"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

That Other Church

Let's face it: Secularism is a religion. Let's treat it as such.

A 2004 survey of religion and politics revealed a religious minority that constitutes at least 7.5 percent of the American population. It referred to this informal denomination as "Secular."

Sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the poll shows the fairly uniform political orientation of secularists: Only 21 percent regard themselves as politically conservative. A large majority, 79 percent, favor what the survey terms "gay rights" and support legal abortion.

For each element in the Judeo-Christian family of faiths, secularism has its counterpart: a strict ethical code, albeit focusing on health issues ("Thou shalt not smoke," etc.); the use of shame when individuals disregard ethical rules (e.g. fat people); a related promise of eternal life through medical advances; a creation story (Darwinian evolution); and so forth. All that's missing is a deity, but not every religion has one, as the case of Zen Buddhism attests.

The secular church is populous and dynamic, with a membership far exceeding that figure of 7.5 percent. Many individuals who identify nominally as Jews or Christians in fact are devout secularists.

All this would be fine—after all, America is a big country with plenty of room for every spiritual predilection—but for the tendency of secularists to use aggressive means in advancing their political agenda and spreading their faith.

Consider state education, where the secular church has ensured that its creation account alone be taught. According to the Discovery Institute, Ohio, Minnesota, and New Mexico are exceptions to this rule, now requiring students to know about scientific evidence critical of Darwinian evolution. Everywhere else, evangelism for this secular doctrine is a staple of 10th-grade biology class.

The prejudice on behalf of the secular faith emanating from the media is likewise hard to ignore. HBO's Bill Maher, raised Catholic but later converted to a harsh secularism, is among the frankest of news and entertainment industry figures in his contempt for competing religions, notably Christianity. The host of Real Time with Bill Maher speaks of himself as "spreading the anti-gospel."

Americans outside the secular fold need to develop responses to the encroachments of secularism in the public square. Mutual understanding is key. Many secularists live in isolated enclaves (Beverly Hills, San Francisco, certain New York City neighborhoods, etc.) with few members of other faiths present. Some sort of interfaith dialogue, matching representatives of secularism with believing Jews, Christians, and members of other religions, would do some good.

But it's not the entire solution. So that everyone can know where everyone else stands, it's time to start identifying the secular faithful as such. The word Secular should be capitalized, indicating a distinctive philosophical orientation. So, just as Mel Gibson is always referred to as a Catholic filmmaker, Michael Moore should be identified as a Secular one.

The influence of Secular institutions on education needs to be reexamined. Young children are plainly being targeted for conversion to Secularism, whether in schools or otherwise. The Anti-Defamation League—a group that is Jewish only in the sense that bagels are Jewish—has been advocating a reading list of books for children of kindergarten age through sixth grade. While the emphasis is ostensibly on "anti-bias education," any child who takes to heart the message of these books would be adopting, among other things, a bias in favor of the Secular teaching on homosexuality.

Two of the recommended books, for third-graders and under, are Gloria Goes to Gay Pride ("A young girl participates in the Gay Pride Day parade," as the ad's website summarizes the book) and My Two Uncles ("A young child's grandfather has trouble accepting the fact that his son is gay"). This amounts to targeting kids for conversion to the Secular teaching on homosexuality. Incidentally, "targeting for conversion" is what the ad charges that Christian missionaries want to do to Jews.

Finally, since raising public awareness is the best way to counter conversionary efforts, it would be helpful if a nonprofit organization were established to educate the citizenry about the tendency of the Secular Church to overstep that precious line that is supposed to keep our public institutions free of undue church influence. Such an organization would be dedicated to protecting American civil liberties. You could call it the American Civil Liberties Union.

Oh wait, no, that's taken.

David Klinghoffer is a columnist for the Jewish Forward. His new book, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History (Doubleday), will be published in March.

Copyright © 2005 Christianity Today

Seymour Melman, 86, Dies; Spurred Antiwar Movement

Seymour Melman, a Columbia University scholar who helped galvanize the antiwar movement from the 1950's on with analyses of the social costs of military spending, died on Dec.16 at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.

The cause appeared to be an aneurysm, said Benjamin Abrams, his research assistant.

Dr. Melman, an economist who taught industrial engineering at Columbia, was a leading advocate of disarmament for nearly half a century. He opposed nuclear weapons almost from their inception and he opposed the current war in Iraq.

A longtime co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, he emphasized arguments that military spending diverted resources from health care, public housing and education.

In speeches, editorials, scholarly articles and close to a dozen books, he criticized the stockpiling of nuclear weapons and maintained that the United States and the Soviet Union were draining their economies for little more than the ability to destroy each other hundreds of times over. He popularized the use of the word "overkill" to describe the buildup. "Isn't 1,250 times overkill enough?" he wrote in a 1964 letter to The New York Times. "Since the Soviets by similar calculation can overkill the United States only 145 times, are we to believe that any advantage exists here for either side?"

He rebutted a post-World War II argument that war drove the economy, maintaining that the opposite was true and that other factors helped pull the country out of the Depression.

In his 1974 book, "The Permanent War Economy," he composed a long list of military trade-offs. The money spent on one Huey helicopter, he said, could buy 66 low-priced homes, while a recent $69 million reduction in child-nutrition programs represented the cost of two DE-1052 destroyer escorts. He added, "To eliminate hunger in America = $4-5 billion = C-5A aircraft program."

"His work changed the debate in the peace movement to much broader issues," said Marcus Raskin, a founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal research institute, and an adviser to the National Security Council in the Kennedy administration.

Professor Melman's arguments appealed to a wide spectrum, attracting unions like the United Automobile Workers and the Machinists Union as well as public advocates like Ralph Nader, who yesterday described Prof. Melman's studies as "prescient for decades."

Noam Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and antiwar activist, said Dr. Melman helped mobilize what once was weak and scattered resistance to war and other military operations.

"The country is a lot different than it was 30 to 40 years ago, and he had a big role in that," Mr. Chomsky said. "There's much more widespread opposition to the diversion of resources to military production, to the use of force in international affairs, to nuclear development."

Dr. Melman became an authority on a process called "economic conversion," the retooling of arms factories and military bases for civilian purposes. He outlined such plans in "The Demilitarized Society" (1988) and "Rebuilding America" (1992). He advised the United Nations on the possibilities of economic conversion from 1979 to 1980, and from 1988 on, he was chairman of The National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament.

Seymour Melman was born in the Bronx on Dec. 30, 1917. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from College of the City of New York in 1939.

After serving in the United States Army during World War II, he received a doctorate in economics from Columbia, where he was later chairman of the industrial engineering department.

His books on military spending include "Our Depleted Society" (1965), "Pentagon Capitalism" (1970) and "Profits Without Production" (1983).

His more recent books, including "After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Economy" (2001), describe the potential of employee self-management, an idea that interested him for decades. As a young man, he briefly lived on a kibbutz in Israel, and later in his career participated in studies and meetings on the productivity of such collective settlements.

Dr. Melman is survived by a brother, Myron, of Rehovot, Israel. His marriage to JoAnne Medalie ended in divorce.

Jennifer Bayot
The New York Times

Merry Christmas!

Have you ever wondered how we got our Nativity? The Gospels give us the beloved story of Christ's birth, of course. But who started the tradition of placing crèches on the fireplace mantel or coffee table? When did churches start dramatizing Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, or choirs begin singing the angels' praises in the "shepherds' fields?"

For that we have to thank St. Francis, that remarkable 13th-century Italian friar best known for his love of animals and commitment to simple living.

The story goes that a woodcarver, embittered by his daughter's blindness, declared he would have nothing to do with a God "who condemns innocent children to darkness." He stopped going to church, and refused to make anything that would bring glory to God. But out of love for his girl, he consented to carve a doll for her as a Christmas present (even though he no longer had reason to celebrate).

Yet his wife continued to believe the gospel message, and when St. Francis came to town, she went to listen to him preach. She wondered at the friar's extraordinary peace and gentleness, yet no amount of pleading could convince her husband to go with her. Until Christmas Eve, that is, when she stole her husband's doll and took it to Francis, who had set upon the idea of creating a nativity but needed a baby Jesus.

The carver discovered the theft, and realizing what his wife had done, headed for the friar's church. But upon finding his wife, he stood transfixed, for around his carved doll the friar with animals gathered round, singing the ageless story of the birth of our Savior. And the carver's bitterness melted away. Francis approached him, gripping his shoulder. "You wondered if God could cure blindness? Well, we are watching him do it, are we not?"

This Christmas season, many of us have reason to not celebrate—to instead throw our pain in God's face and ask why we should be glad his Son came to earth. But Jesus understands our pain—he endured the greatest suffering any of us could ever imagine. And on this joyous morning, we invite you to walk into that stable, to hear the music of delighted angels, and join in the chorus, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

May you have a blessed Christmas!

From all of us at the ChristianityToday.com team

Abortion-Drug Manufacturer Sued by Parents of Teen Who Died Using RU-486

LIVERMORE, California, December 21, 2004 The parents of Holly Patterson, who died from a RU-486 drug-induced abortion in September 2003, have sued the manufacturer of the drug, along with the abortion provider Planned Parenthood and others for their 18-year-old daughter's death.

Holly died of septic shock -- a blood infection -- a few weeks after receiving the cocktail from a Planned Parenthood Golden Gate abortionist.

Monty and Deborah Patterson's suit asserts that the Mifeprex manufacturer, Danco Laboratories, neglected to warn doctors of potentially serious complications arising from the use of the drug in women. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Alameda County Superior Court, does not specify a specific amount for damages.

The Patterson's attorney, Mark Crawford, said the lawsuit was "filed because there's been some wrongdoing on the part of the drug manufacturer and drug sponsor here in not getting the warning out."

The suit also names Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, who provided Holly with the drug; the group who sponsored development of the drug, New York City-based Population Council; the doctor who treated Holly in the emergency room; and ValleyCare Health System, which operates the Pleasanton hospital where Holly died.

At least three other women have died from RU-486 in North America and at least 13 have required blood transfusions due to excessive blood loss. In 5-8 percent of cases, RU-486 causes severe complications. Danco, the drug's manufacturer, has reported at least 400 adverse events since RU-486 was approved.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America's 2003-2004 Annual Report reveals that they care little for the safety of the women it claims to want to serve. Even after 18-year-old Holly Patterson was killed by complications from an RU-486 abortion at Planned Parenthood, the organization sold the dangerous abortion pill over 95,000 times at 203 of its clinics.

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Planned Parenthood Alone Responsible for Nearly 250,000 US Abortions Last Year

Hospital Failed to Cite Holly Patterson's Death from RU-486 as Unusual

Richard Vigurie and the Destruction of America

Watching Richard Vigurie on NOW, on the night of December 17, 2004 , I was appalled at his glee, his only focus, being on winning for the Republican Party and his power to influence its decisions. Not once did he say anything about “our country,” or “what’s good for America , “ all we saw and heard was his constant gloating about the victories the far right had won since he started his direct-mail campaigning in the 70s. He kept saying he was a “conservative,” but as he and Moyers talked, it became apparent that he, and others in his camp” were, and are, NIHILISTS who don’t care whether they destroy our Bill of Rights, our Constitution, our balance of power between the presidency, the congress and the Supreme Court—so long as they have all the power. As Vigurie spoke, it became apparent that whatever lies helped his side win was fine with him—so long as they won!

When asked about ethics and morality, the only morality he seemed to know about was “victory.” Neither ethics nor morality concerned Vigurie, nor the lives lost in Iraq . Even when Bill Moyers tried to get him to go to other matters, Vigurie’s only criteria was “winning,” and he basically said he didn’t give a damn about how you do it—lies, half-truths and whatever will win was all fine with him. This was most amply illustrated when it came to the factual lies pertaining to Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Moyers brought up the fact that over 40% of the American people, even with all the evidence from the 9/11 Commission and Powell’s statements and other sources, that 40% of the American people still believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This is because of the continued lying by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and their ilk. Vigurie just brushed this off as good politics, nothing to worry about. He thought that was just fine. No moral compunctions about it, no ethical concerns about the lies being perpetrated by Bush, Cheney, Hannity, O’Reilly or Limbaugh.

Then, on the matter of the lies told by the “Swift Boat Veterans,” and the FACT that they never had a shred of evidence to back up their lies attacking John Kerry’s medals, Vigurie’s basic response was that it worked and his candidate, Bush, won. This is a far cry from the Republican Party of General Eisenhower, Russell Kirk and Pat Buchannan. To this day, Buchannan is crying out against some of the neo-con behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed even he has toned down in his criticism of Bush and the neo-cons since he’s become more of a regular on MSNBC, but I’m sure Eisenhower is turning over in his grave. All true conservatives, not those neo-cons parading falsely as conservatives, are upset and must now also take a stand against this immoral Vigurie group of neo-cons and uneducated fundamentalists. The true conservative does not want our Civil Rights, the justice of our court system and our very Constitution to be destroyed as the neo-cons and Vigurie are doing. Vigurie and his type are not protecting America , they are destroying it. Make no mistake about it, they are concerned about their power, not the welfare of America or its citizens. In fact, Vigurie kind of laughs at the general public because he knows that he and his friends in power and in the media can easily manipulate the American public. Hitler’s Goering and his propaganda machine had nothing on these guys. But, we must not forget Conde Rice, who cut her teeth on Vigurie and Limbaugh’s approach, which is to keep misinforming the public and never admit your lies—after a while, the bigger the lie, the more the public will believe you.

With men like Vigurie, Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld in power and influencing our government’s decisions, I fear that we have come the way of Rome near its collapse. Near the end of its world leadership, and this is seen in the writings of Gibbon and other more recent and careful historians, Rome had become dominated by parties that were more concerned with their victories over one another than they were in keeping Rome a leader in the world. Ultimately, when the time of the Huns attack came, the Roman politicians were still wrangling over partisan issues rather than real security issues. They were so concerned with their internal fighting, their parties and their own gain, just as these people are concerned today. You can see that when an attack cat as ignorant and prejudiced, a woman who screams and falsely labels things, like Ann Coulter is allowed to have a major voice on TV and radio and in the newspaper media, you know something is terribly wrong with our society. Just like the Romans, who did respond to the Huns attack before it was too late, our political party leaders are repeating the mistake of the Romans while the world is arming itself against us and our imperial ambitions. We all know how that came out—with the ultimate fall of Rome and its disgrace.

We are no longer a moral leader, we are now seen as corrupt, undemocratic, imperialistic and basically ignorant of others in the world. Men like Vigurie and Bush are part of that same strain of virus—the “me, me, me” and “our party, our party, our party” syndrome. In the meantime, with such allies as Frist in the Senate and Hastert in the House, with Tom DeLay getting away every day with unethical behavior, these men have given up caring about America and its welfare, and its moral and ethical leadership in the world—they are so power-mad that they care about nothing else except themselves and their political party. In the end, this will lead to total disaster for our nation, either from within or from without (more on this later in my article).

Unfortunately, too many in the Democratic Party, are the same—you get the same smell from Joseph Lieberman. Many old line Democrats wonder if he shouldn’t join Zell Miller and put on a Republican jacket. Lieberman, and many of his friends in the Senate and the House, in the DNC and the DLC, have shown that they will rubber stamp almost everything GW Bush wants, rather than standing up for America’s best interests. Senator Fritz Hollings, who just resigned from the Senate said it best in his final speech on the Senate floor and on 60 MINUTES, when he said most of his colleagues as lining up at the trough of big business –rather than taking care of the welfare of our country whether it be at the levels of pharmaceuticals, health care, environment, foreign relations or party dominance. He said, you name it and whatever corruption is possible, our Congress and our president are doing it.

Let’s look at just one major human problem in America —that fact that over 43% of the American people do not have health insurance. This is the highest number in the industrialized world—and yet we spend more on it per person than many others. When one looks at it, it becomes apparent that the power of the pharmaceutical companies and the alleged “non-profits” has become so rampant that it is not the money spent on it, it has to do with the corruption of the structure that does not cover all people under a plan like England, Canada, Sweden and the rest of those who have governments who still care about their people (although Tony Blair is doing all he can to copy the GW Bush and American plan of “let the people be damned, let’s take care of our wealthy friends.”). This disaster can be laid at the feet of the both the Republicans and Democrats—both parties emulate the old football slogan of the 60s, “win at any cost”—the Vigurie formula.

Add to this the most recent “overhaul” of our medical programs and Medicare was voted on in the middle of the night, near the end of the term, and gave the pharmaceutical companies exactly what they wanted. They were allowed to keep their ridiculously high prices, not criticized for all the money spent on TV advertising (60% of their budgets vs

40% being spent on R and D) and all this was to be subsidized by the government—all this rather than doing like Canada and some others by allowing the pharmaceutical companies a decent profit, but setting limits on the prices of drugs. Both of our political parties voted in this disasterous bill and then told the American people they had done something good for them. As time has gone by, the skullduggery behind this bill has become more apparent, but no one is in a hurry to fix it –though it should and must be fixed for the welfare of our country in the long term. The drug benefit card is so confusing and able to be cheated upon by pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies (who can jack up their prices at will, with no redress) that most seniors won’t use the cards. This “overhaul” was nothing but a way to skrew the seniors and others more easily, with federal government (ne, Bush) help.

Let us also take the “war on terror.” This is another tragic farce. Rather than trying to go after Bin Laden and others who were attacking America, Bush decided, with the help of both parties (remember Lieberman & Gebhardt, both standing there, smiling, with Bush) to attack Iraq rather than continuing to look into 9/11 and to deal with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Neither Bush nor the Congress, especially the neo-cons, who are in league with Vigurie and friends, wanted to address the real problem of attacks on America —the ongoing brutalization of Palestinians at the hands of Sharon and Israel .

Instead of trying to solve this problem, Bush put more oil on the fire, as did people like Frist and Hastert and the neo-cons by supporting Sharon and allowing Israel to have carte blanch with American funds, American support at the UN and in world forums, and denying Palestinian rights while Israel kept blowing up homes, hospitals, water plants, electric plants, government offices, universities and schools in Palestine.

Most of the world was appalled and said so,even England became edgy, as much as Blair supported Bush’s “war on terror.” But when it came time at the UN to condemn these illegal and immoral acts, the U.S. made sure that Israel was never censured or condemned—even while it built its own version of the “Berlin Wall” (that continues to this day). This situation has provoked more anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim worlds, because both Arabs and Muslims throughout the world have condemned America ’s continued support for Israel and its bestial policies.

Then add to this the unprovoked attack on Iraq, especially when Iraq had followed the UN mandate and disarmed its major weapons and the UN inspector, Dr Hans Blix, had said that his inspectors had found no WMDs in Iraq and there probably weren’t any and that given a few more months he could ascertain the certainty of the matter. Dr. Baradi of the IAEA said the same thing, that there were no atomic weapons or facilities for producing them in Iraq . Yet, Bush went in, at the urging of the right wing of his party, with the drums of war being beaten by the Vigurie allies, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and their wannabes around the country on talk radio and on cable loudmouth TV—following the Vigurie protocol of “win at all costs, and the hell with the country.” So, we sent our troops in and we have now lost over 1000 of some of our best people—fathers who will never see their young children again, uncles who were retired and spending time with their families, mothers who will never have another child or see their grandchildren and youngsters who will never see life past 18—their lives torn short by this neo-con, Vigurie inspired, “win at all costs” philosophy that led to their deaths—and let us not forget the over 30,000 of our troops who are maimed for life—and the 120,000 Iraqis who have been killed and the thousands more how have been maimed—and all the other Americans and Iraqis who will die from our disposal of Depleted Uranium in the Gulf War II—a toxin much worse than the Agent Orange used in Viet Nam that was, and is, a silent killer for decades unto this day.

In addition, our attacks on Iraq have been seen as an attack on Islam. This attack on Islam has spread into the U.S. itself, with more and more Muslims and Muslim charitable organizations being attacked as being related to “terrorists.” Nothing is further from the truth. Almost all Muslims residing in America are good citizens and would never do anything to hurt our nation. They also give to Muslim charities as Islam calls for. But, for some reason, the neo-cons want to make an “example” of them, and are trying to single them out as the American government singled out the Japanese in WWII. Of course, this administration and our media never speak the truth about Israeli terrorism, or our own U.S. terrorism in the bombing unto rubble of Falluah and other places in Iraq —the finger is always pointed at Arabs and Muslims. Vigurie and the neo-cons like this, because like Goering and the Nazi’s they like to have an internal enemy—during the Hitler era it was the Jews, Poles, Russians and gypsies. In America , these days, it’s the Arabs and Muslims. Who is leading this attack, those same neo-cons who are leading us into disaster after disaster in the world, the neo-con fundamentalist right wing, aided by Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and their ilk.

Finally, the people of the Muslim world, and even some of the leaders who have been in bed with American policies, have begun to stand up and say, “No, you are wrong—99% of the Muslims are peaceful, not angry like Bin Laden, but you are filling the ranks of the radicals by your policies in Palestine and Iraq .” But does Vigurie and the Bush neo-con establishment, or the American media, want to hear this—ABSOLUTELY NOT!

They want to carry on in their own selfish ways—worrying about partisan matters in our Congress, in our White House and the TV and radio channels—they are more concerned about ratings and money flowing into their coffers. Somehow, someone forgot that the people actually own the airwaves, not Fox, not Clear Channel, not Sinclair, not NBC, CBS, PBS and ABC—but with the Powell and the FCC in their pockets—none of these organizations have a care in the world as they lambaste Islam and the Arabs, and humane policies that would help the poor, the homeless and the veterans who are coming home from Iraq with major injuries, not to mention those military people who say they will not go to Iraq as a matter of conscience. We must think of ways of taking these media licenses back so that the lies cannot go on forever and make the Orwellian nightmare even worse. Read 1984 and you’ll see Vigurie and his neo-cons have followed the oppression pattern of the rulers in that novel to a T.

All hail Vigurie and his vigilantes. I’m sure this is not what Eliseo Vivas, Russell Kirk and others who were real “conservatives” had in mind when they wanted a stronger conservative voice in American politics. They wanted to conserve our Constitution, our Civil Rights, our resources, our democracy, our freedom of speech and the right to agree to disagree. Even Richard Buckley, one of the leading conservatives of the last 3 decades has sounded a warning against this “win at all costs” philosophy and Bush’s rampant abuse of power.

Finally, let me make one point clear, as I said in the beginning, a person who wants to win at all costs, even at the expense of his country, is not a conservative—he is a NIHIILIST. I fear that the Vigurie and Bush crowd are naught but nihilists who are leading our nation to destruction. Just look at Dostoyevsky’s, THE POSSESSED, or

THE DEVILS, and you’ll see them for what they are. Do they care? Not so long as they win, win, win. If this continues, and there is no reason think it won’t because the moneyed corporations now own total control of the media, have control of the White House and most of the Congress and because Bush will be allowed to appoint the new Supreme Court Justices this term as some retire, we may lose the America and the Civil Rights and Constitutional Protections we had prior to the Bush presidency.

This puts our nation in a precarious position internally, but externally as well because the Bush behavior has not only made enemies of the Arab and Muslim populaces, but as the neo-cons anger Russia and threaten North Korea and China in the areas of their hegemony, Bush may trigger a larger conflagration that will lead to a major attack on our mainland that will make 9/11 and Pearl Harbor look like child’s play. This is not idle speculation, if you but look at the change in tone from Putin and the leaders of China and North Korea, you can see how they are basically telling America and Bush to butt out of their areas and their interests internationally. Putin has said this with respect to the former Soviet Republics, and now Russia and China have made major new oil and atomic reactor deals with Iran—this in the face of the Bush and neo-con warnings to Iran. The EU will not come to our aid, because aside from Tony Blair, no major power in the EU wants to stand with us in Iraq or in any other conflicts. The EU also knows that the IAEA has already said that Iran is complying with UN resolutions and not violating them—this in the face of U.S. accusations to the contrary. Thus, we have not only lost allies in the world, we have also lost our momentum for cutting back on atomic weapons in the world by our initiatives to create new ones and by supplying Israel with more expertise in this area. Others in the world now say, “If you and Israel and others have them, why shouldn’t we—in order to protect ourselves.” North Korea has said, “When Saddam disarmed, you attacked him. Therefore, why should we trust you and disarm.

America , you cannot be trusted.” China and Russia were both alarmed when Bush wanted to push ahead with his new “missile defense system.” It didn’t work, and may never work, but it does make other countries feel more vulnerable—which leads them to look at us with a wary eye. Especially in light of our foreign policy and our attempts to run the world either by military force or by dark operative behavior in various countries (Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia and now in the Ukraine by supporting the anti-Russian candidate with money, political operatives, media pressure and even organizational help with demonstrations).

What does Vigurie and his crowd have to do with all of this. They are the ones who feel they can not only control America , but by their devious behavior and public campaigning through media lies, that they can control the rest of the world as well. The problem for the Vigurie group and his neo-con friends is that the world has caught on to the game and these other countries can counteract the lies being told from America—something the poor American people cannot do because most of our population is being held captive by a lying media at all levels and are thus easily manipulated to believe the lies rather than seeing that we are living in an Orwellian nightmare like 1984 that gets progressively worse. Thus, as this group tries to ‘win” all over the world, we will lose more of our soldiers in wars in Afghanistan , in Iraq and wherever else we try to send troops.

And, just like the case with resistance from the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis, America and its allies in the world, Israel and England, will find that though they may succeed in their attacks initially, they cannot sustain their forces and eventually, just as America is finding in Afghanistan and Iraq, the native populations will fight back and win in the end. The fighters in Iraq are doing what the Palestinians did to the Israelis, fighting back with primitive and small arms, with roadside bombs and finally with suicide attacks from which there is no defense.

The Iraqis and others will never allow our oppressive forces to say in their land—just as we would never allow an invader to take over our country without resistance unto death. That’s why we experts on the Middle East can’t believe the hubris of the American politicians who believe they can actually get Iraqis to go out and kill their fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins for a few lousy American dollars, America, and the Vigurie’s of the world will find that the whole world does not thirst for the almight dollar and for power the way politicians do in America. There are other values in the world, but the Viguries and the neo-cons are so enamored of power and money that they are blinded to other cultures in the world.

Yes, Vigurie may laugh and smile about his victories in America so far. But in the end, this cannot stand. Some kind of revolution will take place, whether it is started internally or by forces coming in from the outside with enough military power to upset the ruling clique who runs our country, I do not know. But this simple minded, win at any cost, ethnocentrism of Vigurie and his neo-cons will come to an end. My hope that is will be by democratic means, but if the Republicans continue cheating as they have in the last two elections, then the American people and the rest of the world will give up the idea of participatory democracy and the power of voting and turn to other means to change the government, as was heralded by Thomas Jefferson (and you can see it at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC) when he said that when the government no longer represents or responds to the people, they may have to take matters into their own hands.

I hope this doesn’t have to be the case. In this case, I also fault people like Bill Moyers for not just telling Vigurie that he’s wrong, the neo-cons are wrong and they are the real danger to our country. Instead, Moyers just pussy-footed through the interview while Vigurie made a fool of himself and Moyers. Though I shared Moyers upset with Vigurie, there was no reason to just let him off the hook. But that is the problem with too many “liberals, “, they have no guts. They don’t call a louse a louse, a crook a crook, and the thieves who are stealing our country pull every dirty trick in the book and are never called what they are, “traitors to America and to our Constitution!” For shame Bill for not cutting the con-man down.

On the other hand, some of our people are independent and intelligent enough that they will not tolerate this madness forever—even the dumbest of the dumb who voted for Bush this last time may awaken when they see their children, their brothers and sisters, their mothers and uncles and aunts being sacrificed for the Bushian/Republican empire in foreign war. And, when they lose their more of their jobs, then their homes, then their sense of hope—then they may awaken. May it be soon, before it is too late, before we come to a bad and vicious end.

Sam Hamod, Ph.D., edits www.todaysalternativenews.com and writes on international and domestic affairs. He is a former advisor to the State Department, editor of 3rd World News (in Wash, DC) and gadfly in the Menken, I.F. Stone tradition; he wants America to be the best in the world morally and ethically—as a friend to nations, not an enemy or a bully. He is available for lectures; he may be reached at shamod@cox.net

Copyright, Dec. 20, 2004, Sam Hamod.

FBI Agents Complained of Prisoner Abuse, Records Say

Documents obtained by ACLU show continued reports of mistreatment in Iraq and Cuba.

12/21/04 "Los Angeles Times" -- WASHINGTON — FBI agents have lodged repeated complaints of physical and mental mistreatment of prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, saying in reports that military officials have placed lighted cigarettes in detainees' ears and humiliated Arab captives by wrapping Israeli flags around them, according to new documents released Monday.

The FBI records, which are among the latest set of documents obtained by the ACLU in its lawsuit against the federal government, also include instances in which bureau officials said they were disgusted by military interrogators who pretended to be FBI agents as a "ruse" to glean intelligence from prisoners.

The FBI complained that military interrogators had gone beyond the restrictions of the Geneva Convention that prohibit torture; the agents cited Bush administration guidelines that permit the use of dogs and other techniques to harass prisoners.

The records disclosed Monday are the second set in which FBI officials objected to military detention practices, and are notable because some instances occurred after revelations this year of prisoner abuses at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Earlier this month, the ACLU released records in which FBI agents complained about prisoner abuse in 2002. The new records show FBI complaints have continued through 2004. In each case, the names of the agents were removed before the records were released.

FBI officials participate in interrogations at military prisons and lockups as part of the bureau's counterterrorism duties. FBI agents have been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Iraq.

"We know what's permissible for FBI agents but are less sure what is permissible for military interrogators," the FBI's "on-scene commander-Baghdad" complained to his bureau colleagues in May. "We cannot have our [FBI] personnel embedded with military units abroad, which regularly use these interrogation techniques."

Another unidentified FBI agent told his superiors in July that he had witnessed military interrogators and government contract employees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay using "aggressive treatment and improper interview techniques" on prisoners.

"I did observe treatment that was not only aggressive, but personally very upsetting," he said.

At the Pentagon, Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, a military spokesman, said the Defense Department would have no comment about the FBI records or the administration guidelines that were the subject of complaints by agents.

The FBI agents referred to what they described as a new executive order on prisoner treatment by President Bush. They described the order as allowing interrogation tactics that were forbidden for FBI agents. The records did not include a copy of the Bush order, or make clear exactly when it was signed. Pentagon officials would not comment on whether there was any new order.

According to FBI officials, the Bush order approved interrogation tactics that included "sleep deprivation and stress positions," as well as "loud music, interrogators yelling at subjects and prisoners with hoods on their heads."

Earlier this year, White House documents and legal memos outlined the administration's legal view that enemy combatants were not strictly prisoners of war, and that therefore the Geneva Convention might not always apply in the post-Sept. 11 war against terrorism. Iraqi detainees always have been considered POWs.

Nevertheless Jameel Jaffer, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, maintained that "the methods that the Defense Department had adopted were illegal, immoral and counterproductive."

He added that the ACLU, which has been obtaining detention records under a lawsuit it filed against the federal government, finds it "astonishing that these methods appear to have been adopted as a matter of policy by the highest levels of government."

In many of the records released Monday, FBI officials expressed repulsion upon learning that military interrogators posed as FBI agents in their interviews with prisoners.

They said they had learned the "ruse" was approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and that it had an adverse effect on obtaining "cooperation" from prisoners.

In one instance, an FBI official told his superiors in a December 2003 e-mail that impersonation "tactics have produced no intelligence." The official added that these techniques actually "have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee."

The FBI official added: "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, [Defense Department] interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators. The FBI will be left holding the bag before the public."

Another FBI official, who worked in the bureau's counterterrorism division and was assigned to Guantanamo Bay, wrote in a July 2003 memo that military interrogators often interrupted efforts underway by FBI agents.

"Every time the FBI established a rapport with a detainee, the military would step in and the detainee would stop being cooperative," the FBI official wrote. "The military did not stop the interviews while they were in progress but routinely took control of the detainee when the interview was completed.

"The next time that detainee was interviewed, his level of cooperation was diminished," the official said.

Many agents assigned to Iraq and Cuba reported witnessing incidents of abuse by military units or civilian contractors.

In a June "urgent report" to the FBI director from the Sacramento field office, for example, a supervising special agent described abuses such as "strangulation, beatings, placement of lighted cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings and unauthorized interrogations."

The supervisor added that some military officials "were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses."

In other instances, a female prisoner "indicated she was hit with a stick," according to a memo from May 2003.

In July, Army criminal investigators were reviewing "the alleged rape of a juvenile male detainee at Abu Ghraib prison." It was not clear whether the incident was related to a previous report of a boy who was raped by a contractor.

Other agents gave more details of alleged abuses.

In a June instance, an agent from the Washington field office reported that an Abu Ghraib detainee complained he was cuffed and placed into an uncomfortable physical position that the military called "the Scorpion" hold. Then, the prisoner told the FBI, he was doused with cold water, dropped onto barbed wire, dragged by his feet and punched in the stomach.

An FBI official in a July 30 e-mail message described an incident at Guantanamo Bay that he found bothersome: "I saw a detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe flashing."

He said the captive was in the custody of military officials at the time.

"Such techniques were not allowed nor approved by FBI policy," the agent wrote.

One FBI report said a Guantanamo Bay detainee in May 2002 was spat upon and then beaten when he tried to protect himself. At one point, soldiers apparently were "beating him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor," knocking him unconscious, the report said.

Another agent reported in August that while in Cuba he often saw detainees chained hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor, "with no chair, food or water."

"Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left for 18 to 24 hours or more," the agent wrote.

Sometimes, he reported, the room was chilled to where a "barefooted detainee was shaking with cold."

Other times, he said, the air-conditioning was turned off and the temperature in the unventilated room rose to well over 100 degrees.

He said one detainee "was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

The FBI documents also included a report of a prisoner in Cuba whose legs were injured and who said he had lied about being a terrorist out of fear that the U.S. military would otherwise have his legs amputated.

"He indicated he was injured severely and in a lot of pain," the FBI documents said, yet the prisoner constantly was being asked whether he had attended a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. The agent wrote that the prisoner "stated he wanted to receive decent medical treatment, and felt the only way to get it was to tell the Americans what they wanted to hear."

Richard A. Serrano
Times Staff Writer

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

The End Of Warfare

Against the most heavily armed opponent in the history of War, Fallujah has still not let itself be "taken" to date. The mightiest military machine in history has met its match. A turning point in military affairs? The end of warfare, as practiced by the Americans - the application of overwhelming force to obtain a victory?

AbhayY Mehta

12/20/04 "Outlook India" -- Fallujah per se, on the face of it, is not a strategic or a militarily significant target. It however represents the "great challenge" to the US/UK's military occupation of Sovereign Iraq since April 2003.

In the first siege of Fallujah in April 2004, the Iraqi Resistance inflicted a severe defeat on the Americans. In April 2004, while over 1,200 Iraqis were killed, blown up, burnt or shot alive by the Americans — two thirds of them civilians, mostly women and children — while 2,000-pound bombs were falling on the the city, AC-130 Spectre gunships were demolishing entire city blocks in less than a minute and of course silence of the plop as Iraqis targeted by Marine snipers hit the ground, nonetheless the operative portion remains - The Marines were beaten back in no uncertain terms. This was followed by a "truce".

The truce did not hold for very long.

This humiliation of the American military was spun as a "strategic retreat" but the desire to get rid of the "weeping sore that Fallujah was" has been on top of the US agenda since then. Fallujah represented a "stellar act of defiance" one that allowed the resistance to "actually secure and control a city, and to beat off the US military"

The second formal large scale assault on Fallujah (Nov./Dec 2004) pitted images of the world's most powerful military force against fighters in tennis shoes, wielding homemade rocket launchers. There were three declared tactical objectives. The first was to either kill or capture the Jordanian born "terrorist" "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" (if indeed he exists) and to "battle and destroy some 4000 to 5000 suspected fighters". The Americans also vowed to "liberate" the residents of Fallujah from "criminal elements" and to "secure Fallujah" for the January elections. Lastly, it appears an additional declared tactical/political objective of the American Military's task was to engage in a "fight of good versus evil". Additionally it appears (presumably per their intelligence reports) that the mission also was to "destroy" "Satan" since it appears that "he lives in Fallujah"

On the face of it, it appears as if none of these tactical/military objectives have been met, including, it appears, the desire to presumably meet Mr Satan, resident of Fallujah.

As for the other very laudable and rationally quantifiable objectives including that of stuffing democracy into a city by simply obliterating it, all of these seem to be a bit astray.

48 hours into the offensive, the official narratives were filled with reports that Zarqawi (if indeed such a entity exists) may have "slipped outside" of their perimeter defenses.
This of course left Mr "Satan" still in residence together with the rest of the unfortunate inhabitants of the "militant stronghold". The city of 300,000 residents had perhaps an estimated 40,000 civilians left per the US military. Since this estimated number included 5000 resident "militants", one can presume that the rest (per the US military) would be civilians –

The actual civilian count remaining in the city on the 8th of November is around around 60,000 to as much as 100,000 since males between the ages 16 and 60 were disbarred by the US military from leaving the city.

One can also infer the most vulnerable--the poor, the old, the women, children and the sick--continued to reside in their city in significant numbers — of the order of 40,000+

With the "target softening" bombing raids that killed a few hundred civilians in the first week of November, the first formal target of the US military armored assault was doctors and the nurses. These were the first to be eliminated as these were "legitimate military target" and since "insurgents" were "forcing the doctors there to release propaganda and false information".

The assault has left as many as 10,000 civilian dead--perhaps much much more . The Red Cross/Red Crescent estimate was upwards of 6000 as of November 25th). Till date no formal Red Cross/Red Crescent operation has been allowed in the city.

What the images of Phantom Fury did not convey is that this assault is the largest concentration of heavy armour in one place, since the fall of Berlin. This was the first time since World War II that "an American armored task force" has been turned "loose in a city with no restrictions".

More to the point, the force of as much as 20,000 soldiers (12,000 to 17,000 American/coalition soldiers, about 2000 odd Iraqi "National guards" and perhaps 1000 odd peshmergas) were supported by an estimated 1100 to as much as 2000 armored vehicles and tanks. Air support was largely carrier based out of the gulf and B-52's from bases outside of Iraq.

The armor alone represents the heaviest ever concentration of armor since the fall of Berlin (1945) in one place against a single military objective.

Phantom Fury was officially underway on the 8th of November and declared to be a sweeping victory on or about the 15th of November.

Thereafter the military communiqués and the press reports have been limited to occasional deaths in the "Anbar province". That all of Fallujah is under "coalition" control since then i.e on or about November 15th 2004. Since then detailed stories on Fallujah in the official narrative have stopped completely or refer to action/discoveries between the 8th and the 19th of November 04.

There is no evidence of what has transpired save intermittent but very very regular losses attributed to "pockets of resistance" in the "Anbar Province". And, yes, reportage on the brand new movie on Fallujah starring Harrison Ford.

Now for a moment, consider the substantive anomalies in the official discourse. Consider one such example- Satellite Imagery of Fallujah (block by block including "after action") available to the media till the 15th of November and carried in graphic detail day by day from the 8th of Nov. through the 15th stopped abruptly. There are no explanations.

There are no satellite pictures of Fallujah available in the public domain after November 15th.

Or consider that the Red Cross/Red crescent has not been allowed to enter the city in any substantive manner. Today is the 20th of Dec and it has still not been allowed.

Or consider another break in the regular stream of consciousness. No reporter has set foot in the city or after the 22nd of November.

A "Great Victory" like this and no footage?

These anomalies are noteworthy. Therefore it is very unclear whether this is indeed the case or as a matter of fact, the converse is indeed the case.

Fallujah has not been taken. Not only has Fallujah not been taken, but the coalition forces have staged several retreats and are now confined largely to the outside of the city.

The Iraqi resistance is currently in control of most of the city and have forced back at least three of the largest armored assaults in recent history.

In fact, one can make a claim that this was the largest series of armored assault ever. The objective is 16 sq km and if one were to normalise over time and term for incremental intensity in firepower that this represents, then these are historically unprecedented. Now if these were not only repulsed, but perhaps defeated, it leads to something that ought to be ezxamined more carefully.

Despite being flattened (perhaps about 12,000 to as much as 20,000 homes out of an estimated 50,000 razed) by the application of, as US Army Gen. John Abizaid put it, "more military power per square inch than anybody else on earth".

Curiously, the US general then very very strangely goes on to add: "If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily."

Oh. Let me contemplate the nuclear capability of the US. Never mind. It is a bore.


The General also said, when talking about generating "more military power per square inch than anybody else on earth".that "every one knows it". Oh. The words of the General--the mightiest general of them all--Commander Centom, do not appear to have been heard. At least, the Iraqi resistance has not heard them.

The mightiest military machine ever in world history with the mightiest firepower the world has ever seen has been mightily trying to capture Fallujah. But no luck so far.

Instead the Americans faced an opposition that broke the back of the assault. Instead of "breaking bone by bone" and crushing "the backbone of the insurgents", it seems to appear that the same has been done unto them as they were planning to do unto the resistance.

At the peak of the assault, the Americans held no more than 35-40% of Fallujah (largely the north on or around the 18th of November.) Thereafter, they appear to have been steadily repulsed and in fact the coalition forces currently have been repulsed to where they were on November 13th or thereabouts and to the outskirts of Fallujah.

Now consider the fate of the rest of the occupation. It is in tatters. The mightiest military in the world cannot control a 8 km stretch of road, perhaps the single most important road in all of Iraq – the Airport Road from the center of Baghdad to the airport. The purported troop concentration is 120 soldiers per km of a open road and despite that the Australian defence minister could not even make it to the green zone and simply flew back from the airport.

Unlike Vietnam, where the American were largely in control of the cities for most parts (save Tet, and even there complete control was not lost), the US/UK garrisons are isolated in the middle of a hostile population.

They cannot even traverse a km or two out of the 'green zone". Their supply convoys have come to a standstill over the last month and a salvage operation of re-supplying by air has started over the last 10-12 days. Air supplies are limited and there is no reason to believe that these can be significant (a max of 400 tonnes a day, slated to rise to 1600 tonnes a day against an estimated minimum 20,000 odd tonnes needed daily to keep a force of 160,000+ fed, watered, armored and resupplied).

The 300 mile long supply line is toast. Well, at least any thing dark, metallic, armored or otherwise. (4000 pounds of armor on a humvee that can carry a max load of 5000 pounds) Can it move? And even that is not helpful – in the words of the great military strategist, Rumsfeld, circa Dec 04, even tanks blow up. Why bother at all?)

Against the most heavily armed opponent in the history of War, Fallujah has still not let itself be "taken" to date (As of 20th Dec, 2004). Falluah and indeed the rest of Iraq post April 2003, heralds "supersymmetrical" warfare and the end of conventional warfare. This represents a turning point in military affairs – the end of warfare--as practiced by the Americans i.e the application of overwhelming force to obtain a victory.

f this is indeed correct (and there is no reason to consider any other alternative) then the Iraqi Resistance's repulsing the assault and indeed the forcing back of the American positions represents not only a turning point in the American occupation of Sovereign Iraq but in fact a turning point in warfare itself.

In fact, it would certainly be one of the greatest military victories in history.

Over the last 30 years since Vietnam, the normative amount of explosive power and force multipliers available to the Americans and their opponents (compared to say the North Koreans in the 50's, the NVA in the 60s) has normalised and in fact are comparable if one were to factor in the context in which the firepower is used and deployed.

The 'normalisation" of firepower on a level playing field- In this case, Fallujah, or for that matter the rest of Iraq, is noteworthy.

Consider one such example. A RPG 7 can travel up to 300/700/950 meters. At 300 meters, even a basic warhead can penetrate 330 mm of steel armor. Yes, 33 cms, 13 inches--that is a lot of steel. The projectile would cost perhaps $30-40. Conservatively, a squad of 3 armed with RPG-7s have more than a fighting chance against a M1 Abrams. In close urban quarters, the advantage that the tank had (in say open ground in a conventional war) is completely lost.

The cost/personnel advantage is noteworthy. With minimal or no training, just about any one can operate a RPG. A squad of say 3 would cost perhaps no more than $5000 to equip. Against this, the M1 Abrams ("the mightiest tank", 70 odd tonnes of steel, a few million a pop).

Now consider the mightiest Gun in the West against the rookie squad of three. Throw in a street. Add cover (even rubble will do, in fact quite nicely, thank you)-

Even odds?

Now consider for a moment. Consider a force of say a few thousand men — the best in the business and certainly the bravest men on the face of this planet--say no more than 3000, anything more and it would be one sided. 3000 against 12,000 to 20,000 sounds about right)

Now add ingenuity, intelligence and passion and a good reason to be very very angry. Throw in a just cause. In fact, the "most just cause of all".

Now consider that these are equipped with only say RPG 7s as well as say RPG 9s, a few dozen Strellas, a few thousand modified versions of the S5K rocket, basic antiaircraft guns, a few hundred tonnes of say c4/semtex (it is quite cheap), a few thousand fin stabilised rockets (52 mm to 152 mm), basic artillery and mortar (say 60mm, 82mm, and 120mm shells), a few SAMs (say SAM7 and SAM 9), a few thousand grad rockets, faithful ole Kalasnikovs, a few hundred sniper rifles with say .50 mm explosive ammo. It may also be possible that few Samud and Abgail missiles (range of 100 km) are available.These are not very large missiles. Add a few more, nothing fancy again--say, the Tariq and Katyusha, very very basic indeed).

There is more, but you get the idea. Not very state of the art weapons, far from it. But very very functional. Now, consider the sheer amount of counter offensive power these represent

Add to that pre-prepared defensive positions, not very fancy for sure but very functional and very very functional minefields with a variety of triggers. Throw in, the "most ingenious" booby traps ever.

Add the Iraqi resistance--the bravest of the brave--operating these. Well now, it is state of the art. The State of the Art of Urban Warfare.

Oh yes, And yes, how can I forget toys. Well, one needs to buy those since "remote controls from toys" (Well at least as per the American Military) are a primary trigger in IEDs

So we add a few 10s of dollars per toy car and remote kit, say from your local K-mart.K-mart?. Turns out that an army cannot be equipped from K-mart to quote the great military tactician Rumsfeld once again, circa early Dec 04). Also turns out Centcom claims that they cannot jam these (circa Dec 04,)

It does appear that we have a problem here. Toy remotes. Rather sad, would you not say? Coming from the second in command of the Mightiest Super powers' mightiest command.Beam me up, Scotty.

Now pit against them a "superpower" that has already spent 150 billion of declining currency for sure but buys plenty still. Do not forget to add 450 billion recurring every year. Hey it can buy anything but armor). Add another 100 billion on the cards (Jan 04).

But this does not help.

Short of using a neutron or a nuclear bomb (the Americans did use chemical weapons in Fallujah), despite all efforts, what the Americans have been able to achieve is relatively little, if anything at all, even in the best case estimates of the official narrative.

45 days and going on and on and on and on.

Oh, oh, but, but, but we took Baghdad in 21 days.

45 days for 16 sq kms.....

The opposing American army in this case has not been able to be actually "take" them out. Never mind control or physically occupying 16 sq kms.

In fact, even a neutron bomb would not be militarily significant. You need to "take" it and keep it and keep on keeping it and keep on and on and on....

And they have not. They will not. They cannot

The limits of raw firepower have been reached and no matter what (2000 pound bombs to container cluster bombs to the new "large Abrams" tank. Oh well, if not a RPG7, a RPG9 or two will do the trick, thank you), the American military objective is no longer possible.

Shoulder-held surface to air weapons limit the role of armored copters. In fact there are several 'copter graveyards in and around Fallujah. Big ones. Some of them are quite near the tank killing fields. Yes, several hundred armored vehicles resting, not quite in peace but hey...

Close air support is not feasible on account of the proximity of "friendlies". Savage bombing without limits does not help.

The war in the former Yugoslavia is a case in point. Despite 72 days of non stop bombing, it is now (post facto) a conceded position that the opposing side lost no more than 5-10% of their military hardware. (The loss was political, but that is another story.)

Now consider an entirely different narrative. Of the the land between the two rivers, of your ancestors and my ancestors, of the fountainheads of civilisation, of Sumer, Ur, Mesopotamia, of Lions, of Hummurabi, of Salah al Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub and much much more.

And yes, a place. Called Fallujah. But, say, about 84 years ago

And now add to the narrative, parts of the present: a unilaterally disarmed opponent (remember the tizzy circa late march 03 about night vision equipment? Night vision? Never mind state of the art SAMs and Kornets. The sanctions? Oh what were they?)

Now add 25 million men, women and children – the richest denizens on this planet (Yes the richest. In every sense. As the very inheritors of civilisation it self. Or in a more mundane sense with 300 billion+ barrels of oil, an average Iraqi's garbage would be reconstructing the streets of Manhattan in a fairer world (the Americans have in contrast 22.5 billion barrels left), and, yes, the bravest. And the most suffering on the face of this planet

Add to that the Story of Fallujah (circa late 2004). Then perhaps you will not be so astonished to hear what appear to be strange words to your ears.

For these are Iraqi words. Yes, Iraqi. Dated 10th of December 2004

"The enemy is on the run.They are in fear of a resistance movement they can not see nor predict.We, now choose when, where, and how to strike. And as our ancestors drew the first sparks of civilization, we will redefine the word 'conquest'. Today we write a new chapter in the arts of urban warfare"

The Iraqi resistance has put an end to "the end of history". A new history is being written.Yes indeed it has been written.Not just another chapter but an entirely new book. One may see the the beginning of the great American retreat across the oceans, if they are lucky. Over 50,000 American soldiers have been medically evacuated out of Iraq till Nov. 2004 (interesting number, is it not?).

Yes, there will be a lot lot more lives lost and the endgame's contours are still unclear.

Oh the last line. Yes the last line addressed specifically to one Mr George W. Bush:

"You have asked us to ‘Bring it on’, and so have we. Like never expected. Have you another challenge?"

Yes Indeed, has he another challenge? No, he is a trifle busy, you see. We did try a photo-op on 18th of Dec 2004. We are not fools you see. But no photos.

I wonder why..

Raw unopposed firepower has reached its limits. Never have so few battled against so many in face of overwhelming odds and brought a superpower to its knees. And the nightmare continues.

It is indeed the greatest military victory in history. The self proclaimed mightiest empire that ever was, in fact, turns out to have had the shortest reign ever. This Empire met its match in the land between the two rivers.

Copyright: Outlook India.

It Can Happen Here

In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer – always at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, don't understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions.

Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress two weeks ago moves us closer to an encroaching police state by imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within two years, every American will need a "conforming" ID to deal with any federal agency – including TSA at the airport.

Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don't believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority – all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who don't like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives.

Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?

Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain – anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. If you don't have anything to hide, they ask, what are you so afraid of? The answer is that I'm afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. I'm afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, I'm afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.

Rep. Ron Paul

A Flood of Troubled Soldiers Is in the Offing, Experts Predict

WASHINGTON - The nation's hard-pressed health care system for veterans is facing a potential deluge of tens of thousands of soldiers returning from Iraq with serious mental health problems brought on by the stress and carnage of war, veterans' advocates and military doctors say.

An Army study shows that about one in six soldiers in Iraq report symptoms of major depression, serious anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, a proportion that some experts believe could eventually climb to one in three, the rate ultimately found in Vietnam veterans. Because about one million American troops have served so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon figures, some experts predict that the number eventually requiring mental health treatment could exceed 100,000.

"There's a train coming that's packed with people who are going to need help for the next 35 years," said Stephen L. Robinson, a 20-year Army veteran who is now the executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, an advocacy group. Mr. Robinson wrote a report in September on the psychological toll of the war for the Center for American Progress, a Washington research group.

"I have a very strong sense that the mental health consequences are going to be the medical story of this war," said Dr. Stephen C. Joseph, who served as the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs from 1994 to 1997.

What was planned as a short and decisive intervention in Iraq has become a grueling counterinsurgency that has put American troops into sustained close-quarters combat on a scale not seen since the Vietnam War. Psychiatrists say the kind of fighting seen in the recent retaking of Falluja - spooky urban settings with unlimited hiding places; the impossibility of telling Iraqi friend from Iraqi foe; the knowledge that every stretch of road may conceal an explosive device - is tailored to produce the adrenaline-gone-haywire reactions that leave lasting emotional scars.

And in no recent conflict have so many soldiers faced such uncertainty about how long they will be deployed. Veterans say the repeated extensions of duty in Iraq are emotionally battering, even for the most stoical of warriors.

Military and Department of Veterans Affairs officials say most military personnel will survive the war without serious mental issues and note that the one million troops include many who have not participated in ground combat, including sailors on ships. By comparison with troops in Vietnam, the officials said, soldiers in Iraq get far more mental health support and are likely to return to a more understanding public.

But the duration and intensity of the war have doctors at veterans hospitals across the country worried about the coming caseload.

"We're seeing an increasing number of guys with classic post-traumatic stress symptoms," said Dr. Evan Kanter, a psychiatrist at the Puget Sound veterans hospital in Seattle. "We're all anxiously waiting for a flood that we expect is coming. And I feel stretched right now."

A September report by the Government Accountability Office found that officials at six of seven Veterans Affairs medical facilities surveyed said they "may not be able to meet" increased demand for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Officers who served in Iraq say the unrelenting tension of the counterinsurgency will produce that demand.

"In the urban terrain, the enemy is everywhere, across the street, in that window, up that alley," said Paul Rieckhoff, who served as a platoon leader with the Florida Army National Guard for 10 months, going on hundreds of combat patrols around Baghdad. "It's a fishbowl. You never feel safe. You never relax."

In his platoon of 38 people, 8 were divorced while in Iraq or since they returned in February, Mr. Rieckhoff said. One man in his 120-person company killed himself after coming home.

"Too many guys are drinking," said Mr. Rieckhoff, who started the group Operation Truth to support the troops. "A lot have a hard time finding a job. I think the system is vastly under-prepared for the flood of mental health problems."

Capt. Tim Wilson, an Army chaplain serving outside Mosul, said he counseled 8 to 10 soldiers a week for combat stress. Captain Wilson said he was impressed with the resilience of his 700-strong battalion but added that fierce battles have produced turbulent emotions.

"There are usually two things they are dealing with," said Captain Wilson, a Southern Baptist from South Carolina. "Either being shot at and not wanting to get shot at again, or after shooting someone, asking, 'Did I commit murder?' or 'Is God going to forgive me?' or 'How am I going to be when I get home?' "

When all goes as it should, the life-saving medical services available to combat units like Captain Wilson's may actually swell the ranks of psychological casualties. Of wounded soldiers who are alive when medics arrive, 98 percent now survive, said Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, the Pentagon's deputy director of deployment health support. But they must come to terms not only with emotional scars but the literal scars of amputated limbs and disfiguring injuries.

Through the end of September, the Army had evacuated 885 troops from Iraq for psychiatric reasons, including some who had threatened or tried suicide. But those are only the most extreme cases. Often, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder do not emerge until months after discharge.

"During the war, they don't have the leisure to focus on how they're feeling," said Sonja Batten, a psychologist at the Baltimore veterans hospital. "It's when they get back and find that their relationships are suffering and they can't hold down a job that they realize they have a problem."

Robert E. Brown was proud to be in the first wave of Marines invading Iraq last year. But Mr. Brown has also found himself in the first ranks of returning soldiers to be unhinged by what they experienced.

He served for six months as a Marine chaplain's assistant, counseling wounded soldiers, organizing makeshift memorial services and filling in on raids. He knew he was in trouble by the time he was on a ship home, when the sound of a hatch slamming would send him diving to the floor.

After he came home, he began drinking heavily and saw his marriage fall apart, Mr. Brown said. He was discharged and returned to his hometown, Peru, Ind., where he slept for two weeks in his Ford Explorer, surrounded by mementos of the war.

"I just couldn't stand to be with anybody," said Mr. Brown, 35, sitting at his father's kitchen table.

Dr. Batten started him on the road to recovery by giving his torment a name, an explanation and a treatment plan. But 18 months after leaving Iraq, he takes medication for depression and anxiety and returns in dreams to the horrors of his war nearly every night.

The scenes repeat in ghastly alternation, he says: the Iraqi girl, 3 or 4 years old, her skull torn open by a stray round; the Kuwaiti man imprisoned for 13 years by Saddam Hussein, cowering in madness and covered in waste; the young American soldier, desperate to escape the fighting, who sat in the latrine and fired his M-16 through his arm; the Iraqi missile speeding in as troops scramble in the dark for cover.

"That's the one that just stops my heart," said Mr. Brown. "I'm in my rack sleeping and there's a school bus full of explosives coming down at me and there's nowhere to go."

Such costs of war, personal and financial, are not revealed by official casualty counts. "People see the figure of 1,200 dead," said Dr. Kanter, of Seattle, referring to the number of Americans killed in Iraq. "Much more rarely do they see the number of seriously wounded. And almost never do they hear anything at all about the psychiatric casualties."

As of Wednesday 5,229 Americans have been seriously wounded in Iraq. Through July, nearly 31,000 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom had applied for disability benefits for injuries or psychological ailments, according to the Department Veterans Affairs.

Every war produces its medical signature, said Dr. Kenneth Craig Hyams, a former Navy physician now at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Soldiers came back from the Civil War with "irritable heart." In World War I there was "shell shock." World War II vets had "battle fatigue." The troubles of Vietnam veterans led to the codification of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In combat, the fight-or-flight reflex floods the body with adrenaline, permitting impressive feats of speed and endurance. But after spending weeks or months in this altered state, some soldiers cannot adjust to a peaceful setting. Like Mr. Brown, for whom a visit to a crowded bank at lunch became an ordeal, they display what doctors call "hypervigilance." They sit in restaurants with their backs to a wall; a car's backfire can transport them back to Baghdad.

To prevent such damage, the Army has deployed "combat stress control units" in Iraq to provide treatment quickly to soldiers suffering from emotional overload, keeping them close to the healing camaraderie of their unit.

"We've found through long experience that this is best treated with sleep, rest, food, showers and a clean uniform, if that is possible," said Dr. Thomas J. Burke, an Army psychiatrist who oversees mental health policy at the Department of Defense. "If they get counseling to tell them they are not crazy, they will often get better rapidly."

To detect signs of trouble, the Department of Defense gives soldiers pre-deployment and post-deployment health questionnaires. Seven of 17 questions to soldiers leaving Iraq seek signs of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

But some reports suggest that such well-intentioned policies falter in the field. During his time as a platoon leader in Iraq, Mr. Rieckhoff said, he never saw a combat stress control unit. "I never heard of them until I came back," he said.

And the health screens have run up against an old enemy of military medicine: soldiers who cover up their symptoms. In July 2003, as Jeffrey Lucey, a Marine reservist from Belchertown, Mass., prepared to leave Iraq after six months as a truck driver, he at first intended to report traumatic memories of seeing corpses, his parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey, said. But when a supervisor suggested that such candor might delay his return home, Mr. Lucey played down his problems.

At home, he spiraled downhill, haunted by what he had seen and began to have delusions about having killed unarmed Iraqis. In June, at 23, he hanged himself with a hose in the basement of the family home.

"Other marines have verified to us that it is a subtle understanding which exists that if you want to go home you do not report any problems," Mr. Lucey's parents wrote in an e-mail message. "Jeff's perception, which is shared by others, is that to seek help is to admit that you are weak."

Dr. Kilpatrick, of the Pentagon, acknowledges the problem, saying that National Guardsmen and Reservists in particular have shown an "abysmal" level of candor in the screenings. "We still have a long ways to go," he said. "The warrior ethos is that there are no imperfections."

Scott Shane
The New York Times

Mentioning Christmas in Workplaces Attacked By Political Correctness Across US

The Catholic League has highlighted incidents of anti-Christmas shenanigans at businesses throughout the nation. Commenting on the hostility to the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, Catholic League president William Donohue said, "What bothers these cultural fascists is traditional morality."

"For decades, employees at Time magazine had a Christmas party and looked forward to receiving a Christmas bonus," Donohue explained. "But starting three years ago, the party was banned and so were the Christmas bonuses. This is not to say that bonuses are no longer given-they are-it's just that the dreaded 'C-word' is no longer associated with them. This is progress."

"The University of Alabama's Office of Cultural Diversity recommends that all nativity scenes should be banned because they are 'religion-centered.'" Donohue continued. "The menorah, which is a Jewish religious symbol, is 'fine' because it is really a 'secular' symbol. Employees are also instructed to 'avoid confronting others from different religions about their beliefs.' Failure to do so may result in 'unintentional oppression or hostilities.' They actually said this," reports Donohue.

Even Macy's department store -- famous for its inclusion in the Christmas movie "Miracle on 34th Street", has opted out of using "Merry Christmas" in its greetings, in favor of the meaningless "Happy Holidays" or Seasons Greetings, according to conservative columnist Pat Buchanan.

And the Salvation Army has been kicked out of Target department stores this season, nixing a potential nine million dollars in donations for the hungry and homeless. Target claims the move is because they get requests from all kinds of groups who want to solicit in front of their stores. But the real reason, Buchanan says, is because homosexual activists have petitioned Target to deny the Salvation Army because the Army teaches that homosexuality is sinful.

"If you're looking for an explanation for all this, consider what Arlene Vernon of HrxInc says: employers need to be 'sensitive to the fact that holidays don't make everyone happy,'" Donohue concludes. "If she had any guts, she'd advocate banning Christmas altogether, but that may affect her profits."


New F.B.I. Files Describe Abuse of Iraq Inmates

WASHINGTON - F.B.I. memorandums portray abuse of prisoners by American military personnel in Iraq that included detainees' being beaten and choked and having lit cigarettes placed in their ears, according to newly released government documents.

The documents, released Monday in connection with a lawsuit accusing the government of being complicit in torture, also include accounts by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who said they had seen detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, being chained in uncomfortable positions for up to 24 hours and left to urinate and defecate on themselves. An agent wrote that in one case a detainee who was nearly unconscious had pulled out much of his hair during the night.

One of the memorandums released Monday was addressed to Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, and other senior bureau officials, and it provided the account of someone "who observed serious physical abuses of civilian detainees" in Iraq. The memorandum, dated June 24 this year, was an "Urgent Report," meaning that the sender regarded it as a priority. It said the witness "described that such abuses included strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings and unauthorized interrogations."

The memorandum did not make clear whether the witness was an agent or an informant, and it said there had also been an effort to cover up the abuses. The writer of the memorandum said Mr. Mueller should be aware of what was occurring because "of potential significant public, media and Congressional interest which may generate calls to the director." The document does not provide further details of the abuse, but suggests that such treatment of prisoners in Iraq was the subject of an investigation conducted by the bureau's Sacramento office.

Beyond providing new details about the nature and extent of abuses, if not the exact times or places, the newly disclosed documents are the latest to show that such activities were known to a wide circle of government officials.

The documents, mostly memorandums written by agents to superiors in Washington over the past year, also include claims that some military interrogators had posed as F.B.I. officials while using harsh tactics on detainees, both in Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay.

In one memorandum, dated Dec. 5, 2003, an agent whose name is blanked out on the document expressed concern about military interrogators' posing as F.B.I. agents at the Guantánamo camp.

The agent wrote that the memorandum was intended as an official record of the interrogators' behavior because, "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, D.O.D. interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done by 'F.B.I.' interrogators. The F.B.I. will be left holding the bag before the public." D.O.D. is an abbreviation for the Department of Defense.

Asked about the possible impersonation of F.B.I. agents by military personnel, Bryan Whitman, the deputy Pentagon spokesman, said Monday that "It is difficult to determine from the secondhand description whether the technique" was permissible.

The Pentagon did not offer any fresh reaction to the descriptions of alleged abuse. But it said in response to other recent disclosures that the Defense Department did not tolerate abusive tactics and that some of the allegations contained in such documents were under investigation.

The documents were in the latest batch of papers to be released by the government in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to determine the extent, if any, of American participation in the mistreatment of prisoners. The documents are the most recent in a series of disclosures that have increasingly contradicted the military's statements that harsh treatment of prisoners happened only in limited, isolated cases.

Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the A.C.L.U., said the documents meant that "top government officials can no longer hide from public scrutiny by pointing the finger at a few low-ranking soldiers."

Another message sent to F.B.I. officials including Valerie E. Caproni, the bureau's top lawyer, recounted witnessing detainees chained in interrogation rooms at Guantánamo, where about 550 prisoners are being held.

The agent, whose name was deleted from the document, wrote on July 29, 2004: "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18 24 hours or more."

The agent said that on another occasion, the air-conditioning had been turned up so high that a chained detainee was shivering. The agent said the military police had explained by saying that interrogators from the previous day had ordered the treatment and "that the detainee was not to be moved."

The agent also wrote: "On another occasion, the A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

As in previously released memorandums in the case, F.B.I. officials expressed their deep concerns about seeing the use of interrogation techniques that they are prohibited from using in their own investigations.

The Dec. 5, 2003, memorandum in which an agent frets about the F.B.I. being left "holding the bag," also asserted that the threats and abuses of one detainee did not produce any intelligence that could help thwart an attack. Further, the memorandum said other bureau officials believed that the harsh interrogation techniques would have meant that any chances of prosecuting the individual were destroyed because the evidence would have to be thrown out in court because it was coerced.

The issue of military interrogators' impersonating F.B.I. agents was especially troubling to bureau officials, according to the memorandums, not least because they seem to have been unsuccessful in persuading the military to stop the practice.

Neil A. Lewis and David Johnston
The New York Times

Tuesday 21 December 2004

Global Intelligence Domination

Of all the bad ideas we heard during what passed for a Congressional debate over intelligence reform, none were as awful as a new plan being drawn up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's staff to actually expand the Pentagon's authority over intelligence.

Apparently Mr. Rumsfeld is not satisfied with controlling 80 percent of the intelligence budget, an absurd situation that would have been remedied in the intelligence bill if Congress had not caved in to the Pentagon's lobbying. In this latest power grab, the Defense Department wants to elbow its way into more traditional intelligence gathering, which has been and should be done by the Central Intelligence Agency.

An article in Sunday's Times by Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt reported that a plan was being drafted that calls for the Pentagon to undertake more "human intelligence missions." That's militaryspeak for spying by actual people rather than satellites, often to get specific information sought by civilian policy makers rather than generals. The Pentagon's plan is to focus on terrorist groups and those involved in weapons proliferation.

That would be great for the purposes of expanding Mr. Rumsfeld's empire, but it flies in the face of the rationale behind the intelligence reform bill, and the suggestions from the 9/11 commission that inspired it. The wisdom of the reforms lay in making the nation's spy network more coherent, not more disorganized. It's already a superhuman task to coordinate the C.I.A. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Adding a Pentagon agency could only make it harder to forestall another attack like the one on Sept. 11, 2001.

And there's something even more outlandish on the table: the idea of "fighting for intelligence," or using combat operations chiefly to get intelligence. If this country accepts the idea that military force is justified simply to find out what's on the other side, it opens itself up to a string of potentially disastrous preventive strikes. We've already seen how well that idea worked out when American troops invaded Iraq to find out whether Saddam Hussein really had dangerous weapons.

The American military exists to carry out policies set by the country's civilian leaders. The intelligence community is supposed to provide those same leaders with the best possible information on which to base those decisions. Mixing up those missions is a recipe for disaster.

The last time Mr. Rumsfeld tried to force himself into the intelligence collection and analysis business, he created a boutique C.I.A. in the bowels of the Pentagon under the command of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy. The office essentially fabricated a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden - a link used to justify the Iraq invasion, and one that Mr. Rumsfeld was not getting from the C.I.A.

The person in charge of the new project is Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a deputy under secretary of defense who, while running the failed manhunt for Osama bin Laden, made himself into a national disgrace by parading to church pulpits in his uniform to preach that Islamic terrorists could be defeated only "if we come at them in the name of Jesus." He once said Muslims worship "an idol."

The Times's article said the Pentagon's plans were evolving and had not yet been brought to the president. We hope that means there's still time to avoid this train wreck. But in general, Mr. Bush has not shown much inclination to deny Mr. Rumsfeld what he wants.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who was responsible for putting together an invasion force that was too small and too lightly armed to battle the utterly predictable insurgency in Iraq, has inexplicably survived first the second-term cabinet purge and then harsh criticism from top Republican lawmakers. Just yesterday, Mr. Bush said the bungling defense secretary was doing a "fine job."

NY Times Editorial