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Beyond Greed

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"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."

Anchor for this item  posted March 29, 2003 at 6:07 PM MDT

Breaking news: American Taliban swings into action to stiffle classroom discussion of Iraq invasion. [my words and my emphasis hfx_ben] (9PM newscast on CBC RadioOne ... no transcript)
A student complained that a prof had made a comment critical of the war, so the rule has come down: no discussion that is not directly related to coursework. "It would be inapporpriate for, say, a math teacher to make comments for or against the war."

Is the penny just about to drop?

If I learned one great life lesson from my time as a simple ground-pounding grunt, it was that ultimately individuals show their real stuff in times of real pressure and stress. So it is with individuals as citizens: a nation without principle is peopled by individuals without principle. "You're with me or you're against me" is an animal instinct, not a principle.

Read this for a dark giggle ... The Onion | Point-Counterpoint: The War ... then view this: On Iraq frontline: the war behind closed doors | PBS

Please ... do this. I can't, you can. I don't have a TV or VCR, let alone DVD or satellite ... I'm knocking myself out with a 100MHz box and a 28.8 connection, so ... do that, would you? please?

Chronology - the evolution of the Bush Doctrine "A war with Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein would be the first test case in the Bush administration's larger strategy for projecting U.S. power and influence in the post-Cold War world. Here's an overview of the people, the events, the major statements, and the policy battles behind what's become known as the Bush Doctrine."

Analyses - Assessing the Bush Doctrine "Released Sept. 17, 2002, twenty months after President Bush took office, the 33-page "National Security Strategy of the United States" (NSS) offers the administration's first omprehensive rationale for a new, aggressive approach to national security. The new strategy calls for pre-emptive action against hostile states and terror groups, and it states that the U.S. "will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively." The NSS also focuses on how diplomacy and foreign aid can and should be used to project American values, including "a battle for the future of the Muslim world."
Here are the views of historian John Lewis Gaddis of Yale; defense policy expert Kenneth Pollack; Mark Danner of The New Yorker; William Kristol of The Weekly Standard; and Karen DeYoung and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post on the significance of this document."

Dealing with catastrophe ... articles and discussions at

* The War Behind Closed Doors - PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) is running an informative Frontline program "The War Behind Closed Doors", which is about America's new foreign policy, what it is, where it came from, who is behind it, and how it shaped the events leading up to the current war with Iraq. The program itself is viewable online, in Windows Media and RealPlayer, along with a wealth of related information.

* War coverage: Timely or Amateur? - During operations in Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm, the press howled about being cut off from the troops and the action. They seemed to have learned that sitting in a press briefing put on by the military does not make for accurate reporting. In Desert Storm, for example, the accuracy of US Precision Guided Munitions was greatly exaggerated by the military. This was almost entirely ignored until after the war, as was the fact that PGMs accounted for only a tiny percentage of ordnance used in the air campaign.

* Iraq Day 6 - Heading for a Worst Case Scenario? Basra is the Key - Early indications are worrying. Guerrilla tactics are to be expected and are obviously Saddam's best card. But they've started much further south and with much greater intensity than UKUSA intelligence estimated. The smart money was on the South rising up as one to greet the liberators with open arms. It hasn't happened. Instead we've seen the first signs of the Fedayeen in action against the UKUSA forces. This could indicate the beginning of a prolonged urban struggle which though not as costly as Vietnam in terms of human lives, could tie up large numbers of UKUSA military not for months but decades. Vietnam it will not be. Chechnya - it might.

* U.S. Administration and the Geneva Convention - In his Guardian column this week, One rule for them, George Monbiot discusses the U.S. Administration's somewhat schizoid interpretation of the Geneva Convention. Even for someone (like me) who's pretty saturated on Iraq war stuff, it's worth a read.

* Attend a Protest, Go to Jail - In the United States, Senator John Minnis has proposed a bill in the Oregon Legislature that would imprison for life those convicted of "terrorism." A minimum of 25 years would be served without the possibility of parole. The definition of terrorism in Senate Bill 742 could include people attending protests where others are disruptive.

* Old UN Peacemaking Rule Might See New Relevance - I raised an eyebrow when I read this article. Apparently, in case there is a "threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and the Security Council is deadlocked and unable to intervene, the UN General Assembly has the right to invoke the "Uniting for Peace" rule. This would allow them to issue a decree to stop aggression.

We're familiar enough with the corrupt figure who surrounds himself with spineless yes-men, right? And we know that Saddam, a true devotee of Josef Stalin (not nearly enough attention has been paid to this fact) is not likely to entertain uncomfortable opinions generously, right? So why has Uncle Sam so often carried on like such a pig-headed boor? Well ... it's about a culture of servility, isn't it. We buy gas-guzzling vehicles, and make wealthy companies that are larcenous in their practices (I have Micro$oft in mind just now), and elect officials who know how to pander to our simplest and least reasonable appetites. Have we been through this before? Maybe not! Maybe it would serve us to pay attention just now, to look around and see just who's doing just what.
Now, I wonder just how our American cousins think they can hand Canada a white feather!!? "You're a bully, or you're a coward!" ... sounds like the sort of thing a psychopath would say, or force his followers to say. Shall we have a rite of passage that includes a show of undieing loyalty, some sort of sadistic test, like using pliers to tear a powerless victim's nostrils? (Last I heard, the USofA still trains torturers and assassins at the School of the Americas.)

"It's about war, not loyalty, sir [] - Again, there is no room for a discussion of values or principles.

All that matters is solidarity with the U.S.
No one questions these gentlemen's right to speak their minds.
Vigorous debate is healthy, especially during a divisive war. Nor is it wrong to talk about the economic and political consequences of Canada's decision to sit out the American-led invasion of Iraq. Ottawa's stance is likely to have a negative effect on Canada's $2 billion-a-day business with the U.S.
What is troubling is the readiness of the U.S. and its defenders to accuse anyone who does not share Washington's view of the world of ingratitude, cravenness and irresponsibility."

Commentary - Opinion and Editorial Columns
* Chicago Sun-Times
* Toronto - Editorial/Opinion
* The Sydney Morning Herald
* Boston Globe Online / Editorials | Opinions
* Editorial News; Columnists

Anchor for this item  posted March 28, 2003 at 11:51 PM MDT

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh my ...

Baghdad will be near impossible to conquer by Simon Jenkins []
"An astonishing event is about to happen. For the first time in modern history a city with the population of London is preparing to resist assault from a land army. The outcome of such a struggle is wholly imponderable. Cities hate soldiers. Sometimes they throw them kisses. More often they throw them grenades. Defiant cities are near impossible to conquer.
In the past two weeks I must have seen a hundred maps, diagrams, military handouts and computer graphics. I have watched men in fatigues with whizz-bang videos of soaring missiles and exploding tanks. Each explains how war is won in the open. Not one explained how Baghdad is to be defeated. The assumption is that it will somehow just fold. Yet Baghdad is where Saddam is and apparently means to stay. For victory to be declared, it must be conquered. I have no doubt why Baghdad is never discussed. War in its streets is too awful to contemplate. No soldiers are more skilled at urban fighting than the British. Yet they are finding it hard to pacify even “friendly” Basra. [...]"

"American front lines are no longer advancing." When I heard that, what came to mind was the possibility that, with a bit of good sense in military affairs, a bit of commond decency might seep into foreign affairs. With Washington tangled in battles of spin and perception, General Wallace is speaking truth ("Our supply lines are over extended").

Alexander Cockburn: Up the Creek [] - "Barely into its second week Operation Easy Sailing is in big trouble. One simple way of measuring just how big is by adding up all the time you hear the phrases “all according to Plan”, and the “Our strategy is sound”.
That’s the captain of the Titanic speaking. At the military level the US/UK force has been forced to suspend its advance on Baghdad. Every single dire prediction of the critics is coming to pass. "

A variation on my "neo-liberalism is based on misplaced faith in false impressions and misdirection".

Spain is in the coalition of the brow-beaten and black-mailed willing, no?
Spanish anti-war feeling 'grows' []
* 91% against military action
* 70% for Spanish neutrality
* 60% say government is doing bad job on Iraq
... all that even though a small majority believes the phoney documents intended to show that Hussein has WMD.

What part of "democracy and freedom" requires the denial of free speech and dissent? What does the American nation stand for? Earlier today I read how someone had used fraudulent credentials to redirect browsers away from Al Jazeera's English language website (they had been subjected to a limited DOS attack earlier) ... apparently those who want to see an alternative perspective for themselves shouldn't be allowed to ... in the name of Freedom, of course. *psychopath, sociopath, sychophant, bully, coward ... pick your label*
Charity rejects anti-war star [] - "The United Way group in Tampa Bay, Florida, had invited the actress, who has spoken out against the war in Iraq, to an event on women and volunteering to be held on 11 April.
But the group, which promotes community action and volunteering schemes, had begun to receive complaints about her involvement. [So the charity has cancelled the event]. [...] United Way of Tampa Bay chairwoman Robin Carson said the event had the potential to become "divisive". "The focus of our whole meeting had shifted to whether or not we were creating a political platform for Susan Sarandon," she said. "That is not our purpose. That's not what we're about."
A statement from the group added: "We have enormous respect for the diversity of ideas and the principles of free speech, but United Way of Tampa Bay's intent is to unify the diversity of thought that brings the community together."

[Follow that logic: with enormous respect for diversity, they will present only one side, in order to avoid division ... brought to you by the people who execute murderers to show that killing is wrong.]
Meanwhile, anti-war groups in the US say their advertisements are being blocked by the country's broadcasters. CNN, Fox, MTV, and Comedy Central, turned down spots featuring celebrities like Susan Sarandon talking with "experts" about war issues, said one group,, while other groups also complained about being refused airtime."

Addendum: A New York reporter at Central Command's non-briefing yesterday asked about discrepency between their characterisation of the situation and reports from troops in the field. Today his inbox was swamped with hate mail and back state-side radio talk-shows were using him as an example of an un-American attitude.
Friends, I've been pointing to this sort of thing for decades, and I'm certainly not unique. You want to call it un-American? Ok, if that's the American way, then let it be known: I'm against you. Ya want bullshit answers? That's my answer to bullshit: I'm against you.
The simple fact is I've been against bullies my whole life, as far back as I can remember. The mundane manipulation that makes cretins of working people, that;s the fabric of Stalinism and Fascism both ... the surrender of individual autonomy to a tyrannical dictator, however benevolent.
As a young man I trained airborne infantry communications to put it on the line as a peace-keeper. With the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile the scales fell off my eyes and since then I've sacrificed all to drill through. In the end it comes to fear and hope: we all experience fear; only those with true hope can lean into it without recourse to fiction and delusion.
God bless the far-seeing eagle ... it is bringing us to the horizon of human history. From here on in, things will be much clearer.

My proposition from years past has been and remains today that the neo-liberal agenda is predicated on the assumption that the Big Lie theory is the rational choice over such clumsy phenomenon such as validity and facts and truth and hard-headed analysis ... Enron's success shows that it works, its accounting practices shows how it works, and the cast of villains and their friends shows who makes it work. As with the California energy scenario, so with the international aspirations of the Eagle Empire.
Delusions of Power [] - "They considered themselves tough-minded realists, and regarded doubters as fuzzy-minded whiners. They silenced those who questioned their premises, even though the skeptics included many of the government's own analysts. They were supremely confident — and yet with shocking speed everything they had said was proved awesomely wrong.
No, I'm not talking about the war; I'm talking about the energy task force that Dick Cheney led back in 2001. Yet there are some disturbing parallels. Right now, pundits are wondering how Mr. Cheney — who confidently predicted that our soldiers would be "greeted as liberators" — could have been so mistaken. But a devastating new report on the California energy crisis reminds us that Mr. Cheney has been equally confident, and equally wrong, about other issues.
In spring 2001 the lights were going out all over California. There were blackouts and brownouts, and the price of electricity was soaring. The Cheney task force was convened in the midst of that crisis. It concluded, in brief, that the energy crisis was a long-term problem caused by meddling bureaucrats and pesky environmentalists, who weren't letting big companies do what needed to be done. The solution? Scrap environmental rules, and give the energy industry multibillion-dollar subsidies.
Along the way, Mr. Cheney sneeringly dismissed energy conservation as a mere "sign of personal virtue" and scorned California officials who called for price controls and said the crisis was being exacerbated by market manipulation. [...]
In fact, the California energy crisis had nothing to do with environmental restrictions, and a lot to do with market manipulation. [...] the new report [ from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] concludes that market manipulation was pervasive, and offers a mountain of direct evidence, including phone conversations, e-mail and memos. There's no longer any doubt: California's power shortages were largely artificial, created by energy companies to drive up prices and profits.
We may never know what really went on in the energy task force since the Bush administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep us from finding out. At first the nonpartisan General Accounting Office, which is supposed to act as an internal watchdog, seemed determined to pursue the matter. But [...] Congressional Republicans approached the agency's head and threatened to slash his budget unless he backed off.
And therein lies the broader moral. In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again — on energy, on the economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes — and the mistakes keep getting bigger."

Fortunately for us, a sane and honest people eventually shrugs off the convenient comfort of domestic psy-ops and adopts a vigorous realism based on a rudely healthy appetite for unvarnished truth, right? right? Right?!

Quagmire in Afghanistan - Shades of things to come in Iraq?
U.S. Lands in Middle of Afghan Feuding []

Meanwhile, Republicans show they know what side their bread is buttered on ...
Jabs Continue Over Iraq Technology Battle [] - "A bill in Congress that would require the U.S. government to install a particular wireless network technology in a post-war Iraq isn't helping international, or corporate, relations [...]
The bill by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., would require the Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International Development to deploy a CDMA-based wireless network in the country, instead of a GSM-based one.[H]e initiated a letter-writing campaign among his colleagues to urge USAID and the Defense Department to use American-made CDMA technology and not the 'European-based' GSM. His remarks came on the heels of other moves in the U.S. Congress to re-label European--particularly French--items in the face of that country's stubborn opposition to the war in Iraq. His press release said a GSM network in Iraq would benefit European manufacturers."

Earlier this evening it was Perles ... and now here's VP Cheney's buddies from Halliburton, already wallowing in the trough:
Contracts to Rebuild Iraq Go to Chosen Few [] - KBR, the company the U.S. government picked this week to put out oil-field fires in Iraq, has a long history of working for the military on big projects in foreign hot spots ... is a subsidiary of Houston-based energy services firm Halliburton Co., which Vice President Cheney headed from 1995 until 2000.

The consequence of free speech, even at the level of sovereign state: Uncle Sam becomes authoritarian; have Americans any sense of "democracy" left, for even themselves? Chile Tests the Limits of U.S. Tolerance []
Only days before the diplomatic breakdown at the United Nations on Iraq, Security Council member Chile made one last attempt at a compromise. Yet as soon as Chilean President Ricardo Lagos presented his idea last Friday, the White House rebuffed it. A final vote never materialized, of course, but Lagos' proposal symbolized an important moment for Latin America.
With U.S. congressional approval of a long-sought trade agreement hanging in the balance and Washington desperately seeking U.N. sanction to invade Iraq, Chile had dared to risk Washington's ire. In the end, Chile did not have to vote for or against the war, although its actions made clear that it preferred more time than immediate war. But its decision [to what, think? h_b] placed Chile's government squarely at odds with the Bush administration.
Chile's offer was an expression of its independence, a well-earned right by a nation that became a regional model for economic stability precisely because it insisted on a little freethinking along the way. Now the question is whether Chile violated the "with us or against us" mandate of current U.S. foreign policy.

Related: Diplomatic Missteps With Turkey Prove Costly

Apparently the old line about the CP is now true about the Bush Boosters' club: check your brain in at the door, and shut your mouth. Someone should inform the American psyche that we have no enlisted for boot camp. (And also, that a good number of us who have served in uniform are too too familiar with US foreign policy already.)

Anchor for this item  posted March 27, 2003 at 11:39 PM MDT

Soooo, Blair had to do the deed because it's the Brits that cooked up the evidence against Iraq that the CIA used to push this project ... the university essays used in the brief, the faked proof of purchase that was presented to the US Congress as evidence of nuclear mischief... ohhhh, what a tangled web!
Note: the highly educated suits that created this abomination are now directing public information services ... all in the name of informing the democratic citizenry, right?.

Karma, baby ... karma. "Next!"

ABC News - Scandal ousts Iraq hawk from Pentagon panel
Richard Perle, a chief architect of the war on Iraq, resigned yesterday as chairman of the influential defence policy board following allegations that he faced a serious conflict of interest over his corporate connections.

Senior war lobbyist is forced to resign [] - Richard Perle, a prime mover behind the neo-conservative lobby which pressed for war against Iraq, resigned from a top advisory job to the Pentagon last night, amid allegations of improperly conflicting business interests.

Bush's defence adviser quits in row over conflict of interest [] - The US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday accepted his resignation but asked him to remain on the board.
Mr Perle, 61, nicknamed the Prince of Darkness, has long been one of the leading hawks advising President Bush to use military force to dislodge Saddam Hussein. He has argued that it represented an opportunity to restructure the Middle East.

Perle Resigns as Pentagon Panel Chairman [] Facing Conflict-of-Interest Questions, Adviser Says He Doesn't Want to Be a Distraction - [Perle's] recent problems emerged from reports describing his ties to companies that have business before the Defense Department.
Most notably, he agreed to represent Global Crossing, a telecommunications company that had sought his help in getting the Pentagon's support for its proposed sale to a foreign firm controlled by investors from China and Singapore. Under the arrangement, Perle was to be paid a $125,000 retainer and would earn another $600,000 if the deal is approved by a government review panel that includes Rumsfeld, the New York Times reported last Friday.

Washington increases troops Iraq deployed by 120,000.


Going by the market's judgment, it's apparent that this will re-calibrate working people's expectations on a global basis. Workers who are already working themselves to death can only die faster, and workers who have made half decent progress will have at least half of that clawed back. The wealthy, of course, will only adjust their currencies.

Dang ... a trans-oceanic "nightmare"

"Nasiriyah Turns Into 'Nightmare' for Marines" [ ( ... *Dang*]

I . S . P . O . The Simultaneous Policy [international page] "In his widely influential book, "The Breakdown of Nations", Leopold Kohr argued more than half a century ago that the larger and more powerful a social unit becomes – i.e. a principality, region or nation - a critical mass is reached where its propensity to abusive aggression and war becomes inevitable. Having convincingly established the point, Kohr went on to ask: "But what is the critical magnitude leading to abuse?" and then rightly concluded that "It is the volume of power that ensures immunity from retaliation. This it does whenever it induces in its possessor the belief that he cannot be checked by any existing larger accumulation of power." ... consistently positive, lucid, balanced, and constructive

Two articles caught my eye in particular, but this site's general quality really deserves attention and notice.

After the Iraq war: planning the humanitarian response - To win a war in Iraq, the US has to win the peace. Its military forces as well as one of its leading independent humanitarian agencies, the International Rescue Committee, will have a crucial role. But can the military work with the United Nations and non-governmental organisations in ways that save lives, secure post-war order, and preserve the latter’s independence?

When President George W. Bush vowed in his January 2003 State of the Union message to bring food, medicine and freedom to the Iraqi people, he set an ambitious humanitarian action agenda after the likely war on Iraq.

Yet, how these tasks are handled – providing food, medicine and freedom – will be a key measure of the success of any military campaign. Anything other than a demonstrable success will engender new hatreds in the region, enlarge the risk of terrorism, and fuel criticism in Europe and America.

This has prompted the US administration to pre-position non-food relief supplies for one million persons in the region, and (with Iraq in mind) to organise a new Pentagon Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

Liberate Iraq on the world’s terms - So the world is split. ‘Yes, war now’ or ‘No, US, wait’ – we are polarising into one or the other camp, like the molecules of a magnet rearranging itself. But the north of that magnet is defined by the US, and the US alone.

“To liberate,” we ask, “or to conquer?” The people of the world believe, rightly or wrongly, that the US will liberate only to reconquer: no liberation at all. Meanwhile, we are more and more nervous. Saying ‘No to war, No to Saddam’ feels like rhetoric without an alternative – and more inspections alone do not do the job.

US unilateralists are served best by such a polarisation. The members of Bush’s posse, even Tony Blair, have little right of initiative: his opponents have even less influence on the ultimate outcome of the war to liberate Iraq.

For our part, we Europeans are caught between two disasters. Both a return to the failed policy of ‘containment’ and a unilateral action will lose the hearts and minds of the Arab world. Not alone – with others – we have missed the mirage of a chance to set the agenda (the opportunity there might have been, in 2002, to drive forward a real third option).

Why such haste?
Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have been scheming for empire over a decade, Cheney, fresh from his position as CEO of Halliburtion has his eye squarely on the ball (contracts to be let; business to be done), and Bush since a year ago at least has been inspired by "F___ Hussein; he's done", so there actually was not reason to involve the international community. The many benefits that could have, would have arisen from such a development were entirely surplus to requirement, if not actually an impediment. Even good, sage, sound, experienced military advice was scorned and dismissed!

Analysts Say Threat Warnings Toned Down [] - "Intelligence analysts at the CIA and Pentagon warned the Bush administration that U.S. troops would face significant resistance from Iraqi irregular forces employing guerrilla tactics, but those views have not been adequately reflected in the administration's public predictions about how difficult a war might go, according to current and former intelligence officials."
Maybe the same analysts who pointed out that Iraq was attacking Iranian troops when the used chemicals in their attack of Halabja? Apparently Bush, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are driven by an agenda that doesn't require or rely on actualities of history or facts concerning military dispostion ... so long as there is a US military administration in the Persian Gulf, and lots of reconstruction contracts for Cheney's Halliburton and such, the details are just liberal bullshit, right?

"CIA analysts "thought there was a good chance we would be forced to fight our way through everything," said one intelligence official who sat in on many briefings. "They were much more cautious about it being an easy situation."
With U.S. and British troops being forced to defend a more than 200-mile supply line from the Kuwaiti border to U.S. troops 50 miles from Baghdad and to fend off small-scale attacks by the Iraqi irregular forces, analysts at the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency are complaining that their reports would be softened as they moved to the White House. "The caveats would be dropped and the edges filed off," the intelligence official said.
"The intelligence we gathered before the war accurately reflected what the troops are seeing out there now," one military intelligence official said. "The question is whether the war planners and policymakers took adequate notice of it in preparing the plan."
IMHO the narrow coalition fit perfectly well with the agenda ... the new age of robber-barons is past, now is the time for the carpet baggers of the Eagle Empire.
Woe to those who were not with this gang, because they have been marked as "unhelpful". (Interestingly, while Canada is scheduled to be spanked, while the Ambassador was insulting our independence he allowed that our regular peace keeping [troops in Afghanistan and ships in the area] was actually more assistance than most coalition members had given ... but he still threatened our business interests, because it's about obedience and unquestionning loyalty and not about democracy, principle, or doing the right thing.

A time of real shame for the US republic ... the new millenium greets a nation predicated on complacent consumption that will punish independence of any sort.

Uncle Sam: abusive bully!

It turns out even Australia will be cut out from reconstruction contracts, even though they were early and solidly in the coalition of the coerced and compelled. (Business is business, right?)

Melbourne, Australia
Thursday 27 March 2003, 10:05 AM
Aussie firms blocked from aid
"Australian companies have been locked out of lucrative United States aid contracts to reconstruct Iraq.

Labor said Australian firms were being blocked from bidding for contracts to help rebuild Iraq when the government had led international support for the war.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said he was not aware of any Australian companies obtaining US contracts for Iraq.

"I'm not aware of any Australian firms obtaining contracts with the US government because as I understand if it's being funded through American government aid, then foreign countries are excluded," Senator Hill said."

The retribution has begun
The New York Stock Exchange ejected the Al Jazeera reporters who had been working from the floor for the past five years ... no huge surprise there ... but now Americans have begun striking back against Canada: can you imagine someone in eBay refusing to take your bid because you're Canadian?
(A lot of people are indignant that the Stars and Stripes was booed before a game in Montreal ... I wonder how many know that New York hockey fans booed the Canadian national anthem after the news came out that an American fighter plane had bombed our troops, killing four and injuring eight.)

It isn't escaping people's attention that very little about the Iraq affair has anything to do with actual democracy ... really, it's a loyalty test: Uncle Sam wants to know who will obey without question.

Anchor for this item  posted March 26, 2003 at 8:51 PM MDT

Just as the American ambassador to Canada threatened our business interests as punishment for having followed international law and an independent foreign policy, so now the US is sending thretening letters to national representatives in the UN letting it be known that it would see a UN session on Iraq's fate as "unhelpful". In short, the Americans are claiming Iraq as some sort of fiefdom.

Having claimed fear for itself and zeal for democratic liberation of the Iraqi people, we are now seeing the first moves towards the crudest greed. I anticipate that the first big step will be a further flouting of international law, where the US (and the UK as well?) will shirk its responsibility as the belligirent party. Will Uncle Sam use Enron accounting to rob the UN oil-for-food program and redirerect those funds as it sees fit?
If the American people do not halt this appalling turn, the the world community and history will know them as supine to the bullies who lead them, as false and ultimately as corrupt as the monstrous personalities they empower: Pinochet, bin Laden, and Hussein.

To think, a generation of world youth will grow up thinking of Uncle Sam as a swaggering bully, and a generation of American youth will learn that the tactics of choice are coercion, brute force, blackmail, bribery, graft, inside trading, ridicule, and smug contempt ... like drug-pushers and pimps.

A sad and grotesque mess.

The 4th Infantry is finally on the move ... and so now 40,000 more troops will be embroiled in this increasingly inelegant operation.
From level-headed insiders, it appears that those (like Rumsfeld) who were pressing most zealously for this hasty invasion were so filled with arrogant pride that they expected Shock and Awe to work its magic with as few as 60,000 troops on the ground. Presently, more than 200,000 are grinding into the mid-game of what may turn into an ugly door to door fight against a regime newly energised by what is only an imperial adventure.

Prime Minister Blair is already trimming the few principles he represented: when pressed in the House of Commons about a UN administration of post-conflict Iraq, he could only offer that Dubya would not refuse UN involvement. Very sadly, Rumsfeld's slight view of British importance is already beginning to play out at the highest level; Blair will need to scuttle in an effort to save face.

The Australian Prime Minister has no objection to as US-lead military administration, which is likely the direct consequence of the bilateral trade accord signed less than two weeks ago.

The population at large will be hard pressed to acknowledge the bloody knavery that is about to play out.

Anchor for this item  posted March 25, 2003 at 10:00 PM MDT

The coincidental timing of the invasion of Iraq and this bit of business is, well, entirely coincidental, innocently coincidental, and nothing but coincidental, right? Right? Right?

Trade negotiators begin writing 'piece of history'. The Public Record [ABC Australia] On March 16, Australian trade negotiators sat down with their American counterparts to start to write a piece of history. The result, a free trade agreement with the US, will be one of the most important treaties Australia negotiates."

Fact: Hussein used chemical attack on his own people. Fact? Fact? How about often repeated assertion ... but fact?. No ... not fact ... just something the war-mongers need to believe.

If you are in favour of democracy, then attend to truth, and draw your conclusions accordingly. But why war on the basis of lies, distortions, and strongly preferential opinions?!
The american eagle is becoming the symbol of what, now, in this age of spin?
Read ... and heed:

A War Crime or an Act of War?

"[...] But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.

And the story gets murkier: [...]"

[emphasis added]

Why is the corporate community alergic to truth? Perhaps because they are motivated by the compulsive need to band together ("You're with us or you're against us!") in order to forge a fascist world order?
Why are Americans choosing "might makes right"? Why are they choosing to abuse not only international law but their own constitution?

"The best lack all conviction
and the worst are filled with passion without mercy
Only a truly strong man will be have what it takes to admit his guilt in the face of the innocent blood that will flow today.

President Bush, you say you know of no space between good and evil ... Sir! Are you then the Second Coming of Christ?

I spent the evening with a friend who knows how I trashed my career in '73, and how I've been upset that the nations that so blithely overthrew a democratically elected government in Chile now arrogantly use Saddam's cruelty for their own purposes. I have resolved my own temptations to despair this way: there were a substantial few who were radicalised back then (most may have sold out, but not all); if we have been ignored and marginalised, those in the fore today are asking the same questions, objecting to the same outrages, pointing to the same contradictions ... and their numbers are legion. The historic project of emancipation is inescapable in its implications.

Guardian Unlimited Special reports - Peaceniks lost the war but changed the shape of battle

[...] "It's all about oil," opponents of a military attack have chanted, a tad simplistically, from the very beginning. The claim was dismissed as paranoid nonsense, but it obviously stung just enough to make both London and Washington keen to deflect it. Why else have both moved swiftly to announce that Iraq's oil wealth will be held in a UN trust, to be spent only on the Iraqi people themselves? The peace movement made it impossible for the US, in particular, to do anything else.

Critics have railed against Washington for its gunslinging unilateralism, lambasting the US for playing the lone ranger. So the first sentence of George Bush's TV address on Wednesday night referred to "coalition forces". Of course he spoiled the multilateralist feel of the phrase by preceding it with "on my orders" - suggesting he is in charge even of the British army - but the thought was there.

And perhaps the clearest proof of the anti-war camp's efforts came from our own prime minister: "I know this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country," he said, just seconds into his own TV message to the nation. No leader wants to go into a war admitting such a thing. But Blair had no choice. As with much else, the peace movement has changed the landscape for this conflict - and the men of war are having to deal with it.

Three very rich resource sites:
* Americans Against World Empire, Against Bombing
* Transnational News Navigator

Accidental Empire?

It seems to me the real script calls for US forces to be drawn, unwillingly of course, into establishing a US military administration.
I wonder how Bush / Rumsfeld / Wolfowitz will struggle to mask their glee if this scenario begins to unfold.

Her own worst enemy

Answering the "Wolfowitz (Bush) Doctrine" on American Empire "England," observes Editor Owen Harries in the Spring 2001 National Interest ("Anglosphere Illusion"), "was the only hegemon that did not attract a hostile coalition against itself. It avoided that fate by showing great restraint, prudence and discrimination in the use of its power in the main political arena by generally standing aloof and restricting itself to the role of balancer of last resort. In doing so it was heeding the warning given it by Edmund Burke, just as its era of supremacy was beginning: 'I dread our own power and our own ambition. I dread being too much dreaded.'"
Notes Harries, "I believe the United States is now in dire need of such a warning."

Anchor for this item  posted March 24, 2003 at 7:59 PM MDT

"Fuck Saddam"? Maybe Dubya continued with "Fuck the UN, fuck the French and the Canadians, and fuck anyone else who isn't with us"?

TIME Magazine: Gulf War II; First stop Iraq - How did the U.S. end up taking on Saddam? The inside story of how Iraq jumped to the top of Bush's agendaand why the outcome there may foreshadow a different world order

" F___ Saddam. We're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room."

Ha ha ha? I guess fans of World Wrestling Federation and bar-room brawls find this a real rib-tickler ... yessir, yer with us err yer agin' us, now shut the fuck up, grab your white sheet and your wooden cross, and let's ride!

A look at the players in northern Iraq: Michael Ware describes the scene, with the Kurds, the fundamentalist supporters of Hussein, and how the death Paul Moran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was just one more death among many.

It is likely that anything but superficial thought is, for the true war-monger, proof of disloyalty ... more simply, "bad attitude" which marks one off for punishment. So it isn't likely that this sort of analysis will go to the heart of those who've been hardened against discourse and diplomacy. But nontheless, articles such as The Anglo-American Military Axis by Michel Chossudovsky need to be considered.
"The proposed invasion of Iraq is intended to exclude rival European, Russian and Chinese interests from the Middle-East and Central Asian oil fields. While in the Balkans, the US "shared the spoils" with Germany and France, in the context of military operations under NATO and UN auspices, the invasion of Iraq is intended to establish US hegemony, while weakening Franco-German and Russian influence in the region.
The 1999 war in Yugoslavia contributed to reinforcing strategic, military and intelligence ties between Washington and London. After the war in Yugoslavia, U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen and his British counterpart, Geoff Hoon, signed a "Declaration of Principles for Defence Equipment and Industrial Cooperation" so as to "improve cooperation in procuring arms and protecting technology secrets" while at the same time "easing the way for more joint military ventures and possible defence industry mergers."
Washington’s objective was to encourage the formation of a "trans-Atlantic bridge across which DoD [U.S. Department of Defence] can take its globalisation policy to Europe. …Our aim is to improve interoperability and war fighting effectiveness via closer industrial linkages between U.S. and allied companies."

The above text is an excerpt from the later part of Chapter 5 of War and Globalisation.

This document is hosted by the Centre for Research on Globalisation

The voice of doom has spoken, and the blackmail against Canadian military tradition and integrity has been made clear: former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, arguably the most loathed politician in Canadian history for having sold the farm in "free-trade" negotiation with his American friends, this weekend let it be known that our valuation of international law and support for diplomacy and United Nations process meant "squandering" the credit that had been acquired with Washington over many years.

Is it a surprise that Americans and their sycophants are loathed?

International cooperation seems to be early "collateral damage" as "Isolated Turkey warned by EU [BBC] - Turkey was warned by the European Commission on Monday that sending its troops into Iraq could "complicate" its EU membership chances"
It seems that diplomacy is to be expected from those outside teh Bush/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz cabal but those within can operate, as usual "in a manner and at a time of our choosing".

Whatever collaboration arises will be testimony to hard-dieing good-will as only those with selective memory can credity Uncle Sam with anything but ulterior motives. US efforts to bribe and coerce had only the most limited success. (UK motives seem to stem from another century, when Churchill recommended chemical bombs to teach Kurdish peasants respect.)
Perhaps a coalition of the isolated is in order: Jordan, Iran, Canada, France ...

Anchor for this item  posted March 23, 2003 at 10:12 PM MDT

Iraq's Forgotten Majority by Frank Smyth, October 3, 2002 New York Times

What I think puts all this into perspective is that within 2 weeks of having been "defeated" by American ("coalition") troops in the Gulf War, Saddam's hit-men could inflict tens of thousands of casualties on the Shia who had risen up (with American encouragement) ... the Iraqi were using helicopter gun-ships (which the Americans had allowed them). Colin Powell says he advised against involvement because "it was hard to tell who was doing what to who". Say what? We're supposed to believe that the Shia had helicopter gun-ships?
Bottom-line ... an American army watched as Saddam soaked the desert with Shia blood. Where was Uncle Sam's deep committment to humanity and democracy? or perhaps there are other priorities. *you think?!*

Watch, see, read, notice, consider, discuss ... and let yourself be moved.

* "Where is Raed?" Salam Pax's blog from Baghdad has been silent since Friday
* Regular reports from Iraq, coordinated by DemocracyNow! correspondent Jeremy Scahill.
* The IndyMedia Global Network - enabling voices from the street.

Interactive Essays - Conflict in Iraq []

"America's role as a superpower must be to bring to the rest of the world what is now seen as a uniquely American value: freedom."

Are we beginning to detect a trend, yet?

The US master-plan may have been shot in the heel ... how long does it take to 1) get forward stationned assets to back out of Turkey and returned to ship-board, 2) all ships across the Med, through the Canal, up and around to Southern Iraq, where they would be 3) joined by troops still waiting state-side, and then .... holy geezus, the hard cutting head is at the butt of the spear, and (what?) two weeks behind schedule.

The disposition of Turkish troops in Northern Iraq is .... unspectacular? The tangle of denials and assertions and statement and retraction seems to me explainable by a pressured collaboration of disinformation along the lines of "Well, we don't like it and we don't want to solidify the situation by stating it, but it's more or less what we've been putting up with to date so at least for the moment, stet." This tangle can trip those who walk with their nose in the air.

Harper's Magazine: The Road to Babylon - Searching for targets in Iraq, an excellent backgrounder on the swirl of US politics that surrounds this adventure, begins with this foundation:
"Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression, of which history provides so many well-known examples that they do not need citing; 2) excessive ambition, such as Athens' attempted conquest of Sicily in the Peloponnesian War, Philip II's of England via the Armada, Germany's twice-attempted rule of Europe by a self-conceived master race, Japan's bid for an empire of Asia; 3) incompetence or decadence, as in the case of the late Roman empire, the last Romanovs and the last imperial dynasty of China; and finally 4) folly or perversity."

On the broader front, the deificiation of Bush will increase as the tensions grow ... self-loathing is on the rise among the Canadian right wing, the instructive notion being that to chose international law over loyalty to US authority is, well, disloyalty ... and we all know that deserves and indeed requires punishment.
I will suggest this as the litmus test for fascism: that reasoned dissent is seen as nothing but betrayal of a cowardly type.

In the context of perhaps the finest effort ever by diplomats, with unprecedented open-ness and transparency, the Western Oligarchic Taliban have proclaimed their logic, and to question that is evidence. In its rudest form, the dynamics of world polity have been reduced to a bar-room brawl.


Human need, not corporate greed ... without justice, there can be no peace. That's the meme stringing these items together.


Mar 27-30, 03
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N.B.: As with MozDawg on DAV, blew away my published archives; recovery is done, but the links are a mess!

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