September 30, 2003

France, Bush & Drunk Driving

But the more relevant observation about France and other longtime allies that opposed Bush’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq may come from the slogan of the popular anti-drunk-driving commercial: “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” The key question may not be whether traditional friends have turned into enemies but whether these U.S. friends were right to counsel Bush against a self-destructive action.

France, Bush & Drunk Driving
By Robert Parry
September 25, 2003

A trendy theme among U.S. pundits and inside the Bush
administration is that French opposition to the
invasion of Iraq has turned France into America’s new

In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, George W. Bush
showed his disdain for France by having Air Force One
serve French toast as “freedom toast,” while Dick
Cheney confronted French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte
with the blunt question: “Is France an ally or an
adversary of the United States?” [Washington Post,
Sept. 23, 2003] New York Times foreign policy
columnist Thomas Friedman penned a recent column
entitled “Our War With France,” which stated “It’s
time we Americans come to terms with something. …
France is becoming our enemy.” [NYT, Sept. 18, 2003]

But the more relevant observation about France and
other longtime allies that opposed Bush’s decision to
invade and occupy Iraq may come from the slogan of the
popular anti-drunk-driving commercial: “Friends don’t
let friends drive drunk.” The key question may not be
whether traditional friends have turned into enemies
but whether these U.S. friends were right to counsel
Bush against a self-destructive action.

Following that analogy, Bush’s putative allies, the
likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, may have
played the role of enablers, the weak-willed friends
who lack the courage to stand up to an inebriated pal
who is staggering toward the driver’s side of the car.
One could argue that France and Germany were giving
Bush the kind of realistic advice that could have
spared the United States the worsening debacle in Iraq
and saved the lives of more than 300 U.S. soldiers.

Still, like the drunk driver who won’t admit that the
accident was his fault, Bush continues to slur facts
and logic, blaming anyone but himself for the
geopolitical pile-up in the desert. Yet, as his
excuses and deceptions become more apparent, the
disconnect between Bush’s words and reality are also
harder to conceal. To walk away from responsibility
for the mess he's made, Bush needs even more enablers,
especially inside the Washington news media.

In an interview with Fox News, for instance, Bush
defended his decision to invade Iraq by still
insisting that his pre-war claims about Iraq’s weapons
of mass destruction were true. He also cited U.N.
resolution 1441 as justification for his preemptive
war even though a majority of the U.N. Security
Council had opposed Bush's decision to enforce the
resolution's disarmament demands through an invasion.

“That’s the resolution that said if you don’t disarm
there will be serious consequences,” Bush told Fox
News anchor Brit Hume. Then Bush added about himself
that “at least somebody stood up and said this is a
definition of serious consequences.” [Fox News
transcript, Sept. 22, 2003]

Inconvenient Facts

But Bush leaves out inconvenient facts, like the
Security Council's demand for more time for U.N.
inspectors to determine whether Iraq had, in fact,
disarmed. There’s also the fact that neither U.N.
inspectors nor U.S. forces on the ground have found
any of the alleged stockpiles of trigger-ready
chemical and biological weapons that Bush keeps citing
as a chief reason for war. But Hume and other news
personalities know when not to contradict the
notoriously thin-skinned Texan.

Still, even as Bush digs in his heels on his
justifications for the death and destruction in Iraq,
other pro-war advocates have begun to adjust their
rationales. One new spin, popular with American
pundits, blames Saddam Hussein for the invasion on the
grounds that he confused the United States about
whether Iraq did or didn't possess weapons of mass
destruction. This new argument claims that Hussein
refused to say that he had gotten rid of his WMD so he
would look tough to his neighbors and that it was this
Iraqi conceit that caused the war.

The problem with the argument, however, is that Iraq
repeatedly did state that it had rid itself of its
chemical and biological weapons. Indeed, Hussein and
his government insisted for months that they were in
compliance with U.N. disarmament demands and
grudgingly agreed to give U.N. inspectors free rein to
examine any suspected weapons site of their choosing.
Hans Blix and other U.N. inspectors were reporting
cooperation from the Iraqis when Bush cut that process
short, claiming that war was necessary to ensure
Iraq's disarmament.

Now, however, some pundits have rewritten this recent
history to claim that Hussein was pretending right up
to the start of the invasion that he still had
chemical and biological weapons. Even supposedly smart
U.S. commentators, it appears, have deadened their
senses with the intoxication of Bush propaganda.

Bush also has continued to cling to his pre-war
arguments about Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda and other
Islamic terrorists as another justification for the
invasion. In the Fox News interview, he was back
linking Saddam Hussein with Ansar al-Islam, which Bush
said was “very active during Saddam’s period – that’s
the terrorist organization.”

But Bush appeared to understand some of the
distinctions that intelligence experts have long
noted, that Ansar al-Islam was actually backed by
Hussein’s Islamic enemies in Iran and was based in
Iraq’s north beyond Baghdad’s control. The Ansar
al-Islam base was actually under the protection of the
U.S. no-fly zone, guaranteeing that Iraqi forces
couldn't have attacked it even if they wanted to.

“And their camp there in the north,” Fox News anchor
Hume said about Ansar al-Islam.

“Yes, it is, northeast,” Bush replied.

Fuzzy Rhetoric

Still, for public consumption, the administration has
continued to fuzz up the alleged relationships between
Hussein’s secular government and these Islamic
fundamentalist groups, all the better to gull the
American people with.

Bush also continues to drop the time element on when
Hussein used chemical weapons (in the 1980s when he
was getting covert support from the Reagan-Bush
administration) and when Hussein disposed of the
unconventional weapons he had left (possibly in the
1990s, according to U.S. intelligence analysts who
have interviewed former Iraqi officials).

“The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to
terror while it built weapons of mass destruction,”
Bush told the U.N. General Assembly in a coolly
received speech on Sept. 23. “It used those weapons in
acts of mass murder, and refused to account for them
when confronted by the world.”

Then, glossing over how he spurned the U.N.’s repeated
appeals to let the inspectors finish up their work in
Iraq, Bush said, “because a coalition of nations acted
to defend the peace, and the credibility of the United
Nations, Iraq is free.”

Bush also baffled some listeners by wrapping his
invasion in the cloak of humanitarianism.

“Events during the past two years have set before us
the clearest of divides: Between those who seek order,
and those who spread chaos; between those who work for
peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of
gangsters; between those who honor the rights of man,
and those who deliberately take the lives of men, and
women, and children, without mercy or shame,” Bush

These arguments may continue to resonate with some of
Bush's domestic supporters who tend to confuse
gullibility with patriotism. But this rhetoric is
widening the credibility gulf with the rest of the
world, which sees Iraq as not free, but occupied, and
Bush's invasion as not an act of peace, but of
aggression. To much of the world, Bush is the one
spreading chaos and adopting "the methods of

Many U.N. delegates seemed perplexed by Bush’s
strained justifications for an invasion that U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan and many other world
leaders have condemned. Immediately before Bush’s
speech, Annan warned that preemptive war and
unilateralism, two strategies that Bush has embraced,
threatened to destroy more than half a century of
international order and spread the “lawless use of

French President Jacques Chirac made a similar point
after Bush’s speech. “The war, which was started
without the authorization of the Security Council, has
shaken the multilateral system,” he said.

Bitter Irony

To many listening to Bush’s speech, there was bitter
irony, too, in his denunciation of those who kill
civilians “without mercy or shame,” given the
thousands of Iraqis – including many children – who
were killed in the U.S.-led invasion.

During the invasion, Bush even ordered bombing attacks
on civilian targets, such as a restaurant in Baghdad,
in failed attempts to assassinate Saddam Hussein.
Instead of killing Hussein, the bombing of the
restaurant slaughtered men, women and children who
were having dinner. One mother collapsed when she
found her daughters severed head in the rubble. But
Bush has never expressed remorse for these civilian

Nor has Bush apologized for any other Iraqi civilians
killed by frightened American soldiers who often shoot
first and ask questions later. In a recent case cited
by the London Guardian newspaper, three farmers were
killed and two boys, 10 and 12, were wounded when the
U.S. 82nd Airborne Division descended on a farmhouse
in central Iraq during the middle of the night.

"The U.S. military has chosen not to count the
civilian casualties of the war in Iraq," the Guardian
reported. "But while more than 300 U.S. soldiers have
now been killed since the invasion to topple Saddam in
March, thousands more Iraqis have died." [Guardian,
Sept. 24, 2003] Bush has expressed remorse for none of
the carnage.

Instead, Bush has surrounded himself with yes men who
reinforce his self-justifying reality and never tell
him no. Even the alleged moderates, like Secretary of
State Colin Powell, put their careers before any
responsibility to restrain Bush's impulses.

Though Bush may like these go-along pals, his truer
friends may be the world leaders who tried to dissuade
him from his rush to invade Iraq. Indeed, if France
and other U.S. allies had succeeded in keeping the
keys of war away from Bush in March, the American
people and U.S. troops in Iraq might have been spared
a costly adventure that may go on for years and drain
the U.S. Treasury of hundreds of billions of dollars.

But Bush brushed past some of America's oldest friends
and their warnings of danger. He had enough pals and
enablers who helped him climb behind the wheel and
roar off into the fog of war.

So, instead of pouring French wine into gutters and
publishing diatribes about France as the new enemy,
perhaps Americans should ask themselves if they would
have been better off today if they had heeded the
advice from France and other nations, if they had
stopped Bush for his – and America’s – own good.

Posted by richard at 01:32 PM

The Truth is Puttin’ on its Shoes: An Inquiry Into the "Innocent" Mr. Rove

"Rove wasn’t just trying to intimidate Ambassador Wilson. If, as many believe, he is responsible for the leak, Rove wanted to send a message to everyone in the intelligence community that they all needed to keep their mouths shut. As the war was being sold, intelligence cooked, and the media spun, Rove and the White House had informed intelligence operatives and scientists that they were not to publicly repudiate the phony claims about aluminum tubes, which the White House falsely argued were part of an Iraqi gas centrifuge to make enriched uranium. One national reporter told me that calls to scientists and intelligence operatives to ask about the aluminum tubes, which turned out to be rocket bodies, yielded the confession the scientists and intelligence agents had been ordered to say nothing."


The Truth is Puttin’ on its Shoes: An Inquiry Into the "Innocent" Mr. Rove

by James C. Moore, Co-Author of "Bush’s Brain," The
Political History of Karl Rove

"A lie can travel around the world
while the truth is just putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain

I am very tired of writing about Karl Rove. Lately,
though, I have felt a kind of moral obligation, and
almost a patriotic duty to remind people of the man
who really runs the White House. Politically, and
strategically, nothing has happened in the Bush
Administration without Rove’s imprimatur. Reporters
have discovered Rove’s steely control in the form of
what they call a "leak proof" White House. Nothing
comes out of the Bush White House without Rove’s
approval. Generally, that means nothing comes out of
the White House.

Until Karl Rove wants something to leak.

Rove’s temper has always been his weak spot. He cannot
seem to control his anger. When Ambassador Joseph
Wilson wrote in the New York Times that there was no
truth to the allegations that Iraq had tried to
purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger, Rove is said
to have gone "ballistic." No one who has known Rove
for any period of time doubts that Rove was the one
who orchestrated the leak, which "outed" Ambassador
Wilson’s wife as a CIA agent. Rove has always made
sure that his enemies knew he will strike back, and
swing with deadly power.

Rove wasn’t just trying to intimidate Ambassador
Wilson. If, as many believe, he is responsible for the
leak, Rove wanted to send a message to everyone in the
intelligence community that they all needed to keep
their mouths shut. As the war was being sold,
intelligence cooked, and the media spun, Rove and the
White House had informed intelligence operatives and
scientists that they were not to publicly repudiate
the phony claims about aluminum tubes, which the White
House falsely argued were part of an Iraqi gas
centrifuge to make enriched uranium. One national
reporter told me that calls to scientists and
intelligence operatives to ask about the aluminum
tubes, which turned out to be rocket bodies, yielded
the confession the scientists and intelligence agents
had been ordered to say nothing.

"We are not having this conversation," the reporter
was told.

But if he leaked Ambassador Wilson’s wife’s name, Rove
was clearly trying to tell everyone in the
intelligence community that they needed to toe the
line, or they might also end up living at risk. This,
of course, is a scurrilous, cowardly, and unpatriotic
act. To believe that Karl Rove had no knowledge of
this leak, or that he was not involved, it is
necessary to ignore his absolute control of all things
political in the White House, his Machiavellian
nature, and attention to every sparrow flying under
the Bush sun.

But how did it happen?

There are a few ways Rove might have planned to exact
his revenge. He could have made calls himself, to high
profile reporters, or ordered staffers and political
intermediaries to contact journalists with the
authorization that they were speaking for "senior
White House officials." Not surprisingly, "senior
White House official" is Rove’s nickname among many
reporters because Rove asks that the description be
used virtually every time he talks to a reporter. It
enables him to get out his perspective, and White
House spin, without giving away his identity, and
self-serving agenda. Historically, Rove has been very
adept at keeping a layer of denial, and other
operatives, between himself and his political
misdeeds. This means there is a strong possibility
that a lower-level staffer will end up taking the
blame for the leak.

In this case, though, there are some telltale signs
that Rove was still at the controls. Because Robert
Novak wrote the original story about Ambassador
Wilson’s wife, those of us who know how Rove has
leaked to Novak for years became immediately
suspicious. Novak has denied that "White House
officials called me with a leak." When this language
is parsed, it becomes clear that Rove may have managed
to get a tip to his friend Novak through an
intermediary, and then the columnist called Rove for
confirmation. According to the Washington Post, a half
dozen reporters got phone calls about the Ambassador’s
wife, and, yet, it was only Rove’s friend, Robert
Novak, who wrote a story. The rationale for the story,
a specious motivation, was that Ambassador Wilson got
the assignment to go to Niger because his wife was a
CIA agent, and she made the recommendation. Is that an
important enough piece of information to justify
blowing the cover of a CIA agent?

Rove’s relationship with Novak is widely known in the
Washington press corps. During the presidential
campaign, when the chorus of questions was being asked
about Mr. Bush, and the Texas Air National Guard,
reporters wanted to know where Mr. Bush went during
his time on assignment in Alabama. His commander said
the future president had never shown up for duty. Rove
told the campaign reporters that they were "making too
much of a few missed meetings." In 48 hours, the exact
language was used on network television by Novak, who
described the controversy of Mr. Bush’s missing years
as "a few missed meetings." Novak was not on the press
plane to hear Rove’s original comments.

An uncontrolled temper may be Rove’s only weakness as
a political counsel. In Ron Susskind’s Esquire
Magazine article on Rove, he described sitting outside
the presidential advisor’s White House office hearing
Rove scream into the phone, "Tell him we’ll f**k him.
We’ll f**k him like nobody ever has." During the
presidential campaign, Rove lost his cool in front of
a few hundred people on the tarmac in Manchester, New
Hampshire, as I stood and watched while Rove screamed
at my colleague Wayne Slater about an innocuous story
of mostly recycled information.

No one, though, knows Rove’s vindictiveness better
than John Weaver. Were it not for Karl Rove, Weaver
might still be a leading Republican political
consultant. In Texas, Rove and Weaver had been
successful partners, until Weaver chose to go out on
his own and build a client list. A few months later,
Weaver hired an employee away from Rove. Before too
long, as competition grew between Rove and Weaver,
disgusting rumors began to circulate about Weaver’s
personal life, and reporters and potential clients
wondered about Weaver’s judgment. The stories, which
many reporters have said originated with Rove, dried
up Weaver’s business, and he left Texas. Eventually,
Weaver became the lead political strategist to Senator
John McCain’s presidential campaign. After McCain lost
the bitter primary battle, Weaver discovered he was
squeezed out of party work by Rove, who was now in
charge of all things Republican. Weaver became a
Democrat, an advisor to the Democratic National
Committee, simply because Rove was never content to
leave him alone.

Similar stories are innumerable in Rove’s political
march to power. Anyone who has watched Rove’s rise in
presidential politics, and has reported on his
machinations, is not surprised to learn that
Ambassador Wilson suspects Rove as being the source of
the leak, or, as a minimum, a senior administration
official who condoned the leak. Washington reporters,
who have learned of Rove’s political discipline, are
also immediately suspicious of the presidential
advisor. It fits his historical pattern of behavior.

The circumstantial evidence is already in. And it
points at Karl Rove.

And if the Bush Administration is serious about
protecting this country, if Rove committed this
treasonous act, he needs to be prosecuted under the
Patriot Act he has so ardently supported.


Also see the BuzzFlash interview with James Moore
about Rove and "Bush's Brain" [LINK]


Articles in the BuzzFlash Contributor section are
posted as-is. Given the timeliness of some Contributor
articles, BuzzFlash cannot verify or guarantee the
accuracy of every word. We strive to correct
inaccuracies when they are brought to our attention.

Posted by richard at 01:30 PM

September 29, 2003

General Clark says he'd relieve Rumsfeld of his command

How a real leader talks to the American people: "I talked to Condoleeza Rice right away. I found out I didn't like her view on foreign policy. She said American troops shouldn't do peacekeeping they should do real fighting. But she is an academic, what does she know? I've been on the front lines. I tried to explain it to her. She let me know she was going to be in charge."

General Clark says he'd relieve Rumsfeld of his command

NEW CASTLE, Sept. 27 -- Gen. Wesley Clark, told a New
Hampshire audience Friday night he had only fired one
person in his life. On Saturday he said he wanted to
fire a second person: Secretary of Defense Donald

When asked at a house party on the Seacoast about what
he would do in Iraq if elected president today, he was
met with applause when he said, "First of all I would
change the Secretary of Defense. Then I would go to
the commanders of the ground and go to Iraq myself
personally and I would develop an exit strategy that
gives us a success and lets us downsize our commitment

Besides Rumsfeld, Clark also criticized Bush's
National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice for her
views of the world and then U.S. House Majority Leader
Tom Delay, also a Republican, for his vote on a
measure involving Kosovo.

"So when I got out of the military and into business I
looked at both parties," Clark explained to the crowd
on why he was a Democrat. "I talked to Condoleeza Rice
right away. I found out I didn't like her view on
foreign policy. She said American troops shouldn't do
peacekeeping they should do real fighting. But she is
an academic, what does she know? I've been on the
front lines. I tried to explain it to her. She let me
know she was going to be in charge. And I spoke out on
the election campaign on what we are trying to do on
behalf of Bosnia and the Balkans and so forth. And
when I went home to Arkansas I was in business and I
wanted to meet both sides. The Republicans came to me
and said 'Hey we would like for you to speak at our
Lincoln Day fund-raiser. I said I am not going to be
there for Lincoln Day. They said 'General we'll hold
Lincoln Day whenever you can get here.' So I did. I
spoke to about 450 Republicans there at Embassy
Suites. I was non-partisan. I basically praised
Republicans for being Republicans. . . . But I knew
what the Republican Party was like and I couldn't
identify with that party. They are the party that when
I was commanding in Kosovo, they were the party led by
Tom Delay against our airman who were in the skies
over Yugoslavia taking fire from Serb anti-aircraft
and this party voted against them. They claimed they
weren't. They claimed they were voting against just a
policy, but I read what they said. They wanted the
policy to fail. They didn't have a vision. They didn't
understand what America was about. They put their
interest of the party above the interest of the party.
I'll never put the interest of the party above the
interest of the country."

It should be noted that Clark only took questions
after several in the crowd of about 70 verbally

Traditionally in New Hampshire candidates attend house
parties and briefly explain their platform and why
they are running following by about 30-40 minutes of
taking questions from the audience. Here Clark spoke
for 20 minutes and quickly began shaking hands.

A Clark aide noted it was his first house party ever
as a presidential candidate and didn't understand
protocol and was not hiding from questions.

The house party in New Castle ended a two day trip to
New Hampshire, his first trip since announcing he was
in the presidential race.

Clark has been criticized by some of the other
candidates for flip-flopping on issues during his
11-day-old candidacy, but

seemed to become more comfortable in his role with
each stop.

“I never say the same thing every day,” he told a
supporter in New Castle. “I grow every day.”

Earlier on Saturday Clark visited with patrons at Chez
Vachon, a French-Canadian diner once adored by a
candidate named Bill Clinton. After that he met with
Manchester fire fighters and briefly discussed
Homeland Security. On Monday the union representing
New Hampshire fire fighters will formally endorse John
Kerry's presidential campaign.

Arguably the biggest test for Clark came to his trip
in Dover at lunchtime. Dover is the site of the only
Draft Clark office in New Hampshire, where about 250
supporters from all over New England came to hear the
General rally his troops and ask for support and
explicitly for money.

At none of the events Saturday did Clark take
questions from the media.

Terry Evans, of Windham, said she worked for Rep. Dick
Gephardt in the early 1970s, but said Saturday
afternoon that she was still undecided, but she was
leaning toward Clark.

Evans said after the rally that Clark’s position as a
political newcomer and his NATO command were
contributing factors in her swaying support, adding
that “he’s definitely the best looking candidate the
Democrats have.”

James Pindell can be reached at

Posted by richard at 01:28 PM

Is Wesley Clark the One?

Rolling Stone Interview with Wesley Clark (D-NATO):
"We made a historic strategic blunder. We attacked a state rather than going after a terrorist. Iraq had no connection to the war on terror. Of all the states in the Middle East to give chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to terrorists, least likely was Iraq. Saddam's a control artist. He wouldn't have given bioweapons to Osama bin Laden unless Osama's mother, four wives and fifteen children were in one of his prisons so he could rip their hearts out if Osama screwed up."

Is Wesley Clark the One?

The Rolling Stone Interview

By Will Dana

On September 11th, with flags all across New York
flying at half-staff, Gen. Wesley Clark paid a visit
to the Rolling Stone offices. Though he had not yet
declared his intention to seek the Democratic Party's
presidential nomination -- that would come six days
later in Little Rock, Arkansas -- Clark nonetheless
presented himself as a man primed to take on George W.
Bush next year. For nearly two hours he fielded
questions from the RS editorial board in the
magazine's conference room, presenting himself as a
former soldier who, following the painful dictates of
his conscience, was impelled to break rank with the
president, the commander in chief of the armed forces
in which he'd served for thirty-four years.
Clark, fit and handsome at fifty-eight, could be
George Bush's worst nightmare -- he's tough on
national security, in touch with the broad swath of
the electorate that supports abortion rights, gun
control, environmental protection and a
middle-class-oriented tax policy.

No stranger to tough campaigns, Clark was severely
wounded in Vietnam and spent months afterward teaching
himself to walk without a limp. He played a key role
in negotiating the Dayton Accords, which brought peace
to the Balkans. When Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic threatened to wipe out 1.5 million Albanians
in Kosovo, Clark -- serving as supreme allied
commander -- led NATO forces to victory. In the past
year, the retired four-star general has also emerged
as one of the most vocal and articulate opponents of
the war in Iraq.

What follows is a transcript of his remarks. It's too
early to say whether Clark has got the organization
and the stamina to win his party's nomination, but one
thing was clear from our time with the General -- he
has the makings of a formidable candidate.

Why have you criticized the president for the war in

It was a tough decision to become involved in partisan
politics. I went to West Point when I was seventeen
years old. I believed in this country. I served in the
White House under Gerald Ford. To come out and oppose
the commander in chief has been enormously painful.
But after September 11th, I watched as the
administration's policy diverged step by step from
where it should have been. I went to the Pentagon nine
days after the attacks and called on a man with three
stars who used to work for me. He said, "Sir, I have
to ask you, have you heard the joke going through the
halls?" I said, "No, what is it?" He said, "It goes
like this: If Saddam Hussein didn't do 9/11, too bad.
He should have, 'cause we're going to get him anyway."
He looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both knew
that it would be a classic mistake if we did that.

I was relieved when we attacked Afghanistan, but I
went back to the Pentagon as that war was going on,
and this same guy said to me, "Oh, yes, sir, not only
is it Afghanistan. There's a list of countries. We're
not that good at fighting terrorists, so we're going
after states: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and
Iran. There's a five-year plan." From that moment on,
I couldn't believe anymore that I was just a retired
general of the United States Army. I saw something
wrong, but I couldn't get anyone to listen, so I
started to speak out last September in a vocal way.

Why was going into Iraq a mistake?

We made a historic strategic blunder. We attacked a
state rather than going after a terrorist. Iraq had no
connection to the war on terror. Of all the states in
the Middle East to give chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons to terrorists, least likely was Iraq.
Saddam's a control artist. He wouldn't have given
bioweapons to Osama bin Laden unless Osama's mother,
four wives and fifteen children were in one of his
prisons so he could rip their hearts out if Osama
screwed up. But we didn't want to face the tough task
of going after bin Laden, so we did a bait-and-switch
and went after Saddam instead. And now, look at the
headline on today's New York Times: bin Laden seen
with aide on tape. We're less secure now than we were
before. Spending $80 billion and putting half the U.S.
Army in Iraq has provided a supercharger to Al Qaeda

We helped bin Laden. The only thing we could have done
that would have helped him more is if we had invaded
Saudi Arabia and captured Mecca. We've also squandered
the support that brought 200,000 Germans out after
9/11 two years ago. They're not coming back out again
-- not for this administration. You won't get any
support out of the Germans and the French until you
get a regime change in Washington.

When you were in the Army, you had a lot of contact
with various White House staffs. Did you ever have any
dealings with some of the people who now serve in the
Bush administration?

When I was a thirty-year-old Army major, I was sent to
Washington, where they put me in the Ford White House.
This was 1974. Nixon had just resigned. They said,
"How would you like to be staff secretary to this
executive committee -- it'll have Henry Kissinger,"
who was then secretary of state; James Schlesinger,
the secretary of defense; the director of the CIA and
the counsel to the president. Well, for someone who'd
just come to Washington, you can imagine how I felt.
Pretty impressive, right? What I discovered was that
the White House was full of paranoia and suspicion --
a real Watergate mentality. I'd bring something up,
and they'd say, "Wes, if you ask a question like that,
you can't work here." The reason the White House was
that way was not only because of Watergate but because
of the two guys in charge: Donald Rumsfeld, who was
Gerald Ford's chief of staff, and Dick Cheney, who was
his assistant.

Today you've got the same people in there running
things, trying to close down access to government.
Rumsfeld and Cheney are patriotic men, and I know they
are doing the best they can. It's just that I disagree
with them. I don't believe that government is made
better by secrecy and restraint. It's made better by
transparency, by being open and honest. If you're
right, you're right. If not, you take your licks.

You call the war in Iraq unjustified. So why was the
campaign you led in Kosovo justified?

Kosovo was OK because Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic was engaged in ethnic cleansing that was
destabilizing the entire region. By intervening, NATO
could stop the killing. We tried every means to
resolve it, and we ended up using force only as a last
resort. But there was no imminent threat in Iraq. If
Saddam Hussein did all these bad things, we should
have indicted him for war crimes, held an
international tribunal and ordered him to surrender.
That's what we did with Milosevic. In Iraq, we just
invaded a country ten years after the crimes happened,
in violation of international law, without charging
him with anything. It just doesn't work that way.

Unlike Iraq, the war in Kosovo involved all of NATO,
working in a combined operation. What are the
challenges of working with other forces during war?

It's difficult, and it's never going to be as
efficient as working with only your own people. Just
like when the U.S. Army calls for the Air Force to
come help it, it would be more efficient if the Army
owned those planes ourselves and if they were flown by
Army officers. The guys from the Air Force come from a
different cultural background and speak in a different
way. But there's a reason the Army doesn't own those
aircraft -- you get a higher-quality air force that's
professionally trained. The same is true for combined
operations with other nations: You gain political
legitimacy, and other countries share the burden. You
may pay a price in military efficiency, but you get
operational and strategic effectiveness.

What would you do in Iraq now that we're there?

What we're going to have to do is change the regional
dynamic. I know this is hard for some people to
understand, but if you threaten people, you make them
mad. And if you make them mad, then they want to fight
you. That's the way the world works. If what we want
is to persuade countries in that region that the
democratization of Iraq is not a threat, we should not
be out there saying, "Your day will come!" What do you
expect them to do?

I found out in the military that we weren't the only
ones who had robust men with too much testosterone. We
weren't the only ones who had smart guys. We weren't
the only army who could speak of duty, sacrifice and
courage. I also found out that if you want a fight,
you're gonna fight -- in a bar in Colorado, or in the
Middle East. Of course, that makes some people in the
administration happy.

How do you grade the Bush administration's attempt to
forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

Right now we've got the worst possible regional
dynamic, and we've got to change it. You cannot make
peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. I don't
care if the president of the United States sits there
in Gaza and forces the two sides to talk -- they
can't. The question of conflict is coming from
outside. You've got to get people in the Middle East
to say they don't want war. But unfortunately, we seem
to want it.

How about the question of Israel. Do you think Ariel
Sharon needs to be hemmed in?

Israel has a unique problem. It is beset by nations
that want to destroy it. Any nation that is under
attack has the right to self-defense. And the right to
self-defense is the right to strike pre-emptively to
disrupt the threat. Therefore I totally support
Israel's effort to go after these terrorists before
they can strike Israel. Israel must be willing to
participate in negotiations. But if it's going to ever
have its chance at the negotiating table, Israel also
has to show [its survival doesn't depend on making a
deal]. So, the process of building the fence
[separating the occupied territories from the rest of
the country] is very important. It says to the Arab
world, the clock is ticking, we're not prepared to
make unlimited concessions, we have our principles and
we will fight for them.

But that doesn't mean the U.S. should behave and
strike the way Israel does. Two entirely different
things. We can make Israel safer by not doing that. We
need to bring a council together like we did for the
Balkans: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.
And instead of telling them we're going to nuke them,
we've got to give them an incentive to want to
participate in preventing conflict in the Middle East.
The process has to be driven by optimism and hope, not
fear. We will be there for Israel, and they will
survive and be a great nation.

What about the Palestinians?

The Palestinians have always been used by the Arabs as
a weapon against Israel. The Palestinians are the most
educated, most Westernized, most enterprising, least
tribal of all the Middle Eastern groups. They were a
force for the modernization and economic development
in Middle Eastern countries. They were a source of
instability and insecurity for the ruling elite. So
they were pushed back and not given the rights of
citizenship, not given the opportunity to be
assimilated. All that's gotta be unwound. They're
human beings like everyone else, and they've gotta be
given a chance.

You recently announced that you are a Democrat. Was
that a hard choice?

I was worried about whether I could be a Democrat. A
lot of my friends were Democrats, and it follows that
I should be. This is the party that best reflects how
I feel about the issues, that best captures my
aspirations for mankind. But when you're a military
guy, you have to understand that there's always been
members of the Democratic Party who don't like the

Are you prepared for the toll that a campaign will
take on your personal life?

Last month, my wife and I rented a car and drove up
the coast of California to a place where cell phones
don't work. It was pretty nice. She said, "Don't you
understand that if you run and get elected, you'll
never have that again?"

I'm not an Eisenhower. I'm not publicly acclaimed.
When I walk down the street, people aren't stopping in
cabs and throwing open the doors and cheering. I'm
normal, like anybody else. Well, all of a sudden there
was this draft movement -- 30,000 people out there
demanding that I forget about myself and think about
my country. You know, I had the job Eisenhower set up
as the first supreme allied commander of NATO. I had
70,000 Americans under my command and eighty-nine
countries to worry about, from the Netherlands to
South Africa. When I went for a walk, I had
thirty-five bodyguards jumping around in trees behind
me to protect me. I was under threat from Al Qaeda and
the Serbs. In other words, it was a big government
job. My wife said, "Why do you want another one? Is
there something about you that likes to be

Let's talk about issues beyond the war. What's your
position on the environment?

People are going to look back in 100 years and ask,
"What did you leave behind in this country?" We will
leave two legacies. The first is the Constitution,
which implements the will of the majority while
protecting the minority. The second is the
environment. And if you want to protect it, you've got
to start now. Unfortunately, this administration has
rolled back the legacy we will leave for our children
and our grandchildren. I believe in clean air. They
believe in letting power plants modernize without
pollution controls. I believe in clean water and
preserving wetlands. They believe "shit happens." I
don't believe in opening up old-growth forests for
logging in the name of fire prevention. How would you
decrease our reliance on oil imported from the Middle

The easy, conventional way is to raise the price of
gasoline. But I don't want that. That's a regressive
tax -- the people who pay it the most are the people
who can afford it the least. There's people in my part
of the country, in Arkansas, who are traveling sixty
miles a day for a minimum-wage job. If you raise the
price of gas to three dollars a gallon, they can't pay
that. They're trying to save everything they can right
now. The president talks a lot about hydrogen being
the fuel of the future, but where are you going to get
your hydrogen from? You're probably going to get it
out of natural gas -- and a lot of that natural gas is
going to come from the Middle East. So I'd raise
average-mileage performance on automobiles. That's
something we can do right now that will decrease our
oil dependence - but it's something the administration
has dragged its feet on.

What about global warming?

If you want to deal with that issue, you've got to
start now. We should never have pulled out of the
Kyoto Accords. Instead, we should have worked to make
them better. We're the biggest polluter in the world
right now, but there's a huge brown cloud over China
that gets bigger every year. So we have to set an
example and work together on global warming. The most
important thing is to change our mind-set.

What do you think of the administration's tax cuts?

They're tax cuts for the wealthy, sprinkled with a few
cuts for the working class to make it seem like they
got something. A small cut of a few hundred dollars is
always welcome, but it's a far cry from what they
should get. The way the tax cuts were structured was
an inefficient way to stimulate demand in the economy.
When you give the money to higher-income people, they
don't necessarily spend it all, so you don't get the
full dollar-for-dollar boost to demand. What you get
is a big hole in the budget. Those cuts have taken us
from a ten-year surplus to a ten-year deficit. We're
borrowing money from our children to give tax cuts to
wealthy people today.

You are someone who has spent almost all of his adult
life in the military. The culture of the Army is
obviously quite different from civilian culture. How
will you translate military values into the civilian

You have to get people working. In the Army there are
two kinds of recruits. You get the A-minus or B-plus
student from a rural high school in the South who
comes from a pretty good family background but who
doesn't have enough money to go to college. Or you get
the C student from the South who kicks around for a
while looking for a job and meets a nice girl. He
wants to get married, but he realizes, "Hey, I could
work at 7-Eleven or Kmart, but I won't have health
insurance, I won't have the ability to really take
care of my family, I won't have a future ahead of me."
He just staggers into an Army recruiting office, and a
good sergeant puts a hammerlock on him and says, "Son,
let me tell you how well we can treat you in the
United States Army." You have to take those two groups
of people and you have to bring them along, because
everybody who's going to be a sergeant-major starts
out as a private. Everybody who's going to be a
general starts out as a lieutenant. And the only way
to do it is by developing individual potential. So my
wife and I spent our entire thirty-three years of
marriage in the U.S. Army helping soldiers and young
officers with families. We worked on improving
schools, housing, health care, transportation, post
safety, what brands were carried in the commissary,
where you get flowers -- we ran the whole gamut, and
we really believed in that. When I came out, though, I
discovered that many people in this country don't
quite get it. In this country, for some reason, we
don't help every American be all they can be. We're
leaving people behind.

The president is urging Congress to grant him wider
powers to wage war on terrorism at home.

Come on, give us a break. The Patriot Act, all 1,200
pages of it, was passed without any serious
congressional discussion. There was no public
accountability, and now he wants more? What does he
think this country is? We shouldn't do anything with
the Patriot Act until it's unwrapped. I'd like to see
what violations of privacy it entails, and whether
those violations are in any way justified by their
preventing terrorism in this country. And we need to
do it now before we take another step forward and pay
for that.

Is it disloyal for a retired general to criticize the
president during a time of war?

Look, I'm not going to let Tom DeLay or Dick Cheney or
those guys who've never served in uniform take away
from the right of men and women who served honorably
in this country's armed forces to criticize policy. If
soldiers' lives are at stake, the time to criticize
the policy is now, not when it's over. I think the
height of patriotism is to speak out. Even in wartime
in a democracy, you need a democracy. You need people
with the courage to stand up and voice their
opposition without being labeled unpatriotic. I've
always thought that the height of loyalty is to ask
questions and help sort things out.

(RS 933, October 16, 2003)

Correction: In an earlier version of this story,
Rolling Stone stated that General Wesley Clark lead a
batallion of Army Rangers into battle in Grenada in
October 1983. This statement is inaccurate. Clark did
not participate in the invasion of Grenada.

Posted by richard at 10:28 AM

Paul Krugman is a mild-mannered university economist. He is also a New York Times columnist and President Bush's most scathing critic. Hence the death threats.

"The letters that Paul Krugman receives these days have to be picked up with tongs, and his employer pays someone to delete the death threats from his email inbox. This isn't something that can be said of most academics, and emphatically not of economic theorists, but Krugman isn't a typical don.",3604,1045105,00.html

'I do get rattled'

Paul Krugman is a mild-mannered university economist. He is also a New York Times columnist and President Bush's most scathing critic. Hence the death threats.
He talks to Oliver Burkeman

Friday September 19, 2003
The Guardian

The letters that Paul Krugman receives these days have
to be picked up with tongs, and his employer pays
someone to delete the death threats from his email
inbox. This isn't something that can be said of most
academics, and emphatically not of economic theorists,
but Krugman isn't a typical don. Intercepting him in
London on his way back home to New Jersey after a
holiday in France, I half expect to find a couple of
burly minders keeping a close eye on him, although
they would probably have to be minders with a sound
grasp of Keynesian macroeconomics. "I can't say I
never get rattled," the gnomish, bearded 50-year-old
Princeton University professor says a little
hesitantly, looking every inch the ivory-tower thinker
he might once have expected to be. "When it gets
personal, I do get rattled."
What drives his critics hysterical is not, it ought to
be clarified, his PhD thesis on flexible exchange
rates, or his well-regarded textbook on the principles
of economics, co-written with his wife, the economist
Robin Wells; nor the fact that he is probably the
world authority on currency crises. For the past five
years, Krugman - a lifelong academic with the
exception of a brief stint as an economics staffer
under Reagan - has been moonlighting as a columnist on
the New York Times op ed page, a position so
influential in the US that it has no real British
parallel. And though that paper's editors seem to have
believed that they were hiring him to ponder abstruse
matters of economic policy, it didn't work out that

Accustomed to the vigorous ivy league tradition of
calling a stupid argument a stupid argument (and
isolated, at home in New Jersey, from the Washington
dinner-party circuit frequented by so many other
political columnists) he has become pretty much the
only voice in the mainstream US media to openly and
repeatedly accuse George Bush of lying to the American
people: first to sell a calamitous tax cut, and then
to sell a war.

"It's an accident," Krugman concedes, addressing the
question of how it came to be that the Bush
administration's most persuasively scathing domestic
critic isn't a loudmouthed lefty radical in the manner
of Michael Moore, but a mild-mannered,
not-very-leftwing, university economist, tipped among
colleagues as a future Nobel prizewinner. "The Times
hired me because it was the height of the internet
bubble; they thought business was what would be really
interesting. Turned out the world was different from
what we imagined... for the past two-and-a-half years,
I've watched what began as dismay and disbelief
gradually turn into foreboding. Every time you think,
well, yes, but they wouldn't do that - well, then they

Even more confusing for those who like their politics
to consist of nicely pigeonholed leftwingers
criticising rightwingers, and vice versa, will be the
incendiary essay that introduces Krugman's new
collection of columns, The Great Unravelling,
published in the UK next week. In it, Krugman
describes how, just as he was about to send his
manuscript to the publishers, he chanced upon a
passage in an old history book from the 1950s, about
19th-century diplomacy, that seemed to pinpoint, with
eerie accuracy, what is happening in the US now.
Eerie, but also perhaps a little embarrassing, really,
given the identity of the author. Because it's Henry

"The first three pages of Kissinger's book sent chills
down my spine," Krugman writes of A World Restored,
the 1957 tome by the man who would later become the
unacceptable face of cynical realpolitik. Kissinger,
using Napoleon as a case study - but also, Krugman
believes, implicitly addressing the rise of fascism in
the 1930s - describes what happens when a stable
political system is confronted with a "revolutionary
power": a radical group that rejects the legitimacy of
the system itself.

This, Krugman believes, is precisely the situation in
the US today (though he is at pains to point out that
he isn't comparing Bush to Hitler in moral terms). The
"revolutionary power", in Kissinger's theory, rejects
fundamental elements of the system it seeks to
control, arguing that they are wrong in principle. For
the Bush administration, according to Krugman, that
includes social security; the idea of pursuing foreign
policy through international institutions; and perhaps
even the basic notion that political legitimacy comes
from democratic elections - as opposed to, say, from

But worse still, Kissinger continued, nobody can quite
bring themselves to believe that the revolutionary
power really means to do what it claims. "Lulled by a
period of stability which had seemed permanent," he
wrote, "they find it nearly impossible to take at face
value the assertion of the revolutionary power that it
means to smash the existing framework." Exactly, says
Krugman, who recallss the response to his column about
Tom DeLay, the anti-evolutionist Republican leader of
the House of Representatives, who claimed, bafflingly,
that "nothing is more important in the face of a war
than cutting taxes".

"My liberal friends said, 'I'm not interested in what
some crazy guy in Congress has to say'," Krugman
recalls. "But this is not some crazy guy! This guy
runs Congress! There's this fundamental unwillingness
to acknowledge the radicalism of the threat we're
facing." But those who point out what is happening,
Kissinger had already noted long ago, "are considered
alarmists; those who counsel adaptation to
circumstance are considered balanced and sane."
("Those who take the hard-line rightists now in power
at their word are usually accused of being 'shrill',
of going over the top," Krugman writes, and he has
become well used to such accusations.)

Which is how, as Krugman sees it, the Bush
administration managed to sell tax cuts as a benefit
to the poor when the result will really be to benefit
the rich, and why they managed to rally support for
war in Iraq with arguments for which they didn't have
the evidence. Journalists "find it very hard to deal
with blatantly false arguments," he argues. "By
inclination and training, they always try to see two
sides to an issue, and find it hard even to conceive
that a major political figure is simply lying."

Krugman can expect many more accusations of shrillness
now that The Great Unravelling is on the bookshelves
in the US. Already, he says, Alan Greenspan, the
chairman of the federal reserve, is refusing to talk
to him - "because I accused him of being essentially
an apologist for Bush". And there will be plenty of
invective, presumably, from the conservative
commentator Andrew Sullivan, who hauled Krugman over
the coals for accepting a $50,000 (£30,000) adviser's
fee from Enron. (Krugman ended the arrangement before
beginning his New York Times column, and told his
readers about it.

"I was a hot property, very much in demand as a
speaker to business audiences: I was routinely offered
as much as $50,000 to speak to investment banks and
consulting firms," he wrote later, by way of
justification - demonstrating the knack for blowing
his own trumpet that even politically sympathetic
colleagues find grating. They say he has had a chip on
his shoulder since failing to get a job in the Clinton

Still, there's an important sense in which his views
remain essentially moderate: unlike the growing
numbers of America-bashers in Europe, Krugman doesn't
make the nebulous argument that there is something
inherently objectionable about the US and its role in
the world. He claims only that a fundamentally benign
system has been taken over by a bunch of extremists -
and so his alarming analysis leaves room for optimism,
because they can be removed. "One of the Democratic
candidates - who I'm not endorsing, because I'm not
allowed to endorse - has as his slogan, 'I want my
country back'," Krugman says, referring to the
campaigning motto of Howard Dean. "I think that's
about right."

Or, to quote a state department official who put it
pungently to a reporter earlier this year, describing
the dominance of the Pentagon hawks: "I just wake up
in the morning and tell myself, 'There's been a
military coup'. And then it all makes sense."

· The Great Unravelling is published by Penguin

Posted by richard at 10:25 AM

September 28, 2003

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son's death. Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: "My son died because Bush lied."

Tonight, Judy Wouldn't-Do-IT of SeeNotNews's Instead
of Politics, ran a new "poll" showing Conan the
Deceiver leading in the California "Total Recall"
boondoggle, then turned to an in-depth interview with
VICE _resident Cheney's book-burning, name-taking wife
Lynn...Too bad Judy didn't have time to interview
Fernando Suarez, whose name has been scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes along with many US
citizens and many friends of the US and of
international law around the world...
The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son's death. Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: "My son died because Bush lied.",2763,1050949,00.html
'You lied, they died,' US parents tell Bush

Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Saturday September 27, 2003
The Guardian

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son's death. Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: "My son died because Bush lied."

Mr Suarez, from Escondido, California, speaking at a
press conference to publicise tomorrow's anti-war
demonstrations in eight US cities, said that about
1,300 parents of troops stationed in Iraq were
involved in a movement against the oc cupation. "It is
time for these troops to come home," said Mr Suarez.
"Neither my wife nor my family want more children to
die in this illegal war. We are no less patriotic for
wanting peace. Bush wants $87bn [£52m] for this war,
but what does he give us for our schools?" he asked.

In another sign of the growing protest movement, the
father of two soldiers serving in Iraq used a full
page advertisement in yesterday's New York Times to
demand the sacking of the US defence secretary, Donald

The ad accused President Bush and his administration
of misleading the public about weapons of mass

"Donald Rumsfeld Betrayed My Sons and Our Nation. It's
Time For Him to Go," said the headline of the ad,
which was signed by Larry Syverson from Richmond,

The ad was paid for by, an internet-based
organisation in San Francisco, and the Win Without War
coalition. It is not known how much they paid for the
ad, but the market rate is $139,000 (£83,700).

Mr Syverson wrote that one son, Branden, is a master
gun ner near Tikrit and another son, Bryce, is a
gunner based in Baghdad.

"I'm in awe at the courage of my sons and the
honourable service that they give," he wrote. "But the
leaders they serve have not acted honourably. They
have failed my sons. They have failed all of us. At
the very least, secretary Donald Rumsfeld must go."

The ad coincides with a fall in President Bush's
approval ratings, which have slipped below 50% for the
first time since September 11 2001.

Posted by richard at 10:14 AM

CIA seeks probe of White House

Ashcroft is perhaps the most disturbing and dangerous
human beings to hold high office in my lifetime. Will
he investigate? I answer that question with another
one: Where is Ken Lay? HOWEVER, this turn of events is
very significant and provides evidence of further
loosening of the Bush cabal's grip on the political
life of US...Remember, when the _resident declared
that he was Commander-in-Chief and one of the things
he liked about it was he didn't have to explain
himself to anyone? Well, he clearly knew as little
about his Constitutional office as he knew about the
Constitution itself...He knows little, he cares less.
And although Ashcroft knows much more about the
Constitution thsn the _resident does, he cares
probably even less about it, because I think he really
loathes it. They are both going to their political
ruin. It will take time but it is going to go down.
" The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman’s husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush’s since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned."

Former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson 4th, speaks on
NBC's 'Meet the Press' July 6, 2003.

CIA seeks probe of White House

Agency asks Justice to investigate leak of employee’s


WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 — The CIA has asked the Justice
Department to investigate allegations that the White
House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of
one of its undercover employees in retaliation against
the woman’s husband, a former ambassador who publicly
criticized President Bush’s since-discredited claim
that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from
Africa, NBC News has learned.

THE FORMER ENVOY, Joseph Wilson, who was
acting ambassador to Iraq before the first Gulf War,
was dispatched to Niger in 2002 to investigate a
British intelligence report that Iraq sought to buy
uranium there. Although Wilson discredited the report,
Bush cited it in his State of the Union address in
January among the evidence he said justified military
action in Iraq.
The administration has since had to repudiate
the claim. CIA Director George Tenet said the 16-word
sentence should not have been included in Bush’s Jan.
28 speech and publicly accepted responsibility for
allowing it to remain in the president’s text.
Wilson published an article in July alleging,
however, that the White House recklessly made the
charge knowing it was false.
“We spend billions of dollars on intelligence,”
Wilson wrote. “But we end up putting something in the
State of the Union address, something we got from
another intelligence agency, something we cannot
independently verify, in an area of Africa where the
British have no on-the-ground presence.”

The next week, columnist Robert Novak published
an article in which he revealed that Wilson’s wife,
Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative specializing
in weapons of mass destruction. “Two senior
administration officials told me Wilson’s wife
suggested sending him to Niger to investigate,” Novak
The White House has denied being Novak’s
source, whom he has refused to identify. But Wilson
has said other reporters have told him White House
officials leaked Plame’s identity.

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell reported Friday
night that the CIA has asked the Justice Department to
investigate whether White House officials blew Plame’s
cover in retaliation against Wilson. Revealing the
identities of covert officials is a violation of two
laws, the National Agents’ Identity Act and the
Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act.

When the Niger claim first arose, in February
2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa to investigate. He
reported finding no credible evidence that Iraq was
seeking uranium from Niger.
The CIA’s doubts about the uranium claim were
reported through routine intelligence traffic
throughout the government, U.S. intelligence officials
said. Those doubts were also reported to the British.
The Niger report included a notation that it
was unconfirmed when it was published in the October
2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the classified
summary of intelligence on Iraq’s weapons programs.

The CIA had the Niger claim removed from at
least two speeches before they were given: Bush’s
October address on the Iraqi threat, and a speech by
U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte.
As the State of the Union address was being
written, CIA officials protested over how the alleged
uranium connection was being portrayed, so the
administration changed it to attribute it to the
British, who had made the assertion in a Sept. 24

By’s Alex Johnson with NBC’s Andrea
Former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson 4th, speaks on
NBC's 'Meet the Press' July 6, 2003.

Posted by richard at 10:12 AM

September 27, 2003


At the Democratic debate, Joe Leiberman
("D"-Sanctimonicut) attacked Wesley Clark (D-NATO) as
some kind of "Republican." Oh, that is rich. Clark's
run will at least do one very important thing -- it
will destroy the Senator from Sanctimonicut and drive
him out of the race. Only good can come from
that...And frankly, I think Clark's run will do a lot
more than just that. He is in the lead in a pack with
Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong
Delta). That's the way it should be...The nation will
respond to any of those three real men, or indeed any
combination of two of those three men....MEANWHILE...
"Bush is guilty of a single irredeemable act so heinous and anti-American that Nixon's corruption and Reagan's intellectual inferiority pale by comparison. No matter what he does, Democrats and Republicans who love their country more than their party will never forgive him for it. Bush stole the presidency."

Wed Sep 24, 8:01 PM ET Add Op/Ed - Ted Rall to My

By Ted Rall

It's the Stolen Election, Stupid

Ted Rall

NEW YORK--"Have the Democrats totally flipped their
lids?" asks David Brooks in The Weekly Standard,
quasi-official organ of the Bush Administration.
"Because every day some Democrat seems to make a manic
or totally over-the-top statement about George Bush,
the Republican party, and the state of the nation

True, Democrats loathe Dubya with greater intensity
than any Republican standard-bearer in modern
political history. Even the diabolical Richard
Nixon--who, after all, created the EPA, went to China
and imposed price controls to stop corporate
gouging--rates higher in liberal eyes. "It's
mystifying," writes Brooks.

Let me explain.

First but not foremost, Bush's detractors despise him
viscerally, as a man. Where working-class populists
see him as a smug, effeminate frat boy who wouldn't
recognize a hard day's work if it kicked him in his
self-satisfied ass, intellectuals see a simian-faced
idiot unqualified to mow his own lawn, much less lead
the free world. Another group, which includes me, is
more patronizing than spiteful. I feel sorry for the
dude; he looks so pathetic, so out of his depth, out
there under the klieg lights, squinting, searching for
nouns and verbs, looking like he's been snatched from
his bed and beamed in, and is still half asleep, not
sure where he is. Each speech looks as if Bush had
been beamed from his bed fast asleep. And he's
willfully ignorant. On Fox News, Bush admits that he
doesn't even read the newspaper: "I glance at the
headlines just to kind of [sic] a flavor for what's
moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by
people who are probably read [sic] the news
themselves." All these takes on Bush boil down to the
same thing: The guy who holds the launch codes isn't
smart enough to know that's he's stupid. And that's

Fear breeds hatred, and Bush's policies create a lot
of both. U.S. citizens like Jose Padilla and Yasser
Hamdi disappear into the night, never to be heard from
again. A concentration camp rises at Guantánamo.
Stasi-like spies tap our phones and read our mail;
thanks to the ironically-named Patriot Act, these
thugs don't even need a warrant. As individual rights
are trampled, corporate profits are sacrosanct. An
aggressive, expansionist military invades other
nations "preemptively" to eliminate the threat of
non-existent weapons, and American troops die to
enrich a company that buys off the Vice President.

Time to dust off the F word. "Whenever people start
locking up enemies because of national security
without much legal care, you are coming close [to
fascism]," warns Robert Paxton, emeritus professor of
history at Columbia University and author of the
upcoming book "Fascism in Action." We're supposed to
hate fascists--or has that changed because of 9/11?

Bush bashers hate Bush for his personal hypocrisy--the
draft-dodger who went AWOL during Vietnam yet sent
other young men to die in Afghanistan (news - web
sites) and Iraq (news - web sites), the philandering
cocaine addict who dares to call gays immoral--as well
as for his attacks on peace and prosperity. But even
that doesn't explain why we hate him so much.

Bush is guilty of a single irredeemable act so heinous
and anti-American that Nixon's corruption and Reagan's
intellectual inferiority pale by comparison. No matter
what he does, Democrats and Republicans who love their
country more than their party will never forgive him
for it. Bush stole the presidency.

The United States enjoyed two centuries of
uninterrupted democracy before George W. Bush came
along. The Brits burned the White House, civil war
slaughtered millions and depressions brought economic
chaos, yet presidential elections always took place on
schedule and the winners always took office. Bush
ended all that, suing to stop a ballot count that
subsequent newspaper recounts proved he had lost. He
had his GOP-run Supreme Court, a federal institution,
rule extrajurisdictionally on the disputed election, a
matter that under our system of laws falls to the
states. Bush's recount guru, James Baker, went on
national TV to threaten to use force to install him as
president if Gore didn't step aside: "If we keep being
put in the position of having to respond to recount
after recount after recount of the same ballots, then
we just can't sit on our hands, and we will be forced
to do what might be in our best personal interest--but
not--it would not be in the best interest of our
wonderful country."

Bush isn't president, but he plays one on TV. His
presence in the White House is an affront to
everything that this country stands for. His fake
presidency is treasonous; our passive tolerance for it
sad testimony to post-9/11 cowardice. As I wrote in
December 2000, "George W. Bush is not the President of
the United States of America." And millions of
Americans agree.

Two months after 9/11, when Bush's job approval rating
was soaring at 89 percent, 47 percent of Americans
told a Gallup poll that he had not won the presidency
legitimately. "The election controversy...could make a
comeback if Bush's approval ratings were to fall
significantly," predicted Byron York in The National
Review. Two years later, 3 million jobs are gone,
Bush's wars have gone sour, and just 50 percent of
voters approve of his performance. If York is correct,
most Americans now consider Bush to be no more
legitimate than Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), who
also came to power in a coup d'état.

And that's why we hate him.

(Ted Rall is the author of the graphic travelogue "To
Afghanistan and Back," an award-winning recounting of
his experiences covering the U.S. invasion of
Afghanistan. It is now available in a revised and
updated paperback edition containing new material.
Ordering information is available at

Posted by richard at 10:09 AM

Elections chief tightens vote security

Washington is a vital state for the anti-Bush whoever
it is...
"King County's newly appointed elections chief has taken steps to reduce the possibility of computerized vote-tampering while he studies questions raised about possible security flaws in software the county uses to tally election results. "

Thursday, September 25, 2003 - Page updated at 10:02

Elections chief tightens vote security

By Keith Ervin
Seattle Times staff reporter

King County's newly appointed elections chief has
taken steps to reduce the possibility of computerized
vote-tampering while he studies questions raised about
possible security flaws in software the county uses to
tally election results.

Dean Logan, who became director of records, elections
and licensing services this month, said yesterday he
has tightened security by restricting employee access
to a key election software program and removing other
software from the elections computer.

Logan also said he will ask for a formal response by
Diebold Election Systems to claims that the company's
vote-counting systems may be vulnerable to tampering.

"We're going to take it extremely seriously because we
want to be sure that voters are confident that their
votes are counted and counted as they intended them to
be counted," Logan said.

"If there are problems with the software, we're going
to get to the bottom of that."

Logan said he decided election security was a
"legitimate issue" after internal company e-mail was
posted on the Internet and discussed in a
article Monday.

The memos appeared to support reports by Renton Web
journalist and author Bev Harris that election results
on Diebold's GEMS software could be altered by someone
using its underlying Microsoft Access software without
leaving a trace in the GEMS audit log.

"Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with
MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the
audit log," wrote Ken Clark, an employee of Diebold
Election Systems, in an October 2001 e-mail.

Harris said more than 100 memos indicate software
changes have been made to Diebold election devices in
various jurisdictions without the legally required
review by independent testing authorities.

Diebold has steadfastly maintained that its elections
machinery and software are safe. The company's
position was bolstered yesterday by Maryland Gov.
Robert Ehrlich Jr., who released an independent review
of Diebold's touch-screen machines and said that, if
properly used, they "can contribute to one of the
safest, most secure election systems available."

Harris' Web site was shut down by her Internet service
provider late Tuesday after a Diebold attorney said
she was violating the company's copyright by posting a
link to a New Zealand site that contained 15,000
pieces of Diebold e-mail.

Harris earlier removed Diebold e-mail from her site,, in response to an earlier
legal threat by the company. Her publisher's site,, which does not contain links
to the memos, was operating yesterday. Harris said she
plans to put her Web site back on the Internet as soon
as possible.

Harris said the e-mail supports her claims that
Diebold's high-tech voting systems are subject to
abuse. She said she was "stunned" the company
acknowledged the authenticity of the potentially
damaging documents.

Harris said she posted the memos after they were
provided to her by a Diebold insider. She called the
company's claim of copyright infringement "a flat-out
attempt to shut somebody up. ... I still have a mouth,
Diebold. Cease and desist my mouth."

A call to Diebold's public-relations department
yesterday was not returned. Company spokesman Mike
Jacobsen, who is on leave, was reached at his home
last night. He said the memos were stolen from Diebold
and the company wants them back.

Jacobsen said Harris also stole company property when
she circulated numerous company files she found on an
unprotected Web site. The files included source code
for the company's touch-screen voting machines, which
have recently been bought by election officials in
Georgia, Maryland and other states.

Diebold insists its machines meet the security
requirements of national and state certification and
has dismissed as flawed a critical analysis by
software experts from Johns Hopkins and Rice
universities. (One of the study's authors later
acknowledged he was on an advisory committee to
Bellevue election-software company VoteHere and held
VoteHere stock options.)

Critics of high-tech voting have questioned the
propriety of Diebold Chief Executive Walden O'Dell's
role as a prominent fund-raiser in President Bush's
re-election campaign. O'Dell, whose company is
marketing voting machines to its home state of Ohio,
wrote to campaign contributors last month that he is
"committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes
to the president next year."

In King County, here are the steps ordered by election
chief Logan to ensure the integrity of elections,
including a recount of two close primary-election
races for the Seattle and Bellevue city councils:

• On the computer running Diebold's GEMS software,
other software, including Microsoft Access software,
will be removed.

• Two employees will have to log onto GEMS together
before the software can be used.

• All uses of GEMS will be logged on a record
maintained outside the GEMS computer.

Logan said he intends to meet with officials from
other counties in the state that use GEMS to discuss
their procedures and to discuss Diebold's response to
security concerns.

Logan said he has looked into a comment in one Diebold
memo that said Access has been used a number of times
to make "end runs" around the GEMS database. "King
County is famous for it," one employee wrote in 2001.

Logan said he has been told by current and former
staff members that "end runs" have been used for such
legitimate purposes as installing a database in GEMS
and taking information from GEMS to create election

He said Harris was mistaken in one of her claims, that
GEMS may be vulnerable to external hacking through the
Internet. Election results are posted to the Internet
using a computer that does not run GEMS, Logan said.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or

Posted by richard at 10:06 AM

September 26, 2003

Ex-Centcom head questions Iraq intelligence

Zinni appears on AnythingButSee's NightLies...It is
significant. It indicates a shift...
"I'm suggesting that either the intelligence was so bad and flawed -- and if that's the case, then somebody's head ought to roll for that -- or the intelligence was exaggerated or twisted in a way to make a more convenient case to the American people," Zinni said on ABC's "Nightline."

Friday September 26, 06:49 AM

Ex-Centcom head questions Iraq intelligence

Click to enlarge photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former head of U.S. Central
Command says that he has concerns about the
credibility of intelligence used as the basis for the
U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni questioned
claims that ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had
weapons of mass destruction and that he was an
imminent threat -- President George W. Bush's major
justification for going to war.

"I'm suggesting that either the intelligence was so
bad and flawed -- and if that's the case, then
somebody's head ought to roll for that -- or the
intelligence was exaggerated or twisted in a way to
make a more convenient case to the American people,"
Zinni said on ABC's "Nightline."

"If there's a strategic decision for taking down Iraq,
if it's the so-called neoconservative idea that taking
apart Iraq and creating a democracy, or whatever it
is, will change the equation in the Middle East, then
make the case based on this," said Zinni, who as
Central Command chief had military responsibility for
the Middle East.

The four-star general said he still does not believe
that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein posed an
imminent threat or that he possessed chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons.

"I believe that what Saddam had was the framework for
a weapons of mass destruction program that could be
quickly activated once sanctions were lifted," Zinni
told ABC.

U.S. forces have been searching for such weapons in
Iraq for more than five months. None has so far been

Zinni also expressed concern about the security
situation in Iraq and said he was worried about the
lack of planning for the postwar era. Guerrilla
attacks have killed 79 U.S. soldiers in Iraq since
Washington declared major combat over on May 1.

Before his retirement in 2000, Zinni drew up invasion
plans that he said called for considerably more troops
than the 140,000 now in Iraq.

"The plan was criticised by this Pentagon as
overestimating the amount of troops. ... But actually,
the plan had those troops built into it because we
looked at the security requirements immediately
afterwards," he said.

While expressing scepticism over how the United States
got into Iraq, Zinni said withdrawing was not an

"We can't fail in Iraq. We have to live up to this
commitment," he said. "But what we need now is a very
detailed plan."

Posted by richard at 10:04 AM

September 25, 2003

The Hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction Yields Nothing

"An intensive six-month search of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction has failed to discover a single trace of an illegal arsenal, according to accounts of a report circulating in Washington and London."
Published on Thursday, September 25, 2003 by the
The Hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction Yields Nothing
Intelligence claims of huge Iraqi stockpiles were wrong, says report

by Julian Borger in Washington, Ewen MacAskill and
Patrick Wintour

An intensive six-month search of Iraq for weapons of
mass destruction has failed to discover a single trace
of an illegal arsenal, according to accounts of a
report circulating in Washington and London.

The interim report, compiled by the CIA-led Iraq
Survey Group (ISG) of 1,400 weapons experts and
support staff, will instead focus on Saddam Hussein's
capacity and intentions to build banned weapons.

David Kay, a former UN weapons inspector and current
leader of the coalition forces team searching for
weapons of mass destruction, speaks to reporters in
Washington. A BBC report said the inspectors would
report finding nothing. (AFP/File/Luke Frazza)

A draft of the report has been sent to the White
House, the Pentagon and Downing Street, a US
intelligence source said. It has caused such
disappointment that there is now a debate over whether
it should be released to Congress over the next
fortnight, as had been widely expected.

"It will mainly be an accounting of programs and
dual-use technologies," said one US intelligence
source. "It demonstrates that the main judgments of
the national intelligence estimate (NIE) in October
2002, that Saddam had hundreds of tonnes of chemical
and biological agents ready, are false."

A BBC report yesterday said that the survey group,
which includes British and Australian investigators,
had come across no banned weapons, or delivery
systems, or laboratories involved in developing such

According to the BBC, the report will include computer
programs, files, paperwork and pictures suggesting
Saddam's regime was developing a WMD program.

Both Washington and London are likely to focus on
documentary evidence that the Saddam regime was
capable of producing weapons of mass destruction, and
probably intended to once international scrutiny had

But the report will fall far short of proving Iraq was
an "imminent threat" even to its neighbors.

According to accounts of the ISG draft, captured Iraqi
scientists gave the investigation, led by a former UN
inspector, David Kay, an account of how weapons were
destroyed, but those accounts refer to the period
immediately after the 1991 Gulf war.

The NIE was put together last year by the CIA and
other US intelligence agencies, and claimed that the
Iraqi leader had chemical and biological stockpiles,
and a continuing nuclear program. that could produce a
homemade bomb before the end of the decade.

The NIE became a key document in the propaganda war by
President Bush in the run up to the invasion of Iraq
in March, although intelligence officials warned that
many of the nuances and cautionary notes from original
reports had been removed from the final documents.

The timing of this disclosure could hardly be worse
for Tony Blair, days before the start of the Labour
party conference.

Iraq has dogged the prime minister almost continuously
for five months. Downing Street had been hoping for
respite after Lord Hutton's inquiry, which closes
today. Mr Blair put forward Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction as the reason for going to war and has
repeatedly insisted that the weapons would be found.

He told a skeptical Conservative MP in the Commons on
April 30 that he was convinced that Iraq had such
weapons and predicted that, when the report was
published, "you and others will be eating some of your

Although Downing Street last night officially
dismissed the leak as speculation, government sources
confirmed it was accurate. A No 10 spokesman said:
"People should wait. The reports today are speculation
about an unfinished draft of an interim re port that
has not even been presented yet. And when it comes it
will be an interim report. The ISG's work will go on.
He added: "Our clear expectation is that this interim
report will not reach firm conclusions about Iraq's
possession of WMD."

The government defense will be to stress that failure
to find WMD does not mean that they do not exist.

Last night's leak will fuel the anti-war sentiment
ahead of Saturday's demonstration in London for
withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq. It will
also make it harder for Labour conference organizers
to resist grassroots pressure for a debate on Iraq.
The interim report is at present penciled in for
publication next week but Labour, anxious to avoid it
landing in the middle of its conference, is trying to
get that changed.

In Washington, congressional aides said they still
expected to hear from Dr Kay next week. He arrived
back from Iraq last Wednesday and since then has been
working on the report. The nuclear section of the
survey group has also finished its work and left Iraq.

After addressing the Senate in July, Dr Kay claimed
"solid evidence" was being gathered and warned
journalists to expect "surprises". No such surprises
appear to be in the draft.

The CIA took the unusual step of playing down
expectations of the report yesterday.

"Dr Kay is still receiving information from the field.
It will be just the first progress report, and we
expect that it will reach no firm conclusions, nor
will it rule anything in or out," the chief agency
spokesman, Bill Harlow, said.

An intelligence official added yesterday that the
timing of the report's release "had yet to be

In London, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "It is
David Kay's report. We do not have it. We will comment
on it when it is presented. When it comes, it will be
an interim report. ISG's work will continue. The
reports are speculation about an unfinished draft of
an interim report that has not yet even been presented

David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector, said:
"It's clear that the US and British governments wildly
exaggerated the case for going to war."

But he added that the fact that the survey group had
not found concrete evidence of weapons did not mean
that the Baghdad regime did not have programs to
quickly reconstitute programs and weapons at short
notice. "I'm not surprised, given how incompetent this
search has been. They've had bad relations with the
[Iraqi] scientists from the start because they treated
them all as criminals."

Many of the Iraqi scientists and officials who
surrendered to US forces have been held in detention
for months without contact with their families,
despite assurances they would be well treated if they

But recently the Bush administration, under mounting
pressure to justify the invasion, has been trying to
improve the incentives for former Saddam loyalists to
provide information.

Reuters quoted a senior US official yesterday as
saying that the former defense minister, Sultan Hashim
Ahmed, had been given "effective" immunity in the hope
he would provide information on Saddam's weapons

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, at the United
Nations general assembly, declined to comment on the
report. "If people want evidence, they don't have to
wait for Dr Kay's report. What they can do is look at
the volumes of reports from the weapons inspectors
going back over a dozen years including the final
report from UNMOVIC on March 7 this year, which set
out 29 separate areas of unanswered disarmament
questions to Iraq," he said.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003


Posted by richard at 10:01 AM

September 24, 2003

Kennedy's 'Uncivil' Truths on Iraq

In early September, General Zinni spoke to the US
Marine Corp Association about having heard "the
garbage and lies" during the Vietnam War. Early this
week, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Camelot) spoke about the
"fraud" and "bribery" involved in the _resident's
foolish military adventure in Iraq...These two
instances of direct, bold communication are very
important...Look back, as Zinni exhorts us, to
Vietnam. The US foreign policy establishment wandered
into that quagmire, the US intelligence community
wandered into it (although a few brave analysts
advised against it), the US military wandered into it,
the country as a whole wandered into the Heart of
Darkness, but Iraq is different. There was widespread
opposition (hundreds of thousands in the street when
the "US mainstream news media" reported tens of
thousands, tens of thousands when the "US mainstream
news media" reported thousands), BUT more importantly,
the US foreign policy establishment was against going
into Iraq without the UN or the Western alliance, the
US millitary was at least two-thirds against going
into Iraq under such circumstances, and an educated
LNS guess says that two-thirds of the US inteligence
community was against going into Iraq...We have a
rogue regime on our hands in the US. Many of us knew
this sad fact after the theft of the 2000 election,
but we were told to "get over it" and ridiculed as the
"US mainstream news media" pretended it was "too
close" and had more to do with hanging chads then
conspiracy to de-rail the majority vote in Fraudida.
The tragedy of 9/11 disturbed a lot of people. There
are some ghastly questions to answer. But
understandably many powerful people and interests
looked the other way. But Iraq, Iraq is different. The
Bush cabal went to far, and they did not pull it
off...and the body bags of young US soldiers are
piling up...and hundreds of billions of dollars are
going to have to be spent...and untold damage has been
done to our role in the UN Security Council and to the
Western alliance...They went to far...The Zinni factor
has kicked in...The US military, the US intelligence
community, the US foreign policy establishment have to
be buzzing with discussion of how the US extricates
itself not from Iraq (we may not be able to for a long
time) but from this rogue regime in the US. Listen,
Kennedy's remarks are still being talked about openly
in the "US mainstream news media." You know what they
do to the messenger who brings bad news? Yes, but
Kennedy is near the end of his long career, he has his
own financial security, and he has no aspiration left
for higher office (it went off that bridge so long
ago). Kennedy has nothing to lose, and so he said it:
"a fraud perpetrated in Texas." It is the opposite of
the Politics of Denial. The Politics of Denial has led
the Democrats to almost losing their historic
role...But it is over now...His comments would have
been ignored or dismissed before, but the power
structure itself is turning now...That's why Howard
(D-Jeffords) and Wesley Clark (D-NATO) have captured
the public imagination. Because they have rejected the
Politics of Denial. They are reaching people because
they are not trying to parse and pacify...It is why
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) is still struggling,
becauase he tried to play the margins. He is a good
man, and if it had gone differently in Iraq, he wuld
have been proven right..But here we are...Remember
this analysis going forward, the Politics of Denial is
finished, articulate the Zinni Factor, and in the
words of Mark Crispin Miller, "Pick a fight!" In the
period ahead of us you may see the corporatist media
shift, or allow a shift away from the Deep
Fix...Meanwhile, the Information Rebellion is alive
and well on the Internet...Share this analysis and the
story below with others...

Published on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 by the
Boston Globe
Kennedy's 'Uncivil' Truths on Iraq
by Thomas Oliphant

GIVE OR TAKE a couple of nouns -- "bribery" and
"fraud," to be precise -- here are the facts behind
what Senator Edward Kennedy had to say last week about
the mess in Iraq.The secrecy surrounding the way
President Bush is spending military billions appears
to have a purpose, one that has nothing to do with
keeping valuable intelligence from our enemies. In
addition to keeping secret the actual expenditures for
specific activities, the president is also keeping
secret the precise destinations of the dollars, one of
which just happens to be the treasuries of other
countries. One example is the "international" division
of troops on the scene, nominally led by the Poles. As
far as anyone can determine, not a dime of the costs
associated with this division's presence in Iraq is
being paid for by any of the countries participating
in it. The United States is paying all the freight,
and those troops would not be in Iraq -- their
governments would not have sent them -- if it weren't.

Take another, more troubling example. Over the
weekend, the Bush administration signed papers for an
$8.5 billion package of loans and other goodies for
Turkey -- the country that stiffed us on the eve of
the invasion of Iraq, eliminating the possibility of
an attack from the north. This package is a cousin to
earlier attempts to use grants, loans, and other
economic concessions to get Turkey into Iraq -- which
is a dangerous idea even on its merits, given Turkey's
miserable record vis a vis the Kurds.

In announcing that the package had been finalized,
triggering a Turkish Cabinet meeting to consider
sending forces into Iraq, Treasury Secretary John Snow
denied that the package of goodies was explicitly
conditioned on Turkey's joining America's band of
bought-and-paid-for allies. However, he did
acknowledge that it assumed Turkey's "cooperation" on
Iraq matters -- a distinction too cute for hacks like

This raises an interesting question. Just what do you
call a payment of money to a government in return for
its performance of an act like sending troops to Iraq
that it would not perform but for the payment of the
money? Those who call it bribery may be accused of
being accurate and tough but hardly inaccurate and not
at all "uncivil" (to use President Bush's complaining

As Kennedy said in his Boston interview last week with
the Associated Press, the diligent folks at the
Congressional Budget Office have encountered nothing
but roadblocks in attempting to track Bush's military
money and do not accept the administration's rough
estimate of the ongoing costs: nearly $4 billion a

Kennedy was referring to a CBO report earlier this
month summarizing its efforts to get at the truth. It
included this sentence: "CBO believes that the $3.9
billion figure may include some one-time costs that
CBO would not incorporate in its estimate of the costs
of long-term occupation."

I'm told that was in part a reference to these
payments for other countries that meet all the
dictionary tests of bribery.

As for the war itself, consider the facts again. The
president chose March 20 as an invasion date
arbitrarily, not for any reasons involving a threat to
our nation that demanded an attack then, much less an
attack with only Britain as a major ally. Just as
arbitrarily, he chose to justify the date on the basis
of supposed threats from Iraq's alleged weapons of
mass destruction and "ties" to the terrorists who
attacked the United States two years ago.

s the facts have unfolded in ways that make these
claims, shall we say, spurious, other justifications
have emerged after the fact (transforming the entire
Middle East, stopping a human rights violator from his
murderous ways). This is the substitution of one bill
of goods with another bill of goods. The old
bait-and-switch is one of the classic elements of what
is called fraud with legal precision.

nd lest anyone be shocked at the suggestion by Kennedy
that politics was involved in all this, I invite a
reading of White House guru Karl Rove's intemperate
speech to the Republican National Committee early in
2002 and the subsequent use of "national security" and
morphed images of Saddam Hussein to question the
loyalty of Democrats in that year's ugly congressional

Such political habits die hard -- hence Tom DeLay's
reaction to Kennedy, accusing him of attacking Bush
with more verve than he ever used against Saddam
Hussein, or Attorney General Ashcroft's repeated
equation of opposition to the Patriot Act with

Like nearly all Democrats, Kennedy is prepared to
support more money for Iraq, possibly even to support
something like the $87 billion Bush has requested.

The essential precondition for all this money,
however, is the truth. Kennedy raised a lot of
eyebrows with some tough language, but unlike the
president he had the facts behind him. Instead of
complaining about language, Bush would be wiser to
realize that the truth about bribery and an end to the
fraud would be much more productive.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company


Posted by richard at 09:59 AM

Chirac: U.S. action brought crisis

For the archives of the resistance...

True friends tell you what you do not want to hear,
true friends remember who you really are, even when
you have lost yourself...Vive Le France!

"French President Jacques Chirac has mounted a stinging attack on U.S.-led action in Iraq in a speech to the United Nations."

Chirac: U.S. action brought crisis

NEW YORK --French President Jacques Chirac has mounted
a stinging attack on U.S.-led action in Iraq in a
speech to the United Nations.

Speaking after President George W. Bush called for
world support for the U.S.-led occupation and
reconstruction of Iraq, Chirac said Tuesday the war
had put the U.N. through one of the most severe crises
in its history.

"No one can act alone in the name of all and no one
can accept the anarchy of a society without rules,"
said the French president, who had sat in the hall to
hear Bush's speech.

"The war, launched without the authorization of the
Security Council, shook the multilateral system," he
said. "The United Nations has just been through one of
the most grave crises in its history."

A strong opponent of the war, Chirac insisted that the
right to use force can only come from the U.N.
Security Council.

He called for an early transfer of sovereignty to the
Iraqi people and proposed a Security Council summit to
draft an action plan to fight the spread of weapons of
mass destruction and create a permanent corps of U.N.
arms inspectors.

"The culture of confrontation must give way to a
culture of action aimed at achieving our goals," he

"It is up to the United Nations to give legitimacy to
this process," he said. "It is also up to the United
Nations to assist with the gradual transfer of
administrative and economic responsibilities to the
present Iraqi institutions according to a realistic
timetable and to help the Iraqis draft a constitution
and hold elections."

On Monday Chirac said France would not veto a new
United Nations resolution tabled by the U.S. to
attract more foreign troops and international funds to
Iraq even though many other Security Council nations
called for a greater role for the U.N.

Chirac had called for the transfer of sovereignty to
the Iraqi people "in a matter of months," but the U.S.
is reluctant to set a deadline.

In an interview with The New York Times published
Monday, Chirac said he did not intend to veto the U.S.
resolution, unless it became "provocative."

"We don't have the intention to oppose. If we oppose
it, that would mean voting 'no,' that is to say, to
use the veto. I am not in that mind-set at all," he

But he said France would vote for the resolution only
if it included a deadline for the transfer of
sovereignty and a timetable for the switch of power,
as well as a "key role" for the United Nations.

Otherwise, he said, France would abstain.

He called for the transfer of power in Iraq from
military occupation to the Iraqi people in a two-stage

The president said the plan would involve a symbolic
transfer of power from the Americans to the Iraqi
Governing Council, then a gradual process of
transferring real power over a period of six to nine

Chirac said if Iraq's council could be given power,
France would be willing to train Iraqi police officers
and soldiers.

Find this article at:

Posted by richard at 09:56 AM


The "US mainstream news media," including the NYTwits
and PrettyBlandStuff (PBS), have close to no
credibility or integrity left. How can these people
sleep at night? When they can't hide the bad news,
they use the bad news to drown out the worse news. For
example...You heard about the incredible
shrinking_resident's *exclusive* interview with Faux
News, you heard about his weird and disassociated
speechlet at the UN, you heard about the explosive
remarks of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Camelot)concerning
fraud and bribery, you even heard (if you listened
carefully) that the _resident has fallen behind Wesley
Clark (D-NATO) and John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), BUT
except for the LNS and the Information Rebellion (i.e.
BuzzFlash, TruthOut, MediaWhores, etc.) hosted on the
Internet, who have not heard about this...
"An investigation of files and archive film for my TV documentary Breaking The Silence, together with interviews with former intelligence officers and senior Bush officials have revealed that Bush and Blair knew all along that Saddam Hussein was effectively disarmed."

THE BIG LIE Sep 22 2003


John Pilger

EXACTLY one year ago, Tony Blair told Parliament:
"Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction
programme is active, detailed and growing.

"The policy of containment is not working. The weapons
of mass destruction programme is not shut down. It is
up and running now."

Not only was every word of this false, it was part of
a big lie invented in Washington within hours of the
attacks of September 11 2001 and used to hoodwink the
American public and distract the media from the real
reason for attacking Iraq. "It was 95 per cent
charade," a former senior CIA analyst told me.

An investigation of files and archive film for my TV
documentary Breaking The Silence, together with
interviews with former intelligence officers and
senior Bush officials have revealed that Bush and
Blair knew all along that Saddam Hussein was
effectively disarmed.

Both Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, and
Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's closest adviser,
made clear before September 11 2001 that Saddam
Hussein was no threat - to America, Europe or the
Middle East.

In Cairo, on February 24 2001, Powell said: "He
(Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant
capability with respect to weapons of mass
destruction. He is unable to project conventional
power against his neighbours."

This is the very opposite of what Bush and Blair said
in public.

Powell even boasted that it was the US policy of
"containment" that had effectively disarmed the Iraqi
dictator - again the very opposite of what Blair said
time and again. On May 15 2001, Powell went further
and said that Saddam Hussein had not been able to
"build his military back up or to develop weapons of
mass destruction" for "the last 10 years". America, he
said, had been successful in keeping him "in a box".

Two months later, Condoleezza Rice also described a
weak, divided and militarily defenceless Iraq. "Saddam
does not control the northern part of the country,"
she said. "We are able to keep his arms from him. His
military forces have not been rebuilt."

So here were two of Bush's most important officials
putting the lie to their own propaganda, and the Blair
government's propaganda that subsequently provided the
justification for an unprovoked, illegal attack on
Iraq. The result was the deaths of what reliable
studies now put at 50,000 people, civilians and mostly
conscript Iraqi soldiers, as well as British and
American troops. There is no estimate of the countless
thousands of wounded.

In a torrent of propaganda seeking to justify this
violence before and during the invasion, there were
occasional truths that never made headlines. In April
last year, Condoleezza Rice described September 11
2001 as an "enormous opportunity" and said America
"must move to take advantage of these new

Taking over Iraq, the world's second biggest oil
producer, was the first such opportunity.

At 2.40pm on September 11, according to confidential
notes taken by his aides, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense
Secretary, said he wanted to "hit" Iraq - even though
not a shred of evidence existed that Saddam Hussein
had anything to do with the attacks on New York and
Washington. "Go massive," the notes quote Rumsfeld as
saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
Iraq was given a brief reprieve when it was decided
instead to attack Afghanistan. This was the "softest
option" and easiest to explain to the American people
- even though not a single September 11 hijacker came
from Afghanistan. In the meantime, securing the "big
prize", Iraq, became an obsession in both Washington
and London.

An Office of Special Plans was hurriedly set up in the
Pentagon for the sole purpose of converting "loose" or
unsubstantiated intelligence into US policy. This was
a source from which Downing Street received much of
the "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction we now
know to be phoney.

CONTRARY to Blair's denials at the time, the decision
to attack Iraq was set in motion on September 17 2001,
just six days after the attacks on New York and

On that day, Bush signed a top- secret directive,
ordering the Pentagon to begin planning "military
options" for an invasion of Iraq. In July 2002,
Condoleezza Rice told another Bush official who had
voiced doubts about invading Iraq: "A decision has
been made. Don't waste your breath."

The ultimate cynicism of this cover-up was expressed
by Rumsfeld himself only last week. When asked why he
thought most Americans still believed Saddam Hussein
was behind the attacks of September 11, he replied:
"I've not seen any indication that would lead me to
believe I could say that."

It is this that makes the Hutton inquiry in London
virtually a sham. By setting up an inquiry solely into
the death of the weapons expert David Kelly, Blair has
ensured there will be no official public investigation
into the real reasons he and Bush attacked Iraq and
into when exactly they made that decision. He has
ensured there will be no headlines about disclosures
in email traffic between Downing Street and the White
House, only secretive tittle-tattle from Whitehall and
the smearing of the messenger of Blair's misdeeds.

The sheer scale of this cover-up makes almost
laughable the forensic cross-examination of the BBC
reporter Andrew Gilligan about "anomalies" in the
notes of his interview with David Kelly - when the
story Gilligan told of government hypocrisy and
deception was basically true.

Those pontificating about Gilligan failed to ask one
vital question - why has Lord Hutton not recalled Tony
Blair for cross-examination? Why is Blair not being
asked why British sovereignty has been handed over to
a gang in Washington whose extremism is no longer
doubted by even the most conservative observers? No
one knows the Bush extremists better than Ray
McGovern, a former senior CIA officer and personal
friend of George Bush senior, the President's father.
In Breaking The Silence, he tells me: "They were
referred to in the circles in which I moved when I was
briefing at the top policy levels as 'the crazies'."

"Who referred to them as 'the crazies'?" I asked.

"All of us... in policy circles as well as
intelligence circles... There is plenty of documented
evidence that they have been planning these attacks
for a long time and that 9/11 accelerated their plan.
(The weapons of mass destruction issue) was all
contrived, so was the connection of Iraq with al
Qaeda. It was all PR... Josef Goebbels had this
dictum: If you say something often enough, the people
will believe it." He added: "I think we ought to be
all worried about fascism (in the United States)."

The "crazies" include John Bolton, Under Secretary of
State, who has made a personal mission of tearing up
missile treaties with the Russians and threatening
North Korea, and Douglas Feith, an Under Secretary of
Defence, who ran a secret propaganda unit "reworking"
intelligence about Iraq's weapons. I interviewed them
both in Washington.

BOLTON boasted to me that the killing of as many as
10,000 Iraqi civilians in the invasion was "quite low
if you look at the size of the military operation."

For raising the question of civilian casualties and
asking which country America might attack next, I was
told: "You must be a member of the Communist Party."

Over at the Pentagon, Feith, No 3 to Rumsfeld, spoke
about the "precision" of American weapons and denied
that many civilians had been killed. When I pressed
him, an army colonel ordered my cameraman: "Stop the
tape!" In Washington, the wholesale deaths of Iraqis
is unmentionable. They are non-people; the more they
resist the Anglo-American occupation, the more they
are dismissed as "terrorists".

It is this slaughter in Iraq, a crime by any
interpretation of an international law, that makes the
Hutton inquiry absurd. While his lordship and the
barristers play their semantic games, the spectre of
thousands of dead human beings is never mentioned, and
witnesses to this great crime are not called.

Jo Wilding, a young law graduate, is one such witness.
She was one of a group of human rights observers in
Baghdad during the bombing. She and the others lived
with Iraqi families as the missiles and cluster bombs
exploded around them. Where possible, they would
follow the explosions to scenes of civilian casualties
and trace the victims to hospitals and mortuaries,
interviewing the eyewitnesses and doctors. She kept
meticulous notes.

She saw children cut to pieces by shrapnel and
screaming because there were no anaesthetics or
painkillers. She saw Fatima, a mother stained with the
blood of her eight children. She saw streets, mosques
and farmhouses bombed by marauding aircraft. "Nothing
could explain them," she told me, "other than that it
was a deliberate attack on civilians."

As these atrocities were carried out in our name, why
are we not hearing such crucial evidence? And why is
Blair allowed to make yet more self-serving speeches,
and none of them from the dock?

Posted by richard at 09:54 AM

September 23, 2003

Address by General Anthony Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)

No comment required. Just read the last two paragraphs
of this address to the US Marine Corp
Association...And please share it with others...this
struggle is not left vs. right, it is about common
sense and human decency...
"They should never be put on a battlefield without a strategic plan, not only for the fighting—our generals will take care of that—but for the aftermath and winning that war. Where are we, the American people, if we accept this, if we accept this level of sacrifice without that level of planning? Almost everyone in this room, of my contemporaries—our feelings and our sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam; where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. We swore never again would we do that. We swore never again would we allow it to happen. And I ask you, is it happening again? And you're going to have to answer that question, just like the American people are. And remember, everyone of those young men and women that come back is not a personal tragedy, it's a national tragedy."

Address by General Anthony Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)

I'm going to just speak for a few minutes and then go
into the questions and answers, because that's always
the most interesting part.

I was really taken by the title of the forum this
year, especially the part that says "Win the Next
War." And it struck me—why are we asking that
question? Well, when I ask myself that question, I say
it's because we tend to defeat the enemy in battle, we
tend not to win the wars lately. And so the question
we ought to ask ourselves—if we're going to start
thinking about what our military needs to do and what
its role is—is why is that happening? It used to be
that if you defeated the enemy's forces in the field,
what was left was just mopping up or restructuring,
and the war was won on the battlefield. That hasn't
happened. It hasn't happened in the time I served, for
39 years. It probably hasn't happened since the end of
the Second World War. There's a difference between
winning battles, or defeating the enemy in battle, and
winning the war. And I think the first question we
have to ask ourselves is why is that happening and
what is the military's role, then, in taking it beyond
just defeating the enemy in battle?

What strikes me is that we are constantly redesigning
the military to do something it already does pretty
well. I mean, I think you heard from the last panel
that breaking the organized resistance in Iraq, even
though it may not have been the greatest army in the
world, was done extremely well. We've very proud of
our troops and very proud of the way that was executed
and led. But it wasn't enough.

"Whatever blood is poured onto the battlefield could
be wasted if we don't follow it up with understanding
what victory is."

At the end of the third inning we declared victory and
said the game's over. It ain't over. It isn't going to
be over in future wars. If we're talking about the
future, we need to talk about not how you win the
peace as a separate part of the war, but you've got to
look at this thing from start to finish. It's not a
phased conflict; there isn't a fighting part and then
another part. It is nine innings. And at the end of
the game, somebody's going to declare victory. And
whatever blood is poured onto the battlefield could be
wasted if we don't follow it up with understanding
what victory is.

There's only one time in our history that we really,
truly understood that. Harry Truman and George
Marshall understood it. Woodrow Wilson tried to get us
to understand it, but we refused and we were doomed to
fight again in a second great war. We didn't
understand it after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
And we have failed in Vietnam, in places like Somalia;
and we're in danger of failing again, to get it and to
understand it.

Right after I retired in 2000, before 9/11, this was
the big topic in this town: change for the military,
transformation. No one could explain what that was,
but everybody wanted to know what our military should
morph into. I did a dangerous thing when I was asked
to come here and speak today. I actually went back—I
never write speeches, I never even take notes, I just
get up and talk. I don't advise you to do that,
because it's pretty painful; you never know what
you're going to say and people actually hold you
accountable for it. But in some of these speeches
there's some poor guy or girl that has to write your
crap down because you didn't transcribe it and then
play it back. Usually it sounds a hell of a lot better
when they do it than if I were to attempt to do it. So
I went back and found a few of these things. And I was
asked right after retirement, by NDU [National Defense
University], what I thought the future missions would
be for our military, and the capabilities they should
possess. And I gave them seven things, back in 2000,
that I thought were important. The first was the
ability to defeat a global power with sophisticated
military capabilities. That always will be the
priority for our military. If there is another
emergent threat on a global scale, if there is
somebody out there that's a so-called peer competitor
that we have to deal with, that's always going to be
the number-one way we design, organize, procure what
we need to fight.

The second I said was to deal with regional hegemonies
with asymmetric capabilities, such as weapons of mass
destruction, missiles—with basically a design to deny
us access to vital areas of the world and regional
allies in places where we care. The third was to deal
with transnational threats that included terrorist
groups, international crime and drug organizations,
warlords, environmental security issues, health and
disease problems, and illegal migrations.

The fourth was to deal with the problems of failed or
incapable states that require peacekeeping,
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, or
national reconstruction. Remember, this was 2000. We
needed to deal with overseas crises that popped up,
and respond to them quickly, where our U.S. citizens
and property were in danger. And we needed to be
capable of dealing with domestic emergencies that
exceeded the capacity of other federal and local
government agencies. And finally, we had to protect
against threats to our key repositories of information
and our systems for moving information.

I saw these as the missions for our military in the
21st century. And, in fact, that was the title of the
paper and the title of the speech. And I think they
still hold. This wasn't any remarkable prescience on
my part; you could have asked [retired Marine Corps
General] Charlie Wilhelm, [former Pacific
Commander-in-Chief Admiral] Denny Blair. You could
have asked [former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
General] Wes Clark, any of the CINCs
[commanders-in-chief] at the time. You would have come
up with the same list. You could have asked anybody
that's looking at the world or global threats that we
faced out there, and you would have gotten the same
answer. You could have asked anybody in our
intelligence community what they foresaw as the
requirement, you would have gotten the same answer. So
there was nothing remarkable about this.

"Usually we look at the other elements of national
power—the political, the economic, information,
whatever—that are going to be brought to bear. . . .
That has not happened."

What is remarkable about it is the military's role.
The military traditionally is supposed to go out there
and kill people and break things. And then from that,
we determine how we're going to right the disorder or
fix the conflict. Usually we look at the other
elements of national power—the political, the
economic, information, whatever—that are going to be
brought to bear, much like George Marshall saw it at
the end of the Second World War. That has not

The military does a damn good job of killing people
and breaking things. And we can sit here and design a
better rifle squad, build a better fighter, a better
ship, a better tank. And we're so far ahead of any
potential enemy right now in those kinds of
technological areas, in the areas of expertise of
quality of leadership, and all the things that make
military units great on the battlefield, that you
wonder why we keep busting brain cells wondering how
to continually do it better, or to transform into
something else. I'm for transformation, if you define
it as finding better remarkable ways to tap into
technology, into our own brain power, into our
training and education, creative ways of redesigning
our organization to make our military even more
efficient, more powerful on the battlefield. But that
is not the problem and it hasn't been.

What is the role of the military beyond that point?
Right now the military in Iraq has been stuck with
this baby. In Somalia it was stuck with that baby. In
Vietnam it was stuck with that baby. And it's going to
continue to be that way. And what we have to ask
ourselves now is, is there something that the military
needs to change into that involves its movement into
this area of the political, the economic, the
information management? If the others, those wearing
suits, can't come in and solve the problem—can't bring
the resources, the expertise, and the organization—and
we're going to continue to get stuck with it, you have
one or two choices. Either they get the capability and
it's demanded of them, and we learn how to partner to
get it done, or the military finally decides to change
into something else beyond the breaking and the

What could this mean? It could mean civil affairs
changes from just being a tactical organization doing
basic humanitarian care and interaction with the
civilian population, to actually being capable of
reconstructing nations. That we will have people in
uniform that are educated in the disciplines of
economics, political structure, and we're actually
going to go in and do that. We're actually going to be
the governors. The CINCs that are the proconsuls will
truly be proconsuls and given that authority to do it;
that you will set regional policy. This is scary
stuff. I know in the five-sided building if this
echoes over there—they hate me anyway, but they
probably would be shaking in their boots to think
this. But either get the people on the scene that can
do it, get them there when they need to be there, give
them the resources and the training, create the
interoperability that's necessary—or validate the
military mission to do it. In my mind, that's the most
important question we have now.

This list of missions I gave you will not end here.
I'm doing work for the State Department in the
Philippines and in Indonesia. I'm working with
breakaway separatist groups—the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front, the Free Aceh Movement in the
jungles—trying to bring them to the peace table. We're
going to find more and more throughout a section of
the world that runs from North Africa to the
Philippines, from Central Asia to Central Africa; that
we have got an entire region of the world that is
chaotic and in turmoil, and we have just seen the
beginnings of it. For decades more, we're going to be
dealing with this problem. You're going to be fighting
terrorists, you're going to be fighting against failed
or incapable states that are sanctuaries for problems.
You're going to try to rebuild nations. You're going
to deal with crises and threats that threaten our
people and our property. And it's all going to be
mixed into one big bag.

It's going to be hard to define. It's not going to be
clear cut. The enemy isn't going to be in formations.
You know, we fought one idiot here, just now—Ohio
State beat Slippery Rock 62 to 0. No shit! You know!
But we weren't ready for that team that came onto the
field at the end of that three-week victory, with
great guys like [Marine Corps General] Jim Mattis and
others that did remarkable things that we know our
soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coasties can
do out there. We could be in danger of losing the
sacrifices that gained us that three-inning lead in
this game, right now on that battlefield.

Right now, in a place like Iraq, you're dealing with
the Jihads that are coming in to raise hell, crime on
the streets that's rampant, ex-Ba'athists that are
still running around, and the potential now for this
country to fragment: Shi'ia on Shi'ia, Shi'ia on
Sunni, Kurd on Turkomen. It's a powder keg. I just got
back from Jordan. I talked to a number of Iraqis in
there. And what I hear scares me even more than what I
read in the newspaper. Resources are needed, a
strategy is needed, a plan. This is a different kind
of conflict. War fighting is just one element of it.
Some people on this battlefield are different; they
don't come in those formations and with that kind of
equipment. And they come in many different forms. All
their agendas are different.

"We are great at dealing with the tactical
problems. . . . We are lousy at solving the
strategic problems."

How do we cope with that? On one hand, you have to
shoot and kill somebody; on the other hand, you have
to feed somebody. On the other hand, you have to build
an economy, restructure the infrastructure, build the
political system. And there's some poor lieutenant
colonel, colonel, brigadier general down there, stuck
in some province with all that saddled onto him, with
NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and political
wannabes running around, with factions and a culture
he doesn't understand.

These are now culture wars that we're involved in. We
don't understand that culture. I've spent the last 15
years of my life in this part of the world. And I'll
tell you, every time I hear somebody talk about this,
or one of the dilettantes back here speak about this
region of the world—they don't have a clue. They don't
understand what makes them tick. They don't understand
where they are in their own history. They don't
understand what our role is in moving this away from a
disaster for the entire world, and for us and our

We are great at dealing with the symptoms. We are
great at dealing with the tactical problems—the
killing and the breaking. We are lousy at solving the
strategic problems; having a strategic plan,
understanding about regional and global security and
what it takes to weld that and to shape it and to move
it forward. Where are the Marshalls today? Where are
the Eisenhowers and the Trumans, that saw the vision
and saw the world in a different way; and that
understood what had to be done and what America's role

For the military, the implications are great. Right
now we're wringing our hands about how many troops we
have, how many divisions we have, what kind of
rotation we're going to have to go through, whether we
can get coalition allies or support to share the
burden with us and the dangers. That has to be built
from scratch. No longer does the military just sally
forth and do the killing and the breaking. It has to
be engaged, day in and day out, building these
alliances and coalitions, training others, seen out
there as a force of stability.

Right now the question that has to be answered is:
does our military expand its role beyond the military
aspect, or will we continue to stick it with this
mission without the resources, the training, the
cooperation from others or the lack of authority
needed to get the job done? If you're going to make
the military the governors out there, if you're going
to make them the proconsuls, if they're going to be
the humanitarians and the reconstructors, then
legitimize it in some way. Because we can't go on
breaking our military and doing things like we're
doing now.

"We need to train our officers and leaders for a
different kind of mission out there."

This administration came in with an idea of
transforming the military into something—God knows
what—lighter, smaller, quicker, whatever. The bill
payer was going to be ground units, heavy units. And
now we have a shortage of exactly what we needed out
there. Nobody listened to the CINCs. As a matter of
fact, they got rid of our name; we couldn't even be
called CINCs anymore. You know, we're no longer
commanders-in-chief; we're combatant commanders,
whatever the hell that means. But you're at the edge
of the empire and you see it firsthand. And you know
what the requirement is. And we keep screaming back
here into the system that we need more. We need to
train our officers and leaders for a different kind of
mission out there.

I don't need someone who's only good at the killing
and breaking, I need somebody that has the breadth of
education experience and intellect to take on all the
rest of these missions that he or she is going to be
saddled with when the shooting stops or when it
subsides to some level. They're the ones that are
going to count on the ground out there, more than
anything else. And I think that's the issue in any
discussion as to what happens to our military from
here on out.

Let me just finish by saying that we should be—as I
know you've heard plenty of times here—extremely proud
of what our people did out there, what our men and
women in uniform did. It kills me when I hear of the
continuing casualties and the sacrifice that's being
made. It also kills me when I hear someone say that,
well, each one of those is a personal tragedy, but in
the overall scheme of things, they're insignificant
statistically. Never should we let any political
leaders utter those words. This is the greatest
treasure the United States has, our enlisted men and
women. And when we put them into harm's way, it had
better count for something. It can't be because some
policy wonk back here has a brain fart of an idea of a
strategy that isn't thought out.

They should never be put on a battlefield without a
strategic plan, not only for the fighting—our generals
will take care of that—but for the aftermath and
winning that war. Where are we, the American people,
if we accept this, if we accept this level of
sacrifice without that level of planning? Almost
everyone in this room, of my contemporaries—our
feelings and our sensitivities were forged on the
battlefields of Vietnam; where we heard the garbage
and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. We swore never
again would we do that. We swore never again would we
allow it to happen. And I ask you, is it happening
again? And you're going to have to answer that
question, just like the American people are. And
remember, everyone of those young men and women that
come back is not a personal tragedy, it's a national

General Zinni has held numerous command and staff
assignments with the U.S. Marine Corps that include
platoon, company, battalion, regimental, Marine
expeditionary unit, and Marine expeditionary force
command. His staff assignments included service in
operations, training, special operations,
counter-terrorism and manpower billets. He has
deployed to or served diplomatic missions in the
Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, the western Pacific,
Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Posted by richard at 09:49 AM

Annan Challenges U.S. Doctrine of Preventive Action

Well, the incredible shrinking _resident stood on his
tip toes, and with a trembling hand, delivered a
spooky speechlet wholly disconnected from the
realities of both the current state of international
relations and the facts on the ground in Iraq...It was
scary in its fantasy-like quality, scary in its
contempt for the other world powers, scary in its
self-delusion, scary in its lack of any effort to
conciliation or consensus...MEANWHILE, Kofi Annan
spoke forcefully, underscoring the grave offense that
has been committed...Will the US electorate hear of
what Annan said before the _resident spoke or what
Chirac said after the _resident spoke from the "US
mainstream news media"? Unlikely. Has the Bush cabal
lost all touch with reality? Or is something horrible
coming? The twin towers of the UN still stand in NYC.
May it be so always. And let us hope they screen their
snail mail carefully..Remember, as you watch the news
tonight, 2+2=4...
"But until now it has been understood that when states go beyond that and decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, they need the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations," he said. Now some say this understanding is no longer tenable since an 'armed attack' with weapons of mass destruction could be launched at any time. This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles, on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years," Annan said.

Published on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 by Reuters
Global Free-For-All
Annan Challenges U.S. Doctrine of Preventive Action

by Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned
President Bush that his doctrine of preemptive
military intervention posed a fundamental challenge to
the United Nations and could lead to a global

In a speech to be delivered shortly before Bush
addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Annan
declared that the Iraq crisis had brought the United
Nations to a "fork in the road" as decisive as 1945
when the world body was founded.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan speaks at
the opening of the 58th United Nations General
Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS at U.N.
headquarters in New York, September 22, 2003. Annan
warned President Bush that his doctrine of preemptive
military intervention posed a fundamental challenge to
the United Nations and could lead to a global
free-for-all. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Without mentioning the United States by name, Annan
spoke as states in the 191-member world body were
struggling to heal deep rifts caused by the war on
Iraq, in which the United States acted without U.N.
Security Council approval.

Annan questioned U.S. arguments that nations have the
"right and obligation to use force preemptively"
against unconventional weapons systems even while they
were still being developed.

"My concern is that, if it were to be adopted, it
could set precedents that resulted in a proliferation
of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or
without credible justification," Annan warned in a
text of his speech released in advance.

He said the U.N. Charter allowed military action for
the purpose of self defense.

"But until now it has been understood that when states
go beyond that and decide to use force to deal with
broader threats to international peace and security,
they need the unique legitimacy provided by the United
Nations," he said.

"Now some say this understanding is no longer tenable
since an 'armed attack' with weapons of mass
destruction could be launched at any time," Annan

"This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the
principles, on which, however imperfectly, world peace
and stability have rested for the last 58 years,"
Annan said.


However, Annan said the 15-member Security Council, in
charge of war and peace, might need to consider
rewriting the rule book for the use of force.

"Its members may need to begin a discussion on the
criteria for an early authorization of coercive
measures to address certain types of threats -- for
instance, terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass
destruction," Annan said.

He said he was establishing a "high-level panel of
eminent personalities" to examine current challenges
to peace and security and recommend ways the United
Nations could reform its institutions.

"Excellencies, we have come to a fork in the road,"
Annan said. "This may be a moment no less decisive
than 1945 itself, when the United Nations was

Annan again berated U.N. members for not being able to
agree on an expansion of the Security Council, which
has remained nearly the same for 58 years.

"I would respectfully suggest to you, excellencies,
that in the eyes of your peoples the difficulties of
reaching agreement does not excuse your failure to do
so," Annan said.

Jan Kavan, the outgoing assembly president from the
Czech Republic said earlier that U.N. ambassadors
alone could not resolve Security Council reform after
a decade of trying.

"For that, you would need a major political
breakthrough in the capitals of certain key member
states," he said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Ltd


Posted by richard at 09:49 AM

Mark Crispin Miller's Operation American Freedom: He's a Stand-Up Kind of Guy

Everyone should do keep the wheel
turning..the LNS is my personal rain dance...but more
is required...Mark Crispin Miller is doing an
incredible thing by transforming the oral history of
this national tragedy into a powerful, empowering and
most importanly viciously funny performance...
"One of Miller's main points was that the media spreads the madness of public officials by not pointing out the contradictions, equivocations, and downright falsehoods uttered in interviews and press conferences. He inquired if any mainstream American journalists had closely scrutinized the President's speeches and exposed his bizarre syntax. Instead, he pointed out how FoxNews reporters applauded George W. Bush for his eloquence and "manliness." The complicity of the "liberal media"-Miller held up his fingers to make quotation marks in the air-allow the presidential administrations to distort facts, mangle logic, and deploy propaganda successfully, unchallenged by the journalists who are supposed to serve the public good."">

Mark Crispin Miller's Operation American Freedom: He's a Stand-Up Kind of Guy
by Elissa Thomas

Last weekend (Sept. 12-13), folks flocked to the
Creative Alliance's Patterson Theater to see media
critic Mark Crispin Miller in his stand-up/educational
performance entitled "Operation American Freedom."
Not Miller, but President George W. Bush opened the
show with a brief clip saying, "Many others have met a
different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no
longer a problem for the United States."

The audience was laughing from the start, and Miller
kept the crowd entertained throughout the show with
well-paced, intelligent comedy, discussing things that
weren't really so funny. The media critic delivered
his points in droll deadpan, only a few times cracking
a smile.

Miller continually referred to short excerpts of
speeches delivered, or rather, stumbled over, by
George W. Bush. After several such quotes, Miller
paused, waited for the laughs to subside, and asked:
"How can this happen?!" And: "Does anyone else in the
United States notice the insanity of what the
President says at official press conferences? Am I
losing my mind?"

He also read transcripts of interviews with Gordon
Liddy and Barbara Bush, emphasizing the national
epidemic of incoherent speech and fractured logic
evident in statements by high-ranking
Americans-statements which go unremarked in the media.

. At one point, Miller read a George Bush quote from
Bush's well-publicized visit to Africa. Bush had said,
"It's very interesting when you think about it, the
slaves who left here to go to America--" here Miller
paused and looked searchingly at the audience for a
reaction. "They left Africa," repeated Miller, pausing
for emphasis and shaking his head at the careless,
inaccurate and utterly nonsensical wording to describe
the Middle Passage events. He continued Bush's
statement: "--bringing their religion, their
steadfast, and their freedom to help change America."

"We all know how many animistic churches dot the
Southern countryside," quipped Miller. "And who would
have thought that-while the Polish imported Kielbasa
to America-we never thought about how the slaves
brought freedom." Miller encouraged the audience to
repeat the quote phrase by phrase. The words spoken
aloud in a chorus sounded even more ridiculous and
illogical than when pronounced by Miller, and could
not have made any sense spoken by the President in the
context of an official press conference.

One of Miller's main points was that the media spreads
the madness of public officials by not pointing out
the contradictions, equivocations, and downright
falsehoods uttered in interviews and press
conferences. He inquired if any mainstream American
journalists had closely scrutinized the President's
speeches and exposed his bizarre syntax. Instead, he
pointed out how FoxNews reporters applauded George W.
Bush for his eloquence and "manliness." The complicity
of the "liberal media"-Miller held up his fingers to
make quotation marks in the air-allow the presidential
administrations to distort facts, mangle logic, and
deploy propaganda successfully, unchallenged by the
journalists who are supposed to serve the public good.

There is no official repression of freedom of speech,
Miller pointed out; instead, disinformation works in a
more sophisticated way. He went on to describe the
structure of a successful lie. "You don't deny
anything," Miller said, pointing to failed lies such
as Nixon's "I am not a crook" plea. Instead, the
officials "work the denial into a positive statement."
The slogan for the US Army is "Be all that you can be
in the Army." Not, "your chances are 50/50 that you'll
die in service." Miller pointed out that advertisers
have been using this strategy of spin for decades.
They "tacitly negate" the unpopular aspects of a
product, while emphasizing positive attributes that
may or may not even be true.

Miller ended his performance with a reminder that "the
cost of freedom is eternal vigilance." He urged all
those present to take it upon themselves to spread
truth, to pester Congressmen and journalists, and-most
of all-not give up.

"Act like you believe in something," exhorted Miller,
"because you do!"

Mark Crispin Miller teaches media studies at New York
University. He formerly taught at The Johns Hopkins
University. He recently established a blog; visit


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The
Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your
comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle
and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without
their prior written consent.

This story was published on September 19, 2003.

Posted by richard at 09:46 AM

Journo claims proof of WMD lies

Well, the _resident will strut into the UN General
Assembly in a few hours to posture and pretend to be a
leader with a vision for approximately 20 minutes. The
_resident has started giving speechlets instead of
speeches. His televised address asking for $80 billion
from the American people for his foolish and failing
military adventure lasted only, I think, 11
minutes...The disconnect between the _resident, the
VICE _resident, Condi Rice the White au pair and
REALITY is becoming more and more obvious every
day...Even the cooked SeeNotNews/Gallop poll now shows
the _resident in what amounts to a dead heat with five
Democrats (well, four Democrats and Joe Lieberman). If
SeeNotNews/Gallop is showing that kind of weakness,
the truth is that he is down to his Republican base of
30-35% and it is eroding...MEANWHILE, here is
something that may well lead to an announcement that
he has accomplished his mission and he is going home
to Waco, giving us a race between Dean or Clark and
someone like Chuch Hagel (R-NEBRASKA) or John McCain
(R-ARIZONA) after the _resident picks up his toys and
goes home...Of course, this period is, as I have
written before, a very, very dangerous one and it is
far more likely that the Bush cabal has another
Trifecta ticket it is going to attempt to cash...,4057,7350504%5E2,00.html

Journo claims proof of WMD lies
By Paul Mulvey in London
September 23, 2003

AUSTRALIAN investigative journalist John Pilger says
he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a
lie that could cost George W. Bush and Tony Blair
their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down
with them.

A television report by Pilger aired on British screens
overnight said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and
National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in
early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been
disarmed and was no threat.

But after the terrorist attacks on New York and
Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed
Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these
new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of
its oil.

Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on
February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not
developed any significant capability with respect to
weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project
conventional power against his neighbours."

Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able
to keep his arms from him. His military forces have
not been rebuilt."

Powell boasted this was because America's policy of
containment and its sanctions had effectively disarmed

Pilger claims this confirms that the decision of US
President George W Bush - with the full support of
British Prime Minister Blair and Howard - to wage war
on Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction
was a huge deception.

Pilger interviewed several leading US government
figures in Washington but said he did not ask Powell
or Rice to respond to his claims.

"I think it's very serious for Howard. Howard has
followed the Americans and to a lesser degree Blair
almost word for word," Pilger told AAP before his
program was screened on ITV tonight.

"All Howard does is say `well it's not true' and never
explains himself.

"I just don't believe you can be seen to be party to
such a big lie, such a big deception and endure that

"It simply can't be shrugged off and that's Howard's

"Blair has shrugged it off but Blair is deeply
damaged. It's far from over here, there's a lot that
is going to happen and much of it could wash onto

"And it's unravelling in America and Bush could lose
the election next year.

"I've not seen political leaders survive when they've
been complicit in such an open deception for so long."

Howard last week dismissed an accusation from
Opposition Leader Simon Crean that he hid a warning
from British intelligence that war against Iraq would
heighten the terrorist threat to Australia.

In his report, Pilger interviews Ray McGovern, a
former senior CIA officer and friend of Bush's father
and ex-president, George Bush senior.

McGovern told Pilger that going to war because of
weapons of mass destruction "was 95 per cent charade."

Pilger also claims that six hours after the September
11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, US Defence
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he wanted to "hit" Iraq
and allegedly said "Go Massive ... Sweep it all up.
Things related and not."

He was allegedly talked down by Powell who said the
American people would not accept an attack on Iraq
without any evidence, so they opted to invade
Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden had bases.

Pilger claimed war was set in train on September 17,
2001 when Bush signed a paper directing the Pentagon
to explore the military options for an attack on Iraq.


Posted by richard at 09:42 AM

September 22, 2003

Hispanic Soldiers Die in Greater Numbers in Iraq

Remember how the "US mainstream news media" and its
propapunditgandists, taking its talking points from
Rove, etc., blathered on during the 2000 campaign
about how Bush could "speak Spanish" (slightly better
than he can ride a horse, which is not at all?) and
how he was making in-roads into to the Democratic base
among Hispanics...Well, now the _resident is reduced
to having "exclusive interviews" with Faux News to
react to Sen. Edward Kennedy's charges of fraud and
bribery without fear of a follow-up...I doubt he will
be pressing flesh in the Barrio in the upcoming
election campaign...Of course, his minions won't be in
any rush to count absentee ballots from the US
military either...
"What can we say of the young Latino men who sacrificed their lives in Iraq? That they fought without knowing their enemy, played their role as pawns in a geopolitical chess game devised by arrogant bureaucrats, and died simply trying to get an education; trying to have a fair shot at the American Dream that has eluded the vast majority of Latinos for over a century and a half."

Published on Monday, September 22, 2003 by the Inter
Press Service
Hispanic Soldiers Die in Greater Numbers in Iraq
by Miriam Kagan

WASHINGTON - One of the first U.S. soldiers to die in
Iraq, Jose Gutierrez, was an orphaned Guatemalan who
at the time of his death was not even an American

What can we say of the young Latino men who sacrificed
their lives in Iraq? That they fought without knowing
their enemy, played their role as pawns in a
geopolitical chess game devised by arrogant
bureaucrats, and died simply trying to get an
education; trying to have a fair shot at the American
Dream that has eluded the vast majority of Latinos for
over a century and a half.

Jorge Mariscal, a professor at the University of
California, San Diego
As U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount, so does
the worry in the country's Latino community that its
children are dying in unusually high numbers and are
being lured into dangerous service with targeted
recruiting by the Armed Forces.

Many in the community worry that Hispanic men and
women are being disproportionately exposed to risk and
sent to the front lines.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, while Latinos
make up 9.5 percent of the actively enlisted forces,
they are over-represented in the categories that get
the most dangerous assignments -- infantry, gun crews
and seamanship -- and make up over 17.5 percent of the
front lines.

These worries have been exacerbated during the recent
conflict in Iraq. As of Aug. 28, Department of Defense
(DOD) statistics show a casualty rate of more than 13
percent for people of Hispanic background serving in

The casualty rate for Hispanics during the Iraqi
engagement has been ''unfortunate and tragic'', says
Teresa Gutierrez, of Act Now to Stop War and End
Racism (ANSWER).

''The people who are fighting the war are youths who
cannot find jobs or afford university fees because
there is an economic draft in the army that is
particularly relevant to Latinos,'' she told IPS.

Recent census numbers reveal why the U.S. government
might be interested in specifically targeting Latinos.

According to the 2000 Census, Latinos have surpassed
African Americans as the largest minority group in the
country. Hispanics now comprise 12.5 percent of the
U.S. population, and are the fastest growing minority.

In 2000, one in seven 18-year-olds was of Hispanic
origin, a number that is expected to climb to more
than one in five during the next 15 years, found the

Also, more than 50 percent of the Hispanic population
(almost 18 million people) lived in Texas and
California, states that are historically large
recruitment centers for the Armed Forces.

While DOD officials denied knowledge of any program
specifically targeted at Latinos, past actions by the
U.S. government paint a different story.

According to 'The Army Times' newspaper, in 2001 Army
Brigadier General Bernardo C. Negrete told a DOD
audience, ''we've made significant improvement by
going after Hispanics in a manner we've never done

''We're giving our recruiters goals to meet in order
to bring the Hispanic population in the Army on par
with the general population in the country.''

Negrete's plans called for achieving that parity by

Another tactic suspected of targeting Hispanics is an
executive order signed by U.S. President George W.
Bush in July 2002, expediting naturalization for
aliens and non-citizen nationals who serve in
active-duty status during the administration's ''war
on terrorism''.

The order, effective for all military personnel who
enlisted after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001,
allows non-citizens to apply for citizenship
immediately upon arrival at their first military base,
rather than having to wait the usual three to four

According to Bush, persons ''serving honorably in
active-duty status in the Armed Forces'', do a service
to their new country so they should be granted
citizenship more quickly than via regular channels.

DOD numbers reveal 35,000 non-citizens currently in
the active Armed Forces, 15,000 of whom became
eligible for expedited naturalization under the
executive order.

Department officials strenuously denied that the order
was targeted at the Hispanic population.

While two army recruiters in the Washington area
denied using the expedited citizenship order as a
selling point during recruitment pitches, both told
IPS that they mention the ''benefit'' as one part of
the recruitment package.

But both recruiters insisted that no potential
recruits had asked for expedited citizenship and that
Latinos who express interest in joining the military
do so for ''patriotic reasons''.

One recruiter did say that since the executive order
was passed his office had seen a sharp increase in
applications from people of Hispanic background. But
both recruiters denied targeting Latinos, and said
they were unaware of any policies specifically
targeted at that group.

A Defense official told IPS that while he was not
''aware of any particular effort to recruit any
particular ethnic group, there are programs that
appeal to certain groups''.

Gutierez said that any DOD official who denies the
existence of targeted ethnic recruiting needs only to
''check their own website and promotional materials''.

While only 12 percent of Latinos in the United States
ever qualify for a university education, she lamented,
many are recruited into the Armed Forces with promises
of financial help and job security.

According to Gutierrez, once recruited, many qualified
applicants stay in the military, foregoing college.

''What can we say of the young Latino men who
sacrificed their lives in Iraq?” asked Jorge Mariscal,
a professor at the University of California, San
Diego, in the Apr. 18, 2003 issue of 'Counterpunch'.

”That they fought without knowing their enemy, played
their role as pawns in a geopolitical chess game
devised by arrogant bureaucrats, and died simply
trying to get an education; trying to have a fair shot
at the American Dream that has eluded the vast
majority of Latinos for over a century and a half.''

© 2003 Inter Press Service

Posted by richard at 09:38 AM

Graham: Stop Billing Injured Soldiers for Meals

BRAVO! Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) has distinguished
himself since 9/11/01, by demanding (and ceasing to
relent in his demand)a thorough airing of the White
House has been struggling to keep "Secret," i.e. its
incompetence (at best) prior to 9/11 and in the
immediate aftermath, AND his courageous and
foresighted vote AGAINST the _resident's Iraq war
resolution (which Kerry and so many others capitulated
on). He is my personal first choice, but he is
increasingly a long shot. However, he would be a
powerful asset as a running mate to either Clark or
Dean if they make it through the gauntlet. All three,
Clark, Dean and Graham have stood unequivocally
against the _resident's foolish military adventure In
Iraq. (Graham was, as I have mentioned before,
Clinton's first choice for Gore's running mate. What
would have happened if Gore had been willing to select
him instead of the Senator from Sanctimonicutt?)
"Senator Bob Graham, D-Florida, said today that he will file a bill to prohibit charging service members for meals while they are hospitalized as a result of injuries or illnesses suffered while in combat or training for combat."

Graham: Stop Billing Injured Soldiers for Meals

September 12, 2003

Senator Bob Graham, D-Florida, said today that he will
file a bill to prohibit charging service members for
meals while they are hospitalized as a result of
injuries or illnesses suffered while in combat or
training for combat.

“This policy is an outrageous insult to our men and
women in uniform. How can we justify spending billions
of dollars on no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq, then
turn around and charge an injured soldier $8.10 a day
for meals while they are being treated for war
injuries? Clearly, it cannot be justified,” said
Graham, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans
Affairs Committee.

Graham’s bill mirrors one filed in the House (H.R.
2998) by Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Florida, but it goes
one step further. In addition to paying for the meals
of those injured while in combat or while training for
combat, the Senate bill will cover those who get ill
while in combat situations, such as the current cases
of pneumonia and malaria.

Graham will file the bill when the Senate reconvenes
the week of September 15. He sent a letter to his
colleagues on Friday seeking co-sponsors.

Young filed his bill - which has more than 130
co-sponsors in the House - after learning that Marine
Staff Sgt. Bill Murwin of Nevada had been billed $243
for his meals while hospitalized due wounds suffered
in Iraq, first in Germany and then in Bethesda,
Maryland. Part of Murwin’s left foot was amputated.

The policy is the result of a 1981 law that requires
soldiers to repay their daily “basic allowance for
subsistence” when they are hospitalized. The current
daily allowance is $8.10.


Posted by richard at 09:34 AM

September 21, 2003

Clark Calls Iraq War 'A Major Blunder'

Well, the NYTwits' hatchet woman Katherine Sleazy can
go to hell, and screw FAIR (who I support financially,
BUT who really really blew this story!!!)...Here is a
leader to add to the short list of those who could
beat the _resident: Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) and Sen.
Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) AND Wesley Clark (D-NATO)..."I'm a soldier," he said. "I've laid on the battlefield bleeding....Let's make one thing real clear, I would never have voted for this war, never..."

Clark Calls Iraq War 'A Major Blunder'
By Mike Glover
Associated Press

Saturday 20 September 2003

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Democratic presidential
candidate Wesley Clark reversed an earlier opinion
that he likely would have voted for war in Iraq,
telling a cheering college-town crowd the invasion was
"a major blunder" he never would have supported.

Clark said his Army career taught him that "the
use of force is only a last resort" that wasn't
justified in Iraq. "I'm a soldier," he said. "I've
laid on the battlefield bleeding."

While the use of force can occasionally be
justified, he said, "It's not a way to solve problems
and resolve disputes. It's very difficult to change
people's minds when you are bombing them and killing

Clark sought to blunt a controversy that arose as
he opened his campaign. The core is his resume as a
retired four-star general with the credibility to
challenge President Bush and oppose the war in Iraq.

Many of his backers expressed surprise when Clark
told reporters he probably would have voted to
authorize the use of force.

"At the time, I probably would have voted for it,
but I think that's too simple a question," The New
York Times quoted Clark as saying Thursday.

He then added, the Times said, "I don't know if I
would have or not. I've said it both ways, because
when you get into this, what happens is you have to
put yourself in a position. On balance, I probably
would have voted for it."

In a speech Friday to more than 1,000 people
jammed into a lecture hall at the University of Iowa
and in interviews, Clark underscored his opposition to
the war, explaining: "There may be times when you may
have to use force, but only as a last resort.

"Let's make one thing real clear, I would never
have voted for this war, never," Clark said in an
interview with The Associated Press. "I've gotten a
very consistent record on this. There was no imminent
threat. This was not a case of pre-emptive war. I
would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get
a diplomatic solution, an international solution to
the challenge of Saddam Hussein."

Clark's initial remarks left members of his
campaign team flummoxed.

"That caught me off guard a little. The general
has been very critical of the war," said George Bruno,
a New Hampshire activist.

Clark launched his bid for the Democratic
nomination Tuesday with the type of media attention
candidates crave, but early missteps underscore the
dangers facing his late-starting campaign.

The former NATO commander and his campaign staff
went back and forth in a single day on whether he will
participate in a Democratic debate next week. Creating
more confusion were Clark's positive comments on the
resolution that authorized the president to use U.S.
military force to oust Saddam - remarks that were at
odds with his opposition to the war.

Veteran Democrats noted that Clark is in the
unusual position of trying to put a major presidential
campaign in place and clearly lay out his positions in
the glare of the media spotlight. His rivals have had
months to hone their message below the political

"If politics were theater, you get to open in New
Haven (Conn.)," rather than on Broadway, said veteran
Democratic strategist Bill Carrick, who warned of the
dangers of "policy on the fly."

The nine other declared Democratic presidential
hopefuls have spent the last few months meeting with
party activists, getting feedback on various issues
and testing their campaign lines.

"I'm sure Howard Dean has tried a variety of
things along the way," said veteran Iowa activist Jeff
Link. "By the time people began paying attention, he
had it down pretty good."

Iowa casts its votes in four months, giving Clark
little time to smooth out the rough edges.

"The question is, is he ready to jump into a huge
national campaign that's just a few months away," Link
said. "That is a pretty good-sized organization with a
lot of moving parts."

In the AP interview, Clark sketched out a
checkerboard of positions, saying he would leave in
place a tax cut for middle-income Americans and
indicating his support for gun-possession rights,
although he supports a ban on assault weapons.


Posted by richard at 03:26 PM


Three more US GIs were killed in Iraq overnight. For
what? are some more names to scrawl
on the John O'Neil Wall of Heroes, here is another
story that will not be menionted by the
propapunditgandists on this morning's "news" shows...
We, the undersigned representatives of the workers who perform health and environmental protection duties at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency across America, express our anger and dismay over evidence of the White House’s improper actions in connection with communicating health risk information to emergency workers and residents in New York immediately following the terror attacks on that city on September 11, 2001.


We, the undersigned representatives of the
workers who perform health and environmental
protection duties at the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency across America, express our anger and dismay
over evidence of the White House’s improper actions in
connection with communicating health risk information
to emergency workers and residents in New York
immediately following the terror attacks on that city
on September 11, 2001.

EPA’s dedicated Civil Service employees
performed their duties swiftly and competently
following the terror attack, assessing as accurately
as possible the environmental health risks faced by
the brave rescue workers and nearby residents from
toxic substances released in the attack. These workers
reported to senior EPA officials their best estimate
of the risks, and they expected those estimates and
the accompanying recommendations for protective
measures to be released in a timely manner to those
who needed the information.

The public was not informed of all of these health
risks, some of which were avoidable. This information
was withheld from the public under orders from the
White House. Instead, the Bush White House had
information released, drafted by political appointees,
that it knew to contradict the scientific facts. It
misinformed. And many rescue workers and citizens
suffered. Some citizens now face the long-term risk
of asbestos-related lung cancer as well as other
debilitating respiratory ailments as a result.

Little did the Civil Service expect that
their professional work would be subverted by
political pressure applied by the White House. This
unwarranted and inexcusable interference with the
professional work of the Civil Service by politicians
reporting directly to President Bush caused rescue
workers and residents to be exposed to health risks
that could have been, indeed should have been,

We express our solidarity with the rescue
workers and residents who were affected adversely by
this outrageous action of President Bush’s staff.
There is no excuse for White House politicians
imposing their values and overriding the Civil
Service’s best advice on protecting those still
digging in the wreckage and those whose homes and
offices were covered with toxic debris.

President Bush owes the rescue workers,
residents, dedicated Civil Service workers and the
American people more than an apology for his actions
in this matter. President Bush should take steps to
compensate the rescue workers and residents who were
harmed by his administration’s actions.

The President’s political appointees’
interference with the professional work of the EPA
Civil Service has seriously harmed EPA’s credibility.
Before there is another national emergency, that
credibility must be restored.

The President must pledge to never again order EPA to
tell less than the whole truth about a public health

/s/ Paul Sacker
/s/ Dwight Welch

President AFGE Local 3911, New York President NTEU
Chapter 280, Washington, DC

/s/ Alan Hollis
/s/ Henry Burrell

President AFGE Local 3631, Philadelphia President
AFGE Local 3428, Boston

/s/ Nancy Barron
/s/ Gretchen Helm

President NAGE Local R5-55, Atlanta President
AFGE Local 3331, Washington, DC

/s/ Charles Orzehoskie
/s/ Merrit Nicewander

President AFGE Local 704 Chicago President
AFGE Local 1003, Dallas

/s/ John C Anderson
/s/ Kevin Orendorf

President NTEU Chapter 294 Kansas City President
AFGE Local 3607, Denver

/s/ Wendell Smith
/s/ Patrick Chan

President ESC EPA-Unit San Francisco President
NTEU Chapter 295, San Francisco

/s/ Mary St. Peter
/s/ Mark Coryell

President AFGE Local 1110, Seattle
President AFGE Local 3907, Ann Arbor

/s/ Larry Penley
/s/ Silvia Saracco

President NTEU Chapter 279, Cincinnati President
AFGE Local 3347 Research Triangle Park

/s/ Nita Tallent-Halsell
/s/ Lesley Mills

President NAGE R12-135, Las Vegas President
NAGE R1-240, Narragansett

/s/ Geraldine Cripe

NAGE Local R5-95

Posted by richard at 03:25 PM

Bush covers up climate research

Fascinating, and important. Patriotic, principled
resisters within the USG are delivering e-mail and
internal documents to the British press...Why not?
They are our "coalition allies, right? And the British
press will investigate (hell, they even investigate
their own government), they and run the story
prominently...Unlike the WASHPs and the NYTwits,
dutiful collaborators, who are even now most likely to
twist the story into it is feeble and almost
pointless or after turning it over to their handlers
for *guidance*,6903,1046363,00.html

Bush covers up climate research

White House officials play down its own scientists'
evidence of global warming

Paul Harris New York
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

White House officials have undermined their own
government scientists' research into climate change to
play down the impact of global warming, an
investigation by The Observer can reveal.
The disclosure will anger environment campaigners who
claim that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions are
being sabotaged because of President George W. Bush's
links to the oil industry.

Emails and internal government documents obtained by
The Observer show that officials have sought to edit
or remove research warning that the problem is
serious. They have enlisted the help of conservative
lobby groups funded by the oil industry to attack US
government scientists if they produce work seen as
accepting too readily that pollution is an issue.

Central to the revelations of double dealing is the
discovery of an email sent to Phil Cooney, chief of
staff at the White House Council on Environmental
Quality, by Myron Ebell, a director of the Competitive
Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI is an
ultra-conservative lobby group that has received more
than $1 million in donations since 1998 from the oil
giant Exxon, which sells Esso petrol in Britain.

The email, dated 3 June 2002, reveals how White House
officials wanted the CEI's help to play down the
impact of a report last summer by the government's
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in which the US
admitted for the first time that humans are
contributing to global warming. 'Thanks for calling
and asking for our help,' Ebell tells Cooney.

The email discusses possible tactics for playing down
the report and getting rid of EPA officials, including
its then head, Christine Whitman. 'It seems to me that
the folks at the EPA are the obvious fall guys and we
would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be
as high up as possible,' Ebell wrote in the email.
'Perhaps tomorrow we will call for Whitman to be
fired,' he added.

The CEI is suing another government climate research
body that produced evidence for global warming. The
revelation of the email's contents has prompted
demands for an investigation to see if the White House
and CEI are co-ordinating the legal attack.

'This email indicates a secret initiative by the
administration to invite and orchestrate a lawsuit
against itself seeking to discredit an official US
government report on global warming dangers,' said
Richard Blumenthal, attorney general of Connecticut,
who has written to the White House asking for an

The allegation was denied by White House officials and
the CEI. 'It is absurd. We do not have a sweetheart
relationship with the White House,' said Chris Horner,
a lawyer and senior fellow of CEI.

However, environmentalists say the email fits a
pattern of collusion between the Bush administration
and conservative groups funded by the oil industry,
who lobby against efforts to control carbon dioxide
emissions, the main cause of global warming.

When Bush first came to power he withdrew the US - the
world's biggest source of greenhouse gases - from the
Kyoto treaty, which requires nations to limit their

Both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are former
oil executives; National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice was a director of the oil firm Chevron, and
Commerce Secretary Donald Evans once headed an oil and
gas exploration company.

'It all fits together,' said Kert Davies of
Greenpeace. 'It shows that there is an effort to
undermine good science. It all just smells like the
oil industry. They are doing everything to allow the
US to remain the world's biggest polluter.'

Other confidential documents obtained by The Observer
detail White House efforts to suppress research that
shows the world's climate is warming. A four-page
internal EPA memo reveals that Bush's staff insisted
on major amendments to the climate change section of
an environmental survey of the US, published last
June. One alteration indicated 'that no further
changes may be made'.

The memo discusses ways of dealing with the White
House editing, and warns that the section 'no longer
accurately represents scientific consensus on climate

Some of the changes include deleting a summary that
stated: 'Climate change has global consequences for
human health and the environment.' Sections on the
ecological effects of global warming and its impact on
human health were removed. So were several sentences
calling for further research on climate change.

A temperature record covering 1,000 years was also
deleted, prompting the EPA memo to note: 'Emphasis is
given to a recent, limited analysis [which] supports
the administration's favoured message.'

White House officials added numerous qualifying words
such as 'potentially' and 'may', leading the EPA to
complain: 'Uncertainty is inserted where there is
essentially none.'

The paper then analyses what the EPA should do about
the amendments and whether they should be published at
all. The options range from accepting the alterations
to trying to discuss them with the White House.

When the report was finally published, however, the
EPA had removed the entire global warming section to
avoid including information that was not
scientifically credible.

Former EPA climate policy adviser Jeremy Symons said
morale at the agency had been devastated by the
administration's tactics. He painted a picture of
scientists afraid to conduct research for fear of
angering their White House paymasters. 'They do good
research,' he said. 'But they feel that they have a
boss who does not want them to do it. And if they do
it right, then they will get hit or their work will be

Symons left the EPA in April 2001 and now works for
the National Wildlife Federation as head of its
climate change programme. The Bush administration's
attitude was clear from the beginning, he said, and a
lot of people were working to ensure that the
President did nothing to address global warming.

Additional reporting by Jason Rodrigues

Posted by richard at 03:23 PM

September 20, 2003

Events in the US suggest that the time is ripe for a liberal media rebellion

Joe Conason writes: Once upon a time, there were "liberal media" in America - or at least there were major media outlets unafraid of being called liberal. Liberal television correspondents dared to expose the depredations of Joe McCarthy, the awful conditions of migrant farm labourers and the killing effects of tobacco. Liberal newspapers reported hidden truths about the Vietnam war, despite threats and lawsuits from the Nixon White House.,3604,1044416,00.html
The BBC's bullies can dish it out, but they can't take

Events in the US suggest that the time is ripe for a liberal media rebellion

Joe Conason
Thursday September 18, 2003
The Guardian

To an American, there is much that sounds awfully
familiar about Beebwatch - the series launched last
week by the Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore to
root out "soft left" bias in the BBC. Moore's
determination to inflict daily humiliation on the
network coincides neatly with efforts by Rupert
Murdoch and the Tory opposition to deprive Britain's
great broadcasting institution of its licence fee,
just as its charter is coming up for renewal.
At the very least, this campaign aims to intimidate
the BBC's management from broadcasting anything that
might offend reactionary sensibilities; but its
ultimate goal is the crippling, or even the abolition,
of the BBC itself.

Moore's tone echoes the American right's incessant
whining about "liberal media bias". And while British
broadcasting is structurally (and qualitatively) very
different from its US counterpart, the conservative
agenda in both countries is identical: to stigmatise
dissent and to dominate discourse.

Once upon a time, there were "liberal media" in
America - or at least there were major media outlets
unafraid of being called liberal. Liberal television
correspondents dared to expose the depredations of Joe
McCarthy, the awful conditions of migrant farm
labourers and the killing effects of tobacco. Liberal
newspapers reported hidden truths about the Vietnam
war, despite threats and lawsuits from the Nixon White

By exposing Nixon's corruption, the American media
establishment ultimately forced his resignation. But
before he relinquished power, Nixon set the machinery
of his revenge in motion. It was the old redbaiter who
began a shrill crusade against the "liberal media",
using Spiro Agnew, his vice-president.

Three decades on, their crusade has spawned a
political environment that Nixon could scarcely have
imagined. From Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel to
Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, from Clear
Channel's nationwide radio network to the Wall Street
Journal's editorial page, the machinery churns
throughout the 24-hour news cycle.

Its leverage over public debate in America is
profound. Conservatives still complain about the
"liberal media", but their ideas (and ideologues)
command opinion-making airtime and newsprint. No
rightwing extremist is judged too rancid to be awarded
his own cable TV show.

Bolstering the right's successful assault on
mainstream news organisations are four well-financed
institutions that "monitor" all major media, with
special attention given to the television networks.

The oldest is Accuracy in Media, created in the 70s by
Reed Irvine, a former Treasury employee, as an
instrument of Nixon's vendetta against the Washington
Post. Irvine still thrives with subventions from
Richard Mellon Scaife, the conspiracy-minded
billionaire notorious for his determination to ruin
the Clintons.

Along with other rightwing donors, Scaife also
supports the Media Research Centre, a Washington
outfit overseen by Brent Bozell (nephew of the
conservative commentator William Buckley), who barely
conceals his role as a PR man for the Republican

With an annual budget of £10m and more than 60
full-time staff, Bozell's centre bills itself as "the
nation's largest and most sophisticated television and
radio monitoring operation". Smaller and less openly
partisan is the Centre for Media and Public Affairs,
which specialises in studies "proving" that most
journalists are liberal and "biased" against

Conservative donors also finance a California-based
organisation known as the Centre for the Study of
Popular Culture, which serves as the HQ of the
ex-radical David Horowitz. In his spare time, he
raises funds for the Bush campaign and instructs
Republicans in the fine art of "political warfare"
against liberals.

His main media target over the past 20 years has been
America's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), whose
meagre government subsidy drew criticism from
conservatives outraged by any deviation from rightwing
orthodoxy. As the PBS gradually adopted more
conventional and business-oriented programming, those
attacks decreased in frequency and ferocity. On those
rare occasions when the PBS programmers still venture
to air anything adventurous or critical, the attacks
flare up again.

Such are the well-tested models that Beebwatch, on a
more modest scale, appears intent on imitating. The
irony is that Moore launched his campaign at precisely
the moment when the American right's style of
intimidation is at last being mocked and discredited.
America's best-selling non-fiction book today is Lies
and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: a Fair and Balanced
Look at the Right, in which the author Al Franken
comically savages Murdoch's minions at Fox (and other
conservative media icons).

At the insistence of one of Fox's humourless hosts,
whose scowling mug adorns the book's cover, News
Corporation sued Franken for purloining the network's
"Fair and Balanced" slogan in his title. Although Fox
insisted that the cause of action was "trademark
infringement," its attempt to stop the book's
distribution was universally denounced as a violation
of free speech.

When the Fox attorneys tried to explain why Franken's
satire should be suppressed, they were literally
laughed out of court and the book shot up the
bestseller lists - a symbol of an unexpected popular
rebellion against Murdoch.

Now Franken is the toast of the American media. In
almost every interview he slyly suggests that Fox
replace its slogan with a new one taken from the
judge's verdict on its lawsuit - "Wholly Without
Merit". (Full disclosure: I gave him that joke.)

Unfortunately, the fair and balanced Fox folks seem to
have learned nothing from their public spanking. When
the CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour said that
she felt her network's Iraq coverage had been muted by
"intimidation" from the Bush administration "and its
footsoldiers at Fox News", a Fox spokeswoman
responded: "It's better to be viewed as a footsoldier
for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaida."

Such feeble swipes are unlikely to faze the fearless
Amanpour. As a war correspondent she has faced threats
considerably more daunting than a nasty press release.
But the attempt to smear her displayed the methodology
of rightwing "media criticism" at its worst. The
corporate practitioners of those ugly tactics are
similarly seeking to demonise the BBC; already,
Beebwatch has managed to elicit a defensive response
from network management.

The Beeb's enemies will fail if its defenders have the
wit and will to respond in the spirit of Al Franken:
put the Moores and Murdochs under the microscope,
expose their self-serving agendas and lampoon their
self-righteous indignation. They have already proved,
as we say in New York, that they love to dish it out,
but they can't take it.

· Joe Conason is a columnist for the New York Observer
and the author of Big Lies: the Right-Wing Propaganda
Machine and How It Distorts the Truth

Posted by richard at 03:20 PM

Stretched Thin, Lied to & Mistreated

Well, the vast reich-wing conspiracy's propaganda
machine has kicked into gear on the distortion of
Wesley Clark (D-NATO) and his STRONG stand AGAINST the
unilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq, helped by
the shameless dis-assembling of the NYTwit hatchet
woman Katherine Stealy (who did in Al Gore with
similar distortions), with of course SeeNotNews and
for certain tomorrow's Sunday morning
propapunditgandists towing the line..,.Meanwhile, *at
least* 3 more US GIs have died in Iraq. For what?

Published in the October 6, 2003 issue of The Nation
Stretched Thin, Lied to & Mistreated
On the ground with US troops in Iraq

by Christian Parenti

An M-16 rifle hangs by a cramped military cot. On the
wall above is a message in thick black ink: "Ali Baba,
you owe me a strawberry milk!"

It's a private joke but could just as easily summarize
the worldview of American soldiers here in Baghdad,
the fetid basement of Donald Rumsfeld's house of
victory. Trapped in the polluted heat, poorly supplied
and cut off from regular news, the GIs are fighting a
guerrilla war that they neither wanted, expected nor
trained for. On the urban battlefields of central
Iraq, "shock and awe" and all the other "new way of
war" buzzwords are drowned out by the din of
diesel-powered generators, Islamic prayer calls and
the occasional pop of small-arms fire.

Here, the high-tech weaponry that so emboldens
Pentagon bureaucrats is largely useless, and the
grinding work of counterinsurgency is done the
old-fashioned way--by hand. Not surprisingly, most of
the American GIs stuck with the job are weary,
frustrated and ready to go home.

It is noon and the mercury is hanging steady at 115
Fahrenheit. The filmmaker Garrett Scott and I are
"embedded" with Alpha Company of the Third Battalion
of the 124th Infantry, a Florida National Guard unit
about half of whom did time in the regular Army, often
with elite groups like the Rangers. Like most
frontline troops in Iraq, the majority are white but
there is a sizable minority of African-American and
Latino soldiers among them. Unlike most combat units,
about 65 percent are college students--they've traded
six years with the Guard for tuition at Florida State.
Typically, that means occasional weekends in the
Everglades or directing traffic during hurricanes.
Instead, these guys got sent to Iraq, and as yet they
have no sure departure date.

Mobilized in December, they crossed over from Kuwait
on day one of the invasion and are now bivouacked in
the looted remains of a Republican Guard officers'
club, a modernist slab of polished marble and tinted
glass that the GIs have fortified with plywood,
sandbags and razor wire.

Behind "the club" is a three-story dormitory, a warren
of small one-bedroom apartments, each holding a
nine-man squad of soldiers and all their gear. Around
200 guys are packed in here. Their sweaty fatigues
drape the banisters of the exterior stairway, while
inside the cramped, dark rooms the floors are covered
with cots, heaps of flak vests, guns and, where
possible, big tin, water-based air-conditioners called
swamp coolers. Surrounding the base is a chaotic
working-class neighborhood of two- and three-story
cement homes and apartment buildings. Not far away is
the muddy Tigris River.

This company limits patrols to three or four hours a
day. For the many hours in between, the guys pull
guard duty, hang out in their cavelike rooms or work
out in a makeshift weight room.

"We're getting just a little bit stir-crazy," explains
the lanky Sergeant Sellers. His demeanor is typical of
the nine-man squad we have been assigned to, friendly
but serious, with a wry and angry sense of humor. On
the side of his helmet Sellers has, in violation of
regs, attached the unmistakable pin and ring of a hand
grenade. Next to it is written, "Pull Here."

Leaning back on a cot, he's drawing a large, intricate
pattern on a female mannequin leg. The wall above him
displays a photo collage of pictures retrieved from a
looted Iraqi women's college. Smiling young ladies
wearing the hijab sip sodas and stroll past buses.
They seem to be on some sort of field trip. Nearby are
photos clipped from Maxim, of coy young American girls
offering up their pert round bottoms. Dominating it
all is a large hand-drawn dragon and a photo of
Jessica Lynch with a bubble caption reading: "Hi, I am
a war hero. And I think that weapons maintenance is
totally unimportant."

The boys don't like Lynch and find the story of her
rescue ridiculous. They'd been down the same road a
day earlier and are unsympathetic. "We just feel that
it's unfair and kind of distorted the way the whole
Jessica, quote, 'rescue' thing got hyped," explains
Staff Sgt. Kreed Howell. He is in charge of the squad,
and at 31 a bit older than most of his men. Muscular
and clean-cut, Howell is a relaxed and natural leader,
with the gracious bearing of a proper Southern

"In other words, you'd have to be really fucking dumb
to get lost on the road," says another, less
diplomatic soldier.

Specialist John Crawford sits in a tiny, windowless
supply closet that is loaded with packs and gear. He
is two credits short of a BA in anthropology and wants
to go to graduate school. Howell, a Republican,
amicably describes Crawford as the squad's house

There's just enough extra room in the closet for
Crawford, a chair and a little shelf on which sits a
laptop. Hanging by this makeshift desk is a
handwritten sign from "the management" requesting that
soldiers masturbating in the supply closet "remove
their donations in a receptacle." Instead of watching
pornography DVDs, Crawford is here to finish a short
story. "Trying to start writing again," he says.

Crawford is a fan of Tim O'Brien, particularly The
Things They Carried. We chat, then he shows me his
short story. It's about a vet who is back home in
north Florida trying to deal with the memory of having
accidentally blown away a child while serving in Iraq.

Later in the cramped main room, Sellers and Sergeant
Brunelle, another one of the squad's more gregarious
and dominant personalities, are matter-of-factly
showing us digital photos of dead Iraqis.

"These guys shot at some of our guys, so we lit 'em
up. Put two .50-cal rounds in their vehicle. One went
through this dude's hip and into the other guy's
head," explains Brunelle. The third man in the car
lived. "His buddy was crying like a baby. Just sitting
there bawling with his friend's brains and skull
fragments all over his face. One of our guys came up
to him and is like: 'Hey! No crying in baseball!'"

"I know that probably sounds sick," says Sellers, "but
humor is the only way you can deal with this shit."

And just below the humor is volcanic rage. These guys
are proud to be soldiers and don't want to come across
as whiners, but they are furious about what they've
been through. They hate having their lives disrupted
and put at risk. They hate the military for its
stupidity, its feckless lieutenants and blowhard brass
living comfortably in Saddam's palaces. They hate
Iraqis--or, as they say, "hajis"--for trying to kill
them. They hate the country for its dust, heat and
sewage-clogged streets. They hate having killed
people. Some even hate the politics of the war. And
because most of them are, ultimately, just regular
well-intentioned guys, one senses the distinct fear
that someday a few may hate themselves for what they
have been forced to do here.

Added to such injury is insult: The military treats
these soldiers like unwanted stepchildren. This unit's
rifles are retooled hand-me-downs from Vietnam. They
have inadequate radio gear, so they buy their own
unencrypted Motorola walkie-talkies. The same goes for
flashlights, knives and some components for
night-vision sights. The low-performance Iraqi
air-conditioners and fans, as well as the one
satellite phone and payment cards shared by the whole
company for calling home, were also purchased out of
pocket from civilian suppliers.

Bottled water rations are kept to two liters a day.
After that the guys drink from "water buffaloes"--big,
hot chlorination tanks that turn the amoeba-infested
dreck from the local taps into something like
swimming-pool water. Mix this with powdered Gatorade
and you can wash down a famously bad MRE (Meal Ready
to Eat).

To top it all off they must endure the pathologically
uptight culture of the Army hierarchy. The Third of
the 124th is now attached to the newly arrived First
Armored Division, and when it is time to raid
suspected resistance cells it's the Guardsmen who have
to kick in the doors and clear the apartments.

QUOT-The First AD wants us to catch bullets for them
but won't give us enough water, doesn't let us wear
do-rags and makes us roll down our shirt sleeves so we
look proper! Can you believe that shit?" Sergeant
Sellers is pissed off.

The soldiers' improvisation extends to food as well.
After a month or so of occupying "the club," the
company commander, Captain Sanchez, allowed two Iraqi
entrepreneurs to open shop on his side of the
wire--one runs a slow Internet cafe, the other a kebab
stand where the "Joes" pay US dollars for grilled lamb
on flat bread.

"The haji stand is one of the only things we have to
look forward to, but the First AD keeps getting scared
and shutting it down." Sellers is on a roll, but he's
not alone.

Even the lighthearted Howell, who insists that the
squad has it better than most troops, chimes in. "The
one thing I will say is that we have been here
entirely too long. If I am not home by Christmas my
business will fail." Back "on earth" (in Panama City,
Florida), Howell is a building contractor, with a
wife, two small children, equipment, debts and

Perhaps the most shocking bit of military incompetence
is the unit's lack of formal training in what's called
"close-quarter combat." The urbanized mayhem of
Mogadishu may loom large in the discourse of the
military's academic journals like Parameters and the
Naval War College Review, but many US infantrymen are
trained only in large-scale, open-country
maneuvers--how to defend Germany from a wave of
Russian tanks.

So, since "the end of the war" these guys have had to
retrain themselves in the dark arts of urban combat.
"The houses here are small, too," says Brunelle. "Once
you're inside you can barely get your rifle up. You
got women screaming, people, furniture everywhere.
It's insane."

By now this company has conducted scores of raids,
taken fire on the street, taken casualties, taken
rocket-propelled grenade attacks to the club and are
defiantly proud of the fact that they have essentially
been abandoned, survived, retrained themselves and can
keep a lid on their little piece of Baghdad. But it's
not always the Joes who have the upper hand.
Increasingly, Haji seems to sets the agenda.

A thick black plume of smoke rises from Karrada
Street, a popular electronics district where US
patrols often buy air-conditioners and DVDs. An
American Humvee, making just such a stop, has been
blown to pieces by a remote-activated "improvised
explosive device," or IED, buried in the median
between two lanes of traffic. By chance two colleagues
and I are the first press on the scene. The street is
empty of traffic and quiet except for the local
shopkeepers, who occasionally call out to us in Arabic
and English: "Be careful."

Finally we get close enough to see clearly. About
twenty feet away is a military transport truck and a
Humvee, and beyond that are the flaming remains of a
third Humvee. A handful of American soldiers are
crouched behind the truck, totally still. There's no
firing, no yelling, no talking, no radio traffic. No
one is screaming, but two GIs are down. As yet there
are no reinforcements or helicopters overhead. All one
can hear is the burning of the Humvee.

Then it begins: The ammunition in the burning Humvee
starts to explode and the troops in the street start
firing. Armored personnel carriers arrive and disgorge
dozens of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to join the
fight. The target is a three-story office building
just across from the engulfed Humvee. Occasionally we
hear a few rounds of return fire pass by like hot
razors slashing straight lines through the air. The
really close rounds just sound like loud cracks.

"That's Kalashnikov. I know the voice," says Ahmed,
our friend and translator. There is a distinct note of
national pride in his voice--his countrymen are
fighting back--never mind the fact that we are now
mixed in with the most forward US troops and getting
shot at.

The firefight goes on for about two hours, moving
slowly and methodically. It is in many ways an
encapsulation of the whole war--confusing and
labor-intensive. The GIs have more firepower than they
can use, and they don't even know exactly where or who
the enemy is. Civilians are hiding in every corner,
the ground floor of the target building is full of
merchants and shoppers, and undisciplined fire could
mean scores of dead civilians.

There are two GIs on the ground, one with his legs
gone and probably set to die. When a medevac
helicopter arrives just overhead, it, too, like much
other technology, is foiled. The street is
crisscrossed with electrical wires and there is no way
the chopper can land to extract the wounded. The
soldiers around us look grave and tired.

Eventually some Bradley fighting vehicles start
pounding the building with mean 250-millimeter cannon
shells. Whoever might have been shooting from upstairs
is either dead or gone.

The street is now littered with overturned
air-conditioners, fans and refrigerators. A cooler of
sodas sits forlorn on the sidewalk. Farther away two
civilians lie dead, caught in the crossfire. A soldier
peeks out from the hatch of a Bradley and calls over
to a journalist, "Hey, can you grab me one of those

After the shootout we promised ourselves we'd stay out
of Humvees and away from US soldiers. But that was
yesterday. Now Crawford is helping us put on body
armor and soon we'll be on patrol. As we move out with
the nine soldiers the mood is somewhere between tense
and bored. Crawford mockingly introduces himself to no
one in particular: "John Crawford, I work in
population reduction."

QUOT-Watch the garbage--if you see wires coming out of
a pile it's an IED," warns Howell. The patrol is
uneventful. We walk fast through back streets and
rubbish-strewn lots, pouring sweat in the late
afternoon heat. Local residents watch the small squad
with a mixture of civility, indifference and open
hostility. An Iraqi man shouts, "When? When? When?
Go!" The soldiers ignore him.

"Sometimes we sham," explains one of the guys. "We'll
just go out and kick it behind some wall. Watch what's
going on but skip the walking. And sometimes at night
we get sneaky-deaky. Creep up on Haji, so he knows
we're all around."

"I am just walking to be walking," says the laconic
Fredrick Pearson, a k a "Diddy," the only
African-American in Howell's squad. Back home he works
in the State Supreme Court bureaucracy and plans to go
to law school. "I just keep an eye on the rooftops,
look around and walk."

The patrols aren't always peaceful. One soldier
mentions that he recently "kicked the shit out of a
12-year-old kid" who menaced him with a toy gun.

Later we roll with the squad on another patrol, this
time at night and in two Humvees. Now there's more
evident hostility from the young Iraqi men loitering
in the dark. Most of these infantry soldiers don't
like being stuck in vehicles. At a blacked-out corner
where a particularly large group of youths are
clustered, the Humvees stop and Howell bails out into
the crowd. There is no interpreter along tonight.

"Hey, guys! What's up? How y'all doing? OK? Everything
OK? All right?" asks Howell in his jaunty, laid-back
north Florida accent. The sullen young men fade away
into the dark, except for two, who shake the
sergeant's hand. Howell's attempt to take the high
road, winning hearts and minds, doesn't seem to be for
show. He really believes in this war. But in the
torrid gloom of the Baghdad night, his efforts seem
tragically doomed.

Watching Howell I think about the civilian technocrats
working with Paul Bremer at the Coalition Provisional
Authority; the electricity is out half the time, and
these folks hold meetings on how best to privatize
state industries and end food rations. Meanwhile, the
city seethes. The Pentagon, likewise, seems to have no
clear plan; its troops are stretched thin, lied to and
mistreated. The whole charade feels increasingly
patched together, poorly improvised. Ultimately,
there's very little that Howell and his squad can do
about any of this. After all, it's not their war. They
just work here.

Christian Parenti is the author, most recently, of The
Soft Cage: Surveillance in America From Slavery to the
War on Terror (Basic) and a fellow at City University
of New York's Center for Place, Culture, and Politics.

Copyright © 2003 The Nation

Posted by richard at 03:18 PM

BBC 'in deep trouble' over licence renewal

The BBC is in "deep trouble" and faces a tough battle to get its licence fee renewed in the wake of the Hutton inquiry, the head of the independent television commission warned today.,7493,1045723,00.html

BBC 'in deep trouble' over licence renewal

Lisa O'Carroll
Friday September 19, 2003

Hodgson: BBC's case 'substantially worse' than last
time round

The BBC is in "deep trouble" and faces a tough battle
to get its licence fee renewed in the wake of the
Hutton inquiry, the head of the independent television
commission warned today.
And the head of one of Britain's biggest independent
TV companies declared that the "game is up" for the
board of governors because of the hasty way they
handled the row over Andrew Gilligan's controversial
Today programme report.

Patricia Hodgson, who was one of former BBC director
general Lord Birt's closest aides and was instrumental
in winning the last licence fee settlement from the
government, said she feared the corporation's case was
"substantially worse" than last time round.

She is a staunch supporter of the BBC but warned that
neither management nor the governors can be complacent
in their battle to have licence fee funding renewed
when the current royal charter expires in 2006.

"The BBC position is very substantially worse this
time round. We have had seven years of a united and
competitive attack on the last settlement [licence

"That's combined with the fact the two major parties
are probably feeling pretty sore - the BBC is in deep
trouble when it comes to the next charter."

The BBC has this week been left increasingly
vulnerable to attack after two of its most senior
managers - the director general, Greg Dyke, and head
of news Richard Sambrook - both admitted to a series
of mistakes in the wake of Gilligan's report.

Mr Dyke promised a review of BBC journalistic
practices while Mr Sambrook admitted further checks
should have been carried out on Gilligan's story
before it went out.

Gilligan, who reported that the government had "sexed
up" the Iraq intelligence dossier, also admitted to a
catalogue of mistakes, confessing to the Hutton
inquiry this week that he had not "carefully and
accurately" reported what the dead weapons inspector
David Kelly told him.

Today, in a heated debate at the Royal Television
Society conference in Cambridge, Ms Hodgson warned the
BBC could no longer "assume" that Labour would just go
along and "tick the box" for licence fee renewal.

"I think it has got to look very closely at every
single element of the licence fee contract. It has to
look at the balance of programmes; the standard of
journalism and its commercial activities," she warned.

Ms Hodgson's remarks come less than 24 hours after the
culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, announced a "root and
branch" review of the corporation.

The BBC fears at worst that there the licence fee will
either not be renewed or will be renewed at a level
below inflation - causing an effective drop in income.

Others believe it will get its licence fee renewed but
it will emerge far from unscathed from the review
process, with the board of governors losing some
regulatory powers to Ofcom or abolished altogether.

Peter Bazalgette, the head of Endemol Television,
called for the current system of regulation to be

He said the Hutton inquiry had shown the governors
were management poodles, echoing one governor who in
private correspondence during the Gilligan row warned
that the board should not be seen to be a management

Mr Bazalgette said: "This is all about the Hutton
inquiry. Can the BBC governors be both cheerleaders
and regulators? That up to now has been an esoteric
argument that most people didn't understand. After
Hutton everyone understands the issue.

"Everyone understands that the BBC [board] has long
been captured by the people they are supposed to

In reference to a psychological syndrome whereby a
kidnap victim becomes sympathetic with their captor,
he added: "In fact, they've not been so much captured,
they've gone for the full Stockholm Syndrome."

Mr Bazalgette defended the BBC's right to do the
Gilligan story and said management were right to back
the report, but added that the governors were wrong to
rush into judgment.

"Post Hutton, for the governors the game is up - the
system has been exposed as a sham. This has not just
been an isolated mistake, it was an accident waiting
to happen.

"The governors are delivering the BBC into government

The BBC also came under fire from the former head of
ITV, David Liddiment.

He described the system of BBC regulation as
"dysfunctional", pointing to occasions when the board
of governors ordered one thing - such as improved arts
coverage on BBC1 - and management did another, in this
case scrap Omnibus.

The corporation was defended by Professor Stephen
Barnet from the University of Westminster, who said
the governors couldn't be crucified for doing
something they knew instinctively to be right.

He said that a time when the corporation was coming
under relentless attack by Alastair Campbell and Tony
Blair over its war coverage the BBC governors were
"merely protecting the institution from an
intimidating and bullying government".

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or phone 020 7239 9857

Posted by richard at 03:17 PM

Jowell stands up for BBC's independence

"The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, has delivered a strong defence of the BBC's right to report anti-government views during times of war, as pressure grows on the corporation's governors over the David Kelly affair. ",3605,1045894,00.html

Jowell stands up for BBC's independence

Minister's defence comes as high-profile television
executive labels corporation's governance a 'sham'

Matt Wells, media correspondent
Saturday September 20, 2003
The Guardian

The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, has delivered a
strong defence of the BBC's right to report
anti-government views during times of war, as pressure
grows on the corporation's governors over the David
Kelly affair.
Ms Jowell said the BBC should be firmly independent of
government, amid calls from elsewhere in government -
particularly from within No 10 and from other media -
for the corporation to be reined in. Peter Bazalgette,
a prominent independent programme-maker, said the
Hutton inquiry had exposed the system of BBC
governance as a "sham".

In the face of this pressure, Ms Jowell made a strong
case for the BBC's continued independence. "Clem
Attlee wanted greater freedom for the BBC, arguing
that even in wartime the BBC must be allowed to
broadcast opinions other than those of government.
That was right then, and it is now," Ms Jowell said in
a speech to senior broadcasting figures. Her remarks
come against the backdrop of one of the most serious
rifts in relations between the BBC and the government
in the corporation's history, and could be interpreted
as a shot across the bows of Downing Street.

The BBC believes No 10's explosive reaction to Andrew
Gilligan's story about the "sexed up" Iraq dossier was
motivated by frustration over its war coverage. Even
before Gilligan reported the concerns of the weapons
expert, BBC executives were being bombarded by
complaints from Alastair Campbell at No 10 about the
many aspects of the corporation's war coverage.

Ms Jowell made her comments at the Royal Television
Society's biennial Cambridge convention in a speech
late on Thursday night - delivered by her broadcasting
minister Lord McIntosh, because she was stuck in
traffic. She announced a review of the BBC's role and
purpose in the run-up to the expiry of its current
royal charter in 2006, but said: "One certain outcome
will be a strong BBC, independent of government."

One official in the Depart ment for Culture said Ms
Jowell saw the review as a means by which to take the
heat out of the row between No 10 and the BBC. Ms
Jowell has appointed an independent adviser to inform
the process, the Abbey National chairman, Lord Burns.
He is a close friend of the former BBC director
general Lord Birt, now a Downing Street adviser.

At the convention yesterday, the governors were
attacked for supporting the BBC management over the
Gilligan story. Mr Bazalgette, chairman of Endemol UK,
which pro duces Big Brother, Fame Academy and
Restoration, said: "This is all about Hutton. Can the
BBC governors be both cheerleaders and regulators?

"That, up to now, has been an esoteric argument that
most people didn't understand. After Hutton, everyone
understands this issue. Everyone understands that the
BBC governors have long been captured by the people
they are supposed to regulate. In fact, they have not
so much been captured, they have gone for the full
Stockholm syndrome.

"Post-Hutton, for the gover nors, the game is up. The
system has been exposed as a sham. They haven't made
an isolated mistake, it was an accident waiting to

Mr Bazalgette said that, as confidence in the
governors diminished, ministers would step into the
breach. "The governors are delivering the BBC into
government control."

Patricia Hodgson, chief executive of the independent
television commission and a former director of policy
and strategy at the BBC, said: "The BBC is in deep
trouble when it comes to the next charter review. It
has got its work cut out."

Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, would only
say: "She's entitled to her view. I don't share it."

· BSkyB said yesterday it might turn its Sky Travel
channel into a general entertainment network - dubbed
Channel 6 - to rival ITV, Channel 4 and Five if the
Freeview digital terrestrial service, on which it is
currently shown, became widespread.

Posted by richard at 03:16 PM

Kennedy stands by criticism of Bush on Iraq

A man with nothing to lose...
Under fire from Republicans on Friday, Sen. Edward Kennedy defended his harsh criticism of President Bush's policy on Iraq, in which he charged that the threat from Saddam Hussein was exaggerated by the administration for political purposes. "This is a failed, flawed, bankrupt policy," the Massachusetts Democrat said on CNN's "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics." "The American people want answers."

Kennedy stands by criticism of Bush on Iraq
DeLay says Democratic senator 'went too far'
By Sean Loughlin
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Under fire from Republicans on
Friday, Sen. Edward Kennedy defended his harsh
criticism of President Bush's policy on Iraq, in which
he charged that the threat from Saddam Hussein was
exaggerated by the administration for political
purposes. "This is a failed, flawed, bankrupt policy,"
the Massachusetts Democrat said on CNN's "Judy
Woodruff's Inside Politics." "The American people want

Kennedy spoke in the wake of an interview with The
Associated Press in which he said the threat from Iraq
was concocted to suit the administration's political

"There was no imminent threat," Kennedy told the AP.
"This was made up in Texas, announced in January to
the Republican leadership that war was going to take
place and was going to be good politically. This whole
thing was a fraud."

Kennedy also said Bush is "bribing" world leaders to
send troops to Iraq. Republicans have challenged the
lawmaker to offer proof of that charge.

Kennedy's comments were denounced by leading
congressional Republicans, including House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay of Texas.

DeLay said Kennedy "went too far" and he called on
Democrats to repudiate Kennedy's comments.

"It's disturbing that Democrats have spewed more
hateful rhetoric at President Bush than they ever did
at Saddam Hussein," DeLay said in a written statement.

But Kennedy would not back down and said Republicans
attack the patriotism of those who question White
House policies.

"The fact is the American people are asking the
questions," Kennedy told CNN.

The Senate's leading liberal said the administration
needs to better explain how it aims to restore the
peace in Iraq and how much the reconstruction effort
will cost.

Kennedy has been a consistent and persistent critic of
the administration's policy toward Iraq. He repeatedly
raised questions about the need to go to war before
the U.S.-led invasion of that country in March, and he
was one of 23 senators who opposed the resolution last
year that authorized Bush to go to war. He has since
called on Bush to work more closely with other nations
in reconstructing Iraq.

On Monday, the White House sent Congress its $87
billion budget request for military operations and
reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan next year.

At the State Department, a senior official took issue
with Kennedy's comments.

"To say they were acting in bad faith is quite a
serious charge," the official said. "You can take
issue with the policy, but to attack character and
integrity is serious and uncalled for."

CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash and State
Department producer Elise Labott contributed to this

Find this article at:


Check the box to include the list of links referenced
in the article.

Posted by richard at 03:15 PM

White House is Ambushed by Criticism from America's Military Community

Here it is. The beginning of the end. Those seeking to
be annointed as the anti-Bush for the 2004 election
MUST begin to show the courage of Sen. Edward Kennedy
(D-Camelot) and of US soldiers like Tim Predmore...
"I once believed that I served for a cause: 'To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States'. Now I no longer believe that," Tim Predmore, a member of the 101st Airborne Division serving near Mosul, wrote in a blistering opinion piece this week for his home newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. "I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies."

Published on Saturday, September 20, 2003 by the

White House is Ambushed by Criticism from America's Military Community
by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles

George Bush probably owes his presidency to the
absentee military voters who nudged his tally in
Florida decisively past Al Gore's. But now, with Iraq
in chaos and the reasons for going to war there mired
in controversy, an increasingly disgruntled military
poses perhaps the gravest immediate threat to his
political future, just one year before the
presidential elections.

From Vietnam veterans to fresh young recruits, from
seasoned officers to anxious mothers worried about
their sons' safety on the streets of Baghdad and
Fallujah, the military community is growing ever more
vocal in its opposition to the White House.

"I once believed that I served for a cause: 'To uphold
and defend the Constitution of the United States'. Now
I no longer believe that," Tim Predmore, a member of
the 101st Airborne Division serving near Mosul, wrote
in a blistering opinion piece this week for his home
newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. "I can
no longer justify my service for what I believe to be
half-truths and bold lies."

The dissenters - many of whom have risked deep
disapproval from the military establishment to voice
their opinions - have set up websites with names such
as Bring Them Home Now. They have cried foul at
administration plans to cut veterans' benefits and
scale back combat pay for troops still in Iraq. They
were furious at President Bush for reacting to
military deaths in Iraq with the phrase "bring 'em

And they have given politically embarrassing
prominence to such issues as the inefficiency of
civilian contractors hired to provide shelter, water
and food - many of them contributors to the Bush
campaign coffers - and a mystery outbreak of
respiratory illnesses that many soldiers, despite
official denials, believe is related to the use of
depleted uranium munitions.

"It is time to speak out because our troops are still
dying and our government is still lying," Candace
Robison, a 27-year-old mother of two from Krum, Texas,
and a politically active serviceman's wife, told a
recent protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch.
"Morale is at an all-time low and our heroes feel like
they've been forgotten."

How deep the anti-Bush sentiment runs is not yet
clear, but there is no doubt about its breadth.
Charlie Richardson, co-founder of a group called
Military Families Speak Out, said: "Our supporters
range from pacifists to people from long military
traditions who have supported every war this country
has ever fought - until this one.

"Many people supported this war at the beginning
because they believed the threat from weapons of mass
destruction and accepted the link between Saddam
Hussein and al-Qa'ida ... Now they realize their
beliefs were built on quicksand. They are very angry
with the administration and feel they've been duped."

Most of the disgruntlement expressed in the field has
of necessity been anonymous, so Tim Predmore's
counterblast in the Peoria Journal Star felt
particularly powerful. Having been in the army for
five years, he is just finishing his tour of duty in
Iraq. He wrote that he now believes the Iraq war was
about oil, not freedom, "an act not of justice but of

"We have all faced death in Iraq without reason or
justification," he added. "How many more must die? How
many more tears must be shed before Americans awake
and demand the return of the men and women whose job
it is to protect them rather than their leader's

Less visible, but no less passionate, has been the
ongoing voicing of grievances over the internet. A
prominent military affairs specialist, David
Hackworth, keeps a website filled with angry
reflections on conditions in Iraq for both the
military and the local civilian population, and the
government that put the troops there. "Imagine this
bastard getting away with such crap if we had a
draftee army," runs one typically scabrous anti-Bush
line from Mr Hackworth.

More considered analysis is also available online,
such as this reflection from a 23-year-old serving in
the US Air Force, who wonders what the Iraq mess is
going to do to the future of the US military: "The
powers that be are destroying our military from the
inside, especially our Army.

"How many of these people that are 'stranded' (for
lack of a better term) in Iraq are going to re-enlist?
How many that haven't deployed are going to re-enlist
... how many families are going to be destroyed?" he

One big rallying point for the critics is the
Pentagon's budget plan, which proposes cutting $1.8
billion (£1.1bn) from veterans' health benefits and
reducing combat pay from the current $225 a month to
$150, which is where it stood until the Iraq war began
in the spring. The budget will not be finalized until
later this month, and the White House - embarrassed by
editorials in the Army Times and by news stories in
the mainstream press throughout America - says it
won't insist on the combat pay cutback.

Another rallying point is the lack of official
explanation for more than 100 cases of respiratory
illness in the Middle East. According to the Pentagon,
19 soldiers have required mechanical ventilation and
two have died. Military personnel believe the use of
depleted uranium may have played a part in this
mystery illness.

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


Posted by richard at 03:14 PM

September 19, 2003

Bill Moyers' NOW interview with 9/11 widows

The LNS promised you the transcript of the
extraordinary 9/11 widows interview that Bill Moyers'
NOW ran last Friday night. I did not forget the
promise. The NOW web site only had a partial
transcript last week, disturbingly the most explosive
parts of the interview were NOT included. I e-mailed
NOW and they answered back saying it would be a few
days but the whole transcript would be
published...Here it is...Please share it with
others...These women should be heard. They put the
White House press corp and the Democratic
congressional leadership to shame...

ANNOUNCER: Once again, David Brancaccio.

BRANCACCIO: In the two years since September 11,
there's been no shortage of wild conspiracy theories
about what happened that day.

It's all out there on the Internet: it was Israeli
fanatics, the big oil companies, the U.S. military
using remote controlled planes in some attempted coup.

Our researchers found hundreds of conspiracy Web
sites, some sickening, some just plain dumb.

It brings to mind the dark days after the
assassination of J.F.K. when grand conspiracy theories
were also spawned in an atmosphere of confusion and
secrecy about the government investigation.

Since 9/11, the FBI alone has conducted 180,000
interviews. But we still haven't heard and may never
know the whole truth. In the absence of fact, rumor
takes over.

Four New Jersey women are determined to change that.
Before 9/11, these women's lives revolved around
family and children. But, when their husbands died
that day, they were transformed into political
activists on a mission.

And leaders in Washington are listening.

Our story is reported by NPR correspondent Daniel
Zwerdling with NOW producers William Brangham and
Andrew Fredericks.

KLEINBERG: Whenever there's a tragedy, you think, "How
could this have happened?"

CASAZZA: I had faith in all of my leaders on September
10th that they were doing the best jobs that they
could to protect the lives of my loved ones, my
friends, my countrymen.

VAN AUKEN: I didn't understand that I needed to look
at the bigger picture.

BREITWEISER: I've turned into a very disenchanted,
fully awake, no longer naïve person, who's extremely

ZWERDLING: Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza, Lori van
Auken, Kristen Breitweiser. These women banded
together after their husbands were killed, and now
they're leading a campaign to find out exactly how did
9-11 happen? And exactly what's the government doing
to prevent another attack?

A lot of people think, we already know what happened
on 9-11. It's been all over the news, and beside,
Congress just released this investigative report about
it couple months ago.

But this country has barely begun to learn the truth
about 9-11… that's what the women say. And they want
to make sure we eventually hear it.

BREITWEISER: We have no expertise. But what we have is
a passion, and a drive to right the wrongs. And to fix
the problems. And to find the truth.

ZWERDLING: Mindy Kleinberg remembers the moment when
she realized some people don't want the truth.

KLEINBERG: On September 12th, when I was still looking
for my husband, thinking that he was gonna somehow
come home, 100 airline lobbyists went to Washington,
okay, and lobbied for them to be protected...against

ZWERDLING: Congress was about to pass a law that
compensated victims' families … but it also severely
restricted their rights to sue the airlines. People
like Mindy Kleinberg worried that they might never be
able to force the airlines to go to court, to disclose
everything they knew about 9/11.

Leaders in Congress said, "Don't worry, we're going to
investigate 9-11." So the women were stunned when
President Bush convinced Congress to back off. He
reportedly told congressional leaders that a sweeping
investigation might distract from the government's war
on terrorism.

As a result, the congressional investigation focused
mainly on the FBI and CIA. They never examined what
the airlines, or the immigration service, or the White
House did or didn't do. Then the women heard that some
frustrated legislators were trying to launch another,
broader investigation. But the President and his
allies in Congress were trying to block that. That's
when the women got together and said, "Let's organize
a protest in Washington."

BREITWEISER: We went to Home Depot because we knew we
needed signs. And we are in the line, you know, the
aisle of Home Depot handsawing slat of wood, which was
very comical because we had all the people in Home
Depot looking at us like we were maniacs because we
were slicing up, you know, 50 slats of wood and really
didn't know how to do it and no one was helping us.

ZWERDLING: Eventually they figured it out, and they
held their rally in Washington. Hundreds of people
showed up, including some U.S. Senators.

Kristin Breitweiser asked the whole country for

BREITWEISER: We need a full independent investigation.
We must ask the tough questions and seek out the
difficult answers. We must as a country grow and be
made stronger and safer by the bitter lessons learned
on September 11.

ZWERDLING: Mindy Kleinberg took to the podium too.

KLEINBERG: We are asking you America to stand behind
us. Please, pick up the phone. Call your senators.
Call your congressman. Tell them that you want to be
safe. Tell them that you want an independent

ZWERDLING: Not long after that, the White House
called. And the President's aides said they wanted to
talk. In fact, the New Jersey women and a handful of
other survivors had a series of meetings at the White
House. Some were reportedly rather heated.

But in the end, President Bush changed his position.
And Congress agreed to launch a new, independent
commission to investigate 9-11. The commission is
supposed to probe every corner of government and then
recommend how it needs to change.

Tim Roemer is a member of this commission. He's a
former democratic congressman. Roemer says the
commission wouldn't exist if it weren't for the four
New Jersey widows.

ROEMER: One of most influential things that they did
for me was not only dig into facts and give me
knowledge, but really inspire me. Both with their
effort to move forward and say, "We're not giving up.
We will never give up. We are going to make government
be accountable and we are going to get answers."

ZWERDLING: Roemer was also part of the earlier
congressional investigation.

ROEMER: One of the women, Kristen Breitweiser, was in
my office. And she said to me, "Tim, we need you to be
our prosecutor. We need you to not just ask the tough
questions, but to knock down the doors." And she said,
"I have a wedding ring," and she took it off her
finger. And she handed it to me.

She said, "You hold this. Where do you think I got
this?" And I said, "Maybe Ron gave that to you," and
fumbled. I didn't know. And she said, "A couple months
after 9/11 they found that ring that's in your hand.
That's all I have left of my husband. And they found
that ring on a finger. And I have a three year old.
And I want to be able to tell her someday what
happened to her father and what happened to the

That's what we're trying to do on this 9/11

ZWERDLING: But the New Jersey women figured they
couldn't just trust that the commission would dig up
the truth… so they started digging on their own.

They gathered mountains of information from the
Internet and old newspapers. They took their binders
to Washington. They met with members of Congress and
spent days in hearings. They compared what different
officials said, and began to find discrepancies and

For instance: government officials say they can't
establish an exact timeline for the events on 9-11.
They can't even confirm exactly what time each plane
was hijacked… or exactly what time they learned that
the planes were hijacked.

KLEINBERG: I sat in that hearing, and a Lieutenant
Colonel at NORAD is saying that, "You know, the times
in the log book that we have written down might not be
the exact time that the event happened. It could have
just been when the person went and logged it in."

And I'm thinking, This is the military. Aren't these
the guys that say "0-eight-hundred," and you know,
have everything to the second? And you know, is that
not what we know about them?

And now you have this catastrophic event, and you got
a call in about a hijacking, and it didn't get logged
at the exact time? I mean, it doesn't make common

ZWERDLING: The women found government documents that
spell out exactly what officials are supposed to do
the moment that a plane goes off course or cuts off
its signals to ground control… or does anything
unexpected. And they read that NORAD sent up fighter
jets dozens of times in the year before the attack to
check out erratic aircraft. So the women wondered,
what happened on 9-11?

BREITWEISER: On the morning of September 11th we had
four planes drastically off their flight path
transponders disconnected and the FAA procedure and
protocol to notify NORAD and for NORAD to scramble
fighter jets were not followed. And it wasn't like
they all happened in the course of an hour. What I
think is very frustrating is looking back when I speak
to people they say, "Well it happened in such a short
span of time."

It did not happen. It happened over the course of two
hours. You're telling me over the course of two hours
Andrews Air Force Base in the Washington, DC area
which houses F-16s which fly cover for Air Force One
could not get a plane up in the air to cover the

ZWERDLING: The more the women searched for answers,
the more they learned how the system works. For
instance, the more you appear in the media, the more
the world comes to you.

BREITWEISER: Because of our work being reported in the
papers we had people reaching out to us. We met with
an air traffic controller from Newark who flat out
said to us, "Look, you know. I don't know what
happened. All he could tell us is that the FBI showed
up, took all of their files, all of their recordings,
and walked out.

ZWERDLING: So the women decided to go to the top. They
and other survivors met with the head of the FBI,
Robert Mueller.

The way Breitweiser tells the story, Mueller started
showing them a PowerPoint presentation. She cut to the

BREITWEISER: And we said, "Director Mueller, you are
our chief investigator. We have information that you
have come in, and taken these files, taken these
recordings. We'd like to know what you learned from
them, we'd like to know where you are in your

ZWERDLING: So all four of you and other family members
are meeting with the Director of the FBI?

WOMEN: Right.

ZWERDLING: And were you… I mean you're sounding very
tough and forceful right now. Were you really talking
to the FBI Director like this?


ZWERDLING: Of course, the whole country's learned
since 9-11 about those FBI agents in Phoenix and
Minneapolis. They warned months before 9-11 that
suspicious Middle Eastern men were taking flight
training, including Zacarias Moussaoui, and the agents
warned that maybe they were terrorists planning an

Kristen Breitweiser says she wanted the FBI to clearly
explain: how could you have failed to put the pieces

BREITWEISER: I'm sitting there with a FBI agent who is
very high up. Not the director, but nonetheless very
high up in the FBI.

And I said to him, "I don't understand. You have the
Phoenix memo. You have Zacarias Moussaoui in custody.

"You had actually been to the flight school that you
picked up Zacarias Moussaoui at four or five times
before to investigate other individuals. One of those
individuals who happened to be a pilot for Osama bin
Laden himself. And you had the Phoenix memo alerting
you to the interest that these Middle Eastern men had
in flight schools. How is it that you didn't find them
prior to 9/11?"

So this agent says to me, "Do you know how many flight
schools there are in America? Thousands. Do you know
how many ground instructors there are? Thousands. And
you expected us to go to every single flight school to
find these handful of men?"

And I'm like, "Well, honestly, yes." So then I'm like,
"Okay, fine. I'll give you that. I'll give you that
you couldn't have hit every flight school." I'm like,
"Okay, fine."

"Well, how is it that if there's thousands of flight
schools and you could never have found them, how is it
that you went to Embry Riddle flight school in Daytona
Beach, Florida, hours after the attacks? If there's
thousands of flight schools, how did you just happen
to go to that one exact, perfect school that some of
the hijackers went to. How'd you know to go to that

And he just looked at me and goes, "We got lucky."

ZWERDLING: Breitweiser suspects that the FBI was
actually following the terrorists before 9-11. FBI
officials deny that. But the congressional
investigation discovered that some U.S. intelligence
officials did have crucial information about Al-Qaeda
and its plots years before 9/11. They even knew that
terrorists might be plotting to use airplanes as

For instance, in 1995, intelligence officials learned
that Al-Qaeda planned to crash a plane into CIA
headquarters. In 1998, they got warnings that
terrorists planned to crash a plane into the World
Trade Center. In the spring of 2000, the CIA knew that
an Al-Qaeda operative had moved from Malaysia to
California, and that another had a visa to come to the
United States. Those two would later hijack the plane
that crashed into the Pentagon. And just a month
before the 9-11 attacks, President Bush himself
learned at a briefing that Al-Qaeda might have plans
to hijack commercial airliners.

CASAZZA: If you watch these televised press reports —
and this is something that also angered us early on —
is you have Condoleeza Rice saying, "We could never
have anticipated planes being used as bombs."

RICE: I don't think anybody could have predicted that
these people would take an airplane and slam it into
the World Trade Center. Take another one and slam it
into the Pentagon.

BREITWEISER: If you reach a certain level in the
government or in private industry or anywhere,
incompetence should not fly. If you are incompetent in
any facet of your job, you should no longer be there.
And I don't understand why that feeling is not passed
on in Washington. I don't understand how George Tenet
could still have his job. I don't understand how
Robert Mueller could still have his job. I don't
understand how Condoleeza Rice could still have her


BREITWEISER: Why? Because they completely and utterly

ZWERDLING: The New Jersey women say they're getting
skeptical that the 9-11 commission can do its job. The
commission is supposed to dig up all the facts but the
commission's chairman has complained publicly that
Bush administration officials aren't cooperating.
They're not turning over key documents. The White
House won't let the commission interview government
employees unless there's a "minder" in the room.

Meanwhile, the women keep asking more questions that
they want the commission to resolve.

ZWERDLING: Can you think of any moments when the women
said to you, "We've just researched something, and
look at this. Look at this, Congressman Roemer." And
you said to yourself, "Wow, I didn't know that."

ROEMER: That happens on pretty much a weekly basis.
They're always telling me, "We need you to kick down
the doors. To be responsible. To be our prosecutor.
And get at the facts."

ZWERDLING: These women are a little bit direct.

ROEMER: They are aggressive. They are knowledgeable.
They are well-informed. And you need to be to get the
kind of answers that we must have to make this country
a safer place.

ZWERDLING: The women's crusade began in the aisles of
home depot. And it moved to the White House. They
started by examining the past, but now they're also
looking to the future. When will the Bush
administration give ports the money they need, for
inspections? When will the White House and Congress
reorganize the intelligence agencies? And what about
America's relationships with the rest of the world?

BREITWEISER: Before 9/11, you know, my husband and I
had the Wall Street Journal, Barron's and the New York
Times delivered to the house. And I would open the New
York Times, and I would skip the first… I'd read the
front page. And I'd skip the next three pages.

And those three pages were about the Middle East. And,
or you know, the Soviet bloc, or you know? I never
read them. And I never read them because I never
thought it mattered. And ironically enough, my husband
was killed by Middle Eastern terrorists. And I think
to myself, my God, I should have read those stupid
pages. I should have known who Osama Bin Laden was. I
should have known the name Al-Qaeda.

And I think that really for me, that's a wake up call.

VAN AUKEN: I thought democracy just worked. And I
learned that it doesn't go like that. That if you want
to live in this great country of ours, with our
fabulous democracy, and our Constitution, and, you
know, our different rights. Freedom of speech, and all
the things that we take for granted, you have to fight
for those things.


GROUP: Heavenly Father, we just thank you for this
day, Lord…

ANNOUNCER: Religious groups are getting your tax
dollars to run government programs for the needy.

JARAMILLO: We don't want to drag them to church. We
don't want to win them to Christ. We just want them to
have the tools they need.

ANNOUNCER: But do vulnerable people, who need help the
most, feel pressured to join in? The price of help,
next week on NOW.


Join the debate about big money in politics. Is it
drowning out your voice in Washington?

More on the world according to George Soros.

15 critical questions the 9/11 widows say the FBI and
CIA have yet to answer.

Connect to NOW at

BRANCACCIO: That's it for NOW. Bill Moyers will be
here next week. I'm David Brancaccio. Good night.

Posted by richard at 03:11 PM

Deutsch, Wexler seek probe into Saudi flights

"Out, out, damn spot!!!"
Two Democratic House members from South Florida, Peter Deutsch and Robert Wexler, are calling for an investigation into how Bush administration officials allowed about 140 Saudi nationals to leave the country in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Posted on Thu, Sep. 18, 2003

National Briefs

Deutsch, Wexler seek probe into Saudi flights

From Herald staff and wire services

Two Democratic House members from South Florida, Peter
Deutsch and Robert Wexler, are calling for an
investigation into how Bush administration officials
allowed about 140 Saudi nationals to leave the country
in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist

At a time when all private aviation was grounded, top
officials allowed charter flights to pick up Saudis
around the country and then leave for Saudi Arabia,
according to reports in Vanity Fair and The Tampa

The group included some members of the royal family
and some relatives of Osama bin Laden. The departures
occurred as investigators learned that 15 of the 19
hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi
Arabia, and some Saudi officials said they feared a
backlash against their citizens.

Deutsch and Wexler requested the General Accounting
Office to launch a formal investigation of the

''It is unconscionable that the Bush administration
would bypass long-standing national security measures
by urging the Saudis to repatriate 140 nationals the
day after the largest attack in U.S. history,'' Wexler

Posted by richard at 03:09 PM

Kennedy Says Case for War Built on 'Fraud'

This morning, the front page of USA TooLate featured a
story on the discovery of a giant prehistoric guinea
pig. Meanwhile, buried a few pages deeper into the
newspaper, there was a story on the political grenade
that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Camelot) hurled yesterdayA
story on the political grenade that Sen. Edward
Kennedy (D-Camelot) hurled yesterday, included as a
brief news item in a summary of news items. Yes, Sen.
Kennedy is a controversial political figure. But that
should just make the story even bigger. Sen. Kennedy
often does the dangerous political wet work that
others are afraid of...He has nothing to lose...You do
not have to agree with Jim Garrison and me to
understand what I am talking about...The charges of
fraud and bribery (i.e. "high crimes and
misdemeanors," yes up to and including in this case
treason) are now out there in the body
politic...”There is something rotten in…Waco,” and
wall to wall coverage of the Hurricane and the attack
of the Giant Prehistoric Guinea Pig will not drown it
out...Fascintating, too, that Kennedy launched his
incendiary on the day that Jordan's young King Abullah
(King Hussein's son)was standing, with a very sad and
worried demeanor, behind a podium at quite a distance
from the _resident as the _resident lambasted the
failed leadership of Arafat. Well, you do not have to
disagree with the characterization of Arafat to know
that without the failed leadership of the _resident
and Sharon the butcher, we would not be on the brink
of doubled-edged holocaust in the Middle East. Yes,
there is moral equivalency for the _resident, Sharon
and Arafat...

Published on Thursday, September 18, 2003 by the
Associated Press
Kennedy Says Case for War Built on 'Fraud'
by Steve LeBlanc

BOSTON - The case for going to war against Iraq was a
fraud "made up in Texas" to give Republicans a
political boost, Sen. Edward Kennedy said Thursday.

My belief is this money is being shuffled all around
to these political leaders in all parts of the world,
bribing them to send in troops.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy
also said the Bush administration has failed to
account for nearly half of the $4 billion the war is
costing each month. He said he believes much of the
unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign
leaders to send in troops.

He called the Bush administration's current Iraq
policy "adrift."

The White House declined to comment Thursday.

The Massachusetts Democrat also expressed doubts about
how serious a threat Saddam Hussein posed to the
United States in its battle against terrorism. He said
administration officials relied on "distortion,
misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to
justify their case for war.

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in
Texas, announced in January to the Republican
leadership that war was going to take place and was
going to be good politically. This whole thing was a
fraud," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said a recent report by the Congressional
Budget Office showed that only about $2.5 billion of
the $4 billion being spent monthly on the war can be
accounted for by the Bush administration. "My belief
is this money is being shuffled all around to these
political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing
them to send in troops," he said.

Of the $87 billion in new money requested by President
Bush for the war, Kennedy said the administration
should be required to report back to the Congress to
account for the spending.

"We want to support our troops because they didn't
make the decision to go there ... but I don't think it
should be open-ended. We ought to have a benchmark
where the administration has to come back and give us
a report," he added.

Kennedy said the focus on Iraq has drawn the nation's
attention away from more direct threats, including
al-Qaida, instability in Afghanistan or the nuclear
ambitions of North Korea.

"I think all of those pose a threat to the security of
the people of Massachusetts much more than the threat
from Iraq," Kennedy said. "Terror has been put on the
sidelines for the last 12 months."

Kennedy was one of 23 senators who voted last October
against authorizing Bush to use military force to
disarm Iraq.

Earlier this year, he supported a Democratic amendment
that would have delayed most of the president's
proposed tax cuts, and most spending increases, until
the administration provided cost estimates for the
Iraq war. The amendment failed.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press


Posted by richard at 03:08 PM

September 18, 2003

Losing Dollars and Sense in Iraq

Clark (D-NATO) has entered the race. Now we will see
what he is really made of. I am somewhat disturbed by
the tone of an op-ed piece he wrote recently for (I
think) the London Times. BUT he looked strong and did
not flinch or equivocate on SeeNotNews interview last
night -- for example, he would not be intimidated into
pandering to Sanctimonicutt on "partial birth
abortion," and he said he would appoint Stephen
Breyers to SCOTUS. If he continues to act more like
Dean (D-Jeffords) than Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), i.e. if
he hits hard and does not mince his words, he may be
able to lead. But if he turns and starts acting more
like Kerry than Dean, i.e. pulling his punches and
parsing his words to avoid scaring the
propapunditgandists, he will just become another
candidate...Clark-Dean or Dean-Clark could be a
powerful ticket -- if they do not back down from
savaging the _resident and "all the _resident's men,"
i.e., if they lead, if they say what a large and
growing mass within the electorate wants to hear.
We'll see...Meanwhile, savor another historic speech
from Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)....

Published on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 by
Losing Dollars and Sense in Iraq
by US Senator Robert C. Byrd
Floor Remarks - US Senate
September 17, 2003

I rise today to voice my concern about the disastrous
turn which the fortunes of this nation have taken. The
Bush Administration, in a scant 2 ½ years, has
imperiled our country in the gravest of ways, and set
us up for a possible crisis of mammoth proportions.

I urge my colleagues to think long and hard about the
growing quagmire in Iraq. I urge members of the
President's own party to warn him about the quicksand
he asks America to wade in.

Instead of linking arms with a world which offered its
heart in sympathy after the brutality of the terrorist
attack in September of 2001, this White House, through
hubris and false bravado, has slapped away the hand of
assistance. This Administration has insulted our
allies and friends with its bullying, and go-it-alone
frenzy to attack the nation of Iraq. In order to
justify such an attack, it was decided somewhere in
the White House to blur the images of Saddam Hussein
and Osama Bin Laden. Blurred images notwithstanding,
what is becoming increasingly clear to many Americans
is that they are going to be asked to carry a heavy,
heavy load for a long, long time.

Let me be clear. We are presently engaged in not one,
but two wars. There is the war begun by Osama Bin
Laden who attacked this nation on the 11th of
September, 2001. Then there is the war begun by George
W. Bush when he directed U.S. forces to attack the
city of Baghdad on March 19, 2003. The first war was
thrust upon us. The bombing of Afghanistan was a just
retaliation against that attack. The second war was a
war of our choosing. It was an unnecessary attack upon
a sovereign nation. This President and this
Administration have tried mightily to convince the
people of America that attacking Iraq was critical to
protecting them from terrorism. The case they make is
false, flimsy, and, the war, I believe, was unwise.

The war against Iraq has crippled the global effort to
counter terrorism. The war in Iraq has made a peace
agreement between Israel and its adversaries harder to
obtain. The obsession with Iraq has served to downplay
the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The
focus on Saddam Hussein has diverted attention from
Bin Laden, who is apparently still on the loose and
threatening to attack again. The war in Iraq has
alienated our traditional allies and fractured the
cohesive alliance against terrorism which existed
after 9-11. It has made the United States appear to
the world to be a bellicose invader. It has called our
motives into question. It has galvanized the worldwide
terrorism movement against us. The war in Iraq has
cost us lives and treasure. Yet, this President will
shortly request $87 billion more for his ill-fated
adventure. He says we will spend whatever it takes.

Prudence dictates that we consider the risks. This
nation has suffered massive job losses amounting to
93,000 in August alone and approximately 600,000 since
January of this year. Job loss of this magnitude means
less money coming into the treasury and more money
going out. U.S. manufacturing jobs continue to
disappear overseas as companies relocate operations on
other shores. There seems no end to the job
hemorrhage. The manufacturing sector has lost jobs for
37 months in a row. The weak job market threatens to
sap strength from our domestic economy. Should
inflation begin to creep up, as some worry it will,
higher energy costs and lower consumer confidence may
slow the economy further. Suppose another massive al
Quaeda attack were to occur here at home, killing
thousands and delivering another devastating blow to
the U.S. economy? Could we still afford to continue to
send billions to Iraq? At best our future economic
growth is uncertain. There are too many unknowns.

Our deficit is growing. When the $87 billion 2004 Iraq
Supplemental is included, the deficit for 2004 alone
is expected to total $535 billion. That number will
only grow if we continue to experience massive job
loss and the economy takes a turn for the worse. We
can ill afford to finance the rebuilding of Iraq
alone. Yet, President Bush steadfastly resists doing
what it takes to involve the international community.

It should be obvious that we need assistance. The
United States cannot even continue to supply the
troops to secure Iraq without more help. A recent CBO
study which I requested makes it clear that to
maintain the level of troops we now have in Iraq will
stretch us very thin, should something happen in Korea
or elsewhere on this troubled globe. Our National
Guard is being asked to stay longer and longer in Iraq
to help backfill the shortage in regular troops. These
are men and women with jobs and families and key roles
to play in their own communities. We cannot continue
to utilize their skills in Iraq without suffering the
consequences at home. Even now, as a hurricane lurks
off of our shores, there are worries about shortages
of emergency personnel because so many national
guardsmen and women are serving in Iraq.

But, the Bush Administration continues to spend our
treasure and our troop strength in a single-focused
obsession with the fiasco in Iraq. Are we to mortgage
the future of our nation to years of financing this
adventure? Surely we cannot ask American families for
sacrifice indefinitely. We must come to grips with our
limits. We must acknowledge risks and realities.

Yet, on last Sunday, Vice President Cheney dug his
heels in at the suggestion of rethinking our policy in
Iraq. In a television interview, Cheney said that he
saw no reason to "think that the strategy is flawed or
needs to be changed."

He went on to try to convince the American public that
Iraq was "the geographic base" for the perpetrators of
9-11 - - a claim that this humble Senator has never
heard before, and that flies in the face of U.S.
intelligence agencies which repeatedly have said that
they have found no links between the 9-11 attacks and
Saddam Hussein or Iraq. We may come to rue the day
when we took our eye off of Bin Laden and sapped our
energies and our credibility in this quagmire in Iraq.
Yet, there seems to be no soul searching in this White
House about the consequences of this war.

While Bush's aides talk of "generational commitments"
and the President talks of "sacrifice," I wonder if
the American people fully comprehend what they are
being urged to forego. They have already sacrificed
loved ones with 158 troops killed and 856 wounded just
since President Bush declared the end of major combat
on May 1. How many more families must "sacrifice"
while we occupy Iraq?

A generation of "sacrifice" may also mean a slow
sapping of key national priorities, including
repairing the infrastructure which fuels our economic
engine and funding the institutions and programs which
benefit all Americans. Compare the latest request for
the Iraq Supplemental with the commitment in dollars
to other vital programs and the picture becomes clear.
President Bush is asking for $87 billion for Iraq, but
only $34.6 billion for Homeland Security. He wants $87
billion for Iraq, but only $66.2 billion for the
Department of Health and Human Services. The President
seeks $87 billion to secure Iraq, but only $52.1
billion for the Department of Education. He wants $87
billion to shore up Iraq but only $29.3 billion for
America's highways and road construction.

For the State Department and foreign aid for the
entire world, President Bush sees a need for only
$27.4 billion, yet Iraq is worth over three times that
much to this White House.

Remember that that $87 billion is just for 2004 alone.
Does anyone really believe that it will be the last
request for Iraq?

The President asked America for a generation of
"sacrifice," but that noble sounding word does not
reveal the true nature of what this President demands
from the American people. He asks them to supply the
fighting men and women to prosecute his war. He
implores our people to sacrifice adequate health care;
he asks them to settle for less than the best
education for their children; he asks them to
sacrifice medical research that could prolong and save
lives; he asks them to put up with unsafe highways and
dangerous bridges; he asks them to live with
substandard housing and foul water; he asks them to
forego better public transportation, and not just for
now, for generations, and all of it for his folly in
Iraq. Most puzzling to this Senator is this
President's stubborn refusal to guard against the
terror threat here at home by adequately funding
Homeland Security. Is he asking us all to risk the
safety of our homeland, too?

And to further insult the hard working people of this
nation, George Walker Bush proposes to lay this
sacrifice not only on the adult population of this
great country, but on their children, by increasing
the deficit with nary a thought to the consequences.

Yet not a peep can be heard from this White House
about paying for some of this "sacrifice" by foregoing
a portion of future tax cuts - - tax cuts that mainly
benefit those citizens who don't need so many of the
services government provides.

Our reputation around the globe has already been
seriously damaged by this Administration. Are the
dreams and hopes of millions of Americans to be
"sacrificed" as well on the altar of Iraq? I urge my
colleagues to think long and hard about the growing
quagmire in Iraq. I urge members of the President's
own party to warn him about the quicksand he asks
America to wade in. We need a long and thorough debate
about the future of this country. We need a serious
discussion about the kind of America we will leave to
our children. We need to renew our efforts to
negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and the
Palestinians. Are we fighting a war in Iraq when
pushing the peace might better serve our cause? We
must think again about worldwide terrorism and the
best ways to combat it. Let us not continue to simply
wage the wrong war in Iraq.


Posted by richard at 02:31 PM

September 17, 2003

Anger-Baiting On The Right

Well, it has begun for real...The "US mainstream news
media" twisting of WIDESPREAD distrust of the
into the shrill attacks of an "Angry Left." Here is
where it begins...As I said, if the anti-Bush is Dean
(D-Jeffords), he will be Carterized, Dukaktized and/or
McGoverized, if it is Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) he will
be Gored, if it (by some magic) were to be Graham
(D-Fraudida) he would be Garrisoned (as in Jim
Garrison). Clark (D-NATO)? They do not know what to do
with him yet...But all of us, generals, ex-generals,
intel officers, ex-intel officers, officials and
ex-officials of the State Dept. and the EPA, the 9/11
widows...all of us...will become the "Angry Left" when
in fact there is a Popular Front stretching from some
real Republicans right of center to Democrats and
Independents in the center to the left...The "US
mainstream news media" is intent on earning that
_residential veto of the U.S. Senate's BI-PARTISAN
rejection of the FCC ruling on further media
Anger-Baiting On The Right

David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, is the
author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the
Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers), which will
be released on September 30, 2003.

Perhaps I'm being slow on the uptake, but I've noticed
that the Right has found a way to try to diminish
left-of-center partisans. In recent weeks,
conservative commentators have branded the Bush
opposition "The Angry Left," which apparently is not
meant as a compliment. Some examples: James Taranto of
The Wall Street Journal's observed
that Sen. Joseph Lieberman wants to "save his party
from the Angry Left." (Taranto also wrote in early
August, "Oh dear, now the Angry Left is angry at us.
The Wall Street Journal has been hit by a mass e-mail
campaign, spurred by our... item in which we
characterized as a ‘far-left, pro-Saddam
group.’" Now, wasn’t it silly of MoveOn-ers to be
offended by that? ) Fox News Channel’s John Gibson
recently asked a guest, "Is [Democratic presidential
candidate Howard Dean] as angry as The Angry Left?"

When I appeared on a public radio show the day after
George W. Bush said he needed an additional $87
billion for his endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan, my
fellow guest, National Review's Byron York, at one
point cracked that I -- by complaining that Bush had
proposed no means of paying for his occupation of Iraq
-- was effectively presenting the viewpoint of "The
Angry Left." And on various Web sites, bloggers and
chatheads of rightward tilt and of no name recognition
have been deriding The Angry Left for months.

The Angry Left has yet to be certified by Ann Coulter
as the conservative movement’s official description of
America’s traitors, but I suspect that the
commentators of the Right will increasingly resort to
this label to dismiss what might well be a growing
opposition to Bush (or, at least, an opposition
growing in passion). The moniker is designed as a
put-down, one meant to signal that those afflicted
with anti-Bushism are motivated by emotion, not
rationality, that they cannot be reasoned with, that
they and their ideas need not be taken seriously.

John Podhoretz, a columnist for The New York Post and
a Fox News Channel contributor (as I am), wrote a few
weeks ago, "The rise of an ardent, passionate, angry
and engaged left is the most important political story
of 2003." He pointed to Dean’s success as the outrage
candidate and to a spate of right-critiquing books now
hitting the bookstands, including Al Franken’s Lies
(and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them), Joe Conason’s Big
Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It
Distorts the Truth, and my own forthcoming work, The
Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of
Deception, which he kindly predicted would become a
bestseller. But Podhoretz claimed that The Angry Left
is lost within the fog of its own ire. Its denizens,
he said, suffer from Foxanoia -- the condition of
obsessing over the influence of Fox News Channel --
and cannot "bear to admit" that "they lost an argument
about the nature of terrorism, rogue nations and world
power after 9/11." So instead of debating the merits
of these matters, they blast Bush, Fox and Coulter for
lying. "What aside from hating Bush and the Fox News
Channel, do they believe in?" he asked -- as if the
only thing The Angry Left has to offer is anger

Oh, it’s easy to find examples of angry leftism run
amok. I get e-mail all the time from outraged lefties
(or liberals or progressives) who quite sincerely
suggest that Bush has brought the country to the edge
of fascism. Such loose and hyperbolic talk is foolish.
But, even so, these outbursts do not match the
extremism of hate that ran through parts of the
conservative movement in the 1990s. At mainstream
conservative conferences -- where GOP senators,
representatives and presidential candidates spoke --
you could pick up bumperstickers that asked, "Where’s
Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?" And the Rev.
Jerry Falwell was promoting a video that accused Bill
Clinton of having murdered his political foes.

Back then, media commentators and left-of-center
advocates derided the Right for being irate. Remember
the shocking congressional election of 1994, in which
Newt Gingrich led his fellow Republicans to a historic
takeover of the House of Representatives? This feat
was tagged as the triumph of "angry white men." Now
the sanctimonious smugness is on the other foot.

But -- be warned, Podhoretz -- anger can be power, as
those mad Caucasian guys demonstrated. The United
States, the political analysts say, is ever more
divided along partisan lines; there are fewer fabled
swing voters. In such a world, elections tend to be
won by the side that motivates more of its voters. And
anger is a motivator. After all, would Bush have had a
chance in 2000 if disgust and revenge had not been
driving forces for many GOP voters? And Bush (per Karl
Rove) eagerly exploited those emotions, as he
campaigned for president as the fellow who would
"restore" honor and integrity to the White House.

These days, anger-baiting is being adopted by some on
the Right to duck the accusations made by The Angry
Left and to discredit the accusers, who do have more
to offer than mere anger, such as comprehensive health
coverage, a fairer tax code, a safer workplace,
tighter environmental safeguards. But if indeed Bush
lied -- or, to be kind, misrepresented -- as he guided
the nation into war, shouldn’t that cause a citizen to
become upset? If Bush is saddling this nation with
trillions of dollars in debt in order to grant tax
cuts to millionaires who would get by fine without
them, shouldn’t that provoke rage? It’s okay for
Arnold Schwarzenegger to be mad-as-hell about a $10
billion or so shortfall in the Golden State’s budget.
No one on the Right is mocking him as Angry Arnold. So
how should the taxpayer who cleans Schwarzenegger’s
shirts feel about a $500 billion national deficit?
Anger is not what matters; the cause of the anger

Sure, lefties tend to be pissed off at Fox News
Channel. But my hunch is they’re madder with Bush --
for good reason. Certainly, some of their anger still
is fueled by non-policy issues, such as his
less-than-honorable victory in 2000. Some of the wrath
is akin to the I-can’t-believe-it outrage that was
felt by anti-Clintonites: how could so many Americans
fall for this phony scoundrel? But much of the anger
has been stirred by Bush’s policy decisions and his
use of dishonest arguments to support these actions.
(You need an example? In a speech two days before he
invaded Iraq, Bush said, "Intelligence gathered by
this and other governments leaves no doubt that the
Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of
the most lethal weapons ever devised." But former
deputy CIA director Richard Kerr, who is leading a
review of prewar intelligence on Iraq, has said the
intelligence was loaded with caveats and qualifiers
and was based on circumstantial and inferential
evidence. In other words, the intelligence was hardly
no-doubt material.)

Bush’s actions and assertions are the issue.
Understandably, it is easier for some on the Right to
discount the critiques of Bush as no more than the
out-of-touch reactions of sore losers (shades of
2000!) than it is for them to confront head-on the
case against Bush. Derision can be an effective tool
for Bush’s defenders. If his most fervent opponents
can be cast as overly choleric, then their arguments
need not be considered. Bush foes should expect the
anger-baiting to continue, and they should hope that
Bush critics counter it with the right mix of calm
indignation and well-founded accusations.

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Published: Sep 17 2003

Posted by richard at 02:29 PM

September 16, 2003

Will the Media Let Bush Lose?, the Parry site, is one of the
most powerful bastions of the Internet information
rebellion…Here is another excellent hard-nosed,
clear-headed analysis of electoral college and media
monopoly realities…You are not alone...
""The bigger question relevant to the national election is whether the Republicans, with their powerful media machinery ranging from Fox News to Rush Limbaugh, can smear the Democratic nominee as effectively as it did Al Gore in 2000. There is no telling what tactics the Republicans will use to denigrate the Democratic "fresh face" in 2004."

Will the Media Let Bush Lose?
By Sam Parry
September 16, 2003

The U.S. news media may soon face a dilemma: Can
pundits keep calling George W. Bush "the popular
war-time president" – a favorite stock phrase – if his
poll numbers sink much further? For two years, the
phrase has been a media cliché for Bush often
delivered with a pleasing smile from an agreeable
talking head. Or it’s used like a club against some
critic who is out of step with the American people.
Click here for printable version

ABC Evening News used the phase to describe Bush both
when Howard Dean announced his Democratic candidacy in
Jaune and when John Kerry announced his in September.
To a degree, the "popular war-time president"
repetition has created a self-fulfilling reality,
especially when reinforced by generally fawning news
coverage, laudatory books like "The Right Man," an
action-figure doll in a flight suit, and even a
hero-worshipful Sept. 11 docu-drama (which put brave
words into Bush’s mouth though he spent most of that
awful day sitting frozen in a Florida classroom or
fleeing to Louisiana and Nebraska).
Similarly, the U.S. news media has framed next year’s
election around the repeated question, "Is Bush
Unbeatable?" – again suggesting that Bush is next to
invincible. But the latest polls suggest that Bush’s
voter support is fading fast in the face of job
losses, a worsening deficit and continuing violence in
Though the poll results have varied in their details,
the overall trend lines are ominous for Bush and his
political advisers. The declines have tracked with the
continuing death toll in Iraq more than four months
after Bush donned the flight suit, landed on the USS
Abraham Lincoln and posed before a banner pronouncing
"Mission Accomplished."
Red Ink
The need to spend $87 billion more for the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan and the lack of a credible exit
strategy from Iraq have connected the wars with Bush’s
record budget deficits, now estimated to exceed $500
billion. Americans are beginning to worry that Bush
was, as described by his critics, a shallow
n’er-do-well whose temperament was a hazardous mix of
cockiness, inexperience and incompetence.
The polls also suggest that Election 2004 has changed
from an easy political glide path toward an inevitable
Bush second term to a turbulent flight that could
divert to any number of unexpected destinations. While
it is conceivable that Bush and his lavishly financed
campaign will win the previously expected landslide,
it also is possible that his campaign could encounter
a political disaster unthinkable a few months ago.
Privately, some Republican strategists are discussing
the possible need of a drastic mid-course correction,
possibly easing Dick Cheney off the ticket to be
replaced by Secretary of State Colin Powell or some
other political figure who could give the Bush ticket
a friendlier appearance.
But it may be that the electorate’s assessment of Bush
is growing so negative that cosmetic political
adjustments won’t help. With Bush’s tax cuts opening
up an artery of red ink while simultaneously failing
to stanch the bleeding of U.S. jobs, many Americans
appear to be growing nostalgic for the up-beat
economic days of the Clinton-Gore administration.
A recent Zogby poll found the electorate almost evenly
split when offered a chance to re-run Election 2000
between Al Gore and George W. Bush, with Gore getting
46 percent and Bush 48 percent, a difference within
the poll's margin of error. That almost half the
voters still favor Gore, who has rarely been in the
public eye, is not good news for Bush, especially
after two years of rally-round-the-president,
united-we-stand political rhetoric.
Between the gaping hole in the federal budget and the
record job losses, key battleground states such as
Ohio could be ripe for the picking if a Democrat can
credibly describe a return to Clinton-Gore economics.
Ohio, a state that Bush carried in 2000, has lost more
than 160,000 factory jobs, about one-sixth of its
total. Nationwide, about 2.7 million manufacturing
jobs have disappeared in three years. [NYT, Sept. 13,
For now, most polls show Bush still leading a generic
Democrat in the presidential race, but the numbers
suggest that many Americans are looking for a Bush
exit ramp.
A CBS News poll taken before Labor Day found that only
33 percent of registered voters would "probably vote"
to reelect Bush while 27 percent preferred an unnamed
Democrat and 36 percent were undecided. A Zogby poll
in September reported that 52 percent said it's time
for someone new in the White House, while 40 percent
said Bush deserves a second term.
Many analysts now expect Election 2004 to be another
tight race. The electoral battlefield could again be
the blocs of red and blue states of Election 2000 when
Gore defeated Bush in the national popular vote but
lost when five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court
stopped the recount in Florida giving Bush those 25
electoral votes and a narrow victory in the Electoral
Green Party candidate Ralph Nader also could influence
the outcome of 2004 as he did in 2000. Some Democrats
have noted bitterly that Bush carried New Hampshire
and its four electoral votes by just 7,211 votes while
Nader garnered more than 22,000 votes. That meant that
if one out of three Nader voters had gone for Gore,
the Democrat would have won New Hampshire and the
White House by getting 271 electoral votes, a majority
in the Electoral College. The Florida recount would
have been irrelevant.
Looking Ahead
In 2004, however, it won’t be so simple for a Democrat
to simply hold Gore’s states and pick up New Hampshire
to win. The redistricting that followed the 2000
census has eroded the Democratic position by shifting
seven electoral votes into Bush’s red states from
Gore’s blue states.
So, today, Gore’s blue states plus New Hampshire would
leave a Democrat six electoral votes short. That means
a Democrat will not only have to surmount Bush’s
advantages in campaign cash and friendly news media
coverage, but the nominee will have to turn at least
one other state that was counted among Bush’s red
states three years ago.
A county-by-county analysis comparing presidential
vote totals for 1996 and 2000, and factoring in other
recent voting patterns, suggests the most likely
Democratic targets are Florida, Ohio, West Virginia
and New Hampshire. A second tier of possible pickups
includes Missouri, Arkansas, Nevada, Louisiana and
These states plus two others, Kentucky and Tennessee,
were carried by Bill Clinton in 1996 and by Bush four
years later. Combined, these states represent 116
electoral votes.
Of these possible Democratic pickups, five alone have
enough electoral votes to put a Democrat over the top,
assuming Gore's red states stay in line. Florida now
has 27 electoral votes, Ohio 20, Missouri 11,
Tennessee 11, and Arizona 10. The Democrats would need
more than one of the other target states to secure a
majority in the Electoral College. Louisiana has nine
votes, Kentucky eight, Arkansas six, Nevada five, West
Virginia five and New Hampshire four.
Besides the census-driven shift in electoral votes to
Bush's red states, there is other encouraging news for
Republicans. Based on the results in 2000, Bush was
closer to picking up extra states than Gore was. Of
the five states won by less than one percent in 2000,
Bush only snared Florida. But he was very close in New
Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Oregon.
Together, these four states, representing 29 electoral
votes, will be top targets for the Bush campaign.
Depending on how the campaign shapes up, Bush also
might look to add Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maine,
Michigan, and Washington – all states Gore won by six
percent or less. If Bush holds his red states and adds
these Gore states, he would win in a landslide.
Media Spin
As in 2000, the attitude of the national news media
could prove decisive. A critical point that is often
overlooked in assessing the 2000 election is the
extent to which Bush’s campaign – with the media's
help – depressed Democratic voter turnout for Gore by
smearing him as untrustworthy and prone to
According to a post-election survey conducted by
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, the top reason
voters cited for not voting for Gore was his perceived
exaggerations, a supposed problem that was identified
by 29 percent of those surveyed. [For more on the
media's handling of Campaign 2000, see's "Protecting Bush-Cheney."]
In the swing states in particular, given their
demographics and political leanings, Gore’s inability
to turn out Democratic voters cost him. Out of the 721
counties in 11 states won by Clinton in 1996 but lost
by Gore in 2000, Gore’s turnout was lower than
Clinton’s in 442 counties.
Gore lost 354 of these 442 counties, and in total Gore
lost these 442 counties by more than 760,000 votes.
Had Gore simply matched Clinton’s vote total in these
442 counties, he would have won 139 additional
counties. This would have been enough to give Gore
Arkansas and Florida, and he would have come within
just a few hundred votes of winning Louisiana and West
By contrast, Bush succeeded in turning out the
Republican base in 2000, increasing GOP vote totals in
714 out of the 721 counties in these 11 states. Bush
improved over Bob Dole’s 1996 vote total by 2.7
million votes in these states.
Taken together, the 11 battleground states also
present the Democrats with complicated political
calculations. To start with, the states are spread
across the map, from New Hampshire to Nevada and from
Ohio to Florida. So there is no simple geographic
formula for Democrats to address.
Another challenge for Democrats is that these swing
states are either traditionally Republican or they
have trended Republican in recent years. In the three
national elections in the 1980s, for instance,
Democrats only won West Virginia, which they did twice
in 1980 and 1988.
The states also have trended Republican for different
reasons, meaning no single strategic shift will
suffice for the Democrats. Western states like
traditionally-Democratic Nevada and
traditionally-Republican Arizona represent a form of
Western Conservatism where voters are skeptical of
Washington, particularly as it relates to the
regulation of federal lands.
With issues like strengthening environmental standards
and promoting gun safety near the top of the national
Democratic agenda, Democrats will be challenged to
compete in these two states in 2004. Political
strategists predict that these states could trend
Democratic in future elections as their Hispanic
populations grow. But today, they are more
Goldwater-Reagan than Clinton-Gore.
On the other hand, states like Tennessee and Kentucky,
once thought to be pillars of the New South and
traditionally in the conservative Democratic camp,
have become part of the Christian Conservative South
and appear if anything to be trending more Republican
with each election. Last year, for instance, the
Democratic Senate challenger to incumbent Republican
McConnell lost by 28 points. Bush won Kentucky by 15
points in 2000.
To Gore’s embarrassment, Tennessee went against its
native son in 2000, giving Bush a four-point margin.
In 2002, Tennessee elected Democrat Phil Bredesen to
the governor’s mansion, but the state has conversely
elected Republicans to the U.S. Senate in six straight
elections by wide margins.
Deficit Conscious
In contrast to Tennessee and Kentucky, a thousand
miles to the north New Hampshire finds itself tucked
between liberal and mostly Democratic New England
states Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
But New Hampshire’s aversion to taxes and its
traditional Republican streak hold the state in the
Republican column in most statewide elections.
Republicans won back the governor’s seat in 2002,
control both houses of the state legislature by better
than two-to-one, and hold the two U.S. Senate seats
and the two U.S. House seats.
Still, the Granite State has been tough on Bush
candidates in the past. Bush’s father had to fight
back stiff competition in the New Hampshire primaries
of 1988 and 1992, from Robert Dole and Patrick
Buchanan respectively. The younger Bush lost the New
Hampshire primary to John McCain in 2000 by 19
percentage points.
Also, since New Hampshire is traditionally a fiscally
conservative state, the prospect of historic and
structural national deficits as far as forecasts can
measure, coupled with the tough economy, could turn
New Hampshire voters against Bush again.
Traditionally-Republican Ohio and
traditionally-Democratic West Virginia favored Clinton
in 1992 and 1996 by wide margins. But, in 2000, Bush
improved GOP performance in all of the 143 counties in
the two states to win both states by relatively narrow
margins. Despite of the 2000 outcome, voting trends
suggest that both West Virginia and Ohio should remain
at the top of the target list for Democrats.
West Virginia was one of 14 states where Gore’s voter
turnout was lower than Clinton’s. In fact, Gore was
the first Democratic candidate since 1928 to earn
fewer than 300,000 votes in West Virginia. Merely
improving Democratic turnout in West Virginia could
win it back in 2004.
Prospects in Ohio are potentially even better for
Democrats. Ohio’s 20 electoral votes also make it the
most lucrative battleground state outside of Florida.
Ohio demographics suggest it should be competitive for
Democrats. The state boasts several large metropolitan
areas, from Cleveland and Toledo in the north to
Cincinnati in the south to the capital of Columbus in
the center of the state. Based on voter turnout in the
counties that comprise these metropolitan areas,
Bush’s gains in the state over 1996 GOP performance
were almost entirely centered in these counties.
Democrats could, therefore, win Ohio back by simply
focusing voter turnout efforts in these urban and
suburban areas.
Also, Ohio’s traditional Republican streak is not as
ideologically driven as it might seem on paper. Ohio
is not like the Bible Belt of the South nor does it
have the strong anti-Washington sentiments of the
Rocky Mountain states. Even though Ohio Republicans
control the governor’s office and both houses of the
state legislature, only 19 percent of registered
voters in Ohio are registered Republicans, compared
with 14 percent who are registered Democrats. A
surprising 66 percent of registered voters, more than
4.6 million people, are unaffiliated.
A large Democratic turnout among these unaffiliated
voters, particularly in the counties comprising the
major metropolitan areas of Ohio, could swing Ohio
back to the Democrats. Targeting Ohio would have the
added benefit of helping in Ohio border states:
Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.
All will be targets for both parties in 2004.
Southern Strategies
The Mississippi River states of Missouri, Arkansas,
and Louisiana could be in play in 2004, but probably
only if Bush's fortunes continue to worsen. Bush
carried these states by 3.34, 5.45, and 7.67 percent
respectively in 2000.
Arkansas and Louisiana are traditionally Southern
Democratic states, while Missouri is the
quintessential swing state. Judging by recent
elections, all three states are swing states, but with
conservative streaks, particularly on social issues.
Then there’s the Sunshine State. Of the battleground
states, Florida obviously stands out as the biggest
prize and, given the 2000 fiasco, represents a real
target for Democrats.
Historically, Florida has been a swing state and has
tracked closely with the national elections. With the
exception of going for George Bush I in 1992 over
Clinton, Florida has gone with the winner in every
election since 1960. It has also tracked closely with
the national election voting trends, giving Carter a
five-point margin in 1976 and Reagan a 31-point margin
in 1984.
Clinton carried Florida in 1996 by just over 300,000
votes to earn a 48% to 42% margin over Dole compared
with Clinton’s 49 to 41 percent margin nationwide.
Though Gore improved Democratic turnout by more than
365,000 votes in 2000, Bush was able to increase GOP
turnout by nearly 670,000 votes over Dole’s support
from 1996.
With Nader earning 97,488 votes statewide and with Pat
Buchanan scoring an unlikely 3,400 votes in
heavily-Democratic Palm Beach Country due to the
confusing butterfly ballot (triple the number of votes
Buchanan earned in any other Florida county), the vote
was close enough for Republicans in the U.S. Supreme
Court to hand Florida to Bush. His artificial victory
margin of 537 votes represented less than one
hundredth of one percent of the total vote in the
While Democrats will have their eyes set on a Florida
breakthrough in 2004, there is a great deal of work to
do. To start with, Florida is a state that has drifted
Republican over time. In 1976, 67 percent of Florida
voters were registered Democrats. Today that figure is
down to 42.6 percent with 38.7 percent listed as
registered Republicans and 18.8 percent unaffiliated.
In the 2002 race for governor, Bush’s brother Jeb
easily put down a challenge from Democratic hopeful
Bill McBride, winning by a 56-43 margin. Bush’s
victory came after the Democrats pulled out the stops
to support McBride’s campaign, which showed early
signs of threatening Bush before falling out of
contention a couple of weeks before Election Day.
Early 2004 presidential polls show George Bush ahead
of every Democratic candidate in the state, including
Florida’s most popular elected official Bob Graham,
whose presidential campaign has been struggling to
gain traction outside of Florida. Graham has never
lost an election in Florida and after five statewide
races, two for governor in 1978 and 1982, and three
for senator in 1986, 1992, and 1998, he is well known
in the state. Graham’s failure to out-poll Bush might
be a warning signal for Democrats.
At the same time, Florida is a diverse and rapidly
growing state, which makes its politics unpredictable
and volatile. Recently, solidly-Republican Cubans in
South Florida have expressed dissatisfaction with
Bush’s Cuba policy, which could cause Bush serious
problems if the dissent grows.
Many political analysts predict that as the non-Cuban
Hispanic and Caribbean populations of Florida grow,
the state will shift into the Democratic column.
Whether that shift will begin in 2004 is hard to say.
But Democrats still have every reason to pour
resources into the state.
Media Power
The bigger question relevant to the national election
is whether the Republicans, with their powerful media
machinery ranging from Fox News to Rush Limbaugh, can
smear the Democratic nominee as effectively as it did
Al Gore in 2000. There is no telling what tactics the
Republicans will use to denigrate the Democratic
"fresh face" in 2004. But there is no doubt Bush's
supporters will try.
Already, the conservative Manchester (N.H.)
Union-Leader has poked fun at former Vermont Gov. Dean
for warning about the dangers of sparklers, a mocking
theme that has been picked up in the national press,
including the Washington Post. [Sept. 14, 2003]
As Democrats learned in the 1990s and in 2000, these
"joke themes" are crucial for reaching millions of
Americans who have only a modest interest in politics.
One of the most effective disinformation themes about
Al Gore was his supposed claim to have "invented the
Internet" – a quote that was widely ridiculed by major
news outlets including the New York Times but was
never actually spoken by Gore.
Still, given Bush’s shaky record and his growing
reputation as a sneaky politician, it is possible that
it will be Bush, not the Democrat, whose credibility
and character will on the line. If violence continues
in Iraq and Iraq's supposed weapons of mass
destruction don't materialize, Bush could find himself
and his exaggerations on the defensive.
Much will depend on whether the national news media
holds Bush accountable for his lengthening pattern of
deceptions – or whether the press corps continues to
present Bush to the American people as "the popular
war-time president" no matter what the polls may show.
Back to front

Posted by richard at 02:27 PM

September 15, 2003

U.S., Brits Block WMD Report?

It is a powerful indicator of their weakness now that
no WMD could be "found" in Iraq... "The publication of a full report on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction has been indefinitely postponed after inspectors found no evidence that any such weapons exist, reports the Times of London. "

U.S., Brits Block WMD Report?
Sept. 15, 2003

The publication of a full report on Iraq's alleged
weapons of mass destruction has been indefinitely
postponed after inspectors found no evidence that any
such weapons exist, reports the Times of London.

The Times reports the decision by Britain and America
to delay the report's release comes after efforts by
the Iraq Survey Group, a team of 1,400 scientists,
military and intelligence experts, to search Iraq for
the past four months to uncover evidence of chemical
or biological weapons ended in failure.

In July, David Kay, the survey group's leader,
suggested that he had seen enough evidence to convince
himself that Saddam Hussein had had a program to
produce weapons of mass destruction. He expected to
find "strong" evidence of missile delivery systems and
"probably" evidence of biological weapons.

But last week British defense intelligence sources
confirmed that the final report, to be submitted by
Kay to CIA Director George Tenet, had been delayed and
may not necessarily even be published.

The United States and Britain invaded Iraq because
they believed Saddam's regime was developing nuclear
arms as well as chemical and biological weapons. So
far, no weapons of mass destruction have turned up in
Iraq, nor has any solid new evidence for them been
reported by Washington or London.

Last week, in a confidential report obtained by The
Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy
Agency chief said U.N. inspectors found Iraq's nuclear
program in disarray and unlikely to be able to support
an active effort to build weapons.

Mohammed ElBaradei reiterated that his experts
uncovered no signs of a nuclear weapons program before
they withdrew from Iraq just before the war began in

"In the areas of uranium acquisition, concentration
and centrifuge enrichment, extensive field
investigation and document analysis revealed no
evidence that Iraq had resumed such activities,"
ElBaradei said in the report, made available to the AP
by a diplomat.

"No indication of post-1991 weaponization activities
was uncovered in Iraq," he said.

Former weapons inspectors now say, five months after
the U.S. invasion, that what the U.S. alleged were
"unaccountable" stockpiles may have been no more than
paperwork glitches left behind when Iraq destroyed
banned chemical and biological weapons years ago.

©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press
contributed to this report.

Posted by richard at 02:25 PM

Kerry, Lieberman, and the House Democratic Leadership Attack Dean

Where is the President of the U.S. Oh, that's right.
We do not really have a President, we have a
_resident, AND never has it been more clearly
illustrated that there is a vacuum of leadership in
the White House...The WTO Cancun's session collapsed
this weekend as the new G-21 (India, Brazil,
Argentina, Indonesia, etc.) walked out. An outcome
that Gore would have avoided. Israeli officials are
talking publicly about assasinating Arafat (utter
insanity). A direct result of the _resident's
anti-policy of "benign neglect" followed up with a
"roadmap" which was issued only after the road had
been torn up. VICE _resident Cheney's Sunday morning
appeareance on NotBeSeen's "Meat the Press" was one of
the eeriest, most disturbing incidents of disconnect
between political reality and an invidiual holding
Constitutional office that I can recall. )Clearly, the
Bush cabal is living out its Final Days.) MEANWHILE,
we are indeed in the Bizarro world and everything is
upside down and backwards...I admire John Kerry
(D-Mekong Delta) and I earlier pulled for him to take
this nomination, BUT his decision to vote for the Iraq
war resolution was a terrible mistake, and his
business as usual approach to this campaign is all
wrong. We are in a state of national emergency and
leaders need to lead here and now. I admire Wesley
Clark (D-NATO). I hope he runs and I hope he weilds a
sharp and efficient political sword. But for right now
Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) deserves acknowledgement and
encouragement. He has led -- with courage and
principle. The anti-Bush, however it is, must run
against the "conventional (i.e. convenient) wisdom."
(And of course "conventional wisdom" is to wrap
yourself in the Israeli flag). But the anti-Bush must
speak the truth (or as close to it as you can parse)
both to the US electorate and to the world, and to the
Arab Street. This current political flap will be used
by the propapunditgandists to bury him, it will not
bury him and the intestinal fortitude it is indicative
of may actually propell him to victory...

Published on Sunday, September 14, 2003 by
Kerry, Lieberman, and the House Democratic Leadership Attack Dean
by Stephen Zunes

In one of the relatively few policy differences that
have brought serious fireworks to the campaign for the
Democratic presidential nomination, former Vermont
governor Howard Dean has been attacked by two of his
principal rivals as well as the House Democratic
leadership for calling on the United States to take a
more “even-handed role” as the chief mediator in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dean declared that the U.S. role should be to “bring
the sides together” and “not point fingers” at who is
to blame. “It means bringing them together in a
constructive way.”

However, Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman have
denounced the former Vermont governor for his moderate
stance. Senator Lieberman went as far as to claim that
Dean was essentially calling on the United States to
“compromise our support for Israel” and that taking a
more balanced position was tantamount to “breaking
commitments to longtime allies.”

Dean has dismissed such attacks, pointing out
accurately that he is a strong supporter of Israel and
that his position on Israeli-Palestinian issues is
essentially the same as former President Bill Clinton.

For years, independent analysts -- including experts
on negotiation and mediation -- have noted that the
U.S. policy of supporting Israeli positions in the
peace process regarding the extent of the Israeli
withdrawal from Palestinian land conquered in the 1967
war, the Israeli settlements in the occupied
territories, the status of Jerusalem, and other
outstanding issues has made a negotiated settlement
with even the more moderate Palestinian leadership
impossible. The result has been that many Palestinians
have given up on the peace process and have instead
thrown their support to radical Islamic groups which
have engaged in a series of horrific terrorist attacks
against Israel.

However, Senator Kerry claims just the opposite,
declaring that if Dean as president had made such a
remark calling for a more even-handed approach, “it
would throw this volatile region into even more

When Dean pointed out that Israel would have to remove
an enormous number of settlements in the occupied
territories to achieve peace, Senator Lieberman
strongly objected, insisting that the number of
settlements evacuated by Israel should be up to the
parties in negotiations. However, despite eight years
of demands by the Palestinians at the peace talks
during the 1990s that Israel withdraw from its
settlements in the occupied territories or even just
suspend construction of new ones, the number of
settlements nearly doubled during that period.
Sharon’s insistence on incorporating most of these
settlements into Israel has made a final peace
agreement impossible, since it would divide the West
Bank into a series of non-contiguous units that would
make the creation of a viable Palestinian state
impossible. Furthermore, the Fourth Geneva Convention
-- to which both the United States and Israel are
signatories -- categorically declares that
transferring civilians onto lands seized by military
force is illegal. UN Security Council resolutions 446,
452 and 465 explicitly call on Israel to withdraw from
these settlements. Given that Lieberman declared that
Iraqi violations of UN Security Council resolutions
justified invading Iraq, overthrowing its government,
and occupying the country for an indefinite period, it
is ironic that he apparently now believes that such UN
resolutions can be violated with impunity.

Fearing that Dean’s insurgent campaign, capitalizing
on growing popular opposition to the policies of the
Bush Administration, would expose their spineless
acquiescence to President Bush’s disastrous foreign
policy, leading Democratic members of the House of
Representatives have joined the attack against the
former Vermont governor. House minority leader Nancy
Pelosi, assistant minority leader Steny Hoyer, House
Democratic Caucus chair Robert Menendez, and dozens of
other top Congressional Democrats signed a letter last
Wednesday addressed to Dean claiming that his call for
more balance by the U.S. government in the peace
process was somehow an attack against Israel’s right
to exist in peace and security.

This is simply a repeat of the old canard that only by
supporting the illegal, repressive and self-defeating
policies of Israel’s rightist government can one
support the state of Israel.

The House Democratic leadership also declared that
since, in their view, it was the Palestinians alone
that were responsible for the ongoing violence it was
therefore “unacceptable” for Dean to suggest that
Israel -- as the occupying power -- might also need to
compromise. The letter went on to declare that U.S.
policy must be “based on unequivocal support for
Israel’s right to exist and to be free from terror,”
even though Dean has never given even a hint of
believing anything to the contrary.

Similarly, despite Governor Dean’s repeated and
categorical denunciation of Palestinian terrorism, the
House Democratic leaders in their letter declared that
Americans must “raise our voices against all forms of
terrorism” and that “This is not the time to be
sending mixed messages.”

The Democrats appear to have adopted the same twisted
logic of the Republicans who insist that only by
supporting Bush Administration policies can one
support America and that any questioning U.S. foreign
policy is indicative of being soft on terrorism.

In reality, moderate Israelis have repeatedly called
upon the Bush Administration to take a more
even-handed approach in the peace process and to press
Prime Minister Sharon to compromise on the settlements
and other issues. They recognize that the ongoing
Israeli policies of repression and colonization only
encourage terrorism and that Israel would be far safer
by ending the occupation. Kerry, Lieberman, and the
House Democratic leadership, however, demand that Dean
should instead follow lock-step in support of
President Bush’s strident backing of Israel’s rightist

Ironically, Dean has been widely seen as a hawk on
Israel and Palestine. (See my article “Howard Dean:
Hawk in Dove’s Clothing?” CommonDreams, Feb. 26.) He
has stated that his position is closer to the
right-wing American-Israel Public Affairs Committee,
which allies itself with Israel’s ruling Likud Bloc,
than it is with Americans for Peace Now, which
identifies with the Israeli peace movement and the
more liberal Israeli parties. Much to the chagrin of
peace and human rights advocates, Dean supported the
recent $9 billion loan guarantee to Sharon’s rightist
government without conditions. He has repeatedly
stated his belief that the major issue in the conflict
is Palestinian terrorism, not the Israeli occupation
that has spawned it.

Such positions have led many Democrats concerned about
peace and human rights in the Middle East to abandon
Dean and back the campaign of Ohio Congressman Dennis
Kucinich, who supports the position of the Israeli
peace movement and the Zionist left.

However, Dean is apparently not right wing enough for
Kerry, Lieberman and the House Democratic leadership.

It is unclear what political advantage could be gained
from this attack on Dean, the current front runner for
the Democratic presidential nomination. According to a
nationwide public opinion poll this past May from the
Program on International Policy Attitudes at the
University of Maryland, a clear majority of Americans
not only recognized that the Bush Administration is
biased towards Israel, but, when asked about what
position the United States should have, a full 73%
stated that the United States should not take either
side in the conflict.

In other words, Senators Kerry and Lieberman and the
House Democratic leadership have gone on record
supporting the policies of the Bush Administration
against the overwhelming majority of the American

And then they wonder why so many former Democrats have
joined the Green Party….

Stephen Zunes is an associate professor of Politics at
the University of San Francisco and the author of
Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of
Terrorism (Common Courage Press.)


Posted by richard at 02:23 PM

Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship

From yesterday's USA TooLate...Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship
CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says
that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war.
And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush
administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of
fear and self-censorship."

Peter Johnson

Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship
CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says
that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war.
And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush
administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of
fear and self-censorship."
As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies,
Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who
charge that the media largely toed the Bush
administrationline in covering the war and, by doing
so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind
the invasion.

On last week's Topic A With Tina Brown on CNBC, Brown,
the former Talk magazine editor, asked comedian Al
Franken, former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke and
Amanpour if "we in the media, as much as in the
administration, drank the Kool-Aid when it came to the

Said Amanpour: "I think the press was muzzled, and I
think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but
certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain
extent, my station was intimidated by the
administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And
it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and
self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of
broadcast work we did."

Brown then asked Amanpour if there was any story
during the war that she couldn't report.

"It's not a question of couldn't do it, it's a
question of tone," Amanpour said. "It's a question of
being rigorous. It's really a question of really
asking the questions. All of the entire body politic
in my view, whether it's the administration, the
intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask
enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass
destruction. I mean, it looks like this was
disinformation at the highest levels."

Clarke called the disinformation charge "categorically
untrue" and added, "In my experience, a little over
two years at the Pentagon, I never saw them (the
media) holding back. I saw them reporting the good,
the bad and the in between."

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's
comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed
as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for

CNN had no comment.

Posted by richard at 02:21 PM

September 14, 2003

Iraq: The Paths of Reconstruction

You will hear little more on SeeNotNews or Faux or
NotBeSeen than Calm 'Em Powell's immediate (what a
pitiful hollow idol he has turned out) rejection of
the French proposal as "completely unrealistic." So
here it is...infused with clarity of mind and the core
principles of both the Western Alliance and the UN
Security Council...The _resident had some trouble with
a pretzel in a mysterious White House incident...He
should chew his "Freedom Fries" carefully...France has
ended up on the right side of history, the _resident,
the VICE _resident and "all the _resident's men" are
going down in ignominy

Iraq: The Paths of Reconstruction
By Dominique de Villepin
Le Monde

Friday 12 September 2003

Iraq has just turned a page of its history with
the fall of the dictatorship and the hope of a better
future. However, a tragic sequence of disorder and
violence has taken hold. Attacks multiply. Fanaticism
and hate strike everywhere: the Jordanian embassy, the
United Nations and the Mausoleum of Imam Ali of

Hereafter, there is a real risk of seeing a chain
of failure, fed by the absence of any tangible
political prospect. This situation arouses a sense of
helplessness in the international organizations on the
spot and anxiety among all those who are there on the
ground. The most serious danger is the demoralization
and despair of the Iraqi people. Only a sudden change,
supported by the international community, will permit
an exit from this impasse.

The responsibility of each is clear. President
Bush demonstrated his willingness to open up and we
congratulate him for it. However, the proposed
resolution submitted to the Security Council testifies
to the still limited progress only in the role
allotted to the United Nations. We are in this regard
in an ever more paradoxical position. Can one ask the
UN to intervene further on the ground without giving
it either the ability to act or the indispensable
conditions of security? Can the proposed resolution,
in fact, be inscribed as a continuation of what has
already been done? Is that commensurate to the
situation? Is it the sort of thing capable of checking
the mechanisms of decomposition in Iraq? We don’t
think so.

Far be it from us to minimize the size of the task
and its complexity, or to entertain an illusion of
facility. However, we have a conviction: by pursuing
the present path, we run the risk of entering an
endless spiral. Time is limited. Immediately after the
war, the direct administration of Iraq by coalition
forces aroused, in spite of sustained efforts, a
persistent malaise in the population. Putting
essential public services back on track, repairs to
the infrastructure were delayed. Iraqis’ legitimate
expectations were disappointed.

Another path remains possible, putting the Iraqi
people in the center of reconstruction processes and
appealing to the international community’s

We all share the same goal: to establish stability
and the conditions for reconstruction in Iraq. France
is ready to work with the United States in the
Security Council and with the other countries engaged
on the ground for Iraq’s benefit. But it’s necessary
to depart from the ambiguity that would lead to a
failure for the Iraqi people, with the risk of
discrediting the international community. That demands
a radically new approach.

All the more so as it’s the whole region which is
threatened. We are aware that the problem goes beyond
the framework of Iraq: the stability of the
Arab-Islamic world is in play. In the Middle East, the
exclusively security-based option only maintains the
cycle of violence and of reprisals with the risk of
destroying any political prospects. This approach –
let’s have the courage to say it – leads nowhere. Far
from promoting stability, it stirs up resentments,
misunderstandings, and frustrations. Everywhere
terrorist organizations take advantage of the least
weakness to reinforce their establishment and feed a
violence that concerns us all.

How do we get out of this trap and create the
conditions for stability in Iraq? First of all, let us
acknowledge that the foreign presence in itself
constitutes a point of contention. Whatever the
goodwill of each, it crystallizes frustrations,
focuses discontents, and distorts the political
landscape: all the concerned parties define themselves
in relation to it, rather than mobilizing for Iraq’s
benefit. The reconstruction effort implies working on
clear bases and therefore that the present period of
transition have a fixed deadline. That is the key to
all progress.

It is, therefore, important above all to respect
Iraqi national feeling, nourished by thousands of
years of history and the bearer of the country’s
future stability. On the other hand, reinforcing
particularist or ethnic logics must be avoided.

Iraq is a territory of memory. Its attachments to
its traditions and identity have already led it to
reject the previously attempted impositions of foreign
trusteeships. All during the past century the result
has been jolts that have shaken the country to its
depths. From revolution to coup d'Etat, Iraq hasn’t
been able to find the peace it profoundly aspires to.

Today, it is urgent to transfer sovereignty to the
Iraqi people themselves, to allow them to completely
fulfill their own responsibilities. Then, the
different ethnic communities will find the strength, I
hope, to work together. Then, a step will have been
taken towards a greater justice: it is up to Iraqis,
in fact, to make the decisions which commit the future
of their country. But it’s also a question of
effectiveness: for the different communities, as for
the neighboring countries, only the prospect of a
sovereign political destiny can feed hope and allow
society to reconstitute itself.

Does that mean an immediate departure for
coalition forces? Certainly not, and numerous voices
have rightly been raised to underline that that would
create a worse vacuum than the present situation.
These forces could stay under the command of the
principal troop contributor. Must their composition be
enlarged? The essential, as we see it, is not to add
to the number of troops on the ground, but to define
their scope through a precise United Nations’ mandate,
limited in time, with regular, detailed reports to the
Security Council. One of the notable priorities today
is to secure the frontiers and stop infiltration. A
redeployment of coalition forces could be studied in
liaison with the Iraqis in order to respond to this
major risk.

Let’s speed up the formation of an Iraqi national
army along the lines of what we’re doing in
Afghanistan. That implies calling on a part of the
demobilized Iraqi forces, whose competence will be
indispensable for durably reestablishing security. In
the end, we could arrive at a division of tasks more
in conformity with Iraqi sovereignty and, no doubt,
more efficient: external security in priority for the
United Nations’ forces, internal security for the
Iraqi authorities.

In this framework and while the negotiation over a
new resolution begins in New York, we propose the
following sequence.

The present Iraqi institutions, that is, the
Government Council and the Ministers recently named,
would be considered by the United Nations Security
Council as the depositary of Iraqi sovereignty during
the transition period. After a very short time, for
example, a month, a provisional Iraqi government could
be constituted from these elements and executive
power, including economic and budgetary activity,
would be progressively transferred to it. A personal
envoy of the United Nations Secretary General would be
mandated to organize consultations with the existing
Iraqi institutions and the Coalition authorities and
to gather the support of the countries in the region.
This personal envoy would report to the Security
Council and would propose a timetable defining the
gradual transfer of power to the provisional
government and the modalities to achieve this
political transition.

This timetable ought to anticipate the stages of a
constitutional process targeting the submission of a
draft text before yearend. General elections could be
envisaged for as soon as possible, spring 2004.

France is ready to take on all her
responsibilities within this framework. As soon as
Iraq’s sovereignty is reestablished, an international
conference could be convoked to tackle together all
the problems linked to reconstructing Iraq. It would
aim to reestablish the coherence and efficiency of
international action on Iraq’s behalf. In the domain
of security, it would have to decide on the
contributions to a future United Nations force, as
well as to the formation of the army and the police.
In the same way, it would have to define the financial
aid commitments and assistance modalities to be
brought to restoring the Iraqi administration back to

Such is the thrust of the proposals we are
presenting to the Security Council. We do so in a
spirit of dialogue with the United States, as with all
our other partners. From Saturday on we’ll all be
together in Geneva, the permanent members of the
Security Council and Secretary General Kofi Annan,
convinced that the international community can build
its unity around a demanding and ambitious project.

This is an unprecedented challenge. It demands our
understanding and adaptation to the realities of the
terrain. It demands also that each agree to forget the
quarrels of the past and to renounce ideological
positions. The reconstruction of Iraq is a shared

Dominique de Villepin is the French Foreign
Affairs Minister.


Translation: Truthout French language
correspondent Leslie Thatcher.


Posted by richard at 02:19 PM

New figures reveal the true number of GIs wounded in Iraq

More disgraceful than the deception that this story
reveals is the complicity of the "US mainstream news
media," and the cable news networks in particular...
"The true scale of American casualties in Iraq is revealed today by new figures obtained by The Observer, which show that more than 6,000 American servicemen have been evacuated for medical reasons since the beginning of the war, including more than 1,500 American soldiers who have been wounded, many seriously. The figures will shock many Americans, who believe that casualties in the war in Iraq have been relatively light."

America's hidden battlefield toll

New figures reveal the true number of GIs wounded in Iraq

Jason Burke in London and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday September 14, 2003
The Observer

The true scale of American casualties in Iraq is
revealed today by new figures obtained by The
Observer, which show that more than 6,000 American
servicemen have been evacuated for medical reasons
since the beginning of the war, including more than
1,500 American soldiers who have been wounded, many
seriously. The figures will shock many Americans, who
believe that casualties in the war in Iraq have been
relatively light. Recent polls show that support for
President George Bush and his administration's policy
in Iraq has been slipping.

The number of casualties will also increase pressure
on Bush to share the burden of occupying Iraq with
more nations. Attempts to broker an international
alliance to pour more men and money into Iraq
foundered yesterday when Colin Powell, the US
Secretary of State, brusquely rejected a French
proposal as 'totally unrealistic'.

Three US soldiers were killed last week, bringing the
number of combat dead since hostilities in Iraq were
declared officially over on 1 May to 68. A similar
number have died in accidents. It is military police
policy to announce that a soldier has been wounded
only if they were involved in an incident that
involved a death.

Critics of the policy say it hides the true extent of
the casualties. The new figures reveal that 1,178
American soldiers have been wounded in combat
operations since the war began on 20 March.

It is believed many of the American casualties
evacuated from Iraq are seriously injured. Modern body
armour, worn by almost all American troops, means
wounds that would normally kill a man are avoided.
However vulnerable arms and legs are affected badly.
This has boosted the proportion of maimed among the

There are also concerns that many men serving in Iraq
will suffer psychological trauma. Experts at the
National Army Museum in London said studies of
soldiers in the First and Second World Wars showed
that it was prolonged exposure to combat environments
that was most damaging. Some American units, such as
the Fourth Infantry Division, have been involved in
frontline operations for more than six months.

Andrew Robertshaw, an expert at the museum, said wars
also claimed casualties after they were over.
'Soldiers were dying from injuries sustained during
World War I well into the 1920s,' he said.

British soldiers are rotated more frequently than
their American counterparts. The Ministry of Defence
has recently consulted the National Army Museum about
psychological disorders suffered by combatants in
previous wars in a bid to avoid problems.

The wounded return to the USA with little publicity.
Giant C-17 transport jets on medical evacuation
missions land at Andrews Air Force Base, near
Washington, every night.

Battlefield casualties are first treated at Army field
hospitals in Iraq then sent to Landstuhl Regional
Medical Centre in Germany, where they are stabilised.

Andrews is the first stop back home. As the planes
taxi to a halt, gangplanks are lowered and the wounded
are carried or walk out. A fleet of ambulances and
buses meet the C-17s most nights to take off the most
seriously wounded. Those requiring urgent operations
and amputations are ferried to America's two best
military hospitals, the Walter Reed Army Medical
Centre, near Washington, and the National Naval
Medical Centre, Bethesda.

The hospitals are busy. Sometimes all 40 of Walter
Reed's intensive care beds are full.

Dealing with the aftermath of amputations and blast
injuries is common. Mines, home-made bombs and
rocket-propelled grenades are the weapons of choice of
the Iraqi resistance fighters. They cause the sort of
wounds that will cost a soldier a limb.

The less badly wounded stay overnight at the air base,
where an indoor tennis club and a community centre
have been turned into a medical staging facility. Many
have little but the ragged uniforms on their backs. A
local volunteer group, called America's Heroes of
Freedom, has set up on the base to provide them with
fresh clothes, food packages and toiletries. 'This is
our way of saying, "We have not forgotten you,"' said
group founder Susan Brewer.

Posted by richard at 02:18 PM

September 13, 2003

Latest Iraq Casualty: Our National Prestige

From one of those few brave news media professionals
whose names have been scrawled on the John O'Neill
Wall of Heroes...Imagine if one of the nightly network
news anchors decided to follow the example of this
shining light of the Vietam-Watergate era...It is
unfortunate however that apparently in this country at
least for now the news media like the politicians are
going to follow, the electorate itself must lead (and
of course their votes must be counted accurately)...

Published on Friday, September 12, 2003 by the
Philadelphia Inquirer
Latest Iraq Casualty: Our National Prestige
by Walter Cronkite

Americans are going on a diet of crow while President
Bush goes to the United Nations to beg for help in
settling the Iraq mess, a move long urged by
foreign-policy experts both in and out of the Bush

The President will be appealing to the U.N. Security
Council, the same body that a year ago he asked to
cooperate in the Iraq invasion. He made what at the
time seemed like an excellent case for eliminating
what he depicted as Saddam Hussein's threat to world
peace: his presumed stockpile of weapons of mass

The President, however, concluded that speech by
belittling the United Nations. He said that it didn't
matter whether the Security Council went along with us
or not. If it didn't, he proclaimed, we would go it

This example of American hubris did not, of course,
sit well with other major nations that, despite our
alliances and their oft-expressed friendship, always
have been envious of American economic and military
dominance. France, which in its own exaggerated
self-esteem is perhaps the most sensitive of the other
nations, led the forces that defeated the American
proposal in the Security Council. And, of course, we
invaded Iraq with only one major nation at our side,
Great Britain.

Now it is turning out that we bit off a lot more than
we can chew. The Iraqis are not as universally
delighted with our presence as the administration had
expected, and we are enmeshed in a guerrilla war
against unknown numbers of angry and fanatical Arabs.

President Bush, clearly worried about the rising tide
of public and congressional concern over the course of
events, went on television Sunday night to try to
defend his policies and rally support for them. He
made a strong pitch that Iraq was the front line in
the war against terrorism and that the United States
could not cut and run from that battle.

To do the job, though, he said he would be asking the
United Nations for troops to help relieve our weary
and insufficient forces. He'll also be seeking
financial help to meet the staggering costs of
fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and
rebuilding those countries - a budget drain so great
it is seriously affecting our government's ability to
supply the services our own people expect.

As he makes this new appeal to the United Nations,
there is not the slightest admission on his part that
he might have been wrong in insisting on our
unilateral action. Instead, our government expects the
Security Council, and the rest of us, to believe that
this is not a change of strategy at all.

Indeed, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that this
has been the administration plan all along. We are
expected to believe that the United States, from the
beginning of the war, planned to ask someday for the
United Nations' help. If that really was the original
intention, it might have been diplomatic to tell the
Security Council that in the beginning. Instead, the
administration rejected or played down every
suggestion that the United Nations should have any
substantial role in the postwar governing, policing or
rebuilding of Iraq.

We are in trouble, and the world knows it. We are
going hat in hand as we seek means to cut our losses
in the Iraq debacle. We are pleading for help now from
those very same Security Council nations that we
belittled before.

No matter what they do with our new request, those
nations are going to wear a wry, "I told you so" smile
as they listen to our appeal. This might be about as
embarrassing a position as this nation has ever
suffered in international affairs.

No matter how gloriously the President paints our Iraq
invasion as a mission to save the world from
terrorism, there is no disguising the fact that in our
desperate bid for help, we are dining on a massive
helping of crow.

Copyright 1996-2003 Knight Ridder


Posted by richard at 02:08 PM

Bill Moyers' NOW interviews George Soros

Meanwhile, while we all wait for SeeNotNews' Rather to
do what he knows he should do, AnythingButSee's
Jennings do what he secretly is tempted to do or
NotBeSeen's Brokaw to do what he will not do shor of
the collapse of the Repuboic itself, PrettyBlandStuff
(PBS) has allowed one shining bastion of sanity to
emerge on the TV airwavs...Friday at 10 p.m. (at
least, Left Coast time), Bill Moyers, like Cronkite,
Amy Goodman and KGO's Taliefero and Ward, news media
professional whose name has been scrawled on the John
O'Neill Wall of Heroes...Moyers' NOW observed the
two-year annikversay in a way that no one "US
mainstream news media" program did...He ran an
in-depth interview with billionaire George Soros,
another John O'Neill Wall of Heroes name, AND an
in-depth feature on the 9/11 widows who refuse to
leave the unanswered questions fade away from
memory...Here is the Soros transcript...I will follow
it with the 9/11 widows transcript...

SOROS: The Republican Party has been captured by a bunch of extremists… People who maintain that markets
will take care of everything, that you leave it to the
markets and the markets know best. Therefore, you need
no government, no interference with business. Let
everybody pursue his own interests. And that will
serve the common interest. Now, there is a good
foundation for this. But it's a half-truth.

BRANCACCIO: George Soros says he's convinced the Bush
administration is pursuing policies both foreign and
economic that in Soros's experience, will be

Soros has been hailed as a international financial
genius: "the world's greatest money manager" said the
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR; one of the most influential
philanthropists, according to TIME.

So he's not the kind of man you'd expect to be arguing
that when it comes to free market capitalism, it's
possible to have 'too much of a good thing,' that
unchecked capitalism fails to provide for certain
fundamental needs.

SOROS: We need to maintain law and order. We need to
maintain peace in the world. We need to protect the
environment. We need to have some degree of social
justice, equality of opportunity.

The markets are not designed to take care of those
needs. That's a political process. And the market
fundamentalists have managed to reduce providing those
public goods.

BRANCACCIO: Providing those public goods has long been
at the top of his agenda for making the world a better

He's not only called for more regulation of the global
economy but he's also been an outspoken advocate of
democracy throughout the world. In fact, he's been
described as the only American citizen with his own
foreign policy.

SOROS: I give away something up to $500 million a year
throughout the world promoting Open Society. My
foundations support people in the country who care
about an open society. It's their work that I'm
supporting. So it's not me doing it. But I can empower
them. I can support them, and I can help them.

BRANCACCIO: Indeed, over the past 20 years, Soros has
given away more than $4 billion of his personal

He's built a philanthropic network that spans more
than fifty countries, promoting what he calls "open
societies" with the goal of establishing
democratically elected governments that respect human
rights, the rule of law and market economies.

SOROS: And as long as there is enough support for it,
then actually you can make a difference in the world.
And I think we are succeeding in many of our efforts
in making a difference.

BRANCACCIO: His foundations have sponsored thousands
of development projects…everything from low-income
housing construction in Africa to medical clinics in
Russia to political movements worldwide.

As early as the 1970s, Soros gave money to dissident
groups in the old eastern bloc, helping bring down
those communist regimes.

Since 1987, he's pumped more than $1 billion dollars
into Russia alone … including his donation of $500
million to fund health and education programs there.

And in 1993, when Sarajevo was under siege, his
foundation built utilities to supply desperately
needed water and electricity.

All that made possible by the staggering profits he
earned directing his "Quantum" hedge fund. His
personal fortune is estimated as high as $7 billion
and he pledges to give most of it away.

But his success in business has not been without

SOROS: I've been called as a man who broke the Bank of
England when I attacked the sterling.

BRANCACCIO: In 1992, Soros made a spectacular bet,
taking in a billion dollars on a hunch the British
pound would be devalued. Many blamed Soros for forcing
the pound's fall.

But it was in France that Soros got into trouble with
the authorities. In 1988, he was asked to join a
takeover attempt of a French bank. He declined, but he
did buy the bank's stock. Last year, a French court
ruled that was insider trading.

BRANCACCIO: Why should I believe you, when I've read,
you say you did not conduct insider trading, instead
of a French judge?

SOROS: Well, that's up to you. I was found guilty. I
think, in a miscarriage of justice, frankly. And I'm
fighting it. I'm appealing it, and I'll continue
fighting it.

BRANCACCIO: Soros denies any wrongdoing and says news
of the takeover was public knowledge. Nevertheless, he
was fined more than $2 million…roughly the amount
French authorities say he made from the trades.

More than a dozen other people were investigated in
the incident. All except Soros were either acquitted
or pardoned.

SOROS: It is something that troubles me a great deal.
And I'll fight it with all I've got. But the French
judicial system is not perfect, either.

BRANCACCIO: Does it worry you, for instance, that
maybe some of your actions in the past would have hurt
some people, when you withdrew capital from certain

SOROS: Yes. No, you see you can't… as a market
participant, if you want to be successful, I think you
just have to look out for your own interests.

BRANCACCIO: It sounds amoral.

SOROS: Pardon?

BRANCACCIO: It sounds amoral.

SOROS: It is amoral. Now, it's very often understood
and understood as immoral. And that is a very
different, being immoral. If you hurt people
deliberately or you know, that's immoral. If you break
the law, that's immoral. If you play by the rules,
that is the market itself is amoral.

If you impose morality on it, it means that you are
actually with your hands tied behind your back and
you're not going to be successful. It's extremely hard
to be successful.

BRANCACCIO: Do you think, on balance, that your
philanthropic work counteracts the more ruthless
decisions that you had to make when you were a

SOROS: It is no connection whatsoever. I'm not doing
my philanthropic work, out of any kind of guilt, or
any need to create good public relations. I'm doing it
because I can afford to do it, and I believe in it.

BRANCACCIO: Now retired from his job of making money,
Soros is spending his time giving it away. And how he
spends his money, he says, has a lot to do with his
experiences growing up…surviving one of history's
darkest periods.

George Soros was born into a well-to-do Jewish family
in Budapest. When the Nazis invaded, Soros's father
hid the children with sympathetic families.

BRANCACCIO: Do you see a thread that links your
childhood experience with your career as a financier,
with your philanthropy, and now political activist?

SOROS: Oh, it's a very strong thread, that leads right
through. You know, I learned at a very early age that
what kind of social system or political system
prevails is very important. Not just for your
well-being, but for your very survival.

Because, you know, I could have been killed by the
Nazis. I could have wasted my life under the
Communists. So, that's what led me to this idea of an
open society. And that is the idea that is motivating

BRANCACCIO: At the London School of Economics after
the war, he was exposed to the philosophy of the "open

That's been the basis of his philanthropy throughout
the world. But the political struggle for an open
society, says Soros, now has to be fought right here
in the United States.

SOROS: The people currently in charge have forgotten
the first principle of an open society, namely that we
may be wrong and that there has to be free discussion.
That it's possible to be opposed to the policies
without being unpatriotic.

BRANCACCIO: And says Soros, the biggest obstacle to an
open society is the Bush administration's philosophy
that on both the domestic and international fronts,
either you're with us or against us.

SOROS: You know, it's a distortion of what this
country stands for.

BRANCACCIO: And that offends you?

SOROS: It offends me because I think it's a
misinterpretation of what America's role in the world
ought to be. We are the dominant power. And that
imposes on us a responsibility to be actually
concerned with the well being of the world. Because we
set the agenda.

And there are a lot of problems, including terrorism
and weapons of mass destruction, that can only be
tackled by collective action. And we ought to be
leading that collective action, instead of riding
roughshod over other people's opinions and interests.

BRANCACCIO: It's just so hard, Mr. Soros. I mean two
years ago, a few blocks from where we're speaking
right now, the World Trade Center came down. The
notion that we should have harnessed our response to
make nice with the world may be too much to ask.

SOROS: Maybe. Certainly, being nice to the world won't
stop terrorism. So, we've got to fight terrorism. But
how do you fight it?

If the terrorists have the sympathy of people, it's
much harder to find them. So we need people on our
side, and that leads us to be responsible leaders of
the world, show some concern with the problems.

BRANCACCIO: Problems in places like Iraq, where, says
Soros, the Bush administration's actions have
alienated traditional allies and fueled anti-American

SOROS: Now that we did not find weapons and there was
no known connection with al-Qaeda, they say, "Well, we
came to liberate Iraq, to introduce democracy,
nation-building." But that's exactly what President
Bush was opposed to in the elections. And it's a
business that I am engaged in.

BRANCACCIO: You have wide credentials in this whole
field of nation building.

SOROS: You know, with all my experience, Iraq would
have been the last place on earth that I would have
chosen for introducing democracy.

I mean, democracy has to be built painstakingly and
very slowly. And, you know, I've been engaged in that
now for the last 15 years.

BRANCACCIO: This is a place with bitter religious
rivalries, with even recent history as terrible
animosity between groups in society.

SOROS: Right. So, it was a horrendous naiveté,
actually, to think that you can go into Iraq and you
can introduce democracy by military force.

BRANCACCIO: Could you share with me three concrete
ideas of things we should be doing in Iraq now?

SOROS: I think just one. We've got to get the United
Nations involved. We have to transfer enough authority
to the United Nations, to internationalize the issue.
Because we cannot do it, and we should not do it
alone. It was a mistake to do it alone. We have made
the mistake. And the sooner we correct it, the better.

BRANCACCIO: So, you argue certainly don't withdraw our
military forces from Iraq. It's gonna require more

SOROS: That's right. We have made a terrible mistake.
And we have to pay the price. We have to pay the
price. But we have to recognize that we've been very
badly misled.

BRANCACCIO: And says Soros, we've been badly misled by
the Bush administration at home as well from its lack
of regulation on Wall Street … to the curtailment of
civil liberties under the Patriot Act.

SOROS: I mean, you know, you pass the USA Patriot Act
without proper discussion. And anybody who opposed it
was accused of giving aid and comfort to the
terrorists. So I think we've gone off the rail in this

BRANCACCIO: Yet the Patriot Act was passed with a lot
of democratic support. There was debate, but not
proper discussion you don't believe?

SOROS: Yeah, I mean, it was done in six weeks.
Lawmakers didn't even get a copy of the bill. They
couldn't even read it before it was passed.

Now, the Democrats caved in. I'm very critical of the
Democrats. But of course, it was a moment of, I
suppose, national calamity. It was a tragedy and
people were very emotional. It's a traumatic event.

But there was a group of people who took advantage of
it and who's been leading us in the wrong direction.

BRANCACCIO: All this has led Soros to conclude the
most important thing he can do is stop George Bush.

SOROS: I think he's a man of good intentions. I don't
doubt it. But I think he's leading us in the wrong

BRANCACCIO: So just last month, Soros put his money
where his mouth is one more time. He gave $10 million
to America Coming Together, a liberal coalition
pledged to defeat the President in 2004.

SOROS: By putting up $10 million and getting other
people engaged, there's enough there to get the show
going. In other words, to get the organizing going.
Half of it still needs funding.

BRANCACCIO: What is the show? It's a get out the vote

GEORGE SOROS: Get out the vote and get people engaged
on issues.

This is the same kind of grassroots organizing that we
did or we helped in Slovakia when Mechar was defeated,
in Croatia when Tudjman was defeated and in Yugoslavia
when Milosevic.

BRANCACCIO: But gee whiz, Tudjman, Milosevic, George
Bush, almost in the same phrase? Those are fighting

SOROS: But I do think that our leaders…If you take
John Ashcroft, I don't think he's an Open Society
person, Donald Rumsfeld…I do think that we have an
extremist element in the government. I think that
President Bush has been captured by these people as a
result of September 11.

BRANCACCIO: But you really think that if it's true
that the current administration has been hijacked by
extremists, that the American public, which by and
large and history doesn't tolerate extremism all that
well, resents extremism, that the American public by
and large wouldn't notice?

SOROS: I think that they are noticing it. It think
that it's happening. And this is exactly why I think
that people are about, may I say that, coming to their

SOROS: And I think the moment of truth has come in
Iraq. Because we really got into a terrible, terrible
mess, into a quagmire. And our soldiers are at risk.
But it's worse. Because our armed forces, the Army is
at risk. In other words, our capacity to project power
that it has greatly diminished because we have misused
our power. And I think that people will wake up.

BRANCACCIO: Misuse of power, quagmire, a wake up call
for reform: these are heavy assessments of the current
state of American policy in Iraq. As for how it will
turn out, even George Soros, who has gambled on the
future so often and so well, ventures no specific

But Soros is very clear on what he believes should
happen next:

SOROS: If we re-elect Bush, we are endorsing the Bush
doctrine. And then we are off to a vicious circle of
escalating violence in the world. And I think, you
know, terrorism, counter-terrorism, it's a very scary
spectacle to me. If we reject him, then we are
effectively rejecting the Bush doctrine. Because he
was elected on a platform of a more humble foreign
policy. Then we can go back to a more humble foreign
policy. And treat this episode as an aberration. We
have to pay a heavy price. You know, 100 billion
dollars a year in Iraq. We can't get out of that. We
mustn't get out of it. But still, we can then regain
the confidence of the world, and our rightful place as
leaders of the world, working to make the world a
better place.

Posted by richard at 02:06 PM

September 12, 2003

Neo-Cons Have Hijacked US Foreign Policy

This very important story illustrates one important
aspect of what I am referring to when I talk about an
emerging Popular Front of center, left, and yes even
some right of center...Significant elements of the
military and the intelligence community have already
joined in this Popular Front...Remember, this struggle
is not one of right versus left, this struggle now is
about common sense, human decency and the core values
we share with our real allies...

Published on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 by the
Boston Globe
Neo-Cons Have Hijacked US Foreign Policy
by Robert Kuttner

THE COUNCIL on Foreign Relations is the epicenter of
the American Establishment. Its top three officers are
Republicans -- Peter G. Peterson (chair), the former
commerce secretary under Nixon, leading investment
banker, and opponent of social outlay who must chair
half the boards in America; Carla Hills (vice-chair),
a corporate power-lawyer who was US trade ambassador
for Bush I; and Richard Haass (president), who
recently stepped down as one of President Bush's
sub-Cabinet appointees at the State Department. The
council is best known for its journal, Foreign
Affairs, ordinarily a fairly cautious and moderate
publication. So it was startling to pick up the
September-October issue and read article after article
expressing well-documented alarm at the hijacking of
American foreign policy. This is not how the council
ordinarily speaks.

The must-read piece is "Stumbling into War" by former
Assistant Secretary of State James P. Rubin. It
documents that Bush's feint to the United Nations was
a charade; that even as the administration was going
through the motions of diplomacy, war had been already
decided upon.

More important, Rubin documents that another path to
ousting Saddam Hussein was possible, had the
administration been more patient. Other nations, even
France, were in fact prepared to use force against
Saddam, but insisted on letting the inspections
process work first. Rubin demonstrates that every
major European nation "would have been prepared to
support or at least sanction force against Iraq if it
had not fully disarmed by [fall 2003.]" The
administration repeatedly rebuffed British entreaties
to pursue this other course, which would have
preserved a much broader coalition and shared
responsibility for reconstruction.

So America's lonely quagmire in Iraq was entirely
gratuitous. But it's still a well-kept secret that the
vast foreign policy mainstream -- Republican and
Democratic ex-public officials, former ambassadors,
military and intelligence people, academic experts --
consider Bush's whole approach a disaster. In
fairness, it isn't really Bush's approach. Foreign
policy is not something Bush closely follows. Mainly,
he fell in with the wrong crowd. A determined band of
neo-conservatives far outside the foreign policy
mainstream persuaded the president that invading Iraq
would demonstrate American power to tens of millions
shocked and awed Arabs. Instead, it has demonstrated
the limits of American power (but limitless
arrogance), and stimulated a new round of
fundamentalism, nationalism, and terrorism.

The neo-cons also contended that "the road to
Jerusalem goes through Baghdad." In other words, get
rid of Saddam and the Mideast balance of power would
shift; Israel's enemies would be softened up for a
peace settlement on Israel's terms. But much of the
violence between Israel and Palestine is home grown,
and any durable settlement must also be home grown.
The sacking of Iraq has only made both Israel's Ariel
Sharon and the Palestinians more intransigent.

The same neo-cons persuaded Bush that nation-building
and collaboration with bodies like the UN were for
sissies. But now, Bush has blundered into
nation-building in the worst possible circumstances,
in which Americans are viewed as inept invaders rather
than liberators. And he is begging for aid from the UN
and the very nations he scorned.

Does Bush know that he's been had? Increasingly, Iraq
looks like Bush's Vietnam -- a long-term occupation of
unfriendly territory in which Americans are targets;
an adventure based on misperceptions and
misrepresentations, where the benefits fail to justify
the costs.

US Representative David Obey, the ranking Democrat on
the House Appropriations Committee, recently sent the
president a letter which is worth quoting. "First,"
Obey wrote, in eloquent understatement, "I recommend
that you allow the secretary and deputy secretary of
defense to return to the private sector.

"Second, I recommend that the responsibilities for
developing and implementing foreign policy that have
traditionally resided in the Department of State be
fully restored to that department."

Obey goes on to recommend that the military be
restored to its proper role of military planning and
that government-wide coordination of intelligence be
resumed. All of this is by way of pointing out that
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul
Wolfowitz, with little knowledge of the region,
arrogated to themselves diplomatic, intelligence, and
operational functions, and made a mess of them all.
Now Bush is trying to reverse course without admitting
it. Nothing would make that prudent reversal clearer
than firing this duo, who have ill served their
president and country.As the Foreign Affairs issue
makes clear, there's a large, competent, and
mainstream body of foreign policy experts ready to
step in. Then, the American people can decide whether
to fire Bush.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of the American Prospect.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Posted by richard at 02:04 PM

September 10, 2003

Gen. Clark Reportedly Is Asked to Join Dean

The _resident, as astute observers have noted, acted
like a raging dry drunk. The "US mainstream news
media," as you all can plainly see, is a hopeless
co-dependent enabler. The family intervention (i.e.,
the emerging Popular Front of generals, ex-generals,
intel officers, ex-intel officers, State dept.
officials, ex-State dept, officials, EPA officials,
ex-EPA officials, Democrats, Independents and yes,
*real* Republicans -- as opposed to reich0wing
"Republicans")has to act forcefully, and
speedily...Because the Bush cabal is a wounded animal
right now, and as any ASPCA worker can tell you,
handling a wounded animal can be dangerous...Howard
Dean (D-Jeffords) and Wesley Clark (D-NATO) both have
shown courage and principle in these last few
difficult months...If they were to break with
"coventional wisdom" and run together as this story
suggestsm they could ignite an electoral fire that
could burn out of control. Remember, they are the
darlings of the Internetm AND the Internet is what has
driven the Information Rebellion against the Orwellian
view of SeeNotNews, NotBeSeen and the lot...They
should spin it like so, "We know this move is
unprecedented, but we are facing a national state of
emergency and business as usual, i.e. a traditional
campaign, is inappropriate."
Gen. Clark Reportedly Is Asked to Join Dean

By Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 11, 2003; Page A01

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has
asked retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark to join his
campaign, if the former NATO commander does not jump
into the race himself next week, and the two men
discussed the vice presidency at a weekend meeting in
California, sources familiar with the discussions

Clark, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he did
not want to comment about the private meeting. Asked
about reports that the two men had discussed a wide
range of issues, including endorsing Dean, joining the
campaign, possible roles in a Dean administration and
the vice presidency, he said only, "It was a complete
tour of the horizon."

Later, an adviser quoted Clark as saying, "I have only
one decision to make: Will I seek the presidency?"

It was the fourth time Dean and Clark have met
face-to-face to discuss the campaign. No decisions
were made at the California meeting because Clark is
still considering a run for president. Clark is
scheduled to make a speech Sept.19 at the University
of Iowa, when many political insiders expect him to
announce his intentions.

"Most of our conversations have been around my getting
advice on defense, and sometime he asks me about
domestic issues," Dean said in an interview yesterday.
"This is a guy I like a lot. I think he's certainly
going to be on everybody's list if he's not the
presidential nominee himself." Dean declined to
discuss their private conversations.

While it would represent a gamble for both men to team
up so early in the campaign, such a move would rattle
an already unpredictable nomination campaign. Dean and
Clark have two things in common that if combined could
prove formidable among Democratic voters: They both
opposed the war in Iraq, and both are generating
excitement on the Internet and with grass-roots

But a Dean-Clark alliance would also underscore the
relative inexperience that both men have in national
campaigns. Clark has never run for political office,
and Dean has created controversy for his off-the-cuff
remarks last week on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last week, Dean said the United States should not
"take sides" in the Middle East conflict and said that
an "enormous" number of Israeli settlements would have
to be dismantled as part of a peace agreement.
Yesterday, Dean shifted course, saying the settlements
should be left to negotiators.

The governor's original comments angered a number of
Jewish leaders and drew rebukes from two rivals, Sen.
Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sen. John F. Kerry
(D-Mass.). Dean came under fire yesterday from a group
of House Democrats for his comments on the Middle
East. "This is not a time to be sending mixed
messages," the Democrats, including Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.),
wrote to Dean.

Dean has increasingly talked up Clark as a possible
running mate or as a presidential candidate, pointing
to the general's 33-year military record, which
included a victory in Kosovo as commander of NATO
forces in Europe. Dean's laudatory comments have
fueled speculation among top Democrats that the two
men might join forces soon on a Dean-Clark 2004

Dean's campaign played down the significance of the
talks. "I am certain along the way we have made it
clear we would welcome General Clark's support in the
campaign, but I am assuming other Democratic campaigns
have done the same," said Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign
manager. Trippi refused to discuss the meeting in

Other Democratic candidates have reached out to Clark,
too, with Kerry talking to him by phone during the
last week. But none apparently has courted the general
as aggressively as Dean, a Clark adviser said. Rep.
Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said he has not talked to
Clark in weeks and would welcome him into the race. "I
never worry about who's in the race," Gephardt said.

Clark has been making the rounds of Democratic donors
and Washington insiders for months as part of his
exploration of a presidential campaign. More recently,
he has been meeting with Democratic strategists who
have expertise in managing presidential campaigns.
Among those to whom he has reached out are Mark
Fabiani, who ran the communications operation for Al
Gore's 2000 campaign and worked in the Clinton White

If Clark joins the presidential race, which some
prominent Democrats predict he will do, he would
become the 10th candidate. Still other Democrats think
Clark will not run, partly because he would enter well
behind Dean in both fundraising and grass-roots
support. Clark has sent mixed signals in recent days,
leaving some Democrats he has talked to with the
impression that he is in, others with a suspicion that
he is out.

Recent polls show nearly two-thirds of voters cannot
name even one of the nine candidates, so there is room
for a new candidate to move, some strategists think.
But recent polls show Clark is not widely known and
would enter near the back of the pack.

He would not enter empty-handed.
officials said they have generated pledges of more
than $1 million for a Clark campaign. Dean's campaign
has said it will raise at least $10 million this
quarter and other campaign strategists expect that
number to be significantly higher.

The Draft Clark organization has begun running
60-second commercial spots in Iowa, New Hampshire and
Clark's home state of Arkansas, prodding Clark to run.
Another Clark organization reports having grass-roots
groups in numerous states.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at 02:01 PM

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and Author of "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century"

Franken's book, Conason's new book, now a book by Paul
Krugman...Krugman, of course, I call the moral
conscience of the NYTwits and the Voice of Greater
Greenspania...These books are political grenades hurl
them at the thought barricades...You are not alone....
Paul Krugman to "Well, a couple of
things. The first is that a good part of the media are
essentially part of the machine. If you work for any
Murdoch publication or network, or if you work for the
Rev. Moon's empire, you're really not a journalist in
the way that we used to think. You're basically just
part of a propaganda machine. And that's a pretty
large segment of the media.

September 11, 2003

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and Author of "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century"


Paul Krugman to "Well, a couple of
things. The first is that a good part of the media are
essentially part of the machine. If you work for any
Murdoch publication or network, or if you work for the
Rev. Moon's empire, you're really not a journalist in
the way that we used to think. You're basically just
part of a propaganda machine. And that's a pretty
large segment of the media.

As for the rest, certainly being critical at the level
I've been critical –- basically saying that these guys
are lying, even if it's staring you in the face –- is
a very unpleasant experience. You get a lot of heat
from people who should be on your side, because they
accuse you of being shrill, which is everybody's
favorite word for me. And you become a personal

* * *

Thank God for this Man! A Princeton University
professor who pens a column for the New York Times,
Krugman is probably the most visible mainstream media
commentator, among a handful, who "gets it." He views
the Bush Cartel as "revolutionary power...a movement
whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our
current political system." In short, Krugman
understands that the Bush gang is anti-democracy at
its core.

But, as an economics professor, Krugman is most on his
game when he exposes the bumbling, tragic farce of the
fraud known as Bush economics (something that might
have been created by the Keystone Cops if they had
turned sides and become robbers). A con artist on a
riverboat gambling ship has more financial acumen than
the Bush crew. Krugman reveals the Bush Cartel for the
greedy, reckless, incompetent hustlers that they are.
Like most BuzzFlash readers, he is amazed that the
nation, as whole, hasn't caught on to the fact that we
have the bank robbers running the bank.

"The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New
Century," Krugman's new book [LINK], is primarily a
collection of past Krugman columns. The man is an
Emile Zola for our time, unforgiving in his exposure
of the insidious financial incompetence and calculated
deception of the current administration. Because of
his academic background, he has the heft to back up
his trenchant perspective with the "bonafides."

Coming across Paul Krugman's column in the New York
Times is like finding an oasis in the desert.

Interviewing Krugman was like drinking from a cool
pond in a 120-degree weather.

* * *

BUZZFLASH: Many of our readers don't realize that you
are an economics professor at Princeton. How did you
come to write a column for The New York Times op-ed

KRUGMAN: Well, they just called me out of the blue.
Actually it was Tom Friedman who acted as
intermediary, because I'd met him. But it was just out
of the blue. It was 1999, and at the time, it seemed
like our problem was: "How do we deal with prosperity
and all the interesting things that were happening in
the business world?" They thought that they needed
somebody to write about that, and somehow had learned
that in addition to regular professor-type stuff, I'd
actually been writing journalistic pieces for Fortune
and for Slate, and they asked me to come on. It seemed
like it might be interesting and fun, and of course we
figured that the U.S. policy would be sensible and
reasonable, and I'd be writing mostly about disasters
elsewhere of the new economy. And what do you know? It
turned out to be something quite different from
anything we imagined.

BUZZFLASH: Your focus is often on international trade
and international monetary systems.

KRUGMAN: Yes, the professional work is basically about

BUZZFLASH: You're not a full-time journalist. Do you
think that gives you a bit of distance from both the
media and from politics when you write your columns?

KRUGMAN: What it means is that I don't have any of the
usual journalistic or the journalists' incentives. I'm
not part of the club. I'm not socially part of that
world. I don't go to Washington cocktail parties, so I
don't get sucked into whatever kind of group-think
there may be, for better or for worse. I don't
necessarily hear all the latest rumors, but I also
don't fold in with the latest view on how you're
supposed to think about things.

It also means that I'm moonlighting. This is not my
career, or I didn't think it is, anyway. And if it
means that if I'm frozen out, if the Times finally
decides I'm too hot to handle and fires me or
whatever, that's no great loss. So I'm a lot more
independent than your ordinary average journalist
would be.

BUZZFLASH: You make the case that a revolutionary,
right wing movement has set out to transform the
United States, and they're succeeding. So much of the
print media and so many television broadcast
journalists have become more like stenographers for
the official government spin than probing journalists.
What's your take on that?

KRUGMAN: Well, a couple of things. The first is that a
good part of the media are essentially part of the
machine. If you work for any Murdoch publication or
network, or if you work for the Rev. Moon's empire,
you're really not a journalist in the way that we used
to think. You're basically just part of a propaganda
machine. And that's a pretty large segment of the

As for the rest, certainly being critical at the level
I've been critical -– basically saying that these guys
are lying, even if it's staring you in the face –- is
a very unpleasant experience. You get a lot of heat
from people who should be on your side, because they
accuse you of being shrill, which is everybody's
favorite word for me. And you become a personal
target. It can be quite frightening. I've seen cases
where a journalist starts to say something less than
reverential about Bush, and then catches himself or
herself, and says something like, "Oh, I better not
say that, I'll get 'mailed.'" And what they mean by
"mail" is hate mail, and it also means that somebody
is going to try to see if there's anything in your
personal history that can be used to smear you.

It's like shock therapy, aversion therapy. If you
touch these things, you yourself are going to get an
unpleasant, painful electric shock. And most people in
the media just back off as a result.

BUZZFLASH: Bottom line: It's just easier not to be

KRUGMAN: Your personal life, your professional life,
is much easier if you oscillate between reverential
pieces about the commander in chief and cynical pieces
which equate minor foibles on one side with grotesque
lies or deceptions on the other.

BUZZFLASH: Economic decisions are certainly
politicized, but you do have numbers -– you have the
advantage of showing what works, what doesn't, which
numbers add up, and which don't. It seems like so much
of the criticism you get is sort of dismissive, but no
one challenges you on the substance of the arguments
you're making.

KRUGMAN: Oh, I get challenged all the time on the
substance, but usually by people who have no clue, or
who are just looking for anything. So if I say the
number is 2.15 and it's actually 2.143, someone will
come after me, saying: "Lie, lie – it's inaccurate!"
So that's what's going on. But the amazing thing about
this is that we're not talking about close calls here.
When you talk about [Bush] administration policy, it's
not a case of, well, "OK, maybe I disagree with your
model, but according to your model, this policy will
do what you say it will." These guys are insisting all
the time that two minus one equals four. There isn't
any reasonable argument in their favor, but there's a
lot of power in their favor.

BUZZFLASH: There's a wonderful chapter in the book of
your collection of columns on that theme. Let's focus
on something specific -– the unprecedented deficit.
Last week, I think it was projected at nearly $500
billion, staggering even beyond Bush Senior's records
in the early '90s. How is it that this has not become
more of an issue, and why don't more Americans see
this as gross mismanagement of the economy?

KRUGMAN: Well, for the general public, it's very
abstract. It's very hard to understand.
Understandably, there are a very small number of
people who sit down and do the accounting, and say,
"Gee, how are we going to pay for Social Security in
the next decade, given this?" It's not quantum
mechanics; it's not hard stuff, but it does take some
attention. The truth is, when I started doing this
column, I wasn't a U.S. budget expert at all, and I
had to put in a lot of work learning how to read those
numbers. And you don't expect the guy in the street to
understand that.

As for the media, I guess the point is that not very
many people understand this stuff. And those who do –-
the idea of saying, "My god, these guys are looting
the country" -– that's uncool. It's not what you want
to do. Right now there's a column in the latest
Newsweek entitled, "The Brainteaser of Deficit Math,"
which basically confirms everything I've been saying
all along, that this is wildly irresponsible and it's
actually unsustainable. But the tone is kind of
distant and cool. I don't know whether he actually
doesn't feel any outrage, or just feels he shouldn't
do that.

BUZZFLASH: Two points to add to that is during the
last press conference that Bush held before he went
off to Crawford, Texas, he was asked once or twice
about the deficit by a couple of reporters. And he
deflected the questions and kept talking about jobs.
You could tell there was a clear strategy to not talk
about the deficit. Instead, Bush talked about
something tangible to make it appear to the American
public that Bush was concerned about creating jobs.

Do you think part of the reason that people don't hold
the Bush administration more accountable is that they
basically just give it the benefit of doubt? As if to
say, "Surely someone in power has to know what they're
doing; there has to be logic to the madness and order
in the chaos."

KRUGMAN: I waver on that. Sometimes I think that's
what people think. Certainly, I think that's the case
with a lot of the media. The concept that the
president of the United States is flat-out lying about
the sustainability of his own economic policy -–
that's too high a hill for them to climb. And I guess
the general public tends to give him the benefit of
the doubt.

But there's a definite tilt in the way these things
are covered and perceived. I think the average voter
in California is feeling outraged about the state's
$38 billion deficit, and then you stop and think for a
second. You say, wait a second –- first of all, it's
not $38 billion. It turns out that was a two-year
number, and this year they've closed the books. And
it's only $8 billion for next year. And, anyway, that
number should be as abstract and remote from the
ordinary residents of California as the national
budget deficit is from the ordinary American.

But there's a machine that keeps on beating it out,
saying Davis is bad; Davis is irresponsible; the
deficit –- he lied to us. And the press picks it up,
and, in turn, it makes its way to the public. So you
have a situation in which mainstream publications
continue to report and hammer on Davis' $38 billion
deficit, which isn't even remotely true, while Bush,
for the most part, gets a free pass on the $500
billion deficit which is absolutely real.

BUZZFLASH: In your book, you give special attention to
the origins of the California energy crisis. Who would
you say is to blame for that?

KRUGMAN: What actually happened in California was that
the system was a little short on capacity –- not
actually less capacity than demand, but the usual
margin wasn't there because of a drought and a couple
of other things. That created a situation in which
energy companies could game the system by
strategically taking a plant offline or scheduling a
power transmission in such a way that it could be
guaranteed to create congestion on the transmission
grid, and a whole bunch of other strategies. Basically
by pulling power off the market, they could drive
prices up.

So what you had was a basically normal, slightly tight
power situation that was transformed into a wild chaos
of brownouts, blackouts, and prices up to 50 times
what's normal due to companies gaming the system. It
wasn't some vast conspiracy. It was mostly companies
seeing what they could do individually. And it was
created by a badly conceived deregulation scheme that
set the system up for this to happen. So that's the
story, and if you have to say who's to blame, well,
companies were out there maximizing profits quite
ruthlessly, but that's to be expected. You want to
blame Pete Wilson for setting up the system where that
could happen, and you want to blame the energy
regulators, which basically means the feds, for
refusing to do anything about it.

BUZZFLASH: You had a wonderful column on Arnold
Schwarzenegger, "Conan the Deceiver," and what little
details he's revealed of his economic plan. I think it
must be maddening for you to actually understand what
the real-life consequences are of the empty rhetoric
that politicians make.

KRUGMAN: Well, I've given up a lot to do this column.
My habitat before was not just academics, but I was
part of the sort of high-level, very genteel policy
circuit -– you know, finance ministers, economists and
big bankers, sitting around tables with glasses of
mineral water, and having high-minded discussions
about global policy. I'm very much part of that, or I
was very much part of that comfortable world where the
working assumptions –- the pretense, if you like -– is
that we're all men of good will, and it's all
intelligent and that the issues are deep. And if there
are divisions, it's because there are really two

And then here I am in the middle of this, trying
desperately to get a few more people to notice that we
have wildly dishonest, irresponsible people making
policy in the world's greatest nation. And currents of
abuse are coming in the mail and over the e-mails, as
we saw. There are many mornings when I wake up and
say, "Why am I doing this? But you got to do it."

BUZZFLASH: Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax
Reform and a board member of the National Rifle
Association and GOP advisor, made a comment that he
wants to shrink the size of the federal government so
small that he could drown it in a bathtub. When you
look at the Bush economic policy, are we dealing with
an ideology to destroy social programs and the federal
government? Or is it mismanagement? Or both?

KRUGMAN: I think you have to think of this as there's
more than one player in this thing. If you ask
Norquist or the Heritage Foundation about where the
economic and social policy intelligentsia really
stands, their aim is to roll us back to Herbert Hoover
or before. Norquist actually thinks that we've got to
get back to before the progressive movement –- before
the McKinley era, which actually is one of Karl Rove's
guiding lights as well. So there's definitely an
important faction in the Bush administration and in
the Republican Party that really wants to unravel all
of this stuff and basically wants us to go back to a
situation where, if you are unlucky, and you don't
have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care,
well, that's just showing that you weren't
sufficiently provident. And then, for these people,
there would be no social safety net whatsoever.

Other people in the party, and other people in the
coalition, have deluded themselves into thinking that
somehow this is all going to be painless, and we're
going to grow our way out of the deficit. Other people
really don't care about any of that and are viewing
their alliance with these people as a way to achieve
their social goals -– basically roll back the
revolution in social mores over the past few decades.

So there is a coalition, but there's no question that
if you ask what do the core ideologues want, the
answer is they want to roll it all back. If you looked
at what the Heritage Foundation says, they use the
terms "New Deal" and "Great Society" as essentially
curse words. Everything Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon
Johnson did to provide a little bit of a cushion for
Americans having bad luck is a bad thing, from their
point of view.

BUZZFLASH: As a professor, if you were giving a
lecture and you had to define the economic policy of
the Bush administration, could you get your arms
around it? How would you define it?

KRUGMAN: There is no economic policy. That's really
important to say. The general modus operandi of the
Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with
problems. They use problems to justify things they
wanted to do anyway. So there is no policy to deal
with the lack of jobs. There really isn't even a
policy to deal with terrorism. It's all about how can
we spin what's happening out there to do what we want
to do.

Now if you ask what do the people who keep pushing for
one tax cut after another want to accomplish, the
answer is they are basically aiming to create a fiscal
crisis which will provide the environment in which
they can basically eliminate the welfare state.

BUZZFLASH: Talking about perception, why is it, even
after the staggering deficits, and three million jobs
lost, when you look at the polls, ordinary people
perceive Republicans as better at managing the economy
and the federal budget than Democrats. Even though
we're just starting to understand just how good the
Clinton-Gore economic policies were, the false
perception still exists the Republicans can handle the
economy better.

KRUGMAN: Again, I think it comes back to press
coverage. Just this weekend, I was looking at
something: There's an enormous scandal right now
involving Boeing and a federal contract, which appears
to have been overpaid by $4 billion. The Pentagon
official who was responsible for the contract has now
left and has become a top executive at Boeing. And
it's been barely covered in the press –- a couple of
stories on inside pages. You compare that with the
White House travel office in 1993. There were
accusations, later found to be false, that the
Clintons had intervened improperly to dismiss a couple
of employees in the White House travel office.

That was the subject, in the course of one month, of
three front-page stories in the Washington Post. So if
people don't understand how badly things are being
managed now, and have an unduly negative sense of how
things were managed in the Clinton years, well, there
in a nutshell is your explanation.

BUZZFLASH: If you had to make a projection, do you
think Clinton's presidency –- specifically his
economic policy and what he did in terms of generating
jobs and creating surpluses –- will survive as his
legacy, versus what happened afterwards with the Bush

KRUGMAN: Well, I think Clinton's successes will be
overshadowed by the scale of the disaster that
followed. Not that Clinton will be blamed. I think
historians will say, "Gee, there was a sensible,
basically well-intentioned government that dealt
successfully with a bunch of crazies."

A lot of good things happened in the 1920s, although
there were a couple of really bad presidents. But all
of that now, in historical memory, is colored by the
realization of what followed afterwards.

I think that with the looming disasters of the budget
on foreign policy –- and the things that really scare
me, which I know we're not going to get into but let's
just mention the erosion of civil liberties at home -–
I think that, in retrospect, this will be seen in
terms of how did the country head over this cliff. I
hope I'm wrong. If there's regime change in 2004, and
the new man actually manages to steer us away from the
disasters I see in front of us, then we'll probably be
talking a lot about the long boom that was begun
during the Clinton years, and how it was resilient,
even to an episode of incredibly bad management.

But I don't think that's the way it's going to play
out, to be honest. Whatever happens in the election, I
think that we've done an extraordinary amount of
damage in the last three years.

BUZZFLASH: Looking just at the economic impact of
Iraq, how much of a strain will that continue to be?

KRUGMAN: Well, there are levels and levels. I think
Iraq is going to cost us $100 billion a year for the
indefinite future. Now at one level, you can say,
well, that's only about 20 percent of our budget
deficit, and it's only about 5 percent of the federal
budget. But on the other hand, it's being added onto a
very nasty situation. It's a little unpredictable. I
don't know how much collateral damage Iraq is going to
inflict. At the rate we're going, it's clear that
unless something happens soon, we're going to have a
much bigger Army. It may seem like we have enough
troops, but I've been talking to people, including
officers, who are just crying about what they see as
the degradation of the Army's quality because of all
of this.

Right now, I'm trying to understand what a petroleum
industry expert is telling me, when he says that some
of the market futures suggest that the market is
pricing in about a one-in-three chance that unrest in
Iraq spreads to Saudi Arabia. And if that happens, of
course, then we're talking about a mammoth disaster.

BUZZFLASH: I've got to say I don't know how you sleep
at night.

KRUGMAN: I have a little trouble, to be honest. It's
this funny thing: I lived this very comfortable life
in a very placid college town, with nice people all
around. And life is good. But some of us -– not just
me, but a fair number of people, including my friends
-- we've looked at the news, and we sort of
extrapolate the lines forward. And there's this
feeling of creeping dread.

BUZZFLASH: James Carville, I think, called you
courageous. Do you just call it like you see it? Do
you just look at the numbers and tell people what the
numbers tell you?

KRUGMAN: I could have made the decision to either not
do this column or to do it and to say, OK, my
expertise is economics, and I'm going to write this in
a very cool fashion. And I'm going to write columns
praising something, anything about the Bushies, and
make snide attacks on the Democrats, just to keep an
even-handed feel to it, so that people won't get mad
at me. And I decided not to do that. For whatever the
reason was -– pig-headedness or whatever –- I
certainly stuck my neck out quite a lot.


* * *

Order your copy of Paul Krugman's "The Great
Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century" from


The New Paul Krugman Website

Un-Official Paul Krugman Archive

Alan Sloan column, "The Brainteaser of Deficit Math"

Posted by richard at 02:00 PM

September 08, 2003

Why the FCC Needs a New Chief

Something positive (at least temporarily) has come
from the shameless arrogance and naked servicing of
the corporatist media giants by Calm 'Em Powell's son,
Michael, the _resident's FCC chief. The US electorate
(right and left) has (at least temporarily) had its
eyes opened to one very serious problem...


By Thane Peterson

Why the FCC Needs a New Chief
Michael Powell's ill-advised efforts to help Big Media
united left and right alike. After such a fiasco,
resignation is the honorable option
Enough already. Michael Powell should resign as
chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Ever since President Bush named him FCC head in
January, 2001 (he had been a minority GOP commissioner
for three-and-a-half years under Bill Clinton), Powell
has tried to push through new rules that would allow
more ownership concentration in American media. His
efforts have been a bit like Silent Tom Smith trying
to saddle Seabiscuit with a 250-pound jockey.

Powell's No. 1 policy initiative has been repeatedly
rebuked. Over the summer, the House of Representatives
voted to roll back his regulatory easement. On Sept.
3, a U.S. Appeals Court in Philadelphia blocked
Powell's rule changes. And on Sept. 4, a Senate
committee joined the House in moving to halt a key
part of Powell's plan, which would raise the market
share of TV stations that one company can own from 35%
to 45% of U.S. households.

Powell has generated unprecedented opposition across
the political spectrum, from the conservative National
Rifle Assn.. to the liberal National Organization for
Women. By the FCC's own count, it has received some 2
million calls, faxes, e-mails, and letters opposing
the changes. This is failed leadership.

STAYING PUT. An FCC spokesman says Powell has no
plans to resign and directed me to a prerecorded
appearance on John McLaughlin's TV show One on One,
broadcast on Sept. 7. On the show, Powell forcefully
reaffirmed that he plans to stay on.

He should reconsider, and if he doesn't, President
Bush should ask for his resignation. "He has not
appeared efficient or effective," says Mark Cooper,
research director of the Consumer Federation of
America, which is calling on the FCC to revisit and
rewrite its proposed ownership changes. "He hasn't
been able to get anything done."

The Sept. 3 Appeals Court decision surprised even
Powell's harshest critics. The court still has to
decide on the merits of the legal challenge to the
rules, which would make it far easier for media giants
such as Disney (DIS ), AOL Time Warner (AOL ), and
News Corp. (NWS ) to continue expanding into new
markets and businesses. Says Celia Wexler, research
director of the Washington (D.C.)-based
public-interest group Common Cause: "The court
understood that if the NRA, NOW, Common Cause, and all
the other [disparate] groups oppose the [rules
changes], it means there really is a problem."

WORKING VACATIONS. This isn't an antibusiness issue.
The problem is Powell himself. At best, he has a tin
ear for public relations, at worst, he seems to go out
of his way to antagonize friend and foe alike. For
instance, before the FCC passed the media
consolidation changes on June 2, he refused to make
public the 250-page FCC document that formed the
justification for the move. He also held only one
public hearing on the media rules changes. Later, he
sought to justify that by saying that public hearings,
at about $20,000 each, were too expensive.

Imagine that -- major changes in the rules governing
media ownership of newspapers, radio, and TV, and the
champion of the effort says a public airing of the
merits of the case is too expensive. This rings a tad
hollow, given that FCC commissioners and staffers
accepted $2.8 million in freebie trips over the last
eight years from the industry, according to the Center
for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan Washington (D.C.)
research organization. The favored destination for
these "research" forays: Las Vegas. The trips
continued at least through mid-June, the center says,
though Powell has since promised to end the practice.

Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, the two
Democrats on the commission, were so incensed that
they began holding ad hoc hearings around the country
on their own (most of which Powell refused to attend).
A firestorm of opposition erupted.

MASS MAILINGS. Powell tends to minimize the breadth
of the anger he has stirred up. He isn't giving
interviews these days to print media, his spokesperson
says, but he said in a recent C-Span appearance that
"three-quarters" of the 2 million missives opposing
his rule changes were from one group, the NRA, which
had its more fervent members each send in five
postcards, one to each commissioner. Even if that's
true, it means 300,000 NRA members opposed the issue,
as well as 500,000 non-NRA-ites.

That's probably more opposition than the FCC has ever
gotten before. It typically gets about 5,000 calls and
letters on controversial issues, the FCC says.

Powell never mentioned the outpouring of calls and
e-mail aimed at members of Congress. Common Cause and, an Internet-based liberal advocacy group
started by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, each say
300,000 people griped to their senators and
representatives via their Web sites. MoveOn also
collected 207,500 signatures on a petition to stop the

TIPPING THE SCALES. One reason for public anger is
the shoddiness of the FCC's research. Powell proudly
noted in his C-Span appearance that the FCC studied
the issues for 20 months and did "12 empirical
studies" of media concentration before coming up with
its new rules. Trouble is, most of the FCC studies
were so poorly designed and inconclusive that they
don't illuminate much of anything (see BW Online,
5/30/03, "Stop the FCC's Covert Operation").

Just as poorly thought-out is Powell's new "diversity
index." In an attempt to assuage critics who fear the
new rules will squash local news coverage, Powell came
up with a scale that purports to measure to measure
"news diversity" in various markets. But an analysis
by the Consumers Federation and the Consumer's Union
(publisher of Consumer Reports magazine) found it full
of "flawed analytic thinking" and "riddled with
internal contradictions."

For instance, the consumer groups note that in the
Tallahassee (Fla.) area, the proposed FCC index gives
the suburban Thomasville Tribune newspaper
(circulation 10,000) equal weight to the Tallahassee
Democrat (circulation 50,000), and twice as much
weight as the local CBS affiliate, which has 50,000
viewers per day and 59% of the local TV market. In the
New York City area, Shop at Home Inc., the Dutchess
Community College TV station, and Multicultural Radio
Broadcasting, owner of three small local radio
stations, each counted for more than The New York

POPULIST GROUNDSWELL. Even without the relaxed rules,
big media just keeps getting bigger. Both Viacom (VIA
), which owns CBS, and News Corp., which owns Fox,
already surpass the FCC's cap on TV station ownership.
The FCC gave them a waiver pending passage of its new
rules. And the media-consolidation boom shows no sign
of abating. Witness NBC-parent General Electric's (GE
) bid to buy Vivendi's (V ) media assets, which
include Universal Studios (see BW Online, 9/5/03, "Why
GE Went for a Little Glitz"). The media behemoths
still hope to beat back opposition with a big-buck ad
campaign and the slogan, "America Says: Don't Get
Between Me And My TV."

That won't wash. The populist groundswell, from both
the left and the right, against greater media
concentration is real. And leaders of both parties
have good reason to oppose the FCC's plans.
"Politicians fear that it will give the media even
more leverage over them," says Joseph Turow, a
professor at the University of Pennsylvania's
Annenberg School for Communication.

So, to recap: Powell refused to make a public case for
the merits of his proposal. Then, he skewed the data
to try to fool people. Plenty of other
telecommunications policy experts have the political
skills to handle the FCC job less contentiously than
Powell. He should leave, before he's shown the door.


Peterson is a contributing editor at BusinessWeek
Online. Follow his weekly Moveable Feast column, only
on BusinessWeek Online
Edited by Douglas Harbrecht

Copyright 2000-2003, by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
All rights reserved.
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Posted by richard at 01:56 PM

AP Staffer Fact-Checks Powell's UN Speech: Key Claims Didn't Hold Up

Charles J. Hanley's name will be scrawled on the John
O'Neill Wall of Heroes. (Yes, the LNS site will be
back on-line very soon!) Remember, 2+2=4.

SEPTEMBER 09, 2003
AP Staffer Fact-Checks Powell's UN Speech: Key Claims Didn't Hold Up

By E&P Staff

Last month, Charles J. Hanley, special correspondent
for the Associated Press and winner of a Pulitzer
Prize in 2000, wrote a devastating 2,500-word critique
of claims made by Secretary of State Colin Powell in
his influential Feb. 5 speech to the United Nations on
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In a column
published this week, E&P Editor Greg Mitchell calls
this speech the single most important moment in the
march to war -- and charges that the media's
unquestioning endorsement of Powell's assertions made
invasion inevitable. Here are brief, edited excerpts
from the Hanley article (available in its entirety at

ALUMINUM TUBES: Powell said "most United States
experts" believed aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were
intended for use as centrifuge cylinders for enriching
uranium for nuclear bombs.
Energy Department experts and Powell's own State
Department intelligence bureau had already dissented
from this CIA view... No centrifuge program has been
reported found.

REVIVED NUCLEAR PROGRAM: "We have no indication that
Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons
program," Powell said.

On July 24, Foreign Minister Ana Palacio of Spain, a
U.S. ally on Iraq, said there was "no evidence, no
proof" of a nuclear bomb program before the war. No
such evidence has been reported found since the

DECONTAMINATION VEHICLES: At two sites, Powell said
trucks were "decontamination vehicles" associated with
chemical weapons.

Nothing has been reported found since... Norwegian
inspector Jorn Siljeholm told AP on March 19 that
"decontamination vehicles" U.N. teams were led to by
U.S. information invariably turned out to be water or
fire trucks.

BIOWEAPONS TRAILERS: Powell said defectors had told of
"biological weapons factories" on trucks and in train
cars. He displayed artists' conceptions of such

After the invasion, U.S. authorities said they found
two such truck trailers in Iraq, and the CIA said it
concluded they were part of a bioweapons production
line. But no trace of biological agents was found on
them, Iraqis said the equipment made hydrogen for
weather balloons, and State Department intelligence
balked at the CIA's conclusion.

DESERT WEAPONS: According to Powell, unidentified
sources said the Iraqis dispersed rocket launchers and
warheads holding biological weapons to the western
desert, hiding them in palm groves and moving them
every one to four weeks.

Nothing has been reported found, after months of
searching by U.S. and Australian troops in the nearly
empty desert.

ANTHRAX: Powell noted Iraq had declared it produced
8,500 liters of the biological agent anthrax before
1991. None has been "verifiably accounted for," he

No anthrax has been reported found, post-invasion. The
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), in a confidential
report last September (five months before the Powell
speech) said that although it believed Iraq had
biological weapons it didn't know their nature,
amounts, or condition.

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Powell showed video of an Iraqi F-1
Mirage jet spraying "simulated anthrax." He said four
such spray tanks were unaccounted for, and Iraq was
building small unmanned aircraft "well suited for
dispensing chemical and biological weapons."

According to U.N. inspectors' reports, the video
predated the 1991 Gulf War, when the Mirage was said
to have been destroyed, and three of the four spray
tanks were destroyed in the 1990s. No small drones or
other planes with chemical-biological capability have
been reported found in Iraq since the invasion.

FOUR TONS OF VX: Powell said Iraq produced four tons
of the nerve agent VX.

Powell didn't note that most of that was destroyed in
the 1990s under U.N. supervision. No VX has been
reported found since the invasion. Experts at
Britain's Internatonal Institute of Strategic Studies
said any pre-1991 VX most likely would have degraded

'EMBEDDED' CAPABILITY: "We know that Iraq has embedded
key portions of its illicit chemical weapons
infrastructure within its legitimate civilian
industry," Powell said.

No "chemical weapons infrastructure" has been reported
found. The recently-disclosed DIA report of last
September said there was "no reliable information" on
where Iraq might have established chem-warfare

CHEMICAL AGENTS: "Our conservative estimate is that
Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons
of chemical-weapons agent," Powell said.

Powell gave no basis for the assertion, and no such
agents have been reported found. That same DIA report
had reported "no reliable information on whether Iraq
is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."

CHEMICAL WEAPONS: "Saddam Hussein has chemical
weapons...And we have sources who tell us that he
recently has authorized his field commanders to use
them," Powell said.

No such weapons were used in the war and none was
reported found.

CHEMICAL WARHEADS: Powell said 122-mm "chemical"
warheads found by U.N. inspectors in January might be
the "tip of an iceberg."

The warheads were empty, a fact Powell didn't note. No
others have been reported found since the invasion.

SCUDS, NEW MISSILES: Powell said "intelligence
sources" indicate Iraq had a secret force of up to a
few dozen prohibited Scud-type missiles. He said it
also had a program to build newer, 600-mile-range

No Scud-type missiles have been reported found. No
program for long-range missiles has been reported.

Source: Editor & Publisher Online

E&P Staff

Posted by richard at 01:55 PM

The U.N. in Iraq

A friend of mine who *is* a journalist told me one day
recently to study the photos on the front pages,
remarking: "Sometimes that's the only way they can
really editorialize." Indeed, the photo of the
_resident during his speechlet (15 minutes?) on
Sunday, selected for the SeeNotNews (CNN) web site,
reveal a scared man, perhaps a guilty man, perhaps an
unstable man, BUT certainly a scared man.
I do not think Poppy (GHWB) would have gone into Iraq
without our NATO allies and the UN Security Council.
Poppy lost the 1992 election, or so "conventional
wisdom" (i.e. *convenient hearsay*) goes, because of
raising taxes. The other major second-guess on Poppy
is that he shouldn't have stopped short of Baghdad.
BUT, of course, the truth is quite different. Poppy
was right to raise taxes. Poppy was right to stop
short of Baghdad.
Ironically, the _resident will also be limited to one
term (if there is an election in 2004) BECAUSE he did
the exact opposite: the _resident's whole political
philosophy can be summed up in the following formula:
"kick ass, and cut taxes." Well, he did both. In the
course of doing so, he seriously damaged our economic
future and our national security.
Has even one blow-dry anchors or propapunditgandists
pointed us, since Sunday, that the Bush cabal is now
going hat in hand to the UN, which its neo-con wet
dreamers ridicules as "irrelevant" and wished away,
and to the powerful allies Rumsfeld ridicules as "Old
Europe"? Here is some real news analysis -- from the
free world...

The U.N. in Iraq
Le Monde Editorial
Le Monde

Saturday 06 September 2003

The UN General Secretary is too diplomatic to
openly show his feelings. If the matter were not so
serious, however, if it weren't a question of the fate
of a country, Iraq, Kofi Annan would be tempted to
display a bit of satisfaction. Because the United
States' return before the Security Council marks an
acknowledgement of that which the Bush Administration
meant to fiercely reject: the U.N.'s preeminence when
it comes to embodying international legitimacy.

That's what's in play: a point of law, something
very political also. Under the pressure of Iraqi
chaos, of a series of murderous attacks, the American
government is doing what it swore not to do: it's
presenting a resolution proposal designed to increase
the United Nations' political role in Baghdad.

Not so long ago, the White House was proclaiming
loud and clear that however "vital" it might be, the
U.N.'s role in Iraq had to be limited to humanitarian
matters. The United States, it was decreed, had no
need of the U.N.'s imprimatur to legitimate their Iraq
operation. Quite the contrary: some people in the
neo-conservative constellation, made this political
marginalization of the U.N. one of the key elements of
the new American diplomatic-strategic doctrine.

Only the failure of the post-war- which the
Pentagon wanted to manage alone, to the detriment of
the State Department- is such that the White House has
had to abandon its contemptuous posture with regard to
the U.N. We know the reasons. The occupation of Iraq
has proved to be more onerous than foreseen. It
requires more men and more money. One of the
Democratic Party's potential candidates to face Mr.
Bush in 2004, Senator John Kerry, observes: "The
United States pay 95 % of the costs, supply 95 % of
the men, and take 95 % of the losses." Unsustainable
in the short term for Mr. Bush, politically and
financially. He must "multilateralize" the operation.
He had to ask for more support than that forthcoming
from his coalition of the willing. And, for that, so
that the big countries such as India, Pakistan,
Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, and Jordan agree to supply
troops, and that a number of European countries
provide financial assistance, one condition must be
met: a U.N. mandate in good and due form. Not that
these countries want the Peace Force Command to be
given to the U.N.: they feel that would be inefficient
and consider an American command acceptable.

Not that they mean for the reconstruction to be
entrusted to the U.N. bureaucracy: they're familiar
with its defects. They want U.N. political
supervision, even a symbolic one; because they believe
that the U.N. is the only organization in a position
to legitimize this phase of the transition to a return
of Iraqi sovereignty. The overwhelming majority of
states recognize the United Nations-because it
includes them all, because it is exemplary- as the
sole source of international legitimacy.

Mr. Bush has finally been forced to admit it.

Posted by richard at 01:53 PM

Will Press Roll Over Again on New WMD Report?

Do you remember the film "Network," in which, the
Peter Finch character snapped and started shouting
"I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it
anymore?" Of course, even his magnificent outrage was
exploited, BUT the point here is that it wasn't
someone on the streets that started shouting "I am mad
as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!" It was
a TV anchor man. Until one of them cracks (i.e. has an
eruption of conscience), or until one of the networks
cracks (i.e., starts to see its own business
threatened), we are in deep trouble....If it were not
for the Information Rebellion (e.g., Buzzflash,
MediaWhoresOnline, CommonDreams, TruthOut, etc.), we
would be already shouting "Long Live Little Brother!"
to each other instead of saying "Hello."

Published on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 by the Editor
& Publisher
Will Press Roll Over Again on New WMD Report?
'E&P' Editor Cites 'Depressing' Failure in Past
by Greg Mitchell

Some time in the next two weeks, David Kay, head of
the Iraqi Survey Group, is expected to finally release
a crucial report on his findings so far in his search
for weapons of destruction.

"I am confident that when people see what David Kay
puts forward they will see that there was no question
that such weapons exist, existed, and so did the
programs to develop more," Secretary of State Colin
Powell said Sunday. "We did not try to hype it or blow
it out of proportion."

Since no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) have been
found in Iraq, close observers now report that Kay is
likely to drop on the media a massive weapon of his
own: hundreds or thousands of pages of summaries and
documents purporting to prove that Saddam Hussein had
WMDs recently (and hid them) and/or had numerous WMD
programs underway that we succeeded in pre-empting.

In the parlance once used by Howell Raines, Kay
thereby will "flood the zone" and hope the press
portrays what may be largely assertion -- not fact --
as compelling proof. Would the media possibly fall for
this? There are disturbing indications that they

Last month, one of the most important stories of 2003
appeared, and got significant play in a number of
major newspapers -- but not nearly enough. There's
still time for the rest to catch up and, in most
cases, honestly admit that they promoted one of the
most lethal rush-to-judgements of the modern
journalistic era -- and vow to do better in the
future, starting with the Kay case.

The August report was written by Charles J. Hanley,
special correspondent for the Associated Press, who
shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. It utterly demolishes
Powell's much-lauded Feb. 5 presentation to the United
Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and the
need to go to war to destroy them.

Still, at this late date, why is this so significant,
since the damage (lives lost, billions spent and
billions more committed, anti-U.S. hatred inflamed in
the region) is done?

Simply put, the Powell charade was the turning point
in the march to war, and the media, in almost
universally declaring that he had "made the case,"
fell for it, hook, line and sinker, thereby making the
invasion (which some of the same newspapers now
question) inevitable.

It's a depressing case study of journalistic shirking
of responsibility. The press essentially acted like a
jury that is ready, willing and (in this case) able to
deliver a verdict -- after the prosecution has spoken
and before anyone else is heard or the evidence
studied. A hanging jury, at that.

Consider the day-after editorial endorsements of
Powell's case, all from sources not always on the side
of the White House. As media writer Mark Jurkowitz put
it at the time in The Boston Globe, Powell may not
have convinced France of the need to topple Saddam but
"it seemed to work wonders on opinion makers and
editorial shakers in the media universe."

The San Francisco Chronicle called the speech
"impressive in its breadth and eloquence." The Denver
Post likened Powell to "Marshal Dillon facing down a
gunslinger in Dodge City," adding that he had
presented "not just one 'smoking gun' but a battery of
them." The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune called Powell's case
"overwhelming," while The Oregonian in Portland found
it "devastating." To The Hartford (Conn.) Courant it
was "masterful." The Plain Dealer in Cleveland deemed
it "credible and persuasive."

One can only laugh, darkly, at the San Jose (Calif.)
Mercury News asserting that Powell made his case
"without resorting to exaggeration, a rhetorical tool
he didn't need." The San Antonio Express-News called
the speech "irrefutable," adding, "only those ready to
believe Iraq and assume that the United States would
manufacture false evidence against Saddam would not be
persuaded by Powell's case." The Dallas Morning News
declared that Powell "did everything but perform
cornea transplants on the countries that still claim
to see no reason for forcibly disarming Iraq."

And what of the two often tough-minded giants of the
East? The Washington Post echoed others who found
Powell's evidence "irrefutable." That paper's liberal
columnist, Mary McGrory, wrote that Powell "persuaded
me, and I was as tough as France to convince." She
even likened the Powell report to the day John Dean
"unloaded" on Nixon in the Watergate hearings. The
paper's George Will said Powell's speech would "change
all minds open to evidence" and Jim Hoagland called it
"a convincing and detailed X-ray." He added that he
did not believe that Powell could have lied or "been
taken in by manufactured evidence," and "neither
should you."

The New York Times, meanwhile, hailed Powell's
"powerful" and "sober, factual case." Like many other
papers, the Times' coverage on its news pages -- in
separate stories by Steven Weisman, Michael Gordon,
and Adam Clymer -- also bent over backward to give
Powell the benefit of nearly every doubt. Apparently
in thrall to Powell's moderate reputation, no one even
mentioned that he was essentially acting as lead
prosecutor with every reason to shape, or even create,
facts to fit his brief.

Weisman called Powell's evidence "a nearly
encyclopedic catalog that reached further than many
had expected." He and Clymer both recalled Adlai
Stevenson's speech to the U.N. in 1962 exposing Soviet
missiles in Cuba. Gordon closed his piece by asserting
that "it will be difficult for skeptics to argue that
Washington's case against Iraq is based on groundless
suspicions and not intelligence information." Try
reading that with a straight face today.

Why does any of this matter? It's fashionable to
suggest that the White House was bent on war and
nothing could have stopped them. But until the Powell
speech, public opinion, editorial sentiment, and
street protests were all building against the war. The
Powell speech, and the media's swallowing of it,
changed all that. An E&P survey of editorial pages of
major newspapers just after the Powell speech found
the number of papers characterized as "hawkish" rose
from 5 to 15 while those considered "war skeptics"
plunged from 29 to 11.

After Hanley's AP story appeared in the St. Petersburg
(Fla.) Times in August, a reader named William C.
Wilbur wrote to the editor, "I am surprised that the
Times has not yet commented editorially on this
further evidence of how the Bush administration has
misled Congress, the American public, and the world in
order to justify war." It's time for many papers to
admit they were hoodwinked -- and vow to be more
skeptical of official presentations, by David Kay and
everyone else, in the future.

Greg Mitchell ( is
the editor of E&P.

© 2003 VNU eMedia Inc.

Posted by richard at 01:52 PM

North Korean Standoff Poses 'Greatest Threat,' Carter Says

Jimmy Carter's clarity of mind is sharp enough to
peirce through the Pravda-like filters of the NYTwits
(*newspaper of revision* rather than "newspaper of
record") and deliver the truth. Remember, the
_resident and his neo-con wet dreamers fumbled the
opportunity for a peaceful evolution on the Korean
pennisula. Calm 'Em Powell promised *under oath* in
his confirmation hearings there would be continuity on
the Clinton-Gore initiative, which had brought the
North Koreans to the negotiating table for real...Of
course, the VICE _resident, Condi the White House au
pair, Rumsfeld and the rest of those for whom
Secretary of Stone Calm 'Em Powell just fronts,
promptly scuttled those peace talks and started the
chain reaction that has brought us to this very
dangerous moment...I send you this news story so that
you remember and you can help others remember. One of
the reich-wing Bush cabal's greatest Weapons of Mass
Distraction is the utter lack of perspective (i.e.
continuity, context, accountability) from one month to
the next or one year to the next -- in the "US
mainstream news media" and the corpratist
propapunditgandists who establish the parameters of
the discussion. So, remember, "all the _resident's
men" brought us here to the bring of a nuclear
confrontation in the Pacific, just as they have
brought us to the brink of MEGA-Mogadishu in Iraq,
just as they have brought us to the brink of an
unthinkable WWIV if everything that have churned up
comes due at once...

Published on Saturday, September 6, 2003 by the New
York Times
North Korean Standoff Poses 'Greatest Threat,' Carter Says
by James Brooke

TOKYO, Sept. 5 — Former President Jimmy Carter, the
man credited with defusing the 1994 North Korean
nuclear crisis, warned here today that the current
standoff was the world's "greatest threat."

Former US President and Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy
Carter slammed the stance of the administration of
President Bush, which has branded the North Korean
government part of an 'axis of evil.' Carter speaks to
reporters during a news conference in Tokyo on
September 5, 2003. (Kimimasa Mayama/Reuters)

"This paranoid nation and the United States now are
facing what I believe to be the greatest threat in the
world to regional and global peace," Mr. Carter said
of North Korea. The Bush administration, which has
avoided using the word "crisis" in referring to North
Korea's revival of its nuclear program, had no
immediate comment on Mr. Carter's Asian visit or his

Mr. Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year,
met here today with Japan's prime minister, Junichiro
Koizumi. On Sunday he flies to Beijing where he is to
meet with top Chinese leaders. Traveling on an agenda
to promote aid to Africa, he said he had no plan to
repeat his 1994 trip to North Korea's capital,
Pyongyang, which opened the way to the first nuclear
agreement with North Korea.

"Unfortunately both sides have violated some of those
agreements," he said, criticizing North Korea for
enriching uranium in order to make bombs. "At the same
time, the United States has refused direct talks, has
branded North Korea as an axis of evil, has declared
an end of no first use of atomic weapons, has invaded
Iraq and has been intercepting North Korean ships at

Warning against pushing North Korea, he added, "That
country is isolated, very fearful of outside threats,
economically punished by longstanding sanctions with a
superb military technology and the ability to destroy
hundreds and thousand of lives and most of Seoul if a
war should come."

He urged a continuation of the six-party talks in
Beijing that took place last week with the
participation of China, Japan, Russia, the United
States and North and South Korea.

Mr. Carter said North Korea should renounce nuclear
weapons and the use of violence in dealing with South
Korea. Next Tuesday North Korea's leadership
celebrates the 55th anniversary of the founding of the
country. Many outside analysts fear that North Korea
could use the anniversary to declare itself a nuclear
power or hold a nuclear test.

In return for North Korea's giving up its bombs and
its bomb-making capabilities, Mr. Carter said, the
United States should agree to a nonaggression pact
with North Korea, negotiated and guaranteed by North
Korea's neighbors.

"A unilateral decision by the United States the North
Koreans would not trust," he said. Other incentives,
he said, could include "the lifting of all economic
and political sanctions against North Korea and the
opportunity for that little country to become
completely absorbed in world affairs on a normal

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


Posted by richard at 01:50 PM

September 07, 2003

Meacher Sparks Fury Over Claims on September 11 and Iraq War

His name will be scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall of
Heroes...Now we are getting down to business...Next
week, Santa Cruz, California will become the first
local government in the US to call for the _resident's
impeachment over Iraq. Of course, 180+ local
governments passed resolutions against initiating the
foolish military adventure (a fact IGNORED in the "US
mainstream news media" effort to create the false
impression that the country was behind the disasterous
move...Now, of course, at least for a time, barring
the cashing in of another Trifecta ticket, the public
disapproval of the _resident cannot be so easily
covered up...

Published on Saturday, September 6, 2003 by the
Meacher Sparks Fury Over Claims on September 11 and Iraq War
Fury over Meacher claims

by Ewen MacAskill

Michael Meacher, who served as a minister for six
years until three months ago, today goes further than
any other mainstream British politician in blaming the
Iraq war on a US desire for domination of the Gulf and
the world.

Also See:
This War on Terrorism is Bogus
by Michael Meacher

MP Michael Meacher
UK Environment Minister from 5/97-6/2003

Mr Meacher, a leftwinger who is close to the green
lobby, also claims in an article in today's Guardian
that the war on terrorism is a smokescreen and that
the US knew in advance about the September 11 attack
on New York but, for strategic reasons, chose not to
act on the warnings.

He says the US goal is "world hegemony, built around
securing by force command over the oil supplies" and
that this Pax Americana "provides a much better
explanation of what actually happened before, during
and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism

Mr Meacher adds that the US has made "no serious
attempt" to catch the al-Qaida leader, Osama bin

He also criticizes the British government, claiming it
is motivated, as is the US, by a desire for oil.

The US government last night expressed abhorrence at
Mr Meacher's views. An embassy spokesman in London
said: "Mr Meacher's fantastic allegations - especially
his assertion that the US government knowingly stood
by while terrorists killed some 3,000 innocents in New
York, Pennsylvania and Virginia - would be monstrous,
and monstrously offensive, if they came from someone
serious or credible.

"My nation remains grateful for the steadfast
friendship of the British people and Her Majesty's
government as we face, together, the serious
challenges that have arisen since September 11 2001."

Downing Street also distanced itself from the views of
an MP who only a few months ago was in the government.
"The prime minister has responded to those who argue
it was about oil," a spokeswoman said, adding that oil
profits from Iraq are to be fed back into the
country's development.

Former ministers such as Robin Cook and Clare Short
have criticized the British government for misleading
the public over the reasons for going to war. But Mr
Meacher has gone much further in his analysis of US
and British motives.

He says that the plans of the neo-conservatives in
Washington for action against Afghanistan and Iraq
were well in hand before September 11. He questions
why the US failed to heed intelligence about al-Qaida
operatives in the US and the apparent slow reaction of
the US authorities on the day, as well as the
subsequent inability to lay hands on Bin Laden.

He argues that the explanation makes sense when seen
against the background of the neo-conservative plan.

"From this it seems that the so-called 'war on
terrorism' is being used largely as bogus cover for
achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives."

He adds: "Given this, it is not surprising that some
have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as
creating an invaluable pretext for attacking
Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been
well planned in advance."

Mr Meacher, who was environment minister, says: "The
overriding motivation for this political smokescreen
is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of
secure hydrocarbon energy supplies."

He is critical of Britain for allegedly colluding in
propagating the myth of a global war of terrorism. He
asks: "Is collusion in this myth and junior
participation in this project really a proper
aspiration for British foreign policy?"

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003


Posted by richard at 01:48 PM

US-led occupation brings frontline against al-Qaeda to Iraq: analysts

Yes, the political situation is deteriorating for the
_resident, the VICE _resident and "all the _resident's
men." This morning, they dispatched Calm 'Em Powell to
NotBeSeen (NBC) Meat the Press so that he could be led
through damage control, on the post 9/11 escape of the
bin Ladens and associates, by Tim Rushdirt, tonight
the _resident aggresses the nation...MEANWHILE, here
is the real news from Agence France Press...Vive le
France! They gave the U.S. the Statue of Liberty, now
they are reminding the U.S. what it stands for...

US-led occupation brings frontline against al-Qaeda to Iraq: analysts
Sat Sep 6, 8:15 PM ET Add Top Stories - AFP to My

BAGHDAD (AFP) - The United States struggled before the
war to convince the world there was a link between
Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and al-Qaeda
network, but five months of US-led occupation of Iraq
(news - web sites) may have created precisely such an
unholy alliance.

Stripped of their privileged positions under the
ousted dictator's brutal regime, Saddam's henchmen may
finally have thrown in their lot with their
ideological adversaries in Osama bin Laden (news - web
sites)'s terror network to wage war on their common
foe two years after the suicide hijackings in the
United States, analysts say.

A quartet of arrests made by Iraqi police immediately
after a massive car bombing that killed 83 people in
the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf last week
provided the hardest evidence yet of the fledgling
marriage of convenience between Saddam and the

Two of the detainees were Saudis espousing al-Qaeda's
militant brand of Islam. The others were former
henchmen of the ousted dictator.

"Even though they are two entirely different
organizations with very different aims and objectives,
they both have an interest in creating disorder and
chaos in Iraq, and they have complementary
capabilities," said Joost Hiltermann of Brussels-based
think-tank, the International Crisis Group.

"Regime elements have access to the explosives and the
expertise, and al-Qaeda-like groups are prepared to
kill themselves," the Baghdad-based analyst said.

But Hiltermann insisted that Washington's pre-war
claims of ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda still
remained entirely unconvincing.

"I see no information that links al-Qaeda to Saddam
Hussein's people before the war, and the Americans
never provided any hard evidence, so it is an alliance
that postdates the war, not predates it," he said.

Professor Barry Buzan, international security
specialist at the London School of Economics, agreed.

"I find it quite plausible that with the Americans
having made such a big target of themselves in Iraq,
an alliance should come into existence now purely on
opportunistic grounds," he said.

"But I see no evidence of such a connection before the
war and those people who made political mileage out of
there being one have shut up."

Both analysts concurred that the US-led occupation had
turned Iraq into a magnet for al-Qaeda.

Borders rendered porous by the collapse of Saddam's
iron rule have opened the way for a host of foreign
infiltrators, not only Islamic militants but also
bankrobbers and highwaymen.

A sweeping clampdown finally launched by the
authorities in neighbouring Saudi Arabia following a
triple suicide bombing in Riyadh in May has also
helped to propel Islamic militants into Iraq to launch
attacks on their US foes.

"Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda-like groups have every reason
for going into Iraq -- it's a perfect recruiting
ground, the Americans are there as a target and they
have got the world's press," said Buzan.

Three deadly car bombings in as many weeks and a
guerrilla war that has cost more US lives than the
invasion itself have convinced even US officials here
that they are now on a new frontline in their
worldwide war with the militants.

"I think it's true that Iraq now faces an important
terrorist threat," US civil administrator Paul Bremer
told a Baghdad news conference this week.

"We have seen an influx of both foreign fighters and
foreign terrorists in the last months. It shows that
Iraq is one of the battlefields in the worldwide war
on terrorism."

Many Iraqis at the receiving end of the violence
plaguing the country are also convinced that al-Qaeda
militants are at work here in league with members of
the ousted regime.

Sayyed Ali al-Waadi al-Musawi, who was the target of
latest of a string of assassination attempts against
Shiite clerics here earlier this week, said he
believed they were a deliberate bid by militants and
Saddam loyalists to stoke communal tensions.

"There are a lot of enemy groups that we know about
such as followers of the old regime and al-Qaeda,"
said Sayyed Ali, the agent in the capital of Shiite
Islam's top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

"One of the problems is that there are lots of
mercenaries here in Iraq now because of the open

"We want Sunnis and Shiites to be united but there are
foreign hands that are trying to fuel communalism
here," he said.

Posted by richard at 01:45 PM

Blood, Oil, and Tears - and the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy

Well, tonight, the _resident will start his Orwellian
revision not of the past, but of the real-time
present...For a bitter laugh, un-mute the sound for
the propapunditgandist post-mortem...Look for the
presence of anyone with any courage or intelligence
allowed to speak into a microphone...You will not hear
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) or Marine General Anthony
Zinni, you will not hear Cynthia McKinnery (D-GA) or
Max Cleland (D-GA) or Mario Coumo...No, at the most,
you will hear the pretend "liberals" like Margaret
Carlson, George Stop&Laugh@Us, and maybe Joe Leiberman
("D"-Sanctimonicutt)...You won't hear anything like
the following...
Blood, Oil, and Tears - and the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy
by Thom Hartmann

The two words we never hear in the corporate media's
discussion of Iraq are "oil" and "nationalism." Yet
these are the keys to understanding why we got into
Iraq, why we only want "limited" involvement from the
U.N., why we won't succeed in stopping attacks against
us in Iraq, and why George W. Bush's crony capitalism
and aircraft-carrier-landing phony-warrior drama have
so terribly harmed our nation and set up a disaster
for our children's generation.

If we stay, we'll continue to control ten percent of
the world's oil (and perhaps as much as twenty percent
- Iraq still has vast unexplored areas that Cheney was
dividing up in his pre-9/11 Energy Task Force meetings
with Halliburton and Enron). Maintaining control of
Iraq's oil will keep OPEC off balance, and will keep
faith with Rupert Murdoch's advice to George W. Bush
before the war that cheap oil resulting from seizing
Iraq's oil fields would help the American economy more
than any tax cuts.

(Actually, we should stop calling our invasion of Iraq
a "war" - we'd already crippled the nation with 12
years of attacks and sanctions, and then sent the UN
in to verify that they were helpless. It's like
beating somebody senseless on the street, breaking
both their legs with a baseball bat, blindfolding
them, and then challenging them to fight. This was an
invasion, not a war.)

Thus, keeping control of Iraq's oil will help us keep
our SUVs and keep faith with Poppy Bush's famous
dictum that "the American lifestyle is not
negotiable." And transferring the money from Iraq's
oil to large corporations that heavily support
Republican candidates has obvious benefits to those
currently in control of the White House, Senate,
House, and Supreme Court.

But let's consider the future. Our occupation troops
are mostly European-, Hispanic-, and
African-American-ancestry Christians in an Arab Muslim
land that suffered during the Crusades. Thus, we will
continue to draw thousands of Jehadists who find it
infinitely easier to travel to Iraq than New York, and
our presence will continue to inflame nationalists
passions just as the British did in their failed
venture in Iraq nearly a century ago. And George W.
Bush will probably lose the 2004 election, unless he
can divert our attention by ginning up a war somewhere
else within 13 months.

On the other hand, if we declare victory and leave
Iraq to its warlords and zealots (as we've done in
almost all of Afghanistan except the city of Kabul),
we'll lose access to all that oil, re-empower OPEC,
further drive up domestic gasoline prices, and leave
Iraq either as a warlord-dominated state like
Afghanistan, a cleric-dominated state like Iran, or a
strongman-dominated state like...well...Iraq was
before we arrived. And it'll cost Arnold more to run
his Hummer.

Adding insult to injury, every tinpot dictator in the
world will figure there's little downside in thumbing
his nose at the United States, and, unless he can gin
up a war somewhere else within 13 months (or once
again fail to prevent another 9/11-type attack, God
forbid), George W. Bush will probably lose the 2004

August of 2003 brought two milestones that flow
directly from the invasion: the U.S. national deficit
reached an all time high, surpassing for the first
time in history the previous all-time record held by
President G.H.W. Bush; and the price of gasoline hit
an all-time high, surpassing the previous record held
by President G.W. Bush.

A small part of the deficit is related to the cost of
the Iraq invasion and occupation, and roughly 70
percent of the positive uptick in the last quarter's
economic activity was from payments to defense
contractors for the invasion itself (private
for-profit Republican-supporting companies get about a
third of all the money we're spending every month in
Iraq). Profits from the occupation help Halliburton,
but don't create many jobs in Peoria.

Similarly, while the price of gasoline is high in part
because we've been slow to pump Iraq's oil (mostly
because of looting and sabotage), it'll go even higher
if we turn the administration of the oil over to a UN
consortium. Every other industrialized nation in the
world is aggressively working to cut reliance on oil
and is ready for higher crude oil prices; the US under
the Bush administration and their corporate cronies
has put forth, instead, an energy policy that requires
increasing amounts of foreign oil imports and will be
a disaster to our nation in the face of sustained high
oil prices or oil shortages.

At least Bush/Cheney knew where they'd get the oil to
fuel their National Energy Policy. Documents pried by
a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the Cheney energy
task force meetings (at show
that Cheney and his buddies from Enron and other
energy companies had drawn up maps of Iraq's oil
fields and made lists of potential corporate
purchasers of Iraqi oil - all months before 9/11/01.

These former oil industry executives know their
priorities. When George W. Bush spoke on national
television to announce the start of "war" against
Iraq, he looked into the camera and asked to speak
directly to the Iraqi people. He could have appealed
to their nationalism, and asked them to join our
soldiers (or at least not shoot at them) in toppling
Saddam. He could have appealed to their knowledge of
the peaceful side of Islam and asked them to go to
their mosques, which we would protect from bombing,
and pray for a quick resolution of the conflict. He
could have apologized in advance for the death and
destruction he was about to unleash on their land,
that would kill many times more innocent civilians
than died in the World Trade Center, and promise that
the US would do our best to make it good after the

But these were not the things on Bush's mind. Instead,
he said, "And all Iraqi military and civilian
personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In
any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do
not destroy oil wells..."

Corporations that contribute heavily to Republican
campaign coffers are now firmly in control of Iraq's
oil and have started taking payment for reconstruction
and supply that will amount to billions of US tax

It's unlikely these multinational corporations (many
of them allowed by the Republicans in Congress to
reincorporate in Bermuda to avoid US taxes) will look
kindly on efforts to turn control of Iraq and its oil
over to the United Nations or an Arab-led consortium,
even if it will mean stability in the region and will
save the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen,
and Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire.

If Bush turns the oil and the reconstruction bonanza
over to the UN, he could lose millions in campaign
contributions, and Cheney's company Halliburton, which
lost $498 million last year but just reported (July
31) a $26 million profit, may go back to losing so
much money it can't continue the million-dollar-a-year
payoff he's still receiving.

George W. Bush confronts one of the most difficult
choices of his life: Should he turn Iraq over to the
UN and thus save the lives of our men and women in
uniform, but lose the oil, the campaign cash, and
probably the election? Or should he keep our troops in
Iraq to protect Halliburton, Bechtel, and his other
Republican corporate campaign donors, skim millions in
campaign cash out of the billions these friendly
corporations are being paid by American taxpayers, and
hope all that money can buy enough commercials to make
Americans forget about the price of gasoline, growing
Iraqi nationalism, and the resulting coffins returning
to America on a daily basis.

Or maybe there's a third option. If the American media
keep ignoring the oil, don't report on Bush's
unwillingness to attend GI funerals (he'd rather take
a month-long vacation and play golf), and continue to
overlook the obvious connections between Iraqi
nationalism and dead Americans, Bush could repeat his
very successful political strategy from the middle of
the fall 2002 election campaign that threw the Senate
into Republican hands. He could simply declare his
intention to start another war mid-2004, stimulating
anti-war protests and dividing Americans, and then
again use that division to paint Democrats with a
yellow brush.

Which will it be? Only Karl Rove knows for sure. But
whichever way it goes, you can bet American taxpayers
and soldiers will pay the bill in cash and blood, and
democracy will be the weaker for it.

Thom Hartmann (thom at is the
bestselling author of over a dozen books, including
"Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight," and the host of a nationally syndicated
daily talk show, "The Thom Hartmann Program," that
runs opposite Rush Limbaugh. This
article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission
is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web
media so long as this credit is attached and the title
is unchanged.


Posted by richard at 01:44 PM

September 06, 2003

Bin Laden family's US exit 'approved'

Of course, reading the LNS you knew this story in the
days immediately after 9/11...but the network TV news
anchors, the propapunditgandists, the White House
"correspondents," the talking head apologists of the
right and the pretend "left" -- how dare they ignore
this story? yes, that's why I say they go home at
night to Stepford and the Valley of the Dolls...The
rest of this story and related links is what is hidden
that Sen. Graham (D-Fraudida) has so desperately been
demanding you be told...

Bin Laden family's US exit 'approved'


THE United States allowed members of Osama bin Laden’s
family to jet out of the US in the immediate aftermath
of September 11, even as American airspace was closed.
Former White House counter-terrorism tsar Richard
Clarke said the Bush administration sanctioned the
repatriation of about 140 high-ranking Saudi Arabians,
including relatives of the al-Qaida chief.

"Somebody brought to us for approval the decision to
let an aeroplane filled with Saudis, including members
of the Bin Laden family, leave the country," he said.

Mr Clarke said he checked with FBI officials, who gave
the go ahead. "So I said: ‘Fine, let it happen.’"

He first asked the bureau to check that no-one
"inappropriate" was leaving.

"I have no idea if they did a good job," he added.

Dale Watson, the FBI’s former head of
counter-terrorism, said that, while the bureau
identified the Saudis who were on the plane, "they
were not subject to serious interrogations".

The plane is believed to have landed in ten US cities
picking up passengers, including Los Angeles,
Washington DC, Boston and Houston. At the time, access
to US airspace was restricted and required special
government approval.

Tom Kinton, director of aviation at Boston’s Logan
Airport, said: "We were in the midst of the worst
terrorist act in history and here we were seeing an
evacuation of the Bin Ladens."

But he said it was clear the flight had been
sanctioned by federal authorities.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the
US who is said to have organised the exodus, met
President George Bush on September 13, 2001, two days
after the terror attacks. It is not known if they
discussed the repatriation plan.

The White House has declined to comment on the claims,
but sources said the Bush administration was confident
no secret flights took place.

Mr Clarke said he did not recall who requested
approval for the flights, but believes it was either
the FBI or the State Department.

But FBI spokesman John Iannarelli said: "I can say
unequivocally that the FBI had no role in facilitating
these flights."

Posted by richard at 01:41 PM

Bush Numbers Hit New Low; Dean Tops List of Democratic Presidential Contenders

From this extraordinary moment on, we are in very
dangerous territory...The _resident is going to be
shown the door, the Bush cabal is going to be
dismissed...BUT will they go? They did not accept
defeat in 2000, so will they allow it in 2004? Read
these poll numbers from Zogby and CNN. The truth is
finally be allowing to escape from the vise...They
cannot aid and abet much anymore...They cannot cook
the data any more...although they still try, check out
SeeNotNews' incredible, disgraceful lead to the
second story below and then contrast it with the
numbers in the story itself...The woods have come to
the castle walls...MacBush has been revealed as a sham
and maniac...I told you the LNS was my rain dance, and
that I would beat this drum until the 2004 election
and I will...There is a lot of moisture in the
political air...The storm is coming...But believe me
they dabble in weather control and these are very
dangerous weeks ahead...

Released: September 06, 2003
Bush Numbers Hit New Low; Dean Tops List of Democratic Presidential Contenders, New Zogby America Poll

President George W. Bush’s job performance ratings
have reached the lowest point since his
pre-Inauguration days, continuing a steady decline
since a post-9/11 peak, according to a new Zogby
America poll of 1,013 likely voters conducted
September 3-5.

From Zogby...

Less than half (45%) of the respondents said they
rated his job performance good or excellent, while a
majority (54%) said it was fair or poor. In August
Zogby International polling, his rating was 52%
positive, 48% negative. Today’s results mark the
first time a majority of likely voters have given the
president an unfavorable job performance rating since
he took office.


(CNN) -- Can any Democrat beat President Bush in 2004?

Only 38 percent of all Americans think so, and Bush
leads any of the active presidential candidates in
hypothetical head-to-head match-ups. But don't write
off the 2004 election just yet.

Some 41 percent of all registered voters say they will
definitely vote against Bush; just 29 percent say they
will definitely vote for him. So Bush must woo about
seven in ten swing voters -- not a difficult task for
a popular incumbent, but far from a certainty.

Posted by richard at 01:38 PM

The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination

It is an extraordinary moment. Sxi months before the
aborted election of 2000, I said, "This election could
be the last one we ever have in the US." My friend
wrote the statement down and dated it (because I am
often right in what is less than obvious). Many people
woke up to reality after the coup that placed the
_resident in the White House. In the summer of 2001,
even the political establishment itself was sharpening
its knives and preparing to cut bait on the Bush
cabal. After 9/11, some more eyes were opened, but
many eyes shut out of fear and confusion. The country,
particularly the "US mainstream news media" and the
Democratic leadership (with the exception of Sen. Bob
Graham (D-Fraudida) and some members of the
Congressional Black Caucus...In the ramp up to the
foolish military adventure in Iraq, again more eyes
open, but also again other eyes shut because they did
not want to be on the wrong side if there was an easy
victory. But now that more UD soldiers have died in
Iraq after the _resident stood there on that aircraft
carrier in front of a banner that said "Mission
Accomplished" than during the actual invasion...It is
here...The extraordinary moment...What Cynthia
McKinneey (D-GA) was rebuked and run out of town for
saying is on the lips of many, many more...It has

This war on terrorism is bogus

The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination

Michael Meacher
Saturday September 6, 2003
The Guardian

Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so
- to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq.
But far too little attention has focused on why the US
went to war, and that throws light on British motives
too. The conventional explanation is that after the
Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida
bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in
launching a global war against terrorism. Then,
because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK
governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the
war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this
theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a
great deal murkier.
We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a
global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now
vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary),
Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George
Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's
chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding
America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by
the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New
American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take
military control of the Gulf region whether or not
Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the
unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate
justification, the need for a substantial American
force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the
regime of Saddam Hussein."

The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document
attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US
must "discourage advanced industrial nations from
challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a
larger regional or global role". It refers to key
allies such as the UK as "the most effective and
efficient means of exercising American global
leadership". It describes peacekeeping missions as
"demanding American political leadership rather than
that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from
the scene", US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will
remain permanently... as "Iran may well prove as large
a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights
China for "regime change", saying "it is time to
increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia".

The document also calls for the creation of "US space
forces" to dominate space, and the total control of
cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet
against the US. It also hints that the US may consider
developing biological weapons "that can target
specific genotypes [and] may transform biological
warfare from the realm of terror to a politically
useful tool".

Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints
North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and
says their existence justifies the creation of a
"worldwide command and control system". This is a
blueprint for US world domination. But before it is
dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is
clear it provides a much better explanation of what
actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than
the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen
in several ways.

First, it is clear the US authorities did little or
nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known
that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to
the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts
were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the
CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be
preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September
16 2001). The list they provided included the names of
four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.

It had been known as early as 1996 that there were
plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then
in 1999 a US national intelligence council report
noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land
an aircraft packed with high explosives into the
Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White

Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in
Saudi Arabia. Michael Springman, the former head of
the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that
since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to
unqualified applicants from the Middle East and
bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for
the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC,
November 6 2001). It seems this operation continued
after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also
reported that five of the hijackers received training
at secure US military installations in the 1990s
(Newsweek, September 15 2001).

Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up.
French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now
thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in
August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a
suspicious interest in learning how to steer large
airliners. When US agents learned from French
intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought
a warrant to search his computer, which contained
clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3
2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent
wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be
planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May
20 2002).

All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the
war on terrorism perspective - that there was such
slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first
hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and
the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at
10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to
investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10
miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane
had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were
standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked
aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June
2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67
occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13
2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an
aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan,
fighter planes are sent up to investigate.

Was this inaction simply the result of key people
disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or
could US air security operations have been
deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why,
and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes
prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information
provided by European intelligence services prior to
9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible
for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of

Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No
serious attempt has ever been made to catch Bin Laden.
In late September and early October 2001, leaders of
Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's
extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11.
However, a US official said, significantly, that
"casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a
premature collapse of the international effort if by
some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured". The US
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers,
went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to
get Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing
FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News (December 19
2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests. And in
November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had
al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as
10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been
unable to attack because they did not receive
permission quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13
2002). None of this assembled evidence, all of which
comes from sources already in the public domain, is
compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on

The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into
place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this
it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism" is
being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider
US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony
Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the
Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it,
there was no way we could have got the public consent
to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan
but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17
2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain
a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate
occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking
Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back
empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).

In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext
to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again
is quite clear that plans for military action against
Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A
report prepared for the US government from the Baker
Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that
"the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq
remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of
oil to international markets from the Middle East".
Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task
group, the report recommended that because this was an
unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention"
was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).

Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The
BBC reported (September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a
former Pakistan foreign secretary, was told by senior
American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July
2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would
go ahead by the middle of October". Until July 2001
the US government saw the Taliban regime as a source
of stability in Central Asia that would enable the
construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and
gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,
through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept
US conditions, the US representatives told them
"either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or
we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press
Service, November 15 2001).

Given this background, it is not surprising that some
have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as
creating an invaluable pretext for attacking
Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been
well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent
for this. The US national archives reveal that
President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in
relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some
advance warning of the attacks was received, but the
information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing
national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to
join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC
blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of
transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force"
is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some
catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl
Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the
"go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC
agenda which it would otherwise have been politically
impossible to implement.

The overriding motivation for this political
smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to
run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010
the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the
world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95%
of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is
increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since
the 1960s.

This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign
oil supplies for both the US and the UK. The US, which
in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its total energy
demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs
by 2010. A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could
be facing "severe" gas shortages by 2005. The UK
government has confirmed that 70% of our electricity
will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be
imported. In that context it should be noted that Iraq
has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in
addition to its oil.

A report from the commission on America's national
interests in July 2000 noted that the most promising
new source of world supplies was the Caspian region,
and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia.
To diversify supply routes from the Caspian, one
pipeline would run westward via Azerbaijan and Georgia
to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend
eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and
terminate near the Indian border. This would rescue
Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on India's
west coast, in which Enron had sunk $3bn investment
and whose economic survival was dependent on access to
cheap gas.

Nor has the UK been disinterested in this scramble for
the remaining world supplies of hydrocarbons, and this
may partly explain British participation in US
military actions. Lord Browne, chief executive of BP,
warned Washington not to carve up Iraq for its own oil
companies in the aftermath of war (Guardian, October
30 2002). And when a British foreign minister met
Gadaffi in his desert tent in August 2002, it was said
that "the UK does not want to lose out to other
European nations already jostling for advantage when
it comes to potentially lucrative oil contracts" with
Libya (BBC Online, August 10 2002).

The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be
that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks
of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a
wholly different agenda - the US goal of world
hegemony, built around securing by force command over
the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.
Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in
this project really a proper aspiration for British
foreign policy? If there was ever need to justify a
more objective British stance, driven by our own
independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely
provides all the evidence needed for a radical change
of course.

· Michael Meacher MP was environment minister from May
1997 to June 2003

Posted by richard at 01:36 PM

September 05, 2003

Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another Election?

Remember the Triple Lock: #1) Outspend the Democrats
by at least 3-1 ratio with corporatist $$$, #2)
exercise undue influence, exerted through corporate
kulchur, over the "US mainstream news media,
#3)corporatist control over the voting process

Published on Thursday, September 4, 2003 by Democracy
Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another Election?
by Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who
count the votes decide everything."
--Russian Dictator Joseph Stalin

As millions of American voters prepare to use
electronic voting machines for the first time,
questions about who owns and controls these
vote-counting machines are rife. In at least two
states, companies with very close ties to the Bush
administration are in prime positions to control the
voting systems in the 2004 presidential elections.

In Illinois, Populex is the company that is creating
the electronic voting system for the state. It was
recently revealed that Ronald Reagan's former Defense
Secretary Frank Carlucci now serves on the company's
five-member Advisory Board. Carlucci is also the
chairman emeritus of The Carlyle Group, the defense
contractor often called the "Ex-President's Club"
because of the high profile partners and advisors on
its payroll. These include key players from George W
Bush's inner circle, such as former President Bush and
former Secretary of State James Baker III.

Meanwhile in Ohio, Diebold Inc. is one of the
companies vying to sell electronic voting machines in
that state. Diebold and its CEO have strong Republican
ties, specifically to the Bush administration.

A recent article by Julie Carr Smyth in The Cleveland
Plain Dealer reported that the head of Diebold is also
a top fundraiser for President Bush's re-election. In
a recent fund-raising letter Diebold's chief executive
Walden O'Dell said he is "committed to helping Ohio
deliver its electoral votes to the president next

"I think the question that this has raised is, has he
crossed the line?," said The Plain Dealer's Smyth on
Democracy Now! "We hear a lot of comments that a
C.E.O. should be allowed to be as politically active
as he wants, he's a businessman, he's allowed to favor
the president. But I think in the business of election
systems, the question is, has this crossed the line?"

"Basically what we have is a company that is giving
money, hand over fist and helping in campaign
strategizing for a particular political party at the
same time as making the machines that count the
votes," said Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting:
Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century.

Harris told Democracy Now!: "We now know that the
machines that they're making that count the votes are
not secure from tampering. And add to that, we've got
a situation where everything inside the machines is
secret, we're not allowed the see how they count the
votes. So this is not an acceptable situation."

Ohio is anticipating spending about $161 million not
just on machines but also on the entire implementation
of the new system. Diebold is one of ten original
companies that came to Ohio to bid for the contract.

In July, O'Dell invited Vice President Dick Cheney to
his house for a fundraiser, which poured $500,000 into
Cheney's coffers.

On a trip to Ohio, President Bush visited one of
Diebold's board members - W.R. Timken - who took him
on a tour of the company. Timken, like O'Dell, is a
"Pioneer" - the name given to wealthy Bush

According to Harris, a study of the campaign
contributions made by Diebold and its employees
revealed an unusual pattern: Hundreds of thousands of
dollars were being funneled to a few Republican
candidates with very little to any other party.

Harris says that Diebold's electronic voting machines
are wide open to tampering. "There's actually several
different methods that we've been looking at. One of
the first things you do when you look at any kind of
fraud is look what they tell you not to look at," she

Harris managed to obtain the source code that is used
in Diebold's electronic voting system simply by
searching the Internet.

Harris told Democracy Now! that she recently uncovered
another file on the Diebold site that she says "may
very well be the smoking gun that brings this thing

The file, she claims, proves that Diebold has the
ability to keep track of election results as they come
in. More concerning she says technology exists that
would allow Diebold to alter election results.

Diebold has long claimed it does not track votes on
Election Day but Harris said this file of election
data from San Luis Obispo County, California shows

"It is impossible for this file to have existed if
there wasn't some sort of illicit electronic
communication going on for remote access," Harris

"It's against the law to start counting the votes
before the polls have closed. But this file is date
and time stamped at 3:31 in the afternoon on Election
Day, and somehow all 57 precincts managed to call home
add them themselves up in the middle of the day. Not
only once but three times," Harris said. "If you have
no electronic communications between the polling
places and the main office, how does that happen?
Because what would you literally have to do is to shut
down the polling place in 57 places at once and get in
a car and drive this card into the county office.
That's not going to happen."

Technically, under the Diebold system that means it is
possible for someone who has access to the system to
monitor the progress of the voting results throughout
the day and to potentially manipulate them.

"You see, a modem is always two way," says Harris. "If
you can pull the information in, you can also push it
back through the pipeline the other direction. So that
means if they can pull the information in, they can
also send information back into those machines."

"We've known for some time that this is one of the
weakest areas," Harris said. "If you have remote
communication into the system at all, that gives you
access without physical access and that's very

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated radio and TV
show broadcast on over 160 stations.

Copyright © 2003 Democracy Now!


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Posted by richard at 01:33 PM

'02 Election Data Set for Public Release

"There's something rotten in the state of..." To
paraphrase Shakespeare, fill in the blank. Georgia,
Minnesota, etc. Exiting polling is actually one of the
most accurate resources we have...The exit polls in
Fraudida 2000 underscored Gore's victory in the state
(and thereby in the Electoral College -- if there had
not been a coup). That's something that is NOT
mentioned in this timid piece by the WASHPs. It is
also why *something happened* to the exiting polling
in 2004...The truth is that Cleland and probably
Mondale came out ahead in the votes that the voters
themselves thought they cast and therefore they would
have come out ahead in the exit polls...Ah, yes, but
unfortunately, something happened...

'02 Election Data Set for Public Release

By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 4, 2003; Page A06

The missing-in-action 2002 national exit poll data
have been given to the Roper Center for Public Opinion
Research for public release after a panel of academic
experts reviewed the survey and concluded the results
were reliable.

Voter News Service, composed of CBS, CNN, NBC, ABC,
Fox and the Associated Press, conducted the exit poll
on Election Day last year. But the survey findings
were never made public after a massive computer
collapse on election night prevented VNS from
tabulating the results -- a failure that led directly
to the demise of VNS.

Despite the Election Day meltdown, the 2002 results
have been eagerly sought by journalists and academics
seeking to resolve unanswered questions about the
election, including the impact of public worries about
terrorism and Iraq on the vote.

"We have the data for the national exit poll" and will
be releasing the information later this month, said
Richard Rockwell, executive director of the Roper
Center. The center, which is affiliated with the
University of Connecticut, is the country's leading
archive of survey data collected by academic, media
and commercial polling organizations, including The
Washington Post.

The 2002 exit poll data also were provided last week
to another archive at the University of Michigan.

The decision by the media partners to release the data
has not ended controversy over the troubled 2002 exit
poll. ABC News and Fox News will not be identified as
sources when the exit poll results are publicly
offered by the center. In meetings with the other
consortium members, both organizations had expressed
concern over the accuracy of the results and
questioned the value of releasing the survey data 10
months after Election Day, other consortium members

To resolve questions about the accuracy of the
results, the former VNS partners directed a panel of
academics to review the 2002 data.

"The 2002 data is of comparable utility and quality to
past VNS exit polls, and we recommend that it be
released for public use," the panel recently advised
the news organizations.

Lois Timms-Ferrara, associate director of the Roper
Center, said the data should be publicly available "in
a week or two. . . . We want our archivist to look it
over and make sure there is nothing problematic about

The data will be sold by the center -- "I hope for
less than $100," Timms-Ferrara said -- and made
available to paid subscribers to the center's online

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at 01:32 PM

Ex-Envoy Criticizes Bush's Postwar Policy

Marine Gen. Zinni's name is already scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...He spoke out forcefully
and courageously months before the war..It is
inspiring to see him take the fight to them now when
their folly, arrogance and stupidity have been so
sadly and so violently proved...

Marine Gen. Zinni's name is already scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...He spoke out forcefully
and courageously months before the war..It is
inspiring to see him take the fight to them now when
their folly, arrogance and stupidity have been so
sadly and so violently proved...

Published on Friday, September 5, 2003 by the
Washington Post
"I ask you, is it happening again?"
Ex-Envoy Criticizes Bush's Postwar Policy
by Thomas E. Ricks

Zinni's comments... were greeted warmly by his
audience, with prolonged applause at the end. Some
officers bought tapes and compact discs of the speech
to give to others.

A former U.S. commander for the Middle East who still
consults for the State Department yesterday blasted
the Bush administration's handling of postwar Iraq,
saying it lacked a coherent strategy, a serious plan
and sufficient resources.
"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the
pieces together," said retired Marine Gen. Anthony C.
Zinni, and so, he said, "we're in danger of failing."

In an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and
Navy officers and others, Zinni invoked the U.S.
involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and '70s.
"My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities
were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we
heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the
sacrifice," said Zinni, who was severely wounded while
serving as an infantry officer in that conflict. "I
ask you, is it happening again?"

Zinni's comments were especially striking because he
endorsed President Bush in the 2000 campaign, shortly
after retiring from active duty, and serves as an
adviser to the State Department on anti-terror
initiatives in Indonesia and the Philippines. He
preceded Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks as chief of the
U.S. Central Command, the headquarters for U.S.
military operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the
Middle East.

"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the
pieces together," retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni
said of the president's handling of postwar Iraq.

This was not the first time he has broken with the
administration. He was publicly skeptical last winter
of the decision to attack Iraq.

Underscoring how much his views have changed since
2000, he implied that the Bush administration is now
damaging the U.S. military in the way that Bush and
Vice President Cheney during that campaign charged
that the Clinton administration had done. "We can't go
on breaking our military and doing things like we're
doing now," he said.

He also questioned the Bush administration's decision
in January to have the Pentagon oversee postwar
efforts in Iraq. "Why the hell would the Department of
Defense be the organization in our government that
deals with the reconstruction of Iraq?" he asked.
"Doesn't make sense."

In addition, he criticized the administration for not
working earlier and harder to win a U.N. resolution
that several nations have indicated is a prerequisite
to their contributing peacekeeping troops to help in
Iraq. "We certainly blew past the U.N.," he said.
"Why, I don't know. Now we're going back hat in hand."

Zinni's comments to the joint meeting in Arlington of
the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps
Association, two professional groups for officers,
were greeted warmly by his audience, with prolonged
applause at the end. Some officers bought tapes and
compact discs of the speech to give to others.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company


Posted by richard at 01:30 PM

White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says

I send you the NYTwits version of this news story
simply to illustrate that it *should* now be
inescapable. Of course, the LNS and Internet rebellion
sites reported this soon after 9/11), but if the
"newspaper of revision" prints it, it is *not* going
away. The men who pretend to read the news to America
over the air waves in the evening: How can they sleep
at night? Clearly, they either live in Stepford or the
Valley of the Dolls.

[NOTE: The site that hosts the LNS is having some
difficulty, so I am going to be posting to you from my
e-mail account for a few days.]

White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says
By Eric Lichtblau
New york Times

Thursday 04 September 2003

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — Top White House officials
personally approved the evacuation of dozens of
influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin
Laden, from the United States in the days after the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when most flights were still
grounded, a former White House adviser said today.

The adviser, Richard Clarke, who ran the White
House crisis team after the attacks but has since left
the Bush administration, said he agreed to the
extraordinary plan because the Federal Bureau of
Investigation assured him that the departing Saudis
were not linked to terrorism. The White House feared
that the Saudis could face "retribution" for the
hijackings if they remained in the United States, Mr.
Clarke said.

The fact that relatives of Mr. bin Laden and other
Saudis had been rushed out of the country became
public soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. But questions
have lingered about the circumstances of their
departure, and Mr. Clarke's statements provided the
first acknowledgment that the White House had any
direct involvement in the plan and that senior
administration officials personally signed off on it.

Mr. Clarke first made his remarks about the plan
in an article in Vanity Fair due out Thursday, and he
expanded on those remarks today in an interview and in
Congressional testimony. The White House said today
that it had no comment on Mr. Clarke's statements.

The disclosure came just weeks after the
classified part of a Congressional report on the Sept.
11 attacks suggested that Saudi Arabia had financial
links to the hijackers, and Mr. Clarke's comments are
likely to fuel accusations that the United States has
gone soft on the Saudis because of diplomatic

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York,
seized on Mr. Clarke's comments to call on the White
House to conduct an investigation into the hasty
departures of about 140 Saudis from the United States
in the days after the attacks.

Mr. Schumer said in an interview that he suspected
that some of the Saudis who were allowed to leave,
particularly two relatives of Mr. bin Laden who he
said had links to terrorist groups themselves, could
have shed light on the events of Sept. 11.

"This is just another example of our country
coddling the Saudis and giving them special privileges
that others would never get," Mr. Schumer said. "It's
almost as if we didn't want to find out what links

Saudi officials could not be reached for comment
today, but in the past they have denied accusations
linking them to the 19 hijackers, 15 of them from
Saudi Arabia.

While F.B.I. officials would not discuss details
of the case, they said that in the days immediately
after Sept. 11 bureau agents interviewed the adult
relatives of Mr. bin Laden, members of one of Saudi
Arabia's richest families, before the White House
cleared them to leave the country. Mr. bin Laden is
said to be estranged from his family, and many of his
relatives have renounced his campaign against the
United States.

"We did everything that needed to be done," said
John Iannarelli, a bureau spokesman. "There's nothing
to indicate that any of these people had any
information that could have assisted us, and no one
was accorded any additional courtesies that wouldn't
have been accorded anyone else."

But the Vanity Fair investigation quotes Dale
Watson, the former head of counterterrorism at the
F.B.I., as saying that the departing Saudis "were not
subject to serious interviews or interrogations."

Mr. Watson could not be reached for comment today.

The article depicts an elaborate but hurried
evacuation carried out within a week of the hijackings
in which private planes picked up Saudis from 10
cities. Some aviation and bureau officials said they
were upset by the operation because the government had
not lifted flight restrictions for the general public,
but those officials said they lacked the power to stop
the evacuation, the article says.

Mr. Clarke, who left the White House in February,
said in an interview that he was driven by concern
that the Saudis "would be targeted for retribution" by
Americans after the hijackings.

Mr. Clarke said he told the bureau to hold anyone
it had suspicions about, and the F.B.I. said it did
not hold anyone.

Mr. Schumer said he doubted the thoroughness of a
rushed review by the bureau, and in a letter to the
White House today he said the Saudis appeared to have
gotten "a free pass" despite their possible knowledge
about the attacks.

as attachmentinline text

Posted by richard at 09:33 AM

September 04, 2003

Bush Was All Too Willing to Use Emigres' Lies

"American soldiers standing guard over the White House's imperial ambitions — a new Middle East as linchpin to a new world order — are now being shot like fish in a barrel...Shame on congressional Democrats, especially those running for president, who went along with this disgusting charade."
Bush Was All Too Willing to Use Emigres' Lies
Robert Scheer
Los Angeles Times

Tuesday 02 September 2003

American experts urged the White House to be
skeptical, but they hit a stone wall.

Oops. There are no weapons of mass destruction
after all. That's the emerging consensus of the second
team of weapons sleuths commanded by the U.S. in Iraq,
as reported last week in the Los Angeles Times. The
1,400-member Iraq Survey Group found what the first
wave of U.S. military experts and the United Nations
inspectors before them discovered — nada.

Nothing, not a vial of the 38,000 liters of
botulinum toxin or the 25,000 liters of anthrax or an
ounce of the materials for the 500 tons of sarin,
mustard and VX nerve agent claimed by George W. Bush
in his State of the Union speech as justification for
war. Nor any sign of the advanced nuclear weapons
program, a claim based on a now-admitted forgery. Nor
has anyone produced any evidence of ties between the
deposed Hussein regime and the Al Qaeda terrorists
responsible for 9/11.

The entire adventure was an immense fraud.
"We were prisoners of our own beliefs," a senior
U.S. weapons expert who worked with the Iraq Survey
Group told The Times. "We said Saddam Hussein was a
master of denial and deception. Then when we couldn't
find anything, we said that proved it, instead of
questioning our own assumptions."

How distressing that it turns out to be Bush,
leader of the world's greatest democracy, who is the
true master of denial and deception, rather than
Hussein, who proved to be a paper tiger. Bush is such
a master at deceiving the American public that even
now he is not threatened with the prospect of
impeachment or any serious congressional investigation
into the possibility that he led this nation into war
with lies.

But lie he did, at the very least in the crucial
matter of pushing secret evidence that even a
president of his limited experience had to know was so
flimsy as to not be evidence at all. U.S. intelligence
officials now say the administration was lied to by
Iraqi émigrés.

That excuse for the U.S. intelligence failure in
Iraq would be laughable were the circumstances not so
appalling. It means Bush ignored all the cautions of
career diplomats and intelligence experts in every
branch of the U.S. government over the unsubstantiated
word of Iraqi renegades.

Clearly, the administration, from the president
on down, did not want expert advice and intelligence
that would have undermined its excuse for invading
Iraq. This was a shell game from beginning to end in
which Americans' legitimate fear of terrorism after
Sept. 11 was almost immediately and cynically
exploited by the neoconservative gang that runs U.S.
foreign policy.

American soldiers standing guard over the White
House's imperial ambitions — a new Middle East as
linchpin to a new world order — are now being shot
like fish in a barrel. Had Congress dared question
Bush's claim of an immediate Iraqi military threat,
there would have been no excuse for invasion. But
Congress is kept on a tight leash by Republican
leaders, subverting its basic role as a check and
balance on executive power. Shame on congressional
Democrats, especially those running for president, who
went along with this disgusting charade.

In the disarray and dissolution of the U.S. role
as leader of the free world, we sadly witness
America's pathetic and isolated effort to rule Iraq
with some of the same émigrés who deceived us with the
false information that led us into a war that suited
their ambitions.

One of those Iraqi exile leaders who clearly
misled the U.S., Ahmad Chalabi, is now a senior figure
in the fig-leaf Iraqi shadow government in
U.S.-colonized Baghdad. Chalabi is a fugitive from
Jordan, where he was convicted of major financial
fraud, and he has no real base of support in Iraq. But
Bush still backs him, trafficking all too easily with
a liar who tells him what he wants to hear.

The British public, raised on a higher standard
of official honesty, is properly shocked. Prime
Minister Tony Blair is in deep trouble as Parliament
and a high judge are embarked on a truth-finding
investigation into their government's rationale
regarding the reasons for war. On Friday, Blair's
media spokesman, Alistair Campbell, accused by the BBC
of "sexing up" the intelligence data used to justify
going to war with Iraq, suddenly resigned.

The Brits don't like being fooled. That's not the
case in the United States, where for too many pundits
and politicians, accepting official mendacity has
become a mark of political sophistication.

More American soldiers have died since Bush
declared the war over than during the war itself. This
misadventure is costing nearly $4 billion a month just
for the troops, and billions more for reconstruction
by U.S. companies like Dick Cheney's old firm
Halliburton. But too many Americans betray the proud
tradition of an independent citizenry by buying into
the "aw shucks" irresponsibility of a president who
daily does a grave injustice to the awesome
obligations of the office that he has sworn — in the
name of God, no less — to uphold.


Posted by richard at 01:27 PM

Estrada Withdraws Judicial Nomination

Yes, despite the big lie that Raplh Nada still
perpetuates, there is a profound difference between
Democrats and Republicans. It is *not* deep or
distinct enough, BUT it is still a profound
difference. There is no more vital or more desperate
evidence of it that the brave resistance to the
_resident's Judicial nominees mounted by the Senate
Democrats and Sen. Jeffords. Sen. Frist, the
Reich-wing Senate "Majority" leader is correct, the
tale of Estrada is one of "rank, unbridled Democratic
partisanship," BUT he is incorrect about the result,
because America is a much better place today because
of the political destruction of the Estrada
nomination...How long can the Senate blockade hold?
Hopefully until the timeline can be restored in

Estrada Withdraws Judicial Nomination

By Nick Anderson and James Gerstenzang
Times Staff Writers

10:09 AM PDT, September 4, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Miguel Estrada, for two years at the
center of a partisan
divide over judicial nominations, said today he has
asked President
to withdraw
his nomination to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Washington in
face of unshakeable Democratic opposition.

"After considerable reflection and deliberation ... I
write to ask you
to withdraw my pending nomination," Estrada wrote in a
letter to the
president. "I believe that the
time has come to return my full attention to the
practice of law, and
regain the ability to make long-term plans for my

Bush formally withdrew the nomination this morning
after receiving
Estrada's letter.

"Mr. Estrada received disgraceful treatment at the
hands of 45 United
States senators during the more than two years his
nomination was
pending," Bush said,
referring to the Democrats who supported the

In an angry statement released by the White House, the
president said:
"The treatment of this fine man is an important
chapter in the Senate's

Under Senate rules, it requires 60 votes, or
three-fifths of the
100-member chamber, to break a filibuster and force a
final vote on
pending matters - including
nominations and most legislation. That means 41
senators can sustain a
filibuster. Once a final vote is scheduled, though,
only a simple
majority is required for
approval. Estrada, by all accounts, had majority
support but not a

The battle over Estrada's nomination came to represent
the increasingly
bitter and partisan split between Bush and the
Democratic minority in
Congress, and there
had been no indication that as a presidential election
approached, his
nomination would win sufficient support in the Senate
to overcome a

His withdrawal is a major victory for liberal
activists, who had
portrayed Estrada as an extreme conservative unwilling
to answer key
questions about his judicial

"The saga of Miguel Estrada is a tale of rank and
unbridled Democrat
partisanship and the American people, sadly, are the
losers," Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-Tenn.) charged today.

Referring to other nominations stalled by Democratic
filibusters and
parliamentary maneuvers, Frist said: "The fight is not
over. We will
continue to press for an up or
down vote on the president's nominees."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y), a leading opponent of
the nomination, said: "It's a victory for the
Constitution and the country." He said the Democrats,
who are in the minority in the Senate, would hold firm
on the other nominees they oppose.

Estrada's nomination also had come to represent the
being given by both parties to Latino voters.

Estrada, an immigrant from Honduras, is a graduate of
Harvard Law
School. He was a member of the Justice Department
during the Clinton
administration and
practices law in Washington.

Two other Bush nominees to Appeals Court seats —
Alabama Atty. Gen.
William Pryor and Texas Supreme Court Justice
Priscilla Owen — have
run head-on
into Democratic objections. As with Estrada, Democrats
have said they
are too conservative for such a high-level judicial
position. Because
its decisions often reach
across the country, it is often considered the
second-highest court
after the Supreme Court.

One of the other nominees Democrats have targeted for
opposition is Los
Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl. They have
threatened a
filibuster on Kuhl's
nomination to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,
which has been
pending for two years. Republicans have not scheduled
a test vote yet.

For Bush and Republican leaders, Estrada's withdrawal
is a bitter
defeat, demonstrating their inability to puncture a
Senate filibuster
several test votes this year.

Estrada was one of the first nominees advanced by Bush
to the appeals
court - and quickly took on the highest profile — as
the president
to put his stamp on
the federal judiciary, even without a vacancy on the
Supreme Court. The
president nominated Estrada in May, 2001.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at
Click here for article licensing and reprint

Copyright 2003 Los
Angeles Times

Posted by richard at 01:20 PM

September 03, 2003

Dirty Secrets

"No president has gone after the nation's environmental laws with the same fury as George W. Bush -- and none has been so adept at staying under the radar. " / News / Feature

Dirty Secrets
No president has gone after the nation's environmental laws with the same fury as George W. Bush -- and none has been so adept at staying under the radar.

Osha Gray Davidson
September 1, 2003

IN THE EARLY 1980s you didn't need to be a member of
EarthFirst! to know that Ronald Reagan was bad for the
environment. You didn't even have to be especially
politically aware. Here was a man who had, after all,
publicly stated that most air pollution was caused by
plants. And then there was Reagan's secretary of the
Interior, James Watt, who saw no need to protect the
environment because Jesus was returning any day, and
who, in a pique of reactionary feng shui, suggested
that the buffalo on Interior's seal be flipped to face
right instead of left.

By contrast, while George W. Bush gets low marks on
the environment from a majority of Americans, few
fully appreciate the scope and fury of this
administration's anti-environmental agenda. "What
they're doing makes the Reagan administration look
innocent," says Buck Parker, executive director of
Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm. The
Bush administration has been gutting key sections of
the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, laws that have
traditionally had bipartisan support and have done
more to protect the health of Americans than any other
environmental legislation. It has crippled the
Superfund program, which is charged with cleaning up
millions of pounds of toxic industrial wastes such as
arsenic, lead, mercury, and vinyl chloride in more
than 1,000 neighborhoods in 48 states. It has sought
to cut the EPA's enforcement division by nearly
one-fifth, to its lowest level on record; fines
assessed for environmental violations dropped by
nearly two-thirds in the administration's first two
years; and criminal prosecutions-the government's
weapon of last resort against the worst polluters-are
down by nearly one-third.

The administration has abdicated the decades-old
federal responsibility to protect native animals and
plants from extinction, becoming the first not to
voluntarily add a single species to the endangered
species list. It has opened millions of acres of
wilderness-including some of the nation's most
environmentally sensitive public lands-to logging,
mining, and oil and gas drilling. Under one plan,
loggers could take 10 percent of the trees in
California's Giant Sequoia National Monument; many of
the Monument's old-growth sequoias, 200 years old and
more, could be felled to make roof shingles. Other
national treasures that have been opened for
development include the million-acre Grand
Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, the
2,000-foot red-rock spires at Fisher Towers, Utah, and
dozens of others.

And then, of course, the White House has all but
denied the existence of what may be the most serious
environmental problem of our time, global warming.
After campaigning on a promise to reduce emissions of
the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, Bush made an abrupt
about-face once elected, calling his earlier pledge "a
mistake" and announcing that he would not regulate CO2
emissions from power plants-even though the United
States accounts for a fourth of the world's total
industrial CO2 emissions. Since then, the White House
has censored scientific reports that mentioned the
subject, walked away from the Kyoto agreement to
reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and even, at the
behest of ExxonMobil, engineered the ouster of the
scientist who chaired the United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

So why aren't more people aware that George W. Bush is
compiling what is arguably the worst environmental
record of any president in recent history? The easy
explanations-that environmental issues are complex,
that war and terrorism push most other concerns off
the front pages-are only part of the story. The real
reason may be far simpler: Few people know the
magnitude of the administration's attacks on the
environment because the administration has been
working very hard to keep it that way.

Like any successful commander in chief, Bush knows
that putting the right person in the right place is
the key to winning any war. This isn't just a matter
of choosing business-friendly appointees for top
positions. That's pretty much standard operating
procedure for Republican administrations. What makes
this administration different is the fact that it is
filled with anti-regulatory zealots deep into its rank
and file-and these bureaucrats, unlike James Watt, are
politically savvy and come from the very industries
they're charged with regulating. The result is an
administration uniquely effective at implementing its
ambitious pro-industry agenda-with a minimum of public

Take the case of mountaintop-removal coal mining. As
the name implies, this method-the predominant form of
strip mining in much of Appalachia-involves blasting
away entire mountaintops to get at coal seams below
and dumping the resulting rubble, called "spoil," into
adjacent valleys. In some cases, valleys two miles
long have been completely filled with spoil. Opponents
had hoped that a court-ordered Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) would crack down on the practice,
which has buried at least 1,000 miles of Appalachian
streams and destroyed tens of thousands of acres of
woodland that the EPA describes as "unique in the
world" for their biological diversity. But when the
Bush administration released the EIS this spring, it
not only gave mountaintop removal a clean bill of
health; it also relaxed what few meaningful
environmental protections existed and focused on how
to help mining companies obtain permits more easily.

So how did a process mandated by a federal judge "to
minimize, to the maximum extent practicable, the
adverse environmental effects" from mountaintop
removal become a vehicle for industry? Two words:
Steven Griles. Never heard of him? You're not supposed
to. Steven Griles is one of industry's moles within
the Bush administration. Before coming to work as
deputy secretary of the Interior, Griles was one of
the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, with a long
list of energy-industry clients, including the
National Mining Association and several of the
country's largest coal companies. On August 1, 2001,
Griles signed a "statement of disqualification,"
promising to stay clear of issues involving his former
clients. Despite that promise, according to his own
appointment calendar (obtained by environmental groups
through the Freedom of Information Act), Griles met
repeatedly with coal companies while the
administration worked on the mountaintop-removal
issue. Griles has denied discussing the "fill rule" in
any of those meetings. But on August 4, 2001-three
days after signing his recusal letter-he gave a speech
before the West Virginia Coal Association, reassuring
members that "we will fix the federal rules very soon
on water and spoil placement." Two months later,
Griles sent a letter to the EPA and other agencies
drafting the EIS, complaining that they were not doing
enough to safeguard the future of mountaintop removal
and instructing them to "focus on centralizing and
streamlining coal mine permitting." Griles is now the
subject of an Interior Department investigation for
possible ethics violations.

With key positions in the hands of industry veterans,
the administration has been able to pursue one of its
most effective stealth tactics -- steering clear of
legislative battles and working instead within the
difficult-to-understand, yawn-producing realm of
agency regulations. It's a strategy that has served
Bush well, especially in his push to give the energy
industry-which donated $2.8 million to the 2000 Bush
campaign-access to some of the nation's last
wildlands. In Congress, where the administration's
agenda must endure full public scrutiny, Bush's effort
to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge has failed repeatedly. But there was little
public debate over a plan to drill 66,000 coalbed
methane gas wells in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming
and Montana-a massive project that will result in
26,000 miles of new roads, 48,000 miles of new
pipelines, and discharges of 2 trillion gallons of
contaminated water, disfiguring for years the rolling
hills of that landscape. That plan was hatched behind
closed doors, by the secretive energy task force
headed by Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Cheney task force is behind another of the
administration's pet projects-protecting utilities
from having to comply with a law enacted 26 years ago.
Some 30,000 Americans die each year because the
federal government is unwilling to take meaningful
steps to enforce the Clean Air Act's standards for
coal-fired power plants. Nearly 6,000 of those deaths
are attributable to plants owned by a mere eight
companies, according to a study by ABT Associates,
which frequently conducts assessments for the EPA.
(The companies are American Electric Power, Cinergy,
Duke, Dynegy, FirstEnergy, SIGECO, Southern Company,
and the Tennessee Valley Authority.)

When Congress passed the current air-pollution
standards in 1977, it grandfathered in these aging
plants and some 16,000 other industrial facilities
around the country. Under a provision known as New
Source Review, the plants could perform routine
maintenance without having to install cleaner
technologies, but any substantive changes or
expansions leading to increased emissions would force
the operators to meet the new standards. The grace
period was expected to last just a few years-a
reasonable compromise, it must have seemed to Congress
at the time. Yet, for nearly three decades these
facilities have gotten around the New Source Review
rules by continually expanding and calling it "routine

In 1999, the EPA's then-director of enforcement, Eric
Schaeffer, tried something radically new: He actually
enforced the law. The agency filed suit against eight
power companies that together emitted one-fifth of the
nation's total output of sulfur dioxide-a deadly
compound that is also the leading cause of acid rain.
Soon, violators started lining up to negotiate
settlements. By the end of 2000, two of the largest
power companies had agreed to cut emissions by
two-thirds. And then George W. Bush took office. The
new administration immediately leaked its intentions
to expand, rather than close, the New Source Review
loophole (see "No Clear Skies"). By March 2002, EPA
administrator Christine Whitman was telling Congress
that if she were an attorney for one of the companies
sued by the agency, "I would not settle anything." Not
surprisingly, the two tentative agreements the EPA had
worked out evaporated.

Meanwhile, in a classic bit of greenwashing, the White
House has released a plan called "Clear Skies" that
will, in President Bush's words, "dramatically reduce
pollution from power plants." In fact, Clear Skies
would gut the standards of the Clean Air Act, allowing
companies to wait 15 more years to install
state-of-the-art pollution-control equipment-and even
then, power plants would be emitting far more
pollution than allowed under current law, for a total
of 450,000 tons of additional nitrogen oxide, 1
million tons of sulfur dioxide, and 9.5 tons of
mercury annually.

The administration also wants to sink millions into
reviving the dying nuclear industry, increasing by 50
percent the number of nuclear plants currently
operating in the United States. That's no small feat,
given that not a single new plant has been ordered for
two and a half decades-not since the nation held its
breath in 1979, waiting to find out if a nuclear
doomsday scenario was unfolding at Three Mile Island.
Industry officials insist that with today's improved
technology such a calamity is unthinkable. But that
hasn't stopped the administration from endorsing a $9
billion cap on industry liability, just in case the
unthinkable should occur. Other gifts to nuclear-plant
operators include more than $1 billion in new
subsidies and tax breaks, support for relicensing
dangerously outdated reactors, and at least $18
billion in taxpayer money for construction of a
high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain,

Whitman issued a "state of the environment" report
that fairly rhapsodized about the significance of
environmental protection: "Pristine waterways [and]
safe drinking waters are treasured resources," one
passage declared. "The nation has made significant
progress in protecting these resources in the last 30

What Whitman did not mention was that the
administration has spent two years attempting to
eviscerate the law that brought about most of that
progress-the Clean Water Act of 1972. In January 2003,
the administration proposed new rules for managing the
nation's wetlands, removing 20 percent of the
country's remaining swamps, ponds, and marshes from
federal protection. And wetlands are only the
beginning: A close reading of the proposed rules shows
that the administration is attempting to change the
definition of "waters of the United States" to exclude
up to 60 percent of the country's rivers, lakes, and
streams from protection, giving industries permission
to pollute, alter, fill, and build on all of these
waterways (see "Down Upon the Suwannee"). "No
president since the Clean Water Act was passed has
proposed getting rid of it on the majority of waters
of the U.S.," notes Joan Mulhern of Earthjustice-and
Bush might not have tried either, had he been forced
to justify the move in congressional debate rather
than burying it in bureaucratic rule-making.

Even when it seems to bow to environmental concerns,
the administration often manages to leave a back door
open for industry. This summer, after more than two
years of foot-dragging and resistance in court, the
Department of Agriculture finally accepted a
Clinton-era rule placing more than 58 million acres of
national forests off limits to road building (and thus
logging). But it added two caveats: Governors could
obtain exemptions for federal forests inside their
borders (as several have already done); and the rule
wouldn't apply in much of Alaska, where the largest
stretches of roadless wild forest are located. In
June, Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey-a veteran
timber lobbyist who is now the chief architect of the
nation's forest policy-announced that nearly 3 million
acres of land could be opened to timber sales in
Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the planet's largest
pristine temperate rainforest and home to several
species of animals found nowhere else on earth.

The White House has also been darkly brilliant at
using the courts to do its dirty work-through methods
such as "sweetheart suits," the practice of
encouraging states and private groups to file lawsuits
against the federal government, and then agreeing to
negotiated settlements that bypass environmental laws
without any interference from Congress or the public.
In perhaps the most egregious such case, in April the
state of Utah and the Interior Department announced
that they had reached a settlement involving 10
million acres of federal lands set aside in the 1990s
for possible wilderness designation. The deal will
allow Utah to sell oil and gas rights on what had
largely been pristine areas, including the Grand
Staircase-Escalante National Monument with its
multihued cliffs and Cedar Mesa, a fragile desert area
near Monument Valley that holds world-renowned
archaeological sites-and that is now slated to host a
jeep safari.

Two days after the first settlement with Utah-in
another closed-door deal-Interior Secretary Gale
Norton signed a second, more sweeping compact
promising that the federal government would never
again so much as study lands for wilderness
designation. And not just in Utah: The decision, which
effectively freezes a wilderness-protection program
that goes back nearly 40 years, applies to more than
200 million acres of Western lands, an area twice as
large as California.

But it's not just the West's spectacular scenery
that's threatened, or even the purity of our air and
water-as important as those are. By using stealth
tactics to pursue a corporate agenda, the Bush
administration is undermining the very landscape of
democracy, which depends on an informed citizenry,
transparency in government, and lively public debate.
A culture of deception and deceit erodes all of
these-and that is probably the most serious
"environmental" damage of all.

E-mail article

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This article has been made possible by the Foundation
for National Progress, the Investigative Fund of
Mother Jones, and gifts from generous readers like

© 2003 The Foundation for National Progress

Posted by richard at 01:25 PM

Bombshell hits government's claims

Remember how much ink and air time was squandered on
the "mystery surrounding the death of Vince Foster"?
Well, although it is earth-shaking news in the U.K., the inquiry into the alleged suicide of Dr. Kelly--which unlike the sad Foster affair, involves questions of war, peace and national security--is receiving
almost no ink or air time here in the Orwellian States
of Stepford...Afterall, it only underscores the
"trafficking in untruths" that the _resident and "all
the _resident's men" engaged in during the ramp up to
the foolish military adventure in Iraq...Do you think
the _resident will ever be asked one direct question
about the Kelly affair?,13822,1034862,00.html

Bombshell hits government's claims

Click here to enter the Hutton inquiry website

Ciar Byrne, Matthew Tempest and Julia Day
Wednesday September 3, 2003

The government was dealt a devastating blow today when
two intelligence officers revealed there were deep
concerns about the strength of the language used in
the Iraq intelligence dossier, with one complaining
the document was shaped for political purposes.
Brian Jones, a retired branch head of the defence
intelligence analysis staff, told the Hutton inquiry
there were several concerns about the 45 minute claim
and one of his staff felt some of the assessements of
the threat posed by Iraq were "over-egged" in the

The inquiry heard the "shutters came down" on the
dossier before intelligence officials' reservations
had a chance to be properly considered and there were
fears "spin merchants" had been too involved in the
dossier's production.

In an afternoon that dealt a series of blows to the
government's claims that the dossier was not "sexed
up", another intelligence officer, who went under the
codename Mr A, said the dossier "had been around the
houses" in order to find "words that would strengthen
certain political objectives".

Dr Jones told the inquiry his department had been
concerned about "the tendency... to, shall we say,
over-egg certain assessments, particularly in relation
to the production of chemical weapons".

Dr Kelly intimately involved in dossier

Then, in a bombshell revelation, it was revealed David
Kelly was intimately involved in the dossier and knew
of concerns about claims the Iraqis could launch
chemical weapons within 45 minutes of an instruction
to do so - the central allegation that sparked the
bitter war of words between the BBC and the

At a meeting of seven or eight intelligence officers
on September 19, five days before the dossier was
published, Dr Kelly suggested between 12 and 14
changes to the dossier, which were adopted.

One concern was the mention of a factory producing a
poisonous gas, which was described in the dossier as
of "particular concern".

The intelligence services and Dr Kelly believed it was
used for legitimate purposes and the "spin merchants"
were to blame for its insertion.

In an email to Dr Kelly, Mr A described its inclusion
as "another example supporting our view that you and I
should have been more involved in this than the spin
merchants in this administration".

Dr Jones recalled a "flurry of activity" in the week
leading up to the publication of the September 24

He said he believed that on or around September 19 or
20 "the shutters were coming down on this particular
paper" despite the fact Mr A, his chemical weapons
colleague, "remained unhappy that comments he had made
had not been incorporated".

This referred to the dossier's claim that Iraq was
manufacturing phosgene at the al-Qa'qa plant, which
could be a precursor to WMD.

45 minute claim was 'tentative'

Earlier Dr Jones told the Hutton inquiry he felt the
45 minute claim warranted inclusion in the dossier but
it should have been made clear it was a tentative and
not a conclusive claim.

His staff, he said, had three principle concerns:
first that there was lack of detail and second there
was a lack of supporting evidence for the claim.

Third, and most significantly, the intelligence staff
also questioned the credibility of the source of the
45 minute claim, revealing they did not feel the
source knew enough about the subject.

"The way in which the information was reported didn't
give us any feel that the primary source knew very
much about the subject he was reporting on, so we were
left wondering did the secondary source (from whom the
primary source had received his information) know
these sort of things," Dr Jones said.

The evidence is a significant setback for Downing
Street, which has hotly disputed any suggestion that
the 45 minute claim was hearsay that did not come from
a credible source.

Last week John Scarlett, the chairman of the joint
intelligence committee, said the 45 minute claim had
come from an "established line of reporting quoting a
senior Iraqi intelligence officer".

Turning point in the inquiry

It could prove a turning point in the inquiry and may
provide the BBC with some critical evidence to support
its argument that it was justified in broadcasting
Andrew Gilligan's Radio 4 Today programme report the
government had "sexed up" the Iraq intelligence

Dr Jones said the use of the word "indicated" to
express the strength of the intelligence on the 45
minute claim in the main body of the dossier was "a
little bit strong but I felt I could live with that".

But when it came to the executive summary and foreword
he said he was unhappy with the words used. "I thought
they were too strong," he said.

In an insight into the world of intelligence, he
explained staff agonised over the weight given to the
claims through the wording in the documents.

"Those are the things which we spend hours debating...
the use of a 'might' or a 'may' does convey some
uncertainty," he said.

Dr Jones told Lord Hutton that Dr Kelly, who had
regular contact with his department and had the
security clearance to come and go as he liked, was
certainly aware of concerns among staff about the use
of intelligence in the dossier.

Dr Jones first learned of his staff's concerns when he
returned from holiday on September 18 to find his
department had been frantically working to look at,
and respond to, drafts of the dossier.

"There were different views on the dossier within the
offices," he said. "Some of my staff had said they
were unhappy with all the detail that was in the

"[Dr Kelly] was certainly aware at that time, or
shortly afterwards, there were concerns over the 45
minute claim, from contact with myself and people in
my branch," Dr Jones said.

"My concerns were that Iraq's chemical weapons and
biological weapon capabilities were not being
accurately represented in all regards in relation to
the available evidence."

Reservations about dossier

Although Dr Jones reiterated he and his staff were in
overall agreement with the dossier and its
publication, he did write a memo to his MoD bosses
outlining their reservations about the finished
product after its publication.

This included the caveat that the 45 minute claim was
"a failure to differentiate between the two types of

Dr Jones added he and his staff were concerned about
the motivations of the primary source in passing on
this intelligence.

"We wondered whether he might have been trying to
influence rather than inform," he said.

Dr Jones said that only under "fairly special
circumstances" could biological weapons be delivered
in 45 minutes, leading him to assume the dossier was
referring to chemical weapons.

He also told the inquiry a chemical weapons expert
within his branch was concerned about the intelligence
in the dossier relating to the production of chemical
weapons in Iraq.

"He was concerned he could not point to any solid
evidence of such production. He did not dismiss it may
have happened... but he didn't have good evidence it
had happened.

"It is the difference between making the judgment that
the production of chemical weapons had taken place as
opposed to that judgment being that it had probably
taken place or even possible taken place. It was that
degree of certainty in the judgment that was being

Dr Jones described how he had returned from holiday on
September 18 to find his staff working to a very short
timescale to look at and respond to drafts of the
dossier, which was eventually published on September

He added that while some of the changes suggested by
his staff were adopted, others were not.

Dr Jones assured Lord Hutton that Dr Kelly knew about
these concerns but his boss, who received the
memorandum, was new, from outside intelligence and was
"having a difficult time coming to terms with all

Dr Jones said that if his staff had been talking to
journalists in such a way as Dr Kelly had spoken to
Gilligan it would have been "beyond the bounds of what
they should have been doing".

Forensic biologist's evidence

The final witness of the day was forensic biologist
Rory Green.

He explained one of the reasons why the paramedics who
gave evidence yesterday had been surprised by the
apparent lack of blood at the death scene was that Dr
Kelly's body was on top of "leaf litter", which was
very absorbent to blood.

He revealed there were blood stains on the Evian
bottle and cap next to Dr Kelly's body, perhaps
because extreme blood loss usually makes a victim

He suggested the blood stain on Dr Kelly's right knee
was from "contact", possibly with a pool of blood, and
that a blood stain on his right jacket sleeve possibly
came from contact during the cutting injury.

He added there were still 50 items at his laboratory
as part of the investigation and said assistant chief
constable Michael Page would report to the inquiry on
those findings when the investigation was complete.

Posted by richard at 01:18 PM

September 02, 2003

Facing the truth about Iraq

Today, the WASHPs ran a story the following lead: U.S.
battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing
dramatically in the face of continued attacks by
remnants of Saddam Hussein's military and other
forces, with almost 10 American troops a day now being
officially declared "wounded in action."

Tonight, Reuters reported that "the Congressional
Budget Office said under current policies, the
Pentagon would be able to sustain an occupation force
of 38,000 to 64,000 in Iraq long term, down from the
existing 150,000 that a number of lawmakers said is
not enough to confront the spiraling violence.
Reuters went on to quote the HONORABLE Sen. Robert
Byrd, "who requested the CBO study," stating that the
_resident's foolish military adventure in Iraq is
"straining our forces to the breaking point.
Here is the naked truth...

Facing the truth about Iraq
By James Carroll, 9/2/2003

THE WAR IS LOST. By most measures of what the Bush
administration forecast for its adventure in Iraq, it
is already a failure. The war was going to make the
Middle East a more peaceful place. It was going to
undercut terrorism. It was going to show the evil
dictators of the world that American power is not to
be resisted. It was going to improve the lives of
ordinary Iraqis. It was going to stabilize oil
markets. The American army was going to be greeted
with flowers. None of that happened. The most radical
elements of various fascist movements in the Arab
world have been energized by the invasion of Iraq. The
American occupation is a rallying point for
terrorists. Instead of undermining extremism,
Washington has sponsored its next phase, and now
moderates in every Arab society are more on the
defensive than ever.


Before the war, the threat of America's overwhelming
military dominance could intimidate, but now such
force has been shown to be extremely limited in what
it can actually accomplish. For the sake of "regime
change," the United States brought a sledge hammer
down on Iraq, only to profess surprise that, even as
Saddam Hussein remains at large, the structures of the
nation's civil society are in ruins. The humanitarian
agencies necessary to the rebuilding of those
structures are fleeing Iraq.

The question for Americans is, Now what? Democrats and
Republicans alike want to send in more US soldiers.
Some voices are raised in the hope that the occupation
can be more fully "internationalized," which remains
unlikely while Washington retains absolute control.
But those who would rush belligerent reinforcements to
Iraq are making the age-old mistake.

When brutal force generates resistance, the first
impulse is to increase force levels. But, as the
history of conflicts like this shows, that will result
only in increased resistance. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld has rejected the option of more troops
for now, but, in the name of force-protection, the
pressures for escalation will build as US casualties
mount. The present heartbreak of one or two GI deaths
a day will seem benign when suicide bombers, mortar
shells, or even heavier missile fire find their ways
into barracks and mess halls.

Either reinforcements will be sent to the occupation,
or present forces will loosen the restraints with
which they reply to provocation. Both responses will
generate more bloodshed and only postpone the day when
the United States must face the truth of its

The Bush administration's hubristic foreign policy has
been efficiently exposed as based on nothing more than
hallucination. High-tech weaponry can kill unwilling
human beings, but it cannot force them to embrace an
unwanted idea. As rekindled North Korean and Iranian
nuclear programs prove, Washington's rhetoric of
"evil" is as self-defeating as it is self-delusional.
No one could have predicted a year ago that the fall
from the Bush high horse of American Empire would come
so hard and so quickly. Where are the comparisons with
Rome now? The rise and fall of imperial Washington
took not hundreds of years, but a few hundred days.

Sooner or later, the United States must admit that it
has made a terrible mistake in Iraq, and it must move
quickly to undo it. That means the United States must
yield not only command of the occupation force, but
participation in it. The United States must renounce
any claim to power or even influence over Iraq,
including Iraqi oil. The United States must accept the
humiliation that would surely accompany its being
replaced in Iraq by the very nations it denigrated in
the build-up to the war.

With the United States thus removed from the Iraqi
crucible, those who have rallied to oppose the great
Satan will loose their raison d'etre, and the Iraqi
people themselves can take responsibility for
rebuilding their wrecked nation.

All of this might seem terribly unlikely today, but
something like it is inevitable. The only question is
whether it happens over the short term, as the result
of responsible decision-making by politicians in
Washington, or over the long term, as the result of a
bloody and unending horror.

The so-called "lessons" of Vietnam are often invoked
by hawks and doves alike, but here is one that applies
across the political spectrum. The American people saw
that that war was lost in January 1968, even as the
Tet Offensive was heralded as a victory by the
Pentagon and the White House. But for five more years,
Washington refused to face the truth of its situation,
until at last it had no choice.

Because American leaders could not admit the nation's
mistake, and move to undo it, hundreds of thousands of
people died, or was it millions? The war in Iraq is
lost. What will it take to face that truth this time?
James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted by richard at 10:22 PM

Wounded, Weary And Disappeared

The Bush cabal's cavalier attitude toward the plight
of those men and women in the military, who are paying
the physical and psychological cost of this war, is a
simply an abomination. Hopefully, one of the would-be
anti-Bushes will articulate it. Hopefully, the
electorate will repudiate it whether the would-be
anti-Bushes have the courage and clarity of mind to
articulate it or not. Of course, there is another
abomination, you should not have to read this story on It is a tremendous resource, but
telling truth to power should be the responsibility of
major city newspapers and the network evening news

Wounded, Weary And Disappeared

Bill Berkowitz is a long time political observer and

The nation reached a sad milestone in late August.
With the death of an American soldier in a roadside
bombing on August 29, the number of soldiers killed in
Iraq after the official end of the war reached 139,
exceeding the "postwar" casualty count. Nightline
aired a feature; the Associated Press posted a story
on the war dead -- but most media outlets continue to
ignore an equally dreary reality.

In a summer dominated by the Bryant sex case, Arnold's
debut in California's recall election and the killing
of Saddam Hussein's sons, no hordes of television
cameras await the planeloads of wounded soldiers being
airlifted back to the states, unloaded at Andrews Air
Force Base, and stuffed into wards at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center and other facilities. We see few photos
of them undergoing painful and protracted physical
rehabilitation, few visuals of worried families
waiting for news of their sons or daughters. The men
and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have become
the new disappeared.

The men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have
become the new disappeared.

Liz Swasey of the conservative media watchdog Media
Research Center (MRC) confirms this perception. "There
have been no feature news stories on television
focusing on the wounded," she says. "While there have
been numerous reports of soldiers getting wounded,
there have been no interviews from hospital bedsides."

The numbers of soldiers wounded in action are hard to
come by. Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom,
the Pentagon has put the figure at 827. But
Lieutenant-Colonel Allen DeLane, the man in charge of
airlifting the wounded into Andrews Air Force Base,
recently mentioned much higher numbers in an interview
with National Public Radio.

"Since the war has started, I can't give you an exact
number because that's classified information, but I
can say to you over 4,000 have stayed here at
Andrews," he said. "And that number doubles when you
count the people that come here to Andrews, and then
we send them to other places like Walter Reed and

Some journalists also dispute the Pentagon's official
count. Julian Borger of The Guardian claims
"unofficial figures are in the thousands." Central
Command in Qatar talked of 926 wounded, but "that too
is understated," Borger maintains. And in fact, a
mid-August report in The Salt Lake City Tribune claims
that Central Command has acknowledged 1,007 U.S.
wounded. (The Pentagon did not respond to inquiries.)

Whatever the actual numbers of wounded, military
hospitals are being overwhelmed. "Staff are working
70- or 80-hour weeks," Borger reports. "[T]he Walter
Reed army hospital in Washington is so full that it
has taken over beds normally reserved for cancer
patients to handle the influx, according to a report
on CBS television." Some of the outpatient wounded are
even being placed at nearby hotels because of the
overflow, according to The Washington Times.

Inside these hospitals, there's no shortage of
compelling narratives for the interested TV reporter.

For example, an accident in western Iraq threw Sgt.
Robert Garrison of Ithaca, N.Y., from his Humvee,
according to a June story by the Associated Press. He
landed on his head, fractured his skull and slipped
into unconsciousness. Garrison "can't speak at more
than a faint whisper and breathes with the help of a
tube jutting from his neck. A scar runs across the
back of the head, and the left side of his face droops
where he has lost some control over his muscles."

Sgt. Kenneth Dixon, of Cheraw, S.C., was in a Bradley
fighting vehicle when it plunged into a ravine. He
"broke his back, leaving him unable to use his legs."
These days he's at a veteran's hospital in Richmond,
Va., "focusing on his four hours of daily physical

What is it about the wounded that makes us
uncomfortable? Why have they been left out of the
coverage of the war by the broadcast media?

Marine Sgt. Phillip Rugg, 26, recently had his left
leg amputated below the knee, caused by a grenade
"that penetrated his tank-recovery vehicle March 22
outside Umm Qasr, nearly shearing his foot off."

The stories of these injured soldiers obviously
straddle party lines and should sadden Americans from
all walks. So what is it about the wounded that makes
us uncomfortable? Why have they been left out of the
coverage of the war by the broadcast media?

The consensus seems to be that the wounded are too
depressing a topic -- and also that they might
threaten Bush's popularity.

"The wounded are much too real; telling their stories
would be too much of a bummer for television's news
programmers," says Norman Solomon, media critic and
co-author of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't
Tell You. "Dead people don't linger like wounded
people do. Dead people's names can be posted on a
television honor role, but the networks and cable news
channels won't clog up their air time with the names
and pictures of hundreds and hundreds of wounded

Former L.A. Times television critic Howard Rosenberg
reflects this sentiment, and adds that giving the
wounded air time could be perceived as too
controversial. "Since 9/11, there is a general feeling
among many media outlets that they need to stay away
from anything that could be interpreted as disloyal to
the country," he says.

John Stauber, author of the recently released book The
Weapons of Mass Deception, says the war was sold on
television as a sanitized war with minimal U.S.
casualties -- which was exactly what the Bush
administration tried to engineer. "Showing wounded
soldiers and interviewing their families could be
disastrous PR for Bush's war," he says. "I suspect the
administration is doing all it can to prevent such
stories unless they are stage managed feel-good events
like Saving Private [Jessica] Lynch."

Tod Ensign directs Citizen Soldier, a GI rights
advocacy organization. He thinks the failure to cover
the wounded indicates an implicit loyalty to the White
House, and a reluctance to address a failed Iraq
policy. "The American media is by and large controlled
and dominated by corporations that line up politically
with the Bush administration," Ensign says. "They
appear to be increasingly incapable of grappling with
such a highly charged issue as the wounded."

The consensus seems to be that the wounded are too
depressing a topic -- and also that they might
threaten Bush's popularity.

President Bush landed on the U.S.S. Lincoln on May 1
and declared an end to major combat operations in
Iraq. Since that overhyped media event, the president
has repeatedly visited with troops that have returned
intact, and he has issued statements honoring the

But the president has not shown up at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center to shake hands with the recovering
Robert Garrisons or Kenneth Dixons. Journalists should
pay these visits for him, to tell us the stories of
these men and women, whose problems will stretch into
the coming years. And they should ask the president
why he is so reluctant to see these troops he sent so
confidently into battle.

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Published: Aug 28 2003

Posted by richard at 10:20 PM

Iraqi Civil War Brewing

There is a MEGA-MOGADISHU brewing...
"The assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim
in Najaf on August 28 is the opening volley in the
coming Iraqi Civil War. The United States will reap
the whirlwind. One of the most consistent and ominous
prewar warnings to the Bush administration by Middle
East experts was that removal of Saddam Hussein
without the most careful political and social
engineering would result in the breaking apart of Iraq
into warring factions that would battle each other for
decades. "

Iraqi Civil War Brewing

By William O. Beeman, Pacific News Service
August 29, 2003

The assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim
in Najaf on August 28 is the opening volley in the
coming Iraqi Civil War. The United States will reap
the whirlwind. One of the most consistent and ominous
prewar warnings to the Bush administration by Middle
East experts was that removal of Saddam Hussein
without the most careful political and social
engineering would result in the breaking apart of Iraq
into warring factions that would battle each other for

The hawks in the White House would not listen. They
were so wedded to the fantasy scenario that the
removal of Saddam in an act of "creative destruction"
would result in the automatic emergence of democracy.
They brushed aside all warnings.

Present-day Iraq was three provinces of the Ottoman
Empire before World War I. It was cobbled together by
the British for their own convenience after that
conflict. The British installed a king, the Saudi
Arabian son of the chief religious official of Mecca
(Faisal, of Lawrence of Arabia Fame) and glued the
whole mess together with the resident British Army.

The three regions were incompatible in ethnicity,
religious confession and interests. The Sunni Muslim
Kurds occupied the north. The Sunni Arab Bedouins
occupied the center and Southwest. The Shi'a Arab and
Persian population occupied the South and Southeast.
Of the three groups, the Shi'a were largest, with 60
percent of the population. With oil, an outlet to the
Persian Gulf and good agricultural land, they would be
the natural dominant force in the state the British
created. The Kurds would be important, too, because
they lived in the region of the country with the
largest oil reserves.

However, the British wanted the Sunni Arabs, the
smallest faction of the population, to be dominant.
They wanted this both to reward Saudi Arabians for
helping them fight the Ottomans, and because they had
existing clients in the sheikhs who ruled the Arab
states of the Gulf.

When the British were finally expelled, and their
Saudi ruling family deposed in Iraq in a 1958
nationalist coup, the new Ba'athist Iraqi nationalist
rulers had a supremely unruly nation on their hands.
The only way to keep power in Sunni Arab hands, and
away from the Shi'ites, was through ruthless
dictatorship and oppression. Saddam Hussein was the
supreme master of this political strategy.

Ayatollah al-Hakim's family was victimized by this
oppression. Virtually every one of the Ayatollah's
male relatives was executed by Saddam's regime. He
fled to Iran for years of exile, returning only after
Saddam was deposed by the United States. He became one
of the principal leaders of the Shi'a community, and a
symbol of rising Shi'a power in post-War Iraq. His
triumphant return to Iraq and the holy city of Najaf
was one of the most celebrated events in recent Iraqi

It is still not known who set off the explosion that
killed him at the shrine of Ali, grandson of the
Prophet Mohammad. It could have been Sunni Arab
factions who fear the rise of Shi'a dominance in Iraq,
or it could have been his own Shi'a supporters,
disappointed with him for cooperating with American
policies in Iraq. Or it could have been someone else.
What is clear is that his death will now forever be a
rallying cry for the Shi'ite community against its

It is notable that in Shi'ism virtually all
significant leaders have been "martyred." Of the 12
historical Imams of the Ithna 'ashara branch of
Shi'ism dominant in Iraq and Iran (Ithna 'ashara means
"twelve" in Arabic), ten are buried in shrines in
Iraq. Their tombs are ever-present reminders of the
oppression and struggle of the Shi'a. Now Ayatollah
al-Hakim will join them, and with the power of a
saint, will inspire generations of grimly dedicated
young warriors, determined to wreak vengeance and
assert the power of their community. They will be led
by his own paramilitary group, the Badr brigade.

Shi'a fury will be directed at the Sunnis to the
north. It will also be directed toward United States
as the occupying force who both did nothing to prevent
this tragedy, and further continued the British
doctrine of Sunni favoritism by insisting that the
Shi'a religious leaders would never be allowed to come
to power. In any case, the forces of retribution are
about to be unleashed in a manner hitherto unseen in
the region.

Could the United States have done anything to prevent
this tragedy? Of course it could have. As the
occupying power U.S. officials knew acutely about the
danger to Ayatollah al-Hakim. Since Washington opposed
the rise of Shi'a power in Iraq, charges of American
indifference or even complicity in his death will soon
be flying.

The final question Washington must now face is How to
stop this inevitable civil war? When the factional
shooting starts, where does the U.S. army, caught in
the crossfire, aim its own guns?

PNS commentator William O. Beeman is Director of
Middle East Studies at Brown University. He is author
of the forthcoming book, "Iraq: State in Search of a

Posted by richard at 10:19 PM

Govt 'lied every time' over Iraq, Wilkie says

There is a backlog of names to be scrawled on the John
O'Neill Wall of Heroes, but here is one that is going
on ASAP...Andrew Wilkie, former Aussie intel

Govt 'lied every time' over Iraq, Wilkie says

The man who the Federal Government is trying discredit
over his assertion that the Prime Minister's office
lied about Iraq's weapons program, is unmoved and
insists the Government was lying.

Former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie gave
evidence to a parliamentary committee yesterday in
Canberra accusing the Federal Government of "sexing
up" its case for a war against Iraq.

It prompted Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to
described him as a "hysterical malcontent".

But speaking at a conference in Sidney today, Mr
Wilkie said Australia's credibility has suffered.

"The Government lied every time," Mr Wilkie said. "It
skewed, misrepresented, used selectively, and
fabricated the Iraq story. The Government lied when
the Prime Minister's office told the media I was
mentally unstable. The Government lied when it
associated Iraq with the Bali bombing and the
Government lied every time that it associated Iraq
with the war on terror."

Mr Wilkie says the Government should be honest about
Iraq since no weapons of mass destruction have been

"I think it would be far more valuable, far more
useful for this country if instead of attacking those
who criticise it, the Government sought to explain in
a sensible and honest way why there is such a gap
between their justification for the war and what we
all now know for sure," he said.


Posted by richard at 10:17 PM

Bill Moyers speaks his mind on Bush-brand environmental destruction and more

(8/30/03) Another US soldier has died in Iraq. For what?
Meanwhile...The global warming crisis in particular
and environmental protection in general has been one
of the main subject areas of the LNS since its
inception, in the grim days following debacle of the
Nov. '00 - Jan. '01...One of the saddest aspects of
this grim episode in US history is that in these
critical years, instead of leading the world on the
issue of global warming as it was during the
Clinton-Gore era, the _resident's illegitimate
(Fraudida), corrupt (Enron, Halliburton, Carlyle,
First Energy, etc.) and incompetent (9/11, Iraq,
homeland security, the Economy)refuses to acknowledges
the crisis even exists...Another main subject area of
the LNS since its inception has been to herald courage
in public personalities and ordinary citizens. No
example is more spectacular than that of Bill Moyers
(although Cronkite too has spoken bravely). Moyers
rails against the dying of the light even as most
prominent news media personalities simply take the
pills and wash them down with the water in the little
white cup...Here is an extraordinary interview for the

Now Hear This

Bill Moyers speaks his mind on Bush-brand environmental destruction and more by Amanda Griscom

26 Aug 2003

Bill Moyers is best known as the broadcast journalist
who, for more than 20 years, has brought the public
frank, soul-searching, and sometimes frightening
examinations of -- well, of almost everything under
the sun. On air, he's equally comfortable discussing
politics or poetry, scriptures or science.

Born in Oklahoma in 1934 and raised in Texas, Moyers
has had a highly celebrated and peripatetic career
that has included stints as a Baptist minister, deputy
director of the Peace Corps in the Kennedy
administration, and press secretary to President
Johnson. Moyers later became publisher of the New York
daily Newsday, an analyst and commentator on CBS and
NBC news, and a cofounder, with his wife Judith
Davidson, of Public Affairs Television, where he
produced series ranging from "God and Politics" to
"Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth."

Having racked up more than 30 Emmy Awards during his
television career, Moyers is now the host and producer
of the Friday night PBS series "NOW with Bill Moyers."
He is also one of the few TV news and culture
journalists who believe that there are still plenty of
viewers who want to think and learn. At "NOW," Moyers
has focused with increasing intensity on the Bush
administration's environmental record. Since his show
launched in January 2002, Moyers has produced more
than 20 reports on environmental subjects ranging from
mountaintop-removal mining to the industry backgrounds
of Bush's key political appointees. This Friday at 9
p.m. EST, he'll put the Bush record in a larger
context, airing an interview with award-winning
scientist David Suzuki, who believes the global
environment is in its final moments of sustainability.

Grist tracked Moyers down at his office to discuss
environmental policy rollbacks, the ecological
concerns that he says "burn in his consciousness," and
the world he wants to leave for his grandchildren.

Grist: In the year and a half since the launch of your
PBS program "NOW," you have done extensive reporting
on the Bush administration's environmental record. At
a time when most news outlets have focused on war and
recession, you and your team have been among the few
journalists who've consistently taken a hard look at
these policy rollbacks. What has been motivating you?

Bill Moyers: The facts on the ground. I'm a
journalist, reporting the evidence, not an
environmentalist pressing an agenda. The Earth is
sending us a message and you don't have to be an
environmentalist to read it. The Arctic ice is
melting. The Arctic winds are balmy. The Arctic Ocean
is rising. Scientists say that in the year 2002 -- the
second-hottest on record -- they saw the Arctic ice
coverage shrink more than at any time since they
started measuring it. Every credible scientific study
in the world says human activity is creating global
warming. In the face of this evidence, the government
in Washington has declared war on nature. They have
placed religious and political dogma over the facts.

Grist: Can you elaborate on their religious and
political dogma?

Moyers: They are practically the same. Their god is
the market -- every human problem, every human need,
will be solved by the market. Their dogma is the
literal reading of the creation story in Genesis where
humans are to have "dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing ..."
The administration has married that conservative dogma
of the religious right to the corporate ethos of
profits at any price. And the result is the politics
of exploitation with a religious impulse.

Meanwhile, over a billion people have no safe drinking
water. We're dumping 500 million tons of hazardous
waste into the Earth every year. In the last hundred
years alone we've lost over 2 billion hectares of
forest, our fisheries are collapsing, our coral reefs
are dying because of human activity. These are facts.
So what are the administration and Congress doing?
They're attacking the cornerstones of environmental
law: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA [the
National Environmental Policy Act]. They are allowing
l7,000 power plants to create more pollution. They are
opening public lands to exploitation. They're even
trying to conceal threats to public health: Just look
at the stories this past week about how the White
House pressured the EPA not to tell the public about
the toxic materials that were released by the
September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

Grist: I'm interested in your explanation of why -- I
haven't heard this dogma-based argument before. More
often, critics interpret the White House environmental
agenda as political pragmatism, as simply an effort to
stay in power and pay back corporate contributors.

Moyers: This is stealth war on the environment in the
name of ideology. But you're right -- there is a very
powerful political process at work here, too. It's
payback time for their rich donors. In the 2000
elections, the Republicans outspent the Democrats by
$200 million. Bush and Cheney -- who, needless to say,
are oilmen who made their fortunes in the energy
business -- received over $44 million from the oil,
gas, and energy industries. It spills over into
Congress too: In the 2002 congressional elections,
Republican candidates received almost $15 million from
the energy industries, while the Democrats got around
$3.7 million. In our democracy, voters can vote but
donors decide.

Grist: Add to that the fact that in every key
appointment at every environmental agency you find
someone from industry -- a lawyer, a lobbyist, a
former executive.

Moyers: The list is shocking. The Interior Department
is the biggest scandal of all. Current Secretary Gale
Norton and her No. 2 man, J. Steven Griles, head a
fifth column that is trying to sabotage environmental
protection at every level. Griles has more conflicts
of interest than a dog has fleas. The giveaway of
public resources at Interior is the biggest scandal of
its kind since the Teapot Dome corruption. You have to
go all the way back to the crony capitalism of the
Harding administration to find a president who invited
such open and crass exploitation of the common wealth.

Grist: Protecting the environment has become an
increasingly partisan issue under the Bush
administration. The GOP has decidedly become the
anti-environment party, causing pro-environment
Republicans like Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont to
defect. And yet historically, there has been a deeply
entrenched ethos of conservation in the Republican

Moyers: Absolutely. But that was before the radical
right and the corporations took over the party. Your
generation is too young to remember that back in the
l970s, when the world began to wake up to the global
environmental crisis, the U.S. became the undisputed
leader in environmental policy. Richard Nixon signed
some of the pioneering measures of the time, including
the very Clean Water Act that Bush is now hollowing
out. And before that, of course, Teddy Roosevelt put
the Republican Party in the vanguard of conservation.
This idea of protecting and passing along our
resources to future generations was a deeply
entrenched ideal among those who were known as
conservatives. But this is not a conservative
mentality in power today. It's a new political order.

Grist: How do you define that new political order?

Moyers: I'll give an example that says it all: Jim
Jeffords, the former chair of the Senate Environment
and Public Works Committee, is an environmental
champion. He made his priority efforts to curb global
warming and protect the environment while advancing
the economy. His successor is [Republican Sen.] James
Inhofe of Oklahoma. He's the man who once
characterized the Environmental Protection Agency as
"gestapo." That's the new political order.

Grist: Can you describe any instances where you or
your colleagues were shut out by the administration in
your effort to report a rollback story?

Moyers: A press officer at the Interior Department
told one of our producers no one there would appear on
or speak to "NOW." We get [that response] all over
town -- "We're not talking to 'NOW.'"

Grist: Has the Bush administration been more effective
at pushing their environmental agenda than the Reagan
and Bush I administrations before it?

Moyers: Ronald Reagan came to power with the same
agenda, but made a mistake when he appointed James
Watt head of the wrecking crew at the Department of
Interior. Watt made no attempt to disguise his
fanaticism. He was outspokenly anti-environment and he
inflamed the public against him with his flagrant
remarks. But he took over a bureaucracy of civil
servants who had come of age in the first great
environmental wave of the l970s -- people who believed
they had a public charge to do the right thing. When
Watt stormed into office, these civil servants
resisted. Now, 20 years later -- after eight years of
Reagan, four years of Bush the First, and three years
of Bush the Second -- that generation of civil
servants is gone. The executive branch is a wholly
owned subsidiary of the conservative/corporate

Grist: And surely their public-relations strategies
have become far more sophisticated.

Moyers: Absolutely. They learned a big lesson from the
Watt era. Not to inflame the situation. Use stealth.
If you corrupt the language and talk a good line even
as you are doing the very opposite, you won't awaken
the public. Gale Norton will be purring like a kitten
when she's cutting down the last redwood in the forest
with a buzz saw.

Grist: Doesn't it seem inevitable that this tremendous
discrepancy between the Bush administration's actions
and words will be exposed?

Moyers: There is always a backlash when any
administration, liberal or conservative, Democratic or
Republican, goes too far. In this case, all the
scientists that I respect and all the
environmentalists that I listen to say to me, "What's
different this time, Moyers, is that it could happen
too late." Let's say by 2008 the consequences of all
these policies become clear and the public rises up in
protest. We don't have between now and 2008 to reverse
the trends; it will be too late then.

Grist: What do you mean by "too late"?

Moyers: Every policy of government that is bad or goes
wrong can ultimately be reversed. The environment is
the one exception to the rule of politics, which is
that to every action there is a reaction. By the time
we all wake up, by the time the media starts doing
their job and by the time the public sees what is
happening, it may be too late to reverse it. That's
what science is telling us. That's what the Earth is
telling us. That's what burns in my consciousness.

Consider the example of Iraq. Once upon a time it was
such a lush, fertile, and verdant land that the
authors of Genesis located the Garden of Eden there.
Now look at it: stretches upon stretches of desert, of
arid lands inhospitable to human beings, empty of
trees and clean water and rolling green grasses.
That's a message from the Earth about what happens
when people don't take care of it. No matter what we
do to Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains a wasteland
compared to what it was. American policy makers see
only the black oil in the ground and not the message
that all the years of despoliation have left.

Grist: The irony is that despoliation doesn't just
wipe out the verdant land, it makes it impossible to
have a healthy, diverse economy.

Moyers: It stuns me that the people in power can't see
that the source of our wealth is the Earth. I'm an
entrepreneur, I'm a capitalist. I don't want to
destroy the system on which my livelihood and my
journalism rest. I am strongly on behalf of saving the
environment [in no small part] because it is the
source of our wealth. Destroy it and the pooh-bahs of
Wall Street will have to book an expedition to Mars to
enjoy their riches. I don't understand why they don't
see it. I honestly don't. This absence of vision as to
what happens when you foul your nest puzzles me.

Grist: Do you consider yourself a pessimist?

Moyers: I once asked a friend on Wall Street about the
market. "I'm optimistic," he said. "Then why do you
look so worried?" I asked. And he answered: "Because
I'm not sure my optimism is justified." I feel that
way. But I don't know how to be in the world except to
expect a confident future and then get up every
morning and try in some way to bring it about.

Grist: It sounds like for you the environment is a
very personal issue, an emotional issue.

Moyers: For me it comes down to our most cherished
values. To our ethics. You're asking, rightly,
questions about science and economics, but this is a
deeply moral issue. Economics and politics are a poor
excuse for the moral imperative that we need to follow
to save what is not our own so others that come after
us can have a life.

A couple years ago, I took my then eight-year-old
grandson to Central Park for a walk and we were on the
rocks there looking out on the park and the skyline of
the city and he said, "Pa, how old are you?" And I
said, "I'm 66." And he said, "What do you think the
world will look like when I'm as old as you are?" And
for the first time I could imagine a concrete future.
The future wasn't abstract anymore -- my grandson
would be a real person living in a real place, the
future. In some ways, what worries me the most is that
Laura and George Bush don't have any grandkids. The
president would see the world differently if he just
had grandkids.

Grist: Yes, it seems as though on some level Bush is
lacking some kind of emotional intelligence on these
matters -- as though he's sort of tone deaf to the

Moyers: We had Devra Davis, a scientist at Carnegie
Mellon, on the show recently. She described how Laura
and George Bush designed their ranch at Crawford to be
environmentally efficient, with solar paneling and
lots of new technology. She pointed out that they seem
to understand these issues somewhat on an individual
level, and yet they don't understand that the personal
is not enough. It takes policy to translate. There is
a disconnect between how they live privately and how
they act publicly.

Grist: What, on a public level, do you want to see

Moyers: The same thing that should happen with the war
against terrorists. Terrorists want to kill us, they
want to bring democracy down. The environment will
kill us, it will bring us down. Why not appoint an
emergency panel of Democrats and Republicans to
recommend a course on global warning? I really do
believe that if George Bush announced that saving the
environment was more urgent than everything at the
moment except the war on terrorism, if he were to call
a global conference at the White House on how we can
create a new vision and a new process for addressing
this, the world's greatest challenge -- then I believe
they'd change the Constitution to elect him to a third

- - - - - - - - -

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Posted by richard at 10:15 PM

Not just warmer: it's the hottest for 2,000 years

(8/31/03) From America's best newspaper, the U.K. Guardian:
"The earth is warmer now than it has been at any timein the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive studyof climatic history has revealed. Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to sceptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity...other climatologists have welcomed the new study as the most conclusive evidence to date that the increase in temperature is a result of human activity.",12374,1032984,00.html

Not just warmer: it's the hottest for 2,000 years

Widest study yet backs fears over carbon dioxide

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Monday September 1, 2003
The Guardian

The earth is warmer now than it has been at any timein the past 2,000 years, the most comprehensive studyof climatic history has revealed. Confirming the worst fears of environmental scientists, the newly published findings are a blow to sceptics who maintain that global warming is part of the natural climatic cycle rather than a consequence of human industrial activity.

Prof Philip Jones, a director of the University of
East Anglia's climatic research unit and one of the
authors of the research, said: "You can't explain this
rapid warming of the late 20th century in any other
way. It's a response to a build-up of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere."

The study reinforces recent conclusions published by
the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change
(IPCC). Scientists on the panel looked at temperature
data from up to 1,000 years ago and found that the
late 20th century was the warmest period on record.

But the IPCC's report was dismissed by some quarters
in the scientific community who claimed that while the
planet is undoubtedly warming, it was warmer still
more than a thousand years ago. So warm, in fact, that
it had spurred the Vikings to set up base in Greenland
and led to northern Britain being filled with
productive vineyards.

To discover whether there was any truth in the claims,
Prof Jones teamed up with Prof Michael Mann, a climate
expert at the University of Virginia, and set about
reconstructing the world's climate over the past 2,000

Direct measurements of the earth's temperature do not
exist from such a long time ago, so the scientists had
to rely on other indicators of how warm - or not - the
planet was throughout the past two millennia.

To find the answer, the scientists looked at tree
trunks, which keep a record of the local climate: the
rings spreading out from the centre grow to different
thicknesses according to the climate a tree grows in.
The scientists looked at sections taken from trees
that had lived for hundreds and even thousands of
years from different regions and used them to piece
together a picture of the planet's climatic history.

The scientists also studied cores of ice drilled from
the icy stretches of Greenland and Antarctica. As the
ice forms, sometimes over hundreds of thousands of
years, it traps air, which holds vital clues to the
local climate at the time.

"Drill down far enough and you could use the ice to
look at the climate hundreds of thousands of years
ago, but we just used the first thousand metres," said
Prof Jones.

The scientists found that while there was not enough
good data to work out what the climate had been like
in the southern hemisphere over that period, they
could get a good idea of how warm the northern
hemisphere had been.

"What we found was that at no point during those two
millennia had it been any warmer than it is now. From
1980 onwards is clearly the warmest period of the last
2,000 years," said Prof Jones.

Some regions may well have been fairly warm,
especially during the medieval period, but on average,
the planet was a cooler place, the study found.

Looking back over a succession of earlier centuries,
the temperature fluctuated slightly, becoming slightly
warmer or cooler by 0.2C in each century. The
temperature has increased by at least that amount in
the past 20 or so years, the scientists report in the
journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"It just shows how dramatic the warming has been in
recent years," said Prof Jones.

Scientists who do not believe that carbon dioxide is
driving climate change are unlikely to run up the
white flag just yet, however.

Dr Sallie Baliunas at the Harvard College Observatory
in Massachusetts, for example, maintains that the
recent warming could all be down to changes in the
strength of sunlight falling on the planet.

She concluded that during the 20th century, earth went
through a cycle of natural climatic change. According
to her data, from 1900 to 1940 the planet warmed
slightly, then cooled from 1940 until 1970, then
warmed up again from 1970 onwards. Given that 80% of
the world's carbon dioxide emissions have been
produced since 1940, the expected effect, if carbon
dioxide was causing global warming, would be higher
temperatures not lower, she said.

Dr Baliunas's data also concluded that the period of
warming between 1900 and 1940 must have been due to
natural causes, most likely increased sunlight hitting
the earth's surface, since carbon dioxide emissions
were negligible at the time. The evidence, she said,
pointed to variations in the sun's brightness being
the cause of the planet's warming up, not carbon

But other climatologists have welcomed the new study
as the most conclusive evidence to date that the
increase in temperature is a result of human activity.

"The importance of the finding is that it shows
there's something going on in the climate system
that's certainly unusual in the context of the last
2,000 years, and it's likely that greenhouse gases are
playing the major role," said Prof Chris Folland of
the Met Office's Hadley Centre. "If you look at the
natural ups and downs in temperature, you'll find
nothing remotely like what we're seeing now."

Cold water on climate claims

Not everyone agrees that climate change is largely
driven by human activity. Some believe the warming the
planet is experiencing now is part of a natural cycle.
Historical anecdotes are sometimes used to support
their case, but the new study debunks these claims.

· There were vineyards in the north of Britain

There were indeed vineyards in Britain in the 10th and
11th centuries, but only 50 to 60. There are now more
than 350 in this country, with some as far north as

· The Vikings went to Greenland

In AD980, Erik the Red and his crew headed from
Iceland to Greenland, but it wasn't for the good
weather. Erik had been kicked out of Iceland for
murder so he took his crew westward where, they were
told, they would find land.

· The Thames used to freeze over more often

The river's tendency to freeze over frequently in the
16th and 17th centuries is often cited as evidence
that the climate used to be more erratic. But,
according to the new study, the major cause was the
original London Bridge, completed in the 13th century,
which had very small spans between its supports for
the Thames to run through. The result was that the
river was tidal only as far as the bridge, causing the
water to freeze over. When the bridge was rebuilt to a
different design in the 1820s, the water flowed more
easily and therefore became less prone to ice.

Posted by richard at 10:12 PM

Hot Summer Sparks Global Food Crisis

The US political power structure and the "US
mainstream news media" that shills for it is so sick
that there are certainly subjects you cannot even
raise if you are going to run for President, for
example -- the number of Iraqi deaths, the number of
Afghan deaths, Israel's blunders, crimes and failures
(of course), AND yes, global warming...The only
political leader of the higher order to speak out on
this planetary crisis is Al Gore, who wasn't allowed
to serve even though he was elected (yes, he won
Fraudida as well as the popular vote nationally) and
isn't (or can't?) run now. One of these would-be
anti-Bushes has to dare to speak out on global
warming. The scientific establishment will stand
behind that person. The rest of the world will stand
behind that person. Unfortunately, the "US mainstream
news media" will probably empanel a sordid,
prostituted group of flat-earth "scientists" for sale
to say it is NOT so, and the propapunditgandists will
mock the would be anti-Bush that dares to raise the
issue and they will also say "Well, the polls show the
American people just don't care about this issue."
Blah, blah, blah...But if the Democratic Party does
not get back out in front on this issue, as it was in
the Clinton-Gore era, history (in the long run) and
the electorate (sooner than you might think) will
refute, rebuke and reject them as they will the
_resident and his cronies...It is happening faster
than projected, it is going to be very severe, very
palpable and very tangible to the climate, populace
and economy of the US very soon. Yes, it is going to
hit the EU harder earlier (driving us even farther
apart from our natural allies because of the
bitterness it will sow), but it is coming for us as
well and it demands real leadership and a real shift
of priorities...

Published on Sunday, August 31, 2003 by the
'A foretaste of what will happen as global warming
takes hold'
Hot Summer Sparks Global Food Crisis

by Geoffrey Lean

This summer's heatwave has drastically cut harvests
across Europe, plunging the world into an
unprecedented food crisis, startling new official
figures show. Shifting harvests in Europe this year,
triggered by extreme but local bouts of rain, heat and
drought, eerily foreshadow predictions made last year
that warn global warming will reshape European
agriculture. (AFP-DDP/File/Jochen Luebke)

Separate calculations by two leading institutions
monitoring the global harvest show that the scorching
weather has severely reduced European grain
production, ensuring that the world will not produce
enough to feed itself for the fourth year in
succession, and plunging stocks to the lowest level on
record. And experts predict that the damage to crops
will be found to be even greater when the full cost of
the heat is known.

They say that, as a result, food prices will rise
worldwide, and hunger will increase in the world's
poorest countries. And they warn that this is just a
foretaste of what will happen as global warming takes

Sunshine and warmth are, of course, good for plants
and there were hopes that this year's good summer
would produce a bumper harvest. But excessive heat and
low rainfall damage crops, and the heatwave - which
brought temperatures of more than 100F to Britain for
the first time, and gave France 11 consecutive days
above 95F, killing more than 1,000 people - has done
enormous damage.

The US Department of Agriculture has cut its forecast
for this year's grain harvest by 32 million tons,
mainly because of the European crop reductions. On
Thursday, the International Grains Council - an
intergovernmental body - reduced its own prediction
even further, by 36 million tons, as a result of "heat
and drought, particularly in Europe."

The damage has been most severe in Eastern Europe,
which is now bringing in its worst wheat crop in three
decades: in Ukraine, the harvest has been cut from 21
million tons last year to five million, while Romania
has its worst crop on record. Germany is the worst-hit
EU country: some farmers in the south-east have lost
half their grain harvest. Official British figures
will not be published until October.

The final tally of the summer's damage is likely to be
worse still. Lester Brown, the president of
Washington's authoritative Earth Policy Institute,
predicts that it will cut another 20 million tons off
the world harvest, making this a catastrophic year.

It has come at a time when world food supplies were
already at their most precarious ever. The world has
eaten more grain than it has produced every year so
far this century, driving stocks well below the safety
margin to their lowest levels in the 40 years that
records have been kept. The amount of grain produced
for each person on earth is now less than at any time
in more than three decades.

Until about a month ago, this year had been expected
to produce a reasonable harvest, allowing some
recovery. But the heatwave has now ensured that it
will make things even worse, and experts say that the
crisis will deepen as global warming increases.

Grain prices have already increased, and Mr Brown
warns that in coming years they may move to a
permanently higher level. This would encourage greater
production, he says, but at the expense of the world's
hungry, who could then afford even less food, and of
the environment, as farming intensified.

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


Posted by richard at 10:09 PM