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A long read, part 1. This will upset some,(19 posts)

A long read, part 1. This will upset some,sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:23 AM
intrigue others and bore the rest. But, it is germain to much of the discussion threads below.

World War IV
November 16, 2002
Featured Speaker:Â The Honorable James R. Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

I was really quite honored when David asked me a few months ago to be with you this weekend. But, to tell you the truth, in the 34 years I've been in Washington until I went straight this last summer and joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a vice president, I spent the bulk of that time, 22 years, as: A. a lawyer; and B. in Washington D.C.; and, then, I C. spent some time out at the CIA in D. the Clinton Administration. So I'm actually pretty well honored to be invited into any polite company for any purposes whatsoever.

I have adopted Eliot Cohen's formulation, distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, that we are in World War IV, World War III having been the Cold War. And I think Eliot's formulation fits the circumstances really better than describing this as a war on terrorism.

Let me say a few words about who our enemy is in this World War IV, why they're at war with us and (now) we with them, and how we have to think about fighting it both at home and abroad.

First of all, who are they? Well, there are at least three, but I would say principally three movements, of a sort, all coming out of the Middle East. And the interesting thing is that they've been at war with us for years. The Islamist Shia, the ruling circles, the ruling Clerics, the Mullahs of Iran, minority -- definite minority of the Iranian Shiite Clerics, but those who constitute the ruling force in Iran and sponsor and back Hezbollah, have been at war with us for nearly a quarter of a century. They seized our hostages in 1979 in Tehran. They blew up our embassy and our marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. They've conducted a wide range of terrorist acts against the United States for something now close to a quarter of a century.

The second group is the fascists and I don't use that as an expletive -- the Baathist parties of Iraq and really Syria as well, are essentially fascist parties or modeled after the fascist parties of the '30s. They're totalitarian, they're anti-Semitic, they're fascist.

The Baathists in Iraq have been at war with us for over a decade. For Saddam, the Gulf War never stopped. He says it never stopped. He behaves as if it never stopped. He tried to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 in Kuwait. He has various ties, not amounting to direction and control, but various associations with different terrorist groups over the years, including al-Qaeda. He shoots at our aircraft, again yesterday, over the no-fly zones. He's still at war. He signed a cease fire, which he's not observing, and so it's even clearer that he is at war. And he has been so for at least 11 years. The third group, and the one that caused us finally to notice, is the Islamist Sunni. And this is the most, in some ways, I think virulent and long-term portion of these three groupings that are at war with us, and will be at war, I think, for a long time. The Wahhabi movement, the religious movement in Saudi Arabia dating back to the 18th century and with roots even well before that, was joined in the '50s and '60s by immigration into Saudi Arabia by Islamists, or a more modern strife of essentially the same ideology, many of them coming from Egypt. And the very fundamentalist -- Islamist I think is the best formulation -- groups of this sort, more or less focused on what they call the near enemy. Say the barbaric regime in Egypt, and to some extent, the Saudi royal family -- the attacks in 1979 on the great mosques in Mecca. They were focusing on what they called the "near enemy" until sometime in the mid 1990's. Around 1994, they decided to turn and focus their concentration and effort on what they call the
Part 2sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:24 AM
Around 1994, they decided to turn and focus their concentration and effort on what they call the Crusaders and Jews, mainly us. And they have been at war with us since at least about 1994, give or take a year or so, in number of well-noted terrorists incidents, including the Cole and the cast African embassy bombings and, of course, September 11th.

What is different after September 11th is not that these three groups came to be at war with us. They've been at war with us for some time. It's that we finally, finally may have noticed and have decided at least, in part, that we are at war with them. If these are the three groupings -- and by the way, I think of these more or less as analogous to three mafia families. They do hate each other and they do kill each other from time to time. But, they hate us a great deal more and they're perfectly willing and perfectly capable to assist one another in one way or another, including Iraq and al-Qaeda.

If that's whom we're at war with, why? Why did they decide to come after us? I think there are two basic reasons. The first, and the underlying one, was best expressed to me last January by a D.C. cab driver. Now, I resolutely refuse --- since I'm not ever in elective politics, I can afford to do this -- I refuse to read any articles about public opinion polls. And with the time I save, I talk to D.C. cab drivers. It is both more enjoyable and I think in many ways, a much better finger on the pulse of the nation.

And I got into a cab last January, the day after former President Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown University, in which he implied -- he didn't exactly say, but pretty well implied -- that the reason we were attacked on September 11th, was because America's conduct of slavery and the treatment of the American Indian historically. And as I got into the cab, I saw that the cab driver was one of my favorite varieties of D.C. cab drivers, an older, Black American long-term resident of D.C., a guy about my age. And the Washington Times article was open in the front seat to that story of the President's speech.

So as I got in, I said to the cab driver, "I see your paper in the front there. Did you read that piece about President Clinton's speech yesterday?" He said, "Oh, yeah." I said, "What did you think about it?" He said, "These people don't hate us for what we've done wrong. They hate us for what we do right."

You can't do better than that. We're hated because of freedom of speech, because of freedom of religion, because of our economic freedom, because of our equal -- or at least almost equal treatment of women -- because of all the good things that we do. This is like the war against Nazism. We are hated because of what the best of what we are. But even if hated, why attacked? Well, I would suggest that we have for much of the last quarter of the century -- not all, but much -- have been essentially hanging a "Kick Me" sign on our back in the Middle East. We have given some evidence of being what bin Laden has actually called a paper tiger.
Part 3sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:25 AM
My friend, Tom Moore, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and maybe known to some of you here, was a young officer at the end of World War II and participated in the interrogations of Prince Konoe and several of the Japanese leaders of the handful who were eventually hanged. And the team he was with asked all of them, "Why did you do it. Why did you attack us at Pearl Harbor?" He said, they all said pretty much the same thing. They said, "We looked at what you were doing in the '20s and '30s. You were disarming. You wouldn't fortify Wake Island. You wouldn't fortify Guam. Your army had to drill with wooden rifles [because of the opposition to rearmament—ED]. We had no idea that this rich spoiled, feckless country would do what you did after December 7 of 1941. You stunned us."

Flash forward three quarters of a century. I think we gave a lot of evidence to Saddam and to the Islamist Shia in Tehran and Hezbollah and to the Islamist Sunni that we were for a long time, essentially, a rich, spoiled feckless country that wouldn't fight.

In 1979, they took our hostages and we tied yellow ribbons around trees and launched an ineffective effort, crashing helicopters in the desert to rescue them.

In 1983, they blew up our embassy and our marine barracks in Beirut. What did we do? We left. Throughout much of the 1980's, various terrorist acts were committed against us. We would occasionally arrest a few small fry, with one honorable exception -- President Reagan's strike against Tripoli. But generally speaking, we litigated instead of doing much else with the terrorist acts of the '80s.

In 1991, President Bush organized a magnificent coalition against the seizure of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. We fought the war superbly -- and then stopped it while the Republican guard was intact. And after having encouraged the Kurds and the Shiia to rebel against Saddam, we stood back, left the bridges intact, left their units intact, let them fly helicopters around carrying troops and missiles, and we watched the Kurds and Shiia who were winning in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces, to be massacred. And the world looked at us and said, well, we know what the Americans value. They save their oil in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and after that, they didn't care.

And then in 1993, Saddam tries to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait with a bomb, and President Clinton fires a couple of dozen cruise missiles into an empty building in the middle of the night in Baghdad, thereby retaliating quite effectively against Iraqi cleaning women and night watchmen, but not especially effectively against Saddam Hussein.

In 1993, our helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and as in Beirut in ten years earlier, we left.

And throughout the rest of the '90s, we continued our practice of the '80s. Instead of sending military force, we usually sent prosecutors and litigators. We litigate well in the United States. And we would occasionally catch some small-fry terrorists in the United States or elsewhere, and prosecute them. And once in a while, lob a few bombs or cruise missiles from afar. And that was it until after September 11th.

So I would suggest that our response after September 11th in Afghanistan, like our response against the Japanese after Pearl Harbor, was something that was quite surprising to our enemies in the Middle East who attacked us. I think they were quite surprised at what we did in Afghanistan. But, you have to admit, like the Japanese at the beginning of the '40s, the Islamists, both Shia and Sunni and the fascist Baathists in the Middle East at the beginning of the 21st Century, had some rationale and some evidence for believing this rich, spoiled, feckless country would not fight.

If that's why we're at war, how must we fight it at home and abroad? At home the war is going to be difficult in two ways. One is that the infrastructure which serves this wonderful country is the most technologi
Part 4sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:26 AM
If that's why we're at war, how must we fight it at home and abroad? At home the war is going to be difficult in two ways. One is that the infrastructure which serves this wonderful country is the most technologically sophisticated infrastructure the world has ever seen. We are a society of dozens -- hundreds of networks. Food processing and delivery, the internet, financial transfers, oil and gas pipelines, on and on and on.

None of these was put together with a single thought being given to being resilient against terrorism. All are open, relatively easy access. Their vulnerable and dangerous points are highlighted. Transformer here, hazardous chemicals here, cable crossing here because we need to do maintenance. We haven't had to worry about domestic violence against our civilian infrastructure, with the exception of Sherman burning some plantations on his march to the sea, since the British burned Washington in 1814.

So virtually all of our infrastructure has been put together with this sense of openness and ease of access and resilience -- some resilience -- against random failures. But random failures is not what we saw September 11th and a year ago, and I'm afraid not what we will see in the future.

About seven years ago, one of our communication satellites' computer chip failed. The satellite lost its altitude control and immediately 90 percent of the pagers in the country went down. The next day, they were back up again because somebody had figured out how to reroute them to a different satellite. That's the kind of thing we do all the time. That's not what happened a year ago September 11th.

In the preparations for September 11th that were taking place sometime in the late 1990's or 2000, a group of very sharp and very evil men sat down and said to themselves, something like this. Let's see. The foolish Americans when they do baggage searches at airports ignore short knives like box cutters. And short knives can slit throats just as easily as long knives.

Second, if you can believe it, they conduct themselves with respect to airplane hijackings as if all hijackings are going to go to Cuba and they're just going to have to sit on the ground for a few hours. So they tell their air crews and everyone to be very polite to hijackers. This is also good.

And third, even though twice a year going back many years, there have been crazy people who get into the cockpits of their civilian airliners and people write in to the FAA and say, you ought to do something about this, they continue to have flimsy cockpit doors on their airliners. Let's see. Short knives, polite to hijackers, friendly cockpit doors. We can take over airliners, fly them into buildings, and kill thousands of them. That is not a random failure. That is a planned use of part of our infrastructure to kill Americans. It's going for the jugular, going for the weak point.

Einstein used to say, "God may be sophisticated, but he's not plain mean." And what I think Einstein meant by that is, since for him nature and God were pretty much the same thing, if you're playing against nature and trying to say, discover a new principle of physics, it's a sophisticated problem. It's going to be very tough. But there's nobody over there trying to outwit you and make it harder. In war and terrorism, there is. There is someone who is trying to do that. And we have not given a single thought to how to manage our infrastructure for the possibility of an attack on our own soil, something we have not had to deal with for 200 years -- since 1814 – when the British burned the White House.

We have just-in-time delivery to hold down operational costs until somebody puts a dirty bomb in one of the 50,000 containers that crosses U.S. borders every day and people decide they have to start inspecting virtually all of the containers at ports and all that just-in-time manufacturing is stopped after four or five days.

Full hospit
Part 5sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:27 AM
Full hospitals. Great idea. Keep hospital costs down. Health care costs down. Move people through hospitals rapidly. All hospitals 99 percent occupancy, et cetera. Wonderful idea, until there's a bioterrorist attack and then thousands or hundreds or thousands or millions of Americans need some sort of special healthcare.

All of these networks have their weak points and many of them have incentives in them to -- not for this purpose of course -- but essentially to be vulnerable to terrorism. We are not only going to have to go through our infrastructure -- and this is what I'm spending a lot of my time working on now -- we are not only going to have to go through our infrastructure and find the functional equivalent of the flimsy cockpit doors and get them fixed. Then, we are also going to have to pull together and take a look at things like our electricity grids, our oil and gas pipelines, our container ports and the rest and figure out ways to change the incentives so that they build in resilience and do it in such a way that it's compatible with economic freedom in a market economy. We don't want some bureaucrat up there ordering people to do this and this and this. But, we have to get some resilience, some promotion of resilience into the incentives -- tax or otherwise -- for the way our infrastructure's managed. That's only one of the two hard jobs we've got.

The other one, in some ways may be even harder. We have to do two things simultaneously here -- nobody told us it was going to be easy. We have to fight successfully in the United States against terrorist cells and organizations that support terrorism and we have to deal with the extremely difficult fact that some of these are, at least, superficially religiously rooted in one aspect anyway of Islam. We have to understand that the vast majority of American Muslims are certainly not terrorists and are not sympathetic to them. But that there are institutions and individuals and there are institutions and individuals with a lot of money that are effectively part of the infrastructure that encourages and supports the hatred of the West of capitalism and of us that is manifested in terrorism.

We also have to remember who we are. We are creatures of Madison's Constitution and his Bill of Rights and we have to step by step, intervention by intervention, remember both that we are Americans and under a Constitution, and that we are at war and some part of that war is here and now.

Those are very hard choices. One by one. My personal judgment is that none of the decisions so far made by the Administration goes beyond what is a reasonable line of taking strong action domestically against terrorism because the Supreme Court has historically been extremely tolerant of the Executive, but especially Executive and Congress moving together in times of crisis and war.

In the Civil War, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus even. In World War II, of course, we had the Japanese-Americans even put in the relocation camps in the western part of the country.

In World War I, there was some very draconian legislation also upheld by the Supreme Court. And nothing that has been done so far by the Administration, of course, even remotely approaches any of those. But we do have to be alert. We do not want in the mid-21st century people looking back on us having made some of the kinds of decisions that, for example, were made to incarcerate the Nisei, the Japanese-Americans in World War II and saying, how in the world could those people have done that?

But this country can do some ugly things when it gets scared. And one thing to remember about the incarceration of the Japanese-Americans in World War II is that the three individuals most responsible were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the then Attorney General running for governor of the State of California, Earl Warren, and the man who wrote the Korematsu decision which upheld the constitutionality of the acts, Hugo
Part 6sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:30 AM
Black. Roosevelt, Warren, and Black, of course, were not famous for setting up concentration camps. They were names from the liberal side of the American political spectrum. But even people who say they have those values can do some ugly things if they are scared and they believe the country is scared.

What we have to do is manage this domestic war in such a way as to move decisively and effectively against terrorist cells and those who support them and at the same time, make sure that we don't slip into extraordinarily ugly, anti-constitutional steps. This is not easy. But nobody promised us a rose garden. And it will in some ways, I think, be one of the hardest aspects of the war.

Let me conclude by saying a few words about how I think we have to fight this abroad.

These three movements, I think, require somewhat different tactics. In some ways, the most interesting situation right now exists with the Islamist Shia, the ruling circles of Iran. Because the small minority of Iranian Shiite mullahs who constitute the ruling circles of Iran, are effectively in the same position that the inhabitants of the Kremlin were in 1988 or the inhabitants of Versailles in 1788, mainly the storm isn't quite overhead yet, but if they look at the horizon, they can see it gathering.

They have lost the students. They have lost the women. They have lost the brave newspaper editors and professors who are in prison, some under sentence of death and being tortured. They are one by one losing the grand Ayatollahs. Ayatollah Montazeri, a very brave man, issuing fatwas against suicide killings has been under house arrest for five years. Early this past summer, Ayatollah Taheri, who was a very, very hard line supporter of the mullahs in the City of Esfahan, issued a blast against them saying that what they were doing, supporting tortures, supporting terrorism, was fundamentally at odds with the tenants of Islam, more student demonstrations and indeed, the Iranians are having enough trouble keeping the students down using Iranian muscle, using thugs, they are starting to have to begin to import Syrians, who don't speak Farsi, in order to be able to suppress their student demonstrations.

Keep your eye on Tehran. I can't claim that it's going to change soon. The mullahs have a great deal of power. They have oil money and the military force and the rest. But, there are, I think, some tectonic shifts below the surface there. With respect to our own conduct, I think the President did exactly the right thing in the early part of the summer, when after the student demonstration surrounding Taheri's blast, he issued a statement basically saying that the United States was on the side of the students not the mullahs. And it drove the mullahs absolutely crazy and I think that's evidence of the shrewdness of the President's move.
The hell with this, gang. Sorry...sn69
Dec 4, 2002 11:33 AM
...It would take another three or four sections. Those of you who are interested, angered or whatever--you get the gist. Anyone who wants to read the rest can goto the link on the first part.

One nitpick.czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 11:54 AM
From the speech:

And I got into a cab last January, the day after former President Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown University, in which he implied -- he didn't exactly say, but pretty well implied -- that the reason we were attacked on September 11th, was because America's conduct of slavery and the treatment of the American Indian historically. And as I got into the cab, I saw that the cab driver was one of my favorite varieties of D.C. cab drivers, an older, Black American long-term resident of D.C., a guy about my age. And the Washington Times article was open in the front seat to that story of the President's speech.

So as I got in, I said to the cab driver, "I see your paper in the front there. Did you read that piece about President Clinton's speech yesterday?" He said, "Oh, yeah." I said, "What did you think about it?" He said, "These people don't hate us for what we've done wrong. They hate us for what we do right."

He makes it sound like this is the unvarnished opinion of your typical, working class American. A refreshing dose of common sense, heartland wisdon. He even mentions that he is Black, presumably to imply a liberal leaning. But the guy is reading the Washington Times, an organ of Sun Myung Moon's right-wing Unification Church. Hardly a respite from the poll driven politics he is griping about.
It's not about his skin color53T
Dec 4, 2002 12:11 PM
Get it? The guy is the same age, works for a living, resides in DC, he wasn't sent there from Iowa. His views represent real Americans. His color doesn't matter, not anymore. The liberals have screwed all working people, regardless of color. The core constituancy of the Democratic party is no longer people of color, but people who don't work. This group contains poor people who live off the citizenry, and very rich people who usually live in California, and a good number of elected officials, who do nothing that looks like work.

We owe a debt of thanks to Clinton and his comrades for finally uniting the races in the US. By providing a common enemy they have shown us that the true differences amoung us are in our behaviors and our values, the ("content of his character") not our skin color.
Great to hear that fellow Americans can constituteOldEdScott
Dec 4, 2002 12:15 PM
a common enemy for all you real Americans.
Not what I said53T
Dec 4, 2002 1:33 PM
I never called us right wingers "real Americans" Leftys are real Americans as well. I do feel that their ideas about how to run the country are very bad, and that I have a responsibility to resist these bad ideas whenever possible. In the marketplace of ideas, I'm not stopping at their cart.
What you said:czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 1:38 PM
"His views represent real Americans."

So now you claim to mean that his views represent both "Leftys" and you "right wingers". That hardly seems germane to a tirade about the evils of the Left. So was it a non sequitur, or are you back-pedaling?
Good Point53T
Dec 4, 2002 6:43 PM
I guess I'd like to packpedal, we're all real Americans, including the DC cabbie, Bill and Hill, Donald Rumsfeld, Slim Shady and Rudy Guliani. We're just not all correct in our approach to governance.
Then why did he mention it? (nm)czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 12:31 PM
Then why did he mention it? (nm)53T
Dec 4, 2002 1:30 PM
To test you?
What did I win? (nm)czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 1:33 PM
"Freedom against tyranny" and an aside on assassination.czardonic
Dec 4, 2002 5:56 PM
Woolsey's goal seems to be to add a "freedom against tyranny" air to the current conflict. I don't think that these kind of platitudes are constructive. It is predicated on the notion of a blamless America besieged by zealots determined to destroy the Constitution. I don't doubt that America is the scape-goat du jour on which a lot of regional misery is blamed. However, I object to the notion that we are a benign entity to which the fortunes of the world have naturally gravitated. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and the truth, not patriotic banalities, is what will lead us down the right path.

In fact, many of the excesses of the Cold War led to the the current situation, Afghanistan and Iraq being the most obvious examples. How is it that a victory of "freedom" over "tyranny" could result in new tyranny? Tyranny that is not a reaction to our victory, but part and parcel of it. It doesn't add up.

If America ever truly wants to freedom to prevail over tyranny, we need to come to terms with how we have too often promoted tyranny where it better fits our political and economic agendas. That means admitting that American can and has done wrong in the past, and should do better. I don't say this simply to detract from America's mantle of righteousness. I say it because I think that American can live up to its slogans, but first must recognize its shortcomings.


sn69 (or anyone else with knowledge of the military and/or intelligence community)

Could we assassinate Saddam if we wanted to? This article once again lists Saddam's attempt on GHWB as evidence of his malevolance. My impression is this is just hypocracy, because its hard to beleive that we haven't been trying to kill Saddam since before 1993. Is he too elusive? Or are we not trying?
"Freedom against tyranny" and an aside on assassination.sn69
Dec 4, 2002 6:26 PM
Assassination is a romantic concept that conjures images of James Bond-esque hits using super high-tech equipment poisons, lasers, ninjas, and such. In the real world, however, assassinations are usually accomplished using insitutional tactics like sponsored coups. Could we assassinate Saddam? Yes, where there's a will, there's a way and inevitabely the correct tonnage of high explosives. But (and far more importantly) it's a dangerous game with regards to its impact on the assassinating country's global image.

I, for one, do not believe that we've been trying to assassinate Saddam. His feeble attempt to blow up George Sr. belies his roots as little more than a Baath thug, and also served to expose his lack of global sophistication. He's a bully, a brute, a demagogue, a tyrant, a murderer and much, much more. He gassed his own people, he lives in luxury while squalor pervades his nation (in spite of the UN sanctions), and he WILL use WMDs eventually. He's a sociopath.

Back to your quesiton. Assassination was admittedly used in the past, particularly during the first half of the Cold War. With the advent of near instantaneous information acquisition/exchange, however, it has become unrealistic for states to use against it as a tool against one another. There are far more effective, far more damaging tools at the disposal of a powerful, resource-rich nation.

Czardonic, I think I can safely reaffirm that, speaking as one who is father right on the political spectrum than you, I nonetheless shamefully admit to America's mistakes. We've done some lousy things. Still, we've also freely given more money, foodstuffs and general resources to the world than any nation prior. IMO, that doesn't make the world beholding to us. On the contrary, it only further emphasizes our role as a caretaker in the sense that we have a lot of wealth and resources to share. It would be foolish, however, to assume that we do so unconditionally. Simply, we want people to live with freedom (and, yes, with free market capitalism). We're still working towards that goal internally, but we're much farther along than much of the rest of the world.
Dec 5, 2002 7:59 AM
I doubt we've been trying to kill Saddam since 1993. I know we tried to get him with the original "bunker buster" bomb in the Gulf War, and lately top people in the Bush administration have been basically asking someone to do it.

For most of the 1990s, it didn't make sense to kill him. It still doesn't make sense. Killing him is the easy part. What happens afterwards is the hard part, and nobody has an answer for that. Unless a strong leader stepped in who was just as vicious as Saddam, Iraq would probably break out in civil war as the largest sects (Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'is) try to create their own states. Basically it would be a huge mess, and could really unstabilize things in an already unstable region.

There is a reason why we didn't kill Hitler in WWII, and not doing so saved lives (allied forces lives, at least) and ended the war sooner. When he finally did go, allied forces occupied most of the country and were in a commanding position to deal with the aftermath.