Beyond Greed

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January and February, 2003

February 26, 2003

Full Stop

Due to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (read: the Dell LatitudeXPi 166MHz laptop I got from my last contract 5 years ago gave up the ghost when I tried to re-install Win95 *sigh*) I no longer have connectivity ... raw deal after 3 decades of CMC (read: no box and no connection = no development). But being on disability sucks in any number of ways, and this isn't the worst of it.

Expect to see me posting about my new discourse system [working title: Miss Peeble] real soon now. In the meantime, peek at these two sites, and ponder how we create knowledge, exchange knowledge, and what happens if corporate entities dictate those processes.

  • Nupedia is an free, ever-expanding, open content general encyclopedia ... public peer-reviewed ... created by volunteer scholars the world over.
  • Wikipedia is an international, open content, collaboratively developed encyclopedia. As of January 2003, it covers a vast spectrum of subjects and has over 106,000 articles in English as well as about 37,000 articles in other languages.
How WikiPedia and NuPedia relate.
posted by Bernard 2/26/2003 06:26:35 PM

February 22, 2003

Years ago (mid- and late-70s) I was working for our country's national broadcaster. I was also working with an NGO doing development education. At some point the tension became too much: I knew that what I was helping put on air was a washed out bawdlerized versions of what was actually happening in the world. As deniable as it was, after a previous experience with anti-democratic activity (in the military), I couldn't carry on, and chucked yet another good career. Nobody understood it then. Nearly 30 years have passed ... are you starting to get it?
At, Dave Lindorff's "Iraq and the Failure of American Journalism" reads in part:
"Although there are clear and rational and compelling arguments being made against war both at home and abroad by professional soldiers, seasoned diplomats and millions of ordinary people, the American corporate media, both print and electronic, have become virtual parrots of the Administration line that war is necessary because Saddam Hussein is evil and a clear threat to America."

posted by Bernard 2/22/2003 03:00:44 PM

AlterNet's "War on Iraq" page is comprehensive ... a real quality page. "Seven Arguments Against Bombing Iraq" is a nice treatment of something that is usually condensed to the size of a brochure or handout ... fundamental.
posted by Bernard 2/22/2003 12:45:04 PM

February 20, 2003

[Tip of the hat to David Isenberg by way of David Weinberger for this.]

Report from Iraq
Submitted to portside by Charlie Clements

I am a public health physician and a human rights advocate. I have just returned from a 10-day emergency mission to Iraq with other public health experts to assess the vulnerability of the civilian population to another war. I'm also a distinguished graduate of the USAF Academy and a Vietnam veteran, so I have some sense of the potential consequences of the air war we are about to unleash on Iraq as a prelude to the introduction of American troops.

The population of Iraq has been reduced to the status of refugees. Nearly 60 percent of Iraqis, or almost 14 million people, depend entirely on a government- provided food ration that, by international standards, represents the minimum for human sustenance. Unemployment is greater than 50 percent, and the majority of those who are employed make between $4 and $8 a month. (The latter figure is the salary of a physician that works in a primary health center.) Most families are without economic resources, having sold off their possessions over the last decade to get by.

Hospital wards are filled with severely malnourished children, and much of the population has a marginal nutritional status. While visiting a children's hospital, we were told about newly emerging diseases that had previously been controlled when pesticides were available. (Current sanctions prohibit their importation.) Later I saw a mother who had traveled 200 km with her young daughter, who suffered from leschmaniais, or "kala azar" as it is known there. She came to the hospital because she heard it had a supply of Pentostam, the medicine needed to treat the disease. The pediatrician told her there was none. Then he turned to me and, in English, said, "It would be kinder to shoot her here rather than let her go home and die the lingering death that awaits her". Our interpreter, by instinct, translated the doctor's comments into Arabic for the mother, whose eyes instantly overflowed with tears.

The food distribution program funded by the U.N., Oil- for-Food, is the world's largest and is heavily dependent upon the transportation system, which will be one of the first targets of the war, as the U.S. will attempt to sever transport routes to prevent Iraqi troop movements and interrupt military supplies. Yet even before the transportation system is hit, U.S. aircraft will spread millions of graphite filaments in wind-dispersed munitions that will cause a complete paralysis of the nation's electrical grids. Already literally held together with bailing wire because the country has been unable to obtain spare parts due to sanctions, the poorly functioning electrical system is essential to the public health infrastructure.

The water treatment system, too, has been a victim of sanctions. Unable to import chlorine and aluminum sulfate (alum) to purify water, Iraq has already seen a 1000% increase in the incidence of some waterborne diseases. Typhoid cases, for instance, have increased from 2,200 in 1990 to more than 27,000 in 1999. In the aftermath of an air assault, Iraqis will not have potable water in their homes, and they will not have water to flush their toilets.

The sanitation system, which frequently backs up sewage ankle deep in Baghdad neighborhoods when the ailing pumps fail, will stop working entirely in the aftermath of the air attack. There will be epidemics as water treatment and water pumping will come to a halt. Even though it is against the Geneva Conventions to target infrastructure elements that primarily serve civilians, this prohibition did not give us pause in Gulf War I — and, based upon current Bush administration threats, will not this time. Pregnant women, malnourished children, and the elderly will be the first to succumb. UNICEF estimates that 500,000 more children died in Iraq in the decade following the Gulf War than died in the previous decade. These children are part of the "collateral damage" from the last war.

How many civilians will die in the next war? That is hard to say. One estimate for the last Gulf War was that 10,000 perished, mostly during the bombing campaign that led up to the invasion. That figure will surely climb because our government has promised that a cruise missile will strike Iraq every five minutes for the first 48 hours the war. These missiles will seek out military, intelligence, and security-force targets around highly populated areas like Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul, Iraq's largest cities, where "collateral damage" is unavoidable. Unable to meet the acute medical needs of the country's population now, the health care system of Iraq will be overwhelmed by such an assault.

This scenario is conservative. I have not taken into account any use of weapons of mass destruction, or the possibility that the war will set loose massive civil disorder and bloodshed, as various groups within the country battle for power or revenge. I have also ignored what would happen if we became bogged down in house-to-house fighting in Baghdad, which could easily become another Mogidishu or Jenin.

There was a lot that made me angry on that trip. I have worked in war zones before and I have been with civilians as they were bombed by U.S.-supplied aircraft, but I don't think I've experienced anything on the magnitude of the catastrophe that awaits our attack in Iraq. Still, as deeply troubling as this looming human disaster is, another issue troubles me far more. If the U.S. pursues this war without the backing of the U.N. Security Council, it will undermine a half-century of efforts by the world community to establish a foundation of humanitarian and human rights law. Such an act on our part would also violate the U.N. Charter and make a mockery of the very institution we have helped to fashion in the hopes it would help prevent crimes against humanity. Many might define the consequences of such an attack on the population of Iraq as just that.
Saddam is a monster, there is no doubt about that. He needs to be contained. Yet many former U.N. weapons inspectors feel he has been "defanged". His neighbors do not fear him any longer. There are many Iraqis who want him removed, but not by a war. Against the short- term gain of removing Saddam, we must take into account that idea that we may well unleash forces of hatred and resentment that will haunt us for decades to come in every corner of the world. I can just hear Osama Bin Laden saying now, "Please President Bush, attack Iraq. There's nothing better you could do to help the cause of Al Qaeda!"

Letter from Charlie Clements

Charlie Clements, a public health physician, has spent much of his professional experience dealing with issues of war, human rights, and the humanitarian needs of refugees. He is the co-founder of the International Medical Relief Fund (IMRF) and was president during the 16 years it functioned (1982-1998). From 1984-1986 he served as the Director of Human Rights Education of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). He has served on the board of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) from 1987 to the present and is currently its past president. PHR was one of the founders and leaders of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Clements represented PHR at both the signing of the Treaty to Ban Landmines in Ottawa, Canada and the next week at the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway. He is also the founder of the International Commission on Medical Neutrality, which has focused attention on the need to extend the protections afforded military physicians and patients by the Geneva Conventions in times of war, to include both civilian health professionals and patients. Clements is the author of Witness to War published by Bantam in 1984 and subject of a 1985 Academy Award-winning documentary of the same title produced by the American Friends Service Committee. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington School of Community Medicine and Public Health. He is the director of the Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict at the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico.
posted by Bernard 2/20/2003 08:28:31 PM

February 19, 2003

I can imagine writing something like, ""there is nothing constructive about the Bush regime; it's a political and civilisational destroyer." Everytime I ponder the horific dumbing down and levelling of MacCulture ... globalization is extinguishing whole cultures just as corporatism is extinguishing species, such thoughts come to mind. In fact, I know a number of people who might utter that sort of phrase, and not always as part of a rant. But that isn't my sentence, and it wasn't written by one of my friends or collaborators. It's from the director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Jan Oberg. see The Political Foundamentalism of George W. Bush []

"CounterPunch February 18, 2003
Political Fundamentalism in DC
Will Bush Prevail or Listen and Think?

Political fundamentalism
The Bush regime is politically fundamentalist: we are right, they are wrong. It's based on the flawed assumption that policies can be based on: a) dictating to friends and foes alike that they are either with us/U.S. or against us/U.S., and b) ignoring every type of listening, consulting and consensus-building policies with rightfully concerned parties, including its closest friends.
So, regrettable as it is, it's the Bush regime's policies, not Saddam Hussein's, that have split the West and now shake institutions such as the United Nations, the EU and NATO".

News: Michael Albert, author of such as "Moving Forward: Program for a Participatory Economy" and "The Trajectory of Change: Activist Strategies for Social Transformation" has come out with another one: "Parecon: Life After Capitalism" ( it's at on the Amazon site in Canada).
posted by Bernard 2/19/2003 09:35:38 PM

February 17, 2003

A glimpse of our history: On the Move April 2000: A16 DC from 9:02pm Apr 8 to 11:14AM Apr 12

with the help of folks in the IndyMedia sys-admin and tech groups, I just pulled off a lovely bit of historic recovery: from the files on my venerable auld Dell laptop [please don't let me fall into the gutter, friends] I dredged and re-activated the raw stock I was cutting from during the A16 anti-IMF/WB event in Washington DC ... 9 glorious pages of linked stories! Not bad for a global organization that had pulled itself together in a very few months!
*beaming smile*
posted by Bernard 2/17/2003 08:17:21 PM

February 16, 2003

Aiming to speak truth to power
A timely coincidence: today I realized that the historic beginnings of Indymedia are not online (the file archives I have on Zip from that period are not complete, but they show the terrific amount that's missing); yesterday I found out that I will be foreced offline by May 1 (when I can buy enough food to get through the month, my very next item will be a regular ISP account). And just now I discovered Electronic Intifada, which brought me to Voice in the Wilderness and to Electronic Iraq ... so I can rest assured that the struggle carries on!

Talking about history, I re-discovered my Halifax A16 page
posted by Bernard 2/16/2003 03:21:46 PM

I'm tired ... and I got some harsh financial news (ten years at less than US$6K a year, things get tight) ... but it's been a day of marvels.
Here's the full text of something from Richard K. Moore:

I received an email from a Russian web-zine, "The Polar Star" - They sent me a list of questions and explained that they are "gathering views and opinions among a wide range of non-conformist European thinkers". Here is the Q&A:

1. How deep has the contradiction between the positions of US and Europe become? Does it now have a systemic nature, or is it only temporary friction bound to disappear simultaneously with the beginning of military operations in Iraq?
I don't see any significant contradiction or conflict between the US and European governments over Iraq. They agree on the major fictions: that Saddam is a threat, that he must be "disarmed", and that Iraq's national sovereignty can be ignored. If there were a contradiction, then Europe would be threatening sanctions against the US in case of an invasion. Instead they are merely debating whether or not to ally the UN and NATO with the aggression. When the genocide is over, or at least the part CNN wants to show us, then Europe will be happy to participate in whatever new oil regime is established. And the "victors" will write the story of what happened in Iraq. They will, perhaps, be able to find five or six surviving Iraqis willing to smile for the camera, and that will "prove" that the Iraqis are thrilled to be rescued by Uncle Sam and his cruise missiles.

The apparent opposition shown publicly by France and Germany probably reflects two factors. First is indignation at Washington's eagerness to pursue unilateral action. However this response is limited to indignation; it does not extend to any intention to challenge Washington's self-assumed prerogatives. The second factor is the desire to cater to public opinion. Since public opposition to war is overwhelming in France and Germany, it would be political suicide for those leaders to support the war. Washington has no need of French or German assistance, so the French and German "opposition" costs the overall program nothing.

The real question is, "Why is the US bothering with seeking UN approval? Why not just go ahead on its own as it has countless other times since 1945?". I think we see a deeper game here, having to do with discrediting the UN and redefining international "law" to suit Washington.

2. Do you think that the deepening of such conflict might damage some of the existing relations between Europe and the US, and if so, to what extent? In particular, to what extent will this be reflected in the already difficult economic relationship between Europe and the US?
I think that the economic relationship between Europe and the US, in the sense you probably intend, is of only secondary importance. The primary economic shift under globalization is the de-nationalization of economics - the corporatization of economics. European and US "leaders" publicly haggle with one another, and blame one another, so as to detract attention from what is really destroying economies and driving down quality of life in the West. These "leaders" are all stooges for corporate elites, and their job is to preside over the dismantlement of their national economies. They are fully aligned in this treasonous activity, not in conflict.

3. What kind of position should Russia assume in the developing opposition between Europe and the US? What should be the best tactical behaviour for Russia to gain the highest political dividends?
That depends entirely on Russia's goals and objectives. If you want greater access to the global oil markets, you might consider making a secret deal with Washington and supporting the imperialist invasion. If you want to encourage a split between the US and Europe, then you might use this opportunity to introduce new proposals for international cooperation that explicitly do not include the USA, due to its status as a rogue nation which makes first use of weapons of mass destruction on helpless populations.

But if I were Russia, I'd be thinking in terms of self defense. The massacre in Iraq will have nothing to do with any Iraq-related objectives. It will be primarily a field test of weapons designed for use against Russia and China. Iraq is to Bush & Blair what Spain was to Mussolini & Hitler. (In fact the US and Britain both supported Hitler and Mussolini in that earlier episode.) The US has indicated it may use nuclear weapons in Iraq, and in populated areas. This is drastic overkill in the Iraqi theater, but might make military sense against a more formidable adversary with large ports and military facilities. The US acceleration of its Space Command program and its missile defense systems are clearly not about North Korea. Those systems become cost-effective only in full-scale warfare against major powers.

Indeed, it may be that one reason the US wants to occupy and control the Middle East at this time is to ensure that adequate fuel is available for a planned future major war. They don't want another boycott declared in the midst of hostilities. Best to control the flow tightly all the way from the well to the wing tank.

The positions of Russia and China are strategically parallel vis a vis US plans for global domination on behalf of global capitalism. You might want to look at my article, "China vs. Globalization - the Final War and the Dark Millennium". You can find it at

Good luck with your work,
Richard Moore
Wexford, Ireland

posted by Bernard 2/16/2003 01:34:34 AM

February 13, 2003

The World Says No to War!

International Days of Action - February 15 and 16
United for Peace & Justice Solidarity Statement - List of International Events and Links by City

Global Justice and Ecumenical Relations - Church leaders of Europe, North America and the Middle East agreed upon the following declaration concerning a pending war against Iraq on February 5, 2003 at an urgent meeting in Berlin. "For us it is a spiritual obligation, grounded in God?s love for all humanity, to speak out against war in Iraq. ... We invite all churches to join us in this act of witness and to pray for and encourage participation of all people in the struggle for a peaceful resolution of this conflict." Listing of events in Canada

From Alternatives to War Against Iraq by the Friends' Committee on National Legislation; five easy questions: What is the problem? Why is war not the answer?; What are some alternatives to war?; What about the advancement of democracy and human rights in Iraq?; Is it too late to stop the war?

posted by Bernard 2/13/2003 11:00:59 AM

" The 9-11 bombings Are Not Acts of War, The 9-11 bombings Are Crimes Against Humanity" ... an impressive site. Gore Vidal's "Enemy Within" is here; I've read a lot of think-pieces in my time ... this one is sterling.
posted by Bernard 2/13/2003 12:37:06 AM

February 12, 2003

The Spleen is making my day! "Strange Sermons From The Bully Pulpit"
"By positing God as the force "behind all of history" the President invites us to look upon him as simply His humble instrument, to feel the hand of God as it works through the President. The problem with this, of course, is that part of "the liberty we prize" is the concept of freedom of religion and the recognition of the primacy of individual conscience that underlies our legal system. By offering the ringing endorsement, if not outright authorship, of the Almighty for his policies, the President is casting his opponents and critics as heretics and his policies as beyond debate.
This is not the way things work in a democratic society. Many people of good conscience disagree with the President on a great many issues, particularly his unprecedented preparations to make war on a foreign power that has not attacked us in any way ..."

posted by Bernard 2/12/2003 10:11:15 PM

I've been using this phrase for a while, wacking some of the brown-shirts in the forehead with it, so it's nice to see someone write a commentary with it as the title: from theSpleen, "American Taliban" ...
momentum is building for a broader appeal to Americans beyond their own obvious self-interest, toward a broader opposition to the destructive policies of a government gone off the deep end.
The fact is that even if it does 'end quickly,' (the best case scenario alluded to in the ads) an attack on Iraq will result in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, mass murder by any reasonable standard. Aside from the sheer inhumanity of such an act, Americans need to make opposition to this horrific disregard for human life a centerpiece of the opposition campaign."
... yaaa!
posted by Bernard 2/12/2003 04:58:06 PM

February 10, 2003

A friend just pointed me to this, from Channel 4 - "Between Iraq and a Hard Place" ... it aired last month but is now online.
"If you were to spend 26 million dollars every day since the birth of Christ, you'd have spent less than the Americans have spent on "defence" since the end of the Second World War."

posted by Bernard 2/10/2003 11:13:03 PM

The "Empire Page" guest editorial by Gregory Stephens is titled American Myopia: The View from Abroad and begins, "The course of this nation does not depend on the decisionsof others," declared President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union speech. Such a bald assertion of American arrogance is not surprising, coming from a man whose worldview has been termed "messianic militarism." But this was one of Bush’s biggest applause lines, which I find discouraging. Can we voice a more attractive alternative to this jingoistic patriotism?"
The American's jingoism is not benign. At a time when otherwise sensible legislators are soberly suggesting that passenger aircraft be fitted out with anti-missile defense systems, this sabre rattling has a real effect on the body politic. Like the infamous "go pills", it leaves people with an unfortunate tendency to go off half-cocked.
Is our thinking at the beginning of the new millenium that we must be rash, lest events surpass us?
posted by Bernard 2/10/2003 09:09:09 AM

February 9, 2003

Without being too distracted by the British government's plagiarsism (it certainly is an Enron world we live in ... I wouldn't have hoped to get away with plagiarism in university, and I /certainly/ wouldn't have thought of fudging an intelligence report when I was working! But apparently rules of democracy and civility have to be suspended in order to fight in the defense of ... ummm ... democracy and civility ... gee, that reads poorly! Anyhow, the whole "smoking gun" thing stinks. It's an insult to us as citizens and as decent working people.
As a motivated geek, I read a lot of background papers. The consequnce of that was that I got some sense of "the big picture", and that's important when listening to biased accounts, like those provided by a lawyer, and advocate, or a politician. A lot of Powell's assertions have face validity, and taking them apart involves a bit of detail. Please make the effort: "A First Response to Sec. Colin Powell's Presentation Concerning Iraq" by Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at Cambridge University) is the main document I'd invite you to consider; it isn't huge, and neither is it rocket science, but it isn't as entertaining as the "made for CNN" stuff the chicken hawks are issuing. As well, there are a number of significant documents sourced on "Powell Cited Sham "Fine Paper"", which is a teaching example of how to transform a general into a horse's ass.
posted by Bernard 2/9/2003 12:47:14 AM

February 2, 2003

A peculiar story surfaced just now ... according to the Herald Sun in Australia [who?!], the Iraqi's "smoking gun" has been found: Saddam's bodyguard warns of secret arsenal [02feb03] - "Abu Hamdi Mahmoud has provided Israeli intelligence with a list of sites that the inspectors have not visited."
Now, that's pretty big news! Even with today's sad news from NASA, I guessed that the media machine would jump all over this, so I googled "Abu Hamdi Mahmoud" ... How odd!! A total of 17 pages carry this name. 9 are near duplicates, and 1 is about a radio-host by that name. How odd!!
Have a look at the sites ... an odd bunch of fellows indeed!
I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
posted by Bernard 2/2/2003 12:19:02 AM

February 1, 2003

The farmers of Mexico say, NAFTA is killing tme. Fox says, it works for him! Nobody wants to talk about subsidies.
The US is throttling our lumber industry while coercing us into backing their unilateral attack against Iraq. Meanwhile our family farms are collapsing. Nobody wants to talk about subsidies.
For years I've been pointing to the failure rate in small Nicaragua's small businesses since the "democratic" government was put in place.
Decades ago I pointed to how the largest corporations strangled any government that moved to implement fair legislation.

You want someone to force you into acting democratically?! Isn't that kinda contradictory?

If you think certainty is an aspect of democracy, then you are by that mistaken view prone to fascism. Do the math.
posted by Bernard 2/1/2003 03:12:26 AM

January 31, 2003

It would be a mistake for anyone to paint the military with a wide brush; there are certainly spin-doctors and bullshit artists on that payroll, and once hostilities begin propaganda becomes part of the project, but the commanders who send their men and women into battle are often times refreshingly practical and frank. Case in point? see "Desert Caution - Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq reads in part
The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says he hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the proper course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war plan, and even more by the potential human and financial costs of occupying Iraq.
[T]he hero of the last Gulf War sounds surprisingly like the man on the street when he discusses his ambivalence about the Bush administration's hawkish stance on ousting Saddam Hussein. He worries about the Iraqi leader, but would like to see some persuasive evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs.

posted by Bernard 1/31/2003 01:48:19 PM

January 29, 2003

"I would rather eat my keyboard than watch the State of the Union speech, so consider this article an act of sacrificial public service." Power Lust by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
" is the complete text of state of the union address. Umm...I've added my own comments throughout the whole thing. Especially in places where I thought the president needed a translator":LiveJournal - "radaware"
posted by Bernard 1/29/2003 01:05:20 PM

January 28, 2003

Falling Into the Gap, a NYTimes editorial by BOB HERBERT dated 27JAN03, begins
Adolfo Jesus Recio suffers from asthma, depression and unemployment. His left hand was badly injured in an accident and is now almost useless. He panhandles in the middle of a busy street in the shadow of the downtown Miami skyline.
No one pays much attention to Mr. Recio's hazardous pursuit of a handful of dimes and quarters. We've closed our eyes to poverty in the United States. Government aid these days goes to the plutocrats, and the poor are being left further and further behind.
Another NYT item from the same edition informs us that "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $200 million to identify critical questions about the leading causes of death in developing countries and to create an international competition to entice scientists to solve them.". Uh-hunh ... how ummmmm nice. NYT's treatment of that city's World Economic BlabFest offers another view of the Marie Antoinette set. An item on joblessness from last fall provides something like a backgrounder.
posted by Bernard 1/28/2003 02:20:56 PM

January 16, 2003

The American Civil Liberties Union has just released a report entitled Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society (500KB PDF). This is an important document.
Lucid Minds on War for Oil
A discussion at OpenDemocracy Net ... Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War a summary:

John le Carre - English novelist
This is High Noon for American democracy. The rights and freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. A new McCarthyism is abroad. Bush tells us that those who are not with him are against him. I am not with him. The American over-reaction is beyond everything Osama could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. [...]
Roger Scruton - English philosopher, novelist and composer
When assessing US foreign policy it is important to remember that America has often intervened around the globe, and is unique in seeking instantly to withdraw thereafter. It withdrew from Europe after the two world wars, and from Korea, Japan, and (wrongly) Kuwait and Iraq last time round. The Americans tried to withdraw from Vietnam, having established what they believed to be a friendly regime in the South. Of course, the Americans do not withdraw, as a rule, until securing a settlement in their own favour.[...]
John Berger - Anglo-French writer and critic
I write in a night of shame.
Many fear that U.S. military forces will soon be launching its preventive war against Iraq. Others hope that this can be avoided. Between the announced decisions and the secret calculations, everything is kept unclear, since lies prepare the way for missiles. By shame I do not mean individual guilt. Shame, as I'm coming to understand it, is a species feeling which, in the long run, corrodes the capacity for hope and prevents us looking far ahead. We look down at our feet, thinking only of the next small step.[...]
Pervez Hoodbhoy - Pakistani nuclear physicist
Three horses draw George W. Bush's furiously racing chariot of war. Their names are Vengeance, Greed, and Fear. Vengeance is a young steed born on 11 September 2001, and gallops well. Greed is old but sturdy, can smell oases of oil from afar, and understands his master's corporate compulsions. The third horse, Fear, is weak and anaemic. Despite lashes from the Texan's whip, he is a drag on the team. Nevertheless he is indispensable for convincing the American public that a puny Saddam Hussein, castrated of weapons of mass destruction, remains a mortal threat to a superpower many oceans away.[...]
Salman Rushdie - a writer
There is a strong, even unanswerable case for a €œregime change€ in Iraq that ought to unite Western public opinion and all those who care about the brutal oppression of an entire Muslim nation.
Saddam Hussein and his ruthless gang of cronies from his home village of Tikrit are homicidal criminals, and their Iraq is a living hell. This obvious truth is no less true because we have been turning a blind eye to it and "we" includes, until recently, the government of the United States.[...]
David Hare - playwright
I supported the United States in 2001 when it had a clear right to pursue the murderers of 3,000 of its residents and citizens. To me, the invasion of Afghanistan was justified and inevitable.
Shortly after the assault on his own country, President Bush made an explicit promise that he would work to help reinforce the move towards democracy for the Palestinians, and to reinforce security for the Israelis. [...] President Bush has since reneged on all his promises. By his failure of purpose in the Middle East, he has sanctioned extremists who pursue mayhem and murder in pursuit of ultimately unobtainable goals - on one side, continued occupation and expansion ; on the other, an end to the state of Israel. [...]
Denis Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq
In relation to Iraq, UN sanctions and now the threat of another American war, I tend to hold the minority viewpoint. Now I find myself in line with the majority view - that is, the majority viewpoint of the Arab community. I base this on recent visits to Tunis, Cairo, Amman and Baghdad. I failed to find one Arab - offical or private citizen - who understands the current crisis between the USA and Iraq to be about weapons of mass destruction. The unanimous view from prime minister to taxi driver is that the conflict is primarily about oil - access, control and cheap! Nobody I talked with sees a threat from Iraq, be it in Turkey, Jordan or Egypt. Why is it that the Washington regime is apparently so threatened? Has it swallowed its own spin, propaganda?
Where is the middle ground? How do we find a solution that saves the face of our two ego-players - Presidents George Bush and Saddam Hussein? [...]
Edwin Morgan, poet
I deplore the idea of a declaration of war - or even worse, a military attack without such declaration - on Iraq. I retain the rather forlorn hope that diplomacy will still find a way out of the present impasse without the loss of face, but the steady build-up of American forces (tagged by a token tail-wagging British contingent) may already have acquired a momentum of irreversibility. Who thinks of the consequences? [...]
posted by Bernard 1/16/2003 12:45:59 PM

January 13, 2003

In the discussion following a short piece I wrote in LiveJournal's RadAware group concerning Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech , someone sent me a link to this piece, on the AntiWar site: "Armageddon", by Morgan Strong reads in part:
"When we go to war in Iraq we will do so to summon the Messiah. That is what the Christian right believes. The final battle to rid the world of all non-believers, non-Christians, more exactly non-Evangelical Christians, is going to take place very soon at Armageddon in Israel. The Bible tells us so. [...] Rev. Jerry Falwell believes fully, and un-equivocally that we must go to war with Iraq to set in motion the cataclysmic events that will ensure the second coming of Jesus Christ. War with Iraq will lead to the end of the World, as we know it."

posted by Bernard 1/13/2003 07:08:25 PM

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