Update: KUCINICH for president....YES!!
News Link: The Smirking Chimp
Q-Time: Americans Saving America
Chronicles: Alien Invasion: Control of Q-Time
In this telephone interview with V.K. Ramachandran from his home in Massachusetts, Chomsky speaks in detail on the armed attack by the United States and Britain on Iraq and on the strategic background to U.S. policy towards Iraq. He characterises the bombing of Iraq as a war crime. Excerpts:
Frontline: The United States has said that it bombed Iraq because it produces weapons of mass destruction, it constitutes a special threat to its neighbours and the world, particularly because of its leader, and it refused to cooperate with UNSCOM. Would you comment on that justification for its latest military action and on the legality of that action?
Noam Chomsky: I agree that Saddam Hussein is a great danger to everyone within his reach, just as he was in the 1980s, when his worst crimes were committed. It is, however, elementary logic that that cannot be the reason why the U.S. and Britain are opposing him. His war crimes were committed with the strong support of the United States and Britain, even after the invasion of Kuwait. Furthermore, the United States turned immediately to direct support for Saddam Hussein in March 1991, when he suppressed an uprising in the South that might have overthrown his rule.
As for his weapons of mass destruction, although that threat is also real, Iraq is by no means the only country with such weapons. You do not have to go very far from Iraq in either direction to find other examples of such countries, and the major powers are, of course, the worst threat in this respect. But even if we simply focus on Iraq, the bombing cannot have anything to do with limiting weapons of mass destruction, because the fact is that the bombing will very likely enhance those programmes. The only restriction that has existed - and it has been an effective restriction - is the regular inspection. The nuclear weapons programme has apparently been reduced to nothing or very little because of the inspections. UNSCOM inspectors have undoubtedly been impeded, but have nevertheless severely limited Iraq's weapons development capacity and have destroyed plenty of weapons. It is generally assumed, by the U.S. as well, that UNSCOM's efforts will either be terminated or marginalised very much as a result of the bombing. So that cannot be the reason for the bombing.
Although I agree that Saddam Hussein remains a serious threat to peace, there happens to be a way to deal with that question, one that has been established under international law. That procedure is the foundation of international law and international order and is also the supreme law of the land in the United States. If a country, say the United States, feels that a threat is posed to peace, it is to approach the Security Council, which has the sole authority to react to that threat. The Security Council is required to pursue all peaceful means to deal with the threat to peace, and if it determines that all such means have failed, it may then specifically authorise the use of force. Nothing else is permitted under international law, except with regard to the question, here irrelevant, of self-defence.
The U.S. and Britain have simply announced, very clearly and loudly, that they are violent criminal states that are intent on destroying totally the fabric of international law, a fabric that has been built up laboriously over many years. They have announced that they will do as they please and will use violence as they please, independently of what anyone else thinks. In my view, that is the sole significance of the bombing and is probably the reason for it.
Even the timing of the bombing was chosen so as to make this position very evident. The bombing began at exactly 5 p.m. EST in the U.S., just as the Security Council was opening an emergency session to deal with the emerging crisis in Iraq. The U.S. chose that moment to launch a war crime - an aggressive illegal act of force - against Iraq without even notifying the Council. That was surely intended and understood to be a message of contempt for the Security Council. It is in fact another underscoring of the lesson of the Gulf war, which was explained very clearly by George Bush when missiles were falling on Baghdad. At that time, he announced his famous New World Order in four simple words - "What we say, goes." And if you don't like it, get out of the way.
The more ominous aspect of this situation is that it proceeds - in the U.S. completely and in Britain to a large extent - not only without any criticism but without public awareness about it. I have yet to find a single word in the mainstream media or in other discussion in educated sectors suggesting that it might be a good idea for the U.S. to observe the principles of international domestic law. If this question is ever raised, and that happens only at the margins, it is dismissed as a technicality. It may be a technicality for a criminal state but for others it is not a technicality, any more than a law against homicide is a technicality.
This action is in fact a call for a lawless world in which the powerful will rule. The powerful happen to be the United States and Britain, which is by now a pathetic puppy dog that has abandoned any pretence of being an independent state.
This time the declared objectives of the attack were open-ended - "to degrade Iraqi facilities" and send "a powerful message" to Saddam Hussein. The attack also came with the warning that the U.S. had, in certain circumstances, the authority to bomb Iraq "without delay, diplomacy or warning''.
The declared aim to "degrade facilities" was designed purposely to indicate that it is irrelevant. There is no measure of whether you have succeeded in "degrading facilities". If you shoot a pistol at one building, you have degraded the facilities. That is a meaningless war aim and was understood to be so, which means that it was not the war aim at all. You cannot have a meaningless war aim when you carry out an act of aggression.
The warning you mentioned reiterates the real message: the United States is determining, not for the first time, that it has the right to use force as it wishes. Nothing new about that, but it is now being declared in an unusually brazen form and with the total acquiescence of the doctrinal system of educated sectors.
I am sure that the message is being understood where it is being sent; in my opinion, the message is being sent largely to the states of the region.
There are background issues here that are undoubtedly decisive. It is obvious to everyone that the main concern of external powers in West Asia is oil, or energy production. In the first place, there is now a consensus among geologists that the world may be heading for a serious oil crisis. In spite of new technology and deep-sea drilling, the rate of discovery of oil has been declining from about the 1960s. It is expected that within a decade or two, the magic halfway mark - or the destruction of half the world's known exploitable hydrocarbon energy resources - will be reached, and after that the way is downhill.
Secondly, the rate of use of oil is accelerating. Close to half of the total use of oil in history has been in the last 20 years, that is, after the oil price rise.
The third crucial point is that a very substantial part of the world's oil resources is in the Arabian peninsula-Persian Gulf region. The resources that exist elsewhere are nowhere near as abundant or as exploitable. The share of West Asian oil in total world production is getting back to what it was in about 1970, and that share will increase. That means that the importance of the region as a strategic centre and as a lever of control over world affairs is increasing. It is a very volatile region, very heavily armed, with many conflicts and with most of its population brutally suppressed in one way or another. For the last 50 years, the U.S. has been determined to run that region with the assistance of Britain. Nobody else, particularly the people of the region, is supposed to have any significant role there. All this makes for a highly inflammatory situation.
The current alliance system to control West Asian oil in the interests of the United States includes a very visible Turkish-Israel alliance, and also includes the Palestinian Authority. What is called the "peace process" in West Asia is an effort by the United States and Israel to eliminate the Palestinian problem by imposing a kind of a Bantustan settlement on the Palestinian people. In this the Palestinian Authority has the role of controlling and suppressing the Palestinian people in the manner of the leadership elements in countries such as Transkei under apartheid. The Central Intelligence Agency is directly and openly involved in Palestinian-Israel interactions.
The other countries of the region do not like this arrangement, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria have been taking steps towards a kind of alignment that would counter it. The U.S. is very concerned, especially about a developing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, countries that have historically been enemies but have been making very notable steps towards rapprochement.
It is worth remembering that the U.S. is isolated internationally not only on the issue of Iraq but also on the issue of Iran. There is a growing conflict between the U.S. and Europe about bringing Iran back into the international system. While Europe and Japan are strongly in favour of doing so, the U.S. is opposed, and if Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates and Egypt improve their relationship with Iran, the prospect is a threatening one for the United States. The use of force and violence is intended as a warning to these countries that they should not proceed too far because the United States will act with extreme violence if it has to. In my opinion, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan a few months ago - Sudan was the more blatant war crime - was probably intended to send the same message.
Early this year a high-level planning document was released through the Freedom of Information Act, one that got no publicity here but was very interesting. It was a secret 1995 study of the Strategic Command of the United States, which is responsible for the nuclear arsenal. The study is called "Essentials of Post Cold War Deterrence". Do you remember Nixon's "Madman theory", which suggested the U.S. should appear like a mad man who fights everyone? This document resurrects that theory and says that the U.S.
should use its nuclear arsenal to portray itself as irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked. That should be part of the national persona we project to all adversaries. It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed. The fact that some elements of the U.S. government may appear to be out of control can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts in the minds of an adversary's decision-makers.
The Nixon theory was sort of informal, but remember that this is an official planning document of the Strategic Command in 1995. I think the press knew what it was doing when it basically kept it secret. The document is, after all, rather revealing and it provides interesting background to the current actions.
It is interesting that this time the United States failed to muster even the support it did last time in the United Nations.
If you look back to those months of negotiations, Germany and Japan were at first opposed to military action. Their arms were gradually twisted and they went along, but never participated. The most they were willing to do was to pay for the action. The attitudes of the states of the region were very mixed. These really had their arms twisted (Yemen, for example, was threatened with serious economic sanctions if it did no got along). Finally, there was a vote, but it was an unclear vote and, incidentally, an illegal vote, because China abstained, and support for the use of force has to be unanimous in the Security Council.
So although there was a kind of support, a good bit of the world knew that they were being dragged into conflict and that there still were opportunities for a negotiated settlement that the U.S. was trying to avoid. Every successive action has cut down that support even more: at present, Saudi Arabia will not permit U.S. planes to base there to fly missions and this time even Kuwait would not support the U.S. action. The people of the region, of course, are always opposed to U.S. policy - that was true in 1991 too.
And Secretary-General Kofi Annan has played a far more positive role on the question of Iraq than Perez de Cuellar did in 1991.
Kofi Annan is barely quoted in the U.S. - you just find a few sentences here and there. The message, however, is clear enough; he called it a "sad day" for the United Nations and for the world. He is being bypassed; the United States does not want the United Nations to become involved because it knows that it cannot get support there. As I said, even the timing of the bombing was a slap in the face for Kofi Annan and the United Nations.
It now appears - we can't be certain - that Richard Butler sent his report directly to the White House before it was sent to the Security Council. There are also reports from anonymous high-level officials in the United Nations that the Report was written in connection with the White House (although I do not know about that). The Clinton administration has announced officially that it began the planning for the bombing before the U.N. session because it already had the Report, which, of course, is completely improper and underscores the fact that the leadership of UNSCOM is working with the Clinton administration.
Would you discuss another aspect of the timing of the attack, that is, the widespread conviction that President Clinton attacked Iraq now because of the impeachment proceedings against him?
That is very widely held; I think it is very implausible.
If you think about it, the coincidence of timing only harms Clinton and undermines his credibility further. His credibility is low, and to use this action as an attempt to delay the impeachment hearings by a day simply makes him look ridiculous.
On the other hand, there is one noteworthy feature of the coincidence of timing. The House debate on impeachment has been totally cynical on both sides, and Republicans and Democrats are making it very clear that there is no issue of principle involved at all. That is clear from the fact that the vote is on pure party lines. On issues of principle, you cannot get a clear division between Democrats and Republicans. That is outlandish, since they are more or less identical on most issues, and no issue of principle is ever going to divide them right down the line.
The Democrats are using the coincidence of timing in order to build up future political campaigns. In the next campaign they will take the line that when our brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line to defend the country, the evil Republicans attacked the Commander-in-Chief.
The coincidence of timing, then, is harmful to Clinton personally but it could be helpful to the public relations efforts of the Democratic Party.
After the cessation of bombing there have been statements to the effect that, on the one hand, the U.S. reserves the right to strike again at any time and, on the other hand, that the next phase is very much a diplomatic phase.
The U.S. is simply saying that as far as it is concerned, all options are open, and nothing else matters - not international law, not the World Court, not the United Nations, and not the opinions of the countries and peoples of the region. If our purposes can be served by diplomacy, we will use diplomacy; if they can be served by force, we will use force.
The attacks have shattered Iraq's infrastructure further. It is clear that the recent economic history of Iraq is one of a human development disaster and profound regression in areas of earlier achievement, such as health, nutrition and education. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been reported as saying that the U.S. "completely disowns" any responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and Tony Blair has said that "nutritional problems" - that is a quote - in Iraq are not the result of sanctions. Would you comment on this? In your perception, how long will sanctions last?
Every time Tony Blair opens his mouth, he looks more disgusting and ridiculous, and his performance marked a painful and shameful day in the history of Britain. As for Madeleine Albright, her comments over the years have captured very clearly the moral level of U.S. actions. In 1996, an interviewer on "60 Minutes" on national television asked her for her reaction to reports from the United Nations that half a million Iraqi children had died from the sanctions. Her answer was, "Well, this is a price that we feel that we are willing to pay." So we - we - are willing to pay the price of dead Iraqi children. We do not care if we carry out mass slaughter; the deaths could, I think, properly be called a form of genocide.
Take a look at the situation right now. There is a temporary oil glut and prices are very low, and that is harmful to the big energy companies, which are overwhelmingly U.S. and British. The U.S. Gover nment does not want the price to go any lower, because its economy relies quite heavily on recycling petrodollars from other countries. These go to U.S. treasury securities, arms purchases, construction projects and so on. The U.S. will be happy for oil prices to go up and does not want Iraqi oil on the market right now. They are hence quite happy to bomb a refinery in Basra and hold back oil exports.
Furthermore, Iraq will be brought back into the system sooner or later. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world and as an oil shortage develops and prices begin to rise, the U.S. and Britain will bring Iraq back into the market. They do, however, have a problem. Because of the events of the past years, their competitors France and Russia (and also Italy) now have an inside track on Iraqi oil production. The U.S. and Britain are not going to tolerate that, since Iraq is much too rich to allow it to fall into the hands of competitors. That will take some complicated manoeuvring: the U.S. and Britain have enough force to achieve their ends, but it won't be easy. That is another potential conflict between the U.S. and the European Union. (When I speak of the E.U., I exclude Britain, which is a client of the U.S.)
Putting that relatively long-term issue aside, how long will the sanctions go on? As long as the U.S. and Britain insist that the Iraqi people be punished and that Iraqi oil be kept off the market, and as long as they are so powerful in the world that other forces cannot counter-react.
The official version appears to be that sanctions are in place because Iraq is not cooperating with UNSCOM.
That is the pretext, but that is a joke. The U.S. does not cooperate with international law. Are they therefore proposing sanctions against the U.S.?
The relative insensitivity of U.S. public opinion towards suffering in Iraq has been quite extraordinary. The U.S. line on Iraq, after all, does not play in any other part of the world.
For one thing, the U.S. public does not know much about it. The picture that is presented is that Saddam Hussein is the worst person since Attila the Hun. If you asked the person on the street, the reaction would be that he is torturing his people and the U.S. is trying to get rid of him in every way it can in order to save the people of Iraq. And if people are being killed, that's Saddam Hussein's fault: why doesn't he do what we tell him?
On the other hand, there are lots of actions all over the place. They are small and disorganised but there is quite a lot of protest action.
This is by no means the only human development catastrophe that does not arouse attention here. During the 1980s, about a million and a half people were killed by the South African authorities, backed by the U.S. and Britain, in surrounding countries. Today, one of the worst human development catastrophes in history is taking place in Russia. Who knows how many millions of people have died as a result of the imposition of the market regime? People do not care about that either. Since U.S. policy is by definition benevolent, if millions of people are dying in Russia because of the imposition of market rule, it must be their fault.
The U.S. has now offered to "strengthen its engagement with the Iraqi opposition". Do you consider this to be part of the larger strategic objective of which you spoke?
I would be very careful about that. The U.S. has been strongly opposed to the Iraqi opposition. In 1988, when Saddam Hussein was a great friend and ally, the U.S. blocked any criticism of the gas attacks. At that point, according to Iraqi opposition leaders to whom I have spoken, Secretary of State George Schultz ordered U.S. diplomats not to have any contacts with Iraqi dissidents because that might bother their friend Saddam Hussein. These orders remained in place and were formally and publicly reiterated in March 1991 - that is, after the Gulf war - while the U.S. was backing Saddam Hussein's massacre of the Shi'ites in the south of Iraq.
The U.S. has sought to work with the military elements of the Iraqi opposition. The idea has been that there should be a military coup that would replace Saddam Hussein with a more or less equivalent regime but without Saddam Hussein. Those efforts have been penetrated by Iraqi intelligence and have failed.
The democratic Iraqi opposition itself claims to this day that it has been receiving essentially no support from the United States. That was pretty much conceded by Secretary Albright just two days ago. When asked about this matter she said: "We have now come to the determination that the Iraqi people would benefit if they had a government that really represented them." She said this in December 1998, when the U.S. suddenly had a religious conversion and decided that Iraqis would benefit if they had a government that represented them. That means that until now the U.S. did not take that position - which is correct. Until now, the position has been that the Iraqi people have to be controlled by an iron-fisted military junta, without Saddam Hussein if possible, since he is an embarrassment.
But shall we take Secretary Albright at her word today, has the religious conversion taken place? No, it is very unlikely that anything has changed except tactics. The U.S. government does not want a democratic opposition to gain power in Iraq any more than it would want such an event to occur in Saudi Arabia. No, it wants these countries to be ruled by dictatorships that are under U.S. influence.
There is a lot to criticise in the Iraqi democratic opposition, but part of the reason why they are so fragmented and at odds with each other is that they just do not get support from the outside. That should not surprise us: where in the world does the U.S. support the democratic opposition? We know how it acts in Central America and in Africa - why should it be different in Iraq?
UPDATE: JUNE 30 2003
Robert Fisk: 'American soldiers face new deadly enemy'
By Robert Fisk, The Mercury (South Africa)
The allied forces may have 'liberated' Iraq, but US forces are finding themselves fighting another kind of battle, writes Robert Fisk.
Isn't it time we called this a resistance war in Iraq? Two Americans shot dead and another nine wounded by unidentified gunmen in Fallujah; two US military policemen badly wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade at a north Baghdad police station; a grenade thrown at American soldiers near Abu Ghraib.
That's Tuesday's little toll of violence - not counting the Muslim woman who approached US troops with a hand grenade in each hand, was shot down before she could throw it and then, as she tried to hurl her second grenade from the ground, was finally killed by the Americans.
Britain's Tony Blair and America's George W Bush are planning triumphal visits to "liberated" Iraq in the next two or three days, but they would do well to keep the rhetoric to the minimum. I know how the official briefings will go.
Fallujah was a Saddam stronghold where Americans could expect "remnants" of the old regime to fight on - "remnants", like the "remnants" of the Taliban and al-Qaida who are flooding back into Afghanistan and who appear to be arriving in battalion strength. More troops are on the way, Blair and Bush will be told.
Order is being restored.
Up to a point. Most people in Baghdad get only two hours' electricity a day. The petrol queues - in a country whose oil fields have already been corralled by the US military, along with the lucrative clean-up contracts for American companies - stretch to a few kilometres.
Children are being withdrawn from newly opened schools after reports of child kidnapping and rape. The police stations are now guarded by US troops, surrounded by armour and guards with heavy machineguns, in lookout posts draped in camouflage netting.
Nor am I surprised. A week ago, two American soldiers were shot dead in Baghdad. It was reported in the US as if they were victims of a natural disaster, like an earthquake or a minor traffic accident.
It's odd, the willing suspension of disbelief in which all here have to live. Caged inside the marble halls of Saddam's finest palace, thousands of American officers and civil servants - utterly cut off from the 5 million Iraqis around them - battle over their laptops to create the neo-conservative "democracy" dreamed up by Donald Rumsfeld and the rest. When they venture outside, they do so in flak jackets, perched inside armoured vehicles with escorts of heavily-armed troops.
It was like this in Beirut in 1982. First came the US Marines and the French and Italians to protect the Palestinians and support the new right-wing Lebanese government. The first little hint of trouble came about six months later when Shia Muslim schoolchildren began throwing stones at American troops along a disused railway line.
Then "Death to America" was painted on the walls. It was almost a year before the first Americans were shot at, the first grenades thrown. It was more than a year before the US Marine base was blown up by a suicide bomber, with the loss of 241 Americans. But in Iraq, the anti-American attacks have begun within a month of the arrival of US forces who are now being assaulted almost daily.
The Fallujah shooting this week was about the most serious to date. The Americans said they came under fire from many directions, including a mosque, although witnesses spoke of two men climbing from a pick-up truck and opening fire on the Americans, all from the US Third Armoured Cavalry Regiment. The soldiers returned fire with guns mounted on Bradley Fighting Vehicles, one of which - in the chaos of the gun battle - smashed into a helicopter that had arrived to take the wounded Americans to hospital.
Fallujah has been the most dangerous town in Iraq ever since American soldiers there fired on a crowd of protesters last month, killing 18 Iraqis and wounding 78. On that occasion, the Americans claimed they were shot at from the crowd, though not a single bullet appeared to hit the American position.
US forces now drive through Baghdad much as the Israelis once did in southern Lebanon, ordering motorists to stay away from their vehicles and make no attempt to overtake into the same lane. But it's other features of their behaviour that Iraqis don't like. The other day, for example, I found a Bradley Fighting Vehicle parked in Yasser Arafat Street with a crowd of children in front. On top stood an American soldier in shades, staring over their heads, hands on hips and puffing on a huge cigar while his colleagues pointed their guns at passing cars. What was the message here supposed to be?
I know how it can be made to look different. Yes, there are free newspapers in the streets. Yes, electricity workers are now being paid. Yes, political parties are issuing tracts and claims and threats. Yes, you can even buy booze in the streets, although Shia clerics are promising to burn down every shop that sells it.
Prostitution - the most obvious free-market symbol in town - is back. And you can say what you like about anyone. Isn't that freedom?
But three days ago, near the site of one of Saddam's mass graves, I asked directions from a group of men in a car. Only when I leant out did I see that two of them nursed Kalashnikov rifles on their knees.
Why the guns? I asked. "Because we're not going to let thieves steal our car," one of them replied. Was this the only reason? They were sitting in their vehicle alongside the American army's main supply route to Baghdad.
©2003 The Mercury.
Reprinted from The Mercury (South Africa):
BushCo Reams Nation Good
No WMDs after all,
no excuse for war,
too late for anyone to care anymore.
By Mark Morford
Ha-ha-ha oh man did we ever get smacked on that one. Conned big time. Punk'd like dogs. Just gotta shake your head, laugh it off. They reamed us but good, baby! Damn.
Turns out it really was all a big joke after all. The war, that is. All a big fat nasty murderous oil-licking lie, a sneaky little power-mad game with you as the sucker and the world as the pawn and BushCo as the slithery war thug, the dungeon master, the prison daddy. You really have to laugh. Because it's just so wonderfully ridiculous. In a rather disgusting, soul-draining sort of way.
See, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. No WMDs at all. Isn't that great? What's more: There never were. Ha-ha-ha. Gotcha!
No warehouses teeming with nuclear warheads, no underground bunkers packed with vats of boiling biotoxins, no drums of crazy-ass chemical agents that will melt your skin and turn us all into drooling flesh-eating zombies -- unless, of course, you count the sneering vat of conservative biotoxin that is, say, Fox News, in which case, hell yeah baby, we gotcher WMDs right here beeyatch.
Go figure. Those lowly U.N. inspectors were right after all. Who knew? It was all a ruse. We've been sucker-punched and ideologically molested and patriotically sodomized and hey, what the hell, who cares anyway, we "liberated" an oppressed people most Americans secretly loathe and fear and don't understand in the slightest, even though that was never the point, or the justification, or the goal. Go team.
But wait, is liberation of a brutalized and tormented people now the reason? The justification for our thuggery? That is so cool! So that means we're going to blow the living crap out of Sri Lanka and Sudan and Tibet and North Korea and about 47 others, right? Right? Maybe Saudi Arabia, too, second only to the Talilban itself in its abuse of women? Cool! As if.
Ah, but screw the liberal whiny peacenik U.N. inspectors, right? Let's ask the U.S. search teams themselves, ShrubCo's own squadrons of biologists, chemists, arms-treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts and Special Forces troops who've been in Iraq for weeks now, searching frantically.
Surely they've found something, right? Surely we can now prove that Saddam was fully intending to fillet our babies and annihilate Florida and poke the eyes out of really cute kittens on national TV for sadistic pleasure, right? Gimme a hell yeah!
Whoops. Bad news. As The Washington Post reports, the 75th Exploitation Task Force, the very serious-minded group heading up all U.S. inspections in Iraq, the group absolutely certain it would immediately find steaming neon-lit stockpiles of WMDs piled right next to Saddam's personal stash of gay porn and Britney Spears posters and opium pipes, is coming home with its tail between its legs. Found nothing. Nada.
Psychopatriots are a little nonplussed. Bush is merely "embarrassed." Peace advocates are sighing and drinking heavily. We have done this ghastly horrible inane hate-filled entirely unprovoked thing in the name of power and petroleum and military contracts and strategic empire building, our nation is numb and more bitterly divisive than ever and our leaders are not the slightest bit ashamed.
But of course you're not the slightest bit shocked. You knew it all along. The WMD line was just a ploy that, tragically, much of the nation bought into like a sucker pyramid scheme after being pounded into submission with hammers of fear and Ashcroftian threats and bogus Orange Alerts and having their tweezers confiscated at the airport.
And of course the capacity to be outraged and appalled has been entirely drained out of you, out of this nation, replaced by raging ennui and sad resentment and the new fall season on NBC. This is what they're counting on. Your short attention span. WMDs? That's so, like, last February. Hey look, the swimsuit model won "Survivor"!
Because now it's all done. Like a bad trip to the dentist where your routine cleaning turned out to be a bloody excruciating root canal and 50 hours of high-pitched drilling and $100 billion in god-awful cosmetic surgery, now the bandages come off. Smile, sucker. We're at peace once again. Sort of. But not really. Don't you feel better now? No? Too bad. No one cares what you think.
It's all over but the shouting. And the screaming. And the endless years of U.S. occupation in the Middle East, the quiet building of U.S. military bases in Iraq so we can keep those uppity bitches Syria and Egypt and Lebanon in line, forge ahead with the long-standing plan to strong-arm those damn Islamic nuts into brutal compliance with Bushco's bleak blueprint for World Inc. What, too bitter? Hardly.
Should we care that Osama, the actual perp of 9/11, is still running around free? That terrorism hasn't been quelled in the slightest? That the Mideast is more of a U.S.-hating powder keg than ever, thanks to BushCo? That the economy is in the worst shape it's been in decades?
Should we care that we just massacred tens of thousands of Iraqi (and Afghani) civilians and soldiers and suffered a little more than 100 U.S. casualties and have absolutely nothing to show for it except bogus force-fed pride and this weird, sickening sense that we just executed something irreparable and ungodly and karmically poisonous?
Nah. Just laugh it off. Have a glass of wine, make love, go play Frisbee with the dog. Breathe deep and focus on what's truly important and try to assimilate this latest atrocity into your backstabbed worldview, add it to the list of this lifetime's spiritual humiliations, as you wait for the next barrage, the imminent announcement that we're about to do it all again.
Steel yourself. Protect your soul. Because man, they reamed us good. Slammed this nation like a bad joke. Gotcha! Ha-ha-ha.
BUSH COMES CLEAN: IT WAS ABOUT OIL
By Ted Rall
Corporate Vultures Swoop Into the Killing Fields
Iraq is going to hell.
Shiites are killing Sunnis, Kurds are killing Arabs and Islamists are killing secular Baathists.
Baghdad, the cradle of human civilization, has been left to looters and rapists.
As in Beirut during the '70s, neighborhood zones are separated by checkpoints manned by armed tribesmen. The war has, however, managed to unite Iraqis in one respect: everyone loathes the United States.
Some Iraqis hate us for deposing Saddam Hussein. No dictator remains in power without the tacit support of at some of his subjects. Now that we've committed the cardinal sin of conquest--getting rid of the old system without thinking up a new one--even those who chafed under Saddam blame us for their present misery.
Others resent our Pentagon -appointed pretender, 58-year-old banker/embezzler Ahmed Chalabi. The State Department points out that Iraq's new puppet autocrat has zero support among Iraqis, having lived abroad since 1958. But who knows? Maybe he was a really popular kid.
Thousands of Iraqis have been reduced to poverty, raped and murdered by rampaging goons as U.S. Marines stood around and watched.
Wanna guess how long it will take them to "get over it"? We watched the plunder of museums in Mosul and Baghdad safe at home with our tisk-tisk dismay, but Iraqis will remain outraged by the wanton devastation we wrought through war, permitted through negligence and shrugged off through arrogance. ("We didn't allow it," Rumsfeld shrugged.
"It happened.") Imagine foreign troops sitting idly, laughing as hooligans trashed the Smithsonian, stole the gold from Fort Knox and burned down the Department of the Interior.
That was us in Iraq.
But let's forget this penny ante stuff. Let the real looting begin! George W. Bush's bestest buddies, corporate executives at companies which donate money in exchange for a few rounds of golf and a few million-dollar favors, are being handed the keys to Iraq's oil fields.
Bush's brazen Genghis Khan act seems carefully calculated to confirm our worst suspicions. First he appoints retired general Jay Garner, president of a GOP-connected defense contractor, SYColeman Corp., as viceroy of occupied Iraq. "The idea is we are in Iraq not as occupiers but as liberators, and here comes a guy who has attachments to companies that provided the wherewithal for the military assault on that country," marvels David Armstrong, a defense analyst at the National Security News Service.
A smart and/or decent president would have picked a civilian for a civil administration post.
Then Bush slips a $680 million contract to the Bechtel Group, whose Republican-oriented board includes such Reagan-era GOP luminaries as CIA director William Casey, secretary of state George Schulz and defense secretary Caspar Weinberger. The deal puts the company in position to receive a big part of the $100 billion estimated total cost of Iraqi reconstruction.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bechtel gave Republican candidates, including Bush, about $765,000 in PAC, soft money and individual campaign contributions between 1999 and 2002.
Finally, refusing to accept bids from potential competitors, Bush grants a two-year, $490 million contract for Iraqi oil field repairs to Halliburton Co., the Houston-based company where Dick Cheney worked as CEO from 1995 to 2000. "It will look a lot worse if Halliburton gets the USAID [Agency for International Development] contract, too," Bathsheba Crocker, an Iraq specialist for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned in March. "Then it really starts looking bad." Guess what! Halliburton has since scored a piece of that $600 million USAID contract.
Are we looking bad yet?
Only Bush's most intimate friends were invited to bid for these contracts. Even businesses based in Great Britain, where Tony Blair risked his political career to support Bush, have been excluded from a rigged process where only U.S.-based, Republican-led, Bush-connected companies need apply.
Two senior Democratic Congressmen, Henry Waxman and John Dingell, are asking the General Accounting Office to look into these sleazy kickback deals. "These ties between the vice president and Halliburton have raised concerns about whether the company has received favorable treatment from the administration," their letter reads.
But don't count on appropriate action--like impeachment proceedings--from the do-nothing Dems.
Bush's right-wing Gang of Four--Cheney, Rummy, Condi and Wolfy--saw Operation Iraqi Freedom as a chance to line their buddies' pockets, emasculate the Muslim world, place U.S. military bases in Russia's former sphere of influence and, according to the experts, lower the price of oil by busting OPEC .
"There will be a substantial increase in Iraqi oil production [under U.S. occupation], and I wouldn't be surprised if schemes emerged to weaken, if not destroy, OPEC," says Jumberto Calderón, former energy minister of Venezuela.
Former OPEC secretary general Fadhil Chalabi (no relation to Ahmed) estimates that increased exploration could potentially double Iraq's proven reserves, which would raise production from 2.4 to 10 million barrels a day. Such Saudi-scale production would "bring OPEC to its knees," says Chalabi.
The cartel's member nations, ten of 11 of them predominantly Muslim, would suffer staggering increases in poverty as a result of falling oil revenues, plunging some into the political chaos that breeds Islamist fundamentalism.
Meanwhile, the people of Iraq, whose self-flagellating Shias already make the evening news look like a rerun of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, would starve as foreign infidels raked in billions thanks to the oil beneath their land.
Time to dust off the duct tape.
(Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan," an analysis of the underreported Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project and the real motivations behind the war on terrorism.
HOW WE LOST THE IRAQ WAR
By Ted Rall
After Saddam, the Deluge
We wanted it to be true. It wasn't.
Anyone who has seen a TV taping knows that tight camera angles exaggerate crowd sizes, but even a cursory examination of last week's statue-toppling propaganda tape reveals that no more than 150 Iraqis gathered in Farbus Square to watch American Marines--not Iraqis--pull down the dictator's statue. Hailing "all the demonstrations in the streets," Defense Secretary Rumsfeld waxed rhapsodically: "Watching them," he told reporters, "one cannot help but think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain."
Hundreds of thousands of cheering Berliners filled the streets when their divided city was reunited in 1989. Close to a million Yugoslavs crowded Belgrade at the end of Slobodan Milosevic's rule in 2000.
While some individual Iraqis have welcomed U.S. troops, there haven't been similar outpourings of approval for our "liberation." Most of the crowds are too busy carrying off Uday's sofas to say thanks, and law-abiding citizens are at home putting out fires or fending off their rapacious neighbors with AK-47s. Yet Americans wanted to see their troops greeted as liberators, so that's what they saw on TV. Perhaps Francis Fukuyama was correct--if it only takes 150 happy looters to make history, maybe history is over.
Actually, they were 150 imported art critics. The statue bashers were militiamen of the Iraqi National Congress, an anti-Saddam outfit led by one Ahmed Chalabi. The INC was flown into Iraq by the Pentagon over CIA and State Department protests. Chalabi is Rumsfeld's choice to become Iraq's next puppet president. Photos at the indispensable Information Clearing House website place one of Chalabi's aides at the supposedly spontaneous outpouring of pro-American Saddam bashing at Firdus Square.
"When you are moving through this country there is [sic] not a lot of people out there and you are not sure they want us here," Sgt. Lee Buttrill gushed to ABC News. "You finally get here and see people in the street feeling so excited, feeling so happy, tearing down the statue of Saddam. It feels really good." That rah-rah BS is what Americans will remember about the fall of Baghdad--not the probability that Buttrill, part of the armed force that cordoned off the square to protect the Iraqi National Congress' actors, was merely telling war correspondents what they wanted to hear. In his critically acclaimed book "Jarhead," Gulf War vet Anthony Swofford writes that Marines routinely lie to gullible reporters.
ABC further reported: "A Marine at first draped an American flag over the statue's face, despite military orders to avoid symbols that would portray the United States as an occupying--instead of a liberating--force."
Yet another lie.
As anyone with eyes could plainly see, American tanks are festooned with more red, white and blue than a Fourth of July parade. And that particular flag was flying over the Pentagon at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The Defense Department gave it to the Marines in order to perpetuate Bush's lie that Iraq was involved in the 9-11 attacks.
Patriotic iconography is a funny thing.
I've known that the Iwo Jima photo was fake for years, but it nonetheless stirs me every time I see it. Firdus Square's footage will retain its power long after the last American learns the truth.
It was a fitting end for a war waged under false pretexts by a fictional coalition led by an ersatz president. Bush never spent much time thinking about liberation, and even his exploitation is being done with as little concern as possible for the dignity of our new colonial subjects.
What a difference a half-century makes!
American leaders devoted massive manpower and money to plan for the occupation of the countries they invaded during World War II. What good would it do, they asked, to liberate Europe if criminals and tyrants filled the power vacuum created by the fleeing Nazis? Thousands of officers from a newly-established Civil Affairs division of the U.S. Army were parachuted into France on the day after D-Day, while bullets were still flying, with orders to stop looting, establish law and order and restore essential services.
As priceless ancient Sumerian jewelry and Assyrian sculptures were being carried away on donkeys and carts, archeologist Raid Abdul Ridhar Muhammad tried to convince Marines manning a nearby Abrams tank to stop the looters. "I asked them to bring their tank inside the museum grounds," he told The New York Times. "But they refused and left."
This Administration's policy of perpetual war has become a case study in entropy, the distinctly pessimistic notion that no matter how bad things get we can figure out a way to make them worse.
Entropy triumphed in Afghanistan (news - web sites), as the world's worst regime was replaced by dozens of thuggish warlords. The end of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) comes as welcome news, even if it's merely the accidental byproduct of a barely-disguised oil grab. But as Iraq's cities burn and its patrimony is hustled off into the black market and its women wail and the rape gangs rule the night, it's hard to escape the conclusion that we've lost this war as well.
(Ted Rall is the author of "Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan," an analysis of the underreported Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project and the real motivations behind the war on terrorism.
The Lie Of Liberation
Cheering Iraqis are just a diversion, folks.
BushCo's real goal is only just beginning
By Mark Morford,
Yay! The gorilla has crushed the mouse.
The bazooka has blown apart the BB gun.
The dinosaur has stomped the fly. Yay!
Rejoice in the streets!
The bright shiny righteous angry Christian god has obliterated the angry sullen foreign god.
Except, of course, it hasn't, not by a long shot. But, hey, we've more or less taken Baghdad, right? Headlines are screaming, it looks like victory, it smells like victory ... it must be victory! We've won! Sort of! But not quite! Savor it like bloodied candy, we will!
Except that it was never a question. There was never a shred of doubt the U.S. would "win" Shrub's vicious little war.
The world's richest superpower, the most deadly and potent high-tech military on the planet, all aimed at a pip-squeak, ragtag nation whose bedraggled, barely trained military was but a fraction of what it was 10 years ago, when we wiped most of them out in a week.
Oh yeah, we bad.
It was never a contest. It was only a matter of time. It is, basically, a fierce and bloody U.S. steamrolling that hit a few unexpected speed bumps. And we've still got a long, difficult way to go.
But we have taken Baghdad and the regime has fallen, the headlines scream, as if this is something unexpected or miraculous or blessed, and not, as most astute observers have been saying all along, a bittersweet inevitability, a desperately volatile power prize for the Shrub regime to wield over neighboring Arab nations like a bloody hammer.
And it's a nation we will be involved in for years, if not decades, to come. Think all our troops are coming home anytime soon?
Wonder if all our new and hate-filled enemies in surrounding countries will now roll over and beg for our mercy? Think again.
Remember, Iraq's overthrow is only Phase 1 of the premeditated, long-standing Rummy/Cheney/Wolfie plan to aggressively bludgeon the Middle East into compliance with U.S. corporate and political interests. Did you miss that one? About the Project for the New American Century? Yep, been mapped out for years.
And their plan has nothing whatsoever to do with giving a damn for repressed people or raining blissful democracy upon starving nations. That is a side effect, a bonus, a great and touching piece of cover-up PR. Just as it is right now. Thousands of dead Iraqis?
Hell, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait until we "liberate" Syria.
Ah, but still the celebratory chants come. We have freed Iraq from its brutal dictator, one who was zero threat to our monster superpower country!
And we did so by mutilating and killing countless thousands of Iraqi people, often ruthlessly, soldiers and citizens, women and children, so many bodies the local hospitals stopped counting, thousands more than were ever killed in 9/11, though there remains absolutely no connection between this war and 9/11, none whatsoever! Yay! Don't you feel proud?
And what, exactly, have we the American people won? What are the spoils of our victory?
Let's look: A gutted U.S. economy, a record budget deficit, decimated civil liberties (the GOP now wants to make the draconian USA Patriot Act permanent), one of the most secretive and ruthless and warmongering administrations in 50 years and the outright derision and bitter resentment of much of the civilized world, of nearly every one of our former allies.
Oh, and a bonus: the horrific, irrevocable reputation that we are now a power-mad rogue superpower that will attack anyone, for any reason, on the hollowest of bogus pretenses. Righteous!
Ah, but what are Bush's spoils? Let's look: His copious corporate pals get to rush in and install a nice puppet government to help the baffled Iraqis rebuild their hovels and "manage" their precious oil.
There, there, now, Iraq, your brutal dictator is gone. Welcome to rampant capitalism. See if you can tell the difference.
But, more than that, Bush's regime gets a vital, strategic piece of the oil-rich power puzzle with which to strong-arm all Mideast comers. Our iron foot is now in the door. This was the point all along.
Look. We haven't won a single thing. We haven't defeated a deadly or truly threatening enemy. We have not lovingly promoted the causes of peace and freedom and hot vente mocha-caramel lattes for every starving child. Liberating an oppressed people is a wonderful thing indeed. The images of cheering Baghdadis are truly amazing. For about a week. But that result was never the point.
And we have not, in the slightest bit, reduced the threat of terrorism to our nation. In fact, we have done the exact opposite. We have, most likely, amplified that threat a hundredfold, a thousandfold. Look at those cluster bombs fall, those women decapitated.
See the children scream, those Arab nations seethe and mourn, the world stare at us, appalled and horrified and angry.
Do you feel safer now? Boy, I sure do. I feel like, like ... another tax cut for the wealthy! Yep, that oughta do it.
Quick show of hands: Who remembers the alleged reason we had to stomp Saddam in the first place?
Wasn't it nukes?
Because, of course, we have found exactly nada.
If he had any, and he was as vile as insane as we all seem to think, don't you think he would've used them by now?
Wait, was it because he's a brutal thug? Is that why we stomped him?
Nope, that was never the reason. Hell, if that's our criteria for slamming tiny nations completely unprovoked, if all it takes is a wicked despot/former ally and an oppressed people who don't even realize how much they're in need of a nice bloody all-American ass-kicking, well, we're gonna be busy. It's a long list.
Sure enough, Baghdad fell like an old Tinker-Toy fort. The pointless battle has indeed been "won," as everyone knew it would be.
But the real war -- ideological, religious, geopolitical, petrochemical -- is only just beginning.
And, as the Shrubster says, it won't be over until the last terrorist is killed.
Good thing we just keep creating them, eh, George?
British press knocks U.S. troop behavior; world ponders post-war scenarios; surrealist protest in Paris; and more.
by Edward M. Gomez, special to SF Gate
Thursday, April 10, 2003
"British troops who have witnessed the Americans at close quarters in this war are baffled at their approach to Iraqi civilians," a news report in the United Kingdom's Times said. (Times/news.com.au)
British forces in Iraq "are appalled at how the Americans pulverize anything from afar before daring to set foot out of their armored vehicles."
Coming from both British commentators and military personnel, such criticism of American troops' behavior and attitudes on the battlefield have been appearing in reports in U.K.-based newspapers.
"'We had a great day,' said Sgt. Eric Schrumpf of the U.S. Marines last Saturday [April 5]. 'We killed a lot of people.' He added, 'We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?'" Reporter John Pilger caught that snippet of battlefield banter in the United Kingdom's attention-grabbing tabloid the Daily Mirror.
Pilger, who observed that U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq have displayed the same sort of "racist contempt for the people" an earlier generation of G.I. Joes did in the jungles and villages of Vietnam, added that Schrumpf had said "there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. 'I'm sorry,' said Schrumpf, 'but the chick was in the way.'"
The Observer's James Meek recalled the killing of a top member of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guards by U.S. Marines. He described the slaying's immediate impact on the Iraqi officer's 15-year-old son, Omar. "Was it worth it?" Meek wrote. "For Omar ... his shirt and trousers saturated with his parents' blood, the answer was no. For [U.S. Marine] Corpsman Thomas Smith, a few days short of his 22nd birthday, exhausted and unbelieving after a day and night of mayhem which had seen three Marines killed ... the answer was yes."
Meek's report contained a kind of pointed critical assessment of the war's leaders not seen frequently in the U.S. press. The Observer correspondent wrote, "If George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein have anything in common, it is that the lives of Omar, Smith and the Iraqi officer are petty cash in their grand accounting of the balance of war. They cannot smell the dead rotting in the heat along the route of the Marines' final charge to the gates of Baghdad; there is no way to make them look Omar in the eye as he stares through his tears at the embarrassed, awkward foreigners who shot his mother and father."
Even the more conservative Times, (article available by subscription) whose editorials have supported the war, has published battlefield accounts that would be hard to find in American newspapers of similar stature. A recent report about a U.S. Marine mission at Nasiriya quoted a corporal who said, "The Iraqis are sick people, and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."
In another Times article, a British Royal Marines captain who watched U.S. soldiers monitor a checkpoint told veteran correspondent Daniel McGrory the Americans had behaved "like invaders, not liberators." The officer added, "They behave as if they hate these people." McGrory wrote that "many American troops speak as though they do," referring to "Eye-rakis" in "disparaging language."
An American officer overseeing a humanitarian-aid delivery "likened the crush of people waiting to get hold of food and water to a pack of stray dogs," McGrory wrote.
By contrast, McGrory reported that "when Irish Guards were nearly mobbed by a crowd trying to grab the food they were delivering," their commander "urged his men to keep calm and get the people to sit down."
"They need to have their dignity respected," the Irish Guards' leader explained to McGrory.
The U.S.-based Carlyle Group is a multibillion-dollar private investment firm that,
like Halliburton (Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer),
stands to profit from the rebuilding of war-ravaged Iraq.
Carlyle's top honchos will meet in Lisbon at the end of April to consider the company's post-war, Iraq-related investment prospects, according to the respected English-language weekly the Portugal News.
The company's top managers and international representatives include
former President George Bush,
former Secretary of State James Baker,
former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci and
former British Prime Minister John Major.
Carlyle, which is already helping arm the Turkish and Saudi Arabian armies, "is expected to be awarded a billion-dollar contract by the U.S. government to help in the redevelopment of airfields and urban areas destroyed by [the U.S.-led military] coalition['s] aerial bombardments." (Portugal News)
The private equity firm also manages the "financial assets of the Saudi Binladen Corporation (SBC)," which is "headed up by members of Osama bin Laden's family who played a principal role in helping George W. Bush win petroleum concessions from Bahrain when he was head of the Texan oil company Harken Energy Corporation." That deal made the Bush family "millions of dollars." (Portugal News)
This week, Fiat, the Italian automotive group, announced its plans to "sell its aerospace business to the secretive" Carlyle Group; the move "could presage a wider shake-up of the European defense industry." (Guardian) Known as FiatAvio, the legendary automaker's aerospace division includes "14 factories [and] nine research centers, and employs more than 5,000 people." (Agenzia Giornalistica Italia)
Referring to the elder George Bush's longtime involvement in Carlyle, a scathing editorial in Russia's St. Petersburg Times called the private investment firm "Daddy Bush's Popsicle stand." Regarding the war in Iraq, it noted that Carlyle controls "a vast network of defense firms and 'security' operations around the world [and] is also panning gold from the streams of blood pouring down the ancient tracks of Babylon."
The Italian deal will be good for Carlyle, but the firm will not gain complete control of FaitAvio. Finmeccanica, Italy's state-controlled defense contractor, is expected to get in on it, too, taking a 30 percent stake in the company. (Guardian) After all, the government in Rome regards Italy's aerospace industry as strategically important to the nation and its security. (Le Monde) Nevertheless, the Carlyle Group could gain handsomely from its new holding. The firm's managing director told Italy's La Stampa that he and his colleagues are "very satisfied" with the FaitAvio deal.
The Carlyle Group was also in the news earlier this week when anti-war protesters blockaded the doors to Riverstone Holdings, a Carlyle affiliate in New York.
BushCo Wants You Stupefied
Please remain mesmerized by grainy live footage, ignore appalling larger schemes. Thank you
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, March 28, 2003
This is not the time to get complacent and lazy and reactionary and wallow in ennui and sadness and bourbon-fueled fatalism, the sense that all is hurling down the road to hell in a hot Republican-drenched handbasket.
Tempting as that is.
This is not the time to be all shrugging and dismissive and think whelp, that's it then, nothing we can really do anymore, just sit back and watch the carnage I guess, the switch has been thrown and the snarling war machine is churning in high gear and the mass herd is mewling and subdued and misled and aggro and stupefied.
And therefore you can only sit there and guzzle your scotch and go numb and sigh, flip around to see which frantic network has the best video of windblown reporters riding high on U.S. tanks and yelling about food shortages and lack of sleep as they rumble nobly through the desert.
This is not the time to get thoughtless and simpleminded. The trigger has indeed been tripped and we are right this minute slaughtering thousands in Iraq and dozens of US soldiers are being killed by Bush's "peaceful" order and ooh look, stray bullets and raging dust storms and bedraggled reporters tagging along, all wide-eyed and chaotic and no one really having any idea what, exactly, is really happening.
Shock and awe it ain't.
Grunt and bluster and confuse and choke on dust and realize, bitterly, sadly, holy Christ with a Koran and a $300 billion national budget deficit, this is gonna be ugly, and violent, and long, and fruitless, it most definitely is.
The idea is that you will be more sympathetic. The idea is that by allowing all those stunned reporters such unprecedented access, by embedding them right smack in the middle of the action, amidst select squads of equally wide-eyed, barely-old-enough-to-drink soldiers, the reporters won't be able to help but be more pro-military, and goodly Americans will feel sympathy and support the troops and, by extension, the entire insane and unnecessary war.
Is it working?
And thus Rummy and Shrub can smirk and nod to each other and, quite literally, get away with murder, their PR coup working beautifully, so far, because you don't see the real action. You no longer see the big picture. You are no longer paying attention.
And they most definitely do not want you to see. No actual dead bodies, no gutted buildings, no burned and decapitated children, no blood, no true bleak horrors of war, just tired soldiers and water trucks and big U.S. tanks rumbling patriotically through the dust toward Baghdad.
As meanwhile, just outside the purview of the reporter's grainy video phones, just beyond the jerky shots of video-game night skies and soldiers milling about, military supply contractors are gloating like leeches, Dick Cheney's old cronies over at Halliburton are cheering like pirates, as they shamelessly snag the multimillion-dollar gov't contracts to build big tent-cities for our troops and to put out all those nasty oil well fires in Iraq, just like they did in Iraq War I.
Oh yes they did.
Did you miss that little detail?
Or how about Bush's corporate pals, literally lining up at the trough for their share of nearly a billion dollars in semi-secret contracts (and as much as $25-100 billion, eventually) to "rebuild" Iraq, which you can hereby translate to mean: install nice puppet government, build a few thousand oil rigs, refurbish a few nice palaces for the twins. To begin with.
Then there's all those pesky CIA analysts, still grumbling aloud about how ShrubCo has been twisting intelligence reports on Iraq to bolster the war.
Did you miss that one?
About how they were particularly mortified when Junior publicly claimed that Iraq was restarting its nuke program, trying to buy uranium from Niger?
Claims which were based on, ahem, painfully bogus documents? Whoops.
Can't have that making too many headlines.
Hey look! Dust storms and cool tracer bullets over Baghdad! Look! Please?
What about the much-bandied term "coalition forces"? The networks love that term, and Bush loves them using it.
There are no coalition forces. It is the U.S., Britain, a handful of Aussies. That's it.
That is not a coalition, that's a rogue clump.
The only true coalition is on the anti-war side. Shhh.
This is exactly the time to watch very, very carefully. This is exactly the time to discuss further and passionately, with everyone and anyone, what it is you are really seeing, what it might mean, and, more importantly, what they are omitting.
This is the time to protest harder, to write letters and journals, to think deeply and carefully, to donate to Oxfam and Truthout and FAIR and the like, to rethink what it really means to be an American in the new draconian, power-mad, kill-em-all preemtive-death Bush world order.
This is exactly the time to pay closer attention.
To filter and stay infomed and get your info from more than, say, the uber-patriotic, holy goddamn but we love our Shrubster Fox News. Look around.
The perspective is there. Activate the filters. Read up.
This is the time to fully feel those karmic blows, the ethical sucker punches, as the ShrubCo doens't even bother to try and hide the obvious cronyism, the White House actually having the smirking gall to deny that Cheney's Halliburton connection -- and his lovely $1 mil per-annum stipend for simply being a former Iraq-loving oil exec of the company -- had any bearing on the aforementioned oil-fire contract. Right. Believe that one, do you? I've got some prime downtown Baghdad condos to sell you, cheap.
Feel the bludgeoning. Because they figure you won't even notice. Or care. Look honey, poor hardscrabble Iraqi children looking desperate, and goodly U.S. soldiers delivering fresh water to them.
Isn't that patriotic?
Tanking U.S. economy?
Deep recession? Intense, almost universal anti-American rage roiling all over the world like a bitter virus?
Pay no heed. Just look at the startling pictures. Be mezmerized.
Don't you support our troops? Of course you do.
Genius PR, is what it is.
One big reality-TV recruitment video.
Remember, this is an administration who truly believes you are insanely stupid.
A full week into the war, and still no sign of WMDs?
No sign of SCUD missiles, nuclear weapons, biological weapons, or chemical weapons?
This is why you cannot be overwhelmed by montage images. The shock and awe is not for Iraq.
It's for you.
The shock of all those dusty violent videophone images, awe at how you are seeing a mere raw sliver of the real-time action, live, straight from on the front lines.
Are you stupefied yet?
Are you waving your flag?
ShrubCo certainly hopes so.
Because if not, you might actually see what's really happening.
-- Bush's reborn righteous Christian God, that is knows, they can't have that.
Strategic Analysis Report
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
03 April 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
From the beginning of the war-planning process, Baghdad posed the
greatest challenge. The United States does not want to fight an
urban battle, but the conquest of Iraq cannot be complete without
the fall of Baghdad. The initial U.S. action -- trying to kill
Saddam Hussein -- was designed to trigger a political
capitulation that would make a battle for Baghdad unnecessary; it
didn't. Iraqi resistance may collapse simply out from attacks and
internal weakness. But if this doesn't happen, three war-fighting
models will be available. One is the fall of Paris in 1944 -- the
favored U.S. strategy. The second is the siege of Budapest in
1944-45 -- six weeks of encirclement and bombardment, with
civilian casualties. The third is the fall of Berlin in 1945,
with the attackers losing almost 80,000 men in three days. Berlin
is out of the question. Paris is the model the United States
wants, but the danger is that it will slip into a Budapest mode.
Any discussion of the war in Iraq has always turned on the
conquest of Baghdad. The capital city is the heart of Iraq. It is
the country's political, administrative and structural center.
The fall of Baghdad does not necessarily mean that all resistance
will immediately end in the rest of Iraq. However, without the
fall of Baghdad, this war cannot end. The fall of Baghdad has
always been the central challenge facing U.S. war planners.
Baghdad is a world-class city in terms of size and population,
with more than 5 million people. The U.S. Army has never taken a
city of this size in the face of significant opposition. Few
armies have done so. In direct assault, capturing a large city
against resistance tends to cause large casualties among the
attacking forces. In 1945, the Red Army had Berlin completely
surrounded; it had complete air superiority and massed artillery.
The city was held by the defeated remnants of the German army,
including large contingents of young boys and old men poorly
armed and ill-trained. The Soviets were battle-hardened veterans.
Moreover, the Soviets had no compunctions about nor political
liabilities attached to causing massive casualties among the
civilian population. They controlled the pattern and tempo of the
offensive. Nevertheless, in the direct assault on Berlin, the
experienced Soviet forces suffered nearly 80,000 dead and close
to a quarter-million wounded in about three days of fighting.
There are other strategies for subduing large cities. In 1944-45,
the Red Army surrounded Budapest for six weeks, pounding it with
artillery fire and aerial bombardment, before entering the city.
By the time Soviet forces entered the heart of the city,
resistance had collapsed. The siege took weeks and cost countless
civilian lives, but Soviet losses were relatively light, compared
to other battles fought.
Other battles for cities ended poorly for the attacker: The
Germans failed to take either Leningrad or Stalingrad after
investing heavily in both battles. The point is that urban
warfare is one of the most difficult exercises in warfare, and
most armies avoid direct assaults on cities, since these are
risky operations and almost invariably carry high casualty rates.
This is particularly true in large cities. Moreover, in a war in
which civilian casualties represent a significant political
consideration, an assault on a city is generally to be avoided.
The United States did take one world-class city in its history:
Paris in 1944. It took the city with very light casualties to
either its forces or to the civilian population, despite the fact
that German troops had garrisoned the city. The key was
political, not military. The German high command had ordered that
troops resist and that they carry out a scorched-earth policy, in
which defeat would mean the catastrophic destruction of the city.
The local German commanders neither resisted nor carried out the
order. Rather, they capitulated. The United States was able to
occupy the city without assaulting it. Indeed, if an assault had
been necessary, Eisenhower would have insisted on bypassing
Paris. He was not about to engage in high-intensity conflict in a
city the size of Paris.
Paris was as much about politics as about warfare. The German
commanders in Paris command were disaffected with the German
political leadership. They were certain that the war was lost.
Neither the commanders nor the troops were eager to die for a
hopeless cause, and the commanders were aware that not only would
the Allies hold them accountable for the destruction of Paris,
but that a peaceful capitulation of Paris would put them in an
excellent position in a postwar world dominated by the United
States and its allies. The negotiations that occurred took place
not between the Allied high command and the German commanders,
but between resistance leaders in Paris and the garrison
commander. However, the key decision was made autonomously by the
local German command: Officers calculated their own interests and
decided not to resist. The negotiations were more about the
script of surrender than the surrender itself.
Gen. Tommy Franks is no more eager to go into Baghdad than
Eisenhower was to go into Paris in 1944. Like Eisenhower, he does
not want to put his forces into a potential urban meat-grinder.
Like Eisenhower, he is under heavy political pressure to solve
the problem without massive civilian casualties or the
destruction of the city. Like Eisenhower, he has no appealing
choices: Direct combat, starving the city to surrender, unlimited
bombardment or a combination of the three are all unacceptable
For the United States, the ideal solution in Baghdad would be for
Iraqi troops to choose not to resist. Thus far, Iraqi forces have
demonstrated minimal competence. They have not been completely
incompetent, as some had forecast, nor have they been highly
competent. They have executed no effective counterattacks by
cutting supply lines or isolating U.S. forces. They have not once
taken the strategic or operational initiative away from the
coalition. What they have done is demonstrated that, under
certain circumstances, some units -- particularly in urban
settings -- will hold their positions and return fire. In urban
warfare, this minimal competence is sufficient to pose serious
challenges to taking and pacifying a city like Baghdad.
This is why the United States has been obsessed from the
beginning with reaching a political solution. For Washington,
avoiding resistance in Baghdad has always been a primary
consideration. The decapitation strike against Saddam Hussein on
the first night of the war was intended to trigger a political
evolution in which the Iraqis would choose not to fight anywhere,
but in particular would choose not to fight in Baghdad. The
attempt failed but was certainly worth making, given what is now
The United States is facing the very real possibility that there
will be resistance in Baghdad. Given that the troops in Baghdad -
- the Special Republican Guard -- are reputed to be highly
motivated and that they are being joined by other army and
Republican Guard units, a direct assault on Baghdad would appear
to violate just about every requirement in the U.S. war goals:
1. It could result in heavy coalition casualties.
2. It could result in massive civilian casualties.
3. It could result in massive damage to Baghdad's infrastructure,
up to and including rendering the city uninhabitable for a period
None of these are acceptable outcomes, given what appear to be
the parameters that have been laid down for the war.
For the United States, therefore, the Paris solution remains the
most attractive option -- if it is available. The problem is that
Paris was hundreds of miles from Berlin, and the local commanders
were not collocated with the political leadership. Baghdad is
more like Berlin than Paris: The ability of regional commanders
to decide not to fight is limited by the power of the political
personalities that are located only a few miles away from them.
The simple geography of power makes the Paris option difficult to
execute, even if Iraqi commanders wanted to try it.
If there is any hope of the Paris strategy working, it is
essential that the direct commanders of Iraqi divisions and
brigades -- and their troops -- conclude that defeat is certain.
So long as they retain anywhere in their minds the idea that the
United States will, in the end, negotiate a cease-fire with the
existing regime, no Paris solution is conceivable. Every
commander will know that holding back would mean his own death.
The commanders must believe that their choice is between certain
defeat and death, and managed defeat and life.
It becomes even more difficult: It is essential that the
commanders reach this conclusion by themselves, without an
internal conspiracy or communications with the coalition.
Hussein's counterintelligence and security apparatus appears to
be functioning extremely well. Any commander will have to assume
that all conspiracies will be penetrated. In Paris, what little
negotiation that occurred went on with the local resistance. More
important, some Gestapo officials in Paris had reached the same
conclusion as the military commanders and also were trying to
find exit strategies. With the security apparatus in the hands of
Hussein's son, however, that is unlikely to happen in Baghdad.
The possibility that the Iraqi president is dead appears to be
irrelevant. If he is alive, he remains a dangerous figure to
those around him. If he is dead, his son has taken over and is in
effective control. Therefore, in order for capitulation without
resistance to occur, it is essential that the security apparatus
be dismantled. That is obviously being tried, with the air
assault focusing on this apparatus -- but as we have learned, the
Iraqi infrastructure is more robust and resilient than it was in
At this moment, there is no reason to believe that there will be
no resistance in Baghdad. Undoubtedly, CENCTOM and the CIA are
working intensely to cripple the security apparatus and to
provide military commanders enough room to maneuver so that they
might save themselves. But it is not clear that this will work --
and it is not clear that if it does work, the field commanders
would opt for a Paris solution.
One of the factors on the U.S. side is time. From a military
standpoint -- and really from a political standpoint as well now
-- the United States is not under heavy pressure to end the
conflict quickly. The coalition has time to bring up forces,
continue to attack Baghdad's infrastructure and to create the
sense of doom and inevitability that was the foundation of the
capitulation of Paris. Whatever the mood is in Baghdad now, it
However, the United States must be careful not to slip from a
Paris strategy to a Budapest strategy. Siege and bombardment
achieved a Soviet victory, but it was in an environment in which
the political consequences of massive civilian casualties and
massive infrastructure damage were not a consideration. If U.S.
commanders slide into a Budapest strategy, they will, at the very
least, have to accept a humanitarian disaster. A Budapest
strategy is a slippery slope that could even slide into the
ultimate unacceptable outcome: a Berlin strategy.
Now, it is possible that the Iraqis are so delicately balanced
that a sudden attack by airborne, airmobile and armored groups --
coupled with actions by covert forces already in Baghdad -- will
bring the regime and the military crashing down. However, unless
there is some unique intelligence in Washington pointing to
underlying weakness in Baghdad, a "Hail Mary" pass designed to
bring the war to a rapid conclusion is something for which
CENTCOM at least has no real appetite. It could result in the
airborne forces being chewed up along with now-revealed covert
forces, while armor is blocked. The risk would be worth it if
time were not on the coalition's side, but since it is, there is
Therefore, although coalition forces are certainly on the
doorstep of Baghdad, it is a pretty high step. At the very least,
the coalition will want to lay the groundwork for any offensive
into Baghdad. In fact, the last thing that the coalition wants is
such an offensive: One look at the British forces in Basra will
reveal coalition feelings about urban fighting, even in a much
The United States therefore has a difficult problem. In order to
create a sense of inevitable doom, it must convince elements in
Baghdad that the coalition is prepared to go to any lengths to
secure victory. At the very least, it must completely surround
and cut Baghdad off from the world. On the other hand, it cannot
impose a Budapest-type blockade and choke off the city. It is not
clear how the United States will balance between appearing to be
utterly ferocious without creating a humanitarian crisis. And
without that humanitarian crisis, it is not clear how it will
convince Iraqi field commanders that managed capitulation will
not be signing their own death warrants.
The United States badly wants Paris and not Berlin to be the
model in Baghdad's fall. The military might have a way to assault
and subdue Baghdad that does not pose the risk of bogging down in
urban warfare and does not require the political cooperation of
Iraqi commanders. Several ways are possible, but all assume that
the appetite within the Iraqi army for resistance is minimal --
and that is simply no longer an assumption on which an operation
can be based.
We therefore expect prudence and caution from the coalition
around Baghdad. The rush to Baghdad was well-executed and
involved well-calculated and carefully thought out risks. The war
to date has been an interesting combination of audacity and
prudence, with Franks picking the time for each. In Baghdad, the
same combination will be needed. Franks needs to know whether and
how intensely the Iraqis will resist and he, as a prudent
general, must begin by working from the worst-case scenario:
U.S. forces will probe the edges of Baghdad, trying to get a
sense of Iraqi intentions and capabilities. If weakness is
discovered, U.S. forces will advance -- never irrevocably, never
taking the chance of being trapped inside a hostile urban
environment. If resistance appears too vigorous, Franks has time
to execute at least a modified Budapest maneuver, surrounding the
city and pressuring it. The crisis will come when the city is
balanced between humanitarian disaster and the option of massive
bombardment. The Russians chose bombardment of Budapest from the
beginning. Carrying out an assault on a major city -- constrained
by rules requiring that massive civilian casualties be avoided --
will be an enormous challenge to Franks.
From his point of view, Paris is a much better place to be than
Main Objective of War – New Weapon Tests
Reserve Major-General, Professor Vladimir Slipchenko, military analyst, doctor of military science is Russia’s first-rate specialist on wars of tomorrow. His forecasts concerning US’s military operations in Iraq (1991, 1996 and 1998), in Yugoslavia (1999) and Afghanistan (2001) proved to be almost 100% true, and that was proved by the actual course of the operations.
Now the analyst gives forecasts concerning further development and result of the US-led war in Iraq.Main objective of the Iraqi war is still offscreen, nobody ever mentions it. My opinion is that main objective of the war is a large-scale testing of new high precision weapons held by the USA in Iraq.
This is the top-priority objective for America, all the rest are minor objectives or undisguised misinformation in fact.
For over ten years already the USA has been waging no-contact wars.
In May 2001, George W. Bush delivered his first presidential speech to students of the US Navy Academy in Annapolis and declared that drastic measures must be taken to start preparation of the US armed forces for wars of tomorrow. He emphasized at that, these should be high-tech armed forces to perform no-contact operations all over the world. Now the objective is persistently carried out.
It makes sense to mention that the Pentagon purchases from the defense establishment only weapons tested in real wars and holding quality certificates taken on battle fields. After several real experiments, the wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, many of the US defense corporations have been given the right to sell their high-precision weapons to the Pentagon. These are Martin Lockheed, General Electric and Loral.
Other large companies haven’t yet got orders from the military department. The price of the issue is 50-60 billion dollars per year, everybody wants to get such sums. But today’s weapons suppliers of the Pentagon constantly develop more new weapons that must be tested.
he US defense establishment demands the political leadership to provide testing grounds, wars where the new weapons can be tested. And they do get such grounds.
This is the main reason why the war has been started in Iraq, not because of US’s desire to get control over Iraqi oil.
This war will differ from the US’s previously held no-contact wars for its political purposes first of all. It is for the first time since 1991 that the USA makes sets itself an objective to change the political regime in an inimical country, to remove or liquidate leadership of the country. Objectives of this kind haven’t been yet attained.
Remember, the USA never attempted to remove Saddam out of politics; those were not war methods used for overthrowing Slobodan Milosevic.
The US armed forces held tests of new weapons, then took the weapons and went home. Now they are facing a very hard objective.
So, if the objective is different, the war strategy changes as well. It is for the first time declared that a war must result in US’s absolute victory. Three problems must be settled for this purpose:
to smash inimical armed forces,
to destroy economy of the country
and change its political regime.
I have no doubt that Iraq’s army will suffer the strongest blows.
The USA will have to completely occupy the Iraqi territories to bring a new puppet government into the country (and it is highly likely that this government has been already formed) and to give this new government an opportunity to work.
Occupation on the territory where resistance may still be very strong will entail lots of casualties among the US army.
Certainly Americans don’t need partisans, that is why the whole of the Iraqi army will be liquidated; it is going to be a terrible slaughter.
Now it’s being actively discussed whether Iraq has at least a chance to put up resistance to the USA.
I say there are none.
In Iraq we’ll once again see the situation when two generations of wars meet.
Iraq is strong to fight a war of the previous generation, the war held on ground and for every object on ground. But 600.000 Iraqi soldiers and all the weapons and ammunition they have won’t be enough for meeting the aggressor.
In fact, there will be no meeting as such on the battle field. Fighting their no-contact wars, Americans will send high-precision missiles to destroy all central objects of the Iraqi governmental and military infrastructure; then they will start bombing raids to liquidate the Iraqi army.
My opinion is that Americans will start the operation with high-precision strikes against bunkers and command posts where Saddam and other Iraqi leaders may be taking shelter, against army headquarters and dispositions of troops.
High-precision ammunition of a vacuum type will be used to hit subsurface objects. Even if such ammunition blows up not exactly inside a bunker, it will all the same block all ways for escape from it.
Within the first days of the war Americans will use cluster aircraft bombs with self-guided elements. At a high altitude this “mother” bomb releases tens and even hundreds of smaller bombs, each of them picks out a target on the surface.
I am sure that the USA will use new impulse bombs as soon as the war begins.
Such bombs operate the following way: they eject electromagnetic radiation of about 2 megawatt in an instant. At a distance of 2 – 2.5 kilometers from the epicenter of the place where such a bomb blows up, it disables all electronic systems, communication systems, radars, computers, radio sets, hearing aids and even cardiostimulators.
They are destroyed by melting.
Thus, this weapon will destroy Iraq’s systems of management over the country and the troops practically in a moment.
As this war will be experimental for the USA, Iraq will become a testing ground for tests of new high-precision cruise missiles with a view to further obtain certificates of quality for the weapons. I think that first of all special attention will be focused on launching missiles from submarines.
The Pentagon will keep on developing mechanism of pointing of high-precision weapons. In 2000, the USA used an Endeavor space shuttle to scan up to 80% of the Earth surface and created an electronic 3-D map.
This map allows to direct cruise missiles from a military satellite at a window in Saddam’s palace.
Vladimir Slipchenko forecasts that the war will last for not more than 1.5 months. The first period of the war will last for about 30 days.
400-500 high-precision cruise missiles will be launched from marine and air bases against Iraqi objects every day. Within this month Iraq’s troops and economic potential will be liquidated.
And if anything remains intact after these attacks, these objects will be all the same destroyed within the next two weeks.
Americans will organize a large-scale cleansing of the territory from B-52 and B-2 Stealth bombers. One Stealth bomber can detect and liquidate up to 200 surface immovable and moving targets within four hours of flights. The USA is going to use not less than 16 B-2 bombers. Iraq’s air defense won’t be able to somehow oppose attacks of US planes and cruise missiles. Already now Iraq has no air defense facilities in the south and in the north, US aviation is bombing the areas perpetually.
Iraq’s anti-aircarft defense system is based on the classical radar location scheme: radiate-detect-illuminate from beneath-liquidate.
Americans will use this fact to pursue their own interests.
As soon as an Iraqi radar ejects electromagnetic energy, a high-precision cruise missile will be immediately launched against this object.
According to my estimates, the USA will spend not less than 80 billion dollars on the Iraqi campaign. But total spending may also rise up to 100 billions.
The exact sum of spending on the war won’t be published simply because partially the war is financed by private companies that provide the Pentagon with experimental samples of their weapons for free for further tests in the war.
The program meant for modernization of the US armed forces costs about 600 billion dollars. That is why the US defense establishment can afford now to give weapons to the army for free.
Iraq will suffer tremendous losses. As Americans are going in fact to liquidate the Iraqi army, I think that losses may be not less than 500.000 people. This is going to be a bloody war.
Zombie Inquisition: Destroy the infidels
"The war being prosecuted by the United States military against Iraq is clearly illegal and unconstitutional. But what is even more disturbing is the full realization that the government occupying Washington D.C. is in fact an illegal government as well. "
For all those wishy-washy fence-sitters, or those still droning on about "democracy" or arguing whether it matters that the "Pope" has decided the so-called war to be immoral, HERE IS THE TRUTH AND HERE ARE THE FACTS.
The traitors, liars and cowards have overthrown the U.S. Government and trashed the Constitution. And this illegal war is proof positive. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
ILLEGAL WAR of 2003
When Representative Ron Paul Asked For A Declaration of War
By Carl F. Worden
Ladies & gentlemen:
Representative Ron Paul of Texas made a motion to declare war on Iraq. Chairman Henry Hyde rejected the motion by declaring:
"There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one of them. There are things no longer relevant to a modern society.
Why declare war if you don't have to?
We are saying to the President, use your judgment.
So, to demand that we declare war is to strengthen something to death. You have got a hammerlock on this situation, and it is not called for.
Inappropriate, anachronistic, it isn't done anymore."
--Chairman Henry Hyde, 10/3/2002, in session of House of Representatives, during hearing on H.J. Res. 114, "AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ", discussing Ron Paul's motion to declare war.
Before you read on, please stop and re-read Chairman Hyde's statement again, and carefully digest exactly what he said. I'll wait.
Now, this is a high-ranking government elected official who placed his left hand on the Bible, raised his right hand, and swore before almighty God his absolute allegiance to the Constitution of the United States — all of it — and apparently intended to violate that sacred oath even as he was swearing it! Think about that, and what it means.
If any part of our Constitution is "no longer relevant" to this modern society of ours, a constitutional amendment must be passed making it no longer relevant.
Unless and until that is done, every part of that Constitution of ours is to be strictly adhered to, no if's and's or but's.
Next, the Congress cannot give up its power to declare war unless accomplished by a constitutional amendment. Article 10 of the Bill of Rights to our Constitution clearly states that the power not given to the federal government by the Constitution is prohibited to the federal government. There is nothing in the Constitution which allows the Congress (the Legislative Branch) to give away its power to declare war to the president. (the Executive Branch), yet Henry Hyde clearly states, "We are saying to the President, use your judgment".
Please correct me if I am wrong, but to my knowledge, there is no constitutional power given Congress to issue a "resolution" authorizing the president to use military force at his discretion, and if that power is not specifically given the Congress, then Article 10 forbids Congress from exercising that power. The Congress cannot take power which is not given them by the Constitution, nor do they have the authority to give away a power assigned to the Congress by the Constitution.
Let's re-examine what Founding Father James Madison had to say on this very subject when the Third Congress proposed to surrender Declaration of War powers to the executive Branch way back when :
The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty
by James Madison, August 1793
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .
[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .
The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . . .
A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.
The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.
The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.
The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favorites or multiplying dependents.
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.
Are you with me so far?
Next, if any un-amended part of the Constitution is "no longer relevant", the entire Constitution is no longer relevant. If high-ranking Chairman and Congressman Henry Hyde used that revealing and specious argument to successfully defeat Representative Ron Paul's motion for constitutional compliance in declaring war on Iraq, then we now have irrefutable proof that the government of the United States, as defined by the Constitution of the United States, has been overthrown, and every one of those members of Congress who voted down Representative Paul's motion for a formal declaration of war is a craven traitor to the people of the United States.
There is something even more disturbing about this discovery: If the Constitution of the United States has been made irrelevant by treating it as a menu rather than the legally binding document it is, then by what legally binding document is this federal government conducting itself by? In the absence of a replacement, we are literally being run by a government that is flying by the seat of its pants, and I have come to the conclusion that is exactly what is going on right now.
If Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is irrelevant, and if Article 10 of the Bill of Rights is irrelevant, shouldn't Article 16, the Income Tax Amendment to the Constitution, also be considered "irrelevant"? It appears that the only parts of the Constitution that remain "relevant" are those the federal government will enforce, and you can be certain the federal government will continue to enforce Article 16 to fullest extent of the law and well beyond.
I've been having an interesting and lively debate with a legal professional from Southern California who insisted that a congressional resolution to use military force against Iraq was just another way of declaring war, that there is no difference, and that I should stop playing games with semantics to show there is a difference.
But wait, who really is playing games with semantics? Congress is, not me! I know what a Declaration of War is, and it is spelled out clearly in the Constitution by those three words. I again want to take you back to the infamous words of Henry Hyde:
"Why declare war if you don't have to?"
If a resolution to authorize the president to use military force against Iraq is the same as a Declaration of War on Iraq, Why did Henry Hyde make that comment? Hmm??
That comment clearly and obviously proves that Henry Hyde knows that the two are not the same, and he is in the position to know; otherwise, he wouldn't have opposed Ron Paul's motion.
They are not the same, and a resolution has no constitutional backing, which means that my original contention that the war being prosecuted by the United States military against Iraq is clearly illegal and unconstitutional.
But what is even more disturbing is the full realization that the government occupying Washington D.C. is in fact an illegal government as well.
Bracing for Bush's War at Home
by Chisun Lee
March 26 - April 1, 2003
Continue to Patroit Act II UPDATE LINKS
Patriot Act Patriot Act
An ugly theory popped up in the nation's capital several weeks ago. The Bush administration would wait until war began, and worry gripped the homeland, to ram a staggering package of domestic security measures through a Congress silenced by fears of seeming unpatriotic.
Such measures would radically expand the executive branch powers already inflated by the 2001 USA Patriot Act.
On Friday—as the U.S. began suffering combat fatalities, and the terror alert on whitehouse.gov glared orange for "high"—Justice Department spokesperson Mark Corallo confirmed to the Voice that such measures were coming soon.
Exact details are confined to "internal deliberations," he said, but the proposals "will be filling in the holes" of the Patriot Act, "refining things that will enable us to do our job."
But a new, comprehensive review of Bush's growing presidential power hardly reveals any "holes." Rather—using court positions, internal policy changes, and secret decisions as bricks—the administration has built the executive branch into a fortress, nearly invulnerable to the checks of the judiciary and Congress.
Most alarming, according to the watchdog authors of the 96-page report, "Imbalance of Powers," the complexity of this historic expansion continues to mask its true proportions.
"You have to connect the dots," said Elisa Massimino, Washington, D.C., director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR), a 25-year nonprofit defender of civil liberties and humane policy. LCHR analyzed hundreds of pages of legislation, policy directives, and congressional records, plus a spate of major court cases such as the suit challenging the indefinite detention, without representation, of accused American "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla.
The big picture shows an "executive branch amassing so much more power," said Massimino, even in the past six months alone. But since many developments have occurred "under the radar," she said, few members of Congress, let alone of the public, could easily map out such a blueprint on their own.
Briefly, the dots connect like this:
The administration's refusal to release Patriot Act-related records to Congress, the refusal to release the names of detainees and open their court hearings to the public, and the Freedom of Information Act exemptions under the Homeland Security Act add up to a secretive government, acting outside the scrutiny of the public and its representatives.
The development of the Total Information Awareness program, the mining of individuals' shopping and library records, and the melding of spy and arrest functions add up to government invasion of privacy and restriction of expression.
The indefinite detention of U.S. citizens deemed by Bush to be "enemy combatants," the secret detention and deportation of immigrants not charged with a crime, and the tracking and questioning of nationals from particular countries add up to unilateral executive power to deprive people of their physical liberty.
Even with the existing behemoth, Massimino said, a "quantum leap" in executive branch authority is possible. She referred to the recently leaked Justice Department draft bill, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, commonly known as Patriot Act II.
"It would make over 100 changes to existing law," she said. But as recently as March 4, Attorney General John Ashcroft was being coy about it, refusing to discuss any of the 86-page draft at a Senate hearing.
Among the more extreme powers Patriot Act II would grant the executive branch: The ability to strip citizenship from an American who supports a group the feds label as terrorist. Secret arrests—the government could avoid revealing the location of, charges against, and evidence on someone it was holding. Far looser checks on search-and-seizure activities of law enforcement. And a DNA database for people deemed to be terrorist suspects.
Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin was among the first constitutional experts to condemn Patriot Act II as "a new assault on our civil liberties."
Last week he told the Voice, "What we're really worried about here is something being proposed while all eyes are on Iraq. People are whipped up into a frenzy. The executive will propose what, at a certain time, it thinks it can get away with." That, he said, could be the draft bill "in its most virulent form."
Before the war began, there were signs that Congress might fight future presidential power-hogging and bring more heft to the legislative branch. Some Democrats excoriated Ashcroft for his furtiveness on Patriot Act II. Some Republicans were talking about subpoenaing records that the Justice Department refused to release on its use of Patriot Act I powers.
Yet wartime has traditionally meant deferring to the executive. The entire post-September 11 period may have seemed like one big state of war, with the Justice Department successfully skirting Congress and pushing every constitutional challenge to higher, more administration-friendly courts. But given the actual war in Iraq, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said last week, Americans can expect that "protections [of their individual rights] will be ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum."
Ashcroft deflected angry Senate queries on Patriot Act II, saying "it would be the height of absurdity" to imagine the administration's hustling through a law without congressional review.
Yet on October 25, 2001, 98 out of 99 voting senators hurriedly passed the 342-page Patriot Act I—without any public debate and before most of them had read it.
The White House made clear their votes would be spun as a test of their patriotism.
Votes on Patriot Act II could also be a test—of who has the patriotism to right democracy's severely lopsided structure of checks and balances.
My country, right or wrong, for example, may sound patriotic, at first glance, but it's also frighteningly amoral
-- it's the sort of thing a
Nazi might say...
True "patriots" are heroes, who do the *right* thing,
not necessarily what a leader tells them to do "for their
Supporting that sort of unprovoked action, regardless of how wrong it may be, just because it's an *American* action, strikes me as the very definition of
Continue to Patroit Act III
*** Notes ***
I hate to disillusion you, but this illegal War is about the oil.
Oil reserves in America are in fatal decline, wells that were producing 100 barrels a day are now only producing 7, and the reserves in Alaska have also started to decline. The two largest oil reserves on this planet are Saudi Arabia and Iraq respectively.
In a documentary on BBC 2 last night they showed two open letters written by Donald Rumsfeld, including in one of them was the urging of the attack of Iraq to preserve "American energy security" for it's oil reserves, and to get an American "friendly" administration in so that the oil would go to America before any other country could get it.
If America keeps consuming its oil at the current rate without importing it will use its reserves up in less than 5 years. The USA is the largest oil importers in the world. The action against Iraq was made even more important after the action in Venezuela. The administration then decided it needed a "friendly" country with a lot of oil.
Due to the stability of Saudi Arabia they had no choice but to go for the second largest reserves in Iraq.
But are you sure your on the right path if you believe that innocent people should be killed for oil and to deal with a dictator?
There are worse in the world. After all America is going after the most defenseless country. This action will not decrease the risk of weapons of mass destruction only increase them, after all, it looks like the only way to avoid being attacked is to "Control" them.
Pakistan, North Korea for example are dictatorships and they have nuclear weapons, but they are not being attacked. –"Not such easy pickings?"
You do know that it is against international law to invade a sovereign state for the purpose of regime change, and that if this is made to be the case all those involved are war criminals?
Sad Spouts Of Ignorance
Where humpback whales meet the snarling void of war,
progress takes a bullet
By Mark Morford
We think we know so damn much.
We think we know cause and effect. We think we know basic systems and
human nature and the arc of time, what sort of hellish road we are
paving right this minute, all those big colorful maps and arrows and
diagrams and missile trajectories on CNN, all the clusters of little
green plastic army men pushed around a giant map table by embittered
We think we know what will happen to the collective unconscious, to
the soul of the population at large when the scowling GOP war hawks
issued the order to rain 3,000 multimillion-dollar warheads down on a
bedraggled piss-poor food-starved nation in a single day.
Or when we massacre tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians and
lay waste to an entire culture and landscape and history, as a 20-
mile-long procession of U.S. troops rumble into Baghdad to kill
anything with a turban and an Islamic faith and a dusty 1983 U.S.-
Iraq chemical-weapons sales receipt, and call it patriotism.
We think we know all about body counts and nation building, and we
think we have some sort of sanctimonious monopoly on the idea of what
type of freedom everyone should have, what sort of force-fed
democracy everyone really needs, whose self-righteous angry SUV-
driving god has the right to bitch-slap which self-righteous angry
Koran-reading god, and call it Christian largesse.
We don't know anything.
I unplugged recently. I was off the snarling media grid, briefly,
strangely, beautifully. It was surreal and amazing and jarring. This
is when I realized.
There I was on vacation just last week, watching the pods, the
families, the processions of humpback whales just off the Hawaii
coastline, huge 60-ton male escorts and enormous 40-ton females and
their 10-ton newborn calves, every day, whale after whale, pod after
pod, a glorious and breathtaking thing, like a gift, a reminder, a
slap in the face to the warmongering bilious timbre of now, of
Shrub's cadre of hissing war hawks, of what we think we know.
And they were all spouting and rolling and breaching and slapping the
water with their huge dorsal fins, all about birth and mating and
migration and jesus goddamn wow they're big, and humbling, and
shocking, as you like to think you're all plugged in and world wise
and media savvy and you might think you know what the planet is
really doing at any given moment, deep down, in the meat of it, and
of course, you see something like this and you realize, sure enough,
you don't know anything.
But the hawks and fearmongers, they want you to believe you do. They
want you to think we are, with this vile needless war, attaining
progress, reaching for some sort of truth, bringing the world closer
into alignment with what Bush's sneering Christian god along with
Uncle Dick's economic advisory team deems right and just and
lucrative, never mind all the burned bodies and dead children and the
massacred thousands and the billions in economy-gutting expenditures.
We are making the world better, they actually claim. How sweet.
Nothing like 100,000 full body bags to really make the soul glow.
We bought a book on humpback whales to try and understand, to see
what those behaviors mean, to see what it was, exactly, we were
watching every day, and we read and read and said wow and hmm and
isn't that interesting and we tried to find out why they breached, or
why they slapped the waves like that, or why they sang or what the
songs might mean. You know, the basics.
Here is what we found out: We read all the science and all the study
and all the modern B.S., all our technology and all our sensors and
all our collected data, and we closed the book and looked at each
other and shook our heads and laughed -- sure enough, no one knows.
Modern science has no clue. Whale songs. Breaching. Slapping the
waves with their enormous tail fins, over and over, like a ritual, a
call, a play. Some of the biggest most ancient creatures on the
planet, timeless and stunning and awe inspiring and once slaughtered
nearly to extinction and each and every one karmically and ethically
impervious to white angry men puling about war and still we have no
idea. We don't know why they breach, or slap or sing. We don't even
know how long whales live.
And then we have the gall. We have the nerve to think we know how the
world works, what the planet needs, how culture operates. We trot out
the Constitution when it suits us and point to the Second Amendment
as kids shoot each other in schools, and we think we understand how
the U.S. was founded on the idea that the life of an Iraqi peasant is
as valuable as that of a U.S. Marine, or Shrub daughter, or shuttle
Monarch butterflies haul tiny insect ass 3,000 miles from Canada to
Mexico (and back) every year, through storms and wind and across
mountains and deserts, through conditions most major aircraft would
whimper at, landing on the exact same trees every single year to
mate, generation after generation. We have no idea how the hell they
do it. No idea how they survive the journey, the exact path they
take, how they know the exact tree every time, or why, or what it
might mean. Just another example. Pure mystery. One of thousands.
Yet we think we are just so damn sure. We are just so sure that we
rule the whole planet, that we are the uberspecies, that we have the
right to slaughter whomever and whatever we like whenever we like
because someone might dare stand in the way of our alleged progress,
or our oil interests, or our profits. How did all our oil get under
their sand? we ask, not at all jokingly.
I know what the whale-tail slaps are.
They are a reminder. No matter how much we think we know, no matter
how many die as a result of Shrub's vicious war, no matter what sort
of self-righteous good we think we're ramming down everyone's throat,
we are, quite simply, raging deeper into ignorance. We know nothing.
And the worst part is, we seem to be learning less with every
warhead, every Rummy press conference, every dust-choked reporter and
The whales know this.
Maybe they're just waving
Iraq: War and Democracy
by Stephen R. Shalom
I support regime change. I support it around the world, including in
Iraq, where a dictator holds sway.
The question, however, is whether we
should support regime change by the United States military and whether
there is any reason to believe that a U.S. invasion will lead to
democracy for the people of Iraq, let alone for the wider region.
There are many good reasons to be skeptical that a U.S. military assault
will result in any sort of meaningful democracy.
First, one only has to
look at who the supposed agent of this democratic flowering is to be:
George W. Bush, who rules the United States illegitimately, having
stolen the 2000 election, and who presides over the most serious assault
on the basic democratic rights of the people of the United States in
over half a century. Second, one should look at the long record of U.S.
At the turn of the last century, during the debate over the annexation
of the Philippines, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge declared, if justice
requires the consent of the governed, "then our whole past record of expansion is a crime."
Woodrow Wilson proclaimed his devotion to democracy while sponsoring
interventions in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mexico.
In 1949, the CIA backed a military coup that deposed the elected
government of Syria.
In the 1950s, the CIA overthrew the freely-elected, democratic
government of Guatemala and blocked free elections in Vietnam.
In the 1960s, the United States undermined democracy in Brazil and in
the Congo (the first scrapping of a legally recognized democratic system
in post-colonial Africa).
In 1963, the United States backed a coup by the Ba'ath party in
Iraq-Saddam Hussein's party -and gave them names of communists to kill.
In the 1970s, the CIA helped to snuff out democracy in Chile. As
Kissinger told a top-secret meeting, "I don't see why we need to stand
by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its
In 1981, vice-president George Bush Sr. told Philippine dictator
Ferdinand Marcos, "We love your adherence to democratic principle."
Consider Indonesia, ruled by a dictator, Suharto, who killed more "of
his own people" than did Saddam Hussein (with U.S. arms and, again, with
lists of names of Communists to liquidate). In 1997, the year before the
Indonesian people drove Suharto into exile, Paul Wolfowitz told Congress
that "any balanced judgment of the situation in Indonesia today,
including the very important and sensitive issue of human rights, needs
to take account of the significant progress that Indonesia has already
made and needs to acknowledge that much of this progress has to be
credited to the strong and remarkable leadership of president Suharto."
Consider the report written for Israeli prime minister Benyamin
Netanyahu in 1996 by a group of U.S. neoconservatives, many of whom hold
prominent positions in the current Bush war administration (Richard
Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser). This report recommended
restoring the Hashemite monarchy to power in Iraq.
There has been little acknowledgment of just how deep U.S. opposition to
democracy has been. So even a New York Times article by Todd Purdum in
March, admitting that the U.S. has not always been a champion of
democracy, says the following: "The first President Bush protested when
a military coup overthrew the democratically elected leader of Haiti,
the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but was far less exercised around the
same time when the Algerian Army canceled the second round of elections
that seemed certain to put an Islamic fundamentalist regime in power."
Purdum is right about Algeria, but his account of Haiti is terribly
misleading. In fact, the U.S. had all sorts of ties to the coup plotters
in Haiti and did all it could to sabotage efforts to remove the junta.
There are other reasons to be skeptical about the democratic impact of
this war: oil contracts, bases, Kurds-plans are being made by the Bush
administration on all these matters, matters that even minimal notions
of democracy would leave to Iraqis. Bush, writes Thomas Powers in the
March 18 New York Times, "will have virtually unlimited power...far
greater power, for example, than Queen Victoria's over India in the 19th
U.S. officials say the occupation will last at least two years. Powers
notes that the U.S. troops will remain until U.S.-Iranian differences
"are resolved by diplomacy or war, which ever comes first."
The claim that the U.S. wants to bring democracy to the region is
Imagine what democracy in the Middle East today would
Is it conceivable that a Saudi Arabian government that reflected
the views of its people would be providing bases for Washington's war?
Would a democratic Egypt allow U.S. forces to transit the Suez canal?
Would democratic UAE or Qatar or Bahrain be aiding the U.S. war effort?
Consider Turkey: the U.S. was outraged at a parliamentary vote, which
was consistent with the views of 94 percent of population. (The cabinet
had earlier been pressed by Washington into approving a deal before
details were even worked out, hardly a model of democratic practice.)
The Turkish military said it had avoided making a statement before the
parliament's vote because it knew that would be undemocratic, but after
the failed vote it didn't refrain from pressing for a reversal, with
A February 26, 2003 classified State Department report was leaked to the
Los Angeles Times (March 14, 2003). The thrust of the document,
according to a source, was "...this idea that you're going to transform
the Middle East and fundamentally alter its trajectory is not credible."
"Even if some version of democracy took root-an event the report casts
as unlikely-anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in
the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments
hostile to the United States and Electoral democracy, were it to emerge,
could well be subject to exploitation by anti- American elements."
Bush refers to his "coalition of the willing" and many analysts have
noted that it is a coalition of the coerced and the bribed. But it's
also a coalition of the undemocratic. It is a coalition of governments
whose views do not reflect the views of their people-the basic, minimal
definition of demo- cracy.
As Colin Powell proudly put it: "We need to knock down this idea that
nobody is on our side." Many nations share our view. "And they do it in
the face of public opposition." (NYT, March 10, 2003)
Britain, Spain, Italy: in all these countries overwhelming majorities of
the population are opposed to war. Nor are things any different in the
"New Europe." In Bulgaria, for example, the one Security Council
supporter of the U.S.-UK-Spanish position, a January poll showed 59
percent of the population opposed to war in any circumstances and
another 28 percent opposed to war without Security Council backing, with
only 5 percent favoring a unilateral war by the United States and its
The only country in the world where a majority of the population
supports war is Israel and this is the one country that is not
officially part of the coalition of the willing (for fear it will drive
some of the willing into becoming unwilling).
In the United States, there is no decisive voice for war. While the
latest polls seem to show majority support for war, the same polls show
that 60 percent believe the U.S. should take into account the views of
its allies, more want the U.S. to take account of any UN veto than
don't, and 52 percent want the inspectors to be given more time (CBS/NYT
poll, March 7-9). A USA Today poll the weekend of March 15 says that 50
percent oppose war if there is no UN resolution.
The CBS/NYT poll also shows that 62 percent think the Bush
administration is not telling the public important information it needs
to know, but a plurality believe, contrary to any evidence, that Saddam
Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
This poll data suggests considerable confusion, which is not surprising,
given the government lies, forgeries, plagiarism, and press
self-censorship. (Would public opinion be different if the U.S. press
had given prominent attention to the U.S. spying on the UN or the
suppressed testimony of the Iraqi defector?) Democratic backing doesn't
automatically make a war right, but this will surely be one of the most
undemocratic wars ever waged.
Some have argued that U.S. policy has yielded democracy before,
specifically in the case of Japan following World War II. The analogy,
however, is unconvincing.
First, U.S. policy makers maintained the emperor in power, planning to
use his authority to enhance their own control over Japan and to make
sure that they determined the pace and extent of change. This meant that
criticisms of the emperor had to be suppressed. Thus, a left- wing film
critical of the emperor was banned by American officials in 1946.
Anything negative about the emperor was kept out of the Tokyo war crimes
In the first few years of the occupation, some genuine democratic
reforms were introduced in Japan: there was land reform, unions were
promoted, the new constitution included a "no war" pledge, some
right-wing militarists were purged, and some of the zaibatsu, the
corporate behemoths of the Japanese economy, were broken up. But these
reforms were carried out by New Dealers, the most liberal U.S.
government in history, while in Iraq we can look forward to rule by the
most reactionary U.S. regime in more than 70 years.
By 1948, as
Washington came to realize that China was not going to become an
anti-communist bastion and that a powerful alternative was needed, U.S.
occupation policy in Japan underwent a "reverse course." Japanese
economic power would now be rebuilt as part of an anti-Soviet alliance
and many of the early reforms were weakened or repealed. War criminals
were released. A threatened general strike was banned in 1947 and over
the next three years imposed laws severely weakening the labor movement.
In 1949, there was a mass purge of Communists, using regulations
originally designed for ultra- right militarists.
Japan's dominant conservative politicians were allowed to maintain their
grip on power by the U.S. Occupation authorities and were secretly
bankrolled by the CIA through the 1960s.
The U.S. occupation lasted seven years (and two decades longer for
Okinawa), but before it ended U.S. officials took two more steps to
consolidate Japan as Washington's key ally against communism in Asia.
First, the U.S. obtained military bases in Japan, which they maintain to
this day. Second, they got Tokyo to agree that it would not trade with
the Chinese mainland. For the latter to be feasible, U.S. policy makers
determined that Japan would need to seek what State Department planner
George Kennan called "an empire to the south." U.S. government officials
frankly spoke of sponsoring a new "Co- Prosperity Sphere." This meant
U.S. subversion, counterinsurgency, and massive attack to keep Southeast
Asia in Washington's global economic system. Thus, the war purportedly
fought to defeat aggression and militarism in Asia led to U.S. policies
of aggression and militarism in Asia.
One final indication of the U.S. view of democracy is its attitude
toward the UN: the organization must follow U.S. orders or Washington
will do what it wants anyway; that the U.S. has the right to openly
bribe other nations to secure their votes; that Washington alone has the
right to interpret UN resolutions; and so on.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says that he favors war despite
the odds that things will turn out horribly because he thinks it's worth
the long-shot chance for democracy. So even if the likelihood of
democracy emerging is small, isn't that better than nothing? Shouldn't
we take the chance, even if there weren't many tremendous costs of going
to war, such as:
It will destroy the fragile institutions of international law built up
over the last few decades. (Already Turkey is saying that if the U.S.
can intervene in Iraq to preventively protect its national security, why
It will increase recruiting for Al Qaeda, as reported in a recent New
It will increase, rather than decrease, the spread of weapons of mass
It places immense numbers of Iraqi civilians at risk
There are many grim predictions about civilian casualties from NGOs and
internal UN documents. Fred Kaplan on Slate is right that these are just
guesses, with no solid proof. But the rosy predictions of the Bush
administration are no less guesses and there are reasons to be concerned
Consider that a report in the London Independent, February 2, 2003,
stated, "The Ministry of Defence yesterday admitted the electricity
system that powers water and sanitation for the Iraqi people could be a
military target, despite warnings that its destruction would cause a
U.S. war games were reported (NYT, October 22, 2002) to involve 10
percent casualties among the attacking force in urban warfare in
Baghdad. Can one imagine how many civilians the U.S. will put at risk to
minimize the dangers to its own forces?
Bush has warned that Saddam Hussein has been interspersing troops and
military targets among the civilian population and that any harm would
be Saddam's fault. But if Bush intends to liberate the Iraqi people from
Saddam, then presumably he views them as hostages, and who would want
hostages liberated by U.S. cruise missiles and MOAB munitions?
So even if we were sure that war would bring democracy to Iraq, the
costs would be too high. But of course, we are not at all sure. While
one doesn't know what the future will bring, whether the U.S. will
install some sort of democratic facade or keep General Tommy Franks as
the local proconsul, one thing is clear: there won't be real democracy
for the people of Iraq.
Stephen R. Shalom teaches political science at William Patterson
University in New Jersey. He is the author of numerous articles and
books, most recently Which Side Are You On? (Longman), a political
science text book.
BOYCOTT TO STOP THE WAR
We are forwarding to you a proposal we have received for an economic boycott
to help stop the new war on Iraq. and urge all who are interested to
participate and spread the word.
Our current administration has been dismissing our vocal opposition on War.
No Longer! Now, it is time to take our protests to the next level. We will
hit them where it hurts the most - in their wallets.
We are beginning a global boycott of companies that make significant
financial contributions to this administration. We will not purchase
services or products from:
Kraft (Subsidiary of Phillip Morris)
United Parcel Service
Kraft (Subsidiary of Phillip Morris)
Contact: Michael Mudd, Senior Vice President
Tel: 847-646-2868 or email@example.com
Address (HQ): Three Lakes Drive, Northfield, IL 60093, USA
Some popular brands are Maxwell House,
Starbucks*, Tang, Oscar Mayer, Taco
California Pizza Kitchen*, DiGiorno, Kool-Aid, Velveeta, Capri Sun*,
Jacobs, Post, Milka, Old English, Cheez Whiz, Bull's-Eye, Shake
'n Bake, Oven Fry, Nabisco, Milk-Bone (Dog food), Jell-O, Oreo, 100% Bran,
Breyers, Chips Ahoy!,
Marshmallow Twirls, Pecanz, Honey Maid, Ritz, Planters,
Toblerone, Altoids, Grey Poupon, Cream of Wheat, Triscuit, Handi-Snacks,
Lunchables. For a more detailed list click on above link.
* are registered trademarks owned and licensed by their respective companies
and not by Kraft.
Contact: Mr. Lee R. Raymond - Chairman & CEO
Tel: (800) 252 1800 or Contact Form
Address: 5959 Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, Texas, 75039-2298, USA.
Contact: Donald M. Kendall - Co-founder
Tel: (914) 253-3055 or (914) 253-2000
Address:700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577, USA.
Some popular brands are A&W All-American Food, Long John Silvers, Taco Bell,
Pizza Hut, KFC, Frito-Lay, Doritos, Pepsi-Cola, 7Up, Mountain Dew, Lipton
Iced Tea (in partnership), Mirinda, Dole juice drinks, Frappuccino coffee
beverages, Gatorade, Tropicana, Quaker. For a more detailed list click on
United Parcel Service
Contact: (800) PICK-UPS or Contact Form
Address: UPS Inc., 55 Glenlake Parkway, NE, Atlanta, GA 30328, USA
Contact: S. Robson Walton - Chairman
Tel: (479) 273-8446 or Contact Form
Address: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Bentonville, Arkansas, USA.
Given the current situation of the economy we expect that even the slightest
mention of a boycott should carry weight. It is our hope that once word on
the boycott reaches the management teams of the selected corporations, they
themselves will be the ones to carry our voices forward. Please feel free to
voice your opinions by sending them e-mails and making phone calls to the
Click on www.bethecause.org and follow the links re the boycott, to download
a PDF flyer. Please print out the flyer and distribute everywhere! This can
only work with overwhelming support.
Please keep us informed of your participation via email
(firstname.lastname@example.org): It is our intent to operate this through as many
organizations and individuals as possible - we need your support. We are
also in the process of talking to some international groups to ensure their
Criteria for selecting corporations:
- Donated at least $400,000 to the Republican Election Campaign in 1999-2000
- Donations to the Republican Election Campaign of 1999-2000 constituted at
least 70% of total contributions
- Significant brand equity and market share in their industry
- Operate in the Business-to-Consumer sector
If two or more corporations matched the above criteria in any given industry,
we choose the one that made the largest contribution.
Kraft - Parent Company Phillip Morris (new name: Altria Group, Inc) made a
contribution of US$3,094,237 which represents 82% of their total
- View complete list of brands: http://www.kraft.com/brands/namerica/us.html
Exxon Mobil - Made a contribution of US$1,226,331 which represents 89% of
their total contributions.
Pepsico Inc - Made a contribution of US$749,494 which represents 84% of their
- View complete list of brands: http://www.pepsico.com/company/brands.shtml
United Parcel Service - Made a contribution of US$2,072,468 which represents
71% of their total contributions.
Wal-Mart Stores - Made a contribution of US$610,748 which represents 88% of
their total contributions.
Material referenced from: Center for Responsive Politics. Visit
Methodology: The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs,
soft money donors, and individuals giving $200 or more.
In many cases, the
organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the
organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those
individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and
All donations took place during the 1999-2000 election cycle and
were released by the Federal Election Commission. Feel free to distribute or
cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics.
Members of this Coalition:
Global Coalition For Peace
AWARE (A World Awakening Requires Education)
Network Earth Village
Not In Our Name
Unity and Diversity Council
United Global Citizens
Boycott Republican Donors
Support our Troops - Keep them out of illegal War for OIL!
Turn Off TV and Turn On Quantum Mind
Humanity's most valuable possessions are Clean Water, clean Air and Trees