Friday, December 16, 2005

The Promise of Democratic Peace
Why Promoting Freedom Is the Only Realistic Path to Security

By Condoleezza Rice
Washington Post
Sunday, December 11, 2005; B07

Blog editor's note: It would be instructive to compare Sec. Rice's comments with the thrust of the Truman Doctrine, which in 1947 announced the opening of the Cold War.

Soon after arriving at the State Department earlier this year, I hung a portrait of Dean Acheson in my office. Over half a century ago, as America sought to create the world anew in the aftermath of World War II, Acheson sat in the office that I now occupy. And I hung his picture where I did for a reason.

Like Acheson and his contemporaries, we live in an extraordinary time -- one in which the terrain of international politics is shifting beneath our feet and the pace of historical change outstrips even the most vivid imagination. My predecessor's portrait is a reminder that in times of unprecedented change, the traditional diplomacy of crisis management is insufficient. Instead, we must transcend the doctrines and debates of the past and transform volatile status quos that no longer serve our interests. What is needed is a realistic statecraft for a transformed world.

President Bush outlined the vision for it in his second inaugural address: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." This is admittedly a bold course of action, but it is consistent with the proud tradition of American foreign policy, especially such recent presidents as Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. Most important: Like the ambitious policies of Truman and Reagan, our statecraft will succeed not simply because it is optimistic and idealistic but also because it is premised on sound strategic logic and a proper understanding of the new realities we face.

To read the full text, see Washington

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake
German Citizen Released After Months in 'Rendition'

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 4, 2005; A01

Blog editor's note: This item has everything to do European with suspicion of Sec. Rice (see previous item). Dana Priest, incidentally, is one of the best national security reporters writing today and has broken far more than her share of stories about U.S. intelligence, policy making and the like. Watch for her byline.

In May 2004, the White House dispatched the U.S. ambassador in Germany to pay an unusual visit to that country's interior minister. Ambassador Daniel R. Coats carried instructions from the State Department transmitted via the CIA's Berlin station because they were too sensitive and highly classified for regular diplomatic channels, according to several people with knowledge of the conversation.

Coats informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of a covert action program designed to capture terrorism suspects abroad and transfer them among countries, and possible legal challenges to the CIA from Masri and others with similar allegations.

To read the full text, see Washington Post

Why Condi roiled Europe

By Chris Mullin
Los Angeles Times

December 9, 2005

MANY AMERICANS will be puzzled, and perhaps even a little hurt, that Europeans reacted with such incredulity to this week's denial by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. has been ghosting suspected terrorist prisoners to countries where they are likely to be tortured.

Let me explain. First, Rice's statement appeared to have been very carefully lawyered. On the face of it, an assertion that the U.S. has not transported anyone to a country "when we believe he will be tortured" looks pretty watertight. But "will be" is the key phrase. She should have said "may be."

To read the full text, see Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Media Fell Short in Covering 9/11 'Report Card'
Has September 11 fatigue set in? A high-level report declares that the U.S., while fighting terrorists abroad, has not done nearly enough to keep us safe here at home. Surely it has dominated front pages all week? Not exactly.

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

(December 06, 2005) -- The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001 -- you remember them. Cost nearly 3,000 American lives and haunted the families of the victims. Traumatized the nation. Damaged our economy, led to a new cabinet department and the controversial Patriot Act. Gave the new U.S. president, who was foundering in the polls, almost unprecedented power and popularity. Led directly to a war against Afghanistan and overthrow of the government there. Led almost as directly to the invasion of Iraq, then a continuing war and occupation that has cost another 2,000-plus American lives and countless billions of dollars in expenditures.

September 11 is unquestionably the major American event in recent decades and the terrorist threat to our homeland is the issue of our time. So you would think that when the official and much-respected commissioners charged with studying the tragedy and offering advice on preventing another such attack released a report card on whether the government, four years later, is fully doing its job to keep us safe, it would deserve banner headlines and massive and continuing television coverage -- especially if the grades were poor, with five “Fs” and a dozen “Ds” out of 41 categories.

To read the full text, see Editor & Publisher

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Skepticism Seems to Erode Europeans' Faith in Rice

The New York Times
December 7, 2005

BERLIN, Dec. 6 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did what was expected, many people in Europe said Tuesday, after her meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials. She gave reassurances that the United States would not tolerate torture and, while not admitting mistakes, promised to correct any that had been made.

She accompanied that with an impassioned argument for aggressive intelligence gathering, within the law, as an indispensable means of saving lives endangered by an unusually dangerous and unscrupulous foe.

Did anybody believe her on this continent, aroused as rarely before by a raft of reports about secret prisons, C.I.A. flights, allegations of torture and of "renditions," or transfers, of prisoners to third countries so they can be tortured there?

To read the full text, see New York Times

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Odom: Want stability in the Middle East? Get out of Iraq!

Gen. William Odom (ret.)
The Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project
November 11, 2005

Blog editor's note: It has been argued that only some Democrats and "liberal" journalists believe the U.S. can't win in Iraq. Not so, as the analysis of retired Gen. William Odom reveals. In his last piece for, retired Gen. William Odom argued that all the terrible things the Bush administration says would happen if we pulled our troops out of Iraq are happening already. In a new postscript, Odom writes that the converse is true as well: Bush says he wants to bring democracy and stability to the greater Middle East -- but in fact the only way to achieve that goal is to get out of Iraq now. Odom's arguments are particularly worth considering insofar as he headed the National Security Agency under President Reagan. (The NSA, of course, is at the apex of the American security apparatus.) The Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University includes the forum where Odom's essays appeared, "Watchdog! Questions the Press Should Ask".

To read the full text of Gen. Odom's most recent piece and links to his earlier essay, see Neiman Watchdog