October Surprise

The October Surprise had only two days to arrive, but arrive it did. Osama Bin Laden, despite stories of ill health, appeared healthy and well. He reiterated his point that regardless of the winner, his organization will not withdraw its stated goals of changing US Foreign Policy.

For me, there are some frustrations. First, it was reported that the US Government tried to suppress the report by Al Jazeera. Freedom of the press is fine if it is American and/or owned by Ruport Murdoch, but not if it is in Qatar.

According to "Imperial hubris : why the West is losing the war on terror (Anonymous)" the United States Government has been reluctant to actually listen to what Bin Laden has been saying. So, what has he been saying?

His fatwahs can be found on the internet, where much of his organizations communications have been taking place. The mideastweb has several of his fatwah's on their website. Now, reading though it is another exercise in cultural understanding.

So what do they want? From what I can tell, they want the US out of Saudi Arabia, want the US to stop supporting Israel, and to quit supporting dictators in the Arab World. If you put yourself in their shoes, it doesn't sound unreasonable. Of course, this isn't to advocate the method of communicating this with hijacked airplanes.

For the first time, Bin Ladens message can be seen much more clearly. I encourage everyone to READ HIS MESSAGE. More importantly, read between the lines. A transcript of the speech can be found on Al Jazeera's website. Unlike prior speeches, this one is much more conversational and directed at the American people. This time, some Americans actually read what he had to say. This time, the transcripts were more accessable to the less web savvy. Maybe, just maybe some people have read it and thought.

Bin Laden has thrown down a glove again by NOT using the same religious rhetoric as before. Perhaps Bush could follow his lead and also speak clearly, dropping the sound bytes and rhetoric that he seems barely capable of accomplishing.


On another note, thanks to rpayne for a great reference regarding North Korea and the Bush Administration by Fred Kaplan.

Time to shift gears - now the news.

This week has been very exciting in editors offices around the world. My homepage is actually my.yahoo.com, where I have the news headlines from Reuters, AP, New York Times, BBC, and Salon. It is often very interesting to see not only what the headlines are, but what is missing.

For example, this morning BBC carried an article about the Japanese hostage taken in Iraq who was killed. Prime Minister Koizumi vowed not to pull the Japanese troops out. Last time this happened, The Japanese public was outraged... that the people ignored Government warnings not to go to Iraq. They were not welcomed home to open arms, but to public jeers. This time the hostage was simply ignored.

However, come to find out, the body found today in an northern Iraqi city was not that of the hostage. No coverage on BBC, or elsewhere.

However, the Japanese public has been overwhelmed with news of the Niigata Earthquake, where 36 people have died, thousands have been injured, and tens of thousands continue to live in shelters a week later. The initinal shock was a 6.8 on the richter scale, with dozens of very powerful quakes in its wake over a week.

At the same time the United States has been overwhelmed by election coverage, and now a release of a tape by Bin Laden. I don't know if it will affect the election, but it will be very interesting to see.

The Colonel

Neocons and North Korea

Last post I simply listed the names of the neocons for many to ponder. Here's more:

I am currently studying the North Korean conflict with historian Gavan McCormack, visiting scholar at International Christian University, and professor at Australian National University. He is the author of the recent book, "Target North Korea." The basic premise of the book is that North Korea is the only nation in the world to stand at the sharp end of America's nuclear sword for over half a century and still not be attacked. He is fair in his approach, but it does make you wonder why Kim Jong Il is so crazy - I'd be crazy too if I had a gun pointed at my head for so long.

Now, in class I presented on the neocons and North Korea. Here are some thoughts.

First, a thought from DPRK:
“If the United States persistently pursues its confrontational hostile policy towards the DPRK from the viewpoint of escapism, it will only compel the DPRK to double its deterrent force,” the newspaper said. The commentary said the root cause of the US policy was that Washington wanted to retain military influence in the region, even though the United States — unlike its regional partners — is a long way from Northeast Asia. .

Now, who are these neocons?

During the last four years, the term “neo-conservative” has risen to common use in political dialogue. For some, they are new phenomenon. However, neo-cons find their roots in deep in the cold war.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the “birthplace” of the modern neoconservative movement was during the 1960’s and 1970’s in Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s office. Sen. Jackson served as a senator from Washington State for over four decades, and today has both a foundation and school of International Affairs at the University of Washington named after him. He twice sought the Democratic Party nomination for President, but failed. He is well known for his environmental legislation.

He was also a staunch anti-communist, and has been described as one of the “most strident Cold Warriors or either political party.” This stand attracted his young protégés who have since become the staunchest supports and architects of President George Bush’s foreign policy. Notably, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, and Elliot Abrams all worked for the Senator.

The Christian Science Monitor has a wonderful primer on Neo Conservatism on their website: http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon. They identify four organizations that promote neoconservative thought today. They include the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). There are also several publications of note: “Commentary,” “National Review,” “The Weekly Standard,” “The New Republic,” “The National Interest,” and “The Public Interest.”

In compiling a list of neo conservatives, the starting place is undoubtedly “The Project for the New American Century” (http://www.newamericancentury.org/). The project began with a letter released June 3, 1997. The signatories of that letter include a who’s who of American politics.

What do they believe?

According to the Project for the New American Century website, there are four neocon motives:

1. Increase defense spending
2. Strengthen ties to democratic allies, and challenge those hostile to US “interests and values.”
3. Promote political and economic freedom overseas
4. “Accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles”

Surely, there is no reason for the North Koreans to feel threatened, is there?
Let's try these documents:

January 20, 2002 State of the Union - The “Axis of Evil” speech.http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html
“Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.”
May 6, 2002 – “Beyond the Axis of Evil: Additional Threats from Weapons of Mass Destruction.”John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International SecurityRemarks to the Heritage Foundation
”The Administration will not assume that because a country’s formal subscription to UN counterterrorism conventions or its membership in multilateral regimes necessarily constitutes an accurate reading of its intentions. We call on Libya, Cuba, and Syria to live up to the agreements they have signed. We will watch closely their actions, not simply listen to their words. Working with our allies, we will expose those countries that do not live up to their commitments.”
September 17, 2002 – Release of the National Security Strategyhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html
According to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021001-6.html
“It calls on America to use our position of unparalleled strength and influence to create a balance of power that favors freedom. As the President says in the cover letter: we seek to create the "conditions in which all nations and all societies can chose for themselves the rewards and challenges of political and economic liberty."
This strategy has three pillars:
· We will defend the peace by opposing and preventing violence by terrorists and outlaw regimes.
· We will preserve the peace by fostering an era of good relations among the world's great powers.
· And we will extend the peace by seeking to extend the benefits of freedom and prosperity across the globe. Defending our Nation from its enemies is the first and fundamental commitment of the Federal Government. And as the world's most powerful nation, the United States has a special responsibility to help make the world more secure.”

This is reinforced by William Kristol in his magazine (funded by Rupert Murdoch):

Editorial in “The Weekly Standard” by William Kristol and Gary SchmittOctober 28, 2002 “Lessons of a Nuclear North Korea”

For almost a decade, the New York Times, the Clinton administration, and others have told us that the only sensible strategy for dealing with North Korea was engagement. But it hasn’t worked; if anything, it has actually increased the incentives for North Korea (and like-minded states) to develop as many dangerous “bargaining chips” as they can. This softheaded policy of engagement produces a world no one wants to live in. And certainly our current difficulty in confronting an armed North Korea shows precisely why dealing with Iraq and Saddam Hussein can’t wait. As President Bush has made clear over the past year, the United States has a fundamental choice to make in confronting rogue states, dictators, developing weapons of mass destruction, and global terrorism: Either we act aggressively to shape the world and change regimes where necessary, or we accept living in a world in which our very existence is contingent on the whims of unstable tyrants.

So, on November 3rd, if John Kerry wins and you hear a loud noise coming from across the horizon, it's probobly a big sigh from North Korea.

Neo Con Who?

The Neocons have become a catch phrase of modern American Politics. But who are they? The PNAC seems to be the hitching post for this group of "movers and shakers." But who are they?

Building on their letter of June 3, 1997 we can clearly see the signatories. Here's a little about them:

(Biographical Information adapted from www.disinfopedia.org - Center for Media & Democracy, Madison, WI)

Elliott Abrams
Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs.He was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush along with a number of other Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas night 1992.

Gary Bauer
President of American Values. Founded Campaign for Working Families in 1996. 2000 Presidential candidate. Sec. of Education 1985 - ?

William J. Bennett
Co-director of Empower America and EMPOWER.org. He was formerly Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and Director of National Drug Control Policy under George Herbert Walker Bush.

Jeb Bush
Governor of Florida (1999 – 2007), brother of President George W Bush.

Dick Cheney
Vice President of the United States 2001 – present. Secretary of Defense under Bush I. Chief of Staff under Ford. Congressman from Wyoming. Member, Council on Foreign Relations. Former CEO of Halliburton Company. Former Fellow with American Enterprise Institute.

Eliot A. Cohen
Professor and director at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, with an emphasis on strategic studies, the Middle East, Persian Gulf, Iraq, arms control, and NATO. Cohen has worked with the Secretary of Defense and taught at the U.S. Naval War College.

Midge Decter
Journalist. Donald Rumsfeld biographer. Married to Norman Podhoretz.

Paula Dobriansky
Under Secretary, Global Affairs. Former Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Steve Forbes
President and CEO of Forbes, Inc. and President and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine. Former Presidential Candidate (2000).

Aaron Friedberg
Professor, Princeton University. Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar.

Francis Fukuyama
Professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University

Frank Gaffney
President, CEO, and founder of the Center for Security Policy. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (87) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under Richard N. Perle (83-87).

Fred C. Ikle
Scholar with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Korea Specialist. Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Ronald Reagan administration and Director for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1973-1977).

Donald Kagan
Cofounder. Senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Hillhouse Professor of History and Classics at Yale University.

Zalmay Khalilzad
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. Headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Defense Department in 2000 and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

I. Lewis Libby
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Most recently managing partner of the Washington office of the international law firm of Dechert, Price & Rhoads.

Norman Podhoretz
Former editor-in-chief of "Commentary" (1960-95). From 1981-87, Podhoretz served with the U.S. Information Agency. He is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Dan Quayle
Former Vice President of the United States under George H.W. Bush. Member of the Board of Freedom House.

Peter W. Rodman
Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs in the Department of Defense.

Stephen P. Rosen
Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.

Henry S. Rowen
Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Otherwise affiliated with Stanford.

Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense.

Vin Weber
Co-founder and co-director of Empower America. He is currently a partner in Clark & Weinstock and co-director of the Aspen Institute's Domestic Strategy Group.

George Weigel
Catholic Theologin. Senior Fellow, John M. Olin Chair in Religion and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC).

Paul Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary of Defense. Author of “The Bush Doctrine.” Former Dean at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

Not a signatory, but…

William Kristol
Chairman and cofounder. Editor of The Weekly Standard. Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle (89-93) and to Secretary of Education William Bennett during the Ronald Reagan administration.

Popular Posts