Not surprisingly, that reading drew sufficient challenge from those more closely acquainted with the facts. "It's taken totally out of context," Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorensen told The Washington Post. "It was not intended to justify a preemptive strike, because JFK had specifically ruled out a preemptive strike."

Kennedy, said Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the history professor who served as a White House aide, was "determined to exhaust all peaceful remedies before resorting to military action." Schlesinger added, "I think the whole shift from containment and deterrence, which is why we won the Cold War, to preventive war is most alarming," he said. "That's the doctrine invoked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. FDR called that a day that will live in infamy, and the Bush doctrine is perpetuating that infamy."

Ashcroft's Amnesia on Afghan Assistance
History Retreating

John Ashcroft spent the past few days offering instruction on the evil ways of Islam. Last week, the government indicted Enaam M. Arnaout on charges that the Benevolence International Foundation he heads was a finance front for Osama bin Laden.

Arnaout, a Syrian native and naturalized U.S. citizen who has been in jail since April on federal perjury charges, denied the accusations. His attorneys characterize the case as a witch-hunt.

The new indictment is based on files discovered in Bosnia that purport to show Benevolence International had links to terrorist and militant groups back in the 1980s in Afghanistan, when bin Laden was getting organized. The files include notes from a 1988 meeting, which Osama attended, along with an oath of allegiance. Court papers cite "various documents reflecting defendant Arnaout's involvement in the acquisition and distribution of hundreds of rockets, hundreds of mortars, offensive and defensive bombs, and dynamite, as well as disguised explosive devices in connection with the al Masada camp."

But there is every likelihood that these rockets and rifles were purchased and distributed by the CIA on the direct orders of President Ronald Reagan. Under him, the agency was engaged in financing the Afghan resistance. Reagan had signed National Security Decision Directive 166 in March 1985, authorizing arms and training for Afghans willing to fight off the invading Soviets. In the decade from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 Muslims from 43 Islamic countries around the world joined the war. Thousands more took up studies at the madrassas set up by Pakistan to inculcate Islamic values. "The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism," writes Ahmed Rashid, author of The Taliban. Much of this American-approved activity was financed through Saudi charities.

But in the administration's rewrite of history, such doings never happened. "It is chilling that the origins of Al Qaeda were discovered in a charity claiming to do good," Ashcroft announced.

Mystery Memo Threatens Latino Lawmakers
Intern-al Affairs

Amid the heat of the Iraq debate last week, dozens of Hispanic leaders across the country got a rude wake-up call in the form of a threatening memo from a White House intern who described Demo-cratic senator Robert Byrd, by far the most persuasive and powerful political opponent of the war, as "doddering old Bob Byrd, the senile senator from West Virginia." The memo—entitled "Can You Believe This!"—went on to attack Hispanic members of Congress who dared to vote against the war resolution: "If they have a defense for their actions, they should deliver it to the kids in uniform that could one day have their — shot off to protect these ninnies!"

The White House said the memo was sent mistakenly by an intern who had disappeared by the time The Denver Post, which first reported the story, began making inquiries.

Additional research: Rebecca Winsor, Gabrielle Jackson, and Josh Saltzman

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