SocioSphere Editorials

April 2002 - February 2009 Archive
Reflections on Religion, Current Events, and Other Subjects

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Monday,March 31,2003

EVERY IRAQI WILL BE SEEN AS A THREAT Mar 31 2003 By Terrorism expert Kevin Toolis No war plan survives contact with the enemy. And Iraq’s latest weapon – a suicide bomber – is deadly proof that war against Saddam is turning into a nightmare. The blowing up of four US soldiers outside Najaf is an ominous portent. British and American tactics will now have to be entirely redrawn. Every Iraqi is now a potential deadly enemy, every car a potential bomb. There is no way to separate the innocent from the enemy. In Baghdad Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan crowed over his evil triumph and warned of future attacks where one martyr “could kill 5,000 on one mission”. A British Army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie McCourt, brushed off the threat saying because of Northern Ireland experience our troops would only make “minor adjustments” to patrolling behaviour. I have spent some time with British troops in Northern Ireland and McCourt is either a liar or a fool. Possibly both. The IRA were never suicide bombers. In comparison to the Middle East, Northern Ireland was a poor terrorist sideshow. A better military example would be Israel – where yesterday another suicide bomber struck in Netanya injuring 40. In Gaza jumpy Israeli conscripts will shoot any Palestinian who enters the 500 metre wide free-fire zones that surround every Israeli outpost. Israeli military bulldozers level every building and orchard that might provide militants a hiding place. If they have to search cars Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers cower close to their concrete fortifications, fingers on the trigger waiting for the slightest suspicious move. They don’t hesitate in killing. You can see the sweat of fear on every soldier. Inevitably individual IDF soldiers are swiftly brutalised and become cogs in a hateful war machine. Even when they raid Palestinian cities the IDF does not like to hang around – as a target for suicide attacks. The victims of this military occupation strike back in the only way they can - with more suicide bombings. How long will it be before our own troops see every Iraqi as a potential killer? How long will it be before every Iraqi sees a British soldier as a hated occupier and a potential killer? There are differences between Israel and Iraq. But none can be pleasing to military commanders. For a start Iraq is a lot bigger. The population of Baghdad is at least five million - almost the population of Israel. Who will fight their way into this city and risk a suicide bomber at every corner? Secondly, the Iraqis have more weapons and can fight armoured vehicles with their rocket-propelled grenades. Thirdly, to counter that armed threat, and suicide bombers, the US and Britain at some stage are going to have to blast their way into Baghdad shooting anything, and anyone in their path. Every bomb dropped, every child killed, will rightly make Iraqis, and the Arabs, hate us more. Bush and Blair’s war plan has gone very wrong. You don’t “liberate” people who will kill themselves as long as they kill British and US soldiers as well. And you can’t fight a “smart war” where suicide bombers are hidden among civilians just waiting for the chance to press the switch. An allied victory is inevitable but at what cost? How many Iraqis are going to have to die to be saved from Saddam Hussein. Whatever the outcome, the battle for Arab hearts and minds has failed. Across the Arab world suicide attacks have huge symbolic significance. Suicide bombers, or shaheed, are martyrs who by their sacrifice challenge the might of Israel and the United States. They are revered like pop stars. Iraqi Vice-President Taha Ramadan will have little difficulty persuading the wider Arab world that the bombing of the Najaf checkpoint was the first glorious Iraqi martyrdom operation. One thing is now clear: the war to liberate Iraq is lost and the bloody battle to conquer Iraq has just begun. Kevin Toolis is an author and expert on terrorism.
Fox News Channel is now accusing Peter Arnett of being a traitor even when its own embedded reporter, Geraldo Rivera, a.k.a. Jerry Rivers, drew a map in the sand of where he and the military he was covering were stationed at that time and where they were going. It is also interesting to have heard one of the radio-talk-show-on-tv news channel's anchor's, not commentators, introduce a segment with, "In other axis of evil news." Fair and balanced?

posted at 07:07:16 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Saturday,March 29,2003

Here is a message I posted to a Baha'i email list:

I suppose Baha'is believe that `Abdu'l-Baha is not a Prophet because both He and the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, said so. ;-) However, on face value, `Abdu'l-Baha appears, to me anyway, to conform to the description of a Prophet, or "dependent" Manifestation (not endowed with constancy, i.e., not a Lawgiver), which He Himself provided in Some Answered Questions:

"The other Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and not independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and they profit by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but receives its light from the sun....

"With regard to the second sort of Prophets who are followers, these also promote the Law of God, make known the Religion of God, and proclaim His word. Of themselves they have no power and might, except what they receive from the independent Prophets.

-- `Abdu'l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, pp.164-165

I don't recall ever seeing a statement which rules out the possibility of `Abdu'l-Baha having been a minor Prophet. In fact, the Master's description of Himself sounds a awful lot alike His definition of a dependent Manifestation:

"'Abdu'l-Baha is himself a servant at the Threshold of the Blessed Beauty and a manifestation of pure and utter servitude at the Threshold of the Almighty."

-- `Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Baha, p.295

Are not minor Prophets, in particular, manifestations (Manifestations) of servitude?

Likewise, Shoghi Effendi, while saying that `Abdu'l-Baha was not a Prophet, described the Master in a manner which sounds a great deal like a dependent Manifestation to me:

"That Abdu'l-Baha is not a Manifestation of God, that He gets His light, His inspiration and sustenance direct from the Fountain-head of the Baha'i Revelation; that He reflects even as a clear and perfect Mirror the rays of Baha'u'llah's glory, and does not inherently possess that indefinable yet all-pervading reality the exclusive possession of which is the hallmark of Prophethood ...."

-- Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p.139

By "Prophethood," is he referring only to Major Prophets? The words "inherently possess" would appear to refer to an independent Prophet.

Shoghi Effendi also wrote:

"... that He reflects even as a clear and perfect Mirror the rays of Baha'u'llah's glory, and does not inherently possess that indefinable yet all-pervading reality the exclusive possession of which is the hallmark of Prophethood ...."

- World Order of Baha'u'llah, p.139

The first part sound to me like `Abdu'l-Baha's description of dependent (minor) Prophets. When the Guardian refers to the "hallmark of Prophethood" does He mean both major and minor Prophets?

`Abdu'l-Baha's station, the Center of the Covenant, is clearly original. However, I don't know of any statement which says that it may never be repeated again. I would also contrast the Master's station with His nature, the Mystery of God, which may, IMO, be compatible with Him being a minor Prophet. Of course, I am only introducing a possibility.

The Master does not have exactly the same function as most of the Israelite minor Prophets. However, does that mean that `Abdu'l-Baha is not a minor Prophet? IMO, the statements by both `Abdu'l-Baha and the Guardian are sufficiently vague on this issue to at least leave open that possibility.

Also, Shakyamuni Buddha is also an interesting case, since, given His reported anti-theism, He might appear *not* to have been a Prophet, and yet He *is* one.



posted at 05:04:07 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,March 28,2003

A nice article from the Konformist email list:

9/11 was a hoax: The American government killed its own people

By John Kaminski

Online Journal Contributing Writer

March 24, 2003 - Opposed by everyone in the world who was not bought

off, the illegal invasion of Iraq was undertaken for many reasons -

the imminent replacement of the dollar by the euro as the world's

primary currency, the tempting lure of untapped oil reserves, the

desire to consolidate U.S./Israeli military hegemony over a

strategically vital region - but the most important reason was to

further obscure questions about the awesome deception staged by the

American government that has come to be known as 9/11.

9/11 was a hoax. This is no longer a wild conspiracy assertion; it is

a fact, supported by thousands of other verifiable facts, foremost of

which are:

The attacks of 9/11 could not have happened without the willful

failure of the American defense system. In Washington, Air Force

pilots demanded to fly but were ordered to stand down. Yet instead of

prosecuting George W. Bush and military leaders for this

unprecedented dereliction of duty, military leaders were promoted and

Bush was praised for presiding over a defense system that

suspiciously failed the most crucial test in its history. None of the

deaths would have happened without the deliberate unplugging of

America's air defenses.

Planes that lose contact with control towers are usually intercepted

by fighter jets inside of 10 minutes, as the incident with golfer

Payne Stewart's plane barely two years earlier so clearly

demonstrated. Yet on 9/11, the jetliners that struck New York were

allowed to proceed unmolested for more than a half-hour, and the

plane that supposedly crashed in Washington was not intercepted for

more than an hour and 40 minutes after it was widely known that four

planes had been hijacked.

The twin towers could not have collapsed as a result of burning jet

fuel. Most of that fuel was consumed on impact. In the south tower,

most of the fuel was spilled outside the building. Heat caused by

burning jet fuel does not reach temperatures needed to melt steel.

What does stand out as particularly suspicious and still unexplained

is that fires raged out of control beneath three of the collapsed

buildings for 100 days, clearly indicating the presence of some kind

of substance utilized in the demolition of the structures.

FBI Director Robert Mueller insisted officials had no idea this kind

of attack could happen when in fact the FBI had been investigating

the possibility of exactly this kind of attack for almost 10 years.

Numerous previous attempts at using planes as weapons, intimate

knowledge of terror plans called Project Bojinka, and knowledge of

suspicious characters attending flight schools who were being

monitored by the FBI make his utterance a clear lie on its face.

In the weeks before 9/11, the U.S. received warnings from all over

the world that an event just like this was about to happen, but FBI

investigations into suspected terrorists were suppressed and those

warnings were deliberately disregarded.

The names of the alleged hijackers, all ostensibly Muslims, were

released to the public only hours after the attacks, despite Mueller

saying we had no knowledge this would happen. This is an impossible

twist of logic. If he didn't know of a plan to strike buildings with

planes, how would he know the names of the hijackers? Various

artifacts were discovered in strategic places to try to confirm the

government's story, but these have all been dismissed as suspicious

planting of evidence. Since that time several names on that list have

turned up alive and well, living in Arab countries. Yet no attempt

has ever been made to update the list. And why were none of these

names on the airlines' passenger lists?

Much like the invasion of Iraq, the anthrax attacks were designed to

deflect attention from unanswered 9/11 questions in the patriotic

pandemonium that followed the tragedy. In addition to making large

amounts of money for George W.'s father and his friends from the

hasty sale of inefficient drugs to a panicked populace, the

investigation into these killings was abruptly halted when the trail

of evidence led straight to the government's door, and has not been

reopened. The anthrax attacks also ramped up the climate of fear and

deflected attention from the passage of the government's repressive

USA PATRIOT Act.

The USA PATRIOT Act was presented in the days after the tragedy

supposedly as a response to it, yet it was clear that this heinous

act, drafted to nullify provisions for freedom in the U.S.

Constitution, was put together long before 9/11. In addition,

testimony by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) revealed that most members of

Congress were compelled to vote for the bill without even reading it.

This was a vote to eliminate the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which

has defined American freedom for 200-plus years, and it was

accomplished when legislators voted for the bill without even reading

it.

The invasion of Afghanistan was presented as an attempt to pursue the

alleged perpetrators of 9/11, yet it had been discussed for years

prior to the tragedy and actually planned in the months before the

attacks on New York and Washington. Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his book,

The Grand Chessboard, laid out a blueprint for American global

hegemony and the right-wing Project for a New American Century, in

calling for aggressive tactics, stressed that America needed a

formidable enemy to accomplish its geopolitical aims. The supposed

enemy we attacked in Afghanistan was a diverse group of men from all

over the world who were initially recruited, encouraged and supported

by the American CIA.

The hole in the Pentagon was not made by a jumbo jet. Damage to the

building was simply not consistent with the size of the hole. At the

supposed point of impact, a whole bank of windows remained unbroken

and there were no marks on the lawn. No airplane debris (except what

was planted on the lawn); nor were remains of passengers ever found.

Bush was shown on TV continuing to listen to schoolchildren reading

in a Florida school for 25 minutes after being informed of the attack

on the World Trade Center in New York. He has never explained this

puzzling behavior, nor how he saw the first plane hit. It was never

televised, only recorded by a French crew filming firemen in New York.

The plane in Pennsylvania was shot down and broke apart in midair. No

other explanation can account for the wreckage, which was spread over

a six-mile area, or the eyewitness accounts that describe debris

falling from the sky.

Cellular phone calls cannot be made from airliners in flight that are

not close to the ground. As research by Professor A. K. Dewdney has

shown, the emotional conversations between hijacked passengers and

others would not have been possible under conditions that existed at

that moment. These calls were cynical fabrications, exploiting the

distraught emotions of those who lost loved ones.

Radio communications from firefighters on the upper floors of the

Trade Center towers clearly indicate that fires were under control

and the structure was in no danger of collapsing.

These are merely a few of the deliberately false statements made by

U.S. officials about 9/11. They provide crystal clear evidence that

Bush and his administration should be indicted on charges of treason,

obstruction of justice and mass murder. Above all, these evil people

should be removed from their positions of authority before they

implement more of their moneymaking murder schemes, like the one they

are now perpetrating on the innocent people of Iraq.

Otherwise, we face a future of endless war abroad and merciless

repression at home.

Consider just a few more of the other unanswered questions from among

the thousands of unexplained loose ends that all point to 9/11 being

an inside job.

Who benefited from the suspiciously high numbers of put options

purchased prior to September 11 for shares in airline companies whose

stock prices subsequently plummeted, on the supposition that whoever

was behind the hijacking was also behind most of the purchases of

these put options? And what was the role of the CIA Executive

Director Buzzy Krongard who handled these transactions?

Why was the debris from the collapsed Twin Towers removed from the

site with no forensic examination? Why was almost all of it sold to

scrap merchants and shipped abroad where it would not be available

for scientific examination?

Why does the government refuse to release any transcripts of

communications or any records at all relating to signals of any form

transmitted by those jets?

Why did so many people, from San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to many

employees of companies in the World Trade Center who failed to come

to work that day, know in advance that something bad was going to

happen on Sept. 11, 2001?

Why do all the major U.S. media continue to act as if none of these

questions is legitimate or relevant?

Today, millions of people around the world are protesting the

criminal destruction of the nation of Iraq. But these protests won't

change the number of minds necessary to stop America's criminal

madmen from continuing with their genocidal aim of enslaving the

entire world.

What will stop them is spreading the realization that George W. Bush

and his billionaire accomplices in the oil industry perpetrated 9/11

as an excuse to begin the militarization of America for the purpose

of world conquest.

History has shown all too clearly the deceived American people will

support the destruction of faraway countries on phony pretexts of

defending so-called freedom.

Thus the needless wars continue. Right now we watch high-tech weapons

slaughter the defenseless people of Iraq. Soon it will be Iran,

Syria, Colombia, Venezuela, North Korea, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, North

Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and who knows where else. All these

misguided atrocities will be possible because of the hoax known as

9/11.

But the American people will not - and cannot - tolerate leaders who

kill our own people merely to invent a pretext - the war on terror -

to go around killing anyone they like.

If the American people do tolerate such an insane strategy, then they

clearly do not deserve to survive as a nation or a people.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the coast of Florida and can't

understand why George W. Bush hasn't been arrested for his obvious

lies and crimes. He can be reached at skylax@comcast.net.


U.N. Official: Fake Iraq Nuke Papers Were Crude

Tue Mar 25, 9:39 AM ET Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030325/ts_nm/iraq_nuclear_un_dc_1

By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA (Reuters) - A few hours and a simple internet search was all it took for U.N. inspectors to realize documents backing U.S. and British claims that Iraq (news - web sites) had revived its nuclear program were crude fakes, a U.N. official said.

Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, a senior official from the U.N. nuclear agency who saw the documents offered as evidence that Iraq tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, described one as so badly forged his "jaw dropped."

"When (U.N. experts) started to look at them, after a few hours of going at it with a critical eye things started to pop out," the official said, adding a more thorough investigation used up "resources, time and energy we could have devoted elsewhere."

The United States first made the allegation that Iraq had revived its nuclear program last fall when the CIA (news - web sites) warned that Baghdad "could make a nuclear weapon within a year" if it acquired uranium. President Bush (news - web sites) found the proof credible enough to add it to his State of the Union speech in January.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official said the charge Iraq sought the uranium was to be the "stake in the heart" of Baghdad and "would have been as close to a smoking gun as you could get" because Iraq could only want it for weapons.

OBVIOUS FAKES

Once the IAEA got the documents -- which took months -- French nuclear scientist Jacques Bautes, head of the U.N. Iraq Nuclear Verification office, quickly saw they were fakes.

Two documents were particularly bad. The first was a letter from the president of Niger which referred to his authority under the 1965 constitution. That constitution has been defunct for nearly four years, the official said.

There were other problems with the letter, including an unsuccessful forgery of the president's signature.

"It doesn't even look close to the signature of the president. I'm not a (handwriting) expert but when I looked at it my jaw dropped," the official said.

Another letter about uranium dated October 2000 purportedly came from Niger's foreign minister and was signed by a Mr. Alle Elhadj Habibou, who has not been foreign minister since 1989.

To make matters worse, the letterhead was out of date and referred to Niger's "Supreme Military Council" from the pre-1999 era -- which would be like calling Russia the Soviet Union.

After determining the documents were fakes, the IAEA had a group of international forensics experts -- including people from the U.S and Britain -- verify their findings. The panel unanimously agreed with the IAEA.

"We don't know who did it," the official said, adding that it would be easy to come up with a long list of groups and states which would like to malign the present Iraqi regime.

The IAEA asked the U.S. and Britain if they had any other evidence backing the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium. The answer was no.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei informed the U.N. Security Council in early March that the Niger proof was fake and that three months with 218 inspections at 141 sites had produced "no evidence or plausible indication" Iraq had a nuclear program.

But last week Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) repeated the U.S. position and said that ElBaradei was wrong about Iraq.

"We know (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)) has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons," he said.


Neat article from

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,921427,00.html

POW rights denied 'on both sides'

Martin McNamara and agencies

Tuesday March 25, 2003

The Red Cross has appealed to both Iraqis and Allied forces to treat Prisoners of War according to international law after Iraqi state television showed footage of US prisoners of war for the second day running.

Cathy Mahoney, spokeswoman for Red Cross, said all parties involved in the war had defied the Geneva Convention by allowing pictures of captured prisoners to be aired on television.

"We have been making representations to the Iraqis, the British and the Americans to remind everyone of the Geneva Conventions and of international humanitarian law", she said.

The comments came as footage of the imprisoned crew of a U.S. military helicopter forced down during heavy fighting, were broadcast across Iraq. The two men wore cream-coloured pilots overalls and appeared confused. Neither were interrogated, but the identities of both men were revealed to the camera.

Earlier footage, released on Sunday, of five captured U.S. military shocked and angered America. The POWs were shown being questioned and looking frightened and confused.

U.S. officials denounced the footage as "disgusting" and said the questioning of the five captives on television flouted the rules of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of prisoners of war.

Article 13 of the Geneva Convention states that "prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity."

Article 14 also states, that POWs are "entitled in all circumstances to respect for the persons and their honour".

Al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi information minister, said the POWs would be treated according to the Geneva Conventions. He rejected accusations that Iraq had violated such accords by allowing Iraqi television to film them and ask questions.

Meanwhile The Daily Mirror this morning accused the US of hypocrisy, claiming that footage of its treatment of prisoners held at Guantanamo bay in Cuba also broke the Geneva Conventions.


The founder of ISKCON was A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who descended from a long line of bhakti (devotional) gurus in India. Although, clearly, Swami Prabhupada, could not have been a Prophet, using the Baha'i definition of that term, since he lived during the Baha'i Dispensation, I don't think that would necessarily mean he had no "special spiritual status." Ultimately, his spiritual station is known only to God, and, of course, one does not need to be a Prophet to have a special spiritual status.

Furthermore, it is important to be cautious when discussing Joseph Smith's prophethood. If a Baha'i reads what Shoghi Effendi wrote about the founder of the Latter Day Saints, that he was not a Prophet, she or he will know what he meant. However, people in many other religions do not define the word "prophet" as we do. Consequently, if I say that a particular individual (Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, etc.) is not a prophet, it may sound like I am saying that she or he was not inspired.

Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims conceive of a Prophet as an ordinary human being chosen by God for a special mission. In the New Testament, for instance, St. Paul used the term "prophet" (Greek, prophetes) to refer to an office in the church. If I tell one of these people I don't believe that a person can become a prophet, it can make me sound like an atheist or a deist.

IMO, two of the greatest spiritual giants of the nineteenth century were Shiv Dayal (Soamiji), the founder of the Radhasoami movement, and Ramakrishna, the inspiration for Vivekananda's Vedanta Society. Similarly, I see Meher Baba (Merwan Sheriar Irani), who lived in the twentieth century, as an exceptionally spiritual individual. It seems to me that virtually any reasonable person who studies their lives with some degree of objectivity could not, at the very least, fail to be impressed with them.

Because we may or may not accept, or wish to accept, the founders of certain movements as Prophets, does that mean that we would not accept them? Cannot the power of a Revelation affect, consciously or unconsciously, any receptive soul? And is there not some degree of truth or reality (haqiqat) in all religious systems?

Another example: It seems to me that we sometimes need to look beyond the words to their more inward significances. Although many spiritual teachers, perhaps in most religious traditions, have abused their authority, a subject Baha'u'llah wrote of in His Book of Certitude, the term "guru is God" does not have the precise connotation which most Westerners might attach to it. For instance, `Abdu'l-Baha, the Baha'i Exemplar, reportedly said that, whenever He looked at another soul, He saw the face of Baha'u'llah reflected in that person. IMO, that is a similar idea to guru is God.


Nice explanation of the New Right alliance between the Christian right, the Catholic right, the imperialist right, and neoconservatism. (Paleocons, like Buchanan and Novak, are obviously excluded.):

All in the Neocon Family

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15481

By Jim Lobe, AlterNet

March 27, 2003

What do William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Elliot Abrams, and Robert Kagan have in common? Yes, they are all die-hard hawks who have gained control of U.S. foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks. But they are also part of one big neoconservative family – an extended clan of spouses, children, and friends who have known each other for generations.

Neoconservatives are former liberals (which explains the "neo" prefix) who advocate an aggressive unilateralist vision of U.S. global supremacy, which includes a close strategic alliance with Israel. Let's start with one of the founding fathers of the extended neocon clan: Irving Kristol. His extensive resume includes waging culture wars for the CIA against the Soviet Union in the early years of the Cold War and calling for an American "imperial" role during the Vietnam War. Papa Kristol, who has been credited with defining the major themes of neoconservative thought, is married to Gertrude Himmelfarb, a neoconservative powerhouse on her own. Her studies of the Victorian era in Britain helped inspire the men who sold Bush on the idea of "compassionate conservatism."

The son of this proud couple is none other that William Kristol, the crown prince of the neoconservative clique and editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard. In 1997, he founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a front group which cemented the powerful alliance between right-wing Republicans like Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, Christian and Catholic Right leaders like Gary Bauer and William Bennett, and the neocons behind a platform of global U.S. military dominance.

Irving Kristol's most prominent disciple is Richard Perle, who was until Thursday the Defense Policy Board chairman, is also a "resident scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, which is housed in the same building as PNAC. Perle himself married into neocon royalty when he wed the daughter of his professor at the University of Chicago, the late Alfred Wohlstetter – the man who helped both his son-in-law and his fellow student Paul Wolfowitz get their start in Washington more than 30 years ago.

Perle's own protege is Douglas Feith, who is now Wolfowitz's deputy for policy and is widely known for his right-wing Likud position. And why not? His father, Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist Dalck Feith, was once a follower of the great revisionist Zionist leader, Vladimir Jabotinsky, in his native Poland back in the 1930s. The two Feiths were honored together in 1997 by the right-wing Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

The AEI has long been a major nexus for such inter-familial relationships. A long-time collaborator with Perle, Michael Ledeen is married to Barbara Ledeen, a founder and director of the anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum (IWF), who is currently a major player in the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and another neo-con power couple – David and Meyrav Wurmser – co-authored a 1996 memorandum for Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu outlining how to break the Oslo peace process and invade Iraq as the first step to transforming the Middle East.

Though she doesn't focus much on foreign-policy issues, Lynne Cheney also hangs her hat at AEI. Her husband Dick Cheney recently chose Victoria Nuland to become his next deputy national security adviser. Nuland, as it turns out, is married to Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol's main comrade-in-arms and the co-founder of PNAC.

Bob's father, Donald Kagan, is a Yale historian who converted from a liberal Democrat to a staunch neocon in the 1970s. On the eve of the 2000 presidential elections, Donald and his other son, Frederick, published "While America Sleeps," a clarion call to increase defense spending. Since then, the three Kagan men have written reams of columns warning that the currently ballooning Pentagon budget is simply not enough to fund the much-desired vision of U.S. global supremacy.

And which infamous ex-Reaganite do the Kagans and another leading neocon family have in common? None other than Iran-contra veteran Elliott Abrams.

Now the director of Near Eastern Affairs in Bush's National Security Council, Abrams worked closely with Bob Kagan back in the Reagan era. He is also the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, long-time editor of the influential conservative Jewish publication Commentary, and his wife, Midge Decter, a fearsome polemicist in her own right.

Podhoretz, like Kristol Sr., helped invent neo-conservatism in the late 1960s. He and Decter created a formidable political team as leaders of the Committee on the Present Danger in 1980, when they worked with Donald Rumsfeld to pound the last nail into the coffin of detente and promote the rise of Ronald Reagan. In addition to being Abrams' father-in-law, Norman Podhoretz is also the father of John Podhoretz, a columnist for the Murdoch-owned New York Post and frequent guest on the Murdoch-owned Fox News channel.

As editor of Commentary, Norman offered writing space to rising stars of the neocon movement for more than 30 years. His proteges include former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Richard Pipes, who was Ronald Reagan's top advisor on the "Evil Empire," as the president liked to call the Soviet Union. His son, Daniel Pipes, has also made a career out of battling "evil," which in his case is Islam. And to tie it all up neatly, in 2002, Podhoretz received the highest honor bestowed by the AEI: the Irving Kristol award.

This list of intricate, overlapping connections is hardly exhaustive or perhaps even surprising. But it helps reveal an important fact. Contrary to appearances, the neocons do not constitute a powerful mass political movement. They are instead a small, tighly-knit clan whose incestuous familial and personal connections, both within and outside the Bush administration, have allowed them grab control of the future of American foreign policy.



posted at 12:38:10 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Wednesday,March 26,2003

Well, now, isn't this interesting? I wonder if North Korea read this story???:

http://onenews.nzoom.com/onenews_detail/0,1227,86179-1-9,00.html

Bush lists countries US would nuke

President George W Bush

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- No agreement on nuclear cuts

- New terrorist alert for US

- Bush wants to get rid of Saddam

- Anti-nuke policy under fire

- Cheney on way to Middle East

- Britons suspicious of US policy

- Go to the LA Times Bush nuclear plan article

- No negotiation with Muslim captors

- Envoy returns to Middle East

- US tariffs blow for steel industry

- Cancer from nuclear testing fallout

- Iraq warns US to back off

- US maintains 'shadow' govt

- Afghan heroin trade resumes

- Bush praises Musharraf

- US Dept of State info website

- Go to the US White House website

- John Pilger's website

- US Department of Defense site

- Indymedia.org

- Visit the Z Mag website

The Bush administration has apparently identified seven countries against which it might launch a nuclear attack, including Russia and China.

An American newspaper is reporting the information is contained in a confidential briefing paper which has gone to Congress.

Citing a classified Pentagon report, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Bush administration has told the Defense Department to prepare, on a contingency basis, plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries.

The military was also directed to build smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations, the newspaper reported.

The countries named in the secret report - provided to Congress on January 8 - were China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria, the Times reported.

The three contingencies listed for possible use of the weapons were "against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack; in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; or "in the event of surprising military developments," according to the newspaper.

"The report says the Pentagon should be prepared to use nuclear weapons in an Arab-Israeli conflict, in a war between China and Taiwan, or in an attack from North Korea on the south. They might also become necessary in an attack by Iraq on Israel or another neighbor," The Times said.

"Officials have long acknowledged that they had detailed nuclear plans for an attack on Russia. However, this "Nuclear Posture Review" apparently marks the first time that an official list of potential target countries has come to light," analysts told the Times.

"This is dynamite," said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear arms expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "I can imagine what these countries are going to be saying at the UN," he told the newspaper.

Arms control advocates told the Times "the report's directives on development of smaller nuclear weapons could signal that the Bush administration is more willing to overlook a long-standing taboo against the use of nuclear weapons except as a last resort.

However, conservative analysts said that the Pentagon must prepare for all possibilities as other countries, and some terrorist groups, are engaged in weapons development programmes. Their position was that smaller weapons have a deterrent role because rogue nations or terrorists might not believe that the United States would use more destructive multi-kiloton weapons, the Times reported.

Jack Spencer, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, told the newspaper the contents of the report did not surprise him and represent "the right way to develop a nuclear posture for a post-Cold War world."

The Times reported that a copy of the report was obtained by defence analyst and Times contributor William Arkin.

The Pentagon refused to comment.

Russians slam report

Russian commentators quickly criticised the reported US move to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against Russia and other countries.

With Russia in the middle of a three-day holiday weekend, there was no official comment on the Los Angeles Times report.

Dmitry Rogozin, an influential member of Russia's parliament, said Washington could be trying to intimidate Russia after months of closer co-operation.

"We have to understand that the United States has many strategic nuclear weapons trained on Russia and draw our own strategic conclusions," Rogozin, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of parliament, told NTV television.

"This is the policy of the big stick, a nuclear stick intended to intimidate us and put us in our place."

NTV also quoted Leonid Ivashov, a former top Defence Ministry official and now an influential observer, as saying the report showed that the US saw post-Soviet Russia as a "geo-political rival".

The Los Angeles Times said it was the first time that an official list of target countries had come to light.

Russia and the US have greatly improved relations after a rocky start when President George W Bush came to power last year.

Co-operation drew closer when Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed the US-led war on terrorism and the Kremlin allowed Central Asian states to help Washington.

Putin has been accused by military hawks and the Communist Party, which still secures 25% of the vote, of giving away too much to Washington and receiving too little in return.

The two leaders are to meet in Russia in May with the aim of clinching an accord on reducing strategic nuclear arsenals.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika think tank, told NTV the report would call into question all US motives in international relations.

"If America wants to co-operate in military operations... if it intends to reduce strategic nuclear warheads, the Bush directive is a very negative signal which will be received in an appropriate fashion by Russia's leadership," he told NTV.

© Reuters

Published on Mar 10, 2002

ONE News sourced from TVNZ, RNZ, Reuters and AAP



posted at 07:59:15 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Tuesday,March 25,2003

The following is from Holly Hanson (Mount Holyoke College), 9/17/2001. I wish more people would be exposed to these statistics. The establishment media generally do not report such statistics.

Many Western governments claim that the spread of so-called free markets is leading to increased global prosperity, but, in fact, it is the opposite which is happening. The developed world continues to behave as a body of leaches, bleeding the rest of the world dry while it becomes wealthier every year. Of course, most high-ranking public officials are aware of this fact, but, for obvious reasons, they persist in this useful lie:

Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, described the condition of the world in this way in his report to the Millennium Conference. 15% of the world's population are well-off on a world scale, 7% are in between, and 78% are poor. Calculated another way, 20 percent of the people have 86% of the wealth, which means 80 percent of the people have 14% of the wealth. Eighty percent of the people of the world have only fourteen percent of the wealth of the world.

This inequality is getting greater, and many people have experienced a deterioration in their capacity to sustain themselves over the past generation or so. What I mean by this is that people who are farmers are hungrier and they work harder. People who have educations and work at salaried jobs are losing their ability to sustain themselves with their work, and cannot find for their children the education they themselves received. Today, we feel more afraid in our lives, but violence perpetrated by the desperately poor is part of people's everyday lives in many parts of the world. Half of humanity lives on less than two dollars a day. People who experience this, or who see it around them, can look at the level of consumption of North Americans and find it to be obscene. That we can live our lives as we do, and expend wealth as we do, oblivious of the poverty of half the human race, is obscene. Kofi Annan said, "Extreme poverty is an affront to our common humanity. It also makes many other problems worse." People see this extreme poverty as unjust and many people see the United States making, and sustaining, the rules that keep it that way.

Imagine some people are playing Monopoly. They play for awhile, and buy almost all the property, and then you join the game. You say, "give me some property, so I can play." They say, "no, you have to buy property." You say, “that's not fair." They say, "we can't help it, those are the rules." "You say, but I can never win if you already own all the property". They say, "the game only works if people play by the rules."

In a very real sense in the world we live in, some people make the rules that everybody has to play by. And if everyone had an equal voice in making the rules, the rules would be different. Antibiotics can reduce aids transmission rates by 50%, and tuberculosis drugs can reduce aids death rates by 30 %, and anti-retroviral drugs keep people alive. Many, many people in the world want these medicines to be produced generically, to be available to everyone who needs them. But this country is among those that have upheld the primacy of intellectual property rights, so people die because they do not have access to medicine which exists, which could save them, which other people in the world receive. This year, five thousand Africans are diyng every day of AIDS. That is 35 thousand deaths every week, one hundred and forty seven thousand deaths every month, more than four million in the year. As we are experiencing the enormity of unnecessary death in this country, and mourning the loss of people we knew, and people we did not know, that can help us to wrap our minds around the tragedy of AIDS, and understand why people are angry at us for the rules we uphold.

What is essential to keep in mind is that the deep division between rich and poor which we think of as the North and the South, the developed and the developing, the first world and the third world, is a relatively new thing in historical terms. It is not natural, things have not always been this way. There is only one world. The parts of it came to have the characteristics they now have in interaction with each other, mostly over the last six hundred years. Think of it like a human body that begins to focus its capacity to grow in a few areas, depriving other areas of resources. Imagine that this sickness of uneven growth continues for a long time in the human body: the parts of it receiving more than their share of resources become deformed and swollen. The parts of the body deprived of resources become atrophied, those body parts don't function. As long as the unbalanced distribution of nutrients is not treated, the disease will get worse. This is the condition of the world we live in. It is sick, it has been sick for a long time, and all of our efforts to heal it do not work, because we are not recognizing the systemic nature of the illness. In fact, we invest a tremendous amount of energy in not noticing the systemic nature of the illness.

http://orgs.unt.edu/BFC/living_purposefully.htm

Here is a stronger argument:

"Politicians may be loath to admit it, but anyone in the industry will tell you that the percentage of oil we import--roughly 60%--is only going to increase. 'Energy independence is out of the question,' says veteran petroleum expert Edward Morse. 'We consume 25% of the world's oil but only have 3% of its reserves.' Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond is even blunter: Finding all the oil we need here at home 'was a failed notion under Richard Nixon, and it's certainly a failed notion today,' he says. 'We're a declining oil province and have been for 25 years.' And unless prices rise substantially, it's unlikely Americans will start conserving the way they did in the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. consumes nearly 20 million barrels of oil a day, up 18% in the past ten years. The bulk of that oil is turned into fuel--for cars, trucks, and planes."

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/articles/0,15114,371663,00.html


I actually think that, in calling religion the opium of the masses, Marx was making an astute observation. The problem is not with his statement. It is with generalizing his statement beyond the cultural and historical context in which it was made.

Marx's point was that, like opium, religion had dulled people's senses, blinding his contemporaries to the realities of their oppressions. In other words, if people confidently believe they will be rewarded for their patience, for imitating the Passion of Christ through their sufferings, why should they engage in a struggle for liberation? For that reason, Marx saw many of the churches as instruments of the bourgeoisie - promoting false consciousness.

Subsequently, we have seen the various liberation theologies, the stands taken by the Pope, by Rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun Community, by Sojourners, and by others against oppression. These have demonstrated that Marx's views on the religions need to be examined through the eyes of a historicist.



posted at 09:52:58 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Monday,March 24,2003

This article comes from aljazeerah.info:

Mere coincidence, or dawn of World War III

By M J Akbar, GN, 3/24/03

It is my pleasant duty to report that the Triple A (Aussie-Anglo-American) invasion of Iraq has already had an impact on one of the major elements of contemporary culture, the SMS message. SMS is no longer filled with stupid or bawdy, or sometime stupidly bawdy, jokes.

The one I just received is a question: "Is it a coincidence that war started on the 3rd day of the 3rd week of the 3rd month of the 3rd year of the 3rd millennium? Is this the start of the 3rd world war?"

Will the war end with the fall of Baghdad? Or is that the end of only the first battle?

The first thing to do in our quest for answers is to dispense with official information. During war, information is disinformation. Those who recall the first Gulf war might remember a singular image from that conflict. It was the film of an Iraqi Scud missile being shot down, mid-air, by an American Patriot response.

That singular image was so singular that it was single. Viewers might have been forgiven for believing that Scuds were being hit every night; in actual fact only one Scud was hit. The propaganda machine kept repeating that footage to give the impression that the whole Iraqi Scud arsenal was being destroyed.

The media derisively nicknamed the 5 p.m. briefings by the Pentagon as the "Five o'clock Follies". Such habits die hard. Within a day of the start of the second Gulf war, the American defence secretary had claimed the capture of Umm Qasr and reported the surrender of a full Iraqi division. The fact was that fighting was still going on.

Anyone in his senses knew that Umm Qasr would fall. It was only a question of time. The difference was that it was not going to fall without a fight. And this difference presaged the nature of the conflict ahead as the massed infantry and tanks rolled towards the only real objective of this war, Baghdad.

A key element of the American strategic plan is to instigate a revolt against Saddam Hussain, either through anger or through a feeling of futility. The psychological war is a parallel strain with its own objectives.

Since this is also the first war with live commentary from reporters "embedded" with the Triple A forces, we are going to get a much better story than we had through the Five o'clock Follies. They are reporting that battles have developed in Umm Qasr, around Basra, and in Kirkuk despite unprecedented levels of air and artillery fire. But this too is not the full truth, because there is no parallel reportage from the Iraqi side of the battle.

We are watching a war whose outcome is known, if only because it is a complete mismatch. Iraq does not have an Air Force; it has no answer to the missiles and bombs pounding Bagh-dad. The skies are defenceless. If there is a conflict on land, it is purely because human will finds some inexplicable strength to resist aggression.

The Triple A began this war because it alleged that Saddam Hussain had weapons of mass destruction. No one has found any evidence, and if there is no evidence even by the time this war ends, the issue will be treated as irrelevant.

The target is one man. A nation is being occupied, the law of absolute sovereignty that has kept the world reasonably stable for the last 50 years has been sabotaged, the passions of religion and race have been inflamed, because one group of people believes that American power is meaningless if it cannot control, in partnership with Israel and pliant regimes, the natural resour-ces of west and central Asia.

It is common knowledge that this invasion is the idea of a group formed in 1997 that called itself, grandly, The Project for a New American Century. Its members included Richard Perle (now chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board), deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Abrams, who serves on the Bush National Security Council and Randy Scheunemann, who was president of the committee for the liberation of Iraq.

The marines who hoisted the Stars and Stripes over a building in Umm Qasr before protest from the neighbourhood forced them to take it down, were right: this is about occupation.

The White House had made it clear that Triple A troops would enter Iraq even if Saddam Hussain went into exile; in other words, even if there was nothing to "liberate" the Iraqi people from. One wishes that liberators deliberated a little more before they set out to save humanity.

Imperialism has always and ever chosen the gospel of liberation as its decoy. The "white man's burden" is in the clasp of George Bush now since Tony Blair's predecessors wearied of that burden. What a price the world is paying because a few chads in Florida got it wrong in the last presidential election.

The seeds of the future are being sown each minute. They are going to sprout into strange, hybrid plants. The results of this battle for Baghdad are known. The consequences are not. The Law of Unintended Consequences has begun to operate even before Saddam Hussain has been eliminated. (Think ahead. If he is killed, his dead body will become the most emotive image of this campaign.)

Turkey has already rattled the chessboard. Within 48 hours of the start of the conflict, some 3,000 troops out of the over 50,000 on the borders had crossed into Kurdistan.

This was not part of the While House script. Turkish troops were meant to protect the American interest. They were not supposed to be so audacious as to protect their own interests! The map of the post-Ottoman Arab world has begun to change from precisely the point where the British and the French began to change it after World War I.

Britain, France and Turkey contested the control of oil-soaked Mosul after that war. According to the secret Anglo-French pact during the war, Mosul was meant to go to Syria, and thereby into the French mandate. But Britain won out because of the oldest reason in the world: possession is 99 per cent of the law - its troops had taken Mosul.

America is now formally at war with Iraq, and informally at war with mainland Europe led by France, Germany and Russia. One thing is clear. It is no longer a unipolar world. What Russia failed to do alone, with east Europe as its satellite, it has now achieved with the help of Germany and France.

The European Union will have to revisit itself, because powerful, divergent interests have split its unity. One key is the price of oil. For instance, if the price of oil drops to below twelve dollars a barrel then Russia is sunk because its cost of production is at that level.

For America the story is different. The cost of production in the Arab empire that it hopes to control is only three dollars a barrel. George Bush can win reelection on cheap gas, even while driving Russia out of business. The unwitting fall guy in this particular game could be Britain, which needs as high a price as it can get for its lifeline, the North Sea oil. Tony Blair can always ask for American aid, though.

The world will divide behind either the dollar and the Euro in a way that it never divided between the dollar and the rouble. Even those on the side of the rouble politically, stuck to the dollar, economically. In contrast, even those on the side of the dollar, politically, might begin to find the Euro more attractive, economically.

One outcome that the Bush White House may have actually wanted is the conversion of the United Nations into the world's largest NGO.

The United Nations is now an office building, of some conceivable help to refugees, and of course a marvellous pad for those in love with their own voices. Its role as guarantor of peace and stability is over.

It has become what the League of Nations became after World War I: an irrelevant talk shop. Can this change? Anything can happen, theoretically, but may I be permitted to have my doubts?

The worst unintended consequence could be, of course, the further radicalisation of young Muslims. Defeat would be the spur. This is what is being heard in the mosques and madrasas just now. A hadith (or saying) of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), the messenger of Allah, is the theme of sermons across the Muslim world: "The hour (of Doomsday, or the end of the world) shall occur when the Euphrates unveils a mountain of gold over which the people will fight." That gold is oil, of course.

The writer is the Editor of The Asian Age.


An interesting essay:

Special Dispatch - Egypt

March 23, 2003

No. 485

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML format, please visit:

http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD48503

Former Egyptian Minister of War Compares President Bush and His Policies to Hitler and Nazism

In an article titled "Nazism Threatens the World Anew" published in the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Ahali, former Egyptian Minister of War, Amin Huweidi, compares U.S. President George W. Bush's policy to Adolf Hitler's Nazism. Following are excerpts from the article:(1)

"Our generation has known days when the banners of Nazism, with the swastikas, waved in Germany, in the 1930s. We thought that after Adolf Hitler's defeat the term 'Nazism' had disappeared from the dictionaries of statesmanship... But for many weeks now this term has again echoed, [first] from the lips of German Justice Minister [Herta] Daeubler-Gmelin, who said that 'President Bush's policy resembles the policy of the Nazi leader Hitler...'"

President Bush's Actions are like Hitler's

"If we look at what President Bush is doing these days with regard to President Saddam and if we compare it to what Hitler did to one of his great commanders - Field Marshal [Erwin] Rommel - perhaps some of us will support the words of the German minister."

"Before the cannons of the world war fell silent, a horrifying event happened to the German leader [Rommel]. One day two officers knocked on his door, and when he opened it, they saluted in the Nazi fashion,... handed him a loaded pistol and shouted, 'Heil Hitler... The Fuhrer orders you to commit suicide.' The man took the pistol without hesitation, held its barrel to his temple, and squeezed the trigger...' Hitler had suspected that the commander was conspiring against him and therefore ordered him removed in this terrible fashion. The Field Marshal did not commit suicide - rather, he was 'forced to commit suicide'... an act that only a Nazi leader [Hitler] would dare to do..."

"Today, on the threshold of the 21st century, the same scenario is unfolding before our eyes, with obvious differences. The U.S. president is demanding that the Iraqi president, in the name of democracy and freedom, will destroy his military arsenal, including his weapons of mass destruction - and if he does not Bush will surround him with his forces and will destroy the shrine on the heads of those within; men, women, and children."

"President Bush gives the pistol loaded with bullets to President Saddam for him to commit suicide, because carrying out what is demanded of the Iraqi president - despite his emphasis that he has no weapons of this kind - is an act of suicide. Moreover, this is a forced suicide that replicates Rommel's tragedy with Hitler 60 years ago..."

"Furthermore, the tragedy of our time is undoubtedly more horrible, as it is not forcing the suicide of one person but the suicide of a people."

Attacking Saddam will not Stop WMD Production

"What does President Bush want? Does he want the head of President Saddam Hussein? This is a naïve request since he does not realize that Iraq is full of heads similar to the head of 'Abu Uday' [i.e. Saddam]. Does he want the nuclear warheads... [that are] threatening the security of the U.S.? This [too] is a naïve request, because even if he gets them the problem will not be solved. The side effects [of these weapons] will remain, and are even more dangerous - as knowledge of the technology to manufacture these weapons will remain in the heads of the scientists and the minds of their manufacturers."

"Some scientists say that in order to prevent the proliferation of these weapons we must gather all the scientists working in this area and behead them... Is it possible?"

Guantanamo is like Auschwitz

"To the eyes of the entire world, and under the protection of the international organizations, the American administration banishes Afghans and others who are suspected [of involvement] in the events of September 11, chained and with their eyes covered, to the detention camps at Guantanamo, Cuba, to live in cages surrounded by a barbed-wire fence."

"Whatever these people's crimes - this treatment is not fitting for a civilized government, as it is a return to the deeds of Hitler when he ordered Himmler to establish the detention camps at Auschwitz, in Poland, and at Mauthausen, in Austria, so as to gather thousands of people in them. It was this wicked matter that was later brought to the courts of Nuremberg."

"Thus acted the Nazis, and we hated them and inscribed these things in the black pages of history. If, after that, the Americans act in a similar way, then there is nothing more shameful than this. It tarnishes... their name as a country, as an administration, and as a people..."

President Bush's Ideas Resemble Hitler's "Mein Kampf"

"Hitler demanded Lebensraum [living space] for the Germans, as Germany had no living space. This space was flexible, and nothing defined it except for the [German] willpower [Willensbildung]... 'Only by means of taking over a broad piece of land can a people ensure its survival and its existence. Our vital space is in the east. Nature gives ownership of the land only to the people possessing sufficient power to take it over.'"

"This can be implemented only by applying the law of war of survival, as Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf: 'The world is a jungle in which only the fittest can live and only the powerful can rule... Providence has given the right of mastery to the Aryan people, since it is entitled to the credit for all humanity's achievements...'"(2)

"The words are clear: The hegemony that Hitler wanted to [achieve] in Europe was the key to hegemony in the world, and in order to impose this hegemony, [Germany] needed power - something that was possible [to obtain] only by removing the restrictions placed upon it in the Treaty of Versailles, then by quitting the League of Nations and not attending the disarmament conferences."

"Seventy years later, President Bush wants to increase the [U.S.] defense budget to $355 billion. His intention is that in 2005, defense expenditures will be equal to the budgets of all the countries in the world put together, in order to rule the world in accordance with the principles he stated in September 2002, under the title 'The U.S's National Security Strategy' - according to which the U.S. has the right to declare a preemptive war against anyone threatening its national security, and to prevent any country or group of countries from challenging its military superiority, [i.e.] 'anyone who is not with us is against us.'"

"This gives the U.S. the freedom to act independently, even [disregarding] international legitimacy... As we see, what Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf is much less grave than what is done by the American administration, both within and outside the U.S...."

Endnotes:

(1) Al-Ahali (Egypt), February 3, 2003.

(2) Translation from the Arabic.



posted at 12:03:29 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Sunday,March 23,2003

This article focuses on three members of a post-9/11 coalition: right-wing nationalists, neocons, and the Christian right.

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15439

Pentagon Strategy Creates Rift Among Hawks

By Jim Lobe, AlterNet

March 21, 2003

An almost audible sigh of relief could be heard from a nondescript downtown building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning when President Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi television some hours after U.S. warplanes and cruise missiles bombarded a residence in Baghdad.

Media reports quoted U.S. officials as saying that the raid was directed at a "target of opportunity," possibly Hussein and his two sons themselves, shortly after the 48-hour ultimatum delivered by President George Bush had expired. If the raid had succeeded in killing the three men, U.S. officials told reporters, the Pentagon's war plans might have shifted dramatically against an all-out war.

But fortunately for the neo-conservative hawks over at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on 19th St., three blocks from the White House, it appears that Hussein remains alive, and the invasion will now go forward as planned. "That we appear not to have gotten Saddam Hussein last night ... may be a blessing in disguise," came the email message from AEI's press center.

A "decapitation" strategy targeted on Hussein, his sons, and a few other top Ba'ath officials without a full-scale invasion and occupation represents a dangerous threat to the neocon vision for the future of the Middle East. "As in Operation Desert Storm, the measure of victory in this war against Iraq will not be how big we start but where and when we stop," said the message from resident fellow Tom Donnelly. "'Going to Baghdad' means more than physically occupying the city. It is a metaphor for tearing out Saddamism, root and branch. There will be many moments and a quick kill on Saddam would be one where some might be tempted to say, as the first Bush administration did when the television pictures of the famous Highway of Death hit American airwaves in 1991, that enough has been done".

Perish the thought, cry the AEI hawks led by chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board (DPB), Richard Perle. The current Pentagon strategy has them deeply worried that that their hopes for a thorough-going purge of ruling Ba'ath Party officials which they see as the first step to transforming the entire Arab Middle East may yet be frustrated.

The disagreement over military strategy is the first sign of a disagreement within the powerful alliance that has shaped U.S. foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks. The coalition consists of three main components: hard right-wing, or nationalist Republicans like the Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and vice president Dick Cheney; neo-conservatives like Perle and most of Rumsfeld's and Cheney's immediate subordinates, such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; and the Christian Right, whose concerns have been represented most forcefully within the White House itself, particularly among Bush's domestic advisers.

Over the past eighteen months, these groups have agreed that the "war on terrorism" must include the ouster of Saddam Hussein, beating the war drums against Baghdad moments after the dust settled in lower Manhattan. While they have been unanimous on key issues of tactics, such as marginalizing Secretary of State Colin Powell and other "realist" veterans of the first Bush administration, and strategy, such as ousting Hussein, they have never agreed on what happens once Hussein is removed.

"The earliest and most salient rift (in the hawks' coalition) will be the hard-right nationalists, like Rumsfeld and Cheney, and the neo-conservatives," according to Charles Kupchan, a foreign-policy analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations and National Security Council strategist under former President Bill Clinton. "For the hard right, this is really about getting Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. Once that's done, they're going to say, 'Okay, we've done our job, now let's get the hell out and go home".

But the neo-conservatives, on the other hand, want to stick around to use Iraq as a base from which to exert pressure on other presumably hostile regimes, particularly Syria, Iran, and even Saudi Arabia. The third wing of the coalition, the Christian Right, is more likely to side with Rumsfeld and Cheney than the neo-conservatives in Kupchan's view, creating a split that "will complicate George Bush's life immensely".

In many ways, these rifts were already apparent in Afghanistan, with Rumsfeld and Cheney dead-set against serious "nation-building" and the extension of peacekeeping forces beyond Kabul for fear it would interfere with U.S. military operations against al Qaeda. The result which the neo-conservatives warned against at the time is that the authority of the U.S.-installed central government is basically confined to the capital, while most of the countryside remains in the hands of warlords. The neocons claim that Washington cannot afford to leave Iraq in a similar state of disorder.

While Cheney and Rumsfeld have both given lip service to the idea that Washington's occupation of Iraq will be the first step toward the democratization of the entire region, they have also been the most outspoken in insisting that Hussein's self-exile would be one sure way of avoiding war. This attitude has caused no end of anxiety among the neo-conservatives both within the administration, in the think tanks like AEI, and in such media outlets as the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard (headquartered in the AEI building), Fox News, and on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal.

For them, Iraq must not only be de-Ba'athized, but Washington must also be accorded the opportunity to show the world, (especially other Muslim states) just how powerful and determined the United States is to both wage war and enforce political reform. The neoconservatives view "Saddamism without Saddam" as the worst possible outcome of the present crisis. In the past months, they have excoriated the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for encouraging coups d'etat or enlisting the participation of even former senior Ba'ath officials in any post-invasion administration.

For the same reasons, they have voiced albeit, far more tactfully due to their interest in preserving the strategic alliance concern about Cheney's and Rumsfeld's calls for Hussein's exile and suggestions that U.S.-backed purges of the Iraqi regime will be carefully targeted and limited. The neo-conservatives have long favored a far-reaching purge that would bring to power the core of the exiled Iraqi National Congress (INC) led by Ahmed Chalabi, an old friend of Perle and Wolfowitz. Chalabi would be ideally suited to co-operate with U.S. efforts to knock over the other "dominoes" in the region who are perceived as hostile to the U.S. or Israel.

It is still too early to tell whether the neocons will get the opportunity to fulfill their vision for the Middle East or whether their hopes will be rudely shattered by a carefully targeted Cruise missile.



posted at 09:15:11 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Saturday,March 22,2003

Nice article:

IS BUSH NUTS?

by William Thomas

Senior reporter Lifeboat News

Feb. 12, 2003

What drives a man to go against the wishes of his countryfolk and the entire world community - including the presidents of Russia, China, France and Germany?

How can a professed Christian continue to defy church leaders worldwide - including the Bishops of Britain and the Pope? How does he rationalize breaking the commandments of his God, which clearly prohibit coveting another's property, theft of their oil, and mass murder of defenseless populations?

How can he ignore his own generals when they complain, "We're advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies." [Capitol Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]

To those who deem it unseemly to count the brick's on one man's load, let us recall that this unelected President is one brick short of killing what the UN fears could be up to a half-million people in Iraq. This massacre could easily see Pakistan's government - and its 30 to 40 nukes - falling to an al Qaeda/Taliban majority. Bush's announced plans to attack North Korea and Iran have already prompted both countries to hit the nuclear gas pedal, virtually assuring a "nuclear event". And his $5 trillion blowout has taken the American economy to a $2 trillion deficit in two short years. As ignored global warming triggers Extreme Weather Events, frightened Nobel price-winning economists warn that GW's proposed $600 billion tax cut is "fiscal madness" - "a very serious economic error" that will collapse the country in exactly the same way the ex-Soviet Empire went bust buying and deploying so many arms in so many places. Ditto Imperial Rome.

Are these the acts of a rational person?

Not since Nixon's famous freak-outs in the White House, which saw National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger ordering military commanders to ignore nuclear launch orders from their Commander-In-Chief, is it so urgent that we examine a president's cognitive capacities. [The Trial of Henry Kissinger]

It might be useful to scrutinize the following findings. While everyone "goes nuts" from time to time, the salient question is whether traits described below dominate and drive today's presidential decisions. Is a man called by other government reps, "an idiot" "an imbecile" "dangerously incompetent" and "a moron" competent, capable and qualified to direct America's unchallenged military might?

Read on. If you dare.

PATTERN RECOGNITION

"Is The 'President' Nuts?" asks Carol Wolman, M.D. "Many people, inside and especially outside this country, believe that the American president is nuts, and is taking the world on a suicidal path." [Counterpunch Oct. 2, 2002]

A board-certified psychiatrist in practice for 30 years, Dr. Wolman feels compelled to understand the "psychopathology" of man "under tremendous pressure from both his family/junta, and from the world at large." Dr. Wolman wonders if GW is suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition:

"There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others: 1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others; 7) lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others."

DRY DRUNK

GW Bush is highly regarded for "kicking" the twin demons of cocaine and alcohol addiction. If he is still off both wagons - and there is no proof that isn't - such a triumph, encouraged and aided by his wife, is commendable.

When probing the mysteries of GW's brain chemistry, a key point to ponder is that damage done to brain cells from drug abuse is permanent and irreversible.

Quaker and university professor Katherine van Wormer co-authored the definitive, 2002, Addiction Treatment. This expert writes that "George W. Bush manifests all the classic patterns of what alcoholics in recovery call 'the dry drunk'. His behavior is consistent with being brought on by years of heavy drinking and possible cocaine use." [Counterpunch Oct. 11, 2002]

"Dry drunk," explains the professor, "is a slang term used by members and supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous and substance abuse counselors to describe the recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking - one who is dry, but whose thinking is clouded."

Such an individual is 'dry' but not truly sober. Such individuals tend to go to overboard. A good example of Bush' "polarized thinking" is his call for "crusades" based on "infinite justice" for "evil-doers" comprising an "axis of evil".

Bush's "obsessive repetition" also remind this professor, "of many of the recovering alcoholics/addicts I had treated." Van Wormer worriers, "His power, in fact, is such that if he collapses into paranoia, a large part of the world will collapse with him."

Paranoia? Impatience? Rigid judgmental outlook? Grandiose behavior? Childish behavior? Irresponsible behavior? Irrational rationalization? Projection? Overreaction?

- these are all "dry drunk" traits.

Van Wormer observers that Bush's pompous pledge: "We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction" is a projection from the world's leading rogue state preparing to attack with nuclear weapons.

"Bush's tendency to dichotomize reality" should be emphasized. Prof. van Wormer describes this is as either/or reasoning - "either you are with us or against us". A White House spokesperson puts it this way: "The President considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.'' [Capitol Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]

BUSH'S BINGES - HISTORY IMPACTS THE PRESENT

Bush's binges were legendary. Van Wormer describes "years of binge drinking starting in college, at least one conviction for DUI in 1976 in Maine, and one arrest before that for a drunken episode involving theft of a Christmas wreath." She adds:

"The Bush biography reveals the story of a boy named for his father, sent to the exclusive private school in the East where his father's reputation as star athlete and later war hero were still remembered. The younger George's achievements were dwarfed in the school's memory of his father. Athletically he could not achieve his father's laurels, being smaller and perhaps less strong. His drinking bouts and lack of intellectual gifts held him back as well. His military record was mediocre as compared to his father's as well. [He went AWOL] "

In Fortunate Son, Bush himself explained: "Alcohol began to compete with my energies ... I'd lose focus". Though he once said he couldn't remember a day he hadn't had a drink, he quickly added the giveaway phrase that he didn't believe he was "clinically alcoholic".

Van Wormer notes that "Bush drank heavily for over 20 years until he made the decision to abstain at age 40. About this time he became a 'born again Christian' - going as usual from one extreme to the other." When asked in an interview about his reported cocaine use, he answered reasonably, "I'm not going to talk about what I did 20 to 30 years ago".

One motive driving Dubya could be his need "to prove himself to his father - to achieve what his father failed to do - to finish the job of the Gulf War, to get the 'evildoer' Saddam." Adds van Wormer, "His drive to finish his father's battles is of no small significance, psychologically."

BRAIN DAMAGE

According to Van Wormer, "scientists can now observe changes that occur in the brain as a result of heavy alcohol and other drug abuse. Some of these changes may be permanent."

Van Wormer characterizes this damage as "barely noticeable but meaningful." Researchers have found that brain chemistry irregularities caused by long bouts of drinking or drug abuse cause "messages in one part of the brain to become stuck there. This leads to maddening repetition of thoughts."

One of these powerful "stuck" thoughts, says van Wormer, is that "President Bush seems unduly focused upon getting revenge on Saddam Hussein ('He tried to kill my Dad'), leading the country and the world into war, accordingly."

Grandiosity is another major trait of former addicts brain-damaged by their addiction. Bush has reversed the successful, five-decade old U.S. policy of containment and no first strikes. Now he says, Americans can attack anyone, anywhere at any time with any weapons of their choosing - including banned cluster bomb munitions, radioactive explosives and nuclear bombs.

AN AGENT OF ARMAGEDDON?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, "Has a grandiose sense of self-importance-exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements."

Sound familiar?

This personality is preoccupied with fantasies of power and being loved. Such a person requires "automatic compliance". He or she is "exploitative" of others, "lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others." And also "shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes."

"This set of characteristics," says Dr. Wolman, not too reassuringly, "may describe Rumsfeld and Cheney better than Dubya."

For those who, like Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stieglitz, warn that Bush "has been captured by a small group of ideologues," Dependent Personality Disorder describes someone who "has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others." [CBC Feb. 10, 2003]

From a Jungian perspective, writes Dr. Wolman, "Dubya may be identifying with an archetype - something out of Revelations, perhaps, whereby he sees himself as an instrument of God's will to bring about Armageddon." Concurs Katherine van Wormer, "To fight evil, Bush is ready to take on the world, in almost a Biblical sense."

A PRESIDENTIAL PATHOLOGY

Is Bush's belligerence bent on securing another oil fix? Katherine van Wormer believes that a Portland peace protestor's sign, "Drunk on Power" nailed it. Says this quiet Quaker, "The drive for power can be an unquenchable thirst, addictive in itself."

Senator William Fulbright agrees. His bestseller, The Arrogance of Power defined power politics as the pursuit of power. "The causes and consequences of war may have more to do with pathology than with politics," Fulbright wrote.

A key "dry drunk" trait is impatience. Bush, who often describes himself as "a patient man", is not. Just four weeks after inspectors went into Iraq, he called for obliterating Baghdad. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize", Bush pointed out to West Pointers, "we will have waited too long". Translations: It's okay to attack projections of our own fearful imaginings - in case those phantom threats someday become real.

Alan Bisbort's "Dry Drunk - Is Bush Making a Cry for Help?" appeared in American Politics Journal. Bisbort believes that Bush's "incoherence" when speaking away from prepared scripts is a classic sign of addicted brain damage.

For Bisbort, another "dry drunk" tip-off is Dubya's irritability with anyone who dares disagree with him - including Germany's new leader, who insists he is opposing Bush's folly in Iraq as a concerned long-time friend of America. (Schroeder's wife is American.)

Another "Dry drunk" sign says van Wormer, is Dubya's "dangerous obsessing about only one thing (Iraq) to the exclusion of all other things."

Van Wormer's bottom line prognosis: "George W. Bush seems to possess the traits characteristic of addictive persons who still have the thought patterns that accompany substance abuse. The fact that some residual effects from his earlier substance abuse - however slight - might cloud the U.S. President's thinking and judgment is frightening, however, in the context of the current global crisis."

DON'T LAUGH

The Toronto Star recounts how NYU author and media critic Mark Crispin Miller attempted to catalogue GW's verbal gaffes. Some favorites: "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

"He meant it for a laugh," wrote the Star. "Not now."

The author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV believes "Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller's judgment - that an unelected president might suffer from a clinical personality disorder - is much heavier than being called the global village idiot. "He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine," Miller mentions. "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

Bush even has trouble repeating comforting clichés. "Fool me once, shame ... shame on ... you," Long, uncomfortable pause. "Fool me - can't get fooled again!"

While the world was laughing, Miller saw something darker. "What's revealing about this is that Bush could not say, `Shame on me' to save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude," wrote Miller.

Miller says that Bush saying, "I know how hard it is to put food on your family" is not 'cause he's stupid, but "because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table."

When Bush is envisioning "a foreign-handed foreign policy," Miller contends it's because he can't keep his focus on things that mean nothing to him. "When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it," Miller observes.

According to Miller, this is why GW is so closely watched by his handlers. "Not because he'll say something stupid," the Star paraphrased, "but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels."

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy," Miller says. "He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper." Adds this media expert, "It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."

DEPRESSION CAN BE DANGEROUSLY DEPRESSING

Confronted by a man who will not listen to anyone but a few "chickenhawks" urging worldwide war, why shouldn't we feel depressed? Not surprisingly, we do.

Seventy percent of U.S. pastors constantly fight depression. Right now, almost three million Canadians are seriously depressed. (Multiply by four or five for approximate U.S. figures.) We can't blame GW for this. Or the fact that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds. But as the man responsible for perpetrating a worldwide bummer, George isn't helping! [www.tonycooke.org; National Institute of Mental Health]

If it's politically incorrect to ask these questions, how "correct" is it to launch 800 cruise missiles and thousands of one-ton bombs on a captive urban population already suffering the ravages of deliberately imposed hunger and disease?

CHOKA COLA?

Another big clue to Dubya's displays of dementia comes in "photo-ops" showing him slugging back diet Coke with other Aspartame addicts, like Chicago's mayor Richard Daley. Their beet red faces spell either embarrassment over Bush's hijacking of America, or aspartame poisoning. [Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 27, 2002]

According to Carol Guilford, an Aspartame expert and support worker, the President-Select's "pretzel" pratfall was most likely an Aspartame seizure. Bush, like Carter, Al Gore and millions of Americans, is addicted to this constant caffeine hit. Among the FDA's listed 92 symptoms for Aspartame poisoning are: "Difficulty Swallowing", "Fainting" and "Unconsciousness".

Bush's facial lesions, removed as a result of "Too much sun" is another sign of Aspartame poisoning. So was his recent knee surgery: Aspartame depletes synovial fluid lubricating the joints.

Would you drink 6 to 12 cans of formaldehyde a day? It turns out that methanol in Aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the tissues. As Guildford wrote to USN Captain Eleanor Marino, Physician to the President (Feb. 21, 2002): 10% of a 200mg can of diet soda is straight methanol wood alcohol! Methanol is such a gross cumulative poison, the EPA's limit for drinking water is 7.8 mg daily. For serious addicts like Bush, the methanol intake can exceed 32 times the EPA's recommended limit..

Now the punch line: Clinical case studies shows that, among other symptoms, Aspartame ingestion results in "mind fog", feeling "unreal", poor memory, confusion, anxiety, irritability, depression, mania, and slurred speech. [Neurology 1994]

Alcohol-related brain damage is not helped by chugging formaldehyde. James Turner, consumer protection lawyer and author of The Chemical Feast learned that an Oct. 1980 FDA inquiry found that the formaldehyde formed by Aspartame actually eats microscopic holes and triggers tumors in the brain.

That finding banned Aspartame from the food supply. But three months later, Searle CEO Donald Rumsfeld told that pharma giant's sales staff he would get Aspartame approved pronto. The next month, the FDA commissioner was replaced by Dr. Arthur Hayes. In Nov. 1983 the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks. Under fire for accepting corporate bribes, Hayes went to work for Searle's public-relations firm. Searle lawyer Robert Shapiro coined the name NutraSweet. Monsanto bought Searle. Rumsfeld received $12 million for his help. Shapiro now heads Monsanto.

The same "revolving door" swings wide for arms makers and the oil mafia. The Big Question is: Why hasn't Dick warned George that the diet drinks he's swilling are eating his brain and making him crazy?

Crazy? Am I calling the President-Select of the Excited States crazy? Not me. As a journalist, I can only point out that published medical evidence goes frighteningly far in explaining GW's behavior. For certain, this good ol' boy should go in for a brain scan before being allowed to command more firepower than the next 11 nations combined. If George W. Bush is not crazy - he's sure acting like it.



posted at 11:23:22 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,March 21,2003

Very nice piece:

Commentary by Immanuel Wallerstein

"Bush Bets All He Has"

Mar. 15, 2003

The United States is in deep trouble. The President of

the United States has taken an enormous gamble, and

done it from a fundamentally weak position. He decided

a year ago or so that the U.S. would make war on Iraq.

He did this in order to demonstrate the overwhelming

military superiority of the United States and to

accomplish two primary objectives: 1) intimidate all

potential nuclear proliferators into abandoning their

projects; 2) squash all European ideas of an autonomous

political role in the world-system.

Thus far, Bush has been magnificently unsuccessful.

North Korea and Iran (and perhaps others as yet

unobserved) have actually speeded up their

proliferation projects. France and Germany have shown

what it means to be autonomous. And the United States

is not able to get any of the six Third World countries

on the Security Council to vote a second resolution on

Iraq. So, like a reckless gambler, Bush is about to go

for broke. He will launch a war in a very short time,

and bet that he can achieve an overwhelming and rapid

victory. The bet is very simple. Bush believes that if

the U.S. does achieve this kind of military result,

both the proliferators and the Europeans will repent of

their ways and accept U.S. decisions in the future.

There are two possible military outcomes: the one Bush

wants (and expects), and a different one. How likely is

it that Bush achieves the rapid capitulation of the

Iraqis? The Pentagon says they have the weaponry and

will do it rapidly. A long list of retired generals,

both American and British, have voiced their

skepticism. My guess (and for me that is all it is) is

that the outcome of rapid, total victory is not very

likely. I think that a combination of the desperate

determination of the Iraqi leadership plus an upsurge

of Iraqi nationalism plus the announced unwillingness

of the Kurds to fight Saddam (not because they don't

hate him but because they distrust profoundly U.S.

intentions with regard to them) will make it extremely

difficult for the U.S. to end the war in a matter of

weeks. It will probably take many months, and once it

takes many months, who can predict where the winds will

blow, first of all in British and then U.S. public

opinion?

Nevertheless, suppose the U.S. wins quickly. I would

say that, at that point, Bush comes out merely even -

not a winner, but not a loser. Why do I say that?

Because a victory will leave the geopolitical situation

more or less where it is today. First of all, there is

the question of what happens in Iraq the day after

victory? The least one can say is that no one knows,

and it is not at all clear that the U.S. itself has a

clear vision of what it wants to do. What we do know is

that the interests at play are multiple, diverse, and

totally uncoordinated. That is a scenario for anarchic

confusion. For the U.S. to play a significant role in

the postwar decision-making will require a long-term

commitment of troops and a lot of money (really a lot

of money). Anyone who looks at the U.S. economic

situation and the internal politics of the U.S. knows

that the Bush administration would have a very hard job

leaving troops there very long and an even harder job

obtaining the money it would need to play the political

game.

In addition, all the other problems facing the world

would remain intact. First of all, there would be even

less likelihood than now that there could be any

progress towards the creation of a Palestinian state.

The Israeli government would take a U.S. victory as

vindication for its tough line, and simply make it

tougher. The Arab world would get even angrier, if

that's possible. Iran certainly will not stop its drive

for nuclear proliferation. Iran will probably, on the

contrary, be feeling its oats in the region with Saddam

Hussein out of the way. North Korea would step up its

provocations, and South Korea would get even more

uncomfortable with its U.S. ally and the latter's

penchant for military action. And France is likely to

dig in for the long haul. So, as I say, a rapid U.S.

military victory in Iraq would leave us with the

geopolitical status quo - which is certainly not what

the U.S. hawks intend.

But suppose the military victory is not rapid. What

then? In that case, the whole operation is a

geopolitical disaster for the U.S. Pandemonium will

break out, and the U.S. will have as little influence

on its future outcome as say Italy, which is to say not

very much at all. Why do I say that? Think of what will

happen, first of all in Iraq itself. Iraqi resistance

will turn Saddam Hussein into a hero, and he will

certainly know how to exploit that sentiment. The

Iranians and the Turks will both send their troops into

the Kurdish north, and probably end up fighting each

other. The Kurds may side for the moment with the

Iranians. If that happens, the Shiite groups in the

south of Iraq will keep their distance from the U.S.

military efforts. The Saudis may offer themselves as

unwelcome mediators, and will probably be rejected by

both sides.

Elsewhere in the region, the Hezbollah will probably

attack the Israelis, who will riposte and probably try

to occupy southern Lebanon. Will the Syrians then enter

that war, to try to save the Hezbollah and, more

generally, their role in Lebanon? Quite possible, but

if so, the Israelis will bomb Damascus (maybe with

nuclear weapons). Will the Egyptians then sit still?

And oh yes, there is that fellow, Osama bin Laden, who

will no doubt be doing the usual thing he likes to do.

And Europe? There will probably be a major revolt in

the Labor Party in the U.K., which might end up with a

split in the party. Blair might take his rump out and

form a national emergency coalition with the Tories. He

would still be Prime Minister, but there would be great

pressure for new elections, and Blair would probably

lose, and lose badly. And then there is the little

matter of the warning Blair received from legal

advisors that, if the British went into Iraq without

U.N. explicit endorsement, he could be brought up on

charges before the International Criminal Court.

Aznar's electoral prospects in Spain have become

similarly doubtful, given extensive opposition within

his own party to Spain's position. Berlusconi and the

East/Central Europeans will start to get very cold

feet.

Meanwhile, in Latin America, one will say goodbye to

the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA, or in

Spanish ALCA). Instead, Lula will press for the

reinvigoration of Mercosur as a trade and currency

structure, and might even get Chile to come into it.

Fox will be in deep trouble in Mexico. In Southeast

Asia, the two largest Muslim nations (Indonesia and

Malaysia), both of which presently have governments

essentially friendly to the U.S., may try to emulate

Europe in creating a zone of autonomous action. There

will be great pressure on the Philippine government to

send the U.S. military home. And China is likely to

tell Japan that it had better loosen its political ties

with the U.S. if it expects to continue to have an

economic future in the region.

In early 2004, where will all this leave the Bush

regime? It will leave it facing a rapidly growing

antiwar movement in the United States, which might

actually swing the Democratic Party into a real

opposition to Bush's global policies. Not easy, but

quite possible. If so, the Democrats could probably win

the elections.

If all this happens, Bush will indeed have achieved

regime change - in Great Britain, Spain, and the United

States. And the United States will no longer be

regarded as an invincible military superpower. So, to

resume, if Bush wins, he faces a geopolitical status

quo, which is far less than he wants. And if he loses,

he really loses. I would say the odds are not very

promising. The historians will record that there was no

need for the U.S. after September 11 to put itself in

this impossible position.

Immanuel Wallerstein

[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein. All rights

reserved. Permission is granted to download, forward

electronically or e-mail to others and to post this

text on non-commercial community Internet sites,

provided the essay remains intact and the copyright

note is displayed. To translate this text, publish it

in printed and/or other forms, including commercial

Internet sites and excerpts, contact the author at

iwaller@b...; fax: 1-607-777-4315.



posted at 06:03:37 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Thursday,March 20,2003

This is a really informative article. It supports my view that there is, in effect, a coalition or cabal of the new right - including the Christian right, libertarians, neocons, neoliberals, and advocates of global democratization and of Pax Americana.

 

From

the

style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Asia

Times Online

 

Source:

href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EC20Ak07.html">http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EC20Ak07.html

 

THE ROVING

EYE

This war is brought to you by ...

style='font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family:

"Times New Roman"'>

By Pepe Escobar


ALEXANDRIA,

Egypt – They’ve won. They got their war against Afghanistan (planned before

September 11). They’re getting their war against Iraq (planned slightly after

September 11). After Iraq, they plan to get their wars against Syria, Lebanon,

Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last Sunday, one of them, Vice President Dick Cheney, said

that President George W Bush would have to make “a very difficult decision” on

Iraq. Not really. The decision had already been taken for him in the autumn of

2001.


As far as their “showdown Iraq” is concerned, it’s not about weapons of mass

destruction, nor United Nations inspections, nor non-compliance, nor a virtual

connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, nor the liberation of the Iraqi

people, nor a Middle East living in “democracy and liberty.”


The American corporate media are not inclined to spell it out, and the absolute

majority of American public opinion is anesthetized non-stop by a barrage of

technical, bureaucratic and totally peripheral aspects of the war against Iraq.

For all the president’s (sales)men, the whole game is about global preeminence,

if not unilateral world domination – military, economic, political and

cultural. This may be an early 21st century replay of the “white man’s burden.”

Or this may be just megalomania. Either way, enshrined in a goal of the Bush

administration, it cannot but frighten practically the whole world, from Asia

to Africa, from “old Europe” to the conservative establishment within the US

itself.


During the Clinton years, they were an obscure bunch – almost a sect. Then they

were all elevated to power – again: most had worked for Ronald Reagan and Bush

senior. Now they have pushed America – and the world – to war because they want

it. Period. An Asia Times Online investigation reveals this is no conspiracy

theory: it’s all about the implementation of a project.


The lexicon of the Bush doctrine of unilateral world domination is laid out

in detail by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), founded in

Washington in 1997. The ideological, political, economic and military

fundamentals of American foreign policy – and uncontested world hegemony – for

the 21st century are there for all to see.


PNAC’s credo is officially to muster “the resolve to shape a new century

favorable to American principles and interests.” PNAC states that the US must

be sure of “deterring any potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger

regional or global role” – without ever mentioning these competitors, the

European Union, Russia or China, by name. The UN is predictably dismissed as “a

forum for leftists, anti-Zionists and anti-imperialists.” The UN is only as

good as it supports American policy.


The PNAC mixes a peculiar brand of messianic internationalism with realpolitik

founded over a stark analysis of American oil interests. Its key document,

dated June 1997, reads like a manifesto. Horrified by the “debased” Bill

Clinton, PNAC exponents lavishly praise “the essential elements of the Reagan

administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both

present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully

promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the

United States’ global responsibilities.” These exponents include Dick Cheney,

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz,

Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel to the

Pentagon made up of leading figures in national security and defense, Florida

Governor Jeb Bush and Reagan-era White House adviser Elliott Abrahms.


Already in 1997, the PNAC wanted to “increase defense spending significantly”

to “challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values” and “to accept

responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an

international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our

principles.” The deceptively bland language admitted “such a Reaganite policy

of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is

necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century

and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.”


The signatories of this 1997 document read like a who’s who of Washington

power today: among them, in addition to those mentioned above, Eliot Cohen,

Steve Forbes, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, William Bennett, Donald Kagan,

Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz and Dan Quayle.


The PNAC, now actively exercising power, is about to fulfill its dream of

invading Iraq. In the PNAC’s vision of Iraq, the only vector that matters is US

strategic interest. Nobody really cares about Saddam Hussein’s “brutal

dictatorship,” nor his extensive catalogue of human rights violations, nor “the

suffering of the Iraqi people,” nor his US-supplied weapons of mass

destruction, nor his alleged connection to terrorism.


Iraq counts only as the first strike in a high-tech replay of the domino

theory: the next dominoes will be Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The idea is to

carve up Syria; let Turkey invade northern Iraq; overthrow the Saudi royal

family; restore the Hashemites to the Hijaz in Arabia. And dismember Iraq

altogether and annex it to Jordan as a vassal kingdom to the US: after all,

Jordan’s King Abdullah is a cousin of former Iraqi King Faisal, deposed in

1958. This would be one solution for the nagging question of who would have

any legitimacy to be in power in Baghdad after Saddam.


Rumsfeld loves NATO, but he abhors the European Union. All PNAC members and

most Pentagon civilians – but not the State Department – do: after all, they

control NATO, not the EU. These things usually are not admitted in public.

But Rumsfeld, the blunt midwesterner, former fighter pilot and former servant

of presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, prefers John Wayne to Bismarck:

even Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch ally of Bush,

complained out loud that diplomacy for Rumsfeld is an alien concept. Rumsfeld

even has his own wacky axis of evil: Cuba, Libya and ... Germany. If Rumsfeld

barely manages to disguise his aversion for dovish Secretary of State Colin

Powell’s views, one imagines to what circle of hell he dispatches the pacifist

couple of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder.


Strange, no journalist has stood up and ask Rumsfeld, in one of those cosy

Pentagon spinning sessions, how was his 90-minute session with Saddam in

Baghdad in December 20, 1983. The fuzzy photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with

Saddam, observed by Iraqi vice premier Tarik Aziz, is now a collector’s item.

Rumsfeld was sent by Reagan to mend relations between the US and Iraq only one

month after Reagan had adopted a secret directive – still partly classified –

to help Saddam fight Iran’s Islamic Revolution that had begun in 1979. This

close cooperation led to nothing else than Washington selling loads of military

equipment and also chemical precursors, insecticides, aluminum tubes, missile

components and anthrax to Saddam, who in turn used the lot to gas Iranian

soldiers and then civilian Kurds in Halabja, northern Iraq, in 1988. The

selling of these chemical weapons was organized by Rumsfeld.


Washington was perfectly aware at the time that Saddam was using chemical

weapons. After the Halabja massacre, the Pentagon engaged in a massive

disinformation campaign, spinning that the massacre was caused by Iran. Cheney,

as Pentagon chief from March 1989 onwards, continued to cooperate very closely

with Saddam. The military aid – secretly organized by Rumsfeld – also enabled

Saddam to invade Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Between 1991 and 1998, UN weapons

inspectors conclusively established that the US – as well as British, German

and French firms – had sold missile parts and chemical and bacteriological

material to Iraq. So much for the moral high ground defended by America and

Britain in the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction controversy.


September 2002’s National Security Strategy (NSS) document simply delighted

the members of the PNAC. No wonder: it reproduced almost verbatim a September

2000 report by the PNAC, which in turn was based on the now famous 1992 draft

Defense Policy Guidance (DPG), written under the supervision of Wolfowitz for

then Secretary of Defense Cheney. Already in 1992, the three key DPG

objectives were to prevent any “hostile power” from dominating regions whose

resources would allow it to become a great power; to dissuade any

industrialized country from any attempt to defy US leadership; and to prevent

the future emergence of any global competitor. That’s the thrust of the NSS

document, which calls for a unipolar world in which Washington’s military power

is unrivalled.


In this context, the invasion and occupation of Iraq is just the first

installment in an extended practical demonstration of what will happen to

“rogue” states alleged to have or not have weapons of mass destruction, alleged

to have or not have links to terrorism, and alleged connections to anyone or

anything that might challenge US supremacy. The European Union, China and

Russia beware: the Shock and Awe demonstration that is about to be unleashed on

Iraq is pure theatrical militarism, a concept already analyzed by Asia Times

Online.


It’s no surprise that Bush, on February 26, chose to unveil his vision of a

new Middle Eastern order at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a

right-wing Washington think tank. The PNAC’s office is nowhere else than on the

5th floor of the AEI building on 17th St, in downtown Washington. The AEI is

the key node of a collection of neoconservative foreign policy experts and

scholars, the most influential of whom are members of the PNAC.


The AEI is intimately connected to the Likud Party in Israel – which for all

practical purposes has a deep impact on American foreign policy in the Middle

East, thanks to the AEI’s influence. In this mutually-beneficial environment,

AEI stalwarts are known as Likudniks. It’s no surprise, then, how unparalleled

is the AEI’s intellectual Islamophobia. Loathing and contempt for Islam as a

religion and as a way of life leads to members of the AEI routinely bashing

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. They also oppose any negotiations with North

Korea – another policy wholly adopted by the Bush administration. For the AEI,

China is the ultimate enemy: not a peer competitor, but a monster strategic

threat. The AEI is viscerally anti-State Department (read Colin Powell).

Recently, it has also displayed its innate Francophobia. And to try to dispel

the idea that it is just another bunch of grumpy dull men, the AEI has been

deploying to the BBC and CNN talk shows its own female weapon of mass

regurgitation, one Danielle Pletka. Lynn Cheney, vice president Dick’s wife, a

historian and essayist, is also an AEI senior fellow.


The AEI’s former executive vice president is John Bolton, one of the Bush

administration’s key operatives as undersecretary of state for arms control and

international security. Largely thanks to Bolton, the US unilaterally

withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. Bolton has also

opposed the establishment of the new International Criminal Court (ICC),

recently inaugurated in The Hague. The AEI only treasures raw power as

established under the terms of neoliberal globalization: the International

Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Its nemesis

is everything really multilateral: the ABM treaty, the ICC, the Kyoto protocol,

the treaty on anti-personal mines, the protocol on biological weapons, the

treaty on the total ban of nuclear weapons, and most spectacularly, in these

past few days, the UN Security Council.


The AEI’s foreign policy agenda is presided over by none other than Richard

Perle. As Perle is a longtime friend and advisor to Rumsfeld, he was rewarded

with the post of chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board: its

30-odd very influential members include former national security advisers,

secretaries of defense and heads of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Perle

is also a very close friend of Pentagon number two Wolfowitz, since they were

students at the University of Chicago in the late 1960s. Perle now reports to

Wolfowitz.


On September 20, 2001, Perle went on overdrive, fully mobilizing the Defense

Policy Board to forge a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda. The PNAC sent an open

letter to Bush detailing how a war on terrorism should be conducted. The letter

says that Saddam has to go “even if evidence does not link him to the attack.”

The letter lists other policies that later were implemented – like the gigantic

increase of the defense budget and the total isolation of the Palestinian

Authority (PA), as well as others that may soon follow, like striking Hezbollah

in Lebanon and yet-to-be-formulated attacks against Iran and especially Syria

if they do not stop support for Hezbollah.


The Bush administration strategy in the past few months of totally isolating

the PA’s Yasser Arafat and allowing Israeli premier Ariel Sharon to refuse as

much as a handshake, was formulated by the PNAC. Another PNAC letter states

that “Israel’s fight is our fight ... for reasons both moral and strategic, we

need to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism.” The PNAC detested

the Camp David accords between Israel and the Palestinians. For the PNAC, a

simmering, undeclared state of war against Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and

Iran is a matter of policy.


Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security

affairs under Reagan, is also a member of the board of the Jerusalem Post. He

wrote a chapter – “Iraq: Saddam Unbound” – in Present Dangers, a PNAC book. He is very close to ultra-hawk

Douglas Feith, who was his special counsel under Reagan and is now assistant

secretary of defense for policy (one of the Pentagon’s four most senior posts)

and also a partner in a small Washington law firm that represents Israeli

suppliers of munitions seeking deals with American weapons manufacturers. It

was thanks to Perle – who personally defended his candidate to Rumsfeld – that

Feith got his current job. He was one of the key people responsible for

strategic planning in the war against the Taliban and is also heavily involved

in planning the war against Iraq.


David Wurmser, former head of Middle Eastern projects at the AEI, is now

special assistant to PNAC founder John Bolton, the undersecretary of State for

arms control and a fierce enemy of multilateralism. Wurmser wrote

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>Tyranny’s Ally: America’s failure to defeat

Saddam Hussein, a book published by the AEI. The foreword is by none other

than Perle. Meyrav Wurmser, David’s wife, is a co-founder of the Middle East

Media Research Institute.


In July 1996, Perle, Feith and the Wurmser couple wrote the notorious paper for

an Israeli think tank charting a roadmap for Likud superhawk and then-incoming

Israeli prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. The paper is called “A Clean

Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” Perle, Feith and the Wurmsers

tell Bibi that Israel must shelve the Oslo Accords, the so-called peace

process, the concept of “land for peace,” go for it and permanently annex the

entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The paper also recommends that Israel must

insist on the elimination of Saddam, and the restoration of the Hashemite

monarchy in Baghdad. This would be the first domino to fall, and then regime

change would follow in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This 1996

blueprint is nothing else than Ariel Sharon’s current agenda in action. In

November last year, Sharon took the liberty to slightly modify the domino

sequence by growling on the record that Iran should be next after Iraq.


Bush’s speech on February 26 at the AEI claimed that the real reason for a war

against Iraq is “to bring democracy.” Cheney has endlessly repeated that Iraqis

– like Germany and Japan in 1945 – will welcome American soldiers with wine and

roses. For Bush, Iraq is begging to be educated in the principles of democracy:

“It’s presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world,

or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim, is somehow untouched by the most

basic aspirations of life.” But this very presumption is seemingly central to

the intellectual Islamophobia of both the AEI and PNAC.


The AEI and the PNAC shaped the now official Bush policy of introducing

democracy – by bombing Iraq – and then “successfully transforming the lives of

millions of people throughout the Middle East,” in the words of AEI scholar

Michael Ledeen. At his AEI speech, Bush did nothing else but parrot the

idea. Many a voice couldn’t resist to point out the splendid American record of

encouraging native democracy around the world by supporting great freedom

fighters such as the Shah of Iran, Sese Seko Mobutu in the Congo, Augusto

Pinochet in Chile, Suharto in Indonesia, the Somozas in Nicaragua, Zia ul-Haq

in Pakistan and an array of 1960s and 1970s Latin American dictators. Among

newfound American allies, Turkmenistan is nothing less than totalitarian and

Uzbekistan is ultra-authoritarian, and among “old” allies, Egypt and Saudi

Arabia have absolutely nothing to do with democracy.


Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, based

in California, and author of Blowback:

The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. A war veteran turned

scholar, he could never be accused of anti-Americanism. His new book about

American militarism, The Sorrows of

Empire: How the Americans lost their Country, will be published in late

2003. Some of its insights are informative in confirming the role of the PNAC

in setting American foreign policy.


Johnson is just one among many who suspect that “after being out of power

with Clinton and back to power with Bush ... the neocons were waiting for a

‘catastrophic and catalyzing’ event – like a new Pearl Harbor” that would

mobilize the public and allow them to put their theories and plans into

practice. September 11 was, of course, precisely what they needed. National

Security Advi Condoleezza Rice called together members of the National Security

Council and asked them “to think about how do you capitalize on these

opportunities to fundamentally change American doctrine, and the shape of the

world, in the wake of September 11th.” She said, “I really think this

period is analogous to 1945 to 1947 when fear and paranoia led the US into its

Cold War with the USSR.”


Johnson continues: “The Bush administration could not just go to war with Iraq

without tying it in some way to the September 11 attacks. So it first launched

an easy war against Afghanistan. There was at least a visible connection

between Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime, even though the United States

contributed more to Osama’s development as a terrorist than Afghanistan ever

did. Meanwhile, the White House launched one of the most extraordinary

propaganda campaigns of modern times to convince the American public that an

attack on Saddam Hussein should be a part of America’s ‘war on terrorism’. This

attempt to whip up war fever, in turn, elicited an outpouring of speculation

around the world on what were the true motives that lay behind President Bush’s

obsession with Iraq.”


The Iraq war is above all Paul

Wolfowitz’s war. It’s his holy mission. His cue was September 11. Slightly after

Rumsfeld, on September 15, 2001 at Camp David, Wolfowitz was already advocating

an attack on Iraq. There are at least three versions of what happened that

day. As a reporter, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward (remember Watergate)

used to bring down presidents; now he’s a mere presidential public relations

officer. In his book Bush at War he

writes that Bush told Wolfowitz to shut up and let the number 1 (Rumsfeld)

talk. The second version, defended by the New York Times, says that Bush

listened attentively to Wolfowitz. But a third version relayed by diplomats

holds that in Bush’s executive order on September 17 authorizing war on

Afghanistan, there’s already a paragraph giving free reign to the Pentagon to

draw plans for a war against Iraq.


Former CIA director James Woolsey, a certified five-star hawk, is a great

friend of Wolfowitz. Woolsey is also the author of what could be dubbed

“the high noon” theory that defines nothing less than Bush’s vision of the

world. According to the theory, Bush is not a six-shooter: he is the leader of

a posse.


That’s how Bush described himself in a conversation last year with then Czech

president Vaclav Havel. As film fans well remember, Gary Cooper in

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>High Noon plays a village marshal who

tries by all means to convince his friends to assemble a posse to face the Saddam

of the times (a lean and mean Lee Marvin) who is supposed to arrive in the noon

train. In the end, Cooper has to face “Saddam” Marvin all by himself.


It’s fair to argue that the Bush administration today is enacting a

larger-than-life replay of a high noon. The posse is the “coalition of the

willing.” The logic of the posse is crystal clear. The US first defines a

strategic objective (for example, regime change in Iraq). They propagate their

steely determination to achieve this objective (an awesome worldwide propaganda

and disinformation campaign combined with a major military deployment). And

finally they assemble a posse to help them: the coalition of the willing,

or “coalition of the bribed and bludgeoned,” as it was dubbed by democrats in

Europe and the US itself. A devastating report by the Institute for Policy

Studies in Washington has detailed a “coalition of the coerced.” Whatever its

name, those who do not join the coalition (the absolute majority of UN

member-states, as well as world public opinion) remain, as Bush says,

“irrelevant.”


With missionary fervor, Wolfowitz has been pursuing his Iraqi dream step by

step. In late 2001, James Woolsey roamed all over Europe trying to find a

connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. He couldn’t find anything. But then in

January 2002, Iraq was formally inducted in the “axis of evil” along with Iran

and North Korea. Rumsfeld went on overdrive: he said that Saddam supported

“terrorists” (in fact suicide martyrs in Palestine, who have nothing to do with

al-Qaeda). He said that Saddam promised US$25,000 to each of their families.

The neocons embarked on a media blitzkrieg, and Wolfowitz’s mission finally hit

center stage.

 

During the Cold War in the 1970s, Wolfowitz

learned the ropes laboring on nuclear treaties, the endless talks with the

Soviets on nuclear armament limitations. At the time he also started a

career for one of his better students, Lewis Libby – who today is Cheney’s

chief of staff. For three decades Wolfowitz has been involved in strategic

thinking, military organization and political and diplomatic moves. Even former

Jimmy Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the author of

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>The Grand Chessboard – or the roadmap

for US domination over Eurasia – allegedly allows Wolfowitz to figure alongside

Henry Kissinger, McGeorge Bundy or Zbig himself: that select elite of

academics who managed to cross over to high office and radiate intellectual

authority and almost unlimited power by osmosis because of close contact with

an American president.


Wolfowitz routinely talks about “freedom and democracy” – with no

contextualization. His renditions always sound like a romantic ideal. But

there’s nothing romantic about him. During the First Gulf War, Wolfowitz was an

undersecretary at the Pentagon formulating policy. Cheney was the

Pentagon chief. It was Wolfowitz who prepared Desert Storm – and also got the

money. The bill was roughly $90 billion, 80 percent of it paid by the allies: a

cool deal. It was Wolfowitz who convinced Israel not to enter the

war even after the country was hit by Iraqi Scuds, so the key Arab partners of

the 33-nation coalition would not run away.


But Saddam always remained his nemesis. When Bush senior lost his

re-election, Wolfowitz became dean of the School of Advanced International

Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Later, he was fully

convinced that Iraq was behind the first attack against the World Trade Center,

in 1993.

 

Wolfowitz and Perle, though close, are not the same

thing. Perle is virtually indistinguishable from the hardcore policies of the

Likud in Israel. Perle thinks that the only possible way out for the US – not

the West, because he despises Europe as a political player – is a

multi-faceted, long-term, vicious confrontation against the Arab and Muslim

world. Wolfowitz is more sophisticated: he has already served as American

ambassador to Indonesia. He definitely does not subscribe to the fallacious

Samuel Huntington theory of a clash of civilizations. Wolfowitz even believes

in an independent Palestine – something that for Perle is beyond anathema.


Wolfowitz, born in 1943 in New York, is the son of a Polish

mathematician whose whole family died in Nazi concentration camps. It was Allan

Bloom, the brilliant author of The

Closing of the American Mind and professor at the University of Chicago,

deceased in 1992, who steered Wolfowitz towards political science. Wolfowitz

had the honor of being cloned by Saul Bellow in the novel

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>Ravelstein: the Wolfowitz character

shows up under a fictional name in the same role he occupied in 1991 at the

Pentagon. Messianic, and a big fan of Abraham Lincoln, Wolfowitz is a walking

contradiction: his fierce unilateralism is based on his faith in the

universality of American values.


Wolfowitz and his proteges’s are hardcore “Straussians” – after Leo Strauss,

a Jewish intellectual who managed to escape the Nazis, died in 1999 as a

100-year-old and was totally anti-modern: for him, modernity was responsible

for Nazism and Stalinism. Strauss was a lover of the classics – most of all

Plato and Aristotle. His most notorious disciples were Chicago’s Allan Bloom

and also Harvey Mansfield – who translated both Machiavelli and Tocqueville and

was the father of all things politically correct in Harvard.


Strauss believed in natural right and in an immutable measure of what is just

and what is unjust. Thus the Wolfowitz credo that a vague “democracy and

freedom” is a one-size-fits-all panacea to be served everywhere, even by force.

Plenty of neo-hawks followed Bloom’s courses at the University of Chicago:

Wolfowitz of course, but also Francis Fukuyama of “end of history” fame, and

John Podhoretz, who reigns over the editorial pages of the ultra-reactionary

Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid the New York Post. As to Mansfield, his most

notorious student was probably William Kristol, the editor of the also Rupert

Murdoch-financed magazine Weekly Standard. In Kristol’s own formulation, all

these Straussians are morally conservative, religiously inclined, anti-Utopian,

anti-modern and skeptical towards the left but also towards the reactionary

right.


Ronald Reagan, because of his “moral clarity” and his “virtue,” is their

supreme icon – not the devious realpolitik couple of Richard Nixon and

Kissinger. This conceptual choice is absolutely essential to understand where

the neocons are coming from. Take the crucial expression “regime change”:

there’s nothing casual about it. Strauss used to say that “classic political

philosophy was guided by the question of the best regime.” Here Strauss was

talking specifically about Aristotle and his notion of politeia. The “regime” – or politeia

– designates not only government, but also institutions, education, morals, and

“the spirit of law.” In the mind of these Straussians, to topple Saddam is a

mere footnote. “Regime change” in Iraq means to implant a Western Utopia in the

heart of the Middle East: a Western-built politeia.

Many would argue this is no more than a replay of Rudyard Kipling’s “white

man’s burden.”


Perle, also a New Yorker, is much, much rougher than Wolfowitz. No Aristotle

for him. A dull man with a psychopath gaze, he recently accused New Yorker

reporter Seymour Hersh of being “a terrorist” – because Hersh, in a splendid

piece, unveiled how Perle set up a company that will profit immensely from war

in the Middle East. Perle has repeatedly declared on the record that the US is

prepared to attack Syria, Lebanon and Iran – all “enemies of Israel.” One

of his most notorious recent stunts was when he invited an obscure French

scholar to the Defense Policy Board to bash the Saudi royal family. He casually

noted that if the invasion of Iraq brings down another couple of “friendly”

Arab regimes, it’s no big deal. At a recent seminar organized by a New

York-based public relations firm and attended by Iraqi exiles and American

Middle East and security officials, Perle proclaimed that France was no longer

an ally of the US; and that NATO “must develop a strategy to contain our

erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance.” This hawk,

though, is no fool, and loves la vie en

rose: Richard Perle spends his holidays in his own house in the south of

France.


If you are a Pentagon senior civilian adviser, saying all those things out

loud, they pack a tremendous punch in Washington: it’s practically official. As

official as Perle musing out loud whether the US should “subordinate vital

national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our

interests” by seeking the endorsement of the UN Security Council on a major

issue of policy (that’s exactly what happened on Monday). Perle has been saying

all along that “Iraq is going to be liberated, by the United States and whoever

wants to join us, whether we get the approbation of the UN or any other

institution.” And Bush repeated these words almost verbatim. As for the

tremendous unpopularity of the US, “it’s a real problem and it undoubtedly

diminishes our ability to do the things that we think are important. I think

that’s bad for the world because if the United States, as the leader it has

always been, has its authority and standing diminished, that can’t be good for

the Swiss or the Italians or the Germans. But I don’t know how you deal with

that problem ...”


Perle and Wolfowitz may shape policy, but that would not enhance their

mundane status among the political chattering classes if they didn’t have a

bulldog to disseminate their clout in the media. That’s where William Kristol,

the chairman of the Project for a New American Century and the director of the

magazine Weekly Standard comes in. Kristol’s co-chairman at the PNAC is Robert

Kagan, former deputy for policy in the State Department in the bureau for

Inter-American affairs. Kagan is the author of Of Paradise and Power: America vs Europe in the New World Order

where, according to a fallacious formula, Europeans living in a kind of

peaceful, Utopian paradise will be forced to stomach unbridled American power. Robert

is the son of Donald Kagan, ultra-conservative Yale professor and eminent

historian. Kagan junior is a major apostle of nation building, as in “the

reconstruction of the Japanese politics and society to America’s image.” He

cheerleads the fact that 60 years later there are still American troops in

Japan. The same, according to him, should happen in Iraq. Any strategist would

remind Kagan that in Japan in 1945 the emperor himself ordered the population

to obey the Americans and in Germany the war devastation was so complete that

the Germans had no other alternative.


William is the son of Irving Kristol and Gertrud Himmelfarb, classic New

York Jewish intellectuals and ironically former Trotskyite who then made a

sharp turn to the extreme right. Former Trotskyites have a tendency to believe

that history will vindicate them in the end. Irving, at 82 a former neo-Marxist,

neo-Trotskyite, neo-socialist and neo-liberal, today is officially a

neoconservative and one of the AEI’s stalwarts.


Kristol junior reportedly likes philosophy, opera, thrillers and is fond

of – who else – Aristotle and Machiavelli, who not by accident were eminences

behind the prince. Instead of rebelling against his parents, he sulked in his

bedroom rebelling against his own generation – the anti-war, peace-and-love,

Bob Dylan-addicted 1960s baby boomers. Although admitting that Vietnam was a big

mistake, William did not volunteer to go to war, a fact that qualifies him

as the archetypal “chicken hawk”

armchair warmongers who know nothing about the horrors of war. William

wants to erect conservatism to the level of an ideology of government. His

great heroes include Reagan – for, what else, his “candor” and “moral clarity.”

A naked imperialist? No, he’s not as crass as Rumsfeld: he prefers to be

characterized as a partisan of “liberal imperialism.”


As media hawk-in-chief, William is just following up daddy’s work:

Irving Kristol was the ultimate portable think tank of Reaganism. Today,

Kristol junior is convinced that the Middle East is an irredeemable source of

anti-Americanism, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and an assorted basket

of evils. Kristol of course is a very good friend of Wolfowitz, Kagan and

former ex-CIA chief James Woolsey, who not by accident heaps lavish praise

on The War over Iraq: Saddam’s tyranny

and America’s mission, a book by Lawrence Kaplan and ... William

Kristol. Woolsey loves how the book goes against the “narrow realists”

around Bush senior and the “wishful liberals” around Bill Clinton.


Under Bush senior, William Kristol was Dan Quayle’s chief of staff.

Under Clinton, he was in the wilderness until he finally managed to launch the

Weekly Standard. Who financed it? None other than Rupert Murdoch, whose

tabloidish Fox News is widely known as Bush TV. The Weekly Standard loses money

in direct proportion to the expansion of its influence. It remains invaluable as

the voice of “Hawk Central.”


Hawks, or at least some neoconservatives, seem to understand the importance of

a lighter touch as a key public relations strategy. That’s where David

Brooks comes in. Brooks, former University of Chicago, former Wall

Street Journal and now a big fish at the Weekly Standard, was the

one who came up with the concept of “bobos” – bourgeois bohemians, or “caviar

left” as they are known in Latin countries. “Bobos,” accuse the neocons, do

absolutely nothing to change a social order that they seem to fight but from

which they profit. Bobo-bashing is one of the neocon’s ideological strategies

to dismiss their critics out of hand.


In his conference at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in

January, Noam Chomsky demistified the mechanism through which these people,

“most of them recycled from the Reagan administration,” are implementing their

agenda: “They are replaying a familiar script: drive the country into deficit

so as to be able to undermine social programs, declare a ‘war on terror’ (as

they did in 1981) and conjure up one devil after another to frighten the

population into obedience. In the 1980s it was Libyan hit men prowling the

streets of Washington to assassinate our leader, then the Nicaraguan army only

two days march from Texas, a threat to survival so severe that Reagan had to

declare a national emergency. Or an airfield in Grenada that the Russians were

going to use to bomb us (if they could find it on a map); Arab terrorists

seeking to kill Americans everywhere while Gaddafi plans to ‘expel America from

the world,’ so Reagan wailed. Or Hispanic narco-traffickers seeking to destroy

our youth; and on, and on.”


For both the AEI and the PNAC, the Middle East is a land without people, and

oil without land – and this is something anyone will confirm in the streets or

power corridors in Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Ramallah, Damascus or Baghdad. The

image fits the AEI and PNAC’s acute and indiscriminate loathing and contempt

for Arabs. The implementation of the AEI’s and the PNAC’s policies has led to

the transformation of Ariel Sharon into a “man of peace” – Bush’s own words at

the White House – and the semi-fascist Likud Party becoming the undisputed

number one ally of American civilization. The occupied Palestinian territories

– see never-complied, forever-spurned UN resolution 242 plus dozens of others –

became “the so-called occupied territories” (in Rumsfeld’s own words). Jewish

moderates, inside and outside Israel, are extremely alarmed.


One of the key excuses for the Iraq war sold by Washington was the elimination

of the roots of terrorism by striking terrorists and the “axis of evil” that

supports them. This is a total flaw. The excuse is undermined by the US

themselves. Not even Washington believes war is the way to fight terrorism,

otherwise the Bush administration would not have adopted the AEI and PNAC

agenda of promoting “democracy and liberty” in the Arab world. But neither the

Arabs nor anyone else is convinced that the US is committed to real democracy or

to the “territorial integrity of Iraq” when key members of the

administration, like Perle, signed “Clean Break” in 1996 advising Benjamin

Netanyahu that Iraq and any other country which tried to defy Israel should be

smashed. The message by the PNAC people to Netanyahu in 1996 and to Bush

since 2001 has been the same: international law is against our interests; we

fix our own objectives; we go for it and the rest will follow – or not. Even

Zbig Brzezinski has recognized the American corporate press – unlike the

European press – has not uttered a single word about the total similarity of

the agendas. But concerned Americans have already realized the superpower has

no attention span, no patience, no tact – and many would say no historical

credibility – to engage in nation-building in the Middle East.


There’s not much democracy on the cards either. Iraqis and the whole Arab

nation view as an unredeemable insult and injury the official American plan to

enforce a de facto military occupation. Iraq is already carved up on paper into

three sections (just like the British did in the 1920s). Two retired generals –

including Arabic-speaking, Lebanese-origin John Abizaid – and a former

ambassador to Yemen – will control the three interim “civil” administrations.

Abizaid studied the history of the Middle East at Harvard – and this is as far

as his democratic credentials go. Everything in Iraq will be under overseer

supremo Jay Garner, a retired general very close to Ariel Sharon and until a

few months ago the CEO of a weapons firm specialized in missile guidance

systems. Iraqis, Palestinians and Arabs as a whole are stunned: not only has

the US flaunted international legitimacy in its push to war, it will also

install an Israeli proxy as governor of Iraq and will keep pretending to

finally be committed to respect the never-complied dozens of UN resolutions

concerning Palestine.


As much as Israel is widely regarded by most 1.3 billion Muslims as the de

facto 51st American state, many responsible Americans denounce the Iraq war as

Sharon’s war. Washington’s Likudniks – the AEI and PNAC people – allied with

evangelical Christians – are running US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Since Autumn 2002, they have managed to convince Bush to increase the tempo –

with no consultation to Congress or to American public opinion – betting on a

point-of-no-return scenario in Iraq. Meanwhile, Sharon, in a relentless

campaign, managed to convince Bush that war on Palestine was equal to war

against terrorism. But he went one step beyond: he convinced Bush that the

Palestinian Intifada, al-Qaeda and Saddam are all cats in the same bag,

plotting a concerted three-pronged offensive to destroy Judeo-Christian

civilization. Thus the subsequent, overwhelming Bush administration

campaign to try to convince public opinion that Saddam is an ally of bin Laden.

Few fell into the trap. But European strategists got the drift: they are

already working with the hypothesis that the geopolitical axis in the Middle

East is about to switch from Cairo-Riyadh-Tehran to Tel Aviv-Ankara-Baghdad

(post-Saddam).


In a recent hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, undersecretary

of state for political affairs Mark Grossman and undersecretary of defense for

policy Douglas Feith talked for four hours and through 86 pages, apparently

detailing how the US will rebuild Iraq after liberation through massive

bombing. Feith has been on record saying that this war of course “is not about

oil,” while stating a few sentences later that “the US will be the new OPEC.” A

source confirms that it was clear at the Senate hearing both Feith and Grossman

had absolutely no idea what the Arab world is all about. Senators asked how

much the war would cost (Yale economist William Nordhaus said the occupation

may cost between $17 billion and $45 billion a year): nobody had an answer.

Feith and Grossman said it was “unknowable.” Rumsfeld is also a major exponent

of the “not knowable” school. The cost of war for American taxpayers – some

estimates go as high as $200 billion – is “not knowable.” The size of the

occupation force – some estimates range as high as 400,000 troops – is “not

knowable.” The duration of the occupation – former NATO supreme commander

Wesley Clark has mentioned no less than eight years – is “not knowable.”


Arabs, Asians, Europeans – and a few Americans – warn of blowback: the whole

Middle East may explode in a violent, vicious anti-imperialist struggle. As

this correspondent has been hearing for months from Pakistan to Egypt and from

Indonesia to the Gulf, “dozens of bin Ladens” are bound to emerge. The strategy

advocated by the evangelic apostles of armed democratization – overwhelming

military force, unilateral preemption, overthrow of governments, seizure of oil

fields, recolonization, protectorates – is being roundly condemned by the same

educated Arab elites which would be the natural leaders of a push for

democratization. Many question not Washington’s objective, but the method: they

simply cannot stomach the “imperial liberalism” version marketed by the hawks.

The current absolute mess in Afghanistan is further demonstration that

“democratization” via an American proconsul is doomed to failure. Moreover, 16

eminent British academic lawyers have certified the Bush doctrine of preemptive

self-defense is illegal under international law.


Even a tragically surreal, zombie regime like North Korea’s has retained one

essential lesson from this whole crisis: if you don’t want regime change, you’d

better maximize your silence, speed and cunning to build your own arsenal of

WMDs. Muslims for their part have understood that the unlikely

Franco-German-Russian axis of peace was and still is trying to prevent what both

al-Qaeda and American fundamentalists want: a war of civilizations and a war of

religion. And the world public opinion’s insight is that Washington may win

the war without the UN – but it will lose peace by shooting the UN down. As a

diplomat in Brussels put it, “The world has voted in unison: it does not want

to be reordered by a posse in Washington.”


The men in the AEI and the PNAC galaxy may be accused of intolerance,

arrogance of power, undisguised fascist tendencies, ignorance of history and

cultural parochialism – in various degrees. This is all open to debate. They

may be chicken hawks like

Kristol junior or attack dogs like Rumsfeld. But most of all what baffles

educated publics across the world – especially the overwhelming majority of

public opinion in Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain – is the current

non-separation of Church and State in the US.


George W Bush is not ideologically a neoconservative. But he is

certainly a man with a notorious lack of intellectual curiosity. Backed by his

core American constituency of 60 to 70 million Bible-believing Christians,

born-again Bush is setting out to do God’s will on a crusade to Babylon to

“fight evil” – personified by Saddam. Martin Amis, Britain’s top contemporary

novelist, argues that Bush, being intellectually null, had no other option than

to adopt God as his foreign policy mentor. Amis wrote in the Observer that

“Bush is more religious than Saddam: of the two presidents, he is, in this

respect, the more psychologically primitive. We hear about the successful

‘Texanization’ of the Republican party. And doesn’t Texas seem to resemble a

country like Saudi Arabia, with its great heat, its oil wealth, its brimming

houses of worship, and its weekly executions.” For former weapons inspector

Scott Ritter, Bush is “a fundamentalist who does not respect international law.

The United States is becoming a crusader state.” For the absolute majority of

1.3 billion Muslims, a sinister crusader it is.


The endgame will reveal itself to be a cheap family farce: the Bush family

delivers an ultimatum to the Hussein family. What Gore Vidal describes as

“the Bush-Cheney junta” has won: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, the AEI

and PNAC stalwarts. Paul Wolfowitz,

above all, has won his own personal crusade. Colin Powell has lost it all.

It does not matter that the State Department’s classified report, “Iraq, the

Middle East and change: no dominoes” was unveiled by the Los Angeles Times.

Wolfowitz and Perle will play with their dominoes. By predictable mechanisms of

power as old as mankind itself (and incidentally very common in the former

USSR) it was Powell – the adversary of the new doctrine of preemption – who was

charged to defend it in the face of the world. Sources in New York confirm he

was told to get in line: his discourse, his body language, his whole demeanor

changed. Seasoned American diplomats are appalled by the devastating political

and diplomatic failure of the Bush administration. They know that by deciding

to go to war unilaterally – and leaving the international system in shambles –

the US has squandered its biggest capital: its international legitimacy. And to

make matters worse there was absolutely no debate – in the Senate, or in the

public opinion arena – about it.


Americans still have to wake up to the fact of how startlingly isolated they

are in the world. The world, for its part, will keep deploying its weapons of

mass democracy. There can be no “international community” as long as the

popular perception lingers in so many parts of the world of a clash between the

West and Islam. Always ready to recognize and love the best America has to offer,

hundreds of millions of people would rather try to save it from the fatal

unilateralism distilled by the American fundamentalists of the PNAC and the

AEI. Everyone in Baghdad, the former great capital of Islam at its apex, is

fond of saying how it has survived the Mongols, the barbarians at the gate. The

evangelic apostles of armed democratization cannot even imagine the fury a new

breed of barbarians may unleash at the gate of the new American century.

style='font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"'>



posted at 12:50:32 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Tuesday,March 18,2003

Here is an excerpt from Pat Buchanan's controversial article in his magazine, The American Conservative, which seemingly everyone, from the New York Times and the Washington Post to the New Right (Moonie/Unificationist) Washington Times, is denouncing.

We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.

Half and half. He is only looking at one side of the issue. I am not sure that Rumsfeld, for instance, cares much about Israel. The issue is the New Right coalition, the revival of 1964 "Goldwaterism," which includes neocons, the Christian Right, and secularists (primarily from Roman Catholic and Protestant backgrounds). They include partisans of varying objectives, including Zionists, Christian Zionists, neoliberals, advocates of Pax Americana, libertarians, and supporters of global democratization. Their "enemies" are the paleoconservatives, i.e., Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak.


Interesting information on the raw numbers of billionaires from a Forbes magazine special edition. However, it would interesting to see it broken down per capita.

Canada 15

China 0

France 13

Germany 43

Hong Kong 11

Italy 11

Japan 19

Mexico 11

Russian Federation 17

South Korea 2

Spain 7

Sweden 5

United Kingdom 14

United States 222

Venezuela 2


Premillennialism: The view that Christ will return, at the end of the age, to set up His Kingdom and a thousand years of peace (the millennium). This eschatology (theology of end times), also called chiliasm, was condemned as a heresy in 431 C.E. (A.D.). It was subsequently reintroduced by John Darby in the 1830s and combined with the idea of a rapture (or translation) of the church, i.e., that Christ will miraculously remove Christians from the earth either before (pre-tribulation premillennialism), during (mid-tribulation premillennialism) or after (post-tribulation premillennialism) a period of global tribulation.

Postmillennialism: It also goes by various other names, including dominion theology, and is accepted by many Calvinists. This eschatology basically equates the church with the Kingdom (of heaven on earth). When the church reaches a certain level of development (various opinions on this issue), Christ will appear. In other words, Christ will return to a victorious church. The millennium is not a literal period of 1,000 years, but a reference to the time period during which Satan is subjugated by the church. Dominion theology is about the closest there is in mainline Protestantism to Islamism. Both want to establish theocracies. Of course, not all Islamists are radicalized, like al-Qa'ída. Some would rather see the "reformation" of a caliphate (for instance) through peaceful means.

Amillennialism: According to this eschatology, there will not be a millennium of any type. The term is figurative, just as other numbers are used in the Bible symbolically. There is not, however, universal agreement on what this symbolism means. The Churches of Christ (orthodox Campbellites, as contrasted with the more liberal Disciples of Christ/Christian Church) advocate, for the most part, some variety of amillennialism.

Preterism: To preterists, everything focuses on the year 70 C.E., the year of the destruction of the Temple. Full Preterists, who constitute a minority of those supporting this position, believe that Christ fully returned this year, and that there will be no future return. Partial preterists believe that Christ only partially returned this year, and there will also be a future return. Many postmillenialists and Calvinists also support this more moderate, partial position.


Interesting. It comes from the USA Daily:

Texas Sheriff Warning Residents Of Sightings Of Unidentified "Spanish Speaking Troops" In U.S.

USA Daily Staff 3-17-03

In a March 13th letter published in the Jim Hogg County Enterprise in Hebbronville, Sheriff Erasmo Alarcon Jr. writes of, “Walkers dressed in military fatigues, with guns, and carrying professional hiking backpacks” that have been sighted in the border county with Mexico. “The witnesses state that they walk in a military type of cadence or jog. The persons are described as being fit individuals."

According to sheriff Alarcon, "the latest sightings took place 5-6 miles north of the county about 2 1/2 weeks ago, and it is suspected that they may be foreign troops". “We have reported this information to higher up law enforcement agencies, but no one really knows who these individuals are, not even military” he says.

Sheriff Alarcon said, "they are seen carrying automatic weapons and stressed that their back packs were larger than the typical bags carried by drug smugglers."

When asked about the possibility of it being U.S. troops training in the area the sheriff said "we are usually told when the U.S. government will be doing military training in the area."

Seen in very remote areas of the county that stretches 50-60 miles the soldiers are not believed to be typical drug smugglers. They are taking "extreme measures to circumnavigate the checkpoints". The sheriff told USA Daily that they have had about "six reports of these unidentified troops over the last three years". Although the sheriff said, "we can't confirm the nationality of the troops, in the most recent eye witness account, the troops were said to have asked directions and were described as Spanish speaking".

“In the past only law enforcement were aware of these military type individuals” writes Alarcon. Seemingly expressing a concern of the unidentified soldiers being possible terrorists, Sheriff Alarcon writes, "Remember the last plane that was taken down to prevent further terrorism was done by everyday Americans."

The sheriff's letter also says, “I share this because we still don’t know who these individuals are. Obviously, they are trespassing and obviously they are carrying something. We hope its narcotics and not something much worse. We bring this information to light because of the security crises our country faces.”

To date the Sheriff’s office has been unable to catch up with the unidentified soldiers. In one incident the Sheriff says that they were “within several hours of a sighting. That particular time we formed an immediate multi task force between the surrounding counties, but we were met with little success. We even brought in air support using the county helicopter."

Sheriff Alarcon said, "We don't know who they are. They could be terrorists or drug smugglers. We're not trying to alarm people, we just want them to keep there eyes open and report any sightings".

Sheriff Alarcon warns against confronting the soldiers and says to call 911 if sighted.

Editors note: Although we can not say it is related, it may be, The Soldier Of Fortune magazine recently mentioned that American mercenaries are possibly training Mexicans in the art of military tactics for warfare. It seems the trainers were speaking English with a Texan accent. (April Issue).

This is a USA Daily news report.


Well, it may be a conspiracy theory. I don't know. But it is interesting:

9/11: The Enlightenment

Can Science overcome Myth? (in time to stop the next war)

MEDIA RELEASE 4th March 2003

Professor A.K. Dewdney, author of `Ghost Riders in the Sky', has released the results of an experiment testing the feasibility of claims that cellphone calls were made from `hijacked' airplanes on September 11th 2001.

The cellphone calls from hijacked planes were a crucial element of the 'official version' of the horrific events of '9/11', as they directly corroborated the notion that all four planes were hijacked by Arab terrorists.

Dewdney's experiment suggests that it is highly unlikely the cellphone calls took place as reported...

Dewdney's `Ghost Riders in the Sky' hypothesis has been available on the web since early 2002. Now in its fourth version, it can be viewed HERE. Dewdney is a Canadian Mathematician and Computer Scientist who holds the position of Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Ontario and has some 100 academic papers to his name. He proposes that the four `hijacked' airplanes on 9/11 were taken over by remote control after all crew and passengers were disabled (probably killed by a poisonous gas such as sarin). Professor Dewdney further suggests that the `Arab hijackers', whose identity has been shrouded in mystery since it was discovered that several alleged hijackers are in fact alive and well, were patsies.

A crucial objection to Dewdney's hypothesis has been the cellphone calls reportedly made from the `hijacked' planes. These cellphone calls appear to substantiate the official version of events. If they took place as reported, Dewdney's hypothesis is clearly incorrect.

In version four of `Ghost Riders', Dewdney went to great lengths to analyze the numerous reports of cellphone calls, and showed how they could have been faked.

Now he`s gone one better...

On Tuesday 25th February 2003, Dewdney chartered a light plane and flew up into the airspace above London Ontario - an area extensively serviced with cellphone stations. His goal was to test the essential feasibility of the claim that cellphone calls could have been made from planes at high altitude.

Dewdney's report on this private experiment, entitled 'Project Achilles', is HERE.

His report concludes:

"To the extent that the cellphones used in this experiment represent types in general use, it may be concluded that from this particular type of aircraft, cellphones become useless very quickly with increasing altitude. In particular, two of the cellphone types, the Mike and the Nokia, became useless above 2000 feet. Of the remaining two, the Audiovox worked intermittently up to 6000 feet but failed thereafter, while the BM analog cellphone worked once just over 7000 feet but failed consistently thereafter. We therefore conclude that ordinary cellphones, digital or analog, will fail to get through at or above 8000 feet abga."

The light plane used by Dewdney for the experiment could be expected to yield much better results for cellphone use than large commercial airliners of the type `hijacked' on 9/11, because the carbon fiber skin of the test plane is 'radio transparent' and offers little attenuation of the signal - unlike the aluminum surface of a Boeing 757 or 767. If cellphones fail at a given altitude in the test plane, one may be confident they won't work at equivalent altitude in an airliner with a metal surface.

Dewdney's experiment suggests that if cellphone calls from `hijacked' airplanes on 9/11 happened at all, they must all have occurred at very low altitude. This is inconsistent with the `official version' of events.

The implications that 9/11 was a spectacular hoax are, of course, staggering. Many journalists and commentators may be reticent to dissect the official version of events, because to do so opens a veritable Pandora's Box.

If 9/11 was not carried out by Arab terrorists, the perpetrators clearly must have influence within the highest levels of the US Administration. Key elements of the mass media must also have been complicit in perpetrating the fraud.

Whoever was ultimately responsible for these crimes against humanity apparently intended, inter alia, to portray terrorism as a quintessentially Muslim phenomenon and trigger long-term western hostility towards the Arab and Moslem world.

With war looming in the middle east, justified largely on the basis of the events of '9/11', the immediate contemporary relevance of this possibility is self-evident.

Giving credence to this view is not, perhaps, conducive to a successful career in the western media. Nevertheless, journalists worthy of the title should start seriously investigating the many anomalies surrounding 9/11 - and stop uncritically regurgitating officially-sanctioned myths which fail to withstand scientific scrutiny.

For more information contact Winston Smith: winston@feralnews.com

For information specifically about the `Ghost Riders in the Sky' hypothesis and the recently-concluded cellphone test (Project Achilles), contact professor AK Dewdney at akd@uwo.ca


I found the following on the "Vote to Impeach" site - not that I necessarily support it or anything ;-)

The site features articles of impeachment for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft, drafted by Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General during the Johnson Administration.



posted at 05:32:14 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Monday,March 17,2003

There is a problem in attributing too much importance to words. If free will is defined as a choice between virtuousness (higher nature) and animalism (lower nature), then presumably it would not make sense to speak of free will in the next world:

"Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will."

-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.248

However, if free will is defined as a simple choice, or power, over one's destiny, then presumably one does have free will in the next world:

"As here they [sould] can receive light by their supplications, there [in the next world] also they can plead for forgiveness and receive light through entreaties and supplications. Thus as souls in this world, through the help of the supplications, the entreaties and the prayers of the holy ones, can acquire development, so is it the same after death. Through their own prayers and supplications they can also progress, more especially when they are the object of the intercession of the Holy Manifestations."

-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.232


Here is a new (alleged) message from Usama:

Praise be to Allah

We seek his help and ask for his pardon we take refuge in Allah from our wrongs and bad deeds. Whoever been guided by Allah will not be misled and who ever has been misled he will never be guided.

I bear witness that there is no God except Allah no associates with Him and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.

We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans.

Nothing could stop you except perhaps retaliation in kind.

We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned they are all targets. Allah said Stand by your brother be he oppressor or oppressed. When asked how were they to stand by him if he were the oppressor. He answered them saying by giving him guidance and counsel.

It all goes to say that Muslims should cooperate with one another and should be supportive of one another and they should promote righteousness and mercy.

They should all unite in the fight against polytheism and they should pool all their resources and their energy to fight the Americans and the Zionists and those with them.

It is clear that mankind has descended to the lowest degrees of decadence and oppression. They rip us of our wealth and of our resources and of our oil.

Our religion is under attack, they kill and murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity and dare we utter a single word of protest against the injustice we are called terrorists.

This is compounded injustice, and the United Nations insistence to convict the victims and support the aggressors constitutes a serious precedence which shows the extent of injustice that has been allowed to take root in this land.

They have hunted me in Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, but thanks to Allah, a secure base has been founded on the peaks of the Hindu Kush, which witnessed the destruction of the greatest atheist army on Earth to the cry Allah is great.

The Mujahideen your brothers and sons requesting that you support them in every possible way by supplying them with the necessary information materials and arms.

Security men are especially asked to cover up for the Mujahideen and to assist them as much as possible against the occupying enemy and to spread rumors, fear, and discouragement among the members of the enemy forces.

We bring to your attention that the regime in order to create a friction and feud between the Mujahideen and yourselves might resort to take a deliberate action against personnel of the security guards and military forces and blame the Mujahideen for these actions.

The regime should not be allowed to have such opportunity. The regime is fully responsible for what had been incurred by the country and the nation however the occupying American enemy is the principle and the main cause of the situation.

Therefore efforts should be concentrated on destroying fighting and killing the enemy until the Crusade by the Grace of Allah it is completely defeated.

The time will come by the Permission of Allah when you'll perform your decisive role so that the word of Allah, will be supreme and the word of the infidels will be the inferior.

You will hit with iron fist against the aggressors. You'll reestablish the normal course and give the people their rights and carry out your truly Islamic duty.

It is a duty now on every tribe in the Arab Peninsula to fight Jihad in the Cause of Allah and to cleanse the land from those occupiers.

Allah knows that there blood is permitted and their wealth is a booty, their wealth is a booty to those who kill them.

The most Exalted said in the verse of AsSayef

The Sword so when the sacred months have passed away then slay the idolaters where ever you find them and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. (AtTauba; 9:5)

All praise is due to Allah

7/01/1424 H.A March 11, 2003

Usamah bin Muhammad bin Laden

http://iraq-bombed-usa-embassy.co.uk/ladenstatement.html



posted at 10:27:40 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,March 14,2003

I saw this picture of the dynamic duo on CNN. Could this be a photograph of their inner selves? ;-)

Bush and Blair



posted at 11:18:31 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Thursday,March 13,2003

If the below materializes, we would have the first explicitly neoconservative party in the U.S. Of course, the Unification Church is basically a theological justification for neoconservatism and social conservatism.

-------

'Moonies' launch political party in S Korea

March 10 2003 at 11:06AM

Quickwire

Seoul - The Unification Church, whose followers are commonly referred to as

Moonies, launched its own political party in South Korea on Monday, church

officials said.

The religious sect said its leader, Reverend Moon Sun-Myung, and his

followers held a convention at the Little Angels Hall in Seoul to kick off

the Party for God, Peace, Unification and Home.

In an inauguration declaration, the new party said it would focus on

preparing for the reunification of the two Koreas by educating the public

about God and peace.

Church officals said the party would not seek political power and would not

field candidates in general elections next year.

"The party is aiming not to take political power but to secure peace in the

world, including the Korean peninsula," a top church official said after

the party convention attended by about 2 500 people.

He said the church would seek to create similar parties in Japan and the

United States. - Sapa-AFP


We have been warned. The major neoconservative ideologues, writing in Commentary magazine (the bible of that movement published by the American Jewish Committee), who have been pushing this war, had predicted that the U.S. would have absolutely no problem gaining the cooperation of Turkey. Whatever the outcome, "no problem" was clearly an exaggeration. Now, these ideologues continue to say that the threat of so-called "terrorism" from radical Islamists will be reduced by the war, and that the Iraqis will welcome the U.S. and its coalition of the billing with open arms. Is anyone questioning them now?



posted at 07:39:14 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Tuesday,March 11,2003

Fox News Channel doesn't have journalists, anchors, and hosts. It has spokespeople.

For News Channel doesn't have guests. It has cheerleaders.



posted at 05:40:21 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Sunday,March 09,2003

From a reply I posted to an email list:

At 09:19 AM 3/9/03 -0800, you wrote:

>>>I would counter that it is the child that has no black and white per se. We teach the children what is right and what is wrong. Adults generally know better.<<

It is after we mature that we develop an awareness of the basic "grayness" constructed into human relationships. With kids, a person is either a friend, a member of one's own clique, or a person is outside that clique and an enemy. As we mature, we begin to place these things into perspective. We learn to get along with people - even though we may not like them. People who can't do that are usually called immature (at least in my experience).

>>>We see that there are correct and incorrect ways to do things. We see that there is a right and wrong. Moral relativism is the child like reaction to the concept that there are moral absolutes.<<

I suppose that I am a moral relativist, but so is everyone. The disagreement conservatives have with moral relativism (or situation ethics) is not based on the philosophy per se but on the determinations made by others about how the moral relativity should be applied.

For instance, is "not killing" an absolute? Who defines when killing become murder? Many conservatives support killing in cases of the death penalty and oppose it in abortion clinics. Many liberals have the reverse viewpoint. Both are moral relativists. In fact, morality cannot be anything but relative. We are socially, historically contextualized beings, and ideas or principles need to be understood in, or related to, a single place and a single moment.

>>>Moral relativism is a way to justify the ends and blur the lines. The child is often motivated, not by what is right or wrong, but what is expedient for the child at the moment.<<

No, it is always ***someone else's*** moral relativism which justifies the ends and blurs the lines. Rarely does a person see her or his own moral relativism in that context.

>>>The truth is, is that there are evil things and evil people. There are such things as right and wrong, good and evil. Your rather egregious characterization of those of us who believe that way speaks of your own intolerance.<<

And who gets to define that? Bush? Saddam? IMO, evil is the absence of spirituality. However, if I had to create a continuum, I would place Mr. Bush at a lower point on that scale than Mr. Saddam, and I think that future histories written of this period will back me up. You might do the reverse, but you won't convince me.

Again, your use of "intolerance" is morally relative. There are certain things, perhaps not entirely the same things, which each of us would not tolerate.

>>>By and large, we see absolute good as coming from God and absolute evil coming from Satan.<<

I assumed that from your previous comments. I believe in the existence of God, but not of Satan, which I regard as a metaphor for one's insistent self. However, I don't see God's "absolute good," which I would call virtuousness, as having much to do with morality. Virtues are the reflections of the attributes of God in the human soul. Morals are the norms and values constructed by, and relative to, human societies, which may or may not be influenced by divine virtues.

>>>On the other hand, we do not generally see any one country or person as absolute good.<<

Based on his famous "evil empire" speech, Ronald Reagan saw the former Soviet Union as absolutely evil. Bush appears to see Saddam, Kim, and Usama as absolutely evil.

I am not convinced that Bush necessarily sees the U.S. as absolutely good. However, I do notice his tendency to speak of America in grandiose, celestial terms - even when he is sharing a platform with another world leader. That kind of political blindness (and rudeness) indicates that he views the U.S. in, to say the least, an extremely ethnocentric light.

>>>Mr. Bush does not perceive himself to be "absolute good" or the absolute arbiter. That is, on its face, preposterous.<<

I have no idea of how he perceives himself, but he is acting like an absolute arbiter.

>>>Before WWII, there was a virulent anti-war sentiment in this country.<<

Yes, but that is an assertion, not an argument. One can't conclude, based on what you said, that those who are virulently anti-war this time are incorrect. I could, for instance, use the more recent example of the Southeast Asian Conflict, which I was personally involved in protesting against. Initially, those of us in the New Left were seen as a lunatic fringe. Later, many of our views on the war in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. became mainstream.

>>>I think that President Bush's personal religious view provide some sort of moral sticking point. I am not of the President's faith but I understand it and I understand the moral guide posts it gives him.<<

He is a "Billy Graham Methodist." I have no problem with him having a religious conscience. So do I. My issue is with his moral realism. Not all Methodists are moral realists.

>>>Clinton, on the other hand, had no moral sticking point. He was the child. Unpredictable, Untruthful, never accepting any real responsibility, these were his hallmarks.<<

I have no affection for either man. They are both childish or immature. However, Clinton was not an international hazard.


Flash! Terrorist Calls Journalist a Terrorist

On today's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, neoconservative chicken hawk, Richard Perl (a.k.a. the man who would be god), vindictively called New York Times journalist, Seymour "Cy" Hersh a terrorist for accusing him of potentially benefiting financially, through a homeland security business he owns, from a war in Iraq. Anyone who ever questioned Perl's real character should have no doubt after his shameful outburst on CNN.


Interesting, isn't it?:

UK nuclear evidence a fake

British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein has been trying to import uranium for a nuclear bomb are unfounded, according to UN nuclear inspectors

Ian Traynor

Saturday March 8, 2003

The Guardian

British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein has been trying to import uranium for a nuclear bomb are unfounded and based on deliberately fabricated evidence, according to an investigation by the UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq.

The chief nuclear inspector for Iraq, Mohammed El Baradei, yesterday flatly contradicted Downing Street's and British intelligence's claims of attempted uranium smuggling by Iraq and said that the documents used to substantitate the British claim were "not authentic".

In a 55-page report last September detailing British intelligence evidence of Baghdad's ongoing attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the government said that since 1998 "Iraq has sought the supply of significant supplies of uranium from Africa".

British officials named the state of Niger as the source of the uranium and passed their evidence to the UN nuclear watchdog, the international atomic energy agency, in Vienna.

"Close scrutiny and cross-checking of the documents, the letterheads on them, the signatures on them, led us to conclude with quite absolute certainty that the documents were false," an IAEA official said.

"They were fabricated," said another IAEA official.

The fabrication was transparently obvious and quickly established, the sources added, suggesting that British intelligence was either easily hoodwinked or a knowing party to the deceit.

There was no suggestion that the British were involved in falsifying the evidence which is believed to have been manufactured in Africa, probably in Niger, and then passed to western intelligence agencies



posted at 12:05:21 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Saturday,March 08,2003

A letter from Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame), published in the London Observer:

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors own the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.

As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult.

Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want! And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us. That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children.

Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way. Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq.

Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it? How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves. Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism.

Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims? It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out. My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come. It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.


The following is a message I just sent to MSNBC in response to their question of the day:

I actually think that the chances of peace are greater now than I did a few days ago. Watching the American Secretary of State and the British Foreign Secretary address the United Nations Security Council yesterday, I got the distinct impression that they wanted to do what they could to avoid a war.

Before the deadline arrives nine days from now, I find it difficult to imagine how Saddam, once he realizes that no one will come to his assistance, would not disarm. The Iraqi president is a survivor, not a martyr.


Back in December of 2000, then President-elect George W. Bush said, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." Prophecy fulfilled.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0012/18/nd.01.html


Another interesting article:

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/10/ma_273_01.html

The Thirty Year Itch

Three decades ago, in the throes of the energy crisis, Washington's hawks

conceived of a strategy for US control of the Persian Gulf's oil. Now, with

the same strategists firmly in control of the White House, the Bush

administration is playing out their script for global dominance.

By Robert Dreyfuss

March/April 2003 Issue

P L U S :

Oil and Arms: An In-Depth Look

If you were to spin the globe and look for real estate critical to building

an American empire, your first stop would have to be the Persian Gulf. The

desert sands of this region hold two of every three barrels of oil in the

world -- Iraq's reserves alone are equal, by some estimates, to those of

Russia, the United States, China, and Mexico combined. For the past 30

years, the Gulf has been in the crosshairs of an influential group of

Washington foreign-policy strategists, who believe that in order to ensure

its global dominance, the United States must seize control of the region and

its oil. Born during the energy crisis of the 1970s and refined since then

by a generation of policymakers, this approach is finding its boldest

expression yet in the Bush administration -- which, with its plan to invade

Iraq and install a regime beholden to Washington, has moved closer than any

of its predecessors to transforming the Gulf into an American protectorate.

In the geopolitical vision driving current U.S. policy toward Iraq, the key

to national security is global hegemony -- dominance over any and all

potential rivals. To that end, the United States must not only be able to

project its military forces anywhere, at any time. It must also control key

resources, chief among them oil -- and especially Gulf oil. To the hawks who

now set the tone at the White House and the Pentagon, the region is crucial

not simply for its share of the U.S. oil supply (other sources have become

more important over the years), but because it would allow the United States

to maintain a lock on the world's energy lifeline and potentially deny

access to its global competitors. The administration "believes you have to

control resources in order to have access to them," says Chas Freeman, who

served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush.

"They are taken with the idea that the end of the Cold War left the United

States able to impose its will globally -- and that those who have the

ability to shape events with power have the duty to do so. It's ideology."

Iraq, in this view, is a strategic prize of unparalleled importance. Unlike

the oil beneath Alaska's frozen tundra, locked away in the steppes of

central Asia, or buried under stormy seas, Iraq's crude is readily

accessible and, at less than $1.50 a barrel, some of the cheapest in the

world to produce. Already, over the past several months, Western companies

have been meeting with Iraqi exiles to try to stake a claim to that bonanza.

But while the companies hope to cash in on an American-controlled Iraq, the

push to remove Saddam Hussein hasn't been driven by oil executives, many of

whom are worried about the consequences of war. Nor are Vice President

Cheney and President Bush, both former oilmen, looking at the Gulf simply

for the profits that can be earned there. The administration is thinking

bigger, much bigger, than that.

"Controlling Iraq is about oil as power, rather than oil as fuel," says

Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire

College and author of Resource Wars. "Control over the Persian Gulf

translates into control over Europe, Japan, and China. It's having our hand

on the spigot."

Ever since the oil shocks of the 1970s, the United States has steadily been

accumulating military muscle in the Gulf by building bases, selling

weaponry, and forging military partnerships. Now, it is poised to

consolidate its might in a place that will be a fulcrum of the world's

balance of power for decades to come. At a stroke, by taking control of

Iraq, the Bush administration can solidify a long-running strategic design.

"It's the Kissinger plan," says James Akins, a former U.S. diplomat. "I

thought it had been killed, but it's back."

Akins learned a hard lesson about the politics of oil when he served as a

U.S. envoy in Kuwait and Iraq, and ultimately as ambassador to Saudi Arabia

during the oil crisis of 1973 and '74. At his home in Washington, D.C.,

shelves filled with Middle Eastern pottery and other memorabilia cover the

walls, souvenirs of his years in the Foreign Service. Nearly three decades

later, he still gets worked up while recalling his first encounter with the

idea that the United States should be prepared to occupy Arab oil-producing

countries.

In 1975, while Akins was ambassador in Saudi Arabia, an article headlined

"Seizing Arab Oil" appeared in Harper's. The author, who used the pseudonym

Miles Ignotus, was identified as "a Washington-based professor and defense

consultant with intimate links to high-level U.S. policymakers." The article

outlined, as Akins puts it, "how we could solve all our economic and

political problems by taking over the Arab oil fields [and] bringing in

Texans and Oklahomans to operate them." Simultaneously, a rash of similar

stories appeared in other magazines and newspapers. "I knew that it had to

have been the result of a deep background briefing," Akins says. "You don't

have eight people coming up with the same screwy idea at the same time,

independently.

"Then I made a fatal mistake," Akins continues. "I said on television that

anyone who would propose that is either a madman, a criminal, or an agent of

the Soviet Union." Soon afterward, he says, he learned that the background

briefing had been conducted by his boss, then-Secretary of State Henry

Kissinger. Akins was fired later that year.

Kissinger has never acknowledged having planted the seeds for the article.

But in an interview with Business Week that same year, he delivered a thinly

veiled threat to the Saudis, musing about bringing oil prices down through

"massive political warfare against countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran to

make them risk their political stability and maybe their security if they

did not cooperate."

In the 1970s, America's military presence in the Gulf was virtually nil, so

the idea of seizing control of its oil was a pipe dream. Still, starting

with the Miles Ignotus article, and a parallel one by conservative

strategist and Johns Hopkins University professor Robert W. Tucker in

Commentary, the idea began to gain favor among a feisty group of hardline,

pro-Israeli thinkers, especially the hawkish circle aligned with Democratic

senators Henry Jackson of Washington and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New

York.

Eventually, this amalgam of strategists came to be known as

"neoconservatives," and they played important roles in President Reagan's

Defense Department and at think tanks and academic policy centers in the

1980s. Led by Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defense

Policy Board, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, they now

occupy several dozen key posts in the White House, the Pentagon, and the

State Department. At the top, they are closest to Vice President Cheney and

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who have been closely aligned since both

men served in the White House under President Ford in the mid-1970s. They

also clustered around Cheney when he served as secretary of defense during

the Gulf War in 1991.

Throughout those years, and especially after the Gulf War, U.S. forces have

steadily encroached on the Gulf and the surrounding region, from the Horn of

Africa to Central Asia. In preparing for an invasion and occupation of Iraq,

the administration has been building on the steps taken by military and

policy planners over the past quarter century.

Step one: The Rapid Deployment Force

In 1973 and '74, and again in 1979, political upheavals in the Middle East

led to huge spikes in oil prices, which rose fifteenfold over the decade and

focused new attention on the Persian Gulf. In January 1980, President Carter

effectively declared the Gulf a zone of U.S. influence, especially against

encroachment from the Soviet Union. "Let our position be absolutely clear,"

he said, announcing what came to be known as the Carter Doctrine. "An

attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will

be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of

America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary,

including military force." To back up this doctrine, Carter created the

Rapid Deployment Force, an "over-the-horizon" military unit capable of

rushing several thousand U.S. troops to the Gulf in a crisis.

Step two: The Central Command

In the 1980s, under President Reagan, the United States began pressing

countries in the Gulf for access to bases and support facilities. The Rapid

Deployment Force was transformed into the Central Command, a new U.S.

military command authority with responsibility for the Gulf and the

surrounding region from eastern Africa to Afghanistan. Reagan tried to

organize a "strategic consensus" of anti-Soviet allies, including Turkey,

Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The United States sold billions of dollars' worth

of arms to the Saudis in the early '80s, from AWACS surveillance aircraft to

F-15 fighters. And in 1987, at the height of the war between Iraq and Iran,

the U.S. Navy created the Joint Task Force-Middle East to protect oil

tankers plying the waters of the Gulf, thus expanding a U.S. naval presence

of just three or four warships into a flotilla of 40-plus aircraft carriers,

battleships, and cruisers.

Step three: The Gulf War

Until 1991, the United States was unable to persuade the Arab Gulf states to

allow a permanent American presence on their soil. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia,

while maintaining its close relationship with the United States, began to

diversify its commercial and military ties; by the time U.S. Ambassador Chas

Freeman arrived there in the late ?80s, the United States had fallen to

fourth place among arms suppliers to the kingdom. "The United States was

being supplanted even in commercial terms by the British, the French, even

the Chinese," Freeman notes.

All that changed with the Gulf War. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states no

longer opposed a direct U.S. military presence, and American troops,

construction squads, arms salesmen, and military assistance teams rushed in.

"The Gulf War put Saudi Arabia back on the map and revived a relationship

that had been severely attrited," says Freeman.

In the decade after the war, the United States sold more than $43 billion

worth of weapons, equipment, and military construction projects to Saudi

Arabia, and $16 billion more to Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab

Emirates, according to data compiled by the Federation of American

Scientists. Before Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. military enjoyed the

right to stockpile, or "pre-position," military supplies only in the

comparatively remote Gulf state of Oman on the Indian Ocean. After the war,

nearly every country in the region began conducting joint military

exercises, hosting U.S. naval units and Air Force squadrons, and granting

the United States pre-positioning rights. "Our military presence in the

Middle East has increased dramatically," then-Defense Secretary William

Cohen boasted in 1995.

Another boost to the U.S. presence was the unilateral imposition, in 1991,

of no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, enforced mostly by U.S.

aircraft from bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. "There was a massive

buildup, especially around Incirlik in Turkey, to police the northern no-fly

zone, and around [the Saudi capital of] Riyadh, to police the southern

no-fly zone," says Colin Robinson of the Center for Defense Information, a

Washington think tank. A billion-dollar, high-tech command center was built

by Saudi Arabia near Riyadh, and over the past two years the United States

has secretly been completing another one in Qatar. The Saudi facilities

"were built with capacities far beyond the ability of Saudi Arabia to use

them," Robinson says. "And that's exactly what Qatar is doing now."

Step four: Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan -- and the open-ended war on terrorism, which has led

to U.S strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere -- further boosted

America's strength in the region. The administration has won large increases

in the defense budget -- which now stands at about $400 billion, up from

just over $300 billion in 2000 -- and a huge chunk of that budget, perhaps

as much as $60 billion, is slated to support U.S. forces in and around the

Persian Gulf. Military facilities on the perimeter of the Gulf, from

Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian

Ocean, have been expanded, and a web of bases and training missions has

extended the U.S. presence deep into central Asia. From Afghanistan to the

landlocked former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, U.S. forces

have established themselves in an area that had long been in Russia's sphere

of influence. Oil-rich in its own right, and strategically vital, central

Asia is now the eastern link in a nearly continuous chain of U.S. bases,

facilities, and allies stretching from the Mediterranean and the Red Sea far

into the Asian hinterland.

Step five: Iraq

Removing Saddam Hussein could be the final piece of the puzzle, cementing an

American imperial presence. It is "highly possible" that the United States

will maintain military bases in Iraq, Robert Kagan, a leading

neoconservative strategist, recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle East

over a long period of time," he said. "When we have economic problems, it's

been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq,

there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

Kagan, along with William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, is a founder of

the think tank Project for the New American Century, an assembly of

foreign-policy hawks whose supporters include the Pentagon's Perle, New

Republic publisher Martin Peretz, and former Central Intelligence Agency

director James Woolsey. Among the group's affiliates in the Bush

administration are Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz; I. Lewis Libby, the vice

president's chief of staff; Elliott Abrams, the Middle East director at the

National Security Council; and Zalmay Khalilzad, the White House liaison to

the Iraqi opposition groups. Kagan's group, tied to a web of similar

neoconservative, pro-Israeli organizations, represents the constellation of

thinkers whose ideological affinity was forged in the Nixon and Ford

administrations.

To Akins, who has just returned from Saudi Arabia, it's a team that looks

all too familiar, seeking to implement the plan first outlined back in 1975.

"It'll be easier once we have Iraq," he says. "Kuwait, we already have.

Qatar and Bahrain, too. So it's only Saudi Arabia we're talking about, and

the United Arab Emirates falls into place."

LAST SUMMER, Perle provided a brief glimpse into his circle's thinking when

he invited rand Corporation strategist Laurent Murawiec to make a

presentation to his Defense Policy Board, a committee of former senior

officials and generals that advises the Pentagon on big-picture policy

ideas. Murawiec's closed-door briefing provoked a storm of criticism when it

was leaked to the media; he described Saudi Arabia as the "kernel of evil,"

suggested that the Saudi royal family should be replaced or overthrown, and

raised the idea of a U.S. occupation of Saudi oil fields. He ultimately lost

his job when rand decided he was too controversial.

Murawiec is part of a Washington school of thought that views virtually all

of the nations in the Gulf as unstable "failed states" and maintains that

only the United States has the power to forcibly reorganize and rebuild

them. In this view, the arms systems and bases that were put in place to

defend the region also provide a ready-made infrastructure for taking over

countries and their oil fields in the event of a crisis.

The Defense Department likely has contingency plans to occupy Saudi Arabia,

says Robert E. Ebel, director of the energy program at the Center for

Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank whose

advisers include Kissinger; former Defense Secretary and CIA director James

Schlesinger; and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's national security adviser.

"If something happens in Saudi Arabia," Ebel says, "if the ruling family is

ousted, if they decide to shut off the oil supply, we have to go in."

Two years ago, Ebel, a former mid-level CIA official, oversaw a CSIS task

force that included several members of Congress as well as representatives

from industry including ExxonMobil, Arco, BP, Shell, Texaco, and the

American Petroleum Institute. Its report, "The Geopolitics of Energy Into

the 21st Century," concluded that the world will find itself dependent for

many years on unstable oil-producing nations, around which conflicts and

wars are bound to swirl. "Oil is high-profile stuff," Ebel says. "Oil fuels

military power, national treasuries, and international politics. It is no

longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of traditional

energy supply and demand balances. Rather, it has been transformed into a

determinant of well-being, of national security, and of international

power."

As vital as the Persian Gulf is now, its strategic importance is likely to

grow exponentially in the next 20 years. Nearly one out of every three

barrels of oil reserves in the world lie under just two countries: Saudi

Arabia (with 259 billion barrels of proven reserves) and Iraq (112 billion).

Those figures may understate Iraq's largely unexplored reserves, which

according to U.S. government estimates may hold as many as 432 billion

barrels.

With supplies in many other regions, especially the United States and the

North Sea, nearly exhausted, oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq is becoming ever

more critical -- a fact duly noted in the administration's National Energy

Policy, released in 2001 by a White House task force. By 2020, the Gulf will

supply between 54 percent and 67 percent of the world's crude, the document

said, making the region "vital to U.S. interests." According to G. Daniel

Butler, an oil-markets analyst at the U.S. Energy Information Administration

(EIA), Saudi Arabia's production capacity will rise from its current 9.4

million barrels a day to 22.1 million over the next 17 years. Iraq, which in

2002 produced a mere 2 million barrels a day, "could easily be a

double-digit producer by 2020," says Butler.

U.S. strategists aren't worried primarily about America's own oil supplies;

for decades, the United States has worked to diversify its sources of oil,

with Venezuela, Nigeria, Mexico, and other countries growing in importance.

But for Western Europe and Japan, as well as the developing industrial

powers of eastern Asia, the Gulf is all-important. Whoever controls it will

maintain crucial global leverage for decades to come.

Today, notes the EIA's Butler, two-thirds of Gulf oil goes to Western

industrial nations. By 2015, according to a study by the CIA's National

Intelligence Council, three-quarters of the Gulf's oil will go to Asia,

chiefly to China. China's growing dependence on the Gulf could cause it to

develop closer military and political ties with countries such as Iran and

Iraq, according to the report produced by Ebel's CSIS task force. "They have

different political interests in the Gulf than we do," Ebel says. "Is it to

our advantage to have another competitor for oil in the Persian Gulf?"

David Long, who served as a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia and as chief of

the Near East division in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and

Research during the Reagan administration, likens the Bush administration's

approach to the philosophy of Admiral Mahan, the 19th-century military

strategist who advocated the use of naval power to create a global American

empire. "They want to be the world's enforcer," he says. "It's a worldview,

a geopolitical position. They say, 'We need hegemony in the region.'"

UNTIL THE 1970s, the face of American power in the Gulf was the U.S. oil

industry, led by Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, and Gulf, all of whom

competed fiercely with Britain's BP and Anglo-Dutch Shell. But in the early

'70s, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf states nationalized their oil

industries, setting up state-run companies to run wells, pipelines, and

production facilities. Not only did that enhance the power of opec, enabling

that organization to force a series of sharp price increases, but it alarmed

U.S. policymakers.

Today, a growing number of Washington strategists are advocating a direct

U.S. challenge to state-owned petroleum industries in oil-producing

countries, especially the Persian Gulf. Think tanks such as the American

Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and CSIS are conducting

discussions about privatizing Iraq's oil industry. Some of them have put

forward detailed plans outlining how Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other nations

could be forced to open up their oil and gas industries to foreign

investment. The Bush administration itself has been careful not to say much

about what might happen to Iraq's oil. But State Department officials have

had preliminary talks about the oil industry with Iraqi exiles, and there

have been reports that the U.S. military wants to use at least part of the

country's oil revenue to pay for the cost of military occupation.

"One of the major problems with the Persian Gulf is that the means of

production are in the hands of the state," Rob Sobhani, an oil-industry

consultant, told an American Enterprise Institute conference last fall in

Washington. Already, he noted, several U.S. oil companies are studying the

possibility of privatization in the Gulf. Dismantling government-owned oil

companies, Sobhani argued, could also force political changes in the region.

"The beginning of liberal democracy can be achieved if you take the means of

production out of the hands of the state," he said, acknowledging that Arabs

would resist that idea. "It's going to take a lot of selling, a lot of

marketing," he concluded.

Just which companies would get to claim Iraq's oil has been a subject of

much debate. After a war, the contracts that Iraq's state-owned oil company

has signed with European, Russian, and Chinese oil firms might well be

abrogated, leaving the field to U.S. oil companies. "What they have in mind

is denationalization, and then parceling Iraqi oil out to American oil

companies," says Akins. "The American oil companies are going to be the main

beneficiaries of this war."

The would-be rulers of a post-Saddam Iraq have been thinking along the same

lines. "American oil companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil," says

Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, a group of aristocrats

and wealthy Iraqis who fled the country when its repressive monarchy was

overthrown in 1958. During a visit to Washington last fall, Chalabi held

meetings with at least three major U.S. oil companies, trying to enlist

their support. Similar meetings between Iraqi exiles and U.S. companies have

also been taking place in Europe.

"Iraqi exiles have approached us, saying, 'You can have our oil if we can

get back in there,'" says R. Gerald Bailey, who headed Exxon's Middle East

operations until 1997. "All the major American companies have met with them

in Paris, London, Brussels, all over. They're all jockeying for position.

You can't ignore it, but you've got to do it on the QT. And you can't wait

till it gets too far along."

But the companies are also anxious about the consequences of war, according

to many experts, oil-company executives, and former State Department

officials. "The oil companies are caught in the middle," says Bailey.

Executives fear that war could create havoc in the region, turning Arab

states against the United States and Western oil companies. On the other

hand, should a U.S. invasion of Iraq be successful, they want to be there

when the oil is divvied up. Says David Long, the former U.S. diplomat, "It's

greed versus fear."

Ibrahim Oweiss, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University who coined

the term "petrodollar" and has also been a consultant to Occidental and BP,

has been closely watching the cautious maneuvering by the companies. "I know

that the oil companies are scared about the outcome of this," he says. "They

are not at all sure this is in the best interests of the oil industry."

Anne Joyce, an editor at the Washington-based Middle East Policy Council who

has spoken privately to top Exxon officials, says it's clear that most

oil-industry executives "are afraid" of what a war in the Persian Gulf could

mean in the long term -- especially if tensions in the region spiral out of

control. "They see it as much too risky, and they are risk averse," she

says. "They think it has 'fiasco' written all over it." What do you think?

A Mother Jones contributing writer, Robert Dreyfuss was named one of the

"best unsung investigative journalists working in print" last year by the

Columbia Journalism Review.


Surprise, surprise, surprise!

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2340626

Halliburton wins contract on Iraq oil firefighting

Thu March 6, 2003 08:31 PM ET

HOUSTON, March 6 (Reuters) - A Halliburton Co. HAL.N subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) has won the contract to oversee any firefighting operations at Iraqi oilfields after any U.S.-led invasion, a Defense Department source said on Thursday.

KBR was widely viewed by many in the oilfield services industry as the likely candidate to oversee firefighting in Iraq's oilfields. Halliburton does extensive logistic support work for the U.S. military.

Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton's chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000.

A possible beneficiary of Thursday's deal is oilwell firefighting company Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc., with which Halliburton has had an alliance since 1995.

A Halliburton spokeswoman declined comment and referred all questions to the Defense Department.



posted at 08:00:11 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,March 07,2003

What a sad commentary. WorldNetDaily is trying to gain credibility by publishing this piece of pro-evangelical (Christian right),

Muslim-bashing trash?

In the name of Allah?

by Craige McMillan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted: March 6, 2003

1:00 a.m. Eastern

Have Democrats forgotten 9-11? Those in the Washington state legislature have, because on Monday they invited Mohamad Joban, a Muslim cleric from Olympia to pray in the name of Allah and claim the spiritual ground of the state and the people they represent. Only two of the people's representatives stood quietly against this effort.

To grasp the significance of the Washington state Democratic Party's actions, we need to remember. We need to remember that Muslim clerics praying to Allah blessed and then released 19 angry Middle Eastern men into America to murder our fellow citizens, our friends and our family members. These cleric-inspired men flew planeloads of innocent people – just like you and me – into skyscrapers full of other folks, condemning them to early death in a fiery inferno of jet fuel. Others they propelled into the very heart of our government where our military men and women labor daily to protect us and a large part of the free world. They also targeted the White House and the Capitol. Clearly, their prayers were for the destruction of America.

Democrats nationwide would do well to remember that it was by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit that two of 9-11's planes never made it: one crashed in a Pennsylvania field, and another never took off. Were that not the case, today's Congress and president would not exist. Many of those who worship Allah regard America as the "Great Satan." This, they tell anyone who will listen, and incite millions in the Muslim world against us. They have declared war on every man, woman and child in America.

The American left, embodied by the Democratic Party in Washington state, had no second thoughts about taking ground purchased 200 years ago through our forefathers' blood and tears for Jesus Christ, and turning it over to Allah, a god on record publicly as seeking our destruction. Of all the self-professed Christians in the Washington state legislature – and within the state Democratic Party – only two of the people's representatives – both Republicans – saw fit to excuse themselves. Lois McMahan and Gary Condotta quietly left the legislative chamber. For that exercise of personal conscience, they have endured a hate campaign by the American media, and demands by buildings full of paid Muslim mouthpieces (who so far have not had airplanes flown into their workplaces) that they apologize for their Christian beliefs and behavior.

The Americans making these demands (in contrast to the paid mouthpieces of evil) have demonstrated by their action that they have the spiritual discernment of a pile of rocks. They believe that all religions – indeed, good and evil themselves – are equal. Were this the sum of their error, it would be dangerous enough. It is not. They demand that we believe as they do. If we don't believe in the godless nothingness they worship, they will do their best to crucify us, as their forbearers did to Jesus on that cross. Isn't tolerance wonderful?

As this column goes to press, Rep. McMahan has apologized "for offenses given and would like to ask forgiveness of any whom I have offended. It was never my intention for such offenses to occur in the first place."

"I understand that Imam Joban has extended an invitation to me to visit the local Islamic center where he presides. If in fact this is true, I intend to accept his gracious invitation. At that time I will personally deliver to him my apology for any offense he may have experienced."

I don't know about you, but I'm sorry that Rep. McMahan apologized to those who take offense all too readily. The truth is oftentimes hard to accept, especially by those who have so passionately embraced error. We expect a lot of those we elect to represent us in public office. We don't often support them very well, especially in time of trouble. Mr. Joban, the Islamic cleric, is due to pray before the legislature again on this Friday. He deserves the same respect as any other citizen. I can see no disrespect in Christians, who obviously pray to a very different God, politely excusing themselves from this opening proceeding.

Jesus warned us that many would take offense at the cross, but he was adamant there was no other way to come to God the Father. Long before Jesus' day, the prophet Isaiah wrote of our Lord: "And he will be for a sanctuary; and for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (8:14). And, we might add, to both houses of the Washington state legislature as well.

Wednesday,March 05,2003


Hypocrisy?

Rummy and Saddam



posted at 04:00:07 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster



Tuesday,March 04,2003


What a country!

http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905954,00.html

US plan to bug Security Council: the text

Online document: The text of the memorandum detailing the US plan to bug the phones and emails of key Security Council members, revealed in today's Observer

Sunday March 2, 2003

To: [Recipients withheld]

From: FRANK KOZA, DEF Chief of Staff (Regional Targets)

CIV/NSA

Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16

Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential for Related Contributions

Importance: HIGH

Top Secret//COMINT//XI

All,

As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters.

We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN-related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source.

We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak (at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following the SecState's presentation to the UNSC.

Thanks for your help

------

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,905899,00.html

Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war

Secret document details American plan to bug phones and emails of key Security Council members

Read the memo

Talk about it: dirty tricks?

Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy in New York and Peter Beaumont

Sunday March 2, 2003

The Observer

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.

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.

The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.

The memo is directed at senior NSA officials and advises them that the agency is 'mounting a surge' aimed at gleaning information not only on how delegations on the Security Council will vote on any second resolution on Iraq, but also 'policies', 'negotiating positions', 'alliances' and 'dependencies' - the 'whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises'.

Dated 31 January 2003, the memo was circulated four days after the UN's chief weapons inspector Hans Blix produced his interim report on Iraqi compliance with UN resolution 1441.

It was sent by Frank Koza, chief of staff in the 'Regional Targets' section of the NSA, which spies on countries that are viewed as strategically important for United States interests.

Koza specifies that the information will be used for the US's 'QRC' - Quick Response Capability - 'against' the key delegations.

Suggesting the levels of surveillance of both the office and home phones of UN delegation members, Koza also asks regional managers to make sure that their staff also 'pay attention to existing non-UN Security Council Member UN-related and domestic comms [office and home telephones] for anything useful related to Security Council deliberations'.

Koza also addresses himself to the foreign agency, saying: 'We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar more indirect access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines [ie, intelligence sources].' Koza makes clear it is an informal request at this juncture, but adds: 'I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels.'

Disclosure of the US operation comes in the week that Blix will make what many expect to be his final report to the Security Council.

It also comes amid increasingly threatening noises from the US towards undecided countries on the Security Council who have been warned of the unpleasant economic consequences of standing up to the US.

Sources in Washington familiar with the operation said last week that there had been a division among Bush administration officials over whether to pursue such a high-intensity surveillance campaign with some warning of the serious consequences of discovery.

The existence of the surveillance operation, understood to have been requested by President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is deeply embarrassing to the Americans in the middle of their efforts to win over the undecided delegations.

The language and content of the memo were judged to be authentic by three former intelligence operatives shown it by The Observer. We were also able to establish that Frank Koza does work for the NSA and could confirm his senior post in the Regional Targets section of the organisation.

The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza's office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told 'You have reached the wrong number'.

On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza's extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up.

While many diplomats at the UN assume they are being bugged, the memo reveals for the first time the scope and scale of US communications intercepts targeted against the New York-based missions.

The disclosure comes at a time when diplomats from the countries have been complaining about the outright 'hostility' of US tactics in recent days to persuade then to fall in line, including threats to economic and aid packages.

The operation appears to have been spotted by rival organisations in Europe. 'The Americans are being very purposeful about this,' said a source at a European intelligence agency when asked about the US surveillance efforts.

posted at 07:25:02 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster



Monday,March 03,2003


Interesting commentary:

http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,905978,00.html

Could Tony Blair look at the internet now, please?

Why is the British Prime Minister the only person who seems to be unaware of the US hawks' agenda.

Terry Jones

Sunday March 2, 2003

The Observer

It's heart-warming to hear Tony Blair's concern for the plight of the Iraqi people and how the only possible way to help them is to bomb them with everything the Americans have.

Mr Blair's sudden sympathy for the Iraqis' political aspirations comes as a welcome relief after all these years of US, UK-led sanctions, which have caused the deaths of over half a million Iraqi children, according to the UN.

But I'm a bit worried that Tony may be deluding himself that his friends in the White House share his altruistic ideals. I'm sure Tony has been reading all the recent stuff about PNAC - "The Project For The New American Century" - but has he looked at their website? (www.newamericancentury.org)

As everybody knows, the PNAC is a think-tank founded in 1997 by the people who are now closest to President Bush - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and so on. It's a pretty safe bet that what PNAC think is what George W. Bush thinks. PNAC represents the thinking of the men now in power in the United States.

PNAC's stated aims are to: "to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests", to achieve "a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad", "to increase defence spending significantly", and to pursue "America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."

They don't split hairs at the PNAC. George W. Bush and his advisers' stated aim is to ensure that America and American interests dominate the entire world for the foreseeable future. And what's more they make no bones of the fact that they intend to achieve this without diplomacy - that's old hat. What PNAC intend to do is enforce the Pax Americana through military might.

Does Tony Blair know that? Has Tony Blair read the PNAC Report called "Rebuilding Americas Defenses 2000"? It refers to the new technologies of warfare and goes on: "Potential rivals such as China are anxious to exploit these transformational technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they seek to dominate."

So when George Bush and his colleagues talk about Saddam Hussein posing a "threat" to America - they don't mean he's going to drop bombs on Washington (how on earth could he without committing national suicide?) - what they mean is that he poses a threat to American military dominance in the Middle East.

Does Tony Blair know that's what they mean?

In fact, does Tony Blair know that President Bush's advisers regard Saddam Hussein as merely an excuse for military action in the area? The PNAC Report of 2000 states: "the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

So Iraq is merely "the immediate justification" and Saddam's regime is not so important as establishing American military might in the Gulf.

Does Tony Blair know that?

If he has read PNAC's Report he knows that he is simply aiding US right-wing militarism and extremist Republican plans for world domination. Surely in such a cause he would not be prepared to expose the British people to the nightmare of permanent terrorist threats and attacks. Surely for such a cause he would not be prepared to set fire to the Middle East, to destabilize the entire world for the foreseeable future and - most important perhaps - to risk his own political neck by pursuing an evil and almost universally despised policy.

On the other hand, if Tony Blair, has not read "Rebuilding Americas Defenses 2000" or gone to the PNAC website to learn exactly what motivates Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle and Wolfowitz, and so on then why the hell hasn't he?

Go to your computer now, Mr. Blair. Look at the reality behind all this sanctimonious wringing of hands over the plight of the Iraqi people. Read what your American Republican friends are really intending. Please.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

posted at 05:10:00 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster



Saturday,March 01,2003


A nice discussion of Bush's policy to break up Europe:

Enemy Europe?

By Conn Hallinan

Published by portside

Feb 28, 2003

Is the division between the U.S. and many of its allies

in Europe over Iraq really just a case of the French

causing trouble? Or does Paris smell a rat?

The American media portrays the present crisis as a

standoff between France, Germany and Russia on one side,

and the rest of Europe on the other. Following the

massive demonstrations in Spain, Italy and Britain--the

Bush Administration's staunchest allies--that simplistic

formulation has begun to erode, but there is still a

feeling that the falling out is somehow over French

pique or McDonald's hamburgers.

But a number of European nations see Secretary of

Defense Donald Rumsfeld's quip about "old" and "new"

Europe as less a rhetorical device to pressure the "let

the weapons inspectors do their job" crowd, than as a

deliberate attempt to derail the growing political and

economic power of the European Union (EU).

"U.S. envoys in Europe" opines the Financial Times, "are

putting pressure on the European Union countries to

weaken the deepening Franco-German alliance, fearing it

will lead to a more independent defense and foreign

policy."

As one EU military officer told the Financial Times, "It

is not really the 'old Europe' that worried Rumsfeld. It

is the 'new Europe' that France and Germany are

creating."

The Bush Administration made it clear early on that it

does not intend to allow, according to the President in

his 2002 West Point speech, the development of any "peer

competitors." While most people assumed that comment

referred to a resurgent Russia or an up and coming

China, recent White House actions in Europe suggest the

policy is much broader.

This past December, former French President Valiry

Giscard d'Estaing unveiled a new EU constitution

establishing common policy on foreign affairs and

defense and making clear that the bloc intends to

compete with the U.S.economically and politically.

Rumsfeld may dismiss France and Germany as passe, but

France's economy is larger than the combined economies

of Spain, Poland, Portugal, Hungry, Slovakia, Bulgaria,

and the Czech Republic, and Germany's is the third

largest in the world. When Rumsfeld said, "The center of

Europe has indeed shifted eastward." it was wishful

thinking.

While a number of EU candidate countries signed a letter

endorsing the Bush Administration's approach o n Iraq,

on most other issues those same countries hardly see

eye-to-eye with Washington. The "new " Europe -

Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Latvia. Lithuania,

Estonia, Poland, Hungry, Slovakia, Slovenia and

Romania--overwhelmingly vote against the U.S. in the

United Nations. They also back the EU's criticism of

Israel, support the International Criminal Court, and

oppose the death penalty.

Growing US hostility to the UN does not go down well in

either Europe. In their Feb. 17 statement demanding that

Iraq adhere to UN disarmament resolutions, the 15

members of the EU confirmed that "We are committed to

the United Nations remaining at the center of

international order," and that the "primary

responsibility" for dealing with Iraq "lies with the

Security Council."

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has

suggested that the Bush Administration may have bigger

fish to fry than lining up support on Iraq. "The glee in

Washington over European division," he wrote in the

Washington Post, has led some Europeans to conclude

"that the U.Sâ€Â¦. is actually planning a grand strategic

realignment" that would replace the North Atlantic

Treaty Organization (NATO) with temporary coalitions

against specific enemies. The approach of bilateral

ties, rather than working though alliances, is the modus

operandi of the present Administration, and one that

doesn't go down easily in Europe. "Allies participate

not only in the execution but also the formation of

policy," says Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief and

former Secretary General of NATO. "Ad-hoc coalitions of

docile followers to be chosen or discarded at will are

neither attractive nor sustainable."

There have been a number of U.S. actions that look

suspiciously like Washington is not only happy over the

divisions, but actively promotes them. The recent

brouhaha over sending NATO arms to Turkey is a case in

point. Instead of trying to resolve the situation

diplomatically, the U.S. pressured NATO General

Secretary George Robertson into trying to force the

matter through the North Atlantic Council (NAC) without

consulting with individual governments. The NAC's

membership is composed of ambassadors who can't make

policy independent of the governments they represent.

One ambassador told the Financial Times that the tactic

seemed designed simply to heighten the

divisions."Robertson sought either to seek revenge or to

embarrass these countries. You can't do that with NATO."

He went on to say that the Secretary General would have

to spend time "picking up the pieces," adding that, "I

am not sure the Americans will help him."

Splitting the EU is likely to be very costly. Gulf War I

was almost completely paid for by our allies, and most

the troops in Afghanistan today are German. NATO and the

EU have been central to what little rebuilding is being

done in that war-torn country.

This time around American taxpayers will have to pick up

the whole tab.The Administration may talk about its

"coalition of the willing," but it would be more

accurate to describe it as a coalition of the obedient

and the penniless. Going alone means paying all the

bills.

It might also push Europe further away, even the "new"

members. "It will be in the enlightened self-interest"of

new EU and NATO members "to adopt an more pro-European

position given recent developments" says former Poland

Secretary of State Jack Saryusz-Wolski, especially

because of the "unilateralist approach to security by

the U.S." As Javier Solana commented recently, "Some of

us profoundly disagree with Bush. But it may push the

European Union to become much more of an actor in the

world. We have an obligation to do so." Which is exactly

what the Bush Administration may fear the most.


A prime example of how the axis of evil attempts to secure votes:

U.S. on diplomatic warpath

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003

Associated Press

United Nations — Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched in recent days to the capitals of key Security Council countries where they are warning leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq or risk "paying a heavy price."

For some of the countries, such as Angola, Guinea and Cameroon — poor African countries whose concerns drew little attention before they landed seats on the council — there is the possibility that supporting Washington's drive for a new UN resolution authorizing war may reap benefits down the line.

"For a long time now, we have been asking for help to rebuild our country after years of war," said Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins. "No one is tying the request to support on Iraq but it is all happening at the same time."

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos met in the capital Luanda on Thursday with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner, who was diverted from a trip to South Africa to meet the leaders of the council's three African countries.

"In Africa, the message is simple: time is running out and we think they should support us," said one U.S. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The United States and Britain plan to submit their resolution to the Security Council this week and will ask for a vote by the middle of March — when weather conditions in Iraq will still be favourable for a military campaign.

In the meantime, the State Department has sent some of its top people to the world's capitals to lobby for support even as U.S. President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair work the phones. The Bush administration has also recruited the leaders of Australia and Spain to help push for votes.

"The order from the White House was to use 'all diplomatic means necessary,' " another U.S. diplomat said. "And that really means everything."

The wording of the order is a twist on "all means necessary," — the diplomatic terminology that authorizes going to war.

In the past three weeks, the administration has sent Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Kim Holmes, the assistant secretary of state for international organizations to Mexico City.

Mexican diplomats described the visits as hostile in tone and complained that Washington was demonstrating little concern for the constraints of the Mexican government whose people are overwhelmingly opposed to a war with Iraq.

"They actually told us: 'any country that doesn't go along with us will be paying a very heavy price,' " said one Mexican diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

To get its resolution through, the United States must secure nine votes in the 15 member council while preventing France, Russia or China — which are pushing for continued weapons inspections — from using their vetoes. The United States and Britain hold the two other vetoes.

On Saturday, Mr. Bush brushed aside doubts about whether the resolution could overcome the deep divisions within the council, telling reporters "we are just beginning" to line up allies.

Undersecretary of State John Bolton will go to Moscow this week for talks designed to persuade Russian officials to support the U.S.-British resolution.

While Washington and London believe they already have the necessary authorization to forcefully disarm Iraq, many key allies — Turkey included, have said a new resolution would help them overcome opposition at home. The backing of the council also would lend international legitimacy to a war and mean that Washington could count on the UN to share in the costs of rebuilding Iraq.

But so far, Washington is at least five votes short with support guaranteed only from Britain, Spain and Bulgaria.

Since both Germany and Syria have said they would not support the resolution, and Pakistan is almost certain to abstain, the United States must convince the African trio as well as Chile and Mexico to cast 'yes' votes. Otherwise, the resolution will fail.

Much to the frustration of the Bush administration, Mexico, which has been vocal in its opposition to war, is turning out to be the most difficult vote to get.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar also paid a visit to Mexico last week but he failed to secure their support.

Diplomats said there was little the Bush administration could use to scare or entice Mexico now since it does not receive U.S. aid and the one thing it had wanted most — legalizing the status of undocumented Mexicans in the United States — was taken off the table more than one year ago.

"Even so, the pressure is very intense and the warnings are real," according to one Mexican diplomat who acknowledged that the tactics were having an impact on President Vincente Fox.

Complicating matters however is a back-room deal Mexico cut with Chile in which the two Spanish-speaking countries agreed to cast abstentions if the five powers on the council — The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — failed to reach a compromise on Iraq.

"We're just not going to be used or bought off by either side," a Chilean diplomat said.

France is also doing its share of counterlobbying, trying to keep countries that have pushed for continued weapons inspections from moving over to the U.S. position. Paris' key sphere of influence is in Africa, where it was once a colonial power.

At an African summit last week in Paris, French President Jacques Chirac said to have found unanimous support among African leaders that weapons inspections, not war, are the best way to disarm Iraq.

It was unclear whether that meant the African council members would vote against the U.S. resolution.

But Gaspar Martins of Angola said the vote-jockeying was part of the game of international diplomacy.

"If I was the U.S. or France, I would be doing the same thing. To achieve results you need to offer a lot of communication, a lot of dialogue and a lot of attention."

posted at 08:59:36 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster





posted at 08:04:00 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster





Copyright © 2002- Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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