Well, Iraq is almost free.
When it is liberated, it will be the first free Arab state.
So, what is the United States going to do?
President Bush wants to create another terrorist-totalitarian Arab state where none has ever existed before.
It's called Palestine.
That's the plan.
Don't ask me why.
Apparently, before the United Nations Security Council fiasco, President Bush made a deal with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to push for the creation of Palestine until all the terrorist activity sponsored and supervised and approved and funded and directed and tolerated and promoted by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority ceased.
It seemed like a reasonable deal, though, for the life of me, I can't think of any justification for the creation of yet another phony Arab state – particularly one that has no historical or cultural basis in reality. But that's me. And I digress.
The deal apparently got nixed when Bush got into trouble on the international diplomatic front. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was way out on a limb supporting Bush and America in what is, in England, a very unpopular war. Blair needed help. He needed a lifeline. He needed a bone to throw his people. He needed something to get the appeasers off his back.
He asked for Palestine.
And Bush gave it to him.
You can imagine the shockwaves this caused in Jerusalem. And plenty of people here in the United States are upset about it, too.
Because we are creating a future crisis. We are creating a future terrorist state. We are creating a future Iraq – but one a lot closer to ground zero, which is Israel.
President Bush says he's happy now that Yasser Arafat has named a new prime minister. Bush didn't want to have to deal with Arafat and his baggage, but he doesn't mind dealing with one of Arafat's hand-picked terrorist allies – one who hates America, denies the Holocaust ever happened and swears by the destruction of the Jewish state.
Today in the Palestinian Authority, this future state created by Bush and Blair, children are indoctrinated from the age of 2 to hate Jews. They are taught the highest calling is martyrdom. They are taught to fight the Israelis to the death. These schools, subsidized by U.S. taxpayer dollars and European euros, are little more than breeding grounds of future Saddam Husseins and Osama bin Ladens.
As 250,000 U.S. and British troops are fighting in Iraq, thousands of Palestinian Arabs holding pictures of Saddam Hussein poured out of mosques last week after their Friday prayers to protest the war and cheer their hero. They demanded that Hussein fire missiles on Israel.
Here is one of their chants: "Oh, beloved Saddam, we are ready to sacrifice our blood for you." Here's another beauty: "Our beloved Saddam, hit Tel Aviv."
The demonstrators burned American and British flags and pictures of George Bush. Did you hear that, Mr. President?
At the same time, I reported in my G2 Bulletin this week that Hamas, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization chaired by Arafat, is actively recruiting terrorists around the world to fight U.S. forces in Iraq.
By the way, in 1991, Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein openly. He even traveled to Iraq to offer Hussein some of his fighting men. But Hussein didn't have much use for terrorists who run at the sight of soldiers and who only seem really good at killing women, children and old men. Hussein figured he had enough of those in his own army.
I hope all Americans will join me this week in urging President Bush to reconsider this sellout of freedom in the Mideast. While many Americans are eager to welcome Iraq into the world of free nations, we should not be eager to create another tyranny to replace it in the Arab world.
Though his regime may be tottering on the brink of defeat, Saddam Hussein paradoxically appears headed toward his greatest, and most salient, of victories.
By provoking the United States and defying the will of the international community, the Iraqi dictator has succeeded in bringing incalculable ruin and misery on his own people, sacrificing their wealth and resources on the altar of his own cult of self-glorification.
He has singlehandedly transformed Iraq from a cradle of civilization to a grave for his people and their aspirations, reducing a once-proud country to the status of international outcast.
All that, of course, is finally about to come to an end, as US-led coalition forces advance toward their objective, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than might have been hoped. Eventually, though, Saddam will go down in defeat, if only because his dictatorial rule rests on fear, rather than fealty.
But if the background noises emerging from various quarters in London and Washington are any indication, the fall of the Iraqi dictator may portend the rise of yet another brutal regime, one located a few hundred miles to the west, in Palestinian-controlled Ramallah.
Fearful of the Arab world's anger over Western intervention in Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has forged an axis with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, pushing and cajoling George W. Bush to make "Palestine" his number one post-Iraq priority.
Media reports this week that the CIA is establishing a special department to oversee implementation of the "road map" leading to a Palestinian state are but the latest in a string of indications that Israel will soon be asked to pay the political price for the war in Iraq.
Call it the Mother of All Ironies: Saddam's downfall may turn into his most formidable of triumphs, as the removal of his regime sets the stage for the creation of Palestine, at Israel's expense.
The ostensible logic behind such a move, if one can call it that, is undue concern over how the Arab street will react to the sight of the Stars and Stripes being hoisted over downtown Baghdad.
Indeed, in recent days this has been the subject of numerous reports in the media, as rallies and protests throughout the Arab world denounce the outbreak of war.
"Anger mounts in Arab world," CNN's web site reported on Friday. "Arabs seethe as TV brings Iraq destruction home" said Reuters on Saturday.
Not to be outdone, both The New York Times and The Washington Post have run stories in the past few days on the prevailing sentiment in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, using terms such as "volcano" and "boiling" to describe the current mood.
WHAT THESE stories have in common is that they project the image of an aggrieved Arab public, one whose rage is motivated not so much by the misery of its own domestic discontent but by America and its actions, chief among them support for Israel.
Moreover, they suggest that such public anger is what drives the behavior of Arab rulers, who cannot help but respond to the demands of their people by taking steps such as condemning the US and its "aggression" at Monday's session of the Arab League.
But that, of course, is a distortion. It represents precisely what the Arab regimes would have us believe, namely that their hands are tied by the will of the people, the very same people they repress and ignore in virtually every other area of civic life.
The public that is given no voice regarding freedom of religion, speech or the press suddenly becomes the determining factor in how Arab regimes relate to America. Go figure.
Worse yet, in seeking to explain Arab anger the media inevitably justify it too, as though a US attack on Iraq were a legitimate reason for a housewife in Morocco or a salesman in Lebanon to hate America and the West.
But that only begs the question: What right do the Arabs have to be angry at all? If anything, they should be thankful that the US and its allies are ridding the world of Saddam and liberating the people of Iraq from his tyranny.
A free and secure Iraq will, in the long run, strengthen the Arab world rather than weaken it, providing a model for its neighbors to follow. It will serve as a beachhead for freedom and development, one whose growth and progress will inexorably alter the landscape of the area for decades to come.
The real source of anger in the Arab world and the one requiring immediate attention is the collection of unelected sultans, emirs, monarchs and despots who rule over hundreds of millions of people with an iron hand. The only thing they despise more than Saddam himself is the liberty that will replace him, because it will stand in sharp contrast to the manner in which they subjugate their own citizens and squelch their advancement.
So rather than seeking to appease Arab anger over Iraq by feeding Israel to the wolves, the US and Britain would do well to ignore it and focus instead on an alternative course of action, one that will truly bring about lasting change in the region.
Once the war is over Washington and London should press ahead forcefully for democratization and reform, insisting on a sea-change in the relationship between Arab rulers and those whom they rule. Preempting terror need not be limited to military action it can also entail creating a political environment which breeds free discourse rather than jihadists and suicide bombers.
The very idea of putting Palestinians on the diplomatic agenda ahead of tens of millions of Saudis, Syrians and Egyptians, is neither logical nor fair. By pushing such a proposal Tony Blair and Colin Powell are seeking to apply a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The fact is that creating a Palestinian state in an environment dominated by archaic Arab regimes is a recipe for still more tyranny, not less.
And that would merely serve to prolong Saddam's legacy in the region.
My advice to America and Britain is: Ignore the Arab League's temper tantrum, and keep marching toward Baghdad.
And once the job is complete, set your sights on bringing freedom to the rest of the Arab world, where the need for liberty is no less pressing or acute.
The writer served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the prime minister's office.
"How did the enemy get into our camp?"
That's what Bart Womack, a command sergeant major of the elite 101st Airborne Division, asked himself as a grenade rolled past him after 1 a.m. on Sunday at an American camp in Kuwait.
The attacker worked methodically, destroying an electricity generator, throwing grenades into Womack's tent and the two other command tents, then shooting tents. One soldier died and 15 sustained injuries.
The enemy in this case appears to be not what one might expect - an Iraqi soldier or a Kuwaiti Islamist. The only suspect in custody is Hasan Karim Akbar, 31, a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division.
If Akbar were responsible for the rampage, what might be his motivation? First reports suggest that, as a devout African-American convert to Islam, he identifies with the Iraqi enemy against his fellow soldiers.
The Los Angeles Times quotes him stating, after he was apprehended, "You guys are coming into our countries, and you're going to rape our women and kill our children."
NBC found that he "was opposed to the killing of Muslims and opposed to the war in Iraq." Reuters quotes one source saying, "He's a Muslim, and it seems he was just against the war," while another told the news agency that the violence was "politically motivated."
There is evidence to suggest that Akbar expected to get in trouble even before he arrived in Kuwait. His former stepfather quotes him saying that Akbar "did not want to fight in this war, he didn't want to go over there." A neighbor explains why: "America shouldn't be going," Akbar told him; he judged it not "right" to attack Iraq. And his mother quotes him: "Mama, when I get over there I have the feeling they are going to arrest me just because of the name that I have carried."
This incident raises two issues.
First, the U.S. government's initial response indicates that, once again, it is ascribing violence by an American Muslim to purely personal causes. Here's its take on prior homicides:
* "A prescription drug for or consistent with depression" to explain why El Sayyid A. Nosair in 1990 shot Rabbi Meir Kahane.Akbar in 2003? U.S. Army spokespersons talk variously about an "attitude problem," a desire for "retribution" and "resentment."
The chief chaplain at Akbar's Fort Campbell, Ky., home base announces (completely without evidence) that the incident is "not an expression of faith."
No one yet knows Akbar's motives, but ignoring that it fits into a sustained pattern of political violence by American Muslims amounts to willful self-deception. When will officialdom acknowledge what is staring it in the face?
Its avoidance of reality has real consequences, increasing the dangers Americans face. "This country's officials are in a state of denial and confusion that is almost as frightening as the terrorism they are supposed to be fighting," observes Dennis Prager, only slightly exaggerating.
Second, the Akbar incident points to the suspect allegiance of some Muslims in government. The case of Gamal Abdel-Hafiz recently surfaced: an FBI agent whose colleagues say he twice refused to record conversations with suspected financiers of militant Islamic terrorism ("A Muslim does not record another Muslim"). [The Seattle Times reports three witnesses recalling that John Allen Muhammad, the man accused of the Washington, D.C.-area sniper murders last fall, had thrown a grenade into a tent during the 1991 war against Iraq.] Other cases are under investigation.
All of which reinforces what I wrote in January: "There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and the armed forces. Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks. Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches and temples."
As Sgt. Womack noted, the enemy has already managed to "get into our camp." Do we have the will to stop him before he strikes again?
UpdateIf evidence points to a terrorist motive, the F.B.I. would most likely open a full investigation, officials said. But "at this point," a law enforcement official in Los Angeles said, "I don't think there's anything that's pointing to that as the motive."
-- The New York Times, Mar. 26, 2003.
The media could use some lithium. Not since I studied bipolar disease 25 years ago have I seen such dramatic mood swings as in the coverage of the first week of the war.
It began with "shock and awe" euphoria, the hailing of a campaign of immaculate destruction. It was going to be Kosovo II, Afghanistan with embeds, another war of nearly bloodless (for us) success.
And then on Sunday, bloody Sunday, the media discovered that war is hell and descended into a mood as dark as any of Churchill's "black dogs." But the blackness came from confusing two different phenomena: war and battle. The narrow focus of the camera sees not war but individual battles, which, broadcast live, gave the home front the immediate (vicarious) experience of the confusion and terror of combat. Among the chattering classes, a mini-panic set in.
By Monday the media were in full quagmire mode. Good grief. If there had been TV cameras not just at Normandy, but after Normandy, giving live coverage of firefights at every French village on the Allies' march to Berlin, the operation would have been judged a strategic miscalculation, if not a disaster. The fact is that after a single week we find ourselves at the gates of Baghdad, servicing the longest supply lines in American history, with combat losses astonishingly low by any standard.
In the current campaign, we have suffered from two major impediments: Turkey's betrayal and our own high moral standards. Turkey's refusal to let us send the 4th Infantry Division to attack Baghdad from the north has cost us heavily. It has allowed Saddam Hussein to concentrate his defenses to the south and essentially cut in half the size of the heavily mechanized enemy he has to deal with. (The president's supplemental budget request has $1 billion in aid for Turkey. Congress should strike every penny of it.) Even more important, we've been held back by our own scrupulousness. It is safe to say there has never been a conflict in which one belligerent has taken more care not to harm the civilians of the other. And it has already cost us. We know that the "irregulars" -- the SS thugs whose profession heretofore had been torture and repression in the service of Hussein's psychopathic son Uday -- use human shields, fight in civilian disguise and attack under a fake flag of surrender. Our restraint in choice of targets and in the treatment of those who appear to be civilians and those who appear to have surrendered has cost us not just time and territory but lives.
And yet, being who we are, we do not change the rules of engagement. Which is what makes Kofi Annan's most recent pronouncement so deeply offensive. With his customary sanctimony, he said on Wednesday that he was "getting increasingly concerned by humanitarian casualties in this conflict" and then immediately cited "the report that a missile struck a market in Baghdad."
This is staggering. If indeed the market explosion was caused by a U.S. missile, Annan knows that this was both entirely unintentional and a rare exception in a campaign of astonishing discrimination and accuracy. Annan's statement is doubly disgusting because he said nothing about Iraq's use of human shields, of fake surrenders, of placing a tank in a hospital compound in Nasiriyah. He says not a word about these flagrant Iraqi violations of the laws of war. Nor does he denounce the parading of POWs on television and the apparent execution of American and British POWs. He is instead moved to speak out in response to what is at most an accident.
Tony Blair wants us to go back and deal with Annan and the rest of the United Nations when this is over. After the blood and treasure expended, why would we hand the fruits of victory to a man who tried his best to delegitimize this war before it began and now tries to cast moral taint on our conduct of it?
President Bush should tell Tony Blair, his good and courageous friend, that returning to Annan and the corrupt institution he represents is a huge mistake. It will win no hearts and minds, no more than did the futile attempt to get the second resolution out of the Security Council.
The way to win hearts and minds is not to try to appease those who wish us no good but to stay in Iraq and use the authority of the victor to build a decent and open society. We will not win the propaganda war with words. We will win it by overthrowing Hussein and exposing the nature of his barbarism -- and the shame of those who supported him and tried to shield him from the just fate American and British soldiers are trying to visit upon him today.
“There is no security threat to Canada that the U.S. would not be ready, willing and able to help with. There would be no debate. There would be no hesitation. We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the U.S. are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now.”—U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, rebuking P.M. Jean Chrétien’s government for refusing to join the war on Iraq and strongly criticizing the prime minister for allowing a stream of anti-American comments by Liberal MPs to go unpunished. (Nat’l. Post, March 26)
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