Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Greetings from Chiapas! Typing on a Spanish keyboard, having had no time to browse, this is about all I have to post. Keep working to stop the war--we see lots of anti-war signs painted on the walls here. "Bush: terrorista borracha, for example."

Friday, March 28, 2003

Support France! The nice people at have provided an extensive list of French-owned companies whose products you can purchase! Thanks also to the Washington Times for the banner ad which directed me to the list! Remember, friends try to keep friends from engaging in illegal and immoral wars of aggression. Thank France for their efforts by patronizing their companies.
Better read that fine print! Molly Ivins points out that our real enemies, foreign and especially domestic (Dick Cheney, Antonin Scalia et al) are using war as a cover for all sorts of other bad stuff.
Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter predicts the US will lose the war in Iraq. Definitely worth reading. Excerpt:

And it's the Shia in the south who are fighting us. They're not doing it because Chemical Ali is down there with his death squads threatening to execute 'em. They're doing it because, the American Crusader Infidel has invaded and violated Holy Iraq, and they will resist us, and they will resist us strongly. And no matter how many Iraqi's we kill and slaughter, I predict that America will loose this war and ultimately the American military will leave Iraq with its tail between its legs.

Unfortunately, we're going to inflict a tremenduous amount of death and destruction on the people of Iraq; the American soldiers and Marines will also pay a price. And all those who sit outside of Iraq and courageously encourage Americans to go in and slaughter Iraqi's should be ashamed of themselves."

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Perle Resigns!!!

One down, about 50 to go. Special congratulations to Detroit Congressman John Conyers, who has been putting the heat on Perle for profiting from the war he did SO MUCH to cause.
Can you say "quagmire?" I knew that you could. One hundred thousand more troops to go into the war. It's deja nam all over again.
Body Doubles?
It has long been suspected that Mr Bush employs a string of lookalikes for difficult or dangerous speaking engagements, some of whom may have had their ears specially enlarged for the task. -- from a hilarious Tim Dowling article in the Guardian. The fact that this extremely easy target for ridicule was not laughed out of office long before he could do much harm (and boy has he) is the clearest indictment of our state-run media.
Well, I'm here in California, but my niece is at school, and my brother had to go back to work, so I'm left here alone with a computer...The good news is, I guess, that I'm not on any "no-fly" list.

So, for starters, Al Gore spoke out in favor of free speech, saying the corporate media is threatening the first amendment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

I'm leaving on vacation early tomorrow morning. I'll be flying to California (Palo Alto) where my brother lives. Saturday, I'll be flying to Chiapas, Mexico with my niece Beth's middle college class on a Global Exchange trip. We'll be learning about Chiapas and the struggle of the people there against the ravages of "globalization." I'll be back in Ann Arbor late on Monday April 7, and hopefully resume serious blogging then. I'll probably be able to post something occasionally between now and then, but I certainly won't have much time to browse for news and opinions. In the meantime, please browse the blogs listed on the right: there's lots of good material out there. I recommend MouseMusings highly, especially since Cyndy is a fellow Ann Arborite. I've also got a list of books that I highly recommend.

If you'd like an e-mail announcing my return, please send me an e-mail at Please include a note saying where you live: I'm curious to see how many readers I have and where they are. Keep calling, protesting, writing! I'd be really happy if y'all stopped the war while I'm gone!
A truck driver was arrested near Cincinnati for driving onto the sidewalk and threatening to run over anti-war protesters. It's about time the BAD GUYS started getting arrested! This is one sick country.
You go, girl! Veep from the Deep Cheney's lesbian daughter Mary may be headed to Baghdad to be a human shield! The article from al Bawaba suggests that Useless Dick may fly to Jordan to try to talk Mary out of it. I hope he does so by going to Baghdad in her place as a subhuman shield.


The Washington Post has a good slide show which gives at least a hint of how horrible this war is. Bloody soldiers, grieving families, refugees--all because George Warmonger Bush couldn't wait for inspections. Absolute worst excuse for a human being EVER.

Conyers Goes After Perle. Richard Perle has not only convinced our idiot president to start World War III, he has positioned himself to profit from it. Perle is something scum would try to wipe off itself in disgust.
Meanwhile, the wusses are out in force:

Baghdad market bombed

From BBC. At least 14 were killed and 30 injured when bombs hit a busy market area in Baghdad. While this is major news on BBC, it is nowhere to be seen on the CNN or New York Times web sites, at least right now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The Forged Documents about Iraq's Supposed Nuclear Program:An Article from Seymour Hersh.
Action Alert! Call Congress NOW and tell them to vote against Daddy Warbush's $74.7 BILLION request to fund his illegal and unconstitutional war in Iraq. All members of Congress can be reached through the Capitol switchboard: 800-839-5276. You can also send faxes through True Majority, or e-mails through FCNL.
Frist do some harm: Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist seems to have taken a Hypocritic oath instead of the Hippocratic oath most doctors take. He's doing everything in his power to immunize giant drug companies like Eli Lilly from having to pay for nasty illnesses like autism that their vaccines may cause to children. See Wampum for details.
Another State Department diplomat resigns: Mary Wright has served a long and distinguished (even decorated) career in the U.S. military and diplomatic corps. She recently resigned because "I disagree with the Administration’s policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea and curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. itself." Read her whole eloquent letter of resignation.
The Moron Majority
Now it's official: most Americans are idiots.

Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN's poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51 percent of the public believe that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
From Ted Rall. Read the rest!

From Steve Benson.

From Steve Sack.

From Ted Rall.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Excellent anti-war video.
How could they possibly hate us? An American missile hit a bus carrying Syrian civilians on a bridge just inside Iraq near the Syrian border, killing five and wounding at least 10. A U.S. spokesman said the U.S. "regretted" the loss of life, but went on:

"The bus stopped on the bridge and was hit by munitions already released prior to the bus approaching the bridge," it said. However blame for the incident was ultimately placed on the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. "We regret the loss of innocent life brought on by this regime's non-compliance of UN resolutions," the statement added.

Okay, try to figure this one out. There's a bridge on the road from Iraq to Syria near the border, used by civilians. Iraq is being invaded from the other side of the country, as well as being mercilessly bombed. There are probably no Iraqi troops or weapons of any significance between the bridge and the border, since most will be in the eastern part of the country fighting against the invading forces, or waiting around Baghdad for the attack there. What would the bridge be used for in the next week or two? My guess is that almost all of the traffic would be refugees or others escaping the war by heading west to Syria, just as the people on the bus were doing. Still, without any warning or doing anything to prevent civilians from being on the bridge, our military launches a missile from far away to blow up the bridge. Unless they figure that Syria intends to join the war in support of Iraq, the bridge offers little to support the Iraqi military effort. Destroying it simply serves to trap refugees inside Iraq.

Even if there were some legitimate excuse for destroying the bridge (not that there is really any legitimate excuse in this war), given the air superiority that the U.S. and British forces enjoy, it would have been relatively simple to protect civilians who might be crossing the bridge when the missile arrived. A fighter-bomber could have bombed the approaches to the bridge when there was no traffic to prevent vehicles from getting on the bridge. Some sort of barracade could have been dropped or erected to block the approaches, or probably even soldiers parachuted or helicoptered in. This would have prevented anyone from being on the bridge when the missile hit, but apparently there is no real concern for civilian casualties sufficient to take these reasonable measures. And blaming it on Saddam just makes us look all the more pathetic.
Shooting War Reviving Cold War? -- from Financial Times.
Arab League Lines Up Against US. Except for Kuwait, that is, which had "reservations," probably due to having 100,000 U.S. troops in their country.
Whipping Up a Crisis -- from R.C. Longworth in the Chicago Tribune:
National hysterias come and go, leaving a great deal of damage and creating a sense of communal shame when the panic wears off: The McCarthyite era is an example. Invariably, the cause is fear--of foreigners, of nameless threats, of Reds under the bed.

The United States is going through such a hysteria now. We can only pray that not too many lives are sacrificed to it.
(Full article.)
(from our peace group's e-mail list)
just want someone to know what happened here today...seems like there is a media blackout on austin, texas...

today all day nearly 2000 people expressed their opposition to the war on iraq by blocking traffic on the main drag near the university of texas, then
beginning at rush hour, marched very slowly with die-ins in the intersections from the capitol to the main tourist bridge. dozens of riot police with no names, no badge numbers, (unaccountable and anonymous) waited for night to fall and then began "clearing" the street of protesters. about 20 or so people committed to sit in the street in an act of peaceful civil disobedience and be arrested and the rest of us stayed on the sidewalks as witnesses. with absolutely no cause a policeman approached those of us on the sidewalk and sprayed us in the face with pepper spray. when we complained that it was uncalled for and that the sidewalk is public property, we were told that "tonight it's not" and "we're about to spray you again if you don't leave." we began walking with the police walking behind us and they started to walk faster and hitting us in the back with their batons, screaming "move." we screamed that we WERE walking and they had no cause or right to hit us in the back but they kept doing it. as soon we were pushed far enough away so as to block our view of those who were sitting in the street, they began the arrests. the chants of "this is what democracy looks like", quickly turned to "this is what a police state looks like." as we were pushed along off the sidewalk and into an intersection, one of the riot police grabbed a young man (right in front of me) who was chanting peacefully, just like the hundreds of us who remained, and slammed him onto the concrete. at the same time another cop sprayed a woman at close range directly in the eyes with pepper spray. the rest started running toward us to push us far away so as not to see what was happening with the young man who was on the ground. all of this was completely, utterly, unprovoked. it actually seemed as if they were trying to provoke a riot so that they could become even more violent. it was clear that this group of riot police had a sense that it was accountable to no one and/or that they could do absolutely anything and that they would be protected/absolved at a higher (federal?) level.

please let the rest of the world know that austin is overwhelmingly against war and the only reason you don't hear about it is because it is not being

annette d'armata

From a Russian Blogger:
I guess, my point is that what we see today happening in Iraq - all these atrocities that are just starting, is the result of world being dominated by US. This couldn't happen if USSR was around. See? And Iraq is only a beginning, North Korea is next. North Koreans are like zombies, they WILL FIGHT for their lider. Plus they have nukes. Then, we have Iran, Syria and others opposed to US. Will US bomb the hell out of them? It looks like they will. And this will continue forever if there will be no strong enemy of US. I mean, face it - Bush really is Hitler of our days. And btw - I hope Bush will face a war crimes tribunal in Hague as this institution is still around. Milosevich faced that tribunal, why not Bush and his clique? (Misspellings left intentionally; still, the spelling is better than you'll see at

A black Washington Post reporter gets harrassed for asking questions. Being curious is suspicious, apparently.
Belated all clear: I just got an e-mail saying "I hope your e-mail is working," causing me to realize that I forgot to announce that my e-mail ( is in fact working again. I have been checking my hotmail on occasion for anyone who sent something there.
Michael Moore's Acceptance Speech at the Oscars:
Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to — they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.
Shameless Tugging at the Heart Strings (by me that is):
As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey's father, Michael said: "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son." He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him. Kenneth, the Marine's only son, was with the family.
Marine Kendall Waters-Bey,
killed in a helicopter crash
in Kuwait on Thursday.
Kendall's father.Kendall's ten-year-old son.

If that's not enough, read the report or watch the video. If you watch the video, note especially the Baltimore anchor woman's excitement, dare I say glee, in describing the "spectacular pictures this afternoon," before introducing the story of Michael Waters-Bey's death.
Sierra Club Update:
Yesterday, I posted a copy of an e-mail that I sent to candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors, asking them to state their positions on war on Iraq. I have received six replies, all stating their fervent opposition to the war and vowing to support a much stronger anti-war position for Sierra Club in the future. If you are a member and haven't voted yet, here are the six (update: ten):
  • Emma McCauley
  • Betsy Gaines
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Dick Schneider
  • Robbie Cox
  • Paul Watson
  • Update: Lisa Renstrom
  • Update: Adam Werbach
  • Update: Doug La Follette
  • Update: Lisa Force
Their e-mail addresses, and those of the candidates I haven't heard from, are listed in my previous post. If you're a member, you should have gotten a mailing from the Club with a ballot and statements from the candidates. Please dig it up and vote for five of these six(10) candidates! (Five is the limit; unfortunately, no preferential balloting.)
Please use the FCNL web site to let Congress know that just because people are dying by the thousands now and some morons on TV want you to shut up, you are not going to shut up. The war was a stupid idea last week; it's a stupid idea this week. FCNL has a very fine letter that you can send to Congress, either as is or after your editing.
See, I was right! Atrios agrees with me when I ask how can Rummy complain about Iraq showing pictures of POW's when we're busy showing pictures of POW's. According to Atrios, ABC accomplished that long-desired goal of contemplating two contradictory thoughts at the same time and continuing to function--through the miracle of split screen. Lots of good comments on it at Atrios as well, including this gem: "God, please save us from your followers!!"
Bin Laden's Victory
From Richard Dawkins in the Guardian:
When a company seeks a new chief executive officer, or a university a new vice-chancellor, enormous trouble is taken to find the best person. Professional headhunting firms are engaged, written references are taken up, exhaustive rounds of interviews are conducted, psychological aptitude tests are administered, confidential positive vetting undertaken. Mistakes are still made, but it is not for want of strenuous efforts to avoid them. Maybe such methods would be undemocratic for choosing the most powerful person on earth, but just think about it. Would you do business with a company that devoted an entire year to little else than the process of choosing its new CEO, from the strongest field in the world, and ended up with Bush?

Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for Iraq, but he never posed a threat outside his immediate neighbourhood. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. And a dream for Bin Laden.

Michael Moore blasts Bush

From Daily Kos:
Michael Moore just won the Oscar for best documentary. The audience gave him a standing ovation, though the speech itself was booed by some. Saying he preferred non-fiction, he said we now live in "fictitous times":

We have fictious election results ... We have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!
Given the response he received -- wild applause and a standing ovation and heckling and boos, things are truly starting to look more and more like 1968.

There is so much insanity going on, it's hard to know where to start. Here's a question: Can anyone explain how Rumsfeld can complain about Iraq showing American POW's on TV, claiming it violates the Geneva Conventions, when we've been seeing footage of Iraqi POW's captured by Americans on CNN for several days now? Oh right: the rules don't apply to us.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I was quoted in the Ann Arbor News again. That's at least three times this year: I was interviewed by cell phone both times I went to Washington (Jan. 18 and March 15). For the record, my question to Dingell was less concise and less hysterical-sounding than the quote, but the gist was pretty close. But don't believe every quote you see in a paper; they paraphrase and simplify at will, and you don't have any chance to review what they're going to say you said.
My Letter to candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors:

Dear Candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors:

I was preparing to vote in the 2003 Sierra Club election, reading your statements. Pardon me if I missed something, but I don't see that any of you has made a clear statement of opposition to the Bush administration's war on Iraq, continued "war on terrorism," and well-documented plans to continue with wars of aggression against other countries. While I strongly support Club efforts to protect our environment here at home, to ignore the horrendous impact of war on the environment is unconscionable.

The current massive bombing campaign against Iraq is causing immense environmental damage to that country through air and water pollution, the use of depleted uranium and other hazardous weaponry, and the enormous use of energy required to get U.S. forces to the Gulf and to keep them fighting. In addition, the "we're at war" excuse is used to run roughshod over the environment here at home, with the Pentagon pushing for the elimination of restictions on their activities that harm the environment. The restrictions on free speech which are already suggested also will make it extremely difficult for the Sierra Club to pursue its agenda.

I was appalled last fall when the national Sierra Club was threatening local leaders or groups with expulsion for taking anti-war stances. I believe that you cannot support these Bush wars and still claim to protect the environment. I was somewhat relieved that the Club finally signed on to the "Win Without War" coalition, although a much stronger position would have been preferable.

I am sending this e-mail to state that I will not vote for any of you who support the war in Iraq. I ask that you reply to me with a statement of your position, knowing that I intend to share it widely among my many friends in the peace movement, many of whom are also Sierra Club members. My feeling is that we can recycle for decades and not protect the environment as effectively as if we stopped just one war. If I don't hear from you, I will not vote for you, and will tell others not to as well. I despise ultimatums, but the Bush wars are the critical issue of our time and are the biggest threat not only to our environment but to our entire society and the world at large.

I look forward to your replies.


Bob Goodsell

If you're a Sierra Club member, please send a similar letter to the candidates. Here's the e-mail list:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Winston Smith is working overtime: (If you don't know who Winston Smith is, you're not going to understand a lot of my rants: read "1984!") Yesterday morning, CNN reported on their web site a flash bulletin that a U.S. missile had landed in Iran. CNN promised details to come. Shortly thereafter, the bulletin banner disappeared, with no details anywhere to be found. Down the memory hole. Later in the day, a U.S. official issued an apology to Iran, according to a Reuters report. Now, that report has been altered to say that the apology has been retracted, since the U.S. now says it doesn't know whose missile(s) landed in Iran. (I guess I'm going to have to start saving articles as I find them if the news web sites are going to modify them without changing the URL.) Now, Reuters reports that Iran is saying the missile probably was Iraqi. At least, that is what that link says now. Here's a verbatim copy of the link as it exists now (9 am EST Sunday), so when the story changes later today we'll have something for comparison.

IMHO, news web sites should not alter reports under the same URL without specifically noting the change and when it was made. I sometimes add on to my rants with new information, but I try to indicate that this is an update (except for simple spelling or grammar mistakes). Other times, I simply make a newer post which corrects or clarifies the earlier one. Major news stories from CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, or the wire services are frequently stories in themselves. If it turns out that no missiles at all landed in Iran, the very existence of these stories was still news in that it caused concerns and reactions. For the links to simply disappear down the memory hole, or to say something completely different without explanation, is 1984's "Ministry of Truth" hard at work. And every day there is less doubt that the corporate media is the Ministry of Truth, just as Homeland Security is the Ministry of Love, the Pentagon is the Ministry of Peace, and the tax cuts for the wealthy and elimination of the economic safety net are clearly the work of the Ministry of Plenty. Our government is locking people up indefinitely, it is encouraging people to spy on each other, it is pursuing perpetual war while keeping people terrified on the home front. It may be 19 years behind schedule, but 1984 is here.
Bob's Bon Mots du Jour:
They're calling it Operation Iraqi Freedom: I say it's the "Iraqi Horror Picture Show."

Q: Why didn't all the protests and appeals from around the world have any effect on Bush's decision to blast the crap out of Iraq?
A: Some minds are too small to change.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Confirmed: Precision weapons can't even find the right country. U.S. Apologizes to Iran for Errant Missile.
Allan from Ottawa forwarded this "dialogue" between a peacenik (PN) and a warmonger (WM):
PN: Why did you say we are invading Iraq?
WM: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of Security Council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate Security Council
PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in violation of more Security Council resolutions than Iraq.
WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking gun could
well be a mushroom cloud over NY.
PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.
WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.
PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for attacking us or our allies with such weapons.
WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.
PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?
WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early
eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.
PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?
WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.
PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?
WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Qaida. Osama Bin Laden himself
released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.
PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill him?
WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily be a
partnership between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.
PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a secular infidel?
WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.
PN: He did?
WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaida poison factory in Iraq.
PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?
WM: And a British intelligence report...
PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate student paper?
WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...
PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?
WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence from inspectors...
PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix?
WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.
PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
WM: The inspectors are not detectives; it's not their JOB to find evidence. You're missing the point.
PN: So what is the point?
WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the Security Council
will become an irrelevant debating society.
PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the Security Council?
WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.
PN: And what if it does rule against us?
WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade Iraq.
PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?
WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters
PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of billions of dollars.
WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.
PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.
WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make decisions.
PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is important?
WM: Yes.
PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is about
being a patriot. That's the bottom line.
PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not patriotic?
WM: I never said that.
PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?
WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.
PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.
WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.
PN: You know this? How?
WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are still unaccounted for.
PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?
WM: Precisely.
PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.
WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.
PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist, we must invade?
WM: Exactly.
PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach
the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.
WM: That's a diplomatic issue.
PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?
WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving,
and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens of millions.
PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.
WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.
PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our security?
WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.
PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the way
we live?
WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.
PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?
WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.
PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?
WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.
PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?
WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.
PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?
WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.
PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?
WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.
PN: In which case?
WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.
PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?
WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.
PN: That makes no sense.
WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France, with all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.
PN: I give up.
Somethin's happening here; what it is ain't exactly clear...
When I first checked the CNN web site this morning about 7:20 EST, they had a "Breaking News" banner across the top saying a U.S. cruise missile had hit something in southern IRAN (no typo). It said "details to come." Well, the banner is gone, but no details have arrived. Perhaps evidence that those beloved "precision" weapons can't even hit the targeted country isn't intended for mass consumption. Unless, of course, Iran WAS the targeted country. I wouldn't put it past the neocon-men.
Bush whacked from the right:
Right-wing Washington Times columnist Paul Craig Roberts rips Bush in no uncertain terms for starting the war in Iraq:

Mr. Bush has permitted a small cadre of neoconservatives to isolate him from world opinion, putting him at odds with the United Nations and America's allies.
The U.S., once a guarantor of peace, is now perceived in the rest of the world as an aggressor. Its victim is a small Muslim nation unable to defend its own air space, much less to project power beyond its borders. If Iraqis attempt to resist invasion, they will be slaughtered.
On the eve of Mr. Bush's ultimatum, it came to light that a key piece of evidence used by the Bush administration to link Iraq to a nuclear weapons program is a forgery. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has asked the FBI to investigate the origin of the forged documents that the Bush administration used to make its case that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction.
Secretary of State Colin Powell denies that the Bush administration created the phony documents. "It came from other sources," Mr. Powell told Congress, but he could not identify the source.
Mr. Bush and his advisers have forgotten that the power of an American president is temporary and relative. The U.S. is supposed to be the world's leader. For the Bush administration to pursue a policy that sets the U.S. government at odds with the world is to invite comparisons with recklessness that we have not seen in international politics since Nikita Khrushchev tried to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. Is Saddam Hussein worth this much grief?

They've condemned Bush from both sides now, from left and right, but still somehow, it's Bush's war crimes we recall, we really can't stand all. The Washington Times, aka Moonie Times, has been a right-wing propaganda machine from its inception. For it to run a strongly-worded column highlighting the criminality of the war seems quite significant (link from Atrios).

Friday, March 21, 2003

The Onion saw this coming.
Another one for the honor roll! Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) calls bombing Baghdad an "act of extreme terrorism." And you can vote to agree with him!

The Globe and Mail has another poll.
Bush Didn't Watch the Attack:
Q And can I ask one more question about television, just a very direct question? Did the President not see the pictures on television this morning, the very dramatic pictures of the bombs and the explosions over Baghdad? He did not see those?

MR. FLEISCHER: I was with the President just as the operation was beginning, at about 1:00 p.m., and he was not watching TV at that time. I wasn't with him for the duration of it, so I couldn't answer in all instances about it. I probably shouldn't answer a question like this in this room, but the President does not watch a lot of TV.

Q No, but they were very, very dramatic pictures. It's hard to imagine the President of the United States who had ordered this attack did not see any evidence of it.

MR. FLEISCHER: Elizabeth, I don't know that the President needed to watch TV to understand what it means to authorize military force and to know that the mission has begun and the mission is underway.
--from Ari the Liar's daily briefing.

The president is one sick individual.

Report from Baghdad:
In an operation officially intended to create "shock and awe'', shock was hardly the word for it. The few Iraqis in the streets around me ­ no friends of Saddam I would suspect ­ cursed under their breath.

From high-rise buildings, shops and homes came the thunder of crashing glass as the shock waves swept across the Tigris river in both directions. Minute after minute the missiles came in. Many Iraqis had watched ­ as I had ­ television film of those ominous B-52 bombers taking off from Britain only six hours earlier. Like me, they had noted the time, added three hours for Iraqi time in front of London and guessed that, at around 9pm, the terror would begin. The B-52s, almost certainly firing from outside Iraqi airspace, were dead on time.

Police cars drove at speed through the streets, their loudspeakers ordering pedestrians to take shelter or hide under cover of tall buildings. Much good did it do. Crouching next to a block of shops on the opposite side of the river, I narrowly missed the shower of glass that came cascading down from the upper windows as the shock waves slammed into them.
-- Robert Fisk from Baghdad.

Shockingly Awful

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there are clear signs that the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is "starting to lose control of their country." -- from CNN.

Meanwhile, in America, the country has lost control of the regime of President George W. Bush.

From Cafe Shops.
The Toronto Globe and Mail asks: Given the way George W. Bush has handled his 'War on Terror,' should he be elected to a second term as U.S. President? Currently it's NO 71%, YES 29%. Go Vote!

The caption says the soldier is flashing a "victory" sign. I think it is something else.
Other photos available here.

Oh My God...

Indonesia demands UN Security Council meeting.
Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, denounced Thursday's U.S.-led attack against Iraq (news - web sites), saying it was illegal and demanding that the U.N. Security Council stop the war.

"The government and people of Indonesia strongly deplore the unilateral action taken by ... the United States and its allies," President Megawati Sukarnoputri told reporters at the state palace following an emergency Cabinet meeting.

"Indonesia deeply regrets that the multilateral process through the UN Security Council has been sidelined," she said. "The use of military force against Iraq ... constitutes an act of aggression which is a contravention of international law."

Gee, what food gets renamed over this? Meanwhile, chief architect of the end of the world Richard Perle has written the UN's obituary. There are insane maniacs everywhere; why are they running this country?
Powell complains about Belgium's war crime laws.
Seven Iraqi families filed a lawsuit Tuesday, March 18, in Belgium against former U.S. president George Bush, incumbent Vice President Dick Cheney, Powell and retired U.S. General Norman Schwarzkop for the bombing of a civilian shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people on the night of February 12-13, 1991.
"We have cautioned our Belgian colleagues that they need to be very careful about this kind of effort, this kind of legislation, because it makes it hard for us to go to places, it puts you at such easy risk," Powell said.

Message to Colin, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.: If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Does this mean we'll be seeing "freedom waffles" on the menu at Denny's?
It looks like "shock and awe" has begun. I keep hoping I'll wake up from this nightmare. Many innocent Iraqis never will.
I Don't Believe the Corporate Media A Washington Post-ABC poll claims to show that 71% of Americans support the war. It just ain't so! Here in Ann Arbor, I'd say 7.1% would be more accurate. The Post and Disney, two key cogs in the Republican propaganda machine, are trying to make those of us who know this genocidal war is illegal, immoral and unconstitutional feel isolated. Blaming this war on Iraq or the French or anybody besides the Bush administration is pure nonsense. Thinking it's a good thing anyway is pure evil.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Axis of Evil
Add one to the "Honorable Few:"
Those Americans who opposed our going to war with Iraq, who wanted the United Nations to remove those weapons without war, need not apologize for giving voice to their conscience, last year, this year or next year. In a country devoted to the freedom of debate and dissent, it is every citizen's patriotic duty to speak out, even as we wish our troops well and pray for their safe return. Congressman Abraham Lincoln did this in criticizing the Mexican War of 1846, as did Senator Robert F. Kennedy in calling the war in Vietnam "unsuitable, immoral and intolerable."

This is not Iraq, where doubters and dissenters are punished or silenced --this is the United States of America. We need to support our young people as they are sent to war by the President, and I have no doubt that American military power will prevail. But to ensure that our post-war policies are constructive and humane, based on enduring principles of peace and justice, concerned Americans should continue to speak out; and I intend to do so.
-- Vermont Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Okay, I'm a big Kucinich fan, but Dean is VERY cool. Plus, governors become president all the time, by hook or by crook (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Dubya). Members of Congress hardly ever do, at least directly (I think JFK was the last one, and I'm not sure there was another one in the 20th century: Eisenhower was a general, Bush Sr., Ford (although never elected as either veep or prez), Nixon (after 8 years off), Johnson, Truman, Coolidge, Teddy Roosevelt were all vice presidents. I think Harding, Taft and McKinley were governors, while Wilson was an academic. (Sorry, too tired to look all this up.) So somehow we need to make sure the Democratic race narrows down to Dean and Kucinich (deep apologies to Sharpton and Moseley Braun--I just haven't heard anyone suggest that either is remotely electable). Warmongers Lieberman, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards all need to be washed out with the next flush.

I've heard rumors that Representative John Conyers made a fine speech condemning the war yesterday, which would place him solidly among my "honored few," but I can't find it. He has spoken at many anti-war rallies, including both of the ones I went to in Washington this year. He is also taking a count of people who want Bush impeached: Join in!

Ann Arbor's the best!

Downtown was rocking from before 3 pm until well after 7 with protests. High school students gathered at their schools at 2 and then proceeded downtown for a mass rally at 3: I saw both the beginning and the end (though not the middle) of their rally; I'd guess there were 300 or so students. About six girls stood across the street holding puny pro-war signs; while I question their sanity and humanity, I have to admire that they stood there for a long time in the face of scorn from their classmates who outnumbered them 50 to 1. Must have watched LOTS of FoxNews to be that brainwashed. One girl from Pioneer High School, my alma mater, told me that they weren't allowed to leave the building for the rally until the school day was over. Minus 1000 points for Pioneer. Community High probably had the best representation, being both the most liberal of the high schools and the closest to downtown.

After the high school rally died out around 4:30, I headed for the Diag at the University of Michigan, where maybe 500 students were gathered to protest the war, countered by maybe 20 warons. Campus cops wouldn't let me sell my T-shirts there; minus 200 points for UM. I then headed back to the Federal Building, where the main protest of the day was scheduled to start at 6 pm. I would guess there were at least 1000 people there by the time the marching part started around 6:20. I sold about 18 shirts by wandering through the crowd, seeing many friends that I have made in just the past few months from my anti-war activities. The march was great; the crowd went down Fourth Street to Washington, Washington to Main, Main to Liberty, and back to the Federal Building. We moved very slowly and chanted very loudly. Pro-warons were almost non-existent. When we arrived back at the Federal Building, candles were distributed and the vigil began, with singing and speeches. Thunder, lightning and rain broke the vigil up about 10 minutes early, but I think everyone was energized and reassured by our community in the face of the horror going on in Iraq.

I think it has given me some direction for what to do next. While I would love for the bombing and invading to stop right now, I'm fairly resigned to the fact that that's not going to happen now. While disgusted by seeing imperial terrorism succeed, it seems as though a quick capitulation by the Iraqi regime at this point may spare the people from the full brunt of "shock and awe," and save U.S. forces from casualties as well. We should still protest the war because it is illegal, immoral and unconstitutional, and Bush should be held to account no matter what the outcome. But I think the place where we can contribute most right now is on the home front. The articles I posted yesterday, one by William Rivers Pitt and the other about red alert in New Jersey depressed me a lot, making me question whether I could continue living in this country. (The drivers who are so rude to me when I ride my bike don't help, either--must be from out of town.) But after the rallies here in Ann Arbor, and seeing how many "Peace" yard signs there are all over town, AND not seeing a single stupid car flag ALL DAY, I'm encouraged that I'm living in a pocket of sanity. Compared to many states, Michigan is relatively sane as well, with two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor, and numerous cities besides Ann Arbor which passed anti-war resolutions and/or civil liberties resolutions. So I'm thinking that my efforts should be focused on local and state government and peace communities working together to guarantee our liberties in the face of Patriot Acts, Homeland Security gestapos, and other unconstitutional goings on at the Federal level. With no intent to sound racist, quite the opposite actually, I suggest that states' rights and local rights be stressed: the Feds will not come into Michigan or Ann Arbor and arrest our immigrants, harrass our protesters, or investigate what we're reading. New Mexico recently passed strong civil liberties legislation along these lines. Ann Arbor has something like it; I think pressing for it on a state level is a doable goal, given that there are large numbers of liberals and libertarians in the state. With a strong commitment from the state in place, we could work more confidently in bringing about the many other political changes necessary in the state and especially the country.

So, thanks, Ann Arbor, for giving me hope!
Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) is tallying support for impeachment of Bush & Co. Please send him an e-mail:
NSC Terror Chief Resigns. Rand Beers didn't explain why he quit, but the Washington Times had this quote:
"Hardly a surprise," said one former intelligence official. "We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don't blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies."

Remember, the Washington Times is an extreme right-wing newspaper started by Rev. Sun Yung Moon and has been an ardent supporter of the Reagan and both Bush administrations.
Oh Canada! Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal on Bush:
I think it's really regrettable and unfortunate that he's made this decision when the whole world is crying out for peace. The world expects someone who's the president of a superpower to be a statesman. I think he's let not only Americans, but the world, down by not being a statesman.

Thanks to Allan in Ottawa for this link and the one below. Allan suggests the FoxNews set will soon be boycotting Canadian bacon and Canada Dry ginger ale. Soon the right-wingers' diets will be restricted to British beef, American cheese, and freedom fries. This should have them all dead within about five years; then we can get our country back.
Florida radio station drops Canadian broadcasts. The article features this stupid quote from Jack Spencer, a senior policy analyst at the right-wing Heritage Foundation in Washington:

If Canada doesn't want to support the U.S., that's up to Canada. I would bet anything that most people aren't even aware of Canada's position on this and they would assume that Canada is behind us on this. But at the end of the day, if Canada wants to put its national security in the hands of Guinea, that's up to them.

Frankly, I think Canada would be wise to trust Guinea for its national security, if the only alternative is the U.S. Canada still has lots of natural resources that the U.S. is running out of, especially water, and many Republican senators from bone-dry western states would like nothing better than to steal that water, one way or another. I have to agree with Spencer on one thing: Most Americans aren't aware of Canada's position, probably even on a map. And how are they ever going to find out if Canadian shows get cancelled?
Meanwhile, U.S. troops continue to torment another Muslim nation 17 months after a "quick and decisive" victory.
The Face of America

The Honorable Few

This is a sad day for America, the world community, and the people of Iraq. Tonight, I hope and pray for the safe return of our troops and the end to this unjustified war.

President Bush has launched an unprovoked attack against another country. Iraq does not pose an imminent threat to the United States or any of its neighboring nations. Iraq was not responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11. Tonight, President Bush has commanded U.S. forces to go to war in violation of American traditions of defensive war that have lasted since George Washington. This war is wrong; it violates the Constitution and international law.
-- Rep. Dennis Kucinich

This is a needless war. Inspections and engagement were working; they were successfully addressing the question of the potential threat presented by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The United States is not in imminent danger from Iraq. -- Rep. Barbara Lee

The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice.
This Administration has directed all of the anger, fear, and grief which emerged from the ashes of the twin towers and the twisted metal of the Pentagon towards a tangible villain, one we can see and hate and attack. And villain he is. But, he is the wrong villain. And this is the wrong war.
-- Sen. Robert Byrd

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Into the Darkness: William Rivers Pitt. (Warning: seriously depressing.)
One bit of good news: the Senate voted down oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
God, I hate that man...

It's the end of the world as we know it--the war has begun.

Red Alert = Martial Law?: If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state's anti-terror czar says. That's in New Jersey.

A red alert would also tear away virtually all personal freedoms to move about and associate.

"Red means all noncritical functions cease," [anti-terror czar] Caspersen said. "Noncritical would be almost all businesses, except health-related."
"The state will restrict transportation and access to critical locations," says the state's new brochure on dealing with terrorism. "You must adhere to the restrictions announced by authorities and prepare to evacuate, if instructed. Stay alert for emergency messages."

That does it. Where's the exit?

We'll only know what we're told by the Pentagon: They've threatened to kill independent journalists reporting from Iraq. The U.S. corporate media is fully "embedded;" international media will apparently be embalmed.
France and Germany have spoken out against war with Iraq at a meeting of the UN Security Council, just hours before the American deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq expires.
Germany's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, said his country "emphatically rejects the impending war" - a sentiment echoed by his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin, who said the use of force would only exacerbate international terrorism.
-- BBC .
The Bush team needs an "attitude lobotomy" — it needs to get off its high horse and start engaging people on the World Street, listening to what's bothering them, and also telling them what's bothering us. -- Thomas Friedman. Friedman has been like a worn-out vacuum cleaner lately (sucking less), and I definitely liked that sentence.
Excellent op-ed piece about dissent from Stanley I. Kutler in the Chicago Tribune. Here are a couple of quotes from the column:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1918.

The president's justification for war was "from beginning to end the sheerest deception." -- Congressman Abraham Lincoln, referring to President James K. Polk's reasons for the Mexican war in 1848.
I said yesterday that I've never been so scared. Robert Jensen is scared too. He suggests we need to stick together and try to bring sanity back to America.
It's August 31, 1939, and we're in Nazi Germany. The invasion of Poland is just hours away. We'll have some smashing victories and appear unstoppable. But the world will eventually rise against us, kill many of us, and leave our nation in ruins. With time, we'll realize that our own hubris led to the meaningless loss of millions of lives and the hatred of the world for us. We'll dedicate ourselves to seeing that it never happens again, and wish profoundly that we had checked ourselves before so much death and destruction occurred.

It's March 19, 2003, and we're in Bush's America...
CNN Online Poll: Have Bush and Blair made the case for war against Iraq? Vote! (Warning: This one appears to have pre-stacked, just like the ridiculous poll released the other day. Remember: the government IS the media.)

Stephen Zunes critiques Bush's war speech.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Some dimwits have suggested returning the Statue of Liberty to France. This guy is posing for the "Statue of Security" which will take its place.
I've never been so scared in my life. Our country is being controlled by a dim-witted maniac who has the world's largest military and police-state machinery at his disposal, and he has not a single qualm about using either one to push his evil agenda. Congress appears to be rolling over as the Constitution is destroyed. While millions of Americans have taken to the streets in a desperate attempt to stop it, millions more are filling out their basketball brackets and waiting for the fireworks show on CNN. It's the end of the world as we know it.
"It's hard to assess what Senator Daschle means when his remarks are so inconsistent," Fleischer said. "He's essentially blaming President Bush for the fact that we may be on the verge of war." -- Washington Post.

I sure hope Daschle is blaming Bush. He is responsible! I liked life a lot better on the other side of the looking glass.
Making the world safe for drugs: Record Afghan Poppy Crop Forecast.
I guess this says it all. There is no limit to stupidity.
Maybe this will make more Americans take notice: NCAA may postpone tournament games if war starts.
There's no 'automaticity' and this is a two-stage process, and in that regard we have met the principal concerns that have been expressed for the resolution. Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the council, and the council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte, quoted as the final draft of U.N. Security Council resolution 1441 neared passage last November.

Josh Marshall explains in detail how this completely undercuts Bush's argument that war is justified under 1441. Much of the Security Council at the time agreed to 1441 fully believing that the SC would decide whether Iraq was in compliance or not, not the U.S. and U.K. alone. In Negroponte's defense, he is a convicted liar, so the S.C. was stupid to believe anything he said.
The Night Before Baghdad, take four

I first wrote this in September, then changed some of the senators mentioned after the war resolution in October, and improved some of the rhymes and added another verse at the end in February. Here I've added four more stanzas; unfortunately, it appears that we have arrived at "The Night Before Baghdad."

The Night Before Baghdad, by Bob Goodsell

'Twas the night before Baghdad, and through the White House
Not a Bushie was thinking, not even his spouse
The war maps were hung by the table with care
In hopes that Dick Cheney soon would be there.

They'd bribed and extorted, threatened and lied
Not a one of them cared how many would die
Pope's, vets' and citizens' thoughts do not count
When you've an Iraqi invasion to mount.

No weapons were found by those sent to inspect
But all this meant naught to the pres'dent select
It matters not the UN closed the door
Our very own Hitler will have his own war.

People will die by the thousands and more
America's name soiled by blood and by gore
Lying for truth and warring for peace
The whole world suffers from Bush's disease.

The prez he was nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of 2004 danced in his head
With Condi on keyboard and Colin on bass
Rummy on vocals sang "Bush won't lose face!"

When out on the south lawn there rose such a noise
It had to be Rummy's destructive war toys
But astonished we were as our startled eyes fell
On a tall bearded man riding high on a camel.

"Tell me," asked Condi, "is that a llama?"
"No, token black woman! That is Osama!"
He hopped off his camel and gathered his rifle
Clearly this was someone with whom we won't trifle.

He walked to the door and passed in front of us
He asked to be taken to the Oval Office
The Senate had some of its members in there
And when he arrived he gave them a scare.

"Out Daschle! Out Feinstein! Out Smiling Joe Lieberman!
Out Lott! Out Hatch! Out Schumer! Out Clinton!
You're self-serving pawns of the corporate swine
Selling your souls to the Bush-Cheney line.

"I wanted a war 'twixt Islam and West
You've given me everything! Thanks, you're the best!
Thanks Condi, thanks Rummy, and thanks Colin, too!
And when he wakes up, please thank W!"

He went to the warroom and smiled at the plans
"The hated Saddam is soon a dead man!
The world in turmoil will be fertile ground
For radical Islam to be spread around!"

And flipping a finger toward one and all
He laughed so hard that it shook down the wall
It made so much noise that the prez left his sack
And came down to ask "Is it time to attack?"

And back to the garden Osama did go
No chicken hawk stopped him as he walked out the do'
Not Rummy, not Condi, not one of the staff
Stopped Osama bin Laden or his terrible laugh.

Then George Bush the Senior entered the room
By reading his lips we all sensed the gloom
"You've tried your best, George, I'll give you that, son
But make no mistake: the terrorists have won."

Meanwhile in Iraq Saddam slipped away
He’d be nowhere around on the bloody next day
He’d go into hiding and show up no more
’Til another dumb Bush sought another dumb war.

And back in the states with the press all embedded
Comes the crackdown on freedom that we've all dreaded
When ruled by a man who's conscience bereft
The right to be silent is all we'll have left.

Q: What would Ollie North look like after a lobotomy?

Now the administration knows that it can make unsubstantiated claims, without paying a price when those claims prove false, and that saber rattling gains it votes and silences opposition. Maybe it will honorably refuse to act on this dangerous knowledge. But I can't help worrying that in domestic politics, as in foreign policy, this war will turn out to have been the shape of things to come. -- Paul Krugman .

Monday, March 17, 2003

Rachel Corrie.

Well, I guess we've got 48 hours. Let's get the virtual march going again; tell Congress that Bush's behavior is not acceptable--he must be stopped. Call tomorrow: 800-839-5276. Use the "Contact Congress" form on the right to flood them with faxes and e-mails.

We did "Honk for Peace" for an hour today in front of the Ann Arbor News building, after the News published a nasty pro-war editorial on Sunday. We were getting close to 75% of drivers to honk. Bush has no support here.
What an Arrogant Son of a Bush! He's about to commit one of the biggest war crimes in history and he's warning Iraqi soldiers that "I was just following orders" isn't an acceptable defense. I sure hope our soldiers heard that line. And claiming that he's enforcing the "will of the world." I guess successful liars are usually audacious.

Of course, he ends with "May God continue to bless America." I'd say God has sent us a terrible curse named George W. Bush.
Cyndy at MouseMusings has written an excellent nightmare story about the Kroger Plus Card.
How Congress Responds to Israel Killing a U.S. Citizen:
In an unusual show of unity, Congress's top Democratic and Republican leaders have urged President Bush to include a multibillion-dollar package of "urgent" military and economic aid for Israel in a war-related emergency spending request being prepared by the White House. Israel, already the top U.S. aid recipient, is seeking $8 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and at least $1 billion to $2 billion in new military aid. -- from the Washington Post.
Rachel Corrie--In Her Own Words. Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer yesterday. Last month she wrote to her parents in Olympia, Washington about her experiences in Gaza. That letter and a letter from her parents wriiten yesterday can be seen here.
New Mexico passes strong civil liberties legislation! It directs New Mexico state police not to assist the INS, FBI or other Federal agencies unless assurance is given that full constitutional rights, including the right to an attorney, are given to anyone arrested in New Mexico. Or something like that. It's great--please read it yourself, and then contact your state representatives to get a similar bill passed in your state (or to thank them if you live in New Mexico!). Thanks to Cyndy at MouseMusings for the link!
American Killed by Israeli Bulldozer in Gaza Strip. Rachel Corrie of Olympia Washington died yesterday after being run over by an Israeli bulldozer which was about to demolish a Palestinian house. Nine Palestinians were killed, including a four-year-old girl and two policemen, in other violence in the occupied territories.

Candlelight Vigils

Along with thousands of other communities around the world, Ann Arbor had a candlelight peace vigil last evening. Approximately 2800 people lined Main Street with candles for several blocks starting at 7 o'clock; most were still there until after 8. Even when people started to leave, many got in their cars and drove down Main Street honking their horns while holding their candles out the windows or flashing peace signs to those still on the sidewalks.

MoveOn has a web page which is posting pictures from vigils around the world; I'll post or link to pictures from ours as I find them. I suggest that everyone forward vigil photo links to your congressional representatives along with any personal experiences that you had last night.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I'm baaaack! The rally march on the White House was a huge success, with at least ten times as many protesters as what you may hear anywhere, including here! There were lots of first-time protesters, and they were all so excited, saying "no way he can ignore this!" and such. I'm heading to two local peace actions today, so blogging will remain slow. I'll offer you this gem from Peter Freundlich of NPR, courtesy of Phillis and Max who forwarded it to me:

All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war . The paramount principle is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?

Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor-bound to do that too, because democracy, as we define it, is too important to be stopped by a little thing like democracy as they define it.

Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice against Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard. We are sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not make right, as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does. And we are twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us oust a regime that twists the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power a dictator who ignores his own people. And if our people, and people elsewhere in the world, fail to
understand that, then we have no choice but to ignore them.

Listen. Don't misunderstand. I think it is a good thing that the members of the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are meditations on paradox and puzzle and illogic and on the strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy. It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say something like, `We must make war on him because he is a threat to peace,' but not amusing for someone who actually commands an army to say that.

As a collector of laughable arguments, I'd be enjoying all this were it not for the fact that I know--we all know--that lives are going to be lost in what amounts to a freak, circular reasoning accident.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Heading out to DC! Back Sunday. One parting shot: CNN has a big headline about the forged documents that Powell used to suggest that Iraq had bought uranium from Niger. This was pointed out by nuclear inspector ElBaradei a week ago today. Why is it just now making the headlines? More exit strategy?
Check out MoveOn's billboards and other ads!
Keep the pressure on! Today, Wolf wants to know "What's more patriotic for Americans: To support or to oppose a war with Iraq?" Go vote!
Newsweek's Howard Fineman is looking for the blame game to start in the White House. Will Colin Powell continue to be the blustery warmonger he has seemed to be for the past two months, or will he become the "peace bomb" in the White House by becoming the reluctant warrior most of us thought he was until recently? Cyndy at MouseMusings is holding out hope; I was quite negative about it yesterday, a bit more hopeful today after reading the Fineman column. Maybe, maybe, maybe all the bluster was just a final attempt to frighten Saddam into compliance. Maybe Powell agreed to go along with the bluster on condition that the war would actually be a last resort, not Bush's door number one as it has seemed for a year. I don't know--he has had so many chances.

For those of you who watch Fox's "24" show, Powell's resignation or similar protest now would be as surprising as it was when Nina was revealed as the mole inside CTU last season. For the first 22 hours of the show, she had had numerous opportunities to send the assassination target and dozens of other good guys to fiery deaths. Instead, she came through time after time with critical information or actions. Then, after the plot is almost completely foiled, she acts in a way that complicates things but has little impact on the final outcome. Why, if she was really working with the bad guys all along, would she wait until the plot is foiled to do anything? And why would Colin Powell let things get so out of hand and then decide now was the time to "go off"? I had more hope for some seemingly reasonable Republican senators like Lugar, McCain and Hillary Clinton ;-), but they have recently made public statements that destroy that hope.

Instead, it appears that they may just attempt to change the subject one more time. Hopefully, it will be to Israel/Palestine or the economy, not because I think the Bushies will do anything to improve either situation, but because it might mean they aren't starting any wars. More ominously, the focus could switch to North Korea, Iran, Columbia or Venezuela, with Kim or Chavez completing Bush's "trifecta of evil" (Osama, Sadaama,...). Of course, we're not out of the woods with Iraq, and there is definitely the possibility that some staged event will be used as an excuse for going ahead with the war.
Another Distraction, or real movement in the right direction? Bush announces new "road map" for resolving the Israel-Palestine issue. Obviously, I'm skeptical about anything Bush says, but that he is saying it now may be another good sign.
Michigan Attorney General compares Bush to Lincoln. When the going gets tough, lie louder. Send AG Mike Cox an e-mail letting him know what you think!

Thursday, March 13, 2003

ABC reports that U.S. officials fear that once President Bush signals the U.S. is headed to war, Saddam Hussein will strike pre-emptively. Therefore the U.S. military may try to pre-empt Saddam's pre-emption, leading Saddam to try to get the jump on them, thereby causing the war to start sometime last summer.

Actually, there is a real danger that the Bushies are actively seeking any excuse for starting the war, including instigating a faked or real attack on US troops in Kuwait. I think Bill Clinton was so afraid that revelations of his sexual affairs would become exposed that he was willing to do almost anything to prevent it. I think George W. Bush wants war in Iraq so much that he may be capable of resorting to almost anything to get it (he has already demonstrated this with all the bribes, threats and insults hurled at erstwhile allies). But maybe there is still the possibility that whoever it is that has convinced him to hold off this long has also convinced him that while starting the war through treachery might sell to the gullible US public, it wouldn't wash at all overseas.

Thanks to new reader Harriet for the ABC link!
CBS reports that senior U.S. officials contend that al Qaeda has effectively been defeated. Of course my cynical antennae are on orange alert, but I see this as good news either way. If it's actually true, then perhaps there won't be another 9/11, certainly a cause for rejoicing. (Hey, we've got a big rally already planned for Washington on Saturday.) If it's propaganda, as seems likely, it's still good news. Again, it may be part of Bush's "exit strategy;" how to back away from Iraq without losing face (although why he wouldn't want to lose THAT face is beyond me).

Other encouraging signs--CBS reports big sandstorms in Kuwait; probably totally predictable and no big obstacle to the military, but perhaps a convenient excuse. Furthermore, the stock market rallied big time today, meaning that Wall Street insiders with inside information think maybe the war won't happen after all.

Sorry, I haven't figured out yet how the absolutely bizarre Elizabeth Smart story fits in, except perhaps as one more weapon of mass distraction. Expect Gary Condit to be arrested any day now, and maybe the anthrax killer and Ken Lay as well.

We're Winning!

U.S. Raises Prospect of Abandoning Effort for U.N. Vote. Now, Bush could still go ahead with his war, but I think the fact that the Bushies have tried so hard to get the UN approval, at least in some form, means that there really is substantial concern within the administration about going alone, if not outright opposition. I hope I'm right...

FBI probes fake papers on Iraq

Just when my mind should be completely boggled out, I read this from the Washington Post:
The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq.

It's probably not news to any of you reading this blog that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told the UN last week that documents claiming to show that Iraq bought uranium from Niger had been forged. (Of course, most Americans probably have no clue whatsoever.) Even though these documents had been presented by the U.S. as support for their claim that Iraq still has an active nuclear weapons program, ElBaradei's assessment was not challenged.

But now the FBI, still under the direction of Inquisitor General Ashcroft, seems to be interested in investigating the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq. This, of course, begs two big questions:
  1. Which foreign government? Now I don't want to be accused of being anti-much-of-anything except war, so I'll just hint that it is likely a Middle Eastern nation that has been rumored to have an active nuclear program, the name of which begins with "I." Desperate as they are for evidence, it still seems unlikely that the administration would present evidence given to them by charter members of the "axis of evil," so, well, you do the math.
  2. Why doesn't the FBI focus, instead, on the certainty that a domestic government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq?

Being by now almost totally distrustful of the media, this article has me baffled. For weeks now, the media has been encouraging people to bash the French for trying to keep us out of war. This article suggests that some country is trying to trick us into war. It suggests that the FBI considers that to be a bad thing. I agree with that. So are the FBI (besides Coleen Rowley) and the Post actually working to clarify the situation to prevent a rush to war? I certainly hope so, but I'm so cynical at this point that I'm just wondering what ulterior motives the FBI and/or the Post have here. Any suggestions?
Friends Don't Let Friends Start Illegal, Immoral, and Dangerous Wars. France is our friend. Let them know by voting Wolf Blitzer's latest poll .
Not In Our Name has prepared an excellent TV Ad: Check it out!
The Very Very Happy Blog has a somewhat unhappy post about trying to keep going against the incredible amount of malevolence and stupidity we are faced with daily. Check out the comments, too.
Another excellent speech by Senator Byrd! I think I'll send it to Senator Stabenow, tell her to use it if she can't come up with one of her own.
STOP! In the name of love! -- The Supremes. Well, in the name of justice, anyway. Good going, Supreme Court!
Bill Clinton says Bush should let Blix decide the timeline for compliance. Waffle man has supported Bush the whole way until now, but finally decides the nonsense has gone too far. Let's hope that the nonsense hasn't gone too far.

Also, I hope Bill is talking to the wife about this! So now we have three of our previous four presidents (Carter, Bush, Clinton) all advising caution, and I haven't heard anything positive about Bush coming out of Reagan, either. Gerald Ford will probably advise caution after he's finished golfing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Neo-con job: Jochen Boelsche, writing in Der Spiegel and quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald, neatly summarizes how we got into this Perle jam. All the "weapons of mass destruction" stuff is just a pretext. Unfortunately, the American public has been prepared for this nonsense by 20 years of inadequate education and corporate-media brainwashing.
Candlelight Vigil this Sunday, 7 pm. Part of a global candlelight vigil for peace as called for by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Robert Edgar, and other religious leaders around the world. National co-sponsors include, Win Without War, American Friends Service Committee, and others. According to the MoveOn website, so far 897 vigils have been scheduled in 48 countries. The number grows by the hour.

Ann Arbor's vigil will be on Main Street between Liberty and Washington, 7 pm. Bring candles and/or signs. Help spread the word by printing out and distributing some flyers.
Peace is good business in Ann Arbor Local businesses have been displaying anti-war signs in their windows, with some encouragement from the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace.

New York City Passes Anti-War Resolution!

I am probably forgetting a few remaining pockets of ignorance, but I think that leaves Crawford, Texas as the largest city in the US that hasn't passed a resolution.
A reminder: Boycott the War! This web site details a boycott against Kraft, Exxon-Mobil, Pepsico, UPS, and Wal-Mart. I suggest adding Benneton clothing, since they are planning on putting radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags into their clothing. These tags will end up being a serious threat to our privacy and freedom if we allow them to be widely used. See CASPIAN for more details.

If you are serious about withholding funds from the corporations that brought you the current administration, as well as saving the environment and reducing the exploitation of poor people around the world, there are many steps you can take.
  • Buy less.
  • Buy used.
  • Buy local.
  • Eat less, or no, meat.
  • Drive less.
  • Fly less.
  • Invest locally: bank with credit unions, invest in local businesses, join coops.
  • Fix stuff.
  • Share stuff.
  • Give away stuff you don't use.

For details on these and other suggestions, please check out the links on my Simplicity page. The economy is headed down the toilet now. These steps will not only allow you to ride it out with less real pain, but will help to rebuild the economy in a less destructive, more sustainable way.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer points out what the progressive press has been saying for a while--that Bush's bullying of Iraq is inciting the proliferation of nuclear weapons:
By the way, U.S. and other officials privately acknowledge that they can't really blame Iran for moving ahead with a nuclear weapons program. The Iranians see the political clout North Korea's nuclear program has brought. They also see the heightened respect India and Pakistan command from their neighbors and others around the world now that they have both tested nuclear weapons.

If you are an Iranian, in other words, you can't help but conclude that North Korea (which is believed to already have one or two nuclear bombs) is treated one way by the United States while Iraq, which doesn't have a bomb, is treated very differently.

Wolf also has his daily poll on that page, today asking "If the United Nations resolution is vetoed, should the United States go to war against Iraq?" You know what to do.

German Greenpeace activists rappel from Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to unveil a banner March 10, 2003. The German government believes a majority on the U.N. Security Council back a joint call by France, Russia and Germany for weapons inspections in Iraq to continue, a foreign ministry spokesman said. (Alexandra Winkler/Reuters)

Some cool new (to me) blogs: No More Mister Nice Blog, The Pixelforge, See the Forest.
Vive la France!
As I pointed out earlier, a few of our most childish congresscritters insisted that the cafeterias in all House office buildings serve "freedom fries" instead of "french fries." Taking the easy opportunity to be the grownup in this situation, the French replied:

''We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes,'' said Nathalie Loisau, a [French] embassy spokeswoman. -- from the Boston Globe .
How about all of those startling revelations coming out of the special commission investigating the events of 9/11? Amazing, aren't they? Who would have believed it?

What, you say, you haven't heard anything out of the commission? Perhaps it is because many of its members, most of whom previously held trusted positions in the government, can't get security clearances to see the documents they need to carry out the investigation.

NY Times calls for Guantanamo Bay hostages to be granted the right to question their imprisonment. The Times is right; the time is now.
Bush and Fleischer blaming Rwanda genocide on UN inaction is like a red-light runner blaming the accident on the car, even though there was nothing wrong with the brakes. The Clinton administration opposed UN intervention, and was supported in this by Republicans in Congress. Furthermore, George W. Bush was asked specifically about Rwanda by ABC's Sam Donaldson during the 2000 campaign, and W's response was "We should not send our troops to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide outside our strategic interests. . . . I would not send the United States troops into Rwanda."

Read more about this in a fine Globe & Mail article. Thanks to Allan in Ottawa for the link!
Some Pal: PayPal impounds money of anti-war site! The web site What Really Happened had been accepting donations through PayPal. PayPal then closed their account and is holding their money for 180 days, without explanation. I have requested to withdraw the $36 I had in my PayPal account and will then close it, assuming they don't impound my money. I have removed my "Donate" button. Please stop using PayPal. Go here to find out what further action can be taken against PayPal and suggestions for alternatives.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

McCain is Finished. A lot of people thought Senator John McCain was thoughtful and open-minded, especially for a Republican. They were wrong. In this column in the NY Times, McCain repeats many of the lies and distortions that have gotten us into this mess in the first place. While the whole column is terrible, this part is the worst:

Many also mistake where our government's primary allegiance lies, and should lie. The American people, not the United Nations, is the only body that President Bush has sworn to represent. Clearly, the administration cares more about the credibility of the Security Council than do other council members who demand the complete disarmament of the Iraqi regime yet shrink from the measures needed to enforce that demand.

First, the president is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He is not, technically speaking, sworn to represent the American people (nitpicking, but McCain has clearly distorted this on purpose--the oath says :--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."). The Constitution says that treaties, such as the UN Charter, are the "supreme law of the land." (Article VI) So breaking the principles of the UN Charter by attacking a country which has not attacked us is violating the Constitution, and hence Bush's oath of office, even if there are complaints with the actions of the UN.

And, of course, McCain's complaints about the UN are spurious. The "complete disarmament" concept is one of those big lies. The UN resolutions say that certain types of weapons are prohibited and calls for inspectors to identify these and direct their destruction, with Iraq's assistance. Nowhere in 1441 does it call for Iraq to bring everything to a parking lot and destroy them there, as Bush said in his press conference last week. McCain knows this--he is joining in the lie. The measures needed to enforce the demand have been and are taking place. No weapons that indisputably violate the UN resolutions have been found, and those that are disputably in violation are being destroyed. How France, Russia and other Security Council members can be portrayed as shrinking from the measures needed when those measures are actively underway is beyond my comprehension. To claim that you care about the credibility of the Security Council and then ignore its decision based on ridiculous arguments like these is total hypocrisy.
Wolf Blitzer asks: Does the United States need another United Nations Security Council resolution to justify an attack on Iraq? Currently Yes leads, 51% to 49%. Let's build a little margin there, shall we? Take it out of Supreme Court territory?

Vote here.
So who might profit from a Gulf War II? The Veep from the Deep, of course.
How Kofi Annan can Stop the War: From Common Dreams.
The U.S. is expected to tell the inspectors to leave Iraq before the war starts. Kofi Annan tells them not to leave, saying that the U.S. has no authority to order them out. Could it happen? Probably. Would it work? Who knows--Bush is crazy.
Has Bush seen this? I mean, this kid struggles for every breath, and he is using every breath to promote peace. Here's your exit strategy, George. No one could blame you for backing down after hearing Mattie's story and poems. Go listen to Mattie, George.
READ MY LIPS: Bush 41 sends Bush 43 a message about the importance of diplomacy and multilateralism.

I'm pretty sure that W is so sure that he's right that nobody, not even his own father, is going to change his warped little mind. The Pope couldn't do it; neither can the leaders of his own United Methodist Church. But, if there is some tiny shred of humanity in there somewhere, not the sympathy/empathy humanity but the ego's need for approval humanity, W has got to be feeling pretty miserable right now. Probably a furious miserable, not a humble repentant miserable, but still miserable. And while he won't change his mind, I think he is basically lazy at heart and may just take his ball and go home if the refs won't see it his way. He probably enjoys the trappings of the office too much to resign entirely, but maybe he'd just go through the motions until he gets officially dethroned next year.

Then again, he may throw a tantrum. Will our military follow his orders if he's clearly delusional?

Or am I just being naively optimistic that there is any sort of humanity in George W. Bush? Is it possible that he can ignore the advice and criticism from almost everyone except that of his sycophants? Is he telling himself right now "Well, Dad took his own advice, and he didn't get re-elected. So I'd better ignore Dad's advice." Sadly, it seems all too possible.
Terrorist State Bombed: The Air Force tested its massive weapon of mass destruction, known as MOAB (Massive Ordnace Air Burst or Mother of All Bombs) in Florida today. Even bigger than the horrific "daisy cutter," it destroys and kills everything within a huge area; it is similar in destructive force to a tactical nuclear weapon. Mousemusings has much more on MOAB here and here. And Polizeros highlights the bizarre, and almost certainly intentional, religious meaning of MOAB here.

BTW, I call Florida a "terrorist state" because of this article. Certainly highlights the hypocrisy of the "war on terrorism" when W's own brother is governor of the "Afghanistan of the South." And that's without even mentioning that the US military's CENTCOM, responsible for bombing convoys, weddings and Canadians in Afghanistan, as well as planning to drop MOABs on Iraqis who have never ever attacked us, is headquartered in Tampa.
E-mail problems. Both my "" and "" domain names use e-mail forwarding through the same company, and it hasn't been working for about a day now. If you need to e-mail me in the next day or two, please send it to
In case you've missed it, Republicans are morons.
Peace Activist Buys House Near W's Crawford Ranch. He intends to use it as a base for peace activism. Crawford's mayor apparently wants to meet some ACLU lawyers: "We're not going to let them turn the town into a three-ring circus," [Mayor Robert] Campbell told the [Dallas Morning News]. "If they want to protest, let them go to Washington."

Another US Diplomat Resigns!

-- from CNN.
John H. Brown, who joined the U.S. diplomatic corps in 1981 and served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell made available to the media: "I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq.

"Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century," the diplomat added.

With Apologies to Harry Chapin:
A child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to buy, and bribes to pay.
He learned to fight while I was away.
And he was lying 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the nuke’s in the silo and the hanging chad,
Little W and Saddam in Baghdad.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Lil’ George turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the bomb, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to bomb?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the nuke’s in the silo and the hanging chad,
Little W and Saddam in Baghdad.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came home from Yale just the other day,
Skull and bones pin and a beer in his face
"Son, I'm proud of you. Have you done your homework?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smirk,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to miss Vietnam.
Can you get me out? If not I’ll ask Mom.”

And the nuke’s in the silo and the hanging chad,
Little W and Saddam in Baghdad.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, there’s bomb to drop, and some bribes too
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."

And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
Lil’ George was just like me.

And the nuke’s in the silo and the hanging chad,
Little W and Saddam in Baghdad.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

From Nick Anderson of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Dr. Robert Bowman, who recently brought us an inspired alternative State of the Union speech, delivered a great "peace is patriotic" speech on February 15. Here are some excerpts:
As a combat veteran, I will not stand idly by and watch our security destroyed by a president who went AWOL rather than fight in Vietnam. I say, "NO" to war against Iraq.
Peace is patriotic; a preemptive war is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and a war crime. I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies -- foreign and domestic. That includes a renegade president. If this war happens, I will call for the impeachment of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the whole oil mafia. I say "NO" to war against Iraq.

We are the people. We are sovereign. The whole world is with us. And we say, "NO!" "NO" to war! "NO" to preemptive war. "NO" to wars of aggression. "NO" to war against Iraq. "NO!" "NO!" "NO!"

This war would be treason! PEACE is patriotic. God bless America! And God save us from George W. Bush! Thank you!

Federal prosecutors ignored whistleblower to stack the deck against John Walker Lindh. From Andrew Cohen, CBS News.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Wolf Blitzer wants to know: "Who has more credibility on the issue Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, George W. Bush or Hans Blix?"

Currently, it's Blix in a landslide, 67 to 33 percent, but the Supreme Court hasn't voted yet.
Secret Deal Brokered by the Pope? -- From the Sunday Herald Saddam exiled; UN, not US, takes over Iraq. Saddam and Bush both frustrated? Best of both worlds! Can we get Bush exiled too?

Seriously, this is a very interesting proposal if there's any truth behind it. It would force Bush and Blair into the veto position, clearly showing to the 1% of the world's population (mostly Americans) who don't already know it that neither elimination of weapons of mass destruction nor democracy have anything to do with B & B's real goals.
UN investigating US spying on Security Council Members -- from the Observer.
Pakistan likely to abstain in Security Council vote.
The prime minister of Pakistan said tonight that it would be "very difficult for Pakistan to support a war against Iraq," but he stopped short of declaring that his country would vote against the United States this week in the United Nations Security Council, where Pakistan is a revolving member. Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government had decided to abstain on the crucial vote, which would be a setback for Washington as it seeks to assemble a majority in the Security Council to vote for a new measure that would condemn Iraq's record and justify military action.

So Bush and Powell's bribery and threats have so far gotten them only four of the nine votes they need, ignoring for the moment that both France and Russia have said they will veto. The US, UK, Spain and Bulgaria say they will vote for it, France, Russia, China, Syria and Germany will vote against it. Pakistan will likely abstain. That means the arm-twisters have to get all five of Mexico, Chile, Cameroon, Angola and Guinea. And Chile is reported to be extremely pissed about the spying and dirty tricks the US has used on its UN delegation. I'd guess, based on absolutely no diplomatic experience, that Chile will vote against and the other four will abstain.

So it may be the killer B's (Bush, Blair, Bulgaria) 4, Axis of Good 6, Axis of Abstention 5. Not to mention those two or three vetos. Of course, we should give Bush credit for a little more support on this--Israel, for example, and the leaders of Italy, Australia, Portugal and a few other countries who are steadfastly ignoring large anti-war majorities in their countries. And, I almost forgot, I'm sure Bush has the backing of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

"Look, Mr. Cameroon president or whatever you are, I know I don't have much of a case, but have you ever seen a jet come in low and drop a bunch of bombs? Like this! It is SOOOO cool! But don't you Camerooners misunderestimate me--my storage tank of patience gets more few every day."

America usually faces disaster by overreacting. On the afternoon of September 11, George W. Bush pulled John Ashcroft aside and told him to do whatever it takes to “make sure something like this never happens again.”

Turning Ashcroft loose with such an order is like giving a drunk a credit card to a liquor store. He’s gonna have one hell of a good time but God knows how many people will get hurt and how many laws might be broken in the process.
-- From Capitol Hill Blue, of course.

I love the online news source Capitol Hill Blue! I sure hope they know what they're talking about!

This article suggests that Pope John Paul II is calling W a war criminal, then goes on with these choice tidbits:
“I want to think my President is right in this cause,” said a longtime Republican member of Congress on Saturday, “but I also have to listen to my conscience and the leader of my religious faith. The phone calls from my Republican district are running 4-1 against invading Iraq. I also have to listen to my constituents.”

Some Republican members are now telling House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert that they want a new Congressional resolution to authorize military action against Iraq but sources in Hastert’s office say the speaker is resisting because he feels such a resolution would fail.

“We don’t have the votes on either side of the aisle to back the President’s play on this,” says one Hastert aide. “A vote would undermine the President and destroy our credibility in the world’s eyes.”

BTW, Capitol Hill Blues two most recent articles suggest that war may be delayed until April 1 (nah, that's too easy a shot), and that the government had all the information it needed to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Why don't you join me in reading those articles?
Tom Tomorrow has a letter from the father of a Marine who has been sent to the Gulf. Lots of good points.
2:30 pm, TUESDAY MARCH 11

Northside Presbyterian/St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 1679 Broadway, Ann Arbor (2 blocks south of Plymouth)

Former Congressional Representative Lynn Rivers, Ann Arbor City Council member Kim Groome, and Senior Minister of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church Rev. Kenneth W. Phifer will express their opposition to the Bush Administration’s push for war in Iraq at this press conference.

Be there if you can!
From Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist:
More than ever before in recent history, the otherwise worthy U.S. military is right now in service not of the people, not of the national security, but of the current government regime and its corporate interests. Has it always been this way? Of course. But this time, with our smirky Enron president and cash-hungry CEO administration, it's never been so flagrant, or insulting, or invidious.

Our soldiers are not protecting our freedoms. They are not preventing more terrorism. They are not guaranteeing continued free speech. Because the only true threat to such freedoms is coming from within.
It's been a while since I ranted about water, so I'm going to revive the subject briefly. I just finished a great book, Cadillac Desert, written in 1986 by Marc Reisner. It describes the incredible boondoggle behind the multitude of dams and canals that have made the desert bloom and allowed cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix to exist. I'll probably rant on it more later, but for now I'll settle for three paragraphs taken from page 450 of the book (hardcover edition, anyway). It addresses something I have thought about for a while: Is America's wealth really the product of our political and/or economic systems? For background: Glenn Saunders is (or was) a lawyer in Colorado who worked with the Bureau of Reclamation (one of two Federal agencies, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for most of the large 20th-century water projects) before resigning and being hired by a coalition opposing a dam called "Narrows" in eastern Colorado. Pete Lamm was governor of Colorado while the project was under consideration. Here's the selection from the book, with some emphasis added by me:

To Glenn Saunders, Narrows Dam was not so much a dam as a symbol of a senescent society clinging to archaic hopes. “What that dam represents,” he said, “is, first of all, the fact that there are very few really honest people in the world. Ninety-eight percent of humanity cannot admit when it’s made a mistake. This applies especially to politicians. A politician for some reason thinks it is political suicide to admit that he was wrong. Dick Lamm cannot bring himself to admit that he has been in error about Narrows. He has one of the finest minds in Colorado, his thinking on some subjects is some of the best thinking any politician in this age is capable of—but he cannot bring himself to say, ‘I was wrong on the Narrows Dam.’

“The Bureau is the same way,” Saunders went on. “It cannot admit when it has made a mistake. It has also run out of good projects. And on top of that it has all of these bizarre cash-register funds—the Missouri Basin Fund, which is behind the Narrows—that are supposed to make these projects self-financing. They do not, but no one understands that. The Bureau is like one of these crooks with money earning interest in twenty different banks—it has to spend the money on something. It is all borrowed money—it belongs to the people of the United States—but the people of the United States don’t know that. The whole thing is a machine, a perpetual-motion machine that keeps churning out dams, which the politicians and most westerners are reflexively in favor of, and the whole business is running the country into the ground.

“The people who support these boondoggle projects are always talking about the vision and principles that made this country great. ‘Our forefathers would have built these projects!’ they say. ‘They had vision!’ That’s pure nonsense. It wasn’t the vision and principles of our forefathers that made this country great. It was the huge unused bonanza they found here. One wave of immigrants after another could occupy new land, new land, new land. There was topsoil, water—there was gold, silver, and iron ore lying right on top of the earth. We picked our way through a ripe orchard and made it bare. The new generations are going to go down, down, down. With projects like the Narrows, we’re trying to pretend that things are as they always were. ‘Let’s just go out and find some money and build a dam and we’ll all be richer and better off.’ We’ve been so busy spending money and reaping the fruits that we’re blind to the fact that there are no more fruits. By trying to make things better, we’re making them worse and worse.”

You're playing with the big boys now, George:
Russia says clearly that it will veto any new UN resolution authorizing force.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Monday Russia would vote against the new draft U.N. resolution on Iraq, a move that would veto the U.S.-sponsored measure.

"Russia thinks that now there is no need for any new U.N. resolutions, and that is why Russia has openly declared that if the draft that has been submitted for consideration, and which contains unfulfillable ultimatum-type demands, will be put to vote, Russia will vote against this resolution," he said.
"Today when we have a real possibility to answer the outstanding questions and do so not within years, but within months. This way is real, reliable and it allows us to resolve the problem through political means and defuse the Iraqi crisis," he said.
Ivanov said last week's report by the weapons inspectors to the Council offered no grounds for launching a war against Iraq.

I'm still hopefully and fearfully curious as to what steps the Russians may take if Bush still insists, as seems likely, that he will go ahead with war. The goal of the neocon maniacs advising Bush seems to have been to grab largely defenseless countries and their resources one by one until the US had bases all over the world and controlled most of the world's oil. Bush's clumsy and rude "diplomacy" has now united most of the world against the US, threatening even the evil neocon agenda. The US might "win" World War III, but a very large percentage of us wouldn't survive it.

Ralph Nader suggested in the 2000 campaign that things would have to get much worse before they would start to get better. We haven't yet reached Nader's nadir in terms of death and destruction, but we are extremely close.

Those who don't know their Orwell and Twain are destined to live it:

Victory of the Loud Little Handful
Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)

The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit
will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great, big, dull
bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there
should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and
dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it."

Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will
argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will
have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long; those others
will outshout them, and presently the antiwar audiences will thin out and
lose popularity.

Before long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the
platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men...

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the
nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those
conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse
to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince
himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he
enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

Thanks to Cyndy at MouseMusings. It's a good thing we got that posted before Disney buys up the rights to Mark Twain and extends the copyright expiration date to 2000 years.
UK Cabinet Member Threatens to Resign
Clare Short, a member of Tony Blair's cabinet, has threatened to resign if the UK and US proceed with war on Iraq without UN approval.

Ms Short said: "If there is not UN authority for military action or if there is not UN authority for the reconstruction of the country, I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the UN and I will resign from the Government."
Ms Short said it was "time for cards on the table" and insisted she could not stay in government and "defend the indefensible".

Asked whether Mr Blair had acted recklessly, she said: "I'm afraid that I think the whole atmosphere of the current situation is deeply reckless: reckless for the world; reckless for the undermining of the UN in this disorderly world ... reckless with our Government; reckless with his own future, position and place in history. It's extraordinarily reckless, I'm very surprised by it."

She added: "Allowing the world to be so bitterly divided, the division in Europe, the sense of anger and injustice in the Middle East is very, very dangerous. We're undermining the UN, it's a recruiting sergeant for terrorism, there's a risk of a divided world, with a weakened UN."

The CIA is interrogating children. The seven- and nine-year-old sons of supposed al Qaida mastermind Khalid Shaik Mohammad were taken into custody in Pakistan back in September, and have since been flown to the US. They are being used both as sources of information and as hostages to get Khalid to talk. Read all about how your government is a kidnapper here. Note that while the rant comes from TalkLeft, the news story it is based on comes from the far-right-wing Washington Times.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

I've been trying to get a photo of our billboard on I-94 without success, so I'm going to just post the design. I've seen the actual billboard, and this is what it looks like:

It is located on the left side of I-94 as you drive west shortly after the M-14/I-94 merge (before Zeeb Road). A generous AAACP patron donated the money for the first month; if you'd like to help keep it up longer, please make a donation using the button on the right!

You go, Iowa!

Iowa Democrats give warmonger candidates a hard time. As I said earlier today, we need to make absolutely sure that none of the presidential candidates who voted for Bush's war resolution (Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, and unannounced Hillary Clinton) has any chance of getting the nomination. As I said earlier, I don't think Bob Graham is an acceptable candidate, either. The good news is we have four announced anti-war candidates: Sharpton, Kucinich, Dean, and Moseley Braun.
Good anti-war poster featuring warnings from decorated military officers:

The New York Times finally has it right: NO TO WAR!
Even the detestable Joe Lieberman has finally found something wrong with Bush:
Lieberman told an audience in New Hampshire recently: "Let's be clear. When more people around the world see the current American president as a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein, then you know something is really wrong with his foreign policy." -- Washington Post.

Of course, just like Nancy Pelosi, it appears as though Smilin' Joe isn't willing to actually do anything about it, such as pushing to rescind October's war resolution. That in itself was an unconstitutional, criminal act, and any member of Congress who supported it is complicit in the impending horror. Their only way out is to call for immediate cancellation of the resolution.
Michigan Democrats are considering moving their presidential caucuses to the same date in January as New Hampshire's.

This could give us here in Michigan a much greater say in who the next president is: we need to make sure that one of the anti-war candidates gets enough momentum to win the nomination and the election. The Democratic National Committee apparently realizes this, and is therefore opposing it. I may have to leave the country if the 2004 election comes down to Bush versus one of the warmongers: Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards or Gephardt. I'm afraid Sen. Bob Graham belongs in that category as well. While he voted against the war resolution last October, he did so because "this resolution is too timid. It is too limited. It is too weak." (From his speech in the Senate.)

The good news is that there are four announced anti-war candidates: Dean, Kucinich, Moseley Braun and Sharpton. Perhaps we can turn the tables on the powers that be who excluded Ralph Nader from the 2000 debates: hold our own debates, with only peace candidates invited. If Michigan does jump to the front of the line, it might actually be possible to pull this off (that is, the candidates might actually come to the debate).
Atrios has posted an Art Buchwald column written in 1963. Buchwald pretends (I think) to have inside information from "Serge the Russian Spy" about the Soviets' best-ever plot to destroy America:
The only people willing to wreck the United States government, I discovered, were the extreme right-wing groups. They were being ignored, and yet they were the key to all internal subversion. I laid out a plan. I would have my agents organize a program working through the extreme right wing which would stand the United States on it's head.

First I would get the right wing to accuse President Eisenhower of being a Communist. Then I would get them to call their own high government officials traitors. Then I would see that the right wing attacked American United Nations representatives. I also would convince the right wing that Russia didn't have atomic weapons.

Then I would encourage rumors that everyone in the State Department was either a Communist or a homosexual. I gave order to wreak havoc in the armed services by turning military officers against civilians. I even proposed they impeach Chief Justice Warren of the Supreme Court. I laid out different attacks on anyone who advocated better education or health facilities in the United States. And the topper was that anyhone who disagreed with this would be accused of being a card-holding Communist.
-- Read the whole thing!
Terry Jones on Bush: Mr. Bush is right, Saddam Hussein is a nasty man and nobody I know has the least objection to Mr. Bush killing him. It's just the way he proposes doing it that worries me. Dropping 3000 bombs in 48 hours on Baghdad is going to kill a lot of other people who, as far as I am aware, are not nasty at all. -- from the Observer .
UN launches inquiry into US spying on UN Security Council members: from the Observer. In case you've missed it, our government is a bunch of crooks.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

U.S. Military Torturing Prisoners in Afghanistan. To paraphrase Representative Barbara Lee: We have become the enemy we deplore.
Court Petition to Block War: I have no idea what chance this has, but anything is worth a try now. Six US representatives and nine other citizens have filed an injunction in court against Bush and Rumsfeld attacking Iraq, since war has not been declared. You can file an "amicus brief" stating your support for the injunction by going here.

Well, what are you waiting for?
Bush, the Bible, and Iraq: Business Week, of all places.How W's fundamentalist Christian rhetoric has turned most of the world against him while stiffening (without broadening) his support in the US.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Another online poll, and this one seems to have an even bigger response than the two I've run on this blog! Wolf Blitzer asks "Should President Bush give U.N. inspectors more days, weeks or months to disarm Iraq?" Go vote!

I haven't checked FoxNews, but the good guys (that's us) seem to be winning pretty much all of these online polls lately. It doesn't necessarily mean that the majority of the public now opposes Bush and his war, but I think it does mean that we've got an effective network of e-mail lists and blogs which is quickly spreading the word. Let's make sure we keep this network going as we take our country back in the 2004 election!
They have no shame. If the war starts, it seems almost certain that either the Iraqis or the US military is going to set many oil wells on fire. Guess who has the contract to put them out.
Not going anywhere for a while? This will keep you amused.
Pelosi implies it's too late now.
According to CNN, this was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's first speech on foreign policy since becoming the Democrats' leader in the House. And this is what she had to say:

"If the Democrats had spoken out more clearly in a unified vote five months ago in opposition to the resolution, if the people had gone on to the streets five months ago in these numbers in our country and throughout the world, I think we might have been in a different place today," Pelosi said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

"But the fact that we didn't and because we were very split at that time on it, I think the president is too far down the road and I don't think he's turning back," the California Democrat said.

Here are some of the things Pelosi said back in a Meet the Press interview in November:

  • Suffice to say, we stand should-to-shoulder with the president in the fight against terrorism.
  • My concern was what going into Iraq, what the impact of that would be on the war on terrorism, which is a clear and present danger.
  • I don’t question a decision of the president of the United States on his timing or the priority he gives a threat.
  • MR. RUSSERT: But if the president decides to go unilaterally or with the British and the Turks without U.N. approval, you would support the president? REP. PELOSI: Yes, I would support the president.
  • I’m very excited to follow in the footsteps of Dick Gephardt, who has been a tremendous leader for our party, and I know his contribution to our country has much more to come yet.

(Sorry, the Meet the Press transcript is no longer available on NBC's web site. I copied those quotes from my own blog; but I got them originally from the NBC transcript.)

I hate to attack these Democrats now that they are finally putting a wimpy toe forward to slightly hint that they might sort of object to Bush's war, but jeez! What an absolutely miserable excuse for a "leader!" For Ms. Pelosi's information, I and hundreds of thousands of other Americans were out protesting five months ago. Democrats like Senator Byrd and representatives Lee, McKinney and Kucinich were speaking out forcefully against the war resolution; much more spirited and convincing arguments than the mumbled lies of the presidential wannabes like Edwards and Kerry. And even if election fears paralyzed the dems, they at least could have started expressing their reservations more forcefully after the election. Instead, Pelosi was spewing the rubbish I quoted above. How dare she blame this situation on other Democrats, or the peace movement not being big enough? This situation has been going on for her entire tenure as minority leader, and she gives her first speech on foreign policy today. Pelosi may accomplish the seemingly impossible: making Dick Gephardt seem dynamic by comparison.
Still a way out? This article describes something called "Uniting for Peace," a procedure by which the UN General Assembly can act to stop a war even when veto-holding members of the Security Council are starting it. President Eisenhower used it in 1956 to stop war against Egypt by Israel and veto-holding Great Britain and France. France, Russia, China and Germany, in conjunction with the 200 or so countries in the General Assembly could use this to apply a legal brake on US-British action even though no Security Council resolution can be used to stop them because of their vetoes.
Time to use their lies against them: If, as news reports suggest, Osama bin Laden may be captured soon, and supposed terrorist mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was captured last week, then who is Saddam Hussein going to sell his alleged weapons of mass destruction to? If al Qaeda has been destroyed, then surely more time can be allowed for inspections in Iraq.
Best explanation I can come up with: I think that George W. Bush has the definitions of war and peace confused. It's pretty understandable considering the family he grew up in. When he says "War is the last resort" when it has clearly been his first choice all along; when he says "I pray for peace" while rejecting the advice of the Pope and his own church, and when he calls Ariel Sharon a "man of peace:" Clearly, he has the definitions reversed.
The news sounds promising out of the UN
It sounds like the UN inspectors have repudiated Bush's lies from last night. Blix was mixed, but said that progress was being made and disarmament could be completed within months. ElBaradei, the chief nuclear inspector, was very positive about the progress being made in the inspections. While obviously this will fall on deaf ears in the White House, it should provide all the support that the Security Council members need to reject Bush's call for immediate war.

I'm wondering, with a lot of hope and fear, what if any steps Russia, China, France and Germany might take to stop the "coalition of the willing" from proceeding with war anyway. Obviously, they can't force a UN SC resolution forbidding it, since the US and Britain have vetoes. Let me know if you find anything about what options the "axis of sanity" might be planning to pursue.

Daschle, Pelosi finally speak out.

Mr. Daschle, of South Dakota, said he would back military confrontation when it remained the last option.

"I strongly believe we have not yet reached that point," he said. "I think it is critical that we work more effectively through the diplomatic channels and in the international community to bring about a peaceful result rather than a military result to this issue."

He conceded that a wide range of opinion existed among Congressional Democrats about the administration's policy. But he said Democrats had found common ground on one aspect of the administration's handling of Iraq.

"There is virtual unanimity," Mr. Daschle said, "in our express concern about the approach the administration has used. In our view, they have failed diplomatically. In our view, they are rushing to war without adequate concern for the ramifications of doing so unilaterally or with a very small coalition of nations."
from the NY Times.

From Steve Sack.

Boycott the War!

This web site suggests a boycott targeted at major corporations that have supported the Republicans who are now threatening to destroy the world. The hit list includes Kraft (Philip-Morris), Exxon-Mobil, Pepsi (ouch!), UPS, and Wal-Mart. There are plenty of other good reasons to boycott these terrible corporations; the immediate one is to make an impact on the war. Apparently the Pope didn't make any sizeable contribution to Bush's campaign fund, so the Pope gets ignored. These companies, along with many others, bought the 2000 and 2002 elections. Let's cut them off!
Capitol Hill Blue wants your opinion on W's press conference last night.
Bush suggests public resentment against Mexicans if Mexico votes against his war. In an interview with the Copley News Service quoted by Paul Krugman, W suggested that there might be anti-Mexican sentiment in the US similar to the ongoing French bashing. I haven't been able to find the interview from Copley--most of their stuff appears to require a paid subscription, but you can read Krugman's column for more nasty details.
Coverup Exposed!
The US Media is covering up the story released days ago in the Observer about US spying and dirty tricks on UN Security Council delegations in New York. -- Norman Solomon.
Powell, Bush oppose occupying Baghdad:
As one savvy official observed, occupying Baghdad comes at an "unpardonable expense in terms of money, lives lost and ruined regional relationships." Another expert put it this way: "We should not march into Baghdad. . . . To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero . . . assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."

Those comments may overemphasize the risks, but they are from top-notch analysts whose judgments I respect. The first comment was made by Colin Powell in a Foreign Affairs essay in 1992; the second is in "A World Transformed," a 1998 book by the first President Bush.
-- From Nicholas Kristoff's latest column .

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Out of dozens of choices, my vote for most ridiculous statement that W made in his press conference is: "It is hard to imagine an attack worse than September 11." (I'm paraphrasing--I haven't found a transcript online yet.)

At least three things wrong with this:
  1. One of those 9/11 planes crashing into a nuclear power plant would have been far worse. If W is not aware of this possibility, he and his so-called Homeland Security chief are completely incompetent. (Well, okay, they are anyway.)
  2. Elsewhere in the press conference he describes the possibility of a nuclear bomb going off in America. He doesn't imagine that that would be worse?
  3. Hasn't he been listening to Rummy and the generals about their "shock and awe" plans for Iraq? Never read about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hamburg, Dresden, Coventry, Guernica, Hanoi?

Other than that, he mostly just repeated the same old lies that Ari spouts every day.

The runner up was when he said that North Korea might sell nu-cu-lar weapons to dangerous dictators who might be willing to use them. Now why would Bush buy nukes from North Korea when he's already got so many?
Update: Senate Majority Leader Frist's online poll is now solidly against war, 58 to 42 percent. Go cast your vote if you haven't already!

While I know these things aren't scientific, I do think they are some indication of both the size and level of organization of the respective camps. That peaceniks can outpoll warmongers on a Republican senator's web site indicates that our network of e-mail lists and web sites (including blogs) is large and effective. Hopefully we can carry this through to the 2004 election, ensuring that an anti-war candidate wins the Democratic nomination for president, and that he or she wins! Along, of course, with anti-war majorities in the Senate and House!
Senator Debbie Stabenow addresses the tough issues: Her web site lists something called "Radio Actualities:" sound bites that can be used in news reports. Given all of the debate surrounding Iraq, North Korea, and the United Nations, it should come as no surprise that her latest radio actuality topic is (drumroll, please): "Senator Stabenow talks about the Red Wings Stanley Cup Championship on the floor of the Senate" (June 18, 2002).
Bush to hold 8 PM EST press conference tonight. Ari the Liar says that Bush won't announce war, but then Ari IS a liar. Let's hope Helen Thomas, Russell Mokhiber and other reporters have their questioning axes sharpened and are ready to make it obvious to the world that this idiot emperor wouldn't know how to put his clothes on even if he had any. Be on the lookout for Helen and Russell to be locked out and for all questions to come from FoxNews, New York Post, and Washington Times reporters. They're probably all rehearsing with W right now.
It's official: The NY Times web site's lead article reports that China has joined Russia, Germany and France in opposition to the US-UK resolution authorizing force against Iraq.
Leave no child alive: Some of the targets of "shock and awe:"

Is Rush Limbaugh still attacking Hillary? I'd have to agree with him at this point.

"Sen. [Hillary Rodham Clinton] fully supports the steps the president has taken to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction," said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines. -- NY Post.

Hillary is also about 150% behind Israel in its continued attacks on Palestinians. From her web site:

Senator Clinton supports the right of the government of Israel to defend its citizens against the continuing terrorist attacks. Just as Israel has fully supported the United States in our fight against terrorism, the United States must stand with Israel as it roots out the terrorist infrastructure that threatens the safety of her people and the security of her borders. As the September 11 attacks against the United States demonstrate, suicide bombing is a threat that in not just limited to Israel; it is a threat to all nations and to the principles of democracy and freedom.

She has a press release expressing sympathy after every suicide bombing; not a word about the ongoing attacks in the West Bank or Gaza.

I also noted that Hillary sat with Joe Lieberman right behind the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the State of the Union address, well separated from most of their senate colleagues. From what I saw on TV, they couldn't find a single thing in Bush's speech that they didn't agree with completely. That these two Republicans are considered leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004 or 2008 is very scary.

Blair willing to defy UN votes to continue pursuing the "enforcement" of UN resolutions. The first corollary of Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will.") is "Murphy was an optimist." It now appears that Orwell was an optimist, too.

On the brighter side, the same article mentions, briefly, that China supports Russian, French and German opposition to US-British war plans.

Coleen Rowley is Back!

The FBI agent who called attention to failures on the part of the bureau to pursue leads that might have helped to prevent the 9/11 attacks has just warned FBI Director Robert Mueller that the FBI is not equipped to stop terrorism caused by war in Iraq:

"The bottom line is this," Ms. Rowley wrote in her Feb. 26 letter to Mr. Mueller. "We should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the F.B.I., despite the various improvements you are implementing, will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq. What troubles me most is that I have no assurance that you have made that clear to the president." -- NY Times.

New York Mall drops charges against man wearing anti-war T-shirt. About 100 protesters wearing similar shirts went to the same mall yesterday to protest. Several peace folks here in Ann Arbor are thinking about doing the same at our local den of iniquity, the Briarwood Mall. We'd actually just all wear our shirts and shop (or pretend to). I doubt if we'd get much flak, this being Ann Arbor and all, but it could be an effective silent protest nonetheless.
Endless Love: The ballad of George and Tony (MPG video/audio file).
Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist has an online poll asking whether we support invading Iraq. When Tom Tomorrow linked to it yesterday, the vote was 66% in favor of war. Now it's 51% against. Let's all chip in, shall we?

Obviously, the poll isn't scientific, and we shouldn't exult (too much) if the forces of good defeat the forces of darkness (although let's make sure that happens, just in case). But the fact that Frist is asking it is a very good sign--I think it supports the Capitol Hill Blue reports that the Republicans are looking for an "exit strategy."

[Update] Scary aside: Senator Frist's web site is the first I've seen that gives Homeland Security's color alert levels a prominent position.

[Scary update number two] Frist's "no war" answer is worded like this: "An invasion of Iraq is not warranted at this time. The United States should proceed cautiously and work with the United Nations with the goal of the reintroduction of weapons inspectors into Iraq." Is he counting on people to be so stupid that they don't know that weapons inspectors were reintroduced into Iraq months ago? (Who is that Blix guy that Bush keeps complaining about then?)

A stupid war is being used as an excuse to attack everything good about America. Public schools, for instance (see below). And now, Rumsfeld's Department of Destruction is seeking broad exemptions from environmental laws, including those protecting endangered species (like humans).
School's Out Forever?
It's an insane society that can contemplate devastating and then rebuilding Iraq, but can't bring itself to provide schooling for all of its young people here at home. -- Bob Herbert, NY Times
Compromise Resolution Likely: The Guardian says that Britain is working behind the scenes to develop a UN resolution that will be passed by the Security Council, since the opposition of Russia, France and Germany to the last one appears firm. At the very least, it should postpone the war another two weeks.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

To think that we actually had some hope for the guy: Powell is just as insane as Bush!

If the fate of the world weren't at stake, the pathetic whining and lying by the Bushies would be funny.
Bush: Triumphalism, not Christianity?
Reverend Fritz Ritsch of Bethesda Presbyterian Church wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Washington Post last week. His conclusion:

The dominance of the religious right in political affairs makes it appear that a Christian worldview dominates American politics. But if, as I believe, this worldview is really American triumphalism, Christianity has taken a backseat to joyous secularism. Within Christianity and Judaism in this country there are denominations and branches with the philosophical and institutional power and authority to challenge that triumphalism, but bold stands such as the NCC's are still the exception.

With the political emergence of joyous secularism, the churches are challenged to preach an alternative message: grace, hope and redemption -- the truth of Biblical faith. This is both our pastoral and our political responsibility. In a nuclear age, American triumphalism is not only spiritually bereft, it is, quite possibly, apocalyptic in its implications.
Helen Thomas for President! Here's her question to Ari the Liar at today's White House press briefing:

Ari, since there is an atmosphere of the imminence of war in this White House, and since we have no direct access to the President, will you state for the record, for the historical record, why he wants to bomb Iraqi people?

You can read the briefing yourself if you want to know Ari's "answer." I won't pollute my blog with it. It is definitely a positive sign that Helen is no longer the only White House press correspondent asking tough questions.
Honor the resurrection of the "Prince of Peace" by buying an Easter basket complete with military action figure: What a sick country this is.

Nothing wrong with Wellstone's plane -- AP. To me, everything about that crash screams foul play. A friend points out that planes don't crash very often, and for two Democratic senatorial candidates to die in crashes just before elections it looked like they were going to win (Carnahan over Ashcroft in 2000, Wellstone over Coleman in 2002) should be extremely suspicious, that is if we had an alert media that wasn't under strict orders from the Republican powers that be. (My brother suggests we add the JFK Jr. crash to the mix--certainly if the bumbling stupid twit with the same name as a bad former president can get "elected," a handsome, intelligent guy with the same name as a good former president was a potential threat to the Republican agenda.)
After many weeks of daily Israeli raids in the West Bank and Gaza, which have killed many dozens of Palestinians, raids which have gotten at most small headlines on back pages, a bus blows up in Haifa, killing 15 Israelis, and it's front page news.
I don't know how much to believe Capitol Hill Blue, which calls itself "The oldest news site on the Internet." I just hope I can believe them. This article says the Bush's advisors, including Colin Powell, are telling him that he faces a humiliating defeat in the UN Security Council, with possibly only four countries voting for war (presumably the US, UK, Spain and Bulgaria, aka the axis of evil). According to CHB:
As a result, some White House advisors are now urging the President to back off his tough stance on war with Iraq and give UN weapons inspectors more time.

"We have no other choice," admits one Bush advisor. "We don't have the votes. We don't have the support."

Let's hope CHB is right, and that W at least listens to somebody.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

This would have been enough to convict at Nuremburg:
"If your template is Desert Storm, you have to imagine something much, much, much different," General Myers said, issuing a warning to journalists who plan to cover any war from Baghdad. "I would just be very, very careful about how you do your business." In 1991, allied aircraft conducted a 38-day bombing campaign before ground troops moved into Kuwait. Commanders this time plan a nearly simultaneous attack by land, air and sea.

General Myers said that throughout the campaign, the American military would go to "extraordinary lengths" to avoid civilian casualties.

"But we can't forget that war is inherently violent," he said. "People are going to die. As hard as we try to limit civilian casualties, it will occur. We need to condition people that that is war. People get the idea this is going to be antiseptic. Well, it's not going to be."
-- NY Times.

Actually, General, you have already gone to extraordinary lengths to cause civilian casualties.
What has been happening in Pakistan would make a good case study of how not to wage a war on terrorism.
If there is anything that is clear about the Khalid Shaikh Mohammed story, it is that nothing is clear. The Asia Times ran an article in October which indicated that Khalid was probably killed on September 11, 2002, as I brought up yesterday. After numerous inquiries from readers, they posted an explanation that the information was based on one source that was almost impossible to corroborate. Since then, they have posted a longer article describing lots of strange happenings in Pakistan, including a suggestion that Khalid was arrested a year ago. The headline to this post is the conclusion to that article. Whatever did or did not happen in Pakistan last week, I'm pretty convinced that most of what the administration and US media is feeding us about it is pure bu**sh**. We need to recall that whatever bad things can be said about Saddam Hussein apply about 50 times over for Musharraf: Weapons of Mass Destruction? Nuclear weapons, tested, and the means to deliver them. Attacked neighbors? Yes--ongoing support for groups attacking various governments in Afghanistan and the Indian-controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Supports terrorism? Pakistan has been a key base for al Qaeda, and was where the Taliban got its start. But while the Bush administration continues to threaten to once again destroy Iraq for failing to meet largely impossible demands, they continue to support Pakistan and congratulate them for their support in the "war on terrorism."
Briefly Off Topic (Sports)
For better or worse, I've been a sports fan since I was three years old and went to high school football and basketball games in Virginia with my parents and siblings. I can tell you the names of players and teams in leagues that no longer exist in baseball, football, hockey, basketball and soccer. I've always been interested in ideas related to making sports more interesting and fair. One long-time ongoing debate in sports deals with "blowouts," where teams of vastly differing talent and/or size levels play each other (okay, maybe it's not that off topic). I've seen many UM football games where Navy or Duke or Northwestern came in with a team that had basically zero chance of beating Michigan, which if it wasn't obvious before the game clearly was five minutes in. Rules and tradition require that the two teams stay on the field for the full 60 minutes; etiquette requires that Michigan's coach replace his starters with second, third and fourth stringers in the second half, if not sooner. Fans paying $40 or so for a ticket are expected to sit there and watch Michigan's scrubs play against a still inferior opponent for another 30 minutes. Injuries to these players on both sides, almost none of whom have any chance at making the NFL (UM's starters do, but they're on the bench now), are frequent. There are many other problems, as well, but I'm already off topic.

A NY Times article describes this problem taken to its extreme in girls' high school basketball. Scores like 115-2 and 89-7 occur fairly frequently as schools with long traditions and girls who have been playing all their lives face new programs with girls just learning the game. Coaches in Michigan are pushing a remedy which calls for switching the clock to "running time" once a game gets out of hand--the clock no longer stops for fouls, turnovers, or timeouts, so the game ends sooner. Personally, I think that playing to a certain point total (winning by a certain margin) rather than using a clock would be a better solution--let good games last longer than bad games. But the real problem is that teams so far apart in talent are playing each other at all.

The solution to this is so simple in this day of the Internet that I wonder that no one seems to have picked up on it, at least not in this country. The key to the problem is that coaches or athletic directors now have to arrange schedules before the season starts; frequently this is done just by calling other schools and arranging a game or two. A much better solution would be to schedule home dates without particular opponents mentioned; every week, teams with road games scheduled play at teams with home games that have similar records. Good teams would play better and better opposition every week; weak teams would eventually meet their match and win a game or two. Powerhouse schools could have multiple junior-varsity teams that competed in the same overall league (although leagues as such would be mostly eliminated in this scheme; rather the whole schedule would eventually lead to a state champion). Fans could go expecting to see a competitive game on most nights, regardless of the ability of the home team. Also, the frustration that Big Ten fans feel just about every year when Ohio State wins a share of the football title without playing its co-champion (Iowa last year) at all would disappear. As both teams continued undefeated, they would eventually have to meet each other.

Back when communication was by letter and travel by train, it may have been necessary to have a complete schedule made out before the season starts. The Internet and other computer tools make this unnecessary. Simply scheduling home dates without specified opponents would work fine as long as there were an equal number of home and away dates scheduled among the teams in the league. As the article points out, the running clock and other game-shortening schemes deprive players of playing time. Redesigning the scheduling system to eliminate mismatches before they happen would avoid this and many other problems.

Asia Times was the paper which had the article in October which reported that Khalid Shaikh Mohammad had been killed in a raid last September in Karachi. Since Khalid has been headline news for the past few days because he was supposedly arrested as part of the "war on terrorism," the Asia Times apparently has received a lot of inquiries over the past few days. Since I reported on their article yesterday, I present their response today:

ATol responds to readers' queries

Asia Times Online cannot independently confirm whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammad is dead, alive, free, or in captivity. Confusion, conspiracy theories and rumors abound.

Our article of October 30, 2002, A chilling inheritance of terror, quoted an unnamed Pakistani official who was present at the shootout in Karachi on September 11, 2002, as saying that Khalid had died in that raid.

Clearly, statements by official or unofficial sources on all sides in this "war against terrorism" should not be taken as fact. Nevertheless, they sometimes need to be reported, though with suitable qualification.

The problem with covering this "war on terrorism" is to discern the facts amid the fog of disinformation and lies. Asia Times Online will continue striving to do just this, while admitting that we are bound to get it wrong occasionally.

Bob's addendum: The problem with covering this "war on terrorism" is to discern whether there are any facts at all amid the fog of disinformation and lies. Bob's Links and Rants will continue striving to do just this, while admitting that we are bound to get it wrong occasionally. And, the following remains in doubt:
  • whether or not someone named Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was killed last September in Karachi;
  • whether someone named Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was in fact arrested recently in Karachi, or maybe it was months ago, or perhaps they arrested someone else and claimed it was Khalid Shaikh Mohammad;
  • whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was actually a leading figure in al Qaeda and the mastermind of numerous terrorist attacks;
  • whether the person arrested has any information in his brain, or had any in his apartment, that relates to terrorist attacks past or future;
  • whether that person would tell his interrogators the truth about these attacks;
  • whether his interrogators would tell their governments the truth;
  • whether the governments would tell the press the truth;
  • whether the press would tell us the truth.

Given the desperation on the part of the Bush administration to link al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein and their willingness to lie about it, any supposed evidence gained from his capture needs to be viewed in light of all of the weak links in the chain listed above.

[Update:] Robert Fisk highlights my naivete by adding several more points to my list.

Monday, March 03, 2003

There are big lies, and then there are Ari lies:
(From today's White House press briefing)
Q Ari, the destruction of these Al Samoud missiles now represents about 10 percent or more of their entire medium-range missile capability. That's a piece of real substantive disarmament under international supervision, but it's not total disarmament. But you aren't denying that that's real disarmament?

MR. FLEISCHER: We are -- it is not real disarmament. There's only one standard of disarmament: full, complete and immediate. The United Nations resolutions did not call for a little piece of disarmament. It didn't say, 10 percent disarmament four months after we call on you to do it immediately. None of that was in 1441. And the only reason this is even happening today in the small degree that it has indeed happened is because he is under great pressure from President Bush, the United States and the coalition of the willing.

Q But it is substantive. It's not just process, this is substance. This is real destruction of weapons.

MR. FLEISCHER: It is insufficient. It is not complete. It is not total.

Q So it's the administration's view that making war in Iraq now is preferable to any further piecemeal substantive disarmament?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the President has not made a decision about whether or not this ultimately will be done through the use of force. If he makes that decision I think you can infer from that action, and the President would agree with your premise in that case. But until he does, of course, and if he does, the process remains underway, and it's a process by which Iraq is defying the United Nations. They pretended to comply in small and limited ways. But nothing less than full, complete and immediate is called for, because that's what the United Nations has sought.

I have highlighted those two portions because they are total lies. The fact that Bush administration officials repeat them daily doesn't make them less so. As I pointed out yesterday, UN Security Council resolution 1441 calls for inpectors to lead the disarmament process; it has only one deadline, which was the production of documentation of Iraq's weapons and programs, a deadline which was met with a day to spare; it calls for Iraq to give inspectors unimpeded access and to assist them as requested.

But, of course, Ari is just getting warmed up.

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, here's the Catch-22 that Saddam Hussein has put himself in: he denied he had these weapons, and then he destroys things he says he never had. If he lies about never having them, how can you trust him when he says he has destroyed them? How do you know he's not lying, he doesn't have tons more buried under the sand somewhere else? How do you know this is not the mother of all distractions, diversions, so the world looks in one place while he buries them in another?

You know, Ari, what you do is have inspectors look for the stuff, just like UN 1441 called for.

Ari was also asked about the report that the US government is spying on diplomats from UN Security Council members. Any government with a shred of integrity would deny it, but check out what Ari says--or doesn't:

Q May I also ask you about a report in The Observer newspaper in London, of a memo purported to be from the NSA -- an email message from a man who actually works at the NSA they established -- in which he describes a surge in surveillance of U.N. Security Council members to see what these nations are thinking about an Iraq vote. What's your response?

MR. FLEISCHER: Terry, as a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence. For example, if somebody were to say to me, is Libya an object of American intelligence -- I would never answer that question yes or no. The administration does not answer questions of that nature. We don't answer who does or does not work in the intelligence community. Once you start that, you start getting into process of elimination and we do not do that about any question, about any report, as a blanket matter of policy.

Q But, then, if you're a Cameroonian diplomat or a French diplomat at the United Nations, because of what you just said, you're going to have to operate on the assumption that the United States is bugging you.

MR. FLEISCHER: No, it's a blanket matter of policy that we do not answer questions of that nature, whether it's true or not true, and I'm not indicating to you whether it is true or not true. It's a blanket matter of approach and policy that predates this administration.

That is, it is the policy of the US government to violate international law by spying on UN diplomats.

And "the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence?" I guess that's why Ari talks about the president so much.

Turkey's Decision Sets War Plans Back!

Turkey's refusal to let U.S. troops use its bases for any invasion of Iraq could delay a war until late March or early April, U.S. officials and defense experts said on Monday. -- from Reuters.

So maybe we've got another month to increase the pressure on the Bushian warmongers through protests and Congress. Please do everything you can to convince Congress, especially, to put a stop to the madness and bring the troops home safe and alive.
Lots of good ranting about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and all sorts of other things too numerous to mention are at this blog I just discovered through MouseMusings. Just in case I haven't been keeping you busy enough!
Some things are just too hard to sell, even for a pro. Veteran PR whiz Charlotte Beers has resigned as undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs in the State Department. Her task was to devise a multimillion-dollar public diplomacy campaign, complete with academic exchange programs and slick public service advertisements, to soften anti-American feelings. Although she is supposedly resigning for "health reasons," she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that "The gap between who we are and how we wish to be seen and how we are in fact seen is frighteningly wide," according to the article.

You don't have to sell me on that, Charlotte!
According to Newsweek, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) decided to run for president after witnessing massive cover-ups and deceptions on the part of the FBI and CIA regarding events leading up to September 11. I'm not sure if I trust anyone who won an election in Florida, even Al Gore, but it might be worth electing this guy just to finally find out the truth about something (don't worry, Dennis, I'm still with you!).
O'Reilly apologizes--sort of. People who protest after the war starts are no longer "un-American," they're "bad Americans," according to FoxNews' Bill O'Reilly. He does defend our right to protest and his right to complain about it; I guess I can live with that. He doesn't mention his "enemies of the state" comment in his apology, but at least it sounds like he's no longer encouraging his viewers to burn down our houses.

I think I'll still take my Discover Card (an O'Reilly sponsor) out of my wallet for a while; after all Trent Lott didn't get off completely scott-free after his apologies, either.
Did the supposed al Qaeda muckety-muck now being "questioned" actually die last September? It appears so. Thanks to Politics in the Zeros and the Memory Hole for tracking that one down.

[Update]What do you bet that this dead man tells lots of tales about al Qaeda's connections to Iraq?
Fallen Golden Arches
"When I was a teenager, it was much more acceptable within my peer level to eat here," said Mr. Ibrahim, a 26-year-old architectural draftsman, as he sat in a McDonald's near the Mission District in San Francisco. "But now, it comes off as uncultured, unclassy and uncool. Nobody brags about going to McDonald's, that's for sure."

He added: "If you want to be chic, you eat sushi. Indian food is even more cutting edge. McDonald's is like white bread."
-- NY Times.

You deserve a break today, so get up and stay away from McDonald's. They've contributed to the destruction of the labor movement, the destruction of rain forests, the monopolization of American agriculture, the obesity and reduced health of millions of Americans, and of course the uglification of the American landscape. Check out the books listed in the vegetarian sections of my books page for details on all of this.
Divine Shield?
A woman on has started a campaign asking Pope John Paul II to go to Baghdad as a way to prevent war. I just joined in; I encourage you to do so as well. The Pope can be e-mailed at
White House aides argue that the president cannot talk about casualties without scaring Americans. -- from the NY Times. Frankly, I'm scared everytime he speaks. And after all of the scaremongering that has come out of the White House in the past year and a half, this comment is so completely and utterly absurd that ____________________________. (Blog Libs: Fill in the blank with the most ridiculous thing you can think of.)
No, I haven't forgotten:
  • The violence in Palestine continues;
  • Violence continues in Venezuela;
  • Brutality, oppression, fear and poverty are increasing everywhere (too many links);
  • and, of course, while some Americans are still growing surplus cotton in the desert and building golf courses in Arizona, the world is running out of drinkable water.

Anti-war resolutions
I was excited last month to hear that Hawaii had passed an anti-war resolution and was about to excitedly rant about it, until I read it. I'll paraphrase it for you here:

"WHEREAS the State of Hawaii has supported every imperial act undertaken by the US government starting with the Gulf War, including the bombing of Afghanistan and the ongoing never-ending 'war on terrorism,' the relentless bribery and coercion of supposedly sovereign nations which led to the passage of UN Resolution 1441, and the immense military buildup, threats, and actual ongoing attacks on Iraq despite the fact that Iraq has never attacked the US, nor attacked anyone else in over twelve years, the State of Hawaii is nevertheless slightly concerned that actually going ahead with a full-scale war against Iraq right now might possibly not be the best idea ever. But we still love our president."

Check it out for yourself: That's basically what it says. And several others have been along these lines. So I have trouble getting excited about these resolutions when I basically disagree with everything they say except for one line. Ann Arbor's resolution is much clearer and to the point. That's what an anti-war resolution should look like.

In these desperate times, all of us anti-war activists are looking for any port in a storm. We're excited when a Norman Schwarzkopf or Wesley Clark speaks out against the war. But Bush has made it clear that he has many more wars on his horizon, even if somehow we are successful in averting this one. We must be careful not to give indirect support for further extensions to the non-sensical "war on terrorism" by jumping too solidly behind some of these statements.

That said, today's NY Times lead editorial falls somewhat in this category. Still, it is an improvement over one from last week. So I applaud their recognition of clear evidence of disarmament and their reduced militancy, while still disagreeing with many of their assumptions.

In conclusion to this rambling rant, let me say that going to an ANSWER-sponsored peace rally doesn't make you a communist; and neither does agreeing with Hawaii or Norman Schwarzkopf that a second Gulf War is a bad idea mean that you agree with them that the first Gulf War was a good one.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

From Bruce Beattie of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Our government is engaged in a "Dirty Tricks" campaign against UN Security Council members

-- from the Observer (UK).

Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.

The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

Thanks to Mary in Fort Worth for the link! This should, of course, be front-page news in every US paper, news web site, and TV news network, but it isn't. They're all making a big deal out of arresting some supposed al Qaeda muckety-muck in Pakistan, claiming he was the mastermind behind every terrorist attack since the Titanic went down. Funny, I've been paying pretty close attention, and I was under the impression that that Osama guy was to blame. But hey, the Bushies have accomplished their goal of distracting your news sources, even me, from the real news of the day. So, I'm going to repeat it:

Our government is engaged in a "Dirty Tricks" campaign against UN Security Council members.

I didn't think I'd ever say this again, but good Thomas Friedman column today. Excerpts:

Don't believe the polls. I've been to nearly 20 states recently, and I've found that 95 percent of the country wants to see Iraq dealt with without a war. But President Bush is a man on a mission. He has been convinced by a tiny group of advisers that throwing "The Long Bomb" — attempting to transform the most dangerous Arab state — is a geopolitical game-changer.
He and his team are the only people who would ever have conceived this project, but they may be the worst people to implement it. The only place they've been bold is in their military preparations (which have at least gotten Saddam to begin disarming).

What do I mean? I mean that if taking out Saddam and rebuilding Iraq had been my goal from the minute I took office (as it was for the Bush team), I would not have angered all of Europe by trashing the Kyoto global warming treaty without offering an alternative. I would not have alienated the entire Russian national security elite by telling the Russians that we were ripping up the ABM treaty and that they would just have to get used to it. (You're now seeing their revenge.) I would not have proposed one radical tax cut on top of another on the eve of a huge, costly nation-building marathon abroad.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Is the US in violation of UN Resolution 1441?
The Security Council ... Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA; -- from UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

According to CBS:

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage."

So is our government failing to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA, thereby violating resolution 1441?

I report, you decide.
We said they would comply on this, so it doesn't count:
Iraq began destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles Saturday as ordered by the United Nations and agreed with weapons inspectors on a timetable to dismantle the entire missile program, U.N. and Iraqi officials said.

But the United States dismissed the step as insufficient and deceptive. "Resolution 1441 called for complete, total and immediate disarmament. It did not call for pieces of disarmament," Merci Viana, a Bush spokeswoman, said. "The president has always predicted that Iraq would destroy its Al Samoud missiles as part of its game of deception."
-- from the Washington Post.

Besides the ridiculous petulance and obtuseness of Bush's position, this is another example of the "big lie," a la Goebbels. The text of resolution 1441 says a lot about the inspection process: providing free access to all sites, free movement throughout the country. It says that "UNMOVIC and the IAEA shall have the right at their sole discretion verifiably to remove, destroy, or render harmless all prohibited weapons, subsystems, components, records, materials, and other related items, and the right to impound or close any facilities or equipment for the production thereof." In other words, it is the inspectors' responsibility to destroy the weapons; it is Iraq's responsibility (under 1441) to assist the inspectors. Nowhere in the resolution does it state that "complete, total and immediate disarmament" is solely Iraq's responsibility, especially the immediate part. The resolution clearly expects the inspectors to lead the disarmament process; Iraq was to assist by producing the documentation and by giving access to the inspectors. Perhaps some quibbles about the quality of the document or the degree of assistance given to the inspectors are justified, but the claim that 1441 calls for complete, total and immediate disarmament is just one big fat lie.

Iraq did claim that it had no weapons of mass destruction, so perhaps they bear some responsibility if some are indeed found (the al Samoud 2 missiles possibly violate a provision of an earlier resolution, but they are not WMD's under the generally accepted (though stupid) definition: chemical, biological, or nuclear). And 1441 seems to operate on the premise that Iraq does possess WMD's and is required to assist the inspectors in locating and destroying them. Everything I've read indicates that this has been happening.

And, of course, the very idea that the threat from Iraq is actually increasing while inspectors roam their country, sanctions remain in place, and US spy planes fly regularly over their territory is such nonsense that it is really beneath contempt. To go to war because things aren't improving fast enough according to the jerk who decided to make an issue of it in the first place is absurd in the extreme.

And one more thing! Merci is a French word!
Oh joy, it's snowing again. :-(

Turkish Parliament votes against U.S. Troops using Turkish bases!

Well, sort of, but at least that's the effect until Tuesday. The vote was 264 yes, 250 no, 19 abstain. The Turkish constitution requires a majority of those present to vote "yes" for a bill to pass, so the abstentions essentially counted as "no" votes. More from the Guardian and CNN.
Oops, guys you left one out: Pentagon Releases a List of War Crimes
The draft instructions, which would apply to non-Americans, list as crimes the willful killing of protected persons; attacking civilians, civilian objects or protected property; pillaging; taking hostages; and employing poison or similar weapons.

Other crimes on the list include the use of protected persons or property as shields; mutilation or maiming; the use of treachery or perfidy; the improper use of the flag of truce or protective emblems; the degrading treatment of a dead body; and rape.

Also on the proposed list are hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft; terrorism; aiding the enemy; spying; perjury or false testimony; and obstruction of justice related to military commissions.

Membership in Al Qaeda is not considered a crime, but the list includes "related offenses," like conspiracy and aiding or abetting, attempting, soliciting or ordering any of the 24 crimes mentioned.

So where's "attacking a country that has never attacked you nor poses any threat to you?" Oh, well, there's still enough on that list to have George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon locked up. Attacking civilians? Guilty. Taking hostages? Guilty. Aiding the enemy? Guilty. Perjury, false testimony, obstruction of justice? Guilty, guilty, guilty.