WOW - WINEMAN for PRESIDENT, Oct 24th at WVRC!

Yes, as expected, it was a barnburner.  But before we get to that, here is what went on - JACK HARRIS led the Pledge, and I note that we are still permitted to use "Under God" in our recital - thank you, our 1954 Congress.  JACK remained on stage, moved to the piano, and LENNY FRIEDMAN, between them, led us in God Bless America.  DON NELSON - whom some of you may not know as the comedian he can be, gave the Invocation. First allowing us to be seated (which is always appreciated), he then introduced his words by saying they were food for thought, but not for the tongue.  He then proceeded to outline a whole bunch of events and states of mind, all of which were either annoying or even downright troubling. His conclusion - if you can endure all these things, you are probably the family dog!  Right on, DON - and his audience certainly agreed. HANK HEUER and RAY ZICKFELD were saluted for all their cost-cutting efforts in designing and implementing our new Club Directory sheets, and RAY specifically responded by giving us some idea of all the time HANK, in particular, put in on this project.

Alas, PP TOM LENEHEN could locate no Visiting Rotarians.  However, we had several other visitors.  BILL MICHAEL had a Special Guest, Dave Horner, who is a retired engineer who also spent some time in the Army. YOE brought another Special Guest, Dana Wood. Also retired, from Sony - and known to many of the Methodist Mafia.  PP STEVE SCHERER came with Nick Tallant, who is with JP Morgan - something to do with finance, one assumes.  PP MIKE NEWMAN brought Carol Hodges, as a Special Guest for her second visit - she is the daughter of former member DICK HERRICK, and has recently relocated to Los Angeles.  PP DOUG DESCH had three guests, his daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Bob Brumbaugh, and his niece, Cathy Phair. DOUG is justly proud of Martha's expanding career as an artist in mixed water media, as he should be.

The Golf Tournament, chaired by PP JIM SUMNER and PP STEVE SCHERER, had at least five awardees (note the word "winner' is not necessarily applicable hereinů) First up was JIM BECHTEL, who achieved the High Gross - I think that means he got the most exercise of anyone playing that day.  Elliott Turner was not at first present, but came in late, then hung around for his award, being Closest to the Pin - a bit over 6 feet away!  Apparently there was some cash involved here, else ELLIOTT probably not have been as concerned as he obviously was to get his hands on his award.  Another cash award went to PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, he scoring the  Low Gross - an 84, helped along by an EAGLE on the 10th hole! There was a new category - the STU GILMAN award, given for the first time this year to MIKE YOUSEM.  As MIKE was called forward to receive his accolade, he was heard to mutter, "I think I'd rather be the family dog "(apropos of DON NELSON'S Invocation).  This award was earned by MIKE since he not only wore shoes, but also brought his clubs to the event, and of course STU was pleased to be memorialized in this FASHION - (perhaps not my best word choice, considering STU'S appearance last year at this event). And finally, new member Karen Mason was called forward - seems she is not only new to WVRC, but was the first "female golfer" - (STEVE'S words) - to play in this tournament!  Well done, Karen.  PP STEVE reminded us of all the work PP JIM puts in on this, and JIM received a well-deserved round of applause.

Sad to report, DAVE MATSON'S father passed away earlier this week - a note or card to DAVE would be a nice thing to do (and none of us do enough nice things, certainly).

And now, in sequence - ROTARY AUXILIARY will visit LACMA on Tuesday, Nov.12 - Petie Henkes for reservations, please.  PP DAVE WHITEHEAD is once again offering us all a Computer Class - it will be Saturday, Nov. 16th, from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 19th will be the next Yearling Breakfast, 0730 at the Holiday Inn on Sunset - call HARLAN LEWIS to confirm, please.  (I mentioned this last week, but failed to include the date, somehow - I'm sorry, HARLAN). Nov. 22nd, Friday, is our joint meeting with LA 5, the day before the SC-UCLA collision - you can bus down at either 10 or 11, which gives those who haven't see the Cathedral a chance to visit it beforehand.  We have over 80 going right now -are YOU signed up yet? And in mid-December, MIKE YOUSEM will be offering his Christmas Shopping program, built around kids from the Westside Family YMCA - date is 12 December, OK?

Prexy TED reported on attending the reunion of his Stanford Law class. Three highlights: a panel entitled 'War, Peace and Civil Liberties: American Constitutionalism in the Wake of Terror' - panelists included Warren Christopher and Richard Morningstar.  Next, presentation of the Ralston Award to Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI, who took over just one week before 9/11.  Finally, a Moot Court argument in which the two advocates presented their thoughts to a court comprised of Chief Justice Renquist, Justice Sandra Day O'Conner and Gerhard Casper, President Emeritus of Stanford University. Pretty heady stuff, TED - and when someone in the audience suggested he should fine himself for all this self-promotion, he replied that he already had - $12.50!  (This brought some questioning reactions, to which TED replied, "Is that too high"? ).

I was pleased to introduce our speaker, PAUL WINEMAN.  Paul was born in California, and the family moved to Iran when he was a year and a half old.  At age 18, he returned to earn a BA in economics from the U of Washington, and then on to Lebanon to pursue his Masters in Arabic Studies at American University in Beirut. He was a Green Beret - his language ability was prized, since he spoke both Farsi and Arabic, and he served with the Shah of Iran as a training officer.  When he left Lebanon in 1983, he had spent 30 years in the Middle East!  He joined WVRC in 1986 - and will come back, once his travel schedule permits.  He last spoke to us about a year ago.

Paul began by outlining the terrorism to which we have been subjected since he left Lebanon in March of 1983 - (this at the strong urging of a close Arab friend, who told him, you have to leave NOW!)  One month later - April 1983, the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up, killing 69 people, mostly Americans - and that same time, 222 marines at their base near Beirut airport were killed by another suicide bomber. Later in 1983, a major fire was started in the parking garage of the World Trade Center - yes, the same buildings that were destroyed on 9/11. In 1999, two or our East African Embassies were blown up. In 2000, the USS Cole was disabled in the harbor at Aden, with 39 sailors killed. And of course, on 9/11, they finally succeeded in blowing up the World Trade Center, plus damaging the Pentagon.  A third target was spared by the heroic action of the passengers on that hijacked jet, which cost them all their lives. This leads us to the question, Are we slow learners, or what?

Paul doesn't think so, essentially.  For the last 50 years, the foreign policy of the U.S. toward the Middle East has been based on Oil, Oil, Oil, and the defense of Israel. For domestic political reasons, our policy has been to insure the continued flow of oil, plus keeping it in the $20 to $30 per barrel price range.  He points out that in the 1991 Gulf War, we should have demanded - and would have received - a permanent price of, say, $10 per barrel as our quid pro quo for removing Iraq from Kuwait. As he keeps reminding us, we should have negotiated  - but that would not have gone down well in Texas, among other domestic oil-producing states.  In other words, we have wanted to keep things as they are - or were, anyway.  

The Golden Rule of the Middle East is - he who has the gold, makes the rules.  We have not exercised this ultimate power.  When you remember that the United States, the only Superpower in the world, provides more aid to both Israel and the Palestinians than any other country, why haven't we brought the two sides together in a lasting peace? Could it be that perhaps we don't WANT peace?  He asks, if there were peace in the Middle East (and immediately adds, which there won't be), what would that do to the price of oil?  When you combine Israeli technology and Arab money, it's interesting to speculate.  And he adds that we should prefer being respected, rather than being liked - WHO CARES if they like us?

Osama Bin Laden inherited 35 million dollars from his father.  He was in Afghanistan, and watched the U.S. fund the Taliban (to get rid of the Russians).  He liked what he saw, returned to Saudi Arabia and was active in stirring up political unrest.  Expelled, he moved to Sudan, where he was captured by government forces.  They offered to turn him over to the U.S., but the Clinton Administration turned the offer down - they didn't want to upset the status quo.  So back to Afghanistan, and you know the rest of the story.  Paul thinks Osama is dead, maybe has been for awhile - but his body won't appear, and thus he becomes a martyr.

President Bush has declared publicly that we want Saddam Hussein and his close associates killed.  In the Arab world, once you make such a statement, you need to go ahead and carry it out - otherwise, you are shown to be weak. We cannot afford that, and thus we must invade.  We have to win, and if we do so quickly and thoroughly, the Arab world will remain quiescent. We don't need a coalition to invade - when we do need such a coalition is when we replace the government, since the Arab states must be consulted.

Before Paul entered American University for his Masters, he spent several months living in Jordan - this to improve his Arabic, which is much more difficult than Farsi.  There he became friendly with an older Arab, and they had many conversations. His friend used an excellent airline simile to describe the U.S. position in the world -The U.S. is sitting in all the first class seats, with everyone else in economy class.  This causes much jealousy - note this was in1966 - and how true it still is!

Our State Department and Jimmy Carter pulled the rug out from under the Shah in 1979, and what did we get to replace him - Khoumani.  This was one of the dumbest foreign policy moves of the last half-century.  We should remember  - better the devil you know than the devil you don't.  And this applies, in spades, to Iraq. Paul believes that the worldwide terrorism we have seen in the last twenty years really started when the Arabs saw us desert the Shah.  As they watched, they saw someone else, who is worse, come in. This lesson applies, in spades, to Iraq.  We MUST have leaders waiting in the wings, and we must KNOW how these leaders stand. That's where an Arab coalition comes in.

Have we ever heard of an oil pipeline being blown up? No, and that's why the Saudis and other Middle Eastern states continue to pay money to terrorists - it's protection money!  Ever since Israel was established in 1948, we have tried to walk the tightrope between conflicting cultures - and it worked, until 9/11.  The status quo is no more.

I now propose to give you the Q&A, as best I wrote it down.  By the way, several of you asked me for the tape of Paul's talk, and I'm willing, but it is incomplete -I'll see if I can produce it, so please lemme know if you are willing to pay for a copy, OK?

PP MIKE NEWMAN -are religion or economic factors more important.  Islam abhors America since our culture is entirely at odds with theirs.  They intensely dislike our support for Israel - and they resent our relative freedom from corruption.

PDG BILL GOODWYN - what changes will 9/11 produce.  We won't see democracy in our lifetime, and note that Iran is more anti-Iraq than anti-US.

MAX LICHTENBERGER - Does Israel really spend $10 million a day on defense.  Remember, they don't do a thing without our prior approval.  

CHARLES MAGNUSON - does Saddam believe our threats. He is a martyr already.  

Judy GOODWYN - do the Russians probably have more oil than is in the Middle East.  It's possible.  

SALLY BRANT - will leases signed with the French in Iraq still apply.  Probably.  Someone asked, what about Arafat - what if he is killed.  We don't know who would replace him - and above all, don't let Israel have any say in his successor.

PP JIM COLLINS - what do the Iraqi people think of Saddam.
Remember, they are at least 50% illiterate, so they tend to believe what they see.  

PP MIKE NEWMAN again - will they use their MWD if we invade.  They have the potential, and the power.  PP HOWIE HENKES - are his two sons worse.  They are all despicable, and ALL have to go. STU GILMAN - what is the status of women today.  Kuwaiti girls are well dressed, but in Iran they prefer the traditional - again, the uneducated prefer the old ways.  Major changes like this won't happen in Paul's lifetime.

HANK HEUER - what does Saddam want most.  Get Israel out of the Middle East, period.  Remember there are 66 million Iranians, all of whom are Shia Muslims, and Iraq only has 22 million, divided between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Also note that we funded Iraq in their ten-year war with Iran.  

Enough - Paul, you have a world of insight and background on the Middle East, and we very much appreciate your sharing your thoughts with us, once again. Please come back.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe