\"Deep Concerns\" – Noam Chomsky on the war in Iraq

March 26, 2003 at 12:34 am
Contributed by:

– Noam Chomsky on the war in Iraq

Two histories of US / Middle East relations

March 26, 2003 at 12:34 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here are a couple of articles that I’ve been meaning to send out for a long time now. I thought they were both really eye-opening and I give them both a four-star rating.


Sympathy for the Devil by By Hsing Lee ****


This is a really interesting article, taking a line of inquiry into our national energy agenda, from 1609 to the present! By following the money, the author ties together US policies, bin Laden, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Bush dynasty, oil business, and a lot of other things. “We must put an end to fascism once and for all, by cutting it out at its source… the Bush administration and their neo-conservative friends, the Skull and Bones, and Wall Street.”


The Historical Trajectory of Iraqi-American Relations (Word doc 74K) ****

Adapted from Josh Kane’s The Burning of a Nation

These are lecture notes from a student at UW, and lay out a fairly extensive history of Iraq and our involvements therein. Though the notes are rough and need editing, the material is eye-popping for me, as I did not know much of that history.


Long articles, but well worth the read!


OK, that’s enough for one night. I’m sure you have plenty to keep you all busy for a while.


–C

The New McCarthyism

March 26, 2003 at 12:34 am
Contributed by:

The New McCarthyism


Folks,

Here are a few
articles on the New McCarthyism that’s taking hold in our country. I’m sure,
sadly, that there will be much more on that to come.

Then there’s this warning about the Patriot Act to users of the Santa Cruz Public Library:


Ugh.


–CMSNBC
surrenders, cancels Donahue

“It’s not a coincidence that this decision
comes the same week that MSNBC announces its hired Dick Armey as a commentator
and has both Jesse Ventura and Michael Savage joining the network as hosts.
They’re scared, and they decided to take the coward’s road and slant towards the
conservative crowd that watch Fox News.”




Passenger’s
Anti-War Sign Gets Snippy Response

Fri March 14, 2003 07:42 AM ET WASHINGTON
(Reuters) – An airline passenger has complained to U.S. authorities that a
government baggage screener left a note in his suitcase criticizing his lack of
patriotism after finding a “No Iraq War” sign inside his bag.
Seth Goldberg,
a 41-year-old New Jersey man, said on Thursday he believes a screener with the
Transportation Security Administration slipped a note into his suitcase before a
March 2 flight out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“Don’t appreciate
your anti-American attitude!” was neatly hand written on the standard notice TSA
places inside all the bags that screeners open. (Via reader Mark
LaVerdiere).
* * *
#2:
With some 15,000 to 20,000 folks at the rodeo
drinking beer and having fun, things can get a little out of hand at times. It
happened when a tape of Lee Greenwood’s song Proud To Be An American was
playing. Some rodeo fans were standing and others were sitting down. Felix
Fanaselle and his buddies chose to remain seated.
“This guy behind us starts
yelling at us (because) we’re not standing up,” said Fanaselle. “He starts
cussing at us, telling us to go back to Iraq.”
The 16-year-old said the man
seated behind him started spitting at him and spilling his beer on him and his
friends.
“By the end of the song, he pulled my ear. I got up. He pushed me. I
pushed him,” said Felix. “He punched me in my face. I got him off me.”
When
the dust settled, Fanaselle had been handcuffed and released. He and John
McCambridge were cited for “mutual combat” and fighting in public. That’s a $200
fine. Fanaselle’s lawyer says you don’t have to stand for a country and western
song.


Oscars
blacklist stars in bid to prevent peace protest speeches
 

By ANNETTE
WITHERIDGE/The Scotsman

THE backlash against prominent stars opposing any
attack on Iraq has impacted
on this year’s Oscars, with organisers drawing up
a blacklist of people who
will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war
views.

Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin
Hoffman and
Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears
they could
turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally.

In a move
denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have
been
ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no
control
over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything
much more
than a brief thank you.

Officially, executives say that politics is a
turn-off for the show’s
television audience. But in the wake of a public
backlash against actors such
as Martin Sheen, from the West Wing, who have
voiced opposition to war,
producers do not want to upset advertisers who have
paid more than £50
million for adverts. In previous years, high-profile
presenters have grabbed
the spotlight to promote their political causes.
Richard Gere urged China to
end its occupation of Tibet and Susan Sarandon
and Tim Robbins appealed for
HIV-positive Haitians to be allowed into the
United States.

Sarandon and Robbins are also among those on this year’s
unofficial
blacklist, along with Ed Norton and Dennis Hopper. The only
anti-war
campaigner on the presenters’ list so far is Salma Hayek, the star
of Frida
and a best actress nominee.

Gil Cates, one of the ceremony’s
producers, wants the ceremony, which takes
place on 23 March, to celebrate
the Oscars’ 75th anniversary rather than the
anti-Bush/Blair movement. And he
admitted he thought it “inappropriate” for
stars to use their slots to
spotlight world problems.

But Tom O’Neil, an Oscar historian, said:
“Political tantrums are inevitable.
You’re dealing with a class of people who
have unchecked egos and who are
invited on talk shows to be experts on
everything from high art to pop cul
ture.”

Top of the loose-cannon
list this year is the Bowling for Columbine director,
Michael Moore, a
favourite to win the documentary feature award.

Last month, Moore thanked
the French for not supporting the proposed Iraqi
invasion while accepting an
award in Paris. And on Saturday, he used the
Writers Guild of America awards
in Los Angeles to voice his opinions of
George Bush, the US
president.

Worryingly, for the Oscar producers, Moore won loud applause
after telling
the audience: “What I see is a country that does not like
what’s going on.
Let’s all commit ourselves to Bush removal in
2004.”

If Moore does not win an Oscar, insiders claim Hollywood will be
reverting
back to the witch-hunting 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy and
his cohorts
destroyed the careers of supposed Communist sympathies. The “Red
scare”
stories saw off Charlie Chaplin, who left Hollywood for Switzerland,
and a
host of other high-profile celebrities.

McCarthy-supporting
actors included the former US president, Ronald Reagan,
and the director Elia
Kazan.

(c) 2003 The
Scotsman

A Bold Agenda (more on the Bush Doctrine)

March 26, 2003 at 12:33 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

Here
is an interesting article from the LA Times, by William Schneider of CNN, that
weaves together several of the threads I’ve written to this list about recently,
such as the Bush Doctrine, Iraq, oil, and 9/11, and does it very nicely. You can
actually start to make out the tapestry: a picture of American Empire.

–CWASHINGTON — This is Bush’s
war.

That’s not a statement of contempt. In 1999, congressional
Republicans did express a certain contempt when they called the NATO bombing
campaign in Kosovo “Clinton’s war.” Meaning, it’s his war. It’s not our
war.

But to call the campaign in Iraq “Bush’s war” is a statement of
political fact. President Bush has made this war his personal cause. He has
staked his entire presidency on it.

A triumph in Iraq will be his
triumph. It will give him the political capital to do anything he wants —
dividend tax cuts, Medicare reform, anything. Bush will stand astride the world
like a colossus. Just as his father once did.

But this President Bush
understands, as his father did not, that political capital is a fungible
commodity. It has to be invested in a big agenda. The father had no interest in
big agendas. He was the “kinder, gentler” president. He lacked “the vision
thing.”

No one can say this Bush is not bold. Last fall, he did what few
presidents do in midterm elections. He took a calculated risk by making himself
the central issue in the campaign. It could have ended badly, in which case the
election would have damaged Bush’s political standing. But it didn’t. And the
president saw his stature immensely enhanced.

The 2002 campaign was a
trifling wager compared with Iraq. This is Texas political poker, the ultimate
high-stakes gamble. Bush has everything riding on it — his reelection, his
legacy, his party’s future. Not to mention the life and death of hundreds of
thousands of combatants, the future of the Middle East and America’s role in the
world.

Make no mistake about it: This President Bush is a big-agenda man.
His agenda is nothing less than remaking the world.

It is impossible to
make any political predictions without first knowing what’s going to happen in
Iraq. Nothing about Bush’s economic program. Nothing about his judicial
appointments. Not even the 2004 Democratic nomination. Well, maybe one
prediction: If Saddam Hussein is still in power next year, there is no way Bush
can get reelected, short of the Democrats nominating Al Sharpton.

It’s
Bush vs. Hussein. Only one of them can come out alive. Politically, at
least.

To claim victory, the administration will have to show proof of
two things. First, that Hussein is out of power — that he has been eliminated
or is under U.S. control. The administration’s goal is not justice. It’s regime
change. Second, there really are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But
even if Hussein is ousted and weapons of mass destruction are unearthed, any
number of things could go wrong.

Massive war casualties. Israeli
involvement, causing the Middle East to erupt in flames. Chaos in Iraq. A
difficult and costly American occupation. Popular revolts that bring down
pro-American regimes in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Egypt. Terrorist
reprisals against the U.S. homeland. Guerrilla attacks on American occupation
forces. Gasoline rationing and skyrocketing energy prices. If any of those
things happens, the political consequences for Bush will be
devastating.

This war is the toughest and riskiest decision any president
has made since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Which leads to the obvious
question: Why is Bush doing it?

The necessity of war with Iraq — at
least, war now — is not obvious to most of the world. Or to many
Americans.

People outside the U.S. have reached a harsh conclusion: This
is a war for oil. Isn’t Iraq believed to have the second-largest proven oil
reserves in the world? Aren’t Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney oil men?
Doesn’t the oil industry contribute huge sums to the Republican
Party?

Steve Kretzmann of the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington
puts it this way: “If McDonald’s, the world’s largest consumer of potatoes,
announces in advance that it’s going to buy Idaho, and that the purchase has
nothing to do with potatoes, what would you think?”

The slogan of the
antiwar movement, from Austin to Australia, is “No Blood for Oil.” Last
November, a reporter asked Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, “Mr.
Secretary, what do you say to people who think this is about
oil?”

Rumsfeld gave a typically dismissive answer: “Nonsense…. It has
nothing to do with oil. Literally, nothing to do with oil.”

How can that
be? “If it were about oil, it would be the simplest problem in the world to
solve,” Jim Placke of Cambridge Energy Research Associates said. “The Iraqis
would cut a deal instantly, a deal that would be very financially
attractive.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz recently said,
“If the United States had wanted access to Iraqi oil, we could have dropped our
whole policy 12 years ago, lifted the sanctions and let Saddam Hussein have his
weapons of mass destruction.”

After all, there’s plenty of oil available
elsewhere in the world. More Iraqi oil production would drive down prices — and
profits. The oil industry wants stability — “a stable price in a reasonable
range,” Placke said. And what is war but the ultimate instability? Peter
Hartcher of the Australian Financial Review put it this way: “The oil industry
wants oil, but they don’t want to go through a war to get it.”

There’s a
reason why the rest of the world readily accepts the idea that this is a war for
oil: They have not heard any other convincing explanation. But the American
public dismisses the idea. By 2 to 1 in last month’s Gallup poll (65% to 33%),
Americans said oil is not a reason to take military action against
Iraq.

Have Americans heard a more convincing explanation? Yes, they have:
9/11. “September the 11th should say to the American people that we are now a
battlefield,” Bush said at his March 6 news conference. The idea is that the
United States, as a matter of its own national security, must disarm Iraq in
order to prevent another 9/11.

But is 9/11 the real reason why the Bush
administration wants war?

Recent books by Bob Woodward and David Frum
suggest that the administration had made the decision to confront Iraq long
before 9/11. The real motivation, some analysts say, is idealistic. For years,
neoconservative intellectuals like Wolfowitz and Richard N. Perle — figures of
great influence in the Bush administration — have been promoting the idea of a
new world order, based on the predominance of American power.

And the
weakening of the United Nations. “Present at the Destruction” was the boastful
cover line of a recent issue of the Weekly Standard, the nation’s leading
neoconservative publication. Meaning: Let us now celebrate the U.N.’s impending
downfall.

As Hartcher said, “This is about the neoconservative view, the
idealistic view, the Wilsonian view, that the world would be a better place if
only America can make it that way.”

It’s about remaking the world. By
force. Forget all the talk about the U.S. exercising “soft power” through wealth
and trade and cultural influence. That’s Clinton-era nonsense. Hard power is
what matters. Did you catch the test of the new MOAB weapon, nicknamed “Mother
of All Bombs”?

What if the rest of the world does not want to be remade?
Right now, U.S. power is unchecked. No country can stop us. The only leverage
other countries have against the U.S. is the United Nations. And the Bush
administration is determined to prove that the U.N. is
irrelevant.

There’s only one check on Bush’s bold agenda: the American
people. Bold agendas make Americans nervous. Because the fact is, Americans have
no ambition to dominate the world. Their ambition is simple. They just want to
feel safe.

William Schneider, a contributing editor to Opinion, is a
CNN political analyst.

Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@

March 26, 2003 at 12:33 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

For a little change of pace, something a little less dry, I thought you
might like these January comments from Kurt Vonnegut. He certainly hasn’t
lost his edge.

–C

—–Original Message—–

Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@

By Joel Bleifuss | 1.27.03 print | email | comment

Kurt Vonnegut | vonnegut.com

In November, Kurt Vonnegut turned 80. He published his first novel, Player
Piano, in 1952 at the age of 29.
Since then he has written 13 others, including Slaughterhouse Five, which
stands as one of the pre-eminent
anti-war novels of the 20th century.

As war against Iraq looms, I asked Vonnegut, a reader and supporter of this
magazine, to weigh in. Vonnegut is
an American socialist in the tradition of Eugene Victor Debs, a fellow
Hoosier whom he likes to quote: "As long
as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal
element, I am of it. As long as there is
a soul in prison, I am not free."

-Joel Bleifuss

You have lived through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Reagan wars, Desert
Storm, the Balkan wars and now
this coming war in Iraq. What has changed, and what has remained the same?

One thing which has not changed is that none of us, no matter what continent
or island or ice cap, asked to be
born in the first place, and that even somebody as old as I am, which is 80,
only just got here. There were
already all these games going on when I got here. . An apt motto for any
polity anywhere, to put on its state
seal or currency or whatever, might be this quotation from the late baseball
manager Casey Stengel, who was
addressing a team of losing professional athletes: "Can’t anybody here play
this game?"

My daughter Lily, for an example close to home, who has just turned 20,
finds herself-as does George W. Bush,
himself a kid-an heir to a shockingly recent history of human slavery, to an
AIDS epidemic and to nuclear
submarines slumbering on the floors of fjords in Iceland and elsewhere,
crews prepared at a moment’s notice to
turn industrial quantities of men, women and children into radioactive soot
and bone meal by means of rockets
and H-bomb warheads. And to the choice between liberalism or conservatism
and on and on.

What is radically new in 2003 is that my daughter, along with our president
and Saddam Hussein and on and on,
has inherited technologies whose byproducts, whether in war or peace, are
rapidly destroying the whole planet
as a breathable, drinkable system for supporting life of any kind. Human
beings, past and present, have trashed
the joint.

Based on what you’ve read and seen in the media, what is not being said in
the mainstream press about President
Bush’s policies and the impending war in Iraq?

That they are nonsense.

My feeling from talking to readers and friends is that many people are
beginning to despair. Do you think that
we’ve lost reason to hope?

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just
war, might as well have been invaded
by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has
happened, though, is that it has been
taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup
d’etat imaginable. And those now in
charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no
history or geography, plus
not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka "Christians," and plus, most
frighteningly, psychopathic personalities,
or "PPs."

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical
diagnosis, like saying he or she has
appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask
of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley.
Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their
actions may cause others, but they do not
care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom
and on and on, who have enriched
themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who
still feel as pure as the driven
snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these
heartless PPs now hold big jobs in
our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.

What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in
government, is that they are so
decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the
simple reason that they cannot care
what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves!
Privatize the public schools! Attack
Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich!
Build a trillion-dollar missile
shield! *censored* habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss
my ass!

How have you gotten involved in the anti-war movement? And how would you
compare the movement against a war in
Iraq with the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era?

When it became obvious what a dumb and cruel and spiritually and financially
and militarily ruinous mistake our
war in Vietnam was, every artist worth a damn in this country, every serious
writer, painter, stand-up
comedian, musician, actor and actress, you name it, came out against the
thing. We formed what might be
described as a laser beam of protest, with everybody aimed in the same
direction, focused and intense. This
weapon proved to have the power of a banana-cream pie three feet in diameter
when dropped from a stepladder
five-feet high.

And so it is with anti-war protests in the present day. Then as now, TV did
not like anti-war protesters, nor
any other sort of protesters, unless they rioted. Now, as then, on account
of TV, the right of citizens to
peaceably assemble, and petition their government for a redress of
grievances, "ain’t worth a pitcher of warm
spit," as the saying goes.

As a writer and artist, have you noticed any difference between how the
cultural leaders of the past and the
cultural leaders of today view their responsibility to society?

Responsibility to which society? To Nazi Germany? To the Stalinist Soviet
Union? What about responsibility to
humanity in general? And leaders in what particular cultural activity? I
guess you mean the fine arts. I hope
you mean the fine arts. … Anybody practicing the fine art of composing
music, no matter how cynical or greedy
or scared, still can’t help serving all humanity. Music makes practically
everybody fonder of life than he or
she would be without it. Even military bands, although I am a pacifist,
always cheer me up.

But that is the power of ear candy. The creation of such a universal
confection for the eye, by means of
printed poetry or fiction or history or essays or memoirs and so on, isn’t
possible. Literature is by
definition opinionated. It is bound to provoke the arguments in many
quarters, not excluding the hometown or
even the family of the author. Any ink-on-paper author can only hope at best
to seem responsible to small
groups or like-minded people somewhere. He or she might as well have given
an interview to the editor of a
small-circulation publication.

Maybe we can talk about the responsibilities to their societies of
architects and sculptors and painters
another time. And I will say this: TV drama, although not yet classified as
fine art, has on occasion performed
marvelous services for Americans who want us to be less paranoid, to be
fairer and more merciful. M.A.S.H. and
Law and Order, to name only two shows, have been stunning masterpieces in
that regard.

That said, do you have any ideas for a really scary reality TV show?

"C students from Yale." It would stand your hair on end.

What targets would you consider fair game for a satirist today?

Assholes.

Joel Bleifuss is the editor of In These Times, where he has worked as a
investigative reporter, columnist and
editor since 1986. Bleifuss has had more stories on Project Censored’s
annual list of the "10 Most Censored
Stories" than any other journalist

<snow-list@lists.riseup.net>
Fyi. If there is typical Vonnegut, here is one (larry
ebersole).
***
> By Kurt Vonnegut
>
> In These Times
> March 6, 2003
>
> The recent Kurt Vonnegut interview (Kurt Vonnegut
> vs. !*@) has become the most popular story at
> inthesetimes.com, where the article originally
> appeared, with hundreds of readers expressing their
> opinions in the Comments section. The interview has
> also been translated and reprinted in Aftonbladet,
> Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, and La Jornada,
> Mexico’s most respected daily newspaper. In light of
> this response, Vonnegut has agreed, on an occasional
> basis, to entertain readers’ questions. If you would
> like to submit a question, write to
> vonnegut@inthesetimes.com, and the editors will pass
> along your question to him.
>
>
> Dear Mr. Vonnegut
>
> What genuinely motivates al-Qaeda to kill and
> self-destruct? The president says, "They hate our
> freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of
> speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and
> disagree with each other," which surely is not what
> has been learned from the captives being held in
> Guantanamo, or what he is told in his briefings. Why
> do the communications industry and our elected
> politicians allow Bush to get away with such
> nonsense? And how can there ever be peace, and even
> trust in our leaders, if the American people aren’t
> told the truth?
> -Peter Hoyt, Little Deer Island, Maine
>
>
> Dear Mr. Hoyt,
>
>
> One wishes that those who have taken over our
> federal government, and hence the world, by means of
> a Mickey Mouse coup d’etat, and who have
> disconnected all the burglar alarms prescribed by
> the Constitution, which is to say the House and
> Senate and the Supreme Court and We the People, were
> truly Christian. But as William Shakespeare told us
> long ago, "The devil can cite Scripture for his
> purpose."
>
>
> And what remains the best-kept secret from the
> Second World War, because it is so embarrassing, is
> that Hitler was a Christian, and that his swastika
> was a Christian cross made of axes, an apt symbol of
> a political party for Christians of the working
> class. And there were simpler, unambiguous crosses
> on all Hitler’s tanks and planes.
>
>
> Again: One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet,
> that the people in and around the White House
> nowadays truly mean it when they say, "Forgive us
> our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass
> against us," and that they respect as children of
> God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in
> the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor
> in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful,
> the peace makers and so on.
>
>
> But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush
> smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his
> readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise
> missiles, what I call "Timothy McVeighs," into the
> midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half
> of whom are children, little boys and girls under
> the age of 15.
>
>
> His domestic policies, whose viciousness is peewee
> in comparison with what he is so eager to do to
> foreigners who don’t look like him and talk like
> him, who don’t have names like his, nonetheless
> inflict pain on those Americans of the sort
> enumerated in the Beatitudes, by depriving them of
> decent health care and educations, and of food,
> shelter and clothing when times are bad. It seems
> quite possible that his opinion of the American
> people has been formed while watching the Jerry
> Springer Show, which is Republican propaganda of the
> most pernicious kind.
>
>
> But America was certainly hated all around the world
> long before this coup d’etat. And we weren’t hated,
> as George W. Bush would have it, because of our
> liberty and justice for all. We are hated because
> our corporations have been the principal deliverers
> and imposers of new technologies and economic
> schemes that have wrecked the self-respect, the
> cultures of men, women and children in so many other
> societies.
>
>
> It’s that simple.
>
>
> What are we to do when confronted by such hatred?
> Respond to Code Red and run around like chickens
> with their heads cut off.
>
>
> Keep in touch,
> Kurt Vonnegut
>
>
> Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in
> Space
> PO Box 90083
> Gainesville, FL. 32607
> (352) 337-9274
> (352) 871-7554 (Cell Phone)
> http://space4peace.org
> globalnet@mindspringcom

=====
"Intelligent and conscientious people have doubts — express yours
through conscientious objections to militarism and war. For info.
on this topic (not direct-services!), please do visit,
www.objector.org>."

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.: \’Pearl Harbor in Reverse\’

March 25, 2003 at 11:12 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

This is a good one, definitely worth your time. An excerpt:

I think we’ve made a fatal mis-turn in our foreign policy by abandoning the doctrine of containment-plus-deterrence (which won the Cold War peacefully), and adopting as the basis of our foreign policy preventive war. Preventive war, anticipatory self-defense, was the doctrine with which the Japanese justified Pearl Harbor. FDR, an earlier American president, said that it was a date that will live in infamy. And now the Bush doctrine is a doctrine of preventive war, which makes America the self-appointed world’s judge, jury and executioner. However benign the motives, it’s bound to have a corrupting effect on our leadership. I think the whole notion of America as the world’s judge, jury and executioner is a tragically mistaken notion.


Robert Kennedy called preventive war “Pearl Harbor in reverse.” Is that what we’re seeing now?


That’s what we’re seeing now. And no wonder we look to the rest of the world as a lumbering bully. I regard this with deep gloom.

‘Pearl
Harbor in Reverse’


Arthur Schlesinger, former JFK confidant and the country’s
preeminent liberal historian, views America’s war on Iraq with “deep
gloom”


By Brian
Braiker
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE


“The bane of ideology,” wrote Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in his 1986
book “The Cycles of American History,” “is that it exalts abstractions
over human beings. It impoverishes our sense of reality, and it
impoverishes our imagination, too.” Schlesinger knows a few things about
ideology and its role in history: In 1962 the Pulitzer Prize-winning
historian and advisor to President John F. Kennedy witnessed first-hand
the tense unfolding and peaceful resolution of the Cuban missile crisis.
Today he is witnessing “with deep gloom” what he calls a dangerous shift
in American foreign policy towards the
ideological.


THE SON OF A prominent American historian,
the bow-tied Schlesinger followed in his father’s professional steps, and even
went on to live through a good chunk of it himself. An unrepentant New Dealer,
he taught at Harvard, his alma mater, from 1946 until 1961, when he was
appointed special assistant to the president for Latin American affairs. He won
his first Pulitzer Prize for history at the age of 28 for his book “The Age of
Jackson,” and his second in 1966 for “A Thousand Days: JFK in the White House.”
He is the general editor of a new series of biographies called “The American
Presidents” (Henry Holt & Company).


NEWSWEEK’s Brian Braiker spoke with Schlesinger about Gorge W. Bush as a wartime
president.



NEWSWEEK: How would you describe Bush as a
wartime president?



Arthur Shlesinger :
Well I think he’s made a fatal mistake. I think we’ve made a fatal mis-turn in
our foreign policy by abandoning the doctrine of containment-plus-deterrence
(which won the Cold War peacefully), and adopting as the basis of our foreign
policy preventive war. Preventive war, anticipatory self-defense, was the
doctrine with which the Japanese justified Pearl Harbor. FDR, an earlier
American president, said that it was a date that will live in infamy. And now
the Bush doctrine is a doctrine of preventive war, which makes America the
self-appointed world’s judge, jury and executioner. However benign the motives,
it’s bound to have a corrupting effect on our leadership. I think the whole
notion of America as the world’s judge, jury and executioner is a tragically
mistaken notion.


Robert Kennedy called preventive war “Pearl Harbor in reverse.” Is that what
we’re seeing now?

That’s what we’re seeing now. And no wonder we look
to the rest of the world as a lumbering bully. I regard this with deep gloom.


Are you
suggesting that Bush and his administration lack a sense of history that is
required of someone in this position?
Yes. I
think they lack a sense of history. They lack an instinct of respect for the
views of other countries. It’s “the rest of the world is OK only insofar as it
conforms to the views of the White House.” And I don’t think this is a healthy
position for the White House to have.


How does aggression against Saddam Hussein, as you have
said, play into our enemies’ hands?

Anti-American zealots around the world are strengthened by the conduct of
this administration, by their belief that the rest of the world has to conform
to our issues, to our attitudes.


But does containment even work against someone like
Saddam?
Yeah, he was contained for ten years. The last thing he
would do would be to commit an act of aggression because an act of aggression
would legitimize the reaction of massive retaliation. He has not stirred beyond
his own frontiers for ten years. As the C.I.A. has pointed out, the threat from
Saddam Hussein will come only when we invade him.


How will that threat manifest itself,
in your opinion?
I have no idea.


JFK’s Secretary of State
Dean Acheson consigned Britain to a “tame and minor role in the world.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently referred to our allies as “old
Europe.” Do you see parallels there?
Well,
Dean Acheson was not secretary of State when he made that remark. He made it as
a private citizen. Rumsfeld has succeeded in antagonizing most of the rest of
world.

So if
personalities play a role in shaping history, then, what can you say about the
personalities of Bush and Rumsfeld?
They’re
ideologues. Bush seems to feel that he’s been appointed by the almighty to go to
war with Iraq. But Iraq is far less of a clear and present danger than North
Korea. North Korea has nuclear weapons. The difference in our treatment between
Iraq and North Korea is strong incentive for other countries, other rogue
states, to develop their own nuclear arsenal.


Still, we are witnessing a
rally-round-the-flag phenomenon of a new war-Bush’s approval ratings are above
70 percent. How long do you expect that to hold true?

Well, it all depends on how the war goes. I think the British have
lost more men in the war than we have. I think the war will be over in two or
three weeks, if it lasts more than a month, then I think the polls will be less
enthusiastic about the war.

Michael Moore directs System of a Down\’s \"Boom\"

March 25, 2003 at 11:12 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


I’m sure you’ve all seen at least a sound bite of Michael Moore’s anti-war,
anti-Bush comments at the Oscars. Funny that, after granting him an award
for his unabashedly political documentary, they would then seem shocked (and
awed?) and boo him for saying the same from the stage. These are strange
times.


Moore also recently directed a music video for System of a Down, for their
song “Boom.” It’s pretty powerful, and worth watching, featuring “Bowling
for Columbine” style coverage of the anti-war rallies around the world.

Watch
“Boom!”
System of a Down

Video directed by Michael Moore


–C

A New American Reich

March 25, 2003 at 11:12 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

By now, I’m sure
you have seen this chilling quote from Hermann Goering:

“Of course the
people don’t want war.  But after all, it’s the leaders of a country who
determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along
whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament or a communist
dictatorship.  Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell
them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism
and exposing the country to greater danger.”
- Hermann Goering – Nazi
Reichsmarshal and Luftwaffe Chief, at the Nuremberg Trials

But
that’s not all, not by a long shot. The parallels between the fascist powers
overtaking our country and Nazi Germany are becoming more and more evident.


An excellent article in
Salon.com, published yesterday, does a good job of summarizing the whole
situation (and saved me the trouble of forwarding you all about 30 old links).
If you can’t bring yourself to read the rest of this email, then at least read
this one: “Shut your mouth”


As radio giants censor antiwar musicians, TV networks bully pro-peace actors, and Attorney General John Ashcroft prepares a new assault on civil liberties, a climate of intimidation creeps over America.

But if you’ve got the stomach for
it, read on:


First, a Newsday article,
reprinting Hitler’s
address to the Reichstag, Sept. 1, 1939, sounding an awful lot like Bush,
both talking about limiting the armaments of another country. (See
below)

 

Below that, an article on the new
American fascism, which draws some parallels to Hitler’s regime and then
proceeds to examine the first Patriot Act, which severely curtailed the
democratic freedoms of Americans under the guise of fighting terrorism, and
which passed Congress without anyone having even had a chance to read it. Most
Senators who voted for it didn’t even know what they had done to our country.
But they had no chance to oppose it, as it was rushed through Congress in three
days in the panicked aftermath of 9/11.

 

But what’s far, far worse, is a
new bill, described as “the Patriot Act on steriods,” which apparently
has been ready to roll for months now, but the administration has been sitting
on it until everyone is so caught up in war fever that they can push it through
Congress without objection…probably by attaching it to a defense bill, or
something like that, so that anyone who might vote against it would be
immediately labeled as unpatriotic.

 


Here is the draft. Read it
and weep.


http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/patriot2-hi.pdf

 

The story on the Patriot Act II bill
was broken by PBS NOW hosted by Bill
Moyers:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A patriotic Bush administration
official has leaked a copy of Patriot Act II
to the Center For Public
Integrity and PBS. The closely guarded draft of new
legislation has been in
the works for months and will likely be pushed
through Congress once the
invasion of Iraq starts. The new laws will give
Bush incredible and absolute
power and will for all practical purposes be
the end of democracy in the
United States. It will allow the government to
make arrests of terror
“suspects” based on things as simple as library
records and book purchases
and will track even more citizen activities than
the previous Patriot Act. It
also will create massive government monitoring
of the Internet including the
sites that individuals visit, what they post,
what they read, etc. which will
be used to identify “suspects” to be brought
in for questioning and arrest.
It further weakens and/or eliminates the
checks and balances of the courts
and Congress and Bush will be allowed to
take action solely based on the
“evidence” that is gathered under the new
laws. Bush will have the power to
arrest and convict and execute any U.S.
citizen and they will have no right
to a lawyer and a trial and no access to
the court system. Anything Bush
decides to do will be final and absolute.
PBS has published the entire text
on their web site, it is chilling to say
the least.
“…John Ashcroft has
created closely-guarded draft-legislation that extends
the powers of the
Patriot Act in ways not previously imagined by the
average, trusting citizen.
PBS calls it “a sweeping expansion of the
government’s police powers.” Secret
arrests of U.S. citizens. Stripping of
U.S. citizenship. Surveillance of
citizens without judicial sanction or
oversight. Powers so frightening to one
insider that he or she leaked the
document to the non-partisan Center for
Public Integrity, which, in turn,
gave it to PBS to place on its web site.
(see below) CPI’s Charles Lewis
tells PBS’s Bill Moyers (see below), “The
realm between public and private,
between foreign and domestic, all these
things have morphed into the citizen
against all of this out there ‹ this
morass of regulations and rules and
intrusions. And at the same time they can
come after you, get your credit
card data, your library records, your
Internet searching, everything. And
they’ll decide whether or not you’re a
suspect or not. Whether or not they
like you. If you’re a disfavored
political group, or from the wrong ethnic
background, then you might become
on the radar screen of some folks that you
don’t know about, you can’t find
out about, and they can do things. They
have ‹ this is incredible power.”
Lewis notes that the Ashcroft
draft-legislation was leaked now so that people
would know about it and do
something to stop it before we’re in the middle of
a war or a terrorist
attack: “I’m afraid they’re waiting for a war or
something and then they’re
gonna pop this baby out and then try to jam it
through…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_lewis.html
http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_lewis2.html

 

 

Look, I don’t care what your politics
are–there are those from both the Right and the Left on this list–but if this
doesn’t send a chill through your bones, well, you must not be much of an
American. THIS IS NOT FREEDOM, NOR THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM. It’s the exact
opposite.


Everything the
great writers on Russian fascism, like Orwell and Solzhenitsyn, warned us about,
everything that we should have learned from Nazi Germany, and everything we
should have learned during the McCarthy era, is coming true right now, right
here at home. When you hear “Department of Homeland Security,” “Patriot Act,”
“Total Information Awareness”…don’t you hear the echoes of 1984? When
citizens and the press alike are being told to shut their pie-holes or else be
labeled unpatriotic, doesn’t it just raise the hair on your neck? Because you
better well know what comes next.

 

I’m scared alright, terrified in
fact. But it’s not al Quaeda that keeps me awake at night, nor the threat of an
Iraqi dictator who hasn’t strayed outside his borders in 12 years. It’s my own
government.


–C

—————————————————————————

Comparison of Bush’s war speech with Hitler’s to start
WWII

Frighteningly similar…

Jimmy Breslin: ‘Familiar,
haunting words’
Posted on Thursday, March 20 @ 09:40:33
EST
————————————————————————-
By
Jimmy Breslin, Newsday

At 8 o’clock Wednesday night, the Sikh in a blue
turban in the subway change
booth at 42nd Street gave me a little wave and I
waved back. Suddenly, he
was a front-line soldier in a war. I designate the
subway at Times Square as
a prime target in America in the war with
Iraq.

I had just been at the public library, where I discovered the
speech that
started World War II. I print much of it here. It is darkly
familiar to what
we have been hearing here, when for the first time in
American history we
became all the things we ever hated and invaded another
country. Herewith
the speech:

Address by Adolph Hitler to the
Reichstag, Sept. 1, 1939.

For months we have suffered under the
torture of a problem which the
Versailles Diktat created — a problem that
has deteriorated until it
becomes intolerable for us …

As always, I
attempted to bring about, by the peaceful method of making
proposals for
revision, an alteration of this intolerable position. It is a
lie when the
outside world says that we only tried to carry our revisions
through by
pressure. Fifteen years before the National Socialist Party came
to power
there was the opportunity of carrying out these revisions by
peaceful
settlements and understanding. On my own initiative I have, not
once but
several times, made proposals for the revision of intolerable
conditions. All
these proposals, as you know, have been rejected –
proposals for the
limitation of armaments and, even if necessary,
disarmament, proposals for
the limitation of warmaking, proposals for the
elimination of certain methods
of modern warfare … You know the endless
attempts I made for peaceful
clarification and understanding of the problem
of Austria, and later of the
problem of the Sudatenland, Bohemia and
Moravia. It was all in
vain.

It is impossible to demand that an impossible position should be
cleared up
by peaceful revision, and at the same time constantly reject
peaceful
revision. It is also impossible to say that he who undertakes to
carry out
the revisions for himself transgresses a law, since the Versailles
Diktat is
not law to us.

In the same way, I have tried to solve the
problems of Danzig, the Corridor,
etc., by proposing a peaceful discussion.
That the problems had to be solved
was clear. It is quite understandable to
us that the time when the problem
was to be solved had little interest for
the Western Powers. But time is not
a matter of indifference to us


For four months I have calmly watched developments, although I never
ceased
to give warnings. In the last few days I have increased these warnings


I made one more final effort to accept a proposal for mediation on
the part
of the British government. They proposed, not that they themselves
should
carry out the negotiations, but rather that Poland and Germany should
come
into direct contact and once more pursue negotiations.

I must
declare that I accepted this proposal and worked out a basis for
these
negotiations which are known to you. For two whole days I sat in
my
government and waited to see whether it was convenient for the
Polish
government to send a plenipotentiary or not. Wednesday night they did
not
send us a plenipotentiary, but instead informed us through their
ambassador
that they were still considering whether and to what extent they
were in a
position to go into the British proposals. The Polish government
also said
they would inform Britain of their decision.

Deputies, if
the German government and its leader patiently endured such
treatment Germany
would deserve only to disappear from the political stage.
But I am wrongly
judged if my love of peace and my patience are mistaken for
weakness or even
cowardice. I, therefore, decided Wednesday night and
informed the British
government that in these circumstances I can no longer
find any willingness
on the part of the Polish government to conduct serious
negotiations with
us.

The other European states understand in part our attitude. I should
like all
to thank Italy, which throughout has supported us, but you will
understand
for the on of this struggle … we will carry out this task
ourselves.

This night for the first time, Polish regular soldiers fired
on our
territory. Since 5:45 a.m. we have been returning the fire and from
now on
bombs will be met with bombs. Whoever fights with poison gas will be
fought
with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can
only
expect that we shall do the same … until the safety, security of the
Reich
and its rights are secured.

***

On that night, Hitler
used this dry, unimaginative language to start a world
war that was to kill
60 million, and they stopped counting.

Wednesday night, George Bush,
after speech after speech of this same dry,
flat, banal language, started a
war for his country, and we can only beg the
skies to keep it from spreading
into another world war.

Copyright © 2003, Newsday,
Inc.

—————————————————————————

 

And now, more on the
Patriot Act II, fascism, and what you can do about it from

theemailactivist:


A Kinder, Gentler
Fascism

Last September, German Justice Minister Herta
Daeubler-Gmelin pointed out
that George Bush is using Iraq to distract the
American public from his
failed domestic policies. She capped her statement
by reminding her
audience: “That’s a popular method. Even Hitler did that.”
She was
chastised so severely that she soon recanted. But let’s face it, she
was
right on the money. Rather than recanting, she should have clarified.
She
wasn’t comparing Bush to the Hitler of the late 1930s and early ’40s;
she
was comparing him to the Hitler of the late 1920s and early ’30s. And
if
the jackboot fits?

What most Americans have forgotten about Hitler
(or never knew in the
first place) is that he came to power legally. He and
his Nazi Party were
elected democratically in a time of great national
turmoil and crisis.
They themselves had done much to cause the turmoil, of
course, but that’s
what makes the Bush comparison so compelling.

Like
the Bush administration, the Nazis were funded and ultimately ushered
into
power by wealthy industrialists looking for government favors in the
form of
tax breaks, big subsidies, and laws to weaken the rights of
workers. When the
Reichstag (Germany’s Parliament building) was set
ablaze in 1933 (probably by
Nazis), the Nazis framed their political
rivals for it. In the general panic
that followed, the German Parliament
was purged of all left-wing
representatives who might be soft on
communists and foreigners, and the few
who remained then VOTED to grant
Chancellor Hitler dictatorial powers. The
long, hideous nightmare had
begun.

History teaches us that it is
shockingly easy to separate reasonable and
intelligent people from their
rights. A legally elected leader and party
can easily manipulate national
events to whip up fear, crucify scapegoats,
gag dissenters, and convince the
masses that their liberties must be
suspended (temporarily, of course) in the
name of restoring order.
Consider the following two statements, and see if
you can identify the
authors.

“The people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is
easy. All you have to do is tell them they
are being attacked and
denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to
danger. It works the same way in any
country.”

“To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost
liberty, my
message is this: ‘Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they
erode our
national unity and diminish our resolve.’”

The first
statement is a quote from Hitler’s right hand man, Hermann
Goering,
explaining at his war crimes trial how easily he and his fellow
Nazis
hijacked Germany’s democratic government. The second statement is a
quote
from Bush’s right hand man, John Ashcroft, defending the Patriot Act
and
explaining why dissent will no longer be tolerated in the age of
terrorism.
If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, nothing will.

When the
shooting started at Lexington Green in 1775, those calling
themselves
patriots were the men and women who refused to yield their
rights to an
increasingly oppressive government. Today, according to John
Ashcroft and his
Patriot Act of 2001, a patriot is someone who kneels down
in fear and hands
over his or her rights to the government in the name of
fighting
terrorism.

Isn’t the hypocrisy of this all too obvious? The Bush
administration
wants us to fight in Afghanistan, to fight in Iraq, and to
fight wherever
terrorists may be hiding. And what, pray tell, are we fighting
for? Well,
according to the White House, we’re fighting for freedom. Yet
freedom is
exactly what the White House is demanding that we now SURRENDER in
the
name of fighting terrorism.

So what’s really going on? Well, it’s
all a lie, of course. The Bush
administration isn’t any more interested in
protecting our freedom from
terrorists than Hitler was in protecting Germans
from communists, Jews,
and all the other groups he scapegoated. The Bush
administration is
fighting only to protect itself and its corporate sponsors.
It hides
behind a veil of national security and behind non-stop war headlines
of
its own creation. And behind that smokescreen, Bush, Inc. is
pursuing
Hitler’s old agenda from the 1920s and ’30s: serving the interests
of the
corporate industrialists who brought it to power.

There is a
name for governments that serve the interests of Big Business
at the expense
of their own citizens: fascist.

Here’s a short list of the rights we’ve
already surrendered since the
September 11 attacks. Most of these abuses are
from a single piece of
legislation called the Patriot Act of 2001, which was
rushed through
Congress with no debate in the aftermath of the attacks. Many
of the
Congressmen who voted for it later admitted that they hadn’t even read
it
at the time.

1. The government can conduct “sneak and peek”
searches in which agents
enter your home or business and search your
belongings without informing
you until long after.

2. Government
agents can force libraries and bookstores to hand over the
titles of books
that you’ve purchased or borrowed and can demand the
identity of anyone who
has purchased or borrowed certain books. The
government can also prosecute
libraries and bookstores for informing you
that the search occurred or even
for informing you that an inquiry was
made. According to ACLU staff attorney
Jameel Jaffer, such “searches
could extend to doctors’ offices, banks and
other institutions that, like
libraries, were previously off-limits under the
law.” Chris Finan,
President of the American Booksellers group adds: “The
refusal of the
Justice Department to tell Congress how many times it has used
its powers
is even more unsettling because it naturally leads to the
suspicion that
it is using them a lot.”

3. Federal agents are
authorized to use hidden devices to trace the
telephone calls or emails of
people who are not even suspected of a crime.
The FBI is also permitted to
use its Magic Lantern technology to monitor
everything you do on your
computer?recording not just the websites you
visit but EVERY SINGLE KEYSTROKE
as well.

4. Government agents are permitted to arrest and detain
individuals
“suspected” of terrorist activities and to hold them
INDEFINITELY, WITHOUT
CHARGE, and WITHOUT an ATTORNEY.

5. Federal
agents are permitted to conduct full investigations of
American citizens and
permanent legal residents simply because they have
participated in activities
protected by the First Amendment, such as
writing a letter to the editor or
attending a peaceful rally.

6. Law enforcement agents are permitted to
listen in on discussions
between prisoners and their attorneys, thus denying
them their
Constitutional right to confidential legal counsel.

7.
Terrorism suspects may be tried in secret military tribunals where
defendants
have no right to a public trial, no right to trial by jury, no
right to
confront the evidence, and no right to appeal to an independent
court. In
short, the Constitution does not apply.

8. The CIA is granted authority
to spy on American citizens, a power that
has previously been denied to this
international espionage organization.

9. In addition to the Patriot Act,
the Bush administration has given us
Operations TIPS, a government program
that encourages citizens to spy on
each other and to report their neighbors’
activities to the authorities.
It’s EXACLTY the kind of thing for which we
used to fault East Germany and
the Soviet Union, and for which we currently
fault Red China and North
Korea. Fortunately, Operation TIPS (or AmeriSnitch,
as it’s known to its
many detractors) seems to have been recalled to the
factory?at least for
now.

(Incidentally, in a clever variation of
“two-can-play-at-that-game,” Brad
Templeton has set up a website
at
http://www.all-the-other-names-were-taken.com/tipstips.html
where you can
report people you suspect of being informants for
Operation
TIPS. It’s an interesting and amusing site, well worth a
look.

10. In the wake of Operation TIPS came something even worse:
Total
Information Awareness. TIA is a program of the Defense Department
that
when fully operational will link commercial and government databases
so
that the DOD can immediately put its finger on any piece of
information
about you that it wants. New York Times columnist William Safire
writes:
“Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine
subscription
you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you
visit and
e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every
bank
deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend ?
all
these transactions and communications will go into what the
Defense
Department describes as ‘a virtual, centralized grand
database.’”

And that’s not all. Who did our president appoint to head the
TIA? Who
gets to be Big Brother himself? Why it’s none other than John
Poindexter,
a man convicted in 1990 on five counts of lying to Congress,
destroying
official documents, and obstructing congressional inquiries into
the
Iran-contra affair. Another Hermann Goering, if there ever was
one.

At the same time the Bush administration is probing into your
private
life, it is shielding itself from all public scrutiny. It has
shredded
the Freedom of Information Act; it has locked away presidential
records
not only of the current administration but of administrations going
all
the way back to Reagan as well; and it has even locked up
Dubya’s
gubernatorial records so that the people of Texas can’t see what he
did to
them while serving as their governor.

Not surprisingly, the
Bush administration is also using anti-terror
legislation and executive
orders to protect its corporate sponsors from
scrutiny and from prosecution.
The drug company Eli Lilly, for instance,
was recently granted immunity from
all cases brought against it?even those
initiated long before the war on
terrorism?related to a vaccine it
manufactured that turned out to cause
autism in many children. (Eli Lilly
contributed over $3 million in the last
two election campaigns.) The Bush
administration also protected the Bayer
Corporation’s patent on the
antibiotic Cipro throughout the anthrax scare,
whereas other countries,
such as Canada, broke that patent so that other
companies could make
cheaper versions of the drug in case of emergency. It is
interesting to
note that during WWII Bayer was part of the I.G. Farben
conglomerate, the
top financial contributor to the Nazi Party. I.G. Farben
produced petrol
and rubber for the Nazi war machine and it manufactured the
Zyklon B gas
that was used to exterminate millions of Jews and other “enemies
of the
state.” In exchange for these services, the Nazis provided Farben
(and
Bayer) with lucrative government contracts and with slave labor
from
concentration camps.

Under Dubya’s kinder, gentler fascism, U.S.
corporations are now allowed
to do business with the Homeland Security
Department even if they cheat
the government out of vast amounts of tax
revenues by setting up offshore
business fronts in the Caribbean Islands. It
used to be that tax-evaders
were tracked down and punished. Now they’re
rewarded with fat government
contracts. Could the slave labor be far
behind?

If only this were the extent of the Bush administration’s ramble
down the
road to fascism. Way back in November of 2001, William Safire
accused the
Bush administration of “seizing dictatorial power.” Well, Mr.
Safire, you
ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Just when you thought it couldn’t
get any worse, just when you thought we
can’t lose any more of our liberties
and still call ourselves a “free
society,” we learn that the Bush
administration wants to take away even
more of our rights. A secret document
was just leaked out of John
Ashcroft’s Justice Department and turned over to
the Center for Public
Integrity. Titled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act
of 2003, this
document turns out to be a draft of new anti-terrorism
legislation, a
vastly more muscular sequel to Patriot Act. If passed, it
would grant the
executive branch sweeping new powers of domestic
surveillance, and it
would eliminate most of the few remaining checks and
balances that protect
us from tyranny. It’s the Patriot Act on
steroids.

Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity shared this
document with
Bill Moyers, who examined it on NOW, his weekly PBS program.
That episode
aired Friday, February 7, yet even now, three days later, no
mainstream
news broadcaster has picked up this incredible story. Read the
NOW
transcript and see the document itself online at http://www.pbs.org/now/.

Dr. David Cole, a Law
professor at Georgetown University and author of
Terrorism and the
Constitution assessed the document, saying, “I think
this is a quite radical
proposal. It authorizes secret arrests. It would
give the Attorney General
essentially unchecked authority to deport anyone
who he thought was a danger
to our economic interests. It would strip
citizenship from people for lawful
political associations.”

Secret arrests? Did we hear that right? It seems
that the Homeland
Security Department (HSD) is about to become the KGB. The
first Patriot
Act already allows for people to be locked up indefinitely
without a
lawyer and without being charged with a crime. If Patriot Act II
passes,
then arrests would also be secret. That means that dissenters (or
anyone
else, for that matter) could disappear without a trace, just as they
did
in Nazi Germany, in Stalinist Russia, and in Pinochet’s
Chile.

Patriot Act II would also grant even more immunity to Big
Business. A
corporation could pour toxins into your local river, for
instance, and you
wouldn’t know about it until all the fish died and your
neighbors’ kids
were born with missing limbs. And then when you went to court
and
demanded to know what that company was dumping in your river, the
company
could deny you that information of the grounds that it’s a
national
security secret. Jim Hightower put it this way: “All a company has
to do
to shield anything it wants to keep from the public eye?say,
an
embarrassing chemical spill?is give the documents to the Homeland
Security
Department and call them ‘critical infrastructure
information.’”

Ah, but there’s even more to be concerned about here. The
document was
created back in early January, but so far it appears that the
only members
of Congress who even know of its existence are House Speaker
Dennis
Hastert and Vice-president Dick Cheney. (The Vice-president presides
over
the Senate, which makes him a member of the legislative branch as well
as
the executive branch.) This raises a troubling question: Why has
the
White House been sitting on this bill for a month? If the CEOs down
at
Bush, Inc. really believe that they need these broad new powers to
protect
us from terrorists, why not roll out that bill and start the debate?
The
answer is all too plain. In all likelihood, the Bush administration
was
planning to avoid debate entirely by springing this bill on the
American
people in the midst of a perceived national crisis. Perhaps during
the
war with Iraq, for instance. Or perhaps in the aftermath of the
next
terrorist attack. Or perhaps right after the Reichstag fire.

Had
some courageous soul not leaked this document out of the Justice
Department,
the White House might easily have succeeded in passing it
through Congress
without debate in the midst of our next perceived
national crisis, much as it
did with the first Patriot Act in the
aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
A thorough debate of this bill
right now, under fairly stable circumstances,
would defuse it and prevent
its passage even under more frightening
circumstances later on. There’s
just one problem. The debate can’t begin
until more Americans know about
this bill, but so far the Washington Post is
the only major news outlet to
even MENTION this story since Bill Moyers broke
it on Friday night.

Here’s what you can do to help.

First, forward
this email to everyone you know.

Second, join and/or donate money to the
American Civil Liberties Union.
You may not agree with every case the ACLU
takes to court, but you won’t
find a more steadfast defender of the Bill of
Rights anywhere. Find them
online at http://www.aclu.org/. While you’re at there, take the ACLU’s
“How
Free Are We?” quiz at http://www.aclu.org/Quizzes/QuizIntro.cfm?quizID=4.
See if
you can get a perfect score now that you’ve read this essay.

Third, send
an email to the Center for Public Integrity and to the
producers of NOW
thanking them for breaking this story. Here’s a sample
message that you can
use or modify.

I am writing to express my heartfelt thanks and admiration
to the Center
for Public Integrity, to Bill Moyers, to the producers of NOW,
and
especially to the brave unnamed patriot who valued the Bill of Rights
over
his or her own person well-being and, at great personal risk, leaked
a
draft of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 out of the
Justice
Department.
Sincerely,
(Your name, city, and
state.)

Center for Public Integrity: feedback@publicintegrity.org
NOW
with Bill Moyers: now@thirteen.org

Fourth, start the debate over the
Patriot Act that the Bush administration
wants to avoid. Send the following
email message to the major news
outlets demanding that they investigate and
cover this important story.
Here’s what you can say:

On Friday,
February 7, the PBS program NOW with Bill Moyers broke an
important story
about a document recently leaked to the Center for Public
Integrity by an
insider at the Justice Department. That document, titled
the Domestic
Security Enhancement Act of 2003, turns out to be a draft of
a new bill, much
like the Patriot Act, that would grant the executive
branch sweeping and
unprecedented powers to spy on Americans with little
or no judicial
oversight. It would also enable polluting and otherwise
irresponsible
corporations to hide incriminating documents behind the veil
of “national
security” simply by handing them over to the Homeland
Security Department.
Such a bill should obviously not pass without a
thorough and informed debate.
Please investigate this story immediately
and bring it to the attention of
the American people so that such a debate
can begin before we find ourselves
in a war with Iraq or in the midst of
some other national crisis. The
document can be found on the Web at
http://www.publicintegrity.org/.
Thank you,
(Your name,
city, and state.)

New York Times: nytnews@nytimes.com
Los Angeles
Times: letters@latimes.com
Wall Street Journal:
editors@interactive.wsj.com
ABC News: netaudr@abc.com and
niteline@abc.com
NBC News: nightly@nbc.com
MSNBC: world@msnbc.com
CBS
News: evening@cbsnews.com (Fax 60 Minutes at: 212-757-6975)
FOX News:
comments@foxnews.com
CNN: cnn.feedback@cnn.com

Fifth, write your
representative in the House and both of your Senators to
let them know you’re
mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore.
Demand a rollback of the
Patriot Act and state unequivocally that you will
not tolerate ANY further
infringements upon your civil liberties. If you
need help finding your
representatives’ contact information, check out our
Getting Started page at
http://www.theemailactivist.org/GetStart.htm. Here’s
a
sample of what you might say:

Dear Senator (or Representative)
________________,

The Patriot Act of 2001 was passed through Congress so
hastily that it was
not well-considered nor even read by a great many of the
representatives
who voted for it. Now I’ve come to learn from the PBS program
NOW with
Bill Moyers that the Justice Department is hard at work on an even
more
draconian version of the Patriot Act called the Domestic
Security
Enhancement Act of 2003. This bill can be read online at
http://www.publicintegrity.org/.

The original Patriot
Act already challenges far too many of our
Constitutional rights to go any
longer without a thorough revision and a
rollback of many of its features.
The proposed Domestic Security
Enhancement Act of 2003 is an even greater
threat to our civil liberties.
If we were to adopt it, we could no longer
honestly call ourselves a free
society. I am writing you today to demand that
you spearhead a debate and
a revision of the Patriot Act of 2001 and also
that you commit yourself
publicly to opposing ANY further infringements of
American civil liberties
in the name of fighting
terrorism.

Sincerely,
(Your name and address)

Sixth, commit
yourself to a regime change right here at home. Start
working now for the
Democratic Party (http://www.democrats.org), the Green
Party (http://www.greenpartyus.org/), or any political organization
you can
think of that might bring down
the Bush administration in the next
election, if not beforehand. There
are also dozens of “Impeach Bush”
petitions online. Type “impeach bush
petitions” into a search engine like
Google.com and sign every damn one of
them that comes up.

As always,
we thank you for your dedication to true democracy and to the
Bill of Rights,
especially in these dangerous times when our leaders in
the White House
equate dissent with treason instead of with
patriotism.

The Jacksonian tradition in American foreign affairs

March 22, 2003 at 2:25 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


I thought this was a really interesting read (submitted by one of this list’s Republican readers). In a way, it put me a bit more at ease with those Americans who really believe in all this pre-emptive Empire stuff.


“This is an article by Walter Russell Mead, published in 1999, that you might
find interesting. I like his distinction between Hamiltonian, Wilsonian,
Jeffersonian and Jacksonian ideas. It’s oversimplified of course, but it’s
also illuminating. In particular, it sheds some light on how France, Germany
and the US could be misunderstanding each other now.


You should be able to read this without getting your blood pressure up. It
was written before 9/11 and isn’t really about US Middle East policies at
all. It’s more a political science analysis of one strain of American
political thought.”


The Jacksonian Tradition


Enjoy,

–C

\"The Bush Doctrine\" and the American Plan for Empire

March 21, 2003 at 8:09 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

The press seems to
have finally settled on “The Bush Doctrine” to describe our new stance toward
the rest of the world (though, again, I think the credit is hardly deserved).
Based on the “National Security Strategy of the United States,”  by Paul
Wolfowitz in 1992 and rewritten by Dick Cheney (Don Rumsfeld was clearly
involved as well), the Bush Doctrine sets a bold new direction for our foreign
policy. The policy of pre-emption that has justified our attack on Iraq is only
the beginning. It is nothing short of a plan of Empire, or a Pax
Americana.


More than mere policy,
this is a new war: a battle for the soul of America. One could say that
the attack on Iraq, the pursuit of Al Qaeda, and all the rest of our operations
in the “War on Terror” and the “War on Drugs” are mere battles in this larger
struggle. The men in charge of our country are not merely protecting American
interests; no, not at all. We fully intend to subject the entire world to our
governance, our ideology, and our economics.


There
are a lot of articles on this subject so I’m going to just compile them
together–and, for your convenience, give them a rating (1-4 stars).
Understanding this doctrine is the key to decoding our country’s recent (and
planned) actions.


Much more to come,

–C


**** Keeping U.S. No. 1: Is
It Wise? Is It New?
New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/26/arts/26STRA.html?todaysheadlines=&pagewanted=print&position=top


****
Confronting the Empire – Noam Chomsky – February 01, 2003
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=2938


*** Commentary: The High Price of
Bad Diplomacy
Mismanaging the runup to war will do more than squander
goodwill and damage alliances
BusinessWeek
http://www.businessweek.com:/print/magazine/content/03_12/b3825801.htm?gb&sub=0312iraq


(If you haven’t read this
one yet, I’ll plug it again:)
**** The Emperor Strikes Out : The “New Imperialism” And Its Fatal
Flaws

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa459.pdf


** The
United States of America has gone mad –
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-543296,00.html


** John Brady Kiesling’s (Political Counselor in U.S.
Embassy Athens) letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L.
Powell
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/international/27WEB-TNAT.html?pagewanted=print&position=top
NYTimes Article re: the letter: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/international/middleeast/27NATI.html


**** The Real Plan for Iraq
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/10/ma_273_01.html


** Rumsfeld Urged Clinton to Attack Iraq in 1998
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0316-03.htm


 


 


 


The Thirty-Year Itch

March 21, 2003 at 8:09 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


I thought this was a great article. It puts our attack on Iraq in a 30-year context that describes in some detail our longstanding designs on Middle Eastern oil.


The Thirty-Year Itch

By Robert Dreyfuss


March/April 2003 Issue


“Three decades ago, in the throes of the energy crisis, Washington’s hawks conceived of a strategy for US control of the Persian Gulf’s oil. Now, with the same strategists firmly in control of the White House, the Bush administration is playing out their script for global dominance. ”


–C

Commerce with Baghdad grows quietly as Washington urges regime change

March 21, 2003 at 8:09 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here’s a short Washington Post article on the business that US, French, and
other countries’ companies stand to gain from the war on Iraq, and some of
Dick Cheney’s connections therein.


–C

Washington Post (via the Association of Gulf War Veterans), Feb. 20,
2000



“Commerce with Baghdad grows quietly as Washington urges regimechange”

Vice President Dick Cheney is one of several current and former U.S.
government officials with previous business ties to the Iraqi oil
industry.

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

March 21, 2003 at 12:10 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


This is a long and scholarly piece that documents in great detail the various involvements the U.S. had with Iraq and Iran between 1980-1984 (the Reagan years). Here’s a photo of Don Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983…at a time when we knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons in its war against Iran.


The duplicity of our current warmongering over Iraq’s WMD absolutely boggles the mind, once you understand the historical facts.


–C

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein:
The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984


National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82


Edited by Joyce Battle

A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War

March 21, 2003 at 12:01 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

Again, sorry this is a couple of days old now, but worth a re-send for those
who hadn’t seen it.

Michael Moore, telling it as only he can.

–C—–Original Message—–
From: mailinglist@michaelmoore.com [mailto:mailinglist@michaelmoore.com]
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 9:35 AM
Subject: A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War

Monday, March 17th, 2003

George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

Dear Governor Bush:

So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and
the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I’m glad to hear
that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived
440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn’t sure if I could take much
more. So I’m glad to hear that today is Truth Day, ’cause I got a few truths
I would like to share with you:

1. There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News
aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the
White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who
are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON’T FIND THEM! Why?
‘Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even
threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a
certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe
it or not, we don’t want to kill him! Funny how that works!

2. The majority of Americans — the ones who never elected you — are not
fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are
that affect our daily lives — and none of them begin with I or end in Q.
Here’s what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took
office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their
retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs two dollars a
gallon — the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go
away. Only you need to go away for things to improve.

3. As Bill Maher said last week, how bad do you have to suck to lose a
popularity contest with Saddam Hussein? The whole world is against you, Mr.
Bush. Count your fellow Americans among them.

4. The Pope has said this war is wrong, that it is a SIN. The Pope! But even
worse, the Dixie Chicks have now come out against you! How bad does it have
to get before you realize that you are an army of one on this war? Of
course, this is a war you personally won’t have to fight. Just like when you
went AWOL while the poor were shipped to Vietnam in your place.

5. Of the 535 members of Congress, only ONE (Sen. Johnson of South Dakota)
has an enlisted son or daughter in the armed forces! If you really want to
stand up for America, please send your twin daughters over to Kuwait right
now and let them don their chemical warfare suits. And let’s see every
member of Congress with a child of military age also sacrifice their kids
for this war effort. What’s that you say? You don’t THINK so? Well, hey,
guess what — we don’t think so either!

6. Finally, we love France. Yes, they have pulled some royal screw-ups. Yes,
some of them can be pretty damn annoying. But have you forgotten we wouldn’t
even have this country known as America if it weren’t for the French? That
it was their help in the Revolutionary War that won it for us? That it was
France who gave us our Statue of Liberty, a Frenchman who built the
Chevrolet, and a pair of French brothers who invented the movies? And now
they are doing what only a good friend can do — tell you the truth about
yourself, straight, no b.s. Quit pissing on the French and thank them for
getting it right for once. You know, you really should have traveled more
(like once) before you took over. Your ignorance of the world has not only
made you look stupid, it has painted you into a corner you can’t get out of.

Well, cheer up — there IS good news. If you do go through with this war,
more than likely it will be over soon because I’m guessing there aren’t a
lot of Iraqis willing to lay down their lives to protect Saddam Hussein.
After you "win" the war, you will enjoy a huge bump in the popularity polls
as everyone loves a winner — and who doesn’t like to see a good
ass-whoopin’ every now and then (especially when it ‘s some third world
ass!). And just like with Afghanistan, we’ll forget about what happens to a
country after we bomb it ’cause that is just too complex! So try your best
to ride this victory all the way to next year’s election. Of course, that’s
still a long ways away, so we’ll all get to have a good hardy-har-har while
we watch the economy sink even further down the toilet!

But, hey, who knows — maybe you’ll find Osama a few days before the
election! See, start thinking like THAT! Keep hope alive! Kill Iraqis –
they got our oil!!

Yours,

Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com

I\’ll have the Freedom Fries with Superpower Sauce and a defense of democracy Danish

March 20, 2003 at 11:57 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

By now I’m
sure you’ve all heard about the U.S. House taking time out of its busy schedule
to rename the foods in the cafeteria. To spite the French. Yes, that’s right.
From now on, it’s “freedom fries” and “freedom toast.” Well, if that’s the way
it’s going to be, then let’s finish the job. (See below)


John Stewart’s Daily Show on Comedy
Central (best political commentary on television, hands-down), is where I first
heard about the “Freedom Tickler”

 


And Molly Ivins weighs in, in her usual style:

http://www.CommonDreams.org/views03/0314-04.htm

 

I was surprised, frankly, to see
American sentiment so easily aroused against the French. I have heard so many
fundamentally corrupt arguments against the French–what, because we helped
to bail them out in WWII (after joining the war quite late, out of our own
self-interest), they should be eternally grateful, fall in behind us lock-step,
and forget any notions of being an independent country with its own interests to
defend? 
Utter nonsense. The French have a huge stake in oil
and trade contracts with Iraq, and they’re not going to just turn control over
to the U.S….not with our track record in such situations. (We’ve got a long
line of U.S. companies waiting for their piece of the action.)

 


Yet, it seems that much of the US does think that way, or at least, is
easily led into such judgement in our rush to decide who’s wid us and who’s agin
us. Not having the stomach (or possibly the intellect) to locate and grasp the
realities of our history & international politics, such citizens are content
with us-or-them polemics, belief (“my country right or wrong”), faith (“God
is on our side and we’re praying for peace”), and highly personalized
representations of the political realities (“those week-kneed bastards” or
saying that we’re “big-hearted.”)
Maybe a person
could behave that way, but a country, never. Yet that’s the framework in which
such critics are working. They will quickly erase a mark from the “us” side and
chalk one down on the “them” side and move on without a pause.

 

For an example of such good ol’ boy American
polemics, let’s hear from Mr. “Devil Went Down to Georgia” hisself, Charlie
Daniels:
http://www.polarity1.com/pcrr45.html

 

It
still amazes me that people can be such simpletons, but can we blame them? The
major media feeds us little else but such simplistic dialectics, because it
serves the administration’s rhetorical purposes. And people just eat it up.
(“Four legs good! Two legs baaaaaad.”)

 

And then there’s this:


By Adam Tschorn, Special to The Times


Will the “freedom fry” fly? If the
term championed by Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) moves beyond congressional
cafeterias into the mainstream and things on the international scene get even
more divided, what can we expect next? With Russian President Vladimir Putin
threatening a U.N. Security Council veto, is Russian dressing in danger of being
exiled to a culinary Siberia?

“Our culture is cobbled together from so
many others,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at
Syracuse University. “If we go to war with the entire world, all we’ll have left
by its original name is corn chowder, wild turkey and venison.”

According
to Thompson, the French fry issue fits right into America’s pop culture
landscape. “Making fun of the French is one of the few places ethnic jokes are
still acceptable,” he said. “We’ve always made fun of the French, and now there
seems to be a real excuse for French-bashing.” So for now, your chicken Kiev is
safe but your chicken cordon bleu is on the endangered species
list.

Thompson said this type of humor is one of our culture’s ways of
dealing with stressful times. “There’s a sense of great frustration with this
slow countdown to war,” he said. “One way to express frustration is for people
to tell jokes about it.”

Doing our part to relieve the nation’s stress,
we’ve taken the liberty of drafting a House resolution that could be subtitled
the French Disconnection Act of 2003:

Article 1-1. The French
kiss

This sloppy, open-mouth kiss, in which one party’s tongue quickly
and unexpectedly enters the other’s mouth — much as Germany entered France in
World War II — shall henceforth be known as the “liberty lip lock.” Public
displays of affection in this manner are to be considered acts of patriotic
zeal.

Article 1-2. French dressing

The lifeblood of the U.S.
corporate and school cafeteria system for years, this sweet red-orange salad
dressing deserves a name of greater dignity. It is to be immediately renamed
“superpower sauce” and its use reserved for real global superpowers only. Its
recipe shall immediately become a matter of classified national security known
only to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, who
will no longer be allowed to travel together.

Article 1-3. French
doors

Doors and windows in this architectural style (which open on
neither the left nor the right but square in the middle) shall be known from
this date forward by the name “patriot portals.” Americans shall also be urged
to gaze out their respective patriot portals and admire this great nation of
ours.

Article 1-4. The French maid’s outfit

A fine American
Halloween tradition that pays homage to hard-working domestics everywhere
consists of a little black skirt, high heels, fishnet stockings and a frilly
white apron. It is often accessorized with a feather duster. It shall henceforth
be known as a “freedom frock.”

1-5. The French horn

The valved,
brass wind instrument that Prokofiev masterfully cast as the wolf in his
symphony “Peter and the Wolf” will, from this day forth, be known in the United
States as the “victory trumpet.” In addition, a deal reached with the Broadway
members of the musicians union stipulates that all future live performances of
the national anthem must be accompanied by a soloist on said
instrument.

1-6. The French pastry

In honor of our guiding
principles and the good people of Denmark (provisionally, unless or until they
vote against us at the U.N.), the French pastry will now be dubbed the “defense
of democracy Danish.” Note: This article passed only after the threat of a
Republican filibuster resulted in a small “d” for
democracy.



As for me, I can’t wait to sit down around a table in
France and have some good political discussion with well-informed people over a
four hour meal and plenty of wine. You want to talk politics? France is where
you go. I wonder if “Cowboy Cafe” is on the menu these days.
 

 

More (sigh) to come,

 

–C

 


How to Win the \"War\" on Terrorism: a 12-step Plan for Foreign Policy Sobriety

March 20, 2003 at 11:32 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Perhaps you’ve all seen this by now, but I thought it
was very well argued. It’s interesting how, when you actually think about what a
“war on terrorism” might look like, how little it resembles what we’re actually
doing.


 

–C

How to Win the “War” on Terrorism: a 12-step Plan
for Foreign Policy Sobriety

 

Richard M. Eaton
Professor of
History

University of Arizona

 

“Terrorism,” or politically-driven violence on the
innocent, takes two principal forms: popular terrorism, which aims at resisting
oppressive state power; and state terrorism, which aims at intimidating subject
populations. These two forms of terrorism feed off each other in nearly perfect
symmetry. They must therefore be addressed together; we cannot end the one
without ending the other.

 

My 12-step plan assumes that terrorism can be
rationally explained, that it has causes, that these causes can be understood,
and therefore acted upon. Yet there is something mildly subversive about this
position, since one of the curious features of terrorism is that in official
circles, it is thought to have no causes!

 

For example, in December, 1985, Yugoslavia’s
foreign minister advised Secretary of State George Schultz to consider the
causes of Palestinian terrorism. Schultz, so the New York Times  reported,
got “red in the face. He pounded on the table and told the visiting foreign
minister, `There is no connection  with any cause. Period.’”

 

Similarly, after Sept. 11, President Bush mystified
the attacks  by speaking of an “axis of evil,” and by promising to launch a
mighty crusade to rid the earth of demons. But beyond making vague references to
dark, cosmic forces — which is what evil is — neither the government nor the
media ever gave serious analysis of what it was we were dealing with, or what
had caused it. This is a stunning failure, given what is at stake.

 

So, what can we do? Here is my 12-step
plan:

 

STEP 1) Seek political solutions to political
problems. For terrorism is, above all, a political problem.

 

This means rejecting any explanation that reduces
terrorism to religion. Immediately after Sept. 11, nearly every bookstore in the
country sold out of copies of the Qur’an. At the same time, Beltway pundits and
gurus expounded on the basic need of Muslims to satisfy their craving for jihad.
How many times have you heard the phrase “Islamic terrorism?” On Oct. 6, 2002,
the television show “60-Minutes” interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell, who
characterized the Prophet Muhammad as a “terrorist.”

 

But in fact, Islam and all the talk of a “clash of
civilizations” proved to be a smokescreen that has only distracted us from the
properly political issues that underlie both popular terrorism and state
terrorism. What are those issues?

 

One of the oldest principles of world history is
this: when you  have empire, you have resistance. Today, one country with
just 5% of the world’s population consumes between 35% and 45% of world
resources. This situation can be sustained only through indefinite coercion,
conducted normally through American clients, in the form of state terrorism. And
this, in turn, provokes resistance, which is to say, popular
terrorism.

 

The answer is to break this vicious cycle, since
these two forms of terrorism always go together. For example, when Lebanese
Arabs hijacked a TWA jet to Beirut in 1985, a passenger on the plane heard the
hijackers cry out, “New Jersey! New Jersey!”. Being from New Jersey herself,
passenger Judy Brown thought the hijackers were attacking her personally. In
fact, they were invoking the name of the American battleship which, in 1983, had
shelled the Lebanese civilian population. Americans had forgotten the incident.
Lebanese Arabs had not.

 

So the solution is obvious:

 

STEP 2: Dismantle America’s de facto overseas
empire. This means:

 

a) Withdrawing the 5,000 American troops from Saudi
Arabia.

 

b) Banning the use of American planes, helicopters,
and weapons  against Palestinians.

 

c) Ending the sanctions against Iraq, which
according to UNESCO  have killed a half million in the last
decade.

 

d) Dismantling America’s 800 overseas military
bases.

 

STEP 3: End American dependency on foreign
oil.

 

This is what drives America’s high-profile military
presence in  the Middle East, and we can do this by investing in a massive
energy plan on the scale of the “Manhattan Project” or the Marshall Plan.

 

In the weeks and months after Sept. 11, Bush had a
golden opportunity to mobilize the American population in any direction he
wanted. He could have proclaimed a bold new energy  policy that would have
allowed us once and for all to kick the oil habit.

 

But the opportunity was tragically squandered.
While people were lining up to give their blood, the President was urging us to
go visit Disneyland. While the people were ready and eager to make enormous
sacrifices, we were told to go shopping and spend money.

 

September 11, in short, was a wake-up call that the
government slept through.

 

STEP 4: Train intelligence analysts competent to
read and speak  the languages of the countries to which they are
assigned.

 

Sooner or later, the United States will have to
address the gross incompetence and rampant ignorance that are such prominent
features of our so-called “intelligence” establishment.

 

STEP 5: Train special forces units capable of
infiltrating any culture and neutralizing terrorist cells from
within.

 

If the US had the ability to infiltrate al-Qaeda in
the same way that al-Qaeda hijackers had earlier infiltrated American society,
we could have responded far more effectively than we did by bombing Afghan
villages or overthrowing Middle Eastern regimes.

 

STEP 6: Expand American understanding of the Middle
East by increasing the number of National Resource Centers devoted to the study
of the Middle East — its politics, its history, its languages. There are now
fourteen, and Arizona is one of them; we need many more.

 

STEP 7: Restore the U.S. Information Service, which
was founded  to enhance overseas understandings of American culture and
society. For fiscal reasons, the USIS was eliminated in the 
1990s.

 

The scary reality is that the average population in
the Middle East is between 15 and 19, and most of their information about
America comes through TV or Internet. We have, in short, a  serious “image”
problem, and this must be addressed.

 

STEP 8: Diffuse America’s “crusader” image by
appointing a Muslim American to a high-profile cabinet post. Symbolism
matters.

 

STEP 9: Alleviate the conditions that breed
desperation and hopelessness by allocating $5 billion to the UN’s Food and
Agriculture Organization and World Food Program.

 

For it is these underlying conditions that produce
that yeasty,  mulchy seedbed in which popular terrorism sprouts, grows, and
thrives. Conditions of desperation and hopelessness do not themselves cause
popular terrorism; but they provide part of the context in which activists can
be recruited.

 

STEP 10: Promote global economic equity by
rethinking terms of trade and debt that stifle developing economies, and by
opening up the IMF, the World Bank, and NAFTA to public scrutiny.

 

For such global economic inequity is yet another
contributor, together with hunger, to making the seedbed to which I just
referred.

 

STEP 11: Strengthen the framework of international
law.

 

a) Pay up back-dues to the United Nations, and, in
the interests of even-handedness, encourage the enforcement of all UN
resolutions, including those respecting Israel, and not just those targeted at
America’s enemy of the day.

 

b) Join the International Criminal Court. One of
the reasons Bush is forced to wage preemptive war on Iraq is because he won’t
allow America to be a part of the one international body that could try Saddam
Husain.

 

c) Reaffirm the 1972 ABM treaty with Russia, and
engage with Russia over mutual security concerns in Central Asia.

 

d) Ratify the nuclear test ban treaty

 

STEP 12: Re-engage with the rest of the world, in
order to be seen as a responsible global player, and not as rogue
superpower:

 

a) Embrace human rights, instead of walking away
from the issue, as happened at Durban.

 

b) Embrace the global warming issue, instead of
walking away from it, as happened at Kyoto.

 

c) Sign the protocols banning biological weapons
and landmines.

 

d) Sign the protocol to limit the export of small
arms.

 

In order to restore the sort of global
interdependence that can  reduce the need for either state terrorism or
popular or terrorism, it is imperative that America become re-integrated with
the rest of the world.

 

 

Comments Off
 

US Lied about WMD

March 20, 2003 at 11:32 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


 

This
story, from a Norway news agency, matches up well with other facts that are
coming to light about the U.S. case for war, although I doubt you’ll see much on
this story domestically.

–C

 



USA lied about
Iraq’s weapons


A US-based Norwegian weapons
inspector accuses the
USA and
Secretary of State Colin Powell with providing the United Nations Security
Council with incorrect and misleading information about
Iraq‘s
possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), newspaper Dagbladet
reports.



















Jørn Siljeholm during a weapons inspection in
Baghdad in January.


PHOTO: Hussein
Malla/AP


RELATED
ARTICLES


 


 


· 
External link :  More about Jørn Siljeholm



Joern Siljeholm, Ph.D. in
environmental chemistry, risk analysis and toxicology, said that the
USA‘s basis for going to war is thin
indeed, and called it a slap in the face to the United Nations weapons
inspectors.


Siljeholm
told Dagbladet that Colin Powell’s report to the Security Council on how
Iraq camouflaged their WMD program was full of holes.


“Much of
what he said was wrong. It did not match up at all with our information. The
entire speech was misleading,” Siljeholm said.


Asked if
the Americans lied, Siljeholm said: “Lie is a strong word – but yes, the
information Powell presented about
Iraq’s nuclear program was
simply incorrect,” Siljeholm said.


“We
received much incomplete and poor intelligence information from the Americans,
and our cooperation developed accordingly. Much of what has been claimed about
WMDs has proven to be sheer nonsense. From what I have seen they are going to
war on very little,” Siljeholm told Dagbladet.


After 100
days in
Iraq, Siljeholm, now a researcher at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in Boston, is on holiday in Florida with his family.


“I strongly
doubt that the American will find anything at all. In any case I doubt that they
will find WMDs that constitute a military threat,” Siljeholm
said.


Siljeholm
said that his thoughts are now with the Iraqi people he met, and who cooperated
with the inspectors.


“It is a
weary country with many weary people. The people want peace,” Siljeholm
said.



Aftenposten English Web
Desk

Jonathan
Tisdall



 



Publisher: Aftenposten Multimedia
A/S,
Oslo, Norway. Telephone: +47 – 22 86 30 00.

All rights, including copyright and
database right, are owned by or licensed to Aftenposten Multimedia. ©
Aftenposten Multimedia.


 

Comments Off
 

Text of bin Laden\’s latest message

March 20, 2003 at 11:32 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


 

This is old news by now. I should have sent it out back on
2/13 when it was fresh. But I thought it was interesting to see what bin Laden
actually had to say, instead of just the media response.

 

–C

 

The following is the full text of an audio message
purported to be by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, broadcast on Arab television
station al-Jazeera on 11 February.

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate.

A message to our Muslim brothers in Iraq, may God’s peace,
mercy, and blessings be upon you.

O you who believe fear Allah, by doing all that He has ordered
and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden as He should be feared.

Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always, and die
not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims] with complete submission to Allah.

We are following up with great interest and extreme concern
the crusaders’ preparations for war to occupy a former capital of Islam, loot
Muslims’ wealth, and install an agent government, which would be a satellite for
its masters in Washington and Tel Aviv, just like all the other treasonous and
agent Arab governments.

This would be in preparation for establishing the Greater
Israel.

Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best disposer of
affairs.

‘Unjust war’

Amid this unjust war, the war of infidels and debauchees led
by America along with its allies and agents, we would like to stress a number of
important values:

First, showing good intentions. This means fighting should be
for the sake of the one God.

It should not be for championing ethnic groups, or for
championing the non-Islamic regimes in all Arab countries, including Iraq.

God Almighty says: “Those who believe fight in the cause of
Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil.”

So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the
cunning of Satan.

Second, we remind that victory comes only from God and all we
have to do is prepare and motivate for jihad.

God Almighty says: “Oh ye who believe! If ye will help the
cause of Allah, He will help you and plant your feet firmly.”

We must rush to seek God Almighty’s forgiveness from sins,
particularly the grave sins.

Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace be upon him, said: “Avoid the
seven grave sins; polytheism, sorcery, killing, unless permitted by God, usury,
taking the money of orphans, fleeing from combat, and slandering innocent
faithful women.”

Also, all grave sins, such as consuming alcohol, committing
adultery, disobeying parents, and committing perjury. We must obey God in
general, and should in particular mention the name of God more before combat.

‘Media machine’

Abu-al-Darda, may God be pleased with him, said: “Perform a
good deed before an attack, because you are fighting with your deeds.”

Third, we realized from our defence and fighting against the
American enemy that, in combat, they mainly depend on psychological warfare.

This is in light of the huge media machine they have.

They also depend on massive air strikes so as to conceal their
most prominent point of weakness, which is the fear, cowardliness, and the
absence of combat spirit among US soldiers.

Those soldiers are completely convinced of the injustice and
lying of their government.

They also lack a fair cause to defend. They only fight for
capitalists, usury takers, and the merchants of arms and oil, including the gang
of crime at the White House.

This is in addition to crusader and personal grudges by Bush
the father.

Trench warfare

We also realized that one of the most effective and available
methods of rendering the air force of the crusader enemy ineffective is by
setting up roofed and disguised trenches in large numbers.

I had referred to that in a previous statement during the Tora
Bora battle last year.

In that great battle, faith triumphed over all the
materialistic forces of the people of evil, for principles were adhered to,
thanks to God Almighty.

I will narrate to you part of that great battle, to show how
cowardly they are on the one hand, and how effective trenches are in exhausting
them on the other.

We were about 300 mujahideen [Islamic militants].We dug 100
trenches that were spread in an area that does not exceed one square mile, one
trench for every three brothers, so as to avoid the huge human losses resulting
from the bombardment.

Since the first hour of the US campaign on 20 Rajab 1422,
corresponding to 7 October 2001, our centres were exposed to a concentrated
bombardment.

And this bombardment continued until mid-Ramadan.

On 17 Ramadan, a very fierce bombardment began, particularly
after the US command was certain that some of al-Qaeda leaders were still in
Tora Bora, including the humble servant to God [referring to himself] and the
brother mujahid Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The bombardment was round-the-clock and the warplanes
continued to fly over us day and night.

War in Afghanistan

The US Pentagon, together with its allies, worked full time on
blowing up and destroying this small spot, as well as on removing it entirely.

Planes poured their lava on us, particularly after
accomplishing their main missions in Afghanistan.

The US forces attacked us with smart bombs, bombs that weigh
thousands of pounds, cluster bombs, and bunker busters.

Bombers, like the B-52, used to fly over head for more than
two hours and drop between 20 to 30 bombs at a time.

The modified C-130 aircraft kept carpet-bombing us at night,
using modern types of bombs.

The US forces dared not break into our positions, despite the
unprecedented massive bombing and terrible propaganda targeting this completely
besieged small area.

This is in addition to the forces of hypocrites, whom they
prodded to fight us for 15 days non-stop.

Every time the latter attacked us, we forced them out of our
area carrying their dead and wounded.

‘Alliance of evil’

Is there any clearer evidence of their cowardice, fear, and
lies regarding their legends about their alleged power.

To sum it up, the battle resulted in the complete failure of
the international alliance of evil, with all its forces, [to overcome] a small
number of mujahideen – 300 mujahideen hunkered down in trenches spread over an
area of one square mile under a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius.

The battle resulted in the injury of 6% of personnel – we hope
God will accept them as martyrs – and the damage of two percent of the trenches,
praise be to God.

If all the world forces of evil could not achieve their goals
on a one square mile of area against a small number of mujahideen with very
limited capabilities, how can these evil forces triumph over the Muslim world?

This is impossible, God willing, if people adhere to their
religion and insist on jihad for its sake.

Iraqi ‘brothers’

O mujahideen brothers in Iraq, do not be afraid of what the
United States is propagating in terms of their lies about their power and their
smart, laser-guided missiles.

The smart bombs will have no effect worth mentioning in the
hills and in the trenches, on plains, and in forests.

They must have apparent targets. The well-camouflaged trenches
and targets will not be reached by either the smart or the stupid missiles.

There will only be haphazard strikes that dissipate the enemy
ammunition and waste its money. Dig many trenches.

The [early Muslim caliph] Umar, may God be pleased with him,
stated: “Take the ground as a shield because this will ensure the exhaustion of
all the stored enemy missiles within months.”

Their daily production is too little and can be dealt with,
God willing.

We also recommend luring the enemy forces into a protracted,
close, and exhausting fight, using the camouflaged defensive positions in
plains, farms, mountains, and cities.

The enemy fears city and street wars most, a war in which the
enemy expects grave human losses.

Martyrdom operations

We stress the importance of the martyrdom operations against
the enemy – operations that inflicted harm on the United States and Israel that
have been unprecedented in their history, thanks to Almighty God.

We also point out that whoever supported the United States,
including the hypocrites of Iraq or the rulers of Arab countries, those who
approved their actions and followed them in this crusade war by fighting with
them or providing bases and administrative support, or any form of support, even
by words, to kill the Muslims in Iraq, should know that they are apostates and
outside the community of Muslims.

It is permissible to spill their blood and take their
property.

God says: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the
Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors
to each other.”

And he amongst you that turns to them [for friendship] is of
them.

Verily, Allah guideth not a people unjust.

Mobilizing the ‘Islamic nation’

We also stress to honest Muslims that they should move,
incite, and mobilize the [Islamic] nation, amid such grave events and hot
atmosphere so as to liberate themselves from those unjust and renegade ruling
regimes, which are enslaved by the United States.

They should also do so to establish the rule of God on earth.

The most qualified regions for liberation are Jordan, Morocco,
Nigeria, Pakistan, the land of the two holy mosques [Saudi Arabia], and Yemen.

Needless to say, this crusade war is primarily targeted
against the people of Islam.

Regardless of the removal or the survival of the socialist
party or Saddam, Muslims in general and the Iraqis in particular must brace
themselves for jihad against this unjust campaign and acquire ammunition and
weapons.

This is a prescribed duty. God says: “[And let them pray with
thee] taking all precautions and bearing arms: the unbelievers wish if ye were
negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush.”

Fighting in support of the non-Islamic banners is forbidden.

Muslims’ doctrine and banner should be clear in fighting for
the sake of God. He who fights to raise the word of God will fight for God’s
sake.

Under these circumstances, there will be no harm if the
interests of Muslims converge with the interests of the socialists in the fight
against the crusaders, despite our belief in the infidelity of socialists.

The jurisdiction of the socialists and those rulers has fallen
a long time ago.

Socialists are infidels wherever they are, whether they are in
Baghdad or Aden.

‘High morale’

The fighting, which is waging and which will be waged these
days, is very much like the fighting of Muslims against the Byzantine in the
past.

And the convergence of interests is not detrimental. The
Muslims’ fighting against the Byzantine converged with the interests of the
Persians.

And this was not detrimental to the companions of the prophet.

Before concluding, we reiterate the importance of high morale
and caution against false rumours, defeatism, uncertainty, and discouragement.

The prophet said: “Bring good omens and do not discourage
people.”

He also said: “The voice of Abu-Talhah [one of the prophet's
companions] in the army is better than 100 men.”

During the Al-Yarmuk Battle, a man told Khalid bin-al-Walid
[an Islamic commander]: “The Byzantine soldiers are too many and the Muslims are
few.”

So, Khalid told him: “Shame on you. Armies do not triumph with
large numbers but are defeated if the spirit of defeatism prevails.”

Keep this saying before your eyes: “It is not fitting for a
Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued
the land.”

“Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at
their necks.”

Your wish to the crusaders should be as came in this verse of
poetry: “The only language between you and us is the sword that will strike your
necks.”

In the end, I advise myself and you to fear God covertly and
openly and to be patient in the jihad.

Victory will be achieved with patience. I also advise myself
and you to say more prayers.

O ye who believe! When ye meet a force, be firm, and call
Allah in remembrance much (and often); That ye may prosper.

God, who sent the book unto the prophet, who drives the
clouds, and who defeated the enemy parties, defeat them and make us victorious
over them.

Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter
and save us from the torment of the Fire! [Koranic verse].

May God’s peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and his
household.

BBC Monitoring , based in
Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio,
television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more
than 70 languages.

Comments Off
 

Why I Oppose An Iraq War by Russ Daggatt

March 20, 2003 at 8:02 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


 


The following
letter by Russ Daggatt is possibly the best summary I have yet seen of the
situation in which we find ourselves today. It’s a long read, but it covers all
the important bases, and I hope all of you will read every word of it and pass
it along to others. I was tempted to go through it and try to pull out the best
quotes, but the whole thing is really worth reading, so I didn’t.


 


And now for the
legal requirements:


TO SUBSCRIBE, EMAIL SNS@TAPSNS.COM WITH THE WORD “SUBSCRIBE”
IN YOUR MESSAGE; YOU WILL BE BILLED LATER (see the end of this newsletter for
details).


 


RE-SENDING
OF THIS NEWSLETTER

TO ANY NUMBER OF COLLEAGUES IS ENCOURAGED ON A ONCE-PER-USER BASIS, PROVIDED YOU
ALSO CC: SNS@TAPSNS.COM; IN RETURN, WE WILL PROVIDE RECIPIENTS WITH A ONE-MONTH
FREE TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION.


ANY OTHER UNAUTHORIZED REDISTRIBUTION IS A VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT
LAW.


 


–C


 


—————————-


 


Publisher’s
Note
: This is an unusual issue in several ways.  But then, the world is in an unusual
situation.  First, this is not the
normal format for an SNS Special Letter: in the past, there would be no
Ethermail, nor Upgrades, with a Special Letter.  Suffice to say that I was half through a
normal issue, when SNSer Russ Daggatt sent out a detailed, almost legalistic
brief on why the attack against Iraq was wrong, to a limited set of
friends.  (In addition to being
trained as a lawyer, Russ has served in the past as Vice Chairman and President
of Teledesic, CEO and Vice Chairman of ICO, and CEO and Vice Chairman of ICO
Teledesic Global Ltd.)


 


That piece, edited, is what you
will see this week.  I think you
will agree it is the most cogent thinking on this issue that you have read.


 


In a few hours, we will have
attacked Iraq.  At that point, this
being a free country, dissent will still be allowed, but there will then be the
emotional confusion between “winning” the war, and anyone who dares to challenge
its prosecution being labeled “unpatriotic.”  I am not unpatriotic, and neither is
Russ; quite the contrary, we are both personally engaged (in different ways) in
trying to improve our country, on an active and ongoing basis.


 


For those of you who have not met
Russ: he was the negotiator who obtained the worldwide spectrum license for
Teledesic, when everyone said it could not be done.  (Indeed, in an eerily anti-parallel
story, the French tried to block that U.S.-led project as well, but they
failed.)  In this sense, Russ has
spent more time working toward increased world trade than almost anyone else I
know.  He has instilled his
understanding of international negotiations into a book, and continues to work
to improve relations between countries, and global productivity based upon
large-scale technological advances.


 


Tonight, according to most
surveys, over 60% of Americans are ready to attack Iraq; obviously, publishing
Russ’ thoughts is a matter of swimming upstream.  There is no other country in the world
whose people support this attack the way Americans do; but, as Russ points out,
over 50% (51%, in the last survey I saw this week) think that Saddam was
directly involved in the 9.11 attack. 
(This is something completely unsupported by evidence, nor even claimed
by the administration.)  He is kind
in saying we are not a stupid people; I am not sure the French – or anyone else
– would be so kind.


 


If we cannot keep track of who
attacked us in our worst debacle, how can we claim to be worthy of the role of
managing this new Pax Americana?


 


Whether or not you agree with
Russ’ politics, I would urge every SNSer to read his comments on why we should
not attack Iraq.  You may be of the
mind that these thoughts become obsolete when the first bullet is fired, but I
would argue the opposite: they only acquire real meaning once the invasion has
begun.


 


And finally, for those who might
question why this appears in a technology markets newsletter, I will give the
obvious answer: no other event will have as much effect on worldwide technology
trade as this, in the near and perhaps longer term, so we had better understand
all of its ramifications, including how the rest of the world sees us during
this attack. 


 


Next week there will be no SNS;
your next newsletter will be in two weeks.


 


I hope you will take the time to
read Russ’ thoughts; he has done a masterful job of describing the current
landscape. – mra


 


-——————————–


 


Special Letter: Last Comments
Against The Iraq Attack


 


Why I
Oppose An Iraq War

  
by Russ Daggatt


 


 


It’s
apparent that a U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is imminent.  I have every expectation that, from a
purely military standpoint, it will be a quick and impressive success.  As a result, it will almost certainly be
very popular in the U.S.  Much of
the opposition and uncertainty in the U.S. will disappear with that military
success.  Nonetheless, I oppose this
Iraq war because it is unwise and wrong.


 


The
reasons given for war by the Bush administration are, I believe, flawed.  The fact that the reasons given have
been constantly shifting also draws into question their sincerity. 


 


And
there are practical, financial and moral reasons to oppose this war.


 


Despite President Bush’s rhetoric about war being his “last
choice” and that the “choice of going to war is Saddam’s,” the fact is that the
U.S. is choosing to go to war. 
There is no immediate provocation. 
It is part of this Administration’s new doctrine of “pre-emptive war”
which states, essentially, that we can start a war whenever we feel threatened
(it’s not clear if this doctrine allows other countries, similarly, to start
wars when they feel threatened). 
But use of the term “preemption” is misleading in this case, as there is
no indication that any kind of attack by Saddam on anyone, let alone the U.S.,
is imminent.  Saddam’s military is
irrelevant and doesn’t pose a threat to any other country, let alone the
U.S..  If you believe Saddam
constitutes a more abstract or long-term threat, you might call war in this case
“preventative.”  But if there is no
imminent threat to the U.S., then the U.S. bears a heavy burden of proof that
war is necessary and justified. 
It’s really not up to France or any other country (or opponents of war)
to make the case that war is not necessary or justified.


 


Has
President Bush met that burden?  I
don’t think so.


 


The Alleged Iraq-al Qaeda
Connection


 


First,
let’s dispose of the argument with the greatest emotional force:  That an Iraq war is part of The War On
Terrorism in response to the atrocities of September 11th.  Ever since that horrible day, the Bush
Administration has attempted to make a connection between Saddam and the events
of Sept. 11 or at least between Iraq and al Qaeda.  That effort has been successful.  Surveys have consistently shown that
nearly half of the American people believe that Saddam played a direct role in
the September 11th attack.  A
January 2003 Knight-Ridder poll showed that 50% of the American people believe
that one or more of the Sept. 11 hijackers was Iraqi.  A New York Times/CBS survey released on
March 11 found that 45% of Americans think that Saddam was “personally involved”
in the Sept. 11 attacks.  Depending
on how the questions are phrased, roughly 2/3rds of the American people believe
that there is some kind of connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.  That is neither surprising nor
indicative of ignorance on the part of the American people.  People are entitled to believe what
their President tells them.  As
recently as his news conference on March 6th, President Bush claimed that
Saddam, “has trained and financed al Qaeda-type organizations before, al Qaeda
and other terrorist organizations.” 
This is simply not true. 
There is no evidence that Saddam has “trained and financed” al
Qaeda.  Nor is there persuasive
evidence of any other connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, let alone the events
of Sept. 11.  By asserting such a
connection, and attempting to exploit people’s fear and anger over Sept. 11 (in
the same news conference Bush invoked Sept. 11 eight times), Bush undermines the
credibility of his leadership and draws into question his other arguments for
war. 


 


In the
immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, Czech intelligence officials reported an April
2001 meeting in Prague between the leader of the Sept. 11 murderers, Mohammed
Atta, and an Iraqi intelligence agent. 
President Bush, and other senior administration officials, quickly seized
on that meeting to allege an Iraq–al Qaeda link.  Later, after further investigation,
Czech officials confessed that they had been mistaken – no such meeting had
taken place.  Nonetheless, top U.S.
officials continued to cite that meeting as evidence of an Iraq-al Qaeda tie
(Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld claimed that the evidence was
“bulletproof”).  Last year, Czech
President Vaclav Havel personally told White House officials that Czech
intelligence had been mistaken, that there was no evidence of the April 2001
meeting or any other meeting in Prague between Atta and an Iraqi agent.  After exhaustive investigation, the FBI
and CIA came to the same conclusion. 
(In an April 2002 speech, FBI Director Robert Mueller said, “We ran down
literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get
our hands on.”  The conclusion: Atta
was never in Prague on the day of the alleged meeting and there was no evidence
that he ever met with Iraqi intelligence officials.)  Nonetheless, senior members of the Bush
administration continued to repeat the claim.  Only recently, with the focus shifting
from “regime change” to Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, have
administration officials stopped citing the Prague meeting, and it was not part
of the case against Saddam made by Secretary of State Powell to the United
Nations on Feb. 5th.  But the
repeated administration claims have never been retracted and the misimpression
they created lingers (as is apparent from poll numbers) and that misimpression
continues to be reinforced in the public mind by continuing administration
claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda link.


 


The
new administration claim is that Iraq “aids and protects” al Qaeda members.  In his State of the Union address in
late January, President Bush said: “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret
communications, and statements by people now in custody, reveal that Saddam
Hussein aids and protects terrorists including members of al Qaeda.  Secretly, and without fingerprints, he
could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop
their own.”  Secretary Powell told
the United Nations there was, “a sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda
terrorist network”. 


 


This
“aids and protects” argument rests heavily on reports that a single Jordanian
member of al Qaeda, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, sought and received medical treatment
in Baghdad after being injured in the fighting in Afghanistan.  Al-Zarqawi has been associated with the
assassination last October of Laurence Foley, an American diplomatic officer in
Jordan.  There is not any evidence,
nor is it claimed, that Zarqawi received anything other than medical treatment
in Iraq.  By contrast, how many
injured al Qaeda members do you think got medical treatment in Afghanistan or
across the border in Pakistan?  U.S.
officials acknowledge that al-Zarqawi had support from a member of the Qatari
Royal family, Abdul Karim al-Thani, who hosted him in Qatar. However,
administration officials do not claim that, as with Iraq, these facts show that
the Qatari court is connected to al Qaeda – particularly since the United States
depends on Qatar to provide staging support for the U.S. Central Command.  (And while President Bush hailed the
arrest earlier this month of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of
the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Times reported that Qatar harbored him in
1996 and tipped him off when the FBI was closing in on him early that year.  Had our friends in Qatar not helped
Mohammed elude capture then, the events of Sept. 11 probably would never have
happened.)


 


The
administration also claims that al Qaeda members have found refuge in northern
Iraq. These allegations relate to a group called Ansar al-Islam which has taken
over a small area near the Iranian border. 
This part of Iraq, however, is in Kurdish hands and outside the direct
control of the Iraqi Government. 
This is in the “no-fly” zone enforced by the U.S., which makes any kind
of aerial surveillance or attack on Ansar al-Islam by Saddam pretty well
impossible.  (It also raises the
question, if the U.S. is aware of terrorist training camps in northern Iraq, in
an area where the U.S. controls the air space, why haven’t we simply taken them
out?  “Regime change” in Baghdad
isn’t necessary to accomplish that.) 
Not only is this territory not controlled by Saddam, in fact, the leaders
of Ansar al-Islam say they seek to overthrow Saddam and his government.  In an interview with ABC News, the man
considered the leader of Ansar al-Islam, Majamuddin Fraraj Ahmad (who is also
known as Mullah Krekar) denied all allegations that he is in any way linked to
Iraq.  “They are our enemy,” he
said, adding that his group opposes Saddam because, unlike Osama bin Laden,
Saddam is “not a good Muslim”. 
Krekar lives openly in Oslo, Norway – far from Iraq – where he sought
asylum after he says Saddam tried to kill him. “[Saddam Hussein’s secret police]
tried to poison me … in June of 1990.” 
Krekar was detained in Holland last year on drug-related charges after he
was expelled from Iran, but was recently released and sent to Norway, where he
has not been arrested.  He has been
interviewed by Norwegian intelligence officials, but is not in custody.  (Evidence of a Norway-Al Qaeda
connection?)


 


The
amazing thing about all of this is how difficult is has been for the Bush
administration to find even the slimmest pretext of an Iraq-al Qaeda link.  Of the hundreds of alleged al Qaeda
members rounded up in the past year and a half around the world, to my knowledge
not a single leading al Qaeda operative has been an Iraqi.  Virtually all have come from countries
that the U.S. considers allies. 
Most are Saudi (as were 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers) or
Egyptian.  Some Pakistani and
Yemeni.  A few from Afghanistan, UAE
and Lebanon.  Even citizens of the
U.S. and Great Britain have been accused of al Qaeda links.  But no Iraqis, as far as I know.  Am I the only one who finds this
remarkable?  The only group of Arabs
not represented in al Qaeda, it seems, are Iraqis.  But what country are we proposing to
attack (based, at least in part, on an alleged al Qaeda connection)?  Given the resources that this
administration has devoted to finding any kind of Iraqi link to al Qaeda, the
absence of any credible evidence is pretty definitive.  (It might just be that Saddam has jailed
or killed any Iraqis with radical Islamist leanings.)  It would be easier to make the case that
Jeb Bush is actively “training and financing” al Qaeda.  After all, various funds going to the
Sept. 11 murderers flowed through Florida and the hijackers received their
flight training in Florida.  Imagine
the consequences if any of the Sept. 11 hijackers had actually been Iraqi or had
received flight training in Iraq?


 


The
simple fact is that al Qaeda was formed for the purpose of overthrowing the
secular Arab governments like Saddam’s regime in Iraq.  And Saddam is among the Arab leaders
most hostile to radical Islam (or anything else that might provide opposition to
his ruthless rule).  It is hard to
imagine two less likely allies. 
Saddam has given money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers,
which is certainly a form of support for terrorism.  But so has the Saudi Royal family.  And like the Saudi Royal family, Saddam
has done this as a form of propaganda, to bolster his image as a defender of the
Arab people in their fight against Israel. 
Both Saddam and the Saudis have done this to help increase their appeal
relative to hostile Islamists like Bin Laden.  But there is no logical reason to assume
that Saddam would want to assist any organization not under his direct control,
let alone one, like al Qaeda, that is openly opposed to his rule.  Nor is there any evidence that he has
done so.


 


Saddam’s Threat To The U.S.


 


This
leads to the second reason given for attacking Iraq: that Saddam poses a direct
threat to the U.S.  In his March
6th news conference, President Bush said, “Iraq is a part of the war
on terror. Iraq is a country that has got terrorist ties. It’s a country with
wealth. It’s a country that trains terrorists, a country that could arm
terrorists.”  (By my count, Bush
linked Saddam to terror or terrorists at least 15 times in his news
conference.)  It’s hard to say much
more on this subject than I already have above.  There is no evidence that Saddam is
supporting terrorists who directly threaten the U.S., nor is there any reason to
believe he intends to do so.  (In
the ’80s, at a time when the U.S. supported him, Saddam did harbor some
prominent Palestinian terrorists whom he later expelled.  In this respect he is not much different
from any other Arab government.)  To
simply assert that Saddam “could” at some point in the future decide to support
someone who threatens the U.S. is a pretty slim pretext to undertake a major,
unprovoked war.  The same could be
said, however implausibly, of anyone the U.S. doesn’t like and intends to
overthrow – they “could” support someone who threatens us at some point in the
future.  And the more committed we
are to the overthrow of that person, the more plausible our claim would be
(there is a nice self-fulfilling logic to that argument).


 


The
only thing that gives force to the argument that Saddam “could” or “might”
support terrorists who threaten the U.S. is his alleged possession, or attempt
to possess, weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  As Bush stated in his news
conference:  “But Sept. 11 should
say to the American people that we’re now a battlefield, that weapons of mass
destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at
home. And so therefore I think the threat is real. And so do a lot of other
people in my government.  And since
I believe the threat is real and since my most important job is to protect the
security of the American people, that’s precisely what we’ll do.”  In other words, it could be argued that
the mere existence of WMDs in the hands of someone like Saddam constitutes a
threat to the U.S.  Even if there is
no evidence that Saddam supports terrorists who threaten the U.S., the mere
possibility that he “could” deliver WMDs to terrorists is a risk great enough to
constitute a serious threat to the U.S.  


 


While
that argument is plausible, it could just as well cut the other way.  If there is no evidence that Saddam
supports or intends to support terrorists who threaten the U.S., then
threatening Saddam with war might actually bring into existence the very risk we
fear.  That is exactly what CIA
Director George Tenet said in an October 7, 2002, letter to the Senate
Intelligence Committee:  “Baghdad
for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with
conventional or CBW (chemical and biological weapons) against the United
States,” the CIA Director said. 
“Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be
deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist
actions.”   Similarly, in a
declassified transcript of October 2, 2002 testimony before that committee, a
“senior intelligence witness” (presumably Tenet) was asked what Saddam would do
if he did not feel threatened. “My judgment would be that the probability of him
initiating an attack… in the foreseeable future, given the conditions we
understand now, the likelihood I think would be low,” the witness said. In
response to a U.S. attack, the likelihood that Saddam would respond with
chemical or biological weapons was “pretty high.”  That sounds like a pretty good argument
for not attacking Saddam.


 


Saddam’s interest is first and foremost survival.  He apparently recognizes that use of
WMDs would greatly reduce his own life expectancy.  Why would he increase the threat to his
own existence by giving such weapons to terrorists he doesn’t control (and, in
the case of al Qaeda, who seek his destruction)?  Saddam is not a radical Islamist.  He has no ideological or theological
reason to assist terrorists.  He is
shrewd enough to know that it is distinctly not in his interest to attack the
U.S. or support someone else who might. 
That is, unless he concluded that it is his last hope for survival.   Or, if all hope is gone, that he
might be revered as an Arab “martyr”. 
It’s worth noting that Saddam did not use chemical or biological weapons
against the U.S., Israel or anyone else during the Gulf War or since.  That just reinforces the conclusion
that, even in the extreme circumstances of war, he considers the use of such
weapons against the U.S. or its allies to be counterproductive to his own
survival. 


 


In his
State of the Union address, Bush cited Iraq’s use of “poison gas to murder
thousands of its own citizens” as a reason to topple Saddam.  As recently as his March 16th press
conference, Bush referred specifically to the atrocity that occurred in the
small Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988, toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war,
where 5000 Kurdish civilians were gassed. 
However, the facts surrounding the use of chemical weapons in Halabja are
in dispute, according to a January 31, 2003, opinion piece in the New York Times
by Stephen C. Pelletiere, the CIA’s senior political analyst on Iraq during the
1980s. In the article, Pelletiere said the only thing known for certain was that
“Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with
any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds.”  Pelletiere said the gassing occurred
during a battle between Iraqis and Iranians.  “Iraq used chemical weapons to try to
kill Iranians who had seized the town … The Kurdish civilians who died had the
misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq’s main
target.”  The former CIA official
revealed that immediately after the battle the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency
investigated and produced a classified report that said it was Iranian gas that
killed the Kurds.   “The
condition of the dead Kurds’ bodies however, indicated they had been killed with
a blood agent — that is, a cyanide-based gas — which Iran was known to use. The
Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to
have possessed blood agents at the time.” 


 


The
disputed circumstances of Halabja are cited not as any kind of defense of
Saddam.  (Halabja was not the only
use of chemical weapons by Iraq and Iran during that war.)  Rather, if goes to the question of
whether it is likely that Saddam would use WMDs against the U.S., or give them
to someone else who might.  And it
is a reminder to question selective moral outrage offered up to support going to
war.  What U.S. officials rarely
acknowledge is that Saddam’s use of chemical weapons dates back to a period when
Saddam was seen in Washington as a valued ally.  Among the people instrumental in tilting
U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald Rumsfeld,
whose December 1983 meeting with Saddam as a special presidential envoy paved
the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. U.S. officials saw Iraq as a
bulwark against militant Shiite extremism in Iran.  Declassified documents show that
Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on
an “almost daily” basis in defiance of international conventions.  There is no evidence of any use of
chemical weapons by Saddam since the time of that war.  If we were able to justify support for
Saddam then, why should the events of that war 15 years ago be used to justify
an unprovoked war now?  Turkey is
alleged by international human rights organizations to have tortured and killed
Kurds in recent years.  Yet we are
now offering them billions of dollars in aid (and, in an ironic twist, a measure
of control over Iragi Kurds) to support our war against Saddam.  Will their alleged atrocities against
the Kurds similarly be cited as cause for a “pre-emptive” war a decade or two
from now?  Moral outrage shouldn’t
be a function of geopolitical convenience.


 


Saddam’s Weapons of Mass
Destruction


 


Saddam’s alleged possession of, or attempts to acquire,
WMDs has become the primary argument in recent weeks for launching a war in
Iraqi.  From what I can tell, there
are two parts to that argument:  The
first part of the argument is that the unique nature of such weapons makes their
possession by Saddam a risk to the U.S. regardless of any objective evidence (or
the lack of such evidence) that Saddam would use them against the U.S. or give
them to someone who might.  I’ve
addressed that point above.  The
second part of the argument is that Saddam’s possession, or attempts to acquire,
WMDs violates various United Nations resolutions and that we have to disarm him
to uphold the authority of the U.N.. 
Before addressing the second part of that argument, it’s worth looking at
what constitutes WMDs and at the evidence that Saddam possess them.


 


As the
term has been used in the lead up to war in Iraq, WMD refers to chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons. 
From all that I have read, only nuclear weapons can really be considered
weapons of mass destruction. 
Chemical and biological weapons are prohibited by international
convention, they are heinous and can be used to terrorize people.  But it is difficult to disperse them in
a manner that makes them very lethal. 
When people are trying to scare you, they will say things like “one drop
of nerve gas can kill a thousand people.” 
That is like saying the sperm of one man can impregnate millions of women
in a single day.  It assumes an
effective delivery system.  For
example, in the mid 1990s there were a series of attacks by a Japanese cult on
crowded Tokyo subway stations using Sarin, a nerve agent that is 500 times more
toxic than cyanide gas.  Given
perfect conditions for an attack (enclosed spaces, no wind, concentrated
victims) less than 10% of the intended victims there were injured, most of the
injured were better in a few hours and less than one percent of the injured (12
people) died.  (The same Japanese
cult responsible for the Sarin attacks sprayed botulinum toxin over Tokyo
several times in 1990, and conducted similar activities with anthrax spores in
1993, but without any known effects.) 
Conventional explosives would have been much more lethal.  Similarly, in the case of the 2001
anthrax attacks in the U.S. (which used a particularly rare and deadly
“weaponized” version of the toxin — almost certainly obtained from a U.S.
government lab), of the 22 people diagnosed with anthrax, 11 developed the
serious inhalation form of the disease, which resulted in five deaths.  These attacks were tragic and scary but
they were not particularly lethal. 
A single gun could have killed more people.  And for destructive force they don’t
compare with the horrible Oklahoma City truck bombing, which killed 168 people
including 19 children, undertaken by white American rednecks using conventional
ammonium nitrate fertilizer.


 


To
quote Gert Harigel of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:  “The term “weapons of mass destruction”
(WMD), used to encompass nuclear (NW), biological (BW), and chemical weapons
(CW), is misleading, politically dangerous, and cannot be justified on grounds
of military efficiency. … Chemical weapons have shown to be largely
ineffective in warfare, biological weapons have never been deployed on any
significant scale. …Stockpiling of biological weapons is not possible over a
long time scale [footnotes omitted]. Only nuclear weapons are completely
indiscriminate by their explosive power, heat radiation and radioactivity, and
only they should therefore be called a weapon of mass destruction.”  The subject is complex and difficult to
summarize in a couple of paragraphs. 
But generally speaking, chemical and biological weapons can’t be
dispersed when it’s freezing, they don’t last long when it’s hot, and wind
spreads them too thin too fast to do much harm.  A chemical weapons attack that kills a
lot of people is hard to achieve even with military grade agents and
equipment.  For example, in World
War I (the major instance of chemical weapons use in warfare), an average of one
ton of chemical agent was used for each soldier killed by those weapons.  Biological weapons are even harder to
use effectively.  The more you learn
about this stuff the less serious the threat seems.  Chemical and biological weapons are
better at scaring people than they are at killing people (which is why they
haven’t been used much).  And when
it comes to scaring people with chemical and biological weapons, the U.S.
government has been doing a great job. 
(Duct tape, anyone?)


 


Does
Saddam still possess chemical or biological weapons?  Weapons inspections to date have been
inconclusive.  Since Saddam
possessed them in the past, in the absence of evidence that he has destroyed
them, I would assume that he still has them.  Saddam also denied he had chemical and
biological weapons in the early 1990s, after the Gulf War, until U.N. inspectors
turned up conclusive evidence refuting those claims.  His willingness to endure a decade of
sanctions suggests there is something there worth hiding.  Does that make the case for the U.S.
starting a war?  Not
necessarily.  Chemical and
biological weapons are nasty things, but so are Napalm, cluster bombs and all
other weapons.  War is Hell.  In war really horrible things happen to
combatants and non-combatants alike, using all manner of weapons.  Which is why the real crime is starting
a war, not possessing a particular kind of weapon. 


 


In
addition to the shifting rationales offered by the Bush administration for going
to war, there is reason to doubt whether disarming Saddam is really Bush’s
central concern.  For example, on
March 2nd the Washington Post ran a piece outlining U.S. war plans, based on a
briefing by Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the chief of U.S. military operations in
the Middle East, as well as congressional testimony and briefings by other
defense officials.  The article
stated: “The pace of Special Operations forces will also be stepped up. Their
main focus will be denying Iraqi forces access to certain chemical and
biological weapons sites that cannot be bombed for fear of setting up toxic
plumes, according to people familiar with their missions and training.”  To quote Slate’s Mickey Kaus (a strong
Bush supporter): “Hmmm. If we really know where these chemical and biological
weapons are, shouldn’t we send an e-mail to Hans Blix? Or was [editor of
Newsweek International and a Washington Post columnist] Fareed Zakaria right
when he said, on [ABC TV's] This Week a month and a half ago:  ‘I think the fear that the
Administration has, the reason it is not sharing intelligence, is that the
inspectors will find something. Let me read to you something Rumsfeld said to
The Washington Post. “If the inspectors have found something, the argument might
then be that inspections were working and, therefore, we should give them more
time.” This is the view of the inspectors, that they are not getting American
intelligence because there are people in the Pentagon who fear that giving them
intelligence will make them find things.’ “


 


What
about nuclear weapons (which are undeniably weapons of mass destruction)?  When Bush started his campaign for
“regime change” in Iraq, the one argument that really had me straddling the
fence was that Saddam might be mere months away from developing nuclear
weapons.  Even given a fairly high
degree of uncertainty, that prospect had to be taken seriously.  The possibility of nuclear weapons
ending up in the hands of Islamic extremists would be much less in secular Iraq
than in nuclear-armed Pakistan or in Islamist Iran (which appears to be further
along the path of developing nuclear weapons).  But the geopolitical consequences of
Saddam having nukes would be distinctly undesirable.  This is where U.N. weapons inspections
serve a real purpose:  Does Saddam
have a nuclear weapons program?  If
so, how close is he to developing such weapons, and could that effort be
derailed through the U.N.?


 


The
U.N. weapons inspections to date have uncovered no evidence that Saddam
restarted his nuclear weapons program after it was dismantled by the U.N. in the
wake of the Gulf War.  Mohamed
ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in
his report to the U.N. Security Council on March 7th said, “There is no
indication of resumed nuclear activities.” 
The IAEA also refuted specific U.S. allegations. 


 


In his
state of the union speech, President Bush said, “The British government has
learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium
from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase
high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam
Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to
hide.”  Bush made the same claims in
his speech to the U.N. on Sept. 12, 2002, and Powell repeated and elaborated on
those allegations in his speech to the U.N. on Feb. 5, 2003. 


 


The
claim that Saddam sought uranium from an African country, specifically Niger,
was shown by the IAEA, in its March 7th report to the Security Council, to be
based on forged documents.  As
reported in the Washington Post on March 8th, the faked evidence consisted of a
series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African
nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain
and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively
crude errors that eventually gave them away.  The IAEA did not blame either Britain or
the United States for the forgery, saying the documents “were shared with us in
good faith”.  “We fell for it,” said
one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.  Needless to say, the discovery of the
forgery was a further setback to U.S. and British credibility in their efforts
to convince reluctant U.N. Security Council members of the urgency of the threat
posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.  It also suggests that some skepticism is
in order when the U.S. government says that it has intelligence that it can’t
share with the press or public.


 


The
IAEA also refuted the Bush administration’s other major piece of alleged
evidence.  Iraq had tried for two
years to purchase 81mm aluminum tubes by the tens of thousands from China and at
least one other country.  Certain
types of high-strength aluminum tubes can be used to build centrifuges, which
enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial power plants.  ElBaradei’s report all but ruled out the
use of the tubes sought by Saddam as part of a nuclear program. The
investigators unearthed extensive records that backed up Iraq’s explanation. The
documents, which included blueprints, invoices and notes from meetings, detailed
a 14-year struggle by Iraq to make 81mm conventional rockets that would perform
well and resist corrosion. Successive failures led Iraqi officials to revise
their standards and request increasingly higher and more expensive metals.  Further work by the IAEA’s team of
centrifuge experts — two Americans, two Britons and a French citizen —
reinforced the IAEA’s conclusion that the tubes were ill suited for
centrifuges.


 


The
IAEA had concluded by early January that the tubes sought by Iraq were “not
directly suitable” for centrifuges, but rather appeared intended for use as
conventional artillery rockets, as Iraq had claimed.  Nonetheless, the Bush administration
stuck to its original position (while acknowledging disagreement among U.S.
officials who had reviewed the evidence). 
The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based
research organization that specializes in nuclear issues, reported on March 7th
that Powell’s staff had been briefed about the IAEA conclusions before Powell’s
address to the Security Council in February. “Despite being presented with the
falseness of this claim, the administration persists in making misleading
arguments about the significance of the tubes,” said the institute’s president,
David Albright.


 


There
seems to be a pattern of administration officials repeating allegations and
citing evidence they know to be false (or have strong reason to doubt) to
support their case for going to war. 
That might work in appeals to average Americans, who are busy with all
the demands of work and family and can’t independently verify administration
claims.  But it’s counterproductive
when dealing with other members of the Security Council who have access to their
own intelligence and U.N. inspections results.  The IAEA doesn’t have a perfect track
record, and it could be missing things. 
But with the U.S. spending over $100 billion a year in spy operations, is
this the best evidence we have of an Iraqi nuclear program?  No wonder the Bush administration is
having difficulty rallying the international community to its cause.


 


The
IAEA inspection team conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites,
including 21 that had not been inspected before.  Their vehicle-borne radiation survey
team covered 2,000 kilometers and over 75 facilities, including military
garrisons and camps, weapons factories, truck parks and manufacturing facilities
and residential areas.  ElBaradei’s
report concluded:  “One, there is no
indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified
through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected
since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any
inspected sites.  Second, there is
no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.  Three, there is no indication that Iraq
has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. …
After three months of intrusive inspection, we have to date found no evidence or
plausible indications of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in
Iraq.”


 


The
bottom line is that, with respect to claims that Saddam is attempting to acquire
nuclear weapons, U.N. inspections are working and the conclusions to date should
be encouraging to anyone who isn’t looking for an excuse to go to war.  A major, unprovoked war shouldn’t be
undertaken merely out of impatience with the time entailed in a process that is
actually dispelling the need for war. 
If there are still questions to be resolved, then inspections continue,
with specific tasks and deadlines. 
Saddam’s cooperation with those inspections has been reluctant,
incomplete and compelled by the threat of force.  But no evidence to date suggests there
is any kind of advanced nuclear program in Iraq that demands a rush to war.  If the U.S. officials know of evidence
that contradicts that conclusion, they should give it to U.N. weapons inspectors
and prove their case.   


 


Upholding The Authority and Credibility of the
U.N.


 


In his
speech to the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002, President Bush stated:  ”All the world now faces a test, and the
United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions
to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United
Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?  The United States helped found the
United Nations. We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and
successful. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral
body to be enforced.”  Similarly,
Secretary of State Powell, in his speech to the U.N. on Feb. 5th said,
“Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into
compliance or to face serious consequences. … Iraq has now placed itself in
danger of the serious consequences called for in U.N. Resolution 1441. And this
body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to
defy its will without responding effectively and immediately.”  The same argument has been made by
various administration officials in even stronger language in recent days:  We have to go to war in Iraq to uphold
the authority and credibility of the United Nations.


 


To
anyone who has been following the whole lead up to war, this argument seems
obviously disingenuous.  Bush has
been disdainful of the United Nations from the outset (as he has been of
multilateralism in general).  In his
March 6th press conference Bush reiterated his intention to go to war
even in the face of Security Council defeat of an authorizing resolution:  “As a matter of fact, it’s hard to say
the United States is defiant about the United Nations … when it comes to our
security, if we need to act, we will act. 
And we really don’t need United Nations approval to do so.  I want to work      I want the United Nations to be
effective. It’s important for it to be a robust, capable body. … [W]hen it
comes to our security, we really don’t need anybody’s permission.”   It’s hard to make the case that we
are going to war to uphold the U.N. when we made it clear from the outset that
we will go to war even if the U.N. Security Council votes against authorizing
it.  It looks more like we want the
authority of the U.N. behind us, but if we don’t get it we will go to war
anyway. 


 


Apart
from its general approach to the U.N., the Bush administration has also
mischaracterized Resolution 1441, suggesting that it authorizes war if Iraq
fails to comply with its demands. 
Resolution 1441 suggests just the opposite, although it contains a
certain degree of diplomatic ambiguity — which is why it was able to get the
unanimous approval of the 15 members of the Security Council.  The U.S. and French delegations
negotiated for seven weeks to hammer out a mutually acceptable version of the
resolution. The compromise largely papered over their differences, delaying
rather than settling them. 
Resolution 1441 provides that if Iraq submits false information in its
declaration or obstructs the U.N. weapons inspections in any way this “shall
constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations.”  The sentence goes on to say, however,
that such a breach “will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance
with paragraphs 11 and 12 below.” 
Paragraph 12 declares that the Security Council will convene to hear the
U.N. inspector’s report, “in order to consider the situation and the need for
full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure
international peace and security.” 
The resolution then “recalls, in that context, that the council has
repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of the
continued violation of its obligations.”


 


It is
a classic diplomatic compromise. 
The U.S. got its threat that Iraq “will face serious consequences,” for
noncompliance.  But, for the French,
the enforcement will not be automatic. The matter must first be taken up by the
Security Council, which will “consider” not just “the situation” but also “the
need for full compliance.”  Full
compliance, in other words, is not necessarily required. It will be considered
“in order to secure international peace and security.” This provision doesn’t
mandate action. Instead it would have the Security Council take up the
question:  Which will more likely
promote “peace and security”—going to war or continuing the
inspections?


 


The
U.S. co-drafted Resolution 1441, scrutinizing every word over a period of
weeks.  Having used that language to
secure unanimous approval of the resolution, and repeatedly citing it as giving
Saddam “one last chance,” the Bush administration cannot in good faith ignore
its requirement that the Security Council determine what further steps should be
taken.  If the U.S. now chooses to
go to war without Security Council authorization, it cannot claim to be
upholding the authority or credibility of the U.N..  Rather, as most people acknowledge, it
would do great harm to the U.N. as an institution that maintains peace and
through which military action must go to secure legitimacy.  On March 10th, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated the obvious, saying of unilateral U.S.
action, “the legitimacy and support for any such action would be seriously
impaired.”  He continued, “If
the U.S and others were to go outside the Council and take military action it would not be in conformity with the
(U.N.) charter.”  (Not surprisingly,
supporters of a U.S. war in Iraq contest the claim that it would violate the
U.N. Charter and there are credible arguments on both sides of the
issue.)


 


The
Bush administration’s approach to the U.N. is consistent with its approach to
multilateralism generally.  The
current diplomatic schism with allies like France and Germany is a result, to a
considerable degree, of mounting resentment over the Bush administration’s
unilateral rejection of treaties, conventions and other initiatives of
importance to Europeans and others. 
The most prominent example is the Bush administration’s rejection of the
Kyoto Global Warming Treaty almost immediately upon taking office.  Resentment was caused not merely by the
act of rejection but by the manner in which it was done — with no specific
proposals to address specific concerns and no willingness to negotiate solutions
to U.S. objections.  Given that over
100 countries negotiated for nearly a decade to produce the treaty, and much of
its content resulted from earlier U.S. demands and proposals, the Bush
administration’s rejection of the process in its entirety struck many as
arrogant and a manifestation of a new U.S. unilateralism.  It’s not surprisingly that other
countries that labored in good faith for years to produce the treaty had hard
feelings.  U.S. rejection of the
International Criminal Court followed the same pattern, and the Bush
administration has gone on to reject or stall international agreements on
torture, land mines and women’s rights, among other issues. 


 


The
Bush administration’s rejection of multilateralism extends to arms control, as
well.  In his March 6th press
conference, Bush repeatedly referred to chemical and biological weapons as
“weapons of terror.”  And yet the
U.S. has the second largest stockpile of such weapons (after Russia) and has
rejected international efforts to bring them under stricter control.  Just as it did with the Kyoto Treaty,
the Bush administration summarily rejected efforts to strengthen the Biological
Weapons Convention (BWC) Protocol. 
The lack of enforcement mechanisms in the 1972 BWC has made compliance
with its provisions largely voluntary.   As a result, its 143 signatories
spent nearly seven years working on the 210-page Protocol, which was intended to
create a way to inspect sites suspected of developing biological weapons without
interfering with legitimate industries and facilities.  Then, in July 2001, with the BWC
Protocol nearly ready to sign, President Bush rejected the Protocol as well as
any subsequent efforts to negotiate its completion.  Among its Western allies, including
Japan, Canada and the European powers, and every country in Latin America, the
U.S. stood alone in its rejection of the draft Protocol.  The U.S. took a stance more extreme than
those taken by Cuba, China, Libya, Pakistan, and Iran, all of which voiced their
objections to the text but never formally rejected it.  Just as with the Kyoto Treaty, the Bush
administration offered no alternative. Without participation by the U.S., home
to an estimated 40 percent of the world’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology
companies, the draft Protocol is essentially dead.


 


The
pattern continues with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  To enter into force, the CTBT must be
ratified by the 44 countries that in 1996 possessed nuclear research or power
reactors. At present, 41 of these 44 countries have signed the Treaty, but only
31 have ratified it. Non-signatories include India, North Korea, and Pakistan.
The U.S., which led the effort to conclude a CTBT and was the first to sign the
Treaty, is, along with China, among those that have signed but not ratified. In
1999 the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted not to ratify the treaty.  Bush has stated his opposition to the
CTBT, and the U.S. Government’s nuclear weapons laboratories have begun
preparations to test a new generation of arms.  The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which
was unveiled by the Bush administration in 2002, would have the U.S. ready to
return to underground nuclear tests within 12 months.  The Bush administration also withdrew
from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (which didn’t help Russian President
Putin build a domestic constituency behind his pro-U.S. policies).


 


And
the world is supposed to believe we are about to launch a major, unprovoked war
in the name of disarmament?


 


Supporting Democracy In The Middle
East


 


The
latest of the reasons put forth by the Bush administration for going to war in
Iraq is that it would lead to a flowering of freedom and democracy in the Middle
East.  On Feb. 26th, in a speech to
the American Enterprise Institute, Bush said:  “A new regime in Iraq would serve as a
dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.”  Other top administration officials,
including Vice President Dick Cheney, have made similar remarks in recent
months, and the argument has been pushed hardest by a group of officials and
advisors who have been the leading proponents of going to war with Iraq.  Prominent among them are Paul Wolfowitz,
the deputy defense secretary, and Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy
Board.  Wolfowitz has said that Iraq
could be “the first Arab democracy” and that even modest democratic progress in
Iraq would “cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran but across
the whole Arab world.”


 


It
would be easy, and tiresome, to respond to this argument with a diatribe about
the hypocrisy of the Bush administration when it comes to support of tyrants in
the Middle East who oppress their people, murder and torture their opponents,
and support radical Islamic terrorists. Getting rid of even one murderous thug
is a good thing, all else being equal, and Saddam is as bad as they get.  The question is whether a U.S.-led war
in an unstable part of the world where there are very strong anti-U.S. feelings
will give rise to more stable and liberal institutions.  It’s possible.  But it’s also possible it could inflame
anti-U.S. sentiment, destabilize U.S. allies in the region and result in more
terrorism against the U.S..  It’s a
terrible gamble, and there isn’t much other than wishful thinking backing the
pro-democracy domino theory. 


 


The
last time we helped overthrow the government of Iraq was in 1963, when the U.S.
helped bring about a coup that brought to power the anti-communist Baath party –
which remains in power to this day with Saddam as its leader.  We can’t always foresee the consequences
of our actions.  And if we can’t
manage to muster a majority in the U.N. Security Council, a forum we helped
create and work within for over fifty years, what makes us think we can divine
and direct the internal politics of Iraq and the Middle East?  Our track record meddling in Iraq over
the past 20 years hasn’t been great.  


 


If
we’re going to war to spread freedom and democracy to Iraq and the Middle East,
isn’t that “nation building”? 
Then-Governor Bush, in the second of the 2000 presidential debates,
declared himself against such an approach to foreign policy:  “I don’t think our troops ought to be
used for what’s called nation building.” 
When asked whether that meant civilians should perform that job, he
replied, “Maybe I’m missing something here.  I mean we’re going to have some kind of
a nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.”  Maybe I’m missing something
here.


 


On the
same day that Bush gave his AEI speech, the State Department’s Bureau of
Intelligence and Research, the in-house analytical arm, released a classified
report entitled, “Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes.”  As the LA Times reported, “The report
… says that daunting economic and social problems are likely to undermine
basic stability in the region for years, let alone prospects for democratic
reform.  Even if some version of
democracy took root — an event the report casts as unlikely — anti-American
sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the
rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States. … Some
officials said the classified document reflects views that are widely held in
the State Department and CIA but that those holding such views have been muzzled
in an administration eager to downplay the costs and risks of war.  One intelligence official said the CIA
has not been asked to produce its own analysis on the domino question.”  It is always cause for concern when
decision makers, in government or business, create an environment that is
hostile to facts and analyses that are in conflict with the boss’s views.  It helps wishful thinking become
policy.


 


A

Comments Off
 

Get your war on!

March 20, 2003 at 8:01 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


I
apologize for the recent lapse in posts to my GetRealList. It has been difficult
to summon the energy to do it, once I get through with the day’s reading and
work, not to mention fighting off a sense of hopelessness. But now that the war
has begun, and people are demonstrating all over the world, it’s time to jump
back into the fray.


 

I have
a huge backlog of stuff to send you. I’ll try to pace myself so you don’t get
overwhelmed. So get out your specs and settle down in a comfortable chair, turn
off CNN, and sink your teeth into some real information.

 

Much,
much more to come,


–C


P.S.
If you’re not familiar with the comic strip “Get Your War On,” it’s a hoot, and
fairly current. Check it out:

http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war21.html

 



Comments Off
 

Page 1 of 212


Copyright © 2008 GetRealList
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
FAIR USE NOTICE