Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Monday, February 12, 2007:
We must pull out of Iraq. Whatever your politics -- Republican or Democrat,
right-wing or left-wing -- it is obvious that there is no longer a military
solution. There is only a political solution. The Iraqis themselves must solve
the differences between their warring factions. We, as outsiders, cannot solve
this with our troops. That political solution remains in Iraqi -- not American
My weekend focussed, fortuitously, on Iraq. It started on Friday night. We'd
gone to dinner and afterwards we were in Barnes & Noble browsing
books. I started to read this one, bought it, took it home and devoured in one
sitting, finishing at 2:30 AM. I haven't done that with a book in eons. It's
beautifully written and gripping.
urge everyone to read this incredible book. It's written by an American who
served in Iraq as a Private First Class in the U.S. Army. The book tells the
story of what he did to the Iraqi people and what he saw other Americans do
to them, why he deserted the war and became an outlaw in his own country. Quoting
from pages 222 to 224:
opinion, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were cowardly
despicable crimes. On that day, the terrorists had no right to take the lives
of American civilians. But I fear that our own behavior in Iraq has invited
more of the same. The young Iraqis who survive our raids, abuse and detentions
have all the motivations they need to seek revenge. I am not looking forward
to the day they get organized. Whenever I remember standing with three hundred
military trainees in Missouri shouting, "Kill the sand niggers"
as loud we could while stabbing and slashing with our bayonets at straw dummies,
I say to myself that I hope the Iraqis who survive our war prove to be more
civilized than we were.
off to war in Iraq and then going AWOL - first in my own country and then
fleeing to Canada - forced me to give up many things. I had to give up my
innocent and unexamined belief that my country and my army were a force for
good in the world. I had to give up my assumptions that leaders of my own
country would speak the truth when they spoke to me.
was not true that every man, woman and child in Iraq was an evil terrorist
who deserved American hatred, bombs and occupation. All I had to do was look
in the eyes of the seven-year old girl who ran to me to ask for my rations,
day after day until she was shot dead (by American troops), to know that the
people we intimidate, beat, detained, and killed were human beings with the
same hungry stomachs as my American-born children."
Before we went
to War in Iraq, the Administration launched a major PR campaign. It succeeded.
At one stage more than 50% of Americans actually believed that Saddam
Hussein was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center on September
11, 2003. Just recently, the Pentagon -- not some left-wing think tank -- but
the Pentagon itself has confirmed that we, as Americans, were lied
to. The Saturday lead editorial in The New York Times explains all.
Read it --- even if you believe that the Times is populated by untrustworthy,
left-wing, pinko reporters:
It took far
too long, but a report by the Pentagon inspector general has finally confirmed
that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfelds do-it-yourself intelligence
office cooked up a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to help justify an unjustifiable
The report said
the team headed by Douglas Feith, under secretary of defense for policy, developed
alternative assessments of intelligence on Iraq that contradicted
the intelligence community and drew conclusions that were not supported
by the available intelligence. Mr. Feith certainly knew the Central
Intelligence Agency would cry foul, so he hid his findings from the C.I.A.
Then Vice President Dick Cheney used them as proof of cloak-and-dagger meetings
that never happened, long-term conspiracies between Saddam Hussein and Osama
bin Laden that didnt exist, and most unforgivable possible
Iraqi coordination on the 9/11 attacks, which no serious intelligence
general did not recommend criminal charges against Mr. Feith because Mr. Rumsfeld
or his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, approved their subordinates inappropriate
operations. The renegade intelligence buff said he was relieved.
he was. But there is no comfort in knowing that his dirty work was approved
by his bosses. All that does is add to evidence that the Bush administration
knowingly and repeatedly misled Americans about the intelligence on Iraq.
this twisted tale, it is important to recall how Mr. Feith got into the creative
writing business. Top administration officials, especially Mr. Cheney, had
long been furious at the C.I.A. for refusing to confirm the delusion about
a grand Iraqi terrorist conspiracy, something the Republican right had nursed
for years. Their frustration only grew after 9/11 and the C.I.A. still refused
to buy these theories.
would feverishly sketch out charts showing how this Iraqi knew that Iraqi,
who was connected through six more degrees of separation to terrorist attacks,
all the way back to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
But the C.I.A.
kept saying there was no reliable intelligence about an Iraq-Qaeda link. So
Mr. Feith was sent to review the reports and come back with the answers Mr.
Cheney wanted. The inspector generals report said Mr. Feith s
team gave a September 2002 briefing at the White House on the alleged Iraq-Qaeda
connection that had not been vetted by the intelligence community (the director
of central intelligence was pointedly not told it was happening) and was
not fully supported by the available intelligence.
The false information
included a meeting in Prague in April 2001 between an Iraqi official and Mohamed
Atta, one of the 9/11 pilots. It never happened. But Mr. Feiths report
said it did, and Mr. Cheney will still not admit that the story is false.
In a statement
released yesterday, Senator Carl Levin, the new chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, who has been dogged in pursuit of the truth about the
Iraqi intelligence, noted that the cooked-up Feith briefing had been leaked
to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine so Mr. Cheney could quote it
as the best source of information about the supposed Iraq-Qaeda
report is one step in a long-delayed effort to figure out how the intelligence
on Iraq was so badly twisted and by whom. That work should have been
finished before the 2004 elections, and it would have been if Pat Roberts,
the obedient Republican who ran the Senate Intelligence Committee, had not
helped the White House drag it out and load it in ways that would obscure
It is now up
to Mr. Levin and Senator Jay Rockefeller, the current head of the intelligence
panel, to give Americans the answers. Mr. Levins desire to have the
entire inspector generals report on the Feith scheme declassified is
a good place to start. But it will be up to Mr. Rockefeller to finally determine
how old, inconclusive, unsubstantiated and false intelligence was transformed
into fresh, reliable and definitive reports and then used by Mr. Bush
and other top officials to drag the country into a disastrous and unnecessary
On Sunday night
I attended a private fund raising for Senator Levin. He spoke for nearly two
hours on the war. The politics of shutting it down are immensely complex by
the rules of Congress. In the house of Representatives, a standard majority
prevails. The Senate requires a 60% majority. So far, there are not sufficient
anti-war Senators to reach that 60%. What Senator Levin is hoping for is to
pass a simple, two-part resolution this week that will:
1. Say we disagree with the Surge, on the basis that there is no military solution,
only a political solution, and
2. Say the Senate supports our troops. The objective of this is not to let the
White House "play the patriotism card."
All reasons for
sending more troops (i.e. The Surge) are based on predictions of disastrous
scenarios if we fail. Previous wars -- Korea and Vietnam -- were also based
on predictions of disastrous scenarios. None came true. It won't happen in Iraq,
either. However, the certainty of losing more precious American lives (and spending
several hundred more billions) does not measure up against the extreme uncertainty
of any bad scenario. Moreover, by being there, we are making Iraqis seriously
hate Americans. Read
Joshua Key's sobering book. It explains what our troops do every day. It's not
it. I have stuck my head out, and probably lost half my readership. I'll get
back to investing tomorrow.
happens when you work late at night:
A mortician was working late one night. He examined the body of Mr.
Schwartz, about to be cremated, and made a startling discovery. Schwartz had
the largest private part he had ever seen!
"I'm sorry Mr. Schwartz," the mortician commented, "I can't allow
you to be cremated with such an impressive private part. It must be saved for
So, he removed
it, stuffed it into his briefcase, and took it home "I have something to
show you won't believe," he said to his wife, opening his briefcase.
the wife exclaimed, "Schwartz is dead!"
This column is about my personal search
for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have
to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter
and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available
for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second,
the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the
Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their
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