Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Flower power-2

vi) The Third Terrorist : The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing
by Jayna Davis

Product Details

* Publisher: WND Books; (April 15, 2004)
* ISBN: 0785261036

Editorial Reviews

Book Description
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were not the lone conspirators in the Oklahoma City bombing—the attack that killed nearly 170 people in a few short seconds. They were part of a greater scheme, one which involved Islamic terrorists and at least one provable link to Iraq. This book, written by the relentless reporter who first broke the story of the Mideast connection, is filled with new revelations about the case and explains in full detail the complete, and so far untold, story behind the failed investigation—why the FBI closed the door, what further evidence exists to prove the Iraqi connection, why it has been ignored, and what makes it more relevant now than ever. Told with a gripping narrative style and rock-solid investigative journalism and vetted by men such as former CIA director James Woolsey, Davis’s piercing account is the first book to set the record straight about what really happened April 19, 1995.

vii) The Secret History of the Iraq War
by Yossef Bodansky

Product Details

* Publisher: ReganBooks; (June 15, 2004)
* ISBN: 0060736798

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Bodansky, ex-director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author of Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, offers many bold and contentious claims in this sprawling history of the Iraqi conflict up to Saddam’s capture. Saddam, he asserts, was deeply involved with al-Qaeda, and indeed dispatched a (never "activated") 500-man terrorist battalion to North America in 2002. Iraqi forces were awash in WMDs, which they planned to (but never did) launch at American soldiers, and which were finally spirited away to Syria or buried in the sand. And Syria and especially Iran, which now allegedly hosts al-Qaeda’s headquarters, have been busily fomenting turmoil in Iraq and terror throughout the region. Bodansky affirms the Bush Administration’s case for regime change and its larger "axis-of-evil" worldview. But he deplores the invasion itself-Saddam could have been toppled by a coup instigated by Russia or the Arab states, he says-and despairs of the American nation-building project in Iraq, which he feels faces an unstoppable jihad by a coalition of Islamists, Baathists, Sunnis, Shiites, al-Qaeda and even many Kurds, supported by an increasingly anti-American populace. Bodansky offers a microscopically detailed portrait of the byzantine politics of the various Iraqi factions and their regional sponsors, along with a vigorous critique of the chaos, intelligence failures, political ignorance and military overkill that characterize the American occupation.

viii) Treachery : How America's Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies

Product Details

* Hardcover: 288 pages ;
* Publisher: Crown Forum; (September 7, 2004)
* ISBN: 1400053153

Editorial Reviews
From the Inside Flap
In his explosive new book, New York Times bestselling author Bill Gertz uncovers the most significant threat to U.S. national security today: America’s enemies—including radical terrorist groups—are arming themselves with the world’s most dangerous weapons. And they’re doing it with the help of America’s supposed allies. Worst of all, the U.S. has let it all happen.

Using his unparalleled access to the U.S. intelligence and defense communities, Gertz names names, revealing which of our "friends" have placed greed over principle to make America’s enemies far more deadly and the world a far more dangerous place. In Treachery, Gertz tells the whole story, complete with previously unpublished classified intelligence documents, and based on dozens of exclusive interviews with senior U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In shocking detail, Treachery exposes:

*How Iraqi insurgents are killing U.S. soldiers with weapons that France, Germany, and Russia sold them
*How the French and German governments turn a blind eye to arms sales to rogue regimes and terrorist states like Iran, Syria, and North Korea
*How intelligence reports show that China supplied arms to al Qaeda after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America
*The real story of why Libya dismantled its nuclear program—how U.S. intelligence caught the Libyans red-handed trying to smuggle in nuclear weapons technology
*How Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation network is even more extensive than has been reported
*The CIA report revealing that al Qaeda is pursuing—and may already have—nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
*The classified intelligence showing that Russia and France were cooperating with Saddam Hussein even after the 2003 Iraq war broke out
*The full story of how Saddam exploited the United Nations "oil for food" program, not only to line his own pockets but also to rebuild Iraq’s weapons and missile programs
*How U.S. security lapses have enabled our enemies to target Americans using our own weapons technology secrets

ix) Nuclear Terrorism : The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
by Graham Allison

Product Details

* Publisher: Times Books; (August 9, 2004)
∑ ISBN: 0805076514

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
A founding dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Allison applies a long, distinguished career in government and academia to this sobering—indeed frightening—presentation of U.S. vulnerability to a terrorist nuclear attack. While he begins by asserting such an attack is preventable, the balance of his text is anything but reassuring. Allison begins by describing the broad spectrum of groups who could intend a nuclear strike against the U.S. They range from an al-Qaeda with its own Manhattan Project to small and determined doomsday cults. Their tools can include a broad spectrum of weapons, either stolen or homemade from raw materials increasingly available worldwide. Once terrorists acquire a nuclear bomb, Allison argues, its delivery to an American target may be almost impossible to stop under current security measures. The Bush administration, correct in waging war against nuclear terrorism, has not, he says, yet developed a comprehensive counter strategy.

x) The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America
by Stephen F. Hayes

Product Details

∑ Hardcover: 224 pages ;
* Publisher: HarperCollins; (June 1, 2004)
* ISBN: 0060746734

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Weekly Standard reporter Hayes marshals a wealth of evidence that, in contrast with the tenuous connections that have so far made news, point to ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. Most intriguingly, Hayes finds links between Iraq and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, one of whom apparently received shelter and financial support from Iraq after the attack. Hayes also gets confirmation by Czech officials of the alleged Prague meeting between September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent. Elsewhere, Hayes points to Iraqi intelligence documents that mention a "good relationship" with bin Laden. Other sources note an alleged agreement for Iraq to assist al-Qaeda in making chemical and biological weapons. Relying both on "open sources" like news articles, transcripts from the 1998 embassy bombing trials, as well as anonymous intelligence reports and informants, Hayes allows that some of these stories may prove unreliable. But he contends that the number, consistency and varied provenance of reports of high-level contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq throughout the past decade allows one to "connect the dots" into a clear pattern of collaboration. Despite the frustrating absence of source notes and no knowledge of what cooperative efforts ever came of these contacts, most readers will conclude from this volume that the Saddam–al-Queda thread has some play left in it.


You then bring up the prison flap, which you choose to characterize as ‘the systematic torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners of war in Abu Ghraib.’ But there are a number of flaws in your summary.

i) These were not POWs. These were terrorists, murdering our troops--as well as Iraqi citizens.

ii) You have a single adjective (systematic) govern both nouns. But even if there were a systematic pattern of humiliation, what evidence do you have of systematic torture? Torture and humiliation are not at all the same thing. The word "torture" is a loaded-word, with connotations of mutilation and the like.

I saw a simulated execution, but although that's nasty business, yet given a choice, I'd opt for a simulated execution over the real deal any day of the week, wouldn't you?

iii) Most of the examples I saw took the form of sexual humiliation. Indeed, the photos could just as well have been shot at a San Francisco bathhouse. Yet you say that we shouldn’t 'squabble' about sex and sexual politics. Why do you fixate on the sadistic treatment of a few detainees while you turn a blind eye to the S&M culture in America?

iv) Isn’t one of the lessons of Abu Graib the sexual temptations of a coed military? But you say that we shouldn't 'squabble' about sex and sexual politics.

So what you take to be a 'symptom' of our 'reckless' foreign policy is really a symptom of reckless sexuality.

iv) What about the Catholic sex scandal, which is really a homosexual sex scandal, and which outnumbers Abu Graib by many orders of magnitude? Why do you turn a blind eye to that?

v) Why do you strain at the gnat of Abu Ghaib while you swallow the camel of truly systematic torture under Saddam’s regime? His victims outnumber our victims by many orders of magnitude.

You then raise the ethical question of the Bush doctrine. Yes, this question is well-worth raising. And we have an entire book of the Bible that answers that very question. The Book of Esther is a full-length prooftext for preemption. The Jews, in order to advert genocide, strike the first blow.

You then say that 'Jesus taught his followers to turn the other cheek when attacked. At the heart of Christian identity as his disciples is the call to be
peacemakers. Yet we fail repeatedly. Scripture diagnoses our true
condition: 'Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery are in
their paths, and the way of peace they have not known' (Romans 3:15-17, quoting Isaiah 59:7-8).

Of course, how we should apply the New Testament's teachings to
international affairs in a post-9-11 world is a complex question. At
present, however, we are not having the debate at all.'

This is quite a jumble:

i) Why do you limit the debate to NT teaching when this sentence follows on the heels of the previous statement, where you quote Paul quoting Isaiah? If Paul thought that OT ethics were relevant under the New Covenant, why don't you? If Isaiah is applicable, what about Deut 20?

Indeed, some of the provisions in the Sermon on the Mount go straight back to OT ethics (cf. Deut 32:35; Prov 22:21-22).

ii) As to turning the other cheek, what does this picturesque image depict? To strike a man on the right side of the face (Mt 5:39) implies a backhanded slap. In other words, this is dealing, not with assault and battery, much less national self-defense, but with a personal insult or affront to one's honor. As a NT scholar, I would expect you to be more attentive to the concrete imagery.

Again, this was addressed to Jews living under Roman occupation. It does not address the post-Constantinian situation.

BTW, I assume that Duke University as a campus police station. Have you lobbied for the abolition of campus security on the grounds that the staff, faculty, and student body should turn the other cheek?

iii) You conflate peacemakers with peacetalkers. Talking about peace is not the same thing as making peace. If you are serious about this, why don't you take a sabbatical, go to some hotspot in the world, and make peace between the warring parties? Or maybe you can persuade al-Qaida to lay down their arms and sing a round of Kumba-ya.

Am I being facetious? The more important question is: are you being facetious? Either you have a practical alternative or you don't. If you do, do it! Go somewhere and make it work. Otherwise, shut up!

You go on to say that 'the public, including the Islamic world, receives the impression that Christianity underwrites war-making.'

Well, one can only hope. Muslims are a warlike people. If Bush has fostered the impression in the Muslim world that if they fight us, we will fight back with superior force, then that's an excellent deterrent to further aggression.

You then say that 'Instead of obsessively debating sexual politics, we should raise our voices together in calling the Church and the nation to repentance and peacemaking.'

We should, should we?

i) Not only do you deny OT ethics, you deny Pauline ethics as well. After all, the debate is over sodomy, and sodomy runs counter to Pauline ethics (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10).

ii) Not only do you deny Pauline ethics, you deny dominical ethics as well. Our Lord took traditional marriage as the paradigm (Mt 19:1-9). And he cited the Lord's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah with evident approval (Mt 10:14-15).

iii) The church has no direct control over our foreign policy. But the church does enjoy direct control over its own code of conduct.

You round out by saying that we should 'seek God's mercy for the chaos our national has unleashed.' I'll grant that Iraq is unstable, but why you assume that chaos is worse than a homicidal police state or state sponsor of international terrorism is less than self-explanatory.

In any event, a chaotic Iraq poses no threat to the US, for the rival factions are to busy fighting each other to menace America any time soon.

My overall impression of your article is that, for a professional ethicist, you are morally blind. You lack a capacity for the most rudimentary moral discrimination. You have made no apparent effort to acquaint yourself with the opposing position. You indulge in fact-free denunciations and double standards. You say one thing, but live another. And you display only the most shallow grasp of Scripture.

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