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Volume 8, Issue 41: October 9, 2006

  1. Critics of Partitioning Iraq Err at Great Peril, Eland Argues
  2. Prioritizing the al Qaeda Threat
  3. Brazil's Challenge
  4. Columbus and Che
  5. The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War

1) Critics of Partitioning Iraq Err at Great Peril, Eland Argues

With the mid-term U.S. elections looming next month, it's practically a given that the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, will not recommend that Iraq be decentralized and partitioned in order to avert a complete meltdown along ethnic and sectarian lines. This is extremely disheartening. Because Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis fear a strong central government, radical decentralization is "the only viable solution remaining for Iraq," writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland in his latest op-ed.

Whereas each group fears that a central government would become an engine of oppression, U.S. critics of decentralizing and partitioning fear it might encourage the opposite. But those criticisms are unfounded, according to Eland.

"Many opponents of decentralization or partition use the example of the civil war during the break up of Yugoslavia," Eland continues. "Yet that is not the only model. Czechoslovakia and most of the Soviet Union broke up peacefully. Even in the case of Yugoslavia, when Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia separated from Yugoslavia, if the Serbs in those states had been allowed to affiliate with Serbia, a civil war might have been avoided."

"Partitioning: The Way Out of Iraq," by Ivan Eland (10/9/06)
"La partición: la salida de Irak"

The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland


THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


2) Prioritizing the al Qaeda Threat

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice last week denounced the assertion, made in Bob Woodward's STATE OF DENIAL, that in July 2001, she practically turned a deaf ear to CIA Director George Tenet's warning about an impending al Qaeda attack.

But whether or not the Bush administration worked harder than the Clinton administration to avert the 9/11 terrorist attack is beside the point, because neither one had made al Qaeda the highest national security priority, according to Charles Pena, senior fellow at the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty. More importantly, in the post-9/11 environment, the United States must still make neutralizing al Qaeda its top objective, Pena argues in his latest op-ed.

"While we should expect a superpower to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, by definition it is not possible to devote 100 percent attention to more than one thing at a time," writes Pena. "If the al Qaeda threat demands our nearly undivided attention, the United States cannot afford dalliances that do not contribute to the goal of destroying al Qaeda.... Therefore, instead of Iraq, the focus of what we have come to call the war on terrorism must be on al Qaeda, which is a terrorist organization that has morphed into a network of networks and is representative of a radical Islamic ideology that is seeping through the Muslim world."

"He Said, She Said," by Charles Pena (10/4/06)
"El dijo, ella dijo"

"Are We Safer?" by Charles Pena (9/13/06)
"¿Estamos más seguros?"


3) Brazil's Challenge

Although he is likely to win re-election later this month, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won't have an easy time making meaningful progress during his next term. Plagued by a string of corruption scandals, da Silva will need to address two related problems -- reducing local corruption and fostering genuine growth for the country's plodding economy. The task is Herculean, given the political power held by Brazil's corrupt state governments, according to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity

"Because Brazil's political system makes it devilishly difficult to make decisions and its state system greatly limits the creation of wealth (some companies must pay as many as 61 different taxes), corruption has proliferated spectacularly," writes Vargas Llosa in his latest op-ed.

Lula's loose alliance with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and opposition to trade liberalization also hamper his ability to foster genuine prosperity. Continues Vargas Llosa: "Lula’s bet on keeping the Mercosur trading bloc away from any increased commercial ties with the United States or other prosperous regions shows the degree to which his foreign policy clings to the old Latin American habits, even if Lula eschews the demagogical stridencies of his Bolivarian neighbor. Lula’s probable re-election a month from now guarantees that for the next few years, Latin America will lurch about on half its cylinders."

"Lula's Labrynth," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (10/4/06)
"Lula en el laberinto"

LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute


4) Columbus and Che

Today marks both Columbus Day and the anniversary of the death of Che Guevara. Whereas Christopher Columbus has fallen out of favor, Che is now celebrated worldwide as a liberator and icon of radical chic. Columbus can be chastised for having taken slaves in the New World, but much of the cultural mainstream remains silent about Guevara's murderous legacy.

“The anniversary of Che Guevara’s death on October 9 is an appropriate time to address the myths that keep the Che cult alive,” says Vargas Llosa, author of THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH.

Che, Vargas Llosa explains, ordered firing squads at Cuba's La Cabana prison, supported the military colonization of Cuba by the Soviets, forbade ordinary Cubans from traveling abroad, and encouraged bloody (and pointless) revolutions in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Haiti. But try printing all that on a tee-shirt.

"Ten Shots at Che Guevara," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY, 10/7/05)
"Diez tiros al Che Guevara"

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

"Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day," by David Sacks and Peter Thiel


5) The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War

Forum with Mark Danner and Ivan Eland (Oakland, Calif., 10/17/06)

According to a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate report co-authored by sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, the Iraq conflict "is cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement." The report concludes that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has fueled a new generation of Islamic radicalism and the threat of terrorism has increased since 9/11.

But fanning the flames of global jihad may be only one of several legacies of the Iraq War. Regional stability, oil security, and American geopolitical power may also be heavily affected for years or decades to come.

What exactly is going on in Iraq, and what are its long-term implications? What will it take for Iraq to become a stable nation? How much does this depend on U.S. policies? How will the outcome in Iraq affect oil prices and the U.S. economy? How will it change relations between the United States and its allies and rivals? What affect is the Iraq war having on domestic politics throughout the Muslim world? Is Iran next?

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, Mark Danner and Ivan Eland will address these and related questions at the Independent Policy Forum, "The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War." This event will be held at the Independent Institute Conference Center, Oakland, Calif. at 6:30 p.m.


-- MARK DANNER is Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College as well as the author of THE SECRET WAY TO WAR: The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History, and TORTURE AND TRUTH: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror, both published by The New York Review of Books.

-- IVAN ELAND is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at The Independent Institute and author of, THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, published by The Independent Institute, 2004.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reception and book signing: 6:30 p.m.

Program: 7:00 p.m.


The Independent Institute Conference Center

100 Swan Way

Oakland, CA 94621-1428

For a map and directions, see

TICKETS: $15 per person ($10 for Independent Institute Members). Special Offer: Admission and a copy of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: $35 ($30 for members). Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366 or ordering online at

Praise for THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland:

"I can honestly say I found THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES to be factually well grounded and extremely well thought out. The logic is sound as is the scholarship from my perspective. The Independent Institute should be commended for its role is supporting neutral research which is driven neither by the politics of the left or the right."
--RINALDO S. BRUTOCO, President, The World Business Academy

"In THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES, Dr. Eland shows that the concept of empire is wholly contrary to the principles of liberals and conservatives alike and makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers' vision for a free republic."
--RON PAUL, U.S. Congressman

For information about THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES, see

For more information about this event, see


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