Beyond Greed

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March 26 - March 22, 2003

March 26, 2003

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.
posted by Bernard 3/26/2003 11:51:55 PM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/26/2003 12:57:54 PM

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."
posted by Bernard 3/26/2003 01:00:53 AM

March 25, 2003

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?
posted by Bernard 3/25/2003 10:32:21 PM

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
posted by Bernard 3/25/2003 10:07:58 PM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/25/2003 11:02:58 AM

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."
posted by Bernard 3/25/2003 10:06:21 AM

March 24, 2003

"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!
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 10:59:04 PM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 10:33:34 PM

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
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 09:29:06 PM

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?
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 07:39:24 PM

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 ...
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 01:47:21 PM

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?!*
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 01:12:06 AM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/24/2003 12:03:54 AM

March 23, 2003

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?
posted by Bernard 3/23/2003 07:24:19 PM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/23/2003 02:22:48 PM

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.
posted by Bernard 3/23/2003 02:13:21 PM

March 22, 2003

New American Century


Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
                            W. H. Auden

"Don't be cruel to be kind;
    only then will your house be blessed."

posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 11:13:19 PM

Intending merely to download my e-mail for a quiet Saturday evening of correspondence, I happened to look into today's Netscape News and found myself pondering a couple of articles that fit this thread.

The Hidden Cost of Peace spells out pretty well the huge consequences of unilateralism, as well as some of its dangers. "[Y]ou can't replace Saddam, as one former American military official puts it, with "some other mustache, a guy who's a thug, but just not as much of a thug as Saddam, and then leave." This standard is basic, and indeed Bush has publicly committed himself to it, emphasizing that a liberated Iraq should be a beacon in the totalitarian Middle East.
The problem is, it requires almost by definition that the U.S. get way under the fingernails of a post-Saddam Iraq." And that's the problem ... under the most favorable circumstances it's a can of worms. "That means, just for starters, that the U.S. needs Shiite Muslims in the south to not rise up in sectarian vengeance against the Sunni minority that has brutalized the country for decades."
This article was written nearly a week ago; the next sentence rings with near eerie prescience: "It needs the Turks and the Kurds, no matter how much they don't trust each other, to stand down. This is not even close to a given. Rubar Sandi, head of the U.S.-Iraqi Business Council, says flatly that the possibility that Turkish-Kurdish fighting destabilizes postwar Iraq is "my biggest fear right now." Today we know what's happening on Iraq's northern border ...

For those who don't like the idea of military adventeurism in the service of corporate interests, or even gun-boat diplomacy, the scenario emergin seems too grotesque to be real, but real it is. Again written nearly a week ago, "Iraq's New Chief?" might have been written to nauseate.

Jay Garner could soon be in charge of 23 million Iraqis.

"Jay Garner is about to become the most important businessman you've never heard of. On leave from defense contractor L-3 communications, he's on track to be the de facto governor of 23 million Iraqis after what looks like an inevitable U.S. invasion. Garner, 64, is an almost perfect fit for the job. As an Army general in 1991, he helped lead Operation Provide Comfort, which delivered food and shelter to Kurds in northern Iraq after the first Gulf war. He became well-known in military circles for espousing the then-unorthodox view that the military should be used as a "merciful instrument in shaping future humanitarian operations."
That's one reason his friend Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brought Garner back to the Pentagon in January to head the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which is working seven days a week to develop detailed plans for a post-Saddam Iraq. Insiders say Garner will implement those plans as the head of civil authority under General Tommy Franks.
[R]evitalizing Iraq will depend on two factors beyond Garner's control: the ability of U.S. soldiers to pacify Saddam's troops and the willingness of allies to assist in reconstruction (the tab could reach $20 billion a year, experts say). The military part of the cleanup will be led by Franks's Arabic-speaking deputy, Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid. The rest--feeding the hungry, fixing the infrastructure, and creating a democratic government--will fall to Garner."
After hubris, nemesis. God have mercy on the innocents who believe naively in those who have acquired power and accumulated wealth.
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 09:13:47 PM

Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are in cahoots, right? And Saddam's regime have weapons of mass destruction, right? And a lot of the 9-11 terrorists were Iraqi, right? Minor legislators like Premier of Alberta Ralph Kline like the simple line that comes from believing strong points like this; it justifies their going along with "you're with us or you're against us" very nicely.
Problem is, of course, most of this is nonsense: precisely zero Iraqis were on the hijack teams, bin Lader abhors Saddam's secular state (intelligence documents report that the has twice tried to kill Saddam ... perhaps three times), and hard evidence for WMD just refuses to materialize. Then there's the little matter of documentation turning out to have been lifted from dated university essays or outright faked ...

But there's something big behind this, something that it takes actual spine and integrity to confront.
Part of CBC News - Indepth: Iraq is a document called "Reality Check", and it weaves an interesting scene using hard, legitimate, authentic papers and real, actual, on-going relationships.
How's this for a list of players, co-authors of a specific paper: "The founding members included Vice-President Dick Cheney; Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Paul Wolfowitz of the Defence Department; Richard Perle, head of the defence advisory board; Louis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff; John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control; and Elliot Cohen of the defence policy board." What's this all about? Here's a sample from the CBC write-up:

"George W. Bush, presidential candidate, said on Oct. 11, 2000.

"I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, 'We do it this way, so should you.'"

One of Bush's more recent speeches is somewhat different: "The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder... By the resolve and purpose of America, and of our friends and allies, we will make this an age of progress and liberty."

So, what happened? After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Bush had to rethink. But for many of those around him, there was no need to. Long before Sept. 11, influential neo-conservatives wanted to see America as an enlightened ruler, unchallenged, astride the world. Long before Bush was elected president, they got together and they wrote down a manifesto.

The document was effectively a charter of the Project for a New American Century, a neo-conservative think tank in Washington.

Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says, "In essence it's a call for an American empire, for what they call Pax Americana ... it's basically saying that the United States has to take responsibility and to enforce peace around the world and enforce what they call American principles and American interests."

posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 08:10:56 PM

A quick survey of editorials in Arab nations (I was actually looking for anything concerning Turkish intentions) reveals a thoroughly scathing abandonment of Saddam Hussein, couched in expressions of concern and solidarity for the Iraqi peope. But the most consistent thread is condemnation for American high-handedness. This item from Jordan Times (Opinion Section) is typical:
"What came out of yesterday's summit in the Azores was not an ultimatum to Iraq. It was an ultimatum to the world that it had 24 hours to jump on Washington's war bandwagon. [...] The Azores summit might go down in history as one of the lowest moments ever in diplomacy. It was a summit anticipated as a "war council." It was a summit whose duration was calculated to the second. It was a summit that had little to do with diplomacy and a lot to do with public relations.."
While the most simplistic in the international community continue with the theme of "you're with us or you're against us", the splits are increasing: first England and France, now Turkey and the US. (The US and Canada? The mindlessly right-wing here are practically begging Uncle Sam to spank us for having remained consistent in our support of multilateral operations in keeping with international law and the mandate of the United Nations.) And those most immediately impacted, the Arab nations, are thinking regionally with an eye to process:
US President George W. Bush told Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he still had 24 hours to leave his country. But Bush's message was not to Saddam. It was first and foremost to French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Bush's logic — the "you are either with us or against us" doctrine — France, Russia, Germany and the majority of governments all over the world that are not willing to lend their support to war are either to make a 180 degree turnaround today or else. Or else what?
In yesterday's press conference after the hasty summit, Bush launched a not too thinly-veiled threat to the pro-peace camp that the US will review its ties with those who oppose it on Iraq. He laid the first stone of the fortress in which America risks to relegate itself for years to come. US isolation was not only palpable in Bush's words, but it was apparent looking at the four leaders standing on the podium. Only four of them, but talking on behalf of the international community, of the UN, speaking a language alien to international legitimacy and collective imagination. They did not manage to go to war with the cover of international legitimacy, with a UN mandate, so they are going ahead on their own.
From a political point of view, Bush last night was already talking about a postwar Iraq. He sketchily laid out his plans for the "liberation" of Iraq, said the US will supply humanitarian relief — most likely, if historic precedents are to be taken into account, through the military, and as a means to reduce the independence and self-reliance of local communities.

posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 04:12:50 PM

I'm sure fundamentalists have no use for documentary evidence that doesn't serve them ... "Don't distract me with the facts!!" is a good old-boy line (I can't imagine any professional soldier having a moment for that sort of crap) ... and they have good reason to dismiss counter-arguments: any time we look closely, their self-serving rhetoric begins to fall apart!

Enron-style evidence given to justify the war? : Is Weapons Case Against Iraq Disintegrating?

Before Congress, and in public, President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have repeatedly pointed to aluminum tubes imported by Iraq which they say are for use in making nuclear weapons.

But on Friday, head United Nations nuclear inspector Mohammad ElBaradei told the Security Council that it wasn't likely that the tubes were for that use. ElBaradei also said that documents Bush had cited and relied upon to make the case that Iraq tried to buy uranium from a country in central Africa were fake.
"These documents — which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger — are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the United Nations on Friday.
Transparent Fakes? The International Atomic Energy Agency wasn't blaming either Britain or the United States for the forgery.

Yaaaaaa right, like the deep-background security documents that turned out to be a 10 year old university essay! Nobody got blame for that, either
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 12:33:36 PM

I'm sure fundamentalists have no use for documentary evidence that doesn't serve them ... "Don't distract me with the facts!!" is a good old-boy line (I can't imagine any professional soldier having a moment for that sort of crap) ... and they have good reason to dismiss counter-arguments: any time we look closely, their self-serving rhetoric begins to fall apart!

Enron-style evidence given to justify the war? : Is Weapons Case Against Iraq Disintegrating?

Before Congress, and in public, President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have repeatedly pointed to aluminum tubes imported by Iraq which they say are for use in making nuclear weapons.

But on Friday, head United Nations nuclear inspector Mohammad ElBaradei told the Security Council that it wasn't likely that the tubes were for that use. ElBaradei also said that documents Bush had cited and relied upon to make the case that Iraq tried to buy uranium from a country in central Africa were fake.
"These documents — which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger — are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the United Nations on Friday.
Transparent Fakes? The International Atomic Energy Agency wasn't blaming either Britain or the United States for the forgery.

Yaaaaaa right, like the deep-background security documents that turned out to be a 10 year old university essay! Nobody got blame for that, either
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 12:33:16 PM

Those who are pro-war and who agree with acting without world agreement are quick to marginalize ... the French are cowards (and deserve US punsihment) and Canada is spineless (and deserves US punishment). Here's a column from Texas. Austin, Texas. Austin, Texas, USA. The Austin Chronicle: Beyond Limits Otherwise Prescribed - "This, according to Bush, is in the name of "good," against "evil."
No evidence cited by President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Powell has stood up to scrutiny. Robert Scheer, The Los Angeles Times, March 11: "After 218 inspections of 141 sites over three months by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei charged that the United States had used fake and erroneous evidence [my italics] to support claims that Iraq was importing enriched uranium and other material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons."

BTW, I just heard that a third career diplomat has resigned from the US service because of its policy regarding North Korea and its invasion of Iraq.
Without regard to dissent, the proud alientate themselves from the community. Then, reading the responses as antagonistic, they become defensive, which is precisely what authoritarian militarists need to justify their policies and rationalize their infringement of mundane civil rights. The petit bourgeois are apparently quite willing to abandon the enlightenment project of rationality that is foundational to true humanitarianism; the loudest critiques of international law are the quickest to flout it to further their interests.
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 12:19:47 PM

Google Search: "kofi annan" "oil for food" news

Washingtion is interfering with Kofi Anna's effort to reconstituted the UN-managed "oil for food" program, insisting that it administer any program. Knowing very well that a population weakened by years of hunger and ill-health are terribly in jeopardy, the US (after holing the UN below the water line) is strutting its imperial power. And meanwhile a spokesperson for Oxfam International tells that the world community has not yet raised even the $24 million required for immediate needs ... this in face of a battle costing US$90Billion that need not have been fought, and should not have been fought.
Rational agents? I'd called them hard-hearted bastards.
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 06:28:15 AM

Commanded by the Compulsive and Directed by the Deluded - the Coalition of the Coerced

Google Search: "regime change" "international law"
Now that Jaba the Hut is on the scene, talk is down to nuts and bolts: the imposition of democracy is surplus to requirement; any institution that can be trusted to observe the law of contract will suffice, be that monarchy or "limited government". Interestingly, the one mention I heard of a council had it put five years down the timeline of history although, perhaps as a momentary eruption of the democratic instinct, one retired general mentionned that a reasonable criteria was that a responsible body would be selected and approved by the population. Works for me!
As a child of Pearsonian peace-keeping, battles of obliteration are obscene evidence of diplomacy failed. But underlying all of this is my profound conviction is that decisions must be determined according to those who experience their consequences. The ultimate demand is not that we be maximized as units of consumption and production, but that we each and all of us be recognized in all our dignity as human individuals.

War is a rotten sport ... the incursion of Turkish troops (now reported to be 1000) creates a jagged edge in the north; the occassional piece of ordinance crossing over into Iran near Basra rouses some still simmering energies. The loss of a further two helicopters by mid-air collision at sea shows how aloof are the elements to our hopes of indestructability (one chopper leaves its ship, another is headed back in, and they meet five miles out ... not likely, and yet there it is).

"A bayonet is a tool with a worker on both ends.".
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 06:08:06 AM

Last word ... A CBC Radio journalist heading to the border of Southern Turkey was detained and held by Turkish authorities for a couple of hours and then simply released. unh-hunh.
Credibly, 1,500 commandos crossing the border into Northen Iraq with perhaps 10,000 as a total prepared to re-establish "a traditional presence", which translates to a 20Km buffer zone. One report suggests that 70,000 may be ready to cross into Iraq, and points out that the interests of Turkey and Iran align against the Kurds. And of course the Kirkuk oilfield is only just a hop skip and jump away ...
Uncle Sam has already stepped on a lot of toes in the community of his traditional friends and alies. How is he going to manage in the land of 4000 year old villages and 400 year old grudges?

Can we imagine two NATO allies (US and Turkey) crossing swords in the ancient land of Kurds?

As a CBC reporter just set, the middle east is no place for optimists. I don't imagine it's any more hospitable for prideful fools.
May the spirits of that strong land be with all people of good will and safe-guard them from bitter cynicism.
posted by Bernard 3/22/2003 12:42:12 AM

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