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Frames of Reference, A Wrong War?

Only a Populist Nonpartisan Leader Makes Sense

By Rich Stevenson ÓArpil 18, 2004
Interim Acting Chair of the Hamilton County OHIVA

IVA LeadershipMy frame of reference as a former Special Agent, Army Intelligence, is that Richard A. Clarke is completely creditable. The “response” of the Bush administration completely lacks enough supportive detail to lend it any semblance of creditability. The character assassination used against Clarke also lacks creditability.

The news media and the Bush administration have not responded to Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, to argue why Clarke is wrong about the war on Iraq and how the war will affect the war on terrorism. The right of Clarke to speak openly and freely to the American people about the war is questioned. Free speech? 

Clarke in his second appearance on Face the Nation stated publicly that he would like to see all the testimony of the witnesses, including that of Condy Rice and his own, be declassified. He testified behind closed doors and so did Rice. De-classify it all, he suggested.

The media is delighted to convert the real Clarke story into bipartisan Clarke and Bush sound bites. No news outlet has the courage to cover the real story.

Clarke’s main focus in his book is on the war in Iraq. The media distorts Clarke’s subject to be bipartisan Presidential politics related to blaming 9-11 on the Bush administration due to their hidden agenda on Iraq. The media consistently misrepresents Clarke and pursues what makes the most sensational media story. Their point is not truth, or free speech, but selling news to their advertisers. They promote the bipartisan fight. They re-tell the same worn out story of bipartisan struggle they have sold as “news” for the past fifty years. Responsible journalism?

I predict that Clarke will eventually be found correct in his assessment of the Iraq war and its effect on the war against terrorism. However, no one can know for certain if 9-11 would have been prevented if domestic intelligence had been handled differently. That is not the claim or subject of Clarke’s book.

Nonpartisan Expert: We have a right to hear Clarke, who was our Anti-Terrorism Czar under four Presidents, our expert on anti-terrorism. He raises a question important to our national security. His nonpartisan question is the general question of whether or not we needed to declare war on Iraq to fight the best war on terrorism. Are we wasting money on Iraq that would have been better spent improving our domestic security? Clarke’s answer is yes. Iraq makes us less safe. 

Clarke had to write the book to raise his questions. Bush’s cabinet ignored his input. The only reason his advice was not listened to, as it had been all the way back to the Reagan years in the 1980s, was simple. Clarke was not telling the truth they wanted to hear. Clarke’s truth was too complicated for people looking to find simple Iraqi solutions in a complex world.

Diplomatic Frames of Reference: Years ago, I was stationed in South Korea. The first lesson learned is that each country has a different cultural frame of reference than your home country. Diplomacy interprets our relationship with each country. Our diplomatic counterparts serve their own national interests.

On a deeper level self-interests dictate the historical parameters associated with each country. Oil is the central economic parameter in the Near East. Islam and the Crusades, the holy wars with Judeo-Christianity, is the ancient religious parameter. Horrific Holy War memories endure in Islamic minds all over the world. The bloody Christians Crusaded to occupy their Holy Land.

History is the very fabric of all diplomatic relations. We ignore history at our own peril.

Presidential Blunders: The 9-11 announcement of the President-select that we would conduct an endless CRUSADE against terrorism demonstrated his complete ignorance of history. Had the born-again President never heard of the six hundred years of the Crusades, the bloody Christian wars against the Islamic faith? Muslim people still remember, and that is their never-ending frame of reference. That may be Bush diplomacy at its worst.

“W” has the same frame of reference on Iraq as the first Bush team, which ended when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. The first Bush team is back; they surround “W” as the second Bush team. The outdated policies of the team are the same. “Poppa” Bush’s team occupies the war room, a throwback to 1993 when the White House was lost. Eight years of intervening Clinton history was erased in January 2001. A second 1993 Bush chance was born with “W” in the White House.

Our soldiers have been welcomed as liberators in Iraq. Even as we speak, our plan to establish democracy in the heart of the Muslim world is on track. Our pre-emptive war is not an 'occupation.' We are lawful 'liberators?'”

The war in Iraq is not as bad as the Bushes get. North Korean feelings were not soothed by inclusion with the “three evil empires” in the world. A huge diplomatic blunder! Bush blindly used the outdated Reagan “evil empire” gambit in the wrong context. North Korea lost much face.

Select Bush again at our peril. His ignorance is vast. World War III anyone!

Did Caspian Sea oil influence the decision to invade Afghanistan? Did anti-terrorism excuse our lonely oil-motivated invasion of Iraq? Our lone wolf decision defied all logic. No one in the corporate media covered the possible oil angles on the story. The entire story was not well covered.

Are we in Iraq against the will of more than a billion Muslims worldwide? Have the Christian crusades returned? Would good diplomacy and accurate intelligence have been the best weapons against terrorism? These questions need answers.

I had the gut feeling we would not be seen as “liberators” in Iraq. I knew. A simple populist nonpartisan like me had it right before we invaded Iraq. Why couldn’t Bush’s people see the obvious, complex truth?

Clarke’s questions are not about the 2004 Presidential election. The book raises questions about the direction of international relations needed to fight terrorism. We need to get far beyond bipartisanship. Our safety hangs in the balance.


Nonpartisan Presidency: We need to elect a populist nonpartisan statesman to be our “war” President. Neither Bush nor Kerry has the right nonpartisan frame of reference to lead. Kerry is a Democratic Party bipartisan warrior. Bush is a Republican Party bipartisan warrior.

Almost any creditable nonpartisan candidate would handle diplomacy better than Kerry or Bush. Will we have a populist nonpartisan Presidential candidate on our ballots? Who can best lead our country for the next four years? What is your presidential frame of reference?


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rls/April 18, 2004

edit: 11-14-05, 07-24-06, 10-03-06, 12-25-06, 05-11-08, 09-23-08, 03-23-09,
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