Letter from Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Ms. Klinghoffer is the author of Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences (Macmillan/St. Martin’s: 1999).
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Yes, George W. Bush looked sad and exhausted. He may not like to second guess himself, but he knows that he has made a costly mistake. Letting Powell go the UN route has seriously damaged not only his administration but, much more importantly, American credibility. Hence, both the price of keeping the peace and fighting the war has gone up. Dominique de Villepin used Colin Powell to create a formidable counterforce to the US. De Villepin used the protracted negotiations for 1441 not only to diminish the impact of Bush's UN speech but also to befriend Powell and gain his trust. Then, he handed Powell a veritable gift horse called a 15 to 0 Sec. Council resolution by persuading the Syrians to go along. Powell was hailed as the conquering hero while Saddam Hussein, his allies and suppliers breathed a sigh of relief. They had just acquired new allies called inspectors.
De Villepin began to reveal his cards in January when he unexpectedly demanded a Security Council meeting on terrorism and requested that "his good friend" Colin Powell do him a favor and attend. Once there, De Villepin began to rope Powell, and Hans Blix joined him by publicly questioning Powell's credibility. The French-German entente became the French-German-Russian one. The Turks concluded that the US is in retreat, and standing up to the new counterforce may doom their hope to join the EU. Now it is the French-German-Russian-Chinese entente and the non permanent members no longer know which is the winning horse.
THIS IS REMINISCENT OF MAY 30,1967 WHEN KING HUSSEIN FLEW TO CAIRO, PLACED HIS ARMY UNDER EGYPTIAN CONTROL, AND AGREED TO LET SAUDI AND IRAQI FORCES ENTER JORDAN. THE SOVIET DEFENSE MINISTER TOLD HIS EGYPTIAN COUNTERPART THAT THE SIXTH FLEET IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WITH ITS MARINES HAD RETURNED TO CRETE WHILE "OUR FLEET IS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN NEAR YOUR SHORE." Nasser who had evicted the UN peace keepers on May 15, closed the Straites of Tiran and mobilized his troops on the Israeli border told his cabinet: "We have succeeded in returning conditions to the pre-1956 one and with Alla's help, we will turn them back to the pre 1948 one". ISRAEL STOOD ALONE - ONLY ITS TROOPS WERE MOBILIZED AND WAITING.
THE US STILL HAS A FEW ALLIES BUT THE ONLY WAY IT CAN RETAIN THEM AND RETRIEVE ITS CREDIBILITY IS to TURN THE TIDE, UNLEASH THE TROOPS AND WIN ITS own SIX DAY WAR.
IT IS A VICTORY THAT THE COUNTERFORCE IS TRYING TO PREVENT BY DELAYING THE START OF THE WAR. THIS WILL DIMINISH TECHNOLOGICAL EFFECTIVENESS AND REDUCE TROOP MORALe.
NOTE THE FOLLOWING NYT REPORT:
A sudden, blinding sandstorm last month was a factor in the crash of a Blackhawk helicopter on a training exercise that killed all four crew members. Another six lackhawk in the same convoy lost its bearings and headed straight to the ground
but the pilot managed to right it, Army officers said.
The Army helicopters used in the Afghanistan campaign required very heavy Maintenance because of the dry terrain there, said Capt. Bryan Dunn, who works on the Chinooks. "The sand is much worse here than Afghanistan - it's coarser, and causes a lot more wear and tear than the fine-particle stuff in Afghanistan," he said.
Sandstorms are common from mid-February to mid-April, when the brutal summer heat begins, military planners say. Senior officials have said a crucial element in an invasion of Iraq would be air assaults led by the 101st and its fleet of helicopters, which can carry troops and fuel and can fire powerful rockets.
Bryan Dunn is the son of a friend of mine. I attended his wedding. It would be immoral, not to mention utterly self defeating to expose him and his fellow troops to additional danger by appeasing those who seek to undermine American power!
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Chris Murphy - 3/12/2003
It is indeed very interesting to see the proponents of war at any cost (so long as it is not Israel's) become increasingly shrill at the prospect of an attack on Iraq being deferred because the world sees no urgency in it. Fanatics like Ms Klinghoiffer may well turn into ugly little Rumplestilskins when the U.S. is left on its own to pursue its crazy agenda for total world domination.
Who on earth is responsible for convincing the conservatives in Washington that "renovating" the Middle East was a simply achievable task, one requiring little more than massive military force and trust in God? Who on earth stands to benefit from this stupidity? Certainly not America, as we are sure to find out.
Amram Mitzna - 3/12/2003
I was unaware of the sandstorms that prevented an invasion of Iraq to disarm Saddam during the months of January, 1993 through December, 2002. How generous of the Likud Party to give Miss Klinghoffer time off to inform us of this meteorological curiosity.
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