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Media's Take on the News 9-2-03 to 9-30-03

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Fred Barnes: Bush Isn't in Trouble (posted 9-30-03)

Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 30, 2003):

The media's new word for President Bush is "vulnerable." A Gallup Poll last week found he trails Democrats Wesley Clark (49% to 46%) and John Kerry (48% to 47%) in presidential race match-ups. His job approval rating dipped to 49% in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. The consensus in the press is that President Bush is in deep political trouble, and many Democrats and some Republicans share that view.

A more accurate word for President Bush's political condition is "normal." Mr. Bush has slumped in his third year in office just as most recent presidents have. A slump is the rule, not the exception. For President Bush, the glow from enacting his major initiatives (tax cuts, education reform) has faded. The economy is soft. His foreign policy, especially in postwar Iraq, has become controversial. And complaints about his presidency from Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, have grown.

Still, there's far more reason than not to expect him to recover and win re-election, perhaps easily. His slump, assuming it's hit bottom, has been milder than the slumps other presidents faced and his prospects are brighter. President Bush is lucky on the economy. His recession came early, giving the economy time to revive before his re-election campaign in 2004. And his foreign policy crisis is hardly as threatening as Vietnam was for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. The economy is almost certain to look better in 2004 than today and chances are Iraq will too.

The media's problem in assessing a president's future is invariably seeing the future as a straight-line projection of the present. It rarely works out that way. When President Ronald Reagan moved into his third year in 1983, Lou Cannon of the Washington Post referred to his "embattled presidency." His administration's "opportunities," Cannon wrote, "were severely limited by the failure of the economy to respond to Reagan's remedies." Even conservatives were grousing. President Reagan's approval rating fell to 47%, but in 1984 he won in a landslide. The same was true for President Nixon, whose approval sank to 49% in 1971, only to be followed by an overwhelming re-election victory a year later.

President Clinton was driven into retreat by the Republican blowout in the 1994 midterm election. There were doubts about his "relevance" as a leader. In August 1996 his job rating was 44% and he dropped behind Bob Dole (48% to 42%) and Colin Powell (47% to 37%). Yet Mr. Clinton won re-election comfortably the next year.

It's true that two presidents, Johnson and Carter, failed to pull themselves out of their third-year slumps. Johnson was bedeviled by the national anxiety over the war in Vietnam. President Carter was beset by a stagnant economy and sky-high inflation and appeared helpless to solve the Iranian hostage crisis.

President Bush's decline doesn't match that of his father, George H.W. Bush. The elder Bush's case was anomalous. After winning the Iraq war, he was riding high well into his third year, 1991. But, again, the future turned out unexpectedly. Though the economy was growing, President George H.W. Bush slumped in his fourth year and lost.

So President Bush's situation is different from his father's, and there's not much chance he will suffer the fate of Johnson or Mr. Carter either. Iraq is not Vietnam. In 1967, 10,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam and victory was nowhere in sight. Johnson abandoned his re-election bid in March 1968. America's enemy then was a powerful military of well over one million troops -- not only Viet Cong guerrillas but a North Vietnamese army backed by the Soviet Union.

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On the Differences Between the Marshall Plan and Bush's Plan for Iraq (posted 9-27-03)

David Firestone, writing in the NYT (Sept. 27, 2003):

The Bush administration says its plan to rebuild Iraq is modeled on the farsighted spirit of the Marshall Plan. But lawmakers and historians are increasingly finding flaws in the postwar analogy, many of which are at the heart of the debate over the administration's $87 billion spending request, which includes a modest amount for Afghanistan.

The Marshall Plan, they say, required a much larger contribution from its European beneficiaries after World War II than the administration is asking of Iraq.

European countries were required by the Truman administration to match every dollar of American aid, and 10 percent of the Marshall Plan's $13 billion was made up of loans. By contrast, the $20.3 billion reconstruction grant for Iraq is not contingent on any contribution from that country's future revenues.

L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator in Iraq, told senators this week that Iraq might eventually be able to share a large part of the costs with its oil revenues, but he said the country was too burdened with debt to take on another large loan now. ...

"A stable, peaceful, economically productive Iraq will serve American interests by making Americans safer," Mr. Bremer told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week as part of a weeklong marathon of Congressional testimony.

But Larry I. Bland, the editor of Gen. George C. Marshall's papers, said the primary purpose of the European reconstruction program was not a guarantee of safety or pure altruism but rather American and global economic needs.

"The primary emphasis of the Marshall Plan was on restimulating trade," said Mr. Bland, who has produced four volumes of the former secretary of state's papers for the Marshall Foundation at the Virginia Military Institute.

"The countries of Europe already knew how to build bridges and phone systems," he said. "But they had no money to buy anything from us, so trade was dead. The idea was to stimulate their economy so they could buy goods again."

Some Republicans, like Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the comparison to the previous plan was apt, predicting that the reconstruction of Iraq would eventually pay for itself many times over. Senator Jim Talent, Republican of Missouri, said it would be harder to ask allies to help pay for Iraq's rebuilding if the United States was only willing to advance a loan.

Measured in today's dollars, the Marshall Plan cost the United States about $90 billion to $100 billion, far more than the administration is now proposing to spend on Iraq's reconstruction.

But Democrats note with bitterness that current Republican leaders are allotting only a few weeks of debate on the Iraq plan, compared with the months of Congressional debate and testimony that took place in 1947 and 1948.

"To say this is a Marshall Plan couldn't be further from the truth," said Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader. "We're having only a few hearings, and the president hasn't even presented us with a real plan. The president expects the taxpayers of America to shoulder virtually all of the cost of this effort in human lives and tax dollars, and that's too much to ask the American people."

The first phase of the Marshall Plan passed Congress overwhelmingly in the spring of 1948, but not without vocal opposition from many Republicans.

Mr. Bland said that the isolationist Taft wing of the Republican Party fought the plan as a "budget buster and a big-government giveaway," but that Marshall, then the secretary of state, eventually persuaded large majorities of the danger of isolationism and of the economic benefits to the nation.

In contrast to the Iraq plan, Marshall had to promise that his plan would be administered by an agency independent of the White House, would be limited to four years, and that its priorities would be determined by Europeans, not Americans.

"It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically," Marshall said in a speech on June 5, 1947. "This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe."

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General Clark's Enthusastic Backing for Bush, Cheney and Rice in May 2001 (posted 9-26-03)

Editorial in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 26, 2003):

If you're an active Republican, there's a good chance you've attended a Lincoln Day dinner, a staple on GOP community calendars. So it is in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the Pulaski County Republican Party invited hometown hero Wesley Clark to address its members on May 11, 2001. Anyone wondering where the Democratic candidate for President stands on a range of issues is sure to find the speech illuminating.

Lincoln Day dinners are partisan political events, and it was entirely in keeping with the spirit of the evening for the keynote speaker to voice his admiration of Republican leaders. In Mr. Clark's words, Ronald Reagan was "truly a great American leader," who "helped our country win the Cold War." His successor, George Bush, demonstrated "courage" and "vision" in postwar Europe, exercising "tremendous leadership and statesmanship."

The general also sang the praises of the current GOP leadership in Washington: "I'm very glad we've got the great team in office, men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O'Neill--people I know very well--our president, George W. Bush. We need them there, because we've got some tough challenges ahead in Europe."

The speech also provides a look at the general's thinking on the foreign-policy and national-security challenges facing the country. Mr. Clark offered "a small prediction" that by the time his book came out "it may be World War III." He expressed the view that "we're going to be active; we're going to be forward engaged. But if you look around the world, there's a lot of work to be done."

Mr. Clark was asked about those remarks at yesterday's Democratic debate, and he replied that the country had made "an incredible journey" since September 2001 and that Mr. Bush had "recklessly cut taxes" and "recklessly took us into Iraq." We'd say the retired general has made a rather astonishing journey himself, and the public will have to judge the sincerity of his conversion.

Click here to read the text of the speech in full.

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Asia Is Awakening (posted 9-25-03)

Martin Wolf, writing in the London Financial Times (Sept. 22, 2003):

Asia's rise is the economic event of our age. Should it proceed as it has over the last few decades, it will bring the two centuries of global domination by Europe and, subsequently, its giant North American offshoot to an end. Japan was but the harbinger of an Asian future. The country has proved too small and inward-looking to transform the world. What follows it-China, above all - will prove neither.

Asia is a European idea: it was invented by the ancient Greeks as a name for the non-European part of Eurasia. Historically, this vast mass of territory was divided into four zones: the west, for almost 1,400 years the domain of Islam; the north, the world of the nomads; the south, the region of Hindu civilisation; and the east, dominated culturally and politically by China. To these must be added the islands off its southern and eastern coasts, the most important of which are now contained within Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Today, the economic impact of west Asia comes only from its oil. Russia and the shards of its collapsed empire make up north Asia. It is in Asia's populous east and, to a lesser degree, its south that a world-transforming change has begun. By 2002, these countries generated 24 per cent of global gross domestic product at market prices, and a third measured at purchasing power parity (PPP) (see below). But they also contained 56 per cent of humanity. Their potential remains huge.

In 1820, according to Angus Maddison, the economic historian, Asia (east, south and west) contained 68 per cent of the world's population and generated 59 per cent of GDP, at PPP. But it succumbed in the 18th and 19th centuries to economic stagnation, foreign intervention and outright conquest. By 1950, Asia's combined share of world GDP had fallen to just 18 per cent, even though its share of population was still 55 per cent (see chart).

Asia is waking up. Japan roused first, in the second half of the 19th century. After its defeat in 1945, it achieved a stunning ascent to developed status. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore followed in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Suharto's Indonesia pursued a similar course from 1966, with some success. But the two giants, China and India, traumatised by foreign intervention, used their regained independence to pursue socialist autarky.

Finally, in the 1980s and 1990s, most of the countries of east and south Asia, including the two giants, chose market-led economies, oriented towards world markets, under the tutelage of interventionist governments. Between the first oil shock in 1973 and the Asian financial crisis in 1998 the GDP per head of the resurgent developing countries of east and south Asia rose at a compound rate of 4.2 per cent a year, which meant a 2.8-fold increase in incomes per head.

This was the only region of the world whose growth after 1973 was far faster than before that watershed. Its countries are, in Mr Maddison's words, "replicating (in various degrees of intensity) the big leap forward achieved by Japan in the golden age" of the 1950s and 1960s. Growth is accelerating: in the 1970s, according to the World Bank, real GDP per head of Asian developing countries rose at 3 per cent a year. In the 1980s, this jumped to 4.9 per cent. In the 1990s, it reached 5.4 per cent.

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Donald Rumsfeld: Iraq Is Doing Well Compared with Germany in WW II at the Same Stage (posted 9-25-03)

Donald Rumsfeld, writing in the Washington Post (Sept. 25, 2003):

Two weeks into Operation Iraqi Freedom, a number of newspapers and many airwaves were filled with prognosticators declaring the war plan a failure. The United States, they said, did not do enough to build international support, did not properly anticipate the level of resistance by Iraqis, and failed to send enough forces to do the job.

Then coalition forces took Baghdad in 21 days. Today Gen. Tom Franks's innovative and flexible war plan, which so many dismissed as a failure, is being studied by military historians and taught in war colleges.

Today in Iraq, an innovative plan is also being implemented in our effort to win the peace. And it should come as no surprise that we are again hearing suggestions as to why the postwar effort is on the brink of failure.

It will take longer than 21 days, but I believe that the plan to win the peace in Iraq will succeed -- just as the plan to win the war succeeded....

We have made solid progress: Within two months, all major Iraqi cities and most towns had municipal councils -- something that took eight months in postwar Germany. Within four months the Iraqi Governing Council had appointed a cabinet -- something that took 14 months in Germany. An independent Iraqi Central Bank was established and a new currency announced in just two months -- accomplishments that took three years in postwar Germany. Within two months a new Iraqi police force was conducting joint patrols with coalition forces. Within three months, we had begun training a new Iraqi army -- and today some 56,000 are participating in the defense of their country. By contrast, it took 14 months to establish a police force in Germany and 10 years to begin training a new German army. ...

This is not to underestimate the challenges in Iraq today. Terrorists and regime remnants want to roll back our successes and stop the Iraqi people's transition to democracy and self-government. We can expect they will continue to attack our successes, and the brave Iraqis who work with us, for some time. But coalition forces are dealing with the threat. And the security situation is improving.

Indeed, we may find that the biggest threat in Iraq comes not from terrorists and regime remnants but from the physical and psychological effects of three decades of Stalinist oppression. But Iraq also has a number of advantages -- oil wealth, water and an elaborate system of irrigation canals, vast wheat and barley fields, biblical sites and the potential for tourism, and an educated, urban population.

But to help Iraqis succeed, we must proceed with some humility. American forces can do many remarkable things, but they cannot provide permanent stability or create an Iraqi democracy. That will be up to the Iraqi people.

Why is enlisting Iraqis in security and governance so important?

Because it is their country. We are not in Iraq to engage in nation-building -- our mission is to help Iraqis so that they can build their own nation. That is an important distinction....

This is not to underestimate the challenges in Iraq today. Terrorists and regime remnants want to roll back our successes and stop the Iraqi people's transition to democracy and self-government. We can expect they will continue to attack our successes, and the brave Iraqis who work with us, for some time. But coalition forces are dealing with the threat. And the security situation is improving.

Indeed, we may find that the biggest threat in Iraq comes not from terrorists and regime remnants but from the physical and psychological effects of three decades of Stalinist oppression. But Iraq also has a number of advantages -- oil wealth, water and an elaborate system of irrigation canals, vast wheat and barley fields, biblical sites and the potential for tourism, and an educated, urban population.

But to help Iraqis succeed, we must proceed with some humility. American forces can do many remarkable things, but they cannot provide permanent stability or create an Iraqi democracy. That will be up to the Iraqi people.

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Is Arafat a Terrorist or Friend of Peace? (posted 9-25-03)

Abraham Rabinovich, writing in the Australian (Sept. 25, 2003):<>

Virtually the only Israeli public figure to come to Arafat's defence has been former prime minister Shimon Peres, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Arafat and the late Yitzhak Rabin after the Oslo agreement. "Arafat deserved the Nobel prize," Peres said this week. "He declared publicly that he recognises the state of Israel."

However, Israelis have not forgotten comments Arafat made in 1970, in an interview with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci: "We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed. Peace for us means Israel's destruction and nothing else."

This rhetoric changed in 1988 when Arafat began speaking of the possibility of "a peace of the brave" with Israel.

But most Israelis do not believe the Palestinian leader's vision has changed. Historian Efraim Karsh calls the return of Arafat and his followers to the Palestinian territories under the Oslo Accords "the worst blunder in Israel's political history" and the introduction of a trojan horse into Israel's midst.

"From the moment of his arrival in Gaza (in 1994), Arafat set out to build up an extensive terrorist infrastructure," says Karsh.

A senior Israeli military intelligence officer, Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, said that until last year, Arafat had been able to deny any connection with terrorist acts. "Until the army confiscated Arafat's documents during Operation Defensive Shield (last year's raid on the West Bank) and showed Arafat had authorised payments to terrorists, it was difficult for us to convince outsiders that Arafat is to be blamed for these attacks," he said.

That evidence reportedly helped persuade US President George W. Bush to sever ties with Arafat last year.

Arafat's brother, Fathi Arafat, denied on Israel Radio this week that his brother was the villain being depicted by Israel. "He opposes terror," said the physician, honorary president of the Palestinian Red Crescent. "He wants to live in peace with Israel."

Israeli journalist Danny Rubinstein, who has written a biography of Arafat, said the man's strength as a leader lay in the fact he epitomised Palestinian public sentiment. "Arafat always took care not to deviate from the consensus," Rubinstein says.

Opinion polls show Palestinian public opinion favours all forms of attacks on Israel, including suicide bombings.

Arafat has on rare but noteworthy occasions defied the Palestinian consensus -- such as when he declared readiness to relinquish Palestinian claims on the land within Israel itself. But unless he can stop the violence, the 74-year-old leader's chances of presiding over an independent Palestinian state do not seem high.

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Rush Limbaugh: Clark's Similarities to Civil War General McClellan (posted 9-25-03)

Rush Limbaugh, writing in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 25, 2003):

In Gen. Clark, the Democrats have a credentialed warrior who graduated first in his class at West Point, fought in Vietnam, received a fourth star and led NATO forces against Slobodan Milosevic. Now, that's quite a résumé. But let there be no mistake. It doesn't take much to realize that Gen. Clark is no Dwight Eisenhower, an image Democrats desperately hope his candidacy invokes. He's more like another aspiring officer, Union Civil War general George McClellan.

Gen. McClellan graduated from West Point, second in his class. Also a trained engineer, he was decorated for his "zeal, gallantry, and ability" in constructing roads and bridges over routes for the marching army during the Mexican War. McClellan had much charisma. He was considered a great administrator who reorganized the Union army into a mighty fighting machine.
But, you say, McClellan was an indecisive general who feared using his forces. As NATO chief, Gen. Clark, on the other hand, urged his Pentagon bosses to let him introduce ground troops into the war against Serbia, and he even was willing to use military force to stop the Russians from occupying an airport at Pristina, Kosovo.

But Gen. Clark was badly wrong on both counts. If he had not been overruled by his superior, there would have been unnecessary casualties resulting from the deployment of ground troops. And if his subordinate, British Gen. Sir Michael Jackson, had not refused Gen. Clark's order to confront the Russian troops--who wound up cooperating with NATO peacekeeping efforts--the outcome could have been disastrous.

And Gen. Clark is, in fact, indecisive. As a CNN commentator, he was a harsh critic of the war against Iraq. More recently, he has joined the chorus of liberals accusing the president of misleading America about Iraq's "imminent" use of weapons of mass destruction--even though the president never said such a thing. Yet in response to a question last week, Gen. Clark said he likely would have voted for the October 2002 joint congressional resolution authorizing military force against Iraq. In another twist, the next day he said he would have voted against it.

Gen. Clark also can't decide if ending genocide is a legitimate basis for U.S. military intervention. In 1994, while nearly one million Rwandans were being slaughtered, Gen. Clark advised President Clinton against America's intervention, despite the U.N.'s unwillingness to stop the holocaust. But Gen. Clark speaks glowingly of NATO's success in stopping Milosevic's ethnic cleansing, for which Mr. Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And now, he dismisses the liberation of nearly 25 million Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's murderous rule as a Bush foreign-policy failure.

McClellan's big ego won him the nickname "The Young Napoleon." After he was relieved of duty, he decided to run for president. In 1864, he was the Democrat nominee against Abraham Lincoln. Gen. Clark also does not suffer from low self-esteem. Newsweek reports that when his entreaties to Bush presidential adviser Karl Rove went unanswered, Gen. Clark decided to become both a Democrat and a presidential aspirant.

McClellan was also spiteful of his military and civilian leaders. He actively worked to undermine the Union's top general, Winfield Scott, eventually replacing him. He also was disrespectful of civilian leadership. In some ways, Gen. Clark was no different. He reportedly circumvented both Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Henry Shelton on numerous occasions in speaking directly to the media and the president. In fact, the situation got so bad that Gen. Clark was relieved of his NATO position several months before his term ended, and in a major snub, neither Mr. Cohen nor Gen. Shelton attended his retirement ceremony.

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Is Clark Anti-War? (posted 9-25-03)

Norman Solomon, writing in his column, Media Beat (Sept. 25, 2003):

Here’s the real-life plot: A famous documentary filmmaker puts out a letter to a retired four-star general urging him to run for president. The essay quickly zooms through cyberspace and causes a big stir.

For Michael Moore, the reaction is gratifying. Three days later, he thanks readers “for the astounding response to the Wesley Clark letter” and “for your kind comments to me.” But some of the reactions are more apoplectic than kind.

Quite a few progressive activists are stunned, even infuriated, perhaps most of all by four words in Moore’s open letter to Gen. Clark: “And you oppose war.”

The next sentence tries to back up the assertion: “You have said that war should always be the ‘last resort’ and that it is military men such as yourself who are the most for peace because it is YOU and your soldiers who have to do the dying.”

But for some people who’ve greatly appreciated the insightful director of “Bowling for Columbine,” the claim is a real jaw-dropper. It could easily be refuted by mentioning a long list of names such as Colin Powell, Alexander Haig and William Westmoreland, along with John McCain and other militarists who won high elective office after ballyhooed service in the armed forces.

Other flashbacks make Moore’s statement seem not only simplistic but also gullible: After all, many presidents have touted war as a “last resort” -- even while the Pentagon killed people in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq ... and, oh yes, Yugoslavia.

Moore’s Sept. 12 open letter doesn’t mention the 1999 war on Yugoslavia -- which included more than two months of relentless bombing under the supervision of Wesley Clark, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe at the time.

A second letter, dated Sept. 23, does refer to that bloodshed. Moore recalls his own opposition to the war while summarizing news reports that Clark wanted to utilize ground troops, a move that might have reduced the number of civilian deaths. But the followup letter doesn’t mention the huge quantities of depleted uranium used in Yugoslavia under Clark’s authority. Or the large number of cluster bombs that were dropped under his command.

When each 1,000-pound “combined effects munition” exploded, a couple of hundred “bomblets” shot out in all directions. Little parachutes aided in dispersal of the bomblets to hit what the manufacturer called “soft targets.” Beforehand, though, each bomblet broke into about 300 pieces of jagged steel shrapnel.

Midway through the war, five springs ago, BBC correspondent John Simpson reported from Belgrade in the Sunday Telegraph: “In Novi Sad and Nis, and several other places across Serbia and Kosovo where there are no foreign journalists, heavier bombing has brought more accidents.” He noted that cluster bombs “explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius.” And he added: “Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare.”

I agree with much of what Moore wrote in his Sept. 23 essay. Certainly, “we need to unite with each other to keep our eyes on the prize: Bush Removal in ’04.” But with our eyes on the prize, we should not stumble into the classic trap of candidate flackery while applying political cosmetics.

Clark has yet to repudiate his own actions in 1999. And this year, his espoused positions about the war on Iraq have blended criticism with ambivalence, equivocation and even triumphalism.

Many news outlets don’t seem very interested in contradictory details. So, the Sept. 29 edition of Time magazine says in big type: “Wes Clark has launched a presidential bid that has a four-star luster. But is the antiwar general prepared for this kind of battle?”

But if Wesley Clark is “antiwar,” then antiwar is a pliable term that doesn’t mean much as it morphs into a codeword for tactical objections rather than principled opposition.

“Nothing is more American, nothing is more patriotic than speaking out, questioning authority and holding your leaders accountable,” Gen. Clark said in a Sept. 24 speech. That’s a key point -- and it must always apply to how we deal with all politicians, including Wesley Clark.

Overall, a strong case can be made that Clark would amount to a major improvement over the current president. But those who recognize the importance of ousting the Bush team from the White House should resist the temptation to pretty up any Democratic challenger.

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Francis Boyle: In Neo-Con Hell (posted 9-24-03)

Francis Boyle (Sept 13, 2003):

It is now a matter of public record that immediately after the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, U.S. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and his pro-Israeli"Neoconservative" Deputy Paul Wolfowitz began to plot, plan, scheme and conspire to wage a war of aggression against Iraq by manipulating the tragic events of September 11th in order to provide a pretext for doing so.(1) Of course Iraq had nothing at all to do with September 11th or supporting Al-Qaeda. But that made no difference to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, their Undersecretary of War Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, and the numerous other pro-Israeli Neo-Cons inhabiting the Bush Jr. administration.

These pro-Israeli Neo-Cons had been schooled in the Machiavellian/Nietzschean theories of Professor Leo Strauss who taught political philosophy at the University of Chicago in its Department of Political Science. The best exposé of Strauss's pernicious theories on law, politics, government, for elitism, and against democracy can be found in two scholarly books by the Canadian Professor of Political Philosophy Shadia B. Drury.(2) I entered the University of Chicago in September of 1968 shortly after Strauss had retired. But I was trained in Chicago's Political Science Department by Strauss's foremost protégé, co-author, and later literary executor Joseph Cropsey. Based upon my personal experience as an alumnus of Chicago's Political Science Department (A.B., 1971, in Political Science), I concur completely with Professor Drury's devastating critique of Strauss. I also agree with her penetrating analysis of the degradation of the American political process that has been inflicted by Chicago's Straussian Neo-Con cabal. (3)

The University of Chicago routinely trained me and innumerable other students to become ruthless and unprincipled Machiavellians. That is precisely why so many neophyte Neo-Con students gravitated towards the University of Chicago or towards Chicago Alumni at other universities. Years later, the University of Chicago became the"brains" behind the Bush Jr. Empire and his Ashcroft Police State. Attorney General John Ashcroft received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1967. Many of his lawyers at the Bush Jr. Department of Injustice are members of the right-wing, racist, bigoted, reactionary, and totalitarian Federalist Society (aka"Feddies"), (4) which originated in part at the University of Chicago. Feddies wrote the USA Patriot Act (USAPA) I and the draft for USAPA II, which constitute the blueprint for establishing an American Police State. (5) Meanwhile, the Department of Injustice's own F.B.I. is still covering up the U.S. governmental origins of the post 11 September 2001 anthrax attack on Washington D.C. that enabled Ashcroft and his Feddies to stampede the U.S. Congress into passing USAPA I into law. (6)

Integrally related to and overlapping with the Feddies are members of the University of Chicago"School" of Law-and-Kick-Them-in-the-Groin-Economics (e.g., Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Richard Epstein,etc.), which in turn was founded upon the Market Fundamentalism of Milton Friedman, now retired but long-time Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Friedman and his"Chicago Boys" have raped, robbed, looted, plundered, and pillaged economies and their respective peoples all over the developing world. (7) This Chicago gang of academic con-artists and charlatans are proponents of the Nazi Doctrine of"useless eaters." Pursuant to Friedman's philosophy of Market Fundamentalism, the"privatization" of Iraq and its Oil Industry are already underway for the primary benefit of the U.S. energy companies (e.g., Halliburton, formerly under Vice President Dick Cheney) that had already interpenetrated the Bush Jr. administration as well as the Bush Family itself. Enron.

Although miseducated (8) at Yale and Harvard Business School, the"Ivies" proved to be too liberal for Bush Jr. and his fundamentalist Christian supporters, whose pointman and spearcarrier in the Bush Jr. administration was Ashcroft, a Fundie himself. The Neo-Cons and the Fundies contracted an"unholy alliance" in support of Bush Jr. For their own different reasons, both gangs also worked hand-in-hand to support Israel's genocidal Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an internationally acknowledged war criminal. (9)

According to his own public estimate and boast before the American Enterprise Institute, President Bush Jr. hired about 20 Straussians to occupy key positions in his administration, intentionally taking offices where they could push American foreign policy in favor of Israel and against its chosen enemies such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians. (10) Most of the Straussian Neo-Cons in the Bush Jr. administration and elsewhere are Israel-firsters: What is"good" for Israel is by definition"good" for the United States. Dual loyalties indeed. (11)

In addition, it was the Chicago Straussian cabal of pro-Israeli Neo-Cons who set up a special"intelligence" unit within the Pentagon that was responsible for manufacturing many of the bald-faced lies, deceptions, half-truths, and sheer propaganda that the Bush Jr. administration then disseminated to the lap-dog U.S. news media (12) in order to generate public support for a war of aggression against Iraq for the benefit of Israel and in order to steal Iraq's oil. (13) To paraphrase advice Machiavelli once rendered to his Prince in Chapter XVIII of that book: Those who want to deceive will always find those willing to be deceived. (14) As I can attest from my personal experience as an alumnus of the University of Chicago Department of Political Science, the Bible of Chicago's Neo-Con Straussian cabal is Machiavelli's The Prince. We students had to know our Machiavelli by heart and rote at the University of Chicago.

As for the University of Chicago overall, its biblical Gospel is Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind (1987). (15) Of course Bloom was another protégé of Strauss, as well as a mentor to Wolfowitz. In his Bloom-biographical novel Ravelstein (2000) Saul Bellow, formerly on the University of Chicago Faculty, outed his self-styled friend Bloom as a hedonist, pederast, and most promiscuous homosexual who died of AIDS. All this was common knowledge at the University of Chicago, where Bloom is still worshiped and his elitist screed against American higher-education still revered on a pedestal.

In Ravelstein Wolfowitz appeared as Bloom's protégé Philip Gorman, leaking national security secrets to his mentor during the Bush Sr. war against Iraq. Strauss hovered around the novel as Bloom's mentor and guru Professor Davarr. Strauss/Davarr is really the éminence grise of Ravelstein. With friends like Bellow, Bloom did not need enemies. On the basis of Ravelstein alone, Wolfowitz warrants investigation by the F.B.I.

Just recently the University of Chicago officially celebrated its Bush Jr. Straussian Neo-Con cabal, highlighting Wolfowitz Ph.D. '72, Ahmad Chalabi, Ph.D. '69 (the CIA's Iraqi puppet), Abram Shulsky, A.M. '68, Ph.D. '72 (head of the Pentagon's special"intelligence" unit), Zalmay Khalilzad, Ph.D. '79 (Bush Jr's roving pro-consul for Afghanistan and then Iraq), as well as faculty members Bellow, X '39, and Bloom, A.B. '49, A.M. '53, Ph.D. '55, together with Strauss. According to the University of Chicago Magazine, Bloom's rant"helped popularize Straussian ideals of democracy." (16) It is correct to assert that Bloom's book helped to popularize Straussian"ideas," but they were blatantly anti-democratic, Machiavellian, Nietzschean, and elitist to begin with. Only the University of Chicago would have the unmitigated Orwellian gall to publicly assert that Strauss and Bloom cared one whit about democracy, let alone comprehended the"ideals of democracy."

Does anyone seriously believe that a pro-Israeli Chicago/Strauss/Bloom product such as Wolfowitz could care less about democracy in Iraq? Or for that matter anyone in the Bush Jr. administration? After they stole the 2000 presidential election from the American People in Florida and before the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court, some of whom were Feddies? (17) Justice Clarence Thomas is a Straussian to boot. (18)

At the behest of its Straussian Neo-Con Political Science Department, in 1979 the entire University of Chicago went out of its way to grant the"first Albert Pick Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Understanding" to Robert"Mad Bomber" McNamara. (19) In other words, the University of Chicago itself maliciously strove to rehabilitate one of the greatest international war criminals in the post-World War II era. (20) Do not send your children to the University of Chicago where they will grow up to become warmongers like Wolfowitz or totalitarians like Ashcroft! The University of Chicago is an intellectual and moral cesspool.


1.    See, e.g., Rahul Mahajan, Full Spectrum Dominance 108 (2003).

2.    Shadia B. Drury, The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (1988); Leo Strauss and the American Right (1999). See also Alain Frachon & Daniel Vernet, The Strategist and the Philosopher: Leo Strauss and Albert Wohlstetter, Le Monde, April 16, 2003, translated into English by Norman Madarasz on Counterpunch.org., June 2, 2003.

3.    See also David Brock, Blinded by the Right (2002).

4.    George E. Curry & Trevor W. Coleman, Hijacking Justice, Emerge, October 1999, at 42; Jerry M. Landay, The Conservative Cabal That's Transforming American Law, Washington Monthly, March 2000, at 19; People for the American Way, The Federalist Society (August 2001); Institute for Democracy Studies, The Federalist Society and the Challenge to a Democratic Jurisprudence (January 2001).

5.    Francis A. Boyle, Bush's Banana Republic, Counterpunch.org, Oct. 11, 2002.

6.    Francis A. Boyle, Biowarfare, Terror Weapons and the U.S.: Home Brew?, Counterpunch.org, April 25, 2002.

7.    See Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (2003), at 5 et seq.

8.    See Chomsky on Miseducation (Donald Macedo ed. 2000).

9.    Francis A. Boyle, Take Sharon to The Hague, Counterpunch.org, June 6, 2002.

10.    White House Press Release, President Discusses the Future of Iraq, Washington Hilton Hotel, Feb. 26, 2003.

11.    Nasser H. Aruri, Dishonest Broker, 193-216 (2003). See also Tanya Reinhart, Israel/Palestine (2002); Cheryl A. Rubenberg, The Palestinians (2003).

12.    Norman Solomon, The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media (1999); Noam Chomsky, Media Control (1997).

13.    Seymour M. Hersh, Selective Intelligence, New Yorker, May 8, 2003; Michael Lind, The Weird Men Behind George W. Bush's War, New Statesman - London, April 7, 2003; Julian Borger, The Spies Who Pushed for War, The Guardian, July 17, 2003.

14.    Machiavelli, The Prince 147 (M. Musa trans. & ed. 1964):". . . and men are so simple-minded and so dominated by their present needs that one who deceives will always find one who will allow himself to be deceived." This Bilingual Edition of The Prince by Mark Musa was the one preferred by Joseph Cropsey to teach us students.

15.    But see Lawrence W. Levine, The Opening of the American Mind (1996).

16.    Between the Lines, University of Chicago Magazine, June 2003, at 54

17.    Vincent Bugliosi, The Betrayal of America (2001); Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy 11-81 (2003).

18.    Gerhard Sporl, The Leo-Conservatives, Der Spiegel, Aug. 4, 2003.

19.    McNamara Receives Pick Award Amid Protests, University of Chicago Magazine, Summer 1979, at 4.

20.    Noam Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot (1993); Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect (1995).

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Why It's So Peaceful in Canada (posted 9-24-03)

Clifford Krauss, wriing in the NYT (September 24th, 2003):

Gay marriage is the most contentious issue to emerge on the Canadian political scene since Quebec threatened to secede in 1995. Opinion polls show it cuts a fissure across class, age, regions, gender and religious lines -- a recipe for sharp discord in most societies, rich or poor. But this is Canada, a country that has never suffered a revolution or civil war, where compromise, consensus and civility are the most cherished political values.

Even Quebec has quieted down, with the federalist Liberals easily defeating the separatist Parti Quebecois in a provincial election last spring.

Some social scientists believe Canada is merely going through a serene pause, pointing to loud debates in the 1970's, 80's and 90's over Quebec sovereignty and free trade with the United States. But most historians say the current calm is more the rule and the preceding sometimes noisy period the exception. They note that while America's founding documents are based on the principle of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Canada's Constitution celebrates "peace, order and good government."

While the modern nations of the New World were mostly born out of revolution, Canada was born out of a fear of revolution. Modern Canada is built on a series of deals negotiated by lawyers in the 19th and 20th centuries to build a consensus among disparate provinces to join in a confederation loosely governed by a weak central government.

The root of Canada's consensual ways, historians note, is the long uneasy relationship between French-speaking and Catholic Quebec and the rest of Canada, which is predominantly Engli