Posts Tagged ‘War on Terror’

Just in case Bush and his Israeli followers start attacking Iran in the name of preemptively preventing a nuclear war, we should turn them in the direction of this NIE study (that’s National Intelligence Estimate, for the uninitiated). It’s not the full study, but it has all of the important conclusions.

The study says that:

We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of
intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt
to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.)

• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
nuclear weapons.

• We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently
have a nuclear weapon.
• Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined
to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment
that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure
suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged
previously…

• We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be
technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this
is very unlikely.

• We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of
producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.
(INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of
foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.) All agencies recognize the
possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.

D. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could
be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example,
Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high
confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development
projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would
also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.

E. We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing
to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its
options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt
it to restart the program.

Now, while this is only an estimate, the assumptions based therein are surely enough for us, the public, to seriously question any assertion (or military action derived from said assertion) that Iran has nuclear weapons, for now. Now we have the power to cry fowl when the government tells us that Iran has the a-bomb, unlike the situation in Iraq.

Iran is certainly an interesting player on the world stage – but it doesn’t have the nuke yet.

And, after all, who are we to decide who gets and who doesn’t get the A-bomb? Isn’t it in Iran’s best interest to acquire the A-bomb for purely defensive purposes? Yes, I know their regime is crazy, but hasn’t it occurred to anyone that the a-bomb is the ultimate deterrent; no one would be crazy enough to attack them once they got a nuke under their control. As paradoxical as it may sound, they’re willing to risk invasion from Israel and the United States in order to acquire a bomb that would prevent these countries from invading them at all, assuming that they’re actually pursuing a nuke in the first place.

What do you think about Iran?


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After finally reading Orwell’s much celebrated dystopian story 1984, I put some pieces together and determined that Orwell’s version of the future was similar to ours in many aspects — which is ironic considering the Party shown in 1984 was communist and the Bush administration is anything but.

In 1984 (a take on the horrors of Stalinist Russia), the Party controls everything, especially the people who are in the party (everyone who is not a “prole”, or worker, is part of the Party). There are telescreens, or two way televisions, in every home, used to spy on the people. The leader, Big Brother, is made out to be a loving, God like figure, when really, he runs a police state. A man by the name of Goldstein is blamed for everything that goes wrong in Oceania (the country the story is set in), and is reportedly heading a conspiracy with the aim of bringing down the Party. The protagonist, Winston, a member of the party, has a job in which he edits historical documents and photgraphs so they meet the demands of the Party. The main practice to keep the Party in power is doublethink, or holding two contrary positions and accepting both as the truth. And, lastly, in 1984, there is what seems to be a never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent, in order to keep people producing goods to be used in said war. Sound familiar?

Here’s a comparison between the Party and our administration:

…the Party controls everything: The Bush administration, without doubt. When you’ve got cronies like Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzalez hiring and dismissing people just because they weren’t republicans, you know that a Party’s got a grip on internal affairs, crushing outside voices. It’s well known that almost everyone in a position of power in the Bush administration is a devout neoconservative.

There are telescreens used to spy on the people: Well, we don’t have telescreens, but CCTV use in Britain is growing wildly popular, though, admittedly, the cameras don’t catch criminals nearly as effectively as the telescreens did in 1984. CCTV use is, however, a small but important step towards telescreen-like surveillance.

Big Brother: Admittedly, we don’t have an equivalent to Big Brother, in fact it’s startlingly the opposite of that kind of love because Bush is the most hated president since Nixon.

Goldstein blamed for everything: Osama Bin Laden is the definitive scapegoat for this administration, and by linking him with 9/11, he was the administration’s excuse to invade Afghanistan and take away our rights using the Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping by the NSA. Now, unlike Goldstein, Bin Laden’s ideals are somehow worse than the acts perpetuated by this administration.

Winston edits historical documents to serve the party line: How about the Bin Laden “confession tape” or the Habbush letter exposed in Ron Suskind’s book? This administration has been willing to fabricate documents or tapes (in this case) in order to start a war with the ever changing enemy. When we couldn’t find a good reason to invade Afghanistan, it was convenient that Bin Laden was there and an all too convenient coincidence that troops found the confession tape soon after we invaded. We couldn’t find WMDs in Iraq, so we fabricated a letter to say that there were weapons. We have tried to rewrite the past in an effort to control the future just like the Party in Orwell’s book.

Use of Doublethink, or holding two contradictory ideas as truth: This one is the most prevalent and scary out of the similarities. John McCain practiced doublethink when he said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations,” when he has repeated many times that he wants to invade Iran. Our president is guilty of doublethink as well: this week he said, “I don’t see America as having problems.” Oh really, Dubya? Let’s look at your State of the Union address from 2006…

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security — (applause) — yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

So, Mr. Bush, I assume that when you say America doesn’t have problems, you mean we’re not addicted to oil anymore and you’ve fixed social security right? There are other examples of doublethink as well: our National Security Agency violates the security of the American people, our Department of Defense attacks other nations, and the Department of Justice has had its fair share of corrupt officials (see lawyer firing scandal). This is not unlike 1984 in which the Ministry of Love tortures and kills, the Ministry of Peace fights wars, and the Ministry of Truth lies.

A never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent: This is the war on terror. In 1984, Oceania is always at war with one of two countries, Eurasia or Eastasia, and that constantly changes. Whoever Oceania is currently at war with, however, has always been the enemy according to the party, though they change who it is on a weekly basis. First, with our government, we thought the enemy was Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Then we invaded Afghanistan and switched our focus to getting rid of the oppressive Taliban regime. Once that was done, we pinned Iraq as the enemy, saying Saddam Hussein was ready to use his non-existent WMD’s on us. After toppling Hussein’s government, it occurred to us that there would be an insurgency, and Al Qaeda in Iraq joined the party. Well, now that we’ve lowered the violence in Iraq, the administration has painted Iran as the enemy, saying things like Ahmadinejad said that he would, “wipe Israel off the map.” NOT TRUE. And, in light of last week’s events, Russia’s being painted by the media as “big, bad Leroy Brown” again.

But, you ask, why make all the 1984 links? Why did the Party in 1984 do it?

The thing is that nobody knows, and we’re lucky that we can vote somebody different into office that won’t be as horrid as the Administration. However, O’Brien, a government agent in 1984, says power is not a means, but an end. So, are we just ruled by a bunch of power mongers?

EDIT: Turns out we are — except we, the people, in our fear of another attack, have given up our rights to people who’d exploit them in the name of security. Thus, part of the responsibility is laid on the people who kept Bush in office — the people who supported him. This doesn’t justify the Administration’s actions, but we forget we voted him in twice at times.

Check for the conclusion of the series: Part 5 – The Future tomorrow. Remember to bookmark on delicious, stumble, and digg this post using the buttons below.
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While the Iraq War is drawing to a close, due to the announcements this week of a planned withdrawal of troops, some people have gotten out their confetti and said, “THE WAR IS OVER!!!!!! WE’RE DONE FIGHTING!!!!”

They seem to forget we’ve got another, arguably bigger war going on right now: The War on Terror(ism). Well, friends, unfortunately, we’ll never be able to celebrate that war’s end, for The War on Terror(ism) is a perpetual war, that is, it won’t end. No matter who you vote for in November, we’re going to be in this one for a long time, and it has and will serve as the catalyst that will allow our leaders to strip us of our freedoms. 

Let’s go back to September 11, 2001 – the day that changed the makeup of U.S. foreign policy forever, to sound cliché. In an instant, this country suddenly turned incredibly “patriotic” and nationalistic — with their “God Bless America” bumper stickers and the like. People’s fear of another terror attack had many consequences, including the support of a war (Iraq) in a country that posed no threat to us, and the ability to swallow laws that encroached upon our freedoms.

Within a few days of the attacks on 9/11, the U.S. government and British intelligence found that Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda were connected to the terrorist attacks. Bin Laden, on September 16, went on the Al Jazeera network and denied that he had any involvement in the attacks, saying:

I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons. I have been living in the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan and following its leaders’ rules. The current leader does not allow me to exercise such operations.

Still, the Bush administration declared Osama the “prime suspect” for the attacks on the World Trade Center, citing evidence that Bin Laden had tried to attack the WTC before. The US started to plan for a preemptive attack in Afghanistan to usurp the oppressive Taliban regime and take out Bin Laden to suppress Al Qaeda’s activity, and gave the Taliban an ultimatum: turn over Bin Laden and all other terrorists or they’ll invade. The Taliban government declined, saying that they didn’t have any evidence in their possession that would indicate that Bin Laden was connected to the attacks. On September 21, 2001, a Taliban spokesman said:

Our position is that if America has evidence and proof, they should produce it. We are ready for the trial of Osama bin Laden in the light of the evidence.

Of course, our government refused to provide the Taliban with the evidence, and commenced with the plans to invade Afghanistan. Where were the American people during all of this? They were blinded by nationalism and rage, which made them see Bin Laden as the criminal, just because our government said so. If we were so sure that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, why not tell the Taliban why? We would’ve avoided the whole invasion to begin with. 

On October 7, 2001, the American/British coalition started bombing Afghanistan, and within 7 days, on October 14, the Taliban made an offer: if the Americans stopped bombing Afghanistan and presented evidence for Bin Laden’s guilt, then they’d hand Bin Laden over to a neutral country. Again, our government refused, with President Bush saying, “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty.” Again, why would they pass up an opportunity to capture public enemy number one?

The most likely scenario is that the American government wanted to use Bin Laden as a false pretense to invade Afghanistan to usurp the oppressive and barbaric Taliban government. With bin Laden admitting that he was in Afghanistan on television, it was a perfect fit: they thought the American public would support a war as long as they were going after the person thought responsible for the 9/11 attacks. It was unlikely that the public would’ve supported a war on the Taliban just because they were oppressing their people; Americans were too worried about avenging the victims of the 9/11 attacks. With Bin Laden in Afghanistan, it killed two birds with one stone.

In November 2001, US forces reportedly “recovered” a tape of Bin Laden speaking with Khaled al-Harbi about the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that he has knowledge that the attacks were going to occur, and thus, proving that he was connected with the attacks. However, the “Bin Laden” in the video looked very different than the real Bin Laden, and the translation has been disputed, with a few Arabic professors saying that the translation does not match the spoken Arabic. The tape also has subpar audio quality, which makes the plausibility of the translation doubtful. However, the drastic change of appearance from “real” Bin Laden to the Bin Laden in the tape makes it likely that the tape was doctored in an effort to prove that Osama was indeed connected with the attacks. For one, the video Bin Laden has a much larger face and darker skin than Bin Laden does, and he wears a gold ring on his right hand, which had not been seen before, and, in addition, the FBI’s file on Bin Laden says that he is left-handed. These facts make it apparent that the tape was probably a fake.

 

Two Men Enter... One is a Poser.

Two Men Enter... One is a Poser.

 

This false “linking” of Bin Laden was the first time that our government used false pretenses to invade another country in the name of national security, taking advantage of the fear of the American people. It would not be the last time they took advantage of our fear.

Check back for Part Two tomorrow — The Stripping of Freedom.

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