zenpundit.com » 2003 » October

Archive for October, 2003

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003


His WaPo op-ed ( I now write like Bob Dole speaks !) piece. Rumsfeld is attempting to have the chattering classes come to grips with both the nature of the Islamist threat and the fact that terrorism is a tool of asymmetric warfare.

Good luck. This is a much needed political effort by the administration because much of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment that has been writing endless ” What is the new role for NATO ? ” articles for Foreign Affairs for the last 12 years is in a deep psychological denial not since the MP’s who jeered Winston Churchill in parliament in 1938.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003


” Well then…what would John Locke have thought of the French Revolution ? “


” Polybius wanted a good government but John Locke wanted a good society “

I suddenly felt like my time as an educator was well-spent.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2003


The highly influential conservative activist Grover Norquist is in jeopardy of becoming a liability to the GOP and President Bush as some of his close Muslim political associates are now legally implicated as major fundraisers for terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaida. More ominously, these associates have infiltrated the Pentagon to secure a position approving the credentials of Muslim chaplains, some of whom like Captain Yee stand accused of espionage helping the enemy at Guantanamo.

Norquist needs to take action now to formally extricate himself from his political and financial ties to Islamists, regardless of their cover stories, and turn over what he knows to the FBI.

No excuses or hesitations.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2003


The Chicago Tribune has recently been running a free-lancer – Colonel E.W. Chamberlain III. – in their Perspective section of their Sunday edition whose analytical pieces have been excellent. In the last two weeks he has taken the Bush administration to task for its impossible troop to mission ratio and last Sunday he dismantled the media’s reporting of troop morale as not a result of bias so much as a general ignorance of military life in a combat zone. Here’s a few samples:

“…Reuters news agency reported Oct. 20 that Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had complained that he is only allowed to see “all the happy folks” when he visits a unit, which is an incredibly disingenuous remark by the man who can see whatever he wants whenever he wants as the most senior military official in the land. (“Hey, I want to go over there and talk to that soldier. Make it happen.” Simple.) “


” How did Stars and Stripes get such bad information? The first hint of it is in the statement that reporters went to 50 camps and asked questions about morale. First of all, you don’t go to camps and ask the folks who are sitting around pulling guard duty or emptying trash, or burning half-barrels of feces or any of the other housekeeping chores required in a camp of deployed soldiers how their morale is…they don’t want to be in camp pulling duty because it’s incredibly boring and makes the time drag out interminably. They don’t want to be away from home stirring the latrine buckets as they burn……No, the Stripes reporters needed to ask soldiers on patrol how their morale was, or soldiers who have just defeated an ambush how their morale is or soldiers who have just helped an Iraqi village get running water for the first time in 50 years (or ever) how their morale is. If you ask the wrong people the wrong questions at the wrong time, you’re guaranteed to come up with whatever response you were looking for.”


Tuesday, October 28th, 2003


Drudge is reporting a White House finesse of a particularly grim foreign visitor:

“Communist China’s defense minister Gen. Cao Gangchuan, most associated with nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation to terrorist countries, set for DC meeting with Condi Rice tomorrow; split over Oval Office greet by President Bush, Congress may get involved, say sources… Developing… “

Longtime observers will recall during the first Bush administration when Boris Yeltsin, then newly elected president of the Russian S.S.R. and rival to Soviet president and CPSU General-Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, visited the United States, his White house visit was handled in a similar manner by National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft ( Condi Rice’s boss at the time). The reason was to avoid the perception of ” favoring ” Yeltsin and undermining Gorbachev’s position by according Yeltsin honors more suitable for a head of state.

General Cao is, unlike Yeltsin, a sinister figure. If there’s an Axis of Evil he’s one of the guys spinning the wheel. However it’s a mistake to attribute much personal responsibility to Cao – he represents a factional element of the Chinese leadership ( unlike the Soviets, the guerilla warfare origin of the Chinese revolution in 1949 left the PLA generals and the CP Party apparatchiks far more integrated in each other’s domains than was the case in the USSR where the Red Army was third in the pecking order behind Party and KGB and institutionally segregated from the Party upper echelon). China may have sent him because he has the competence and authority to explore a serious deal on proliferation with the U.S. the way a Foreign ministry diplomat might not.

The delicate way General Cao is being handled may reflect not only Bush concern for domestic criticism but the potential effects the meeting could have on the power struggle between outgoing senior leader Jiang Zemin, and his successor Hu Jintao. Jiang, who is close to the PLA top leadership, still controls one of the three most powerful posts in China, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and he has resisted the mandatory, gradual retirement system for top officials instituted by Deng Xiaoping to preclude the continuation of the geriatric oligarchy of the early post-Mao years .

Switch to our mobile site