Oliver Stone, 9/11, and the Big Lie


Historian and journalist Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a senior fellow at the Longview Institute. A new edition of her most recent book, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America (Penguin, 2001), will be published with an updated epilogue in 2007.

When World Trade Center ended, I left the theater tense, my muscles aching. The superb directing and acting, coupled with still hardly imaginable scenes of death and destruction, had sent painful muscle spasms up my back, evoked tears, and left me, yet again, with searing and indelible images of that hellish morning.

I felt disoriented in the bright sunlight of a Northern Californian afternoon. As my mind regained its critical faculties, however, another kind of shock set in. I suddenly realized that Oliver Stone's movie reinforces the Big Lie -- endlessly repeated by Dick Cheney, echoed and amplified by the right-wing media -- that 9/11 was somehow linked to Iraq or supported by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

It might surprise you that this Oliver Stone film is neither ideological, nor conspiratorial, which in my view is just as it should be. Instead, it is a portrayal of what the men who braved hell and the families who anguished over their survival experienced.

World Trade Center gives 9/11 a distinctly human face by following two Port Authority policemen and their families. We watch the men muster their courage to help evacuate people in one of the towers; we gasp as they are buried alive; we wince as heavy slabs of cement crush their bodies; and we hold our breath as they struggle to keep each other going in the face of imminent death.

Expert editing brings us the anguish suffered by their wives, children, and relatives. Some are in denial, others in shock. Some have faith; others are resigned to the men's deaths. They live in their own hell and we empathize with their wrenching agony.

With a subtle touch, Stone shows us people all over the planet horrified by television images of the airplanes crashing into the towers. He reminds us that the people of the world expressed an outpouring of sympathy (since been squandered by the Bush administration).

Meanwhile, Stone introduces us to one ex-Marine who feels called by God to help rescue those buried alive. He gets his hair cut short, puts on his old uniform, and with all the authority of a former staff sergeant, does what he knows best -- uses his military skills to save people's lives. Determined and angry, he insists that we must avenge this horrendous attack.

We also watch a group of Wisconsin policemen viewing the terrorist attacks on television. One screams out,"The bastards!" Stone, in other words, captures the desire for revenge already in the air.

And yet, in none of these profoundly moving scenes is there even a mention of who might have committed this atrocity. Neither the name al-Qaeda, nor Osama Bin Laden, is so much as whispered.

You might say,"But everyone knows it was al-Qaeda." And you'd be right, but do most Americans really know just who those terrorists were or that they had no connection to Iraq -- that not a single one of them even came from that country? It doesn't sound very important until you realize that various polls over the last five years have reported from 20% to 50% of Americans still believe Iraqis were on those planes. (They were not.) As of early 2005, according to a Harris poll, 47% of Americans were convinced that Saddam Hussein actually helped plan the attack and supported the hijackers. And in February, 2006, according to a unique Zogby poll of American troops serving in Iraq,"85% said the U.S. mission is mainly 'to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks'; 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was 'to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.'"

The Big Lie, first coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf,was made famous by Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Third Reich. The idea was simple enough: Tell a whopper (the larger the better) often enough and most people will come to accept it as the truth. During World War II, the predecessor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services, described how the Germans used the Big Lie:"[They] never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."

This is, in fact, just what the Bush administration has been doing ever since 9/11. As a result, in 2005, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that 56% of Americans still thought Iraq had possessed weapons of mass destruction"shortly before the war," and 60% still believed Iraq had provided"direct support" to al-Qaeda prior to the war. In June 2006, Fox News ran a story once again dramatizing the supposed links between 9/11 and Iraq. And, as recently as July, 2006, a Harris poll found that 64% of those polled"say it is true that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda."

The Bush administration's Big Lie has worked very well. Dick Cheney, the point man on this particular lie, has repeated it year after year. In a similar way, George Bush has repeatedly explained his 2003 invasion of Iraq, which had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, by insisting that we must fight terrorists in that country so that we don't have to fight them here. (It turned out to be something of a self-fulfilling prophesy.)

Neither these, nor so many other administration statements had a shred of truth to them. Even the President, who repeatedly linked Saddam Hussein to the terrorist organization behind the September 11th attacks, admitted on September 18, 2003 that there was no evidence the deposed Iraqi dictator had had a hand in them. But that didn't stopped the Vice President from endlessly repeating the Big Lie that justifies this country's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Most of the controversy over World Trade Center has focused on whether, as the fifth anniversary of the attacks approaches, it is still too soon for a cinematic depiction of these horrendous events. For some people, perhaps that may well be the case. I myself don't think it's too soon for such a film; but I do worry that, powerful and evocative as it is, it may, however inadvertently, only deepen waning support for the war in Iraq,

Despite the near flood of documentaries on the terrorist attacks heading toward the small screen this September, Stone's film, for many Americans, may end up being the definitive cinematic record of what it felt like to be inside the hellish cyclone known simply by the numbers 9/11.

To offer a faithful recreation of that historical catastrophe, however, Stone owed viewers the whole truth, not merely a brilliant, graphic portrayal of what happened and how it affected the lives of some of those involved.

As it ends, a written postscript appears that describes what happened to the buried Port Authority policemen, their families, and the ex-Marine who helped rescue them (whose last line is:"We're going to need some good men out there to revenge this"). We learn that the two men survived an unbearable number of surgeries and are living with their families. Next we read that the ex-Marine re-upped and later did two tours of duty in Iraq. At that moment, I wanted to shout out,"Don't you mean Afghanistan?" Then I imagined the satisfaction Dick Cheney and sore-loser Senator Joseph Lieberman would take in this not-quite-spelled-out linkage of 9/11 and Iraq.

I kept waiting for what never came -- even a note in the postscript reminding the audience of those who had actually committed the crime. This is where, by omission, Stone's film ends up reinforcing the administration's Big Lie. You could easily have left the theater thinking that the saintly ex-Marine had gone off to fight those who attacked our country.

That evening, I wrote the words that should have appeared in the postscript:"Government officials later confirmed that the organization which plotted the destruction of the World Trade Center was al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian. Nineteen men executed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifteen of them came from Saudi Arabia; the remaining four from Egypt, The United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. None of them came from Iraq."

What happened to Oliver Stone, the filmmaker who gave us Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, and Nixon? Despite his conspiratorial foibles in JFK, he has long been a movie-maker dedicated to raising tough questions about our American past. Where did his commitment to opening historical subjects for debate go? He was right not to politicize this film, but truth-telling required that he identify the terrorists. Truth-telling would have resulted in his helping to dismantle the Big Lie that has resulted in the deaths of so many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, and has plunged Iraq into chaos and civil war.

How could Oliver Stone leave it up to viewers to discover for themselves who committed this crime? And how could he leave the audience with the impression that there was a connection, as Dick Cheney has never stopped saying, between 9/11 and Iraq?

This is the tragic failure of Stone's World Trade Center. It undercuts the historical value of the film and reinforces the Biggest Lie of the last five years, still believed by far too many Americans -- that in Iraq, we are fighting those who attacked our country.

Related Links

  • 9/11: Five Years Later

  • Teaching About 9-11

  • This article first appeared on www.tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, a long time editor in publishing, the author of The End of Victory Culture, and a fellow of the Nation Institute.

    Copyright 2006 Ruth Rosen

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    More Comments:

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    How representative this trio( X,Y and Z) is of an AIPAC blessed, if not initiated, PR ,silencing cum blitzkrieg/assault team I can not tell for sure.
    The outstanding fact is: although they do act in a remarkably concerted, orchestrated ?, way and do complete each other in a manner to “cover”, from bullying to outright falsification, all aspects of the subject under discussion except honestly and objectively dealing with it, the fact is that they seem to be individually very different from each other

    Despite their patent differences in their cultural/educational backgrounds, knowledge and, how to phrase it?, their IQ cum civility levels, this Zionist trio pretend to attack the subject in a manner meant to silence all disagreement.
    1- (X) is the slogan happy,abusive, plundering, impolite, shamelessly ungrateful, to the nation that gave his tribe everything it has (including many of the many PhDs it has) bully and ignoramus.
    2-(Y) is the spoiler destroyer of any discussion that could lead anywhere except to his favourite resting place: personal recrimination and vilification.
    As Mr.P.Clarke noted he has never (?) initiated a discussion and is always, my impression not Peter's ,the first to "spoil" it via obfuscation and digression.
    Equally, althogh at times he seems to front or take over a "confrontation", he is the most cowardly and least constructive by totally ignoring uncomfortable questions /challenges specifically addressed to him.
    His only uncowardly trait is his readiness to come to the help of co Zionists in the lurch with his usual mixture of pseudo intellectualism, digression and obfuscation.
    3-(Z): is the most polite and "rational" in the sense of not being flagrantly "irrational", as X sometimes is, always knowing when to back out and a master at cut and paste of relevant, and much more frequently irrelevant, material.
    The ostensible “gentleman” to counter weigh the “bully”.
    However he is the sneakiest of the three and as such the least confrontationalist, gently, hardly perceptively, changing his position and words.

    So what we have here is a team composed of a bully/ignoramus, a spoiler pseudo intellectual, despite kudos from an unreliable Prof, and a sneaky apologist all out to blindly defend a pernicious, racist doctrine and the criminal birth and practices of its offspring.

    What binds them together is their blind, primitive, racist/obsessive belief in Zionism and its pernicious outcome: Israel.
    The “Israel” that, as is being progressively realized all over the world, has been a colossal mistake with calamitous fruits to the Jews, to the Region, to the cause of interfaith (intercultural) understanding and cooperation and to the cause of world peace and stability.

    The general tone of this forum has been very adversely affected by their contributions and the abundance of uncivil, impolite mode of address, and the huge digression from the thread can largely be traced to their posts.

    A pity!

    To answer the question of the title:
    "What is it That the Likudnik Trio Want?"
    They DO NOT want any "dialogue" or serious discussion that touches on their beloved Israel and its many crimes of birth and growth.
    (Their absence would be sorely regrettable; a change of tone would be heartily welcomed.)

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Hear! Hear !
    Way to go on Mr. Ebbitt.

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    I expect nothing else from you Patrick;

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    The imperialistic Anglo American West, particularly the USA, can not live and flourish for long without war.
    War, preferably a war with high sounding “moralistic/ altruistic” ….objectives; which deceives and assuages its public on the one hand and enables it to retain the “high moral ground” on the international scene on the other,. is the perfect cover for its ceaseless domineering designs and imperialistic projects.

    If no real enemy does exist it should be created, magnified, demonized and fought.

    Islam, and its major mainstay the Arabs, were immediately chosen as favorite ENEMY for this war after the collapse of communism in the early nineties with Mrs. Thatcher’s famous declaration.

    Such is the genesis of the American led “war on terror”?

    This unwarranted war of choice, which consciously equated OBL &Co with the whole of the Arab and Moslem worlds regardless of obvious proofs to the contrary , proceeded there from to demolish Iraq and demonize the most outstanding anti Israel organizations, Hamas in Palestine and Hizb Allah in Lebanon, thus antagonizing the overwhelming majority of Arab and Moslem masses..
    (Obviously, with this surrogate foe, Israel was only too happy to join in; another war to the benefit of Israel to be paid for, in blood and treasure, by others!).
    The whole thing is a bogus , contrived affair: building up an enmity where none does inherently exist .

    The fallacy of this war is best illustrated by its misleading title:” war on TERROR”
    For one thing this so called “war on Terror” not only confounded “Terror” with “anti Israel” resistance but, equally telling, restricted its definition of “terrorism” to Moslem and Arab setups fighting Israel and, peacefully or violently, American domineering imperialistic designs.

    Neither the ETA of Spain nor the IRA of Ireland were ever deemed nor ever classified as “terrorist” organizations despite their undeniable record of” violence against Civilians”; the standard definition of “terrorism”.
    Hence the misleading fallacy of the name, chosen to obscure its real goals

    If any thing at all: OBL &CO only gave the unholy Anglo/American alliance and Israel, which joyously joined in, the perfect pretext for the sought after war.

    WTC or no WTC this war would have been launched against the Arab and Moslem worlds, the Thatcher declaration preceded the WTC crime, and became inevitable, ideologically justified and dsireable, with the ascent to power in the USA of the neocon-Zionist alliance.

    With this alliance in power the ongoing war became NOT only the sought after ANY WAR but an ideological war for Israel/Zionism and the fundamentalists of the neocon persuasion.
    The irony of the whole situation, should one look dispassionately at its outcome, is that a war meant to be a war on TERRORISM i.e. on OBL &CO ended by :
    1- antagonizing the whole of the Arab and Moslem worlds,
    2- destroying the outstanding genuinely secular Arab forces and influence of Baathist Iraq and
    3- leading the USA into the Zionist/Israeli camp for no real American interest.

    The greater irony is that far from achieving its declared goals this war achieved the exact opposite:
    1-Proved OBL &CO right in their depiction of the Zionist /Crusading character of the USA
    2- it made OBL a hero and increased immeasurably his influence and following.

    Another byproduct, but a true Zionist achievement consciously and cleverly planned for and implemented by AIPAC/Perle/Wolfowitz &Co was to give Israel another free, strategic, victory paid for , in blood and treasure, SOLELY by the USA.

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Wikipedia is just another publication which among many others do deem the ETA and IRA as terrorist organizations..
    I should have dadded "officially" to deemed in my sentence for greater accuracy.
    To the best of my knowledge both are NOT included in the "official" list issued by the US departmment of State.
    Should you find out otherwise kindly provide the link.
    To other readers I apologize and stand to be corrected if both , or any one, of the a/m organizations turn out to have been "officially" classified as "terrorist" organizations by the US department of State.
    An oversight , the absence of a word, is not a lie; it is a defect, a mistake.
    However that may be too hard to digest by somebody who can not tell the diference between "banishment" and "pogrom"!

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    I stand corrected re the official US Department of State list of "terrorist' organizations and will save the link.
    Sorry folks for an unintentional oversight, a mistake.
    If you believe that Yehudi good for you.

    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Mr Clarke
    The destruction of the Iraqi state that resulted from the US conquest is, obviously, an Israeli victory or achievement and gave OBL&Co (intentionally?)access to and a free hand in a hitherto closed theater to him and to his Al Qaeda.
    Very possible : more than any other setup's the actions and policies of al Qaeda in post war Iraq led to the present sectarian Sunni/Shii fighting that is leading to the slow disintegration of a united Iraq.

    Another Israeli goal attained, possibly/conceivably engineered by Wolfowitz, before his removal from office, irrespective of the harm and damage that it is inflicting on the USA and its interests: not least the very strong Iranian presence and influence in post war Iraq!
    An objective analysis of the outcome of the US conquest of Iraq will unmistakably show that the nett, nett winners/gainers are Israel and Iran both of whose historical ambitions have been achieved through a war paid for Solely by the USA.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    They were certainly "aimed inward" but they in fact fired outward. THAT was the faux pas.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Quite right, Mr. Crocker. But it is a key element of the "Big Lie" technique of brainwashing. No other poster on HNN comes remotely close to Heuisler over the past 3 years for steadfast recycling of this particular vile myth, which is the subject of this page, and which too many millions of Americans fell for, in some version or other in 2003-04, and which has so seriously damaged America's long term national security. Heuisler is not dumb. Expect backpedding. But no retractions or admissions of error, of course. The one thing he cares about is young Americans going abroad to blow things up, to fight and to die, and to never question why. Whether the cause is just and wise and in America's interest, as in World War II, Korea, Kuwait, Kosovo, or Afghanistan (in 2001) or otherwise - such as today, massively, in Iraq.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Nobody is dying for any "country" in Iraq, Mr. F. Iraq was concocted by the Brits out of a melange of tribes. American soldiers are dying there now so that Bush and Cheney can blame the almost inevitable cut and run on someone else.

    Your idea that Frankfurt (note the 20th century spelling) and London are the greatest source of threats to America is the most idiotic idea I have heard in a long time on a website full of crackpot claims and counterclaims.

    As Ferguson, I think he is right about intelligence being critical. It took him a long time to come to his senses on this though.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Amitz, what the heck are you mumbling about? I am not a racist, and Lieberman's attempt to salvage his rubberstamping career is only tangentially related to the Big Lie topic of the page which he and half the other Congressional Democrats swallowed hook, line, and sinker in 2002.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    ...about only racists diagnosing paranoia in people of all religious backgrounds.

    I do agree about the SUVs. But only in a general long term sense. There was no particularly compelling oil-related need for marching into Iraq in 2003 rather than 1993 or 1983 or 2004 (after letting the inspections run their course).

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You mean I have not read the crackpot Islamophobic books and websites you are devoted to, Mr. F., and with poor reading and recall ability.

    Cite me chapter and verse where Professor Ferguson ever said that London and Frankfurt have "worked fastidiously to create comfortable homes for the great ideologues of the Jihad," and you might, for the first time in dozens of posts, actually have an informative point to make.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You are as full of stinking rotten beans as ever, Friedman.

    Your "gut feeling" is based on paranoia. There are hundreds of reasons for people of any religion to march, and chant, demonstrate, and work themselves into fits of rage about, or be brainwashed into doing the same. One billion Moslems are not puppets dangling in lock step to conspiratorial "leaders" following a Bat Y'eor fantasy playlist.

    Your "recalling" is as woefully defective as ever. WHO are these MANY "westerners" who "blamed Rushdie" for the violence and deaths? Try naming a few of those "many," and then resolve to control your blabber mouth better. IF you can finally first accept that it is possible to once in a blue moon admit a personal mistake and not die instantly on the spot.

    I never EVER came REMOTELY CLOSE to
    "blaming the Pope for violence by Muslims." That is a pitiful and ignorant lie which I do not tolerate even coming from someone as careless, uneducated and mentally unhinged as you.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr Crocker: Nice points, but you cannot use reason and history to argue against embedded and subconscious paranoia, and expect the conversation to ultimately do more than spin around in circles.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I have never defended Saddam. I have also never endorsed the views of Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, or Lyndon La Rouche. Your repeated resort to such lies, Heuisler, is a typical of the inherent process followed by semi-informed compulsive liars, in which one lie leads to the next.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    and I was too. NOT about "the Jews" as a group being paranoid. As in the taking of two soldiers by Hezbollah "threatening the existence" of Israel, or America and Germany being allied in some mythical joint extermination of Jews during World War II. It is a small minority of any group which believes such paranoid nonesense.

    Your knowledge of recent events is as defective as your understanding of basic history.

    The inspections under Hans Blik most
    assuredly did NOT run their course. They were aborted by Cheney and the chickenhawks, in order -as it turned out- to preserve the myth of Saddam's vast arsenal of WMD long enough for the bungled cakewalk to begin.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, Will you ever discover common sense?

    If Iran threatens to wipe Israel off the map, merely by using a few thousand Hezbollah "militants" and firecracker missiles which hit targets only by accident, why do you imagine that Ahmadinejad is trying so hard to acquire nuclear weapons capability?

    The trouble with your paranoia is that it eventually becomes self-fulfilling. By acting irrationally and clumsily, and catering to such cowardly fears, Bush and Olmert have handed Hezbollah a victory, and made it harder to stop Iran's going nuclear. Fortunately, people who actually believe that each every tiny incident of violence against an Israeli threatens the existence of a 60 year old nuclear power (but contrarily any atrocity committed by Israelis is automatically justifiable) are a small deranged minority of Jews, Gentiles, Aetheists, and/or Druid-worshippers.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon "I say this" as a matter of fact, and do not pretend that it is mainly "for your benefit," but "the way you" accuse me of "going on a personal attack against Mr. Friedman" while ignoring his immediately previous gross slanderous misattribution about what I said, and terming it "polite" is highly inconsistent.

    For the record, I am not intolerant of people who make frequent simpleminded mistakes, but those who in doing so put words in my mouth, in accordance with stubborn preconceived and false prejudices, and refuse to ever admit to making such mistakes do not deserve the sort of other-cheek-turning which I don't think either you or I are known for on HNN.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "War on terrorism" is a propaganda line designed to spin reality on its head: that the Cheney administration's incessant blunders and deceptions have strengthened Islamic terrorism and brought death and destruction to America and Americans. No matter how many lazy peaceniks have bought into this "War on terrorism" croc, it cannot stand the light of common sense and history. One cannot use a real military to successfully prosecute a metaphorical war.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You are not a evil person, Mr. Friedman, and you make periodic efforts to be polite in presenting your views on matters of concern to you. I have no problem with that, and have said as much on numerous occasions. But these are not the issues here.

    The issue here is that you falsely accused me condoing unjustified Moslem violence.

    The question remains: When are you going to apologize for that outrageous insult?

    The large question being:
    When have you ever apologized for anything in your life?

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Okay, you didn't accuse me directly of condoning the violence, but rather of blaming the Pope for it. This is still inexusable and I await your apology.
    It may be hard for you to do something you rarely if ever do, but if you are a man and not a weasel, you will find a way to do it.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The rare acknowledgement is duly noted. I am actually rather surprised.

    I am in a hurry, but my position on the Pope speech is rather simple, and I thought clear already, but here in it is again in brief (see also my post on the page specifically relating to this topic this week)

    1. Benedict's speech about the rationality of Christianity contained a non-essential (to his argument) quotation of a rather scathing medieval slam against Islam. And a somewhat unfair one given the then relatively recent crusades, etc.

    2. The basic implication of that quote by the Pope -that Islam is more violent than Christianity and less rational- certainly applies to the last half century, if not to the middle ages, and I do not disagree with it all.

    3. It was nonetheless undiplomatically lame of the Pope to include this quote in his speech since it is not essential to his main point, and is anyway a counterproductive way of dealing with necessity of countering Moslem violence.

    4. Nothing the Pope said excuses, in any way, violence by Moslems as a response, and he cannot in any way be blamed for their violence. He can, however, be blamed for incompetence.
    John Paul II would never had acted so boneheadedly. The moral authority of the Pope and of the more civilized nature of at least modern Christianity versus Islam has been needlessly eroded.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I have made this point a number of times before, including in a prior post on this page ("the even bigger lie"), but the cockamamie notion that the best response to a flukey tragedy like 9-11 was to declare an oxymoronic and deceit-ridden "war on terror," was the probably the start of the slippery slope down which the America you "used to know" has been tumbling for the past five years. This cowardly absurdity was ultimately concocted out of the same Warsaw Ghetto Paranoia world view that is splattered all across the lower half of this page -and many others on HNN as well. That does not, however, explain leaders and commentators from all backgrounds and across practically the entire American political spectrum swallowing and recycling this Rovian BS over and over again. So, I would say we have to go back before 9-11 to the time when Republican "conservatives" in particular and Americans in general changed their fundamental thinking by deciding that public dumbness was to be tolerated, emulated, and embraced. And trace the downward turning point in American history from there.

    Incidentally, your above skirmish with the Gang of Three is amusing and even occasionally enlightening, but the slipperiest of the three, Mr. S. is a waste of time. In his hundreds of often snide appearances on HNN, I cannot recall him ever posting an original thread-starting comment relevant to the topic of the page. A true dialogue-killing addict. If this were in actuality a forum for serious discussions of the interplay between current events and history, he would be among the first to be told to shape up or ship out.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The demographic aspects in your linked Washington Post article are interesting, Mr. Simon, and raise important topics rarely addressed on HNN. But the article is seriously incomplete, examining fertility in some detail while ignoring immigration. The ahistorical extrapolations from that article in your post are moreover mostly dubious, and your adhominens as irrelevant as ever.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. F:

    1. Patrick's name is not Peter.

    2. He is spot on in identifying your deeply biased inconsistency.

    3. Your garbled English-translated, out of context Islamic quotes (lifted from some unidentified neo-terrorist-neo-con website in all likelihood) prove nothing, least of any link to Hitler.

    4. What you are presumably trying to say is that Islamic extremists are barbaric immoral Anti-Semites (a valid point which few on this website would deny). This does not, however, excuse recent Israeli atrocities against innocent civilians which have been well-documented by Amnesty International and scores of other agencies from the civilized world.

    5. The blind faith which you and Simon place in Israel's leaders (no matter who they are or ever might be) is not widely shared within Israel itself:


    Israelis Lose Faith in New Generation Of Leaders Doubts Heightened By War in Lebanon

    By Scott Wilson
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Sunday, September 17, 2006; Page A01

    JERUSALEM, Sept. 16 -- Frustration over the outcome of the war in Lebanon has spurred many Israelis to question the abilities of a new class of political professionals who are stepping into roles long held by the men and women who founded the Jewish state.

    The mostly East European immigrants who brought Israel into being are steadily ceding power to a more ethnically and ideologically diverse generation raised here. Now the uncertain aftermath of the first war to be managed by a prime minister from outside Israel's founding generation -- Ehud Olmert, a 60-year-old lawyer elected this year -- has sharpened debate over whether the best of the new generation are entering public life.

    "How have we left our leadership to such mediocre people?" said Eliad Shraga, 46, head of the nonpartisan Movement for Quality Government in Israel who staged a nearly three-week hunger strike outside Olmert's office after returning from reserve duty in the Lebanon war. "We are asking ourselves how this has happened to us."

    Olmert and others of his political generation embody a leadership shift that highlights the Jewish state's changing values and demographics.

    Israel's original socialist character has evolved into a more free-market economy and less centralized government. The private sector and town councils are turning into training grounds for new political leaders, who once emerged largely from the labor movement, the kibbutz collective-farm enterprise and the military. There are more former mayors than generals in Olmert's cabinet, which also includes ministers from university faculties and the secret services.

    But prospective Israeli leaders have found the diverse economy more attractive than public life, a notoriously treacherous arena given the country's cutthroat political culture. Israel's mainstream political leadership now consists mostly of pragmatic men and women who have made politics their profession -- a sharp contrast to the ideological volunteers, shaped by persecution, who founded Israel nearly six decades ago.

    Historians and sociologists describe the change as the kind of natural evolution that occurs in most countries. But it is proving more complicated here because of Israel's unique circumstances -- a state still defining its borders, in a region where many countries dispute its right to exist.

    "A nation cannot always be in a revolutionary spirit," said Ephraim Yaar, a professor of sociology at Tel Aviv University who runs the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution. "People want to live normal lives. But in some ways, Israel cannot give up this spirit because of the peculiar existential threat it faces. We are still in the process of nation-building."

    Isaac Herzog, the 46-year-old tourism minister, is one of Israel's political "princes."

    His father, Chaim Herzog, built Israel's military intelligence agency before serving as ambassador to the United Nations and the country's president. His grandfather was Israel's first chief rabbi, and one of his handwritten prayers for the new state hangs on Herzog's office wall.

    "The whole system of values has changed," he continued. "I would say our generation is more willing to compromise, less willing to see ideology as holy."

    Olmert is also a second-generation politician. Elected to parliament at the age of 28, he is Israel's third prime minister from outside the founding generation. When Sharon, 78, was felled by a stroke in January, Olmert assumed the top job and was elected on his own in March, on a platform to withdraw Israel from parts of the West Bank and define the state's final borders. The plan has been shelved since the war, and the Israeli public is waiting for another to replace it.

    Olmert's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose popularity plummeted during the war, is the daughter of a leader of Irgun, the Zionist militia that attacked British forces and civilian targets before Israel's creation.

    Both Olmert and Livni, 48, also a lawyer by training, left the Likud party last year to join Sharon's Kadima movement -- evidence, political analysts say, that the politicians now in charge are less ideological than those of the past.

    The only member of Olmert's cabinet who played a vital role in Israel's political life before the founding of the state is Shimon Peres, the 83-year-old vice prime minister and Nobel Peace laureate who left the Labor Party last year after losing his bid to lead it.

    "I think this shows we are now a more normal society, one without stars," Herzog said. "Stars just fall into the bureaucracy."

    Recent opinion polls show that a large majority of Israelis believe the previous leaders were better than the current ones, while one in five Israelis does not think any of the senior party leaders is suitable to be prime minister. When the Marker, a business supplement published by the daily newspaper Haaretz, revealed its picks for the 100 Israelis with the most influence over the economy, no name appeared in the top slot, only the words: "Leader Wanted!"

    "These new politicians don't regard themselves as mythological figures, nor does the public view them that way," said Tom Segev, a prominent Israeli historian and author of several influential books on the state's formative years. "And on the healthy side, the public no longer has giants it will blindly trust."

    Segev contends that "for most Israelis, the founding giants are more about what they symbolized than who they actually were. They were overly mythologized, and now many enjoy an image that is just not justified."

    While less trusting, the public is also more angry, particularly over a flurry of corruption scandals involving Israel's senior politicians and Olmert's refusal to allow an independent commission to examine the recent war's management.

    The military, traditionally the country's most esteemed institution, is investigating itself at a time of pervasive anger among reserve officers. Many of them have criticized military commanders and civilian leaders for providing insufficient supplies and equipment during the fight, as well as for a tentative battle plan they contend prolonged the conflict and endangered Israeli soldiers and civilians.

    Yaar's monthly "peace index" tracking poll showed a large drop last month in support for the military, along with other public institutions. Yaar noted that the marks for Olmert's government and the parliament "were already extremely low in the past and they did not have much space to shrink further."

    "A war we don't win is a war we lose," said Zeev Sternhell, who fought in four of Israel's wars and is author of "The Founding Myths of Israel." "We have never been through such a loss of faith in the political and military leadership at the same time. I'm afraid people are beginning to lose confidence in the system itself."

    Israeli politicians say the business sector could be the next source of political leadership. But sociologists argue that Israel's high-tech entrepreneurs, known for risk-taking and creativity, will likely be discouraged from entering the rough spectacle of Israeli politics.

    "Israel has been very rude to people who want to volunteer their talents to public life, and by that I mean cynicism, which just kills everything," said Erel Margalit, managing partner of Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture-capital firm with interests in high-tech businesses. "I think a few of us will jump, whether it's me or someone else. It depends on the timing and opportunity."

    Margalit, 45, is mentioned frequently as a possible candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, where he lives and supports a number of arts projects. He was raised on a kibbutz and supported Labor Party leader Amir Peretz's bid for the prime ministership in March. Peretz, now Israel's highly unpopular defense minister, once embodied the promising rise of Jewish immigrants of North African and Middle Eastern descent in a society long dominated by European Jews.

    "For a lot of us, the legacy of our grandfathers -- that we came here not just to make a profit -- is still there," Margalit said. "We don't want to be socialist, or at least not a part of the 1917 revolution. But we do want to use the same kind of sensitivities found on the kibbutz when things get difficult."

    The idealists of today are lonely.

    Daniel Kayros, 35, passed up the large-salary life of a corporate lawyer to run the fiscal litigation department of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel. He manned a tent for weeks across from Olmert's office festooned with banners declaring, "You Lost The North," a play on words meaning the government had lost both its support in the Galilee region and its direction.

    "Against the backdrop of the amazing historic story of this country, to see the crumbling of government morals is extremely discouraging," said Kayros, who immigrated to Israel from Wisconsin at 19. "To me, it is an emergency call to the flag. I only wish more of the country felt that way.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    My clear and consistent general preference on HNN has been for comment posts relevant to the topic of the page. The topic of this page is the deliberate and inadvertent conflating of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda by American policy makers and amongst the American public, for example, not the effect of fertility trends on voting results in U.S politics, or how the U.S. government migth best to deal with the remote but certainly real threat of organized foreign terrorists being one day able to possess and effectively detonate nuclear weapons against American targets. I have rarely discussed the letter issue on HNN because it has rarely been the topic of an article on HNN.

    What has come up often here are the issues (a) of Republicans versus Democrats when it comes to American foreign policy in general and dealing with Islamic extremism and terrorism in particular and (b) whether emergency "wartime" powers and practices ought be adopted in America for an indefinite period until the "war on terror" (whatever that might actually mean) is "won."

    For the record: (1) I think that using the terms of the 18th century French Assembly ("Left" and "Right") to describe alternative national and international policies today is of little value, and has been since before 9-11-01, and I adhere to most serious historians who tend to eschew such vague cliches whereever possible. (2) Republicans and Democrats have both made massive and repetitive mistakes since 9-11, but of course, one party has been dominant during this time in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government of the USA, and must bear a dominant share of the blame for the demonstrably incompetent failures of policies and practices promulgated by that government since then. (3) I do not support weakening the civil liberties features of the American Constitution except as a very last resort, and certainly not as first resort, and for the sole benefit of the most incompetent U.S. president in of most of our lifetimes, if not the most incompetent ever.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    1. Demographic aspects and how to deal with Al Qaeda et al possibly acquiring nuclear capabilities were not "points" which I "started" in this thread.

    2. The continuing widespread use of "right" and "left", usually as a lazy shorthand for more complex political distinctions within the USA, is no proof of its viability as a tool of contemporary political analysis or historical insight. Most traditional historical classifications would, for example, label the Cheney-Bush admin.'s record budget deficits as "leftist" and John Kerry's repeated campaign promise to "kill Bin Laden" as "rightist". There are dozens of additional counterexamples to the overstated and oversimplified "wide chasm" within the American electorate, which can be discussed when this subject is the topic of the page, and not merely when it is a convenient tangential topic of diversionary evasion. "Red vs blue" states would be at least somewhat less vague.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Andy, As you probably also have noted, occasional rude lapses within otherwise relevant posts are generally tolerated on HNN. Meanwhile, on your "America I used to know" wish list, you might consider including: practicing Christian values such as the Golden Rule, rather than merely hypocritically mouthing them.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon: That is an excellent link you included your post. I have been following HNN for five years and the fact that I have seen nothing like this article here (I don't think there have been more than a a very few articles even mentioning Barak) but weekly pieces by Pipes and Klinghoffer speaks volumes.

    Friedman: Define "Eurobabble" and cite and sources using the Chicago Manual of Style or any other generally accepted reference book employed by serious historians. List professors of history at accredited universities using that term and cite (using the above methods) where such usage occurred. Or cease your incessant crybabying about how I put you down, and your kindergarten complaints that I don't read your favorite books.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, you cut and pasted without citation. For roughly the 1300th time on HNN. There are good reasons why historians are not allowed professionally do ever do this, and why even freshman history students are at serious risk of expulsion from classes, for plaigarism, when they do it. Among those reasons is that by failing to list the origin, the source, or the context of the quote, the quoter is likely to be misunderstood.

    I am not a Catholic, but for the sake of world civilization, I am certainly glad that you are not Pope.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    It has nothing to do with Democrats, Republicans, or the left of right side of the assembly under the French Revolution. And you might learn what the Golden Rule is.

    Or forget the Bible, disown it or excoriate it you prefer, and try instead simply listening to common sense:

    If you don't want to be insulted on HNN, don't insult.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I disagree with Mr. Ebbitt's call for no limits on what is posted on the comment boards, but I respect his reasons for that call, and his atypical consistent openmindness in his posts on HNN.

    Mr. Ebbitt does not have an axe to grind in favor of a particular political party or the more incompetent elements of a particular foreign country. This sets him starkly apart from his chief critics on these pages who are at least as "offensive and exhaustive" as he is. And far less entertaining.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Crocker. Thanks for your thoughtful reply but I respectfully disagree.

    A time comes when labels are so obsolete as to be counterproductive even as convenient shorthand. I think that time has come with "left" and "right". Your Iraq example is a case in point. Take just one simple example thereof. The policy of the George W. Bush administration on Iraq since 2002 is almost 180 degrees opposite, in most key respects, of the policy of the George H.W. Bush administration. The prior admin. avoided doing what the current one has done and largely in order to avoid the pitfalls into which that current one has hurled itself and America. Do you really believe that it makes any sense to talk about a Left vs Right "chasm" between the policies of father and son here?

    I can understand why a website driven by sensationalism and stoked-up controversy might prefer well-known terms of divisiveness, but that does not mean serious thinkers need follow.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, You lack a fundamental understanding of basic citation practice amongst historians. You are not, for example, the keeper of the Hamas Covenant. If you want to be taken seriously and not regarded as an AIPAC wannabe lackey Islamophobe, you need to tell your small circle of reader WHERE YOU GET YOUR QUOTES.

    NAME the website, and if you want to be fully kosher, the date you accessed, or the page number, author's name, title, publisher and publication date of the book. For further details, stop whining like a spoiled 5 year that I don't read your favorite books, and go instead to your local library and look up the "Chicago Manual of Style." No real historian including the few you have read writes today with adhering to some version of that "bible" of the trade.

    Before you start bawling that nobody else has to follow scholarly standards in citing their sources on these comment pages, please "NOTE" that nobody else comes remotely close to plastering as many claims and quotation from unknown or extremley biased websites as you do.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Patrick, Things are even worse than your appropriately rather sombre description implies. Not only has the Cheney administration been massively incompetent, as you accurately note, it KNEW all along that it was following a wild and reckless foreign policy after 9-11, by failing to heed the advice of experts from within its own ranks, and by recklessly disregarding the "collateral damage" to America's long term world-wide position. The first thing W did after 9-11 was to stumble into the planning room, mumbling about Saddam (who as any knowledgeable person at the time could have told him had nothing to do with the attacks on WTC and Pentagon). His first major public comment about Al Qaeda's lucky (for them) strike on 9-11 was how he was going to make this "war on terrorism" (an asinine contradiction in terms) the centerpiece of his administration.

    W and his minders knew that their chickenhawk "war" was playing into Al Qaeda's hands. They didn't care because they saw a chance to pretend to be tough, and to score electoral victories against the spineless Democrats, who indeed (in great numbers) have rotely repeated their Cheney-Rove Orwellian rhetoric, rubberstamped their blunderous folly in Iraq, failed to come up with credible alternatives, and who choked badly in the 2004 elections. W doesn't really care now. He got in 2004 the electoral legitimacy he lacked in 2000. And, ultimately, he does not give a damn about America.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You may have "read" the Pope's speech, Friedman, but you evidently failed to understand it.

    Here it is, courtesy of Google (hope the link works, since on HNN they often don't):


    His Very Fallible Holy Father is NOT "stating" any "Muslim position", "dominant" or otherwise.

    The sum total of what he said is on Islam (extracted from the link above) is here:

    I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

    In the seventh conversation (*4V8,>4H - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (F×< 8`(T) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".
    The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    e.g. WITHOUT adhering
    instead of
    with adhering

    in the post immediately above

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    In reply to your "questions," Mr, Heuisler, Bush's motive for bumbling into Iraq in 2002-03 was to seek a mantle of "war presidency" in order to legitimize his unelected presidency, and to win election in 2004. Killing terrorists (and innocent civilians in much larger numbers) is, as Mr. Crocker points out, and as you d--d well know, self-defeating, if more new terrorists are created in the process. As has undeniably happened thanks to the Cheney-Bush administration's blunders, according to sensible and informed observers from the "conservative" Economist to the "liberal" New York Times.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "When we talk about the Left or Right in the context of these discussions I'm sure you understand to whom we are refering."

    This discussion is now wildly off topic, John, but not off one of the most glaring deficiencies (in my view) of the overall website.

    Most of the time here, "Left" and "Right" are not used primarily to refer to groups of people (e.g. as rough synonyms for most Democrats outside of the pre Civil Rights South, or most Republicans outside of New England). They are mostly used, pejoratively and stereotypically, to confer upon some other poster, guilt by association with a set of distateful or otherwise objectionable ideas, ideals or practices. But, those unidentified ideas and ideals, if probed for and revealed, tend to not fit very well into the Left and Right boxes so religiously adhered to.

    "Right" means right to life, except for Iraqi civilians. Left means open to change, but not to changing affirmative action programs on college campuses. Right means conservative, but not conserving farm land threatened with urban sprawl. Left means John Kerry opposing the first "conservative" (in your proposed dichotomy) Gulf War, but voting for the second "neo-con" war. So neo-cons are in the middle between left and right? So, therefore, aggressive wars of prevention in defiance of UN rules and procedures are more moderate and middle of the road and less radical than wars to reverse agression, prosecuted under UN auspices and in accordance with the UN charter? The tangled web of contradictions and confusions here is endless.

    Thus, I conclude: why not drop the lazy, archaic and inherently confusing labels, mostly used for adhominen name-calling anyway, and encourage more specific, consistent, transparent and accurate dichotomies and classifications?

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    If the Hamas covenant and your quotes from it are so "well known" Mr, F., why do you waste the time of all of us telling us what we already know?

    You do not need to learn basic freshman college writing skills in order to make me or anyone else happy. We could not care less how you waste your time. You need to do it so that you can stop crying about being shown up as an ignoramous. And be taken seriously, as you clearly do desire.

    I rather doubt, meanwhile, that there is one definitive translation of one indivisible and never-changing Hamas convenant. Your undeniable and significant, albeit utterly unoriginal and repeated ad nauseum, larger point about Hamas being anti-Semitic hardly proves what you think it does: that the existence of the state of Israel is threatened by Hamas. If Israel disappears it will more likely be because of factors internal to it. Such as losing the will to fight due to the guilty conscience of acting too much like the those whose genocide was the key impetus for the creation of the state in the first place. As a purely hypothetical, but unlike your blind nihilistic fears, concrete possible future scenario.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The issue of left-right vocabulary was clearly "labelled" as my own personal opinion at the outset here. I do think it would improve the quality of the discussions on this website to try to rely less upon such overused stereotypes. But, nobody is calling for any "mandated rules" other than those already stated by HNN itself, and even those are largely honored in the breach anyway.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Amitz is indeed out to his typical paranoid lunch, here, Mr. Baker.

    But, you did make more than a couple of errors in your rather rambling original post. I fail to see, for example, how the chaos produced by the arrogant, cowardly, bungling American "Cakewalkers" in Iraq (Rummy,Wolfie, etc), the resulting emasculation of American power and influence in the region, and the according unbridled ability of Iran to drive at full speed toward nuclear weaponry (despite the many lies, and that IS the correct term in this instance, to the contrary) constitute any kind of "victory" for anyone except the most foul criminals of the Al Qaeda type (and, of course, the electoral victory scored by the Cheney administration in 2004, at the expense of America and the world's future security).

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    In other words "Eurobabble" is a meaningless ignorance-based adhominem, as I suspected.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    He wanted to get in a dig against Islam,
    not to "state the Muslim position."
    I don't disagree with his critique of Islam but is not the Pope's job to bash other religions. It was a stupid move, as he surely now realizes.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    No matter how the events are interpreted or the motives of the various criminals and misrulers weighed, I cannot possibly see how the GENERAL POPULACE of Israel, America, Iraq, Iran, or ANY other country, has "won", "gained", "achieved" or "attained" ANYTHING positive or valuable from either Al Qaeda's so-called "war" against western civilization or the Cheney administration's so-called "war on terrorism."

    Anyone who thinks otherwise, it seems to me, has to be either mistaken, misguided, confused, deluded, or uninformed. Or a liar. Or any or all of the above.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Under a state of ingrained and indoctrinated paranoia, hyperbole becomes normality. HNN reeks of it.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "What would you have the US do?"

    Not heed dupes like Heuisler who support traitors like Cheney who weaken America's national security by playing into Al Qaeda's hands, and bungling nearly every suppposed effort at containment of terrorism.

    LaRouche is a convicted criminal and also a neo-fascist. I have never supported him in any way.

    The mainland U.S. was not attacked for 187 years before 9-11. The fact that it has not been attacked for 5 years since 9-11 proves nothing except the gullibility of the those falling for this Rovian bull.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Maybe YOU were not "mistaken, misguided, confused, deluded, or uninformed". The other possibility included in my list is the more likely classification.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You might have added that having cried wolf again and again over Iraq, Cheney et al have made it much harder, for years to come, to recruit new volunteers for the American armed forces which will be needed to help defend our country against the INCREASED long term threats wrought by the chickenhawks' disastrous foreign policies.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You write, 'Iraq is linked to terrorism.' among a few other lies you spill but, one at a time.

    Here is an article to update you just in case you missed it or have been unconscious for the past (72) hours.


    There is NO LINK between Iraq and terrorism. Spend $0.50 per day to by a newspaper to familiarize yourself with it contents. It will be money well spent.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Alex: The Jews are a nation and Israel is a state although it is not a religious state except that the dominant group Jews practice a religion called Judaism.

    Contestant Patrick: What is a theocracy.

    Alex: Correct, If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it's a duck unless, of course it's a Canadian Christian goose.

    Contestant Patrick; Duck, duck, goose!

    -- Cue canned laughter --

    Israel is a nation for Jews. Jews are a religious entity. Jews are a distinct race. The Knesset is a political body that makes decisions based solely on the will of the Jewish nation, religion and race so, technically it is no different than Iran. Iran being Iranian, Moslem and Persian in compare respectively, to Israel. Both are theocracies.

    The only difference is that Israel camouflages it's religious dictates/ intentions/ edicts/ policy decisions under the cover of democracy and token secularism yet, just one look at the nations flag 'the Star of David' or the prayer tallit worn into battle by the IDF or the rhetoric by the 'Big Three' here at HNN and it is clear as to what Israel really is. A theocratic state.

    "Its (Israel) system of laws is determined by the Torah, a religious document not a secular one; it denies recognition of the Palestinian minority despite UN Resolution 181 calling for such recognition; it defies UN Resolutions requiring it to accept return of the indigenous Palestinians from the refugee camps to their rightful homes taken from them in 1948 or 1967 but allows Jews from Russia and other lands to immigrate and become citizens solely because of their religion, making Israel a de facto theocracy (similar, ironically, to an Islamic democracy!); and it keeps on the books more than 20 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority (Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel)."-- William A. Cook




    What say you, N.?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Talk about hijacking a thread.

    The title of the essay is "Oliver Stone, 9/11, and the Big Lie" not "Hatikva, Play It Again". That was so last week. We're back to the subject of the Iraq War were this thread belongs not Israel's embarrassing defeat in Lebanon and disintegration of her once vaunted Army at the hands of a rag tag pack of cave dwellers.


    Then we'll have to read Yehudi pout as to why's everybody 'picking on me' or 'leave us alone' because I'm Jewish when the tables are turned against him for his pro-Israel ranting. Save you bogus unsubstantiated comments against the US and your pipe dreams of our complicity in aiding the German Holocaust. If it wasn't for the US defeating Germany and Japan at the cost of 407,300 of our sons and liberating the death camps the likelihood that you'd be here today are slim to none. Here's a video for you to chew on.


    Then we'll have to read Simon's claim that the comment, "The trouble with your paranoia is that it eventually becomes self-fulfilling" as being an ad hominem attack instead of a reality of life. If you wish for it hard enough you'll get it. You know, like praying. How did Israel obtain her nuclear deterrent that they never seem to admit as even having let alone explain how they acquired it especially, their espionage activity against the US? Here's your gift to think about.



    Then finally, N. will introduce a quote from a true MASS MURDERER the likes of Henry Kissinger. A criminal in the annals of human history easily on par with Heinrich Himmler as if this killers words justify the butchery of Arab women and children as being fully acceptable. Here's your gift on your favorite sponsor for world wide extermination of select undesirables. This time I've selected East Timor but, name any continent of your choosing and I'll provide the details of the good doctors handiwork.


    So the three of you won't cry or waste any valuable bandwidth yes, this is a post loaded with ad hominem attacks. Too bad, write a complaint to HNN.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    "The evolution of Japanese religious attitudes mirrors to a great extent the changes in relations between the religious institutions and the state. Between the Meiji era and today these changes have been considerable, particularly since the Japanese military defeat. Before American occupation, the hegemony of state religion (State Shintoism) paradoxically alienated people from religious organizations. After the dismantling of Japanese "theocracy" and the separation of the state from the church, Japanese people rediscovered religion in the social and private sphere. Put another way, Japanese citizens rediscovered their gods thanks to the divorce of state and religion." -- Yuki Shiose

    Don't call out for help. The only thing I find more disgusting than a coward is a coward who cries like a little girlie man for help. The 'Israeli Uber Alles' are too busy on Furnish's nonsensical post to save your sorry butt so, toughen up and defend your own assertions you damn Sissy Mary.

    I never stated that modern Japan was a present day theocracy. What I am stating is that your analogy sucks and is a half-baked attempt to divert the issue of Israel's theocratic tendencies/influences in government policy/ military strategic decision making and societal structure. Since you provided no timeframe or historic background nor references to this weak crackpot analogy you need to be educated that when you make an asinine statement against a tenacious adversary be prepared to defend it, in full.

    The fact that a strong theocratic thread exists in Japanese life today did not confuse me in the least. That this seething foment boils to the top of a highly regimented Japanese society is seen periodically in the actions of a group like Aum Shinrikyo led by Shoko Asahara or Prime Minister visits to the Yasukuni War Shrine that sends Chinese and Korean police scurrying to don riot gear while their governments rail, all for not, against Japan's war crime past and rearmament future.

    Since it's re-inception Israel has never been smashed into oblivion like Japan nor lost 100,000 civilians in one night's worth of fire bombing. Israel was never forced to surrender unconditionally. Israel was never fully occupied by a victor. Israel never had it's government, social, educational and religious institutions and traditions destroyed and replaced by a foreign victor. Israel and Japan are as different as Israel and Iran are similar.

    When you come to the realization that you are but a mere worshipper blinded by the habitude of Israel's theocratic ray without so much as even realizing your preoccupation then you'll get the message of this little debating exercise.

    The next sound you will hear is Mr. Simon scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Four sources, four easily refuted points of contention. References from Frontpage Magazine are too bogus to even waste time on but, fabrications must not go unchallenged and should be unacceptable at this site.

    The (12) Hours Saddam Tapes; These tapes were first exposed in January 2006. Where are they now? Where is the remaining 3000 hours? Why isn't the Bush's exploiting these tapes for political gain to support their failed Iraq War efforts like they do the 9/11 deaths or Usama bin Laden when they conveniently break him out of hibernation for electioneering? Why are these tapes not being used in Saddam's show trial?

    The tapes come from a James Loftus a noted gadfly, exaggerator and fraud. The first (12) hours were mistranslated enough to render them them unbelievable and useless. The Duelfer Report, the definitive case outlining Iraq's WMD program or lack thereof, does not support the tapes findings. Ask Heuisler to refute this report and watch him squirm.


    As for bin Laden and Saddam friendship see here.


    or Atta in Prague see here.


    Tawfik Hamid; The rights poor xerox of the lefts Juan Cole. Neither a Robert Parry or a Robert Fisk nor a Patrick Cockburn. A nonentity with an Arab surname who wrote a book. Join the club.

    Jack Shaw; Government crony, swindler and war profiteer who arranged Iraq no-bid reconstruction contracts for friends at Halliburton among others. Not exactly a trustworthy source.

    The final reference to the impeached Indonesian President Gus Dur (Dr Abdurrahman Wahidis) is somewhat more reasonable only for his weak opposition to Suharto but, is biased and nothing to lose 2,680 of our kids over based solely on his word.


    Notice that in just a scant 48 hours we've added (8) to this proud total? This is the Republican definition of "we're winning". Along with (62) bodies found shot in the head in Gaghdad today to add to the 3,438 Iraq civilians killed in July and while the August figures were skewed/reclassified the figures in the city morgue alone topped 1,500 for the month.

    Here is what "we're winning' really looks like to a sane person.


    It is so bad now the Pentagon wants to build a security moat around the perimeter of Baghdad. The Crusades and moats go together like well, Saddam and his gasoline filled moats or George W. Bush reading ' My Pet Moat' as his Saudi business partners attacked New York on 9/11. How ironically pathetic.

    Only a loony tune like Uncle Bill would see this effort as successful but, with each passing day his evidence is being shredded and rewritten. His kind is also going the way of the dinosaur.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Whether you're commenting to Peter Clarke or St. Peter you quoted Kissinger, "We are witnessing a carefully conceived assault, not isolated terrorist attacks, on the international system of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity."

    Your idle might very well have been talking about Israel's criminal murder of Lebanese civilians. A well conceived assault on a sovereign nation in the manner of true terrorists to kill innocents.

    You quote the world's greatest living MASS MURDERER to support your position. A man of your wherewithal should be able to defend your stance without honey-dipping into the sewer of human degradation.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Your write, "why would Iran be "trying so hard to acquire nuclear weapons capability?" then answer your own question "deterrence' albeit, an incomplete answer.

    Deterrence against whom? The US? Doubtful. Very doubtful.

    Israel maybe? If so, then answer the question Prince. Does Israel have nuclear weapons? If yes, how did they acquire them?

    I am more of a Super Hero for the ants or at least the poor/ downtrodden and have my cape with tights always at the ready.

    As to your claim that I am a bigot. You're correct, I am. Bigoted against sly dogs who attempt to game others to cover for murdering criminals & thieves, their inhumane treatment and unethical behavior to pass off as the acts of civility, grace and acceptable decorum.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You know me better than that. My baseball card collection of World's Greatest Sinners include a team photo of the Sudanese lineup with Turabi batting lead off and Bashir hitting clean-up.

    Kissinger could be their Hall Of Shame manager as these two protégé's need some more batting practice work to hit 2.5M like Hank did in Vietnam during the 68-75 seasons. Not even considering what he did as MVP in the playoffs in Cambodia and Laos nor those away games in South America during winter ball.

    The Sudanese pair could learn a lot from the likes of this brutal being HK. Not only in the fine art of mass extermination without getting one's hands dirty (the coward technique) but, more importantly how to avoid criminal prosecution (the snake maneuver). Then to parlay the whole killing floor supervisor's job description under the guise of statesman especially, if one is a well hung ladies man to boot in garnering millions in corporate largess and war profits well, your two minor leaguers from the Junior Circuit pale in comparison.

    But, you keep on believing as you do and break out those quotes from the distinguished Harvard professor. They're a drop dead hilarious.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Then answer the question. Does she or doesn't she have the bomb?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Where has my America gone?

    The America that was the model of justice in the world, not tyranny.

    The America that championed human rights, not violated them.

    The America that opposed torture, not the leading practitioner of torture.

    The America that fought in defense of freedom, not the one that openly engages in preemptive warfare.

    The America that respected my fellow citizens, not the one to spy on them.

    The America that lived up to the letter of the Geneva Conventions, not the gross violator of human civility and common decency.

    The America that respected and defended the greatest document ever produced by man, the US Constitution, not the one who wipes it's ass with the printed parchment.

    The America of truly great leaders, not the purveyors of fear.

    In the five years since September 11th has anyone seen my America?

    Please return her to me as I miss her all so much.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    At least you're more of a man, an honest one at that, than the slippery Mr. Simon to admit to Israel's nuclear capability.

    We know as fact from the jailed Mordechai Vanunu that by 1986 Israel had at a minimum 100 nuclear warheads. This was reconfirmed by Shimon Peres in 2001 as a saber rattle warning to the Arab mob. In essence he said, 'you've not seen anything yet, either suffer and submit to our minor mistreatments without resistance or you could be incinerated next.' How do you like them blintzes?



    We may find out very shortly if Israel's capability is fact or fiction as that nasty mean-spirited Mr. Krauthammer was in rare form this morning railing for a military strike against Iran.

    It seems that Iran is not the only inhabitants of planet doom to advocate global destruction. By what name does Israel call their equivalent of the legendary 12th Iman?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Why do you hate America?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    I am drop dead serious or I would not bother posting here. Other posters are a welcome relief only because they don't take you to task. My posts seem frivolous to a twisting spineless worm and Zionist racist like you. Your gutless non-answers prove just how flimsy your line of rationale is.

    Look at the crap you write, "all for constructive change in Iran". When is Israel going to make constructive changes to it's government policy? The one that steals land, bulldozes residential homes of defenseless/innocent Arabs, fires mortar shells onto recreational beaches to incite violence, indiscriminately murders Arab women and children and enforces apartheid against dark skinned Arabs.

    Answer the questions and stop skirting the issue you buck passing blame ridden apologist. Is Israel a nuclear power or is she not?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    N. & E.,

    "I think Jews, on average, or more secular than most other discernible groups on Earth."

    Provide hard data.

    "I do not see Israel as being more religious as a nation than Finland or Denmark, which have officially established religions."


    "a notion NO political scientist would EVER take seriously"

    Oh, really. Why is that? Maybe, because he/she would be censored or it is a career killer or the ADF would be at the door with note from Rabbi Mullah or that many political scientists of fame are Jewish.

    "because it exemplifies the Jewish nation is as ludicrous as maintaining that Japan is a Shinto theocracy because that is the religion of Japanese people."

    Please substantiated/ objective argument only.

    The arguments as you two have presented against Israel as theocracy is extremely weak, lacks any sort of hard data and is purely subjective.

    Please try again class or you will marked as incomplete.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You really disappoint me. I always pictured that of the 'Big Three' Simon to be the cowardly craven apologist who hides behind both you and Yehudi. The latter being the muscle and you the voice of highly developed reason. I'll now have to re-access my assumptions.

    If Vanunu did not share state secrets why was he sentenced to (18) years in prison? Israel has a history of leniency for it's many cranks and dismiss most as being mentally unstable but, not Venunu.



    Then finally, you bring up the circular logic defense which opens to the one question to which none of the 'Big Three' will ever address head-on when you write. "The Israelis would not allow a religious fanatic - convert to a Christian religious sect - near a nuclear program." What are the Jews a religion, a race or a nation?

    If Israel is a secular state as it proclaims and promotes itself to the world as such, why is this even at issue? What would Venunu's religious conviction/conversion have to do with his turning states secrets?

    For someone that you disbelieve for their fantastic story or as not making any sense Venunu sure was detailed and did not miss a trick in any of his statements or sworn testimony. If so, prove that any of what Venunu states is false. You'll have your work cut out for you on this question. Have at it.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    The title is military jargon for Rumsfeld and Cheney's dissimulation in the run up to the Iraq War.

    Here's another $0.50 cents to buy you today's newspaper so that you can finally wake-up to come over from the 'dark side' and join us within the reality based community. It is that important as your continued blind support for this illegal war has cost us 2,667 of our finest sons and daughters. How many more of our kids are you willing to sacrifice on the alter of Bush?


    By the way, you now owe me a $1.00

    Before this week is over you'll be down at least a fiver unless, of course, you change your evil ways and if you do, we'll call it even.

    PS. Chris Hitchens, the former Trotskyist, is quite open about both his chain smoking and dependence on alcohol. Scotch, preferably Johnny Walker black label.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    In the sage words of Mr. Clarke, "what the heck are you mumbling about?"

    Your 'oven' rant is not even worth addressing any longer. Just more of your personal persecution complex claptrap on display with a large dose of your own peculiar paranoia of mass destroyia.

    That Loftus is a very good Catholic whatever, the hell that means or a Shaolin Monk who can kick a fly to death off the kitchen ceiling has absolutely nothing to do with his role in presenting the miraculously found Saddam tapes. If you are going to debate this issue then present hard evidence not subjective mindless banter.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Are you still with us? For a minute there I thought you had gone the way of the Gipper. Who by the way is less stiff now than when he occupied the Oval Office. Whew! What a relief that you're still kicking.

    No, my perceptions are not courtesy of the DNC as I was light years in front of these pussy whipped losers in calling out Republican malfeasance as my posting history here can surely attest.

    Once again here's a $0.50 half-dollar to buy a newspaper. Your absence here may finally prove me wrong for the first time ever at HNN as I stated you'd be down a five spot by weeks end. You're now only out a $1.50 but, the day is young.

    Things are now so bad thanks to the sad-sack Republican's, the bulk of whom never fought in, let alone won a war, that the US is now planning to build (60) some odd moats with (28) checkpoints around the city of Baghdad to quell the violent tendencies of the 7M inhabitants. As if our own troops are the guardians of benevolence.


    This war is so far gone that this is the strategy we have reverted to or better yet, digressed.
    The Fallujah treatment for the capital. How nice. We are doing such a smashing job bringing freedom, liberty and democracy to the sand ticks of the Euphrates. As you know, we need to destroy Baghdad so that we can save it. If it wasn't so sad, it would be pathetic. With gas prices coming down we should be able to fill the moats Saddam style more cheaply than gassing up the Hummer H2. You know especially, with the oil that was to be pumped to pay for this misadventure. $480 billion is a bargain don't you agree? Maybe, Pope Panzerfaust will be available to christen the effort in the name Jihad... 'er a Crusade. I get those terms so confused.

    Time to withdrawal from this quagmire is long over due. We owe the Iraqi's nothing especially. a Dungeons & Dragon's moat and our continued slaughter of these innocent peoples is a justifiable crime against humanity that will be settled when Bush is impeached and shipped to the Hague for trial. If Spandau is still closed I understand that Elba is a great place for exiled tin pot dictators.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You is what you is. A cow don't make ham so, get over it and get over yourself.

    You're right parallels between Israel and Iran do not exist. Iran doesn't go about killing poor slobs indiscriminately or building zoo fences nor starving out peoples whose lands they stole/ dispossessed/ refuse aid to.

    Unfortunately, there's numerous similarities. Both Israel and Iran suffer under crack pot leadership as Olmert and Ahmadinejad are one in the same who's hate filled rhetoric dominate the dialogue, promote advantageous machinations against the US and seek the destruction of the other. Maybe, you can explain how they differ?

    Next. where is your proof that Iran seeks nuclear weapons. You claim that you haven't a clue as to Israel's capability so what makes you the Iranian expert? Oh, yeah that's right your hypocritical nature took over in an out of body possession to allow you to look down from the heavens upon the works at Bushehr. Start looking at Google Earth KenGrok maybe, you'll find something for real.

    Then not to switch gears but, give us your beliefs on the death penalty and how it is equitably administered by the US Justice System. It is easy to attack my stand when you provide none on your own and STOP hiding behind other posters as Professor Eckstein is not an authority on anything let alone the administration of sodium thiopental-pancuronium-potassium chloride cocktails.

    And as your tag team partner asserts below, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen...

    ... no wait on second thought, stick around, as is your case only a clean crying towel will be needed to keep you in the game.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    I did not make the initial equivalence between a religious fanatic convert to a religious sect. Mr. Friedman did. Learn to read Evelyn Woodhead.

    I also don't recall that the Branch Davidians built an H-Bomb to test on the population of Waco, TX. Maybe, that's is what put Janet Reno's undies in a knot. It might have been better if we just captured Koresh and strung him up from a crane in the town square over Nacodoches way. We could've got supplies there too.

    You write, "the brain is not a muscle" and that "nor does it preclude taking a position. Just not an all or nothing position." How true, as demonstrated by your numerous posts loaded with flip-flopping, hypocrisy and mindless clutter. Start flexing your brain bone and maybe you'll find some convictions.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Sorry N., I was here... HNN hurts my brain...


    Your question in no way defines racism as I understand it especially, if Israel's action are considered by you as non-racist.

    If looked at in another way the question as posed is akin to asserting that Black Americans can never be racist because they have been discriminated against.

    If Israel's actions are viewed equally with those of the PA/Hamas then both parties are guilty of racism. If the actions of Israel are not put in this context then no racism exists by either party. All's fair in love and war.

    What you are attempting is to peg my beliefs to that which favors one group, in this case the Arab, over another as being superior to that group, the Jew which, it clearly is not.

    rac?ism –noun
    1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
    4. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    Is it really racism or the acts of self preservation or war or revenge for the usurpation and annexation of lands previously held by Arabs for 1,750 years and settled by force beginning in the 1880's without agreement or fair retribution by outsiders regardless of race or religious affiliation.

    Secondly, Jew and Arab both descendants of Abraham's loins are of the same genetic stock. How can the same race be racist against their own brother?

    Do not confuse racism with preservation or infighting between genetic inbreds.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Stop with the pity poor me routine while dishing out the unfunny low blows as you'll never make it on the Borscht Belt Circuit and wring out your crying towel. If not, I'll gladly pitch in to buy you a sponge and bucket. A sure upgrade as your tears continue to turn from droplets to what has now become a pouring stream.

    Prove that Iran seeks a nuclear weapons capability?

    You sure do know allot about Iran yet, feint knowledge of the Israeli bomb or their atrocious acts. Drop the partisanship and start dealing in facts. This is a site for historic scholarship is it not?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You're still not getting the point. Whether the man is from Iran or the USA or Israel the DNA is the same and mankind is no further removed from the plains of Africa 7M BC ago to the streets of Tehran or Washington or Tel Aviv 2006.

    Each nation has great achievements to go along with disgusting acts of depravity. Mankind has no further advanced from the savagery of history to any enlightenment of note. We are but a catastrophe away from reverting, quite quickly, to the base animal we are.

    Imagine if, you will, the world wide loss of electricity. What, if any havoc would this cause? Would man show a collective response to assist all others in transition back to torches and candles or would chaos ensue? Would nations matter or religions or race or would individual survival take precedence?

    Your continued support biased of Israel is no better than if a native Iranian was here blogging to diehard defend his land/culture. We are all the same, no different than the next guy. Until we make this leap we will continue to war and hate and war and hate forever and ever.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Yes. What you write is unfortunately true on many levels from the failures of Civil Rights and white flight to the School Of The America's at Fort Benning, GA sponsored death squad lessons like those learned and executed by graduates from Guatemala to the atrocities in South East Asia enabled/abetted by Dr. Kissinger to J. Edgar Hoover's penchant for wearing dresses and chasing Clyde Tolson to an inequitable justice system and overflowing prison population that makes Amnesty International's head spin.

    However, the US Constitution is an idea that if nurtured, tended, defended and allowed to flourish will crowd out all weeds to form the most beautiful of flowers ever produced. It is a work in progress that produces imperfect actions and less than desirable results but, it must never be allowed to fall into disrepair or left to die.

    Personally, Bombay Blue Sapphire/ tonic/ lime is my preferred choice.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Are you looking for my answer or the answer you only want to hear?

    Until, Israeli policy is defined as racist or not and whether, it is or is not I cannot say. then the policy of the PA/Hamas will be undefined as well.

    Racism cannot exist from only one side of the tracks. It is strictly a two way phenomenon that requires more than one player to initiate.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You wrote, "There you go again, Ebbitt. Attempting to draw equivalence between a "religious _fanatic_," a "convert to a...religious _sect_," and its supposed congruity to relatively secular statehood or freedom of religious conviction."

    I responded that, "I did not make the initial equivalence between a religious fanatic convert to a religious sect. Mr. Friedman did." However, please accept my sincerest apologies for the Evelyn Wood speed reading crack now that I realize you are dyslexic. You poor thing.

    With regards to Vanunu Mr. Friedman wrote, "I, for one, never believed his story on face value as it makes no sense. The Israelis would not allow a religious fanatic - convert to a Christian religious sect - near a nuclear program. So, I think the idea that the story is a mere plant is a likelihood."

    Please explain, if you possibly can considering my new found awareness of your extremely limited mental capacity, how I initiated this point of discussion?

    Hint: If you are not math challenged as well, look at the numeric progression of the posts as #97369 is followed by #97374. Capisci?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Murder or even killing in self defense is anything but, trivial. We won't even go into the domicile bulldozing acts of barbarism.

    If names were removed from each of these posts of all the posters including this 'Big Jerk' at this end of the wire you, of all of us, I would have never imagined to be the one who penned the above post.

    Think about what you are saying !!!

    On the one hand you endorse killing. On the other hand you condemn killing. The only criteria for you is who is doing the killing.

    Your DNA is no different from the Cro-Magnon's from which we evolved 7,000,000 BC.

    How on God's green earth will man ever evolve from the fire worshipping, meat tearing, drum dancing primitive who ran through the brush in animal skins beating out the brains of tribal rivals?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Snap out of it. Calling posters whom you disagree "wacko', 'joke', 'punk' or 'liar" is not an 'exchange of ideas to further understanding'. Although, I am thoroughly unfamiliar and can only imagine the pressure you must feel being so wrong, so often please, try to maintain what little shred of dignity and respect that you may have remaining from fellow posters at this site.

    The fact that you even attempt to defend Hitchens sobriety, a man who is diseased from a raging alcohol habit he freely admits to, while foregoing the dissimulation of both Rumsfeld and Cheney prior to the Iraq War proves just how weak your case has now become. As history unfolds the real truths are being made evident so, why not join in the demand for an immediate change in the Bush Administration's strategy before we suffer any further embarrassments as a people and a nation?

    The Iraq War is a mistake nonpareil in the annals of military history only to be nearly surpassed by Rumsfeld's absolute dismal failure in Afghanistan. The mismanaged events and gross incompetence displayed at the Battle of Tora Bora was more than reason enough to sack the Secretary of Defense. Usama bin Laden and his henchman Ayman al-Zawahri are now free to threaten the West under the terms of surrender by our ally Pakistan. Thanks to George W. Bush, al Qaeda has now obtained it's prime objective in their war against the US, their very own country, Warziristan.

    The Afghan War, which should have been our foremost military objective in the aftermath of the 9/11 Attacks, that was left to fester by George W. Bush to pursue his vanity war in Iraq, has reemerged with a vengeance under the unchecked/determined Taliban. George W. Bush who refuses to read, lacks perception of a qualified world view outside his narrow scope of interest and lacks all knowledge of history is doomed/determined to repeat the actions of both the British and Russians.

    By allowing Rumsfeld to operate virtually unopposed by the Pentagon then, take his eye off the ball to focus on the wrong prize, Usama bin Laden skillfully outmaneuvered/outfoxed his feebleminded adversary and summarily laid waste to a spineless quarry defeating the Pak regulars to secure a 4,473 sq/mi. free state from which to recruit/ harbor/ train thousands of fighters and launch attacks throughout the breadth of Afghanistan's eastern flanks from the advantageous position of the high ground sheltered/protected by the world's most rugged mountains.



    The militarily inept Bush Administration who's complete/undeniable incompetence and failings that you readily blame on those of us you perceive as being leftists or liberals is showing it's true mettle with this current putrid performance. The Administration that you so vehemently defend is on the verge of losing a war on two fronts which would be unprecedented in the annals of US history.

    In future, if you plan on going postal have the decency and go elsewhere to have your meltdown. This site is for serious scholarship only not, mental breakdowns/defensive ranting by Bush cultists.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    The days of fear coupled with the nexus of forced internment and beaten silence will soon be driven upon us.

    The America of the Mahan's lockstep, jackboot and delivered at the tip of a bayonet to anyone who dares disagree.

    The poor and those of color hastened to a world of chattel slavery or abject poverty under the guise of a new economy so full in despair that death inflicted by the New State Order will be as welcome as a rare cool breeze of a mid-summers heat wave.

    The dreams of the Founders pushed aside with such ease by the momentum of weight thrust forward by a blind collective mass who is so pained by the daunting task of having to think for themselves because they suffocate under the unfathomable depths of illiteracy unable to read or write nor perform rudimentary math.

    The Constitution of these same Founders shredded by the corporatists, opportunist, charlatans and religious zealots who use the ploy of fear and concocted false flag events to offer imaginary security in a world gone mad as created solely for this purpose by these un-American villains.

    The last $0.50 in my well worn pocket to spot the asshole who wrote the above post as he refuses to read, refuses to believe and most sadly of all, refuses to think for himself.


    The microwave weapon will be used against the poster above as freely as against a free thinker such as I, without discrimination nor so much care as afforded anyone who is not marked by this beast.

    God Bless America and may she rest in peace for all eternity.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Race has everything to do with your initial question. Why is the act even called racism? Why not religious-ism or nation-ism or some other well defined nomenclature? It is called racism because it is a specific act(s) against a select individual racial group.

    You have now eliminated race from the equation and related question of are Jews a race, religion or nation.

    With that distinction solidified/ race off the board, what are the Jews within, the two remaining definitions, a religion or a nation?

    Primarily, this determination is of utmost importance as it is, I believe, one of the root causes to the troubles.

    On a secondary note of importance this determination will be necessary in accessing if racism is present, as you assert, within the doctrine of the PA/Hamas and who this alleged racism is targeted against.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    I agree. I am vehemently opposed to censorship in any way, shape or form. Someone can come here to post the f-word only, a million times in a million posts over a million weeks and I would not support a ban a single post.

    For the first time at HNN, I noticed a post removed a few weeks ago that was a two word comment about Bush's vacation habits that was just a simply written 'fascist pig' and the next day gone. So, I guess someone is cracking down. Pity.

    Usually, offensive posters are collectively chased away as this site is a community of regulars, for the most part, who are familiar with each other. If even one of those I battle with is attacked needlessly, I'll change direction and go after the offender. Personally, I could care less if someone attacks me as I have thick skin and it is not the person being attacked only the idea and ideas are bulletproof.

    That being said, I will not stop speaking my mind here and they would have to ban me to shut me down.

    As for Yehudi, my response is "Give 'Em A Broadside"

    Take care.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Your Japan analogy is false. Prior to WWII Japan was a full blown theocracy with the Emperor at the apex of a bushido warrior driven society. The people revered Hirohito as a god and never so much as heard him speak until he issued the final call for surrender. The US ended the religious base of the society in 1945. When I toured Japan in 1991 I was taken aback that the country was littered with temples and shrines. Kyoto was one giant temple amusement park. Even Monkey Park had shrines. The gigantic Buddha at Kamakura (1252AD) was jammed with worshippers some giving offerings of fruit/small foodstuffs as was the Tokyo Wan Bay Kannon (1961AD) buddhist goddess of mercy taller than the Statue of Liberty. Climbing the Kannon to the top worshippers stopped at numerous shrines to offer select prayers at each station.

    My belief is that Israel is not a full blown theocracy but, is just as close as Iran to being so. Marriage law is handled strictly in Torah courts as you state however, overall the formality of a parliamentary democracy influenced greatly by rabbinical influence and the Torah blurs the secularism you promote. The debate on this issue is much more far reaching than either WIki or Freedom House can encompass as seen by the number of of websites devoted to this topic.

    [DOC] Shall we end by having a theocracy
    www.jewishagency.org/NR/rdonlyres/ 7E4D15AF-C0F7-40BD-964A-F877956E1C68/23325/Rav_Lau_DB_final.doc


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    What is Israel, a Jewish political state or a Jewish religious state?

    As you've eliminated the race card Israel cannot be a Jewish racial state.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Your Japan analogy is false. Prior to WWII Japan was a full blown theocracy with the Emperor at the apex of a bushido warrior driven society. The people revered Hirohito as a god and never so much as heard him speak until he issued the final call for surrender. The US ended the religious base of the society in 1945. When I toured Japan in 1991 I was taken aback that the country was littered with temples and shrines. Kyoto was one giant temple amusement park. Even Monkey Park had shrines. The gigantic Buddha at Kamakura (1252AD) was jammed with worshippers some giving offerings of fruit/small foodstuffs as was the Tokyo Wan Bay Kannon (1961AD) buddhist goddess of mercy taller than the Statue of Liberty. Climbing the Kannon to the top worshippers stopped at numerous shrines to offer select prayers at each station.

    My belief is that Israel is not a full blown theocracy but, is just as close as Iran to being so. Marriage law is handled strictly in Torah courts as you state however, overall the formality of a parliamentary democracy influenced greatly by rabbinical influence and the Torah blurs the secularism you promote. The debate on this issue is much more far reaching than either WIki or Freedom House can encompass as seen by the number of of websites devoted to this topic.

    [DOC] Shall we end by having a theocracy
    www.jewishagency.org/NR/rdonlyres/ 7E4D15AF-C0F7-40BD-964A-F877956E1C68/23325/Rav_Lau_DB_final.doc


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    The comment is not directed at you personally for I have no way of knowing who you are even, if I tripped over you as you sold pencils on the sidewalk with your 'Help Me I Am Blind' sign dangling from your neck.

    My comments are in response to ideas and as I have stated before your ideas are as valid and bulletproof as any here including, my own.

    And, if I did trip over you I 'd be sure to grab a $1.50 from your cup as I stood up for you owe me.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Please provide the exact location of the Wikipedia figures you cite. Not that I don't trust you but, you know the routine.

    Wikipedia topic 'Judaism' does not mention your figures.


    That Jews worldwide have forgone religious participation in the ceremonial activity of the faith is in no way proof of the religions influence on an alleged secular Israeli state policy. The Rabbi like, the Mullah, plays a pivotal role in the nations stratagem and decision making.

    Since you view Wiki as a qualified source while many at HNN shun it as a poor resource here is the biography of a few Jewish Ayatollahs.



    How much influence do these and other holy men hold over the Knesset?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    You write, "meant to silence all disagreement."

    Not in my lifetime, brother.

    I will not be silenced by the 'Israeli Uber Alles' and neither should you or anyone else that has even a modicum of self respect and dignity with slightest empathy whatsoever, for the common man.

    Take care...

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    Let's take this one point at a time so that you'll learn in future that in the art of debate to just admit it when your wrong. Why the excuses each and every time you're busted red handed? There is no shame in being amiss in one's logic.

    First you flip, "because it exemplifies the Jewish nation is as ludicrous as maintaining that Japan is a Shinto theocracy because that is the religion of Japanese people."

    Then you flop, "The example on Japan was a DIRECT analogy to the argument YOU made in the first three sentences of your post, and no one is calling Japan a theocracy."

    Then you flip again, "Not sure what gave you the impression I was remotely referring to Japan at any point in history before it was substantially re-shaped following WWII."

    I never initiated nor made any argument for or against Japan being a theocracy until this most recent post. You are the one who threw this log onto the fire. Then when I asked for clarification you claimed it was only a direct analogy. Then I proved that your analogy was false and thoroughly debunked it with proven fact and first person observation. Now you claim that you never defined a specific point/ time period in history for your bogus Japan theocracy analogy.

    Listen Greg Louganis; Japan has been a theocracy since the Korean Baekje Kingdom introduced Buddhism to Japan through the Wa Kingdom between 400 and 600AD. Shinto became the backbone religion for the Shogunate in the 1500's although it to has origins as early as 712AD in the myths of Kojiki.

    Now that we have established a timeline between 400 - 1945AD exactly what period in Japanese history are you referring to when you make your analogical puffery?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    To The Nonsensical Poster Above and all other like minded Republican half-wits who refuse to read a daily newspaper even if it is the Republican Pravda Washington Times owned by your benefactor/ rightist hero/ Bush sponsor Sun Myung Moon,

    Who cares about your phony/ bogus/ tired/ played out rationale as to why we are in Iraq or Afghanistan when the reality is that we are there and have been for nearly (5) years. The root problem is that to date the Bush Administration has thoroughly bungled both fronts (see the post below on the failed Afghanistan campaign) and if we are not losing these wars then we are surely in a stalemate with no strategic objectives or pacification plan nor exit strategy for either theater.

    The Iraqi's have even given up on a united country and any American dreams of such foolishness as the Kurds have now raised for the first time their very own flag in the North while the Shia and Sunni square off to spilt the middle with Basra it's own country in the South. Our troops meanwhile are sitting ducks to be picked off two-a-day or have limbs blown off or come home with minds scrambled for the duration of a never ending failure of a Republican war with no clear objective other than to turn a buck, maintain a grip on power and keep our country divided therefore, impotent against their designs.

    As a proponent/mouthpiece of the party in power Mr. Nonsensical Poster Above what do you advise that we do now? You know, to achieve victory.

    George W. Bush made a disgraceful mockery of the 9/11 victims on the solemn (5) year anniversary of their valiant passing with a political campaign speech instead of speech in memory of the tragedy that he initiated and freely permitted while on his watch.

    Five years following the 9/11 Attacks we still have only a hole remaining at Ground Zero. No memorial, no rebuilding on this hallowed site. Only Republican platitudes and pats on the back for the great job they are doing at belittling fellow Americans while they go about the business of losing a God damn cakewalk of a war. This is why Republicans suck!!! Our troops die while Republicans lie and stuff their oversized pockets with war profiteering booty. Fear and the boogeyman are the only friend of Republicans who'll all roast in hell for what they have done to this once great nation.

    Then these same Republican traitors who suck even more, if that is possible, by claiming to support our troops push to have Gulf War Syndrome sufferers denied VA benefits one day after the 9/11 remembrance.

    Since these same Republican's cry like scared kittens that we are in World War III or that this is a Clash Of Civilizations or the Islamofascists are infiltrating our bathrooms why only commit a meager 130,000 troops to the cause in Iraq?

    This war is a joke and so is any American who would dare call themselves a Republican.

    Let's see if the Nonsensical Poster Above or any other wingnut can answer the above question as to WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    I will reply further this evening after work but, another opportune opening was the chance to steal billions of dollars in taxes, extort war profits and rake oil revenues.

    This cabal is made up of the most ruthless criminals imaginable, so much so that, the Cosa Nostra pales in compare.

    Have a great day...

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Mormonism and the Church Of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints.

    Excluding the polygamist lifestyle is this a good comparison Mr. Mahan?

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

    Mr. Crocker,

    Normally, I wouldn't interrupt your excellent rebuttals but, the repeated Salman Pak lies are just too blatant and simpleminded especially, when these untruths have killed 2,672 of my fellow countrymen in Bush's phony war.

    Heuisler has been spewing his line of crap at this site forever and has at least been consistent albeit, consistently wrong throughout his ignoble posting efforts. You'll not make any headway with this Bush monkey regardless, of the voluminous evidence you present. Bush cultists like this nutcase can never be convinced on how badly they have screwed up the Iraq War nor the extent of damage they have caused in the ruination of this once proud country.

    I am addressing you as Mr. Heuusler refuses to hold any sort of dialogue with me whatsoever. All the better for me. Something or other about my repeatedly mopping up the floor with him like a rag doll has broken his already fragile, gutless, spineless, spiritless psyche. He knows John McCain you know? Although, I doubt McCain would vouch for this friendship.

    The PBS Frontline report cited by Dollar Bill is bogus and his claims as fraudulent as always.

    "Inconsistencies in the stories of the defectors led U.S. officials, journalists, and investigators to conclude that the Salman Pak story was inaccurate. One senior U.S. official said that they had found "nothing to substantiate" the claim that al-Qaeda trained at Salman Pak. The credibility of the defectors has been questioned due to their association with the Iraqi National Congress, an organization that has been accused of deliberately supplying false information to the US government in order to build support for an invasion of Iraq. "The INC’s agenda was to get us into a war," said Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News. The DIA told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2006 that after Operation Desert Storm, "fabricators and unestablished sources who reported hearsay or thirdhand information created a large volume of human intelligence reporting. This type of reporting surged after September 2001 and continued well after the capture of Salman Pak." Yet the DIA's postwar exploitation of the facility found "no information from Salman Pak that links al-Qa'ida with the former regime."


    "A key source for the claims of terror training at Salman Pak was Iraqi defector "Abu Zeinab" al-Ghurairy. A man claiming to be al-Ghurairy gave interviews to the New York Times and PBS's Frontline claiming that he had witnessed foreign fighters training to hijack airplanes. Ghurairy told the New York Times "We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The Gulf War never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the United States." In 2006, however, Jack Fairweather reported in Mother Jones that "the Ghurairy who met with the Times and PBS was actually a former Iraqi sergeant, then living in Turkey and known by the code name Abu Zainab. The real Lt. General Ghurairy, it seems, had never left Iraq." Fairweather tracked down Ghurairy in Iraq:
    During the 20-minute interview, in which he grew increasingly angry and suspicious, Ghurairy said he had been the commandant of the Suwara military base from 1993 to 2000 and had never worked at the Salman Pak military facility. He also said he had never spoken to U.S. intelligence agents or Western journalists: “I have never met these people. I have not left Iraq,” Ghurairy told Mother Jones, adding that he had not been aware that a man claiming to be him had been quoted in U.S. newspapers and on television; “I have never met these people!” he repeated with considerable agitation. “I have not left Iraq. The people who say this were trying to use my name to make war!”


    "In November 2001 Charles Duelfer, UNSCOM weapons inspector, said that Iraqi officials also claimed that the facility was for counterterrorism, but after witnessing the drills performed there he “automatically took out the word 'counter'" dismissing the claim as a fraud."

    "Weapons inspector Richard Sperzel clarified that the dismissal was not backed up by any evidence: "Many of us had our own private suspicions. We had nothing specific as evidence. Yet among ourselves we always referred to it as the terrorist training camp."

    "Jack Fairweather reported that senior Iraqi military officers have indicated that the facility was used both for counter terrorism operations and the training of foreign fighters: "while Iraq’s special forces did train to retake hijacked airplanes at the Salman Pak facility, such training was routine for any elite combat unit. Foreign fighters were housed with the Fedayeen Saddam—whose main headquarters were at the Suwara facility—but only in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, not back in 2001."

    Seymour Hersh, writing in the New Yorker, reported that he spoke separately to "a former C.I.A. station chief and a former military intelligence analyst" and both said that the camp had been built with the assistance of the United Kingdom's MI6 in the late 1980s "not for terrorism training but for counter-terrorism training." The former CIA official thought it unlikely that a plane would be required for training in hijacking, but that "to take one back you have to practice on the real thing." Hersh wrote that "The C.I.A. offered similar training in counter-terrorism throughout the Middle East. 'We were helping our allies everywhere we had a liaison,' the former station chief told me. Inspectors recalled seeing the body of an airplane, which appeared to be used for counter-terrorism training, when they visited a biological-weapons facility near Salman Pak in 1991, ten years before September 11th. It is, of course, possible for such a camp to be converted from one purpose to another. The former C.I.A. official noted, however, that terrorists would not practice on airplanes in the open. 'That’s Hollywood rinky-dink stuff,' the former agent said. 'They train in basements. You don’t need a real airplane to practice hijacking. The 9/11 terrorists went to gyms. But to take one back you have to practice on the real thing.' Salman Pak was overrun by American troops on April 6th. Apparently, neither the camp nor the former biological facility has yielded evidence to substantiate the claims made before the war."

    "Douglas MacCollam wrote in the July/August 2004 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review that "There still remain claims and counterclaims about what was going on at Salman Pak. But the consensus view now is that the camp was what Iraq told UN weapons inspectors it was — a counterterrorism training camp for army commandos."

    I hope you like the music of Frank Zappa and hearing about how much I revel in the deaths of our troops because you'll be seeing his name and this line splattered across the next Heuisler post when he reads my debunking pulling his false flag down once again with relative ease. Then he'll blow a gasket and begin to whine like a tot who just got beat-up for his lunch money. Like his factless rehashed posts his childish behavior is as predictable as his line of bullshit.

    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


    I am speechless, as hard as that may be to comprehend, after reading your dueling partners post above.

    2, 672 dead/ 20,113 wounded in Iraq and 333 dead/ 931 wounded in Afghanistan, eight-hundred (800) attacks per week against US troops in Iraq alone and al Qaeda's defeat of the Pakistan Army/capture of their own country Waziristan which, I cannot get over nor emphasize enough and there are still knuckleheads who write, "We are succeeding" because no Islamofascist has bothered to waste any valuable time bombing that dump Tucson, AZ.

    There is either still a massive disconnect for many in this country or some people really are that stupid. I find it odd when a semi-rational/ staunch Republican like Newt Gingrich breaks rank to state in a recent speech that we are engaged in "World War III", that NATO needs to "clear out any Taliban forces in Waziristan if Pakistan fails to do so" and that Washington needs to "take whatever steps are necessary to force Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia to stop the flow of weapons, money and people into Iraq."


    Unless, we force a drastic change in policy/strategy the war effort is going to continue to deteriorate. That is the cold hard facts. The die-hard rightists like your buddy are killing this country and our troops needlessly but, they are either too dense or too stubborn to make the adjustments necessary to win this conflict. November 7th cannot come soon enough for by then we'll have approached 2,750 dead. Mark me, as I am seldom wrong about this matter as our nonsensical friend can readily attest.

    To refute Heuisler once again here are quotes from British troops fighting in Helmand, Afghanistan;

    "We are flattening places we have already flattened, but the attacks have kept coming. We have killed them by the dozens, but more keep coming, either locally or from across the border. We have used B1 bombers, Harriers, F16s and Mirage 2000s. We have dropped 500lb, 1,000lb and even 2,000lb bombs. At one point our Apaches ran out of missiles they have fired so many. Almost any movement on the ground gets ambushed. We need an entire battle group to move things. Yet they will not give us the helicopters we have been asking for."

    "We have also got problems with the Afghan forces. The army, on the whole, is pretty good, although they are often not paid properly. But many of the police will not fight the Taliban, either because they are scared or they are sympathizers."

    "We did not expect the ferocity of the engagements. We also expected the Taliban to carry out hit and run raids. Instead we have often been fighting toe to toe, endless close-quarters combat. It has been exhausting. I remember when we had to extract a Danish recce group which was getting attacked on all sides; it was bedlam. We have greater firepower, so we tend to win, but, of course, they can take their losses while our casualties will invariably lead to concern back home. You also have to think that each time we kill one, how many more enemies we are creating. And, of course, the lack of security means hardly any reconstruction is taking place now, so we are not exactly winning hearts and minds."

    Sure doesn't smell like success to me.

    Good night.

    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006


    No, that is incorrect. The Islamic view excludes attributes in the sense you suggest. They are simply off the table. The Christian view includes substantial issues of discussion regarding the devine. There are substantial discussions, in theological settings, about whether God is subject to the law of contradiction. In Islam, this is not a topic. A Muslim would simply point you to texts, arguing that Allah is outside of our area of knowledge.

    So, this is not about degree. It is about kind.

    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence.

    These are the attributes I remember being taught in church.

    These are not well defined, certainly not in the sense of "fixing or marking the limits of."

    The difference in the view of the transcendence God in Christian and Muslim traditions is one of degree, not kind.

    E. Simon - 9/20/2006

    Oh Dear Reader (if anyone else still cared to follow),

    Did any among you think to assume that I was referring to anything other than MODERN countries?

    Ebbitts has. Alas, he seems to be taken aback by the realization that countries possess various historical periods. Bravo, I say! Bravo. And indeed, they do.

    But none of those were referred to before his latest play, leading anyone reasonable, arguing from reason and fact and not from the beliefs with which he appropriately prefaces his assertions, that the "Japan" under discussion was just as thoroughly in reference to a modern-day Japan as was the Israel of today which he berates.

    Perhaps that is why he is confusing a theocratic ancient Israel with a modern day country as well.

    But now he feigns confusion over my terms of reference amidst his only claims for MODERN theocracy in today's Japan, which rest nearly ENTIRELY on personal observations of religiosity that he confused for theocratic governance.

    One thing is for certain. This gentlemen sure gets confused pretty easily. Funny, since I would think that getting easily confused would lead one to be less arrogant in how they put forward their assertions. I suppose not in this case.

    One piece of advice before declaring this dialogue as dead on arrival as I could have predicted: Admitting first, before anything else, what one doesn't know is certainly a key requisite to gaining wisdom.

    No offense intended to Mr. Ebbitt. But when one becomes easily confused, I suppose that with a sufficiently arrogant disposition it makes sense to pronounce everyone else with a different point to make pertaining to something other than what you knew (or believed) before, WRONG.

    I now leave you to the one-man insult fest that Ebbitt, a man who inserts multiple timeframe references in discussions where none other than the current one could have been assumed, and who still persists in proclaiming that his confusion between religiosity and theocratic governance denotes equivalence between the two, is sure to turn it into. Reason, if it had a chance, left this discussion long ago, and the rest thread will now be consumed by nothing but his pride, like a bull making mincemeat of the parts of the China shop that it hasn't already knocked over. It will be a pathetic and painful display, to be sure, but hey, what can you do with a man to whom one can't appeal to a sense of reason? Let him ride it out.

    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Not sure what gave you the impression I was remotely referring to Japan at any point in history before it was substantially re-shaped following WWII. Your modern personal impressions denote religiosity of a society, not theocratic governance.

    Just as close to Iran? What percentage of any nation's laws do you suppose pertain to family law, in which each denomination in Israel has its courts? Your straining of illegitimate parallels detracts from allowing a forum for any legitimate criticism of Israel's problems. As I said, though, you go believe what you want to. And in the meantime, let me know which of any of the unelected organs of government in the chart below have equivalents in Israel, as I suppose you still have high hopes for getting something substantive out of this discussion.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    Yes, at least in classical Christian theology. The attributes of God are rather well defined.

    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Their launching of terrorist Qassam attacks have the ability to stop life and ruin them economically, which is certainly a wonderful prerequisite. Look at how everyone bitched about how Israel's destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure was just a prelude to destroying Lebanon as an independent unit. The truth is that the second intifadah kept Israelis at home and ruined both economies, before the IDF massively retaliated. If the IDF were not going back and forth into Gaza on a daily basis to destroy the arms-smuggling tunnels that persistently pop up, cities bordering Gaza would be just as empty as the Galilee was for the whole month of Lebanon's last tourist season. Just because the Israelis are generally smarter at dealing with threats, doesn't mean their enemies don't intend them as such and can't use them as such, were Israel's military deterrents and constraints not as significant, or were Israel's margin of error the least bit tighter than it already is.

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    Does man have knowledge of the Christian God in any meaningful way?

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    I can accept that definition.

    Do you really think that Hamas has the ability to render Israel incapable of existence and development as an independent unit?

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    The word "existence" has a meaning. An existential threat threatens a country's existence as a viable country (at the very least). At least, that is what I have in mind.

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    We shall have to agree to disagree.

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    I do not think a Muslim would put it quite that way. They would say that man has no knowledge of Allah, as Allah is entirely apart from this world.

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    Describing the European point of view as that of the Guardian and the Economist is about as accurate as describing the American pov as that of the Washington Post and the Washington Times.

    The Guardian and the Economist are far from marching in lock step and I disagree with your assertion that either call for appeasement.

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    So God cannot make a rock so heavy that even he could not lift it, but Allah could, but then he could lift it?

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    Would you (or anyone else who reads this) offer a clear and concise definition of "existential threat"?

    I have done a quick search and found no authoritative definition. I do not have easy access to a good social sciences library though, so my search was not as good as it could have been.

    I think that this is a term that is used far to casually by many.

    john crocker - 9/19/2006


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    According to Wikipedia - which is not a definitive source but I do not have time for too much nonsense -, "Gallup International reports that 25% of Israeli citizens regularly attend religious services, compared to 15% of Jewish French citizens, 10% of Jewish UK citizens, and 57% of Jewish American citizens." I think that number is lower, for the countries in issue, than other groups in such countries. But, please show me that I am wrong.

    Admittedly, attendance at religious services does not mark religiousity. And it is not an unusual phenomena for Jews, at least in the large US reform movement, who attend services to be agnostic or even atheistic. In fact, there are atheist reform rabbis, strange as that may sound.

    Writer Lenni Brenner - whom I do not take to be a scholar but whom accurately, in this case, quotes statistics - writes: According to the AJIS, "More Jews than most other Americans respond 'None,' when asked 'What is your religion, if any?'.... Fewer Jews than members of most other American religious groups agree with the essential proposition of religious belief that 'God exists.'" Twenty-seven percent of all Jews are uncertain or reject theism, with only 14% of Americans saying they have no religion. The AJIS reported that by 2001 only 51% still believed in some form of Judaism, a 12% decline since 1990. By my reckoning, by this writing, a majority of US Jews reject Judaism. Even the NJPS 2000-1 concedes that only 46% belong to synagogues. That minority divides up 39% Reform, 33% Conservative, 21% Orthodox, 7% other types.

    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Yo Dude, I've got no dog in this fight, having not contributed to any of the relevant portions over which you and N. exclusively have been arguing, so I see it hard to conclude how I could have meant it for anyone else's benefit.

    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Listen Patrick, you go believe what you want to believe. These are emotions, assertions and beliefs you are providing, not arguments. The example on Japan was a DIRECT analogy to the argument YOU made in the first three sentences of your post, and no one is calling Japan a theocracy. As for political scientists being wrong because unknown members among them may or may not be Jewish and somehow therefore fear censorship or loss of career, that's an unupported dodge not worth taking seriously either. Check out Freedom House or a Wikipedia page, for Chrissakes. The ONLY area in which religion plays any official role in anyone's life in Israel is in family law, and THAT and immigration policy alone do not make a theocracy out what is in every other respect a parliamentary democracy - see something called an atlas, for example - where freedom of religion is respected. But again, you will believe what you want to believe, never provided relevant sources for the beliefs you threw out above and are taking a view that is not very widely recognized as a serious one, so the kind of religious faith with which you attempt to advance these notions is best accepted on anyone else's part as just that - something you're entitled to believe regardless of what kind of evidence you have or lack for it. And your attempted humourous presumption of some kind of a teacher's role in the face of all these misunderstandings on your part, of what constitutes a serious academic discussion - is probably just another defense in the way of a pot calling the kettle black. It is things like that which make either one of us wonder how it is that our time here w/you on this issue is NOT a waste of our time, given the manner in which you pursue a discussion of it.

    "Theocracy and ecclesiocracy should be distinguished from governments that are influenced by religious concepts, or in which religious believers have positions of power gained by political means."

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    To my reading - which on Christianity was, at one time, rather wide -, God is subject to the rule of contradiction, such being one of God's alleged attributes.

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    I thought I accurately understood your view. Since I evidently misunderstood, I apologize. Please, so that I shall not be misled, explain your position.

    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    How is the Christian God subject to the rules of logic?

    What illogical thing is it not possible for the Christian God to do?

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    If these groups continue to toss missiles into Israel, that makes Israel untenable. And that is what these groups will do. Were Israel to cede the WB, they would be able to shoot missiles at the airport. That would further undermine the country. If the terror campaign continues, who would want to live in Israel? Not any sane person.

    As I said, this is an existential threat. My view is that Israel will defeat the war to destory it. But, it is a difficult war and will go on for some time - likely many decades.

    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006


    My problem with you is that, with respect to Islam, Israel, Arabs, etc., you have not bothered to read books. That, for whatever reason, does not stop you from criticizing those who do read, including me. And you accuse me of reading the wrong books - as if you know the correct books (by osmosis?) and have the knowledge to criticize without reading a thing -.

    In that I read books from pretty much the entire gamut of viewpoints on the Muslim regions - such being one of my interests -, it is particularly galling since, to be blunt, you actually have no knowledge about the region. So, you write uninformed comment, demanding that those who read conform to your ignorance.

    Now, my point of view differs from yours. At least, whatever errors I may occasionally make in facts - and I do not deny that I sometimes err (but so do you), at least I know some of them. You, by contrast, do not have sufficient knowledge to assert most of the criticisms you make.

    Now, you attack me for occassionally noting Bat Ye'or view. The fact is that she is an important scholar, with a substantial following, both academic and popular. Her viewpoint is open to challenge and, for Saidists, she is an anethema. But, other scholars take her work seriously - including, evidently, Bernard Lewis and Vahakn Dadrian, among others, who have cited to her work in their writings -.

    I call your viewpoint "eurobabble" and I have explained what I mean by that. Now, such is a common viewpoint and you are correct that I do not use the term to suggest your brilliant analysis - since you never bother to assert facts but, instead, demand that others provide you with online research, as if there were rules so demanding. My gut reaction is that you should do your own research, starting with reading a few books.

    And consider, by way of example: you told me that I was citing the HAMAS covenant out of context - without proving your point (which, by the way, was wrong) -; and that there are many translations of the HAMAS covenant - as if there is one which does not contain the view that HAMAS believes in Jihad, that destruction of Israel is a religious imperative, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is praised and that Jews are blamed for all wars. In other words, your comments were all beside the point and non-responsive to what I wrote. In my view, they were you covering up the fact that you did not recognize a well known text.

    Consider: as Mr. Simon notes, you are not helping your cause by attacking me. And, the employment of ad hominem arguments - which are your better arguments (ironic but true) even if invalid - makes you, not me, look silly.

    E. Simon - 9/18/2006

    Peter, I say this for your own benefit, but the way you are going on a personal attack against Mr. Friedman simply for suggestions that he politely prefaces is not making you look very reasonable.

    Our other exchanges Sunday had been more civil. Spread some of that love that I felt to N. He deserves it least as much for being many times more civil to you than I have on many an occasion.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Back in the old days calling people liars would get you in a fight. People on both sides understood that it was crossing a “line” and recognized the “right” of the person besmirched to kick the crap out of the accuser. Today liberal fanatics like Rosen throw around the accusation because of their limited vocabulary coupled with DNC indoctrination. No one is intentionally lying to you Rosie, you just think they are, big difference.

    See there IS a link. It goes this way Rosie. 911 is terrorism. Iraq is linked to terrorism. Iraq was/is a terrorist haven and was actively seeking MORE WMD. Jeez, after 5 years and hundreds of conversations I find it incredible that I still have to explain the facts. Ever hear of Iraq’s 1999 Nigerian uranium shopping? How about Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame? Now THAT’S lying. Why did Iraq need uranium? Guess. You’re good at it.

    This article is more of the tired old wacko conspiratorial crap. Without the victimhood of the left they would have NOTHING to discuss. Even with it, they have very little. How about some answers, maybe a plan…forget it.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    You are a joke Patrick. The quintessential wacko resisting anything that remotely credits GWB. All objectivity is gone. Additionally, as you know, you are a liar. Sometimes you can be excused cause of your susepetability to delusion. But usually you just lie to make a point. You, like many other liberals do not see lying as destructive to ones own character. Maybe someday you will understand it.

    The article is dopey. Obvious partisan pablum. Why would you think Saddam Hussain and Tariq Aziz are reliable?
    Again, your questionable reading skills are on parade. The article has NOTHING to do with my assertion. It doesn’t say Saddam was not trying to get uranium from Niger, it does not even say that Saddam was not pro terrorism. It just says he didn’t like terrorists.

    Read Hitchens: http://www.slate.com/id/2139609/

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Right wingers called Clinton a liar thousands of times. Difference is, he ADMITTED it. Remember? “I did not have sexual relations with that woman….Monica.” hahahahahahahahaha. Der Schlichmeister later went on to LIE at a deposition about nothing! Had he had some discipline, he would not have needed to be IMPEACHED.

    Now John, use as much of the space below as you want and cite your PROOF that supports the following idiocy, “When someone makes demonstrably false claims and continues to make them after they have been shown to be false”, I will then respond. Somehow I suspect NOTHING responsive will find its way to that space.

    Educate yourself. Read Hitchens above about “yellow cake.” I find it incredulous that you wacks act as if you know something, when you are so poorly informed.

    The last part is illogical. I have only to say that how can it be that the same group (religious right) is both “victimized” and “hold every lever of power”? Now ONE of those claims is a lie!

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    You noticed that did you? Yeah, I've decided to throw around the LIAR label as recklessly as you libs. As best as I can descern from the libs, anything that is not entirely irrefutable and comprehensive is a lie.

    About the substance, you didn't read the article did you? Wilson is a LIAR so is Plame. You are a LIAR and you are ignorant.

    I am not aware Hitchens is a drunk. I doubt you can prove that LIE either. Liberals like to LIE about people they disagree with to discredit them.

    I do know that Hitchens is a socialtist and generally a leftist.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Show me up? You punk! Though you may view this as some sort of competition, I don’t. It is an exchange of ideas to further understanding. I get no strokes from participating at HNN unlike you who apparently have your self-esteem at stake. Any misperception that you have “showed me up” is just another of your latent marijuana induced hallucinations. Kinda like those “Bush Lied” hallucinations.

    Anyway LIAR, Your liberal brainwashing precludes you from seeing your hipocracy as I demonstrated it for you. In true wacko fashion you reject introspection in favor of projection.

    Learn how to read. I didn’t say Hitchens referred to Wilson and Plame. I said Wilson and Plame are LIARS. You know, like you.

    For proof of your LYING just pick any post you’ve made. Okay, just one quick example. In your prior post you LIED about me saying Hitchens said Wilson and Plame were LIARS. Then you LIED about Hitchens being a drunk.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    No John, it is consistent. Look at me! I’m a liberal now. Anything anyone says that is not irrefutable and comprehensive is a LIE. Isn’t that how ya do it?

    “Administration spokespeople have repeatedly insinuated links between 9/11 and Iraq despite all evidence to the contrary.” WTF is “insinuated”? You LIAR.

    “Cheney repeatedly claimed that Iraqi intelligence officials met with Mohammed Atta in Prague despite that claim being debunked.” Bullshit LIAR, not debunked, just not verified. A long way from proving that it DIDN’T happen.

    “The aluminum tubes that "could only be for high speed centrifuges" that actually could not be used for that purpose is yet another example.”

    I don’t know who you are quoting here but is not Cheney. Just another LIE I guess.

    The LIES just go on and on.

    If you really care about discriminating between LIE and mistake, check this one out http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html

    Now that your are doing the semantic dance around on the victim/power controler conspiracy delusion, the question arises, why would a group that, in fact, “hold[s] the levers of power” find it necessary to appear the “victim”? Silly really.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Take a deep breath Patrick. Things aren't as bad as you portend. Most of your perceptions are only delusions brought on by DNC election cycle propaganda. Your America is stronger than it has been since the Reagan tenure. Keep the faith.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    "PS. Chris Hitchens, the former Trotskyist, is quite open about both his chain smoking and dependence on alcohol. Scotch, preferably Johnny Walker black label."

    Now that's a LIE, huh Patrick. Show me where he discussed his "dependance" on alcohol. Show me some proof of him being a "drunk". Otherwise I gotta chalk it up as another LIE. You libs really like lying.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    It really is amazing.....there is no end, no respite, no proportion to Patrick's hate. If it has not manifest itself physically yet, I'm sure it will. This kind of hate consumes the hater far more than the hated.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Still, I ask, Where has my America gone?

    The America whose citizens where just, not partisanly condecending and condemning of it’s fellow citizens and leaders.

    The America that allowed that all of it’s citizens had the same human rights, not that the perceived downtrodden should have more.

    The America that fought off communist encroachment, caring more about our collective nation than the political offices that it could control.

    The America that was permitted by its own people to fight in defense of freedom, not the one that openly engages in preempting national security efforts.

    The America that respected my fellow citizens, not only the ones on the coasts.

    The America that helped to organize the Geneva Conventions, not the one that violates them claiming that murdering terrorists were even a consideration of those conventions.

    The America that respected and defended the greatest document ever produced by man, the US Constitution, not the one that who effectively wipes it's ass with it as it’s anti-originalists seek out “pnumbras and emmanations” and other such hallucinations to fit the current whim of a small number of the powerful.

    The America that is not afraid of being lead by truly great leaders, the America who’s citizens would not be so insecure, so childish to obstruct as not to jeopardize political advantage.

    In the six years since GWB was elected has anyone seen my America?

    Let us collectively ignore the interlopers.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    I don't think so Trevor. John said he is a "drunk" I said, "I am not aware Hitchens is a drunk" and "I doubt you can prove that LIAR", I wasn't and Crocker hasn't.

    Even under the possible influence of alcohol he is 4 times the thinker of Crocker. Who is Crocker to call him a drunk? Same old, same old. Whoever the wacks don't like they make up a LIE about their character to delegitimize them. Here is a good comparison. Are Teddy and Patrick Kennedy drunks? Now you are right that this is an aside to the substantive question of "yellow cake" but the wacks don't even attempt to disprove Hitchens (cause he's right) they attack the messenger. Typical.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006


    The rest of us could NOT care less. Standards are necessary, I'm pleased to see that HNN actually said something about the style of vile remarks. I'm encouraged.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    "The last $0.50 in my well worn pocket to spot the asshole who wrote the above post as he refuses to read, refuses to believe and most sadly of all, refuses to think for himself."


    On another thread I read HNN censored someone for rudeness. Do you think they should censor you for the above?

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Poor wittle John. People should be agreeing with his twisted logic. Didn't wanna call Teddy and Patrick drunks huh?...The main point of my posts remain. The wacks continuously call the President and others LIARS without any proof. You cite speculation, hunch and "tendency" as justification. The point being, if that is the new standard then you are also a LIAR and so is practically everyone who posts here.

    I ask again, what PROOF do you have of GWB's lying? You have provided NONE. The proof I expect is like the proof that Slick Whillie ultimately provided when he so contritely admitted having sex with "that woman", "Ms Lewinsky" and asked for the forgivness of his family, the voters, Congress and the court. You notice I did not say he LIED about not raping Paula Jones, Genifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Elizabeth Ward, Paula Corbin et al. Or should we assume he did rape all those women and LIED about it? What is the liberal standard?

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    We should stop putting innocent people in jail, that's what.

    "If they are not liars they are at the very least serial exaggerators who deliberately mislead the public about the danger posed by Iraq."

    You cannot even prove that they are "serial exaggerators" or "deliberately mislead" anyone. It is only your OPINION and maybe the opinion of millions of others but to authoritivly claim what you cannot prove is reckless. The simple three word phrase "in my opinion" would be a sufficient disclaimer but most Bush haters wouldn't consider it. Maybe it is they who are the "serial exaggerators" "deliberately misleading" others.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Another tired argument of of far left wackos. It goes like this: If you are not perfect you cannot be a Christian. If you profess to be Christian and are not perfect then anything you say will be discounted by us wackos. This simple thinking drives home the fact that you wacks are ignorant of the precepts of Christianity. And that you blatantly try to suppress free speech that doesn't align with wackdom. All that notwithstanding, and in true wack fashion, you don't allow your ignorance to impede your mouth.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Pretty squirrlly Peter. But from you, appropriate.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Not only are you undisciplined, you're dumb, huh? What's up with "you fit right in with the other dimwits on the bell curve"? EVERYONE fits in the bell curve.

    And, "your're hardly qualified to mention someone else's style". If you haven't noticed that's what we talk about here.

    And, "employers of ad hominem attacks"? Employ?...whatever.

    Look Carl, there are ad hominims and there are the base, red faced, angry, wacko style ad hominims. There is somewhat an art to it. Calling someone a A-hole or a liar or one of the other choice names the angry left uses is just crass and boring. It wouldn't hurt me if crass and boring were banned from this forum.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006


    What a surprise. The most offensive and exhaustive poster to this forum is AGAINST any constraints. If there was real policing of this site you would have been gone long ago.

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    Comment Removed--HNN Editor

    andy mahan - 9/18/2006

    I gonna go waaay out on a limb and bet that I have spent far more time studying the Bible than you Peter.

    That said, I don't mind being insulted Peter. I just find the angry, wacko technique to be boring and worn out. I say, have some originality, some cleverness. Look at Bill Heuisler for example, he insults the simpleton's on this site with such subtle dexterity that you often don't even know you've been insulted. Now that entertaining.

    E. Simon - 9/18/2006

    Claiming that Israel is a theocracy (a notion NO political scientist would EVER take seriously, BTW... roll canned laughter by anyone serious asking or answering the question) because it exemplifies the Jewish nation is as ludicrous as maintaining that Japan is a Shinto theocracy because that is the religion of Japanese people. Whoever this William Cook moron is never heard of the widespread adoption of British law by states within its former empire.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    In classical Islamic theology, Allah stands outside of the world to the extent that he is not subject to the rules of logic. That differs from the Christian conception - or at least the more common versions of it -.

    The classical Islamic conception of Allah was, in the early years, challenged by a group of "rationalists" but that group was largely defeated and the view that any attempt to understand Allah was outside the scope of humanity. From which the view came to be that Allah had no limitations, including those required by logic.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    I suggest a book for you in which those who did just that are discussed at length. It is Why I am Not a Muslim, by Ibn Warraq. He notes, in particular, John Esposito - noted scholar of Islam - along with a host of people in Britain, including politicians and others. In fact, that incident is the reason, according to Warraq, that he wrong his famed book.

    As for paranoia, my suggestion is that you address my points instead of calling me names.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    I say you are mistaken. I think Jews, on average, or more secular than most other discernable groups on Earth. As I said: Jews are a people. They are the descendants of people who practiced or who still practice the religion called Judaism. Jews are not a race, there being white and black Jews, oriental Jews, Indian Jews, etc., etc. It is true that most Jews are descendants of people who, long ago, lived in what is today Judea. But, that is long ago.

    I do not see Israel as being more religious as a nation than Finland or Denmark, which have officially established religions.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    I use the view to describe a mindset which follows the European (e.g. The Guardian or The Economist) point of view. While I do not think highly of that point of view, it is a point of view or, more exactly, a way of thinking about problems that has a wide following, most especially in Europe. I use it in particular with reference to dealing with the Arab Muslim regions and most, but not all, people who employ Eurobabble hold to the view that the Muslim revival can be appeased by this or that expedient.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    Just a question here. In what way is the Christian/Jewish God not transcendent.

    1 a : exceeding usual limits : SURPASSING b : extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience c in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge
    2 : being beyond comprehension
    3 : transcending the universe or material existence -- compare IMMANENT
    4 : universally applicable or significant

    The pope also spoke about the rational foundation of Christianity, as opposed to Islam.

    Neither of these faiths (in fact no faith) is based in reason.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    I have to admit that I to am uncertain as to the meaning of this term.

    At first blush it appears intended to insult Mr. Clarke and Europe.

    Please enlighten me as to how I am mistaken in my snap judgement.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    These groups do not threaten the existence of Israel.

    What exactly do you mean by an existential threat?

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    I did not say Israel would lose but, instead, that the threat is existential. That is a different thing.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    I think you underestimate Israel.

    Hamas has about as much chance of destroying Israel as the IRA had of destroying the UK or ETA of destroying Spain or France.

    If Hamas is to survive in the long term it will have to soften its position. If Hamas fails to deliver on promises it will lose out to others who make different promises and if they fail to deliver they too will be replaced.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006

    I reiterate my view that modern people who convert are fanatics. That is my view.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    People should not say things just to insult. But, at the same time, people should not cease speaking on topics that matter. And clearly, the verse of the sword from the Koran is a matter for Westerners to understand, as Jihad is central to any rational understanding of Islam's history, if not also the present.

    My gut reaction is that the goal of the leaders of those protesting againt the Pope is to silence all discussion of Islam other than the assertion: Islam is the religion of peace. Such, however, is not acceptable, especially given the fact that many Muslims are engaged in a violent Jihad against Westerners, justifying that Jihad in religion including on the verse of the sword.

    Now, going back to 1979, we have the Rushdie affair. He wrote a novel around the Satanic Verses. That lead to a Hukm (i.e. an unrevokable decree) demanding his death. And that occurred even though numerous people were killed including, if I recall correctly, the person who translated the book into Japanese. Westerners stood by when that occurred and many blamed Rushdie, as if he had some responsibility for violence committed by others where he did not advocate violence.

    In my view, you counsel the same, blaming the Pope for violence by Muslims due to manipulation of his speech by Islamic fanatics - a speech which, so far as its discussion of Islam is concerned, was not wrong on facts, whether or not such facts are interpretted as evil, as the person quoted by the Pope asserted. Such, in my view, is no excuse for the murder of a nun, for riots, for demanded apologies, etc., etc. And, in such circumstances, freedom of expression largely demands that we stand with the Pope.

    I do not think the issue should be considered a faux pas as the Pope said what he thought. And, I see no reason that he should keep silent on a pressing issue of our time: namely, violence in the name of Islam. And, the reaction to what he said is rather ironic: "Do not call us violent or we shall kill you."

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    Israel is a tiny country. If HAMAS fires rockets into Israel over the long haul, that is an existential threat as it undermines the government's ability to rule.

    Over the long run, land conceded to HAMAS will provide a base into which sufficient armaments can be obtained. And a group like HAMAS is not likely to soften as its position is based on religion. For it to change is to demonstrate to its population (a) that its position means nothing and (b) that its leaders are hypocrits.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    Even that larger movement does not now have the resources to be an existential threat now or in the near future. In fact no group that wishes Israel ill is in a position to pose an existential threat. Israel has by far the most advanced and powerful military in the region and is the only nuclear power. Were such an emminent threat to materialize Israel also has powerful allies.

    Again Israel faces many threats, but they are not existential. Israel will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    I do not think he wanted to get digs in. I think he wants to counter the neo-Marcion movement in the Church, which seeks to find common ground with Islam by ignoring Islamic theology and making believe it has different tenets than it has. In short, his remarks were aimed inward.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006


    As part of a large movement.

    N. Friedman - 9/18/2006

    No. It is perfectly descriptive of your position. It is not an insult.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    How is HAMAS an existential threat?

    It may be argued that HAMAS is part of a larger movement that poses and existential threat to Israel or that its acitivities create a threat to Israeli citizens.

    HAMAS has no where near the power, nor is it likely to gain the power in the foreseeable future to become an existential threat.

    Let us be careful of the hyperbole.

    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    John Crossman was his baptismal name. This is not at all uncommon in the Christian tradition. If this low bar is accepted for fanaticism, then most Jews who convert are fanatics. The religious argument is a weak one.

    The Dan Brown argument is a weak one, but funny.

    I am surprised that noone here has mentioned his membership in peace groups and his likely possible participation in a demonstration against the bombing of the Osiraq reactor. This seems much better grist for the conspiracy mill. Not that it impeaches his testimony, but it does more damage than either of the other arguments.

    Still no thoughts on the photos?

    What about the United Methodists?

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    H came from a religious family, considered conversion to Buddhism before being converted to Christianity. He even changed his name to John Crossman, which means that his change was one of serious religious conviction. He even intends to devote money made in connection with his disclosures about Israel to the church.

    In my book, well educated people from religious families who change religion - changing names as well - on conviction are fanatical. Maybe I am wrong but that is my view.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    I do not know if I coined the term but its meaning is rather clear. Hold up a mirror.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    I understood the speech quite well. If you think I got something wrong, please explain what it is.

    After all: why the quote from the Emperor? And, if not to state the Muslim position, then for what purpose did he choose the quotes? Why even address Islam's position if that was not part of what he intended?

    It is my understanding (from reading other materials on chiesa website - which includes material released by the Vatican), by the way, that the new pope takes Bat Ye'or position on Islam. In fact, some of the material that has appeared as of late is nearly copied from her. I believe she is even given direct citation.

    I should add: the Pope has correctly stated the Muslim position. Four points on that: 1, that the Islamic deity is entirely transcendent - which is different from the Christian position -; 2, that the portions of the Koran which speak of no force in religion are superceded; 3, that the various ayas which support violence supercede the more peaceful ayas because Mohammed was weak at the time and because, in Islamic theology, the revelation is rolled out so that later in time supercedes contradictory portions that are earlier in time; and 4, that Islamic rule is spread by the sword - something the Pope says Christianity now - although, and not really mentioned by him, previously otherwise - does not use.

    I take the speech as an argument against the Islamic view and in favor of a rational Christian faith - where reason and faith find the same result. While I am not a Christian, I thought the speech was rather impressive.

    But again: you think I got it wrong. So, Mr. expert, explain it to me.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Peter, my point was that Israel's fight is just; that of the Antisemite HAMAS is unjust. That is what I wrote.

    As for being an existential threat, only a moron thinks that HAMAS is not an existential threat to Israel.

    E. Simon - 9/17/2006

    Add historical and geographical setting to my use of what might constitute "context."

    E. Simon - 9/17/2006

    Because who will decide whether the terms used will ever be specific enough?

    If the standards of basic language, which are sufficiently flexible to enough of us to decide - based on context - whether they are being employed in a way that is crudely, overly broad to the point of being innappropriate, or addressing a sufficiently generalizable phenomenon to be acceptable, then I think the context in which they are used is a sufficient standard. To mandate rules when no one in this thread was confused about what one was referring to anytime the terms "right" or "left" were used seems draconian and unnecessary. And a bit silly, I might add.

    There are many other parameters that help us gauge the tendencies of a politician, or any other personality, to obviate fixating on whether or not one of them is sufficiently descriptive or concise.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Go do your own research. Here is a hint. A complete set of documents on the Middle East can be found at the Avalon Project maintained by Yale. I quoted from that cite.

    And, I have no obligation to follow any form of quotation to make you happy. You are not my boss, professor or anything else. The HAMAS Covenant is so well known and the quotations I used so well known that no URL needs to be provided.

    john crocker - 9/17/2006

    Left and Right in the context that they are used here are evolving terms. When we talk about the Left or Right in the context of these discussions I'm sure you understand to whom we are refering. If the debate were to address the differences in policy between Bush 41 and 43, the terms used would likely be different (perhaps traditional conservative and neocon).

    I use these terms in this context as they seem to carry less baggage than most of the other choices I find available to label the groups about which we are speaking and are more inclusive of the larger coalitions involved than more specific labels.

    The labels we chose to use in our discussions do carry meaning for the people who use them and some of that meaning may be counter productive, but people categorize and label. That and opposable thumbs accounts for much of our success as a species.

    john crocker - 9/17/2006

    All of us here are guilty of occasionally hijacking a thread or following tangents into areas not covered in the article that began the discussion.

    The use of any label is a lazy shorthand. We must however resort to these if we are to converse in a short enough form. I think all of us here understand the basic make up of the coalitions we are refering to when we use these terms Left and Right even if we may characterize them differently (or even populate them slightly differently). Not all political arguments fall neatly into these categories, but clear lines have been drawn on enough issues for these labels to have some meaning. Issues to do with the war in Iraq fall into this line because the coalition that makes up what we call the Right has until very recently been virtually monolithic in support of whatever measure the president calls for. It is appropriate to point this out when we all have a choice to make and that choice is between two and unfortunately only two options. We are going to label those choices because that is what people do. Whether this is a measure of our laziness or our practicality or a bit of both is up for debate.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    And further, I quoted in context. Try reading the covenant. It advocates genocide.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    You must be kidding. I stated exactly what document I used. I said, from the beginning, that I was quoting the HAMAS covenant.

    As for the Pope, I read his speech. He correctly stated the dominant Muslim position on the spread of the faith and correctly noted that the provision about not forcing religion occurred during the period when the Prophet was weak but was abrogated when he gained power. In other words, the Pope stated fact. I might add the irony of people saying: "Don't say we are violent or we shall kill you." Or, in simple terms, we are not dealing with something irenic but ironic.

    john crocker - 9/17/2006

    What did you think of the photos? Have you found any impartial judge of their authenticity?

    Where is your evidence that Mordechai Vanunu is a religious fanatic? You have asserted this several times and have provided no evidence in support of your assertion. I did a brief bit of research on his church and the it seems the Anglican Diocese of Sydney is no more extreme than the United Methodists.

    If you are going to make these types of assertions you need to be prepared to back them up. You often criticize this type of behavior in others. It is unseemly for you to do the same.

    Finally, on a less serious note, if the Dan Brown thesis is correct then Israel wants us all to believe that they have hundreds of nukes and so it is not an act of kindness to them to be so skeptical. I do like the twist of his being a religiously fanatical Christian Jewish secret agent. You have said that the Christian religious fanatics like the Anglican Diocese of Sydney are notorious liars. Maybe he really is a double agent for the Anglicans. Now we just have to figure out why the Anglicans want us to believe that Israel has so many nukes. I think you may have something here, the story is writing itself.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/17/2006

    No way, we know the receipt! You try to promote falsities and if it doesn't work you call people names ("likudnik").
    The reality is very simple and the latest news prove it, Moslems reacted with grenades to a call for an exchange of ideas and forced the Pope and the Vatican to give in to Islamic violence.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006

    That is because he has never really thought about the matter. He merely repeats propaganda and Euro-babble.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Jews are a nation, not a religion and not a race. Israel is a state for Jews, as a nation - as defined in the Palestine Mandate. Israel is not a religious state except that the dominant group, Jews, practice the religion called Judaism and the religion is recognized in the way that Christianity is recognized in Canada.

    You seem to think that people can only define themselves by religion or ethnicity. For point of comparison: Islam also defines Muslims as a nation as well - namely, the umma -. In the case of Jews, the religious category was likely, as with Islam, the origin of the nation category but, at this point, such is no longer the case for Jews as the vast majority of Jews are not very religious, if at all.]

    Carl Becker - 9/17/2006


    For a righty, you fit right in with the other dimwits on the bell curve and your're hardly qualified to mention someone else's style. And this coming from one of the most frequent employers of ad hominem attacks on HNN.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Again: the ideology of HAMAS is eliminationist Antisemtism. It is a fact. That is not a pro-Israel spin. It is in black and white in the HAMAS Covenant.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    I quoted to you directly from the HAMAS Covenant, as set forth on Yale University's Avalon Project website. In fact, my comment indicated that such was the HAMAS Covenant. And, it was not a bad translation. It was an extremely accurate translation.

    You write: "3. Your garbled English-translated, out of context Islamic quotes (lifted from some unidentified neo-terrorist-neo-con website in all likelihood) prove nothing, least of any link to Hitler."

    But, I was not trying to prove a link to Hitler. I was trying to prove a similarity in what is believed.

    But if, in fact, you are looking for a connection with Hitler, I note that the Palestinian movement not only has links to Hitler, but the prior leader of the Palestinian movement - al-Husseini - sought out the Nazis, not the other way around (as noted by Bernard Lewis, among others). Again: I was not making an historical point in my prior post but an intellectual point, namely, that there is a close affinity in thought.

    You claim that I quote material out of context. Prove it.

    In fact, I did not quote out of context. I quoted long passages and, to the extent I noted, they have everything to do with things said by Hitler. Again, I note the HAMAS covenant statement that the argument that Jews are responsible with all wars that have occurred.

    Rather than address my point, you changed the topic. But, my point was about what Patrick said, which was: "On the one hand you endorse killing. On the other hand you condemn killing. The only criteria for you is who is doing the killing." And, I was explaining the difference between a just war and the war being fought by HAMAS, which, by their own words, does not meet just war theory justification. And my argument was based on the HAMAS covenant which rejects just war theory entirely - as I stated -. That is an intellectual point, not an historical point.

    Now, as for Israeli doubts about the Hezbollah war, that is their right. That is what people do who care about their country.

    But, as I have also argued before and as is becoming clearer with time - and this can be found in newspapers -, Hezbollah suffered a terrible defeat and is losing ground with the Shi'a in Lebanon and in Lebanon in general. Time, as I predicted initially, works in Israel's favor on what occurred as it will take many years for the Shi'a to rebuild in a war they did not seek but which, instead, was sought by Hezbollah. And that is well remembered by those who lost their homes and now have nothing.

    And, the Sunnis in the Arab regions are also not jumping anymore to the side of Hezbollah either. Opinion is beginning to return to normal as people look at the damage caused and ask the obvious question: what sort of victory was actually won? The answer is: not much of one.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Israel did go to great lengths to capture the man. So what? That could well be part of the cover. As for his time in jail, that could largely be a fake.

    Now, assuming that he was involved, I he may well exagerate about what he saw and he may have made things up, etc., etc. What is known is that he is a religious fanatic and religious fanatics do sometimes make things up - in fact, they do so frequently.

    Again, I do not doubt that Israel has nuclear weapons. I do, on the other hand, doubt that there are hundreds of them. On the other hand, I do not think it any more troubling that Israel has such weapons than that the US has them. In that Israel allegedly - if the evidence is correct - had such weapons during the Yom Kippur War and did not use them, even though the country was facing an existential challenged and, for a while, losing, Israel seems to have been rather responsible. And that counts for something.

    E. Simon - 9/17/2006

    It's pretty amazing the lengths he will go to in order to find tremendously foreboding warnings in what happens in Israel, while brushing off the well-known nexus between hatred, mass violence and the Jew-hating political and socio-cultural movements stretching from Mecca to Ramallah as trivial paranoia that a ten-mile wide Israel should have no problem peacefully contending with.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    Jews are a religion and a nation. But, they are not a race. And race has nothing to do with things. What does have to do with things is the desire to survive as a group of nation of people.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    I was quoting from Yale University's collection of documents on the Middle East, called the Avalon Project. And, the quotes were all from the HAMAS Covenant.

    Not recognizing the HAMAS covenant disqualifies you from rational debate.

    As for your quotes, they have nothing to do with what I was addressing.

    E. Simon - 9/17/2006

    You've got to be kidding:

    "I think that using the terms of the 18th century French Assembly ("Left" and "Right") to describe alternative national and international policies today is of little value, and has been since before 9-11-01, and I adhere to most serious historians who tend to eschew such vague cliches whereever possible."

    Whether you, or I, or serious historians, or Jack Frost think these terms have less value than others suppose, the polarization of American politics, the wide chasm between preferences in domestic policy (more or less welfare benefits, more or less centralization of health care, etc., etc.) speak to how Americans and the think tanks and "intellectuals" that drive American political discourse largely view these matters.

    Before claiming that this post diverges from the article, just remember that it's a point you started, and please do try to respond without ad hominems, which include pretty much any personal reference to me. If you can do neither, there's no dishonor in not responding either. Understanding the American political dynamic is crucial to understanding post-9/11 government actions.

    E. Simon - 9/17/2006

    Peter, actually my "blind faith," (or as I would call it "deference to established authority in fighting threats") is actually placed in the IDF. If it is not being led well, I seriously doubt that it would have been your fight by now using the feelings of the Israeli democracy that you have for so long lately chided as "duped by Fascism, etc.," as an effective counterpoint. The only way to know if they are right is if the government is able to get a U.N. force to disarm Hizbullah. This question has yet to be answered, and if they do it, both you, and the current sentiments of the Israeli public would have been wrong. We (in the generic sense) are right to be skeptical in the meantime, but there is no way that the history of this outcome can be known until that question is answered.

    And by the way, here's an even better source for your actual argument, not its fleeting, mythological implications - which could apply equally to American socio-political changes:


    E. Simon - 9/17/2006


    My reference to globalization, its effects, and how America, as a superpower deals with (both it and them), was more a reference to a broad issue that I've really never seen Peter engage. The Islamists, (although I'm starting to prefer the term "Bin Ladenists," and maybe "Wahhabists" might be a more constructive reference) I take as a serious threat to Western civilization, not the right wing. I think these "neocons" are largely done. Evangelicals are not. Americans, whether newly immigrated or not, do value hope, and especially as new immigrants, prefer to see America as a force for good in the world - especially on a metaphorical and emotional level, and they need to be connected with on that level, not at the wonky level of detail that political discourse has assumed, especially when it comes to the tactics of the left, or the bashing of the administration that drives Peter. It's always the more hopeful and optimistic ones that win, not the ones who can bash their opponent the most. And people will crave honesty in how their optimism is presented by their candidates more than ever, as blogs and bloggers will debate the boring details voters at large ignore and "slipperiness" (as Peter calls it) or "flip-flopping" as Karl Rove called it, is brought to light by more warring bloggers and rejected more and more. More honestly hopeful, Forrest Gump-like guys with his political machines to run the show in the Oval Office is to become the norm, I'm afraid. And belief (in your candidate, "do you trust him on a personal level," etc.?) not factual debate - the details of which our information revolution has made too abundant and unwieldly for most people to deal with with, will become the article of political faith.

    Now while we both agree on the seriousness of the threat that al Qaeda-ists pose while rightly questioning the level of that threat, their determination, the fact that their leader wasn't killed early, their ability to communicate and organize in ways that technology has made easier, their ability to access loose fissile material that will continue to run around unchecked through international channels as state-based proliferation continues and Soviet stocks remain unnaccounted for, the incompetence of American government in coordinating action against all possible threats, rather than focussing on what currently meaningful political pressures have to say about them, ALL speak to a more serious threat than less.

    And yes, the administration has basically exploited that politically - and all the more ironically, by not doing enough to act in a concerted way against all the possible dangers that these creative self-combusting threats to Western Civilization have posed. The failing grades of the 9/11 Commission's report card bear witness to that.

    9/11 changed American attitudes, though. And let's not lull ourselves into thinking that the left can do much to change the course of radicalism in the Muslim world. Perhaps it could more competently organize against the threats identified by the 9/11 Commission, which is no small thing. As for the threat to our civil liberties, it is real but has been witnessed and carried out in similar episodes of danger to the Republic before. Whether it becomes entrenched is the concern, and the only way to prevent that is to find a way to deal with this serious, novel type of threat in a way that allows for structural changes in either government organization, government priorities or justice system that doesn't simultaneously put the bill of rights or the third Geneva convention on the defensive. Civil libertarians don't seem to understand that. As a corrective, I think the most serious and feasible proposals have been put forward by appellate judge Richard Posner in Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency, which envisions a legal structure empowered not just to fight crime and prosecute war - as it is currently structured - but to fight terrorism or internal threats as well. If more political band-aids are put onto the threat, however, like good Americans, we will quickly lose interest before serious proposals are actually implemented.

    Carl Becker - 9/17/2006

    Mr. Ebbitt, careful what you say around Yehudi since he may have some lackey intern sympathizer on staff at HNN; last week after making a comment (#96450), I followed his ad hominem attack with my own and was censored by them (I had called Yehudi a jackass and unable to understand the English language). Although, my comment as a whole must have been as irrelevant as his, I was the one who was censored. If HNN can support such an incomprehensible fool as this paranoid putz, I could care less if I’m permanently censored from this site.

    john crocker - 9/17/2006

    He provided photos of the site as well. I have looked at some of them, but do not have a level of expertise to judge whether or not they show what they purport to.

    The first link I was able to find for the photos was www.nonviolence.org/vanunu/photos.html

    I have not found a nonpartisan review of the photos with a quick search.

    Israel did go to great lengths to capture him and return him to Israel and imprisoned him for 18 years. He is still only allowed restricted movement and speach. Why would Israel do this if he did not have information that Israel wanted to suppress?

    The photos do not address the number of nukes, but they provide evidence for his other assertions.

    If you think that his story is too thinly sourced to be believed you should stand beside me in confronting some of our current administration's much more thinly sourced assertions.

    john crocker - 9/17/2006

    If I am reading you correctly in your central paragraph you say the the neocons and their agenda, globalization, and "how America deals with them as a superpower" (sorry I'm not sure of the referent of them) are a less serious threat to America than the "Islamists." You further state that these "Islamists" are the primary enemy of the Right (which I take to be represented by the current power structure of the Republican party).

    I don't think that any of these issues (with the possible exception of the confused referent) can be ignored without serious consequence.

    "Islamist" terrorist organizations pose a threat of debatable seriousness from the outside. [the debate is not whether it is serious, but how serious] The threat is certainly not as serious as the threat posed by the Soviets during the Cold War, as some have contended. Neither is it as great as that posed by the Nazis during the 30s and 40s, as some have contended. It is a threat that must be confronted. The dabate is largely about how best to confront it. Should the focus be primarily on intelligence , international cooperation and enforcement or direct large scale military confrontation. Where are our resources best spent?

    The neocons pose a threat of debateable seriousness from the inside. The greatest threat they pose is in their eagerness to trade liberty for security.
    "Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty."
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
    They said better than I can.

    Globalization is an unavoidable force regardless of how any of us may feel about it. It carries with it potential for great good and great harm as well. We as people and as a nation must realistically assess the effects of globalization on us and the world and react accordingly. Ignoring the dangers it brings dooms us to suffering those dangers. Ignoring the possible benefits dooms us to missing them.

    The primary enemy the Right seems to see is the Left. The terrorists are used as a tool to combat the Left and to scare the middle into their camp. This is the unfortunate reality of politics in the US at the moment. The Right has been much more effective in its fight against the Left than its fight against the terrorists.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    There being no race called "Palestinian" or "Jew," I cannot imagine what "race" has to do with the matter.

    N. Friedman - 9/17/2006


    You write: "On the one hand you endorse killing. On the other hand you condemn killing. The only criteria for you is who is doing the killing."

    I am not a pacifist. There are times when it is necessary and moral to kill. The right to kill depends on the circumstances. I suggest you examine just war theory.

    As I said, Israel's sins, by world standards, are trivial. And its behavior, for the most part, is well justified under just war theory. I do not think that can be said about groups like HAMAS - the ruling party for Palestinian Arabs.

    I note its agenda, as stated in its covenant (and please read it carefully as it is a serious document, setting forth rather clearly the Muslim Arab position on the Arab Israeli dispute):

    Article Thirteen:

    Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."

    Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

    "But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah." (The Cow - verse 120).

    There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:

    "The people of Syria are Allah's lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation."

    That is pretty straight forward, Patrick. HAMAS rejects the very basis for just war, arguing instead for total war as the only solution. As the Covenant also says:

    The Slogan of the Islamic Resistance Movement:

    Article Eight:

    Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.

    And, lest you miss the point that we are dealing with a movement which says basically what Hitler said, the Covenant adds:

    Article Twenty-Two:

    For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

    You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.

    If you do not understand the meaning of the above - basically a restatement of Hitler's argument -, then I cannot help you.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    Peter, pointing out your multiple errors of historical fact and context is never a waste of anyone's time.

    Now I would go on to address how what you don't understand about post-9/11 changes often comes down to changes in American attitudes and values in American politics and foreign policy that are less rooted in realpolitik as traditionally understood, even if "incompetently" implemented, but let's be honest here: you NEVER intended to have a serious discussion on that point. You couldn't stand to. And the ad hominems you dish out to anyone who doesn't march in lock-step with your views and demands in combatting such an obvious perspective - one that historical inquiry will take as seriously as you dismiss it - are in abundant evidence of that. And as many conservatives in America, Germany, Canada, Australia, the Anglosphere, what have you, such as Bill Heuisler, etc. are representative of, will have you scratching your eyeballs out arguing pecuniary political details and exchanging ridiculous screeds with them until you're blue in the face. Meanwhile, the trends they will continue to represent in American culture, politics and history - along with the effects of globalization and how America deals with them as a superpower, that other bugbear of yours - will continue to elude and frustrate you until long after you're done denying that the Islamists - which the Right's opponents are at least as unserious about dealing effectively with - are the greater threat to Western Civilization than they are.

    It's not slipperiness. It's called an open mind that's more complex and capable of analyzing more perspectives than you can understand, or more to the point, pigeonhole. I just reserve the gladiatorial moves to match the coliseum you try to turn this into EVERY time you're faced with a serious challenge to your presumptive arguments and - when you recognize someone actually has more expertise than you - snide, shallow and unforgiving retorts. So along with "dumb" - your all-purpose insult for Americans in general, and "slippery" - your all-purpose insult for me, add to your list "cold, calculating and uncreative," to describe your fundamental inability to understand any trends in American and Western culture, values or sympathies that will continue to grow until long after you're dead and gone, and, debating Bill Heuisler, and misunderstanding me.


    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    Mr. Crocker, I see you make this argument in post #97392 at 4:45 P.M., over 5 hours after Friedman's post - to which it is a response, and over 3 & 1/2 hours after I responded to Ebbitt's flat-out misunderstanding of that original post. If you take issue with Friedman's contention of Vanunu's beliefs, I appreciate your clarification, but it does not absolve Ebbitt of his misunderstanding of Friedman's argument, which was what I pointed out. Indeed, if Ebbitt possessed your intelligence, resourcefulness and honesty then the thread could have continued solely in this more productive vein in which you are able to take it. So thanks for this opportunity you provide for more constructive debate.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    Really, no further explanation required. I'll wait until such time as you understand the direction in which you tried to continue "this point of discussion".

    I believe I'll be waiting quite some time.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006

    In other words, you are not answering my question. Again: is the Arab policy racist or not. It favors one ethnic group over another. And, moreover, it favors actually expelling one of the groups. That sounds racist to me. I do not think that expelling the Arab population is the Israeli policy.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    My view is that Israel's sins are rather trivial, by world standands. I do not think it disgusting to knock down houses in a war. I think it rather civilized, compared to killing people wholesale, as Israel clearly could do. So, I think your remarks are ridiculous and prejudiced, as the primary tactic by Arab side, in the dispute, is to kill as many civilians as possible, not to knock down buildings. In my mind, buildings can be re-built, people cannot. So, I take your comment for what it is: prejudiced.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    It still sounds like a phoney story. Now, I do not doubt that Israel has nuclear weapons. What I doubt is that Israel has hundreds of them.

    john crocker - 9/16/2006

    I don't think the Anglican diocese of Sydney is not in the same league as the Branch Davidians.

    As I stated above the religious conversion happened after he left Israel and gave the interview.

    You should look to the evidence before you make this argument.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/16/2006

    Your America switched parties because of the civil rights legislation (as LBJ predicted). Your America taught south American military how to torture and it was done here in the good old USA at the school of the Americas. Your America committed unpunished atrocities at My Lay, but you of course, blame Kissinger for it. Your America had J. Edgar Hoover who did quite a lot of spying on US citizens.
    The US Constitution is a very nice document but it belongs to a dreamland USA and not to the real-land USA. In reality anyone who can pay a good lawyer can have his constitutional rights respected. USA is the country with the highest, per capita, number of prison inmates in the world, so if you want to dream you are free to do it!
    What did you drink, whiskey or martini?

    john crocker - 9/16/2006

    "The Israelis would not allow a religious fanatic - convert to a Christian religious sect - near a nuclear program."

    A few minutes of internet research reveals that Mordechai Vanunu converted to Christianity while living in Sydney and was baptized at St. John Cross Anglican Church, a Christian sect to be sure. While living in Israel he was a mostly secular Jew according to him.
    His religious convictions seems to have arrisen as an issue after he was returned to Israel.

    His story brought world attention to Israel's nuclear ambitions and the liklihood of their nuclear achievements. It has since been unoficially acknowledged that Israel is a member of the nuclear club. It doesn't much matter any more whether or not he is a reliable witness, as the biggest part of his story has been confirmed.

    You could write a book for Regnery based on the secret agent double life thesis. Better yet a Dan Brown style msytery. Maybe it could start with a murder and a mysteriously urgent call in the dead of night.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    I defy anyone (other than Ebbitt) to make sense of this convoluted, well, an appropriately descriptive noun would be too obscene:

    "I did not make the initial equivalence between a religious fanatic convert to a religious sect. Mr. Friedman did. Learn to read Evelyn Woodhead."

    I heard somewhere that in English, equivalence is made BETWEEN something AND something else. Ebbitt uses the conjunction "to," as in, "to a religious sect." Was an attempted equivalence even identified in that statement? - you know, seeing as how the rest of his post only depends on it. Only Ebbitt, and the powers that be in determining his brave, dumb convictions, know. Underneath his grammaticaly undecipherable run-on sentences we can only hope that the assumed wisdom within his mystical speech patterns resides.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    That was truly a very interesting post. I hope Mr. Ebbigott will forgive me, but it will likely take me a long while to digest the well-presented, intellectual reasoning, facts and dispassionate logic in the post; not to mention the stunning, compelling case made for how everything bad in Iran has, if not an identical equivalent in the U.S. and Israel, a better case to make for the mistreatments it inflicts.

    As for sticking in the kitchen, though Mr. Ebbitt fancies himself quite brave for withstanding the undeniably oppressive act of making boilerplate commentary on the internet, it's not cowardice that might compel me to deny him further response; it's the smell that he makes. Perhaps Mr. Friedman is more resistant to them, but as Ebbitt's floating "trial balloons" float much better in a toilet than in the kitchen, I'll go elsewhere and make myself a different meal than the one he's cooking up. It's a matter of taste, I suppose.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006


    Thanks for your contributions as well.

    I think it's odd that they have to be so clean and utterly devoid of the ad hominems that those who challenge them, albeit under the guise of begrudging respect, to admit as much; as rude to both you and everyone else and as reluctant as they remain to clean up their own ad hominems. It's a stance of: "Agree with me or I will insult you!" and it's utterly unintellectual. But I think such mental nuance is hard for many to grasp, as they view debates or defending positions as an all or nothing fight. I think that's also why at least a few here hate Israel, as its politics and social nature (which is so "racist" as to integrate Ethiopian Jews into its population, and so hateful as to provide safe refuge for the gay Palestinians that are rejected by their own society) defy attempts at conventional description.

    Some of these people here need you (and the world) to keep things simple. But the world is just not that simple. Complexity defies them. And that's not my problem or yours.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    Iran, in fact, does go around killing poor souls. It does so regularly. Ask any Baha'i. And the country stones people to death. And, some people have no rights at all, as in the baha'i because they are considered apostates and can thus be attacked and killed without any substantial legal penalty.

    Israel does not have a policy to destroy Iran. Iran's policy, if its leader is to be believed, is genocide - nothing more or less -. And, by genocide, I mean killing off a country's population. And, that has been the policy for many years, going back to Rasfanjani's comments that a single bomb would destroy Israel while Israel's retaliation would only kill ten to fifteen million Iranians.

    There is no similar claim on Israel's side. And the Israeli government does not claim they are doing God's work, as the Iranian government is. And Israel is basically a secular country, while Iran is a theocracy.

    Where the countries are similar is that both are countries. After that, there are mostly only differences.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    I have difficulty following your logic.

    To get an idea of your view of racism, I have a thought experiment for you. The official position of the PA, prior to the election of HAMAS, is that Jews cannot live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Whether or not you believe the policy to be justified, is that policy racist? If not, why not?

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006

    Well said, Mr. Simon.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/16/2006

    You make St. Patrick and Francis turn i thier graves with your hate.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    There you go again, Ebbitt. Attempting to draw equivalence between a "religious _fanatic_," a "convert to a...religious _sect_," and its supposed congruity to relatively secular statehood or freedom of religious conviction. I don't even know the particulars of the story or the clippings provided and I can already see what you're missing _in this VERY argument_. It's like claiming that the U.S. government would be remiss in not hiring someone to a sensitive government position who was close to David Koresh, and therefore, if such a person were to be hired, any claims he would make about work in the ATF would be no less believable. What on earth does freedom of religious conviction have to do with an alleged cult adherent making claims based on his position in a spot with access to state secrets?

    What you're doing here is revealing your own limits in conceiving of and appreciating the details of different scenarios, and you don't help your interest in getting beyond those limitations with attacks like the first paragraph. Why not try some of the "highly developed reason" you extol (when not attacking him) on for size. The brain is not a muscle. Nor does it preclude taking a position. Just not an all or nothing position.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    You're as seriously ignorant as you are bigotted. Why is it my job to teach you what you don't know, how to read, etc., etc., etc? It's not.

    As for this ditty "Look at the crap you write, "all for constructive change in Iran". When is Israel going to make constructive changes to it's government policy?" Why are you obsessed with drawing parallels between countries that don't exist? Why is it my job to endorse your hatred? It isn't. So you take the apparently deadly serious stance of basically "thinking" Israel sucks. So what? Who cares? What endorsement on my part or anyone else's of this EMOTING would you even care to seek? And it's not even a serious position not least of all because of the intensely emotional and all or nothing quality with which you present it, but the severe lack of intellectual depth with which you don't engage it.

    I also notice in your post below that I'm on trial for not "admit(ting)" to something about which I have no direct knowledge? Just where did I DENY any nuclear capability by Israel, oh Honest Man? Show me where? Guess you can't. Maybe the honesty you so extol could have been better spent honestly admitting that you can't read, than in showcasing your honestly inept efforts to demonize.

    As for more of your attempted equivalence w/Iran, it's a funny tactic to take by someone who was so excoriated last week following a post that attempted to draw equivalence between punishing homosexuals with death in Iran and an American justice system that was "Christian cleric-like." As the professor said, like so many of your other parallels, "(a)ny idiot ought to be able to see the difference." But some are too obsessed with their pathetic attempts to draw them that the musings of the non-idiots here should be enough for it to be clear that your trial balloons, which probably float about as well some other physical products released from your body, are relegated to nothing more than your own amusement.


    Look at your own words and your own tactics before going on the rampage with others. And learn to tell the difference between someone arguing a position and the objects discussed in that position. And learn to contain your outbursts. Stop seeking emotional endorsements. "Other posters are a welcome relief only because they don't take you to task(?)" Bullshit. Anyone is welcome to take any issue with anything I've said on a factual, contextual or logical basis. That would be fine by me. You haven't done that and at any point in time in which you choose to relegate your responses to me in such a way, I will consider doing so. But your exchanges with Eckstein shows how unlikely that is. I think the pot is calling the kettle black. When it stops, there will be reason for me to engage this stance you claim is "drop dead serious".

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/16/2006

    USA helped me make tons of money with the Y2K bubble, web bubble and more. I don't hate Anerica, I only exposed the realpolitik way America does business. As good old Truman said "don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen!"
    I only described the way the Jews advanced from the heat of the ovens to the heat of the realpolitik kitchen. You, of course, like Jews in the ovens, but what you can do, these SOBs have enough chutzpah to stay alive.
    By the way, John Loftus, is a very good catholic.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    We certainly know of no facts about Israeli bombs from Mordechai Vanunu. We have allegations from him that are believed by Israel haters. But, so far as anyone actually knows, he may be an Israeli spy who planted a story and was kept, allegedly, in jail but, in reality, lead a double life.

    I, for one, never believed his story on face value as it makes no sense. The Israelis would not allow a religious fanatic - convert to a Christian religious sect - near a nuclear program. So, I think the idea that the story is a mere plant is a likelihood.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    It's interesting to be reminded of the sheer number of people who can't understand that 1 plus 1 would still equal 2, even if Hitler said it.

    E. Simon - 9/16/2006

    Although I'm glad the thread took a productive turn with Mr. Crocker's more serious comments (is there any other possibility when someone other than the king of the anthill comes in?), but I should just point out that I was misunderstood with the obviously cut-off reading of less than the full post, which is referring to the deterrence maintained by acting against non-nuclear threats. This point will likely continue to be beyond Ebbitt, so it's fine by me that it was lost in the suffle before it took a more productive turn.

    And John's last point is a good one. Some experts who are, incidentally, all for constructive change in Iran, such as Thomas Barnett, think it untenable to believe that Iran WON'T get the bomb, and that we should simultaneously embrace its great nation/potentially somewhat great power status while working with it in a way that aims for stability in its regional relations even if our exchanges can be seen as a way of promoting change from within - while avoiding direct agitation, much as has been how we view the case with China.

    As for applying a single standard to all countries as if to equivocate over the fact that they abide by different standards, I'm sure you are aware that Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, which Iran is. This makes a huge difference. These treaties are voluntary, not mandatory, and I would much prefer compliance to the understood standard than trying to grease one's way around a treaty, whether it be Iran around the NPT or Bush around Geneva III. If anyone, including either Iran or the U.S., doesn't want to stick to a treaty, they should have the balls to withdraw from it. In this sense, Israel is doing the correct thing.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    As I said, I am not here to defend Kissinger. I cited his article because it is quite a good one. His points are well taken. That is true whether he is a sinner or a saint. And I am not suggesting that he is a saint.

    I might note a minor correction to you comment. Kissinger was not in a position to make any decisions in 1968. His soon to be boss did not become president until 1969.

    Now, let it be known that I protested against the Vietnam War, attended the great moratorium march in Washington - along with all alleged million other people, etc. I am not a devotee of Kissinger but, nonetheless, recognize that he is a man of great intellect and achievement.

    As for achievements, notwithstanding my view of the Vietnam craziness and, perhaps, the intervention in Chile, Kissinger did a great deal to undermine the USSR - something that should be celebrated by anyone who believes in human dignity -. And, to that extent, he did great things as the USSR was one of the more monstrous regimes the world has ever known.

    So, I do not see only his faults, which are certainly real and not denied by me - although they are also faults of a generation as well -. It was not, after all, just Kissinger who involved us in Vietnam but it was also Nixon and, before him, Johnson.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/16/2006

    A quite accurate description one can find at the Federation of American Scientists site:


    One interesting addition is that Shimon Peres was the director of the Israeli defense ministry and he did all the diplomatic heavy lifting (with his perfect French) to convince the French to sell the Dimona reactor to Israel. He also supervised the building of the reactor.
    My guess is that the alleged Israeli nukes are one of the main reasons USA is so eager to help Israel militarily, because radioactive gas doesn't sit well inside big American cars. I base this guess on the fact that beginning of the US help for Israel coincides with the time when Israel had operational nukes. I don't believe USA would help Israel if it didn't have to!
    To put things in perspective in 1967 the famous USS Liberty was mapping Israeli army positions by collecting radio transmissions. Knowing the strength of the transmissions they could know where was the front line and where was the command and control ("The Secret War Against the Jews" by John Loftus and Mark Aarons). The data was relayed to a British army data processing center in Malta (the computers were too big in 1967 to fit on a navy ship) and from there to the Egyptian army. That's the main reason the US government kept it quiet, it was a treasonous mission, keep the Arabs happy with dead Jews and the oil will flow.
    By the way the yiidish word "Chutzpah" can be approximately translated as "insolence".

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    If by she, you mean Israel, I would guess that she has the bomb. I would, by contrast, guess that she has far fewer than the paper's claim for the reasons that having the facilities to refine the nuclear fuel on the scale to build the number of bombs that Israel is alleged to have is difficult to hide, while Israel is very small. Perhaps the Israelis have solved the centrifuge problem in a novel way but I doubt it.

    N. Friedman - 9/16/2006


    Well, my point about Israel is that it had the scientific ability, day one, to build a bomb. It needed the material, equipment and some time.

    You write: "Applying a different standard to the nuclear aspirations of different countries leaves us in an untenable position."

    That is perfectly fine with me. But you should recognized that the same applies to the US, Russia, France, Britain and China. None of these countries is going to give up nuclear weapons. So, it is rather hypocritical, not because Israel, India and Pakistan are permitted to have such weapons but primarily because the US, Russia, France, Britain and China demand of others what they do not demand of themselves.

    Clearly, Iran with nuclear weapons is a danger to the world, as its leader - if not leaders - think, or at least indicate publicly, that the hidden iman is about to reveal himself, thus permitting total destruction, as provided for in Shi'a mythology. If you are interested in that topic, I suggest you consult with Professor Furnish who is a real authority on the topic.

    The point here is that Iran, like Pakistan but not like India, are special cases. Pakistan, for the moment, is not run by a madman but the ideology that is overwhelming the country is as dangerous as Iran. In Pakistan, mosques give sermons on the positive value of the bomb and using the bomb. There are memorials to the bomb across the country.

    By contrast, Israel is not exactly threatening to use weapons since it does not acknowledge having them. Were I an Israeli and were I to have to listen to the lunatic relio-politics of its surrounding countries and to the nastiness from European countries who want Israel to solve Europe's problem with the Arab regions by ceding land without also requiring an end to the appetite of Israel's enemies to destroy Israel, I would think about having nuclear weapons as well. You would also.

    john crocker - 9/16/2006

    That a very small country (7 mil now)has the highest percentage of PhDs does not mean that they needed no help in developing nuclear technology. Not all PhDs are equal when trying to develop nuclear technology. Israel certainly had/has intellectual capital, but it also likely had a little help.

    Beyond this "merely needing the raw material and equipment" is quite a hurdle. It is precisely the hurdle that you have said more than once Iran is trying to leap. This is also the hurdle some claimed Iraq was attempting to leap and used this as a justification for war.

    Applying a different standard to the nuclear aspirations of different countries leaves us in an untenable position. A nuclear armed Iran is not something any of us here want, but if we accept nuclear armed Israel, Pakistan and India without consequence how can our demand that other countries stop researching nuclear technology have any moral force?

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006


    Israel, at the time it came into being, had the highest percentage of PhD's of any country on Earth. If Israel has the bomb, it did not need help. I merely needed raw materials it did not have and/or equipment which, at the time, it lacked the industrial base to build.

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006


    First, I do not claim to be a Kissinger devotee. However, he is clearly a rather brilliant scholar, whatever his merits as a statesman. So, whether his prescription is correct, his analysis cannot be ignored, especially on the nonsense theory that because he was a bad guy in office, everything he says is unworthy of reading.

    Second, even if Kissinger is a mass murderer, the fact is that there are rather worse killers in the world. Have you ever heard of ‘Umar al-Bashir and Hassan al-Turabi? Probably not, given the tenor of your comment.

    For your information, al-Bashir, along with his religious mentor, al-Turabi, are responsible for the death during the 1990's of more than one million Sudanese Christians and animists, not to mention the re-institution of slavery (i.e. the selling of humans in public auctions - hundreds of thousands of people having been sold into slavery at this point, justified by al-Turabi as religiously proper -), forced conversion of Christians and animists, taking of large numbers of Christian and animist children from their families in order to convert them and the use of food as a weapon to force people to convert. By the standards of al-Bashir and al-Turabi, Kissinger is truly an amateur.

    Now, one can say bad things about Kissinger. But, he really is not of the same ilk as those mentioned above or the rather large number of other monsters who have sprung up over the years in Africa and Asia. In fact, he does not even make it anywhere near that list of infamy.

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006

    Mr. Simon,

    Your point is well taken. There is no accounting for his hypocrisy.

    E. Simon - 9/15/2006

    At least Ebbigott does everyone the service of not even pretending to address, let alone take substantive issue with anything said in the thread, in which each of the posts within are at most, about 1/3rd the length of his - his concerns about bandwidth apparently notwithstanding.

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006


    You might note that I was responding to comments made by Peter. Were his comments more on topic than mine? I doubt it since my topic addressed points he made.

    I do appreciate that you realize that your comments are ad hominem. Next, you might even take the trouble to read what the articles cited actually state.

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006


    Here is what Henry Kissinger thinks:

    We are witnessing a carefully conceived assault, not isolated terrorist attacks, on the international system of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.


    Everything returns to the challenge of Iran.

    It trains, finances, and equips Hezbollah, the state within a state in Lebanon. It finances and supports the Sadr militia, the state within a state in Iraq. It works on a nuclear weapons program, which would drive nuclear proliferation out of control and provide a safety net for the systematic destruction of at least the regional order.

    The challenge is now about world order more than about adjustments within an accepted framework.


    You, my friend, are living in a world which no longer exists.

    By the way, Peter, are you capable of an argument that does not include gratuitous insults, ad hominem arguments, etc., etc.? I really do not enjoy reading them and they do not seem to help your arguments. I suggest: Address yourself to the arguments. I am sure you can. And that will earn you a bit of respect.

    E. Simon - 9/15/2006

    In the post above (#97325), I count the following ad hominems/insults:

    1. Will you ever discover common sense?

    2. The trouble with your paranoia is that it eventually becomes self-fulfilling.

    Which leaves us with possibly the skeleton of an argument that while noting Hezbollah's "victory," (which is only a victory in a psychological sense, or in the sense that Israel's conventional military deterrent capacity - which is the POINT of responding to "each every tiny incident of violence against an Israeli" - was harmed), Mr. Clarke goes on to make what seems like the non-sequitur of dismissing the existential harm of conventional/terrorist/guerrilla tactics by pointing out, well golly gee, why would Iran be "trying so hard to acquire nuclear weapons capability?" (if said other tactics couldn't constitute existential dangers).

    The answer is a little something called "deterrence."

    Peter seems to be concluding that Hezbollah's tactics (and the existential threat to Israel's deterrence caused by not responding to their non-nuclear military or guerrila provocation) can be downplayed just because Iran wants to get an atomic weapon. What illogic.

    I suppose any country henceforth threatened with nuclear armageddon should now decide that it will allow every other breach of its sovereignty and act of violence against its military and civilians to stand.

    There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/15/2006

    You can kid yourself as much as you want but your vocabulary is full of freudian slips! I didn't say that USA was allied with Germany during WWII, I said that USA (and UK) fully collaborated with Germany in the extermination of Jews by forcing the european Jews to remanin close to the ovens when they had all the room (and Jewish money) to save at least 2 million Jews but they preferred not to!

    N. Friedman - 9/15/2006


    The threat posed by Hezbollah is that it is an arm of Iran. And, it is an existential threat.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/15/2006

    The Jews lived for 2000 years under pogroms and discrimination and their numbers were cut in half during WWII. In our days when an Islamic leader calls for the removal of Israel from the map there is no real protest about, only a few polite diplomatic reactions and you call the Jews paranoid. I bet a Jungian analyst will find your racist subconscious roots.
    When the oil demand is rising (because of SUVs, China, India etc.) the oil related need is compelling. The inspections ran their course but Saddam (mainly for internal political reasons) had a double message one for the UN and one for the Iraqis letting them believe how smart he is and how the fox in him is fooling the inspectors.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/14/2006

    That's as old as politics!

    Bill Heuisler - 9/14/2006

    Mr. Clarke,
    ...Is amusing.
    Implying I am a liar and calling me a Fascist reveals your absolute lack of intellectual ammunition.

    I feel sorry for you. Defending Saddam must be difficult. Ignoring evidence and resorting to insult makes it impossible to take you seriously...and you so desperately want respect, don't you?

    Here's more evidence for HNN readers who care about this issue:

    Recently released tapes of Saddam and key officials show more evidence of WMDs and a closer Osama connection.

    In approximately 12 hours of tapes Saddam discussed using al Qaeda to attack us with nuclear/bio weapons.
    Transcripts show Saddam discussed hiding WMDs from UN inspectors and knew where inspectors were going; and he also talked about "plasma enrichment" for nuclear weapons.

    In conversations with Tariq Aziz he discussed how proxies could take bio weapons into our cities. Saddam said that Iraq would be blamed for nukes, but not biological disasters - they could blame places like Dietrick.

    There will be more. US intel is now translating 3,000 more hours of tapes.

    The tapes also suggest Russia helped Saddam move WMDs to three locations in Syria and in the Bekaa Valley in September to December of 2002.

    Don't believe it? Well try this:

    Jack Shaw, former Deputy Under Sec Def (international technology security) said Saddam’s stockpiles of WMDs were moved by a Russian Spetznatz team headed by Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian Intelligence Chief, who came to Iraq in 2002 to supervise hiding evidence.

    As to your contention that Iraq is not part of terrorism, please read
    Tawfik Hamid's "The Roots of Jihad".
    He states al Qaeda indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis forces them to provide more good intel to the US.
    He says Iraqi Security and Iraqi people will defeat the terrorists and then Iraq will be a corner stone for reform in the region.

    Also see Dr Abdurrahman Wahid, ex-President of Indonesia's editorial, (WSJ, 12/30/05) on defeating al Qaeda.

    Mr. Clarke, most people not driven by hatred of President Bush and the US acknowledge that Iraq is the central front on the war on terror. (Osama Bin Laden stated that as fact in a recent tape released on al Jazeera.
    Maybe you should argue with him.)

    That's why the Iraq war's so intense. We're winning. 50 million people are now free in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saddam's on trial. Osama's hiding and moving every 3-6 hours.

    Failure to see the obvious and to be invested in such hatred is really and truly pathetic. Your inappropriate rage gives you away.
    Bill Heuisler

    N. Friedman - 9/14/2006


    I did not say that Ferguson spoke about Frankfurt. However, such is implicit in what he writes. Note the material I quoted.

    Karsh, I might add, is not a crackpot. He is is director of the Mediterranean Studies Programme at King's College, University of London. He is an authority on the topic on which I cited him.

    As for you, try reading a book. It will help you stop saying dumb things.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/14/2006

    Anyone calling a Jew paranoid does it out of deep racism!
    I am very well in the Big Lie subject, the Iraq war is caused by the gas drinking SUVs nad not by Jewish interests.
    Me and my wife drive both Toyota Corolla, great car!

    N. Friedman - 9/14/2006


    Well, the good professor, Niall Ferguson, seems to disagree with you, at least about Britain. He writes: "It was one of the great ironies of the war on terrorism that just five years after 9/11, many counterterrorism experts were convinced that the most likely source of another big attack on the U.S. was not the axis of evil but conceivably America's closest ally, Britain."

    But, of course, Peter knows more than everyone else. And, of course, he knows so much more than Niall Ferguson.

    As for your comment: "Iraq was concocted by the Brits out of a melange of tribes..." I suggest that you read Ephraim Karsh's book, Islamic Imperialism. Mr. Karsh strongly disagrees with that assertion, providing substantial evidence that it was not Britain, etc., which divided up the region, including Iraq, but such was done to accomodate competing claims among the family of the Sharif of Arabia. In Karsh's telling, Britain certainly had influence but she was not in a position to divide up the region and, moreover, local actors were as important or more important in what occured. Then again, Peter, you have not picked up a book about that part of the world so you are always happy with the ignorant bliss you have convinced yourself of.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/14/2006

    You are in a perpetual crisis of political paranoia. I voted democrats in 2000, 2002, 2004 but it didn't help. As I wrote in other posts all begun with this mountain of stupidity, called al gore, who was afraid of Clinton's penis.
    This year I am going to be more picky but for sure I'll vot for Lieberman (yes I live in CT) and not for Lamont the disguised republican from Greenwich who could use his $4 million for charity. With candidates like Kerry and Lamont the party represents the rich and for me isn't good enough (though I am quite rich). The only candidate withe ties to the trade unions is Gephardt but the party didn't even consider him.
    If it continues the same we may have Condi as president in 2008 and you'll not be able to blame the wolfies because they are out now?!

    N. Friedman - 9/14/2006

    Peter and Bill,

    The two of you, Peter and Bill, are having a crazy debate.

    Regarding your statement, Bill... While I agree with you that terrorism cannot be defeated on the defensive only, that does not mean that terrorist who might have attacked the US are deterred by our presence in Iraq and by our having killed - assuming, for purposes of argument, your figures are accurate - 40,000 terrorists in Iraq. The fact is that terrorists have not all moved to Iraq.

    Bill, I would commend to you the article "The Nation That Fell To Earth," by Niall Ferguson, Time Magazine, September 3, 2006, at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1531303,00.html . Note in particular Professor Ferguson's notation about Europe and about the Comintern. From the article:
    With all the vast resources of a hyperpower at the President's disposal, that was not a wholly unrealistic objective. But while Bush's analysis may have been accurate, the execution of it was fatally flawed. Far from reducing conflict in the Middle East, forcible democratization turned out to have just the opposite effect, unleashing violent centrifugal forces that were beyond American power to control. By focusing its efforts on rogue states, the U.S. ignored the fact that the terrorists' most important area of activity was not the Middle East but stable, prosperous, democratic Western Europe. And while a war against a rogue regime was as asymmetric as a turkey shoot, the same could not be said of a war against diffuse terrorist networks. It became fashionable in the years after 9/11 to speak of "Islamo-fascism." In reality, the enemy was more like communism in its heyday: international in its scope, revolutionary in its ambitions and adept at recruiting covert operatives in the West. The right tactic to defeat it was not conventional warfare but tedious intelligence work--monitoring telephone calls, tracking financial transactions, shadowing suspects, infiltrating cells.

    I am not sure I agree with Fergusson's view, at least in the noted paragraph, that the correct tactic is only tedious intelligence work - as, in my view, this is not merely a dispute about Jihadis but also about the powers which support the Jihad -, I do agree with him that the immediate source of the threat of violence to the US comes primarily from places like London and Frankfort, etc., which have worked fastidiously to create confortable homes for the great ideologues of the Jihad and where much of the plot leading to 9/11 developed. It would, nonetheless, seem to me that if we are to be serious about defeating the Jihad, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's actions must be held to account, whether or not by war.

    Peter writes: The mainland U.S. was not attacked for 187 years before 9-11. The fact that it has not been attacked for 5 years since 9-11 proves nothing except the gullibility of the those falling for this Rovian bull. That is a non-argument because, unless the papers are entirely making things up, there have been numerous attempts including one just broken up.

    Peter, it is not, lastly, all that clear that Bush has played into al Qa'ida's hands. Bill does have a point, in that regard, that the Jihadis are losing troups fighting the US in Iraq and there is no sign that the Jihadis have taken over any countries due to our presence in Iraq or otherwise. Which is not to suggest that Iraq was a good idea but only that I disagree with your assertions, which are, as I see it, the purest of pure speculation and that run contrary to common sense that a troop lost is lost. In this regard, I see no reason to doubt General Patton's quip about making the other country's soldier die for his country.

    john crocker - 9/14/2006

    I did not question the existence of Salmon Pak, merely your contention that it was used to train terrorists how to hijack planes and its connection to Al Qaeda. Their is one source for this contention and it is questionable. There has been no evidence for this link other than that single source. That Woolsey or Tenet repeat the claim does not somehow add another source or evidence in confirmation. Repetion does not equal truth.

    The Shakir connection by your own admission is not confirmed.

    "Don't insult my intelligence by calling sources like the heads of the CIA and the 9/11 Commission 'trends'."
    I have dealt directly with the comments related to the CIA and the 9/11 Commission. The Woolsey comments were based on a single source and unverified and the 9/11 Commission said that there was no evidence of an operational link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The overwhelming majority of the evidence you have provided in support of your contention are based on single sourced and unverified accounts and the 9/11 Commission report directly refutes your position.

    "From an evidentiary standpoint we had as much of a casus belli with Iraq after 9/11 as we did with Afganistan."

    There was absolute confirmation that Al Qaeda enjoyed a collaborative relationship with the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban. This is not under debate. None of the evidence you have offered in support of the contention of an Iraq, Al Qaeda connection has been confirmed.
    To state or even imply that the evidence connecting Al Qaeda with Iraq is as strong as that for Al Qaeda's connection with Afghanistan is unsupportable.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/14/2006

    The information is there and very easy to find, but if you prefer the lies flying around the Islamic world you, of course, are not going to go to the source?!

    Bill Heuisler - 9/13/2006

    Mr. Clarke,
    We are not "mistaken, misguided, confused, deluded, or uninformed".
    We were attacked in 9/11. We have not been attacked in the US since.
    Bill Heuisler

    Bill Heuisler - 9/13/2006

    Mr. Clarke,
    Conspiracy? Your obsession with President Bush has enabled you to answer all circumstances and any questions with unsupported insult. You've become HNN's Lyndon LaRouche, and I wonder if you've ever examined your thought processes?

    Creating more terrorists, by killing them is circular and dogmatic. We've killed an estimated 40,000 terrorists in Iraq. The ranks of suicide bombers are thinning and getting younger. The IEDs are now imported from Iran and there's more internescine violence than insurgency. We are succeeding.

    Had we been attacked here in the US in the last five years you might have a point. We haven't.

    What data supports "more terrorists"? Conjecture. Explain why we've not been attacked. Coincidence? Of course not, we're actually killing them over there. And that same argument could have been used every time any country was attacked in history. Why did we respond to Pearl Harbor by killing Vichy French and Italians in North Africa? Did we create more Japanese Radicals at Guadalcanal?

    A pacifist argument and ridiculous. What would you have the US do?
    Bill Heuisler

    Bill Heuisler - 9/13/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Please answer my names (Kuala Lumpur meeting of Saddam Fedayeen, Shakir with two 9/11 highjackers) and the existance of Salman Pak with facts or argument or counter information. Mocking my gullibility or attacking sources doesn't further discussion.

    As I said, your information is bad. And you have apparently not read the sources I gave you. To call the ex Director of the CIA, "single sourced from a dissident and unverrified" shows that you are either not paying attention, resistant to facts, or do not take this matter seriously.

    DCIA Woolsey is an excellent source. His PBS interview and his sworn testimony in a Manhattan Court state plainly that the man (who ran the CIA for Clinton for many years) believed Salman Pak was a training ground for terrorists and highjackers to take over planes without firearms. DCIA Tenet also noted the existance of the Salman Pak training camp before '02.

    Nowhere in Senate Intel Committee or 9/11 Commission reports is the use of, or the presence of, Salman Pak questioned. The 9/11 Report ventured that an Iraqi testified Salman Pak was being used to train Iraqis for "counterterrorism". Right.

    This camp is only a few miles from Baghdad and was run by Saddam's people. To pretend the civilian airliner and the terrorist training did not exist is to gainsay hard evidence. Why do you bother? Anger?

    Does your hatred of President Bush extend to self-delusion? Leave your comfortable convictions for a moment and explain the purpose of Salman Pak. Explain what those highjackers- in-training were contemplating and tell me why Saddam's Mukhabarat were showing them how to take a plane without firearms. Coincidence? And why did the camp close (according to Mr. Woolsey) right after 9/11/01?
    Coincidence, again?

    Don't insult my intelligence by calling sources like the heads of the CIA and the 9/11 Commission "trends".
    Bill Heuisler

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/13/2006

    I believe that your primary sources of information are the Islamic places where is said that the CIA (and the Mossad) brought the two World Trade Center towers down. It took me less than 30 seconds to find the list, so I have a valid suspicion.
    I went to http://www.state.gov and i entered "Terrorist Organizations" on the search field (upper right corner) and I got the list in many formats (PDF, hhtml)

    Trevor Russell Getz - 9/13/2006

    That's a fair point... I don't much like the comment and the way it was made... Perhaps I reacted too quickly.... you're right to point out the nuances. I just normally get so frustrated at what passes for evidence on this site.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/13/2006

    That's the official State department terrorist list:


    check numbers 8 and 34

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/13/2006


    check numbers 8 and 34

    Being a liar is an integral part of the Islamic teaching and you prove it again and again.

    Yehudi Amitz - 9/13/2006

    As a good madrassah educated Moslem you had to to put some vey basic lies in your posting:

    "Neither the ETA of Spain nor the IRA of Ireland were ever deemed nor ever classified as “terrorist” organizations despite their undeniable record of” violence against Civilians”; the standard definition of “terrorism”.
    Hence the misleading fallacy of the name, chosen to obscure its real goals"

    How can you get so low and falsify history on a history site!
    Check this:


    Maggie Thatcher even let IRA inmates die when they declared a hunger strike.
    You are PATHETIC!

    john crocker - 9/13/2006

    "Iraq fought a war with us"
    Actually Iraq invaded Kuwait at which point we and others started a war with Iraq. Iraq did invade to neighboring countries (I assume this was the point you were trying to make), but was in no position to take any offensive action against anyone due to the effectiveness of the sanctions.

    The terrorists he supposedly harbored were in the Kurdish controlled part of Iraq.

    The Salmon Pak is single sourced from a dissident and unverrified. This seems to be a trend in the evidence you bring up. One source of questionable reliability and no confirmation.

    The meetings you say "probably" happened the CIA and FBI classify as unlikely. What do you know that they don't?"

    The presidents closest advisors wanted a war with Iraq before Bush was elected. They signed a letter to Clinton to that effect (http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm). Why do you think that they would change their minds once they gained the power to execute that war. 9/11 was their excuse, not their reason. The attempt on Bush 41 was not likely the cause for W, but it probably didn't hurt.

    Our invasion and occupation of Iraq has created more terrorists than it has killed (even Rumsfeld has hedged on this one). It has soured our allies on US foreign policy and has limited our ability to react to actual dangers.

    Bill Heuisler - 9/12/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    From an evidentiary standpoint we had as much of a casus belli with Iraq after 9/11 as we did with Afganistan.

    Iraq fought a war with us, broke the cease-fire numerous times, fired on our planes daily for years, tried to assassinate an ex-President, harbored a terrorist who manufactured the '93 WTC bomb, harbored the terrorist who was wounded fighting us in Afganistan (who was also #2 in al Qaeda), used the Mukhabarat to train terrorists in northern Iraq (Ansar al Islam) and to train terrorists in Salman Pak how to highjack civilian airliners without firearms.

    Why say he did not assist terrorism? His Saddam Fedayeen colonel, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, was "probably" at the Kuala Lumpur meeting with two of the 9/11 terrorists. Atta was "probably" in Prague to meet another Iraqi colonel of intelligence also. Why do you refuse to see the obvious? Why not see there's enough circumstancial evidence to convict any criminal? Why insist that people like DCIA Woolsey are wrong, but Feingold is correct?

    What possible motive do you impute to President Bush that he would start a war in Iraq without believing Saddam was a danger to the US? Is he evil in your point of view...and is Saddam somehow more a victim of overreaction?

    How does our killing so many thousands of terrorists in Iraq not help our long-term goals?
    Bill Heuisler

    john crocker - 9/12/2006

    "to authoritivly claim what you cannot prove is reckless."

    By your own logic the Bush administration is reckless.

    In my opinion they are also liars, but at least we can agree that they are reckless.

    john crocker - 9/12/2006

    By you standard noone can be proven to have lird without their admission of guilt. Our jails are filled with honest men. What should we do?

    I have pointed out numerous instances of administration officials stating poorly sourced and/or highly dubious information as though it was fact. If they are not liars they are at the very least serial exaggerators who deliberately mislead the public about the danger posed by Iraq.

    john crocker - 9/12/2006

    I did look further than the comment thread you suggested. The FBI and CIA have not changed their stance on the Prague meeting (still unlikely).

    By clear ties I take it you mean Saddam's willingness to let Ansar al Islam work against the Kurds in Kurdistan where he held little sway and a few tentative contacts that never developed into a collaorative relationship.
    Al Qaeda did have a clear collaborative relationship with Sudan and to a lesser extent Iran. Yet it was Iraq that was focused on. I could have supported intervention in Sudan long before intervention in an already defanged Iraq.

    "Last, why do you think the Left is so anxious to show a disconnect - Iraq from al Qaeda - and to isolate the Iraq war from the war on terrorists?"
    The reason is that the connection is false. The Iraq war is only related to terrorism in so far as we have created an area of chaos in which terrorism thrives.

    We have gone 5 years now without a domestic attack, then again we went 7 years without a domestic attack under Clinton after the original WTC bombing. We and our allies have been targeted world wide at a far higher rate since 2003. The lack of another domestic attack likely has little to do with the policies of this administration. Many holes in our defences are left open 5 years later. Why do you think it is we have failed to close them?

    john crocker - 9/12/2006

    Obviously no amount of proof on any point no matter how small is enough to convince you of anything that has been said by someone who you have decided is a liberal. An exchange of ideas to further understanding indeed. The only thing you have exchanged here in insults and you have furthered nothing but the length of this thread.

    Bill Heuisler - 9/12/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Third para. should read "DCIA", not DCI

    Bill Heuisler - 9/12/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Don't complain to me about quality of information on the net. It depends on the searcher. My suggestion quite obviously didn't mean for you to search blogs. If you're interested in truth, look for it. You damn sure won't get it from people like Rosen.

    I'll help you.

    Ex DCI Woolsey has spoken at length on many of our disagreements.
    Search a PBS Interview:

    Search how the New York Times covered the Al Ani story(stating the Czech PM and Czech Minister of Interior had denied the Atta/Ani meeting) but were forced to retract the story when the Czechs said the Times was wrong. One name I recall is Jan Kavan. Every member of the Czech government says the meeting took place. Look it up.

    Search pages 61 & 66 of the 9/11 Commission Report for very clear connections between Iraq and UBL and Iraq and the Taliban and Iraq and al Qaeda as early as 1998.

    Search DCIA Tenet's testimony to the Senate Committee on Intelligence in June of 2002 - an excerpt: "It is possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias to meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague."

    Last, why do you think the Left is so anxious to show a disconnect - Iraq from al Qaeda - and to isolate the Iraq war from the war on terrorists? What possible reason could there be... particularly since we've had no domestic attacks since 9/11?
    Bill Heuisler

    john crocker - 9/11/2006

    The Atta-Ani meeting has not been debunked, only not verified.
    The CIA, the FBI and the Czech police cheif responsible for investigating the matter of the Prague meeting all concluded that it was highly unlikely. I'm sure they based this on more than the cell phone as the first half to the first page of the google search you constructed would have one believe. (All of those hits were partisan blogs.) It was not anywhere close to confirmed, yet each time Cheney mentioned it he said "it has been pretty well confirmed." This is at the very least an exaggeration he used to support his case. Cheney continued to assert this link after the evidence had made clear that it was unlikely.

    "Most important, contrary to your assertion, Wilson lied on at least three important points:"
    First I made no assertion one way or the other about Wilson's honesty. I did challenge Andy to back up his assertion that they were liars. Wilson made public the exaggerations of the administration in regards to the yellow cake story and apparently exaggerated himself in his account.

    "1)He lied that his appointment to Niger had no connection to his wife."
    I don't believe that he contended that there was no connection with his wife. He said that she acted as conduit, it appears now that she also suggested him. She, however did not chose him or send him as has often been contended. What he said was misleading and perhaps deliberately so.

    "2)He lied that documents about a Niger-Iraq uranium deal were 'bogus."
    Wilson did not have official access to the documents in question. The document is now accepted by the intelligence agencies as a forgery. The documents are "bogus." So, I am not sure that this qualifies as a lie.

    "3)He lied that there was no evidence Iraq had been seeking uranium ore from Niger."
    It appears that an Iraqi official made an oblique inquiry that was ignored 3 years prior. Wilson should have been more forthright. The argument offered by the evidence is convincing enough and his exaggerations have clouded the issue he made public.

    I have scanned the report. I have quite a bit of reading pressing on me now so I have not had a chance for an in depth reading yet.

    I don't believe anything I have said here is indefensible.

    I was not so much defending Rosen as taking a break from work to pick apart a different kind argument.

    Bill Heuisler - 9/11/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Your information sources are faulty.
    The Atta-Ani meeting has not been debunked, only not verified.

    The Kuala Lumpur Shakir (Saddam Fedayeen) connection with two 9/11 high jackers has not been verified.

    Most important, contrary to your assertion, Wilson lied on at least three important points:
    1)He lied that his appointment to Niger had no connection to his wife.
    2)He lied that documents about a Niger-Iraq uranium deal were "bogus".
    3)He lied that there was no evidence Iraq had been seeking uranium ore from Niger.

    All three lies were uncovered by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The Senate committee found there was a direct suggestion by Plame that her husband be sent to Niger. She admitted this in later communications.

    The Committee noted that documents Wilson had called bogus had not been turned over to CIA until 10/16/02. Wilson's time in CIA HQ was 2/19/02. Therefore he could not have seen the documents he called bogus.

    The Committee also found Wilson had admitted (during CIA debriefing) that an Iraqi delegation had visited Niger and met with a former Nigerian Prime Minister in 1999 to discuss uranium sales. So Iraq had sought yellow cake in Niger as the Brits stated and as the President recounted.

    Rosen is an ideologue, and she is embarrassingly uninformed.
    Google Shakir and Atta/Ani in Prague. Google Wilson's Senate Committee findings before again defending the undefensible.
    Bill Heuisler

    john crocker - 9/11/2006

    Sorry for the misplaced post.

    Trevor Russell Getz - 9/11/2006

    As an innocent (perhaps) bystander able to look up an article in Vanity Fair, I have to say that I think Mr. Crocker has scored a point here. Mr. Mahan, it would be gentlemanly of you to admit it. The evidence - beyond a reasonable doubt Mr. Hitchens' own words - is substantive. It's not that this point is important, merely that it's the first real evidence either of you have mobilized so far in this particular exchange (neither newspaper article provided, so far, has been either unimpeachable or unbiased).

    john crocker - 9/11/2006

    In his article, "Living Proof," Vanity Fair (March 2003,)Hitchens says that his daily alcohol intake is enough to kill the average mule.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    "Show me up? You punk! Though you may view this as some sort of competition, I don’t. It is an exchange of ideas to further understanding."
    That one cracked me up. You punk I'm here to exchange ideas with you wacks and further my understanding. Classic.

    "Learn how to read. I didn’t say Hitchens referred to Wilson and Plame. I said Wilson and Plame are LIARS. You know, like you."

    "About the substance, you didn't read the article did you? Wilson is a LIAR so is Plame. You are a LIAR and you are ignorant."

    The construction of this paragraph clearly links the article to the status of Wilson and Plame as liars. If that was not your intent where is the substance of your argument. What evidence do you provide for your contentions?

    "In your prior post you LIED about me saying Hitchens said Wilson and Plame were LIARS."
    This is addressed above.
    "Then you LIED about Hitchens being a drunk."
    Hitchens is a drunk and a blowhard.
    Try again.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    Duplicate comment removed at request of poster.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    "No John, it is consistent. Look at me! I’m a liberal now. Anything anyone says that is not irrefutable and comprehensive is a LIE. Isn’t that how ya do it?"
    Now that's just silly. It may work for you in the school yard, but it won't work here.

    "WTF is 'insinuated?'"
    Insinuated: 1 a : to introduce (as an idea) gradually or in a subtle, indirect, or covert way <insinuate doubts into a trusting mind> b : to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way : IMPLY <I resent what you're insinuating>

    "'Cheney repeatedly claimed that Iraqi intelligence officials met with Mohammed Atta in Prague despite that claim being debunked.' Bullshit LIAR, not debunked, just not verified. A long way from proving that it DIDN’T happen."
    Cheney each time said "it has been pretty much confirmed" when making the claim. He would then continue to make at best poorly supported claims as though they were facts. Cheney has done about WMD, terrorism and Iraq what Clinton did for a Lewinsky.

    Condoleeza Rice repeatedly made the claim regarding the aluminum tubes. I assumed that you paid attention the news and so would know that. Silly me.

    "If you really care about discriminating between LIE and mistake, check this one out http://www.factcheck.org/article222.html"
    In this case it may have been a mistake, but either this administration has made a tremendously long string of mistakes that all support a particular agenda or they are lying. I'm just going with Occam's razor.

    "Now that your are doing the semantic dance around on the victim/power controler conspiracy delusion, the question arises, why would a group that, in fact, “hold[s] the levers of power” find it necessary to appear the “victim”? Silly really."
    Not so much a semantic dance as pointing out a strategy that is obvious to most. The religious right plays the victim to build outrage in its base and mobilize them to action. Now that the republicans hold the levers of poser and the religious right holds sway in the republican party, they have to figure out a way to stay in power. So far they have continued to play the victim to keep their base mobilized and they supplement it with a healthy dose of inspiring fear in an other (islamofascists, communists, abotionists, liberals). The other used is interchangeable, as is most of the rhetoric. The victim game is losing some of its effectiveness as people realize how long the "victims" have held power, but I'm sure there will be another "War on Christmas" this year.

    I eagerly await your next tantrum.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    Duplicate comment removed at request of poster.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    "You noticed that did you? Yeah, I've decided to throw around the LIAR label as recklessly as you libs."
    Well, I guess if you cannot deny your hypocrisy you should wear it as a badge of honor.

    I did read the article and at no point did Hitchens provide any evidence that Wilson lied and at no point did he even mention Plame.

    Can you point to even one lie I have told on this forum or anywhere else? If you cannot I suggest you keep your infantile ranting to yourself.

    "I am not aware Hitchens is a drunk."
    Have you ever seen him in a public appearance or on television. Almost every time I have seen him he was visibly intoxicated, often with a drink in hand.

    Hitchens has not been on the left of the political divide for some time now. Hitchens is now no more a leftist than is Horowitz. He is a self proclaimed ally of the neocons. He is an atheist and an anti-theist which makes his politics confusing to some.

    For someone how continously calls for people to educate themselves and derides the ignorance of others, you don't know much of what you speak.

    This ignorant liar has shown you up more than once and will do so again in this thread.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    Your original point was that calling someone a liar was inappropriate and should result in ass kicking. Yet you revel in calling other people liars. This position is not consistent.

    Bush was informed that the 16 words were false before he spoke them. They were in fact removed from an earlier speech because of this. Bush claimed to be ignorant of the possible dangers of Katrina, later he was seen on video at a meeting where these dangers were spelled out. Administration spokespeople have repeatedly insinuated links between 9/11 and Iraq despite all evidence to the contrary. Cheney repeatedly claimed that Iraqi intelligence officials met with Mohammed Atta in Prague despite that claim being debunked. The aluminum tubes that "could only be for high speed centrifuges" that actually could not be used for that purpose is yet another example. The list can go on and on.

    Again, Hitchens is a drunken hack. I choose to read the Senate report rather than a partisan screed when educating myself on this topic. Both the State Department and the CIA debunked the yellow cake claims.
    The poor quality of the forgery is not evidence for Saddam's attempt to get yellow cake as Hitchens would have you believe. This document, despite its poor quality was used by the administration as a justification for war.

    "The last part is illogical. I have only to say that how can it be that the same group (religious right) is both 'victimized' and 'hold every lever of power'? Now ONE of those claims is a lie!"
    I said that they proclaimed their victimhood, NOT that they were actually victims. (read more carefully)
    One of those claims is indeed a lie and it is a lie told by the people who hold the levers of power.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    It is amazing how quickly you shift gears. In one post you berate the left for its tone and for calling people liars. In the next you call someone a wacko and a liar.

    Here is a link to the full available text of the report. The previous link did not misrepresent its findings. This "partisan pablum" as you put it was produced by a the Senate, not an arm of the Democratic Party.

    Again the Niger claim has been repeatedly debunked. The documents that are the supposed evidence for this have been shown to be forgeries by both the CIA and the State Department. There is no reliable evidence that Sadam sought yellow cake from Niger in 1999.

    The report states that he did not like the terrorists that attacked us. Linking him to those particualar terrorists was one of the justifications used in support of the war in Iraq. That connection is shown to be false in the Senate report.

    "Again, your questionable reading skills are on parade. The article has NOTHING to do with my assertion."
    The article deals directly with your asserion that: "Iraq is linked to terrorism. Iraq was/is a terrorist haven and was actively seeking MORE WMD."
    The Senate report referenced in the article effectively debunks those claims.

    As for Hitchens, he is a drunken blowhard who dissembles almost as much as he drinks.

    john crocker - 9/10/2006

    How often was Clinton called a liar by right wing zealots? This is not just a game of the left.

    When someone makes demonstrably false claims and continues to make them after they have been shown to be false, that person is a liar. When people in this administration do just that they are liars. If they played politics in a civil way, you might have a point that the response to their dissembling should be civil as well.

    The Niger yellow cake story has been repeatedly debunked.
    This is a classic example of the administration continuing to assert as fact something that they have been shown is false. The meeting of Iraqi intelligence officials with Mohammed Atta in Prague is another classic example.

    "How about Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame? Now THAT’S lying."

    "Without the victimhood of the left they would have NOTHING to discuss."
    Again the right accuses the left of its own sins. It is no longer the pot calling the kettle black, it is the coals calling the kettle black.
    The right, particularly the religious right are constantly proclaiming their victimhood even when they hold every lever of power. Even now you claim they are the victims of a viscious smear campaign. (pot, kettle?)