Obama is trying to mimic G W Bush in that he supports Islam, but not radical Islam… but the real radical departure was that he no longer shows any loyalty to Islamic allies who have no Democracy. The moral statement rings hollow, but it is going to scare the hell out of the Saudis… who Obama is trying to play nice with. This shows how incompetent Obama really is. He can’t even help the so called “Moderates” he believes exist.
…this was not a speech about Israeli-Palestinian issues. On the contrary, he was trying to find a framework for pushing that question onto a backburner. Here he failed completely…
President Barack Obama’s big Middle East speech is extraordinarily important. I think that it has been largely misinterpreted and deserves a very detailed examination. Forgive me then for analyzing it at length but that’s necessary to understand both Obama’s thinking and policy.
First and foremost, this could be called Obama’s George Bush speech.
The intention was to find some way to make the main priority of U.S. policy the support of democracy in the Arab world. This is precisely the theme that Obama’s supporters ridiculed when Bush did it. So Obama had to find some way to approach the issue without anyone realizing he had copied Bush. He succeeded! No one seems to have caught on yet.Continue reading: Obama’s Middle East Speech: The Opposite of Strategy Is Catastrophe
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press later this year. You can read more of Barry Rubin’s posts at Rubin Reports, and now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media
The U.S. Constitution Doesn’t Give the President the RIGHT to Overrule Congress on PASSPORTS.
…but this guy seems to think the argument is at an impasse. Nonsense. If neither party is designated powers then there is no framework to take the power away from Congress. Thus the Congress has the right to say a child born in Jerusalem is an Israeli
Richard A. Epstein (Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow and member of the Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity Task Force)
Congress says yes. The State Department says no. So what’s U.S. policy?
In modern political life, symbolic issues are often the most difficult to resolve. Nowhere is that more true than in international relationships, where passions often run hot, as with the ongoing dispute between Israelis and Palestinians over the legal status of Jerusalem. This debate is now playing itself out within the three branches of U.S. government, provoking a serious constitutional debate over separation of powers that next term will land in the lap of the United States Supreme Court.
Young Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, an American, was born in Jerusalem in 2002. Shortly thereafter, his parents requested that the U.S. State Department list Israel as his birthplace on his passport. Under long-standing State Department policy, Jerusalem is not regarded as part of either Israel or Palestine, but is treated as a neutral city whose ultimate status will be determined by negotiations between the two parties. Hence State Department policy requires that only Jerusalem be listed as the place of birth, without mention of Israel. Congress, however, had other ideas. With scant attention to any of the constitutional niceties, in 2002 Congress adopted a statute that was on a collision course with State Department policy:
28 United States Code Section 214d RECORD OF PLACE OF BIRTH AS ISRAEL FOR PASSPORT PURPOSES. — For purposes of the registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.
The explicit conflict between the congressional command and the State Department policy prompted then-President George W. Bush (like all previous presidents of both parties) to note in his presidential signing statement that this provision encroached on his presidential prerogative to be the sole organ of the American government in foreign relations.
Zivotofsky’s parents filed a lawsuit on their son’s behalf challenging that claim, which Hilary Clinton, as the current secretary of state in the Obama administration, continues to resist in good bipartisan fashion. The many conflicts that arise here are those between two branches of government, not two political parties.
First, there is the question of whether the statutory provision in question confers any “justiciable” right—i.e. one that can be decided in court—upon the individual applicant. In its defense of this suit, the United States government has argued that any disputes between Congress and the president should never end up in the lap of the courts, but should be handled by negotiations between the two branches of government.
Congress’ statute was on a collision course with State Department policy.
At one level, this argument is rooted in the concept of “standing,” which claims that young Zivotofsky has no protected interest in going to court. As a technical matter, the one clear place for the standing doctrine is as a bar to advisory opinions that either the president or Congress might seek from the courts.
Yet in this instance, advice is not what is sought. What is demanded is that the government issue Zivotofsky a passport stamped with Israel as his place of birth. No matter how narrow the definition of standing, Zivotofsky is in a unique position to demand that the government issue that document. Thus the case is far removed from those cases in which citizens or taxpayers seek to enjoin or compel government action; in such cases the Supreme Court has routinely denied standing. But as long as the State Department resists Zivotofsky’s demands, he has standing to challenge its action, just as if it had refused to issue him a passport at all.
Second, the Secretary of State is insisting that passing the statute in question is beyond the power of Congress because it deals with foreign affairs—an area that the Constitution entrusts exclusively to the president.
The Constitution actually does no such thing. For starters, it is clear that Congress has the power to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization” (of foreigners), to “regulate commerce with foreign nations”, to “declare war” (against presumably foreign nations), and to control appropriations for the armed forces of the United States.
Noticeably missing from this list, however, is an explicit congressional power to authorize, let alone regulate, the ability of the president and the executive branch to issue passports. That textual lacuna has never stopped anyone before and it will not stop anyone today. Thus, 28 U.S.C. § 211a confers on the secretary of state the “authority to grant, issue, and verify passports.”
So here is the ticklish position for the secretary of state: if Section 211a can authorize the secretary of state to issue passports, why can’t section 214d limit and direct how that power is exercised? To this fair question, the State Department offers two answers, one procedural and the other substantive.
Procedurally, the State Department claims that the federal courts do not have “subject matter jurisdiction” to hear the case because the entire matter ultimately dissolves into a bare-knuckle political dispute between Congress and the executive branch. By using the words “subject matter jurisdiction,” the secretary of state claims that the courts have no power over the executive branch to do what they always do—deal with individual grievances under the law.
At one level, that claim is downright scary. Does the president really believe, for instance, that the government can detain individuals without the judicial oversight normally supplied by the writ of habeas corpus? If Congress orders the president to bring the prisoners forward for a hearing, is the question of imprisonment beyond the power of the courts to hear? That cannot be.
Does the Constitution entrust foreign affairs exclusively to the president?
The political question doctrine—yet another facet of justiciability— resonates when the issue is whether the courts are asked to stop military activities in Vietnam because Congress did not “declare” a war for which it appropriated funds. Yet that large political debate catches no particular individual in the crossfire. Hence, courts are well-advised to steer clear of those disputes. But in this case, the secretary of state has chosen to defy an explicit statutory command that confers rights on discrete persons. Surely, on this issue, some judicial response is appropriate.
On the substantive issue, the secretary of state’s position is that Section 214d (dealing with Jerusalem) is unconstitutional insofar as it purports to tell the State Department how to run foreign policy.
The great irony here is that the presidential claim for control over all foreign affairs is, constitutionally, just as shaky as the congressional claim. As a general matter, setting the ground rules for issuing passports looks like the kind of legislative issue entrusted not to the president but to Congress.
The basic constitutional command requires that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Inserting the little word “be” suggests that the president cannot escape his duty to implement legislation by letting subordinate officers in the executive branch flout the law.
At this point, the use of the word “shall” in section 214d seems to put a hammerlock on the secretary of state. Section 214d says, “For … a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.” Yet the secretary of state argues, implausibly, that the word “shall” in this context really means “may,” so that she “may” (or “may not”) follow a statute that is now reduced to an empty set of words.
More dramatic is the secretary of state’s other claim, which is that Section 214d is unconstitutional because it intrudes into matters of foreign affairs that are exclusively reserved to the executive branch. But search as one may, there is no explicit authority granting the president power to issue passports in Article II of the Constitution, which deals with the executive branch. Issuing passports certainly does not fall to the president in his role as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. After all, most passports are not war-related.
The Constitution is a fragile and imperfect document.
The secretary of state takes great store in the provision that allows the president of the United States to “receive ambassadors and other public ministers”—as if there were anyone else in Washington who could do that job. But the leap from that modest power to full control over foreign affairs rests on a chain of fanciful inferences with little to no textual backing.
To be sure, the Supreme Court has often said that the power to receive ambassadors necessarily entails the power to decide whether or not to recognize the government that purports to send them, which in turn requires the president to have full control over foreign policy. But by such logic, Congress’s control over foreign commerce and its power to declare war also gives it the power to decide who counts as friend or foe to the United States, and thus to set legislative ground rules telling the president which ambassadors to receive and which to turn away from our doors.
Neither of these attenuated chains of power is the slightest bit persuasive. Indeed, the best textual reading of the Constitution is that it contains a huge gap. Every nation has to have a system of passport control, and our Founding Fathers just forgot to give anyone explicit control over its organization and operation.
How then should the impasse be resolved? There are two organizing principles, neither of which is decisive.
The first says that once there is an essential federal function, the usual division of power between the president and Congress should apply. Congress sets the rules of the game, while the president carries them out.
The second approach cares little for abstract principle but holds instead that in the absence of clear textual authorization one way or the other, the current Supreme Court should stick to its earlier precedents, which in this case, without question, are weighted heavily in favor of the president. On that view, Congress upsets the presidential prerogative by forcing the secretary of state to issue passports marked Israel for American citizens born in Jerusalem.
That position has prevailed thus far in two lower courts, and the betting here is that it will prevail again in the Supreme Court. The likelihood of success is not rooted in the argument’s intrinsic merit, but rather in its historical pedigree, which the president defends ferociously while Congress moves on to other business.
But whatever the eventual outcome, this entire episode should serve as a sober reminder that the Constitution is a fragile and imperfect document that largely survives by the good will and mutual forbearance of our key institutional players. As such, historical practice necessarily counts as much as, and in some instances even more than, original meaning.
The point here is not to belittle, let alone reject, rigorous canons of interpretation—canons that the Supreme Court has violated on more than one occasion. Rather, it refers to the more humbling point that it is not possible to discern any original intention on a question that the framers of our Constitution simply forgot to address. The larger lesson is a plea for patience in the fervent hope that this dispute will quietly resolve itself before any real damage is done. Here, as in so many other cases, the Constitution is as much a matter of statecraft as it is of textual interpretation.
Richard Epstein is the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at Hoover. He is also the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, intellectual property, and property rights. His most recent books are The Case Against the Employee Free Choice Act (Hoover Press, 2009) and Supreme Neglect: How to Revive the Constitutional Protection for Private Property (Oxford Press, 2008).
Letters to the editor may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Editors reserve the right to reject or publish (and edit) letters.
the president does not have the right to control legislation involving passports. Congress has that power. The president might have that same power, but it does not allow him to overrule the legislative power of Congress. The Constitution does not give the president that kind of frame, but a president might not listen to the Constitution.
the Bush administration said Congress may not tell the president what to do regarding this aspect of foreign relations.
The Obama administration agrees with its predecessor.
When the high court hears arguments in the fall, the issue will be whether the congressional directive impermissibly interferes with the president’s power.
The State Department’s longstanding policy has been to refrain from expressing a view about Jerusalem’s status, despite the congressional action as well as Israel’s assertion of sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and declaration of the city as its capital. Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War brought the entire city under Israeli control.
The U.S., which keeps its embassy in Tel Aviv, and most nations do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital and say the city’s status should be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Ari Zivotofsky, the boy’s father, said in an interview in Israel that he considers Jerusalem part of Israel.
“As a U.S. citizen and a resident of Israel, I find it a little bit strange that the U.S. doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and certainly the western half, where the hospital is located,” he said.
“Jerusalem is subject to dispute as to its future status. Its current status seems to me pretty clear. When the U.S. government mails its consular officials mail, they mail it to Jerusalem, Israel,” he said.
Had Menachem been born in Tel Aviv, the State Department would have issued a passport listing his place of birth as Israel. The regular practice for recording the birth of a U.S. citizen abroad is to list the country where it occurred.
But the department’s guide tells consular officials, “For a person born in Jerusalem, write Jerusalem as the place of birth in the passport.”
Israel’s supporters in Congress have long objected to the official position on Jerusalem. In 1995, Congress essentially adopted the Israeli position, saying the U.S. should recognize a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then in 2002, lawmakers passed new provisions urging the president to take steps to move the embassy to Jerusalem and allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to have their place of birth listed as Israel.
The measures were part of a large foreign affairs bill that President George W. Bush signed into law. But even as he did so, Bush issued a signing statement in which he said that “U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem has not changed.” The president said Congress could not tell him what to do in this matter of foreign affairs.
Presidential signing statements, which have been used for centuries, became a point of controversy during Bush’s presidency. He issued them more often than any other president. Democrats in Congress complained that he used them to pick and choose parts of legislation he could ignore, overstepping his bounds as president.
After the Zivotofskys took their complaint to federal court in 2003, a judge refused to get in the middle of the dispute over Jerusalem’s status. It was a political question, the judge said, for Congress and the president to work out without the intervention of the courts.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said that if the courts were to get involved in a case about Jerusalem’s status, “a controversial reaction is virtually guaranteed. Such a reaction can only further complicate and undermine United States efforts to help resolve the Middle East conflict.”
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed that it had no authority to consider the claim.
One appellate judge, Harry Edwards, said he disagreed with his colleagues. But he would have ruled against the Zivotofskys. Edwards said the Constitution clearly gives the president exclusive power in this area and that it was important for the courts to say so.
That’s the question the court agreed on Monday to answer.
As to regrets, Mr Bush has quite a few. He says he should have deployed troops earlier to restore order after Hurricane Katrina smote New Orleans. He was wrong to trust Vladimir Putin on the strength of looking into his eyes. He wonders whether he could have foreseen the financial crisis. Lulled by early success, he sent too few troops to Afghanistan. As for Iraq, it was a mistake to stand in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner on board the Abraham Lincoln. It was a mistake to keep too few troops on the ground to ensure order after the fall of Baghdad. He is sorry he did not think harder before agreeing to disband the Iraqi army. And “no one was more shocked and angry” than he when no weapons of mass destruction showed up. “That was a massive blow to our credibility—my credibility—that would shake the confidence of the American people.”
Israel’s request to America to bomb a secret Syrian reactor (when Mr Bush said no, Israel did it alone)
Last month, the rumor was that Netanyahu was willing to extend the moratorium on the settlements in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard, an idea that Pollard himself did not seem to embrace.
Another month, another rumor.
Now it is being said that Netanyahu is willing to extend the settlement freeze in return for recognition of the Bush letter and what it implies, something that the Obama has refused to do in the past.
Here is the complete text of the Letter from U.S. President George W. Bush
to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, from April 14, 2004–and here is the key paragraph:
As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. [emphasis added]
The implication of the letter, especially since it correctly refers to the armistice lines as opposed to a border, is that to some degree some of the settlements will remain in Israeli hands as part of a peace agreement.
According to AFP:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked US President Barack Obama to abide by commitments his predecessor in the White House made to Israel in 2004, an Israeli newspaper reported on Thursday.
Netanyahu “is demanding that US President Barack Obama reaffirm the commitments that were given by his predecessor George W. Bush to then prime minister Ariel Sharon,” the mass circulation Yediot Aharonot daily said.
“First and foremost among these, the American support for Israeli annexation of the settlement blocs as part of any final status arrangement,” the daily quoted Netanyahu as saying.
To convince his ministers to accept a moratorium on new construction in West Bank settlements outside annexed Arab east Jerusalem, Netanyahu is “trying to extract from the Americans unambiguous commitments,” the newspaper said.
If this offer is really on the table, will Obama go for it in order to keep the talks going?
It’s one thing to release Pollard–it is a one-time deal with no ongoing repercussions.
But to agree to the Bush letter will not only outrage the Arabs, who are demanding a unilateral concession from Israel–it will also have serious repercussions down the road on peace negotiations, both during the Obama administration and during presidential administrations to come.
So again, the question comes down to whether Obama, who is so keen on talking about the sacrifices that Netanyahu and Abbas must make, is willing himself to make a sacrifice in order to get the concession from Netanyahu that may keep the talks going.
I can’t see it happening, can you?
Note: Here is how Ari Shavit introduces the idea in his opinion piece in Haaretz:
Here’s a creative idea. In exchange for freezing construction in the West Bank for 60 days, the U.S. will renew the commitment President Bush made in his April 2004 letter. Bush’s letter was given to Ariel Sharon in exchange for the disengagement. It consists of a vague commitment that when peace is made, the settlement blocs will remain in Israel’s hands and the Palestinian refugees will not return to Israel.
“Creative idea”? Shavit is not reporting on the offer, but rather mentioning it as if the idea is his own.
Is he the source of the rumor?
struggling to get America to agree to their own agreements. sigh
The impulse on the Right has been to deny, downplay or just ignore the implications of http://xrl.us/Petraeus‘ Arab-Israeli comments. Amazingly, at two weeks into the controversy, Petraeus’ Senate testimony still hadn’t received any coverage at NRO or The Corner, (Andy McCarthy’s piece came later), had been whitewashed in brief at the Weekly Standard’s blog, whitewashed at the American Spectator, and ignored in columns (John Bolton, Linda Chavez) on Israel’s abuse at the hands of the Obama administration (predicated on the mindset, sensationally enough, shared by Petraeus) or further whitewashed (Brett Stephens). A particularly virulent (and even slanderous to me) Petraeus defense was mounted at Commentary’s blog Contentions summed up first and then here.
Dick Morris was the first conservative that I know of to “come out” and, in effect, join me in noting Petraeus’ hostility to Israel. He wrote: “Gen. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that `Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples [in the region] … Enduring hostilites between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the area of responsibility.’ In other words, blame Israel.” It’s that simple.
Caroline Glick has recently examined the evidence and come to a similar conclusion.
…REPOSTED FROM LAST WEEK BECAUSE THE DHIMMIS STILL DON’T GET IT:The president’s critics accuse his administration of falsifying intelligence about Saddam Hussein having the capability of building weapons of mass destruction.This stems from the claim that the president solely relied on intelligence that Saddam was trying to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapons program. These reports later proved to be inaccurate. The media failed to emphasize, however, that Saddam was already in possession of 550 tons of yellowcake uranium, which he was storing at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex south of Baghdad. That uranium was found and secured by coalition troops in 2003 after they liberated Iraq and was finally transported to Canada in July 2008. The president’s critics also blast him for allegedly implementing a new policy of Iraqi regime change when in fact that policy was established in the Iraq Liberation Act, signed by President Clinton in 1998.The Act made it the official policy of the United States to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.Here is Noam Chomsky recently on WMDs. I know he is a liar, but even he does not agree with the idea that there were no WMDs
Chomsky: “This is even sometimes discussed. You can find it in the strategic analysis literature. Take, say, the invasion of Iraq again. We’re told that they didn’t find weapons of mass destruction. Well, that’s not exactly correct. They did find weapons of mass destruction, namely, the ones that had been sent to Saddam by the United States, Britain, and others through the 1980s. A lot of them were still there. They were under control of U.N. inspectors and were being dismantled. But many were still there. When the U.S. invaded, the inspectors were kicked out, and Rumsfeld and Cheney didn’t tell their troops to guard the sites. So the sites were left unguarded, and they were systematically looted. The U.N. inspectors did continue their work by satellite and they identified over 100 sites that were systematically looted, like, not somebody going in and stealing something, but carefully, systematically looted.” via Chomsky info
As someone who did not vote for G.W. Bush, I find it amusing that I have spent half a decade defending his actions. Bush was the Bunny Lebowski of politics. A political *bimbo* who prostituted the concept of “Moderate” Islam for his Saudi friends (just like Obama). We threw out a Ringer for a Ringer. (The Chomsky quote is referenced in the post so you can see the html I am quoting)
keep in mind that Saddam himself wanted the world to know he had WMDs: Saddam knew he was finished and was trying to get history to view him in a more favorable light. The man murdered thousands of his own people and was capable of just about any kind of violence and bloodshed. I don’t believe he feared Iran (over which he had an overwhelming advantage at the outset of their war) and I don’t believe he wanted to cowtow to the United States.
An American leader can declare war simply because there is an attempt of assassination. America can declare war because Iraq was supporting terrorism that killed American citizens. As for the WMDs I find it amusing that people thought they would just show up. did you expect them to give them to us? they found Uranium reserves south of Baghdad.
In the coming months, years and decades, history will be the judge of what kind of leader former President Bush was, but those Americans interested in preserving his legacy must take an aggressive approach to dispel the many myths and lies that already exist.
Clearly, the most contested area of Mr. Bush’s presidency will be his foreign policy, namely his decision to send troops to Iraq. For several years, numerous myths have existed about the war, and it is imperative that we correct any falsehoods for the historical record.
These myths have falsely portrayed Mr. Bush as an imperialist president who illegally invaded a foreign country to seize its oil and dominate its people.
via washingtontimes.comIf the US defeated Saddam Hussein solely to gain access to Iraqi crude oil, wouldn’t one reasonably think that the governments would have rigged the auctions so that the US could take Iraq’s crude cheaply, effectively and quickly? Exxon Mobil was the only US company that lead a winning bid team in the recent auction, winning the right to develop Iraq’s West Qurna 1. Royal Dutch Shell won the right to operate the Majnoon field. The Majnoon has a production target of 1.8 million bpd, and Royal Dutch Shell’s joint bid gets it 45% of that total. Malaysia’s Petronas joined Royal Dutch Shell and “won” 30%, with the rest kicked down to more and more minor partners none of which were American.
…Even now, we are hardly dependent at all upon Iraqi crude oil, for as of September Iraq ranks behind Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and of course Canada, and it is barely ahead of “mighty” Ecuador, with Brazil having ranked ahead of Iraq several times in the past six months but having ranked below Iraq in August and September…
The truth however, is that Mr. Bush liberated a country from the cruelty and oppression of a sadistic dictator, returned the oil to the Iraqi people and acted in full compliance with both domestic and international law. In fact, Mr. Bush’s decision to send troops back to Iraq not only complied with international law but fulfilled obligations set by the United Nations.
In October 2002, Congress authorized the president to use whatever military force was necessary to fulfill U.N. resolutions pertaining to Iraq and the Gulf war. This was because after the U.N. authorized a coalition of the willing to use military force against Iraq for its illegal invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the U.N. temporarily suspended the Gulf war in 1991 with a cease-fire agreement that imposed stipulations upon Saddam Hussein.
Saddam violated those cease-fire conditions by failing to give U.N. weapon inspectors unfettered access, which actually prompted military action from President Clinton in 1998 when he launched a massive bombing campaign against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox.
In 2002, the United Nations resolved that Saddam was in “material breach” of the cease-fire agreement and that Iraq faced “serious consequences.” Because the cease-fire did not end but merely suspended the Gulf war, Saddam Hussein’s continued violations of the agreement reactivated the war.
President Bush did not start a new war in 2003 that violated domestic or international law. He merely complied with Congress’ 2002 vote by honoring resolutions passed by the United Nations that reactivated the original Gulf war.
The president’s critics accuse his administration of falsifying intelligence about Saddam Hussein having the capability of building weapons of mass destruction. This stems from the claim that the president solely relied on intelligence that Saddam was trying to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapons program. These reports later proved to be inaccurate.
The media failed to emphasize, however, that Saddam was already in possession of 550 tons of yellowcake uranium, which he was storing at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex south of Baghdad. That uranium was found and secured by coalition troops in 2003 after they liberated Iraq and was finally transported to Canada in July 2008.
The president’s critics also blast him for allegedly implementing a new policy of Iraqi regime change when in fact that policy was established in the Iraq Liberation Act, signed by President Clinton in 1998. The Act made it the official policy of the United States to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. President Bush did not implement a new policy of regime change in Iraq. He was acting in the spirit of the policy already established by President Clinton.
The decision to send troops back to Iraq in 2003 was indeed liberation and not an invasion. Investigations by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the U.S. Department of State and the British government have all found evidence that the Iraqi people lived under a regime that systematically employed methods of torture and fear. Dissidents suffered from bizarre, cruel methods of torture including dismemberment, piercing, bone-crushing, cutting, acid baths and imprisonment inside coffin-size cells.
Women accused of prostitution were publicly beheaded without a trial and male soldiers were authorized to rape women to punish their family members for political resistance. Men were often forced to watch soldiers rape their wives, sisters and daughters as a method of punishment when the female victim was innocent.
The removal of Saddam Hussein from power was not an invasion, it was liberation.
One of the most widely spread conspiracy theories about President Bush and the war is the false allegation that he sent troops to Iraq to illegally steal its oil. There is no truth to this allegation. In fact, the new Oil Draft Law under consideration by the Iraqi government proposes using “production-sharing agreements,” which is the same type of oil distribution system used in Iraq for decades.
Production-sharing agreements allow foreign governments or private corporations to drill for oil and keep a small percentage of profits for their work while giving the majority of profits earned to the host country. The new Oil Draft Law will continue to implement production-sharing agreements, but the Iraqi profits will now go to the new democratic government instead of Saddam. The United States is not stealing any oil from Iraq.
There are many more myths and lies the far left has successfully perpetuated about Mr. Bush and the liberation of Iraq, but this column is not the appropriate forum to dispel them. Because these lies have been so deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the American public, those wishing to restore the president’s reputation must take a pro-active, aggressive approach that exports knowledge to the people.
Merely relying on a passive institute such as a presidential library and waiting for people to learn the truth on their own will not be sufficient in this unique case. Most people who visit the new George W. Bush presidential library will most likely already be sympathetic to him and there must be a more aggressive approach used to inform all Americans.
It is perhaps one of the greatest historical ironies and tragedies that a leader who cares so deeply about human rights and the freedom of oppressed people has been falsely portrayed as an imperialist invader. It is time for those working on the former president’s legacy to adequately communicate his vision of worldwide liberation to the American people. The historical record must be corrected to accurately reflect President Bush’s legacy and for the honor of our country.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is the National Organizer of HONOR FREEDOM (www.honorfreedom.com), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to correcting the historical record about President Bush and the war in Iraq.
For those you of that read this and many other rational blogs, you quite familiar with my frustration with the lack of any investigation into the missing WMDs here and here and and as far back as 10/04 here. We know existed (just ask thethousands of families of dead Kurds). We have suffered
through the mendacity of Dhimmicarts talking points “NO WMDS” and leftwing memes to the point where the lie has become accepted the accepted “myth” (to the point where it damn near cost Bush the election) – now there is a really frightening thought.
.So it is long overdue and long necessary that Washington step out from the Democrat’s horsewhipping, and fight for the truth particularly now when Iran has all but declared war on the West. It was Syria, Iran’s proxy – it’s organ grinder’s monkey-, that allegedly took possession of the Saddam’s WMD. More Here.
– Nearly a year and a half
after a final report from American weapons inspectors concluded they
could not uncover evidence of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence has reopened the question…….
Chairman Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan, is said by his
staff to believe that it is too soon to conclude that Saddam Hussein
either destroyed or never had the stockpiles and programs to produce
biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons that Western intelligence
agencies insisted he had before the war.
In the weeks before and following the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, at least 10 facilities believed by American, European, and Israeli intelligence to be for the production and research of chemical and biological weapons were systematically looted by members of Iraq’s Republican Guard, ordered by the regime’s leadership to destroy and hide evidence of the programs, according to current and former intelligence officials from America, Britain and Israel. In interviews with the New York Sun, these officials reflect the position of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in the months after the war: “
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”
Mr. Ware yesterday said Mr. Hoekstra is worried that equipment or stocks of biological and chemical weapons could have been transferred to a third country or landed in the hands of terrorists.
The former undersecretary of
defense for policy, Douglas Feith, said the question of Iraq’s weapons
of mass destruction is still open. “People talk about the former Soviet loose nukes problem. The question is whether this is a loose WMD problem,” also held by the State Department’s chief of Iraq intelligence between 2003 and 2005, Wayne White. In an interview this week, Mr. White, said, “Just as the pre-war WMD intelligence was largely wrong, the conclusion after the war that absolutely nothing was in Iraq could also be wrong.”
Even the mendacious left believes the WMD are somewhere;
Canada’s Globe and Mail, Susan Rice, a former assistant secretary of state under President Clinton who would go on to become a foreign policy adviser to Howard Dean during the 2004 election season, raised the prospect of Saddam’s missing weapons in terms similar to Mr. Feith. “The richest treasure trove of dangerous WMD material since the collapse of the Soviet Union is on the loose and perhaps far easier for al-Qaeda and other terrorists to acquire than it was under the control of their ideological adversary, Saddam Hussein,” she wrote.
The former deputy of the Iraqi air force, General Georges Sada, revealed on
Saturday that that former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, ordered him
during the first Gulf War to bomb Israeli population centers with chemical weapons. More here.
Who can forget the entire population of Israel wearing gas masks during Saddam’s SCUD missile attack during the 1991 Gulf war testimony to the House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, David Kay said “Deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation related to weapons programs began pre-conflict and ran trans-to-post conflict.”
A former colonel for Israeli military intelligence who worked onIraqi issues, Miri Eisin, says of a transfer of weapons to Syria, “I don’t know all of it, but some things went in that route. At the end ofthe day, it would be the type of things they could hide. This wouldstrike out the biological type things, but they could get chemical weapons, possibly residual missile parts.”Photo here: During Iraqi Scud attacks against Israel in 1991, school
children were trained in the proper fitting of gas masks, lest any of the missiles actually be tipped with poison weapons.
Iraq’s WMD Secreted in Syria, Sada Says
Saddam’s WMD Moved to Syria, An Israeli Says