International Herald Tribune
By David Stout
Friday, April 25, 2008
WASHINGTON: The government of Iran continues to supply weapons and other support to extremists in Iraq, despite repeated promises to the contrary, and is increasingly complicit in the death of U.S. soldiers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday in a stark new assessment of Iranian influence.
The chairman, Admiral Michael Mullen, said he was "extremely concerned" about "the increasingly lethal and malign influence" by the government of Iran and the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, a special force that aids and encourages Islamic militants around the world. The Quds Forces in Iran were created during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and report directly to the leadership of Iran's theocratic government.
Pentagon concerns about Iranian influence in neighboring Iraq is nothing new, but the content and tone of Mullen's remarks left the impression that far from abating, the worries about Iran have intensified in recent months.
"The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago," Mullen said. "It's plainly obvious they have not. Indeed, they seem to have gone the other way."
The discovery of weapons caches in Iraq, with devices bearing stamps that indicate they were manufactured quite recently, run contrary to the Iranian promises not to interfere in Iraq, the admiral said. He conceded that he had "no smoking gun" to prove direct involvement by the very highest echelons in Tehran, but he said he found it hard to believe that all the top leaders were ignorant of recent developments.
The Pentagon is sufficiently concerned about Iran's apparently deepening involvement in Iraq that it plans a briefing in the near future by General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, to publicize the caches of weapons, some of which are believed to have been used against U.S. troops in the recent fighting in Basra, in southern Iraq. Details of the weapons and the Pentagon's concerns over them were disclosed Friday in The Wall Street Journal.
"I believe recent events, especially the Basra operation, have revealed just how much and just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability," Mullen said.
Of particular concern to U.S. military commanders are explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which the Pentagon says are being made in Iran and shipped to Shiite militants in Iraq, where they are used to deadly effect against U.S. forces trying to subdue extremist elements and bolster the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
Asked whether the new evidence of Iranian mischief in Iraq portends an U.S. military conflict with Iran, the admiral said, "I'm not going to add anything to what I've already said in that regard." For now, Mullen said, the best weapon against Iran is a combination of diplomatic and financial pressure by the United States and other nations alarmed by Iran's attitude.
Pentagon leaders have said they would not rule out military action against Iran. But it is not uncommon for U.S. civilian and military leaders to leave "all options on the table," in an often-used phrase, because to rule out military action in advance is seen as admitting a lack of resolve.
Mullen acknowledged that the U.S. military was being stretched thin by the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, he said, "it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability." As for Iranian motives, Mullen said he believed the leadership in Tehran hopes for a weak Iraq, so that Iran can increase its influence in the region.
Moreover, deep resentment remains in Iran toward the United States, which until the Iranian revolution in 1979 long supported the repressive regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as a bulwark against Soviet influence in the Cold War. The current Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has shown little indication of wanting better relations with Washington.
Mullen said Iranian influence in Iraq goes beyond shipment of weapons. "They continue to train Iraqis in Iran to come back and fight Americans and the coalition," he said. Reiterating earlier accusations, he asserted that Iranian leaders "continue to broadly support terrorists in other parts of the region," including the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.
"And in fact, we're seeing some evidence that they're supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan," Mullen said.
Thom Shanker contributed reporting.
LATEST IRAQ NEWS
Friday, April 25, 2008
International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thank you to Joe Hill of Jacksonville, FL for e-mailing this article.
By Dr. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF (Ret.)
To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).
The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.
First, let us examine a few basics.
1. When did the threat to us start?
Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer, as far as the United States is concerned, is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut , Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie , Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran , Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi , Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam , Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden , Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.
(Note: During the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide.)
2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats, as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessor, President Ford.
3. Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.
4. What is the Muslim population of the World?
5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or else you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).
Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom hear of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy in killing anyone who got in the way of his extermination of the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian, or any others.
Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, British, French or anyone else. The point here is that, just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements -- killing all of us "infidels." I do not blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was to remain silent or to be killed?
6. So, with whom are we at war?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you do not clearly recognize and articulate whom you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1. Can we lose this war?
2. What does losing really mean?
If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions:
We can definitely lose this war and, as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?
It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home, and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.
What losing really means is:
We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but, rather, will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years. The plan was, clearly, for terrorists to attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see; we are impotent and cannot help them..
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It does not matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France. Our one hope with France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished, too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast.
Without our support, Great Britain will go also. Recently, I read that there are more mosques in England than churches.
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports, and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims? If we cannot stop the Muslim terrorists, how could anyone else?
The radical Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We had better know it, too, and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.
Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.
So, how can we lose the war?
Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and failing to dig in and lend full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win.
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation:
President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights to which we have become accustomed. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.
And do not worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory ... and, in fact, added many more since that time.
Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?
No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head. Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose.
I think some actually do. I hasten to add that this is not because they are disloyal. It is because they just do not recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends and it does great damage to our cause.
Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues, and otherwise murdering their own just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.
And just a few years ago, these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally of the beheading of American prisoners they held.
Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not by dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.
Can they be for real?
The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this does not show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in, and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.
To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again, I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years.
These people are a serious and dangerous liability to the war effort. We must take note of who they are and get them out of office. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into ALL non-Muslims - not just in the United States ? but also throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.
We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful, and smart that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that, with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world. We cannot! If we don't recognize this, our nation, as we know it, will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.
And, finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self- inflicted fall of the Roman Empire; if, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.
If we do not win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach, little by little, on the established French traditions.
The French will be fighting among themselves over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies do not have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece. And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.
Muslims have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who among the few will be controlling the masses.
What is happening in Iraq is a good example. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct about the "peaceful Muslims?"
I close on a hopeful note by repeating what I said before: If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now, after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about. Do whatever you can to preserve it. I reiterate: our national election is under way.
After reading the above, we all must do this, not only for ourselves, but for our children, our grandchildren, our country, and our world, whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, and that includes the politicians and media of our country and the free world.
Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our "leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those who find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITE!
Lastly, I wish to add: at the risk of offending, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue, or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of the problem. Let us quit laughing at and forwarding the jokes and cartoons that denigrate and ridicule our leaders in this war against terror. They are trying to protect the interests and well-being of the US and its citizens. Best we support them.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Posted by Mark P. Miner at 4/15/2008 10:45:00 AM