Saturday, August 13, 2005

9/11 commissioners defend intel omission - U.S. Security -

9/11 commissioners defend intel omission - U.S. Security -

Blogger Comments: Misleading Headline... the article does not talk about the 911 Commission... it talks about Keane and Hamilton. Their words are meaningless. They had little to do with what went into the Report.

The US and alternate realities

The US and alternate realities

project censored: Voter Fraud

Election Fraud Continues in the US
New Data Shows Widespread Vote Manipulations in 2004
By Peter Phillips

In the fall of 2001, after an eight-month review of 175,000 Florida
ballots never counted in the 2000 election, an analysis by the
National Opinion Research Center confirmed that Al Gore actually won
Florida and should have been President. However, coverage of this
report was only a small blip in the corporate media as a much bigger
story dominated the news after September 11, 2001.

New research compiled by Dr. Dennis Loo with the University of Cal
Poly Pomona now shows that extensive manipulation of non-paper-trail
voting machines occurred in several states during the 2004 election.
The facts are as follows: In 2004 Bush far exceeded the 85% of
registered Florida Republican votes that he got in 2000, receiving
more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67
Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and
over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties. Bush managed these
remarkable outcomes despite the fact that his share of the crossover
votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000,
and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points.
We also know that Bush "won" Ohio by 51-48%, but statewide results
were not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400
absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of
the vote. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio the number of recorded votes was
more than 93,000 greater than the number of registered voters.

More importantly national exit polls showed Kerry winning in 2004.
However, It was only in precincts where there were no paper trails on
the voting machines that the exit polls ended up being different from
the final count. According to Dr. Steve Freeman, a statistician at
the University of Pennsylvania, the odds are 250 million to one that
the exit polls were wrong by chance. In fact, where the exit polls
disagreed with the computerized outcomes the results always favored
Bush - another statistical impossibility.
Dennis Loo writes, "A team at the University of California at
Berkeley, headed by sociology professor Michael Hout, found a highly
suspicious pattern in which Bush received 260,000 more votes in those
Florida precincts that used electronic voting machines than past
voting patterns would indicate compared to those precincts that used
optical scan read votes where past voting patterns held."

There is now strong statistical evidence of widespread voting machine
manipulation occurring in US elections since 2000. Coverage of the
fraud has been reported in independent media and various websites.
The information is not secret. But it certainly seems to be a taboo
subject for the US corporate media.

Black Box Voting ( ) reported on March
9, 2005 that voting machines used by over 30 million voters were
easily hacked by relatively unsophisticated programs and audits of
the computers would not show the changes. It is very possible that a
small team of hackers could have manipulated the 2004 and earlier
elections in various locations throughout the United States.
Irregularities in the vote counts certainly indicate that something
beyond chance occurrences has been happening in recent elections.

That a special interest group might try to cheat on an election in
the United States is nothing new. Historians tell us how local
political machines from both major parties have in the past used
methods of double counting, ballot box stuffing, poll taxes and
registration manipulation to affect elections. In the computer age,
however, election fraud can occur externally without local precinct
administrators having any awareness of the manipulations - and the
fraud can be extensive enough to change the outcome of an entire
national election.

There is little doubt key Democrats know that votes in 2004 and
earlier elections were stolen. The fact that few in Congress are
complaining about fraud is an indication of the totality to which
both parties accept the status quo of a money based elections system.
Neither party wants to further undermine public confidence in the
American "democratic" process (over 80 millions eligible voters
refused to vote in 2004). Instead we will likely see the quiet
passing of legislation that will correct the most blatant problems.
Future elections in the US will continue as an equal opportunity for
both parties to maintain a national democratic charade in which money
counts more than truth.

Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University
and Director of Project Censored. Dennis Loo's report "No Paper Trail
Left Behind: the Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election," can be
viewed at

Bionic Octopus: Joint Chiefs Wriggle Like A Detainee On A Wire

Bionic Octopus: Joint Chiefs Wriggle Like A Detainee On A Wire


Originally uploaded by Rob Winters.
The next day the sun came out and it was great. Road trip! then we went back to Huka falls for a photo in the sun and saw this pair.

Codename Grillfire

Codename GrillfireAffidavit that I gave for the RICO Lawsuit that was filed for Ellen Mariani against the Bush Administration in November 2003

ABLE DANGER FOLLOWUP, Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly

The Washington Monthly

Blogger Comments:
Kevin Drum would be so much more powerful and helpful if he brought more of the truth to the table. He could start with the understanding the the 911 Commission was a cover-up commission. The central point of control of the commission was Zelikow. He takes no time in his post to even mention Zelikow or any other dissection of the Commission and its operation.
End of Blogger Comments

ABLE DANGER FOLLOWUP....I've been meaning to write up another post about Congressman Curt Weldon's "Able Danger" story (background here if you're not up to speed on this), but I've had a hard time getting my hands around the whole mess. The only thing that's sure is that the NRO crowd is going absolutely batshit over it. "This is clearly becoming the biggest story of the summer," thundered John Podhoretz. "Clinton, Berger, and the others didn’t want to have to act against terrorist groups inside the United States, so the system didn’t send them information," explained Michael Ledeen ominously. "Why has the public not been told...what was in the classified documents that Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger illegally pilfered from the archives?" demanded Andy McCarthy.

This is a mountain of speculation given that actual facts on the ground seem to be almost nonexistent. We know that the Able Danger program existed, but that's about it. We don't really know anything about it aside from the vague description that it was a data mining operation of some kind; we don't know what it discovered about al-Qaeda; and we don't know whether it identified any of the 9/11 terrorists a year before the attacks, as Curt Weldon claims. There is, literally, about three sentences worth of information about the nature of Able Danger in the published reports so far, all of it from Weldon and his obviously disgruntled intelligence source.

So: is Able Danger the biggest story of the summer? Did the 9/11 Commission know that Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta in 2000? Did they nonetheless refuse to mention this in their report?

Maybe. But the commission has now issued a statement based on notes taken in 2003 and 2004, and it sure doesn't sound like it. Laura Rozen has the entire statement, but here's an excerpt:

On October 21, 2003...met at Bagram Base, Afghanistan...referred to DOD program known as ABLE DANGER....Commission staff promptly prepared a memorandum for the record...does not record any mention of Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers.

....In February 2004, DOD provided documents [about Able Danger]...None of the documents turned over to the Commission mention Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers.

....In 2004, Congressman Curt Weldon...contacted the Commission....No mention was made in these conversations of a claim that Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers had been identified by DOD employees before 9/11.

....In early July 2004...U.S. Navy officer employed at DOD...claiming that the project had linked Atta to an al Qaeda cell located in New York in the 1999-2000 time frame....The interviewee had no documentary evidence and said he had only seen the document briefly some years earlier....Weighing this with the information about Atta’s actual activities...the Commission staff concluded that the officer’s account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation.

The Able Danger program was classified, of course, so we may never know exactly what it was and what it found out — especially since if the Pentagon was aware of Atta in 2000 it's not likely to want to admit it in any case. However, I'm going to stick with my original guess: it produced some general information about al-Qaeda, but nothing specifically about Atta or the other 9/11 hijackers. That's why no one ever mentioned Atta in the original reports. Later on, frustrated because their story wasn't getting enough attention, Weldon and his source embellished it to suggest that Able Danger had specifically uncovered actionable intelligence about an al-Qaeda cell in Brooklyn headed by Atta. The 9/11 Commission, which was days away from finishing its report, didn't believe this suddenly revised story and chose not to include it in its report.

If more details come out about this, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I suspect there's really nothing here except an intelligence officer disgruntled that his program was shut down and a credulous congressman who wanted to believe him. Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 2:50 AM Permalink TrackBack (0) Comments (25)

Golly, you mean you have right-wingers piling baseless speculation a mile high on top of some murky and mostly nonexistent story as a means of accusing "liberals" of horrific and mostly unspecified malfeasance? Could that really happen? (cough) Whitewater (cough) Naww!

Posted by: jimBOB on August 13, 2005 at 3:22 AM PERMALINK

"Clinton, Berger, and the others didn’t want to have to act against terrorist groups inside the United States, so the system didn’t send them information,"

With three sentences of information from source whose motives are suspect, this is 99% speculation plus spin... and it qualifies "the biggest story of the summer"? Why? The press didn't seem to care that Bush ignored the PDB "Bin Laden determined to attack in the US" and numerous other warnings.

Oh, right, because now that the president's ratings are at rock bottom here's another chance to blame Clinton.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, did his best to scapegoat others for it, and used religion as a wedge issue to distract the public from his sinking popularity and an increasingly unpopular war in the middle east.

Curiously, the citizens of Rome were more willing and able to toss Nero out despite the fact they were living in a dictatorship; meanwhile, far too many American citizens couldn't be bothered to take a couple of hours out of their time to pull a lever.

Posted by: Augustus on August 13, 2005 at 3:34 AM PERMALINK

But the commission has now issued a statement based on notes taken in 2003 and 2004, and it sure doesn't sound like it.


The 9/11 commission is a JOKE. They acted like they were trying to answer the question whether 9/11 could have been prevented when we all know 9/11 was all Bill Clinton's fault. It was Bill Clinton and Al Gore's constant appeasement of Islamofascist terrorism that caused 9/11. The commission's refusal to mention Able Danger is an attempt by the commission to protect Bill Clinton.

Like all their other actions, the commision's refusal to even mention Able Danger is just another example of the commission refusing to tell the whole truth when it contradicts its biased anti-Bush views. When the 9/11 commission squarely places the blame of 9/11 on Bill Clinton and no one else, then we should start taking it seriously. It wouldn't be surprising if the Sandy Berger's stealing of classified documents was connected to the cover-up of Able Danger and the 9/11 commission is in on the cover-up.

Posted by: Al on August 13, 2005 at 3:58 AM PERMALINK

"Clinton, Berger, and the others didn’t want to have to act against terrorist groups inside the United States, so the system didn’t send them information," explained Michael Ledeen ominously.

Of course, Ledeen made sure that the system sent George Bush plenty of 'information'. What a fucking crook.

Oh, and we all know that Al fellates goats. Self-evident, see.

Posted by: ahem on August 13, 2005 at 4:39 AM PERMALINK

Wingnuts have already been told there's nothing to the Berger story, by the WSJ's editorial page no less. They just can't help frothing.

Why bother with facts when you can lather?

Posted by: djotefsoup on August 13, 2005 at 5:31 AM PERMALINK

Wingnuts have already been told there's nothing to the Berger story, by the WSJ's editorial page no less. They just can't help frothing.

Posted by: djotefsoup on August 13, 2005 at 5:32 AM PERMALINK


Sounds just like you 2,000 Plame up date posts -
mountains of speculation - -yet we built those mountains anyway!


Berger pled guilty to removing documents FIVE times - not just once.

His acts are at the heart of the Clinton 9/11 coverup.

Posted by: Alice on August 13, 2005 at 6:24 AM PERMALINK

Alice, you ignorant slut. Everybody knows Berger took copies of Archive material. The originals never left the Archives. How do you cover up something by leaving it in plain sight?

Smarter trolls, please.

Posted by: Joel on August 13, 2005 at 6:53 AM PERMALINK

Alice, you ignorant slut:

The FBI investigation of Berger revealed that no original documents were destroyed, that no information was lost from the archives and that he merely took copies from the archive, some of which he later destroyed.

Posted by: Felix Deutsch on August 13, 2005 at 6:55 AM PERMALINK

Joel, I swear I didn't see your comment before posting mine.

Funny how that works. ;)

Posted by: Felix Deutsch on August 13, 2005 at 6:57 AM PERMALINK

Ok, let me get this straight. Able Danger spotted Atta in 2000 and therefore Clinton and co are responsible for sitting on the material. Wouldn't DOD pass the same stuff on to the new administration in 2001? Doesn't that make both administrations culpable if the information is true?

Posted by: hphill on August 13, 2005 at 6:58 AM PERMALINK

Alice: Sounds just like you 2,000 Plame up date posts -
mountains of speculation - -yet we built those mountains anyway!

Well, one difference is that there is a grand jury investigation undergoing in the TreasonGate scandal. The speculation about Able Danger is unlikely to reach that stage.

This appears to be about as fleeting and inconsequential as a Bob Dole erection.


Posted by: Riesz Fischer on August 13, 2005 at 6:59 AM PERMALINK

Kinda new here. Three questions.

What planet does Al live on?

Is Alice the stupidest woman in the world?

Could these two be the same person who is in the process of being transgendered?

Posted by: cailte on August 13, 2005 at 7:38 AM PERMALINK

Off topic, but this is just too funny:

Group Hoping to Form Counter Clinton Library Folds

"LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A group that had hoped to build two museums to rebut the displays at the Clinton Presidential Library is folding.

"I'm giving up," said Houston businessman Richard Erickson, who established nonprofit Counterlibe Inc. last year to fund construction of a Counter Clinton Library in Little Rock and another in Washington.

Erickson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he had been naive about fundraising procedures. He said the project's Web site also would be shut down soon.

In a separate e-mail Wednesday, Erickson informed one of his key supporters, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., that he couldn't raise enough money to continue.

"Nearly every dime raised has gone to professional fundraisers and lawyers," he said."

Posted by: Bill the cat on August 13, 2005 at 8:42 AM PERMALINK

What planet does Al live on?

It's the same one that has those 72 virgins or whatever.

Is Alice the stupidest woman in the world?

Not quite - she does have mad cut-n-paste skilz. Granted, the things she cuts are irrelevant and bizarre, but still...

Could these two be the same person who is in the process of being transgendered?

Perhaps, but my experience shows that there are plenty of loony-toons to go around.

Re: Able Danger. I guess Curveball lives on....

Posted by: Irony Man on August 13, 2005 at 8:44 AM PERMALINK

Able Danger is about the Afghanistan War and what the US did with the resistance (armed them and paid them!).

Atta was a result of blowback from Afghanistan, long before Clinton was elected. You have to look at the sweep of history folks, not focus your venom on any one individual president.

The USSR devasted Afghanistan. The US provided weapons and money to the rebels (like SAM missles which were used to shoot down large numbers of USSR helicopters).

Even Sadaam's weapons were US made during the Iran-Iraq war (remember which side we were on then?).

The war makers have been busy for years. Why should Iraq be any less shattered than Afghanistan?

9/11 was supposed to be a wake-up call for us, revealing our desires in the Mid-East.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on August 13, 2005 at 8:48 AM PERMALINK

C'mon, it isns't like there was a memo saying 'bin Laden determined to strike within the U.S.!'

Posted by: Al on August 13, 2005 at 8:48 AM PERMALINK

wasn't there a story last year in Vanity Fair about the guy who first used data mining for US intelligence?

Posted by: Michèle on August 13, 2005 at 8:58 AM PERMALINK


Why did it take us 20 years to realize that Afghanistan might have undesireable "camps" in the mountains?

Question II: Didn't the US establish some of the caves in Afghanistan during the fight against the USSR?

Question III:
Is it possible that we created a trans-generational enemy during our war against the USSR in Afghanistan?

Question IV:

What country lies between Iraq and Afghanistan?

I await your answers folks.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on August 13, 2005 at 9:00 AM PERMALINK

Bush, Rice, and Rumsfeld all testified before the 9/11 commission and never used the "Able Danger" story in their defense.

Posted by: matt on August 13, 2005 at 9:06 AM PERMALINK

I'm sorry. I know I'm a troll and all that, but why did the New York Times, noted right-wing mouthpiece, publish the following story:

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The leaders of the 9/11 commission late Friday disputed a congressman's criticism that the panel did not adequately investigate a claim that four hijackers were identified as al-Qaida members more than a year before the attacks"

It continues on the link below.

I am asking this as an honest question. Has the story above been "overtaken by events"? It seems to me that the memos do not prove the negative asserted by Kevin. But I am willing to listen, I may have missed something myself.

Posted by: tool of some sort on August 13, 2005 at 9:08 AM PERMALINK

Rumsfeld said he was unaware of the Able Danger memo.

House of Parliament

House of Parliament
Originally uploaded by solea.


Originally uploaded by Rob Winters.
Day 5 Kiwi - Franz Josef to Wanaka, on the way to Haast Pass


Originally uploaded by Aeioux.

Amanecer en Barcelona

Amanecer en Barcelona
Originally uploaded by * No. Pip, no!!! *.

Bush Hints at Attacking Iran

Bush Hints at Attacking Iran

Myths About the Bombings (7/7)

Myths About the Bombings

The Countertop Chronicles: On Abortion

The Countertop Chronicles: On Abortion

Blogger Comments: I don't mean to offend anyone with this link. Every now and then I find looking at the other side of a debate is interesting.

9/11 Revisionism, Revisited- by Justin Raimondo

9/11 Revisionism, Revisited- by Justin Raimondo

In January of this year, Rep. Curt Weldon made a speech to the House of Representatives – a speech which no one took notice of, and which hardly anyone heard, except maybe inveterate C-SPAN watchers – in which he made a number of extraordinary assertions:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise because information has come to my attention over the past several months that is very disturbing. I have learned that, in fact, one of our Federal agencies had, in fact, identified the major New York cell of Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11; and I have learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000, that Federal agency actually was prepared to bring the FBI in and prepared to work with the FBI to take down the cell that Mohamed Atta was involved in in New York City, along with two of the other terrorists.

"I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that when that recommendation was discussed within that Federal agency, the lawyers in the administration at that time said, you cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card, and we are fearful of the fallout from the Waco incident. So we did not allow that Federal agency to proceed.

"Mr. Speaker, what this now means is that prior to September 11, we had employees of the Federal Government in one of our agencies who actually identified the Mohamed Atta cell and made a specific recommendation to act on that cell, but were denied the ability to go forward. Obviously, if we had taken out that cell, 9/11 would not have occurred and, certainly, taking out those three principal players in that cell would have severely crippled, if not totally stopped, the operation that killed 3,000 people in America."

Something about this doesn't quite ring true: none [.pdf] of the hijackers had a green card. Most came in on tourist visas: some had made easily detectable false statements on their visa applications, and might have been legally deported.

And what does Waco have to do with anything? The connection seems tenuous, at best. However, let us pass over that, for the moment, and concentrate on Rep. Weldon's further remarks: he avers that two weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, his "friends" at the Army's Information Dominance Center – "in cooperation with special ops" – brought him a chart that had been created by a secret military unit known as "Able Danger": using "data-mining" techniques, this top secret military intelligence unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three of the hijackers as being part of an Al Qaeda cell in the U.S. This chart, with a visa photo of Mohammed Atta at its center, was created a year before 9/11. Weldon says he took the chart to Stephen Hadley, at the National Security Council, who said he had never seen any such chart, and that he would bring it to "the man" – i.e., the President.

Now it isn't all that surprising that neither Hadley, nor the President, had any inkling of Operation "Able Danger." What's truly startling, however, is that when Weldon talked to those who made the chart, he discovered that not only had they identified the New York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the other terrorists, but also that a recommendation had been made to take out the cell – and it had been vetoed. By whom – and why? As Weldon put it in his speech:

"That is a question that needs to be answered, Mr. Speaker. I have to ask, Mr. Speaker, with all the good work that the 9/11 Commission did, why is there nothing in their report about able danger? Why is there no mention of the work that able danger did against al Qaeda? Why is there no mention, Mr. Speaker, of a recommendation in September of 2000 to take out Mohammed Atta's cell which would have detained three of the terrorists who struck us?"

A good question, one that was thoroughly ignored for months, until something called the "Government Security News" picked up the story, and this was followed by a piece in the New York Times by Douglas Jehl, and one this [Thursday] morning, that basically confirmed the outlines of Weldon's story.

A "former defense intelligence official" involved in "Able Danger" was cited to buttress Weldon's assertion, and he claims in the first Times story that, yes, he brought the chart produced by his team to Special Operations Command (SOC) because "We knew these were bad guys, and we wanted to do something about them." At SOC headquarters, in Tampa, Florida, however, they draw a complete blank:

"Col. Samuel Taylor, a spokesman for the military's Special Operations Command, said no one at the command now had any knowledge of the Able Danger program, its mission or its findings. If the program existed, Colonel Taylor said, it was probably a highly classified "special access program" on which only a few military personnel would have been briefed."

According to Al Felzenberg, former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, investigators on his staff had been told about the "Able Danger" program, but, he claimed, there was no mention of Atta, which is why the 9/11 Commission report never mentions the subject, even obliquely. However, the former defense intelligence official cited in Jehl's first story begs to differ. He says that Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and three other members of the Commission staff, had been briefed, and that

"He had explicitly mentioned Mr. Atta as a member of a Qaeda cell in the United States. He said the staff encouraged him to call the commission when he returned to Washington at the end of the year. When he did so, the ex-official said, the calls were not returned."

Jehl reported on Wednesday that, according to Felzenberg, who had talked to former staff members of the Commission,

"They all say that they were not told anything about a Brooklyn cell. They were told about the Pentagon operation. They were not told about the Brooklyn cell. They said that if the briefers had mentioned anything that startling, it would have gotten their attention."

The next day, however, the former Commission staffers were singing a different tune. In their follow-up story, Jehl and Philip Shenon report the Commission staff was indeed briefed in a meeting held on July 12, 2004, at which Atta's name figured prominently, and that this has been acknowledged by the same officials who were denying everything 24 hours earlier. The briefing had been discounted, these officials now claim, because the information offered didn't "mesh" with what they thought they already knew, and, besides, the 9/11 Commission report was all ready to go to the printer. The addition of a piece of information that would have substantially altered the content was apparently not considered important enough to tell the printer to wait.

The main thrust of the 9/11 Commission's findings was that there was a "lack of actionable intelligence": the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center represented a gigantic "intelligence failure," which blocked attempts to take out Bin Laden in Afghanistan. But the point is that what was needed was actionable intelligence in America, not Afghanistan. In the aftermath, many lamented the fact that, if only some version of the PATRIOT Act had been in place prior to 9/11, the attacks might have been prevented. As I wrote when the Commission first began its work, this

"Sounds superficially plausible, except when one considers that there was plenty of actionable intelligence about the 9/11 plotters: there were warnings galore, as we are beginning to discover, not only from foreign intelligence agencies but from our own agents and analysts.

"Yes, but these warnings were 'nonspecific': that's the standard official excuse. Except it isn't true: the ringleader of the 9/11 plot, Mohammed Atta, was under surveillance by authorities the year before the attacks, in Hamburg, Germany. Atta and his associates were well-known to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, U.S. and foreign, long before the 9/11 terror attacks.

"What did they know and when did they know it? That is a key question for the 9/11 Commission to ask, and answer."

It is interesting to note that the Commission staffer who received – and discounted – the "Able Danger" information, Dietrich L. Snell, is the prosecutor who convicted Abdul Hakim Murad in the "Bojinka" terrorist conspiracy case, a 1995 plot to crash airplanes into several U.S. landmark buildings, including the Pentagon and the World Trade Center – a scheme that later morphed into the 9/11 conspiracy. Murad offered to cooperate with investigators in return for a sentence reduction, but prosecutors, led by Snell, turned him down. Go here for the whole story.

The list of "mistakes," glitches, and tales of staggering incompetence that preceded the worst "intelligence failure" since a certain wooden horse was brought behind the walls of Troy, is getting rather suspiciously long. Here's another:

"The National Security Agency intercepted two messages on the eve of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon warning that something was going to happen the next day, but the messages were not translated until Sept. 12, senior U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday.

"The Arabic-language messages said, 'The match is about to begin' and 'Tomorrow is zero hour.' They were discussed Tuesday before the House-Senate intelligence committee during closed-door questioning of Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the NSA, the agency responsible for intercepting and analyzing electronic messages."

This Washington Post story, you'll recall – and certainly Slate media columnist Jack Shafer will recall it – was the occasion for a stern rebuke from the White House, and especially from Vice President Dick Cheney, whose anger was sufficient to spark an FBI investigation into who leaked the truth.

As we approach the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the official story of what happened that day, and how it happened, is beginning to unravel in a spectacular manner. The official version is that the nineteen conspirators, acting alone and without the foreknowledge or even the suspicion of any outside agency, pulled off a complex series of operations involving at least four separate airplanes, all carried out within minutes of each other, pirouetting in the sky in perfect synchronicity before barreling down on their targets nearly simultaneously. This fiery moment was the climax of years – as many as five years – of plotting, preparations, and a largely subterranean existence lived by the conspirators, until they emerged, on that fateful day, like avenging angels of darkness coming down from the sky.

However, the various anomalies that go unexplained by this fanciful theory have begun to accumulate until the pressure to revise what we know of the history of the 9/11 conspiracy has become irresistible. The "Able Danger" revelations merely confirm what we've been saying in this space for years: that revisionism in this area of historical research is essential if we're going to begin to understand 9/11, and all that followed from it. As Condi Rice's appearance before the 9/11 Commission showed, the administration knew a lot more than it ever told anyone.

In December, 2001, Carl Cameron did a four-part series on Fox News that detailed extensive Israeli spying in the U.S., a report that proved prescient in light of recent developments, and he started out his riveting account with a bang:

"Since September 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"

While the story was largely ignored in the U.S., Germany's Die Zeit followed it up, in 2002, with an account entitled "Next Door to Mohammed Atta," in which the respected German weekly detailed close surveillance of Atta and his crew in southern Florida by Israeli intelligence in the months leading up to 9/11.

In April, 2004, I wrote about another Die Zeit piece by the same author, Oliver Schrom, entitled "Deadly Mistakes," a fascinating chronology of the errors, bureaucratic bungling, and seemingly deliberate obstructions that prevented U.S. authorities from taking what they knew about the hijackers, putting it together, and apprehending Atta and his gang before they could pull off their deadly deed. From Schrom we learned that the fabled Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) for August 6, 2001, whose title – "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." – Rice famously blurted out at her appearance before the 9/11 Commission, was originally much longer than the version finally declassified and released by the White House. In the course of this account, Schrom also revealed the following:

"Langley, August 23, 2001. The Israeli Mossad intelligence agency handed its American counterpart a list of names of terrorists who were staying in the US and were presumably planning to launch an attack in the foreseeable future. According to documents obtained by Die Zeit, Mossad agents in the US were in all probability surveilling at least four of the 19 hijackers, among them [Khalid ] al-Midhar. The CIA now does what it should have done 18 months earlier. It informs the State Dept., the FBI and the INS. The names al-Midhar and [Nawaf] al-Hazmi are promptly put on an investigation list, as probable members of Al Qaeda. Al-Midhar is expressly noted as a probable accomplice in the USS Cole attack. The first acknowledgement arrives quickly. The INS writes that according to its information, both men are currently in the US.

"Now both men are pursued vigorously…."

These individuals – Atta, Khalid al-Midhar, Nawaf al-Hazmi, and Marwan al-Shehhi – are the very same "Brooklyn cell" identified by the "Able Danger" data-miners. The Mossad "observed" them for nearly half a year, and then, at the very last moment, turned over their names to the Americans. Too late, as it turns out: but is that really the end of the story?

In both instances, you'll note, we have the same sort of excuse – not quite airtight – for why we didn't move to apprehend the 9/11 plotters. In the case of the "Able Danger" operation, although the authorities had the legal means at their disposal, they were supposedly restrained by the recent memory of … Waco. This seems not at all credible: is there really any comparison between the figures of David Koresh and Osama bin Laden, either in terms of impact or importance? One was a marginal messiah of a homegrown mini-cult, the other an international terrorist leader of a well-financed and far-flung military organization.

In the case of the Israelis' belated intelligence-sharing, the rationale for inaction was supposedly due to legal constraints that erected a "firewall" preventing the sharing of intelligence procured by different agencies, notably the FBI and the CIA. As critics of this excuse-making note, however, law enforcement agencies failed to make proper use of the legal tools available to them:

"On May 24, 2002, in response to an FOIA lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the FBI released a confidential memorandum sent by a Justice Department official to an FBI lawyer in April 2000. The memo voiced concern about mistakes made by the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section, and in particular, by that Section's (UBL) Osama Bin Laden Unit: 'You have a pattern of occurrences indicating an inability on the part of the FBI to manage its FISAs [foreign intelligence surveillance operations].' One well-publicized episode revealed that an FBI agent had prevented Minneapolis agents from obtaining a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui's computer just a month before 9/11. This, apparently, was not an isolated incident. …

"We now know that two of the 9/11 hijackers were on FBI watch lists of suspected terrorists, yet they were able to enter the country and remain undetected. In March 2002 the media reported that the INS had wrongly issued visa waivers for four Pakistanis who arrived in the US on a Russian merchant ship and quickly disappeared."

We're supposed to believe that, if only we'd passed the PATRIOT Act before 9/11, and subjected ourselves to a regime of total surveillance, giving up such remnants of our civil liberties as still existed, we might have escaped the wiles of Bin Laden and his fellow Islamist supermen, who single-handedly pulled off a spectacular terrorist act that changed the course of history. Now, according to this all-too-familiar refrain, we'll just have to get used to having our email read, our phones tapped, and our every movement kept under close surveillance by our beneficent and all-knowing government. The only alternative is living at the mercy of terrorists.

As we are beginning to learn, however, that is lie, and a rather self-serving one to boot. It wasn't the lack of information, or an inability to detect the death cultists in our midst, that prevented us from stopping the plot dead in its tracks. Rather, it was a persistent obstructionism coming from some quarters. As Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who blew the whistle on the efforts of the FBI's Washington office to quash the investigation into Al Qaeda, put it:

"I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen, who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort."

As the number of unfortunate "coincidences" and "mistakes" begins to pile up, Rowley's quip is no longer a joke. Is it possible that Bin Laden had allies, enablers, some of them inside the U.S. government? In a September 13, 2001 New York Times column that purported to give an exclusive window on what went on inside the presidential bunker as the Twin Towers burned, William Safire wrote:

"A threatening message received by the Secret Service was relayed to the agents with the president that "Air Force One is next." According to the high official, American code words were used showing a knowledge of procedures that made the threat credible.

"(I have a second, on-the-record source about that: Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser, tells me: "When the president said `I don't want some tinhorn terrorists keeping me out of Washington,' the Secret Service informed him that the threat contained language that was evidence that the terrorists had knowledge of his procedures and whereabouts. In light of the specific and credible threat, it was decided to get airborne with a fighter escort.")

The terrorists could have had knowledge of top secret U.S. security procedures only if they had moles – spies – inside the government. How else would Bin Laden's boys get direct access to our code words?

No one doubts that the nineteen hijackers, and the Al Qaeda organization, financed, organized, and carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But there is growing doubt that they did it without at least the passive collaboration of a silent partner, one who wielded considerable influence on our government – and had ready access to its secrets. In retrospect, it appears as if Atta and his fellow mass murderers had a guardian angel – or rather, a guardian devil – watching over them. At every turn, just when it seemed they would be apprehended, fate – or whomever – intervened, obstructing the normal means of interception and keeping the conspiracy on track. It's almost as if they traveled in a security bubble, protected by – what? By whom?

I can hear the skeptics now: It's a "conspiracy theory"! Yikes! But what explanation for how and why 9/11 happened isn't a "conspiracy theory," after all? Atta & Co. certainly didn't advertise their plans. The question is, will we accept the Official Conspiracy Theory, or an alternative one that comports with all the known facts?


My short book, The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, compiles pretty much all we know up to this point about the "silent partner" angle on the 9/11 narrative – one, I might add, that was completely ignored by the 9/11 Commission, along with the information about the "Able Danger" intelligence-gathering operation. Check it out.

– Justin Raimondo

Law Abiding Ohio Resident And Korean War Veteran Has Authorities Illegally Swarm On His Property Just Hours After He Called President Bush A Liar On A

Articles, government corruption, freedom of speech, truth

9110488.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110488.PDF (application/pdf Object)THEN THE BUILDING POPPED LOWER THAN THE

9110184.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110184.PDF (application/pdf Object)were standing underneath and Captain Stone
was speaking again. We heard -- I heard 3 loud
explosions. I look up and the north tower is coming
down now, 1 World Trade Center.

9110426.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110426.PDF (application/pdf Object)Then we heard a rumble. We heard it
and we felt the whole building shake. It was
like being on a train, being in an earthquake. A
train is more like it, because with the train you
hear the rumbling, and it kind of like moved you
around in the hall. Then it just stopped after
eight or ten seconds, about the time it took for
the building to come down.
We just kind of looked at each other
like what the hell was that? Then it stopped.

9110427.PDF (application/pdf Object)


9110357.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110357.PDF (application/pdf Object)I was by I guess the outer part of the building and I
just remember feeling the building starting to shake
and this tremendous tremendous like roar and I just
-- I kind of didn't even notice it, but like out of
the corner of my eye, I saw out of the building, I saw
a shadow coming down.
At that point I thought it was the upper part
of the north tower that had just basically like toppled
over, fell off. I didn't actually see the building
part go by me, because I think I was on the opposite
side. But I just remember feeling this tremendous
tremendous shake and hearing this, like, noise. Again
I can't describe.

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)We
saw an arrest being made of some Arab-looking type
guy. I think he had a blue uniform type World Trade
Center type maintenance type person. It was my
impression. It didn't seem important to me. It seemed
like he was being arrested by a Port Authority type
policeman. That's my impression. I remember them
putting cuffs on him, and I remember one of the firemen
saying, "Look, they're arresting the guy," and I said,.....

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)t h e r e was a v e r y l o u d roaring sound and a v e r y l o u d
explosion, and t h e -- it f e l t l i k e t h e r e was an
explosion above us, and I had a momentary concern t h a t
our b u i l d i n g was c o l l a p s i n g . (page 12) [maybe just the other tower exploding]

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110019.PDF (application/pdf Object)I have an impression of smoke around t h e
e l e v a t o r s , and bent doors, and it was p r e t t y -- t h e
lobby was pretty devastat e d . I d o n ' t remember who t h a t
chief was.

9110013.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110013.PDF (application/pdf Object)A. Yes. Numerous civilians were telling me that
a plane had hit the building. There were discrepancies
as to the type of plane. Some were saying it was a
Cessna or Leer jet type, a small jet plane. Some said
it was a large passenger plane. One person actually
said that it was like a military style plane that
actually shot missiles into the building.

9110478.PDF (application/pdf Object)


911 Transcript 9110062.PDF (application/pdf Object)

9110062.PDF (application/pdf Object)

Blogger Comment: Why is part of this redacted?

911 Transcript 9110421.PDF

9110421.PDF (application/pdf Object)
All you hear is a rumbling in the
street. It sounded like an earthquake. When I
was a younger kid, I was in an earthquake and it
felt like the same exact feeling. I looked, and
I could see the antenna on the top of the roof
coming straight down.

911 Transcript from NYT

9110071.PDF (application/pdf Object)shiny object coming and me
and my partner are going, what the hell, what's wrong
with that plane. What is wrong with that plane. There
is something not right with that plane. - Ron Saladino: A World Trade Center crash survivor's story - September 13, 2001 - Ron Saladino: A World Trade Center crash survivor's story - September 13, 2001: "SALADINO: Building number 7, 28th floor. I heard a loud explosion followed by an earthquake type shaking"

NYFD Release PDF (what they have been keeping from us)

NYFD Release PDF (what they have been keeping from us)

I don't remember seeing any of this in the 911 Commission Report....




Tony Snow's evolutionary falsehoods ... [Media Matters]

Tony Snow's evolutionary falsehoods ... [Media Matters]

In his August 12 nationally syndicated column, Fox News host Tony Snow equated evolutionary theory to "intelligent design" (commonly referred to as ID), claiming that "[e]volutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis." Specifically, he falsely asserted that no fossil evidence exists in support of evolutionary theory. In fact, there is significant support for evolutionary theory in the fossil record, just one of many pillars of evidence supporting evolutionary theory.

The theory of evolution maintains that increased complexity among organisms (the development of species) occurs through random genetic mutation and that organisms with characteristics best suited to their environment thrive -- the result of a process known as "natural selection." Conversely, "intelligent design" maintains that life on earth is far too complex to have arisen solely as a function of random genetic mutation and was instead designed by a supernatural "intelligence."

In his column, Snow claimed that "evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits' end because the fossil record provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another." In writing this, Snow invoked the idea of a "missing link" -- an organism whose features clearly demonstrate a transition from one species to another. This claim is false, however, and misstates the current understanding of evolutionary theory. Alan D. Gishlick, a post-doctoral scholar at the National Center for Science Education, wrote that " 'missing link' is an outdated term that does not accurately reflect the way biologists and paleontologists think about fossils."

Instead, Gishlick maintains, evolutionary scientists search for fossilized organisms with "transitional features," such as the archaeopteryx. A creature of the Jurassic period (150 million years BCE), Archaeopteryx lithographica possessed both avian and dinosaurian features. Like most dinosaurs, it had teeth, a flat sternum, and a bony tail; but it also had feathered wings and a furcula (wishbone) -- characteristics common to most birds. Of the few archaeopteryx fossils unearthed, the most complete and visually striking example is housed in Berlin's Humboldt Museum. Archaeopteryx is not a "missing link," nor can one conclusively assert that it is the ancestor of modern birds. It does, however, provide strong evidence that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs or reptiles.

Another famous example of a fossil with transitional features is "Lucy," the name given to the partial skeletal remains of a 3.2 million-year-old hominid found in Ethiopia in 1974. Classified Australopithecus afarensis, "Lucy" and her species were ape-like but were also determined to be bipedal -- a human characteristic. This finding was bolstered by the discovery of 3.6 million-year-old fossilized footprints of a bipedal hominid in Tanzania in 1976. Known as the Laetoli footprints, they are far more similar to the footprints of modern humans than they are to those of apes. Again, while not a "missing link," "Lucy" and her ilk strongly indicate that humans are descended from apes.

Nevertheless, Snow went on to write: "Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis -- like ID -- although very popular in the scientific community. Its limits help illuminate the fact that hypotheses are only as durable as the evidence that supports them." In claiming that evolutionary theory is little more than a hypothesis, Snow is misusing scientific terms. Commonly used, "theory" can mean uninformed speculation or guesswork. Used scientifically, it means "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena," according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. The scientific method maintains that a hypothesis is a tentative explanation for patterns observed in collected data. A hypothesis becomes a theory after extensive testing and rigorous scrutiny.

Evolution is considered an established scientific theory because of the preponderance of evidence supporting it. Snow wrote that "hypotheses are only as durable as the evidence that supports them." Aside from the fossil record discussed above, which many scientists consider the most compelling support of evolutionary theory, there is additional evidence as well. A well-known example of evolution and natural selection in action is that of Darwin's finches. When naturalist Charles Darwin landed on the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he observed a variety of small finches that were similar in appearance, except for the shapes of their beaks. Each species of finch -- descendents of a common ancestor -- had adapted to their particular niche and developed a beak suited to their diet.

Science and Creationism, a book published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), documents more evidence in support of evolution -- such as physical and embryonic similarities among seemingly divergent species. The NAS also refutes Snow's assertion that evolutionary theory "isn't verifiable or testable." According to Science and Creationism:

Evolutionary theory explains that biological diversity results from the descendants of local or migrant predecessors becoming adapted to their diverse environments. This explanation can be tested by examining present species and local fossils to see whether they have similar structures, which would indicate how one is derived from the other. Also, there should be evidence that species without an established local ancestry had migrated into the locality. Wherever such tests have been carried out, these conditions have been confirmed.

Mixing church with partisanship (from Louisville Courier-Journal)

Mixing church with partisanship

By Lynn E. Rowland
Special to The Courier-Journal

I have been an active member of Southeast Christian Church since 1991. My three children attend Whitefield Academy at Highview Baptist Church. That being said, I am very disappointed in the way the Christian community is being divided.

Southeast does not speak for me politically, and it should not attempt to do so. Neither should Highview Baptist Church. I am a person of faith. My beliefs matter a great deal to me. The organizers of so called "Justice Sunday" have clearly declared that anyone opposing their point of view is "anti-Christian," and I find that deeply offensive.

First and foremost, it should be the goal of every Christian to evangelize the lost. Yet we send people running from the truth of God's Word by turning the church into a political rally for the Republican Party, thinly disguised as something it clearly is not. Rather than bringing people to Christ, we are chasing them away by attempting to marry religious beliefs with political views, thus offending many whom we need to reach, as well as some of us who do not agree with that political philosophy. C.S. Lewis said, "Satan will get people to reject Christianity because of something it has been fused to." Jesus was silent politically, and only spoke of the Kingdom of God, never speaking against the injustice of his own trial.

James Dobson has also been a major detriment to the Christian movement by masquerading as someone who promotes family values. His ministry's name should be changed to Focus on the Republicans, since that is clearly what his ministry is truly about. Kyle Idleman once said in a sermon to be careful what you attach Jesus to. Some believe we baptize in the name of the Father, Son and GOP.

Over 200 of President Bush's judicial nominees have been confirmed, many of them religious people. To say that the religious vote is being suppressed because of the few who have not been confirmed is an outrage and gives the Christian community a black eye.

It is also misleading to simply say "give them an up or down vote." Would you still be asking that if you knew the outcome would be different? Many of President Bill Clinton's nominees were blocked before ever reaching the Senate floor, never given a confirmation hearing by Republicans. And none of the 10 questionable candidates has been blocked on religious grounds, contrary to what is being portrayed.

I have been informed that Southeast is 93 percent Republican. What kind of message are you sending to the other 2,000 members? Since we do not share your political views, are we second-class citizens of Christ?

Rev. Bob Russell once mentioned that the first time Dave Reagan was invited to Southeast, some of the elders had a problem with it, because we had differing views on certain issues. Russell said that maybe we should hear him out, that maybe we were the ones who needed to change. Maybe we could invite Jim Wallis to speak at our church and get a different point of view from a fellow believer in Christ. Or do we stay in our own little universe, reinforcing our own views? It requires a lot of courage to go beyond our comfort zone and engage other Christian views. Why are we not willing to do so?

I pray that we see the error of our ways, and realize that we are doing a great injustice by keeping people from Christ, as well as offending some of us who are your brothers in Christ. This fiasco is not about Democrats and Republicans speaking in a church. It is about a group of Republican Christians who are trying to convince everyone that their political views are the only right ones for Christians to follow. How sad and arrogant.

I would like to close by quoting Kevin Ezell, minister of Highview, in the April 23 Courier- Journal, speaking about Rev. Joe Phelps of Highland Baptist Church: He needs to spend more time reaching people rather than criticizing other churches.

Maybe we need to get the plank out of our own eye before we try to remove the splinter from others'.

Justice Sunday II will be Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. For information, see the Family Research Council Web site, -- Editor

Lynn E. Rowland of Louisville is an inspector with the Ford Motor Co. A 2005 Forum Fellow, he is a member of Southeast Christian Church, where he engages in activities such as Great Day of Service.

Wes Pruden: Consoling a mother is never easy

Wes Pruden

"The fortunes of war are, by nature, wild and undisciplined, heaving first this way and then that way, and the dreaded agony of any president is the decision to send young men (and now women) into harm's way."

Blogger's Comments: What a waste Mr. Pruden's comments are? What misplaced rhetoric? In other words, what a crock.

What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running? |

What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running? |

Submitted by editor on August 9, 2005 - 12:24pm.

By William E. Odom
Source: Nieman Watchdog

Everything that opponents of a pullout say would happen if the U.S. left Iraq is happening already, says retired Gen. William E. Odom, the head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. So why stay?

If I were a journalist, I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren’t they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better.

Here are some of the arguments against pulling out:

1) We would leave behind a civil war.

2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.

3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.

4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.

5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.

6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors.

7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.

8) We haven’t fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.

9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.

But consider this:

1) On civil war. Iraqis are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war. We created the civil war when we invaded; we can’t prevent a civil war by staying.

For those who really worry about destabilizing the region, the sensible policy is not to stay the course in Iraq. It is rapid withdrawal, re-establishing strong relations with our allies in Europe, showing confidence in the UN Security Council, and trying to knit together a large coalition including the major states of Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, and India to back a strategy for stabilizing the area from the eastern Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until the United States withdraws from Iraq and admits itsstrategic error, no such coalition can be formed.

Thus those who fear leaving a mess are actually helping make things worse while preventing a new strategic approach with some promise of success.

2) On credibility. If we were Russia or some other insecure nation, we might have to worry about credibility. A hyperpower need not worry about credibility. That’s one of the great advantages of being a hyperpower: When we have made a big strategic mistake, we can reverse it. And it may even enhance our credibility. Staying there damages our credibility more than leaving.

Ask the president if he really worries about US credibility. Or, what will happen to our credibility if the course he is pursuing proves to be a major strategic disaster? Would it not be better for our long-term credibility to withdraw earlier than later in this event?

3) On the insurgency and democracy. There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. But that will happen no matter how long we stay. Any government capable of holding power in Iraq will be anti-American, because the Iraqi people are increasingly becoming anti-American.

Also, the U.S. will not leave behind a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq no matter how long it stays. Holding elections is easy. It is impossible to make it a constitutional democracy in a hurry.

President Bush’s statements about progress in Iraq are increasingly resembling LBJ's statements during the Vietnam War. For instance, Johnson’s comments about the 1968 election are very similar to what Bush said in February 2005 after the election of a provisional parliament.

Ask the president: Why should we expect a different outcome in Iraq than in Vietnam?

Ask the president if he intends to leave a pro-American liberal regime in place. Because that’s just impossible. Postwar Germany and Japan are not models for Iraq. Each had mature (at least a full generation old) constitutional orders by the end of the 19th century. They both endured as constitutional orders until the 1930s. Thus General Clay and General MacArthur were merely reversing a decade and a half totalitarianism -- returning to nearly a century of liberal political change in Japan and a much longer period in Germany.

Imposing a liberal constitutional order in Iraq would be to accomplish something that has never been done before. Of all the world's political cultures, an Arab-Muslim one may be the most resistant to such a change of any in the world. Even the Muslim society in Turkey (an anti-Arab society) stands out for being the only example of a constitutional order in an Islamic society, and even it backslides occasionally.

4) On terrorists. Iraq is already a training ground for terrorists. In fact, the CIA has pointed out to the administration and congress that Iraq is spawning so many terrorists that they are returning home to many other countries to further practice their skills there. The quicker a new dictator wins the political power in Iraq and imposes order, the sooner the country will stop producing well-experienced terrorists.

Why not ask: "Mr. President, since you and the vice president insisted that Saddam's Iraq supported al Qaeda -- which we now know it did not -- isn't your policy in Iraq today strengthening al Qaeda's position in that country?"

5) On Iranian influence. Iranian leaders see US policy in Iraq as being so much in Teheran's interests that they have been advising Iraqi Shiite leaders to do exactly what the Americans ask them to do. Elections will allow the Shiites to take power legally. Once in charge, they can settle scores with the Baathists and Sunnis. If US policy in Iraq begins to undercut Iran's interests, then Teheran can use its growing influence among Iraqi Shiites to stir up trouble, possibly committing Shiite militias to an insurgency against US forces there. The US invasion has vastly increased Iran's influence in Iraq, not sealed it out.

Questions for the administration: "Why do the Iranians support our presence in Iraq today? Why do they tell the Shiite leaders to avoid a sectarian clash between Sunnis and Shiites? Given all the money and weapons they provide Shiite groups, why are they not stirring up more trouble for the US? Will Iranian policy change once a Shiite majority has the reins of government? Would it not be better to pull out now rather than to continue our present course of weakening the Sunnis and Baathists, opening the way for a Shiite dictatorship?"

6) On Iraq’s neighbors. The civil war we leave behind may well draw in Syria, Turkey and Iran. But already today each of those states is deeply involved in support for or opposition to factions in the ongoing Iraqi civil war. The very act of invading Iraq almost insured that violence would involve the larger region. And so it has and will continue, with, or without, US forces in Iraq.

7) On Shiite-Sunni conflict. The US presence is not preventing Shiite-Sunni conflict; it merely delays it. Iran is preventing it today, and it will probably encourage it once the Shiites dominate the new government, an outcome US policy virtually ensures.

8) On training the Iraq military and police. The insurgents are fighting very effectively without US or European military advisors to train them. Why don't the soldiers and police in the present Iraqi regime's service do their duty as well? Because they are uncertain about committing their lives to this regime. They are being asked to take a political stand, just as the insurgents are. Political consolidation, not military-technical consolidation, is the issue.

The issue is not military training; it is institutional loyalty. We trained the Vietnamese military effectively. Its generals took power and proved to be lousy politicians and poor fighters in the final showdown. In many battles over a decade or more, South Vietnamese military units fought very well, defeating VC and NVA units. But South Vietnam's political leaders lost the war.

Even if we were able to successfully train an Iraqi military and police force, the likely result, after all that, would be another military dictatorship. Experience around the world teaches us that military dictatorships arise when the military’s institutional modernization gets ahead of political consolidation.

9) On not supporting our troops by debating an early pullout. Many US officers in Iraq, especially at company and field grade levels, know that while they are winning every tactical battle, they are losing strategically. And according to the New York Times last week, they are beginning to voice complaints about Americans at home bearing none of the pains of the war. One can only guess about the enlisted ranks, but those or a second tour – probably the majority today – are probably anxious for an early pullout. It is also noteworthy that US generals in Iraq are not bubbling over with optimistic reports they way they were during the first few years of the war in Vietnam. Their careful statements and caution probably reflect serious doubts that they do not, and should not, express publicly. The more important question is whether or not the repressive and vindictive behavior by the secretary of defense and his deputy against the senior military -- especially the Army leadership, which is the critical component in the war -- has made it impossible for field commanders to make the political leaders see the facts.

Most surprising to me is that no American political leader today has tried to unmask the absurdity of the administration's case that to question the strategic wisdom of the war is unpatriotic and a failure to support our troops. Most officers and probably most troops don't see it that way. They are angry at the deficiencies in materiel support they get from the Department of Defense, and especially about the irresponsibly long deployments they must now endure because Mr. Rumsfeld and his staff have refused to enlarge the ground forces to provide shorter tours. In the meantime, they know that the defense budget shovels money out the door to maritime forces, SDI, etc., while refusing to increase dramatically the size of the Army.

As I wrote several years ago, "the Pentagon's post-Cold War force structure is so maritime heavy and land force weak that it is firmly in charge of the porpoises and whales while leaving the land to tyrants." The Army, some of the Air Force, the National Guard, and the reserves are now the victims of this gross mismatch between military missions and force structure. Neither the Bush nor the Clinton administration has properly "supported the troops." The media could ask the president why he fails to support our troops by not firing his secretary of defense.

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

So why is almost nobody advocating a pullout? I can only speculate. We face a strange situation today where few if any voices among Democrats in Congress will mention early withdrawal from Iraq, and even the one or two who do will not make a comprehensive case for withdrawal now.Why are the Democrats failing the public on this issue today? The biggest reason is because they weren’t willing to raise that issue during the campaign. Howard Dean alone took a clear and consistent stand on Iraq, and the rest of the Democratic party trashed him for it. Most of those in Congress voted for the war and let that vote shackle them later on. Now they are scared to death that the White House will smear them with lack of patriotism if they suggest pulling out.

Journalists can ask all the questions they like but none will prompt a more serious debate as long as no political leaders create the context and force the issues into the open.

I don't believe anyone will be able to sustain a strong case in the short run without going back to the fundamental misjudgment of invading Iraq in the first place. Once the enormity of that error is grasped, the case for pulling out becomes easy to see.

Look at John Kerry's utterly absurd position during the presidential campaign. He said “It’s the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," but then went on to explain how he expected to win it anyway. Even the voter with no interest in foreign affairs was able to recognize it as an absurdity. If it was the wrong war at the wrong place and time, then it was never in our interest to fight. If that is true, what has changed to make it in our interest? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

The US invasion of Iraq only serves the interest of:

1) Osama bin Laden (it made Iraq safe for al Qaeda, positioned US military personnel in places where al Qaeda operatives can kill them occasionally, helps radicalize youth throughout the Arab and Muslim world, alienates America's most important and strongest allies – the Europeans – and squanders US military resources that otherwise might be finishing off al Qaeda in Pakistan.);

2) The Iranians (who were invaded by Saddam and who suffered massive casualties in an eight year war with Iraq.);

3) And the extremists in both Palestinian and Israeli political circles (who don't really want a peace settlement without the utter destruction of the other side, and probably believe that bogging the United States down in a war in Iraq that will surely become a war between the United States and most of the rest of Arab world gives them the time and cover to wipe out the other side.)

The wisest course for journalists might be to begin sustained investigations of why leading Democrats have failed so miserably to challenge the US occupation of Iraq. The first step, of course, is to establish as conventional wisdom the fact that the war was never in the US interest and has not become so. It is such an obvious case to make that I find it difficult to believe many pundits and political leaders have not already made it repeatedly.

- Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski.