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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 April 12, 2003 at 10:26 PM MDT

Common sense is seen as anti-American? Okay, then, common-sense is anti-American. Let us now proceed.

From the troops on the streets of Iraq we hear that they are there to fight the war, with no instructions concerning police duties. So, therefore, the Great Grande Self-Proclaimed Bringers of Peace, the Pentagon, is guilty not only of abrogating international law in launching this optional war (in contravention of the United Nations' Charter) but also of disregarding their responsibilities as laid out in the Geneva Convention.
With regards the consequences of the Ba'ath Party's rule, and the presidency of Saddam Hussein, we should speak of thugism as a cult, cutlure, world-view, and approach to questions of politics. In that frame of mind we consider "Henny Penny" Rumsfeld, good old boy "Tommy" Franks, and "Jay" Garner ... do any of these hugely powerful men know anything other than armed slaughter?

The people who brought you Windows 95 (presenting it as a legitimate and valid operating system) and Enron (presenting it as a legitimate and valid corporate entity) caused even the invaluable treasure of ancient Babylon to be subjected to ruin (50,000 items disappeared from a single museum, while brave young men soldiers, armed to the teeth, merely shrug) ... have they absolute impunity? What individual believes that armed gangs have impunity before the law because they happen to be American?
Americans are actually very powerful ... perhaps they behave as a nation of cowards because they have convinced themselves that righteousness is weak ... thugs who kill the good and see no lightning, so kill again and again and again, and yet again, and yet again. [Ask around to find out what it means to be a "double veteran" ... you'll then have clue #1, if you dare open your ears and then think.]
It's a hard rain, is gonna fall.

I suppose the situation makes sense, in a primitive sort of way: nations with international reputations based on decades of experience will be allowed to play a role in Iraq /If and Only If/ they kiss American ass; I think we all have some experience with that attitude. No?

Three War Critics Want U.N. Effort to Rebuild [] - " ... At an hourlong news conference notably short on specifics, Mr. Putin said Mr. Chirac had suggested that the rebuilding effort in Iraq should be modeled after the one in Afghanistan last year. In that instance, the United Nations held an international conference to line up postwar aid for Afghanistan, then helped assemble a temporary government to serve as a bridge to free elections.
Only the United Nations has the stamp of legitimacy and impartiality essential to creating a broadly backed government, Mr. Putin said, adding that "the fate of the country should be given to the hands of the Iraqi people, the Iraqis themselves." "But first of all," he said, "the occupying forces should resolve the most urgent humanitarian issues."
Groups Say U.S. Lags on Restoring Order [] - "... In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that it is "profoundly alarmed by the chaos currently prevailing in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq." It said the medical system in Baghdad "has virtually collapsed," with hospitals closed due to combat damage, looting and fear of looting.
The ICRC urged the United States and Britain to fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law as "occupying powers" to stop violence against civilians. Amnesty International made a similar demand, calling on the allies to deploy "adequate numbers of troops with the appropriate training to maintain law and order."
U.S. Diplomats Are Leaving Overseas Posts [] - " ... In recent months, the State Department has evacuated about 1,400 diplomats and their dependents from 17 countries, the officials said.

This rather hastily written article illustrates what it's like when the liberators are more concerned about oil fields than citizens: In Need Of Help, Nowhere To Turn []

Why does support for American policy lead to brain damage? Alliance party leader DumDumb Harper says Deputy Prime Minister Manley acts like the Iraqi information minister; US Ambassador Paul "batteries included" Celucci finds it "Incomprehensible". What's the buzz?
Canadian Navy announced it would follow international law and Canadian foreign policy on the high-seas of the Persian Gulf. That requires denunciation from the US Government and their boot-licks like Harper. (Where was Mulroney and Kline, and the rest of the brown-nosers? Standing in line, waiting their turns, I guess.) A Navy spokesperson said Canadian Forces capturing fugitives at sea would follow procedure rather than turning them over to American authority. This, of course, is disloyalty to the Eagle Empire ... one nation, and one nation only rules this earth.
Have Americans gone completely insane?!

Blood Money

Annual world expenditure on education is 4 billion.
Annual world expenditure on water and sanitation is 6 billion.
Annual world military expenditure is 538 billion.
- figures from the United Nations Human Development Report

Anchor for this item  posted April 11, 2003 at 8:57 PM MDT

My one post this day: Rumsfeld responds to calamity in Iraq with, "Henny Penny! The sky is falling!" ... he mocks, and he lies. He ridicules, "You see 20 times the same pictures of someone stealing a vase and wonder, are there that many vases?!" (The cretins at the press conference giggle and laugh.)
Bush is a dry-drunk ... Rumsfeld is an incompetent and deluded sociopath ... Cheney licks corporate boots ... Wolfowitz and Perles are mouthspieces for the psychopaths who rule the corporate elite. Proof? Evidence? "Yee shall know them by their works" ... these autocratic thugs created bin Laden; they armed and encouraged Saddam Hussein; they over-ran Iraq while protecting oil fields, ignoring hospitals, and throwing civilians to the dogs.
Yet another shameful legacy of American hubris: the minority who saw their standard of living increase substantially over the past two decades have their eyes on the ball: screw the French, the Germans, the Russians, the Iraqis, the Arabs, the Palestinians, the Muslims; screw humanistic democracy and fuck liberalism. Grab the oil, maximize payments to corporate management; mobilize the IMF and World Bank!!

Anchor for this item  posted April 10, 2003 at 8:48 PM MDT

Noteworthy: UNICEF's activity in Iraq

IHT: Prisoners of war in Iraq and at Guantánamo [International Herald Tribune] "NEW YORK Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has at last recognized the Geneva Conventions. Observing, correctly, that Iraq’s televised display of captured American soldiers violated the laws of war, Rumsfeld said that the conventions spell out the rules governing international armed conflict.
The United States is right to insist that Iraq honor the Geneva Conventions. But its position is weakened by failure to practice what it preaches in holding 641 prisoners without charges at the U.S. military facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Most of the Guantánamo prisoners were captured during the U.S. war against the Taliban government of Afghanistan. The Bush administration says that the men were all combatants, but has refused to treat them as the laws of war require."
U.S. digs in on lesser role for UN [] - "The United States will not give the United Nations the primacy in Iraq that several countries favor, though it will seek a UN endorsement of plans for an interim Iraqi authority as well as help with humanitarian aid, Secretary of State Colin Powell has said, in one of his clearest statements on the matter.
Europeans and others have called for a broader UN role in overseeing not just Iraqi recovery from war but its political reconstitution. They are critical of U.S. plans to dominate Iraq's remaking. Leaders of three of the complainant countries - France, Germany and Russia - are to meet Friday in St. Petersburg to discuss the matter.
In the meantime, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz laid out with greater clarity Thursday the sequence and nature of the transitional administrative and governing institutions envisaged by the United States for Iraq. He, too, spoke of a UN role limited largely to the humanitarian."

* Human Rights Watch: Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan
* International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative - Iraq

The smart donor's guide to aid for Iraq [] - "Nick Cater untangles the politics and logistics of choosing which aid agency to support"

Just in: numerous hospitals and clinics have been stripped by looters.

Official Statement - 10APR03
Statement Attributable to
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy

UNICEF urges all parties to protect Iraqi children; AMMAN/GENEVA/ NEW YORK - "UNICEF is deeply concerned about the impact of this war on Iraqi children and women. We know that in wartime children are the most vulnerable population. This is especially so in Iraq, here poor governance, two prior wars, and years of international sanctions have combined to weaken the Iraqi population.
"Iraqi children are extremely vulnerable. More than 1 million children under age five are malnourished. When children are poorly nourished they are susceptible to disease. Disease spreads rapidly during war, when safe water supplies are disrupted, people are displaced from their homes, and sources of food and medicine are compromised. When you factor in the loss of education and the psycho-social trauma, there is no question that war takes its greatest toll on children. And we should all remember that children make up half of Iraq's population."
[Pick one: a gram of antibiotics tomorrow, or radical amputation in ten days ... the quality of our response makes the difference.]
What UNICEF said at the UN briefing; 10 April 2003, Amman Jordan - Malnutrition rates are likely to increase sharply by the end of April all over Southern Iraq due to the water situation. UNICEF finds reports of continued chaos in Baghdad seriously worrying. The situation in hospitals continues to be critical ...
The widespread looting and chaos spread to UNICEF’s offices in Baghdad yesterday – phones, chairs, essentially everything was taken away. [Medical facilities in Basra have also been looted, according to the patients who have made the journey from the city.]
UNICEF teams reaching Um Qasar are also painting a seriously worrying picture. In the past few days UNICEF has had water and health specialists there. The most alarming information they reported is the dramatic increase in diarrhoeal disease during the past five days. Doctors at the local hospital reported the staggering increase of childhood diarrhoea – this is directly related to the water situation in Southern Iraq: In April 2002 there were 30 cases of diarrhoea in the entire month. During the first five days of April 2003, doctors reported 50 cases.
Another alarming observation is related to staffing in the hospital itself. Normally, the local hospital has a staff of six doctors. Now there are only two. The others have left to be near their families and homes. By 10am this morning, the two doctors had seen 100 patients; some wounded and lots of women and children – often very young children, under the age of 5. On average since the conflict began, the doctors treat 340 cases a day. They see patients from Safwan and even Basra."
While the war-mongers were quick to attack protestors with "Why weren't you protesting against Hussein, all this time?" despite the fact that many of us have been, they were equally quick to ignore the fact that we have for months been predicting a humanitarian catastrophe. Will Uncle Sam be as flint-hearted as Uncle Saddam?!
Are American Generals really such lamers? I know comms and logistics ... I think they just don't give a good god-damn ... it seems they have brown butt to kick, and that's their only concern.
*Please excuse my vehemence ... these malevolent bastards intend to make the entire human race look bad. Get it? Get it? Get it?!!*

Headline: "US Troops in Baghdad do Little to Restore Order"

Did Rumsfeld neglect to include the Geneva Convention in the rules of engagement?
Vandals! Malevolent punks! (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Perles ... not the GIs.) Anything to descredit liberalism and human nature!

What next, political assassination? (Remember, yet again, this invasion was brought to Iraq by the folks who empowered Hussein because "he's our asshole", just like they empowered Noriega because "he's our asshole".
Speaking of assholes, Garner ... dunno ... a corporate militarist ... whadya figure? Twenty-three ministries ... that's quite the shell-game! *Who over-sees the over-seers? Who watches the watchers? The US doesn't care about international law, remember? [This war was preventive, not pre-emptive ... optinal, a matter of choice. Congress was lied to about WMD and nuclear capability. Get it?]* What's the real agenda? Fuck the French, screw the Russians ... the Germans? pfffffffft. Oh yaa, and marginalize the UN. (The Brits? What about the Brits ... what's the question? Like, *DUHH!*) (And for gawd sake distract everyone from Colombia and North Korea!!)

NY Police Admit Keeping Anti-War Protest Database []
Let me save you the trouble: in 1973 I was in uniform, working Soviet illicit communications (satellites included) and tracking the Soviet navy's North Atlantic group. ("Yuri Gagarin" isn't only the name of a Russian cosmonaut.) After industrialized democracies overthrew the Chile's democratically elected government (not only did Allende do without WMD, he didn't even arm the population; what was he thinking? where was his faith? who did he trust?) I abandoned the military. After a stint managing communications for NORAD/SAC, I worked for public radio, studied for the priesthood (Catholic) and then Soto Zen, and then undertook projects like resisting American cruise missile testing and deployment. It's been a busy three decades!
My point is, while Powell caves (State folds to Pentagon ... how do you like the sound of that?!) we see that Rumsfeld et al took more care to protect the oil-fields than civil structures in Iraq. Consequence? Those who might be positioned as credible dissenting democrats (i.e. autonomous of Uncle Sam) get blown away (see google cluster concerning the death of respected cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei) while Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, foot-in-mouth Cheney, and always sneering Perles project their power ahead of the curve (see google news on Chalabi).
Eagle Empire? ... the work of buzzards, looks to me. How much shame are the American people prepared to bear? Is this the "end of history"?! More likely, this is the "best of all possible worlds" for new-millenium fascists (who, I'm sure, will get along with mid-East Stalinists and mafia just fine).
p.s.1 the people of Basra are having to drink salt-water from the drains ... who cares?
p.s.2 number of WMD found: zero. Remember this? "They have WMD. We know they have WMD. We have proof that they have WMD. They have lots of WMD." That's what responsible authorities told the US Congress. Have the American people bought into a lie, just to beat up on someone? Have they lied to themselves? Have they lied to the whole world? How is the government of the United States of America different than a hugely powerful band of thugs? And fools like Stockwell Day, Ralph Klein, Brian Mulroney, Earnie Eves, Mike Harris and dumb-ass Harper say they're ashamed of Canada, begging Uncle Sam to spank us because we dared stand by the UN charter and by international law.
What do a bunch of whores have to say to the world about democracy? Precious little ... the lesson is not "might makes right"; the lesson is this: under the flag of the United States, in this 21st century, we fundamentalists will declare ourselves Christian while serving the Prince of Confusion; we will scorch the earth, plunder the land, torture the men, rape the women, and work the children as beasts of burden. We will it, and our will shall be made so, because we can. Behold! Might, lust, and passion without compassion, pity, or wisdom. Behold and be afraid, all who dare conceive of better!

The Humanitarian Situation in Iraq
War Child Canada is deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian condition of Iraq’s 12 million children. The United Nations estimates that as many as 500,000 people, half of them children, will require emergency medical treatment as a result of the current war in Iraq. Hospitals and clinics will run out of essential medicines within weeks. Families have limited food reserves, and growing food shortages could lead to malnutrition and starvation.
Our Common Responsibility

The highest praise for the Commander in Chief, from a representative of the Republican Congress? "He didn't listen to Holywood ... he didn't listen to the New York Times. And he didn't listen to the French." Hubris and impunity: dismiss popular culture, dismiss dissenting opinion from credibly informed sources, and dismiss international disagreement.
Keep in mind: Rumsfeld's hand-picked puppet, Chalabi, is facing a prison sentence in the mid-east for his business dealings, affairs so distasteful that the CIA stopped handling him (the Pentagon is, apparently, less principled). He hasn't even been in Iraq for the past 40 years. This has something to do with democracy? But of course American culture is about unquestionning loyalty to authority, not about integrity; it is about corporate profit, not integrity; it is about control, not human rights. No surprise that the IMF (in which the USofA is the majority stock-holder) is already moving to implement its plans for Iraq, starting with the imposition of a currency system.

Anchor for this item  posted April 9, 2003 at 10:28 PM MDT

If I'm basically wrong, how to explain that Dick Cheney prematurely announced the meeting that has already been planned for Nasaraya, where Chalabi has already been installed by the Pentagon?!
Filthy ... hypocritical ... under-handed ... bloody-minded, hard hearted, scheming, wretched ... ultimately? Fascistic ... the fix is in, and the President of the United States is at the center of it.
Rumsfeld recited a list of failed tyrrants ... Hussein, Hitler, Stalin. He, of course, is entirely different: hubris dictates that he cannot imagine failing, tyrrant that he is becoming.
Arrogant, prideful bullies ... and in the midst of such martial excellence ... what wrath can counterbalance such waste?

How do American war-mongers view the international community? Here's one way to assess this: first, read this lead paragraph
" April 9, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - France, Germany and Russia - the coalition of the unwilling that tried to block the Iraq war - yesterday said they'll huddle this weekend with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to map their post-Saddam strategy."

Now, read the headline: TRYING TO WEASEL WAY INTO IRAQ
It is true that the gesture of draping the star spangled banner of the head of the Saddam statue was in bad taste ... far too authentic, far too honest, far too representative of the Eagle Empire's real state of mind. In short, the action was in bad taste because it was far too revealing; Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perles, Cheney ... dangerous rogues.

Rumsfeld's scoring higher ratings than Dubya?! Hey, someone remind Stormin' Norman about Maj. General Smedley Butler, would you? Surely someone in the States can recall clue 1 about democracy.

Pentagon's favorites get a foot in the door [Asia Times] - " ... the US State Department, or even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the British government, which have all argued for months that any postwar Iraq leadership should emerge only as a result of consultation, optimally under United Nations auspices, among mainly internal forces, as well as exile groups.
The Pentagon, on the other hand, has long favored the installation as soon as possible of an Interim Iraqi Authority (IIA) led by the exiled Iraqi National Congress (INC) of Ahmed Chalabi, to give an Iraqi face to the occupation authorities.
... President George W Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared to side with the State Department, declaring that both internal figures and exile parties should play a role in any IIA.
So it came as some surprise when, as Rice was speaking, the Pentagon flew some 500 INC activists - plus Chalabi himself - from the northern Iraqi safe haven where they had been cooling their heels into the southern US-occupied city of Nasiriyah ....
That this took place on the eve of Bush's Belfast meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was regarded as particularly significant, since Blair had lined up solidly behind the State Department. "Bush agreed that we would not dream of parachuting people from outside Iraq to run Iraq," a senior Blair aide had told Newsweek two days before.
While senior Pentagon officials insisted that the move was not intended to give a leg up to Chalabi in the competition to succeed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the contingent as "basically the core of the new Iraqi army once Iraq is free".
Their arrival, however, marked the successful culmination of a two-week-old campaign by neo-conservatives in and outside the administration to get the INC and Chalabi into Iraq before any other group, presumably to preempt any moves by the State Department or other opposition groups to claim the media spotlight.
It also marked the fact that, with 250,000 men on the ground, the Pentagon will be calling the shots in Iraq, even in defiance of other bureaucracies that, in contrast to the Defense Department, have real experts on Iraqi politics, history and culture who could prove helpful in carrying out an occupation.
"You can call this another aspect of [Deputy Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz's preemption strategy," said one administration official. "You can call this a coup d'etat."

Factoid: at the end of trading this day, in the face of "Iraqis dancing in the streets of Baghdad", Dow and NASDAQ were both down. Soooo, what's the excuse now? Why, SARS of course!

A moment to ponder: while simple-minded quasi-republicans like the leader of Canada's Alliance party are empowered by their servile self-loathing, more vigorous forces are shifting their slow thighs; while the Bush regime is at ease with the increased space for unilateralism gained by its having splintered the community of nations (Perles is spouting that the UN had failed Iraqis and so it should only play a secondary role in humanitarian concerns if that), and though Rumsfeld's Pentagon can reverse de-nuclearization with its renewed talk of tactical nuclear deployment (nuke bunker-busters ... a pressing need, right?) Uncle Sam leans on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
So, really ... American citizens are paying for the establishment of an openly fascistic apartheid, where the US is free to do what it wills, and others are required to do as it instructs them. Isn't that so? The war against Iraq was optional, it was elective, it was a matter of choice, it was deemed preventive by those who rule the US, it was based on tendentious conclusions and questinnable evidence, and it was mounted in the face of great international disagreement.
Some of us have been saying for decades that, however well-intentioned, American culture is the culture of bullies. I say, today, that the political regime in the USofA is driven by corporate interests who have regard for not even generally accepted accounting practices, let alone international law.While Stalinists world-round will mourn the loss of Uncle Saddam, democrats world-round should shudder at the prospect of Uncle Sam lobotomized by fully fledged fascists (in the most modern incarnation, of course).
One law for all, else me and mine will declare that the bandits have elected their own sheriff, and call for the marshall.

Hospitals in Bahdad and southern Iraq "at the breaking point". The international community called upon to respond "soonest".

* The International Committee of the Red Cross
* Catholic Relief Services - Iraq Humanitarian Response
* International Blue Crescent Relief And Development Foundation - Activities
* Catholic Near East Welfare Association - Press Releases
Baghdad Doctors Low on Medical Supplies [] - "Baghdad's hard-pressed surgeons, flooded with war-wounded, are amputating the limbs of children and adults with too few anesthetics to block the pain and too few antibiotics to protect the patients, a Greek doctor newly arrived from Iraq reported Saturday.
"They don't have drugs," Dr. Dimitrius Mognie said. "I saw it myself. I opened the cabinets."
Mognie's account, after a full day touring hospitals during the U.S. bombardment, was a firsthand substantiation of a report by World Health Organization officials here, who said Friday the Iraqi capital was running low on anesthetics, analgesics and surgical items."
Body bags, anesthetics lacking, surgeons sleep-deprived [San Francisco Chronicle] Red Cross Aid - "...Some help arrived Monday from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which delivered 100 kits of surgery supplies that include anesthetics, serums and bandages. The agency has delivered more than 7,000 such kits in the past two weeks throughout Iraq, said spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin.
"We are increasingly concerned," he said. "If street fighting becomes widespread in the urban area, health facilities could become totally overwhelmed." "
Baghdad's hospitals 'overwhelmed'; Doctors are said to be exhausted [] - "The fighting in Baghdad is taking an increasing toll on the Iraqi capital's hospitals, according to the Red Cross. [...] The hospital only had enough medical supplies to last for another two days, he added.
A Red Cross spokeswoman in Geneva, Antonella Notari, said the organisation might need to bring extra supplies into Baghdad from warehouses in Iran, Kuwait, Jordan or Syria, depending on the length of the fighting, the number of new casualties and security guarantees.
The United Nations has described the situation in Baghdad's hospitals as "critical", while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a health emergency both in Baghdad and in the country as a whole. "
Baghdad hospitals pushed to the limit Supply of drugs and water run low [] - "... In Geneva ICRC spokeswoman Nada Doumani warned that "hospitals have reached their limit". There were not enough anaesthetics, she added.
The World Health Organisation also reported a "shortage of equipment to deal with burns, shrapnel wounds and spinal injuries" and described the situation in the hospitals as "critical".
A doctor at Kindi hospital in the north-east of the city reported treating "injuries to the head, to the chest, to the limbs" as fighting intensified. The hospital had medical supplies to last for only another two days, he warned.
The ICRC is considering sending in extra supplies from its warehouses in Kuwait, Jordan or Syria but is awaiting guarantees of any convoy's safety. Casualty figures continue to rise but both the ICRC and the WHO say they unable to provide even an estimate of the number of Iraqis killed and wounded. "Nobody is adding up all the numbers, but it's clear they are huge," a WHO spokesman said."
Supplies are few, concerns are many at struggling hospital [] - '... "'The medical system has suffered from chronic underinvestment for many years, but it has quality people working there,'' said Colonel John Graham, a doctor who has been overseeing military site visits to hospitals in the southern Iraqi towns of Basra, Zubayr, Safwan, and Umm Qasr. ''If we can keep the system supported while they reestablish themselves over the next days and weeks, I'm sure it will be a very good medical service.'' But conditions didn't look so good at the ramshackle and malodorous Umm Qasr Hospital yesterday.
Dozens of test tubes with traces of dried blood filled a sink in the laboratory, left there because there was not enough water to wash them. The only clean test tubes were the broken ones.
A 60-year-old man languished in a sweltering, putrid-smelling room with flies buzzing around him. He had leg injuries, suffered, he said, when a shell hit his house during fighting between Iraqi and coalition forces.
''I don't know what Saddam Hussein wants; I don't know what Mr. Bush wants,'' said the injured man, Ali Walli, his speech slightly slurred and his eyelids heavy, as his daughter pleaded with visitors to take him to Kuwait for surgery. ''The victim is not Saddam Hussein and not Mr. Bush. I am the victim,'' he said.

Medical aid for Iraqis Gulf Daily News (The Voice of Bahrain) - "... The medical supplies have been purchased from Syria and are now being distributed to hospitals in Baghdad, Ar Ramadi, Samarra, Rawah, Anah, Kirkuk, Tikrit and Bayji," said Mr Busaiba.
"Iraqis are being taken to the hospitals in large numbers and if donations don't increase then there will be a shortage in medical supplies and more people will suffer," he said.
"The society is supplying medicine to Iraqi hospitals and the flow of medical supplies wouldn't stop even if the war ends because many people will continue to be in need of treatment."

Aid groups in Portland Oregon get U.S. go-ahead Portland's international relief organizations, bolstered by U.S. government clearance and financing, are poised to launch large-scale operations in Iraq.
Mercy Corps, which on Monday announced receiving a $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, is starting to hire more than 130 workers to provide humanitarian assistance throughout Iraq. The organization is prepared to raise as much as $20 million to meet the needs of as many as 700,000 people.
"The United States is now saying that Iraq is no longer off-limits" to relief and development organizations, says Barbara Agnew, Northwest Medical Teams spokeswoman. "Now if we can just get in through Turkey, we'll be even happier."

It takes minutes for many able hands and some heavy equipment to topple the central symbol of a tyrrant ... after nearly three decades of ultimate horror. How many hundreds of thousands of innocents slaughtered and executed in that period? A million? How many tens of thousands imprisoned, tortured, raped ... hundreds? Decades of mundane terror at the hands of innumerable opportunists and sadists, directed by a man who knew very well the cruel game of power and wealth.
If the military adminstration is capable of some magnanimity (remembering how the Stars and Stripes were draped over the face of Saddam Hussein's statue in the penultimate moment) perhaps this can be the beginning of a new age of humane governance ... if. In the name of those uncountable thousands who suffered directly under that one dictator, let us strive to establish an unremitting committment to principles of justice and human dignity.

Anchor for this item  posted April 7, 2003 at 2:20 PM MDT

How will corporations take to the backing of a military governor in the Persian Gulf? Looking at how business operates when it has a free hand might provide a clue or twelve. Originally published in July, 2001, this article by Seymour M. Hersh "investigates the Mobil Corporation's operations in Kazakhstan and Russia." ... fill your boots.
The world of Business; The Price of Oil

Other items from Asia Times' Middle East section:
In the pipeline: More regime change - "An Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, has reported that Israel is seriously considering restarting a strategically important oil pipeline that once transferred oil from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Israel's northern port of Haifa. Given the Israeli claim of a positive US approach to the plan, the Israeli project provides grounds for a theory that the ongoing war against Iraq is in part a joint US, British and Israeli design for reshaping the Middle East to serve their particular interests"
Watch Woolsey - "If you want to figure out whether the administration of President George W Bush intends a crusade to remake the Middle East in the wake of Washington's presumed military victory in Iraq, watch what happens with R James Woolsey. A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Woolsey is being pushed hard by his fellow neoconservatives in the Pentagon to play a key role in the post-Saddam Hussein US occupation.
Less well-known than his long-time associates and close friends, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the former head of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) Richard Perle, Woolsey has long believed that Washington has a mission to use its overwhelming military power and its democratic ideals to transform the Arab world. And he has pushed for war with Iraq as hard as anyone, even before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."
The war that may end the age of superpower - "The United States, like ancient Rome, is beginning to be plagued by the limits of power. This fact is tactically acknowledged by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard B Myers that the war plan should not be criticized by the press because it has been framed in a diplomatic and political context, not merely pure military considerations in a vacuum. They say that it is the best possible war plan politically, though it may be far from full utilization of US military potential. America's top soldier has criticized the uniformed officer corps for expressing dissent that seriously undermines the war effort. Such criticism is characterized by Myers as "bearing no resemblance to the truth", counterproductive and harmful to US troops in the field."
Spoils of war: The case of the Iraqi campaign - "To the victor belong the spoils," goes the old adage. But the United States is a different type of victor. Its spoils do not include permanent occupation of a vanquished nation; it is content with having a long-term, if not a permanent, influence in determining the form of government and the nature of economic policies of the vanquished, a la Japan and Germany. Those types of "spoils" are likely to come out of the US invasion of Iraq. Even though there are expectations that the US will end up occupying Iraq for many years, observers outside the US government - including this writer - don't believe in that possibility. So, what are some of the economic arguments related to the George W Bush administration's present Iraq campaign?"

Offense and Defense [] The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon. - "... Rumsfeld’s personal contempt for many of the senior generals and admirals who were promoted to top jobs during the Clinton Administration is widely known. He was especially critical of the Army, with its insistence on maintaining costly mechanized divisions. In his off-the-cuff memoranda, or “snowflakes,” as they’re called in the Pentagon, he chafed about generals having “the slows”—a reference to Lincoln’s characterization of General George McClellan. “In those conditions—an atmosphere of derision and challenge—the senior officers do not offer their best advice,” a high-ranking general who served for more than a year under Rumsfeld said. One witness to a meeting recalled Rumsfeld confronting General Eric Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff, in front of many junior officers. “He was looking at the Chief and waving his hand,” the witness said, “saying, ‘Are you getting this yet? Are you getting this yet?’”

The requirement for a swing to the far right ... whose hands on the levers of power?

Rumsfeld under three-pronged attack [Asina Times] - "... A coalition of retired senior military officers, moderate Republicans, and even some civilian hawks who have strongly supported Rumsfeld's efforts to "transform" the US military is increasingly taking aim at the Pentagon chief, whom they accuse of intimidating the uniformed military and needlessly alienating Washington's European allies.
In a searing column in Wednesday's New York Times, the former commander of the US central command in the Persian Gulf region, retired Marine Corps General Joseph Hoar, even called on Congress to hold hearings on how the current military campaign in Iraq was conceived and developed and whether Rumsfeld had prevented senior officers from testifying to Congress about their concerns.
Except for a handful of liberals who have expressed alarm at the eagerness with which Rumsfeld and his neo-conservative advisors have taken Washington to war, Democrats have been reluctant to join the attacks lest they be accused of being unpatriotic. But they voted unanimously in key congressional committees on Tuesday for a supplemental 2004 appropriations bill that denied the Pentagon control over a US$2.5 billion fund to provide relief and development assistance in Iraq. The committees instead earmarked the money for the State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID).
In another slap, the House and Senate appropriations committees also deleted a requested $150 million account that Rumsfeld had requested for assistance to unspecified "indigenous forces" involved in the US-led global "war on terrorism"."

*At this moment Rumsfeld is mocking people for discussing forms of government in post-conflict Iraq; when he isn't babbling the ruling paradigm, the man shows himself a fascist.*
Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/21 [NonAligned Movement] - The Commission on Human Rights,
Recalling the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Reaffirming the pertinent principles and provisions contained in the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974, in particular article 32 which declares that no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights,"

This just in, ABC / BBC: Pentagon officials announce that chemical weapons have been found at two different sites; missile warheads containing Sarin at one, and barrels of "a blister agent" at another.
... slightly more plausible than the fantasy the Iraqi MInister of "Information" is spinning right now ... slightly.

"At the very least, an audacious probe." With American troops controlling at least the Information Ministry and one presidential palace in the heart of Baghdad, I hope and pray the hospitals can be resupplied very soon.

Anchor for this item  posted April 6, 2003 at 10:38 PM MDT

I get the bad feeling that there is a new sense in the air: a sense that there will be no victory, not even with the defeat of Hussein. If 9-11 did not change the entirety of global history, perhaps this administration has managed to do just that.

Where Have You Gone, Condi Rice? [] - "The administration would be wise to adopt a more nuanced approach to Iraq.
... Cheerleading is a plausible presidential function, I suppose, but an odd thing has happened to Bush as the war has progressed. He has not grown in stature or gravitas, as wartime leaders usually do; he may have diminished. He seems imprisoned in a bleak, hortatory rhetoric of simple sentences and simpler ideas. Freedom good. Tyranny bad. We Tarzan, world Jane.
... [C]omplexities argue for subtle, careful postwar diplomacy. That seems unlikely. The Pentagon has control of the post-war plan, which makes some sense in the short term: the U.S. military is the only institution that can restore order to Iraq. But it seems plain that an extended military occupation—and, particularly, an interim government run by a retired American general with interim ministers including James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, and other assorted neoconservative bravos—will further alienate our allies and lead much of the world to suspect that imperialism was our purpose all along.

Go ahead, Rummy! Give Powell hell! Call him a left-leaning muddle-brained incoherent limp-wristed pansy!!

Clash of the Administration Titans [] - "There are moments in history when ideology stops being a parlor game for academics and actually shapes the future of the world. As American troops mass outside Baghdad, a battle of ideas is taking place inside Washington's corridors of power that could fashion a new Middle East.
At the core of the conflict are two different ways of looking at the world. Rumsfeld and his team of neoconservative civilians at the Pentagon favor an activist and often unilateralist approach to advancing America's interests abroad. Powell's camp sees the world through a prism of interlocking interests that need to be protected by alliances and stability. The fight between internationalists and unilateralists has gone on in the Republican Party for a generation. What's different this time is that Rummy and Powell are engaging in it at the very moment when the principles of U.S. foreign policy are up for grabs.

Here's a frightening fact: Rumsfeld was ambassador to NATO for good-old Tricky Dick "I am not a crook" Nixon!

Just in: Wolfowitz is saying that US military may run Iraq for a good deal longer than six months.
I suppose outright larceny is something like a change from hypocricy.

I have a single question about Americans: when did they decide that loving those who lie to them for the sake of profit was the way to go?

Folks, you were lied to in order to get you to back a war in Iraq. (Saddam, the malevolent bugger, didn't have anything to do with 9-11 even if he still does have a few chemical bombs around [which he doesn't] and even if he had continued his nuclear program [which he didn't].) You were lied to about the need for a war against Iraq, and now you're going to be lied to about another war and another war (pick one: Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea ... Colombia?). And meanwhile the folks who brought you these wars (you know, the folks who manipulated the California energy problem, just like they manipulated your grief about New York) will get you to finance a Nuclear Missile Defense strategy ... and you'll buy it ... because you're a nation of junkies.

Get it?

Armegeddon is gonna be God's way of kicking Uncle Sam's ass, just to remind him he's human.

Word's out in EU: Iraq is a protectorate for US business; Garner and the other governors are marionettes; any serious business has to cross Rumsfeld's desk.


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


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