05 June 2008

The Hard Part

The reports from Iraq show promise and much of it, while those of Afghanistan are turning upwards, the ability to get a stable government and State that rejects the Taliban is also going forward, though much more slowly. These are both cause for optimism, by and large, although the underlying problems of both Iraq and Afghanistan are only partly due to the extremists within each Nation: the source of the problem lies elsewhere in the world and it is those places where extremism can find easy home that are of the gravest concern. Taking out the prestige and visibility of these organizations, al Qaeda, Jaish al-Mahdi & Iranian Qods/Secret Cells is not the end of the process, nor even close to it. The fangs of these groups have been filed down, but the venom of them and the other organizations that have gone unaddressed as they are only our Private enemies who have killed our people and threatened our Nation.

But then, so are al Qaeda and JaM, and Iran has been an enemy since its invasion of our embassy in Tehran, twice, in 1979.

Of these groups a few are ready stand-outs: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's group that spans across central Asia and has even performed terror attacks in China and Europe, Hezbollah acting as the Foreign Legion of Iran and stretching from central Asia through Europe and even into the Americas, Muslim Brotherhood the base organization of HAMAS and supporter of Islamic extremists in Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Albania, and into South America. Hezbollah, collecting any profit off of the Syrian Bekaa Valley drug trade can easily pull in hundreds of millions of dollars and can likewise garner tens of millions more downstream via threats, extortion and 'terror taxation'. Just from the narcotics trade alone, that may nearly be as much as FARC, close to $1 billion/year. Similarly Hekmatyar's group is set up for a like-size amount from the Golden Triangle traffic under its control in parts of Pakistan, Kashmir, China, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, probably in partnership with the Mogilevich Red Mafia group

On the non-Islamic side of things, the IRA has worn itself down to criminal status and finding it hard to compete with the Red Mafia. FARC has been an enemy of the US for decades: capturing our citizens for ransom or just killing them, attack US government officials, and even trying to assassinate a sitting President on state visit to Colombia. Of all the non-Islamic groups FARC is arguably the worse and most connected having a long-term vehemence against personal liberty and freedom, and moving into the drug trade in place of the cartels as they fell. Still the profit from the drug trade, alone, is estimated at a minimum of $1 billion/year. Because of the nature of the narcotics trade, even taking FARC out of the equation will just shift export production elsewhere: Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia... you have choices and, of course, a broken up FARC will still have its contacts base and ability to shift some operations for some sub-portions of the organization. Also there would be the expectation of transatlantic trade picking up both from the Middle East, via Europe, and Africa via S. America and the Caribbean. Beyond that the Golden Triangle trade could re-expand as most of that is in some of the vast, lawless territory stretching from Western China into Central Asia. Plus the Magic Kingdom of Mr. Kim in North Korea has demonstrated capability to refine narcotics to something far better than even the Yakuza can do: N. Korea is becoming a prime supplier of the West Asian illicit drug trade, including knock-off above-manufacturers standards pharmaceuticals.

From S. America there is Hezbollah, HAMAS and al Qaeda, along with Shining Path and a few other smaller terror organizations, currently living in the shadow of the FARC drug trade and the emerald gangs. In the Far East the Hekmatyar organization would be a prime one to benefit from increased narco-trafficking, but so would Abu Sayyaf and al Qaeda directly. From Africa it would be GIA, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, HAMAS. If you are getting the feeling that the narcotics trade is merging with terrorism, then you have the right feeling. On the other side the Red Mafia is far more brutal in its commercial operations than mere terrorists could ever be: the Red Mafia doesn't want limelight, just cash. No need for a jihad when just killing you solves the problem... the commercial and capitalist end of organized crime needs to up its ante to compete with the brutality of terrorists, and since organized crime has no ethics or compunctions about their operations, they are actually colder than any hot blooded jihadi blowing himself up: the mobster expects to live and hone his trade. That is terror to intimidate and work one's ends, just as terrorism has just the same though different ends.

So, beyond narcotics, where is the money coming from? Oil and natural gas. Saudi Arabia and Iran both export billions in cash to their favorite terror groups, and while Iran concentrates on Hezbollah and less on HAMAS, the Saudi oil families concentrate on the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, HAMAS and various lesser groups across the Far East and Pakistan. Organized crime in the old USSR bloc is also benefiting from this with billions in cash transactions used to hide illegal monetary gains in the vast flux of oil and natural gas from Central Asia to Europe. The fund transactions necessary to facilitate the energy movement also goes to hide the other funds not part of that movement. Regularized large accounts shifting funds between 'known' and 'legitimate' institutions that undergo 'scrutiny' can, by having such large transaction types, hide the other sort of funds shifts. The post-9/11 world where banking has, in theory, 'tightened up' the banking system via a 'know your customer' concept falls apart when that bank knows that customer and doesn't care about that customer's other connections. If you want to fund terrorism and organized crime and filter the profits from it, there is nothing like large cash transactions in other venues bundled along with 'transaction fees' to third parties to help slide that money around. As I went through previously, the idea of 'legalizing narcotics' when those in control of the trade, now at its BASE, makes little difference as the profits might go down, but the steadiness of them becomes an assured income platform.

I will get to banking in a bit, but what other venues beyond human trafficking, white slavery, narcotics trafficking, and outright oil profits funding terrorism are there? One of the highest profits, lowest risk criminal activities is cigarette smuggling to avoid State or National taxes, and this proves to be a very lucrative business on a global scale. Cigarette manufacturers based in Nations with minimal oversight and legal overhead farm out work to smaller production plants. Those plants, having an 'in' to the supply system of the brands they work for can then order more paper, wrappers and packaging material, buy low-grade tobacco and stuff that material into said wrappers and sell them on the gray market'. While this does 'impact brand name' it doesn't do it at a high amount as everyone knows they are gray market' and not 'up to snuff', which some folks took up instead. So while brand name and marketing overhead, distribution and other costs are 'piggybacked' by these 'gray market' smokes, the actual cost of production gets to set the price of initial purchase and then the entire supply chain avoids tax stamps and import duties and such via various means. That then winds up in a host nation and distributed via those same 'gray market' networks that, also, support organized crime and terrorism. The big windfall, though, is on the LEGAL cigarettes coming in post-import duty, and then grabbed up by 'wholesalers' who then are supposed to follow National legal codes for taxation and distribution. Instead those on the criminal support side ship these and sell them as 'gray market' goods, but the 'real deal' and not a knock-off, and pocket the sub-tax cost they charge as profit. See that tax cost on a pack of cigarettes? Would you pay the cost, non-tax, to get them? Many do, and that funding stream, while illegal, is difficult to stop. A single Hezbollah cell in the US working between Toronto, Canada, North Carolina and Detroit was able to send back a minimum of $10 million per year on just this alone. Not bad for 6 or 7 guys, really, and they did account for all their costs in what they took, so the $10 million/year is their PROFIT.

Hezbollah, actually, is becoming the quintessential institutionalized terror organization stretching from extortion via terrorism in Lebanon, absurd oil profit pay outs from Iran, getting 'a piece of the action' on the Syrian, S. American, African, Caribbean, N. American and Middle Eastern narcotics trade, melding with Albanian organized crime and Algerian terrorists to sponsor criminal rings in the West stretching from Europe to the Americas of which the auto-theft rings are the most well known of the Albanians, whatever their overseas mosques can get in 'charitable donations for Lebanon', and gray market goods rings that reach as far as Los Angeles hawking knock-offs from the Far East in designer clothing, cigarettes and anything else they can get their hands on. All of these are money making institutions for Hezbollah, and while the oil pay outs may account for 1/3 to 1/2 of their income, the *rest* of it comes from a diverse source base including the Iranian sponsored beef packing facilities that show up wherever Hezbollah roams, like in Colombia. Iran, BTW, is a net exporter of beef globally due to this arrangement, too. Said beef slaughterhouses and packaging companies serve as excellent places to train terrorists, what with the open spaces, loud noises and blood everywhere. To facilitate this Hezbollah has branched out into intellectual property theft via gray market software distribution, with one hacker in Brazil making $100,000 on just one line of products in a year. If that is starting to hit a bit closer to home, to those in the software community, the fact that it was a major brand name probably soothes some. What may be less soothing is that one could purchase those goods at a shopping mall in Ecuador one-half owned by Hezbollah. HAMAS, on a smaller scale, performs many of these same operations, seeking to utilize multi-source funding bases to keep operations going.

When we hear about individuals all hopped up on 'jihad' and being somewhat witless about 'how to do it' being 'amateur terrorists', we should take little solace due to the fact that the more 'professional ones' are widespread and relatively easy to find (as these things go). Really, most suicide-bombers blowing themselves up in Israeli restaurants, Baghdad ice cream shops, or gatherings in Pakistan are NOT professionals: they are one use munitions for their cause. It is the 'professionals' that walk between organized crime and black market goods to gray market goods to terrorism to money laundering that have a real impact on these networks. If a few thugs in Florida want to do jihad on their own, they are snickered at by the absent minded, and declaimed as 'not a threat' while, in fact, they are one decent drug purchase away from that network of sustainment. And as Islam spreads into the US prison system, those coming out already have their contact base for outside work and means to support jihad if they so desire it. So what was a simple and quite clueless 'thug' can get an 'education' in prison and be well on his way to a 'professional career' of transnational terrorism. Clueless today and in 5 or 10 years a possible *real* threat to society.

The link at the low level back to the high level becomes complete with the other end of banking: person to person banking. This is the exact opposite end of the scale spectrum from hiding money in large transfers and then siphoning off 'transaction' and 'payments & processing' fees to third parties. P2P banking is indigenous via culture and community and relies on family, tribe, clan and other localized trust associations that then span the world as people migrate. The most cited is the hawala concept in the Middle East which was typified as 'small cash amounts' continuously on the move. Get under the 'banking scrutiny' sieve by being too small, and no one pays any attention to the transactions. Some banking institutions noted oddities, but for sub-$3,000 transactions it is not worth deploying more than a letter of inquiry. In theory you can move it so every transaction down to the sub-penny is tracked, traced, and verified, but then you run into the 'front companies' and financial institutions that don't really care about their customers. Even that, however, has been worked around ahead of time via the Black Market Peso Exchange system where all transactions are 'white world' and yet black market funds are laundered. How is that done? Small purchases of *goods* that are then shipped/smuggled to areas where they have high overhead and then sold at a profit with that profit pocketed by those in the system (usually the smugglers and a small kickback to the 'banker') and the rest of the funds then go to its intended recipient which then verifies, via local contact to the originator contact that the funds, in full, have arrived. This system is absolutely ingenious and can even work with absolute and fully 'white market' transactions, just by shipping low cost for procurement goods to areas with degrees of restriction that inflate its cost. Cigarettes come to mind.

This low-level integration is one that no law enforcement system on the planet can stop. How do we know this? It is culturally affinitive, requiring cultural contacts at both ends of the exchange system to be analyzed (or even found) and the problem of 'white market purchases' makes the originator Nation unlikely or unwilling to even investigate 'small crimes' if, indeed, there is a crime involved with, on the purchase end, there isn't. The transaction, from start to finish, is illegal, but the transaction method and mode is not: to get the criminal activity the entire chain of transfers must be brought in at one time to demonstrate the money transfer, which goes from original customer, originating 'banker', wholesale purchase, shipment (via legal or illegal means), receipt of goods, sale of goods, payment of goods to destination recipient. That is at least 7 chain parts to pick up and more if multiple shipment/sales are involved, and the individuals in-between can each claim that they did NOTHING WRONG. Again, if $10 million per year from one small cell in the US can get funds to Hezbollah in Lebanon via a route like this (when not outright using fraudulent transaction methods in banking) then just *how* can you de-fund terrorism? The world can't even crack down on the organized crime base for this work, so getting terrorists via it is an even dicier prospect.

How about the high level integration, then, is that amenable to being stopped via banking regulation?

The answer is: no. Why? It is too late to do that.

Consider the friend of 'Tony' Rezko and Barack Obama: Saddam Hussein's cousin, Nadhmi Auchi. In 1968 Saddam Hussein started a system of fraudulent bank accounts, paper financial groups and paper industries, with the sheets of paper being the only 'real' holdings of these groups. During the 1970's the Al Mahdi system stretched from Baghdad to Zurich, Switzerland and from there throughout Europe and to the US. This growing system facilitated the growth of BCCI and profited from it via utilizing it as a 'holding system' for money and money laundering of Saddam's accounts in the Al Mahdi system. Nadhmi Auchi was put in charge of this just prior to Saddam seizing power and killing off some of his extended family, but Nadhmi was fine with *that*. Utilizing BCCI and, later, helping BNL transfer agricultural funds to Saddam, this system grew and would extend down to the Cardoen industries in South America from which Saddam would purchase US cluster bomb technology and manufacturing licensed by the US to Cardoen. From those humble beginnings, the Al Mahdi system would work with HAMAS and its partner Citibank, and reach out to the Al Taqwa banking system set up by bin Laden and Zawahiri to ensure funds distribution to their terrorists overseas.

Luckily, by then BCCI had gone under.

Unluckily the next large scale bank penetration would join with this joint system of Saddam, Auchi, Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and a few others, plus have its own bank in the way of BNP. What would serve in its place came from the Red Mafia and is a problem that cannot be pulled apart to this day, nearly 9 years after its discovery: the Bank of New York penetration. In one of the least looked at and hardest to understand bank frauds, the BoNY system penetration would encompass financial institutions stretching from the West Coast of the US all the way to Europe and from there the Far East and then cross the Pacific to link up as a global funds transfer network for organized crime and terrorism. At least three Red Mafia groups worked on this and very few of the individuals involved, save for those staging the penetration in NY, have seen any jail time. The system was the 'mass cash transfer hiding illegal funds' system, that depended on the 'Heavy Metals' Oligarchs taking over the production of aluminum, steel, and other products in Russia. The TransWorld Commodities group would become, for a time, the third largest aluminum producer behind Alcoa and Alcan. This would start to unravel, somewhat, after a few killings in the US by a Red Mafia crime boss and the defrauding of stock and securities exchanges of hundreds of millions of dollars by another, but the magnitude only started to set in during late 1999 and early 2000 that this compromise was not limited in scope nor extent. Consider that the fall of BCCI effected banks from Hong Kong, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, UK, France, Germany, US, and France (amongst its largest placements with smaller banks scattered all over the place). One regulator put BCCI *below* the scale of the BoNY scandal. And the reason for that is that the European clearinghouse for financial transactions, in charge of the SWIFT system, Clearstream had been penetrated by the Red Mafia to launder its funds from the BoNY system.

It is at this point that Nadhmi Auchi becomes involved in Clearstream scandals under Oil For Food, BNP purchases Paribas bank as it is privatized, then BNL and then, because a minor criminal indictment under OFF is no deterrent to crime, Nadhmi Auchi went on to procure a controlling interest in Clearstream.

Yes, one of the largest verification systems for funds transfers is owned by an individual who has used it for money laundering in the past.

The reason that more cannot be pinned on Clearstream is that the BoNY system of transactions for money laundering staggers the imagination. In London a man by the name of Simon Reubens instituted a system whereby paper companies of all sorts were started up in the Bahamas, Grand Caymen Islands, Cyprus, Switzerland, Monaco... well, you name it, there is probably a sheet of paper with a company there that is part of this systems. The one estimate given by MI5 and FBI is that 200 people controlled 300 companies and no one knew them all save for Simon Reubens. And he disdained computers. It was all kept track of in his head. Any man willing to start three companies to pay his rent has got something going for him, and that virtual web of systems includes things like Highrock Holdings run by Mogilevich for his procurement of oil and gas resources in Central Asia to augment his Golden Triangle trade. Although TransWorld Commodities would fall, Oleg Depripaska helped by Auchi and a group of banks that tend to align with BNP-Paribas, has slowly pieced it back together and Rusal is now looking at the #2 spot in global aluminum production. And Mogilevich would leverage a commercial empire based on natural gas through his associate Dmitri Firtash. Together they have caused Russia to fall for the exact, same industrial swindle three times, under different names, and each time there is a stipend paid to the intermediary company that ranges in the $10 billion range per year. That is above and beyond cost of operation or any other profit.

You cannot get a banking system that is 'secure' with folks like this running around and Nations like China sponsoring Huawei, which has its own terrorist and criminal dealings, in any way, shape or form. When a notable venture capitalist who ran for President, Gov. Mitt Romney, can't understand the role that off-shore banking and financial institutions play in his OWN commercial empire, then how can we expect BUREAUCRATS to do so? They aren't making the money that Gov. Romney does nor have the incentive to shut down such things and even if they could CONGRESS created the loopholes that organized crime and terrorism are exploiting via the tax code.

Iraq and Afghanistan? Dead easy compared to this!

Complain about the pittance being spent on those ventures and not one, single, solitary CENT being spent on tightening up our financial institutional structure that makes US money 'easy pickings' to support terrorism and you get an idea of what is involved in scale differences. Put up those lovely counters of the money spent on those ventures, but the moment you look at the tens of billions going into the undermining our own banking and financial system via Congressional votes, and the actual idea of what the cost of fixing *that* will be starts to come into focus. Every 'special privilege' or 'tax benefit' or 'trade subsidy' that the US encourages makes organized crime and terrorism able to expand its networks deeper into the legitimate institutions of the West. Consider that in 2000 the drug trade from the Bekaa valley to Europe was on the order of $40 billion/year, or about 10% of global drug trafficking, all of which is supporting this entire system to undermine Western culture, values and finances. Now that this has only gone in one direction, cost wise, those relatively small amounts, perhaps only 10% being skimmed by terrorists or even less, ends up at billions per year not just on bombs and guns, but for 'outreach' and sustainment. Add in the tens of billions from oil profits from the Saudis and Iran, and you get Hezbollah having missiles costing tens of millions of dollars apiece and having a 6,000 or so. Some of that does go through the old gas pump, yes, but even if oil dried up as a commodity and the entire world went 'green' on energy tomorrow, the residual problem would still be very close to what the US spends on Iraq and Afghanistan per year.

Notice the problem? All of these terrorist organizations don't have government overhead or infrastructure to take care of, and in the case of Iran they don't bother taking care of theirs, anyway. With all the heavy weapons Hezbollah gets, the fact that the small arms, bombs, and generally more normal terror organization underneath it would still exist based on its other sources of incomes, makes taking Iran out and expecting Hezbollah to crumble a non-starter. Hezbollah's heavy weapons would need maintenance from Syria, which would be paid for via the drug trade, thus putting Hezbollah in a 'use it or lose it' for the high cost overhead items. They would want to expend all of those to get back to the sustainable organization, which would *not* go away. While taking Iran out of the picture would lower the long-term threat problem, the short term gets very nasty without addressing Syria and Hezbollah, too.

Then there is Pakistan, heart of multiple Islamic terror groups and having two native populations, Baluchs and Pashtuns, really feeling that they got a raw deal as becoming part of Pakistan. The top money maker in Pakistan is its *own* transnational terror group run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar out of a 'refugee camp' that is now devoted towards his organization. Stretching from the semi-precious stone smuggling in the East to narcotics in the North and West, then stretching terror arms out to Europe and China, this organization escapes Western sight as it is not al Qaeda or the Taliban. When the Taliban needed weapons it went to Hekmatyar's group to get illegal arms dealer Victor Bout to start supplying them. And as Semion Mogilevich has an airline under his control in the Far East, the contacts to the Red Mafia for Golden Triangle trade in opium are already in place. Clearing Afghanistan of its support for terrorism will only come via the end of the opium trade there and an inter-tribal accommodation on not starting it up again. This would deprive the Taliban and Mehsud organizations of funding, while leaving the other crop areas under Hekmatyar as the only viable source of those funds. Needless to say all of these organizations, to one degree or another, emulate Hezbollah's lead in diversification beyond the committed base of fighters. And many of these groups are, indeed, Private or Personal armies: that is the definition of Lashkar.

What routes can be utilized to curb this problem? And notice it is 'curb' not 'end' or 'eradicate' it?

On the Nation State side the US would have to take a very, very, very hard turn in its foreign policy away from its current, bland multicultural view towards religion. The one thing that the Peace of Westphalia did establish was the separation of the Secular State from Religious Institutions, and that single, sole view is one that has been lost on the US by so many bemoaning the 'separation of church and state'. Not doing so led to the 30 years war and between 15-20% of Europe dead as a result of it. Our current policy of not enforcing the Peace of Westphalia via Foreign Policy is leading to a likewise end on a global scale. But as so many intellectual elites want to end the Westphalian State and put religion as a guiding precept of International Affairs... what?

You say they want only Secular States?

Ok, prove it.

The net effect of not supporting Westphalia has been to encourage the most venomous of religious institutions backed by tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars to radicalize Islamic populations globally. Westphalian States would prohibit that amongst themselves and put those States not doing so under careful scrutiny and possible ban as not upholding Westphalia ends up with lots of people killed over religion. The Transnational Progressive Left does not believe that religion has a role to play in the affairs of Nations and yet will refuse to do anything to stop Transnational establishment of State sponsored religious organizations overseas. The Tranzi Left, instead, equalizes all religions with blandness, thus making, for example, Inuit cultural beliefs the exact same as Islamic terrorists blowing folks up in shopping malls. By equalizing all religions, and not differentiating between them, the Tranzi Multiculti Left upholds nothing and encourages death by destructive religion and will do nothing to stop it. It is unfortunate that the US State Dept takes similar views about not wanting to 'offend' those using Islam as a reason to kill by NOT doing a damned thing to stop the spread of Wahhabi Madrassas and Schools *anywhere* on Rock 3. Mind you, no President has, either, which is why I can find 'al Qaeda High School' as we call it locally, within a few miles of where I am sitting.

The Tranzi Right, likewise, wants no part in anything that upholds cultural identity or gets in the way of economic efficiency. This concept flies in the face of Transnationalism and points out that by not sustaining National culture you lose the ability to get sustainment of Transnational institutions. Without those Transnationalism falls apart as the world goes into chaos because the replacement concepts being put in place by those following strict Islamic Totalitarianism are non-profit seeking and very backwards on personal liberty: you can't be a multiculturalist or a capitalist profit seeker under that formulation as it gets you killed.

Westphalia has a point and a hard one: religion is personal and each individual has freedom to worship inside their Nation. The Nation can have an overall religion but may not ENFORCE IT upon anyone. And as Nations should enjoy survival, keeping external State Sponsored religious institutions OUT of one's Nation should be a goal of Foreign Policy as well as discouraging non-locals from using cash from those exterior States from doing so.

That is a tough nut to sell in the US, as the left would get anaphylactic shock from mere exposure to it. Actually *keeping* to ideals on religious freedom of worship via Foreign Policy is a great big non-starter in the Land of Liberty: can't put forward that human liberty is worth any sacrifice in dollars or comfort now, can we?

That is not going anywhere, I'm afraid, so we must look to other options as a Nation and recognize that venomous religion as sponsored by Nations to undermine and dissolve other Nations is a fact of what is going on. If, say, Turkey tried to manipulate the fast food market by putting in a mega falafel chain that would offer good products at lower prices to gain market share, we would have some heartburn. If they subsidized it to operate at a loss so they could drive competitors OUT, we would seek to end trade with Turkey in this area. If they shifted and opened up a value chain of TurkMart stores, using goods made by low cost labor in Central Asia to compete with US stores and gain market share, we would continue with heartburn. Operated at a loss to drive out competitors? Soon the Foreign Policy wheels would be in motion and things would deteriorate as we would want to know *why* the Turks were doing this. And if they responded, 'to undermine your domestic economy and take it over' we would laugh, of course, but take the threat seriously.

So, why not do this with Saudi Arabia?

Yeah, oil? So?

Yet, in the case of religious intrusion to utilize domestic means to undermine the US legal system, the Left in America is more than willing to roll over, whimper and expose its neck and say 'please don't kill me'.

To put our money where our anti-terror desires are requires the US to utilize both Foreign and Domestic policy to end the threat and seek to our own internal accord and safety. Externally, however, the US has an opportunity that no other Western Nation has had for decades: start to teach something a slight bit different in one of the oldest capitals of Islamic knowledge on the planet. We also have a native population that may just be willing to listen to us and hear us out on the subject of human liberty and accountability, what with all the killing of their people by religious fanatics propagated by the Saudi's and Iranians. If the Saudi and Iranian threat is to use culture and religion to undermine Nations wherever their followers go, it would be a fair fight to start setting down academies to teach Western economics, jurisprudence, culture and traditions and *why* we can live with those who adhere to ideas of human liberty and freedom and having common government that respects those things. In Michael Oren's Power, Faith and Fantasy, we get a rare glimpse into the successes that early US church based schools and teaching hospitals had on the Middle East in a very limited way. Those were private institutions set up to teach the private values of how Americans see their faith and common government as a single whole, and when the earliest explorers brought along books like Tom Paine's Common Sense, and those that heard it from the banks of the Nile to the interior of the area we think of as Kudish it was seen as, indeed, having some common sense to it.

For those on the Left and Right who see the Middle East from Northern Africa to as far out as Afghanistan as still being relatively backwards and primitive culturally, would not teaching the most revolutionary of ideas for human liberty from their source allow the US to make its case that Islam can and indeed MUST adapt to the modern world so as to avoid a global bloodbath on the scale of the 30 years war but without borders? We already have some of the finest of our Citizens demonstrating that this can work and give a culture that is at peace with its beliefs and yet can still advance in material ways in common accord, while allowing each man his say on his own life. These respected Citizens who show and demonstrate respect can also demonstrate how this works, perhaps with the help of the Poles, and give a new context for Islam that allows each to take it up or not as the case may be.

The Hard Part of Iraq and Afghanistan hasn't even started yet.

It is the part where we either demonstrate the courage of our beliefs in how we make our world better by giving each man his due and not threatening him with death if he believes differently, or where we demonstrate an inability to understand that All Men Are Created Equal even on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Cash? Damned easy to come by.

Belief in ourselves?

That is the Hard Part.

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