All Bets Are ON

Ciamac Moallemi ciamac@alum.mit.edu
Sat, 9 Mar 2002 14:33:49 -0500


On Saturday, March 9, 2002, at 08:15 AM, Grlygrl201@aol.com wrote:
>
> Of course, my first reaction was "How the hell did this get leaked?"  
> My second: "Is this responsible reporting?"

Because the administration wanted it leaked, of course. Why else would a 
report on a topic this sensitive have large unclassified portions.  It 
fits perfectly into the "crazier than thou" theory of US foreign policy 
(see below).

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/13/opinion/13FRIE.html

February 13, 2002
Crazier Than Thou
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

LONDON - Reading Europe's press, it is really reassuring to see how 
warmly
Europeans have embraced President Bush's formulation that an "axis of 
evil"
threatens world peace. There's only one small problem. President Bush 
thinks
the axis of evil is Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and the Europeans think 
it's
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice.

I'm not kidding. Chris Patten, the European Union's foreign policy czar, 
told
The Guardian that the Bush axis-of-evil idea was dangerously "absolutist 
and
simplistic," not "thought through" and "unhelpful," and that the 
Europeans
needed to stop Washington before it went into "unilateralist overdrive."

So what do I think? I think these critics are right that the countries 
Mr.
Bush identified as an axis of evil are not really an "axis," and we 
shouldn't
drive them together. And the critics are right that each of these 
countries
poses a different kind of threat and requires a different, nuanced 
response.
And the critics are right that America can't fight everywhere alone. And 
the
critics are right that America needs to launch a serious effort to end
Israeli-Palestinian violence, because it's undermining any hope of 
U.S.-Arab
cooperation.

The critics are right on all these counts - but I'm still glad President 
Bush
said what he said.

Because the critics are missing the larger point, which is this: Sept. 11
happened because America had lost its deterrent capability. We lost it 
because
for 20 years we never retaliated against, or brought to justice, those 
who
murdered Americans. From the first suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in
Beirut in April 1983, to the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut
airport a few months later, to the T.W.A. hijacking, to the attack on 
U.S.
troops at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, to the suicide bombings of two 
U.S.
embassies in East Africa, to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, 
innocent
Americans were killed and we did nothing.

So our enemies took us less and less seriously and became more and more
emboldened. Indeed, they became so emboldened that a group of 
individuals -
think about that for a second: not a state but a group of individuals -
attacked America in its own backyard. Why not? The terrorists and the 
states
that harbor them thought we were soft, and they were right. They thought 
that
they could always "out-crazy" us, and they were right. They thought we 
would
always listen to the Europeans and opt for "constructive engagement" with
rogues, not a fist in the face, and they were right.

America's enemies smelled weakness all over us, and we paid a huge price 
for
that. There is an old bedouin legend that goes like this: An elderly 
Bedouin
leader thought that by eating turkey he could restore his virility. So he
bought a turkey, kept it by his tent and stuffed it with food every day. 
One
day someone stole his turkey. The Bedouin elder called his sons together 
and
told them: "Boys, we are in great danger. Someone has stolen my turkey."
"Father," the sons answered, "what do you need a turkey for?"

"Never mind," he answered, "just get me back my turkey." But the sons 
ignored
him and a month later someone stole the old man's camel. "What should we 
do?"
the sons asked. "Find my turkey," said the father. But the sons did 
nothing,
and a few weeks later the man's daughter was raped. The father said to 
his
sons: "It is all because of the turkey. When they saw that they could 
take my
turkey, we lost everything."

America is that Bedouin elder, and for 20 years people have been taking 
our
turkey. The Europeans don't favor any military action against Iraq, Iran 
or
North Korea. Neither do I. But what is their alternative? To wait until 
Saddam
Hussein's son, Uday, who's even a bigger psychopath than his father, has
bio-weapons and missiles that can hit Paris?

No, the axis-of-evil idea isn't thought through - but that's what I like 
about
it. It says to these countries and their terrorist pals: "We know what 
you're
cooking in your bathtubs. We don't know exactly what we're going to do 
about
it, but if you think we are going to just sit back and take another dose 
from
you, you're wrong. Meet Don Rumsfeld - he's even crazier than you are."

There is a lot about the Bush team's foreign policy I don't like, but 
their
willingness to restore our deterrence, and to be as crazy as some of our
enemies, is one thing they have right. It is the only way we're going to 
get
our turkey back.