Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
Web Edition (c) 2002, 2003 Charles Rehn All Rights Reserved




The WAR on Terror - Part 1


"Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction... Have we not come to such an impasse in our modern world that we must love love our enemies - or else?"

-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the sermon "Loving Your Enemies" Christmas 1957, written in the Montgomery, Alabama jail.


In considering this question, I can not ignore "How to Generate Public Acceptance & Enthusiasm for War by Hermann Goering", propagandist for Adolph Hitler

"Why, of course the people don't want war.  Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is  to come back to his farm in one piece?"

"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood."

"But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship."

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy."

"All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in any country."

In context, what that statement describes is how a national leader can successfully "Wag the Dog".

I would also recommend that you read the book "Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid, which will supply you with a great deal more detail than I will in this publication.

Finally, in this preface, I want to remind you that I am not adamantly opposed to war, rather, I view it as a tool that sometimes must be used at times when all other options have failed, and a threat is imminent.  There is often more to be gained through peaceful arbitration and containment.

Part I: September 11, 2001

The implication is that our stance toward Iraq is related to the war on terrorism.  With the exception that our actions since September 11, 2001 will provoke additional terrorist attacks, I disagree.

What occurred on September 11, 2001 was a true American tragedy.  It was a tragedy because of the many lives that were lost, the families disrupted, and an American culture whose very security, the belief of our nation that we could live safely within our own borders, was shaken to its core.

Our nation rallied for and around the leadership of our President, as they would any president. In this case, it was George Bush, who announced a war on terrorism. 

Many statements were made to suggest that we would not be victorious unless we captured and executed Osama bin Laden.  When Mullah Omar and the Taliban refused to cooperate with our intent to capture bin Laden, the Taliban itself became an enemy. 

Immediately, it was declared that we would, in turn, liberate the Afghani people from the tyranny of the Taliban.

I have no argument with those decisions. I do, however, take exception to the reasons stated in public for those actions, as well as the publicly undisclosed reasons for its necessity. Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar are still free, and our administration's public stance now is that capturing one person will not make the difference.  That's true, but focusing hatred toward one man "psyched us up for war." It's an important distinction.

At times, it will seem as if I am directly attacking members of the Bush Administration, when, in fact, I will simply be identifying the kinds of facades projected by government leaders in order to cause the public to follow its leadership.

Part II: Afghanistan, the Taliban & The Caspian Sea Pipeline

When the Taliban took over control of the Afghani government, they immediately began installing a government which imposed laws against its citizens' core cultural and social traditions.  It's fundamentalist religion became the basis for law and government, and enforcement methods were severe.

The Taliban's disdain for women is widely known.  From the beginning of its government, girls and women were forbidden from education. Professional women, including doctors and instructors and many others delivering vital services were required to abandon their professions, regardless of the impact on the people in communities.

At that time, U.S. companies had been working (including Unocal, G.E. and Enron) in order to secure a viable route to deliver oil from the Caspian Sea.  They had billions of dollars invested in the project already. Hamid Karzai, now President of Afghanistan, was a consultant for the project.

The Taliban, under direction from Osama bin Laden, refused to allow the pipeline to be completed unless the Afghani government, and the tribal governments along the routes, received more money for their cooperation and assistance.

The Clinton Administration became deterred by the Taliban's insistence, and broke off negotiations, or at least, its influence on behalf of the U.S. corporations. Still, according to Gore Vidal, the Clinton Administration had already drawn up contingency plans to attack Afghanistan in November 2000, which were supposedly given to the Bush Administration once Bush had been determined to be the winner of the election.

When George Bush began his term as president, negotiations began again.  However, the Bush Administration put the weight of the U.S. military behind the weight of its arguments on behalf of the corporations and the pipeline.

And, not to be forgotten, likely most important, is the fact that Sobristas, an Argentinean oil company, was about to be awarded the contract to manage the pipeline.

In March of 2001, the Bush Administration informed the Taliban that if they would not meet our terms, that we would use military force to overthrow their government, and to secure the Caspian Sea Oil Pipeline.  Leaks suggest that that attack would have occurred in October, 2001.

In June of 2001, it is reported that a CIA agent met with Osama bin Laden at a hospital in Dubai, where bin Laden was undergoing dialysis. No attempt was made to arrest or detain him.

In June of 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft was instructed to cease the use of commercial airline flights in the United States.

On September 11, 2001, 4 commercial airliners were hijacked, 3 of which succeeded in their journeys to become weapons of mass destruction.  The 4th was prevented due to the heroic acts of the passengers on Flight 93. 

This occurred despite the warnings of such an attack from the governments of Egypt, Israel, Britain and others.  The warnings came within weeks, and in some cases, days before the attacks. 

The attacks occurred despite the investigators in Arizona who warned of suspicious activities that could lead to such an attack.  They occurred despite the efforts of agents such as Colleen Rowley, who testified that they were prevented from following leads having the potential to uncover and prevent the 911 plots.

This "prevention" appears to have been nothing more than a "cover" for the Saudis, where Al Qaeda began as a movement, to force the Saudi government to expel the United States.  The Bin Laden family, after all, has had lucrative business dealings with the Bush family for years, and members of the Bin Laden family, some of whom may have been otherwise investigated, were given safe passage out of the United States after 911.

If the great debate, so far, about the Saudi influence on current terrorist events, one fact has been overlooked, but came into play when Al Jazeera was kicked off the NYSE trading floor, but was allowed back to do their reporting after threatening to locate themselves and report on NASDAQ.

The fact is, Arab nationals, particularly Saudi Arabians, have huge investments in our stock markets, and their withdrawal of investments would hurt the U.S. economy substantially. And, of course, we rely on Saudi oil.

So, it becomes suspect that a substantial amount of trading was done on the stock market in the 2 days before the disasters.  Many investors invested in "puts", a stock market term suggesting they were "betting" on American Airlines' stock price going down.  

This was an unusual occurrence, and should have triggered automated systems in the stock market to call for a report/investigation on the trend, and immediate suspension of trading would not have been an unusual result.

Cynthia McKinney's1 remarks on the subject elicited counter-remarks from Republicans who declared that she must be crazy.  Ari Fleischer said "Anyone who would believe that would also likely be a member of the Grassy Knoll Society" (eluding to the notion that President John Kennedy, according to the Warren Commission, was killed by a lone gunman and was attacked with one bullet, and that anyone who believed otherwise must be crazy.  That claim was made by Fleischer despite the fact that a preponderance of  evidence and many witnesses, including those  inside the vehicle with Kennedy, reported that at least 3 shots were fired, if not 4, some coming from different directions, and that it was impossible for 1 person to have carried out the attack.) See also: The Warren Commission Report and "History Will Not Absolve Us" by E. Martin Schotz. (which seems to have become unavailable since I first posted this to the web site.)

Why would Fleischer and others want to discredit any notion of prior knowledge or a suppression of the facts leading up to the September 11, 2001 disasters?

Part III: America Never Starts A War, But...

I always remember, and have always respected, what my high school history teacher said over and over again.  He said "What always gives America its moral high-ground is that we never start wars.  We only fight to defend ourselves or to defend other nations." 

Prior to becoming a high school teacher, Col. Kasem had been a career military man, and he ultimately retired from his position at the Pentagon. (He was also the supervising teacher for our team on the Model United Nations, in which I participated as a representative of the Central African Republic.)

We must consider what we believe constitutes "starting a war".

At Pearl Harbor, our Navy forces encountered a Japanese submarine and sank it, and reported that contact to superiors at Pearl Harbor at least 1 hour prior to the actual Japanese attack.  Yet, American commanders did nothing to prepare Pearl Harbor for an attack.

We were already heavily engaged in weapons production to assist the British and Russians in the beginning of World War II against Hitler.  FDR desired to serve his time as president without having gone to war. And, they would need an awfully good reason to engage in a military action and put American lives, not just machinery, on the line.

To pursue the beginning of a new conflict requires convincing the people first.   Had we launched a defensive action or averted an attack at Pearl Harbor, casualties would have been much lower, if any would have occurred at all, and the American people would not have been willing to go so readily into yet another war.  I do not say that to disclaim that an attack was already beginning or could have been prevented.

In Vietnam, our government claimed that enemy forces attacked our vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, which justified our escalation of  the Vietnam War.   What was not reported was that there was no attack on our ships at all. The press reported the incident as President Johnson announced it to the public, no questions asked.

One of the Navy pilots flying overhead that night was squadron commander James Stockdale, who gained fame later as a POW and then Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate. "I had the best seat in the house to watch that event," recalled Stockdale a few years ago, "and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets -- there were no PT boats there.... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power."

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson commented: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."

But Johnson's deceitful speech of Aug. 4, 1964, won accolades from editorial writers.

From Fair.org

In the Persian Gulf War, we took multi-lateral action against Iraq because they invaded our ally Kuwait.  What was not made known was that Kuwait was "cross-drilling" or "vertical-drilling" for oil.  In other words, they were drilling at an angle underneath and beyond the border of Iraq in order to "steal" Iraqi oil.  Of course, this was not the only issue.

I'll add, I still support the actions we took to repel Iraq from Kuwait in that situation, because the Iraqi action was much more extreme than necessary to enforce their boundaries and protect their national resources, if they were being violated.

In Afghanistan, there were many mitigating circumstances. Regardless of those circumstances, let it be said that I supported our actions to retaliate against Osama bin Laden and The Taliban, although I believe we provoked and ignored available information   911 attacks.


Because the Bush Administration needed a reason that would be publicly justifiable in order to attack Afghanistan and remove the Taliban.  I do not believe it had anything to do with liberating the Afghani people. 

That outcome was simply a by-product that could be used politically.  And, we have been so distracted with Iraq and world conquests of one type or another, that the Taliban is re-grouping and gaining strength once again.

Whenever we wage war, we claim that a fundamental purpose is to liberate the people of  "an oppressed nation" in order to give Americans a sense of pride and to generate an aura of nationalism.

By the way,  under the control of President Hamid Karzai, negotiations for the Caspian Sea Oil Pipeline were completed.

Part III: The Threat of Terrorism is Real

Regardless of the causes of terrorist attacks and intentions against us, the threat is very, very real.  After September 11th, 2001, accepting the plausibility of sleeper cells and a determined enemy, I personally created a list of more than 100 ways that a terrorist could attack this nation, little by little, with very minimal possibility of being caught or even detected. I wanted to consider what I could do in an effort to prevent terrorism, what to look for and how to prepare.

The first thing I considered was the likelihood of a bio-attack by means of the mail. 3 weeks later, the anthrax attacks became public knowledge. (The anthrax, by the way, was tracked back to U.S. labs at Ft. Dietrich, MD.)

Now, I don't mention this to take credit for foreknowledge. I mention it because of the reactions of the Bush Administration.

Administration officials, many involved in National Security, acted astounded at the idea that anthrax could be sent through the mail, and that its dust could get through a sealed envelope.  I thought, surely I am not the only American who could understand how easily it would happen.

Condoleeza Rice, our National Security Advisor, highly touted by George H.W. Bush as well as his son George W. Bush as a National Security expert prior to being assigned to her position, lead the way with her supposed astonishment.

When confronted with the concept of using commercial airliners in the September 11th attacks, Condoleeza Rice said, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,” she said. “All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking.”

Despite her supposed expertise, she later claimed that she was just too new to the job to have grasped all of the details and possibilities.

These remarks, despite at least 14 separate warnings to the United States Government, as reported by the London Times, several of which came just weeks before the 911 Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Many of them mentioned the possible, and at times, the probable use of commercial aircraft to strike military, political and financial targets.

My response to her and other officials' remarks is simple: they're either inept or liars. There's little other explanation. Many reports had been compiled since 1989 suggesting that such an attack was not only possible, but likely. And, just prior to the attacks, other countries warned us of such attacks.

I know these are strong words, and I will accept the criticism they will attract.   My answer is simple: the evidence is on my side.  I am not at all pleased to believe I am in the position to make these observations.

Understand, I'm not saying they knew of a specific plan or participated in it. I'm saying that their show of disbelief as to the possibility of such attacks was a show, and did not lead me to feel confident about any of the reports they have offered since, or their sincerity toward addressing the issues of the war on terrorism.

It's important to understand that Osama's determination to attack the United States did not begin on September 11, 2001.  His most compelling reasons surfaced after the Gulf War, when the government of Saudi Arabia denied his demands that U.S. Military Forces leave Saudi Arabian territories.  His claim was that American military presence was undermining the moral and religious values of the people of Saudi Arabia.  There's much more to the story, but that is a consistent part of it.

Since then, and since September 11th, 2001, there has been a consistent theme to the attacks against United States' and our ally's interests.  That consistency comes down to a simple message: go home and stay there. Leave us to ourselves. All of the messages we have heard of since September 11th indicate that his threats are retaliatory in nature.  That is the part you are not told by the American press. It justifies nothing, but it's good to understand. It justifies nothing.

One taped message from bin Laden via Al Jazeera was fairly clear in the declaration of defending Iraq as an act of solidarity not for Saddam Hussein, but for Muslims.  Yet, Colin Powell went before the Senate and told them that it was a declaration of partnership with Saddam Hussein, and proved Iraq's formal ties to terrorism. 

He also said that the moment of truth about Iraq is coming.  I'm still waiting.

Remember, George Bush has stated that the American press should never read Bin Laden's messages in their entirety on the premise that he could signal orders to operatives. That is a real possibility. 

But it is also a convenient premise upon which to withhold the truth from the American people. When bin Laden stated that he would "send Americans home in body bags", what the press did not report was that he said that as the end of a more complete sentence that began with "If you attack us and kill us" (referring to citizens of any Arab state).

In the case of bin Laden communication, the Bush Administration saw no problem in the fact that Fox News broadcast the tape in its entirety.  From their point of view, given the soundbytes it provided, the Administrations spin had already been delivered, and the perceptions generated were distorted, and  the tape, when misrepresented, could support Powell's remarks.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not justifying the attacks in any way.  But, it is useful to understand them.  Just as it is useful to understand that if our nation, or any other nation, was to negotiate with terrorists of this nature it would be equivalent to giving in to their demands for attention and legitimacy.  (I say that as a statement of our government's policy, not necessarily my personal opinion.)

It would also force us to acknowledge our part in what has lead to the terrorist war threatening the American homeland.  That, all by itself, would revise history as it is written, and could easily be a source of embarrassment to our "leaders", who count on our trust and willingness to believe them to lead us. It would be incredibly useful, though, in understanding how we can avoid future similar situations that have the potential to destabilize the world.

It is just as useful to acknowledge how the Bush Administration has very conveniently issued uncorroborated reports of terrorist threats, as did Colin Powell at the United Nations today (2/5/2003) in order to scare the American people and allies into believing there is an imminent terrorist threat from Iraq.

Thus, they say, Iraq is but another element in the war on terrorism.  We're certain of that, if only because our "leaders" brought it upon us.  Why?  To cause Americans to be willing to go to war.

Taking actions that place Americans in danger without cause is an impeachable offense, as is failing to take appropriate steps to protect Americans.

As Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton recently pointed out, this country's efforts to provide a homeland defense and bolster security since September 11, 2001 is a facade. Requirements have been made of the economically strapped states without federal funding, speeches are made to inform you of steps the administration is taking, only to find out that when it comes right down to it, the funding is denied.

Little has been done to protect the homeland.  Instead, the Bush administration has gone out of its way to provoke even more international hostility toward us.

For those who believe that "might makes right", consider facing the bully on the playground: you'll give in so long as you believe you'll lose, but given a chance, you'll take any opportunity to take that bully down.

If you believe those other small nations, coerced by economic threats, are really, fully on our side, consider the playground bully.  If you do, you will understand that might does not make right, it makes enemies who will attack us, militarily or economically, when the opportunity presents itself.

History is full of examples where empires decided they had the right answer, and chose to make war on the world in order to claim their right to rule, in the name of righteousness. And, as history tends to repeat itself, consider that each one was ultimately defeated by its own arrogance and corruption.

The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney 
Have you heard about Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman? “Ms. McKinney (reportedly) suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”   Problem is, McKinney never said it.

30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War

Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror Beers's resignation surprised Washington, but what he did next was even more astounding. Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, he volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know? "The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism

America's Initiation to Terror - Numerous news reports regarding the 911 attacks.

5/24/2002 - Despite F.B.I. Memo, Students in Phoenix Went Unchecked One, Harry Joseph Ellen, 54, a Phoenix businessman who became a Muslim, said he had told Agent Williams about a conversation he had in late 1996 or early 1997 with a mysterious visitor from Algeria. The visitor identified himself as an instructor of commercial pilots, and he met in Phoenix with various Muslim men.A second man, Aukai Collins, 28, an American who converted to Islam and lost a leg helping militants fight the Russians in Chechnya, told ABC News on Thursday that he gave the F.B.I. extensive reports on Islamic activity in Phoenix from 1996 to 1999

Source: FBI to bear brunt of 9/11 criticism The FBI is expected to bear much of the criticism from the joint congressional committee investigating the September 11 attacks, which is to release its final report Thursday, according to sources. Members of the panel have criticized U.S. government officials for classifying too much material as national security sensitive and thereby keeping it out of the public version of the final report.Sources said much of the information about Saudi Arabia and its alleged support of terrorism will be redacted from the version of the report released publicly.  "This inquiry has uncovered no intelligence information in the possession of the intelligence community prior to the attacks of Sept. 11th that, if fully considered, would have provided specific advance warning of the details of those attacks."

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