War on Terror: November 2007 Archives

This may sound like an urban legend, but it's the real deal.

From now through Thanksgiving Day (November 22), AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile customers can send a text message of thanks to American troops abroad, free of charge.

Just text your message of thanks to 89279, and it will be delivered to an American serviceman overseas. You'll get an acknowledgment that your message was received, and you may even get a few replies. You can see some of the recent messages others have sent above.

Learn more by visiting AmericaSupportsYou.mil. I first read about this in Amanda Carpenter's recent column on TownHall.

In case you missed it from Monday's KFAQ Mornings with Gwen Freeman and Chris Medlock, here's an MP3 of their interview with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. Bolton is discussing his new book, Surrender Is Not an Option.

About UN reform, Bolton said that efforts at marginal reform will never work, and the only way that wholesale change will occur is if UN contributions are made voluntary. Instead of a mandatory assessment funding all UN activities, which creates "an entitlement mentality" in the UN bureaucracy, nations would be able to pick and choose which UN programs are effective enough to deserve funding.

Bolton also discussed Iran's nuclear threat -- could be several years away, could be less than a year. Bolton says regardless, he doesn't believe in "just-in-time non-proliferation" -- ruling out the military option until Iran is on the verge or actually has nukes. He didn't use this phrase, but his counsel could be summarized as Barney Fife's watchword: "Nip it in the bud."

Medlock asked which is the greatest nuclear threat, Iran or North Korea. Bolton believes its the Norks and mentioned Israel's September 6th air strike on a site in Syria that may have been a joint North Korea-Syria nuclear project. Iran he described as the "world's central banker for terrorism."

In response to the idea that we could use deterrence to keep Iran in check, as we did with the Soviet Union during the Cold War: "You have people who prize life in the hereafter more than life on earth, they're not subject to classic theories of deterrence."

Bolton also discussed the Bush Administration's push for a Palestinian state, and the dangers of an administration's eighth-year search for a Legacy: "That's a dangerous period, because you can achieve a 'legacy' by giving away the store."

About Pakistan, Bolton said that America's priority has to be the security of Pakistan's nuclear stockpile. A revolution or even a period of chaos could put nuclear weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda. It's not a case, he said, of white hats for democracy vs. black hats in the military. He pointed out that Benazir Bhutto, head of the largest party in Pakistan, has the title "chairperson for life."

Regarding Iraq, Bolton said that an early pull-out would send the wrong message to both our adversaries and our allies.

Regarding the presidential campaign, it's his hope that his book will help keep national security issues in the forefront. He doesn't see anyone saying anything sensible on the Democratic side. He thinks all the top tier Republican candidates have demonstrated good judgment on foreign policy.

Gwen and Chris did a great job with the interview, and Bolton, contrary to his fierce reputation, was relaxed and pleasant to listen to.

On Wednesday Karol Sheinin of Alarming News participated in a debate, speaking against the proposition that the government knew in advance about 9/11. Shawn Macomber was there and reviewed the debate for the American Spectator blog:

Suffice to say, Karol speaks for herself better than I could summarize her, but I will confirm she is a smart, well-spoken young woman whose best attributes were definitely on display during the debate.

Sander Hicks presented the "Yes" position, which wasn't based on any theories I'd heard previously from 9/11 Truthers. Hicks pegs Pakistani intelligence as a major participant, and said his lack of adherence to some 9/11 Truth dogma has led many in that movement to label him, despite his belief that the government let the attacks happen, as an agent. (Sheinin parodied this as a kind of conspiracy-theories-are-all-crazy-except-for-mine attitude.)

Karol has posted the text of her remarks, and I'm impressed not only by how well she argued against the specifics of her opponent's position, but how clearly she articulated the characteristic flaws of the conspiracy-theory mindset. Here are some of her quotable quotes.

On why people might feel more at ease believing 9/11 was a government conspiracy rather than an Islamist offensive:

It isn't a complicated network of Islamist terrorists that want to kill you, it's George W. Bush. And really, which would you prefer as an enemy? The people who would chop off your head and send it to your mother or the guy who mispronounces nuclear and falls off his Segway?

On the proliferation of competing conspiracy theories:

Most conspiracy theorists subscribe to their favorite theory and generally discount the rest. In fact, Anthony Luppe who wrote the forward to Sander's book laughs at the people who believe in some of the more outlandish theories like that there were no airplanes or that there were missiles on the planes and essentially accuses the people who believe in conspiracy theories other than the ones described in this particular book as possible government plants who want to deliberately spread disinformation so that we don't find out the truth.

On the malleability of conspiracy theories:

Some conspiracy theorists, particularly the ones who profit off of their nuttiness simply adjust their perspective when one of their theories gets discredited. With every new video they produce, they just edit out the old information that they can no longer support.

On the selective skepticism of conspiracy theorists:

Sander writes "the official story from the FBI is that Atta was a fundamentalist Muslim who hated America and led the 9/11 attacks. In real life, however, Atta seemed to be something of an Egyptian double agent who fell in love with an American ex-stripper and did a lot of coke." Again, assuming this is accurate, which, again, I doubt, my opponent can believe that the US government was ok with killing 3000 of its people and the CIA is in Pakistan's pocket, but the idea that this one guy could live a hypocritical life is just beyond his imagination.

I actually laughed out loud when my opponent talks about one of his main sources Randy Glass, who my opponent describes as "a jewelry conman turned FBI informant", that Glass revealed more every time they spoke. It never crosses my opponent's mind that he was making it up as he went along.

Why she agreed to participate in the debate:

When I agreed to do this debate, I had so many people ask me why I would do something like this. They felt I was giving legitimacy to what they consider a crackpot segment of our population. I'm not doing this for the people in the "Investigate 9/11" shirts, I'm not trying to change their minds, if they've got the shirt I guess they're pretty committed. I'm also not doing this so that people who agree with me can nod their heads. I'm doing it so there can be a record of opposition to the people that support these conspiracy theories, lest they somehow find their place into our history books.

For her willingness to speak the truth to troof, and for doing it so ably, Karol deserves our thanks and admiration. (And congratulations for winning the vote at the end of the debate.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the War on Terror category from November 2007.

War on Terror: September 2007 is the previous archive.

War on Terror: January 2008 is the next archive.

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