As vicious as the struggle for power in Iraq is, the new government has a war-winning weapon that could, at a stroke, undercut the insurgency, enrich the Iraqi people and create a powerful, long-term force for democracy, national unity and economic development. That weapon is oil.
To deploy it, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government should announce that as of a date certain, a new national investment fund -- call it The Iraqi People's Freedom Trust -- will be credited with a major share of all future Iraqi oil earnings. Revenues directed to the Trust would be invested in government bonds, with a small cash reserve to cover withdrawals by individual Iraqis.
All 27 million Iraqis -- men, women and children -- would to eligible to claim an equal, personal investment account in the Freedom Trust. All they need do is prove Iraqi birth and pledge allegiance to the government. Registration for shares in the Trust could go hand in hand with voter registration for the upcoming national elections. Adult citizens should be free, at any time, to ask for a calculation of their account's value and withdraw up to their full balance -- no questions asked.
The mere announcement would be electric. For starters, it would dispel the fantasy that this war was waged by the U.S. to somehow steal Iraqi oil.
In another test of America's frayed relations with France, Russia and other allies, the US Congress has ordered the State Department to start rating governments throughout the world on their treatment of Jewish citizens.U.S. allies to come under scrutiny for treatment of Jews
The resulting report cards on anti-Semitism would be published in annual US surveys of human rights abuses around the world.
The proposed law was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday, in response to what its sponsors called an alarming surge in anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. It has already been passed by the Senate.
At the request of Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, the Justice Department has initiated an investigation following a report that 46,000 New York City voters are also registered to vote in Florida and that as many as 1,000 may have already voted in both states in the same election.
Not surprisingly, these twice-registered New York voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, 68% to only 12% registered as Republicans. Another 16% did not list a party affiliation. This would mean about 31,280 are Democrats, while only about 5,520 are Republicans, giving the Democrats a 25,760-voter advantage among those who--at least theoretically--could vote illegally in both New York City and Florida on November 2.
In 2000, Bush beat Gore by only 537 votes in Florida--thus securing an Electoral College victory.
Even though there are an estimated 8 to 15 million illegal aliens now living in the United States, not one state in the Union requires proof of citizenship to register to vote.
Jack Martin of the Federation for American Immigration Reform agreed that we don't know how many illegal aliens are registered or how many vote. "Nobody has really investigated the issue," he said.
With many races likely to be decided by close votes November 2, illegal aliens could potentially shift some outcomes even if only a small fraction of them vote.
Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood has rejected voter registration forms on which the registrant did not check the box to indicate U.S. citizenship. But Democrats have filed suit saying that signing the form requires swearing that one is a U.S. citizen anyway.
Time magazine's recent cover story on Islam, "The Struggle Within," has alerted us to some of the mistakes made in the Iraq war. One of those mistakes, rectified by the new Iraqi interim government, was allowing the Arab television network Al-Jazeera to broadcast from Iraq. The Time magazine article, written by Bill Powell, has several references to how images of the conflict have fed the fires of the terrorist assault against our troops and the people of Iraq. American news organizations have broadcast the same images, but they were given more power and authority through Al-Jazeera, known as a mouthpiece for al Qaeda.The Truth About Islam
Sheik Khale, an Imam in Cairo, is quoted as saying, "Most of the pictures we see are of Iraqi heads stepped on by American Army boots." Musdah Mulia, a Muslim scholar in Indonesia, says that "moderates" in the religion "are finding it more difficult to discuss issues like human rights and democracy when photos of Americans torturing Iraqis keep appearing." Later in the article, Powell points out that "images of ongoing violence and devastation in Iraq" have been "beamed all over the Islamic world by satellite channels like Al Jazeera," and these images have "emboldened radical Islamists…"
The interim Iraqi regime closed down Al-Jazeera on August 7. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told a news conference that the order to close Al-Jazeera came after an independent commission monitored the network's reports and concluded that the network was inciting terrorist attacks.