<em>Terrorism: A Brief for Americans</em> — Report Issued by a Concerned and Conservative CEO


(op-ad that appeared in the New York Times before the invasion of Iraq; sponsored by the Florence Fund and TomPaine.com)
Richard Vague is one of the country’s powerhouse CEOs. He is known for building First USA Bank, a firm he co-founded and then chaired as CEO, into the largest credit card operation in the United States. He is a conservative and now is CEO of Juniper Financial Corporation which is that huge building one sees from Amtrak when training by Wilmington, Delaware.
Vague, in my view, is an extraordinary guy, too extraordinary as I wish there were many more CEOs like him — because he has invested a lot of his time and funds in trying to get fellow Americans to understand that the Iraq War and America’s current vector in foreign policy is not only boneheaded but actually undermining the economic fundamentals of the country.
Vague is no liberal. He’s a tough minded economic conservative who believes that America has a much better face and soul than it has been showing the world.
He thinks that we are creating conditions that are cultivating terrorism and terrorists and are doing little to actually help others in the world get ahead, particularly economically.
I like his material and his original approach to these problems — and I have been engaged with him for some time in working with him to get his thoughts written not as a stiff policy wonk but as a CEO, down on paper and on the web — in a way that folks like him in Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, folks looking for their second or third homes, or just scraping to get by — could hopefully connect with a guy who came to oppose this war and to worry about its consequences without the policy elites in Washington framing it for him.
I hope you find this worth a read — and it’s going out to 50,000 people today and over the next week.
The best link to download the pdf of the report (please note that there will be some modifications to columns, etc. and minor adjustments over the next couple of days) and html links are here.
But I will post the sections as well:

Terrorism: A Brief for Americans
The Scope, Causes, and Means for Reducing Terrorism, Including Commentary on Iraq
by Richard Vague

What is Terrorism? What Causes Others to be Influenced by Terrorists?
Why They Hate Us
How to Reduce Terrorism
What We have Wrought in Iraq
What We Should Do in Iraq
Thoughts on Palestine, Hizbollah, and Iran
How We Should Conduct Relations with Islamic Countries Going Forward
The Current Administration’s Position on Iraq and Terrorism & Objections to Our Thesis

We are releasing this report this morning in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628 in the Senate on Capitol Hill. We will meeting at 9 a.m.
New America Foundation Fellow and American Way of Strategy author Michael Lind, former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, and New America Foundation fellow and Soul of Iran author Afshin Molavi will be joining me to make a few comments about Richard Vague’s paper and the broad subject of how to turn wrong-headed approaches into our responses to terrorism towards a different course.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


21 comments on “<em>Terrorism: A Brief for Americans</em> — Report Issued by a Concerned and Conservative CEO

  1. James Cartney says:

    You and your colleagues have already known much about U.S. Government’s Mind Control freely Attack Activities for years specially after 2003. In reality, its secret attack activities are worldwide spread not even in U.S. Soil borders any more for its sophisticated technology of remote mind control attack using beaming onto targets’ acupuncture points to gain effects and damages, and the goal of remote nerve manipulation. Its remote attacks can be carried out via satellites as carriers operated from U.S. Soil bases attack operators.
    Even those English is short, but this report at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SMCA8OST/ (case sensitive) pulls out the truth of U.S. Echelon Global Spy System & its Satellite Mind Control 24/7 Worldwide Attack Activities.
    Sincerely report.
    Ackson Coyet Jk


  2. David N says:

    I have to say, reading the report, that it is surprisingly vapid and unoriginal. Not that it isn’t true; just that it misses a lot by sticking to the conventional wisdom.
    A counter example is something I wrote maybe two years ago, that hasn’t been circulated very widely. It is based on the simple idea — not a popular one — of taking bin Laden at his word. To take the easy way out, I copy this essay below:
    Why did they do it?
    by C. David Noziglia
    At an event at the New America Foundation a while ago, a member of a seminar audience stood and asked the question (I paraphrase from memory), “Why does Al-Qaida hate America so? Why did they fly those planes?”
    While not pretending to fully understand the psychology of suicidal psychopaths and the maniacs who stay safe, sending them out to die, it is necessary to at least attempt to understand an adversary’s motivation in order to find the best way to defeat that opponent. That is the purpose of this paper.
    First of all, it may be necessary to dispose of what may have been the questioner’s unspoken assumption. This was that America has done things which could have caused (though never excused) the actions of the hijackers. America’s meddling in the world and causing poverty and injustice had at last come home to roost.
    America has not always has been blameless in its treatment of people and governments in the world. There are plenty of cases in which the U.S. has, indeed, created great hardship and injustice. However, it is equally ridiculous to argue that America is responsible for all poverty and injustice everywhere. Both because it takes tremendous hubris to claim that we have enough power to either create or prevent all problems everywhere. And because the claim of American liability allows other governments to successfully avoid taking the responsibility they must acknowledge for the consequences of their own choices.
    It is also rather odd that the millionaire son of a billionaire Saudi family, all of whose wealth was handed to them by American interests, can pretend to represent the downtrodden. More on this later.
    Instead of blaming America, this paper proposes the radical notion that we take Osama bin Laden at his word. Read what he has said in his fatwas calling for the killing of Americans, and accept that he is neither lying nor holding any hidden agenda back.
    Reason One: We of the West are infidels. We do not believe in the One True God, and for that reason alone, deserve to die. Quoting from the Holy Koran, bin Laden’s fatwa opens with these words:
    “Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book ‘But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)’; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-‘Abdallah, who said ‘I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.’ ”
    Let’s be clear about this. Bin Laden is not interested in tolerance of other points of view. He and his fellow Wahabi fundamentalist Islamist terrorists are not hampered by doubts of the rightness of their cause, or concerns that we in the West would have regarding justice, freedom, or economic well-being. They are fighting on behalf of God, and all other viewpoints are wrong, punishable by death.
    More than that, their definition of an apostate eligible for the death penalty is quite all-inclusive. To them, infidels include not only all Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, and Secularists in the world, but also any Muslim, such as Shiites, Sufis, or anyone else who does not live their lives according to the strict tenets set by abd ul-Wahab over three hundred years ago. All who do not completely agree with their beliefs deserve death, because they are denying the true word of Allah.
    Any expectations that we may have that they think like us are both misguided and dangerous. They don’t, and they say so.
    They don’t trust what they refer to as the Crusader Invaders, so to say that Iraq invaded a neighbor Arab Muslim state, and the U.S. military was called on to defeat and expel that army, and stays in Saudi Arabia to ensure Saudi security, has no meaning for them. Unbelievers simply should not be there. He and his fellow mujahedin defeated the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and brought about the fall of the Soviet Empire, and could have defeated Saddam’s army without help, too. (The massive aid and supplies that America gave the Afghan mujahedin was immaterial compared with their faith in God.) And even if the U.S. military were to leave Saudi Arabia, even if Israel were to leave the Middle East, the very existence of unbelievers is intolerable to the true faithful, and there would be other reasons found to murder us all.
    In addition, our aid to other Muslims doesn’t count, because as I have said, people such as the rulers of Saudi Arabia and any other Arab state don’t count as true Muslims according to their intolerant standards.
    For this reason, the Bush policy of hunting down and killing or arresting terrorists is a necessary component of any struggle against the abomination of Islamist terrorism. But it isn’t enough. Kill as many as you can, and their ideas will survive, and generate new recruits. Which is why we must look at:
    Reason Two: Oddly enough, economics. Bin Laden shares with much of the rest of the world a lack of understanding of the meaning of wealth. He does not know that wealth is a property, not a thing. To the extent he and his followers think about such things at all, they do not know that money is an action, not an object. They do not know that value is an opinion and that price is knowledge; these are not objective qualities inherent in a thing. And that makes a difference.
    In this world view, during the Caliphate, Arabs and Muslims owned a disproportionately large share of the wealth in the world, which is as it should be. Then came the Crusades – which still continue today, by the way – and the armies of the West came and stole the wealth belonging to its rightful owners, Arabs and Muslims. This, and this alone, is the reason that the West, including America (which didn’t exist when the Crusades began, but never mind), is now wealthy and prosperous, and the people of the Middle East are poor and powerless. Al-Qaida’s campaign, then, is meant both to kill unbelievers and to restore their stolen wealth to its rightful owners, defined naturally enough as Al-Qaida’s members and cooperating groups, who are the only true believers in the One True God.
    All that is clear from, again, the fatwa, which explains:
    “The Arabian Peninsula has never–since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas–been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies now spreading in it like locusts, consuming its riches and destroying its plantations. All this is happening at a time when nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food.”
    This claim is made even more difficult to accept, as I have said, coming from a Saudi, the beneficiary of so much American money poured into the Kingdom to pay for its oil. But if you believe that wealth is fixed, then it is clear that the West can only be more prosperous than others because it is extracting their wealth without giving a fair return. Bin Laden has written, “As a result of the policy imposed on the country, especially in the field of oil industry where production is restricted or expanded and prices are fixed to suit the American economy ignoring the economy of the country.” He truly believes that all the billions of dollars pumped into Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States were an underpayment for the true value of the oil. After all, most people in those countries are still underprivileged and poor, and most people in America and the West, according to his standards, live in wealth and decadence.
    The idea that wealth is created by human action, by the workings of a free market, is not only inconceivable to these people, it is blasphemy. It implies that humans can create something, when their faith insists that only Allah can create.
    Put in the terms I have used, it seems absurd to believe that the wealth of the world is a fixed sum. Yet precisely that belief is the basis of the economic policies of many countries. For instance, the confiscatory tariffs and restrictive investment policies in Asian countries like India are based on the belief that making a profit on an investment is stealing wealth from the host country. It is the same idea as that of the presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot, who said that any job created in Mexico by the Free Trade Agreement was a job lost in America.
    Indeed, I must admit that the means by which wealth is created is not really understood by any economist. It is an emergent phenomenon – already a poorly understood idea – and the way it works is, truly, like magic. But while we don’t really understand this in detail, we do know one thing: it works. Indeed, it works to the extent that one can say that the essential ingredients for growth and prosperity are freedom and security, for only when trade and exchange takes place by choice is wealth created.
    The point of this argument is that any war on terrorism must also address the ideas of the terrorists. There are many Islamic scholars making the case that bin Laden’s campaign to kill non-believers for that reason alone is against the mainstream teachings of the religion. As non-Muslims, we cannot get into that argument other than by publicizing the statements of the ’ulema (Islamic scholars). But we do have standing to address the economic and political justifications that bin Laden and his followers – and his sponsors in the Wahabi establishment in Saudi Arabia – use to recruit new terrorists.
    To a certain extent, the invasion and rebuilding of Iraq – if we were really doing what we say we are – would go a long way to making that case. It is unfortunate, however, that the administration has taken every opportunity to ignore basic American standards of justice and democracy, as well as the principles of free enterprise they claim to follow. The leaders of this administration not only have no idea of the true power of an economic system based on free enterprise and the rule of law, just as they have no regard for the value of real independence, sovereignty, and democracy for the Iraqi people. To them, democracy means no more than doing what they tell you to, which is why their efforts in Iraq are doomed.
    The general policy of the Bush administration in the War on Terror – that the solution to terrorism is to shoot and arrest people and nothing else – is wrong. So is the idea that the solution to terrorism is the redress of grievances in the developing and Muslim world. Both are in fact necessary, but both will fail without a strong dose of education in the basics of social compacts, rule of law, and (yipes) microeconomics. As well as a strong dose of realism in explaining that America may be powerful, but we don’t control everything that happens in the world, either good or bad. People and their governments also share responsibility for their welfare.
    However, there are no signs that anything other than military options are even being considered, which is a recipe for failure.


  3. pauline says:

    Carroll wrote:
    “If anyone wants to smuggle a nuke device into the US this way they have about a 99% chance of getting away with it.”
    I’d give it a 99 44/100 % chance.
    It eerily seems like the ones planning the next “Pearl Harbor” are so “politely” waiting for at least the super football stuff to end. It seems the Mossad/CIA/black secret gov’t agents know exactly when to strike.
    I wonder what American city will be “chosen” to detonate the small nuclear device, blame the ME terrorists, and flush what’s left of our rights and constitution right down the johnnie?
    “All I am saying is give peace a chance.”


  4. Robert Blandford says:

    How can this possibly be relevant as it does not mention the Israeli settlements nor the work by Robert Pape showing that suicide terrorism is a function of occupation by an army of a religion different from that of the occupied.
    Steve, how can you allow such a shallow analysis, even if it comes from a very nice man. Does Vague not understand these points, or his he suppressing them to avoid controversy?


  5. karenk says:

    A huge problem with American foreign policy, especially in the ME, is our lack of real diplomacy. Real diplomacy is based on empathy-the ability to switch frame of reference off of self and onto the other. Empathy is not just feeling sorry for others(that’s sympathy) but putting yourself in their place and seeing a situation from the others point of view. Call it mentally walking in someone elses shoes. Unfortunately, empathy is sorely lacking in our “It’s ALL about me” American culture, and it shows clearly in our international relations. Showing empathy automatically indicates respect for the other. The people in power at present show no empathy and consequently suck at diplomacy(other than the kick ass kind). And that is why America is suffering in the opinion polls in the ME.


  6. pauline says:

    Heightened Rhetoric, Provocative Acts Show Neocons Want Iran War at Any Cost
    By Michael Collins Piper
    Even as the United States gets mired ever deeper in the bloody and explosive cauldron that has become Iraq, the very forces who were the primary movers behind America’s entry into that disaster are now reinvigorating their push to achieve another longtime goal: the destruction of Iran.
    At the same time, there are some sensible voices of restraint,and perhaps unexpected ones at that,urging that the calls for war be rejected in favor of diplomacy.
    Although,in the January issue of Vanity Fair, published by Zionist billionaire S.I. Newhouse, a leading financial backer of the Anti-Defamation League and other Israeli lobby front groups,a host of eminent neo-conservative pro-Israel stalwarts went out of their way to deny their culpability in instigating the war against Iraq, which everyone knows they did indeed do, these same elements are now gearing up to promote U.S. military action against Iran.
    Their rhetoric of denial regarding their bellicose demands for a U.S. attack on Iraq echoes the same kind of noisy deception coming out of Israel from a host of Israeli academics, military strategists and others who are now attacking George W. Bush for the Iraq war, even though it was Israel and its neo-conservative allies inside the Bush administration that were most adamant about the need to not only attack Iraq but also bring down Saddam Hussein.
    This is a final goal that even the current president’s own father, George H.W. Bush, decided not to pursue in the American attack on Iraq in the first Persian Gulf war of 1991.
    Now, in the midst of denying their responsibility for the Iraqi quagmire, the neo-conservatives are openly preparing their propaganda campaign to induce American blood and treasure being deployed against Iran,not only to stop Iran’s alleged progress toward nuclear weapons but, as in Iraq, to destroy that nation’s current government.
    In the November/December 2006 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, the small-circulation but highly influential publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading New World Order “think tank”, wellknown neo-conservative publicist Joshua Muravchik is calling for his fellow “neo-cons” to “admit their mistakes . . . and start making the case for bombing Iran.”
    Muravchik,who operates out of the American Enterprise Institute (which includes top neo-conservative mastermind Richard Perle among its chief tacticians),says that “Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb
    Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office.” He goes on to say to his fellow war-mongers: “We need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes.”
    There’s no question about it: the neo-conservatives are determined to destroy Iran, just as they destroyed Iraq. It’s been one of their longtime geopolitical goals and they refuse to permit public dissatisfaction with what’s happened in Iraq to deter them from accomplishing what they intend.
    In the meantime, no less than Bruce Laingen, the former charge de affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Iran,who was among the Americans who were held hostage (from 1979 until January 1981) following the Islamic revolution in Iran,is publicly calling for the Bush administration to put aside its inflammatory language and seek direct discussions with Iran.
    In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, published on Jan. 13, Laingen wrote:
    The United States and Iran must talk. Not with the mutually negative public rhetoric that for the 27 years since the 1979 hostage crisis has eroded the trust needed for any diplomatic exchange; not indirectly, as we do now on the nuclear issue through our Security Council and European Union colleagues; but frontally and frankly as responsible powers with shared interests in a critically important part of the world.
    The absence of dialogue has made no sense on any count — strategic, human, historic, political, cultural. It has complicated our relationships with every other country in the region. We alone among the powers have chosen to signal in this way our reservations about Iran’s conduct in the world arena.
    Geography alone compels Iran’s participation in helping deal with both Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention long-term regional security understandings in the Persian Gulf region. A host of other issues compel dialogue, including Iran’s obligations vis-a-vis the former hostages.
    Talking won’t be easy. Formal diplomatic relations are a long way off. But we lose nothing now by joining directly with our allies and friends in direct soundings of Iran’s intentions.
    The fact that Laingen,who certainly knows quite a bit about Iran and its people and who obviously might have an axe to grind with the Iranian government�is saying such things (so contradictory to the views of the warmongering neo-conservatives) is something that Americans need to know about. But Laingen’s sensible concerns have been sidelined by the mass media in America that prefers to help stoke up American fears of Iran, saying that the Islamic republic is somehow a threat to the United States (and, of course, Israel).
    Whether the American people will be hornswoggled again and tricked into supporting another senseless war remains to be seen. But peace-minded people who want to preserve their country would do best to listen to what Laingen,and not the neo-conservatives,has to say.


  7. erichwwk says:

    Read this folks. No, for some of us there is nothing new, but it is COMPLETE, ACCURATE, AND SUCCINCT. BY FAR the best report under ONE cover i have read to date. Kudos!!!!!!!
    Hope some of the fossils on the armed services and intelligence committeee read this report. I know, its a long shot. But in listening to these folks, one is reminded of Mark Twains observation :
    “It is not the things we don’t know that get us into trouble, but the things we know for sure that ain’t so.”
    Many of these Congressional folks are clueless, the way i imagine the Politburo was in the late 1980’s. Pathetic.
    This report goes back to to 1919, is comprehensive and includes all the findings laying to rest the nonsense of “they hate our freedoms”. It includes a lot of Hernando de Soto’s work. Its just REALLY good!!! Read the WHOLE thing please.
    I do have reservations re the idea (steve’s own, expressed earlier as well as in the report) of privatizing individual oil rights along the lines of the Alaska Fund. To me this is a permutation of Milton Friedmans concept of the negative income tax (EIC)rather than a smorgasboard of service delivery to low income folk.
    Problem of monetizing this is that it requires a mechanism for delivering that fund(ie a paper trail banking system). As I recall, the funds transferred to the CPA from the UN “Oil for food program” ~$US Billion went down some black hole. A GREAT final solution, but premature, IMHO. But maybe the banking system, and means for adressing grievances (mechanism for enforcing property rights)are in better shape that it appears to me.
    Also for the billmon fans.
    Billmon has said his goodbye, deciding to concentrate on family and a large mortgage. The Investment group with which he has contracted to pay those bills is unfortunately not as enlightened as Richard Vague. Perhaps what the AR and the NAF has done with its Terrorism Report will change that.
    In any case Miguel de Icaza http://tirania.org/blog/ has archived the blog at
    PS sorry for the wierdness in interpreting the quote character from a cut and paste, making the Gorbachev quotes unclear. If I may repeat they were:
    “force and the threat of force cannot and should not be an instrument of foreign policy” UN, 1988
    and (referring to the GWBush Admin):
    “These people were brought up in the years of the Cold War and still do not have any foreign policy alternatives. I think that they are still concerned that they might be on the losing side. Big breakthroughs can hardly be expected.”


  8. Carroll says:

    I have to say also I don’t think much of the terrorism ‘scare” in the US.
    Although I am sure if we keep on with our agression eventually we will have some state or non state sponsored terror act directed against us again…but quite frankly it is just too easy to smuggle anything into the US…and all the money in the world isn’t enough to secure the US proper.
    Ask the DEA and Coast Guard what percentage of drug shipments smuggled thru our coastlines they catch, not many, and the ones they do catch are usually from undercover operations and tip offs, not random checks.
    In any decent size coastal town, much less one with a port, you have hundreds of boats coming and going from recreational to gulf stream fishermen to shimpers to transits laying over at dozens of docks and harbors. If anyone wants to smuggle a nuke device into the US this way they have about a 99% chance of getting away with it.


  9. Michael C. Gredell says:

    And here, Steve, is the latest from the Nick Burns you so admire, as cited by Juan Cole:
    “State Dept. figure Nick Burns made a lot of vague and unsubstantiated charges against Iran on Wednesday. Most egregious was his hinting around that the US was “investigating” whether Iranians were involved in the kidnapping and killing of US troops at Karbala recently. Announcing that the US is investigating such a thing is a lazy media way of smearing someone without having to provide any evidence of the charge.”
    I’m sure he’s perfectly affable at DC cocktail parties, but that is not sufficient.


  10. Carroll says:

    Excellent. Mr.Vague, like Brzezinski sees CLEARLY.
    “War will not rid the world of terrorism. Force does not subdue, it enrages.”
    Why our goverment cannot catch on to this simple fact astounds me. Particulary where it concerns about a billion people. If I had a legitimate gripe or even just a gripe, and was pushed aside or attacked for it, it would only make me more determined to push it to the bitter end even if I went down with it…especially in cases of people who see they have nothing much left to lose by opposing their oppressors.
    When I said some policy people should study human nature and the world map more, I was talking about exactly what Vauge cited in the size of the Muslim world and their colonial hangover combined with our current imperial appearing designs on the ME.


  11. Easy E says:

    Something’s up with Shrub.
    This may have more to do with Iran than Iraq. Fasten your seatbelts, folks.


  12. Easy E says:

    Breaking…..JERUSALEM POST
    “The US was drawing up plans to attack sites where Iran is believed to be enriching uranium before President George W. Bush’s candidacy comes to an end, the UK-based Times reported on Wednesday…”
    Also, from Raw Story:
    US has contingency plan to strike Iran enrichment site.
    The drums of war are heating up. Appears that Scott Ritter may have been right after all.


  13. Easy E says:

    By Paul Richter
    Times Staff Writer
    February 1, 2007
    WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has postponed plans to offer public details of its charges of Iranian meddling inside Iraq amid internal divisions over the strength of the evidence, U.S. officials said.
    U.S. officials promised last week to provide evidence of Iranian activities that led President Bush to announce Jan. 10 that U.S. forces would begin taking the offensive against Iranian agents who threatened Americans.
    But some officials in Washington are concerned that some of the material may be inconclusive and that other data cannot be released without jeopardizing intelligence sources and methods. They want to avoid repeating the embarrassment that followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, when it became clear that information the administration cited to justify the war was incorrect, said the officials, who described the internal discussions on condition of anonymity.
    “We don’t want a repeat of the situation we had when [then-Secretary of State] Colin L. Powell went before the United Nations,” said one U.S. official, referring to Powell’s 2003 presentation on then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s unconventional weapons program that relied on evidence later found to be false. “People are going to be skeptical.”
    The current debate pits some U.S. diplomatic and military officials in Iraq, who are seeking to compile an aggressive case on Iran, against other officials in Washington, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who are urging greater caution, according to the officials, who spoke in the last several days.
    The Bush administration has charged repeatedly that Iranian agents and military personnel have been bringing in explosives and other weaponry for use in Iraq by Shiite Muslim militants. U.S. intelligence and military officials have said they have substantial evidence of Iranian involvement, but have not made it public.
    The mounting U.S. charges against Iran have been accompanied by the movement of American warships into the Persian Gulf, giving rise to fears of a possible U.S. attack.
    U.S. forces arrested a group of Iranians in Baghdad in December and are holding five Iranian officials who were detained Jan. 11 in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil. At the same time, the administration has shunned a proposal by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to open direct talks with Iran and Syria as part of a plan to quell the violence in Iraq.
    The U.S. claims led Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, to challenge American officials last month to show “any shred of evidence” of Iranian meddling.
    The U.S. ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, promised last week to do so, and American officials initially planned to release their dossier Tuesday.
    But the release was delayed, and Sean McCormack, the chief State Department spokesman, declined Wednesday to predict when the report would be issued.
    “We’ll do this on our own timeline,” he told reporters. “And we’re going to do it in such a way that it is properly presented, it is clear, and that it is done in such a way that … we don’t in any way jeopardize [U.S. officials’] ability to further collect information about these networks.”
    This week, McCormack denied that U.S. intelligence failures and erroneous pre-Iraq war claims had made the job of preparing the new dossier more difficult.
    The administration’s quandary is one more indication of the difficulties the United States faces in Iraq as it tries to limit the influence of the Iranians, whom it increasingly views as its chief regional rival. There are thousands of Iranians in Iraq. Some of them have strong ties to the U.S.-backed government.
    One former senior U.S. defense official said that preparing such a case would involve trying to cull sensitive data for presentation to a skeptical American public.
    “It’s a losing proposition for the administration,” said the former official, who declined to be identified when addressing intelligence issues.
    U.S. military and embassy officials in Baghdad have been trying to build a case with a variety of evidence, according to officials.
    But officials involved in interagency meetings on the issue in Washington, including some in the State Department and intelligence agencies, believe that some of the material overstates murky evidence and casts a negative light on Iranians who may not be guilty.
    Another difficulty is that if some of the most sensitive information is withdrawn to protect intelligence sources, the result could be a weak and unconvincing report, the officials said.
    The American official who requested anonymity said that although there were differences over the evidence, there was wide agreement within the U.S. government that Iran’s actions were a threat and that the United States, while avoiding war, should be more aggressive in confronting Iran in Iraq.
    “But that doesn’t mean you want to go overboard,” the official added. “Everyone at the Iranian Embassy isn’t some kind of spy or revolutionary.”
    The official said that Rice, despite strongly agreeing that the United States should take a more aggressive approach, was urging caution on the tone of the report.
    U.S. military officials in Iraq long have been concerned that Iranian Revolutionary Guards and other military and intelligence personnel are present in Iraq, and have been urging a stronger stance against the Iranians. On several occasions, they have requested broader authority to engage the Iranians, the U.S. official said.
    This week the No. 2 U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, said in an interview with USA Today that Iranians were supplying Iraqis with truck-mounted Katyusha rockets, armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenades and armor-piercing roadside bombs.
    Odierno said serial numbers linked the rockets to Iran.
    The growing hostility is angering Iraqi leaders, who have begun speaking out against the prospect of conflict between the United States and Iran in their country.


  14. pauline says:

    I am reminded of the Alfred McCoy book, “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror” where he carefully points out how the torture techniques used at Gitmo don’t work. They simply don’t yield truthful accurate answers.
    The captives end up giving answers to their interrogators that the captives think they want to hear. Down at Club Gitmo, after hours of ear-splitting loud noises, bright lights, a little waterboarding, one type of question asked is, “do you love Osama bi Laden and did you plan on doing sometime terrorism in the US?”
    The captives will say anything to have the mental, physical, pyschological torture stop. And what do the intelligence boys do with their “fake” answers? McCoy says the answers are used to justify more bushwacher “war on terrorism”.
    I unknowlingly was in the home of a large university’s psychology professor when he was partaking in CIA gitmo-style techniques and receiving large sums of grant money to do such “humanitarian” experiments. It appears the AMA didn’t want to participate and corrupt their Hyppocratic oaths, so psychology experts were used nationwide to get the desired results.
    Thinking back on this saddens and disgusts me.


  15. aap says:

    Democrats, Labor and Greens MPs have united to pen a letter to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party speaker of the US Congress, asking for help in bringing home accused Australian terrorist David Hicks.
    The letter, authored by Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison has been signed by all Democrats, Greens and almost all members of the Labor party.
    The letter complains that the US military commission process set up to trial Hicks and other Guantanamo Bay prisoners runs against basic American values.
    “As members of the Australian Parliament, we ask that members of the US Congress take steps to bring about to the return to Australia of Australian citizen David Hicks, – a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years – for prosecution here,” the letter says.
    “We believe that the denial of justice in David Hicks’ case erodes values and principals shared by Australia and the US.
    “We are also concerned that the ongoing absence of justice in David Hicks’ case is serving to undermine international efforts to combat terrorism.”
    Hicks’ lawyers claimed today that the Australian was shown a photo of Saddam Hussein hanging from a rope after his execution.
    Photos of the former Iraqi leader’s trial also were shown to Hicks and other inmates held at the US military’s Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
    Showing the photos and articles breached the Geneva Conventions designed to protect prisoners of war, his lawyers said.
    Greens leader Bob Brown said the showing of the pictures was “premeditated torture”.
    “The Hicks saga goes from bad to worse,” Senator Brown said in a statement.
    “The Guantanamo Bay horror is based on unlawful behaviour and sadistic practice by the jailers.”
    Senator Brown said US Vice-President Dick Cheney would have a lot to answer for when he visited Australia this month.
    “The Howard government is not an innocent bystander, it is equally responsible,” Senator Brown said.


  16. penelope says:

    THE US military subjected Australian detainee David Hicks to mental torture by providing him with graphic material showing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with a noose around his neck, his lawyers have claimed from Guantanamo Bay.
    They say the military also displayed a collage of pictures of Saddam, including some of his trial, accompanied by a threatening message pointing to the consequences of failing to co-operate with the US.
    Hicks’ lawyers, David McLeod and Michael Griffin, and US attorney Josh Dratel said Hicks and other detainees were also given articles about recent executions in Iraq, including that of Saddam Hussein’s brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tekriti, who was decapitated when he was hanged on January 15, wearing the same flame-orange jumpsuit worn by Guantanamo detainees.
    Mr Dratel and NSW lawyer Mr Griffin said Hicks was being detained by an oppressive and brutalising system.
    It also emerged yesterday that Hicks faces an indefinite wait for a hearing even if, as US authorities expect, formal charges are relaid against him within days.
    Defence Department spokesman Commander Jeffrey Gordon said he expected charges to proceed against Hicks “very soon”. “We envision that his military commission will be this year.”
    Hicks was said to be stunned to see the large photographic display on a wall facing the exercise cells. He asked another detainee to translate the Arabic message on the posters and was told it said: “Because Saddam chose not to co-operate and not tell the truth, because he thought by lying he would get released, for that reason he was executed.”
    Mr Dratel said the display was an attempt to torture mentally an already abused detainee population and breached standards for humane treatment required by the Geneva Convention.
    Hicks’ father, Terry, said he was shocked at the mentality of the American military. “I think they are as brutal as the regime they are supposed to have thrown out,” he said.


  17. pauline says:

    POA wrote:
    “State sponsored terrorism? Espionage directed against the United States? Why fabricate boogie men when there are plenty of REAL ones running about?”
    Keith Olbermann has a great commentary, “President claimed to stop four terror plots, but where is the evidence?” during Bush’s “State of the Union”. Keith always covers so much biting truth in so few words.


  18. Frank says:

    I suggest beefing up the “Why They Hate Us” section of the report by citing the stunning onesideness of American diplomacy in adjudicating the Israel/Palestine issue. Arab coffee houses are the hate fertilizer grounds where discussions of that one sidedness is robustedly aired in detail. I believe that our failure to be fair in the dispute is one of the main causes of terrorism against the west.


  19. Pissed Off American says:

    State sponsored terrorism? Espionage directed against the United States? Why fabricate boogie men when there are plenty of REAL ones running about?


  20. eCAHNomics says:

    I scanned the section on What to Do in Iraq. I didn’t find a single new thought. Is there anything new in this report? (If so, please highlight it.) Are the anti-war folks in the same category as the Rs–just repeating and repeating the same old stuff, hoping (like the drunk at the party) if we only say it one more time, and a little louder, surely everyone will understand. And without the advantage of the R repetition tactic–the Rs had brevity, we repeat in tomes.


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