Bob Kerrey Should Know Better

He has, after all, experienced the horror of war first-hand. But he’s no longer in the military. In fact, Bob Kerrey is no longer a Democratic senator. He is now president of The New School, a New York University that, according to its website blurb:

“……prepare[s] and inspire[s] its 9,300 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world……..”

Only last week there was a Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS about Pat Robertson’s Regent University, during which Robertson exhorted his students to “go forth and change the world.” My first reaction on reading Kerrey’s New School website was, “Here we go again.”

Why has America become so obsessed with changing the world? Do Americans truly believe they and their country are so utterly perfect that there is no further room for improvement, forcing them to take their immense talents outside its borders and transform all those other poor nations they believe are desperate to be just like the USA?

I suppose there are many who do.

One of them appears to be Bob Kerrey

In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kerrey argues that it is perfectly acceptable to impose democracy by military force. He sites Japan, Germany, and Bosnia as examples of democracies imposed by American military might. He needs to swot up on his history.

Germany was a democracy until 1933, when Hitler – having been voted into office by a slim majority – undertook to convert the country to a dictatorship and declare war on his neighbors. In 1945 half that nation reverted to a western-style democracy, the other half became a communist state under the USSR. NATO was responsible for the emerging West German democracy, not America alone. In fact, it is extremely unlikely America would have had much part in it at all if Japan, a German ally, had not committed their act of aggression against the US at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As for Bosnia, that too was a combined NATO operation, though botched almost as completely as has been the debacle in Iraq.

The three examples quoted by Kerrey bear little similarity to a nation that endured an unprovoked invasion, destruction of its infrastructure, and occupation by a military force that had no mandate to be there, unlike the NATO-led peace-keeping force in Bosnia.

Kerrey goes on to state that Iraq was “rightly” seen as a threat after 9/11. He gloriously fails to make a case why that was so. Iraq was seen as a threat because of the supposed WMD’s, which failed to materialize, based on false intelligence the British and American governments chose to conveniently ignore – or rather, promote as genuine. Kerrey then chooses to dismiss the original invasion as no longer relevant “…..however much we may wish to turn the clock back……”, launching into a series of improbable “supposes” to support the original invasion and American troops remaining there.

Finally, Kerrey reaches the crux of his thesis: that Iraq is now a haven for al Qaeda, and withdrawal of American troops would hand bin Laden a “psychological victory”. That old chestnut of American Honor rears its sad and degraded head yet again.

Haven’t Kerrey, and others of similar opinion, yet realized that America has no honor left? It isn’t honor that prevents a troop withdrawal, it’s nationalist pride. How many Americans know the difference, or care?

In line with almost all the planners and so-called strategists involved in the Iraq war, Kerrey vigorously displays his ignorance of Arab culture by suggesting all that stands between democracy and Iraq becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda, is the American military.

Al Qaeda is an entirely Sunni organization. Any Shiites attempting to join would have their throats slit. Presently, in Iraq, their are four major factions fighting for control: Shiites, who number around 60% of the population and are backed by the Shia nations, Iran and Syria; Sunnis, who held power under Saddam Hussein and comprise around 35% of the population. They are backed – though not militarily as yet – by Saudi Arabia (90% Sunni Muslim); al Qaeda, who have infiltrated the country ostensibly in support of their Sunni brothers. Their actual numbers are unknown but even the US government puts the figure at under 2,000, and the Iraq Study Group estimated only 1,300, according to Ted Carpenter writing for the Cato Institute last January.

The fourth faction is, of course, the American military, backed by the Maliki government as their only means of holding onto power. The Americans are hated by the Sunnis, intensely disliked by most Shiites, and are the sworn enemies of al Qaeda. They are backed by the American president, a dwindling band of his loyal supporters, and rich corporate investors – particularly in the oil industry – who are making a killing from the elevated oil price, and stand to gain even more if only the country can be sufficiently suppressed. Some factions of the British government are still supportive for, no doubt, similar motives.

It’s surely easy to deduce from these facts that the main cause of unrest in Iraq is the presence of an occupying American force. If they were to leave, the Maliki government would probably tumble and there would be a period of unrest, possibly even civil war, until either democracy reigned or a new dictator arose from the ashes. Neither result would suit America. Even the emergence of an Iraqi-inspired democracy would undoubtedly be very anti-American; not suited to US-favored bargaining over oil.

While the effect of US troop withdrawal would be very uncertain, the only fact we can be sure of is that the emerging new leaders would not be al Qaeda. If US troops pulled out, al Qaeda in Iraq would fade away into the night, at least if they valued their skins.

Osama bin Laden might well proclaim a “psychological victory”, but with the exception of a few hundred or so Islamic nutters, who would be listening?

However, Bob Kerrey has no cause to be concerned. His argument that al Qaeda would take over Iraq without the presence of US troops is fatally flawed, but American soldiers will be going nowhere for the foreseeable future. The invasion of Iraq was never about al Qaeda. It was far more important to certain Americans than chasing a few thousand quaintly dressed peasants out of Tora Bora. That’s why Afghanistan was always the “secondary” war.

Control of Iraq is pivotal to US strategy in the Middle East. It’s a factor most Americans seem unable to grasp, though it’s as plain as George Bush’s nose to anyone able to accept that not everything done in American politics is above board and morally irreprehensible.

To begin to grasp the concept, Bob Kerrey and others still in doubt, should ask themselves two questions:

1) Why spend $600,000,000 to build a 104 acre “embassy” in Iraq?


2) What (or who) was responsible for the Democratic opposition to the recent War Funding Bill crumbling to dust overnight?

Forget about teaching your students to change the world, Bob Kerrey. Instead, begin to educate them about the truth of what is happening at home, right under their noses.

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6 Replies to “Bob Kerrey Should Know Better”

  1. i know this won’t be a popular statement, but nonetheless… al Qaeda, despite it’s name, is not of Islamic origin. It was an organization put together by the CIA to push the Russians out of Afghanistan. They’ve admitted this, and it’s public information. Anywhere the CIA points its finger to say, “Al Qaeda is here,” the people of that country have never heard of anyone being part of it.

    The leader of al Qaeda in Afghanistan (and later, Bosnia) Usama ibn Ladin, was an American citizen who grew up in Texas, where his family shared business transactions with the Bush family. This also is public information, and not a conspiracy theory. His vehement denial of involvement in 9/11 is not a typical behaviour for someone wanting to incur power for themselves through violent acts.

    The US invaded Afghanistan the same year the Taliban (who have been grossly misrepresented in the media; they actually brought education, industry and human rights to all Afghanis with basically no resources except the Shari’a) cut off the CIA’s supply of opium from that country. Formerly, the Shi’a druglords of the north forced peasants to farm it and then send it to Pakistan to be made into heroin. The US reacted swiftly to the cutoff, and rapidly re-instated the more compliant northern lords, under a formerly deposed king.

    All in the name of democracy.

    ‘Course, invading Afghanistan could also have had something to do with the huge whack of oil found in the Caspian sea by Italian research teams, one year after Russia gave up looking for it. Shell Oil filed a licence to operate this claim on the day of 9/11. Unfortunately, the US botched up things so badly in Afghanistan that the Russians were able to sweep into the area and re-take the oil claim. Yay, US.

    But, desperate for some way to lube the American fiat dollar out of the toilet (and, i suspect, secure some sort of electoral security for Bush) the US just turned it’s attentions on Iraq with some sort of fictional tie-in to 9/11.

    After all, the military personnel were already there. Saddam, an elected leader who survived many assassination attempts by the nomadic, non-Iraqi Jewish tribes (Kurds)in his country, did so largely because he was protected by a hundred American soldiers called the Palace Guard.

    He did most of his oil business with the US, and they had military bases there to secure their interests, just as they do in Saudi and anywhere else they install their pumps. But, being without the wherewithal to pay for oil anymore, they used the soldiers that were there already to escalate agressions.

    Saddam GAVE them three oil fields, his own, if they would just stop their attacks on his citizens and resume their normal business dealings with Iraq. Nothing doing. The US wanted everything for free, and weren’t satisfied until the ‘oil for food’ program was in place. Food donated by the UN, of course. Oil going to the US.

    But what was this? Had the US actually bombed so indescriminately that the oil fields were no longer functional? Good going, US. Obviously, they had to stick around long enough to rebuild the oil wells. In the meantime, they imported oil INTO the country from Turkey, so Iraqis were driving around at about 19 cents a gallon while Murkin citizens were lining up at a dollar plus to fill their tanks.

    They couldn’t afford to let Iraqis retaliate, so a civil war was instituted. Shi’a citizens are not as high a percentage in Iraq as you mention. Worldwide, they comprise only about 3 percent of the Muslim population, all countries, all sects. There is a concentration of them in Iran and small parts of Iraq, but they are still nowhere near a majority.

    The Sunnis do not recognize them as being Muslim. The Shi’as have been given permission by their leaders to rob, rape, and kill as many Sunnis as they can. The efforts of both Mossad and the CIA to antagonize the relations between the two in Iraq have been well documented.. in other medias. Maybe the thinking is: why waste your own bullets, when you can get your enemies to shoot each other? Israel has also used nuclear weapons on Iraq in the ensuing fray with impunity.

    What? You didn’t know that? Maybe it wasn’t in the American news? Or you didn’t learn it in school? And why is that?

    Which brings me to my last point. Muslims are sick of being falsely accused of murder and terrorism from every corner. There is ignorance on both sides, no denying, but the effort to foster and proliferate ignorance on the part of America and Israel for their own nefarious purposes is enormous, and willful. Muslims can recognize that this is probably being done for political advantage, but we are always left with one question:

    Why didn’t the American public strive to educate themselves with better information? Why did they WILLINGLY stay in ignorance?

    This may be the one thing we never forgive them for.

    Sorry for the long post.

  2. Anan – ah, if only you’d provide links to verify your statements. I know some of what you say to be true. Your first two paragraphs are, I believe, correct and “al Qaeda” was certainly a CIA concept spawned from the Mujahadeen that bin Laden financed, and were labeled “Freedom fighters” by Ronald Reagan. Also, I agree that bin Laden initially denied vehemently any involvement in 9/11, and I am personally inclined to believe him. My opinion of the Taliban is sadly less than yours, but then you already know how I feel about Sharia law. I’m not too familiar with the involvement of the CIA and opium, but well-versed sufficiently in the activities of that organization to give your account credence. Everything this administration, and others before it, have done under the loose term “foreign policy” seems to have a link backwards to oil, and the Caspian Sea reserves are no exception, with regard to Afghanistan. I was, however, under the impression that later surveys determined only 10-20 billion barrels of high sulfur crude, making extraction a less than profitable undertaking. I can find no evidence of American soldiers forming Saddam’s Palace Guard, which I always believed to be made up from the elite of his Republican Guard. Also, I have to take issue with you over the percentage of Shia in Iraq. All major reliable sources determine the figure at around 60-65%, and while Sunnis worldwide outnumber Shia considerably – again the evidence suggests around 85% Sunni – which would allow for considerably more Shiites (15%) than the 3% you mention. I must also take issue (though I’m willing to be educated!) over Israel’s use of nuclear weapons against Iraq. In 1981, Israel took out Iraq’s Osirak reactor, but not with nuclear weapons. At least, no reliable reference confirms that, or any more recent nuclear involvement between Israel and Iraq. Finally, you ask the question: “Why didn’t the American public strive to educate themselves with better information? Why did they WILLINGLY stay in ignorance?”
    While not acting as legal defense council for the American people, who as you know, get the stubby end of my tar-brush quite frequently in this blog, I believe you answered your own question. Americans have been unaware of what their successive governments have been up to. Even today, many cannot accept anything less than a whiter-than-white version of their legislature. Ask a hundred Americans why they think 9/11 occurred and ninety-nine will tell you it had nothing whatever to do with American foreign policy. They believe that as fervently as……you believe in the Quran. Changing such belief is the hardest thing in the world. It’s why I ‘choose to believe’ our belief systems bear little or no similarity to actual truth, but they do seem to get an immense kick out of deceiving us.
    Your comments are consistently thought-provoking, frequently adventurous, and always very welcome. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write such fascinating observations.

  3. Dang. I KNEW you were going to ask me that! The only reason i didn’t post the sources was pure laziness. And now you’ve made me get off my keister and start going through my archives…

    In order, then; the CIA’s operations within the Golden Crescent are hardly secret, and have been outlined in several sources, the most succinct of which is a paper by Michael Chossudovsky, proffesor of economics and international development at the University of Ottawa. He has written several essays on what he calls ‘economic terrorism’ as part of his work with the Centre for Research on Globalisation in Montreal.

    I know that, being Canadian, he is suspect, but i have found him to be well-researched and capable of presenting his facts in a coherent manner. The paper i refer to can be viewed here:

    Secondly, the Caspian oil reserves have, it is true, proven to be somewhat of a disappointment.The most likely prospect, Kashagan, was originally estimated to hold some 50 billion barrels of oil, or about 200Gb until initial deep drilling into reefs rendered a more accurate estimate of some 9 – 13Gb of highly sulphuric oil. After this clarification, the US went on to attack Iraq, which had far greater oil reserves. This has been expounded upon by by Patrick Eytchison in the Fall 2003 edition of Synthesis/Regeneration.

    However, it is important to note that whatever corrections may have been made recently, the initial expectations were that the Caspian sea held ‘great reserves of oil’; certainly salve to the wound of a suffering US economy with little to improve it’s fortunes except its (IMHO) overdeveloped military.

    Regarding the Shi’a/Sunni totals, i must admit that i have heard the number quoted over the years by researchers of comparative religion, surely a breed all to themselves when it comes to statistical analysis. As Shi’ism contains some 80 or more different sects (the opinions differ), i can only imagine the bloodbath that would ensue when some unwitting advocate of global peace stumbled through with the question, ‘Are you Sunni or Shi’a?’

    That aside, i am assuming that the quote i was given of 97% Sunni, 3% Shi’a worldwide was given to mean only the ‘pure’ adherents of the twelve imams, primarily in Iran and some parts of Iraq. The African Ishmaelis alone could fill out the Shi’a ranks to the @10% score i was able to find at
    This was the best source i could find, also a comparative religion site but if you have a better one, i would certainly welcome it.

    The Shi’a inside of Iraq,’though predominantly located in the south, also are present in large numbers in Baghdad and have communities in most parts of the country. Sunnis form the majority in the center of the country and in the north.’
    International Religious Freedom Report released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

    The same author goes on to quote Shi’a populations as standing at a 60-65 percentile, with Sunnis at 32-37 percent.
    The CIA World Factbook
    agrees with the figure of Shi’a 60%-65%, and Sunni 32%-37%; i tend to trust the CIA in this, since they make it their business to know everything about everybody. I stand corrected on that score. Perhaps it was only the historical predominance of Sunnis in the government which swayed my thinking.

    And you are perfectly correct about the collapsing of the dome in Osirak; to my knowledge it was done with 8 F-16s dropping 15 2000 lb. conventional bombs into the reactor, although speculation was, at first, that it was done with nucleics. (Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army: The Counterproliferation Papers, USAF Counterproliferation Center Air War College – Air University Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, September 1999) That’s not what i was referring to, however. I was speaking about recent activity.

    Unfortunately, i am going to have to ask for your patience in compiling a list of the sources, as i have foolishly not saved the articles and even a couple of the websites seem to have mysteriously disappeared in the meantime. This is not proof of their truth or otherwise, just a fact. I’ll have to give you what information i find, when i find it… again.

    As for the Palace Guard… i don’t suspect you’ll be finding any information on that anywhere, as the only reason i happen to know it is sort of by accident. Twelve years ago, shortly after i became Muslim, i married a Turkoman from Iraq. Yeah, we were married for a very short time. But I learned that he’d spent 7 years in that country’s military intelligence; a job which mostly involved pushing pins into maps and running notes, but his office also did relay work with Saddam’s bodyguards, who were, as i mentioned, American. 100 Marines, to be precise, called the Palace Guard. This was affirmed over and over by the Iraqi community I met here; in fact, it was common knowledge, and seeing the Murkins on parade around Saddam was a frequent sight.

    Your tax dollars at work, people.
    The last i heard of the Palace Guard was in 1993. At the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, wherein Baghdad was bombed to crumbs, the very last flyover was to blow up the quarters of the Palace Guard.

    It seems that all the friends of the current US administration end up in bodybags.

    And finally, regarding the American people’s desire to remain in the dark; maybe none of us will truly know what happened on 9/11. Whether or not it had to do with foreign policy will become apparent when the facts regarding its occurrence come fully to light. My disappointment lies in the lack of will, or even curiosity, on the part of the public to pursue the uncovering of fact, both in that instance and in general regarding the decisions of the government they have chosen to come to power. I think that the comfort of the American way of life has lulled them into complacency, into a state of numb wishing, although this can hardly be counted as a spiritual calling…

    After all, you weren’t seriously suggesting that my dynamic and pragmatic faith could be compared to the apathy of the American people, were you?

    Were you?

    Thank you again for your continued patience. I, too, enjoy discourse with you. Agreeing with people of like mind is comforting, but sometimes we learn the most from people who are very different from ourselves.

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