< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Saturday, July 17, 2004

We report. You decide.

TIME Magazine: 9/11 Commission Finds Ties between al Qaeda and Iran
Next week's much anticipated final report by a bipartisan commission on the origins of the 9/11 attacks will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran—just weeks after the Administration has come under fire for overstating its claims of contacts between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

A senior U.S. official told TIME that the Commission has uncovered evidence suggesting that between eight and ten of the 14 "muscle" hijackers—that is, those involved in gaining control of the four 9/11 aircraft and subduing the crew and passengers—passed through Iran in the period from October 2000 to February 2001. Sources also tell TIME that Commission investigators found that Iran had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit Iran across the Afghan border. This practice dated back to October 2000, with Iranian officials issuing specific instructions to their border guards—in some cases not to put stamps in the passports of al-Qaeda personnel—and otherwise not harass them and to facilitate their travel across the frontier. The report does not, however, offer evidence that Iran was aware of the plans for the 9/11 attacks.

The senior official also told TIME that the report will note that Iranian officials approached the al-Qaeda leadership after the bombing of the USS Cole and proposed a collaborative relationship in future attacks on the U.S., but the offer was turned down by bin Laden because he did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.
Reuters: Bush, Kerry have different approaches to Iran
If re-elected, President Bush is expected to pursue more aggressive support for factions that want to topple hard-line leaders in Iran while Democratic challenger John Kerry is more inclined toward engaging the Islamic republic.

"I think you would see us continue a very hard line on the nonproliferation issue and support for dissident elements inside Iran would pick up," a senior administration official said. He ruled out military action. Added another Republican insider said, "My understanding is that this tough view is one that has been expressed by the president himself on a number of occasions lately."

Bush has taken a hard line, branding Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and prewar Iraq as it seeks to quash any nuclear weapons ambitions it may have. He also accuses the Islamic republic of supporting terrorism...

Reflecting a different approach, Kerry foreign policy adviser Rand Beers told Reuters in an interview: "Yes, we would be prepared to talk to Iran." He said the Democratic candidate is "not naive" and recognizes deep differences between the two countries. These include nuclear proliferation, the Arab-Israeli conflict and policy toward Iran's neighbor Iraq.

"But we do think there are some issues about which we can talk and can move forward and hopefully those issues would represent building blocks on which to base a broader degree of cooperation," Beers said.

"We have to find ways in which to engage with Iran" in a multi-party format that could also include direct U.S.-Iranian talks, he said.

Kerry "engaging" with Iran would be like the UN engaging with Arafat.  You wanna "play nice" with terrorists? Then vote for Kerry. I just can't.

One reason it doesn't bother me that much when Bush-haters say Bush is not all that bright, is that you don't have to be all that bright to figure out there's a bully in the sandbox.  More Americans may view Kerry as intelligent (83% vs Bush at 63%) but I can almost guarantee you, that man never took kids to the park.
  • If you bring your bike, you have to share it if you're not on it.
  • You have to ask your mom, dad or babysitter before you take snacks from strangers.
  • Hitting, spitting and sand-throwing will get you yanked out, and then scowled at, until you behave or go home.

Let me see if I can take the analogy a little further without it falling apart.  In my 59 years of parenting (29 + 19 + 11),  I never had to do this, but I suppose one could be forced by a bully to leave the park and go down the street or across town to another park.  In the fight against global jihad, we don't have that option. 

Global terrorism is on the rise and is likely to continue unabated for the next 100 years, according to Prof. Yonah Alexander, one of the world's leading analysts on the subject.

Alexander, director of the Inter-Universities Center for Terrorism Studies, also believes it is only a matter of time before groups like al-Qaida use non-coventional weapons as part of attempts to promulgate their ideology and undermine western society.

"In fact," said Alexander, "it represents the most threatening challenge to civilization in the 21st century. The question of survival will depend to a great extent on how civilized society tackles this threat."

In other words, the worst is yet to come.

I'll tell you one last thing. The mom (or dad) who got the bully out of the sandbox was not necessarily the most intelligent person at the park, but rather, the one who had the best combination of common sense, conviction and stamina.

If you don't think I'm right, then tell me why Arab-Americans are backing Kerry overwhelmingly. You think it's because he's so ...intelligent?