Iraq-al Qaida link? Nope. Slate.com\’s \"Saddam and Terrorism\"

April 8, 2003 at 9:07 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

Here’s
an interesting bit of dialogue between a couple of right smartypants:


Daniel Benjamin is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies and co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror. He was director for
counterterrorism on the National Security Council staff 1998-1999. Edward Jay
Epstein received his Ph.D at Harvard in government, taught at MIT and is the
author of 12 books, including News From Nowhere.


It discusses in some detail the
connections that have been alleged between Saddam and al-Qaida, esp.
Mohamed
Atta, and whether those behind 9-11 had “state support.”

 

http://slate.msn.com/id/2080850/  

 

–C 

Michael Moore – My Oscar \’Backlash\’

April 8, 2003 at 9:07 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

It’s been awhile since I sent anything out so, as usual, I have a backlog. I
wanted to start off with two updates from Michael Moore.

The theme for today is FEAR.

More to come.

(How are you all holding up out there? How’s this list treatin’ ya? Show of
hands: how many of you are reading the long and difficult ones, like the
histories of the Middle East and the Chomsky? I’m wondering if I should
stick with the shorter stuff…)

–C

My Oscar “Backlash”: “Stupid White Men” Back At #1, “Bowling” Breaks New
Records

April 7, 2003

Dear friends,

It appears that the Bush administration will have succeeded in colonizing
Iraq sometime in the next few days. This is a blunder of such magnitude —
and we will pay for it for years to come. It was not worth the life of one
single American kid in uniform, let alone the thousands of Iraqis who have
died, and my condolences and prayers go out to all of them.

So, where are all those weapons of mass destruction that were the pretense
for this war? Ha! There is so much to say about all this, but I will save it
for later.

What I am most concerned about right now is that all of you — the majority
of Americans who did not support this war in the first place — not go
silent or be intimidated by what will be touted as some great military
victory. Now, more than ever, the voices of peace and truth must be heard. I
have received a lot of mail from people who are feeling a profound sense of
despair and believe that their voices have been drowned out by the drums and
bombs of false patriotism. Some are afraid of retaliation at work or at
school or in their neighborhoods because they have been vocal proponents of
peace. They have been told over and over that it is not “appropriate” to
protest once the country is at war, and that your only duty now is to
“support the troops.”

Can I share with you what it’s been like for me since I used my time on the
Oscar stage two weeks ago to speak out against Bush and this war? I hope
that, in reading what I’m about to tell you, you’ll feel a bit more
emboldened to make your voice heard in whatever way or forum that is open to
you.

When “Bowling for Columbine” was announced as the Oscar winner for Best
Documentary at the Academy Awards, the audience rose to its feet. It was a
great moment, one that I will always cherish. They were standing and
cheering for a film that says we Americans are a uniquely violent people,
using our massive stash of guns to kill each other and to use them against
many countries around the world. They were applauding a film that shows
George W. Bush using fictitious fears to frighten the public into giving him
whatever he wants. And they were honoring a film that states the following:
The first Gulf War was an attempt to reinstall the dictator of Kuwait;
Saddam Hussein was armed with weapons from the United States; and the
American government is responsible for the deaths of a half-million children
in Iraq over the past decade through its sanctions and bombing. That was the
movie they were cheering, that was the movie they voted for, and so I
decided that is what I should ackno
wledge in my speech.

And, thus, I said the following from the Oscar stage:

“On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan (from
Canada), I would like to thank the Academy for this award. I have invited
the other Documentary nominees on stage with me. They are here in solidarity
because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction because we live in
fictitious times. We live in a time where fictitious election results give
us a fictitious president. We are now fighting a war for fictitious reasons.
Whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fictitious ‘Orange Alerts,’ we
are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And,
whenever you’ve got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, you’re time
is up.”

Halfway through my remarks, some in the audience started to cheer. That
immediately set off a group of people in the balcony who started to boo.
Then those supporting my remarks started to shout down the booers. The L. A.
Times reported that the director of the show started screaming at the
orchestra “Music! Music!” in order to cut me off, so the band dutifully
struck up a tune and my time was up. (For more on why I said what I said,
you can read the op-ed I wrote for the L.A. Times, plus other reaction from
around the country at my website www.michaelmoore.com)

The next day — and in the two weeks since — the right-wing pundits and
radio shock jocks have been calling for my head. So, has all this ruckus
hurt me? Have they succeeded in “silencing” me?

Well, take a look at my Oscar “backlash”:

— On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards,
attendance at “Bowling for Columbine” in theaters around the country went up
110% (source: Daily Variety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The following weekend, the
box office gross was up a whopping 73% (Variety). It is now the
longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a row
and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since the Oscars
has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office record for a
documentary by nearly 300%.

— Yesterday (April 6), “Stupid White Men” shot back to #1 on the New York
Times bestseller list. This is my book’s 50th week on the list, 8 of them at
number one, and this marks its fourth return to the top position, something
that virtually never happens.

— In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting 10-20 million hits
A DAY (one day we even got more hits than the White House!). The mail has
been overwhelmingly positive and supportive (and the hate mail has been
hilarious!).

— In the two days following the Oscars, more people pre-ordered the video
for “Bowling for Columbine” on Amazon.com than the video for the Oscar
winner for Best Picture, “Chicago”.

— In the past week, I have obtained funding for my next documentary, and I
have been offered a slot back on television to do an updated version of “TV
Nation”/ “The Awful Truth.”

I tell you all of this because I want to counteract a message that is told
to us all the time — that, if you take a chance to speak out politically,
you will live to regret it. It will hurt you in some way, usually
financially. You could lose your job. Others may not hire you. You will lose
friends. And on and on and on.

Take the Dixie Chicks. I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that, because their
lead singer mentioned how she was ashamed that Bush was from her home state
of Texas, their record sales have “plummeted” and country stations are
boycotting their music. The truth is that their sales are NOT down. This
week, after all the attacks, their album is still at #1 on the Billboard
country charts and, according to Entertainment Weekly, on the pop charts
during all the brouhaha, they ROSE from #6 to #4. In the New York Times,
Frank Rich reports that he tried to find a ticket to ANY of the Dixie
Chicks’ upcoming concerts but he couldn’t because they were all sold out.
(To read Rich’s column from yesterday’s Times, “Bowling for Kennebunkport,”
go here:
http://www.michaelmoore.com/articles/index.php?article=20030406-nytimes. He
does a pretty good job of laying it all out and talks about my next film and
the impact it could potentially have.) Their song, “Travelin’ Soldier” (a
beautiful anti-war
ballad) was the most requested song on the internet last week. They have
not been hurt at all — but that is not what the media would have you
believe. Why is that? Because there is nothing more important now than to
keep the voices of dissent — and those who would dare to ask a question —
SILENT. And what better way than to try and take a few well-known
entertainers down with a pack of lies so that the average Joe or Jane gets
the message loud and clear: “Wow, if they would do that to the Dixie Chicks
or Michael Moore, what would they do to little ol’ me?” In other words, shut
the f— up.

And that, my friends, is the real point of this film that I just got an
Oscar for — how those in charge use FEAR to manipulate the public into
doing whatever they are told.

Well, the good news — if there can be any good news this week — is that
not only have neither I nor others been silenced, we have been joined by
millions of Americans who think the same way we do. Don’t let the false
patriots intimidate you by setting the agenda or the terms of the debate.
Don’t be defeated by polls that show 70% of the public in favor of the war.
Remember that these Americans being polled are the same Americans whose kids
(or neighbor’s kids) have been sent over to Iraq. They are scared for the
troops and they are being cowed into supporting a war they did not want —
and they want even less to see their friends, family, and neighbors come
home dead. Everyone supports the troops returning home alive and all of us
need to reach out and let their families know that.

Unfortunately, Bush and Co. are not through yet. This invasion and conquest
will encourage them to do it again elsewhere. The real purpose of this war
was to say to the rest of the world, “Don’t Mess with Texas – If You Got
What We Want, We’re Coming to Get It!” This is not the time for the majority
of us who believe in a peaceful America to be quiet. Make your voices heard.
Despite what they have pulled off, it is still our country.

Yours,

Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com
http://www.michaelmoore.com/mailing/unsubscribe.php

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife\’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport …

April 8, 2003 at 12:07 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Speaking of fear, here’s a disturbing story about an airport search gone
wrong. Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again.


Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing
You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?


–C

Greg Palast – Democracy for sale

April 3, 2003 at 11:20 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

You may recall the
Hustler interview with Greg Palast that I sent around in January. Here are a few more articles from Palast, who is doing more,
solid, investigative journalism about the US (from his role in the UK) than
anybody else domestically, by a wide margin. I just started his book The
Best Democracy Money Can Buy
and the stuff he has dug up is pretty
amazing.

Here’s his “Democracy for sale” talk given to a conference
in Cambridge on 23 March 2002. It goes into much of the same material as
the Hustler interview, with more of a focus on globalization, the
IMF, the World Bank, and the Bush-bin Laden connections. If you have
wondered what all the fuss is about globalization, read this
article! 

Here is a sample of
Palast’s material on the Florida election. If you’re tired of reading, this one
actually has a video you can watch instead of reading the transcript.

There is much more
information on Palast’s Web site, from info about the Florida election to the
Bushes to globalization and a lot of other things.


I’m sure lots of people
would like to try, and many have, to write off Palast as a conspiracy nutter.
Unfortunately for them, his research is too good.


–C

Understanding the US War State

April 3, 2003 at 10:35 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

I thought this was worthwhile for its clear-headed thinking about the way that policy and opinion in the US is formed. The author essentially deconstructs the operative principles of the American “group-mind.”

I guess if you want to understand the US, it helps to be a Canadian!

–C

—–Original Message—–

Understanding the U.S. War State
by John McMurtry
Monthly Review, March 2003

“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being
attacked, and denounce the the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
and exposing the country to danger.” — Hermann Goering

Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most
heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into
international language until after World War II. Until then, military
invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded
under such slogans as progress and spreading civilization.

I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky say that
genocide was America’s defining political tradition. Then I realized
that the United States (like Canada to a much lesser extent) was
based on destroying the lives and cultures of the 25 million or so
first peoples who had lived in America for millennia.

In the case of the U.S., the story continued with the forcible
seizure of Texas in 1845 from Mexican farmers and indigenous peoples,
and Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and other state
territories shortly afterward in 1849. U.S. troops under the slave-
owning General Zachary Taylor unilaterally invaded its southern
neighbor under the false pretext of avenging American blood, and
General Taylor soon vaulted into the White House as a presidential
war hero. Even though a young Congressman, Abraham Lincoln, exposed
the pretext and connected it to a Anglo-British business strategy to
impose free trade on the regions by financing the prior president,
James Polk, into the White House as General Taylor’s commander.

In 1898, once again under the false pretext of self-defense (when the
U.S.S. Maine sank from an internal explosion), the Philippines, Guam,
Cuba in part, and Puerto Rico were seized from their peoples by
another unilaterally provoked war. This war of aggression and
occupation, like so many U.S. interventions since, was preceded by a
media campaign of whipping up public hysteria and war fever.

Media baron William Randolph Hearst made the famous remark, “You
furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war”–not unlike the U.S.
cable and network media daily drum-beat in recent months for war on
Iraq. War is a major violence entertainment, and in close partnership
with the Pentagon, it can go on for months to divert the masses.

The tradition of misleading the American people by false pretexts for
aggressive wars is an old one in U.S. history; but since the fascist
interregnum, war criminal invasions of other countries have not been
accepted by public opinion. The U.S. under the control of the
corporate war party now seeks to reverse this trend. By dint of the
permitted 9-11 plane attacks on the World Trade Center, an open
presidential blank-check has been granted by Congress for attacking
third-world countries so as to occupy their countries and control
their resources.

The now-known blueprint of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul
Wolfowitz and others (written in September of 2001 as the “Project
for the New American Century”) is clear on the plan to shape the
international security order in line with American principles and
interests. Armed domination of the Gulf region transcends the issue
of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Oil looms large in this plan to rule the world for American
interests. According to a report sponsored by oil corporations from
the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies, oil is
no longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of
the traditional supply and demand balances, but a determinant of
national security and international power. The U.S. state military
invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in under two years are expressions
of this new supra-market policy.

Before we pass over the pattern of facts at work as merely
“realpolitik,”, we should note that this armed-state project
resembles fascism: not only in war criminal attacks on other
countries in violation of international law, but in repudiating
market relations to seize others valuable goods by armed force.

Facing Facts —
As demagogic glorification of genocidal invasion once again escapes
naming by a flood of falsehoods and projections onto the latest U.S.
Enemy, we need to remind ourselves of facts that no mass medium once
discussed from October of 2002 to March of 2003. As we lay bare the
ruling deceptions here, we should keep in mind the unifying principle
which is not seen.

U.S. state justifications always project onto the designated Enemy
what the U.S. security state is doing itself. If it loudly condemns
another weaker states weapons of mass destruction, chemical and
biological weapons, violation of international laws, or attempts to
impose its will on the world by terror, then we can deduce that this
is exactly what the U.S. is planning more of, but is diverting
attention from by accusing others.

Test this underlying principle with every international accusation
the U.S. makes next, and you will find it is invariably confirmed.

The tactic works wonderfully with a lapdog press and political class
who are excited into a kind of collective delirium by choral
denunciations of the foreign demon who is the designated Enemy of the
Day. (I will explain why in my analysis ahead of the ruling group-
mind.) So exactly does the U.S. security state project its own
violent policies onto others, that one can tell what vicious policy
it is about to escalate next by by the intensity with which the Other
is accused of the crime.

This is how we can best understand the endless accusation of the
Soviet Union of a plot to rule the world before 1991; and how we can
best make sense of the official U.S. fixation on global terrorism
today. Both predications disclose the inner logic of the U.S. war
states own pattern of behavior. I sometimes wonder whether this is a
deliberate strategic tactic of diversion, or a structure of paranoid
delusion built into the mind-set of U.S. culture.

Let us in this light examine the principal claims and concealments of
the Bush Jr. administration in its pursuit of Iraq. The Bush
administration has tirelessly claimed to be upholding international
law in its pressuring of the Security Council into action regarding
Iraq’s violation of U.N. resolutions and international law.

In fact, since its entry into office the Bush Jr. administration has
sabotaged laws, covenants and monitoring protocols to protect
individuals and peoples against nuclear weapons, biological weapons,
chemical weapons, land mines, small arms, international ballistic
missiles, torture, racism, discrimination against women, arbitrary
seizure and imprisonment, mistreatment of prisoners, crimes against
humanity and war crimes, military weather distortions, biodiversity
loss, and international climate destabilization.

Its latest overriding of international law and due process has been
the forcible usurpation of the Security Council inspections of Iraq.
No rogue state in modern history has remotely matched this continuous
and systematic violation of international law and procedures to
implement international law.

The Bush administration’s preparation and threat of military invasion
against a country thousands of miles from its borders is unequivo-
cally a war crime under international law, including Principles 1,
2 and 6(a)1of the Nuremberg Charter and Article 54 of the Geneva
Convention. The fact that this war crime of preparing for and
planning an invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led armed forces [whatever the
UN decides] has never been openly discussed has promoted the very
aggression which the U.N. is constituted to prevent.

It is not as if there were any doubt about the Bush administration’s
clear intention to put itself above the law as it incessantly accused
Iraq of doing so. It declared from the beginning that it would go it
alone with whoever was willing, and yet not a word of this declared
threat to international peace and security issued from any U.N.
ambassador, including Canada’s Bill Graham, that this was a lawless
intention and plan.

The effect on Iraqi citizens of the long-planned U.S. war of
aggression against Iraq is said to be “their liberation.” The
targeted victims since the first war on Iraq have, however, been
most of all infants and children.

The Bush administration’s planned Operation Shock and Awe is a
self-imagery of Godlike power which is more blind in hubris than in
1991 when the U.S. military assault caused mass infectious disease,
child dysentery and birth mutilation by deliberate bombing of
civilian electricity sources, sewage and water treatment facilities
and by the deployment of nuclear waste in shells and weapons. Over
500,000 children in Iraq have already died as a consequence of the
last war according to UNICEF–a figure predicted in 1991 by the
New England Journal of Medicine, and substantiated in 1999 by the
leading British medical research, Lancet.

Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — about which the Bush regime has
most pervasively trumpeted its concern — were sold to Saddam at
great profit by the U.S., Britain and other Security Council members.
This is why Bush officials took the original Iraq report to the U.N.
from the Council chair (then their military client state, Colombia),
and deleted all the pages documenting these military sales before
distributing the text to non-permanent members.

Secretary Rumsfeld, meanwhile, has refused to work with the relevant
Senate committees to expose and ensure against continued military
sales to Iraq or its middlemen by U.S. armament manufacturers.

U.S. demands for Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions are not and
have not been its true concern, since far more U.N. resolutions over
far more years have been ignored by the U.S. military partner,
Israel. Thus continuing war crimes and crimes against humanity by
Israeli administrations are still perpetrated with impunity in the
illegally occupied territories of Palestine — for example, by land
and property seizures and continuous enlargement of the illegal
occupation, collective punishments of the population, increasing
assassinations, and destruction of civilian infrastructure and
homes.

Twelve to eighteen UN resolutions prior to the inspections were said
to have been violated by Iraq during its years of living with
militarily enforced destruction of its society. Israel before, and
since, has violated 64 UN resolutions with impunity. No double
standard of international law has been so long-term, blatant and
systematic, except by the U.S. itself.

The regime change all along demanded by the Bush administration
cannot benefit the Iraqi people as promised because the projected
U.S. military occupation has not been about getting rid of Saddam
(who the U.S. armed and supported into power), but has ever more
directly been the forced takeover of Iraq’s publicly owned and
controlled oil reserves. These reserves since the 1950’s have
(despite Saddam’s U.S.-supported coup d’etat) financed the most
advanced social infrastructure in the Arab world, free education, and
universal health care.

During the demonization of Iraq over the last 6 months, its public
oil revenues have enabled a government program of guaranteed food for
all citizens by a publicly run distribution system which the U.N.
World Food Program described as the most efficient in the world. With
oil, as with all else, the greatest enemy to this empire is the civil
commons of publicly owned resources which obstructs corporate market
control. That the Iraqi government has, moreover, put a run on the
U.S. dollar by converting its oil revenues into Euros instead of
dollars is another unspeakable fact which is blocked out of all
corporate media reports.

Watching the War Crime Unfold —
The ultimate target of the U.S. war party has long been the greatest
and most accessible high-quality oil reserves on the planet. The
Bush oil party has long coveted it, and U.S. military invasion has
been the favored blitzkrieg method for getting it over years of
planning — with no response by the Security Council. But world
public opinion has not covered its eyes like governments and the
corporate media. Turkey’s people were 96% against invasion of Iraq as
its government considered large bribes, and Spain’s people were over
90% opposed as its Falangist prime minister joined Tony the War
Poodle in barking for the invasion. Over 30 million citizens from
across the world demonstrated against a U.S.-led invasion in one
weekend, an historically unprecedented event.

The U.S. president’s response to all this has been revealing. He has
told the world throughout that the U.N. itself is on trial, with him
as God’s judge. The Security Council has been told for months that it
either agrees to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, or it is irrelevant. If
it fails, the Bush administration will take the law into its own
hands and invade distant and weak Iraq as America’s sovereign right.

Try to remember when you heard this kind of demagoguery and defiance
of international law before. The difference has been most clearly in
the use of the U.N.

Pervasive aerial and ground inspections of Iraq’s territory, soften-
up bombings of defenses in the North and South, and successful
commands to destroy short-range missiles which together had largely
stripped Iraq’s meager defenses by mid-March. During this process,
U.S. and allied demands merely escalated from immediate abolition of
weapons of mass destruction to-without any media noticing — demands
for total disarmament. Best to have a helpless victim.

Has history ever witnessed such a corruptly one-sided scheme to
destroy and loot a defenseless country?

The Ruling Group-Mind–
As I watched the Security Council Meeting on March 19, after military
inspections of Iraq were forcibly terminated by the Bush Jr.
administration’s decision to take the law into its own hands, I was
struck by the intimidation of the Council members. They were in
thrall to a ceremony of avoidance. The hard fact that the U.S.
administration had just stopped the U.N.’s due process by its
decision for lawless armed attack of Iraq was blocked out of view as
if it had not been decided.

That this massive armed military invasion was a grave violation of
international law, the supreme international crime under the
Nuremberg Charter, was never mentioned. The ritual of sacrifice
prevailed instead as if in collective submission to the implacable
ordinance of Fate.

Formal pieties and aversion of the facts ruled. The Secretary-General
was congratulated for removing the inspection teams on the
instruction of the U.S. administration so that they would not be
harmed by its illegal invasion. The inspectors were again and again
praised for inspecting Iraq’s military possessions before the full-
scale illegal invasion forcibly prevented the completion of their
work. Much angst was displayed for the humanitarian catastrophe
about to unfold, with none mentioning that the lawless usurpation of
U.N. process by the blitzkrieg invasion of a suffering poor country
would cause the mass terror.

The long genocide was diplomatically sanitized by abstractions. In
the case of the U.S., Britain and Spain, Saddam Hussein was held
solely responsible. Repeated ritual mantras of concern for
international peace and security, alleged Iraq government violations
not substantiated by the inspectors, official regrets, collective
self- blaming, and much talk of rebuilding the society about to be
destroyed were limned in a sleepwalk of official euphemisms. The
theme that bound them all was the silence on the U.S. planned war-
criminal attack in violation of the will and the legal process of the
U.N. Security Council itself.

Kofi Annan almost spoke out when he advised that a belligerent
country is responsible under law for the costs of occupation. But
the U.N. and Canada were soon ready to pay for picking up the pieces
of another mass destruction of a poor society by U.S.-led forces.

I remembered all the history and accounts I had read of the Third
Reich and the cowardice of official appeasement that enabled every
step. The appeasement now was on the level of the mind itself. No one
dared to say what was happening. Threats and bribes by the U.S. had
for months saturated the proceedings of the Councils judgment, but
there were to their great credit, few takers of the blood money.

The Security Council had repudiated the U.S.-led war by an
overwhelming rejection of any motion for it. For the U.S. now to
still lead an invasion was self-evidently against the Security
Councils will and decision, and thus wholly illegal. Yet there was a
strange refusal to name the crime, the supreme international crime of
a war of aggression against another state. One listened in vain for
one explicit reference to the violation of the U.N. Charter, of the
Nuremberg Charter, of international criminal law, of the Secretary-
Generals own previous statement that a U.S. attack without Security
Council support would be illegal, and of the usurpation of the will
and process of the U.N. Security Council itself.

On the contrary, Iraq was being held accountable to obey the
Council’s every demand to strip its meager defenses as huge U.S. and
British armed forces formed on its borders. Ever louder U.S. threats
of armed invasion outside the law and against Security Council vote
was left to proceed as if it was a natural event. Everywhere in the
media, the inevitable war was bowed before as an ordinance of
destiny. It was only now a question of viewers watching U.S. forces
destroy a society at will and with impunity, an ideal mass market
site for the entertainment of lawless power.

No-one thought to notice from within the Security Council Chamber and
official global culture that every step of the mass terror against an
essentially defenseless people was planned, chosen and executed in
defiance of all international law by a sitting member state.

The monstrous construction had no author. Responsibility fell only on
the victim. The U.S. became another onlooker at the inevitable war.
Once it invaded, it became magnanimous in assigning the costs to
others to pay for its mass destruction. It was now ready to co-
operate with its international partners in the rebuilding of the
country that it destroyed. No-one inside official society outside
thought to hold the U.S. accountable for what it did.

“There is no alternative” took another meaning. Now the no-
alternative world the U.S. rules means criminal war invasion IS an
act of God.

The New Fundamentalism: America is God —
As you observe the criminal war invasion of Iraq, the round-the-clock
commentary and pictures, and the aftermath, watch for a silent
general fact. There will no end of detailed discussion of the
military operations of attack and occupation of a country rendered
defenseless by Security Council demands, with much admiration and
vicarious self-congratulation at the new weapons and strategic moves
of the American Superpower.

There will be no end of experts and commentators communicating
adoringly to audiences about the high-tech assault instruments which
are being tested on a third-world people to see how they work. It’s
a little like a high-school science experiment, advised the Pentagon
Joint Chief of Staff to the militarily embedded CNN medium of public
news.

The fact at the center of the whole conflict and long in dispute
will, however, soon be put down the memory hole with no one Noticing.
No one in the media or government will point out that the biological
and chemical weapons that Iraq was declared to be hiding are not used
and did not in fact exist. No one will think to notice that this, the
main justification of the war–weapons of mass destruction in the
hands of Saddam–was from start to finish a vast and criminal big
lie.

No one will wonder at their own cowardly complicity in the long train
of destructive deceit and war crime even as the invading armies sweep
across the country and 3000 sorties of bombs fall with no hint of a
chemical or biological weapon or nuclear device. Least of all will
servelings of the ruling group-mind connect back to the Third Reich’s
prototype of aggressive war.

It is the Formula. Blame terrorists as the cause of the country’s
police state measures. Accuse every country attacked of being an
imminent threat to it, to justify the invasion. Denounce all
resistance as unpatriotic. Attack and occupy the weak country with
total weaponry. The formula repeats as long as it is not called out.

The group-mind cannot compute what does not fit its fixed
presuppositions. So predictable outcomes follow as if prescribed by
the laws of nature. The inevitable war occurs like ‘El Nino’. Only
the terrible infliction of damages are thought worth perceiving or
talking about. The moral debate is silenced, left to the world’s
peoples in the streets, where only passing painted signs can speak.

The co-ordinates of international law and the rogue war party in
control of the White House are blocked of every discussion as if they
did not exist. There will, in particular, be no discussion of this
administration’s illegal presidency, its ever more ruinous failure to
govern effectively at any level of the U.S. economy, the
environmental meltdown which it leads or the unprecedentedly
pervasive corruption of its lead corporate gang–from all of which
the latest orchestrated war is the ongoing system of violent
diversion.

The “distract and attack” rhythm of one war after another will, if it
is not seen through, continue to succeed with the Formula until the
world is subjugated across its civilizations. As long as the self-
evident can be denied, there is nothing to stop it. Discharges of
condemnation of Saddam Hussein can occupy the mind instead, until the
next Enemy is wheeled into the war theater to extend the U.S. war
states’ rule.

In Canada, the CBC and its retinue of U.S. explainers and apologists
will report the world to us so we cannot see the meaning of what is
happening. The local academy will occasionally provide the choral
affirmation on cue. Thus, Janice Stein of the University of Toronto’s
Munk Center will reassure us on CBC News coverage on March 20, the
day that the U.S. crime against peace began, that, “We are targeting
Iraq’s leadership and not its civilians.”

All are one in America’s view of the world as itself. What cannot be
discussed is the U.S. war crime itself, even to deny it. It is
unspeakable so long as the ruling group-mind remains the invisible
prison of our collective life. The moral syntax of the American group-
mind is the inner logic of the problem. In this era, the group-mind
is American. All its principles are presupposed as the way that God
is presupposed by the religious fundamentalist–an all-powerful, all-
knowing and jealous ruler of the world, which none may doubt without
social opprobrium and attack.

U.S. witch-hunts of those who oppose the religion of America is the
creed’s fanatical mode. But the creed is not confined to expression
within America’s church of self-adoration. It is on a crusade across
the world’s continents, with ruinous destabilization or armed attack
of those who do not submit to its will for “freedom.”

The God of America is primitive. It worships itself. But there are a
set of silently regulating principles at work through all the
phenomena of its rule which together constitute the ruling group-mind
which has imprisoned global culture within its premises since 9-11.

Presupposition 1 of this ruling group-mind is that the U.S. national
security state is America. This assertion is never directly stated
because that would reveal the absurdity of the equation. But the
assumption nevertheless underlies every statement that has proceeded
from U.S. government offices since 9-11.

This preconscious equation explains, for example, why even the U.S.
government’s official opposition, the Democratic Party, has abdicated
from political responsibility in its fear of appearing to oppose
unjustified wars against essentially defenseless third-world
societies in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are incarcerated within the
ruling structure of mind, more paralyzed even than 1930’s Germans in
their dread of being named as unpatriotic. This is a fear that can
only be explained by the equation of the state military command and
its apparatus with America. Beneath the surface phenomena of party
politics rules the instituted group-mind in terms of which perception
itself is constructed. [Besides, nobody gets into the Shadow Govt.
Enclave if they piss off the Executive in the Oval Office.]

Thus, the equation of America to its armed state apparatus is never
publicly challenged in the official culture of the West because the
equation is assumed a priori across the official leaderships of
American allies. No-one who houses the false equation can tell them
apart. They cannot see the demonstrable falsehoods of the war state,
the overthrow of the Republic’s democratic traditions, and least of
all the safety of millions of innocent civilians in other countries.

Here is Why: because they assume America and its national security
apparatus are one and the same. Since they love America, and America
is it, they cannot distinguish their beloved country from the
criminal gang institutions of the National Security Council, the
Pentagon and the CIA. As these rogue secret societies rule across the
world by the force of armed terror, mass disinformation, secret narco-
links, political bribery, and coercion at every level, lovers of
America are obliged to defend this criminal global domination as
America.

This absurd equation obliges them to be, in short, blind dupes. It
then further misleads them into supposing that anyone who opposes a
gangster state rule of the world is anti-American. One absurdity
builds onto another. The disorder ends as a paranoid mass cult
characterized as patriotism — just as in the 1930’s — within the
world’s most powerful industrial state. It is in this false equation
at the baseline of the group-mind that we find the kernel of the
worlds problem–America’s self-definition as absolutist armed force,
unbound by fact or international law.

Presupposition 2 is that America is the ultimate source and moving
line of the world’s freedom and goodness, God’s material embodiment
on earth. This assumption too is presupposed as true by definition,
the prime article of faith of a fanatic religion. Full-spectrum
dominance and pre-emptive attack of threats [even before they occur]
are not merely clinically paranoid delusions of power and
persecution; they follow from the underlying and increasingly
absolute assumption that America is God, the source of all Freedom
and Goodness on the planet.

The expressions of this deranged presupposition are evident in every
speech of the former alcohol and cocaine addict occupying the White
House, and there is no evident opposition from the parishioners of
U.S. official culture. Any indirect questioning or challenge of this
first moral premise of the group-mind is attacked as a betrayal of
the country and what it holds dear.

American freedom comes to mean then, only what establishes and
maximizes the absolute right of the U.S. to command the world–
specifically, to command as inevitable that all societies adopt an
American-style market, American values and culture, and American
military dominance in all areas of the globe as its vital interests.

How do we test the rule of this fanatic basis of thought? It is
expressed in Bush Doctrine policy documents throughout. But we can
more easily discover its ruling principle at work by asking whether
there is any limit placed anywhere on what the U.S. and vassal
corporate states have the right to demand of other peoples and
societies–including unconditional support of full-scale war against
destitute societies over ten thousand miles from American borders.

“Anything goes” is the way of attack-dog journalism; but one hint of
question of this ruling assumption that America is the moving line of
the world’s freedom is that a free press is seen as heresy. The
assumption is thus internalized prior to censorship. Self-censorship
is this regime’s center of gravity, and holds the group-mind in its
prison. Those who oppose it “hate freedom.” Loyalty to this ultimate
premise of social and political thought is what regulates the mind at
a preconscious level prior to statement. It is the identity structure
of the mob-mind across the world. [It is a mindset "possessed by
evil."]

Principle 3 follows as a logical consequent from Principle 2–America
is always and necessarily right in all conflicts with other nations
or peoples or social forces; and they are simply wrong.

This is not a truth which facts can disprove, because it is true by
definition in the ruling group-mind.

Disproving facts are irrelevant or of no consequence, even if by some
chance they make it through the gates of the corporate media. This
third regulating assumption explains why even the hardest facts soon
disappear from sight if they throw doubt on Americas infallible moral
superiority in cases of international conflict–for example, the
conviction of the U.S. by the International Court for war criminal
actions against Nicaragua, and the $13.2 billion damages which were
never paid.

Beneath the selection and exclusion of facts and perspectives which
regulate editorial offices and policies, this third principle of the
ruling group-mind too regulates perception and conversation beneath
direct control. Before an exposing word is spoken, it is ruled out
from within.

It is an inter-subjective operation, like the thought-field of
playing a game. Any fact or argument which calls into question
America’s moral superiority to any adversary is known to be “hostile
to freedom and the good” in advance of its consideration. [That
thought is immediately discarded, lest it "mess up the operation."]

Principles 4 and 5 follow suit as ultimate moral imperatives for all
Americans and their allies.

Any people or nation or social force which does not side with or
opposes the U.S. government is evil (Principle 4) and so must, as an
Enemy of world freedom and justice, be attacked by all means
available [including pre-emptive armed force] before the Enemy
presents a “real” threat (Principle 5).

Principles 4 and 5 have sharpened into patriotic absolutes with the
Bush Jr. regime. Not even fabricated evidence like the manufactured
Gulf of Tonkin attack off Vietnam, or the fictional electricity cut-
off of infant incubators in Iraq in 1991 are thought any longer
essential necessary, to justify a military attack on another people’s
territory and society.

As George Bush Jr. said to a West Point audience this year: “If we
wait for threats to materialize, we will have waited too long.”

There is, therefore, no need for the threat to be real. Threats only
need to be declared. That is is why the attack on Iraq by U.S. and
British armed forces did not require anyone else to confirm that
there was in fact a threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
being used by terrorists against America. The evil is known, as with
witchcraft, by the accusation itself. Once accused, the Enemy becomes
such by definition, because materialization by fact is too late.

Those who question the designation are sided with the Enemy. You are
with us, or for the terrorists. Bush’s rage against French opposition
to the war of aggression against Iraq thus follows necessarily. The
logic of the ruling group-mind prescribes reality prior to the
phenomenon of “actually happening.”

A self-evident baseline of entitlement is thus instituted for the
rest of the world which is not spoken. America can go to war against
accused enemies as it chooses on the basis of the self-propelling
operations of its ruling group-mind alone. All one has to do is
trigger the known stimuli which activate its value-set and its
attendant emotions of rage.

Since 9-11-01, majority opinion support for America’s New War in any
form follows from this lockstep of the group-mind. It is predictable
so long as it remains unexposed to view. There is no outer perimeter
to the certitude of this program to those who bear it. Whoever is
targeted next can be pursued with the righteous fury of a Salem witch-
hunt, with the mob-mind structured to bay for blood.

Any criticism is suspect and accused, to keep the threat of evil at
bay. Few dare to stand against such a closed program. It is the basis
of all acceptable self-definition. George Bush Jr. himself
exemplifies the group-mind as its creature and primary expression.
That is the secret of his popularity. He expresses the ruling syntax
of the unstated American religion. It is triumphally true and right a
priori. It is “what we are.” God has given America our freedom, and
so it can do no wrong.

The fearful are silent lest they appear to be taking sides against
their country. The group-mind in this way is internalized as the
first requirement of normality. Its hold is everywhere it is not seen
through. That is why most of the Globe or Post’s columnists house it
too, as their own.

Principle 6 of the American group-mind completes the closed circle.
The President of the United States (or those under his command)
cannot commit a crime abroad–whatever crime they in fact commit.

Thus, the U.S. refuses to be bound by the rule of law outside of its
borders. It blocks at every turn the application of international law
to its chief executive and line of command. It refuses to recognize
the International Criminal Court, even as the U.S. demands that the
Court try and convict those the U.S. directs to it.

This President of the United States [unlike his predecessor] is
placed “above the law,” and takes the law into his own hands as a
right to rule that is assumed as sacred. The presidential incumbent
may be attacked for domestic misbehaviors. But once he leads America
abroad, he stands for freedom and justice in the world by definition–
even if he achieved office by violation of election law.

In his mind, his war command cannot commit war crimes or crimes
against humanity on the international plane–even if evidence
overwhelmingly convicts his criminal guilt. It thus follows from the
group-mind’s hold that when George W. Bush led the war criminal
attack on Iraq in defiance of international law and Security Council
vote, not one media or official voice in the U.S. recognized it.

Simultaneously, U.S. Senators unanimously blessed the armed forces
sent to enforce the criminal fait accompli. One can predict these
outcomes from the group-mind’s program. It is structured not to see
what is going on, [but to respond as if "everything is normal."]

As lawless forces rolled over U.N. fences on the border and began the
terror bombing of the capital city, the New York Times decreed
that “everyone hopes for success.” As the illegal attack morphed from
Operation Shock and Awe to Exemplary Destruction to Operation Freedom
Iraq, all of official society gazed in thrall, mute at the trampling
of international law, millions of citizens protesting in the streets,
and the saturation bombing of a poor people’s city with only men
waving rifles to defend them.

No weapons of mass destruction fought back. The ceremony of denial
went on. If the military, corporate and financial axis the President
stands for across the world continue to interfere in elections, train
death squads to kill democrats, melt down entire economies by
coercive prescriptions, and bomb civilian infrastructures to ruin,
the [visible] connected causal structure is blocked out by the ruling
group-mind, as non-existent.

Title to bribery and threats of UN Security Council members to coerce
their vote for war is presupposed as a given right–not to be
questioned even by the UN itself. In this way, the world’s sole
Superpower regulates beneath consciousness much as medieval belief in
the divine right of Kings once ruled. Only now, the group-mind is set
to rule as God–across the globe.

“Ground zero” abolishes the mind that can think beyond it.–
Since opposition to the U.S. gangster state is opposition to the Free
World [in its mind], any act of aggression or potential aggression
must be preempted. If we project this threat to international peace
and security onto any designated Evil Other standing in the way of
liberty, no limit can be placed on the enormity of the preemptive
attack and ransack that is thus justified.

This cruel game goes on as long as the public does not see through
it. It may target Canada’s water “for the gift of America’s freedom”
[if we do not see through the game, in time.]

Opting Out of the Group-Mind —
At the first level, release from the ruling group-mind is by the
shared recognition of its assumptions which only hold the mind so far
as they are not perceived. The ruling group-mind goes deeper than
economics itself because the economy itself is regulated by it.

Conversely, the economy requires collaboration of “others” with it,
to convert any priced commodity into the profit of sale. This may
seem too academic unless we recognize, the U.S. corporate economy
cannot reproduce itself if people choose in ever larger numbers not
to pay one cent for any U.S. product or service until its war state
reforms. [Boycott.]

That may seem too small a movement in our circumstances, until one
realizes the transformation of daily life such an undertaking
entails. Every choice and moment of daily life is restructured by
this regulating purpose. Transcending the ruling group-mind to which
we have become enslaved begins with refusing to expose oneself any
further, to its conditioning–no more American television or media
except to expose their lies; no more American junk food or drink
inside any free home, and no more fast fat-food and beverages outside
it.

No more American autos. No more American appliances. No more American
or vassal-British gas. No more violence entertainment, and no more
American drugs. No American financial services or stocks at any
level. No more U.S. dollars or travel until the regime change comes.

These choice paths of life add up. You cannot go down them all
without transfiguring mind as well as body, and all the economic
relations you enter into. All are revified by the transformation.
Local life economies are reinvested in. Addictions are dropped.
Poisons are blocked. Dumb-down is reversed at every level. It is
unlikely that you can do it all without the joining with others in
the task of designing a life economy, stitch one step at a time.

Nothing could have enabled such a choice across borders except what
has now happened–a war-state aggression with no pretext, a gangster-
state defiance of world public opinion which seeks genocide of its
victim, an undeniable and monstrous crime of mass destruction in a
world where all can see the murderous tyranny in plain sight.

Boycott is not new, but what is new is the transformative focus–the
repudiation at every step of the U.S. war state and all of its
foundations. It has taken the pedagogy of this administration’s
systemic crimes to bring the world to a hard recognition. There is no
health in this ruling system. 90% of the world has rejected its war.
90% of the world can moreover reject the foundations of it in their
everyday lives.

Citizens everywhere are at the all-important end of U.S. money
sequences, which must always convert corporate product into cash
before they can profit and go on expanding. If a lot of people from
across the world stop their money votes for all U.S. products and
services (including the U.S. dollar itself), this is a market revolt
which strikes to all the money arteries of the American corporate
empire. It cannot be withstood even at the level of 5%. Yet it is a
revolt which cannot be put down. It multiplies in volumes and
velocities as the group-mind breaks, word spreads and people act
across their lives. As the effects everywhere yield a better life for
everyone who chooses out of the death economy, the new world is built
stitch-by-stitch through the life-economy of everyday choice.

This is the one strike against the American war state that it cannot
sustain. The strike starts with U.S. oil and gas products across the
world. Every ExxonMobil, Texaco Chevron, and BPAmoco brand pump is
boycotted as the war state’s prime sponsors. Every American media
and its Canadian imitators are switched out of. Every fat-and-cancer
food and drugged beverage is refused. This structure of choice does
not just stop the fuel of the war machine and its conditions. It
releases the lives of all those who choose it and their communities
into new life and well-being.

But the life-mind need not stop with consumer behavior. It confronts
the death machine and its propagandists at every step. The lawful
word and act of speech can reverse the meaning of any milieu with its
demand for truth. Every open node of the circulation of ideas inside
the classroom, the workplace, the windows of the home, the bumper of
the car and bike, the church, the street and the store are its sites.

The functionaries and vehicles of the death-economy and its war state
are always ignorant of life facts. Behind the flood of slogans and
invective, their minds are cliches which cannot think through; only
the armor of the group-mind sustains them.

What has been most lacking in public discourse is the courage of life-
intelligence in the face of the onslaught of unchallenged slogans.
But, once the group-mind is exposed, it cannot stand. It reels in
confusion when others do not acquiesce in its rituals of presumption.
For its bearers are ultimately afraid.

I have counted the word fear four times in a single paragraph of a
Blair or Powell speech. It is the currency of all the justification
for aggression. It can only reproduce in the silence of consent. But
now the peoples of the world, as never before, do not acquiesce. This
squalidly vicious empire is unraveling beneath the cannon and
propopaganda in the very ties of legitimacy upon which all society
depends.

**********************
The preceding essay was delivered at a forum entitled “The Assault on
Iraq and the War Against Democracy: How Should Canadians Respond”
held on Sunday March 23, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, under the auspices
of Science for Peace:

http://scienceforpeace.sa.utoronto.ca

John McMurtry PhD is Professor of Philosophy at the University of
Guelph and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His latest book
is ‘Value Wars: The Global Market’ versus the Life Economy published
by Pluto Press.

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld

April 3, 2003 at 1:07 am
Contributed by:

Bizarre…and ominous. This guy gets more like Dr.
Strangelove every day.  

 

I
assume you all remember John Ashcroft’s inspirational songs as well?

 

Who
knew they were poets?

 

–C

 

http://slate.msn.com/id/2081042

 

The Poetry of D.H.
Rumsfeld

Recent works by the secretary of
defense.

By Hart Seely
Posted
Wednesday, April 2, 2003, at 10:03 AM PT








Rumsfeld's free-speaking verse

Rumsfeld’s free-speaking verse

Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is an accomplished man. Not only is he guiding the
war in Iraq, he has been a pilot, a congressman, an ambassador, a businessman,
and a civil servant. But few Americans know that he is also a poet.


Until now, the secretary’s poetry has found only a small and skeptical
audience: the Pentagon press corps. Every day, Rumsfeld regales reporters with
his jazzy, impromptu riffs. Few of them seem to appreciate it.




But
we should all be listening. Rumsfeld’s poetry is paradoxical: It uses playful
language to address the most somber subjects: war, terrorism, mortality. Much of
it is about indirection and evasion: He never faces his subjects head on but
weaves away, letting inversions and repetitions confuse and beguile. His work,
with its dedication to the fractured rhythms of the plainspoken vernacular, is
reminiscent of William Carlos Williams’. Some readers may find that Rumsfeld’s
gift for offhand, quotidian pronouncements is as entrancing as Frank O’Hara’s.


And so Slate has compiled a collection of
Rumsfeld’s poems, bringing them to a wider public for the first time. The poems
that follow are the exact words of the defense secretary, as taken from the
official transcripts on the Defense Department Web site.


The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.

There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known
unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not
know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We
don’t know.


—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing


Glass Box 
You know, it’s the old glass
box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you’re using those little things

Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can’t find it.
It’s—


And it’s all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping
it
And picking it up again and moving it,
But—


Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,

But—


But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.


—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing


A Confession
Once in a while,
I’m standing here, doing
something.
And I think,
“What in the world am I doing here?”
It’s a big
surprise.


—May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times


Happenings
You’re going to be told lots of things.

You get told things every day that don’t happen.


It doesn’t seem to bother people, they don’t—
It’s printed in the press.

The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.


Everyone’s so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story’s there

That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven’t happened.


All I can tell you is,
It hasn’t happened.
It’s going to happen.


—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing


The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious,
What
you can buy off the Internet
In terms of overhead photography!


A trained ape can know an awful lot
Of what is going on in this world,

Just by punching on his mouse
For a relatively modest cost!


—June 9, 2001, following European trip


The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous.

The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought
not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people
will see.
There will be some things that people won’t see.
And life goes
on.


—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing


Clarity
I think what you’ll find,
I think what you’ll
find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect
clarity 
               As
to what it is.


And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it
will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,

              
But it will be known.


—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense
briefing
 



Hart Seely writes for
the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper. He is co-author
of 2007-Eleven and Other American Comedies.

Photograph of Donald
Rumsfeld by Kevin
Lamarque/Reuters.

House Panel Backs Bush Plan to Drill in ANWR

April 2, 2003 at 9:17 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here’s an interesting article; it’s about more than the plan to drill in ANWR, it’s actually about the whole range of energy policy & legislation being worked out in Congress. There is, surprisingly, some good news in here for renewables and alternative transport; though I’m a bit puzzled about the apparent battle between the House and Senate over some of the details. Anybody else have a finger on that?
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=584&e=1&cid=584&u=/nm/20030403/pl_nm/energy_congress_dc


–C

Belgium amends law to avoid war crimes lawsuit against Bush

April 2, 2003 at 9:04 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


This is certainly interesting.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030326/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_us_belgium_law_1


–C

And now, a word from Wall Street

April 2, 2003 at 9:42 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


For a change of pace, I thought you would enjoy today’s piece from Aaron
Task of TheStreet.com. It’s well researched and brings in some interesting
perspectives on the war.


More to come,

–C


The Taskmaster – TSC
Terror Could Trip the Postwar Market
By Aaron L. Task
Senior Writer
04/02/2003 06:57 AM EST

\"George\’s little antics\" – Observations on Bush from a Canadian expatriate

April 1, 2003 at 4:39 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

I think this will be the last GetRealList post
for today.

 

Even having watched it all happen, it’s hard to
believe that we’ve gone from such highs to such lows, so quickly, at the hands
of this unfit idiot.

–C
George’s little antics

If you stayed up late enough to watch the announcement of
the start of the war in Iraq, you might have caught a glimpse of something very
unsettling. In an apparent error, the BBC aired coverage of pre-speech
preparations, live from the satellite feed coming from the Oval Office.

The fact that the BBC has “profusely and
repeatedly apologised” to the White House and that the administration has
removed control of feeds from the networks and put it in their own hands as a
result of the blunder, should indicate the seriousness of what you were not
supposed to see. Ditto the absolute absence of any media coverage of the
incident.

The footage was the most disturbing thing on
television in some time. There was US President George W Bush, being prepped for
his televised declaration of war. It was not the combing of his hair, the only
aspect of the coverage reported by any American media outlet (the Washington
Post in this case), which was cause for embarrassment; everyone expects that.
Rather, it was the demeanour – I would say antics – of the president himself.

Bush, the so-called leader of the free world, was
sitting behind his desk going over his speech, as we would expect. But then it
got weird. I felt like I was looking behind the curtain, and it was uglier than
I ever imagined.

Like some class clown trying to get attention from
the back of the room, he started mugging for his handlers. His eyes darted back
and forth impishly as he cracked faces at others around him. He pumped a fist
and self-consciously muttered, “feel good,” which was interestingly sanitised
into the more mature and assertive, “I’m feeling good” by the same Washington
Post.

He was goofing around, and there’s only one way to
interpret that kind of behaviour just seconds before announcing war on Iraq: the
man is an idiot.


Most Europeans and many others around the world
have assumed this for some time. To have it actually confirmed – beyond a
reasonable doubt – on live television, is perhaps a little too harsh to
reconcile with our wish to believe we live in a fair, democratic world of which
benevolent forces are mostly in charge. I felt sick.


What Americans don’t understand is that Europeans
have known this about Bush since he was Governor of Texas. They’ve always known
it, because it is so absolutely obvious, that the man who dodged military
service, who laughs at death penalty pleas for mercy, who didn’t know where Iraq
was two years ago, is less than a fit leader.

And they cannot understand how Americans have been
led to the brink of disaster by this talentless scion, this lackadaisical
lily-dipper. This idiot.

How can you have respect for a nation that follows
such a man? How can you sit by while he and his cronies decimate the
constitution, rape the economy, declare real war on an enemy of dubious threat
and declare diplomatic war on your best friends?

How do you let his administration systematically
disparage and even arrest any dissenters, thereby ensuring they are forever
marked for special treatment by the machinations of “homeland security?”

Yes, it’s complicated. You’re at war, we know,
even though this “war on terror” might have been better handled as a special
operation rather than a public display of hysteria. Bush has supposedly
intelligent people around him to help make the tough decisions, even if they’re
always attributed to him as if he were some sort of deity.

We are constantly told: “The President will decide
that at the appropriate time” or “The President is very concerned about that”.
Yes, I’m sure he is. But there was no escaping the fact that on Wednesday night,
it was a Yosemite Sam impersonator who declared war on a sovereign country and
who now calls the shots for all of us.

Slate called him the closest we’ve ever been to a
world dictator in a long time, probably since Caesar.

Sometimes, maybe it really is better to pay no
attention to the man behind the curtain.

Kevin
Lowe
is a Canadian expatriate living in
Amsterdam.


http://www.expatica.com/index.asp?pad=34,368,&item_id=29857


Iraq war propoganda, censorship, and more shenanigans…

April 1, 2003 at 3:17 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Folks,

This one was pretty unpleasant to read. The U.S. war propoganda, the backroom jockeying for position in post-war Iraq, the
censorship…oy!

–C

‘You didn’t fire a warning shot soon enough!’

A journalist’s account of the killing of a car full of Iraqi civilians by US
soldiers differs widely from the official military version, says Brian
Whitaker

Brian
Whitaker

Guardian
Unlimited


A
journalist’s account of the killing of a car full of Iraqi civilians by US
soldiers differs widely from the official military version, says Brian Whitaker

Tuesday April 1, 2003

The invasion forces
suffered another self-inflicted disaster in the battle for hearts and minds
yesterday when soldiers from the US 3rd infantry division shot dead Iraqi seven
women and children.

The incident occurred on Route 9, near Najaf, when a
car carrying 13 women and children approached a checkpoint.

A US
military spokesman says the soldiers motioned the vehicle to stop but their
signals were ignored. However, according to the Washington Post, Captain Ronny
Johnson, who was in charge of the checkpoint, blamed his own troops for ignoring
orders to fire a warning shot.

“You just *censored*ing killed a family because
you didn’t fire a warning shot soon enough!”, he reportedly yelled at them.

In another checkpoint incident this morning, US forces say they killed
an unarmed Iraqi driver outside Shatra.

Meanwhile it has emerged – as a
result of detective work on the internet by a Guardian reader – that the
explosion in a Baghdad market which killed more than 60 people last Friday was
indeed caused by a cruise missile and not an Iraqi anti-aircraft rocket as the
US has suggested.

A metal fragment found at the scene by British
journalist Robert Fisk carried various markings, including “MFR 96214 09″. This,
our reader pointed out in an email, is a manufacturer’s identification number
known as a “cage code”.

Cage codes can be looked up on the internet ( www.gidm.dlis.dla.mil ), and keying in
the number 96214 traces the fragment back to a plant in McKinney, Texas, owned
by the Raytheon Company.

Raytheon, whose headquarters are in Lexington,
Massachusetts, aspires “to be the most admired defence and aerospace systems
supplier through world-class people and technology”, according to its website ( www.raytheon.com ). It makes a vast
array of military equipment, including the AGM-129 cruise missile which is
launched from B-52 bombers.

On the political front, two new quarrels
have broken out. One centres on an attempt by the US to set up its own
inspection team to find the alleged Iraqi weapons that United Nations inspectors
did not find. The US appears unaware that such a project will have little
credibility internationally and has pressed ahead, offering jobs to some of the
UN inspectors.

The two chief UN inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed
ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Authority, are reportedly
furious. Dr Baradei, in remarks quoted by the BBC, insisted that the IAEA is the
sole body with legal authority to verify any nuclear programmes in Iraq.

The other row concerns the new Pentagon-controlled Iraqi government that
the US is establishing in Kuwait, with 23 ministries, each headed by an American
and with four US-appointed Iraqi advisers.

Former US general Jay Garner,
who was placed in overall charge of the “interim government”, is annoyed by the
efforts of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, to impose several
controversial Iraqis as advisers in the government.

They include Ahmed
Chalabi, head of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, who will be offered an
advisory post in the finance ministry. Mr Chalabi was previously convicted in
his absence of a multi-million dollar banking fraud in Jordan, though he denies
the charges.

Mr Wolfowitz wants posts in other ministries to go to Mr
Chalabi’s nephew, Salem, and to three of his close associates, Tamara
Daghestani, Goran Talebani and Aras Habib.

In an interview with the BBC
yesterday, the British home secretary, David Blunkett, conceded that at present
the invasion forces are “seen as villains”, but he added:

“Once this is
over and there is a free Iraq, with a democratic state … the population as a
whole will say that we want a free country, we want a state to live in where we
can use our talents to the full.”

The veteran American war
correspondent, Peter Arnett, was sacked by NBC television yesterday for giving
an interview to an Iraqi TV journalist in which he said the US had “misjudged
the determination of the Iraqi forces”. He was immediately offered a new job by
a British newspaper, the Daily Mirror, which opposes the war.

Another
war-related tragedy has occurred in Israel, where two elderly sisters were found
dead – apparently suffocated – in a room that they had made airtight against a
possible Iraqi chemical attack. Three others died in similar circumstances a
fortnight ago.

On the ground in Iraq, battles continue in various
locations. US forces “testing” the southern defences of Baghdad are reportedly
fighting Republican Guards and other forces at Hindiya, some 50 miles from the
capital.

Fighting has also erupted along the Euphrates river near
ancient Babylon. US marines entered Shatra, 20 miles north of Nassiriya, after
storming it with planes, tanks and helicopter gunships, and British Royal
Marines clashed with Iraqi paramilitaries south of Basra.

Bombing of
Baghdad continued overnight. Targets included the Iraqi national Olympic
committee, which is run by Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday.

At least one
American soldier has been reported killed at Hindiya. A British soldier was also
killed yesterday – the 26th since the war began. The defence ministry said he
died “in the course of his duties” but gave no details.

Revoke Bush\’s War Powers

April 1, 2003 at 2:56 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

Here’s a bold move by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio to
revoke Bush’s war powers. If you want to see this madness stopped, please take a
moment to e-mail Speaker Hastert by simply saying, “I am in favor of introducing
HJ Resolution 20 for a vote.”

 

Sure,
it’s a very long shot. But I think it helps to make known our dissent
regardless.



–C

 

—–Original Message—–





Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2003 1:06 PM

Subject: [johnslist] Revoke Bush’s War Powers



Friends,

This from the
Ashland Peace House eNewsletter:

 

Against all odds, there were enough
signatures, e-mails telegrams and phone calls within the last 24 hours to
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio to persuade him to introduce before the
House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. a little known resolution that
deprives the President of his authority to wage war.

However, we must now
persuade Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that there is a growing consensus
if not a plurality to mandate the resolution for a House
ballot.

Therefore, please take a moment to e-mail Speaker Hastert by
simply saying, “I am in favor of introducing HJ Resolution 20 for a
vote.”

Speaker Hastert’s e-mail: Speaker@mail.house.gov.

There is
urgency This must be done NOW. Please forward to every other concerned citizen
you know.

Read the text and
status of HJ20 at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:h.j.20:.
Of note is Rep DeFazio’s support.

 

–John

 


———————————————————————————–

John’s List is the companion newsletter for http://www.johnfricker.com/

 

Feel free to share this email with your friends and
associates.

 

You can manage your subscription and read the
archives at http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/johnslist/.

 

Will American Christians turn this into a holy war?

April 1, 2003 at 2:55 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here’s a frightening new angle. Well, not “new” exactly, a lot of people have been worried that our attack on Iraq will morph into a war of Islam vs. Christianity. But I didn’t know that the Christian Right in America was already bent on proselytizing in the Middle East in the aftermath of our war. Very, very foolish.


http://www.msnbc.com/news/893454.asp?0cv=CB10

–C

War-Gamed: Why the Army shouldn\’t be so surprised by Saddam\’s moves

April 1, 2003 at 2:55 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


Here’s an interesting tidbit about how the Army interrupted and limited its own war-gaming in preparation for the war in Iraq, in case you’re wondering what ever happened to the plan to have the war over and done with in a few weeks.


–C

War-Gamed


Why the Army shouldn’t be so surprised by Saddam’s moves.


Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the Iraq war is taking longer than predicted…

Hunter S. Thompson weighs in

April 1, 2003 at 2:34 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Folks,

You
may or may not care for Hunter S., but he certainly does still have a way with
the written word. (Though if you ever have a chance to hear him speak in
person…don’t! Worst lecture ever!) There are quite a few
quotables in this short piece, but the one that hung with me is “Anything over nine seconds is wasted energy, they say in the White
House these days.”
———————————————————-

It is a sin to lose in the Big Dance … and
remember that 64 out of the original 65 teams are doomed to failure in the NCAA
Tournament, and that only one can succeed. There is only one winner of the
National Championship. The rest will be Losers. That is how it works in the
U.S.A.
especially in times of War, and this incredibly mis-managed War on
Iraq
will not be going away anytime soon. This one is a Tar-baby, sports fans.


It has already shot
damaging holes in our national confidence and made dangerous Fools of whoever is
running the Pentagon — not to mention the stunning $1,000,000,000 we are
squandering every 24 hours to bomb Iraq back to the stone Age and starve
millions of helpless, un-armed, terrorized civilians to death, in the name of
some hateful, ill-advised, ill-fated military Crusade on the other side of the
world. How long, O lord, how long? We used to be smarter than that.


Indeed, we are truly
the sqanderers of what was once
the American Dream, and our own dreams, for that matter. In two
disastrous years, this Waterhead son of
Texas has taken this
country from a prosperous nation at peace to a dead-broke nation at War, and
that is a very long fall.


How could it happen?
you ask — and I’m damned if I can give you a sane answer in anything close to
the average nine-second time of a hard-hitting, high-tech marketing message of
today’s average sound-byte. Anything over nine seconds is wasted energy, they
say in the White House these days.








 


 


 


 


That
is pure chickens—, of course. That gang of born-again geeks wouldn’t know a
Message from a poison meat-whistle, on the sum of all the ignorant, wrong-headed
evidence thus far in this dismal conflict. It is hard to ignore the prima facie
dumbness that got us bogged down in this nasty war in the first place. This is
not going to be like Daddy’s War, old sport. He actually won, and he still got
run out of the White House nine months later.


That is the dark
silver lining in this blood-spattered cloud we have brought down on ourselves,
and it leaves a lot to be desired. It is almost impossibly morbid to brood on
how many young Americans will have to come home in bodybags before the great
American voter catches on to the fact that it’s the same greed-crazed yo-yo who
slit the throat of the U.S. economy in the name of Tax Cuts, who is responsible
for all the feverish war-mongering gone wrong. The whole thing sucks. It was wrong from the start, and it is
getting wronger by the hour. George W. Bush is doomed to the same cruel fate his
papa suffered only 10 years ago.

New Chomsky comments about the war in Iraq

April 1, 2003 at 2:27 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


More Chomsky, bringing us up to date about the war in Iraq.


Chomsky on War


ZNet forum questions and responses


by Noam Chomsky; ZNet Sustainer Program; March 31, 2003

–C

Patriot Act II (draft)

April 1, 2003 at 2:23 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


An alert reader has kindly forwarded a Word doc version of this, instead of
that awful unusable PDF format link I sent around earlier.


This is difficult reading, and long, I know. I’m having a hard time getting
through it myself. But it’s very good to hear “from the horse’s mouth”…and
it is truly frightening. I cannot believe the boldness of this impending
legislation. We may as well kiss the Bill of Rights goodbye.

Patriot Act II (draft)


–C

Warmonger Explanation of War

April 1, 2003 at 2:23 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,

 

I
thought this one was pretty good. It takes each of the reasons we’ve heard for
war against Iraq and addresses them one at a time, much as myself or any other
rational citizen might, in a surprisingly pithy style.

Posted on:
3/23/2003 2:32:00 PM – Columnist


AWARMONGER EXPLAINS WAR TO
AN INQUISITIVE CITIZEN Who insists on asking Common
 Sense, Non Spin Realistic Questions


(“Darn those people who live
in reality can be a real pain”)

 Inquisitive
Citizen (IC) :Why did you say we are we invading
Iraq?

Warmonger (WM): We are invading Iraq
because it is  in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441. A country
cannot be allowed to  violate Security Council resolutions.


IC: But I thought many of our allies,
including  Israel, were in violation of more Security Council resolutions
than Iraq.

WM: It’s not just about UN
resolutions. The main  point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass
destruction, and the first sign of  a  smoking gun could well be a
mushroom cloud over NY.

IC: Mushroom cloud?
But I thought the UN weapons  inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.


WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons
are the  issue.

IC: But I thought Iraq
did not have any long range  missiles for attacking us or our allies with
such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq
directly attacking us, but  rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell
the weapons to.

IC: But couldn’t virtually
any country sell chemical  or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to
Iraq in the eighties ourselves,  didn’t we?

WM: That’s ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is  an evil
man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people  since
the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a
 power-hungry, lunatic murderer.

IC: We
sold chemical and biological materials to a  power-hungry, lunatic
murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold
to Saddam, but  rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a
pre-emptive first strike  on Kuwait.

IC:
What about our green-light to the invasion of  Kuwait?

WM: Let’s deal with the present, shall we? As of  today, Iraq
could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Quaida. Osama bin Laden
himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us,
 proving a partnership between the two.

IC: Osama bin Laden? Wasn’t the point of invading
 Afghanistan to kill him?

WM: Actually,
it’s not 100% certain that it’s really Osama bin Laden on the tapes. But the
lesson from the tape is the same: there  could easily be a partnership
between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we  attack immediately.


IC: Is this the same audio tape where Osama
bin  Laden calls Saddam a “secular infidel”?

WM: You’re missing the point by just focusing on the  tape.
Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.

IC: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed
satellite pictures of an Al  Quaeda poison factory in Iraq.


IC: But didn’t that turn out to be a harmless
shack  in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?


WM: And a British intelligence report…


IC: Didn’t that turn out to be copied from an
 out-of-date graduate student paper?

WM:
And reports of mobile weapons labs…

IC:
Weren’t those just artistic renderings?

WM:
And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding  evidence from inspectors…


IC: Wasn’t that evidence contradicted by the
UN’s  Chief Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence  that
cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.


IC: So there is no publicly available
evidence of  weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it’s not  their JOB to
find evidence. You’re missing the point.

IC:
So what is the point?

WM: The main point is
that we are invading Iraq  because resolution 1441 threatened “severe
consequences.” If we do not act, the  Security Council will become an
irrelevant debating society.

IC: So the main
point is to uphold the rulings of  the Security Council?


WM: Absolutely. …unless it rules against
us. Of  course!

IC: And what if it does
rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must
lead a coalition of the  willing to invade Iraq.

IC: Coalition of the willing? Who’s that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Spain, for  starters.


IC: I thought Turkey refused to help us
unless we  gave them tens of billions of dollars.

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

IC: I thought public opinion in all those countries  was
against war.

WM: Current public opinion is
irrelevant. The  majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make
decisions.

IC: So it’s the decisions of
leaders elected by the  majority that is important?

WM: Yes.

IC: But doesn’t the
Constitution say only Congress  can declare war?

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our  president,
because he’s acting in our best interest. This is about being a  patriot.
That’s the bottom line.

IC: So if we do not
support the decisions of the  president, we are not patriotic?


WM: I never said that.

IC: So what are you saying? Why are we invading  Iraq?


WM: As I said, because there is a chance that
they  have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.


IC: But the UN inspectors have not been able
to find  any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is
obviously hiding them.

IC: You know this?
How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons
ten years  ago, and they are still unaccounted for.

IC: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

IC: But I
thought those biological and chemical  weapons would degrade to an unusable
state over ten years.

WM: But there is a
chance that some have not  degraded.

IC:
So as long as there is even a small chance that  such weapons exist, we
must invade?

WM: Exactly.


IC: But North Korea actually has large
amounts of  usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long
range missiles  that can reach the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear
weapons inspectors,  AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.


WM: That’s a diplomatic issue.


IC: So why are we invading Iraq instead of
using  diplomacy?

WM: Aren’t you
listening? We are invading Iraq  because we cannot allow the UN inspections
to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has  been delaying, deceiving, and denying
for over ten years, and inspections cost  us tens of millions.


IC: But I thought war would cost us tens of
 billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not
about money. This is about  security.

IC: But wouldn’t a pre-emptive war against Iraq  ignite
radical Muslim sentiments against us, and further decrease our security?


WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the
terrorists  to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have
already won.

IC: But every one has admitted
there is no evidence  linking Saddam Hussein or Iraq with the 9/11
terrorist attacks? Almost every one  of the alleged terrorists were from
our “ally” Saudi Arabia, none were from  Iraq.

WM: Yes, but this is not just about terrorist  attacks. It’s
about our national security.

IC: So what is
the purpose of the Department of  Homeland Security, color-coded terror
alerts, and the Patriot Act? Aren’t they  supposed to protect us? And don’t
these change the way we live?

WM: I thought
you had questions about Iraq.

IC: I do. I’d
like to know why are we invading Iraq?

WM:
For the last time, we are invading Iraq because  the world has called on
Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He  must now face the
consequences.

IC: So, likewise, if the world
called on us to do  something, such as find a peaceful solution, would we
have an obligation to  listen?

WM: By
“world”, I meant the United Nations.

IC: So,
we have an obligation to listen to the  United Nations?


WM: By “United Nations” I meant the Security
 Council.

IC: So, we have an obligation
to listen to the  Security Council?

WM:
Well, I meant the majority of the Security  Council.

IC: So, we have an obligation to listen to the  majority of
the Security Council?

WM: Well… there could
be an unreasonable veto.

IC: In which case?


WM: In which case, we have an obligation to
ignore  the veto.

IC: And if the
majority of the Security Council does  not support us at all?


WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the
 Security Council.

IC: That makes no
sense.

WM: Look, if you love Iraq so much,
you should move  there. Or maybe France, with the all the other
cheese-eating surrender monkeys.  It’s time to boycott their wine and
cheese, no doubt about that.

IC: I give up!


(Source: Unknown ]

Delusions of Power – Paul Krugman

April 1, 2003 at 2:23 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


 

At the
risk of being boring, I’ll say it again: nobody says it like Krugman.
He’s da bomb!

 

–C

 

—–Original Message—–


  

By PAUL
KRUGMAN


They considered themselves tough-minded realists, and
regarded doubters as fuzzy-minded whiners. They silenced those who questioned
their premises, even though the skeptics included many of the government’s own
analysts. They were supremely confident – and yet with shocking speed everything
they had said was proved awesomely wrong.


No, I’m not talking about the war; I’m talking about the energy task
force that Dick Cheney led back in 2001. Yet there are some disturbing
parallels. Right now, pundits are wondering how Mr. Cheney – who confidently
predicted that our soldiers would be “greeted as liberators” – could have been
so mistaken. But a devastating new report on the California energy crisis
reminds us that Mr. Cheney has been equally confident, and equally wrong, about
other issues.


In spring 2001 the lights were going out all over California. There
were blackouts and brownouts, and the price of electricity was soaring. The
Cheney task force was convened in the midst of that crisis. It concluded, in
brief, that the energy crisis was a long-term problem caused by meddling
bureaucrats and pesky environmentalists, who weren’t letting big companies do
what needed to be done. The solution? Scrap environmental rules, and give the
energy industry multibillion-dollar subsidies.


Along the way, Mr. Cheney sneeringly dismissed energy conservation as
a mere “sign of personal virtue” and scorned California officials who called for
price controls and said the crisis was being exacerbated by market manipulation.
To be fair, Mr. Cheney’s mocking attitude on that last point was shared by
almost everyone in politics and the media – and yes, I am patting myself on the
back for getting it right.


For we now know that everything Mr. Cheney said was
wrong.


In fact, the California energy crisis had nothing to do with
environmental restrictions, and a lot to do with market manipulation. In 2001
the evidence for manipulation was basically circumstantial. But now we have a
new report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which until now has
discounted claims of market manipulation. No more: the new report concludes that
market manipulation was pervasive, and offers a mountain of direct evidence,
including phone conversations, e-mail and memos. There’s no longer any doubt:
California’s power shortages were largely artificial, created by energy
companies to drive up prices and profits.


Oh, and what ended the crisis? Key factors included energy
conservation and price controls. Meanwhile, what happened to that long-term
shortage of capacity, which required scrapping environmental rules and providing
lots of corporate welfare? Within months after the Cheney report’s release,
stock analysts were downgrading energy companies because of a looming
long-term-capacity glut.


In short, Mr. Cheney and his tough-minded realists were blowing
smoke: their report described a fantasy world that bore no relation to reality.
How did they get it so wrong?


One answer is that Mr. Cheney made sure that his task force included
only like-minded men: as far as we can tell, he didn’t consult with anyone
except energy executives. So the task force was subject to what military types
call “incestuous amplification,” defined by Jane’s Defense Weekly as “a
condition in warfare where one only listens to those who are already in
lock-step agreement, reinforcing set beliefs and creating a situation ripe for
miscalculation.”


Another answer is that Mr. Cheney basically drew his advice about how
to end the energy crisis from the very companies creating the crisis, for fun
and profit. But was he in on the joke?


We may never know what really went on in the energy task force since
the Bush administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep us from
finding out. At first the nonpartisan General Accounting Office, which is
supposed to act as an internal watchdog, seemed determined to pursue the matter.
But after the midterm election, according to the newsletter The Hill,
Congressional Republicans approached the agency’s head and threatened to slash
his budget unless he backed off.


And therein lies the broader moral. In the last two years Mr. Cheney
and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again – on energy, on the
economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse
consequences. So they, and the country, don’t learn from their mistakes – and
the mistakes keep getting bigger.



 

27 Similarities between Hitler and President Bush

April 1, 2003 at 2:50 am
Contributed by:

Folks,

I debated a while whether or not this was worthy of sending to the list. It’s harsh, one-sided, and not that well-written. Still, I eventually decided that it was thought-provoking enough to be worth a forward. Take for what it’s worth to ya.

More quality material to come…

–C
——————————————————-

27 Similarities between Hitler and President Bush

After President Bush promised last fall to invade Iraq, his spokesmen fell
into the habit of comparing Saddam Hussein with Adolph Hitler, by most
accounts the most monstrous figure in modern history. Everybody was
therefore shocked when the German Minister of Justice turned the tables by
comparing Bush himself with Hitler. As to be expected, she (the Justice
Minister) was forced to resign because of her extreme disrespect for an
American president. However, the resemblance sticks — there are too many
similarities to be ignored, some of which may be listed here.

1. Like Hitler, President Bush was not elected by a majority, but was forced
to engage in political maneuvering in order to gain office.

2. Like Hitler, Bush began to curtail civil liberties in response to a
well-publicized national outrage, in Hitler’s case the Reichstag fire, in
Bush’s case the 9-11 catastrophe.

3. Like Hitler, Bush went on to pursue a reckless ultra-nationalist foreign
policy without the mandate of the electorate.

4. Like Hitler, Bush has accordingly improved his popularity ratings,
especially with veterans and conservative Republicans, by mounting an
aggressive public relations campaign against foreign enemies. Just as Hitler
cited international communism to justify Germany’s military buildup, Bush
uses Al Qaeda and the Axis of Evil to justify our current military buildup.

5. Like Hitler, Bush promotes militarism while in the midst of a major
economic recession (or depression). He uses war preparations to help
subsidize defense industries (Halliburton, Bechtel, etc.) and presumably the
rest of the economy on a trickle-down basis.

6. Like Hitler, Bush glorifies patriotism to stir up public support. He
treats our nation’s unique historic destiny almost as a religious cause
sanctioned by God.

7. Like Hitler, Bush quickly makes and breaks diplomatic ties, and he makes
generous promises that he soon abandons, as in the case of Mexico, Russia,
Afghanistan, and even New York City.

8. Like Hitler, Bush envisages a future world order that guarantees his own
nation’s hegemonic supremacy rather than cooperative harmony under the
authority of the United Nations (or League of Nations). He is willing to
break the U.N. Charter in promoting this end.

9. Like Hitler, Bush scraps international treaties, most notably the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of Land
Mines, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Kyoto Global Warming Accord, and
the International Criminal Court.

10. Like Hitler, Bush depends on an axis of collaborative allies, which he
describes as a "coalition of the willing," to give the impression of having a
broad popular alliance. These include the U.K. as compared to Mussolini’s
Italy, and Spain and Bulgaria as compared to, well, Spain and Bulgaria, both
of which were aligned with Germany during the thirties and World War II.

11. Like Hitler, Bush possesses a war machine much bigger and more effective
than the military capabilities of other nations. Today, Bush depends on a
"defense" budget roughly equivalent to the combined military expenditures of
the rest of the world.

12. Like Hitler, Bush is willing to invade other nations despite the
opposition of the U.N. (League of Nations). He also has no qualms about
bribing, bullying and insulting its members, even tapping their telephone
lines.

13. Like Hitler, Bush pursues war without cutting back on the peacetime
economy. He actually seeks to reduce taxes while conducting an expensive
invasion and occupation of an "undesirable" nation.

14. Like Hitler, Bush launches unilateral invasions on a supposedly
preemptive basis. Just as Hitler convinced the German public to think of
Poland as a threat to Germany in 1939, Bush wants Americans to think of Iraq
as a "potential" threat to our national security.

15. Like Hitler, Bush is willing to inflict high levels of bloodshed, with
many thousands of casualties anticipated in Iraq, especially since the city
of Baghdad–with a population of between 5 and 6 million–will be a primary
target.

16. Like Hitler, Bush depends on a military strategy that features a "shock
and awe" blitzkrieg beginning with devastating air strikes, then an invasion
led by heavy armor columns.

17. Like Hitler, Bush is perfectly willing to sacrifice life as part of his
official duty, as indicated by his unique record as a governor of Texas who
was reluctant to commute death sentences.

18. Like Hitler Bush began warfare on a single front (Al Qaeda quartered in
Afghanistan), but then expanded it to a second front with Iraq, only to be
confronted with North Korea as a potential third front. Much the same thing
happened when Hitler expanded German military operations from Spain to Poland
and France, then was distracted by Yugoslavia before invading the USSR in
1941.

19. Like Hitler, Bush has no qualms about imposing "regime change" by
installing Quisling-style client governments reinforced by full-scale
military occupation under a military governor.

20. Like Hitler, Bush curtails civil liberties and depends on detention
centers (i.e. concentration camps) such as Guantanamo Bay.

21. Like Hitler, Bush repeats lies often enough that they come to be accepted
as the truth. Bush and his spokesmen argue, for example that every measure
has been taken to avoid war (hardly true), that an invasion of Iraq will
diminish (not intensify) the terrorist threat to the world, and that the U.S.
is staging an invasion because the risks of inaction would be greater (not
less). All of this is highly debatable. They likewise argue that Iraq is
linked with Al Qaeda (which has yet to be proven), and that nothing
whatsoever has been achieved by U.N. inspectors to warrant the postponement
of U.S. war plans (which simply isn’t true). They insist that Iraq hides
numerous weapons it does not possess as well

as can be determined by U.N. inspectors, and they refuse to acknowledge the
total absence of any nuclear weapons program in Iraq since the late nineties.
As perhaps to be expected, they indignantly accuse everybody else of
deception and evasiveness.

22. Like Hitler, Bush incessantly finds new excuses to justify war—from
Iraq’s WMD threat to the elimination of Saddam Hussein, to his supposed Al
Qaeda connection, to the creation of democracy in the Middle East as a model
for neighboring states, and back again to the WMD threat. As soon as one
excuse for war is challenged, Bush shifts to another, but only to shift back
again at another time.

23. Like Hitler Bush and his cohorts exaggerate ruthlessness by their enemies
in order to justify their own. Just as Hitler cited the threat of communist
violence to justify even greater violence on the part of Germany, the Bush
team justifies a full-scale invasion of Iraq by emphasizing Saddam Hussein’s
crimes against humanity that were for the most part committed when Iraq was a
client-ally of the U.S., supplied with both advisors and materiel (poison gas
included) by our own government.

24. Like Hitler, Bush’s Messianic ambition to bring about America’s hegemonic
dominance in the world makes him perhaps the most dangerous President in our
nation’s history, a rogue chief executive capable of waging any number of
illegal preemptive wars.

25. Like Hitler, Bush has become so obsessed with his vision of a Manichaean
conflict between good (U.S. patriotism) and evil (the anti-patriotic "other")
that for many in contact with the White House he is beginning to seem as if
he has lost touch with reality.

26. Like Hitler, Bush takes pleasure in the mythology of frontier justice.
As a youth Hitler read and memorized the western novels of Karl May, and Bush
retains into his maturity his fascination with simplistic cowboy values. He
also exaggerates a cowboy twang despite his elitist education at Andover,
Yale and Harvard.

27. Like Hitler, Bush misconstrues evolutionary theory, in Hitler’s case by
treating the Aryan race as being superior, in Bush’s case by rejecting
science for fundamentalist creationism.

Of course countless differences may be listed between Hitler and President
Bush, most of which are to the credit of Bush. Nevertheless, the
twenty-seven resemblances listed here are striking, especially since Bush’s
presidency this last couple of years must be compared to Hitler’s early
performance as German Chancellor, preceding the chain of events that
culminated in World War II. As with Hitler, Bush’s early successes in
pursuit of global imperialism–whatever the cost to others–might well
culminate in disaster, if not quite of the same magnitude.


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