November 17, 2003

The Memo

You’ve probably already seen this report by Stephen Hayes, who obtained a leaked memo, documenting Saddam Hussein’s supposed ties to Al Qaeda.

I am not qualified to go over this stuff. I don’t know how to tell the real intelligence from the bogus. But I will say this.

The idea that Saddam Hussein would never cooperate with Al Qaeda because the Baath Party is secular and Osama bin Laden is fundamentalist is wishful thinking in the face of conflicting evidence. Saddam Hussein has publicly boasted of his financial support for Hamas, which is every bit as fundamentalist as Al Qaeda. And the Baath Party in Syria has been propping up Hezbollah, the “Party of God,” for years.

No one should be surprised if this report turns out to be true or even partly true.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

The Latest (Updated)

23 people were killed when Al Qaeda blew up two synagogues in Istanbul.

Jews once again were murdered for being Jews. And it was worse even than that. This was an attack on the entire Turkish nation. Look at what they did.

Meanwhile, the director of Amnesty International USA says terrorism is a major human rights issue, and if the anti-war left can’t address it then they risk becoming irrelevant.

UPDATE: When I posted this, I didn't realize the interview with the Amnesty director requires either a Salon subscription or the patience to sit through an annoying ad. Sorry. Here's the money quote, from the director of Amnesty International USA:

[T]here has been a tendency for the American political left and the greater human rights community to downplay the genuine, serious threat of terrorism around the globe. Presumably the human rights community is committed to protecting Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely the guarantee of security of person -- the right to life. But there's been a failure to give the necessary attention, analysis and strategizing to the effort to counter terrorism and protect this right to security.


Human rights organizations are basically set up to put pressure on governments, not on more amorphous entities like terrorist groups. The traditional tools we use are generally not going to be effective with terrorists. I doubt Osama Bin Laden is going to be moved by 50,000 members of Amnesty International writing him a letter asking him to refrain from terrorist acts. In the face of a new kind of force in the world that is detrimental to human rights, the human rights community has been slow to adapt to that new reality, in both its understanding and its tactics. There's a cultural lag at work here.

It's a serious problem. It means that human rights advocates are seen solely as harping critics. We certainly need to be that; it's a very important role. But if we fail to engage with the very real, hard decisions that governments have to make about protecting the safety of their citizens, then we'll be dismissed as charlatans, or ideologues who are out of step with reality.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 12:09 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

The Problem of Uzbekistan

Since 9/11, the US has been changing its attitude about third-world dictators. The “our bastards” realpolitik is slowly phasing out.

But what about Uzbekistan? The Bush Administration is rather, um, cozy with Islam Karimov’s repulsive regime.

It’s a tough question, a hard question. And Nathan Hamm, who lived and worked in Uzbekistan as a Peace Corps volunteer, has a pretty thoughtful answer.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 12:04 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

November 14, 2003


Who said September 11 killed irony? Whoever it was, I agreed. And boy was I wrong.

Check it out. The Iraqi Communist Party supports the imperialist-capitalist-hegemonic war for oil. Oh, and they back Iraqi democracy, too. At least that's what they say.

Someone tell Ted Rall...

And have a great weekend.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:08 PM | Permalink | Comments Off

November 13, 2003

Bosnia Gets An Apology


SARAJEVO (AFP) - The president of the rump Yugoslavia, now renamed Serbia and Montenegro, apologised for the "evil" his country had caused during Bosnia's war of independence and asked for forgiveness.

"I want to use this opportunity to apologise for any evil or disaster that anyone from Serbia and Montenegro caused to anyone in Bosnia-Hercegovina," President Svetozar Marovic said.


"There was injustice, evil, suffering and murder. There were things ... one can't imagine people doing," Marovic said of the war.

This is a good time to thank President Clinton, too. He waited too long, but he did finally act to put a stop to it.

No thanks whatever to the UN. It refused to see, refused to act, and opposed what was finally done.

No thanks to the Republican Congress, either, especically Trent Lott, Don Nickles, and Tom DeLay. They blamed the atrocities on America, undermined the war effort, whined that we couldn’t win, and pressured Clinton to appease a fascist dictator. They should be ashamed of themselves, and they ought to apologize too. Now would be a good time since the Serbs have finally done it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 10:40 PM | Permalink | Comments Off

The Ultimate Wingnut

It seems that Ted Rall has become a fascist sympathizer. He wrote this appalling column on Veterans Day.

NEW YORK--Dear Recruit:

Thank you for joining the Iraqi resistance forces. You have been issued an AK-47 rifle, rocket-propelled grenade launcher and an address where you can pick up supplies of bombs and remote-controlled mines. Please let your cell leader know if you require additional materiel for use against the Americans.

He isn’t kidding.
Our leaders include generals of President Saddam Hussein's secular government as well as fundamentalist Islamists. We are Sunni and Shia, Iraqi and foreign, Arab and Kurdish. Though we differ on what kind of future our country should have after liberation and many of us suffered under Saddam, we are fighting side by side because there is no dignity under the brutal and oppressive jackboot of the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority or their Vichyite lapdogs on the Governing Council, headed by embezzler Ahmed Chalabi.
I love the use of the word “lapdogs.” He’s been keeping up on his World War II propaganda.
Now our only option is guerilla warfare: we must kill as many Americans as possible at a minimum risk to ourselves.
I don’t know what to say. This stuff just fisks itself.

Yesterday someone in the comments section said he is offended by the phrase “anti-Americanism.” He doesn’t believe the concept even exists. Let’s try not to be in too much denial here. Can any serious person say Ted Rall is pro-American? Or that he’s neutral?

Ted Rall isn’t some anarchist punk spraying digital graffiti on Indymedia. He’s a syndicated columnist.

His column is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. I can hardly believe they distribute this crap. Are they looking for an excuse to can him? Giving him enough rope to hang himself?

Ted Rall has a right to free speech. Let him write his pro-terrorist screeds on his blog. There are plenty of good writers who deserve to by syndicated. Ted Rall is not one of them.

(Via Andrew Sullivan)

UPDATE: If anyone thinks Ted Rall is just getting inside the heads of the "resistance" and doesn't mean anything special by it, here's more.

UPDATE: It does helps to remember something Ted wrote just a little while back:

On July 5 a bomb killed seven recruits for a U.S.-trained Iraqi police force in Ramadi. U.S. occupation administrator Paul Bremer deplored the murder of "innocent Iraqis." Cops who work for a foreign army of occupation are not innocent. They are collaborators. Traitors. They had it coming.

UPDATE: Patrick Lasswell wrote a letter to Universal Press Syndicate: Fire Ted Rall.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 12:22 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

Dueling Cartoons

Tom Tomorrow is a talented cartoonist. Even when I think his work is hopelessly wrongheaded, as this cartoon making fun of warbloggers is, he can still make me laugh.

In this cartoon he goes on about “chickenhawks,” those who support the war but who aren’t in the military. In a sense he is telling people like me to shut up, which is annoying, but you can’t smash dissent (or in this case, assent) with a cartoon. He’s just making fun of us. Fine, Tom. Carry on.

He’s asking for it, even so, and this right-back-atcha cartoon by Mary at Exit Zero is priceless. (By the way, the person in the last panel is (ahem) Ted Rall.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 12:21 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

November 11, 2003

The Tip of the Liberal Spear

The US and British armed forces have achieved more objectively liberal results in the past six months than anyone else I have seen in my lifetime.

Here is Tony Blair on Iraq:

The press is free; over 170 newspapers in circulation; the ban on satellite TV lifted so that Iraqis can hear America abused by Al-Jazeera and others - for having liberated them. Access to the internet is no longer forbidden. Nearly all schools and universities are open, as are hospitals and they are receiving medicine and supplies not on the basis of membership of the Ba'ath Party but on need. The canals are being cleared. The power and water supplies re-built. These supposedly evil Americans have voted $19 billion of their own money in aid: the Madrid Conference under the excellent guidance of Prime Minister Aznar has raised another $13 billion. Not a penny piece of Iraq's oil money has gone anywhere but into an account under the supervision of the IMF and UN.
Are we sure a British citizen can’t run for president here? Isn’t there a loophole somewhere?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 10:52 PM | Permalink | Comments Off

Purging the Dissidents

The left-on-left cat fight won't be over any time soon.

T-bogg (a most impolite person) is still banishing moderate liberals as heretics, in this case Andrew Hagan. Today Andrew praises Hillary Clinton, but that's not good enough for T-bogg. Oh no.

He thinks if someone isn't 100 percent left-wing today then they have never been liberal. Like Stalin airbrushing Trotsky out of history, T-bogg says today’s dissident liberals were also right-wing in the past.

How's the Inquisition going, dude? Workin' for ya? Swelling the ranks of the left? Oh wait, that's not the idea...

Meanwhile, Liberal Heretic™ Sean LaFreniere says NPR and the BBC are losing their faith in liberal democracy.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Comments Off
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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