Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Bush Jihad

“In my year-end forecast for 1968 I had bucked the optimistic official view of the war and predicted that “the biggest and bloodiest battles areas till to be fought” in Vietnam, but never in my wildest imagining did I expect to see combat at my doorstep.”

- Peter Arnett, Live From The Battlefield

Bearing in mind the incidents in Iraq and the many days where we have lost many of our troops, the actions yet to be taken in Iran and Syria could prove to be much worse. Iran and Syria are not countries in transition of any kind. These are far fiercer countries and their troops have been fighting for years, not just simply killing their own citizens.
The New York Times ( is reporting, “The Bush administration's secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials.”
There is no secret that this plan is devised solely to enable the CIA and “civilian contractors” to torture anyone taken into custody. For years the United States has been building bases all over the world, bases that can be used for an array of training and peacekeeping duties. Now these duties are torture and denying the Geneva Convention, ( which we signed in its second incarnation, not the first. It was actually the third Geneva Convention that dealt with prisoners of war; there have been four in all. A country that allows its leader to make the rules up as he goes is a country that is leading itself by the nose to defeat and complete collapse. What will those on either side of the aisle do if the President decided tomorrow that the draft was not necessary and sent troops out in public to “draft” someone they deemed a proper candidate for service? You are walking down the street on the way to work and a deuce and a half pulls up and two men get out and take you at gunpoint to recruit training, but wait, if you didn’t see the news that morning (I say see because so few Americans read the newspaper) it is legal now by Executive Order. Woe to you if you are a conscientious objector you’ll end up somewhere being tortured by somebody.
In this new war to come we have to remember who we will be fighting. For instance, Hizbollah. Reuters reminds us, “Hizbollah, or Party of God, was set up during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon by Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a small guerrilla force with a security arm widely blamed for anti-Western attacks and hostage taking in Beirut.”
If the entire region erupts as it very well could be, then the Hamas could enter the world- wide call of terrorists to attack America and other enemies of Islam as they see it. Our use of torture on “enemy combatants” seems to fuel this fervor.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (,8816,1034670,00.html) gave an interview to Time magazine:

TIME: What do you think will be the consequences for Palestinians of events in Lebanon?
ABBAS: It's clear-cut. President Assad said he will withdraw. But for us, we don't know yet the consequences. We don't know the demands of the Americans.
TIME: In Washington, many think the growing democracy movement in the Middle East comes from President Bush's pressure.
ABBAS: I don't think that we made democracy because President Bush pushed us. We decided that we should have a democratic process, and we did it without any pressure.
TIME: Now that you've been elected, your progress depends on your cease-fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Islamist groups opposing peace. How secure is it ?
ABBAS: I concluded a truce with Hamas when I was Prime Minister.
After I became head of the Palestinian Authority, I conducted talks with them, and they accepted without any pressure on them. It is a democracy. We have to deal with them accordingly. TIME: But when they launch suicide-bomb attacks like the latest one in Tel Aviv?
ABBAS: They said they are not responsible and they'll stick to the cease-fire. All of [the Islamist factions]. Even those that are in Damascus.
TIME: Who was responsible, then, for the Tel Aviv attack?
ABBAS: It was individuals. We arrested five. If you ask me who is responsible, the Israelis are responsible. The bombers came from the suburb of Tulkarem to Tel Aviv, crossing the wall. So who is responsible? The wall and the Israelis.
TIME: Hamas won seats in municipal elections in January. Now the P.L.O. has an opposition? ABBAS: This is proof that they are going to be a political party, which is good. TIME: Israelis and Americans are shocked to think Hamas could be in your parliament.
ABBAS: Why not? They should be in the parliament. They will share responsibility. Israel has more than 33 political parties from right to left and in between.
TIME: What's your plan to reach a peace agreement with Israel?
ABBAS: We suggested to the Israelis and Americans to work in back channels on final-status issues while we are working on earlier phases of the road map. If we start now, we have a lot of time to work with the Americans to find ideas, to find compromises. But if we go [without preparation] to the third [final status] phase of the road map, and then we get a make-or-break situation like Camp David [in 2000], it's unworkable.
TIME: President Bush wrote Israeli Prime Minister Sharon a letter saying that in a final deal, there will be no right of return and there will be adjustments to the 1967 borders and the status of Jerusalem.
ABBAS: President Bush doesn't have the right to prejudice final-status issues. These issues should be discussed in the final stages, not now. He can't make commitments on behalf of the Palestinian people. It is our right to say yes or no.
TIME: To get a final-status agreement, do you think you will have to make unpopular decisions, unpopular compromises? ABBAS: I promise any compromise will go to a referendum. People will accept it or not.
TIME: Do you think you can achieve a deal in one five-year presidential term?
ABBAS: I have to do it because after that I won't be President anymore.
TIME: Yasser Arafat was a symbol for Palestinians around the world. Do you see yourself as a different kind of leader?
ABBAS: There are differences in our ways of thinking. I want to put everything on the table, and you can take it or leave it. Even when I was running for the elections, many friends advised me not to. But I said, "No, I have to tell the people everything. Either they'll elect me or not."
TIME: Are you worried that might anger people? Are there threats against your life?
ABBAS: Everybody is under threat. We are Muslims. We believe that when life comes to an end, it comes.
TIME: It's risky just to be a Palestinian?
ABBAS: It's risky. But it's also risky to be an American. You remember the Twin Towers. So if you believe in God, you won't be afraid.
TIME: You were born in Safad, in what is now Israel. How did it feel when you went back for a visit in 1995?
ABBAS: Very sad. It's my country. I know every street and store. But now I'm not allowed to be there. That's life. I'm not asking for Safad. I'm not asking to return there.

Where President Bush’s own jihad against the world of Islam will end is undecided at this point, but you can be assured that none of the children of those in his cabinet will lose their lives on a battlefield. The war will come to our shores in acts of terrorism and high prices that will make the economy that this administration had so unstable, even worse. The darker days are on the horizon and the smell of cordite is not a warning of the years to come but a promise from the terrorists we are torturing now.

- Chris Mansel

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