Sunday, October 26, 2003

Rumsfeld heralds shift to "war of ideas" on terror

PARIS - Questioning whether the United States is winning the war on terror, Donald Rumsfeld has set the stage for a policy shift that will put more emphasis on the struggle for hearts and minds.

In a leaked memo and in public comments this week, the U.S. defence secretary stressed the importance of defeating terrorism not just through military victories but in a "war of ideas".

In the memo, where he asked top defence officials "Are we winning or losing the global war on terror?", Rumsfeld referred three times to the danger from madrassas -- religious schools in the Islamic world which he said were recruiting young militants.

And in an interview with the Washington Times, he floated the idea of a "21st century information agency in the government" to help wage the battle of minds.

"The overwhelming majority of the people of all religions don't believe in terrorism. They don't believe in running around killing innocent men, women and children. And we need more people standing up and saying that in the world, not just us."

For critics of U.S. policy, this shift in emphasis cannot come soon enough.

French terrorism expert Xavier Raufer said Washington's strategy to date "is not working, it's stupid".

He said the key failure was precisely its inability to counter the power of Osama bin Laden's exhortations to jihad or holy war, spread via recorded messages broadcast on Arabic media, including one as recently as last Saturday.

Washington was focusing too much on the man and not enough on the message, treating the al Qaeda leader as though he was an army commander or the head of a traditional guerrilla group.

"Bin Laden is not the chief of the IRA (Irish Republican Army)," Raufer said. "His only power is to preach...He has the power to disseminate, to incite people to go into jihad, but he cannot force them. He can push people, he can inflame them but he cannot give any orders. He is not the general of an army."

Many critics have long urged Washington to reappraise its wider Middle East policy to address the deeper underlying causes of Islamic terror, but Rumsfeld's comments did not suggest such a rethink was likely.

Ivo Daalder of the U.S.-based Brookings Institution said it was simplistic to suggest the key to the problem lay in the madrassas.

"He ought to be looking at the question of our policy towards the Middle East, our policy of supporting repressive Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt," he said. "It struck me it was a little too narrow a framework."

U.S.-based security analysts said the leaked Rumsfeld memo was not a sign of panic, but showed the Bush administration accepting the need to update its thinking in the light of setbacks in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We've been in Afghanistan nearly two years now and they're still shooting at us. And there may not have been an al Qaeda connection in Iraq a year ago but there sure is now," said John Pike, head of the think-tank.

"The perception is that the memo was leaked by Rummy and intended to demonstrate he's on the ball, he's not an idiot and he realises they need to continue to update their planning."

Nor do analysts see any sign of a fundamental rethink of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, which President George W. Bush has described as the central front in the war on terror.

Despite daily attacks on U.S. forces, Pike said the United States could sustain the current level of violence indefinitely and the strategic stakes in oil-rich Iraq were too high for it to walk away.

"Declaring victory and going home is not an option in Iraq the way it was in Vietnam," he said.

"If they inaugurated (former exile Ahmad) Chalabi as president and wished him well and left, some man with a moustache would show up a few days later, shoot him in the head and say that he was in charge."

Pike said any switch in Iraq policy was likely to involve intensified counter-terrorist operations by U.S. special forces. He said Washington could hope to cut its troop presence from 130,000 to 50,000 within 18 months, if within that time the Central Intelligence Agency could build up a loyal Iraqi secret police apparatus to reinforce control.

But Daalder said the temptation to scale back the U.S. occupation would increase as next year's presidential election approached, and especially if former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein were captured.

"The sign to look for is the day they get Saddam," he said. "There will be an extraordinarily large temptation to use the killing or capture of Saddam Hussein as the signal that we can now reduce our presence."

Iraqi governing council members

Abdel-Zahraa Othman Mohammed, head of the Islamic Dawa party in Basra. Writer, political activist. Shiite.

Abdel Aziz al Hakim, a religious and political leader from the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, brother of Mohammad Bakr al Hakim, who was assassinated in a car bombing in Najaf. Shiite.

Abdel-Karim al Mohammedawi, head of the Iraqi Hezbollah Party of God. Dubbed "Prince of the Marshes" for leading a 17-year resistance movement against Saddam in the marshes, for which he spent six years in prison. Shiite.

Adnan Pachachi, president of the Iraqi Independent Democrats. Former Iraqi foreign minister and permanent representative to the United Nations. Shiite.

Ahmad Chalabi, founder and head of the London-based Iraqi National Congress, mathematics professor and businessman. Shiite.

Ahmed al Barak, human rights activist and lawyer from Babel. Tribal leader of the Al Bu Sultan tribe of Babel, Iraq. Shiite.

Iyad Allawi, secretary-general for the Iraqi National Accord, opposition member within Iraq. Shiite.

Dara Noor Alzin, judge. Sentenced to jail for ruling that one of Saddam Hussein's edicts was unconstitutional. Imprisoned at Abu Ghraib prison, he was released in the general amnesty last October. Sunni.

Ibrahim al Jafari, spokesman for the Islamic Dawa Party, which was persecuted by Saddam. Born in Karbala, educated in medicine in Mosul. Spent time in the United States and the United Kingdom. Shiite.

Ghazi Ajil al Yawer, Mosul sheikh, civil engineer, recently vice president of Hicvap Technology Co. in Riyadh. Sunni.

Hamid Majid Moussa, secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party since 1993. Born in Babel, Iraq. Economist and petroleum researcher. Shiite.

Jalal Talabani, secretary-general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and a leading figure of the Iraqi democratic movement. Kurd.

Mohsen Abdel Hamid, secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, born in Kirkuk, author of more than 30 books on the Quran. Baghdad University professor. Sunni.

Mohammed Bahr al Uloum, Najaf cleric who returned from London, where he headed the Ahl al Bayt charitable center. Shiite.

Mahmoud Othman, independent politician and longtime leader of the Kurdish National Struggle. Kurd.

Massood Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, former peshmerga (fighter), elected president in 1979, re-elected in 1999. Kurd.

Mouwafak al Rubii, born in al Shatra, member of the British Royal Doctors' College, consultant in internal medicine and neurology, human rights activist. Returned from United Kingdom. Shiite.

Naseer Kamel al Chaderji, leader of the National Democratic Party, Baghdad resident, lawyer, businessman and farm owner. Sunni.

Raja Habib al Khuzaai, medical doctor, head of the maternity hospital in Diwaniya. Lived in the United Kingdom from the late 1960s until she returned to Iraq in 1977. Shiite.

Samir Shakir Mahmoud al Sumaidy, from the al Sumaidy clan with documented lineage from the prophet Mohammad through Mousa al Khadhum (a nephew of the prophet). Writer, entrepreneur and opposition figure. Shiite.

Salaheddine Muhammad Bahaaeddine, secretary-general of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, born in Halabja, author of several books. Kurd.

Sondul Chapouk, a civil engineer and teacher from Kirkuk, women's rights activist. Turkoman.

Wael Abduk Latif, deputy head judge in Basra, practiced civil and criminal law before being disbarred and imprisoned by Saddam. Shiite.

Yonadam Kana, secretary-general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. Former minister of public works and housing and former minister of industry and energy in Iraqi Kurdistan. Engineer and activist against the former regime. Christian.

Deceased - Aquila al Hashimi, female diplomat who led Iraq's delegation to the New York donors conference. PhD in Modern Literature. Worked with U.N. programs in Iraq since 1991, killed by unknown gunmen in August. Shiite.

Coalition troops operating in Iraq

The $36 billion estimated cost of rebuilding Iraq which Washington hopes to raise at a conference in Madrid on Thursday comes on top of a $20 billion estimate for security, rebuilding the oil industry and other spending.

The first day of the conference will be devoted mainly to setting out Iraq's reconstruction needs, and donor countries will make pledges on Friday.

Here is a short table by country of forces currently operating in Iraq or who may be deployed there:

In Iraq+ En Route or
United States 155,000 15,000+
Britain 12,000
TOTALS: 167,000 15,000
Albania 100
Australia 1,000
Bulgaria 470
Czech Rep. 706
Denmark 410 90
Dominican Rep. 300
El Salvador 360
Estonia 50
Honduras 370
Hungary #
(inc. Romanian &
Portuguese elements) 3,400
Japan 41
Kazakhstan 25
Latvia 36
Lithuania 193
Macedonia 28
Mongolia 180
Netherlands 1,100
New Zealand #
Nicaragua 230
Norway 104
Philippines 175
Poland 2,400
Romania 400
Slovakia 69 120
Spain 1,300
South Korea 700
Thailand 21 422
Ukraine 2,000
TOTALS 15,918 882
NOTE: Many figures are rounded or estimated.
+ As of Sept 25, 2003
# Precise figure not known

In Hawaii, culture and environment force the need for balance

Within a few hundred feet of the entrance to the Army's Makua Military Reservation sits a hand-built altar, a thigh-high structure of rocks stacked upon rocks as wide as a kitchen table.

Though it's just a dot within the valley's 4,190 acres, the sacred "ahu" serves as a reminder to the Army of its responsibility to protect the land that Native Hawaiians had cared for long before the first round of ammunition was fired there.

The altar was built two years ago by Native Hawaiian groups who reached an agreement with the Army that allows them controlled access to Makua Valley for cultural purposes.

Away from Oahu's tourist spots and 35 miles from downtown Honolulu on Oahu's Leeward Coast, the rugged valley is off limits to other civilians.

"We want to do what's best for Makua Valley," said Alvin Char, chief of the environmental division of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii. "It's vital for training, but we think we can have the training missions and malama (Hawaiian for 'take care of') Makua as well."

Beyond the cultural significance of Makua Valley is its environmental significance.

In 1998, a local preservation group called Malama Makua took legal action that stopped the Army's live-fire training at Makua until shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Lawyers for the group agreed the Army needed the valley for training during the war on terrorism, and the Army agreed to limit its live-fire training in the valley and the types of ammunition it uses.

As the only live-fire training area on Oahu capable of adequately preparing company-size units, the Army considers Makua Valley critical to training.

But the valley's cultural and environmental significance to Hawaii also has forced the military to strike a balance between taking care of the land and providing soldiers with realistic training conditions.

"Paying attention to the environment and being aware of impact to the environment is critical to continue training here in Hawaii," said Kapua Kawelo, a biologist in the Army's environmental division who helps identify and preserve endangered species and critical habitat.

Environmental issues within the military are being raised on Capitol Hill this month as the Department of Defense pushes for exemptions to some of the nation's key environmental laws, claiming they hamper the military's ability to train in peace as it fights in war.

The White House-backed package first was introduced last year and contained eight provisions. Congress passed three last year, and the Pentagon now is seeking passage of the remaining five. House and Senate versions of the legislation are being reconciled in conference committee.

Environmentalists are vehemently opposed to the proposal, calling it unwarranted. Some allege it is part of an administration effort to weaken the nation's environmental laws.

At Makua Valley, environmental groups have praised some of the Army's environmental efforts but say more still needs to be done to preserve culturally sensitive sites.

"They've made some good efforts, but they're still missing the marks on the cultural sites," said Sparky Rodrigues, a spokesman for Malama Makua. "For years, they've denied that there's been cultural sites. That means they've been bombing and shooting at cultural sites for generations now."

Rodrigues said Malama Makua hopes to eventually have more access to the valley to identify, restore and maintain sites important to Hawaiians.

Although the Army's programs to look after natural and cultural resources didn't really get going until the mid 1990s, officials say they aggressively work to ensure that such sites are protected once discovered.

That goes for plant and animal life, too. The valley is home to federally designated critical habitat for protected plants, birds and snails.

Just last month, the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, which represents Malama Makua, threatened to sue the Army again after a controlled burn in July raged out of control, burning half the valley and destroying scores of rare plants and 150 acres of critical habitat.

While many of the rare species are far enough out of the training area that they are unaffected by the exercises, some have been found closer to the training range.

In those instances, the Army incorporates the habitat as part of its training scenario by designating it as a mine field or some other hazard that soldiers would have to avoid, said Laurie Lucking, cultural resources manager for U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii.

Other times, the coordinates of a rare species are programmed into the Global Positioning System targeting technology of a particular weapon, prompting a warning to the soldier operating the equipment when a shell might do harm, she said.

The Army also provides classroom training for soldiers to make them aware of the environmental issues surrounding Makua, all with an eye toward the military's goal of having soldiers prepared, said Army spokeswoman Maj. Stacy Bathrick.

"The command realizes that everyone down to the infantryman on the ground who is conducting a combined-arms live-fire exercise needs to be aware of how important it is to train in realistic conditions while we protect the environment," Bathrick said.

In all, the Army spends between $1 million and $1.5 million a year on preservation efforts, Char said.

Some of the most important work in the preservation effort doesn't require any money.

"We talk to different groups - we're constantly trying to identify people with ties to these areas," Lucking said. "You just learn to speak to the right people in order to get a handle on the spiritually important areas, as well as the archaeological sites and just the culture in general.

"It's a dialogue."

U.S. science tested on humans abroad
Ethics: Debate surrounds the practice of shifting experiments overseas to circumvent U.S. regulations

When Chinese and American researchers reported this week that they had used a cutting-edge DNA transfer to impregnate an infertile woman in China, they set off an ethical, political and scientific debate.

The reason: The American scientist turned his technique over to Chinese colleagues because they could try it without waiting for permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The announcement touched a nerve in the scientific community. Should a U.S. researcher move experiments overseas to avoid regulations designed to protect human research subjects?

To some, the answer is clear. "I think in this situation, doing research in another country where the regulations are less protective of patients is not ethical. And there have been many situations before where that's been made clear," said Mildred K. Cho, associate director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics.

But not everyone is so sure. The debate reflects divisions of thought in a fast-moving medical discipline where scientists are using the building blocks of biology to treat disease, create new human tissues to replace damaged ones and - in this case - spur development of new human life.

Critics argue that the nuclear-transfer technique doctors used to impregnate the Chinese woman was perilously close to human cloning. Others say it's much more like the in vitro fertilization techniques widely used in U.S. clinics.

"This is clearly closer to the way they do traditional infertility treatment," said Jonathan D. Moreno, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia.

Moreno says the FDA might be going too far by requiring anyone who wants to transfer a mother and father's DNA into a donor's egg as part of a fertility treatment to apply to the agency for permission.

Like many ethicists, he sees a future of controversial research popping up in countries with less restrictive policies than the United States because biological and genetic information is easy and cheap to transfer.

Some foreign labs are already paying top dollar to recruit U.S. researchers, and countries that haven't traditionally been seen as research powerhouses now have a growing number of highly trained scientists.

In their experiment, researchers from New York University and Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science in Guangzhou, China, took DNA from a prospective mother and father and transferred it into a hollowed-out donor's egg whose own nucleus had been removed.

The reconstructed product was then transferred into the mother's uterus.

She became pregnant with triplets, but none lived - the result of obstetric complications that researchers said were unrelated.

In an abstract of their findings presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the scientists said they detected no genetic defects or other problems in the fetuses they tested.

Cloning Dolly
Scientists used a similar nucleus-swapping technique in creating Dolly the sheep. But in that case, a sheep's own DNA was fused into a hollowed-out egg before being implanted, creating Dolly, an exact copy.

"There's no fine line there," said Dr. John Gearhart, a developmental biologist with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He said the Chinese fertility treatment was not an example of cloning.

"The procedure is technically the same, but the origin of the nucleus is different. In cloning, you're trying to reproduce an individual that already exists."

But even some who agree with that assessment of the procedure are concerned about the fact that the NYU professor appeared to be dodging U.S. regulations that were designed to protect patients. They note that the reconstructed embryos contained DNA from three people - the mother, father and the donor of the egg.

"We are taking the risk there to introduce third-party DNA, and we don't know, what are the consequences?" said Dr. Jairo E. Garcia, director of the in vitro fertilization program at the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center.

Researcher Jamie Grifo developed the procedure used in the Chinese experiment at NYU and tried it in 1998 on several patients who did not become pregnant.

He told The New York Times that he shared his knowledge with Chinese scientists after the FDA in 2001 began requiring anyone doing such experiments to apply for permission.

The application is similar to the one a pharmaceutical company must file before testing an experimental drug in people, something Grifo said was too time-consuming and expensive, and unlikely to be granted.

"We knew patients would benefit, and we did not want to see the research die," he told the Times.

Dodging regulatory hurdles is not unheard of in medical research. In the United States, for example, it is unethical for scientists testing an experimental therapy to use placebos (sugar pills or drugs with inactive ingredients) on fatally ill test subjects if there are proven treatments available. But in recent years, critics have attacked U.S. pharmaceutical companies for testing therapies in the Third World, where regulations concerning placebos are less strict.

Some research institutions have been criticized for other lapses abroad that would not be tolerated here.

Malaria against AIDS
In 2000, the FDA ordered the Cincinnati-based Heimlich Institute to stop experiments in which Chinese AIDS patients were injected with malaria in an effort to kill the AIDS virus - a widely discredited treatment known as malariotherapy. The study was conducted in the 1990s on a small group of patients in collaboration with Chinese scientists.

The Bush administration's strict, but hotly contested, regulations on embryonic stem cell research, imposed in 2001, have also prompted some scientists to move to countries such as the United Kingdom and Singapore, where regulations on stem cell work are less restrictive.

The globalization of biological and genetic research will provide fertile ground for ethical controversy in the future, according to John E. Pike, director of One reason is the potential for big money in biotechnology today.

"Frankly, compared to most other scientific disciplines it's a heck of a lot more lucrative," Pike said. "You're not going to get rich quick in physics. All the available get-rich-quick schemes in chemistry pretty much played out a century ago."

In a globalized setting, some ethicists say, the simple presumption that American moral and regulatory standards are superior is dangerous ground.

Patient protection should always be paramount, said Laurence B. McCullough, a professor of medical ethics at Baylor College of Medicine. But he added, "The ethical and legal standards of the United States aren't the last word on the subject. ... In an ethically controversial area, there's more than one way to manage the controversy."

At NYU, Dr. Keith M. Krasinski, chairman of the medical school's Institutional Review Board, said the university normally reviews all research on humans that it sponsors or that its faculty members conduct.

But he said the university's approval wasn't necessary in the Chinese fertility experiment because Grifo "didn't conduct the research."

"He didn't supervise the research. He was never in China," Krasinski added. "He's not in trouble in any way." He said Grifo is listed as a co-author in the research findings as matter of academic "courtesy."

'Think very carefully'
That reasoning is unlikely to satisfy many critics. Scientists "should think very carefully and be sure of their moral position when they go to a place like China to conduct research," said Alan Colman, chief scientific officer of ES Cell International in Singapore, a biotech firm that does stem cell research.

Colman said one way to prevent scientists from circumventing regulations in their home country is to follow the German model. Germany holds its stem-cell scientists accountable no matter where in the world they do their research. If a German researcher is found to have conducted unauthorized stem cell work abroad, he can be held criminally liable when he returns, Colman said.

"At the end of the day, a scientist who goes abroad is often judged by his peers at home," Colman said. "That's very powerful pressure and I hope will make them think twice."

Feds Want All-Seeing Eye in Sky

Spooks, suits, generals and geeks gathered here this week to discuss a common goal: an all-seeing, omnipresent set of eyes in the sky to keep an unblinking view of the entire world at once.

Representatives from the military, spy agencies and the defense industry met to find ways to put a new generation of spy satellites in orbit to aid in war, homeland security and spy craft. But talking about Big Brother vision in a hotel ballroom is proving to be a whole lot easier than executing it in orbit. Several of the satellite systems are wrapped in controversy, cost overruns or long delays.

"We need to know something about everything all the time," Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, told the gathering of nearly 1,400 at the Geo-Intel 2003 conference here at the French Quarter's edge. "We need an illuminator, throwing into relief all the pictures and activities on the Earth's surface. And then we need to be able to switch on the spotlight, or alert other systems, to dive deep."

"This system has to be never-blinking, never-straying," added Rich Haver, a Northrop Grumman executive and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's former special assistant for intelligence. "Our enemies can never be sure when they're being looked at."

Space-based radar, or SBR, is Cambone's preferred method for fulfilling these aims. America's current imaging satellites can cover only thin slices of the Earth at any one time as the spacecraft pass overhead. A constellation of 10 to 24 SBR satellites, slated for 2012 or so, would cover almost the entire globe at once. Unlike the standard birds now in orbit, whose eyes are blocked by cloud and darkness, the SBR array would use weather-piercing synthetic aperture radar to look below without interruption. What's more, the radar could track tanks, jeeps and planes, giving their locations to American bombers and fighter planes.

In theory, anyway. The program, led by the U.S. Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, was slated for 2008. That's been pushed back at least four years. Even now, the guidelines for developing SBR satellites, which the military would have to give to defense companies before development can begin, are missing in action. Congress has cut the president's $270 million funding request by $100 million. And outside observers aren't impressed with what they've heard about the project.

"Sure, the Air Force may already have designs. But I'm not going to give 10 cents for 'em," Haver said.

"Continuous coverage of everything in the air or on the ground is a solution in search of a problem," said John Pike, director of

"There's an awful lot of time looking at nothing," he said. America's current fleet of spy planes "can focus on an area you're interested in, at a fraction of the cost."

John Werle, a vice president for space and intelligence systems at Boeing -- which is competing for the SBR contract -- calls that a shortsighted view. A global view will spawn entire new industries and government capabilities, just like the Internet's far-flung spread of information.

Federal authorities have something else in mind before SBR satellites arrive. It's called Future Imagery Architecture, or FIA, and it's scheduled for launch in a couple of years. Run out of the ultra-secret National Reconnaissance Office, little is known publicly about the satellite group. But what is known isn't good.

In a September report (PDF), the Pentagon's Defense Science Board called the program "significantly underfunded and technically flawed. The task force believes this FIA program is not executable."

The Pentagon recently had to add $4 billion to a reported $25 billion effort to develop the FIA system. Industry insiders say the project may be as much as three years behind schedule.

That's a charge retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, denied. Given the complexity of the FIA project, "it's not unprecedented to have challenges, from a cost and scheduling standpoint," he said, describing the program as "on schedule."

But just in case it isn't, federal authorities are working on yet another backstop plan -- one that relies on a new generation of commercial satellites to take pictures.

Through a project called NextView, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency is encouraging private companies to develop satellites with a resolution of a quarter of a meter -- two to four times as sharp as the commercial eyes now in orbit. On Sept. 30, the agency plunked down a $500 million NextView deposit on a new satellite from Longmont, Colorado's DigitalGlobe.

The award came as a surprise to the industry, which assumed the largess would be split between DigitalGlobe and its competitor, Space Imaging of Thornton, Colorado. But Space Imaging wouldn't commit to what it felt was an unrealistic late-2005 launch deadline.

Clapper now says he's scrambling to find a comparable pile of cash for Space Imaging, which "can't go forward with our next-generation system without a NextView award," said company Vice President Mark Brender.

In an April 25 national security directive, President Bush called for the government to encourage a strong commercial satellite industry. That, in Clapper's view, means he has to support "at least two major vendors."

Space Imaging's funds may be coming soon. Industry insiders believe the money for the company's new satellite may come from the $87 billion package for reconstructing Iraq, now being debated in Congress. It's sure to be one of many emergency grants the military will be asking for on its way to what Clapper calls "the ultimate eye in the sky."

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