me you have to also conclude that Iranian government can product better policy, and hence a superior form of government.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It didn't work!

Here is my response to William F Buckley Jr's article: It Didn’t Work

Dear William F Buckley Jr,

In you article "It Didn't Work" you failed to explain what the "it" was. As I see it at least there are two "It"s that didn't work .

First "it" can refer to the idea of bringing gift of democracy, tolerance, social institutions... all by "shock and awe". Only fools believed that this "it" would have been possible.

The 2nd "it" that didn't work here was the democratic processes in UK and America. A few were able to manipulate the democratic processes primarily in USA/UK to drive their foolish agenda. None of the checks and balances built in to the US and UK political process were able to prevent it from going forward. The media, intelligence service, UN, the congress... all were manipulated and the "cooler heads" were powerless to do anything about it. Just as Iraqis couldn't stop Saddam from his foolish policy of invading Kuwait, the political process in US/UK were unable to stop the Bush administration to pursue its disastrous policy.

And so now the clothing merchant has seen both failures and is not buying the company line. Why would he?

Support Our Cooler Heads.

The article: Commanders: Iraqi army can quell serious spike in violence Had an interesting quotes from Gen Kimmit:

“This is more than a bump in the road, it’s a pothole,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of plans and strategy for Central Command, in a Thursday interview at a hotel near the Pentagon. Kimmitt said the ability of Iraqi security forces to address the violence occurring now is a major test of Iraqi forces’ competence, but that he remains confident they can do what is needed.
“We believe cooler heads are going to prevail,” said Kimmitt. “There are enough shock absorbers in the system that this is not going to lead to increasing sectarian violence,” he said, continuing the road metaphor.

Hmmm... “cooler heads are going to prevail”. May be one can hope. The problem is the batting average of the cooler heads sucks. Even in US cooler heads haven't been able to prevail how can one expect they would in Iraq. Heck, if the “cooler heads” were successful, the general would not have been in Iraq in the first place.

There is something interesting in the arguments by military folks, religious fanatics, or the right wingers (aka neocons). They believe their offensive would end the hostilities. For instance, they would advocate “Shock and Awe” to bring peace and democracy to a middle east. Same thing with likes of Bin Ladin, they believe if they bring down the World Trade Center towers Americans in their shock and grief would end hostilities in the middle east.

Fundamental in their thinking is that the other side has ample supply of “cooler heads” that somehow are not in the driver seat but with a high dosage of “Shock and Awe” or destruction they would be able to wrestle control from the crazies. In a way they believe in an elixir formula. In their magical world if you bring enough insanity, and at high dosages, to a conflict you can get long lasting sanity out of it.

Rather strange argument. There is a positive though, the fact that even advocates of insanity believe the solution would be in the “cooler heads” (albeit on the other side) is the good news. All we need now is to listen to our own “cooler heads”, rather than banking on other side's “cooler heads”.

I look forward to see bumper stickers that say: Support Our Cooler Heads.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

When the salt goes rotten

There is a saying in Persian... my literal translation would be: You add salt to keep perishable from rotting, god forbid if salt goes rotten.

I run across this artile: Hamas leader lists terms for recognizing Israel. So Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Leader, says:

"Let Israel say it will recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs,"

Sounds reasonable to me. Then David Makovsky chimes in. His position? He is “director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy”. Impressive title! Makes you wonder if he brother to mother Teresa, or a disciple of Dali Lama! Here is what he says:

"This interview is filled with contradictions, including putting old wine in new bottles.”

Putting old wine in new bottle! Hamas Leader is asking Israel to recognize the Palestinian state. If that is an old wine, then what is the “Project of Middle East Process”? Do “The Project” believe in a two state solution?

But then it gets funnier:

"He is hinting that they might be reasonable if Israel does everything and they do nothing, while in Arabic they say they will not recognize even an inch of Tel Aviv,"

The language is funny... "hint" and "might be" vs "say" and "will not". But the content is ever more comical.

So “Israel does everything “ means Israel accept a two state solution and “they do nothing” means Hamas accepts two state solution.

Makes you wonder how the director of “The Project for Middle East War” would have responded.

But to add some spice to his views, he says “while in “Arabic they say they will not recognize even an inch of Tel Aviv,”.

Now this is putting old wine in new bottle. More like putting vinegar in wine bottle. This is what Israel always said about any Arab politician they didn't like. If it is so why don't they bring the Arabic text of the interview and let others translate it. That would be easy to do wont it? In this particular case the Hamas statements were in an interview with The Washington Post, does he have problem with Arabic translation of Washington post?

US Holds Its Breath in Aftermath of Mosque Bombing

Interesting analysis: US Holds Its Breath in Aftermath of Mosque Bombing

Shock and Awe.

In the article: Iraq government warns of risk of "endless civil war"

The Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shi'ite-led interim government, warns of the risk of "endless civil war". His solution:

"We are ready to fill the streets with armored vehicles."

Shock and Awe, the "armored" division.

From Crystal ball!

This is interesting article; Clerics' authority growing in war-torn Iraq

It seems to confirms what I was saying in"My crystal ball on Iraq."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reading between the lines

It just doesn't make any sense... In the article: Iraq Orders Tough Curfew to Stem Violence

It says:

"We're not seeing civil war igniting in
Iraq," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for the U.S. command, told reporters.

It also says:

Meanwhile, seven U.S. soldiers died in a pair of roadside bombings north of the capital, and American military units in the Baghdad area were told to halt all but essential travel to avoid getting caught up in demonstrations or roadblocks.

If it is not a civil war, then why aren't the millitary units in the middle of it to restore peace? What are they there for any ways? What ever happened to all those Iraqi units that were trained? If the conflict is so bad that the millitary can't do any thing about it, then why not call it what it is, a civil war.

Trying to be fair to Iraqis

Couple on interesting quote in Mosque Bombing an 'Evil Act,' Bush Says

``We understand its importance to Iraqi society and we want to stand side by side with the government in making sure that beautiful dome is restored,''
President Geroge Bush

And this one...

``I don't think we do the Iraqi people any good or really that we are fair to them in continually raising the specter that they might fall into civil war when it seems that the only people who want a civil war in Iraq are the terrorists,''

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

But we sure did Iraqis a favor by invading and occupying their country eventhough the only people that wanted the war were the Neocons in Washington.

7-Up, never had it never will

In today's daily State department briefing, Adam Ereli, the Debuty Spokesman had this exchange:

QUESTION: Adam, to follow up on that, there's also obviously been several reports of reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques out of anger over this incident. What is your reaction to that?

MR. ERELI: Obviously we condemn them. And I checked before coming out here, there are reports of -- isolated reports of attacks against Sunni targets. Again, I think if you look at the statements by the political leaders of Iraq, they've all said the same thing, which is calling for nonviolence, calling for a period of mourning obviously, but calling for unity and calm in responding to these attacks. And that's something we will be actively promoting over the course of the next couple of days, as we have been, frankly, throughout the political process that has involved Iraq's development. I think we, on our part, are actively working with our partners in the region to speak out publicly to not only condemn the act but also to call on Iraqis to unite in opposition to what the insurgents and terrorists are trying to do.

So yes, we are, obviously, alert to the possibility of violence, but also I think very determined and energetic in acting to contain that threat.

QUESTION: If I can just follow up on that. This is not the first attack on a Shia target. Obviously, it's the most dramatic. You also have reports of death squads on the other side -- death squads. My question is this, are we right now in the midst of a civil war, an incipient civil war?

MR. ERELI: I think that's overstating the situation. Again, there are forces seeking to prevent democracy and obstruct the peaceful political and economic development of Iraq. That shouldn't be news to anybody. They seek to carry out the -- they seek to achieve their goals in a number of ways, but as I said before, promoting sectarian violence is -- and promoting sectarian violence is one of them. There's nothing new here and I think it serves as a reminder to all of us that there are some savaged and unprincipled elements out there that are going to stop at nothing, including attacking one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, to promote the kind of unrest that the great majority of Iraqis have clearly demonstrated they don't want to see. I don't call that civil war. I call that attempts to undermine understanding an emergent compact among Iraqi society for a peaceful political future. And we don't think -- well, we are committed to preventing them from succeeding.


After reading some of the news items, and blogs on what is happening now in Iraq, I was speech less when I heard the State dept spokesman say: "There is nothing new here"!

If you want to argue that there is nothing new here, then you also have to admit that you have had three years since the fall of the Baghdad to try to resolve this. It is getting worst. So it is admission of failure of George W's policy. Shock and Awe doesn't work, Mission is not accomplished, capturing Saddam is not going to end opposition to occupation, destroying Fallujah didn't solve the insurgency....

But then I think I see his point. There is really nothing new here, Bush administration has no clue on how bad things are in Iraq, just as it never had. There is nothing new in that!

Like 7-Up, never had it never will.

My crystal ball on Iraq.

I think what we see in Iraq is a replay of Iranian post revolution politics.

In my opinion, Khomeni in 1978, just as Sistani in 2005 wanted an Islamic country run by politicians with clergies in the background. May be Khomeni to lesser degree than Sistani, but if you go back to history of Iran right after the revolution (1979) you see similar patterns. In the original Iranian constitution the President of Iran was head of the armed forces and most of the government officials were non clergies. But facing incompetence of the president (Bani Sadr) in facing Saddam's invasion, and the Kurdish rebellion Khomeni had two choices, either to sit on the side line and essentially see the country go up in flames, or take center stage. He choose the later, the president was ousted, the constitution was modified and made himself (with title of “the leader”) to be head of armed forces and the final say on all matters.

I see Sistani being on the same crossroad as Khomeni in 1979. He can sit on the side line and essentially make himself irrelevant or at some point he (or someone like himself) has to become “The Leader”. It is a difficult choice, and has its own set of problems. With clergies in power, it means they are responsible for daily affairs of the population, Sistani wants to avoid that but he may not have a choice. There may not be any other choices if there is to be any future for Iraq. Specially since 3 months after the election, there is no government in place, and US ambassador seems to be eager to micro manage the process for its own goals.

President Bush said: "..And if you believe that, then you have faith in people demanding freedom, if given a chance". To which I have to say... What I see in US policies on Iraq is that there doesn't seems to be any "faith" in Iraqis, and they are not "given the chance" to govern themselves.

We are three years into the occupation, something like 2 trillion dollars have been spend in Iraq (most likely Iraq now owes more to the rest of the world than the end of Saddam regime) and lives of Iraqis is getting worst every day. Three years into Iranian revolution, Iran was fighting Saddam and was able to push back Saddam's army and turn the tied of the war. With the current political leadership in Iraq, and the American/British occupation there is no hope for it dealing with the insurgency and bringing any sense of normalcy to lives to lives of Iraqis.

The Iranian model may not be perfect, but facing a deteriorating situation in Iraq, I would expect the religious leadership to step in and play more assertive role. Thanks to Geroge W's policies, secular voices within the middle east may well be at their weakest point in history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"life" in Samarra

After reading about the bombing in the Al-Askariya shrine: 'Not just a major cathedral' I decided to Google on the life in Samarra before this incident.

I got to this and it all made sense: Sides blur for U.S. troops trying to secure Samarra .

SAMARRA, IRAQ - The gunfight by the Tigris River was over. It was time to retrieve the bodies.

Staff Sgt. Cortez Powell looked at the shredded jaw of a dead man whom he'd shot in the face when insurgents ambushed an American patrol in a blind of reeds.

Five other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division scrambled down, pulled two of the insurgents' bodies from the reeds and dragged them through the mud.

"Strap those ... to the hood like a deer," said Staff Sgt. James Robinson, 25, of Hughes, Ark.

The soldiers heaved the two bodies onto the hood of a Humvee and tied them down with a cord. The dead insurgents' legs and arms flapped in the air as the Humvee rumbled along.

Iraqi families stood in front of the surrounding houses. They watched the corpses ride by and glared at the American soldiers


Then you read that US ambassador in Iraq is calling for "Unity" goverment!

If there is one thing to be said about this, you don't want to be the first American that runs into the one of the family members that "watched the corpses ride by and glared at the American soldiers".

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"people demanding freedom, if given a chance"

I heard the US ambassador to Iraq call for “unity government”, President Bush also said:

And if you believe that, then you have faith in people demanding freedom, if given a chance. And the Iraqis proved that theory right. Eleven million people went to the polls in the face of unbelievable terror, terrorist threats, and said, I want to be free; let me vote; let me decide my future. And so on the political front, they're making progress because of the courage of the Iraqis.

And now the task at hand is to work with those who won votes in the new parliament to set up a unity government; one that is -- can help deal with the grievances of the past; one that unites under the fabric of democracy. And that's what we're doing. I talked to the Ambassador, Zal Khalilzad, there yesterday. He's spent a lot of time working with making our position known that we want the government to be a unified government


But what is unity government? IT means that the losers of the election, that is the people that got backed by the US and England, should take over the defense and interior miniseries. Why? Well because the Iraqis trust them so much.

It is a real funny argument. I have seen the ads of some of the people that were backed by US like Iyad Alawi, the former hand picked prime minister. It was obvious that he had spend a lot of money on his campaign. After all of that he lost the election by a large margin, may even have come up dead last.

The other funny aspect of this argument is what happened after the 2000 and 2004 elections in US. In both cases Bush victory was as close as any election in US history, Yet George W claimed that the election result gave him “moral mandate”, a political capital that he intended to spend to drive his policies. In run up the supreme court nominations, Democrats had pleaded with Bush to nominate middle of the road judges to help alleviate the sharp divisions in the country. But as far as George W was concern the few thousands of votes that he won the election with was enough to give him a moral mandate. But now Iraqis need “unity” government and we define who should be in the “unity goverment”, what ever happened to “you have faith in people demanding freedom, if given a chance.”

The equivalent of the unity government is to have Ralph Nader or say John Kerry's democrats to run the pentagon, or state department. Somehow when he wins the election “our position known that we want the government to be a unified government” goes to the waist side!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

morality, practicality, and standards

Roundtable With Arab Print Journalists

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
February 17, 2006

Let me take this opportunity to say something about what we've just been through, because I'm reading a lot in the papers these days about how -- "Well, you know, you made this mistake, you thought democracy could take hold in the Middle East, you supported elections and what have you done? You've supported elections that brought to power Islamists or extremists or in the case of Hamas, a group that you consider a terrorist group. Aren't you sorry that you supported these democratic processes?"

Absolutely not. It was the only thing to do. It was -- first of all, from the point of view of the United States, the only moral thing to do. The idea that somehow, it is better for people to lack the means and the chance to express themselves, that it's better to support that and to, therefore, support dictatorship or oppression or authoritarianism where people don't have a voice -- it's, I think, morally reprehensible. People have to have a way to express themselves or, if they don't have a legitimate way to express themselves, they express themselves through extremism.


So, we have every desire to have Hamas make the right choice. It's just a practical matter that the United States cannot provide assistance to a terrorist organization or to a government that's not committed to peace. It's just a practical matter. And by the way, our assistance, with the exception of humanitarian assistance -- all over the world, we have criteria for who we will assist and who we will not. When a country is pursuing policies that are antithetical to American -- you know, to peace and security, American interests, it wouldn't make sense for us to assist those countries either. But in this case, we have a very specific problem, which is that Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and that's got to change in order for -- and they have to renounce violence in order for us to be able to deliver assistance.


And so, the international community has to stand firm for the principle that however you came to power by election, you have responsibilities and one of the responsibilities of democracy is that you cannot have one foot in terrorism and one foot in politics. And it has to be the international community that has to insist on that standard. Now, for anybody who gets into power through election we , that is the standard we have to insist upon. [The standard being if you are not "with us" then you are "against us"]


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Deja VU

There is an amazing 3 piece documentary made by BBC, The Power of Nightmare.
. Here is an excerpt from the first piece:


PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Law and order have broken down in Detroit, Michigan. Pillage, looting, murder…

VO: Only a few years before, President Johnson had promised policies that would create a new and a better world in America. He had called it “the Great Society.”

[ TITLE: President LYNDON JOHNSON, 1964 ]

JOHNSON: The Great Society is in place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind. It is a place where the City of Man…

VO: But now, in the wake of some of the worst riots ever seen in America, that dream seemed to have ended in violence and hatred. One prominent liberal journalist called Irving Kristol began to question whether it might actually be the policies themselves that were causing social breakdown.

IRVING KRISTOL: If you had asked any liberal in 1960, we are going to pass these laws, these laws, these laws, and these laws, mentioning all the laws that in fact were passed in the 1960s and ‘70s, would you say crime will go up, drug addiction will go up, illegitimacy will go up, or will they get down? Obviously, everyone would have said, they will get down. And everyone would have been wrong. Now, that’s not something that the liberals have been able to face up to. They’ve had their reforms, and they have led to consequences that they did not expect and they don’t know what to do about.

VO: In the early ‘70s, Irving Kristol became the focus of a group of disaffected intellectuals in Washington. They were determined to understand why the optimistic liberal policies had failed. And they found the answer in the theories of Leo Strauss. Strauss explained that it was the very basis of the liberal idea—the belief in individual freedom—that was causing the chaos, because it undermined the shared moral framework that held society together. Individuals pursued their own selfish interests, and this inevitably led to conflict. As the movement grew, many young students who had studied Strauss’ ideas came to Washington to join this group. Some, like Paul Wolfowitz, had been taught Strauss’ ideas at the University of Chicago, as had Francis Fukuyama. And others, like Irving Kristol’s son William, had studied Strauss’ theories at Harvard. This group became known as the neoconservatives.

WILLIAM KRISTOL: Well, many of them couldn’t get academic jobs, and the political science and philosophy faculties were not terribly friendly to those of a conservative or moderately conservative disposition. And the truth is that a lot of people who ended up in Washington started out as academics. I did; Paul Wolfowitz did; and decided they probably didn’t have very good prospects in the academy. What we all had in common, I think, was a certain doubt about what once seemed a kind of great certainty and confidence in liberal progress. The philosophic grounds for liberal democracy had been weakened. So I think Straussians who came to Washington, they didn’t think of themselves as Churchill or Lincoln, let me assure you, but they did that, you know, there’s something noble about public life, and about politics, and they tried to make a contribution in many different areas.

VO: The neoconservatives were idealists. Their aim was to try and stop the social disintegration they believed liberal freedoms had unleashed. They wanted to find a way of uniting the people, by giving them a shared purpose. One of their great influences in doing this would be the theories of Leo Strauss. They would set out to recreate the myth of America as a unique nation whose destiny was to battle against evil in the world. And in this project, the source of evil would be America’s Cold War enemy: the Soviet Union. And by doing this, they believed that they would not only give new meaning and purpose to people’s lives, but they would spread the good of democracy around the world.

Professor STEPHEN HOLMES, Political Philosopher: The United States would not only, according to these—the Straussians, be able to bring good to the world, but would be able to overcome the fundamental weaknesses of American society, a society that has been suffering, almost rotting, in their language, from relativism, liberalism, lack of self-confidence, lack of belief in itself. And one of the main political projects of the Straussians during the Cold War was to reinforce the self-confidence of Americans, and the belief that America was fundamentally the only force for good in the world, that had to be supported, otherwise evil would prevail.

VO: But to do this, the neoconservatives were going to have to defeat one of the most powerful men in the world. Henry Kissinger was the Secretary of State under President Nixon, and he didn’t believe in a world of good and evil. What drove Kissinger was a ruthless, pragmatic vision of power in the world. With America’s growing political and social chaos, Kissinger wanted the country to give up its ideological battles. Instead, it should come to terms with countries like the Soviet Union, to create a new kind of global interdependence. A world in which America would be safe.

HENRY KISSINGER, Interviewed 1975: I believe that with all the dislocations we know—now experience, there also exists an extraordinary opportunity to form, for the first time in history, a truly global society, carried by the principle of interdependence. And if we act wisely and with vision, I think we can look back to all this turmoil as the birth pangs of a more creative and better system.

VO: Kissinger had begun this process in 1972, when he persuaded the Soviet Union to sign a treaty with America limiting nuclear arms. It was the start of what was called “détente.” And President Nixon returned to Washington to announce triumphantly that the age of fear was over.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON, June 1, 1972: Last Friday, in Moscow, we witnessed the beginning of the end of that era which began in 1945. With this step, we have enhanced the security of both nations. We have begun to reduce the level of fear, by reducing the causes of fear—for our two peoples, and for all peoples in the world.

VO: But a world without fear was not what the neoconservatives needed to pursue their project. They now set out to destroy Henry Kissinger’s vision. What gave them their opportunity was the growing collapse of American political power, both abroad and at home. The defeat in Vietnam, and the resignation of President Nixon over Watergate, led to a crisis of confidence in America’s political class. And the neoconservatives seized their moment. They allied themselves with two right-wingers in the new administration of Gerald Ford. One was Donald Rumsfeld, the new Secretary of Defense. The other was Dick Cheney, the President’s Chief of Staff. Rumsfeld began to make speeches alleging that the Soviets were ignoring Kissinger’s treaties and secretly building up their weapons, with the intention of attacking America.

DONALD RUMSFELD, US Secretary of Defense, Speaking in 1976: The Soviet Union has been busy. They’ve been busy in terms of their level of effort; they’ve been busy in terms of the actual weapons they’ve been producing; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they’ve been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They’re purposeful about what they’re doing. Now, your question is, what ought one to be doing about that?

VO: The CIA, and other agencies who watched the Soviet Union continuously for any sign of threat, said that this was a complete fiction. There was no truth to Rumsfeld’s allegations. But Rumsfeld used his position to persuade President Ford to set up an independent inquiry. He said it would prove that there was a hidden threat to America. And the inquiry would be run by a group of neoconservatives, one of whom was Paul Wolfowitz. The aim was to change the way America saw the Soviet Union.

MELVIN GOODMAN, Head of Office of Soviet Affairs CIA, 1976-87: And Rumsfeld won that very intense, intense political battle that was waged in Washington in 1975 and 1976. Now, as part of that battle, Rumsfeld and others, people such as Paul Wolfowitz, wanted to get into the CIA. And their mission was to create a much more severe view of the Soviet Union, Soviet intentions, Soviet views about fighting and winning a nuclear war.

VO: The neoconservatives chose, as the inquiry chairman, a well-known critic and historian of the Soviet Union called Richard Pipes. Pipes was convinced that whatever the Soviets said publicly, secretly they still intended to attack and conquer America. This was their hidden mindset. The inquiry was called Team B, and the other leading member was Paul Wolfowitz.

Professor RICHARD PIPES: And the idea was then to appoint a group of outside experts who have access to the same evidence as the CIA used to arrive at these conclusions, and to see if they could come up with different conclusions. And I was asked to chair it, because I was not an expert on nuclear weapons. I was, if anything, an expert on the Soviet mindset, but not on the weapons. But that was the real key, was the question of the Soviet mindset, because the CIA looked only at—they were known as “bean counters,” always looking at weapons. But weapons can be used in various ways. They can be used for defensive purposes or offensive purposes. Well, all right, I collected this group of experts, and we began to sift through the evidence.

VO: Team B began examining all the CIA data on the Soviet Union. But however closely they looked, there was little evidence of the dangerous weapons or defense systems they claimed the Soviets were developing. Rather than accept that this meant that the systems didn’t exist, Team B made an assumption that the Soviets had developed systems that were so sophisticated, they were undetectible. For example, they could find no evidence that the Soviet submarine fleet had an acoustic defense system. What this meant, Team B said, was that the Soviets had actually invented a new non-acoustic system, which was impossible to detect. And this meant that the whole of the American submarine fleet was at risk from an invisible threat that was there, even though there was no evidence for it.

Dr ANNE CAHN, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977-80: They couldn’t say that the Soviets had acoustic means of picking up American submarines, because they couldn’t find it. So they said, well maybe they have a non-acoustic means of making our submarine fleet vulnerable. But there was no evidence that they had a non-acoustic system. They’re saying, “we can’t find evidence that they’re doing it the way that everyone thinks they’re doing it, so they must be doing it a different way. We don’t know what that different way is, but they must be doing it.”

INTERVIEWER (off-camera): Even though there was no evidence.

CAHN: Even though there was no evidence.

INTERVIEWER: So they’re saying there, that the fact that the weapon doesn’t exist…

CAHN: Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It just means that we haven’t found it.

PIPES: Now, that’s important, yes. If something is not there, that’s significant.

INTERVIEWER: By its absence.

PIPES: By its absence. If you believe that they share your view of strategic weapons, and they don’t talk about it, then there’s something missing. Something is wrong. And the CIA wasn’t aware of that.

VO: What Team B accused the CIA of missing was a hidden and sinister reality in the Soviet Union. Not only were there many secret weapons the CIA hadn’t found, but they were wrong about many of those they could observe, such as the Soviet air defenses. The CIA were convinced that these were in a state of collapse, reflecting the growing economic chaos in the Soviet Union. Team B said that this was actually a cunning deception by the Soviet régime. The air-defense system worked perfectly. But the only evidence they produced to prove this was the official Soviet training manual, which proudly asserted that their air-defense system was fully integrated and functioned flawlessly. The CIA accused Team B of moving into a fantasy world.

PIPES: The CIA was very loath to deal with issues which could not be demonstrated in a kind of mathematical form. I said they could consider the soft evidence. They deal with realities, whereas this was a fantasy. That’s how it was perceived. And there were battles all the time on this subject.

INTERVIEWER: Did you think it was a fantasy?

PIPES: No! I thought it was absolute reality.

CAHN: I would say that all of it was fantasy. I mean, they looked at radars out in Krasnoyarsk and said, “This is a laser beam weapon,” when in fact it was nothing of the sort. They even took a Russian military manual, which the correct translation of it is “The Art of Winning.” And when they translated it and put it into Team B, they called it “The Art of Conquest.” Well, there’s a difference between “conquest” and “winning.” And if you go through most of Team B’s specific allegations about weapons systems, and you just examine them one by one, they were all wrong.

INTERVIEWER: All of them?

CAHN: All of them.

INTERVIEWER: Nothing true?

CAHN: I don’t believe anything in Team B was really true.

VO: The neoconservatives set up a lobby group to publicize the findings of Team B. It was called the Committee on the Present Danger, and a growing number of politicians joined, including a Presidential hopeful, Ronald Reagan.

[ TITLE: The Price of Peace and Freedom / Committee on the Present Danger, propaganda film 1978 ]

VO: Through films and television, the Committee portrayed a world in which America was under threat from hidden forces that could strike at any time, forces that America must conquer to survive.

ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN, through interpreter: A concentration of world evil, of hatred for humanity, is taking place. And it is fully determined to destroy your society. Must you wait until the young men of America have to fall defending the borders of their continent?!

VO: This dramatic battle between good and evil was precisely the kind of myth that Leo Strauss had taught his students would be necessary to rescue the country from moral decay. It might not be true, but it was necessary, to re-engage the public in a grand vision of America’s destiny, that would give meaning and purpose to their lives. The neoconservatives were succeeding in creating a simplistic fiction—a vision of the Soviet Union as the center of all evil in the world, and America as the only country that could rescue the world. And this nightmarish vision was beginning to give the neoconservatives great power and influence.

HOLMES: The Straussians started to create a worldview which is a fiction. The world is not divided into good and evil. The battle in which we are engaged is not a battle between good and evil. The United States, as anyone who observes understands, has done some good and some bad things. It’s like any great power. This is the way history is. But they wanted to create a world of moral certainties, so therefore they invent mythologies—fairytales—describing any force in the world that obstructs the United States as somehow Satanic, or associated with evil.



Monday, February 13, 2006

The article Danish PM Says Nation Unfairly Portrayed
has some interesting passages. It says:

Denmark's prime minister complained Monday that his nation had been unfairly portrayed as intolerant in the international furor over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons, and his foreign minister said a government apology would be pointless.

After meeting with a newly formed network of moderate Muslims, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for peaceful dialogue to defuse Denmark's biggest international crisis since World War II.

"This meeting just testifies that the Danish government wants a positive dialogue with all groups in the Danish society," he said. "The way forward is peaceful."

Is this "Danish Dialog"?. We know that right after the cartoons came out, the Prime Minister refused to meet the ambassadors of the Muslim countries which could have prevented all the trouble last week. With that in mind, it sounds rather funny to meet "newly formed network" to promote dialog. There is preaching to the choir, echo chamber, but this may go down in history as "Danish Dialog". Find people that think like yourself, organize them into a group, then say we are engaging in positive dialogue.

There is something interesting about radical's common values. Take this from the same article:

In Egypt, thousands of students demonstrated Monday at universities in Cairo and the southern city of Assiut, denouncing the caricatures and warning that those who published the drawings "have opened the gates of hell on themselves."

Anti-riot police stood at the gates of the two universities but did not intervene.

"Revolution everywhere! We are not going to be silent or asleep!" chanted about 1,500 male students demonstrating in Cairo. "Boycott is our duty because they insulted and humiliated our prophet!"

How similar is this to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich statements:

"This is 1935 and [Iranian president] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we’ve seen. We now know who they are -- the question is who we are. Are we Baldwin or Churchill? " Gingrich said, noting that Churchill recognized the danger from Nazi Germany and urged that Britain prepare to meet it.
Asked what Churchill would do about Ahmadinejad, Gingrich said he had just read the opening passages of Churchill’s book, "The Gathering Storm,” the first volume of his World War II memoir. In the book Churchill recalled that President Franklin D. Roosevelt once asked him "What should they call the war?.” Churchill’s reply: "We should call it "The Unnecessary War,” noting that "had we done simple, practical things in 1935, 1936, we would have saved 100 million lives.”


Iran and Syria ..

I wonder how long it would be before Condi Rice, Rumsfled, Tony Blair, and Jack Straw (UK forign secretery) would blame this on Iran and Syria. British caught on video

Why doesn't the human right organizations require that there be cameras installed in all jails?

Propaganda Tai Chi

Unlike the tao, the chien relies on internal power (soft, nonviolent movement). It is the smoothness in motion which is the sword's forte. This is another reason why only those who have studied tai chi chuan for many years should study sword, for its techniques are similar to "push hands." Push hands, sometimes called "Joined hands," is the foundation of tai chi free fighting. It is a sensitivity teaching technique in which one learns to "feel" the opponent's power and fine changes of movement. One learns to "stick" to the opponent and, later, to use the opponent’s energy against him, rather than expend one's own energy in defense. Source

If you remember in the run up to the Iraq war the “liberal media” were as much part of the propaganda effort, at times even more so, as the right wing TV and radio. Judit Miller's stories were front page items on New York times.

My impression is that the stories that are planted in the “liberal media” tends to be more sophisticated. To feed the fear you have the usual suspects of anonymous sources, unnamed officials, and/or intelligent sources but the plot is usually more hidden. It is not unlike the difference between a Rambo (Fox news) to Hitchcok classic (NPR, New York times..). There is a common theme, real factual data (such as report from UN inspectors) are either completely missing, or discounted in favor of the un-verified information by unnamed “intelligent sources”.

To see the war marketing logic, you first have to see the reality as is today. Then look for potential growth areas. As far as war machinery is concern, the war in Iraq has started and every one is convienced that it must go on until "mission is [again] accopmplished"; It is money in the bank! The war machinery is willing to concede error in the run up on that war if it can get a new war started. It has nothing to lose, so what that so-and-so lied. The misson must go one, and growth is the name of the game, it can give reputation of a politician as long as it helps the bottom line.

It seems to me that the new war is positioned as tool to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program. But there is no real data to back the claims of a real nuclear weapons program. So you have the orthodox Iranian Predsident remarks, which by itself is not enough. It would be kind of strange to say you need to go to war with a country because its president doesn't have the same unerstanding of European history as you would like. Never know, may be this is "War to Teach History". But you don't want to get too fancy here, you need to go back to the basics, and that is to get the project off the gound nothing works like "mushroom cloud" fear, with a few they are Hitler, we are Churchil analogies. There is just one minor problem!

Fact is that IAEA inspectors have been looking at the Iranian nuclear program and haven't concluded that Iran is working on weapons program. So what is the propaganda to do? How about this: “Outed CIA officer [Valerie Plame Wilson] was working on Iran, intelligence sources say”. This is very clever move. My first impression is that there has been a serious improvement in the Bush administration's propaganda war. The nature of propaganda against Iran, at least some of them, tend to be more sophisticated that the ones against Iraq, and this is cream of the crop! The first two paragraph of the article says:

The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

This is Tai Chi of propaganda, use the opponent's force (agenda) against itself. The "Liberals" want to get Bush, so why not plant a story, theb use their energy to promote the next war. It is a masterfull use of the “liberal media” to propagate the myth. And already others have jumped on the bandwagon: Valerie Plame Leak Sabotaged America's Iran-Watching Intelligence Effort

When you read the original article, at minimum the conclusions are:

there is a significant damage to ability of the CIA to monitor the Iranian activities. Conclusion: We can't trust the CIA assessments, in a way you have (or “it is prudent”) to assume the worst. This is very much like claims that we don't have enough Arabic translators, my guess is that source of weaknesses in the translation department are the neocon circles. If there are not enough translators, then wouldn't you it coause doubts to any analysis that doesn't enforce fear. There is no way you can say Iraq doesn't have WMD, since the other side soon says that you don't have enough translators, it is there you just haven't found the document. Reality is that all the real intelligence and predictions on Iraq were accurate, but the neocons are not interested in reality. They are only after creating an enviornment where their war agenda is promoted.

Reading the article, one would also conclude that Iran must be working on some weapons program. Eevnthough it never says so, it makes arguments taking this assumtion for granted.

Both of which is exactly what the war machinery would like to establish. It enforces the "mushroom cloud" fear, without ever saying it. That is TahiChi!

IAEA has been investigatinvg Iran for last 3 years, they would have known about any nuclear programs Iran may have had. The best they can come up with is that there are some drawings that could be used to build a nuclear weapons. But this was the whole point of NPT (non-prolifiration threaty), it was obvious that you could not keep the information secret, so countries signed treaties so that it would not develop nuclear weapons.

May be Ms Palmer was working on the Iran nuclear issues, I don't know. But one thing I can see is that this story and the timing of it is too fishy. If it writes like Judit Miller, talks like Judit Miller.... Then it is a Judit Miller.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Israel unveils plan to encircle Palestinian state

If the Jewish state were to annex all of the Jordan Valley, which is dotted with small settlements, it would leave a future Palestinian state on the West Bank entirely surrounded by Israel and without a direct link to neighbouring countries.


"He [Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert] talked about Israel having to maintain a Jewish majority in the state of Israel, meaning that we have to create a new border, what is called final borders. He knows that we can't negotiate with Hamas. So the only conclusion that can be derived from this is that, in order to reach final borders, Israel will have to carry out additional [unilateral] withdrawals," said Mishal.

Creating a border inside a country.... a Jail?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hypocrisy and Cartoons as I see it

Juan Cole had an interesting post More on the Hypocrisy of the West and Cartoongate

Here is what I see...

Taking one's frustration on innocent is in no way monopoly of the Muslim extremists. If you recall right after 9/11, middle eastern looking individuals and even Sikhs (since they were turban) were target of violent reactions in the US.

For me personally what is more troubling is the coverage of the issue much more so than the cartoons. Here in the fury of comments and justifications, I see deeply racist remarks. Take for example this statement that appeared on many of the news items on the issue:

"We'd take Muslim protests more seriously if they weren't so hypocritical," Berlin's Die Welt wrote as it published a Danish cartoon. "The imams were quiet when Syrian television showed Jewish rabbis as cannibals in a prime-time series."

You think this statement was well thought through, and it wasn't some random off the cuff remark. But did the editor even bother to ask the Imams? The editor seems to have been blessed with gene that "hypocritical" Muslims are lacking. Essentially, I see a superiority complex that has blinded the editor's judgment.

Don't all atrocities start the same place, "we" are good and "they" are for one reason or another lacking that goodness we take for granted? There seems to be two different yard sticks to judge people, one for "us" and anther for "them".

Every time George Bush commits a crime in Iraq, we Americans don't go in the streets to protest it. At times even majority of people support the war claiming it would bring gift of democracy and respect to human right, and Western values to the inferior people. Every nonsense movie that comes out of Hollywood we don't feel the responsibility to be in the street to defend the Muslim characters. At the same time we expect the Muslims to be on the street to oppose the radicals in case of the cartoon incident, or protest Syrian TV shows.

For a mainstream Muslim looking at both side of the issue, what is more ironic is that these radicals for most part behave quite Western, they seems to have learned their lessons quite well, true they do their “Shock and Awe” with rudimentary and inferior tools. But nonetheless the radicals and Westerners believe that violence would bring about the desired political change.

For Editor of the Die Welt every Muslim has to prove himself. As in after 9/11 every Muslim are somehow guilty of the act of handful of people and it is his responsibility to be proactive and clear his reputation. Otherwise it is another indication of their violent nature, and vindication for our own peaceful and civilized gene! Ironically this is just like the Muslim radicals that expect every Danish, or German citizen to prove themselves because of action of few cartoonist. It is for instance expected for the radicals to know that Danish people are for most part tolerant people.

In Western mind set though, hypocrisy has become a family value. For the editor of the Die Welt , without any real data to back up his claim, it is perfectly understandable to justify his action by stereotyping all Muslims, or at least their “imams”, as essentially antisemitic. Even though Muslims have gone to great length to separate religion of Judaism from political ambitions of Zionism in their conflict with Israeli.

In 1945 the Berlin's Die Welt editor would not have seen Jewish Rabbis as individuals, in 2006 it has difficulty realizing that Muslim Imams, just as individual Muslims, each have their own opinions. One can only hope come 2046 we can put these cartoons and editorials in Museums and try to learn about our own faults by communicating with others instead of trying to explain our own prejudices because of our perceived faults of others.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It just doesn't get any funnier than this....

You got to love the Iranian sense of humor. CARTOON CRISIS: IRAN RENAMES DANISH PASTRIES

The War President

The Newsweeks' Devoted and Defiant starts out with this paragraph:

Born to a blacksmith, educated as a revolutionary, trained as a killer and derided by rivals as a mystical fanatic, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is easily cast as the personification of everything there is to fear about a nuclear Iran. But he may be worse than that—not because of how he looks to the outside world, but because of what he represents inside his country. Ahmadinejad plays to a nostalgia for war among parts of Iran's leadership, and even some of its young people: a longing for confrontation, a belief that a quarter century ago, when revolutionary Iran was ready to challenge the world, send countless youths to martyrdom in the fight against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, endure missile attacks on its cities, suffer poison-gas attacks against its troops—in those days the regime of the ayatollahs was purer, more noble, more popular and ultimately more secure.

It goes on to say:

Since he took office in August, Ahmadinejad has shown himself an expert at provoking outrage,...

The authors of the article are no small time experts at "provoking outrage". Ahmadinejad was member of the Revolutionary Guards Corps that found the Saddam's army. The Corp would be equivalent to the US Marines force. Could it be that the authors are trying to provoke outrage by calling one's military career as "trained as a killer".

The authors also say he "plays to a nostalgia for war" as it make the government "more popular and ultimately more secure". That sounds like a chapter out of Karl Rove and George W's play book. What was the name for it? "The War President?"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

How one never sees itself

Senator McCain says: Iran "defines itself by hostility to the United States and Israel".

How should one define Senator McCain when he says:

Russia had punished "democratic" Ukraine and Georgia by disrupting energy supplies "while providing cut-rate gas to the dictatorship in Minsk".

I don't get it, on what basis does the US Senator makes comments on trade relationships between Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus?

"It (Russia) continues to prosecute a brutal war in Chechnya
that has killed as many as 200,000, radicalizing the Muslim
population, and it actively supports dictatorships in Central Asia."

Interestingly, these same dictatorships in Central Asia US ally and/or are destination of choice for CIA prisoners! US Recruits a Rough Ally to Be a Jailer

I wonder if Senator cares to talk about radicalization of the Muslim population for the Iraq war that the Senator so enthusiastically supports! Here is what it has done in Turkey, a traditional US ally! In Turkish Movie, Americans Kill Innocents

What can you say?

Sometimes you feel truly speechless: RUMSFELD: WMD MAY STILL BE FOUND

Saturday, February 04, 2006

IAEA resolution as I see it.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's resolution on Iran among other items says:

Underlines that outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence built in the
exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's programme by Iran responding positively to the calls for
confidence building measures which the Board has made on Iran, and in this context deems it
necessary for Iran to:
• re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing
activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
• reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
• ratify promptly and implement in full the Additional Protocol;
• pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional
Protocol which Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
• implement transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, including in
GOV/2005/67, which extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement
and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and
development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations;

So IAEA defines the "Additional Protocol", Iran accepts it (meaning it would implement its terms, but wont officially ratify it unless the whole issue is resolved) and implemented its requirements for three years. It says:

Recalling that in reports referred to above, the Director General noted that after nearly
three years of intensive verification activity, the Agency is not yet in a position to clarify some
important issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme or to conclude that there are no
undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,

After three years IAEA says Iran may (or may not) have nuclear weapons program. Now if after three years it can't say definitively one way or another, what is the point of the protocol? It seems to me the issue here is IAEA much more so that Iran, it can't define a process to have a firm conclusion one way or another.

The last items is replay of run up to Iraq war..."implement transparency measures..." . IAEA came up with the additional protocol, which some countries have signed, what does it mean to ask for additional measures that extend beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol. Wouldn't after this there be yet more additional measures, that would extend the already additional measures that extended beyond the formal requirements of the Additional Protocol? Is this about doubling the requirements each time?

These items are rather interesting too:

(j) Recalling that in November 2005 the Director General reported (GOV/2005/87) that Iran possesses a document related to the procedural requirements for the reduction of UF6 to metalin small quantities, and on the casting and machining of enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms,


Expresses serious concern that the Agency is not yet in a position to clarify some important issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme, including the fact that Iran has in its possession a document on the production of uranium metal hemispheres, since, as reported by the Secretariat, this process is related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components; and, noting that the decision to put this document under Agency seal is a positive step, requests Iran to maintain this document under Agency seal and to provide a full copy to the Agency;

So what? Let say Iran even has all the diagrams to make nuclear weapons. What does that mean? Can you be found guilty of a crime if you have a picture of a gun? Are there factual evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapons or not? IAEA board also wants a copy of this document; does this mean that from that day on every member of the IAEA that has seen the document now is making nuclear weapons?

Fortunately (or may be unfortunately :) )no one listens to me, but if I had anything to say on this I would have advises the Iranian government to open source ALL documents relating to their program, and let the world see it and judge by themselves.

What I see here is politics and bullying without real substance. This reminds me of the run up to Iraq war. I think the biggest casualties of the Iraq war were the:

1. reputation of US and UK,
2. UN Security Council
3. and the Media.

You can see the result of media's one sided approach to the run up to the war, the journalist are seen as party to the war and occupation and they being targeted. Almost every journalist that comes back for Iraq says that this is the first conflict that insurgency doesn't protect them or care to talk to them.

The deception campaign prior to the Iraq war, without a doubt, has ruined the reputation of US/UK and has shown the in-effectiveness of the UN Security Council to bring security to the world.

IAEA agency, for most part, kept its reputation. But the more I look at this resolution I see that this agency is being used more and more as political tool rather than its true intention, to stop proliferation of the nuclear weapons. Truly scary prospect.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Jewish settlers and their supporters clash with Israeli troops and police, as authorities evacuated the West Bank settlement outpost of Amona, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah, Wednesday Feb. 1, 2006. Thousands of troops in riot gear and on horseback clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers holed up behind barbed wire and on rooftops in this illegal West Bank settlement outpost Wednesday, after the Supreme Court cleared the way for the demolition of nine homes at the site.(AP Photo/Baz Ratner)

Israeli policemen clash with Jewish settlers in the unauthorized outpost of Amona, close to the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, February 1, 2006. (Oleg Popov/Reuters)

Why are these people called "settlers"? Isn't Colonizer, Bandits, Robbers.... a more appropriate name?

What does "unauthorized outpost" mean? Who authorizes the authorized outposts?

threat to end the threats

This is an interesting article

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's threats ("advice") Iran against threatening! Sort of like mother of all threats (or advices?)

It reminds me of the George Bush (or for that matter any American President) we "don't take the military option off the table". It has to do with some cultural values. In some cultures it is bad manner to put your shoes (or foot for that matter) on the table. In US it seems putting the military option off the table is bad manner.

"dogma has no place in a secular society"?

I like this. Paper reprints Islam row cartoons.

Lets express our views using cartoon. It sure beats Political Violence (war, terrorism). The French Soir says: "Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God".

But let also be honest, Others can draw cartoons. Would the papers print them? Do they have right to for example question and caricature Holocaust? If we say "religious dogma has no place in a secular society", are we ready to say dogma has no place in secular society?

Trying to make sense of the speech

President Geroge W Bush's 2006 State of Union Speech

In one part of the speech the President said:

....The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. (Applause.)...

He also said:

Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran. (Applause.)

The question is this...Does President Bush practice what he preaches? Is he willing to show leadership and lead by example? Meaning:

...And now the leader of Free world must recognize Iranian rights, end all sanctions, reject war (take military option off the table) and work for lasting peace through trade and cooperation? (Applause ?)

At the end of the speech he said:

Fellow citizens, we've been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We've entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. Sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore. Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.

This is very confusing. If "the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing", then how can you say that "We've entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite." It would seem to me that you would need to conclude that the our choices in previous "great movements of history" caused current "idealogical conflicts."

Did I miss something here?