Rep. Jane Harman, David Kay, Bruno Pellaud, Flynt Leverett, Thomas Donnelly, Lawrence Wilkerson, Francis Fukuyama, Joe Cirincione Headline Conference on US Policy Options Toward Iran

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jane harman terror conf.jpg
In my capacity as head of foreign policy programs at the New America Foundation, I along with Trita Parsi, who is President of the National Iranian American Council, have produced a conference together that will take place in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing Room, Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 628, on Wednesday next week, 14 February.
The conference will feature several important discussions that are key parts of the current US-Iran debate.
leverett.jpgFirst, former Bush administration National Security Council and CIA official Flynt Leverett and former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson will be sharing “more” on the question about the provenance of the March/April 2003 alleged Iranian negotiations proposal that was presented to the United States via Swiss diplomatic channels.
Recently, then National Security Advisor and present Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice disavowed direct knowledge of the proposal and claimed as reported in a recent Glenn Kessler authored article in the Washington Post that she had never seen the “fax” from the Iranians.
Flynt Leverett, in a conversation with TWN before flying to Rome where he was meeting with former Swiss Ambassador to Iran Tim Guldimann, questioned whether Condoleezza Rice was attempting to purposely deceive the American public about the realities of the 2003 Iranian proposal.
Rice, in the Glenn Kessler article, dismissed Flynt Leverett’s recent commentary about the proposal:

“First of all, I don’t know what Flynt Leverett’s talking about, quite frankly,” she said. “Maybe I should ask him when he came to me and said, ‘We have a proposal from Iran and we really ought to take it.’ “

It is clear from earlier interviews with Rice that she was familiar with the content of the Iran proposal and seemed not to raise doubts about its provenance. If it is true that she never actually saw a proposal as important as this one would have been given the level of US strategic concern about Iran, this exchange raises serious questions about her management of the National Security Council — particularly that Elliott Abrams may never have showed Rice the proposal, and alternatively — that she never asked to see it.
Leverett has reported to this blogger that about 90% of what is available on the internet and in the press about the “content” of the Iran proposal is correct — but there is another 10% that has not been disclosed and that is critical to understanding the seriousness and consequential nature of what Iran put forward.
Leverett will respond on Wednesday in this conference to Rice’s comments — and will share more about the content of the Iran proposal. Lawrence Wilkerson and Trita Parsi will also share bits of the story that they know from their particular vantage points in 2003.
cirincione pbs.jpgAlso being reviewed in this conference will be the “technical dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear effort — what we know, what we don’t. We will have nuclear experts from the IAEA and from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs here who have been trying to generate “third option” proposals in the US-Iran standoff. Joseph Cirincione of the Center for American Progress will manage that discussion.

Intelligence expert and US House Representative Jane Harman
will share her views on various policy options and scenarios facing policy makers regarding Iran, particularly given Iran’s growing regional pretensions and disturbing senior level political pronouncements in Iran.
Harman was recently named Chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
fukuyama conf.jpgPublic intellectual par excellence Francis Fukuyama, who teaches at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and is the Executive Committee chair of The American Interest will share his perspective on how America should approach its policy options on Iran, most of which are various shades of “bleak.”
Here is a recent oped by Fukuyama on this subject, “The Neocons Have Learned Nothing From Five Years of Catastrophe” — and check out Fukuyama’s blog.
Then we will have a general discussion regarding Iran’s increasingly activist behavior amidst an already convulsive Middle East with perspectives ranging from “push back” to containment to engagement.
Should be very interesting. If you would like to attend, you can email me at Steve@TheWashingtonNote.com
There is no charge — but don’t RSVP if you are not sure that you will be able to make it.
Here is the conference info:


The New America Foundation/American Strategy Program &
The National Iranian American Council cordially invite you to a full day national policy forum on
U. S. -Iran Relations: Collision, Stand-Off, or Convergence?
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building, US Senate

9:30 am
Registration & Coffee
Welcoming Remarks
Steven Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Trita Parsi
President, National Iranian American Council
10:00 am – 10:30 am
Ruse or Opportunity?
The Provenance of Iran’s spring 2003 negotiations offer
Flynt Leverett
Senior Fellow & Director, Geopolitics of Energy Initiative, New America Foundation and
Former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs, National Security Council
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of State
moderator
Trita Parsi
President, National Iranian American Council
10:30 am-12:00 pm
Iran’s Nuclear Challenge — Debating the Technical Dimensions
Bruno Pellaud
Chairman, IAEA Experts Group on Multilateral Approaches to the Fuel Cycle
Former Deputy Director General and Head, IAEA Department of Safeguards
Maurizio Martellini
Secretary General for Landau Network-Centro Volta
Consultant on Non-Proliferation, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
David Kay
Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Former IAEA/UNSCOM Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector in Iraq
moderator
Joseph Cirincione
Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy
Center for American Progress
12:00 pm-1:45 pm
Luncheon
A Consideration of US Policy Options Toward Iran
Introduction
Steven Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Keynote Pre-Lunch Remarks
The Hon. Jane Harman
Chairperson, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment
Committee on Homeland Security
US House of Representatives
Keynote Post-Lunch Remarks
Francis Fukuyama
Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy
School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
2:00 pm-3:45 pm
Iran’s Pretensions and a Turbulent Middle East
Thomas Donnelly
Resident Fellow, Defense & Security Studies
American Enterprise Institute
Daniel Levy
Senior Fellow, New America Foundation;
Former Advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative
Dafna Linzer
National Security Correspondent
Washington Post
Trita Parsi
President, National Iranian American Council
moderator
Dr. Bahram Rajaee
National Iranian American Council

This will be a cool meeting — and readers of The Washington Note are invited to be my guest. We will have box lunches and refreshments at the meeting — as many as we can handle.
But we expect full house — and perhaps standing room audience.
For those of you who watch C-Span, we will not know until Monday afternoon whether C-Span will be able to provide coverage.
Remember to RSVP to Steve@TheWashingtonNote.com
— Steve Clemons

Comments

42 comments on “Rep. Jane Harman, David Kay, Bruno Pellaud, Flynt Leverett, Thomas Donnelly, Lawrence Wilkerson, Francis Fukuyama, Joe Cirincione Headline Conference on US Policy Options Toward Iran

  1. Ahura Pirouz Yazdi says:

    Please watch today Hakha TV program at http://www.ahura.info about massive sympathy and love of Iranian people for Shahbanoo and their complain against wrong behavior of VOA and ParsTV during interview with Shahbanoo the Queen of Iranians
    We will re-run this program for next two days
    For Hakha Maneshan
    Ahura Pirouz Yazdi

    Reply

  2. Ben Rosengart says:

    If Bush is not impeached, we will shortly be at war with Iran. (I would love to be wrong about this.)
    Bush can be impeached, but Congress had seriously better get a move on. I’m not optimistic.

    Reply

  3. marky says:

    Steve,
    I don’t believe I have seen you state that you are unequivocally opposed to an attack on Iran by the US.
    Is this something you are still mulling over in your mind? Maybe I’m mistaken about the lack of a stance on your part, but many people who supported the Iraq war have made it clear they are 100% opposed to allowing Bush to attack Iran. Since I am certain that some of the participants in your conference are very supportive of the idea of war with Iran, I wonder what you are getting yourself into.

    Reply

  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “Jane Harmon has been in Congress for a while. Has anyone looked at her record and determined if she has EVER voted against an AIPAC position? If not, then why bother inviting her to speak about ME policy. We can just read AIPAC’s website.”
    Gads, why bother to research Harman’s past voting record? Just take a look at Donnelly’s background if you want a true picture of how this “conference” will go. Its amazing these slimeballs from the PNAC are still accorded any credibility or respect. Donnelly went from the PNAC to the AEI. Now THERES a resume the devil himself would be proud of.

    Reply

  5. Matthew says:

    Jane Harmon has been in Congress for a while. Has anyone looked at her record and determined if she has EVER voted against an AIPAC position? If not, then why bother inviting her to speak about ME policy. We can just read AIPAC’s website.

    Reply

  6. rich says:

    Steve,
    I’m curious as to why Sylvestre Reyes wasn’t invited to your forum on U.S.-Iran relations?
    I don’t buy into every comment posted, but I’ve seen Jane Harman’s name on several forum rosters.
    Wouldn’t it be helpful to widen the range of voices heard at these forums, to increase and vary the viewpoints?
    Can you give us some insight on what Harman brings that no one else offers? How does Harman differ–in practice, not in words–from Bush?
    That insight would better serve your readers, be they critics or not.
    Curious because I’ve looked at the backgrounds of other forum rosters (yours & other “radical ‘centrists'”)–but not yet this one.
    I know Reyes wasn’t your guy, Harman was, but wouldn’t Reyes’ inclusion provide a fresh voice that You’ll benefit from hearing? As Committee Chair, Reyes’ thoughts have value. Is he to be ignored just because Harman was passed over?
    ‘Keeping an open/civil dialog’ as a value, method, of mode of operating cuts both ways. It’d be more impressive if Russ Feingold, Ron Wyden, or Rush Holt were at the table.
    And why aren’t they? Feingold is more conservative, in the literal sense, than many who assign themselves a centrist position–OR a conservative mantle. He wants a functional & Constitution-based political system–you know, governance. Is that his mistake? To believe? To want results?
    It took a Richard Nixon to go to China–so how can a middle-of-the-road figure like Joe Biden or Susan Collins or Jane Harman talk to Bush–AND get movement, w/o giving up the farm?
    It comes down to this: How can Biden (& radical centrists) claim to occupy the reassonable center if they can’t recognize the common ground they share w/Feingold on basic Constitutional matters? Has Russ Feingold been blackballed? Feingold is not radical, but is rather a very common-sense pragmatic, moreso than many to his right–it’s just that he actually believes in this country and this Constitution.
    The center cannot hold if it consists not of uplifting and upholding the defining, shared American principles (which Russ Feingold has been fighting to apply & preserve), but rather of a collection of expedient interests that avoids that responsibility because it was designed to offend no one.
    You have your political viewpoint–and I don’t presume to take issue with that. But the premise here, the vaunted MO, has been civil productive dialog with all parties, including a virtually stalinist white house. The claim has been that if centrism can talk to all parties, it’s privileged or more effective or has a Hotline to God-Policy. To 0
    But where it refuses to balance these voices, it’s not centrism. It’s an Inside/Outside game. It acquiesces to excluding some very reasonable, open people like Russ Feingold. That speaks to the credibility of ‘radical centrists.’
    To privilege centrism–to presume to scold principled conservative Americans (by that I mean the Democratic Base, erroneously termed ‘extremist’)–forces one to live up to that self-assigned mantle. In practice, some centrists tack far to the right–and to the extent that requires excluding a Russ Feingold it means relinquishing that label/title entirely, in every forum.
    (Glaring example: Lieberman’s fictional ‘bipartisanship’ masks his alignment w/far-right Rumsfeld.)

    Reply

  7. Den Valdron says:

    Oh, and just for the record, in case anyone was wondering.
    Conrad Black is not Jewish. Conrad Black was born and comes from traditional Mount Royal Montreal Anglophone elitist stock. They were an anglo saxon minority controlling political and economic life in French Catholic Quebec. They were therefore racist and elitist to the core and for a couple of centuries. The equivalent would be your American DAR bluebloods. Conrad was very much a scion of that culture, whose anti-semitism was pronounced (and much criticized by Canadian Jewish writer Mordecai Richler). Conrad attended Upper Canada College and Trinity College which, in those days, I believe, did not admit jewish persons. Black was throughout this period an Anglican, and his first wife was Anglican. Later on Conrad converted to Roman Catholicism, and in fact sued people who suggested that his conversion was not bona fide.
    Conrad Black is not and has never ever been Jewish. Sorry.
    Conrad Black’s second wife, Barbra Amiel, a sort of 70’s/80’s era Ann Coulter (although originally and biologically female) is Jewish. The couple have no children together. Amiel’s ‘jewishness’ is a minor part of her persona.
    As for Rupert Murdoch, also not Jewish. Rupert Murdoch’s paternal grandfather was a Scottish Presbyterian Minister. His father was an Australian newspaperman and presbyterian. His mother was an Irish Protestant. I have no information on his paternal grandmother, but I’m dubious that a turn of the century Scottish Presbyterian would have married a Jewish woman, given the anti-semitism and backward isolation of both Scotland and Australia in that era. As for maternal grandparents, I have no idea of their religious affiliation but would naturally assume that one or both were Irish and Protestant. Their era would also be turn of the century or earlier.
    Frankly, I think the notion of trying to establish Murdoch’s Jewishness through one of his maternal grandparents, or through some great or great great grandparent is so farfetched as to be ridiculous.
    Murdoch, for the record, is also a convert to Roman Catholicism.
    Both men come from avowedly anti-semitic traditions. Their current love of Israel is not connected to any jewish ancestry, but seems to be a staple of their right wing extremist culture.
    My own thinking is that there is a sort of racism still at work. For men of Murdoch’s and Black’s class, Israeli Jews are Jews who are not trying to get into their schools and neighborhoods, but rather, are far away and sticking it to the Arabs, factors which make them sort of white and episcopalian.

    Reply

  8. Den Valdron says:

    Iranian American Council, I checked. They’re apparently a non-partisan Iranian advocacy group composed of Iranian exiles. While not terribly friendly to the current Iranian regime, they’re also not terribly sympathetic to the efforts at regime change. They’re also active in efforts to keep the ‘Persian Gulf’ from being renamed.
    So, yes Alan, you’re correct. My bad. It was rather more open than I anticipated. Nevertheless, it strikes me that the amount of opinion and dialogue is still circumscribed.
    Even with best wishes and intentions, an exile community is not necessarily the best indicator of the views of the originating society. Consider the Iraqi exiles or the Cuban exiles.

    Reply

  9. Alan says:

    Den
    Just noted your post. The Iranians are at the Munich Conference and a number of Americans are floating about. Can I assume that if McCain and Lieberman return home they will be taken aside by the authorities and questioned about any contact they may have had with Iranians. Possibly they committed a crime by being in the same room.
    But, thanks for your general points in the post. There is a cold undercurrent to it because it is spot on.

    Reply

  10. r.h.eldridge says:

    Steve
    Why don’t you see if you can get William R. Polk for your conference. Add a bit of balance. See his website for recent articles on Iran. (www.williampolk.com) First class stuff that all your readers should checkout.

    Reply

  11. Pissed Off American says:

    “In all seriousness, what is the point of the conference on Iran? The result may be a consensus that Iran is not a threat and that no urgent action be taken, the reverse, or somewhere in between.
    However, regardless of what conclusions are reached, the only bits that will reach national attention are those which damn Iran. Anyone who utters a sentence containing the words “nuclear threat” and “Iran” will be quoted, possibly out of context, to prove the urgent need to act against Iran. Looking at the list of participants, I am quite confident that if this conference receives media attention at all, it will be in the form of articles which significantly amplify the drumbeat for war.”
    In light of the already determined stances of many of the participants of this “conference”, and the obvious loyalty many of them have to the Israeli perspective, the results of this “conference” are a foregone conclusion. One need only read the daily postings on the AIPAC website to determine the “conclusions” that will be reached at this “conference”.

    Reply

  12. rich says:

    hmmm.
    Steve pointed to Frances Fukuyama’s blog.
    Which is comment-enabled.
    (comments seem glitchy)

    Reply

  13. Den Valdron says:

    I don’t know if it showed up, but I’ve made the point that Conrad Black is not a jew. Rather, he is ‘old establishment family’ Anglican, converted to Roman Catholicism.
    Rupert Murdoch is also not a jew. Rupert Murdoch’s religion is listed as Roman Catholic.
    His grandfather was a Scottish Presbyterian Minister. His father was Presbyterian. His mother was Irish Protestant. Irish protestants are not to be mistaken for Orthodox Jews.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dame_Elisabeth_Murdoch
    http://www.nndb.com/people/420/000023351/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Murdoch
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
    As much as I am loathe to use the word anti-semite, I cannot find any other way to describe someone who automatically claims that people are Jewish on the basis that they are unlikeable.
    These sorts of reckless and offensive charges pretty much render anything else you have to say utterly worthless, and speak to some species of mental illness.

    Reply

  14. Marky says:

    In all seriousness, what is the point of the conference on Iran? The result may be a consensus that Iran is not a threat and that no urgent action be taken, the reverse, or somewhere in between.
    However, regardless of what conclusions are reached, the only bits that will reach national attention are those which damn Iran. Anyone who utters a sentence containing the words “nuclear threat” and “Iran” will be quoted, possibly out of context, to prove the urgent need to act against Iran. Looking at the list of participants, I am quite confident that if this conference receives media attention at all, it will be in the form of articles which significantly amplify the drumbeat for war.
    We see here the same fallacy that was played out in 2002—the idea that Bush and Cheney were going to behave as typical rational actors, weighing the evidence on Iraq and coming to a sober judgment about whether or not to invade. And so, in the run-up to the war, many people who were not particularly in favor of an attack became enablers of Bush simply by taking the propaganda issued by the White House at face value.
    Sen. Webb has the right idea: first Congress must unequivocaly communicate with the White House that attacking Iran without Congressional approval will not be tolerated. In fact, articles of impeachment should be drawn up now, as Fallows suggests.
    What we do not need is another koffeeklatch of “liberal hawks” feeding the war fever, deliberately or not.

    Reply

  15. Den Valdron says:

    Oh what rubbish. Conrad Black jewish? My shiny metal ass.
    Conrad Black came out of old Canadian money and attended Canadian ivy league schools, Upper Canada College and Trinity College which were careful to exclude jews.
    Black’s family were Anglicans. Black was raised as an Anglican (Episcopalian in American lingo), and later converted to Catholicism.
    Conrad Black is as Jewish as a pork roast covered with clam sauce served up to the PMS society on Good Friday.
    http://www.nndb.com/people/324/000028240/
    http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=389946&lastnode_id=0
    http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=15866
    http://www.canadianfreespeech.com/cafegrams/jan-20-04.html
    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2005/02/24/black-torontolife050224.html
    You fucking idiot.

    Reply

  16. rich says:

    Back awhile, Steve’d posted hopes that Russia & China would pressure Iran to cooperate w/IAEA inspectors.
    TODAY Tom Ricks in the WashPost:
    >>
    Putin Blasts U.S. on Iraq, Defends Russia’s Iran Ties
    MUNICH, Feb. 10 –Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the United States today for acting in a unilateral, militaristic fashion that he said “overstepped” its role and made the world a more dangerous place than during the Cold War.
    “Nobody feels secure anymore, because nobody can take safety behind the stone wall of international law,” he told an international security conference here attended by dozens of foreign and defense ministers and other officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a congressional delegation.
    He said Russia would pursue an independent foreign policy, and defended his country’s arms sales to Iran as a way of reaching out to that Middle Eastern power, which is under pressure from the U.S. and Europe to curtail its nuclear program. Russia has supplied some air defense weapons to Tehran, he said, because “we don’t want Iran to feel cornered” . . IT’S COMMENT-ENABLED. Enjoy . . .

    Reply

  17. SickToMyStomach says:

    Actually both Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch are Jews. Murdoch’s mother was an orthodox Jew which gives him the *right of return* (gag me now) — do a web search on both if you don’t believe me.
    Also do a web search on Conrad Black, Hollinger and Richard Perle.
    To whoever was talking about Waxman vs. Harman: I live in Waxman’s district and used to live in Harman’s. To those who don’t live in Los Angeles, Waxman and Harmans’ districts are side by side.
    Both Waxman and Harman are UBER-Zionists.
    Harman is under FBI investigation for her ties to AIPAC and Waxman has sponsored a lot of the legislation denying Palestinians their basic human rights.
    Anti-war Democrats my damn ass — the Demcrats are, as proven by their financial disclosures, as bad or worse as the GOP in terms of raking in the dough from the pro-Israel lobbies.
    But now you know — Murdoch and Black, both owners of huge media empires that span continents, are both Jews.
    Throw Haim Saban into the mix, who bought up a huge chunk of German media specifically to make sure German public opinion swayed towards Israel, and what we have is WW III.
    L’Chaim indeed….

    Reply

  18. Den Valdron says:

    You’ll forgive me for not visiting FreeRepublic.com. I have this aversion to NeoNazi douchebags.
    Well, the democratic transformation of Afghanistan is going so well.
    Anyone paying attention to Afghanistan? Let me bring you up to speed. A minimal NATO peacekeeping force of 5000 has slowly but steadily increased to a warfighting force of 30,000 fighting the Taliban and crying out desperately for more troops.
    Afghanstan has resumed its position as the worlds leading narco-state/producer of heroin. Much of the country is under the control of either the Taliban or Warlords. Apart from drugs, the Afghanistan economy consists of smuggling and heroin production.
    Several million Afghans live as displaced refugees. Kabul is not safe. The chaos in the country spreads to its neighbors in the form of massive population of refugees, heroin exports, guerilla violence and American violence exporting to Pakistan in the form of cross border raids.
    I can safely say that if the Democratic Transformation of Afghanistan and Iraq is key to the American triumph over Iran, then we should all start brushing up on our Persian.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    There are well documented connections between Likud extremists and American extremists, some of these connections are in fact the same people. The ideology of Israeli exceptionalism fits very well into American exceptionalism.
    But I think you are underestimating the nature of the extremist right.
    just the way that Israel’s lunatics are part of the American right wing establishment. They’re all part of the same twisted mess.
    Posted by Den Valdron at February 10, 2007 02:01 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Actually we don’t underestimate the nature of the extreme right at all..or it’s global dimensions.
    It works the same way in every country doesn’t it now?
    The US as top doggie is the paramount attraction for the extremist, but lesser countries like Canada can provide some backup for the right wing extremist club also.
    A lot of your goverment officials supported the Israeli bombing of Lebanon..sooooo……..Who is minding your store?
    http://quebec.indymedia.org/en/node/26063?PHPSESSID=bdb1fc38e2fee566fe3395439389adc0
    AIPAC North
    by Daniel Freeman-Maloy; June 26, 2006
    The establishment of the so-called Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) in late 2005, just in time for the federal election of January 2006, has elicited heated debate within Canada’s Israel lobby. B’nai Brith Canada’s Jewish Tribune, for instance, first reported the development under the headline “Mystery surrounds Jewish political committee CJPAC,” and has since been harshly critical of the initiative. CJPAC claims to success following the election did little to change this. In a March 2006 story titled “CJPAC’s wall of silence not in spirit of lobbyist’s code of conduct,” Tribune correspondent Julie Lesser blasted the organization for “continuing to maintain a wall of silence surrounding the availability of basic information to the public.” In early May (p.3), Lesser upheld the point, stressing that “CJPAC remains an organization that conducts business under a veil of secrecy.”
    Amidst a mix of inattention and controversy, CJPAC is moving forward with its “multi-partisan” lobbying work. Exactly what this involves remains unclear. What is tolerably clear is that CJPAC constitutes yet another Canadian foothold for the U.S.-Israeli alliance. In fact, it appears to have emerged under the direct guidance of this alliance’s North American powerhouse, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/12/AR2006101201857.html?nav=rss_world/northamerica
    Remark Roils Canadian Contest
    Candidate Called Israeli Attack on Lebanese Town a ‘War Crime’
    By Doug Struck
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, October 13, 2006; Page A23
    TORONTO, Oct. 12 — Michael Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor running for the leadership of Canada’s Liberal Party, is facing a political uproar over remarks in which he labeled as a “war crime” Israel’s deadly bombing of the southern Lebanon town of Qana.
    Ignatieff’s then made comments in an attempt to apologize for his remarks on Qana in August. Then, he said the bombing was made during a “dirty war” and noted he was “not losing sleep” over it.
    Another Parliament member, Maria Mourani, was forced to resign from a Bloc Quebecois party post in August for saying Israel had committed war crimes in the Lebanon war.
    Posted by Carroll at February 10, 2007 03:44 PM
    Name:
    Email Address:
    Comments:
    There are well documented connections between Likud extremists and American extremists, some of these connections are in fact the same people. The ideology of Israeli exceptionalism fits very well into American exceptionalism.
    But I think you are underestimating the nature of the extremist right.
    just the way that Israel’s lunatics are part of the American right wing establishment. They’re all part of the same twisted mess.
    Posted by Den Valdron at February 10, 2007 02:01 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Actually we don’t underestimate the nature of the extreme right at all..or it’s global dimensions.
    It works the same way in every country doesn’t it now?
    The US as top doggie is the paramount attraction for the extremist, but lesser countries like Canada can provide some backup for the right wing extremist club also.
    Who is minding your store?
    http://quebec.indymedia.org/en/node/26063?PHPSESSID=bdb1fc38e2fee566fe3395439389adc0
    AIPAC North
    by Daniel Freeman-Maloy; June 26, 2006
    The establishment of the so-called Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) in late 2005, just in time for the federal election of January 2006, has elicited heated debate within Canada’s Israel lobby. B’nai Brith Canada’s Jewish Tribune, for instance, first reported the development under the headline “Mystery surrounds Jewish political committee CJPAC,” and has since been harshly critical of the initiative. CJPAC claims to success following the election did little to change this. In a March 2006 story titled “CJPAC’s wall of silence not in spirit of lobbyist’s code of conduct,” Tribune correspondent Julie Lesser blasted the organization for “continuing to maintain a wall of silence surrounding the availability of basic information to the public.” In early May (p.3), Lesser upheld the point, stressing that “CJPAC remains an organization that conducts business under a veil of secrecy.”
    Amidst a mix of inattention and controversy, CJPAC is moving forward with its “multi-partisan” lobbying work. Exactly what this involves remains unclear. What is tolerably clear is that CJPAC constitutes yet another Canadian foothold for the U.S.-Israeli alliance. In fact, it appears to have emerged under the direct guidance of this alliance’s North American powerhouse, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/12/AR2006101201857.html?nav=rss_world/northamerica
    Remark Roils Canadian Contest
    Candidate Called Israeli Attack on Lebanese Town a ‘War Crime’
    By Doug Struck
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, October 13, 2006; Page A23
    TORONTO, Oct. 12 — Michael Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor running for the leadership of Canada’s Liberal Party, is facing a political uproar over remarks in which he labeled as a “war crime” Israel’s deadly bombing of the southern Lebanon town of Qana.
    Ignatieff’s then made comments in an attempt to apologize for his remarks on Qana in August. Then, he said the bombing was made during a “dirty war” and noted he was “not losing sleep” over it.
    Another Parliament member, Maria Mourani, was forced to resign from a Bloc Quebecois party post in August for saying Israel had committed war crimes in the Lebanon war.

    Reply

  20. Pissed Off American says:

    A Strategy for Nuclear Iran
    By Thomas Donnelly
    Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2004
    NATIONAL SECURITY OUTLOOK
    AEI Online (Washington)
    Publication Date: October 1, 2004
    Regardless of who is elected to the presidency in November, the growing threat posed by a nuclear Iran is certain to be at the top of the next administration’s national security agenda. Unfortunately, neither a “grand bargain” with Tehran nor a conventional military strike against its nuclear facilities offers much hope of preventing one of the world’s most dangerous regimes from acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
    In the short term, at least, the United States must instead work to isolate Iran not only militarily but ideologically, by succeeding in the democratic transformation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
    continues at………
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1232192/posts

    Reply

  21. Pissed Off American says:

    “Having said that, its perfectly fair to cite Harman’s connections to AIPAC as a factor in assessing her credibility or lack of it on these issues. That at least, is a worthwhile and specifically relevant line of inquiry.”
    Gee, then I guess you are unfamiliar with Donnelly’s background, eh? If you think Harman’s AIPAC connections have a bearing on her credibility on this issue, then Donnelly is WAAAAAAY far from being credible. A PNAC member, and one of the signers of the following letter….
    “We write to thank you for your courageous leadership in the war on terrorism…In particular, we want to commend you for your strong stance in support of the Israeli government as it engages in the present campaign to fight terrorism…we Americans ought to be especially eager to show our solidarity in word and deed with a fellow victim of terrorist violence…”
    “Mr. President, it can no longer be the policy of the United States to urge, much less to pressure, Israel to continue negotiation with Arafat…”
    Sincerely,
    William Kristol, Ken Adelman, Gary Bauer, Jeffrey Bell, William J. Bennett, Ellen Bork, Linda Chavez, Elliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Thomas Donnelly, Nicholas Eberstadt, Hiflel Fradkin, Frank Gaffney, Jeffrey Gedmin, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Charles Hill, Bruce P. Jackson, Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, John Lehman, Tod Lindberg, Rich Lowry, Clifford May, Joshua Muravohik, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, Stephen P. Rosen, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, William Schneider, Jr., Marshall Wittmann, R. James Woolsey”

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  22. km4 says:

    > It would be interesting if the conference were to include Iranians to speak to how they saw the development of the region and their place in it. Absent that, it might have been useful to have other middle eastern academics or observers. Or academics who specialized in Iran. I believe that Steve has been to such forums. Basically, talking heads talking impotently. I’m cynical
    Posted by: Den Valdron at February 10, 2007 10:33 AM
    Den I agree and bears repeating especially since for the past 6+ yrs the Cheney admin and the Sock puppet-in Chief have NOT listened to or heeded anyone’s advice or recommendations outside their corrupt, vile, and amoral coterie.

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  23. DonS says:

    I have faxed info on the conference to my Senator, Webb, just because there is little damn else I can think of at the moment. I am sick at being steam rolled by the warmongering, reality denying, excuse making, blame shifting, Bush administration; enabled by our Congress, blustering reactionary shibboleths about “patriotism”, or trying not to offend those who do. Who would have thought simple understanding of principles of decency, and a modicum of politcial courage could be so hard to find?

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  24. Den Valdron says:

    Are American and Israeli warmongers a single entity?
    I’ll agree that there is a great deal of permeability there. There are well documented connections between Likud extremists and American extremists, some of these connections are in fact the same people. The ideology of Israeli exceptionalism fits very well into American exceptionalism.
    But I think you are underestimating the nature of the extremist right.
    Consider Conrad Black or Rupert Murdoch. They aren’t Americans. They’re respectively Canadian and Australian. They’re not Jews. Indeed, they come out of social classes in their countries that had a history of anti-semitism. And yet, they’re very much part and parcel of the extremist right wing network.
    Same goes for David Frum, a Canadian who may or may not be Jewish, but who in his homoerotic writing style and undescended testicle appearance is indistinguishable from most of his American born counterparts.
    You see Israel and America’s warmongers as joined at the hip. That’s a correct vision. But its also limited.
    Rather, there is an international extremist right wing movement, a kind of neofascist network of corruption, corporatism, racism and demagogery which appears in Italy (Berlusconi), England (Blair), Australia (Howard), Canada (Harper) and Latin America.
    Open your eyes and take a look. Michael Steele, Veteran of El Salvador and Nicaragua is in charge of training ‘unconventional’ and ‘off the book’ police operations in Iraq. Think about that.
    How many El Savadorans or Guatemalans or Chileans are serving as mercenaries in Iraq? Think about that.
    Should Isreal give a rats ass about Cuba? No. Venezuala? No. And yet the American government is as psychotic about these nations as it is about the middle east.
    A lot of the Latin American policy is driven by extremist right wingers, Cuban exiles, El Salvadoran and Venezualan elites, who connect to and are seamlessly part of the American right wing establishment, just the way that Israel’s lunatics are part of the American right wing establishment. They’re all part of the same twisted mess.
    Which explains why Israel was such good friends with South Africa, why Mossad agents operate in Venezuala, and why El Salvador death squad veterans walk around unhindered in Iraq.
    Having said that, its perfectly fair to cite Harman’s connections to AIPAC as a factor in assessing her credibility or lack of it on these issues. That at least, is a worthwhile and specifically relevant line of inquiry.

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  25. larry h says:

    what a great line-up. it’s clear why people think steve clemons is the maestro of the mega-conference. i hope you get c-span for those of us who can’t get there.

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  26. Den Valdron says:

    I dunno. I guess what bothers me is that it seems obvious to everyone that the Bush administration is bent upon a military strike upon Iran.
    It also seems obvious to me that there is no clear consensus to resist Bush in this.
    What I see with respect to workshops like these is a sort of ‘battered spouse’ syndrome of accommodation, a series or sequence of passive steps, always avoiding confrontation, which is intended to bypass the need for violence but enables the will to violence.
    I just don’t know. Does this sort of workshop do any good at all? Or is it simply a part of the dog and pony show which will end in bombs dropping over Tehran.
    I guess the question is: Are you relevant?
    Or are you merely part of the ‘reality based community’ that Dick Cheney spoke so contemptuously about, endlessly holding conferences, endlessly debating and studying reality, as the self appointed real actors go about acting.
    While it is fashionable to mock Cheney’s comments, it strikes me that there is a telling criticism of a group that he considered impotent and ineffectual… forever ‘judiciously studying and debating’ reality, endlessly bypassed by the press of events.
    Will this conference be more irrelevant study and debate. Will it amount to anything real.
    I don’t know.

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  27. Pissed Off American says:

    “So America is an innocent party lead astray by Israel’s warmongers? Is that it, Pissed Off American?”
    Sorry Den, but you cannot seperate “America” from “Israel’s warmongers”. They are one single entity. I meant what I said, and offered it in all seriousness. Our government has been infiltrated by agents of the Isreali government. And those politicians that are not directly beholden to enities such as AIPAC are terrified of swimming against the tide.
    And in regards to the “topic” here on this thread. You cannot ignore the influence that AIPAC has on Harman and accept any of Harman’s comments or offerings at this “conference” at face value. Her dealings with AIPAC are of the utmost relevance to any commentary she might advance in regards to Iran. The same can be said for David Kay. And Wilkerson, who has packpeddled furiously from his comments about “Israel’s war on Iran”, cannot now be trusted to speak honestly about the allegations about Iran. He did so once, and has been remarkably contrite ever since. Bear in mind, this is the same limp wristed Wilkerson that stood in silence throughout his tenure with the Bush Administration, only to suddenly grow some testicles after the fact.
    And “rants” about Israel need hardly be generic. There are specific policies, personalities, and evidences to be offered in defense of my belief that the United States Middle Eastern foreign policies are largely dictated by Israel, through its lobbying agencies and its agents within the Washington hierarchy.

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  28. JimD says:

    Jane Harman is now my Congressional Rep. I used to live in the District represented by Henry Waxman and had the pleasure of voting for him before I moved. I am interested in seeing how Harman works with her fellow Democrats now that they are in power.

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  29. Den Valdron says:

    So America is an innocent party lead astray by Israel’s warmongers? Is that it, Pissed Off American?
    I don’t think so.
    Look, I’m willing to concede that Israel’s government is run by irrational warmongers who would like nothing better than to see any imaginable or hypothetical security threat taken down. Ideally, they’d like the entire Muslim world to be reduced to fractious micro-states under Israel’s political and economic domination.
    Would Israel bomb Iran? In a sunday minute they would. Would they be prepared to use a nuclear weapon against Iran? You betcha. If they thought they could get away with it.
    Are they agitating like hell to get the US to do their heavy lifting? Sure they are.
    Do the Israeli lunatic wing have direct connections to the American lunatic wing both currently in charge of their respective countries. Yeppers.
    Does AIPAC have intelligence links to Mossad and Israeli intelligence? Yeppers. That’s been documented over the years as various AIPAC persons have been caught with their hands in the cooky jar.
    Does AIPAC wield inordinate influence as a lobbyist group. Soitinly.
    But when you add it all up, all they are is malignant little trolls doing their best to throw more fuel onto a potential bonfire.
    They ain’t building the whole bonfire themselves, and they don’t have the power to light it.
    I’m not saying that discussion of Israel’s role should be verboten. Merely that it should take place in appropriate contexts (like Israel based threads), and that it should be discussed with a degree of perspective.
    Remember, Pissed Off American, it was not Israel that put George W. Bush into power. It was your fellow Americans. It was a Republican party that endorsed him, a Democratic party that refused to challenge him, a Supreme Court that sacrificed its principles for partisanship, a media that acted as cheerleader.
    Everything that Bush has done comes back to America and Americans. Uniquely in history, Bush was offered up almost unlimited power, and he has returned to America almost unlimited abuse. And what did your country do? It re-elected him in 2004.
    But I’m no more interested in a generic rant about George W. Bush than I am in a generic rant about Israel.
    There is a specific topic for discussion. Let us discuss the specific topic, rather than play to pet obsessions.
    So sayeth the Canuck.

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  30. Bill R. says:

    A great line-up Steve. I would hope these people can have a real voice in the media. We’re beginning to have the same drum-beat with the media, once more getting cozy and willing to be the marketing voice for the Bushites. Here we go again, and this war, if it happens will make Iraq look like a Sunday school picnic. The result would hasten the collapse of the American empire and ruin relations with most of the world for generations to come. Please do what you can to be a voice of reason. It is so dismal the misinformation that comes through media outlets, the conflating of Iran with “the insurgents” and Al Qaeda. It isn’t that difficult for the networks and newspapers to explain what’s happening, a civil war and proxy war in Iraq, period. Saudi Arabia helps the Sunnis and Iran helps the Shia militias, who are also the government. And U.S. soldiers are targets for everyone.

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  31. John says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such an august group of experts would clearly elaborate the goals of American policy in Iran? Seems to me that before you can have a policy discussion you need to establish mutually agreed strategic goals. Forget the nuclear weapon canard–what are we really trying to achieve in Iran? Absent a common understanding, such a meeting achieves nothing but self promotion of the speakers.
    When I hear mention of America’s commercial self-interest, I will know that a serious discussion is finally starting to take place.

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  32. Pissed Off American says:

    Jane Harmon…..Being investigated by the FBI for her dealings with AIPAC.
    David Kay….A keynote speaker at the recent AIPAC conference, helping Israel demonize and exagerate Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
    Wilkerson….Having had recently made disparaging public comments about Israel’s claims regarding Iran, he did an amazing about face and started backpeddling furiously. Who got to him?
    Alleging that Israel does not influence debate about Iran in a conference such as Steve is arranging is, at best, unrealistic.

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  33. Pissed Off American says:

    Sorry Den, but if Israel’s warmongering, or AIPAC’S daily demonization of Iran become relevant to the topic here on this thread, you can damned well rest assured that I will bring it up. To argue that Israel’s rhetoric about Iran, and the sway the Israeli lobby groups hold over our nation’s pundits, insiders, and politicians has no bearing or place in a discussion about an upcoming conference on Iran is unrealistic, dishonest, and unreasonable. You cannot realistically or honestly seperate Israel from any debate about the foreign policies of the United States in regards to Iran or Syria.
    Den, if you think that Israel, and the immense power that the Israeli lobbys wield does not influence the debate at a conference such as the one Steve is describing here, than you are detached from reality.

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  34. DonS says:

    I cannot make it to D.C. for the conference although, even with the limited likelihood of moving the dialogue ahead further, that is, away from military escalation with Iran, I would do so if I could.
    I’m wondering, Steve, and others, if there might not be some “virtual” way the TWN community, such as it is, could be interjected in some way?
    Perhaps a statement of principle, hashed out in some techno way, embodying consensus of commenters, in such a way that Steve would be able to use it, make reference to it in some remarks he will no doubt make? That may be a far out idea, technically and otherwise, because I can imagine that a lot of us are not interested in having our pov’s watered down – or that we could form a consensus, even with Steve’s diplomatic input and instincts.
    Well then, what about a set of questions and/or propositions that could be subject to online vote, defining the range of opinion among commenters as well as Steve. Now I’m not sure Steve would want to have his blog characterized by how [I imagine] the results of such a series of tallies come out – but maybe he would? If questions/propositions were hashed out and crafted well enough.
    I’m not a technical person, hence cannot envision how online participation might be arranged.
    Any other thoughts?

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  35. Den Valdron says:

    Alan, I suppose the objection to this is that the US prohibits even intellectual discourse with Iran. As I understand it, Iranian scholars and academics are forbidden to submit papers to US journals, US academics are forbidden from submitting to Iranian journals. Astonishingly, the US has managed an even greater degree of isolation from Iran on any front, than between the US and USSR.
    Steve Clemons and friends might well attend a well publicized conference with Iranian academics and policy thinkers in Paris.
    But after that, on trying to fly home, they might well find themselves on the ‘No Fly List.’
    Or charged with some breach of US law prohibiting dealing with the Iranians. A charge which, whether they were successful in defeating or not, would forever discredit them with the American right wing, and would end the access to government and media upon which they depend.
    Or, in the worst possible case, they could simply get off the plane at Washington DC and simply disappear. They could be held without arrest, without trial, without right to counsel, without notification to anyone. They could be subject to sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, noise assault, stress positions, coercive interrogation, up to and including waterboarding.
    Seriously, what’s the difference between Steve Clemons and Jose Padilla? Answer: Steve doesn’t want to find out, because it may turn out that he won’t like the answer much at all.
    I respect that.
    But I think its a mark of how dysfunctional and totalitarian US society has become that certain kinds of dialogue are simply prohibited by law, and that a person as august as Steve Clemons could, even on faint levels, be made to fear disappearance and waterboarding.

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  36. beth says:

    I hope things conference produces action. The Iran situation is looking just like the Iraq war build-up, only the sane voices are getting more airplay. But given the NYT’s reporting here:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/2/10/04417/0435
    (h/t to DKos blogger”Spread the word IRAQ NAM”)
    and the reporting from The Guardian here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2010086,00.html
    things don’t look good at all.
    Plus, I doubt the Bush Administration and the Airforce give a rip about public opinion, nor the opinion of the moderate conservative intelligentsia speaking at the conference. The sane people, the Iranian citizenry, and the majority of Americans have no say-so here. Just the war-makers, those profiting from weapon-making, and those dealing in oil, I fear will never veer from their course–creating even more suffering, death and destruction.

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  37. Stephen says:

    Leverett has reported to this blogger that about 90% of what is available on the internet and in the press about the “content” of the Iran proposal is correct — but there is another 10% that has not been disclosed and that is critical to understanding the seriousness and consequential nature of what Iran put forward.
    Is the 10% not currently disclosed going to be part of Leverett’s remarks? I wasn’t able to tell from your post, though perhaps it’s clear to everyone else.

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  38. Alan says:

    As I have said before: this seems to be a routine Washington pre-occupation. What will be achieved? The participants already have well known positions; the current government will ignore advice as per usual and a good day will be had by all.
    If all these well connected folks can make a concerted effort to ensure that the march towards war with Iran can be frustrated and simultaneously get a number of influential Iranian voices to engage with Americans in a serious dialogue that may be an avenue of hope.
    SO: Steve why don’t an assortment of Washington types get together with an assortment of Teheran types, say in Paris, and have a serious two day colloque. BBC will cover it for sure?
    The incestuous Washington routine is for the birds.
    Time for some real imaginative work on a US-Iran dialogue. And don’t be intimidated by the usual right wing gas bags.

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  39. Den Valdron says:

    As an observation, there’s no reason to take anything that Condoleeza Rice says as credible, particularly confronting Flint Leverett.
    Rice is the woman who said after 9/11 that “No one could have anticipated using planes as missiles.” and after New Orleans “No one could have anticipated that the levies would breach.”
    In both cases, of course, there were a great many people going back decades and coming up to within days of the event who made just such predictions. There would be no way that Rice could have been ignorant of such predictions. Ultimately, she lied, and lied both badly and baldly, with a contemptuous smile upon her lips.
    There are numerous other occasions as to Rice’s lying. These are simply the two most offensive whoppers. The simple fact of the matter is that Rice is indifferent to the truth, but simply says whatever she feels she needs to say to serve her or the administrations interests at any particular moment. She is very near Orwellian in this aspect.
    I regret, however, that I do not see much value in this conference. Instead, it seems to unconsciously incorporate the Bush administration narrative of a bellicose and irrational Iran bent upon world (or regional) domination and nuclear superiority which must somehow be stopped.
    Such a narrative prepares the way for war, obviously, because war is one of the options for response.
    It would be interesting if the conference were to include Iranians to speak to how they saw the development of the region and their place in it. Absent that, it might have been useful to have other middle eastern academics or observers. Or academics who specialized in Iran. I believe that Steve has been to such forums.
    What I see here is basically the same incestuous group of Washington Talking Heads talking to each other. Nothing wrong with that. But the question I have is that these people all come to the table with a largely unchallenged baseline consensus. How valid is that baseline, both in terms of describing the real world, and in terms of incorporating the Bush narrative?
    I will not argue that such a group is entirely irrational, but what I would argue is that there are certain biases.
    Indeed, far from moving us away from war, a conference like this may push us closer to war… by accepting the assumptions that Bush is using to drive towards war, but by being unable to credibly push useful alternatives… Basically, talking heads talking impotently.
    I dunno. I’m cynical, but there it is.
    And for the rest of you: Can we *not* mention the goddammed ‘I’ word this thread?

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  40. selise says:

    wow, sounds like a great conference – perhaps even worth going to DC for.
    since the conference will be held in a senate hearing room, will we be able to listen in on the room audio feed from http://www.capitolhearings.org ?
    thanks!

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  41. rich says:

    from The Guardian via Josh @ TPM:
    “US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration, according to informed sources in Washington.”
    Recall hearing all the excuses immediately prior to the Iraq invasion: ‘It’s just tooo expensive to amass all these forces, and then just keep them there, indefinitely.” It was the cheapest of excuses then, a monumental copout that lacked any semblance of reason or integrity and was completely at odds with the so-often misused trump card of national security.
    Look for it soon! Coming to a war theater near you.

    Reply

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