Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Secret Government- Bill Moyers-1987

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Does any of this sound familiar?

Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land

"Men generally believe with willingness, and are quite ready to believe, what they wish to be true."- Julius Caesar

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PT. 2

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PT. 10

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Reagan and the Death Squads

This is astounding. Listen to this AUDIO LINK.

I remember this well. Most folks were in complete denial or else in "Red- Dawn- ready- mode".

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On Peaceful Co-existence- Lee C. Camp

Interfaith, Christianity:
Theologian Lee Camp disputes how article described his talk
The Tennessean, USA
Nov. 30, 2006
Lee Camp

Lipscomb University theologian Lee Camp submitted this essay to clarify remarks reported in Wednesday’s newspaper. In submitting his essay, Camp said he felt that “I either miscommunicated yesterday, or you did not quite understand what I was trying to say.”

On Tuesday, Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management hosted an “Invitation to Dialogue: Conversations on Religious Conflict.” The full-day program included a variety of speakers, and from a broad range of backgrounds: Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist, as well as Catholic and Protestant.

My assignment for the day was to articulate the “Theological Ground for Peaceful Co-Existence.” Due to a front-page story in The Tennessean that mis-characterized my lecture and beliefs, numerous questions have been raised regarding what I believe, and what I said. Many have expressed feelings of dismay in response to the story, feelings I also shared when I read the report. Brief news stories can seldom do justice to substantive conversations.

The dialogue prior to my lecture had been most encouraging and refreshing: Numerous speakers had insisted that Jews, Muslims and Christians must not pretend that our differences are insignificant. Moreover, we can acknowledge the seriousness of the differences, while honoring one another.

Such conversation encouraged me, precisely because I have long disagreed with those who say that Jews, Muslims and Christians are all “saying the same thing.” Serious adherents of their respective faiths know this is not the case.

In my lecture, I too insisted that we must not discard what is most important to us. I am a Christian who holds, without apology, to the Lordship of Jesus. I cannot accept any strategy of “conflict resolution” that asks me to set aside that particular claim. I believe and teach that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

This exclusive claim of the authority of Christ thus presents a problem for “conflict management.” I went on to ask these questions: How can the Jew or Muslim trust us Christians if we hold onto the exclusive Lordship of Jesus? Given that I refuse to deny the Lordship of Jesus, what can I or other Christians possibly contribute to peace-making, whether global or local?

Here’s my answer: Because I profess that Jesus is Lord of Lords, I have committed myself to loving both neighbor and enemy. Because I profess that Jesus is King of Kings, I have committed myself to serving and honoring all people. Because I profess that Jesus is the ultimate authority to which all other authorities must submit, that authority requires of me to extend gracious, generous hospitality to the stranger, the pilgrim, and those who do not see the world as I see it.

This, of course, is not how the authority of Christ has always been practiced. In serious dialog with Jews and Muslims, we American Christians, who tend to have very short historical attention spans, must acknowledge the sins of Christian history.

The claim of the Lordship of Jesus has often been divorced from Jesus’ call to be merciful to those with whom we differ. In fact, the claim has often served as a battle-cry, an imperialistic profession used to destroy Jews and Muslims. In view of this history, Jews and Muslims have good reasons for not trusting those who wear the name Christian.

Because I profess Jesus as Lord, I must let go of any strategy that seeks to violently impose “Jesus is Lord” upon another.

I believe and profess “Jesus is Lord,” and am compelled by Jesus’ Lordship to share this Good News world-wide. But if such sharing treats others in a way contrary to the teachings of Jesus, I have thereby denied my profession. I choose not only to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord,” but to live Jesus as Lord, among all — believer or unbeliever, Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew.

Lee C. Camp is associate professor of theology and ethics at Lipscomb University and the author of “Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World.”

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Concerning "Anti- Americanism"- Chomsky

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Here is one of my favorite passages from the movie Manufacturing Consent which is a study on the media propaganda model featuring Chomsky (the money shot on this, to me, is the passage highlighted in bold, Chomsky's answer to the first question- that talks about the two primary targets for propaganda- the Political Class and basically the drones):

Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent
Noam Chomsky interviewed by various interviewers
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992
QUESTION: You write in Manufacturing Consent [(Pantheon, 1988)] that it's the primary function of the mass media in the United States to mobilize public support for the special interests that dominate the government and the private sector. What are those interests?

CHOMSKY: Well, if you want to understand the way any society works, ours or any other, the first place to look is who is in a position to make the decisions that determine the way the society functions. Societies differ, but in ours, the major decisions over what happens in the society -- decisions over investment and production and distribution and so on -- are in the hands of a relatively concentrated network of major corporations and conglomerates and investment firms. They are also the ones who staff the major executive positions in the government. They're the ones who own the media and they're the ones who have to be in a position to make the decisions. They have an overwhelmingly dominant role in the way life happens. You know, what's done in the society. Within the economic system, by law and in principle, they dominate. The control over resources and the need to satisfy their interests imposes very sharp constraints on the political system and on the ideological system.

QUESTION: When we talk about manufacturing of consent, whose consent is being manufactured?

CHOMSKY: To start with, there are two different groups, we can get into more detail, but at the first level of approximation, there's two targets for propaganda. One is what's sometimes called the political class. There's maybe twenty percent of the population which is relatively educated, more or less articulate, plays some kind of role in decision-making. They're supposed to sort of participate in social life -- either as managers, or cultural managers like teachers and writers and so on. They're supposed to vote, they're supposed to play some role in the way economic and political and cultural life goes on. Now their consent is crucial. So that's one group that has to be deeply indoctrinated. Then there's maybe eighty percent of the population whose main function is to follow orders and not think, and not to pay attention to anything -- and they're the ones who usually pay the costs.

QUESTION: ... You outlined a model -- filters that propaganda is sent through, on its way to the public. Can you briefly outline those?

CHOMSKY: It's basically an institutional analysis of the major media, what we call a propaganda model. We're talking primarily about the national media, those media that sort of set a general agenda that others more or less adhere to, to the extent that they even pay much attention to national or international affairs.

Now the elite media are sort of the agenda-setting media. That means The New York Times, The Washington Post, the major television channels, and so on. They set the general framework. Local media more or less adapt to their structure.

And they do this in all sorts of ways: by selection of topics, by distribution of concerns, by emphasis and framing of issues, by filtering of information, by bounding of debate within certain limits. They determine, they select, they shape, they control, they restrict -- in order to serve the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.

The New York Times is certainly the most important newspaper in the United States, and one could argue the most important newspaper in the world. The New York Times plays an enormous role in shaping the perception of the current world on the part of the politically active, educated classes. Also The New York Times has a special role, and I believe its editors probably feel that they bear a heavy burden, in the sense that The New York Times creates history.

That is, history is what appears in The New York Times archives; the place where people will go to find out what happened is The New York Times. Therefore it's extremely important if history is going to be shaped in an appropriate way, that certain things appear, certain things not appear, certain questions be asked, other questions be ignored, and that issues be framed in a particular fashion. Now in whose interests is history being so shaped? Well, I think that's not very difficult to answer.

Now, to eliminate confusion, all of this has nothing to do with liberal or conservative bias. According to the propaganda model, both liberal and conservative wings of the media -- whatever those terms are supposed to mean -- fall within the same framework of assumptions.

In fact, if the system functions well, it ought to have a liberal bias, or at least appear to. Because if it appears to have a liberal bias, that will serve to bound thought even more effectively.

In other words, if the press is indeed adversarial and liberal and all these bad things, then how can I go beyond it? They're already so extreme in their opposition to power that to go beyond it would be to take off from the planet. So therefore it must be that the presuppositions that are accepted in the liberal media are sacrosanct -- can't go beyond them. And a well-functioning system would in fact have a bias of that kind. The media would then serve to say in effect: Thus far and no further.

We ask what would you expect of those media on just relatively uncontroversial, guided-free market assumptions? And when you look at them you find a number of major factors determining what their products are. These are what we call the filters, so one of them, for example, is ownership. Who owns them?

The major agenda-setting media -- after all, what are they? As institutions in the society, what are they? Well, in the first place they are major corporations, in fact huge corporations. Furthermore, they are integrated with and sometimes owned by even larger corporations, conglomerates -- so, for example, by Westinghouse and G.E. and so on.

So what we have in the first place is major corporations which are parts of even bigger conglomerates. Now, like any other corporation, they have a product which they sell to a market. The market is advertisers -- that is, other businesses. What keeps the media functioning is not the audience. They make money from their advertisers. And remember, we're talking about the elite media. So they're trying to sell a good product, a product which raises advertising rates. And ask your friends in the advertising industry. That means that they want to adjust their audience to the more elite and affluent audience. That raises advertising rates. So what you have is institutions, corporations, big corporations, that are selling relatively privileged audiences to other businesses.

Well, what point of view would you expect to come out of this? I mean without any further assumptions, what you'd predict is that what comes out is a picture of the world, a perception of the world, that satisfies the needs and the interests and the perceptions of the sellers, the buyers and the product.

Now there are many other factors that press in the same direction. If people try to enter the system who don't have that point of view they're likely to be excluded somewhere along the way. After all, no institution is going to happily design a mechanism to self-destruct. It's not the way institutions function. So they'll work to exclude or marginalize or eliminate dissenting voices or alternative perspectives and so on because they're dysfunctional, they're dysfunctional to the institution itself.

Now there are other media too whose basic social role is quite different: it's diversion. There's the real mass media-the kinds that are aimed at, you know, Joe Six Pack -- that kind. The purpose of those media is just to dull people's brains.

This is an oversimplification, but for the eighty percent or whatever they are, the main thing is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League. And to worry about "Mother With Child With Six Heads," or whatever you pick up on the supermarket stands and so on. Or look at astrology. Or get involved in fundamentalist stuff or something or other. Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that it's important to reduce their capacity to think.

Take, say, sports -- that's another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it -- you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that's of no importance. [audience laughs] That keeps them from worrying about -- [applause] keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it's striking to see the intelligence that's used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in -- they have the most exotic information [more laughter] and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.

The Wisdom Of Negotiating With Enemies

This post has been brewing in my head for exactly one week. Last Sunday I heard a snippet of an excellent sermon on the subject of talking to enemies on the way to Church. I have decided that the time is right to lay out my thoughts on this in response to this snippet from the thread about the Crusades;

"PC Myth: we can negotiate with these people"

First of all let me note that the PC myth (inasmuch as such generalizations are at all useful) on this subject is the exact opposite of what the author is asserting here. This topic of negotiating with enemies is indeed a hot topic that you hear about every day with the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The word on the street and buzzing on the airwaves is that "we cannot negotiate with these people". The idea that we can or should negotiate with these people is seen as weakness and foolishness and folly. Conversely, the idea that "we cannot negotiate with these people" is in fact the PC ATTITUDE itself! Just reference the outrage directed at the Dixie Chicks or any other person or entity that has suggested otherwise- and then been shouted down as weak, foolish, America hating, terrorist cheering, yellow, egg- sucking "liberals" (worthless label).

The problem with the assertion that "we cannot negotiate with these people" is that that is exactly what we are taught to do throughout the preaching and teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. We are clearly led by them as follows:

Matthew 5:43-44 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

Love for Enemies
43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you,


A. Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18
B. Matthew 5:44 Some late manuscripts enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you

Romans 12:17-19 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[a]says the Lord.


1. Romans 12:19 Deut. 32:35

Proverbs 16:7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD,
he makes even his enemies live at peace with him

Luke 6:28-29 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.

Now, nowhere in the teachings of Jesus Christ (as in CHRISTAN) are we encouraged to adopt a "destroy them before they destroy us" attitude towards enemies or to write them off as unredeemable. Attempting to negotiate, talk to or find common ground our enemies bespeaks a deep seated inner peace, a spiritual maturity and wisdom that comes straight from Christ himself. We must NEVER be intimidated away from attempting to reach our enemies- either by the enemies themselves or especially by our "allies".
To suggest that attempting to negotiate or keep peace with our enemies is weak, foolish or subversive is an insult to Christ himself as well as his disciples the world over. It is an insult to peacemakers, idealists and wise men through the ages.
So, if this directive to abandon talking to our enemies and "kill them before they kill us" is not from God in Christ or the teachings of the New Testament...where then do you reckon it hails from?

I submit that those who hear the teachings of Christ and yet DO something else are perhaps admirers of Christ but not actual disciples or CHRISTians- doers of his word.

I recently wrote this also in the Crusades thread and it applies here as well:

"In another recent conversation I was challenged on my assertion that the whole "conservative/liberal" debate was pointless in terms of theology.
I had asserted that by the definition they were using Jesus would be considered a liberal- because he stood for other than conquering enemies by force, building empires, engaging in the self sustaining cycle of violence and revenge, the paradox of participating in evil to defeat evil or the "destroy them before they destroy us attitude"... all ideas that "Liberals" are accused of as examples of their weakness and lack of reason by so-called conservatives. They did not get this. So I reminded them that in Bible school if they attended, or else in purely historical terms they were most likely taught that perhaps the greatest reason the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah was that they were expecting a fiery, militaristic, leader- by- the- sword, to come and enforce their rightful rule over the world and to establish justice by force. That is clearly not what they got.
Instead they got a Messiah that preached peace, forgiveness, meekness, humbleness, self sacrifice, the renouncing of materialist values, the love of neighbors and enemies and the freedom from fear of earthly domination and death. So I asked then and ask now- if it was not in Christ's plan then to rule the world by strength and force- what makes it ok to transform his message to one of domination and the rule of the sword now- to attach his name to the cause and call it "conservatism" and associate it with the term Christian (as in followers of Christ)now? Oddly, the conversation went dormant right there.


James 1:19- 27 contains the essence of what I am saying here:

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

All of this thinking brings to mind one more point and question. If the assertion "we cannot negotiate with these people" is true- then why in the wide, wide world of sports are "we" engaged in Iraq and trying to "establish freedom and democracy"? Is this not a logical paradox? Surely we cannot destroy the whole of our enemies in the Middle East, estimated at 300 MILLION out of the 1.2 Billion Muslims, without negotiating, talking to or compromising at all? Think about it. If we were to slay, say 100 million radical Islamics, don't you reckon the other 200 million of them will be actively recruiting from the population of 1.2 BILLION and that the numbers of radicals will more likely increase than decrease? Is this something a few hundred thousand military personnel will be able to accomplish without being eventually over-run by the sheer superior numbers of enemy? I reckon that the Jesus Way is ultimately the wiser approach to this whole dilemma- it saves souls even if it does not preserve our nationalistic "interests".

Is Congress Gates' Keeper?

To make use of the Gates metaphor;
Matt. 7:13
Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and many are they who enter in through it.

Is Congress Gates' Keeper?
Robert Gates, Bush’s choice for defense secretary, has faced accusations and senate committees before
By Robert Parry

George W. Bush (L) escorts Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from the Oval office after announcing his replacement, former CIA Director Robert Gates (R).

Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s choice to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, is a trusted figure within the Bush family’s inner circle. But there are lingering questions about whether Gates is a trustworthy public official.

The 63-year-old Gates has long faced accusations of collaborating with Islamic extremists in Iran, arming Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq, and politicizing U.S. intelligence to conform with the desires of policymakers—three key areas that relate to his future job.

The Bush administration is seeking to slip Gates through the congressional approval process by pressing for a confirmation before the new Democratic-controlled Senate is seated. In 1991, Gates got a similar pass when leading Democrats agreed to put “bipartisanship” ahead of oversight when President George H.W. Bush nominated him for the job of CIA director. At the time, the career intelligence officer brushed aside accusations that he played secret roles in arming both sides of the Iran-Iraq War. Since then, however, documents have surfaced that raise new questions about Gates’ denials.

For instance, the Russian government sent an intelligence report to a House investigative task force in early 1993 stating that Gates participated in secret contacts with Iranian officials in 1980 to delay release of 52 U.S. hostages then held in Iran, a move to benefit the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

“R[obert] Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy Carter, and former CIA Director George Bush also took part” in a meeting in Paris in October 1980, according to the Russian report, which meshed with information from witnesses.

Once in office, the Reagan administration did permit weapons to flow to Iran via Israel. The arms flow continued, on and off, until 1986, when the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal broke.

Gates also was implicated in a secret operation to funnel military assistance to Iraq in the ’80s, as the Reagan administration played off the two countries battling each other in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War.

Middle Eastern witnesses alleged that Gates worked on the secret Iraqi initiative, which included Saddam Hussein’s procurement of cluster bombs and chemicals used to produce chemical weapons for the war against Iran.

Gates denied those Iran-Iraq accusations in 1991 and the Senate Intelligence Committee—then headed by Gates’ personal friend, Sen. David Boren, (D-Okla.)—failed to check out the claims before recommending Gates for confirmation.

However, in early January 1995, Howard Teicher, one of Reagan’s National Security Council officials, revealed more details about Gates’ alleged role in the Iraq shipments. In a sworn affidavit submitted in a Florida criminal case, Teicher stated that the covert arming of Iraq dated back to the spring of 1982. Iran had gained the upper hand in the war, leading President Reagan to authorize a U.S. tilt toward Saddam Hussein.

The effort to arm the Iraqis was “spearheaded” by CIA Director William Casey and involved his then-deputy, Robert Gates, according to Teicher’s affidavit. “The CIA, including both CIA Director Casey and Deputy Director Gates, knew of, approved of, and assisted in the sale of non-U.S. origin military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to Iraq,” Teicher wrote.

Ironically, that same pro-Iraq initiative involved Donald Rumsfeld, then Reagan’s special emissary to the Middle East. An infamous photograph from 1983 shows a smiling Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein.

Teicher described Gates’ role as far more substantive than Rumsfeld’s. “Under CIA Director [William] Casey and Deputy Director Gates, the CIA authorized, approved and assisted [Chilean arms dealer Carlos] Cardoen in the manufacture and sale of cluster bombs and other munitions to Iraq,” Teicher wrote.

Beyond the secret schemes to aid Iran and Iraq in the ’80s, Gates also stands accused of playing a central role in politicizing the CIA intelligence product, tailoring it to fit the interests of his political superiors, a legacy that some Gates critics say contributed to the botched CIA analysis of Iraqi WMD in 2002.

Before Gates’ rapid rise through the CIA’s ranks in the ’80s, the CIA’s tradition was to zealously protect the objectivity and scholarship of the intelligence gathered by the agency. However, during the Reagan administration, that ethos collapsed.

At Gates’ confirmation hearings in 1991, former CIA analysts, including renowned Kremlinologist Mel Goodman, took the extraordinary step of coming out of the shadows to accuse Gates of politicizing the intelligence while he was chief of the analytical division and then deputy director.

The former intelligence officers said the ambitious Gates pressured the CIA’s analytical division to exaggerate the Soviet menace to fit the ideological perspective of the Reagan administration. Analysts who took a more nuanced view of Soviet power and Moscow’s behavior in the world faced pressure and career reprisals.

In 1981, Carolyn McGiffert Ekedahl of the CIA’s Soviet office was the unfortunate analyst who was handed the assignment to prepare an analysis of the Soviet Union’s alleged support and direction of international terrorism. Contrary to the desired White House take on Soviet-backed terrorism, Ekedahl said the consensus of the intelligence community was that the Soviets discouraged acts of terrorism by groups getting support from Moscow for practical, not moral, reasons.

“We agreed that the Soviets consistently stated, publicly and privately, that they considered international terrorist activities counterproductive,” Ekedahl said. “We had hard evidence to support this conclusion.”But Gates took the analysts to task, accusing them of trying to “stick our finger in the policymaker’s eye,” Ekedahl testified.

Ekedahl said Gates, dissatisfied with the terrorism assessment, joined in rewriting the draft “to suggest greater Soviet support for terrorism and the text was altered by pulling up from the annex reports that overstated Soviet involvement.”

In his memoirs, From the Shadows, Gates denied politicizing the CIA’s intelligence product, though acknowledged that he was aware of Casey’s hostile reaction to the analysts’ disagreement with right-wing theories about Soviet-directed terrorism.

Soon, the hammer fell on the analysts who had prepared the Soviet-terrorism report. Ekedahl said many analysts were “replaced by people new to the subject who insisted on language emphasizing Soviet control of international terrorist activities.”

A donnybrook ensued inside the U.S. intelligence community. Some senior officials responsible for analysis pushed back against Casey’s dictates, warning that acts of politicization would undermine the integrity of the process and risk policy disasters in the future.

As the Bush Family grapples with the disaster in Iraq, it is turning to an even more trusted hand to run the Defense Department. The appointment of Robert Gates suggests that the Bush Family is circling the wagons to save the embattled presidency of George W. Bush.

Determining whether Gates can be counted on to do what’s in the interest of the larger American public is another question altogether.



To me, one of the most disconcerting allegations to date concerning Mr. Gates resume' is this item quoted from the article above:

"For instance, the Russian government sent an intelligence report to a House investigative task force in early 1993 stating that Gates participated in secret contacts with Iranian officials in 1980 to delay release of 52 U.S. hostages then held in Iran, a move to benefit the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. “R[obert] Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy Carter, and former CIA Director George Bush also took part” in a meeting in Paris in October 1980, according to the Russian report, which meshed with information from witnesses."

Needless to say- the whole twist concerning the release of those hostages has become part of the neo-con mythos. The whole thing went down in the days I was in Jr. high and High school. The word on the street was that the Iranians were so intimidated by the tough, no more foolin' around Ronald Reagan- that they freed the hostages as soon as Reagan assumed office. Now, I will not sit here and tell you that I am a Carter apologist, a Democrat or a liberal (worthless labels) because I am none of those. However I will state that I always thought it was unfair that Carter was so reviled and Reagan got all the credit for this turn of events. In the last year I heard Carter commenting on this. He said that he had two goals on the issue when it was occurring. One was to get those hostages home alive and the other was to avoid a war. He said that he was very proud to have accomplished those goals- no matter what people thought of him or the way he handled the situation. He alleged that the leadership in Iran basically withheld the hostages until his watch was over to spite him and that the Iranian leadership had made an "arrangement" with neo-con elements in the U.S. intelligence community. Think what you will, or what you have been told to think about Jimmy Carter and this scenario- but the calculus on this does appear to add up. It goes without saying that the so-called conservative elements have parlayed the caricatures surrounding the resolution of the Iranian hostage crisis into a powerful mythology that not only kept the Republican "conservatives" in power for the last 30 years- but set into motion a series of events and stratagems that have helped build the crises we now face in the Middle East to a possibly catastrophic crescendo. If this allegation about the withholding of the release of those hostages for political posturing and propaganda purposes- what other response would be appropriate here than righteous anger and disillusionment? Even with the "its in God's hands" attitude in place one has to marvel at the audacity and folly of these worldly elements we call "world leaders".

Once again, my message is not to hate Republicans or Conservatives, Democrats or Liberals (all worldly and useless labels). It is simply to think and act with discernment and attempt to see through the propaganda smoke screen we have been enfolded by from worldly elements in every band of the political spectrum. The truth may not be pleasant- but it will set you free I am told.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Iraq Death Squads- The Salvador Option?

Roots of Iraq Civil War May Be in ‘Salvador Option’

In January 2005, Newsweek reported that the Bush Administration was considering using the “Salvador option” against insurgents in Iraq:

The Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported “nationalist” forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers.

It should come as no surprise, then, that sectarian death squads tied directly to the Iraqi Interior Ministry are running rampant in Iraq. Today we learned that the head of the Baghdad morgue has fled the country in fear for his life after reporting that the units have killed more than 7,000 people since last summer. The death squads operate so openly that an American military official in Iraq said, “the amazing thing about this is…they tell you exactly what they are going to do.”

In a desperate bid to rescue a failed policy in Iraq, the Bush administration may have given the green light to a strategy that ends any hope of national reconciliation and finally tears Iraq apart along sectarian and ethnic lines.

– Ken Gude

And now here is a presentation separated into 5 parts about the death squads operating in Iraq:

Click the small arrow in the corner to stay on this page while watching.

pt. 2



pt. 5

Do the math.

I just had another thought; can this line of thinking possibly explain the missing billions of dollars that there were hearings about in Washington D.C. just the other day?

Here's the fair and balanced FOX take on it.

Bloody Iraq> The Death Squads

Click the small arrow in the corner to stay on this page while watching.

But, what about the new schools in Iraq?

Click the small arrow in the corner to stay on this page while watching.

Crusades - Christian In Name, But Not In Truth

Crusades – A Definition
The Crusades were a series of military missions, usually organized and promoted by the Pope and/or Roman Catholic Church. The crusades took place through the 11th and 13th centuries A.D. The original intent of the crusades was to recapture “Christian” lands that had been invaded by Muslims.


The Crusaders used the Christian cross as their symbol. They believed that the symbol of the cross made them invincible against the armies of the Muslims. The word "Crusade" came from the Latin word for “cloth cross.” Eventually, the word "crusade" was used to describe the entire journey from Europe to the Holy Land.

Crusades - Why were the Crusades launched?
The Crusade were responses to Muslim invasions on what was once land occupied primarily by Christians. From approximately 200 A.D. to approximately 900 A.D. the land of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, etc. was inhabited primarily by Christians. Between 900 and 1075 A.D., Muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and even murdered the Christians living in those lands. In response, the Roman Catholic Church and "Christian" kings/emperors from Europe ordered the crusades to reclaim the land the Muslims had taken. As the crusades progressed, they became far more focused on establishing kingdoms than on reclaiming lands that had once belonged to Christians.

Crusades - Overview of Main Crusades
First Crusade: The first crusade was launched by Pope Urban II after the Council of Clermont in 1095 A.D. The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople sent a letter to Pope Urban II, asking for his assistance against the progressing Muslim invaders. Urban gave a call to Christians throughout Europe to recapture the Holy Land, and especially Jerusalem, from the Muslims. The crusaders of the First Crusade departed in 1096 and eventually recaptured Jerusalem in 1099. On the way to Jerusalem, the crusaders established “kingdoms” for themselves in various cites in the middle east.

Second Crusade: Shortly after the First Crusade, the Muslims counter-attacked and captured the city of Edessa in 1144 A.D. St. Bernard of Clairvaux traveled throughout Europe, encouraging people to “take up the cross” and push the Muslims back from what they had retaken. Lacking a clear and persuasive goal, and marked by incompetence in leadership, the Second Crusade was an utter failure.

Third Crusade: The Third Crusade was launched in 1189 A.D. In 1187 A.D., the Muslim armies, led by Saladin, had re-conquered Jerusalem. Although at first a huge army was amassed, the Third Crusade was ultimately unsuccessful. The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, drowned, under uncertain circumstances, on the way to the Holy Land. Richard the Lionheart of England was able to recapture several coastal cities, but did not attempt to retake Jerusalem due to a lack of resources. Lionheart did negotiate a peace treaty with Saladin, allowing for Christian pilgrims to enter Jerusalem without danger.

Fourth Crusade: The Fourth Crusade began in 1202 A.D. Lacking clear direction and strong leadership, the fourth crusade eventually resulted in a battle between Catholic and Orthodox Christians and the conquering of Constantinople by the Christian armies. The conflict destroyed any unity that remained between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Fifth Crusade: The Fifth Crusade took place in 1217 A.D., and was led by Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI of Austria. The Fifth Crusade was successful in capturing the city of Damietta, but could not hold it for long, especially after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Al-Mansura. Leopold and Andrew were actually offered control of Jerusalem and other Christian sites in the Holy Land in exchange for the return of Damietta to Muslim control. However, in his misplaced arrogance, Cardinal Pelagius refused the offer, turning a victory into an utter defeat.

Sixth Crusade: The Sixth Crusade was launched in 1228 A.D., and was led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. The Sixth Crusade ended with a peace treaty that gave Christians authority over several important Christian sites, including Jerusalem.

Seventh and Eighth Crusades: The Seventh and Eight Crusades were led by King Louis IX of France. Both were complete disasters. In the Seventh Crusade, Louis recaptured Damietta, but later had his army routed. In 1270 A.D., Louis died before he was able to reach the goal of the Eighth Crusade.

The Ninth Crusade: The Ninth Crusade was Led by King Edward I of England in 1271 A.D. It was an attempt to defeat the Mamluk sultan of Baibers. The crusade failed, and Edward returned home to England upon learning of the death of his father, Henry III.

Crusades - Christian in name, but not in truth
The violence and barbarism of the Crusaders gave Christianity a bad name. While it can be debated whether going to war against the Muslim invaders to re-capture Jerusalem and the Holy Land can be justified, in no manner can the deplorable actions of the Crusaders be justified. The Crusades may have been undertaken by those claiming the name of Christ, but they most definitely did not follow Christ's example.

Part of the problem with the Crusades was the identity of many of the Crusaders. The majority of the Crusaders were essentially "the scum of the earth," the "lowest of the low." They were those who had nothing to lose, and supposedly everything to gain. Even during the trips through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, pillaging, burning, rape, plunder, and other deplorable acts were commonplace. The frenzy of the First Crusade even resulted in the slaughter of Jews in the Rhineland. The Crusaders justified the murdering of Jews by claiming it as revenge for the Jews killing Jesus. Thousands of innocent Jews were murdered and tortured.

When the Crusader army was finally asble to conquer Jerusalem, the slaughter was unimaginable. The Crusaders killed everyone inside Jerusalem, whether Muslim, Jew, or even Christian. By that point, the First Crusade was entirely about conquering lands for personal wealth, not for reclaiming the Holy Land for the Church.

Crusades - Unbiblical, unethical, and un-Christ-like
While the crusades were ordered and led by men who claimed to be Christian, in no sense should the crusades be referred to "Christian." It is highly unlikely that many of the participants in the crusades truly knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The true purpose of “Christian” was twisted, corrupted, and humiliated by the evil actions of many of the crusaders.

The crusades were brutal and evil. Many people were forced to "convert" to Christianity. If they refused, they were put to death. This is blatantly unbiblical. . .and perhaps that is the best summary of the issue. The concept of conquering land in the Name of Jesus Christ is completely unbiblical. Jesus Christ nowhere advocates war and violence. The crusades may have been done by so-called Christians. . .but the actions that took place in the crusades were absolutely opposite to all that the Christian faith stands for.

Resurrection- Ray Wylie Hubbard

Click on the small arrow in the corner of the screen to stay on this page while digging the clip.

Now this is what I call inspirational. Yeah!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Michael Ware Interview on AC360 Videos

This is the stunning show I referenced a few posts back >here

I am not attempting to stoke up worry or fear with this- or engage in political finger pointing,blame and endless debate.
As Christians we are supposed to be secure in our assurances about God's promises and the knowledge that even in death we are in His hands. My message is simple; Pray for peace, pray for everyone from the innocent bystanders, our military, our government and the Iraqi government, the future for our children and grandchildren and even our enemies. Pray that the influence of evil is broken in our culture and theirs.

Click on the small arrow in the corner of the screen to stay on this page while digging the clip.
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

They Are Home Now

The link below is a web site with the names and faces of U.S. military personnel who have been killed in Iraq.

If you left- click on the video that begins to play you can zoom it to full screen. The music put a serious lump in my throat.

They Are Home Now

Friday, February 02, 2007

Iraq: The Hidden Wars

War in Iraq; Iraq: The Hidden Wars; The War with Insurgents; The War with Al Qaeda; The Civil War; The Covert War with Iran; The Wars Endgame

Last night I watched a very sobering program about the situation on the ground in Iraq featuring Michael Ware whom I have written about elsewhere in this blog. I noted weeks ago that this man's assessments of the situation in Iraq had been nearly 100 % on the money. Much of what he was saying in last night's program was uncannily being mirrored today in the newest National Intelligence Estimate out of Washington D.C.

Finally, there seem to be voices of reason in Washington that are not on the "kill the messenger" plan- blaming and accusing the media for the emboldening of the enemy, undercutting the president, undermining the troops and disenchanting the American public on the war by reporting some of the truth. Isn't it ironic that now the new Secretary of Defense and many other "experts" are coming out and validating what many in the media have been saying to some degree all along.
Unfortunately it appears too late to avoid bloody catastrophe. The situation is actually far, far worse than what we have been getting in watered down and sanitized news coverage

I know that the coverage and commentary of this issue may be becoming tiresome, but, I strongly encourage you to read the following transcript in its entirety. I also encourage you to re-examine your beliefs, re- confirm your faith in God and re- evaluate your spiritual life. The time is now.


COOPER: Well, meantime in Baghdad and all across Iraq today, another surge of sectarian violence, most of it aimed at Iraqi Shias, marking Ashura, the holiest period on the Shia calendar. At least 50 people were killed.

That is the backdrop -- bloody, confusing, potentially a no win situation.

CNN's Michael Ware has spent years in Iraq watching things get to this point that he described as four separate wars unfolding at once.

Recently, he spent a rare few days here in New York and sat down with me for a remarkable conversation.

Michael Ware


COOPER: So, where is the war right now?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN BAGHDAD CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's in -- as the American commanders call it, a dire, but not yet hopeless state. However, it's hard to see how the war is not in an intractable position.

I mean, there's a lot of activity, but there's no progress, either politically, economically or militarily. We're now entering the fifth year of this war. We've seen more than 3,000 American combat deaths and non-hostile deaths. And we've seen more than 20,000 American wounded. Yet what's been achieved?

I mean, is there a true democratic state either in existence or even emerging?

COOPER: Supporters of the war -- Vice President Cheney says that there are successes and they point to the democratic elections that have been held.

WARE: Right. On the surface, yes, they are successes. There's one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world in place in Iraq.

But what's the reality? What's the effect? What's it like for the ordinary Iraqi on the street? And their common retort is, if this is democracy, then we'd rather have the old ways. I mean, this is your freedom? I mean, look at their lives. I mean, look at how their daily life is racked with violence. People are being ethnically cleansed from their neighborhoods. You can't send your children to school for fear of crossing ethnic lines. Bodies are showing up in the streets every day. Death squads are roaming the streets at night.

And for Sunnis, these death squads come in the dead of night in legitimate police or army uniforms showing legitimate identification saying, you must come with us.

COOPER: So the focus is on Baghdad. Is there a cost that will be paid because of that?

WARE: Absolutely. This focus on Baghdad that we've seen evolve in American strategy over the last 12 to 18 months does not come without a price.

While you're pouring all your attentions, all the thrust of your attentions militarily, politically and economically into the capital, the question is what's happening beyond the city?

So while you focus on Baghdad, part of the cost of that is that over here in Anbar Province, that's suffering for want of troops and a real thrust of effort, al Qaeda, which the Marines themselves say more or less politically owns this part of the country, is becoming stronger. Focusing on Baghdad has given al Qaeda the oxygen it has needed to grow.

COOPER: They are planning on sending several thousand more troops to...


WARE: Four thousand more troops to al-Anbar. But like the country overall, again, that's just a drop in the bucket.

Part of the other price to be paid for the focus on Baghdad is that here in the south, you have entrenched Iranian influence, as we see through the control of the Iraqi militias. By and large, the militias own the south. And what that means is that Iran's influence is greatest there. Now, whilst it is a much more stable place in the south and American commanders are quick to point that the levels of violence there are minimal, the reality is, as Sunnis often charge, is that that veneer of stability has been achieved through an accommodation with the militias and essentially with Iran.

You let them control it, you give power to them. And on the surface, it will look good.

COOPER: So we talk about this new strategy. You say, though, there's really not that much new about it.

WARE: Now, what we're seeing is the old becoming new again. I mean, in many ways, this is again staying the course. There's no radical shift in strategy.

I mean, let's, for example, look at the troop numbers. We're seeing what they're calling a surge. Now, that doesn't suggest in any way a complete overhaul of strategy. It's talking about an enhancement.

So 21,500 troops, given the state of the problem, the size of the country and the population, by and large is nothing. That's still a drop in the bucket. And what we're seeing in terms of the actual tactics to be now employed in the capital Baghdad -- sprinkling U.S. troops throughout neighborhoods throughout the city -- again is not new. It may be a development for the capital, but we've seen this particular strategy evolve in Iraq with American forces.

We first saw it in the northern border town of Tal Afar, an al Qaeda gateway. We've since seen it adopted and enhanced in the western city of Ramadi, the true al Qaeda national headquarters. And we're now seeing it being supplanted in Baghdad.

So in many ways, this is something that we've seen coming to life again and being described as a new strategy, as President Bush called it in the State of the Union address.


COOPER: We'll have more from Michael Ware coming up on each of the four wars that he says are now being fought in Iraq.

Plus, Michael Ware's brush with death.


COOPER (voice-over): Covering the story is dangerous enough, without nearly becoming the story.

WARE: These men intercepted my vehicle and with grenades, with the pins pulled so that they were live, hauled me from the car. And with my own video camera, they were preparing to film my execution.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The story Michael Ware lived to tell. His insider's view of the war, when this special edition of 360, "Iraq: The Hidden Wars," continues.



COOPER (on camera): When you talk about the war in Iraq, you're actually talking about many different wars.

The first war, the war of the Sunni insurgents, how did that start?

WARE: What we saw almost from the beginning is that elements from the military and from the Baath party and from within the Sunni community begin the insurgency.

What started as small ad hoc without coordination eventually emerged as a structured and extremely effective guerrilla fight.

Now, these are the people who originally administration figures were calling dead-enders and criminal elements. But we've now seen that that's not the case. The Sunni insurgency is by and large the war that America went there to fight.

COOPER: But the U.S. really hadn't expected there to be an insurgency at all?

WARE: By and large, no. They expected a much warmer reception. But with the disbandment of the military, with the lack of economic opportunity and with what was perceived to be a heavy focus on the Shia, all these former generals and colonels and officers and foot soldiers felt that they were left with no other choice.

Plus, one thing that's being significantly underestimated from the beginning is the Iraqi sense of nationalism, particularly among the Sunnis. Or their sense of honor.

These men were just sent home in what they felt was dishonor. They were no longer required and they were disempowered.

Now, the way it began is that essentially small groups would just pick up arms and take potshots at passing American convoys. But eventually one group started talking to another group. Then they'd start to coordinate, sharing weapons, sharing intelligence. Then command and control structures began to emerge.

COOPER: Did they want Saddam back in power?

WARE: These soldiers, these generals, were not fighting for a return of Saddam at all.

In the -- the day Saddam was captured, in December 2003, and word leaked the next morning, I was with Sunni insurgents. Every one of them told me, and said this in no way affects what we're doing. We're not fighting for Saddam.

Whilst this may be a symbolic body blow, this did not strike at the heart of the insurgency.

That's what they said the day he was captured. And in the years since, we've seen that born out.

COOPER: So these are men who at least initially supported al Qaeda, who were...


WARE: Absolutely not. In fact, in many ways they were opposed to if not al Qaeda, at least the idea of al Qaeda. And we certainly saw through the early years of the war and, to a degree, continuing now, great friction between these elements of America's enemies.

COOPER: So when did this first war, these Sunni insurgents start to become more radicalized?

WARE: As we saw strains put on the insurgents' flow of finances and funding, we saw a growth in the power and influence of al Qaeda and other Islamists.

And also, don't forget, what we now see as a civil war has pushed people on both sides to the extremes. So we're now seeing nationalists being herded towards al Qaeda.

More and more we started seeing foreign fighters appearing in Haifa Street, to the point where by the end, Zarqawi's organization, which later became officially al Qaeda, was able to display its banners along the length of Haifa Street, to take ownership of it over the Iraqi nationalists.


COOPER: Al Qaeda and Iraq could actually put its banners on a street in Baghdad, in central Baghdad?

WARE: Yes, they did. And this was a symbolic passing of power here in the center of the capital.

Now, I personally experienced this. Just days after a blazing battle with U.S. forces that left a Bradley armored fighting vehicle in flames, Zarqawi supporters were on top of it waving his flags.

What happened is al Qaeda said, well, we now own this. So I went in there to document this, to see if it was true and to try and show this.

COOPER: Are you nuts?

WARE: Well...

COOPER: Do you ever ask yourself that?

WARE: Yes, often, actually. But this is -- this is...

COOPER: I mean, that's a dangerous thing to do.

WARE: It is an extremely difficult thing to do. But, I mean, this is a part of the nature of this, like every war. The fog of war. What's true and what's not. There's so much that we're told by all sides. I mean, this is one of the universal features of this war as in all others, is that everybody lies.

But I went in there and sure enough, I found the banners. Sure enough, lining the streets were Zarqawi's fighters, these men who soon became fully fledged al Qaeda.

Now, what happened is that in the end, these men intercepted my vehicle and with grenades, with the pins pulled so that they were live, hauled me from the car, and with my own video camera, they were preparing to film my execution.

So as far as we're aware, after that day on Haifa Street, I'm the only Westerner that we know of who's been in the control of Zarqawi's organization, al Qaeda, and to have lived to tell the tale.

COOPER: How did you get out of there?

WARE: I was in a vehicle with a mid-ranking Iraqi insurgent commander who'd told me of Zarqawi's takeover, essentially complained about it. And I said, well, I need to see this. So he took me in there to show me that these radicals, these foreign Islamists, have taken our territory.

When the foreign radical Islamists, essentially who became al Qaeda, dragged me from the car, this man was left to negotiate for my life. And this is where we see the difference come into play.

The Zarqawi fighters wanted to execute the Westerner. As they said, you bring a Westerner in here and you expect us to let him leave alive? Well, no, it doesn't work like that.

So even those these Islamists, at that time, had the upper hand in Haifa Street, they couldn't discount the local fighters. And essentially, it came down to the local Iraqi insurgent saying, OK, you can kill this foreigner, but know that that means we go to war, because he has come here at our invitation. And for you to kill him is essentially an insult to us.

And as much as these foreign fighters wanted to kill me, at the end of the day, they knew that practically they couldn't, because they could not afford to have this local fight. And it was through gritted teeth that they essentially gave me back to the Iraqi insurgents, who then took me out.

COOPER: What was that feeling like when you realized you were going to live?

WARE: Whew. It took a long time before it actually dawned on me. I spent many of the following days in my room. I found it very difficult to leave the safety and comfort of my bedroom. It took some time for me to regather myself and to return to the streets. But, in fact, just days later, I did return to this very place.

COOPER: You went back to Haifa Street?

WARE: I went back to Haifa Street. Not to precisely the same area, but yes, I did go probing back into this area during some fighting.

COOPER: That is when the second war in Iraq begins. And we'll talk about that, the rise of al Qaeda and the man who changed it all, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Before the break, CNN's Michael Ware was describing his near execution by al Qaeda insurgents in Iraq. By the time Michael crossed paths with those insurgents, al Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni group had a firm foothold in the majority Shia country. The man responsible for that, as Michael touched on, is this man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

He was killed last June in a coalition air strike near Baqubah. U.S. officials say he was behind dozens of terrorist attacks in Iraq, including the beheadings of several Americans and other foreign hostages. He died a hero among Muslim extremists.

And as Michael explained to me, the civil war that's engulfed Iraq, may be his biggest legacy.


COOPER: The second war in Iraq, the rise of al Qaeda, the growth of the importance of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. May 1st, 2003, President Bush stands on that aircraft carrier, mission accomplished. What's actually happening on the ground?

WARE: OK. This is the story of al Qaeda in Iraq. If you remember, before the invasion, there was what the administration says, the presence of an al Qaeda element in the country. Now, that had nothing to do with Saddam. What they were talking about was this group called Ansar al-Islam, that was holed up here in the north, in the Kurdish region.

So what we saw even then during the invasion was two wars, the war against Saddam's regime and a much, much smaller attack against an al Qaeda element in the north.

Now, I was there in the north. I was in the battle with U.S. Green Berets and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, essentially the Kurdish militia that the Green Berets used to go into this mountain stronghold of this al Qaeda linked group and drive them out.

I was there with the Green Berets as we all watched these fighters walk over the mountains into the safety of Iran. I was even there as a Green Beret was reporting back on his radio, they're exfilling, they're retreating, they're escaping to Iran.

So while the administration is saying here's al Qaeda and it's being wiped out, no, the body of this group had been preserved. And we've since seen them and many others reemerge.

COOPER: And was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi there?

WARE: According to the administration, and much has emerged since, Zarqawi was involved with this group.

Now, what you need to remember is after the success of the invasion of Afghanistan and al Qaeda was driven out of its sanctuary, its base from which it launched September 11 attacks and many other things, we saw now an organization put under great stress. It had to retreat into the mountains of Waziristan and Pakistan and it had to disperse.

So what we saw for Zarqawi and what we've now seen for al Qaeda more broadly, is that the invasion of Iraq gave them the next platform that they'd been looking for.

So in many ways, the invasion played directly into the hands of al Qaeda.


COOPER: It gave them a focus, it gave them a place to go to, it gave them a battle to join.

WARE: It gave them a battle. It brought the enemy, America, to them.

The American war in Iraq made Zarqawi. It turned him from a relative nobody into one of the superstars of global jihad, of global Islamic extremism.

COOPER: He did that through these propaganda tapes, through these tames of executions of...


WARE: Through a whole range of things. That was just one dimension of Zarqawi's vision, Zarqawi's strategy.

COOPER: What did he want? What was his plan?

WARE: Zarqawi's plan, as we know from a letter he wrote to Osama bin Laden that was intercepted and since released by U.S. forces. What he wanted to do was use Iraq as the new platform to fight this global war. He wanted to use Iraq, much as we saw Afghanistan in the 1980s during the Soviet occupation, to create a whole new generation of al Qaeda and radical Islamic fighters. And that's precisely what he did.

At the core of it, apart from the fight against the Americans, what Zarqawi wanted to do was to strike up a war between the Sunni sect of Islam and the Shia sect of Islam. He believed it was through this that his and al Qaeda's Sunni branch of Islam would awake from its slumber and rise up to defend itself and eventually conquer all before it. And it was through Iraq that he saw that they would do that.

COOPER: It's interesting because we in the West often view the battle as a battle between the United States or the West and this radical sect of Islam.

In fact, this radical sect of Islam, they want it to be viewed as that because they want to be seen as the champions of Muslims around the world, when in fact the people they are really fighting against ultimately are other Muslims. The people who they oppose are people who they believe are not Islamic enough.

WARE: From the Zarqawi school of thought, there's many battles to be fought. And it's this fight against this other branch of Islam that is one of the vehicles that will elevate Islam.

What al Qaeda in Iraq has now done is declared this western part of the country an Islamic state. Within this Islamic state, they intend to rule by Sharia law, pure Islamic law.

But we're seeing them create a ministry of information. They're putting together essentially a shadow government that will have a cabinet and different ministries to administer the people who fall within this state.

But what we see right now is that al Qaeda feels that coming into our fifth year of this war, that it is in a position, that it is doing so well that it can dare declare a part of American-occupied Iraq an al Qaeda Islamic state, a country within the American occupation.

COOPER: When we come back, we'll talk about the third war in Iraq, the civil war. That's when we return.


COOPER: This third war you talk about, this civil war in Iraq really is a victory for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It's what he wanted all along.

WARE: Absolutely. As he spelled out from the very, very beginning, what he believed was that if we attack the Shia, they will be forced to respond. Then this sleeping giant, the Sunni sect of Islam, will be forced to rise up. He believed that was the key to the way forward.

So essentially, he created the civil war that not only now exists in Iraq, but is dominating the political and military landscape. This is Zarqawi's legacy.

COOPER: And nowhere do we see that more than in Baghdad itself, the sectarian violence?

WARE: Baghdad is the central battleground for the civil war. Now, we see U.S. military commanders herald the fact that by and large, the sectarian violence is only limited to the capital and 30 miles around it. Well, that's all it would ever be. That in itself is no success and that is no indication of the nature or size or implication of the civil war.

Why? Because in the rest of the country, the sects essentially live alone. It's only in the melting pot of Baghdad that we see, in a very concentrated way, the sects coming together.

So Baghdad was always going to be the fault line in any such war.

COOPER: In Baghdad, there is now the situation of different groups controlling different territory. You have Muqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City with his own army, essentially. What is the sectarian civil war look like?

WARE: Well, there's no clear front line. Everything is so mixed. But we are starting to see divisions occur.

Essentially, the capital of Iraq is divided by a river. And it's a rough, very rough rule of thumb. What we're seeing emerge is that one side is dominated by the Shia and the other side is increasingly becoming dominated by the opposing Sunni. This civil war, this sectarian bloodletting of neighbor against neighbor is happening everywhere -- in the streets, in the neighborhoods.

I mean, we're seeing at least 30, 40, 50 bodies showing up on the streets of this city every morning.

COOPER: And it's not just bodies that have been shot. I mean, these are people who have drills -- holes drilled into their head with power tools.

WARE: For no reason. It's not to extract information. It's simply to make their death as brutal and as horrific as possible.

COOPER: And these death squads, are some of them controlled by members of the Iraqi government?

WARE: Absolutely. Absolutely. Many of these death squads, if not coming from within the ranks of the government or the ranks of its police, are certainly associated with them or attached with them, are facilitated by elements of the government. Simply, they could not exist without the active or at least tacit support of this government.

COOPER: When you're stopped at a roadblock by Iraqi police officers, do you open your doors? Do you roll down your windows?

WARE: Like ordinary Iraqis, when you turn a corner on a street in the capital of Baghdad and suddenly you're confronted by police or army checkpoint, you have no idea who these men really are. They may be in legitimate police uniforms, legitimate police vehicles, legitimate police identification. But they could quite simply be a death squad. So everyone who moves in this city is rolling the dice every time they set foot outside of their home. And, indeed, for many people, even sitting in their homes is not safe because police run death squads or Sunni extremist death squads can enter homes and drag people out. Nowhere is safe. And you don't know who anyone is.

COOPER: I've been to Iraq for all the elections. The administration keeps pointing to these elections as a sign of success. Have the elections had any impact to lessen the violence? Or have they...

WARE: Not in the slightest. Not in the slightest. In fact, one can argue, as the Sunnis do, is that it's the democratic process that has helped fuel this sectarian conflict.

The Shia population of Iraq is in the majority. So, clearly, in the democratic elections, it's they who dominated. It's they who won most of the seats in the parliament. So it's they who are able to have the whip hand in forming the government.

Essentially, this is a Shia-led government. To the Sunnis, they see this as America entrenching the power of the Shia, and clearly, its main supporter, Iran.

So, to them, this was a battle line. This is one of the reasons that they say they've had to take up arms, not just against the government and the death squads, but also against the Americans.

So this is what we've seen. Ordinary Sunni Iraqis who have sat on the fence or who have just sat and waited for the prosperity and safety that we promised them to be delivered drift towards al Qaeda and its affiliates. They've got to the point where they feel they have no other choice.

And the true winners of the war so far of the invasion and the occupation, at the end of the day, are the Islamic extremists on both sides represented by al Qaeda on one hand and ultimately Iran on the other. They're the winners so far.

COOPER: And when we come back, we'll talk about Iran and what is really -- Michael refers to as the fourth war, the proxy war, the covert war against Iran. We'll talk about that when we come back.


COOPER: The fourth war that's going on in Iraq, the proxy war against Iran, how did Iran get involved?

WARE: Iran's been involved from the very, very beginning. Don't forget, you know, Iran and Iraq share a land border. There's many tribes and families that live on both sides of this border.

In the '80s, Saddam launched a vicious eight-year war against Iran. So Iran very much has legitimate national security interests in terms of Iraq. And we've seen Iran aggressively pursue those interests. What happened during the invasion, as U.S. and British forces advanced from Kuwait to the north, clearing Saddam's forces as they went, we saw essentially an Iranian backed invasion at the same time that filled the vacuum that was left behind. It was extremely well organized and coordinated.

And, in fact, the irony is we saw Iran use the very same successful tactic that the American Green Berets used in Afghanistan to win against the Taliban and al Qaeda against U.S. interests in Iraq.

COOPER: You mean covert forces?

WARE: Very much.

COOPER: Small numbers.

WARE: During Saddam's regime, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shia fled to Iran. Iran saw many of these people not only as brethren and refugees to be protected, but as an asset. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of these Iraqi Shia who were in Iran were mobilized and used by the Iranians within its armed forces.

COOPER: What would they do? They went in with money? They went in with arms?

WARE: With everything. What they did is, in the chaos and the vacuum of power that was left behind the advancing coalition forces, they took power. They took the governor's office, the police chief's office, the Baath party headquarters, and they never really left.

And, indeed, what the British found, as we learned from the British army report into the execution killing of six of its military police in 2003 by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, is that when they arrived in one of these major border provinces here, they found that the militias were already so strong that the report said the British had a choice, to either confront them or to accommodate them.

And the report says that for the sake of stability and security, they felt they had no other choice but to accommodate these militias. So that entrenched the militias in power.

COOPER: And they have given the militias of -- like, for instance, Muqtada al-Sadr, they have given them training, they have given them arms and money?

WARE: Yes. What we saw with many of these networks and these organizations that were in Iran is that they were kept in place and they moved into Iraq. And with them came what's essentially Iranian green beret advisers. You had Iranian form of CIA advisers. All coming with them. To guide, direct, to channel them.

And even elements within Iraq, like Muqtada al-Sadr, the rebel anti-American cleric and his Mehdi army militia, Muqtada and his militia were very different to these others. They never fled Iraq. They didn't go into Iran. They remained in Iraq. Now, in the beginning, that was a great rallying cry for Muqtada. He was able to represent himself as a true nationalist -- I stayed while these people left. I suffered with you. That was very persuasive. That drew a lot of people to his cause.

But over time, we've seen Iran not only court Muqtada, but then militarily support him. We've seen a flow of money, a flow of arms and a flow of training back and forth.

COOPER: When we come back, we're going to take a look at what are the options are now for the United States and the region. Where do we go from here. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We talked about the four wars that exist within the war in Iraq. We've talked about the current U.S. strategy. What are the options?

WARE: Well, from the way things have emerged, even though U.S. commanders say the situation is dire, it's not hopeless. It's very hard to see any kind of alternative that is anything but ugly and difficult.

COOPER: The new strategy, flooding troops into Baghdad, several thousand troops into al-Anbar Province, they say that's basically the final shot that the U.S. has, according to many Republicans and Democrats.

WARE: It may very well be. And if that's the case, then things are only about to become worse. It's very few positive outcomes that one can see emerging from Iraq at this point.

Iran and its allies and its proxies are so strong and so entrenched, many people say that once that genie was out of the bottle, it can't be put back.

Al Qaeda has been developing such a stronghold within Iraq that it never had under Saddam. The people say that can never be rooted out, certainly not entirely.

So what we've seen is a direct result of the invasion and the war. Is it two of America's greatest enemies have become emboldened, and indeed, more powerful, stronger than they were before the war.

And under any scenario, military or political, it's almost impossible to see how that can be rolled back.

COOPER: Some Democrats are calling for a cap on U.S. troops. Also, some Republicans. Or some sort of phased withdrawal. What would happen if the U.S. did begin to withdraw? Is the Iraqi government capable of ruling, of providing security for its people in Baghdad and the rest of the country?

WARE: Not at all. It's widely acknowledged by the U.S. military and the administration and analysts and anyone in Iraq that if America were to pull out, then there would be a nightmare almost beyond imagination that would unfold in Iraq.

COOPER: There are those, though, who support some sort of phased withdrawal or redeployment, saying this will force the Iraqi government to stand up, to get their act together faster.

WARE: It's impossible. It's impossible. The American administration in Iraq has done everything it can to force the Iraqi government to stand up. But at the end of the day, what is the Iraqi government? The Iraqi government is, by and large, just an alliance or a conglomeration of militia forces.

The currency of political power in Iraq to this very day, under this new democracy is still found at the end of the barrel of a gun. You have no political stake unless you have a militia.

So that's why we have this Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a man who himself does not have a militia, in such a dire political situation.

COOPER: So if you're saying some sort of withdrawal or phased redeployment could lead to -- would lead to blood shed. You say the current strategy, there's nothing really all that new about it. Do you have an answer?

WARE: Well, there's a few things that people suggest, none of which are terribly attractive to the people of Iraq, nor to the people of the West. I mean, it just doesn't seem that there's any road forward that does not involve the spilling of so much innocent blood or the abandonment of so many of the principles that we of the West hold dear.

COOPER: Some talk about the kind of a partition, either a very -- an actual partition or some sort of soft partition.

WARE: Partition of any kind, again, impacts directly on the interests of all these regional players. And most argue that should you partition, that again, will force these regional players to increase their negative activities in Iraq.

For example, we would see the Arab states feeling themselves forced to actively support Sunni insurgencies, and indeed, al Qaeda. So partitioning in many ways is not seen as a solution.

COOPER: The new head of the Defense Department has suggested that by March, the U.S. should have some indication whether the al- Maliki government is actually living up to its promises. Lieutenant General Petraeus seems to be talking about a longer timeline to find out whether this -- what they are calling a new strategy, is actually going to work. Do you have a sense of how much time it may take to see whether or not this will work?

WARE: Do we need more time to know if this strategy will work? In my view, no, not at all. It's clear and abundant now that the strategy as it stands is not working and will not work. It's strengthening America's enemies. The American military presence in Iraq now, what will become 160,000 troops, is still in many ways not enough to really secure the country, to make people feel safe, to defeat al Qaeda and to rebuff Iranian interests. That has not changed.

COOPER: So militarily, if there's not a solution, is there possibly a political solution if all the actors involved or the major actors involved had a change of heart, had a change of mind or suddenly became willing to make some sort of accommodation?

WARE: It's in no one's interests to change their minds. I mean, many of the players that the U.S. is either relying upon or being forced to confront or deal with in the Iraqi government, their interests are not aligned with American interests. So no, there's no incentive for them to change. Why should they?

COOPER: So the wars within the war continue?

WARE: The wars within the war continue.

COOPER: Michael Ware, thanks.

WARE: Thank you.



COOPER: Thanks for watching this special edition of 360, "Iraq: The Hidden Wars."

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Bonus Articles: The Baghdad Press Club