A Grameen Gala and Ted Turner’s Birthday

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yunus clintons_2.jpg(Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus, former President Bill Clinton, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; UN Foundation Dinner, 19 Nov 2006, photo credit: Jennifer Willis)
Last night, Washington’s political stars turned out to pay homage to the banker who started in 1976 lending $27 to 42 people in one village in Bangladesh.
Muhammad Yunus and many of his colleagues from the Grameen Bank were feted at an extraordinary reception and dinner gathering — on a Sunday night — at the Willard Hotel in Washington and hosted by the United Nations Foundation.
clemons yunus turner.jpg
(Blogger Steven Clemons, Muhammad Yunus, and Ted Turner, 19 Nov 2006, photo credit: Jennifer Willis)
Among the guests were former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Congressman and Mrs. Tom Udall, Senator and Mrs. Paul Sarbanes, Pew Research executive and former Washington Post “Outlook” Editor Jodie Allen, Ted Turner and his companion Kathy Leach, Bruce and Hattie Babbitt, former Senator and UN Foundation President Timothy & Wren Wirth, former State Department Legal Adviser William Howard Taft IV, former Senator Donald Riegle, Ashoka founder William Dreyton, Kathy Bushkin, Kenneth Adelman, John Cochran, Diane Rehm, John Henry and Ann Crittendon, and many others.
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(Former US Trade Representative Carla Hills and New America Foundation/American Strategy Program director Steven Clemons — Muhammad Yunus Dinner, 19 Nov 2006, photo credit: Jennifer Willis)
I sat next to and had a fascinating political and trade policy discussion with Bush 41 US Trade Representative Carla Hills (who told me that former Ambassador and Boeing Executive Thomas Pickering was joining her firm, Hills & Co.)
It was also Ted Turner’s birthday. Tim Wirth shared with us that when America was more than $1 billion in arrears on its UN dues, many worked to get that debt paid — and when the last gap was $31 million, and the US government would not close it, Turner wrote a personal check to the US treasury for $31 million to apply to America’s UN obligations.
Turner was impressive last night and started the dinner off noting that it was rare to see “so many do-gooders” in one place, “no one who wanted to go do someone harm.” Neocon fellow traveler Kenneth Adelman was in the room last night and continued to stand by the mea culpas he had been offering for his “Iraq would be a cake walk” comments — and unlike Joshua Muravchik was not advocating bombing anyone, at least last night.
Yunus’s impressive and charming daughter, Monica, was at his side most of the evening. She sings operas at the Met in New York.
steve clemons bill clinton adj.jpg
(New America Foundation American Strategy Program Director Steve Clemons and former President Bill Clinton, UN Foundation Dinner, 19 Nov 2006, photo credit: Jennifer Willis)
But the night was not about gossip about Washington’s most well-heeled. It was about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank for their hard work and magic in bringing economic opportunity to the world’s poorest and lifting so many out of poverty — not through grants but through micro-lending and banking.
I mentioned to Muhammad Yunus that when the Nobel Committee announced that he had won the Peace Prize, I was with George Soros in Tokyo. Soros instantly said that it was “an excellent choice.” And last evening, Yunus confided that Soros had really helped provide critical support for the Grameen operation and had always supported them.
Yunus and the Grameen Bank are what transformational diplomacy ought to look like — and Soros, Yunus, Turner, Carla Hills, Tim Wirth and others there last night are the world’s real transformational diplomats.
One of the interesting tidbits Yunus conveyed last night is that while micro-lending in a single village began in 1976, the program in Bangladesh now covers more than 80% of impoverished families in that country.
The Grameen Bank was founded in 1983, and In 1986, then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton invited Yunus to Little Rock and together they helped establish a Grameen micro-lending operation in Arkansas, which Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired. Yunus said that people would start asking “What is this Grameen?” And when told that it was a bank operating in Bangladesh, they’d say “What is Bangladesh?” Sadly, one can still imagining that happening today — but perhaps less so after the awarding of the Nobel.
Yunus’ most important comments last night explored the links between poverty and peace. He said that “there is no military solution to terrorism,” that “poverty is a threat to peace” and “poverty fuels feelings of humiliation and injustice, which feeds terrorism.”
He said that the world’s biggest problems — whether “real or imagined injustices” — were driven by economics. He said that the best way to turn around those factors that fueled the hopelessness that terror masters exploited was to give people an opportunity at entrepreneurship. Yunus said that if society got out of the way, “all human beings are entrepreneurs.”
It was an uplifting, fascinating evening.
Yunus completed his remarks by committing Bangladesh to build the first “poverty museum” when there was no poverty any more and people needed to look back and remember what poverty once looked and felt like.
He reported that 58% of Grameen families had crossed over the poverty line and that 100% of their children were being educated.
Uplifting, noble — clearly, much left to do — and Yunus acknowledged that.
But as Ted Turner said, it felt great to be in a room of “do-gooders” whose results were in the black.
Norway’s Ambassador to the United States Knut Vollebaek told us that the December 10th Awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize will be aired live over the internet for the first time ever. And following up, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the United States Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury said that the embassy would be having a huge gathering that night to watch the award presentations live.
TWN will post the link when it is up.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

54 comments on “A Grameen Gala and Ted Turner’s Birthday

  1. MP says:

    “And this predisposition you have to blame anti-semitism for the criticisms of Israeli policy blind you to the reality of the self same kind of prejudice that fuels Israeli hatred of the Palestinians.”
    But, as a matter of FACT, that is not my predisposition, nor is it what I have said. But when I do see anti-Semitism at work, I have no problem saying so. I’m sure you have no objections to that.
    “…the Palestinian people have suffered far greater under the wieght of this kind of hatred these last 40 years than the Israeli people have.”
    OTOH, during these last 40 years, the Arab neighbors and the Palestinians have done many, many things to contribute to the mess. Simply blaming Israel for where we are is factually incorrect, IMO. For example, it wasn’t really until about the late 80s that Arafat even allowed the possibility that Israel had the right to exist. It wasn’t until 2002 that the Arab called for an end to the 1948 war against Israel! And now Hamas and Hezbollah have taken up the same call that Arafat abandoned.
    You see, for a people that REALLY WAS EXTERMINATED, it’s a good thing to have military superiority. And public opinion swings wildly when qassams or katyushas or suicide bombers, as small and relatively ineffective as they are, coming raining down on Israel. Not on the occupied territories, but the pre-1967 part that everyone “claims” should be part of Israel’s right to exist. So sometimes, the argument that the Palestinians just want the Israelis out of Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem–just want to be free of oppression– falls a little flat.
    Having said all that, I believe Israel should stop all aggression against the Palestinians and do everything they can to create a viable Palestinian state. As the stronger party, Israel has the moral obligation to do these things, and it’s in its best interests to do so. Whether Palestinian leadership will accept anything less than Haifa is a proposition that should be constantly tested. I hope it’s true.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    “Of course, being Jewish and a believer in the Jewish state, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to some prejudice toward Israel. Part of that is just a family feeling. Part of that comes from a knowledge of my people’s history. Part of that comes from knowing the reality of anti-Semitism. So those are the prejudices I come to the table with.”
    Posted by MP
    And this predisposition you have to blame anti-semitism for the criticisms of Israeli policy blind you to the reality of the self same kind of prejudice that fuels Israeli hatred of the Palestinians. Some of us see, in the Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people, the EXACT kind of prejudice and oppression that you claim are part and parcel with anti-semitism. There is religious and ethnic hatred on BOTH sides of the fence, MP. And the fact is, when comparing the death toll, the loss of property, the loss of infrastructural capabilities, the loss of opportunity, etc, the Palestinian people have suffered far greater under the wieght of this kind of hatred these last 40 years than the Israeli people have.
    In my community, if I want to be liked and respected, I do not steal my neighbor’s land. I do not block their access to jobs or medical care. I do not waylay the shipments of needed goods into their community stores and businesses. If I do commit such abuses, I should EXPECT to be hated, I should EXPECT wholesale prejudice directed towards me.
    Is “anti-semitism” real??? Of course. But Israel’s ACTIONS, devoid the devil of anti-semitism, are in many instances DESERVING of hatred, just on their own “merit”. Be you a jew, or a Catholic, or from Mars, I am going to learn to hate you if you steal my land, if you raze my crops, if you clusterbomb my nieghborhood, if you kill my daughter. And if I am young enough, and I grow up seeing these abuses repeatedly being inflicted by the same people, over and over and over, than I am going to hate you because you are a jew, or a catholic, or Martian, or WHATEVER your religious or ethnic bent is.
    The Isrealis have military superiority over the Pals. They have a technological advantage. Their society has not been torn apart by oppression and poverty. They have good health care. Educational opportunites. They CLAIM the moral high ground. Yet their policies are oppressive and brutal against the Palestinian people, and countless opportunities for peaceful dialoque have been undermined by assassinations, disregard for UN resolutions, and lies on a par with the steady stream of bullshit that oozes out of our own White House. These latest revelations about the theft of Palestinian land attest to the absolute SHIT that the Israeli government tries to foist off on the world community as truth. And everytime another DECEPTION is uncovered, it makes the Israeli arguments that much less believable, and makes the complaints of the Palestinians far more acceptable.
    I do not think some of you realize how much these fresh revelations of land theft have damaged the Israeli position. What else are they LYING about, MP? How many more Palestinian arguments will be proven valid, yet remain denied by Israel? And, like the current batch of KNOWN liars in OUR government, will IUsrael fail to hold their liars accountable? Will they hold investifgations to see who spearheaded these land thefts, who covered them up? Or will they just ignore the moral obligation to atone for the abuses and the lies, as our own government is doing?

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  3. MP says:

    “MP, Israel can CREATE both of those driving forces by its own actions. Its self-perpetuating on both sides.
    You, hopefully, have reviewed the Peace Now report on Israel’s theft of Palestinan land. Doesn’t the theft of their land constitute an unwillingness to accept a Palestinan State? Doesn’t such theft threaten the existence of a “Palestinian State”? Question it’s “right to exist”? This “refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist” mantra is over-used and many times is employed to defend actions thqat are indefensible. If Israel is annexing land illegally, purposely oppressing the Palestinians, razing their farmlands, demonizing their religion, depriving them of supplies and infrastructure, than WHOSE “right to exist” is actually being threatened?”
    The two peoples are in a death struggle for the same plot of land. They BOTH have to let go of their “dreams” and allow for the other to live and flourish within recognized and secure borders. They BOTH will gain enormously if they can. That’s my “position.” The problem is how to pull the two antagonists apart and get them let each other live.
    My feeling has been for a long time that the US should USE all the aid it gives Israel to bring Israel to the negotiating table and put pressure on it to seek a just, lasting peace. The details of the borders can be worked out, but have been known in the main for a long time.
    Most of the arguments on this issue miss the mark because they take up one side or the other to the exclusion of the other side. Here in the US, criticism of Israel has been squelched by right wingers. On the left, Israel has often been demonized and the justness of its cause called into question. I oppose many of Israel’s actions, such as those you mention often, but I also see them in the context of the larger struggle (which doesn’t excuse them). I see the same for the Palestinian side.
    Of course, being Jewish and a believer in the Jewish state, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to some prejudice toward Israel. Part of that is just a family feeling. Part of that comes from a knowledge of my people’s history. Part of that comes from knowing the reality of anti-Semitism. So those are the prejudices I come to the table with.

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  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “But if an unwillingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state drives it. If anti-Semitism drives it”
    MP, Israel can CREATE both of those driving forces by its own actions. Its self-perpetuating on both sides.
    You, hopefully, have reviewed the Peace Now report on Israel’s theft of Palestinan land. Doesn’t the theft of their land constitute an unwillingness to accept a Palestinan State? Doesn’t such theft threaten the existence of a “Palestinian State”? Question it’s “right to exist”?
    This “refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist” mantra is over-used and many times is employed to defend actions thqat are indefensible. If Israel is annexing land illegally, purposely oppressing the Palestinians, razing their farmlands, demonizing their religion, depriving them of supplies and infrastructure, than WHOSE “right to exist” is actually being threatened?

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  5. MP says:

    Rich writes: “>>>ALL of which drives and is the root cause of the terrorism that targets Israel.”
    Maybe. I’m not entirely convinced. I don’t think these causes drive Hezbollah or Iran.
    If you’re right, that’s good news. Because a solution is relatively easy to hand. But if an unwillingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state drives it. If anti-Semitism drives it. Then we’re in for a long(er) and blood(ier) fight.

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  6. Pissed Off American says:

    “what are you doing to change the world, POA, other than ranting on this blog and disparaging others who you disagree with?”
    Thats funny, the last fraud that asked me that was jetting off to save Africa. Small world, eh?

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  7. winnipeger says:

    by “member” i meant financial contributor. the terms are synonomous.
    isn’t it ironic that my financial support helped Peace Now sue for the release of these maps?
    what are you doing to change the world, POA, other than ranting on this blog and disparaging others who you disagree with?

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    “shall i send you a copy of my canceled check?”
    I guess you could. But surely, you must realize that there are no dues for membership. Or is that news to you?

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  9. winnipeger says:

    I know, from his posting, that he does not embrace the ideology of “Peace Now”. To claim to, on his part, is deceptive. To believe him, on your part, is just plain stupid.
    Sorry, but hey, it doesn’t take me all day to look at a horseshoe.
    Posted by Pissed Off American at November 23, 2006 02:32 PM
    you really are insane. talk about getting lost in cyber-space. shall i send you a copy of my canceled check?

    Reply

  10. winnipeger says:

    rich,
    you wrote:
    “Yet NONE of that justifies the failed policies re Palestinian citizens that a) take private property; b) refuse access to the courts; c) elminate redress of grievances; d) suppress free speech; e) limit freedom of movement; f) deny basic human rights; g) starve an ethnic minority of credit lines; h) retract/erase the results of free & fair elections; i) abuse power/target children; >>>ALL of which drives and is the root cause of the terrorism that targets Israel.”
    i agree with everything, except your last sentence… and this is a key point. on this issue, i may interpret history differently.
    further, i also disagree with you that “Israeli extremists have been the biggest threat to resolving that contradiction.” this presupposes that israel has *ever” had a rational or honest negotiating partner on the part of the palestinian leadership. i believe that the overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests that they have not.
    you wrote:
    “What Israel needs is an alliance of moderates that crosses ethnic boundaries. Israel needs to confront its extremists while building solutions.”
    i agree completely, but look at the political reality in israel and in the knesset and you will see that israel *does* have (and has had) a “strong alliance of moderates that crosses ethnoc boundaries” and it has been *very* willing and able to confront its extremists while attempting to build solutions. the only problem is that without a partner there are no solutions.
    what israel needs more than anything is a legitimate, palestinian partner which accepts her right to exist and is willing to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict.

    Reply

  11. Pissed Off American says:

    Israeli extremists have been the biggest threat to resolving that contradiction, as you well know. The only way out is for Israel to build up the economic and social capacity of Palestinian citizens through credit lines/loans, business partnerships across ethnic lines, technical training and active networking, returning land, partnering in homebuilding–while maintaning a wide security umbrella and granting self-governance and freedom of movement. Why? Because apartheid as a proxy for extermination has been backfiring for years, and will bring Israel to grief. I dont’ want to see that happen. BTW–the U.S. suffers from the same problem in the contradiction between foreign policy and internal law/politics. What Israel needs is an alliance of moderates that crosses ethnic boundaries. Israel needs to confront its extremists while building solutions.”
    Great idea. But what they will actually do is continue to drive the Palestinian people to poverty and hopelessness, continue to annex land, continue to raze Palestinan farmland, continue to incite the Islamic radicals into violent acts of desperation to justify further military incuursions into Gaza, until the “Palestinan problem” is finally solved by extermination.

    Reply

  12. Pissed Off American says:

    I know, from his posting, that he does not embrace the ideology of “Peace Now”. To claim to, on his part, is deceptive. To believe him, on your part, is just plain stupid.
    Sorry, but hey, it doesn’t take me all day to look at a horseshoe.

    Reply

  13. Rich says:

    I won’t become enmeshed in this debate, but 2 comments.
    Winnipegger:
    1) “Anti-semite” is used as a cudgel to kill rational and realist debate about American national security and national interests.
    If I object to Arab human-rights violations, does that make me an anti-semite? Didn’t think so.
    I adamantly support Israel’s statehood, but specific policies draw criticism precisely because they threaten Israel’s security and its ability to wage a just war or claim a just cause. I.e., its long-term viability.
    Winnepegger wrote:
    “that israel is a country where an activist organization like Peace Now can not only exist, but also sue the govt’ for the release of such damning evidence. show me another country in the ME where something like this could *ever* happen. independent courts. free press. legitimately elected government and freedom of speech.”
    These characteristics are the root of Israel’s resilience as a nation.
    Yet NONE of that justifies the failed policies re Palestinian citizens that a) take private property; b) refuse access to the courts; c) elminate redress of grievances; d) suppress free speech; e) limit freedom of movement; f) deny basic human rights; g) starve an ethnic minority of credit lines; h) retract/erase the results of free & fair elections; i) abuse power/target children; >>>ALL of which drives and is the root cause of the terrorism that targets Israel.
    It is these failed policies that threaten Israel’s national security, long-term existence, and ability to wage a just political cause or war.
    These policies are utterly irreconcilable with the very rich tradition of democracy characteristic of internal Israeli politics.
    That contradiction is the real threat to Israel’s security and safety. Comparison to other MidEast states is a red herring, and has never been the issue.
    Israeli extremists have been the biggest threat to resolving that contradiction, as you well know. The only way out is for Israel to build up the economic and social capacity of Palestinian citizens through credit lines/loans, business partnerships across ethnic lines, technical training and active networking, returning land, partnering in homebuilding–while maintaning a wide security umbrella and granting self-governance and freedom of movement. Why? Because apartheid as a proxy for extermination has been backfiring for years, and will bring Israel to grief. I dont’ want to see that happen. BTW–the U.S. suffers from the same problem in the contradiction between foreign policy and internal law/politics. What Israel needs is an alliance of moderates that crosses ethnic boundaries. Israel needs to confront its extremists while building solutions.

    Reply

  14. MP says:

    “You gotta be shittin’ me, MP. Winnipeger claiming to be a member of Peace Now is about as believable as me claiming that I just sent a $10,000 dollar donation to AIPAC.”
    Well, at one level, my point is obvious: We are all anonymous to each other. Steve is the only person we “know.” I don’t know your name; you don’t know mine. You know I live in VA; I “know” you live in Kern County and build cabinets. We don’t know anything about Winnipeger. Given that, I think it behooves us to take other posters at their word. I don’t see any gain for Winnipeger in lying about his affiliation with Peace Now. (There’s no gain by posting on a site to begin with.) Believe me, a lot of American Jews who support Israel also support peace there. Not all, but a lot. There’s a lot of variation in the Jewish community, which is a pretty solid progressive voting bloc.
    And if Winnipeger DOESN’T belong to Peace Now, well, he doesn’t. But you and I aren’t going to be able to determine that from what he writes here. To be honest, he hasn’t said AIPAC right or wrong, to the best of my recollection.

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  15. winnipeger says:

    i’m not about to argue with you or anyone about what *I* believe!!! this is insane.
    I AM a member of Peace Now and i meant every word i typed above.

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  16. Pissed Off American says:

    You gotta be shittin’ me, MP. Winnipeger claiming to be a member of Peace Now is about as believable as me claiming that I just sent a $10,000 dollar donation to AIPAC.

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  17. winnipeger says:

    your post doesn’t deserve a response. its mean-spiritedness speaks for itself. either you are mentally ill or you have serious interpersonal problems.
    you should be ashamed of yourself.

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  18. MP says:

    “Unbelievable. Anyone that has followed your posting will see through THAT bit of horseshit. Peace Now describes themselves on their Google intro as “Israeli pacifists for Palestinian self-determination within 1967 borders.” What a laugh, after seeing your posting these last few months, that you would expect us to believe that you believe Israel should roll things back to the ’67 borders.”
    Do you have any EVIDENCE…even a scrap…that it isn’t true?

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  19. MP says:

    “”It’s possible that AQ and OBL were simply using the CIA for their immediate purposes, and once the need was gone, so was the alliance.”
    I think you have that ass backwards, MP. Or are you one of those that likes to IGNORE history?”
    Well, my point was that both parties were using each other for their own purposes.

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  20. Pissed Off American says:

    “perhaps you can stop with the unprovoked antagonism. can you PLEASE give the hostility a break??”……..winnipeger
    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!
    “Unprovoked antagonism”???? Who are you trying to kid, you hypocritical ass?
    So, you’re a member of “Peace Now”, eh?
    Unbelievable. Anyone that has followed your posting will see through THAT bit of horseshit. Peace Now describes themselves on their Google intro as “Israeli pacifists for Palestinian self-determination within 1967 borders.” What a laugh, after seeing your posting these last few months, that you would expect us to believe that you believe Israel should roll things back to the ’67 borders.
    Winnipeger, you keep showing a propensity for attempted deception that is despicable. Can’t you at least formulate a decent believable lie?
    I too wish most here a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving. Others, I just wish would catch the first flight to Bagdad. One way, of course.
    http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/homepage.asp

    Reply

  21. winnipeger says:

    POA:
    you sure have a unique way of making and entrance – even online.
    perhaps you can stop with the unprovoked antagonism. can you PLEASE give the hostility a break??
    in regards to your question, i am outraged. i think that i’ve already shared with this blog that i am a proud member of Peace Now (the israeli non-profit that sued for release of the maps). If the details of the story are true, israel should relinquish the land as part of a comprehensive peace agreement with the palestinians.
    i’ve said it a thousand times but i am not a blind supporter of israel, nor obviously, am i a blind critic. but, i am proud of the fact – and i do believe it says alot – that israel is a country where an activist organization like Peace Now can not only exist, but also sue the govt’ for the release of such damning evidence. show me another country in the ME where something like this could *ever* happen. independent courts. free press. legitimately elected government and freedom of speech.
    …and for those who think that many of these freedoms are already gone in america, i don’t suppose a caliphate is going to assuage your fears.
    happy thanksgiving, everyone.

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  22. Pissed Off American says:

    BTWS, while we are on the topic of Israel, did anyone catch the news about the Israeli peace group that has come into the possession of Israeli governmental maps that show that Israel has been illegally putting settlements on land LEGALLY OWNED by Palestinians? This is a huge story, and it will be interesting to see how Israel reacts. It will also be interesting to see how the slimey internet trolls treat the issue. I imagine that will just spit “anti-semite” at anyone that dares bring up this issue…..
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/21/world/main2202261.shtml

    Reply

  23. Pissed Off American says:

    “It’s possible that AQ and OBL were simply using the CIA for their immediate purposes, and once the need was gone, so was the alliance.”
    I think you have that ass backwards, MP. Or are you one of those that likes to IGNORE history?

    Reply

  24. Pissed Off American says:

    Hmm, looking at the photogs on this thread, I can’t help but hear the words in the back of my mind about Rome burning. All the smiling wine flushed faces, world leaders who should be positively SCREAMING from their respective podiums for Bush’s INSTANT REMOVAL from office. Instead, they posture and pinch, grin and sashay.
    Fuck em.
    This was the DEADLIEST month to date, since the invasion, for the Iraqi people. As you enjoy your turkeys tomorrow, the dying won’t pause in Iraq. And some kid in Lebanon will pick up an American made cluster bomblet. George Bush will utter yet another mindless lie to the American people, and some american soldier, just a kid, will die, thousands of miles away from Thanksgiving dinner.

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  25. karenk says:

    Hey Steve if you ever need a date for one of these events I know someone…

    Reply

  26. David Noziglia says:

    Rich:
    Well, darn. We’re getting to the point that we agree so much, we’re running out of things to argue about. That would be a shame.
    As to the “break between the CIA and [UBL/AQ],” I suspect that MP has a good read on it. The Agency was using the mujahedin for its own purposes, and when those purposes were served, it cut ties and assumed they would just go back home and get jobs. A bad assumption, duh, and one that illustrates my contention that so-called “Realist” policies have a way of coming back and – to put it in words that are so totally inadequate to describe the reality – biting us in the ass. Thus I repeat the contention that following our own principles is not a sacrifice, but an asset for our security. Your examples of this are all too relevant. Especially given the recent quote from our own Dear Leader about the “lessons” he draws from the Viet Nam experience. What an idiot he is!
    And, of course, your contention that we have to fix our own broken political system here at home, as well, is a point well taken. Even more, we have to fix the discussion about these issues to the point where more people in the electorate, the media, and in positions of political leadership even understand what we’re talking about. That’s one thing that NAF was supposed to be about, but IMHO has failed at. I suppose my preference is that there is so much to fix that we can’t wait to do one thing before having a go at the rest; we have to overload our plate, because the problems are so overwhelming. We can’t wait while we deal with our own economy and politics before “meddling” with other nations.
    Although, I should add, dealing with the Saudi textbooks is not a strictly internal issue, since, as I said, they are sending those books to madrasas in many other countries. This includes those in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan that generated the Taliban (the word means “students”) movement. The Taliban are Wahabi, which is why Mullah Omar and UBL get on so well. And this is something that will take years to have an effect, another reason we can’t wait to take it on.
    Just to get everything responded to at one go:
    MP:
    As to UBL, et.al.’s motivations, I take them at their word. Restoration of the Caliphate has been the goal of the Wahabi movement for over two hundred years! For more on this, I refer you to the book: God’s terrorists: the Wahabi cult and hidden roots of modern Jihad, by Charles Allen. Not really incidentally, this illustrates why the idea that UBL was allied with the secular leader of a majority Shi’a country was more than wrong and delusional, it was bizarre.
    George:
    You are right, of course. Dealing with the Israel/Palestine issue has always been part of a comprehensive package. There are, in fact, still other actions that must be taken, as well. I couldn’t really be totally comprehensive, you know. Not that I mind you pointing this out.
    BTW. One point missing from discussion of the Palestinian issue is that it isn’t necessary to SOLVE the “plight of the Palestinians;” it’s absolutely essential to DEAL with it.

    Reply

  27. MP says:

    “My take is that there was a betrayal/sudden break between the CIA & bin Laden/alQuaeda, that we don’t know about yet. Allies in Afghanistan vs. the Soviets, yet at some point the two groups became mortal enemies. Something clearly happened, and 9-11 only proves the American people have a right to know all the details.”
    This sounds plausible. On the other hand, once one enemy is vanquished, the situation often morphs. It’s possible that AQ and OBL were simply using the CIA for their immediate purposes, and once the need was gone, so was the alliance. Then again, maybe AQ and OBL really ARE interested in resuscitating the caliphate and ridding the ME of infidels.

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  28. wowgold says:

    Our slogan is: you can talk when you need!Thare is no problem what we can not solve.game

    Reply

  29. ET says:

    In its latest November 21st report, Amnesty International calls upon the International Community to:
     Declare and enforce an arms embargo on both Israel and Hizbullah until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons will not be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. This must include ensuring that a thorough investigation of violations in this conflict takes place and anyone found responsible is brought to justice in fair trials. The USA, Lebanon, Iran, Syria and other states should ensure that no weapons that may be used to commit violations are sent by them to any of the parties or transits through their territory.
     Announce an immediate moratorium on the use of all cluster weapons, end the transfer of such weapons to other states, and support initiatives by the UN and the ICRC to develop a new international humanitarian law agreement which will effectively address the threat that cluster weapons pose to civilians.
     Ensure that states exercise jurisdiction including, where necessary, universal jurisdiction, over suspects of crimes under international law, including war crimes.
    continued http://tinyurl.com/y6p8kc

    Reply

  30. George says:

    David, don’t you think that the plight of the Palestinians deserves even a mention? I know that your list was not meant to be all inclusive, but are you suggesting that the Palestinian “problem” is less important than the Egyptian political system?

    Reply

  31. Rich says:

    David wrote:
    “If you disagree with me on this, I will not shoot you.”
    I appreciate that.
    I think we agree a fair amount. But take some care not to assign positions to me (care you seem to take).
    It’s obvious and a truism that people who commit crimes should be brought to justice. I agree on that. How that’s done is another matter.
    In WWII, German POWs worked on farms in the MidWest, and every few years the Chicago Trib runs articles about bus tours full of’em returning to reminisce, see the landscape of rolling hills one last time. Usually their in tears. Why? They thought they’d be abused, tortured, killed. Instead they were removed from the war theater, offered the dignity of work in the outdoors, and treated humanely. Weren’t even locked up. The sheer impact something so simple and easy had on these guys was transformative.
    My take is that there was a betrayal/sudden break between the CIA & bin Laden/alQuaeda, that we don’t know about yet. Allies in Afghanistan vs. the Soviets, yet at some point the two groups became mortal enemies. Something clearly happened, and 9-11 only proves the American people have a right to know all the details.
    You wrote:
    “not to lend any legitimacy whatsoever to these people themselves, but to address the populations within which they thrive, to take away their nourishment, and to give normal people an alternative to a short, sharp life as a suicide bomber.”
    It’d be great if America would address those root causes. Applying justice in our own business will have to come before meddling in the internal affairs & school systems of other nations. One tactic: finding in this allegedly Christian nation SOME church leader willing to call Pat Robertson or Billy Graham or Jerry Boykin on their damaging hatred of Muslims. Find a way to build bridges, both economically as you say–and through real justice and real political reconciliation within existing governance systems.
    However. The method currently favored is state-sponsored terrorism of that population you cite–something profoundly illegal, amoral, and politically incompetent. The Salvador Option (death squads), torture, aerial bombings or just indiscriminate killings and rape has been the U.S. military’s policy response to “take away their nourishment” when fighting insurgencies (nationalists/ patriots). It’s specifically designed to intimidate and terrify local residents into not supporting guerillas. And it backfires EVERY time, because the political calculus necessary completely inverts everything the American Revolution taught us. Side with a just cause. Don’t create vast and determined and bottomless support for that insurgency by giving it legitimate cause for resistance. See the Toledo Blade’s 22-article Pulitzer Prize series on Tiger Force and free-fire zones in Vietnam. It didn’t win us any friends. The determination only hardened in proportion to the horror.
    The Mearsheimer and Walt piece documents how closely tied to specific political goals the vast bulk of terrorist groups are. “Not negotiating with terrorists” is precisely the kind of unresponsive tyrannical reflex that contradicts govtl claims to authority, legitimate governance, etc. If you don’t talk to ’em, how ya gonna resolve the political root causes? How’s your democracy gonna function at all?

    Reply

  32. David Noziglia says:

    Rich:
    I hope Steve doesn’t mind our carrying on this extended debate in this forum.
    In the meantime . . .
    Your post says that the truth lies between us. To my mind, the truth lies between what you think I’m saying, and what you and I might just both believe. To explain what I’m getting at, let’s go over the questions your posting brings up:
    Is terrorism as a tactic ever justified?
    One can accept that the answer to this is yes. Just calling something terrorism is empty political rhetoric, and as such meant to prevent critical thinking, rather than accurately describe anything. Terrorism itself is a rational tactic in a condition of unbalanced force. There have been cases of terrorist organizations in history which have later become players in legitimate governments. Examples: Sein Fein, Haganeh, and, more recently, the Tamil Tigers and the Marxists in Nepal.
    Is the terrorism that has been sponsored by or carried out by al-Qa’ida and its allies justified?
    Here we can easily disagree, both because we are not separated from the events in question by history, and because al-Qa’ida, etc., have not achieved any recognition of legitimacy from the international community, whatever that is. Just to be clear, on this point, my own answer is no. If you disagree with me on this, I will not shoot you. Unless you are a member of al-Qa’ida yourself (see below).
    Are we fighting terrorism?
    Clearly, no. Terrorism is a tactic.
    What are we fighting?
    Really good question, because I cannot think of a good, clear answer, given what our government has done to date. We let bin Laden go when all indications are we could have caught or killed him at Tora Bora; we aren’t really devoting any substantial resources to actually hunting down and either jailing or killing al-Qa’ida’s leadership or anyone else who was involved in the sponsorship of those who murdered those thousands on our soil. We should not be involved in any great “clash of civilizations” conflict between Islam and “The West” (again, whatever that is). We have instead invaded a country that was not a threat to our security before the invasion, but has been turned into one by our actions.
    I submit that Bush and his administration has, through every action it has taken, not only failed to protect us, but actively generated greater danger and vulnerability to our country, our lives, and our economy. The invasion of Iraq was only one giant part of this catastrophic failure.
    What should we be fighting?
    Well, for that, there are two answers. And I’ve really got to say that whenever I bring this up, there seems to be a willing effort to misunderstand me, because I speak not of
    One Big, Single Solution
    because I don’t believe there is ever any such thing.
    So what I’m talking about is the fact that bin Laden, Zawahiri, and their colleagues and followers, including possibly, now, the Taliban are
    Very Bad People
    and
    They Should Be Killed.
    They have killed our fellow citizens and humans, and they want to kill more. This must be stopped, and this is a clear duty. And I’m in fact not that delicate on how this is done.
    However.
    If that is ALL we do, we lose. Even if we break away from hopeless failures that have nothing to do with the Wahabi/Salafi nexus that actually does threaten our security, dealing with these people with violent means ALONE will not solve the problem. As we have seen in Iraq, killing people does not make them go away, because killing some brings other people to join their cause. Yes, we need to kill these bad men (and possibly women), but we should do it intelligently, which we have not.
    We ALSO – NOT INSTEAD, BUT ALSO – need to address the so-called “root causes” of their actions, not to lend any legitimacy whatsoever to these people themselves, but to address the populations within which they thrive, to take away their nourishment, and to give normal people an alternative to a short, sharp life as a suicide bomber.
    This would include:
    1. Go to the Saudis, and tell them that their textbooks are no longer acceptable. Saudi textbooks, from the early elementary level right through to college, are Wahabi sermons on intolerance. They teach their own students, and the students of all the madrasas that they sponsor, in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, the U.S., and elsewhere, that Muslims are the only people who deserve life, and that all non-Muslims deserve death. These textbooks, as much as any WMDs, are direct threats to U.S. national security, and they must shred them, and replace them with textbooks that can be written by non-Mutawa’een Muslim scholars, and that exhibit the tolerance that Islam is capable of. The Saudis paid for the problem; they can pay for the solution.
    2. Go to the Egyptians, and the Gulf States, and wherever, and tell them that their political systems must become more open. Of course, preaching liberal democracy means that American government officials must not only practice it themselves, but also understand what it is. That is not true today, which, again, is part of the problem.
    3. Go to a lot of these places, and start intelligently implementing ideas on economic development that are out there, and known; are understood, and not being taken as seriously as they should. Ideas about property rights, microcredit, trust and regulation, fighting corruption, and many, many more that no bb discussion group posting is big enough to cover in full. Understand, in short, that helping other people become prosperous does not harm our economy; it helps it. Quite aside from the impact on our security. And, yet again, recognize that we could do with a dose of these ideas in our own country, as well.
    None of the above is easy. And it’s not a comprehensive list of what has to be done. And it shouldn’t be limited to Muslim countries and carried out just as a response to the threat of terrorist attacks from Wahabis. And it includes implementing different policies toward economic life right here in our own country. It means understanding that there are many areas in life where we’re all better off if and only if we’re all better off.
    And that idea gets no traction at all in Washington today, even outside the dunderheads in the White House.
    So our middle ground is this: treat BOTH the cause AND the symptom. And, of course, know that a big part of both is Bush and the corporate stooges in the Republican party that have hijacked our country and threatened our rights, our freedoms, and our lives.
    P.S.: Bush doesn’t need bin Laden to “lure him into a no-win situation.” He’s shown he’s capable of finding those all by himself.
    Which is more than enough to say, so I’ll shut up, for now.
    If you want to carry on more on this, Rich, let’s give Steve and the rest a break, and you can directly mail me at: noziglia@verizon.net.
    Cheers. Go ‘Hoos.

    Reply

  33. S Brennan says:

    Steve Let’s compare:
    “…”no one who wanted to go do someone harm.”…Kenneth Adelman was in the room last night and continued to stand by the mea culpas he had been offering for his “Iraq would be a cake walk” comments –”
    With:
    Ken Adelman…told the Post that “the President is ultimately responsible” for the “debacle” in Iraq.
    Adelman’s hypocrisy is stunning. In 2002 it was he who famously predicted that American forces would enjoy “a cakewalk” in Iraq, and during the run-up to the invasion he derided war critics for their stupidity and naiveté. “There’s always the chicken littles, running around and saying ‘oh my God, it’s terrible,’” he said on Hardball , six days before the war began, when asked about the possibility that things might not go as smoothly as he and his fellow-hawks had predicted.
    The following month, he was gloating to the New York Times that his “cakewalk” prediction had been remarkably prescient. Adelman, according to the story, “scorned recent complaints by retired generals and military analysts that the Pentagon had deployed too few troops” to Iraq. “I always thought that was ridiculous,” Adelman told the newspaper. “It turned out they were factually wrong. I never understood what having three times as many troops would have done.”
    But what’s most astonishing about Adelman’s current criticism of the Bush Administration is that he argued for a “stay the course” approach long after it became clear that the war was a burgeoning disaster. He paid no mind to the idea that Iraqis were growing uneasy with the American presence, and said that although the administration was doing its best, more needed to be done in terms of generating employment and economic opportunities. “There were possibilities in the beginning, but they were all [floundering] for some reason or other,” he told MSNBC in June of 2003.
    More?
    http://harpers.org/sb-ken-adelman-1164050030.html

    Reply

  34. Rich says:

    It’s just a Mearsheimer & Walt thing; see their recent paper. (might have the spelling wrong)
    Also an American Revolution thing. See our papers.

    Reply

  35. Rich says:

    David:
    you wrote:
    “When you say that “terrorism is a grassroots-generated tactic that citizens resort to when pushed to the brink of survival or past the point at which their legitimate grievances become just political causes,” are you not blaming “society” for the terrorists’ actions?”
    On the other hand, what I’m saying is that though there are, indeed, injustices and despiration in many parts of the world, and while we can say they lead to terrorist acts, they do not, in any way, justify the destruction, death, and terror.”
    I think the truth lies somewhere in between.
    I thought about that point (re Para 1) as I wrote it, but I don’t think it holds up to scrutiny because it’s in the abstract, in general terms. So, no, I’m not blaming “society.” I’m holding accountable individuals & collective policies (of a GOV’T) that put a populace (ethnic, religious, or otherwise) at risk of extermination. And at that point, it’s factually incorrect to use the term ‘terrorists.’ Its reasonable for any patriotic American to hold govts accountable for that govt’s prior actions–which are the proximate causes of terrorism. Seen in context, violent methods are a last resort, & an understandable, natural response to exceptionally vicious unjustifiable governmental actions. If you recount the abuses by say, death squads in El Salvador or the French in Vietnam–what you get isn’t the picture of a ‘terrorist,’ but are rather as heroic a story as you’ll find in the annals of history. David v. Goliath. This is why NATHAN HALE is a hero.
    In short, this is what every just cause and just war is made of, literally. There’d be no Lech Walesa or Vaclav Havel without their local Stalins. There’d be no Daniel Ortega without Somoza. No George Washington without mad King George. No Castro without Batista. You may not like all the politics, but address THE CAUSE, not the symptom.
    bin Laden is another story–operating at the macro-level, he’s playing a geopolitical game, luring Bush into no-win situations, so it has a different logic. I’m referring ONLY to nation- and place-specific situations.
    I disagree–and so does history–with your last quoted phrase (Para2). Without redress of grievances, what do you expect a citizenry to do? Americans did it–and they had much less cause than other folks do these days. If your choice is between extermination, unending torture, govt’l terror OR taking up arms “to form a more perfect union” by applying violence/’terror’ against an unjust & abusive govt, citizens around the world have consistently chosen to fight what is commonly known as a just cause.
    So NO, I’m not blaming ‘society,’ in the abstract. Democracy doesn’t OPERATE in the abstract.
    In a democracy, there is a responsbility and a complicity; there ARE no “good Germans.” What George Bush presumes to do in our name, we pay for, either in blowback, or in impeachment proceedings. Note that you can’t buy your way out of a moral cause when you’re on the wrong side of it. Textbook example: in Iraq U.S. soldiers occasionally kill civilians, collaterally or otherwise. The response? ‘Sorry about your grandpa, brother, daughers–here’s a hundred bucks.’ Hmm-how d’ya spose that goes over. If that happened to a farmer in Des Moines or KNoxville, there’d be hell to pay.

    Reply

  36. Earl James says:

    “Slightly off the main subject, but I wonder how Ted is doing these days….
    Now, the whole landscape of tv news is a dead-end.
    I suppose being the largest private land owner in America must help.”
    Not to mention creating a new flow of wealth from the growing Ted’s Montana Grill chain (did he open in Manhattan this year as planned?) and being known as one of the world’s most creative philanthropists: the UN Foundation, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Turner (environmental)Foundation. He should be able to sleep well at night, tv news meltdown notwithstanding.

    Reply

  37. David Noziglia says:

    Rich:
    I was about to appologize for my bad writing, dealing with some fairly difficult ideas, when I carefully read your post. Which leaves me confused, as well.
    When you say that “terrorism is a grassroots-generated tactic that citizens resort to when pushed to the brink of survival or past the point at which their legitimate grievances become just political causes,” are you not blaming “society” for the terrorists’ actions?
    On the other hand, what I’m saying is that though there are, indeed, injustices and despiration in many parts of the world, and while we can say they lead to terrorist acts, they do not, in any way, justify the destruction, death, and terror.
    The fact is that if bin Laden and others like him were really interested in helping their fellow man, they would be doing something far different than what they are doing. They are not. Their actions are not in service to people, but in service to their conception of God.
    Read what they say. Then assume they mean it. Their understanding of the way the world works is pitifully mistaken, and their program to change it is wrong in more ways than either of us can list. But there it is.
    Kind of like Bush, that.
    On your last paragraph, we completely agree. It has long been a thesis of mine that adhering to our principles does not sacrifice or damage our interests (as Kissinger believes), but serves them. Would that we could find leaders for our own government that accepted this concept.

    Reply

  38. Douglass Carmichael says:

    Concern. microlending is still lending, and the model is getting people in debt. Is this really good? How many of the borrowers start small businesses where they then hire others. Sounds ok till one realizes that a communty of independent farmers (wo are peers to each other) becaomes a community of hired hands. The debt model, from micro-lending to the world bank, treasury bonds and credit cards seems the same. Pasive interest goes to owners of cash. In the US I guesstimate (I’d love to know who really knows) that half of all income is from interest. For example, if Joe buys an apartment complex ten percent down and mortgages the rest, then a large part of my rent to Joe is paying his interest.
    The smae issue comes up with deSoto who proposes that it would be really progressive if very poor favela holders could get title to their land so they could then borrow against its value. But get real, we know that if the tenancy could be “alienated’, that is marketizeable, it would get sold and in five year the whole favela would be in new hands ready for higher end develeopment.
    And the people who used to live here?
    Helping is hard,and the microlending apprach is interesting but reminds me of the British way of empire was to put a hut tax, which required that people get jobs in the cash economy to pay for it. Might be ok, but maybe not.

    Reply

  39. Pissed Off American says:

    Just a test, is all.

    Reply

  40. bond says:

    It doesn’t really matter who is running Australia. You will still pay part of your wage to the ATO. Global warming will continue unabated. The drought will continue. Canberra will still be run from Washington DC. Leadership scuffles are a mere distraction to keep us ignorant. The real machinations that are being played out behind the scenes by the rich and powerful… oil, war, control. Always have, always will.
    Posted by: bond…james bond at November 21, 2006 11:26 AM

    Reply

  41. Rich says:

    David,
    While our viewpoints overlap, I disagree on two points. I agree re offering alternatives and effective action–but I think that just shows how few options are left to them.
    “Life was simpler in the eighteenth century, and the actions of the patriots were a kind of polite violence directed against the British only.”
    The notion that life “was simpler” is an easy myth functioning to excuse the bulk of policy/actions on our part, none of which would or could be found acceptable by any shared/ reasonable metric, then or now.
    It’s the basic political dilemma /difficult human condition we’re dealing with in both cases. It’s got nothing at all to do with the level of technology–or our supposedly “complicated” modern times.
    “polite violence”–get real. One-third of colonists were loyal to the Crown; many were run out of the country, whether ahead of of the torch, tar’n’feathers or after. There was violence. In a democracy, citizens are responsible for the policies of the governments.
    ” . . corruption, tyranny, and injustice … contribute to the environment in which the hateful words of the jihadists fall on willing ears.”
    This sort of pied-piper or spread-of-ideology is too easy a myth. It’s like blaming the French for the American Revolution. It shifts accountability to an easy scapegoat. It evades responsibility for the proximate cause: you’re blaming “the environment,” like bleeding-heart liberals and the thug in Repo Man blame “society.” I’m saying that terrorism is a grassroots-generated tactic that citizens resort to when pushed to the brink of survival or past the point at which their legitimate grievances become just political causes.
    It’s not a shiny trendy import. It’s a natural response to tyranny. Your children would do the same for their neighbors, families, and classmates. Further, many terrorists are not uneducated or poor, strictly speaking. When you rob them of their right to be heard, of access to redress of grievances–of habeas corpus, how much have you really taken?
    “The real tragedy is that there is no one out there talking to these people, or demonstrating that there are better ways”
    Yes, if only someone would show them how a Constitutional democracy goes about saving its own skin, when it’s in a jam. When we adhere to our own–very pragmatic, very relevant, eminently practical and contemporary Constitutional principles–THEN we’ll be able to help them also establish a political system that’s both responsive to their greivances and accountable before the law.

    Reply

  42. David Noziglia says:

    Rich, I agree that the conditions in the Middle East that promote corruption, tyranny, and injustice certainly, along with simple poverty, contribute to the environment in which the hateful words of the jihadists fall on willing ears.
    And that the hopelessness of their condition thrusts too many young people into committing suicide for their “cause.”
    The real tragedy is that there is no one out there talking to these people, or demonstrating that there are better ways to improve their lives than the empty promises and actions of the jihadists.
    Now, here comes the misunderstanding. By better ways to improve their conditions, I do not mean that violence is out of the picture. I do mean that violence can be one means of improving their lives IF IT IS EFFECTIVE ACTION. What they are doing instead, by acting to destroy not just people, but their means of living and working, hurts everyone, and makes their lives worse.
    Not just ours.
    Life was simpler in the eighteenth century, and the actions of the patriots were a kind of polite violence directed against the British only. A different time. A different answer.
    The choices today, for everyone, are much more complicated.

    Reply

  43. Rich says:

    A Vietnam Vet who belongs to my church runs a revolving loan fund in Vietnam.
    Seeing Bush’s comment while visiting Vietnam (& having studied the war, culture, & language) two things leaped to mind:
    1) The incident is certainly a measure of the nerve or rather stupidity (SCRATCH that, he’s not stupid, but it’s the denial again) of Bush. To invert historical reality while actually standing on Vietnamese soil is an irony, perhaps an obscenity, but it hardly shows even the minimal respect expected of the rudest guest. Think how THAT went down in Vietnam (!) I’m sure Bush was oblivious to any reaaction by his hosts–and I’m equally sure their reaction wasn’t obvious, either.
    It was intended to maintain the always-erroneous claim that Congress “lost” Vietnam by reducing funding, or criticizing the military, or losing its political will. None of that’s true. But it shows the level of desperation involved.
    ‘Iraq’s like Vietnam, except–‘ So close; so very far. Denial.
    2) I wonder just how much the Vietnamese were taking Bush for at the bargaining table (/in meetings). Vietnam is on the cusp of becoming the next Asian “Tiger” (how quickly is the question) and they have much to offer.
    Bush needs all the help he can get. Iraq aside.
    The Vietnamese are more than capable of extracting resources from Bush while he’s in this vulnerable position. I’m sure they’ll milk it for all it’s worth.
    Rich

    Reply

  44. Rich says:

    David Noziglia:
    Add in real injustice. And a political system that refuses any and all appeals for redress of grievance. It’s not poverty alone.
    It’s the knowledge that violence is the only means left at one’s disposal, and that the option is preferable to extermination. FMLN arose in response to death squads. etc. George Washington wasn’t nearly at the same degree of risk, yet responded to the abuses of power by the British military. No other choice. Not complicated.

    Reply

  45. Christian says:

    Slightly off the main subject, but I wonder how Ted is doing these days.
    Getting pushed out of the baby he grew, having had the cable vision early, and watching CNN turn into a steaming pile of waste product before his very eyes, moved off the board, watching that ridiculous and arrogant merger (really, watching AOL turn worthless paper into Time Warner before those shares turned into pumpkins).
    Now, the whole landscape of tv news is a dead-end.
    I suppose being the largest private land owner in America must help.

    Reply

  46. David Noziglia says:

    P.S.: Add my vote for Yunis for P.O.Y.

    Reply

  47. David Noziglia says:

    Thanks for this post, Steve. It’s so nice to read these, and realize how empty and meaningless my own life is¡
    But it’s also nice to hear of the many people doing truly meaningful things in the world, and helping so many others in ways that last and enrich lives.
    One small point of issue.
    You quote Yunis saying that “poverty fuels feelings of humiliation and injustice, which feeds terrorism.” This is true, to a great extent, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that poverty has very little to do with the chief purveyor of terrorism (aside from Bush) in the world today, al-Qa’ida and bin Ladin. One cannot say that any of those who flew the planes into the World Trade Center, not the fifteen Saudis and not the Egpytian physician, were exactly poverty-stricken.
    They were not acting even in the name of the poor, but rather in the name of their faith-based ideology.
    Say rather that it is the deep misunderstanding of poverty, its causes, its solution, that drives those who think that violence solves anything.
    And, of course, it’s more complicated than that, as well.

    Reply

  48. Anwar al-Solzhenitsyn says:

    Sounds like an excellent time was had by all. Of course, another 600…700(?) Iraqi men, women, and children were brutally slaughtered. Palestinian men, women, and children were butchered by Israel. George Bush is pressing ahead with a new “ideology of freedom” and Darfur, well that pesky Darfur, burns like a stale sulpher match. After all in Darfur, they are just Muslims and n*gg#&s so who cares. Indelicate? Probably. It is worlds of reassuring to witness the well healed and pampered whining and dining as our world burns out. The United States of America, a nation without conscience, morals, or humanity. Golly, do they ever have fancy soirees in New Orleans? Probably not anymore.

    Reply

  49. Carroll says:

    Thanks for the candle in the dark. I wonder if the good people were getting more coverage there might not be more of them.

    Reply

  50. Daniel CAZ Greenberg says:

    To quote:
    “I sat next to and had a fascinating political and trade policy discussion with Bush 41 US Trade Representative Carla Hills (who told me that former Ambassador and Boeing Executive Thomas Pickering was joining her firm, Hills & Co.)”
    You live a storied life, Steve. Thanks for TWN, and the opportunity to read posts like this. 🙂

    Reply

  51. MP says:

    “A similar ground up program that has been very successful is Heifer International. They provide farm animals to needy families worldwide. Milk giving cows or goats, chickens and ducks laying eggs, honey bees, rabbits provide a source of food and the opportunity for enterprise. ”
    Yes, I’ve done that a few times.

    Reply

  52. sdemetri says:

    I would cast my lot with Yunus for Person of the Year. Great work.
    A similar ground up program that has been very successful is Heifer International. They provide farm animals to needy families worldwide. Milk giving cows or goats, chickens and ducks laying eggs, honey bees, rabbits provide a source of food and the opportunity for enterprise. I think they stipulate that livestock offspring are shared or sold to the community to spread the effect. Not clear on that point, but effort is made to benefit whole communities not just individual families. A similar, good program.

    Reply

  53. MP says:

    I was going to say, a few threads back, that Yunus should get the Person of the Year Award. His work is amazing because it really does appear to be the cure for poverty and helplessness.
    Thanks for sharing this Steve.

    Reply

  54. RichF says:

    Great story. I’d go out of my way to have dinner with Muhammad Yunus.
    Amazing what a little credit can do, at the right scale, targeted to the families and businesses willing to take a little risk.
    Economic development from the ground up never looks like a General Motors auto plant plopped down in the middle of nowhere.

    Reply

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