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Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: Book Review: "Countdown to Terror"

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Book Review: "Countdown to Terror"

You are a member of Congress and, for a Republican, a fairly intelligent one. You are Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. You call the CIA and tell them you have a source you believe is credible who claims Iran is planning on killing many Americans citizens. The CIA listens to you because, after all, you vote on their funding, and they decide to ignore your warnings. What do you do about this? You write a book. Thus, “Countdown to Terror” by Pennsylvania’s own Rep. Curl Weldon has resulted.

Incredibly, much of this book confirms what many critics of the Bush Administration have been saying all along: Iran is a threatening power in their region who supports terrorist operations and who seek dominance amongst their neighbors. Bush’s father and the Reagan Administration had policies of guaranteeing a balance of power between Iran and Iraq. Our policies have allowed Iran and its terrorist influences to expand in power and in threat.

While the book is highly critical of current policies, Weldon fails to fault the source of these decisions: the Bush Administration. He does fault Bush’s newly appointed CIA Director, and Weldon does properly note that it has been devastating that the CIA now produces reports that support current policies rather than concentrating on obtaining the facts needed to make proper judgments. Unfortunately, Weldon again fails to find fault with the originator of these failed policies, which is the Bush Administration.

Granted, Curt Weldon is a Republican Member of Congress, so he probably does not wish to burn his bridges with President Bush. He does find room to use the tactic that many Republicans use, and that is fault President Clinton. In doing so, he minimizes the value of his own message by making his comments partisan. He would have been better had he chosen to either make a bipartisan critique or to keep his analysis above politics.

A major problem with the book is it fails to explore logical explanations as to why the CIA would discount Rep. Weldon’s source, a man he calls “Ali”. The author claims that “simply put, the United States at this moment cannot afford to become entangled in war against Iran. The intelligence community may fear that this is precisely what could happen by working with Ali”. This does not appear to a valid reason for the CIA to discount Ali’s messages if in fact they are credible as, if Weldon is correct, ignoring the warnings could lead to devastation within America.

The message Ali delivers in this book, if correct, are truly frightening. Ali and Weldom believe the terrorist groups of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Sepah Badr, Sepah and Ansar Islam have united into one large coordinated organization. Ali claims Iran has 45 suicide pilots planning to crash a planes into several targets, including a nuclear power plant. It is not logical that the CIA would not consider these as important messages. What the book does not tell is what is logical: the CIA does not find Rep. Weldon’s source Ali as credible. Indeed, when Rep. Weldon describes Ali as a former high ranking government official in the Shah of Iran’s Administration, one wonders how much the current Iranian government would trust and share with an official from the government they overthrew. The motivations of a critic who originated from the political opposition should be questioned, even if he still has access to the current Iranian government, as the author claims.

Ali also warns that Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon and is trying to buy an atomic bomb from North Korea. He further states that Iran is behind much of the insurgency in Iraq, which may have some merit as Iran and Iraq have fought vicious wars and Iran surely wishes to influence Iraq’s future at a time of disarray in Iraq. Another claim is that Osama Bid Laden is, or at least was, hiding in Iran, which might at least explain why our forces haven’t been able to find him in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Ali predicted Yasser Arafat would be assassinated, and there is debate as to whether or not that was his fate. Ali also provides interesting facts about Iran, such as their terrible roads that lead to 15,000 deaths annually.

Ali claims that Khameni, Iran’s spiritual and political leader, has stated that Mahdi, the Iman who in Shiite theology will come back to Earth to destroy infidels, told him in a dream to strike the United States within its boundaries. The book then curiously includes a hand written letter from Ali, which is not a good way to protect a source should he in fact be betraying his Iranian government.

The book makes for interesting reading for thought and debate. Whether it is credible, whether the CIA is correct, or perhaps whether our intelligence community secretly finds this credible but refuses to state so publicly, is open for discussion. What is certain is that the warnings are serious. We just don’t know if they are credible.

9 Comments:

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Is Muhammed Ali?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Countdown to terror is the wait to when you post another book review.

9:23 AM

 

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