2003 Archived News
Home | Up

Dude, Where's My Country?- Soldier's Letters

Letters to Michael Moore from U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.


Familiar, Haunting Words

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

Last night [March 20, 2003], George Bush, after speech after speech of this same dry, flat, banal language, started a war for his country, and we can only beg the skies to keep it from spreading into another world war."


Bush's Iraq Visit a Pre-Election PR Stunt

"...The turkey has landed," ran the front-page headline in the London daily Independent.

The daily Vanguardia, published in Spain's second city Barcelona, noted darkly that "George W Bush does not attend the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, but has dinner in Baghdad with those who dream of coming home alive."

"George Bush becomes the first US president to visit Iraq in order to provide the television pictures required by his re-election campaign," it said, noting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, "his undeclared Democratic opponent," was on her way to Baghdad from Afghanistan.

"Liberation noted that more than 430 US soldiers had been killed in Iraq, 184 of them since Bush declared an official end to the war on May 1, and quoted a Gallup opinion poll this month showing that 54 percent of Americans disapproved of the way the post-war situation was being handled." -  Agence France-Presse (AFP), 11/28/03

 

F.B.I. Scrutinizes Antiwar Rallies

"..The F.B.I. is dangerously targeting Americans who are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're going back to the days of Hoover."- Eric Lichtblau, NY Times, 11/2003
 

"The President Ought to be Ashamed"

"..During his six years as a United States senator from the conservative state of Georgia, Max Cleland was known as a moderate Democrat. He drew the wrath of liberals in 2001 when he broke ranks with Democrats and voted for President Bush's tax cuts, and last year he backed the resolution authorizing Bush to wage war with Iraq (though on that vote, at least, he was joined by some liberals).

Today, though, Cleland has emerged as one of the president's harshest critics, especially about the war he voted to authorize. Today, he says, it's a move he deeply regrets, as he scans the headlines from Baghdad. "I feel like I have been duped, I don't mind telling you," Cleland admits. "Everybody in the administration was selling this used car. The problem is all the wheels have fallen off the car and we've got a lemon."

Cleland, perhaps known for being a triple amputee Vietnam vet, lost his Senate seat last November in a race that has gone down in history as typifying the GOP's take-no-prisoners approach to politics. The disabled veteran was smeared as soft on terror because he didn't back Bush's version of homeland security legislation.

Now, outspoken and blunt, he's furious about the White House's handling of the war with Iraq, which he calls a disastrous "war of choice." And he mocks the administration's claims that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were allies. "They had a plan to go to war [with Iraq], and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war." - Eric Boehlert, Salon Magazine, 11/21/03


Massachusetts high court OKs gay marriage

"The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that civil marriage licenses in the state must be made available to same-sex couples in 180 days." - Ann Rostow, Gay.com/Planet Out Network, 11/18/03
 

U.S. Casualties from Iraq War Top 9,000

"The number of U.S. casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom- troops killed, wounded or evacuated due to injury or illness - has passed 9,000, according to new Pentagon data."- Mark Benjamin, 11/14/03, UPI.

 

GAO report: 94 percent of those in six units
had pay problems


WHILE NATIONAL Guard soldiers fulfill their duty, risking their lives around the world, the Pentagon apparently is not living up to its obligation to pay them the right amount or on time. That’s according to a new congressional report obtained by NBC News, which finds the Pentagon’s pay process is such a mess it’s having “a profound financial impact on individual soldiers and their families.” Lisa Meyers and the NBC Investigative Team, 11/12/2003.


Dying for AIDS Drugs

"As the growing AIDS epidemic slams up against state austerity measures, ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program ) has descended into crisis, and Republicans in Washington have refused to intervene. As of early October, more than 600 people with HIV have been denied access to medications through the program. Three states have tightened income eligibility requirements; five have restricted the list of drugs they cover, hampering competent treatment; thirteen have capped their programs, leaving the sick to languish on waiting lists."
Esther Kaplan, The Nation, 10/16/2003


Bill Moyers on big media: The lobbyists overpower the people on FCC ruling

"Big Media companies keep getting bigger -- with more and more power over our lives. This week's deal between General Electric (GE) and Vivendi means that GE'S NBC, which helped elect Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor of California, has just picked up not only Universal Studios, but the USA, Trio and Sci-fi cable channels to go with CNBC and MSNBC, all part now of a $43 billion dollar empire.
 
Then, there's radio. The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity is out with a new study showing that in each of 43 different cities a third of the radio stations are owned by a single company. No company's supposed to own more than eight in any market, but the media giants thumb their nose at the rules all the time. In 34 of those 43 markets, one company owns more than eight stations." Bill Moyers, Working for Change, 10/13/03


N. Korea ‘making atomic bombs’

"North Korea said Thursday that it has completed reprocessing its 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and is using plutonium extracted from them to make nuclear weapons.

THE CLAIM CAME as some U.S. intelligence analysts are becoming increasingly concerned that the communist regime may have as many as six nuclear weapons instead of the one or two the CIA now estimates.
New atomic bombs would drastically increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula and give Pyongyang more authority at nuclear arms-control talks with the United States and others."-  AP, 10/2/03.

Commentary: This development continues to mark a string of Bush Administration North Korean foreign policy failures, See: Bush Administration Foreign Policy in Korea: AWOL


Few Africa AIDS victims get drugs

Only 1 percent of the millions of Africans who need anti-AIDS drugs receive them, said a report released Monday, one day after a U.N. AIDS expert called the crisis “the grotesque obscenity of the modern world.”


EPA sued over kids and pesticides: Coalition charges agency failed to protect children

"NEW YORK, Sept. 15 — The Environmental Protection Agency was sued by four states and a coalition of conservation, public health and farmworker groups Monday for failing to protect children from unsafe levels of pesticide residue found in food. The plaintiffs, who filed two separate cases in Manhattan federal court, seek court orders forcing the EPA to comply with a 1996 law requiring that the agency set pesticide residue standards 10 times stricter than those considered acceptable for adults.

"ONE OF THE suits was brought by the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The other case was brought by an 11-member group that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Breast Cancer Fund, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility." -Reuters, 9/15/03 from MSNBC
 

US-led occupation brings frontline against al-Qaeda to Iraq: analyst

"BAGHDAD (AFP) - The United States struggled before the war to convince the world there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda network, but five months of US-led occupation of Iraq may have created precisely such an unholy alliance."
 

Ex-Envoy Criticizes Bush's Postwar Policy

"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."

"..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?"- Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, 9/5/03.
 

Number of Wounded in Action on Rise by Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, 9/2/03


GAO's Final Energy Task Force Report Reveals that the Vice President Made A False Statement to Congress, by John W. Dean, 8/29/2003
 

A White House Smear, "The Nation," 7/16/2003

"Did senior Bush officials blow the cover of a US intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security--and break the law--in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others? It sure looks that way, if conservative journalist Bob Novak can be trusted." (Continued).

Commentary: If the above accusation is proven correct, I believe this warrants a full Congressional investigation. It is unconscionable that anyone would jeopardize the life of a member of the intelligence community for political expediency!
 

Bush Faced Dwindling Data on Iraq Nuclear Bid By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, 7/16/2003

"In recent days, as the Bush administration has defended its assertion in the president's State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy African uranium, officials have said it was only one bit of intelligence that indicated former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program.

But a review of speeches and reports, plus interviews with present and former administration officials and intelligence analysts, suggests that between Oct. 7, when President Bush made a speech laying out the case for military action against Hussein, and Jan. 28, when he gave his State of the Union address, almost all the other evidence had either been undercut or disproved by U.N. inspectors in Iraq." (Continued);

Commentary: None of what has transpired should surprise the American public, see: Bush lies and manipulates public and Congress, 4/25/03, By Carla Binion, Online Journal Contributing Editor;

See Also:

When Democracy Failed: The Warnings
Bush Watch
The Unjust War with Iraq
BuzzFlash
George W. Bush: What's Missing
Compassionless Conservatism?


Lies, Damned Lies And Military Intelligence
By William S. Lind, June 11, 2003

The upshot is that we went to war and wrecked a country over something that, barring an unlikely revelation, was not true. The American people don't seem to care. Perhaps they expect to be misled by their government, or, more likely, they have just changed the channel.

But the rest of the world does care. The international credibility of American assertions based on military intelligence is now zero. When we make claims about other countries -- as we are now doing about Iran -- not a soul will believe them, even when they happen to be true. At this point, Americans should not believe them either.

Footnote: The U.S. is now moving rapidly to relocate its forces in South Korea well to the south of the DMZ. I suspect the real reason is to move them out of range of North Korean artillery. At present, if we launch air strikes on North Korea, Pyongyang can respond with a massive, World War I-style artillery bombardment of U.S. ground troops that could kill thousands. The sudden withdrawal of Americans to positions south of the Han river reveals our intention to go after North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities. A possible North Korean riposte: demand Japan expel all American forces or kiss Osaka goodbye.

William S. Lind is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.
 

Former Bush Intelligence Insider Assails Counterterrorism Tactics Beers says enemy is underestimated

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out"- Boston Globe, Laura Blumenfield, 6/16/03.


Bill Moyers Commentary on Neglected News, 5/30/03

"We close tonight with some items in the news. You no doubt saw this — Mr. Bush signing his tax cut. A big day for the President.

But in fact, it's the richest Americans — the top one percent — who get the lion's share of the tax cuts. People like Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, multimillionaires all. Mr. Cheney actually cast the deciding tie-breaker vote in favor of the tax cut in the Senate...as this headline in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL says, some people could wind up paying virtually no tax at all. Where's that money coming from to make the rich richer? Some of it's coming from the working poor. Remember that $400 per child tax credit that was in the tax bill?"  (Continued); See also: "Fiction and the Tax Cut by Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, 5/30/03; "Whacking the Waitresses
And the other effects of George W. Bush’s war on the poor," Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, 5/30/03

 

U.S. Insiders Say Iraq Intel Deliberately Skewed

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A growing number of U.S. national security professionals are accusing the Bush administration of slanting the facts and hijacking the $30 billion intelligence apparatus to justify its rush to war in Iraq." (Continued); See also: "I Was Shocked by Poor Weapons Intelligence - Blix," Ewen MacAskill, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian/UK, 6/7/03.; "Spies threaten Blair with 'smoking gun' over Iraq: Senior intelligence officers kept secret records of meetings after pressure from No 10 ,"  Kim Sengupta and Andy McSmith, The Independent/UK, 6/8/03; "The Perception of Deception: Where Are the Iraqi Weapons?" by Senator Robert Byrd, 6/5/03 & "Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare," Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff, The Observer, 6/15/02.
 

NASA deal closes the door on Columbia inquiry

"CIVILIAN members of the expert group investigating the Columbia space shuttle disaster have been put on the NASA payroll to ensure much of the inquiry will be carried out in secret.

The highly controversial move - which has prompted angry accusations that the inquiry can no longer be considered impartial - will see the five civilian representatives on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) each receive executive-level salaries of up to $134,000 (£82,000) a year." Jacqui Goddard, Scotland on Sunday, 5/25/02.


Bill Moyers on Candor in Journalism, 5/23/03

"From your letters I know some of you are curious as to why journalists like me keep opening the Pandora's box of democracy; why we come round and round to what ails America...the bribing of Congress, the desecration of the environment, corporate tax havens, secrecy, fraud on Wall Street, the arrogance of ideology, the pretensions of power. Do we delight in the dark side of human experience, you ask? Do we never see good in the world? Or was Nietzsche right: that the Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad?" - NOW with Bill Moyers
 

'A Troubling Speech'
Remarks by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd
US Senate Chamber
May 6, 2003


In my 50 years as a member of Congress, I have had the privilege to witness the defining rhetorical moments of a number of American presidents. I have listened spellbound to the soaring oratory of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. I have listened grimly to the painful soul-searching of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon...(Continued)


International Committee of the Red Cross Iraq Daily Bulletins


The Reason Why
"Thanks to the most crudely partisan decision in the history of the Supreme Court, the nation has been given a President of painfully limited wisdom and compassion and lacking any sense of the nation's true greatness. Appearing to enjoy his role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces above all other functions of his office, and unchecked by a seemingly timid Congress, a compliant Supreme Court, a largely subservient press and a corrupt corporate plutocracy, George W. Bush has set the nation on a course for one-man rule." - "The Reason Why," by George McGovern, former U.S. senator from South Dakota and Democratic candidate for President in 1972, from The Nation. See also: George W. Bush: What's Missing?


The End of an Innocence that never was....
"We were singing
bye-bye, Miss American Pie
drove my chevy to the levee
but the levee was dry,
and them good old boys were
drinkin' whiskey and rye
singin' this'll be the day that I die,
this'll be the day that I die."

It's hard to see America as innocent. There were over four million Vietnamese civilian casualties during the Vietnam War and close to 1.7 million military casualties- comprising over 12-13% of the entire Vietnamese population. Were idealism and truth at the root of that war? This is not to belittle the sacrifice and courage of the over 58,000 Americans who fought, were injured and gave their lives- only the questionable aims of the politicians who sent them to battle. The post World War 1950's was only jaded idealism- McCarthyism, the Cold War and racial bigotry gripped the country. No blacks in Ward Cleaver's America.

Perhaps Reagan's shining city on a hill is a vision of America worth striving for- yet it culminated the greediest period in American history and was delivered by an actor-politician. Interestingly the first shining city on a hill message was delivered by a Puritan father-who believed his group, "the Chosen People of an infinite god justified in anything they did."

As America embarks on the Unjust War, there is a another loss of innocence, or should I say illusion- that as a nation America abides by the law of nations. Cynicism runs deep in the upper echelons of America's rulers and fear even more. The man in the Whitehouse is as naive and stupid as the men of the 60's who bled the nation in war to pursue an ideal and escape fears known only to themselves- saving those not seeking salvation and damning them all the while.

Quoting, former President Bill Clinton, "Our paradigm now seems to be: something terrible happened to us on September 11, and that gives us the right to interpret all future events in a way that everyone else in the world must agree with us," said Clinton, who spoke at a seminar of governance organized by Conference Board (news - web sites). "And if they don't, they can go straight to hell."  U.S. National - AFP, 4/15/03.


US Forces' Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is 'Illegal' by Neil Mackay
British and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.


Campaign for a New Foreign Policy

PNAC's Present Dangers  As a Blueprint for Bush Doctrine
"...The Bush foreign policy team has been champing at the bit to get on with the foreign policy agenda laid out in the 1990s by groups like the American Enterprise Institute, Hudson Institute, Center for Security Policy, and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). These and other right-wing think tanks and policy institutes believe that George W.’s father and Clinton squandered the opportunity to fashion a truly global U.S. hegemony or imperium in the 1990s. High on the list of priorities for the interventionist agenda of the conservative internationalists is overthrowing Saddam Hussein—a case of a U.S. foreign policy objective where moral clarity partners with U.S. national interest, namely controlling a major source of oil. The White House’s National Security Strategy of the United States, released September 2002, briefly outlines the new Bush foreign policy doctrine of global military domination and interventionism. But the full scope and ambition of the Bush foreign and military policy is more comprehensively laid out in a book called Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy produced by the Project for the New American Century in 2000. In this edited volume by PNAC founders Robert Kagan and William Kristol, one can find what amounts to a blueprint for the current objectives of U.S. global engagement." See: Interhemispheric Resource Center & Project for New American Century. Also: "Bush Ready to Fight War on Two Fronts,"- Guardian Unlimited,
& Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy
 

"The man in the White House is the best political organizer we have ever had. He generated the largest protest demonstrations the earth has ever seen last month. He has us organizing on the peace front, the civil liberties front, the environmental front, the domestic budget front -- everywhere, people are waking up after a long sleep. It is a dangerous time, but a great time -- a great awakening -- and we must give credit to the man whose monumental presumption has made this possible.

Will our hearts be on a roller coaster of his design? Will he control our happiness and our anger? We must not give him that. There is only one way off this roller coaster, and that is to focus our lives now on November 2nd, 2004. That is the mountaintop we must have in the center of our vision."
Doris "Granny D" Haddock speaking at International Women's Day Peace March and Rally in Washington, DC Saturday, March 8, 2003


Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade
"Rapid Dominance is the full use of capabilities within a system of systems that can decisively impact events requiring the application of military/defense resources through affecting the adversary's will. Rapid Dominance envisions execution in real or near real time to counter actions or intentions deemed detrimental to U.S. interests. On one end of the spectrum, Rapid Dominance would introduce a regime of Shock and Awe in areas of high value to the threatening individual, group, or state. In many cases the prior knowledge of credible U.S. Rapid Dominance capabilities would act as a deterrent. Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage. The concept ideally should be able to impact adversarial situations that apply across the board, addressing high-, mid-, low-, and no-technology threats. Some of these aims may not be achievable given the political and technology constraints, but need to be explored." - Appendix A, Thoughts on Rapid Dominance by Admiral Bud Edney, USN (Ret.)


Shock and Awe is a military doctrine that says little about international law and the moral/justified/proportional use of force. It is a kind of modern synthesis of systems thinking, high technology, classical principles of war and psychological warfare. It is not intended to address the root causes of war- poverty, escalating cycles of violence and social, political and economic inequality/oppression.

What levels of force, death and destruction are required and/or acceptable for the successful application of Shock and Awe? Who makes those decisions? What if the military execution is neither rapid nor brilliant? And what are the consequences post war- for example during occupation and reconstruction? What if the result of war-time psychological warfare is that the liberator is perceived as the new oppressor?



The Iraq War- An Unjust War

According to Keith Pavlischek in his paper, "Just and Unjust War in the Terrorist Age,"  Jus ad bellum requires that before war there must be legitimate authority, just cause and right intention. Other criteria include: Is there a reasonable chance for success? Will the overall good exceed the harm done (proportionality)? Have other means to redress been attempted (last resort)? Can peace among combatants be achieved? (the end of peace)?

With regards to an Iraqi War, is there legitimate authority- right authority related to the political good of order? Since the Iraq War will contravene the United Nations Security Council- one of the bodies entrusted with the maintenance of international law the answer is NO. Further, almost every nation in the world, except The U.S. and Great Britain, opposes the war. Even in Great Britain, the opposition to the war is so deep and widespread, it may topple the government of Tony Blair.

Is there a just cause? It is true that the Iraqi regime is evil. It has expelled and murdered its own citizens. However, is this sufficient cause to wage war and risk the lives of hundred of thousands of men, woman and children? Are there other ways of controlling and limiting the regimes' brutality? Ostensibly Iraq will be attacked because it possesses WMD- not because it is ruled by an evil regime- yet UNMOVIC has indicated that there is no evidence of WMD. Therefore the answer is NO with respect to just cause.

Is there right intention? Some have questioned whether U.S. and Great Britain are more motivated by the pursuit of cheap oil rather than a free Iraq and/or are unduly influenced by the Israeli lobby. It does not help that the Bush cabinet is dominated by oil industry executives and that it has shown a clear tilt towards Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Administration harkens back to its chief motivation being to counter the terrorist/al-Qaida threat posed by Iraq- however there is no credible evidence that Iraq poses such a threat. So what is the true U.S. intention? The answer is quite clear- regime change (in contravention of International Law)- and why? Because Iraq may pose a threat in the future- not because of any present danger. Should this be considered right intention? Again, the answer is NO. Preventive War is in direct contravention of International Law.  Also, the so-called democratic domino effect touted the President, Wolfowitz, Perle and others is discounted by Bush's own state department.

Is there a reasonable chance of success? How is success is defined? If it is defined as regime change- the answer is a likely yes. This begs the question of whether the aim itself is just and based on the above the answer is NO.

Is the response of war proportional to the threat posed- Will the overall good exceed the harm done? It is probable, but by no means assured, that U.S. military casualties will be relatively low. However, it is unclear if Iraq has sleeper cells in the U.S. that could pose a threat to U.S. citizens. It is also unclear whether U.S. military action will encourage, not discourage terrorist acts against U.S. citizens. It is likely that Iraq will suffer a terrible loss of human life, both through saturation bombing, invasion and infrastructure collapse. The same may apply to our regional allies. Given that there is no present threat posed by Iraq, a U.S. military invasion of Iraq is NOT proportional- the harm done is likely to exceed the the overall good achieved.

Finally, UNMOVIC is reporting increased Iraq cooperation and compliance with the letter and intent of 1441. Nor does 1441 preclude surgical military strikes if needed. Nor does it preclude development of a more precisely defined response mechanism to Iraqi violations, including the option of graded military response. It is apparent that not all means have been exhausted to ensure that Iraq is and/or stays free of WMD. Therefore, the answer to whether all means to redress a possible harm have been attempted is NO.

Many Americans, including former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter, agree with the essentials of the above analysis as does most of the rest of the world, including our traditional allies- France, Germany and Russia. If, as is the case, a large number of U.S. citizens perceive this war as unjust- what does this auger for our perception overseas? To the potential of future recruits for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups? Indeed, many in the world now perceive the United States as a bigger threat to world peace and stability than Iraq. Finally to suggest that French intransigence is the root of our difficulties at the U.N. is absurd. France, Germany and Russia are reflecting, not shaping world public opinion. In fact, it has been Pentagon planning, not diplomacy that has set the U.S. agenda on Iraq.

Finally, what is probably in the mind of some U.S. foreign policy planners is the amassing 200,000 troops for war and failing to wage war- and the damage this may cause to American credibility and the weakness it implies. However, I would argue otherwise. Force is not precluded in the Fall if Iraq fails to fully comply with 1441. By then it will be clearer what the regime's true intentions are. An aggressive inspections regime is likely at a minimum to stymie any WMD program- if in fact one exists. However, entering a war to maintain the perception (and not reality) of U.S. credibility is a bad mistake, similar to the one made in Vietnam.


"Confronting Iraq: Might Doesn't Make Right," by Desmond Tutu and Ian Urbina


Bill Moyers, NOW with Bill Moyers, 2/28/03.

"So I put this [flag on my lapel] as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash). I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war -- except in self-defense -- is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomatic skill. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country. "


Carter decries unilateral war on Iraq: Former president says invasion to topple Saddam unjust

"Former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter on Sunday condemned preparations for a unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq, saying it would be an unjust war “almost unprecedented in the history of civilized nations.”- 3/8/03, MSNBC, Reuters Limited


New York Times Op-Ed: Saying No To War
 

Helen Caldicott CSPAN Intervew: The Truth About American Foreign Policy & the Dangers of Nuclear War


Excerpts from 2/26/03, letter by Coleen Rowley, Special Agent, Minneapolis to  FBI Director Robert Mueller.

"What is the FBI’s evidence with respect to a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Polls show that Americans are completely confused about who was responsible for the suicidal attacks on 9-11 with many blaming Iraq. And it is clear that this impression has been fostered by many in the Administration. As far as the FBI is concerned, is the evidence of such a link “bulletproof,” as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claims, or “scant,” as General Brent Scowcroft, Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board has said? The answer to this is of key importance in determining whether war against Iraq makes any sense from the FBI’s internal security point of view. If the FBI does have independent data verifying such a connection, it would seem such information should be shared, at least internally within the FBI... "

"...And it seems clear to me now that the decision to attack Iraq was taken some time ago and you, even as FBI Director, may be little more than a helpless bystander. Such an attack, though, may have grave consequences for your ability to discharge your responsibility to protect Americans, and it is altogether likely that you will find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s. The bottom line is this: We should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI, despite the various improvements you are implementing, will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq. What troubles me most is that I have no assurance that you have made that clear to the president."  Coleen Rowley was one of Time Magazine's 2002 Persons of The Year for her courage and honesty in calling FBI Headquarter's obstruction of the Moussaoui investigation. See also: "Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy."


Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake
U.N. Nuclear Inspector Says Documents on Purchases Were Forged

"A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions." Washington Post, Joby Warrick, 3/8/03


Halliburton wins contract on Iraq oil firefighting
 

U.S. Central Command Leaflet Drops in Iraq


IPS Releases Report on U.S. Arm-twisting Over Iraq War

(Washington, DC, February 26, 2003). "As U.S. officials intensify their arm-twisting offensive to gather support for a war on Iraq, the Institute for Policy Studies is releasing a new study today that examines the specific levers of U.S. military, economic, and political power.

The study, entitled "Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?," looks at how this leverage applies to each current member of the UN Security Council. It also analyzes the power the U.S. government exerts over the broader group of countries that the Bush Administration has dubbed the "Coalition of the Willing." Although the Administration refuses to release a list of the members of this coalition, the authors compiled a list of 34 nations cited in press reports as supporters of the U.S. position on Iraq.

Although the Bush Administration claims that the anonymous "Coalition of the Willing" is the basis of genuine multilateralism, the report shows that most were recruited through coercion, bullying, and bribery."


U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War' by Felicity Barringer, New York Times, 2/27/03

"...We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners."

"...Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson."

- Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in Athens; For the full text of Mr. Kiesling's resignation letter, see: U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation, by John Brady Kiesling, New York Times, 2/27/03


"U.S. on Diplomatic Warpath: The Word is Out: Rebuff on Iraq could Reduce Aid," by Dafna Linzer, Associated Press, 2/24/03
 

Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'

"(CBS) While diplomatic maneuvering continues over Turkish bases and a new United Nations resolution, inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases." 2/20/03, CBS Broadcasting


World Diplomats Berate America for Rush to Attack


The Case Against War

All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."
-President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953, upon being presented with plans to wage preventive war to disarm Stalin's Soviet Union

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, in his opening statement to the tribunal

From: The Case Against War, by Jonathan Schell, The Nation, 2/13/03


Ex-Gulf War Gen. Schwarzkopf Cautious on Iraq War

Former U.S. Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf says he needs more information before he can support a preemptive invasion of Iraq, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

"The thought of (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, OK?" the retired general was quoted as saying.

"Now, having said that, I don't know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,' I guess I would like to have better information." Reuters, 1/28/03

 

CIA 'sabotaged inspections and hid weapons details'

Senior democrats have accused the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections in Iraq by refusing to co-operate fully with the UN and withholding crucial information about Saddam Hussein's arsenal.

Led by Senator Carl Levin, the Democrats accused the CIA of making an assessment that the inspections were unlikely to be a success and then ensuring they would not be, 2/14/2002, Andrew Buncombe, The Independent.
 

Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences, by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, February 12, 2003


To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.

Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.

We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.

And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world.

This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. High level Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security interests of many nations so closely together? There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11.

Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.

This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.

In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.

In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.

Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant -- these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on.

The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land.

Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace?

And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam Hussein?

Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?

Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations which need the income?

In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences for years.

One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution.

But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.

Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.

We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.

To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country". This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.

 

Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act

"The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information.

The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text," Center for Public Integrity,"  2/7/03. See also; Whitely Strieber's Journal, dated 2/10/03 on the so-called, "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," & MEDIA ADVISORY: Muted Response to Ashcroft's Sneak Attack on Liberties, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, 2/1203.


U.S. Guilty of 'Shocking Double Standards' on Iraq - Former head U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler

"The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia and, if necessary, use its weapons of mass destruction to win that battle, is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it could set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret," Butler said. Reuters, 1/28/03.


Is Iraq in substantial and material breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1441?

The basis of this determination is contained within the resolution itself. Further this determination is to be made by the Security Council, not any one member state. The criteria are:

(1) Does Iraq's WMD/weapons delivery systems declaration provided pursuant to item (3) of 1441 contain false statements or omissions? If it has omissions are they material?

(2) Has Iraq provided UNMOVIC and IAEA immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access to records, facilities, scientists, etc. ?

(3) Has Iraq taken any hostile acts against UN or IAEA personnel?

Based on news reports, Item (1) is subject to interpretation, however it appears Iraq must more fully disclose.  Again, based on news reports, Iraq has fully complied with items (2) and (3). There have been unconfirmed reports of intimidation of Iraqi scientists and their families, however I have not heard this accusation from UNMOVIC or IAEA.

The US has painted itself into a box. The administration knew it was unlikely that Iraq would proactively and enthusiastically disclose all of its weapon's systems, but hoped to garner world support for its actions through the UN. The world for its part, never expected Iraq to enthusiastically comply (even at the point of a gun), but hoped that the combination of inspections and disclosure would provide a better understanding of Iraq's WMD capabilities. Clearly it is subject to interpretation whether Iraq is in substantial material breach of 1441, as evidenced by the French, Russian and German counter positions.

The U.S. has almost 100,000 troops in the Persian Gulf. Failure to use these troops against Iraq may be perceived as weakness by potential U.S. enemies. Further, U.S. threats to Hussein's very survival make him even more dangerous both before and after the start of an attack. On the other hand, the case for an invasion of Iraq is weak and the actual invasion/attempted regime change fraught with risks and the potential for substantial military and civilian casualties. Going to war for oil is immoral. Continued economic and political dependence on oil is unsustainable and destructive to the planet.

What is needed is constructive engagement with Iraq and our allies. The key tenets of this approach include:

(1) A guarantee that if it fully complies with 1441, Iraq will not be invaded.
(2) While there is no credible evidence that Iraq actively cooperates with or aids terrorist groups, Iraq must sign an agreement that it will not do so.
(3) A more aggressive inspections regime, including greatly increased numbers of inspectors, broader deployment of inspectors, more detection equipment, etc. Intimidation of scientists, their families and others who choose to voluntarily cooperate with inspectors would be expressly prohibited.
(3) A clearly spelled out modus operandi for resolution/corrective action if prohibited weapon's systems are found. If this finding represents a serious breach of 1441, then the Security Council must meet to decide a course of action.
(4) Provided, Iraq is in full, verifiable compliance, a phased timetable for relaxing and eventually ending economic sanctions. Full ending of sanctions may require changes to the Iraq regime, including greater freedom and independence for its citizens and the end of political suppression in the country.
(5) An on-going inspections regime that will help ensure that Iraq remains in full compliance.


Bush Administration Foreign Policy in Korea: AWOL

Spurning South Korean President Kim Dae Jung (2000 Nobel Peace prize winner) in 3/2002 because of his sunshine policy towards the North; Failing to talk to the North Koreans for two years in a policy of dis-engagement; "Axis of Evil" threats; Discussions with South Korean leaders about invasion of the North; Oblique threats by the Secretary of Defense of a two front war with Iraq and Korea; Remilitarization of Japan; Threatening remarks by the President against Kim Jong Il tantamount to warmongering; Open splits among Administration foreign policy decision-makers regarding Korean, Middle East and Iraq policy; A complete failure to understand the psychology, cultural history and motivations of North Korean leaders; The possibility of a dramatic proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region....An almost endless stream of dangerous and inept policy actions by the Bush Administration contributing to a foreign policy debacle and a pathetic display of brinkmanship by both sides.

All this when dealing with a country steeped in weapons of mass destruction, possessing strong missile delivery technology as well as the means (and now even more the motive) to export that technology to terrorists and unfriendly nations. Further a nation possessing a massive army capable of inflicting heavy casualties on South Korea, Japan and others. A foreign policy based on the personal morality and predilections of the President (no matter how sincere) is dangerous to the United States of America. What is needed is engagement and constructive solutions that increase the chances of regional stability and peace, whether it is North Korea, Iraq or the Middle East- not misguided, self righteous instinct and selective dis-engagement.
 

How low can Dow (Dow Chemical) Go?

"In a stunning example of corporate insensibility, Dow Chemical, the worlds largest chemical company, and new owners of Union Carbide is to sue survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. While the site of the disaster lies covered in toxic waste and survivors struggle with continuing ill health and deadly pollution from the site, Dow has decided to add to their woes with a Indian lawsuit.

Yes that's right - the very people Dow should be helping are now facing a lawsuit from one of the world most powerful corporations. Why are they acting in such an amazingly perverse manner? On December 2nd a peaceful march of 200 women survivors from Bhopal delivered toxic waste from the abandoned Carbide factory back to Dow's Indian headquarters in Bombay with the demand that Dow take responsibility for the disaster and clean up the site. Dow obviously has other ideas because they are suing survivors for about US $10,000 for "loss of work". That's US$10,000 compensation demanded for a two hour peaceful protest where only one Dow employee briefly ventured out of the Mumbai corporate business park to meet the women protestors."  Greenpeace, 12/23/02; See also: The Yes Man: Dow.

 

"Physicist blows whistle on US missile defense", Roland Watson, Times Online, 1/3/03:

"The credibility of President Bush’s multibillion-dollar missile defense plans are being questioned by leading scientists after claims that the results of key tests were falsified.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considering an investigation into accusations that fundamental flaws in the proposed “Son of Star Wars” system have been covered up."

Commentary: After 20 years of Star War's development, the U.S. Treasury has been bled tens of billions of dollars with minimal results. Not to mention that the strategic/technological premise that Star Wars/missile defense is built on is questionable at best. If any major American corporation produced similar results it would be out of business (and its CEO fired)!
 

 

 

Home • Up • 2002 Archived News • 2003 Archived News • 2004 Election Issues