Bush’s 2004 secret order authorizes military operations outside Iraq and Afghanistan

If you’ve been wondering, as I have, on what authority U.S. forces are conducting military operations in Pakistan and Syria. Well, we should not be surprised, there was a secret order allowing them to do so.

NY Times: Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda in Many Countries

WASHINGTON — The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States. (snip)

Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the C.I.A., according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of C.I.A.-directed operations. (snip)

Apart from the 2006 raid into Pakistan, the American officials refused to describe in detail what they said had been nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks, except to say they had been carried out in Syria, Pakistan and other countries. They made clear that there had been no raids into Iran using that authority, but they suggested that American forces had carried out reconnaissance missions in Iran using other classified directives.

According to a senior administration official, the new authority was spelled out in a classified document called “Al Qaeda Network Exord,” or execute order, that streamlined the approval process for the military to act outside officially declared war zones. Where in the past the Pentagon needed to get approval for missions on a case-by-case basis, which could take days when there were only hours to act, the new order specified a way for Pentagon planners to get the green light for a mission far more quickly, the official said. (snip)

The 2004 order was a step in the evolution of how the American government sought to kill or capture Qaeda terrorists around the world. It was issued after the Bush administration had already granted America’s intelligence agencies sweeping power to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in overseas prisons and to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bush issued a classified order authorizing the C.I.A. to kill or capture Qaeda militants around the globe. By 2003, American intelligence agencies and the military had developed a much deeper understanding of Al Qaeda’s extensive global network, and Mr. Rumsfeld pressed hard to unleash the military’s vast firepower against militants outside the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2004 order identifies 15 to 20 countries, including Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and several other Persian Gulf states, where Qaeda militants were believed to be operating or to have sought sanctuary, a senior administration official said. (all emphasis mine).

And if this order has been kept secret for four years, why exactly is this information being released at this particular point in time?

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  1. #1 by JFarmer on November 9, 2008 - 10:41 pm

    Hmmm. Maybe Junior should take a lesson from Daddy Bush re Iran-Contra. But, then again, Daddy got away with it, so dumbnuts probably thought he could, too.

  2. #2 by Becky Stauffer on November 9, 2008 - 10:46 pm

    Junior Bush isn’t smart enough to deny anything. He has no idea what is or is not within the power of the presidency. Someone tells him to do it, he does it. He’s the decider.

  3. #3 by JFarmer on November 9, 2008 - 11:15 pm

    Ah, yes. The Decider!

  4. #4 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 8:10 am


    Iran-Contra was under Reagan and planned by Ollie North. The scandal was not over the support for the Contras but over the illegal weapons sale to Iran to help fund and support the Contras. At the time there was an embargo of Iran following the hostage situation under Carter. You should be careful of when you use the term “dumbnuts.”


    Are you surprised by this revelation? Bush said he would do this in his famous Bush doctrine speech where he vowed to hunt down terrorists WHEREVER they are. Incidentally, you have to be at least a little put off by the fact that throughout the campaign Obama and Biden vowed to do the EXACT same thing. Seems like we ARE about to get 4 more years of Bush. I imagine that you have to be just a little disheartened by the fact that so many liberals were tricked into voting for another war monger.

    Also, as I understand it, the Commander in Chief doesn’t need authorization to use the military to act against threats to the U.S. He only needs authorization for a “declaration” of war and to receive funding beyond what is already budgeted. For instance; if North Korea were to launch ballistic missiles towards us, the president could authorize a retaliatory strike without Congressional approval.

    More to the point; I am curious to hear from you about Obama’s position on engaging terrorists in foreign countries without the cooperation/authorization of those countries involved. Or didn’t you know his position on this issue when you voted? You did vote for Obama, right?

  5. #5 by jdberger on November 10, 2008 - 8:20 am

    Exactly, RO –

    I thought all you folks KNEW what the Bush Doctrine was.

    Well, at least you SAID you did when Charlie Gibson interviewed Sarah Palin.

  6. #6 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 8:28 am

    Few, if any, ever said or thought : Obama was some sort of savior.

    All any of us hoped for was the cessation of bush dynasty sense of Right-ness. You know, war is peace, crime is justice. lying is truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  7. #7 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 8:32 am

    One friendly little note; I know it’s pretty common at OneUtah to copy complete copyrighted articles and images. While many smaller sites may not care, the NYTimes may take issue with the copyright violation. “Fair Use,” allows you to copy a short section but not the entire thing. Try choosing the one or two paragraphs that you feel are most representative of the article and link the rest. Wikipedia as a good write up on Fair Use.

  8. #8 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 8:40 am

    Thanks so much Richard, or should I call you Dad.

  9. #9 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 8:46 am


    “Also, as I understand it, the Commander in Chief doesn’t need authorization to use the military to act against threats to the U.S.”

    Show me where.


    I am well aware of Bush pre-emptive doctrine. It is illegal under international law/treaties.

    I think pretty much anyone who pays attention knows this. Why the fuck to you think we’ve been calling the guy (and YOU) names for so many years.

  10. #10 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 9:08 am

    Well, quite a discussion. So far, nobody has mentioned that Congress passed a blanket AUMF on September 18, 2001. This was so broadly worded that it has been cited for authority for all kinds of things, from illegal surveillance to a possible attack on Iran. Congress ought to rescind the authorization and come up with a stricter substitute that allows for oversight.

    R.O. — Have you forgotten that Congress cut off aid to the Contras with the Boland Amendment? There were two parts to the Iran-Contra scandal, hence the name.

  11. #11 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 9:12 am


    Wow brother… You’re starting to sound like a member of the Constitutional Party. The U.S. has a long history of using the military without War being declared. Clinton’s war in Bosnia is a perfect example. In fact every military operation since WWII is an example. If it were Unconstitutional as you might be suggesting, where are the Supreme Court rulings saying so? If you don’t like our Commander in Chief using such tactics then perhaps you should have found a different candidate to vote for. Now it’s your turn. Exactly which international laws and treaties will Obama be violating when he preemptively strikes terrorist groups inside another country?

    I wonder if Rocky will be out protesting Obama when he comes to town?

  12. #12 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 9:23 am


    I suggest you get educated on international law. There is no way in hell anyone is going to educate you through a blog conversation.

    Suffice it to say, you are so far off it isn’t worth discussing with you.

    Save your comment in your archives. Get educated, then go back and look at what you said.

  13. #13 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 9:26 am

    Richard W,

    You are absolutely right. But if I remember right, the Boland Amendment only removed funding and did not remove the right of the Administration to provide covert aid to the Contras. It’s been a long time, so I will look into it. But it seems to me there was ambiguity over whether the Reagan actually violated the law. This is why both Reagan, who seemed to have misplaced his memory during the hearings and Ollie North, walked.

    The constitutional question that seems to still be floating out there is whether Congress can do much more than fund or defund the military. Even if they pass a law specifically prohibiting military action in a specific instance such a law might be ruled as a violation of separation of powers. Congress CANNOT command the military. This would be an interesting discussion to get into deeper because it looks like we are in for 4 more years of the Bush Doctrine. It would be good to see where everyone stands on the issue before, Obama starts killing civilians.

  14. #14 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 9:38 am


    I knew you weren’t going to be able to quote an actual law, Cliff… As Monty Python says… “RUN AWAY!” From what I have read about international law over the years, it allows any nation to use military force to defend it’s self. This loop hole is so wide and ambiguous that nations regularly use it to justify their military desires, even Russia when they rolled into Georgia. Notice, even Obama was careful to say that he would strike terrorists in foreign countries if there is “credible evidence,” that they pose a threat to the U.S. I just wanted to know if you had a specific International Law in mind, Cliff. I guess you didn’t… Strange for someone who has a degree in the field.

  15. #15 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 9:53 am

    R.O. — You might want to read (or re-read) the Tower Commission report from 1987. The commission concluded that the Reagan administration’s failure to notify Congress of the National Security Council’s amateurish efforts to covertly aid the Contras, in contravention of declared policy, was a big problem. LTC Oliver North admitted lying to Congress, and was convicted and sentenced on three felony counts.

    As for the Bush Doctrine, it goes on the trash heap of History on January 20, 2009. There is no way to justify preventive war, aka war of aggression.

    Incidentally, Georgia attacked first. The Russians came down on them too hard, IMHO, but clearly they had enough of their obnoxious neighbors and wanted to call their bluff. I think Saakasvili was genuinely surprised when the U.S. didn’t come to his rescue.

  16. #16 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 10:40 am

    RO, You are an unbelievably arrogant idiot.

  17. #17 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 10:45 am

    Will do Richard, I’ll read up on the Contra stuff this after noon when I get a chance. Thanks for the link. I was in H.S. at the time and much of it is hazy. Also, you are the first that I have heard of Georgia attacking Russia first. Are you sure? Can you source that for me? As I understand it, Russia went into protect “seperationists.”

    Also I think that you might be disappointed with Obama and his intentions to continue America’s “War of Aggression.” I can only tell you what the man said. Perhaps you should top post this as a separate topic. Or if you like I can do it over at KVNU FTP.

  18. #19 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 10:59 am

    R.O. — You ought to look at reality-based news sources every now and then. I thought everybody knew Georgia attacked first. The only question up to now was if the attack was in response to the bombardment of Georgian territory, and the available evidence suggests that didn’t happen.

    I blogged about this when it happened last August: ‘It’s not South Ossetia we are at war with, it’s Russia’ –the situation was unclear at the time, but it looked to me like Georgia stepped right into a trap by attacking South Ossetia.

    I know President-Elect Obama’s foreign policy ideas and what he has said about them. If you want to equate Obama’s policy with the Bush Doctrine, you can try. During the campaign, Republicans said that Obama was an anti-American secretly working for the terrorists, now you want to smear him by saying he’s with Bush!

  19. #20 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 11:00 am

    FYI, that’s not the whole article from the NYT. Click the link to read the entire thing. I’m sure the NYT is glad to know you’re looking out for their interests.

  20. #21 by glenn on November 10, 2008 - 11:06 am

    The US president can initiate military “police actions” for up to 60 days before congress votes on authorizing further action.

    Cliff your point on international law is moot, there is no international apparatus powerful enough to do diddly squat to an over reaching US president. Many Europeans would have sanctioned Clinton for his over the top bombing in Yugoslavia, but who pray tell is going to police such a thing?

    In addition there are so many violations of international law that Israel has perpetrated that people just quit counting. Comes down to the fact that guns in the hands of committed war mongers trump discussion and verbal sanctions. If you want the war criminals you ahve to go get them physically. They surely won’t be traveling to the Hague upon invitation.

  21. #22 by glenn on November 10, 2008 - 11:21 am

    In additon the precedent of attacking enemies in foreign lands go back to the days of the Barbary pirates of the the now Libyan coast, 1805, under president Thomas Jefferson. These actions included pre-emptive strikes and ignoring the sovereignty of lands from which the piract occured.

    It has been going on for well over 200 years. I won’t comment on whether it is right or not, it is just an international practice in fact.

    During Ike’s term pre-emptive war was all the rage in our confrontation with Russia. He at one point was finally cornered outside the White House and accosted by media that asked the question. Ike the supreme Allied Commander of WW2 that sent millions to their deaths, replied to the reporter that if someone were to suggest a pre-emptive action he would “bodily throw him out of my office”.

    His reasoning was that victory in war was far more psychological that material, and that going to war pre-emptively, with mistaken information or anything but honest defensive intentions was tantamount to being defeated before the battle was joined. Such mistakes were the kiss of death, and gave the enemy the moral imperative to defeat you, even if weaker and less well equipped. It was just a matter of time. So our greatest modern military commander and president, was no advocate of pre-emption.

  22. #23 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 11:59 am


    I am SOOOO tired of your mispelling ‘seperationists’. It spelled “sepArationists”

    It one thing to have to educate a lout. But its too much to have to correct your spelling when there are perfectly good spell checkers.

    Is the fact of your terrible spelling (not typos) an indication of your laziness? If you can’t work, you might as well learn to spell.

  23. #24 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 12:25 pm

    Oh, while we’re correcting spelling, could we also let Ken know it’s “cite” not “site” when you’re quoting a source? I’d better stop at that one. Ken is too easy a target when it comes to spelling.

  24. #25 by jdberger on November 10, 2008 - 12:38 pm

    Oh Boy! Is it spelling Bee time? Can we make it grammar time, too?

    Cliffy, glass houses and stones don’t mix, ole buddy.

  25. #26 by jdberger on November 10, 2008 - 12:40 pm

    Regarding who attacked who first in the Caucasus –

    Richard seems to think that Georgia attacked RUSSIA first. From folks on the ground, Georgia attacked S. Ossetia (not Russia). S. Ossetia being a part of Georgia (again, not Russia).

    Is this incorrect?

  26. #27 by glenn on November 10, 2008 - 12:54 pm

    In defense of my typos, my statements are being moderated as Cliff well fears them. In the moderation box there is no ability to correct typos. Another handicap I am willing to play with.

    Anyway, I think we all get the point, when you cannot argue the facts, argue spelling. We all know what each other mean to say typos or not. Assuredly, such trifles are going to be the least of our worries.

  27. #28 by glenn on November 10, 2008 - 1:28 pm

    Another hassle, you don’t get to test links.

    This is what didn’t work in html.


  28. #29 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 1:53 pm

    If, however misguidedly, we succesfully lump all of the central Asian conflict / trauma onto the policy wagon of the departing administration, wouldn’t it then follow that; with the election of someone not of the fold, the Red Menace might begin to come to its senses?

    Watch for the signs, my friends. Watch for it.

  29. #30 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 1:55 pm

    Glenn, why is it you are the only one who can’t get links right? Too much meth?

  30. #31 by glenn on November 10, 2008 - 1:59 pm

    You well know that some just won’t work in html for whatever reason, you tell me?

    Well Cliff, you better go out in the back yard, your batch may be overheating.

    Though this would be about the first link that didn’t work in a few months.

    Meanwhile, did you read the article? I figure this is the “challenge” that Biden alluded to in the election. Rumor has it on the 23rd of Jan.

  31. #32 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 2:04 pm

    All links lead to Becky!

  32. #33 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 2:26 pm


    Did you really just devolve this discussion into a grammar test, Cliff…? I know it’s hard but please try to keep up and stay on subject. Will it put things to rest if I tell you that I am a terrible speller and that I switch regularly between Firefox and IE which doesn’t have a spell check in it? Also, it’s not laziness, far from it. With three kids in the house and in-laws visiting I get about 5 minutes every two hours to help you understand the world and bring you back to reality. If you like though we can have a grammar war and sit around correcting each other.

    I noticed that you still haven’t enlightened us, using your big Foreign Relations degree, to the proper application of international law regarding pre-emptive strikes against terrorist targets. Could you please include some international case law when you do?

    Becky Stauffer,

    It’s obvious that you took my “friendly note” about Copyrighted material personally. Of course, I am no lawyer, so I would encourage you to completely ignore my previous advisory.

  33. #34 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 2:35 pm

    jd– The Georgian forces attacked the capital of South Ossetia, killing Russian soldiers and triggering an immediate (and extremely well-prepared) Russian military response. I explained this in my post last August: ‘It’s not South Ossetia we are at war with, it’s Russia’. The Georgians apparently sprang a trap, not realizing what they were getting into.

    Some now believe that Randy Scheunemann was at work behind the scenes. I know you’ll love this!

  34. #35 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 2:47 pm

    Cav! (I should add, shhh)

  35. #36 by jdberger on November 10, 2008 - 2:50 pm

    There you go citing your own posts again (as if you were some kind of expert in the field).

    From your own link:

    With heavy artillery and Grad rockets, Georgian forces pounded Tskhinvali through the hours of darkness before ground troops entered the town and engaged in intense hand-to-hand fighting.

    By dawn, Georgia controlled much of the town and had severed communications between the rebels and the outside world. By word of mouth, the South Ossetian military command relayed the message that over 1,000 people had been killed in the onslaught. It was an allegation that, in a region prone to hyperbole and claims of genocide, was impossible to verify. Russia also claimed that ten of its soldiers, ostensibly stationed in South Ossetia as peacekeepers, had also been killed.


    So like I said, Georgia attacked S. Ossetia. Maybe killing Russian “peacekeepers”.

    Of course, it’s all McCain’s fault – right-o….

    Some now believe that it was all a machination of the great flying spaghetti monster, too, Richard.

  36. #37 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 2:52 pm


    I am simply attempting to re-focus your paradigm from ‘educating us’ to getting educated.

    At the great risk of sounding elitist, you do not appear to be as well educated as you would like to be. This rather obvious fact has clearly had little impact on your confidence.

    So be it.

    btw: Spelling and grammar are not the same thing. Thats why we distinguish between ‘spelling and grammar’ in 3rd grade.

    Let me give you a hint about laws. The US has laws. The international community has laws to which we subscribe. According to OUR constitution, we cannot break those laws (Hamdan ring a bell?)

    That is why we are considered a rogue nation in the international community.

    And that is why a number of countries will arrest Bush and Rumsfeld if they travel to those countries.

    Can you name one country that has an arrest warrants out for Bush Administration officials?

  37. #38 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 3:44 pm

    I have a friend who immigrated from Georgia. Of course, her view is distinctly Georgian, but she is closer to the situation than most of us. She sent me this link to an article written by a friend of a friend.

    ON THURSDAY night, Russia got the provocation it needed: Georgian troops launched a surprise attack in a bid to take control of Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, a region that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had promised to reintegrate into Georgia’s territory. This time, the maneuver was much simpler: Reinforcements for the peacekeeping troops already stationed there had only to travel through a long tunnel that connects the breakaway region to North Ossetia, which is part of the Russian Federation. And it seems that the bombers shown off at last year’s air show in Moscow were also standing by. They struck the Georgian city of Gori, the outskirts of the capital of Tbilisi and the Black Sea port of Poti – which are, respectively, 13, 91 and 189 kilometers from South Ossetia. Parts of Russia’s Black Sea fleet are converging on the coast of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

    The decidedly westward-leaning Saakashvili gained power in the Rose Revolution of 2004, posing trouble for Russia with his proclaimed alliance with the US. In March 2006, after many tough words, Russia banned the import of Georgian wine and sparkling water – two key revenue producers for the country. This was done on the pretext that the products were of poor quality.

    But Saakashvili wasn’t intimidated, and in October of that year Georgia arrested and deported four Russian military officers it accused of spying. Russia severed all ties and enforced a total land, air and economic embargo. Then it started harassing all Georgian nationals in a hunt for illegal workers. In a Solzhenitsyn-like twist, there were reports that police called public school teachers asking them for the addresses of children with Georgian last names, whose parents they would then arrest. Georgians started to be deported by the planeload.


    And like several other conflicts in the world, this one also involves oil: The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey, brings oil directly from Central Asia to Europe, bypassing Russia. The issue isn’t just Russia’s monopoly and the subsequent danger of lost revenue. Russia uses its status as Europe’s main supplier of natural gas to exert or divert diplomatic pressure, so any energy inputs it doesn’t control threaten that power.

    And she adds in her own words:

    There is no such thing as a perfect president, you know, right? Hehe…

    As to Saakashvili, I don’t think he does nothing without US approval or instructions. This applies to both internal and external politics. So far, this has been working. He brought a lot of US and European business into the country. Unemployment is still very high, but corruption is almost gone, and police is working, and there are some other things that slowly become better and better. I don’t think why I wouldn’t like it. Considering that he was first elected when Georgia was so poor economically and Russia was trying to boycott Georgian export goods as a last source of money making, he did pretty well in just 7 years. If he joined Russia then instead, Georgia would’ve been completely expropriated economically by now by Russian businesses, on its knees and dependant largely on Moscow’s decisions. I can’t say though that all he did was right.

  38. #39 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 3:45 pm


    Now let’s get back to the real world. Please focus for a second and quit dodging. This is your last chance before any argument you have made falls completely apart. AGAIN, please use your vast education and degree in Foreign Relations to tell everyone here, which international laws specifically the U.S. is in violation of as well as the international court ruling to show this to be true. Also, please provide the Supreme Court ruling that have declared any action against international law that we are currently in violation of since the Supreme Court is the ONLY arbitrator of what is and isn’t Constitutional.

    You can claim all you want that we are in violation of International treaties, but that is nothing more than your speculative opinion. Man this is too easy. Your jibber jabber and topic changes won’t work with me, Cliff. You should know that by now. If you want to make a claim, than do it!

    As for which countries want to arrest Bush I really don’t care. The world is loaded with countries that would toss you in a dark corner of nowhere simply for using your feminine voice at customs. Does that make their laws correct of right? There are also countries that would lock Obama in a cage or worse because he renounced his Muslim faith and converted to Christianity. This is the MOST SERIOUS crime under Muslim law. Oh, I know you don’t think he was ever Muslim. Well Islam does and to them his crime is worse than even murder…

    “But it is a mistake to conflate his African identity with his Muslim heritage. Senator Obama is half African by birth and Africans can understandably identify with him. In Islam, however, there is no such thing as a half-Muslim. Like all monotheistic religions, Islam is an exclusive faith.

    As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant…

    …His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).” – NY Times

    So, Cliff, do you still want to keep sending this conversation in this direction? So much for the Muslim world embracing Obama…

  39. #40 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 3:52 pm

    Becky, I would have to say that events proved the Georgian “surprise attack” failed to take the Russians by surprise. There has been a lot of speculation about this. For example, is it possible that U.S. soldiers stationed in Georgia, working closely with their army, had no clue what was about to happen? Why did U.S. intelligence not know about the pre-positioned Russian forces?

  40. #41 by Richard Warnick on November 10, 2008 - 4:03 pm

    R.O. — You cite the New York Times, but it’s really an op-ed by Edward Luttwak and not a news article. On matters of military strategy, I really admire Luttwak’s ideas but he’s a right-winger and could not help himself. Obama never “chose to become a Christian,” as Luttwak opines. He was never a Muslim. It’s a smear piece.

    As for Luttwak’s prediction that Obama’s heritage will adversely affect U.S. relations with other countries, I refer you to the recent statement by the Maliki government’s chief spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh about how Iraqi politicians regard President-Elect Obama: “They respect him and feel that he can be a good friend.”

    Look, I’ve spent a couple of years living in Yemen, a conservative Arab country. Luttwak’s op-ed maybe makes sense to a Salafist, but they are a small minority.

  41. #42 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 4:13 pm

    Richard, I can’t understand why U.S. intelligence either knew and didn’t share that information or simply did not know about the pre-positioned Russian forces. And, of course, Georgia was surprised themselves when we didn’t give them the military backing they’d expected. There was some major miscommunication there. But was it deliberate on the part of the U.S., and if so, why?

  42. #43 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 4:32 pm


  43. #44 by Richard Okelberry on November 10, 2008 - 9:53 pm

    Richard W.

    OK… So that we can be clear on what you are saying. You believe that Muslim law does not consider the son of a Muslim to be an “automatic” Muslim. You believe that this is just something made up by a “right-winger” in a NY Times Op-Ed as a “smear” piece. To be clear for conversation sake, you are absolutely certain that under Muslim Law a fundamentalist Sharia Court would not find Obama guilty of Apostasy. Right?

    Do you feel like I baiting you?

  44. #45 by jdberger on November 10, 2008 - 10:37 pm

    Hang on, I’ve gotta grab some popcorn….

  45. #46 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 10:48 pm

    Get some for me too, jdb…and a beer s’il vous plait.

  46. #47 by Cliff Lyon on November 10, 2008 - 10:49 pm

    I’ll take a plait too.

  47. #48 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 11:07 pm

    Et moi, s’il vous plait.

  48. #49 by C av on November 10, 2008 - 11:41 pm

    R.O., as you probably already know, I am incredible. That said, I would suspect the Grande Ayatolla would rather share a pot of mint tea with Barak, than with most scum to the right of him. Deep down inside, the Muslim are not about war, as much as they are about seeking ways to live the ‘good’ life. The Golden Rule passed through their hands on its way to the Latter-Day Saints.

    Hope YOU don’t feel baited.

  49. #50 by Becky Stauffer on November 10, 2008 - 11:49 pm

    I would suspect the Grande Ayatolla would rather share a pot of mint tea with Barak, than with most scum to the right of him.

    I agree, Cav. I see nothing but positive stories from all countries including middle eastern. I think the world is breathing a collective sigh of relief.

  50. #51 by rmwarnick on November 11, 2008 - 9:59 am

    R.O. — As I pointed out above, the vast majority of Muslims are not fanatics. Can you understand that? Do you personally know any Muslims?

  51. #52 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 10:38 am

    That’s a pretty good dodge by everyone involved. But no one bothered to answer the question.

    OK… So that we can be clear on what you are saying. You believe that Muslim law does not consider the son of a Muslim to be an “automatic” Muslim. You believe that this is just something made up by a “right-winger” in a NY Times Op-Ed as a “smear” piece. To be clear for conversation sake, you are absolutely certain that under Muslim Law a fundamentalist Sharia Court would not find Obama guilty of Apostasy. Right?

    Islam is patrilineal (as opposed to say, Judaism). Conversion is apostasy.

    The four major Sunni and the one major Shia Madh’hab (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) agree that a sane adult male apostate must be executed.[1]

    Multiple mentions have been made about the supposed fact that certain nations would (try to) arrest Bush/Cheney for war crimes if they travelled there. Would other nations find it their obligation to execute America’s new President for apostasy?

  52. #53 by Richard Okelberry on November 11, 2008 - 10:48 am

    Richard W,

    Ah, yes… I know quite a few Muslims. As you may know, I moved here from Lincoln NE. What you may not know is that Lincoln NE is well known as a resettlement point for many immigrants seeking asylum because it is very accepting of different cultures. This is also why Lincoln NE has traditionally had one of the highest gay populations per capita. In fact two of my good friends are sisters who came to Lincoln after escaping the war in Bosnia, and yes they are Muslim.

    Of course we are not talking about just mainstream Muslims. What is at question here are the more fundamentalist Muslims that have drawn us into our current conflicts. Let me ask you so that we will know where we stand on in this discussion. Do you consider the leadership in Iran that Obama would like to have direct talks with to be mainstream or fundamentalist?

    BTW: Do you know any Muslims? Have you spoken with any of them extensively about their faith?

  53. #54 by Richard Okelberry on November 11, 2008 - 10:49 am

    Thank you JD,

    You just saved me a post.

  54. #55 by Richard Warnick on November 11, 2008 - 11:48 am

    R.O. — As I mentioned above, I lived in Yemen for two years and worked with Muslim Arabs every day in an office of the United Nations Development Program. While I was there, I took Arabic lessons and often discussed Islam. I’ve read the Quran.

    Nothing I know supports Edward Luttwak’s outrageous assertion, which is that electing Barack Obama President would damage our relations with Arab and Muslim countries. I provided evidence above, in the form of a recent statement by Maliki’s spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh that Iraqi politicians look forward to working with Obama when he takes office next year.

    As per usual with right-wing talking points, the truth is just the opposite of what Luttwak wrote.

  55. #56 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 11:56 am

    You keep dodging the question, Richard.

  56. #57 by Richard Warnick on November 11, 2008 - 12:11 pm

    You keep losing this argument, jd. You might think once is enough.

  57. #58 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 12:21 pm

    Really, Richard? I’ve “lost” this argument? Which one? The one about you dodging the question or the actual dodged question?

    Did you truncate some article in your head and declare victory?

    Because I haven’t seen you respond to the question, yet. Or even acknowledge it?

    So, maybe you could put your thoughts down on paper so everyone can see them.

    I’ll even rephrase the question for you (that RO posed) so you can wrap your brain around it (you can go a plug it right into Google).

    Are you absolutely certain that under Muslim Law a fundamentalist Sharia Court would not find Obama guilty of Apostasy?

  58. #59 by Richard Warnick on November 11, 2008 - 2:31 pm

    jd– Your question is irrelevant. It’s like asking if al-Qaeda would back President Obama’s foreign policy. The vast majority of Muslims are OK with Obama, that’s the relevant point– which Luttwak missed entirely.

  59. #60 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 3:01 pm

    Ah – so I’ve “lost” the argument because you’ve taken your ball and gone home.

    Excellent debate tactic. Even better than posting half-truths and outright lies.


  60. #61 by Richard Warnick on November 11, 2008 - 3:30 pm

    jd– You’re welcome to continue asking ridiculous questions on the new post I just made on this same topic…

  61. #62 by C av on November 11, 2008 - 3:33 pm

    …Or posting whole truths for people(?) who refuse to listen, or for ideological or intellectual (no-one present with this deficit) reasons, cannot GET IT.

  62. #63 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 3:40 pm

    Oh please, Cav…. It’s a great question that RO posed.

    And Richard refuses to answer it because the answer (the only logical one) makes him uncomfortable.

    Really, what’s the big deal?

    Is he afraid to admit that there is a politicized faction of Islam that isn’t all “bunnies and kittens”? Is he afraid he’ll be tagged as racist for acknowledging it?

    Really, Richard. Just answer the question and move on. Your constand dissembling and dodging only makes you a juicier target.

  63. #64 by Becky Stauffer on November 11, 2008 - 4:01 pm

    Evening Cav, I missed your good morning earlier. How nice to be greeted!

    jd, I think Richard wants to take this discussion to the new top post. Shall we convene over there?

  64. #65 by C av on November 11, 2008 - 5:02 pm

    Answer the question, then move on.

    ????”Are you absolutely certain that under Muslim law, a fundamentalist Sharia Court, would not find Obama guilty of apostasy? or some-such blather.”


    Apostasy…Run away. Good grief guys, crimes and bad judgement are in no way the exclusive perview of any one group. Let’s put George Bush on trial for war crimes over in Japan and see how he fares. O they already did that…Guilty. Apostasy. Sure.

    I am no more certain that a court in these Unifed Stakeholders of America would ever find a despicable lying, sack of a war criminal responsible for his crimes either. At least the Japanese have looked at the evidence and made a ruling. You two would likely be thrown out of the jury pool for being suck-ups.

  65. #66 by jdberger on November 11, 2008 - 5:12 pm

    Cav – the question grew from a particular line of conversation. It had little to do with Bush. The question was valid then – as it is now.

    Regarding Japan…please. The best I can find is that some lefty lawyers indicted him.

  66. #67 by Becky Stauffer on November 11, 2008 - 5:34 pm

    . . . you are absolutely certain that under Muslim Law a fundamentalist Sharia Court would not find Obama guilty of Apostasy.

    Are you absolutely certain that a fundamentalist Sharia court would find Obama guilty? And if so, why has it not happened yet? Obama has been a high-profile public figure for a long time, surely if they intended to, they would have initiated the process by now.

    At any rate none of us can be certain either way about what a Sharia court would do.

  67. #68 by Richard Warnick on November 11, 2008 - 7:22 pm

    The point of the Luttwak op-ed (from last May!) was to tag Barack Obama as a Muslim, and to tag Muslims as religious extremists. He was wrong on both counts, and six months later this kind of nonsense is completely irrelevant. I’m ashamed for Edward Luttwak– he usually makes sense when talking about military strategy, but here he was drinking the far right-wing Kool-Aid.

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