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Neoconservatives Consolidate Control over U.S. Mideast Policy
By Jim Lobe - Foreign Policy In Focus - December 6, 2002
Neoconservative hawks in the administration of President George W. Bush have won a major battle against the State Department in the fight for control of U.S. Mideast policy with the surprise appointment of Iran-Contra figure Elliott Abrams to the region's top policy spot in the National Security Council (NSC). For the first time, someone who has publicly assailed the "land-for-peace" formula that has guided U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict since the 1967 war has been appointed to a top spot in Mideast policy. Abrams, appointed by the White House December 2, 2002, first came to national prominence as a controversial political appointee in the Reagan administration. He later pleaded guilty to lying to Congress regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, and has also opposed the Oslo peace process and called for Washington to “stand by Israel,” rather than act as a neutral mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. In Present Dangers, a book produced by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 2000, Abrams outlined a new U.S. Mideast policy that called for "regime change" in Iraq and for cracking down on the Palestinian Authority. Foreshadowing the current U.S. policy based on superior military power, Abrams recommended that in the Middle East "our military strength and willingness to use it" should be the "key factor in our ability to promote peace." Beloved by right-wingers, who hail him as a hero for his championship of the Nicaraguan contras during the 1980s, Abrams first gained prominence as a leading neoconservative when he served as Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the early 1980s and then as Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs. He was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony about his role in illicitly raising money for the Contras, but pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses of withholding information to Congress in order to avoid a trial and a possible jail term. President George H.W. Bush pardoned Abrams along with a number of other Iran-Contra defendants in 1992. His credibility for truth-telling was so low that at one point he was required to take an oath before testifying before congressional committees. Most analysts here believe that he was given an NSC post by the new Bush administration because any other position would have required Senate confirmation.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:32 PM
The Secret Behind the Sanctions - How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply
by Thomas J. Nagy - The Progressive
Over the last two years, I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway. The primary document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," is dated January 22, 1991. It spells out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens. "Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline," the document states. "With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease." The document goes into great technical detail about the sources and quality of Iraq's water supply. The quality of untreated water "generally is poor," and drinking such water "could result in diarrhea," the document says. It notes that Iraq's rivers "contain biological materials, pollutants, and are laden with bacteria. Unless the water is purified with chlorine, epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid could occur." The document notes that the importation of chlorine "has been embargoed" by sanctions. "Recent reports indicate the chlorine supply is critically low."
****As a society supposedly based on a foundation of a loving, Christian belief system, this action is decidedly unChristian and morally indefensible. Regardless of who is the dictator there, shame on us for allowing this to happen.*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:43 PM
US covers up killings of its troops in Kuwait
By Jack Fairweather in Kuwait City
Attacks on American forces in Kuwait are being covered up and played down because of concerns that further disclosures will destabilise military preparations for war against Iraq. Incidents have either gone unreported or have been passed off as harmless recreational shooting by hunters, a senior Kuwaiti government official told The Telegraph. "The Americans have told us to downplay these incidents for fear of creating the sort of climate in which further attacks can happen," the official said. One United States marine has been killed and five seriously injured in terrorist attacks over the past two months. Although no further injuries have been reported, there have been a number of "close shaves" as America's military presence continues to provoke hostility among some Kuwaitis. The American embassy recently advised its citizens not to visit shopping precincts for fear of creating a "target" for extremists.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:13 PM
Weapons inspectors turn fire on Britain and US
(Rupert Cornwell and Andrew Grice, The Independent, 21 December 2002)
George Bush was under intense pressure yesterday to give UN weapons inspectors intelligence data that the US says proves Iraq is lying when it claims to have given up its weapons of mass destruction. . . . Hours before Mr Bush was to meet the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and senior Russian and European representatives, Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, delivered a stinging attack on the US and Britain, accusing them of failing to co-operate with his team. . . . "If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff," Mr Blix said. Asked if he was getting enough co-operation from Western intelligence agencies, he said: "Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need."
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posted by Lorenzo 6:23 PM
Lies, damn lies and the war on Saddam Hussein
(Adrian Hamilton, The Independent, 21 December 2002)
I can't be alone in feeling a gathering sense of disgust, nausea in fact, at the pantomine being played out in the UN. . . . What I mean is the current charade of inspectors, reports and judgements that everyone knows to be a travesty but in which all the participants have to act as if they are playing for real. . . . The hurdles are not primarily intended to get at the facts of Saddam's weapons programme. They were, and are, a process of deliberate humiliation aimed at forcing Saddam into a clear breach of UN terms and/or a position where his fellow generals will remove him without the need for invasion. . . . The inspectors are forced into becoming attack dogs for a superpower that really wants them to savage the prey to the point of death. The Security Council members are being made accomplices of a policy when America has not even agreed to abide by any of their decisions. Nobody dares to say no to Washington. . . . This is about America and its desire to change the regime in Baghdad. Nothing else. . . . American public opinion can change the course – and already has by expressing its strong preference for multinational rather than unilateral action. But the rest of us – the UN, Britain, America's allies or the Arab world – have no say in the matter. And it's fantasy for anyone to say otherwise.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:20 PM
America's war with itself
by Brendan O'Neill - Sp!ked Online - 20 December 2002
Now I'm confused. After a month of weapons inspections, one apparently dodgy dossier from Saddam and a rumoured 'material breach' of the UN resolution, is the Bush administration ready and raring to attack Iraq - or not? Guardian columnist Matthew Engel reckons that the USA is about to get busy. In a column headlined 'Ready for battle', Engel argues that 'the energy behind this enterprise has such power that it has long been difficult to imagine the circumstances in which it wouldn't happen'. 'Behind the Bushies' enthusiasm for war', writes Engel, 'the political timetable is creating the same sense of inevitability as the railway timetable in 1914'. But according to the London Times, some of America's top military men - in fact, the top military men - are getting cold feet about all-out war. 'General Eric Shinseki, chief of the US Army, and General James Jones, commandant of the US Marines Corps, fear that the present war plan dangerously underestimates the risks of attacking Iraq', says The Times. How can bombing Baghdad be 'inevitable' if even Shinseki and Jones are voicing their doubts?
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:32 AM
Leaked report says German and US firms supplied arms to Saddam
(Tony Paterson, The Independent, 18 December 2002)
Iraq's 11,000-page report to the UN Security Council lists 150 foreign companies, including some from America, Britain, Germany and France, that supported Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programme, a German newspaper said yesterday. . . . Berlin's left-wing Die Tageszeitung newspaper said it had seen a copy of the original Iraqi dossier which was vetted for sensitive information by US officials before being handed to the five permanent Security Council members two weeks ago. An edited version was passed to the remaining 10 members of the Security Council last night. . . . British officials said the list of companies appeared to be accurate. Eighty German firms and 24 US companies are reported to have supplied Iraq with equipment and know-how for its weapons programmes from 1975 onwards and in some cases support for Baghdad's conventional arms programme had continued until last year.
[Listed U.S. companies allegedly include:
A - nuclear K - chemical B - biological R - rockets (missiles)
1) Honeywell (R,K)
2) Spektra Physics (K)
3) Semetex (R)
4) TI Coating (A,K)
5) UNISYS (A,K)
6) Sperry Corp. (R,K)
7) Tektronix (R,A)
8) Rockwell )(K)
9) Leybold Vacuum Systems (A)
10) Finnigan-MAT-US (A)
11) Hewlett Packard (A.R,K)
12) Dupont (A)
13) Eastman Kodak (R)
14) American Type Culture Collection (B)
15) Alcolac International (C)
16) Consarc (A)
17) Carl Zeis -U.Ss (K)
18) Cerberus (LTD) (A)
19) Electronic Assiciates (R)
20) International Computer Systems
21) Bechtel (K)
22) EZ Logic Data Systems,Inc. (R)
23) Canberra Industries Inc. (A)
24) Axel Electronics Inc. (A)
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posted by Lorenzo 8:33 AM
Saddam's sibling rivalry
Ilana Mercer Posted: December 18, 2002 - WorldNetDaily.com
...under the Bush Iraq Doctrine, evidence against a theory constitutes evidence for a theory. No smoking gun means there's a hidden gun somewhere or a plan to acquire a gun, or a hidden plan to acquire a gun and hide...
***I wonder if Saddam has read Heller?***
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:04 PM
Leaders of Army, Marines Doubt Early Hussein Fall
(Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, 18 December 2002)
With war possible soon in Iraq, the chiefs of the two U.S. ground forces are challenging the belief of some senior Pentagon civilians that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will fall almost immediately upon being attacked and are calling for more attention to planning for worst-case scenarios, Defense Department officials said. . . . aspects of the plan, which appear riskier than usual U.S. military practice, worry the chief of the Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki, and the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James L. Jones, defense officials said. . . . Shinseki and Jones, who as service chiefs are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have questioned the contention of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and other top officials that Hussein's government is likely to collapse almost as soon as a U.S. attack is launched, the officials said. . . . The dispute, which is taking place mainly in secret reviews of the war plan, promises to be the last major issue in the Pentagon's consideration of that plan, as more signs point toward forces being ready to launch a wide-ranging, highly synchronized ground and air attack in six to eight weeks. Psychological operations, such as leafleting and broadcasting into Iraq, have been stepped up lately, and there is talk at the Pentagon of large-scale troop movements or mobilizations being announced soon after the holidays. . . . The Army also has qualms about the likely burden of postwar peacekeeping in Iraq -- a mission that is likely to be executed mainly by the Army. "They're concerned they're going to be left holding the bag after everyone else has gone home," . . . The influence of the Joint Chiefs on military policy appears to have diminished under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, so it is not clear what effect the recent round of questioning will have on the war plan. . . . Gingrich, who also is a member of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, said he was confident that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast, would not be swayed by suggestions that he include more reinforcements and plan a more cautious attack. Franks, he said, "will probably have a more integrated, more aggressive and more risk-taking plan."
[Hagerty comment: As a Viet Nam vet, I have first hand experience of what it is like to fight a war that is NOT being planned and controlled by the military. Once again, a bunch of half-mad civilians with no active military experience (except of course for the 18 months of Bush being AWOL!) of their own are dragging our nation into a war that should not happen.]
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posted by Lorenzo 11:01 AM
Binladin factory gutted
By a Staff Writer - Arab News
JEDDAH, 19 December 2002 — A huge fire of unknown origin gutted a furnishing clothes and furniture factory of Binladin Group in Jeddah on Tuesday morning causing an estimated loss of over SR70 million. Twelve Civil Defense teams worked hard to put out the fire, which consumed the entire factory. Ten people suffered burns of varying degrees and near-suffocation conditions. Rashid Al-Shabarmi, manager of the factory, said it could be the speed of the fire that led to the total destruction of the 4,000 square meter facility which was fitted with automatic safety devices. He said it was too early to give an estimate of the loss. More than 200 people work in the factory, which is situated outside the industrial zone to the south of the city. This is possibly the only factory of large size located outside the industrial zone. It is pointed out that factories outside the industrial zone are more vulnerable to accidents such as fire while there are special arrangements in the zone to contain such emergencies. Brig. Saad Al-Thobaity, director of Civil Defense in the Makkah region, said the fire was first spotted at the southern part of the factory and the inflammable raw materials kept in the factory might have been one reason for the fire to spread fast.
***and then again, maybe little georgie didn't have any frogs close at hand and needed a pep-me-up...what a coincidence that the fated facility belonged to the BinLaden family...
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:09 AM
‘Brotherhood is trying to destabilize’ Saudi Arabia
KUWAIT CITY, 19 December 2002 — Saudi Arabia has deported several members of the Muslim Brotherhood which is trying to destabilize the Kingdom, Interior Minister Prince Naif said in an interview published yesterday. Prince Naif told Arab Times that the group has been working to undermine the Saudi leadership. "They have politicized Islam to serve their motives and many of them exploited Islam as a cover to destabilize and disintegrate the nation," he told the Kuwait-based daily. "Saudi Arabia recently deported some movement members to their countries after they tried to harm the Kingdom, both secretly and openly," Prince Naif said. It was the second time in several weeks that Prince Naif has lashed out against the Muslim Brotherhood, which has branches across the Islamic world and advocates the creation of an Islamic state through peaceful means. He said last month: "All our problems come from the Muslim Brotherhood. We have given too much support to this group ... The Muslim Brotherhood has destroyed the Arab world." Among the Muslim Brotherhood’s branches are Jordan’s main parliamentary opposition group, the Islamic Action Front and Hamas. It is also the main opposition force in Egyptian politics, but is officially banned there. (AFP).
***So, seems there might be strife within the Islamic family?****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:02 AM
Most Unconvinced on Iraq War
(Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Poll, 17 December 2002)
Despite a concerted effort by the Bush administration, more than two-thirds of Americans believe the president has failed to make the case that a war with Iraq is justified, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. . . . The overwhelming majority of respondents -- 90% -- said they do not doubt that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. But in the absence of new evidence from U.N. inspectors, 72% of respondents, including 60% of Republicans, said the president has not provided enough evidence to justify starting a war with Iraq. . . . The poll also found that support for a possible war appears to be weakening, with 58% saying they support a ground attack on Iraq. In an August Times poll, 64% said they would support a ground attack. Last January, after President Bush first denounced Saddam Hussein in his State of the Union address, the Times and other polls found support for military action greater than 70%. . . . "How come they can show satellite photos of nuclear sites in Iran but they can't find the same in Iraq?" . . . "I don't think they're justified, but they are just going to do it anyway." .. . 63% of respondents said war would be justified only if the United Nations finds a pattern of serious violations by Iraq. Just 22% agreed with the administration's position . . . If the United States should launch an attack, 68% of Americans want it to be only with the support of the international community. Only 26% said they were willing to support war if the United States acted alone.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:49 AM
Sean Penn in Iraq -- His Statement
"I am a citizen of the United States of America. I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the American people. Ours is a government designed to function "of"-"by"-and-"for" the people. I am one of those people, and a privileged one.
I am privileged in particular to raise my children in a country of high standards in health, welfare, and safety. I am also privileged to have lived a life under our Constitution that has allowed me to dream and prosper. In response to these privileges I feel, both as an American and as a human being, the obligation to accept some level of personal accountability for the policies of my government, both those I support and any that I may not. Simply put, if there is a war or continued sanctions against Iraq, the blood of Americans and Iraqis alike will be on our hands.
My trip here is to personally record the human face of the Iraqi people so that their blood -- along with that of American soldiers -- would not be invisible on my own hands. I sit with you here today in the hopes that any of us present may contribute in any way to a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.
I thank Norman Solomon and the Institute for Public Accuracy for facilitating my visit."
December 15, 2002
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posted by Lorenzo 5:51 AM
Table of Contents for Iraq's Weapons Declaration
On 7 December 2002, Iraq released a 12,000-page, multi-CD-ROM report on its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. Naturally, we mere mortals aren't allowed to see such an important document. In fact, almost no one is. The US spirited away the UN's copy, taking it to Washington . . . The official line is that the permanent Security Council members don't want any "rogue nations" seeing detailed information about developing weapons of mass destruction, especially nukes. While that is probably true, anonymous sources have confirmed speculation that the dossier names those parties who supplied Iraq with the materials it needed, and those suppliers include companies in and the governments of at least some of the permanent Security Council members. . . . The Memory Hole has transcribed the table of contents and posted it in HTML format. Barring a leak of the dossier (a la Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers), this is the most we'll get to see of it.
[The link above will take you to the Memory Hole's copy of the Table of Contents.]
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posted by Lorenzo 8:49 AM
Iraqi Report Named US Business Partners
(Mohamad Bazzi, NewsDay, December 13, 2002)
Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs lists American companies that provided materials used by Baghdad to develop chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s . . . Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, said Tuesday that he does not intend to release the names of foreign companies that provided material to Iraq. . . . A Bush administration official declined to comment on U.S. companies' presence in the declaration, or the potential embarrassment if the list were made public. . . . A 1994 report by the Senate Banking Committee concluded that "the United States provided the government of Iraq with ‘dual-use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.” . . . This assistance, according to the report, included "chemical warfare-agent precursors; chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings; chemical warfare filling equipment; biological warfare-related materials; missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment.” . . . Wright said the release of a supplier list containing American companies would embarrass the United States. "It would bring people's attention to something that the Bush administration would rather forget about: that the United States was a supplier state to Saddam Hussein, even after it became clear that he was producing and using chemical weapons,” she said. . . . Shipments to Iraq continued even after the United States learned Hussein had used chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Kurdish villagers in northern Iraq in 1988, according to Senate investigators. . . . The U.S.-Iraqi relationship flourished from February 1986, when then-Vice President George Bush met with Iraq's ambassador to Washington, Nizar Hamdoon, and assured him that Baghdad would be permitted to receive more sophisticated U.S. technology, until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Over that four-year period, the Reagan and Bush administrations approved licenses for the export of more than $600 million worth of advanced American technology to Iraq, according to congressional reports.
(*t r u t h o u t Editors Note | Remember you are being asked as American citizens to give your blessing to the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqi Men, Women and Children. Oh, and by the way; you are not allowed to know which American companies profited from providing arms and assistance to Iraq. But I'll give you a hint; one of them was Halliburton under then CEO Dick Cheney -- to the tune of Millions. -- ma.)
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posted by Lorenzo 9:04 AM
Again, a Dire Threat Proves False
(John King, CNN, 12 December 2002)
U.S. officials are downplaying a report that indicated Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq with ties to al Qaeda had obtained a deadly poison for possible use in terrorist attacks, senior administration officials tell CNN. . . . "Some of this stuff turns out to be right and a lot of it turns out to be wrong or exaggerated or wishful thinking on the part of those doing the talking," this senior official said. . . . A second official said "absolutely no new intelligence" exists about any possible cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda and said the Post account "makes quantum leaps based on speculation and opinion that itself is based on information we are not even certain is true." . . . Another intelligence official also said U.S. intelligence has no information that this fundamentalist group has ever had any access to VX gas, and has no reliable evidence -- strong or weak -- suggesting the Iraqi regime was involved in any transfer of a weapon of mass destruction to this al Qaeda-affiliated group.
Congressional sources who receive high-level intelligence briefings from the administration have, on several occasions in recent months, said they have received no information to support allegations that Iraq has a working relationship with al Qaeda.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:00 AM
Iraq: inspecting the situation
by Brendan O'Neill - Sp!ked Online - Politics
Over 21 days, 70 weapons inspectors have inspected 100 buildings in Iraq. Saddam's regime has published one dossier, consisting of 43 volumes, 11,807 pages (12,807 if you read the Sun) and 12 CD-Roms. The USA has positioned 60,000 troops, 200 planes and 24 Apache helicopters in or around the Gulf. And American and British jets have bombed targets in northern and southern Iraq nine times. But the world is still none the wiser about whether, when or why the West intends to invade Iraq. Since the weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad on 18 November 2002, we have been subjected to a tirade of contradictory claims about the Bush administration's plans. According to White House spokesman and self-confessed hawk Ari Fleischer it's up to Saddam to prove he has no weapons. 'The burden of proof lies with Saddam Hussein', says Fleischer, calling on Iraq to fulfil UN resolution 1441 and provide a 'currently accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons' (1). But when Iraq did publish its 12,000-page dossier on 7 December 2002 it was denounced as a load of lies - before anyone had even read it. Twenty-four hours before it was published UK foreign secretary Jack Straw predicted that Iraq would 'produce a misleading dossier' (2), and 24 hours after it was published he reminded us that every word from Saddam's mouth is 'normally a pack of lies' (3). Others claim that America is routing for war, whatever the outcome of the inspections. 'We are being set up for a war against Saddam', says Independent columnist Robert Fisk, arguing that the Bush administration is 'smearing' the inspections team because 'America plans to go to war whatever the UN inspectors find' (4). But the Bush administration denies that war will necessarily follow the discovery of weapons of mass destruction, instead claiming that Iraq will be subjected to further 'enhanced' or 'aggressive' inspections. 'There may have to be some seriously thorough inspections', says one Bush official. According to another, if Iraq is found to be in material breach of the UN resolution, 'it would not be a reason to go to war, but instead...for enhanced inspections' (5). What's going on? How can Western leaders put the burden of proof on Saddam, but then denounce everything he says as a lie? Why did Bush and co agree to weapons inspections for Iraq, but then undermine the inspectors' authority? And if America is hell-bent on war, why does it continue to talk up inspections - whether of the enhanced, aggressive or 'seriously thorough' varieties?
*****Good article - the issue of the US not going unilaterally might really boil down to the cost of going it alone prior to the Bush second try at election. With the US economy in its current state, how will the populace look upon a 3 or 4 digit Billion dollar expense to oust an insignificant dictator?*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:00 AM
U.S. WARNS IRAQ: WE'LL NUKE YOU
By DEBORAH ORIN - December 11, 2002 -- WASHINGTON -
President Bush yesterday warned Saddam Hussein and the world that America is ready to go nuclear if the United States or its allies are attacked with weapons of mass destruction. "The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force - including through resort to all our options - to use of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad and friends and allies," said a new Bush strategy paper.
***I'm sorry, but doesn't Bush get it? Doesn't he understand that once you start this endgame scenario, there are no winners? Everyone loses. Doesn't he understand that you just can't put things back the way they were once you start? Everything changes! Or doesn't he care? Did he ever?*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:02 PM
I want my country back
Which country has tried to force "regime changes" in Panama, Grenada, South Vietnam, Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Rhodesia, South Africa, Iraq (in 1963), the Philippines, Serbia, Afghanistan (twice), Iran and possibly other countries? Hmmm, who could that be?
Which country has troops stationed in a hundred countries around the world? Do you think that people in foreign countries want American troops there? Yes...just about as much as the Poles enjoyed having Soviet troops in Poland. American troops are in those countries only because the governments of those countries were bribed with your US taxpayer money to allow American troops in. How would you feel if there were Chinese troops wandering around your city?
Conservatives used to be the ones that were railing against the threat of world government. But now we actually have a form of world government – a government run by George Bush and enforced by the American military – and most conservatives are all for it. Our government decides what rules Iraq must live by, and if Iraq breaks those rules it can be bombed or invaded.
Why is our government is getting ready to attack Iraq, but is ignoring North Korea – which admits to having nuclear weapons and the ability to fire them at Alaska? The difference between the two countries is simple: North Korea has the means to hurt us, Iraq doesn't. In the past 50 years, our government has attacked many countries – Panama, Grenada, the Sudan, Afghanistan (twice), Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq and others. But it has never attacked a country that had the capability to hurt America. Russia, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Israel – all have nuclear weapons. So we participate in "constructive engagement" with those countries. But since Iraq is no threat to us, our leaders think that we can bomb it and invade it with impunity.
After 9-11, we were told that only by bombing and devastating Afghanistan could we be sure to get Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. And our president assured us that they would be brought to justice. Now it's a year later. Osama bin Laden hasn't been captured or killed. Al-Qaida is alive and well. So is anyone concerned?
Of course not. Our attention is directed to Iraq – even though there's no public evidence that Iraq has anything to do with al-Qaida – and a lot of evidence that they're enemies of each other. Suddenly, Osama bin Laden is no longer important.
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posted by Hal 3:54 PM
IRAQ ADMITS IT'S ON THE BRINK OF CREATING NUKES
By VINCENT MORRIS
December 9, 2002 -- A top adviser to Saddam Hussein admitted yesterday that Iraq is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. "We have the complete documentation, from design to all the other things," Lt. Gen. Amir al-Saadi told reporters in Baghdad. "We haven't reached the final assembly of a bomb nor tested it." Details of the nuclear program are included in Iraq's 12,000-page declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Saadi said. He insisted that despite knowing how to build a nuke, Iraq has not done so. Saadi said the report, mandated by the U.N. Security Council, proved Iraq has no nuclear weapons - nor any other weapons of mass destruction. He said the report also includes sensitive information about how other countries helped Iraq with programs to create weapons of mass destruction. If it's released, he said, it will "embarrass" some countries and companies.
*****Unless it gets sanitized by the "W" Administration first!! That IS the reason they wanted the entire report, right?? ****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:14 PM
US seeks one excuse for war in 12,000 pages of denial
Peter Beaumont and David Rose in London, Ed Vulliamy in Washington and Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Sunday December 8, 2002 - The Observer
As Iraq insists it has no weapons of mass destruction, Washington is losing patience with anyone who wants to prevent another conflict Iraq's Tuwaitha nuclear centre, 11 miles from south-eastern edges of Baghdad, spreads out in a vast extended 'E'. A few trees break up the long, low wings of concrete, set in the yellow dirt, that enclose clusters of buildings, rusting towers and haphazard piles of building materials. Heavily damaged by allied aircraft during the first Gulf war, Tuwaitha - once the epicentre of Iraq's nuclear infrastructure - is the most potent symbol of Iraq's ambitions to acquire devastating weapons of mass destruction. In early September, amid the US-led clamour for a war to depose Saddam Hussein and strip Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, Tuwaitha was catapulted again into the headlines. The International Atomic Energy Authority had released satellite images suggesting new building work at the site. Although the IAEA drew no conclusions from the pictures, the White House did, putting forward spokesman Ari Fleischer who said the images could indicate Saddam 'may seek to develop nuclear weapons and may be making progress'. Within days, those images had become part of the received knowledge about Iraq: evidence that Saddam was rebuilding his nuclear weapons capability. ***They found nothing****
Another suspicion is that Iraq will argue it has no weapons of mass destruction complete and assembled, and therefore 'no weapons of mass destruction', second-guessing what components the US and Britain believes it has while hiding away small numbers of chemical and biological weapons for domestic use if the regime is threatened. ...heckling had began to irritate Blix, who delivered a series of rebukes to the Washington hawks. 'We are not going to abduct anyone,' he said on Friday after meeting the Security Council. 'The UN is not a defection agency.' Blix's irritation has not been limited to the issue of defections. He has complained sharply too that if the US has evidence that Iraq retains weapons of mass destruction then it should share it with the UN's inspectors so that they can investigate. But if Blix is frustrated in his relations with the Bush administration, it is a frustration that mirrors a tension with Bush's government itself - between hawks in the Pentagon, who regard Blix's business as being to provide them with the excuse they need to quickly go to war, and the State Department, which has aligned itself with the inspection process and the UN. At the centre of that split is what the Iraqi declaration will allow Bush to do. In this Powell finds himself on his own in the Bush Cabinet, aware that the White House and Pentagon are preparing to make a case for war whatever the outcome of tomorrow's declaration. Indeed, at the Pentagon in particular, divisions over Powell's role run deep and bitter, with many among the professional military chafing under the civilian hawks, privately joking that they still regard Powell as their chief of staff - his role in the first Gulf war - even as they prepare for a second Gulf conflict. Civilian political appointees working under Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, however, talk about Powell with derision; one senior official described him as 'yesterday's man'. And it is Cheney who has taken up the most belligerent position, insisting to the President that any omission - no matter how minor - will constitute a material breach, that 'deception will not be tolerated'.
******I wonder how long Powell will remain a part of this group taking the US to war. As ex-military, I always had a respect for the man as someone who would stand by his principles, but as the saying goes, times change. This is not the same man who Chairman of the Joint Chiefs...******
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:28 AM
This time I'm scared
(Maggie O'Kane, The Guardian, December 5, 2002)
I feel only a sense of intense danger as the Middle East lurches towards a possible chemical and biological war. . . . The chances of Saddam Hussein using chemical and biological weapons if attacked are, according to the testimony of the CIA to the US Senate intelligence committee on October 7, "pretty high" - a scenario that even one of greatest hawks in US history, Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to George Bush senior, says would lead to meltdown in the Middle East. . . . no matter what Baghdad discloses, America and almost certainly Britain are going to war. The "material breach", if it does not happen by itself, will be manufactured, so wringing consent for the second Gulf war just as consent was manufactured with breathtaking cynicism in 1991. . . . Guess what? No massing troops. "You could see the planes sitting wing tip to wing tip in Riyadh airport," Ms Heller says, "but there wasn't was any sign of a quarter of a million Iraqi troops sitting in the middle of the desert." So what will the fake satellite pictures show this time: a massive chemical installation with Iraqi goblins cooking up anthrax? . . . This time, we have yet to see what propaganda will be used to rally consensus for the second Gulf war by proving a "material breach". It is highly likely that Saddam Hussein maintains at least some chemical and biological capacity. In a war in which his own survival is unlikely (and already rumoured to be ill with cancer) Saddam Hussein has nothing to lose. If he knows his fall is imminent, what terrible legacy might he choose to leave behind? What better present to his extremist Arab brothers than an attack on Israel? And how will the US, Britain or Israel respond if their troops or cities come under chemical or biological attack? . . . the greatest irony, and most important issue, is that although the war on Iraq may indeed get George Bush re-elected, it will not win the war on terrorism. It will instead fuel it. . . . Baghdad is a city where terror hangs in the air in every home. Iraqis literally dare not speak Saddam Hussein's name. But now he is cornered, dangerous and possibly dying. Provoking him is criminally irresponsible and provoking him in order to secure a second presidential term is unforgivable.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:10 PM
Veterans Against The Iraq War
Statement of Purpose: Veterans Against The Iraq War is a coalition of American veterans who oppose war with Iraq. . . . Until and unless the current U.S. Administration provides evidence which clearly demonstrates that Iraq or any other nation poses a clear, immediate danger to our country, we oppose all of the Administration's pre-emptive and unilateral military and diplomatic activities geared towards provoking or initiating a military conflict with Iraq. Furthermore, we cannot support any war that is initiated without a formal Declaration of War by Congress, as our Constitution requires. . . . Furthermore, Veterans Against The Iraq War does not believe the American military can or should be used as the police-force of the world by any Administration, Republican or Democrat. Consequently, we believe that the lives and well-being of our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines should not be squandered or sacrificed for causes other than the direct defense of our people and our nation. . . . Finally, we believe that a pre-emptive and unilateral US military attack on Iraq would be illegal, unnecessary, counterproductive and present a truly dire threat to our vital international interests and basic national security. As military veterans, we have a unique understanding of war and know the many hidden truths that lie behind easy theories and promises, as well as behind the tragic consequences that even victory brings. We therefore call on all like-minded American veterans to join and support VAIW in its efforts to avert a national tragedy and an international calamity before it begins.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:24 PM
Bush fails to win over sceptical Europeans
(Julian Borger, The Guardian, December 5, 2002)
The transatlantic divide over a war with Iraq is wider than ever, despite US attempts to rally world support for a potential military campaign . . . In a particularly worrying sign for the Turkish government, which on Tuesday gave the US a cautious green light for the use of its bases for an attack on Iraq, the survey found that 83% of Turks objected to their country being used as a launching pad for an invasion. . . . Most Turks interviewed said they believed the campaign against Saddam was part of a general war against unfriendly Muslim countries, and had nothing to do with the threat posed by the Iraqi dictator. . . . when asked if President Saddam should be removed by force, 71% said no in Germany, 64% in France and 79% in Russia. In Britain 47% said no, and 47% yes . . . The split over Iraq has widened alongside a general decline in America's global image since President Bush took office, although the US remains a remarkably popular country in Europe in view of the near-constant transatlantic quarrels of recent months. The apparent paradox suggests that most ordinary Europeans distinguish between the US as a nation and the policies of the present government.
[Webmaster note: See also "The Difference Between America and Americans".]
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posted by Lorenzo 8:10 AM
Iraq Invasion: The Road to Folly
(Eric S. Margolis, The American Conservative)
Ignorant of Iraq, void of strategic vision, and viewing the Mideast through the neoconservative prism, Bush steers America toward a quagmire. . . . Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, Britain’s leading military thinker of the 20th century, wrote that the object of war is not victory, but peace. . . . In its headlong rush to invade Iraq, the Bush administration is violating Fuller’s simple yet immensely important strategic dictum. . . . The Bush administration is clearly obsessed with Iraq, but it has no clear plan on what to do with this Mideast version of ex-Yugoslavia once America’s military might overthrows Saddam Hussein’s regime. Nor is there understanding of how invasion and occupation will affect the Fertile Crescent, America’s client Arab regimes, Turkey, indeed, the entire Mideast. . . . Few of these armchair warriors have even been to Iraq; less have ever served in U.S. armed forces, yet all are eager to send American soldiers to fight a potentially bloody war whose benefits to the United States are doubtful. . . . The first question, of course, is why should the U.S. attack and invade Iraq, a nation that has not committed any act of war against America? The rest of the world will rightly see such an act as naked aggression, a return to British and Soviet-style imperialism, and a personal vendetta by George Bush against Saddam Hussein. . . . Iraq’s northern oil fields could then be annexed by Israel’s new strategic ally, Turkey, which has no oil. Turkey’s generals have long eyed Iraq’s oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk regions, once part of the Ottoman Empire. Oil would transform Turkey from a financial cripple into a major political and military power, and assure its role as America’s regional gendarme. . . . Overthrowing Saddam Hussein and splintering Iraq would certainly be beneficial for Israel, but there are a host of arguments to be made why such aggression would be inimical to America’s interests. First and foremost, the substantial loss of American lives . . . The faux war in Afghanistan, where some 12,000 US troops are chasing shadows, is costing $5 billion each month. The U.S.-installed Karzai regime rules only Kabul, and that only with the bayonets of western troops. . . . However brutal and aggressive, Saddam Hussein has also been Iraq’s most effective ruler since 1957. It was Saddam who transformed Iraq into a modern, industrialized nation with one of the Arab world’s highest standards of education and income. Washington could yet rue the day it failed to keep this Arab Stalin in power. . . . The Muslim world increasingly views George Bush’s America as set on a crusade against Muslims everywhere, a view reinforced by U.S. attacks on Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Afghanistan over past two decades.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:21 PM
Fisk: We are being set up for a war against Saddam
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 04 December 2002)
asked me when America would go to war in Iraq. I told her to watch the front page of The New York Times and The Washington Post for the first smear campaigns against the UN inspectors. And bingo, right on time, the smears have begun. . . . One of the UN inspectors, it's now stated – a man appointed at the behest of the State Department – is involved with pornography. Another senior official, we're now told – again appointed at the urging of the State Department – was previously fired from his job as head of a nuclear safety agency. Why, I wonder, did the Americans want these men on the inspection team? So they could trash it later? . . . Now President George Bush is banging on again about the Iraqi anti-aircraft defences firing at American and British pilots – even though the no-fly zones have nothing to do with the UN inspections nor, indeed, anything to do with the UN at all. The inspections appear to be going unhindered in Baghdad. And what does George Bush tell us? "So far the signs are not encouraging." . . . What does this mean? Simply that America plans to go to war whatever the UN inspectors find. . . . And yet again, the Americans are trying to establish links between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in a desperate attempt to hitch the "war on terror" to the war for oil (which is what, of course, the Iraqi "crisis" is all about). Vice President Cheney has been parroting all the same nonsense about "terror" leaders and Saddam, even though Bin Laden loathes the Iraqi leader. No one – absolutely no one – has produced the slightest evidence that Saddam had anything to do with the international crimes against humanity of 11 September. . . . Take Kenneth Adelman, who is on the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board. He's been saying that for Mr Bush to call Islam a peaceful religion "is an increasingly hard argument to make". Islam is "militaristic" in the eyes of Mr Adelman. "After all, its founder, Mohammed, was a warrior, not a peace advocate like Jesus." . . . Jerry Falwell, one of the nasties of the religious right, called the Prophet a "terrorist", while Franklin Graham, son of the same Billy Graham who made those anti-Semitic remarks on the Nixon tapes, has called Islam "evil". And Graham, remember, spoke at Bush's inauguration. . . . We ignore all this dangerous rhetoric at our peril. Does Mr Blair ignore it? Isn't he aware that there are some very sinister people hovering around George Bush? . . . No, I rather think that we are being set up for war, that Britain will join America in invading Iraq, whatever the inspectors discover. In fact, we are being prepared for the awful, incredible, unspeakable possibility that the UN inspectors will find absolutely no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That will leave us with only one conclusion: they were no good at their job. They should have been in the oil business.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:02 PM
George Bush crosses Rubicon - but what lies beyond?
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 09 November 2002)
The Rubicon is a wide river. It was deep for Caesar's legions. The Tigris river will be more shallow – my guess is that the first American tanks will be across it within one week of war – but what lies beyond? . . . For Rome, civil war followed. And, be assured, civil war will follow any American invasion of Iraq. "Cheat and retreat will no longer be tolerated," Mr Bush told us yesterday – forgetting, of course, UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which call for Israel to withdraw from the Arab territories occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. . . . The BBC, with CNN and all the other television networks, was last night billing Resolution 1441 as "the last chance" for Saddam Hussein. In fact, it is the "last chance" for the United Nations. As the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said, the road ahead will be "difficult and dangerous". He can say that again. . . . It allows the Security Council to discuss non-compliance without restraining the United States from attacking Baghdad. . . . Washington wants a UN fig leaf for a war on Iraq and is willing to go through an inspection process in the hope that Iraq obstructs it. Mr Annan was talking yesterday about the "unique legitimacy of the UN". But the cruel dictator of Baghdad cares as much about that as President Bush.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:49 PM
Iraqi Army is Tougher Than US Believes
(Published November 16, 2002 by the Guardian/UK)
Mr Rumsfeld's prognosis about the speed of an Iraqi army collapse is ideologically driven and strategically ill-informed. . . . After the Gulf war defeat, the Iraqi army was cut to less than half its original size. The idea was to create a smaller, more disciplined force, ideologically committed to defending the regime. For more than a decade Washington has looked to this army for regime change. Today, the US government still hopes a coup triggered by an invasion will save American troops the high cost of fighting through Baghdad's streets to reach the presidential palace. . . . those hoping for a coup may be disappointed. The regime has created a "coalition of guilt" that underpins its continued rule with corruption and great fear about what will happen when it is finally toppled. . . . In contrast to 1991, the battle this time will be not for a foreign land but for the very survival of a regime many have spent their lives serving. An invading US army will face 375,000 Iraqi troops and 2,200 tanks. . . . President Saddam has surrounded himself with a robust security system spreading out in three concentric rings. The security services become more disciplined, motivated and reliable the closer they are to the president. . . . The republican guard makes up the first ring of the regime's security. Stationed on the three main roads to Baghdad, this parallel military force totals between 50,000 and 70,000 men. . . . The next ring of security is the special republican guard, formed in the 1980s when the republican guard became too large to be totally trusted. Consisting of 26,000 men, they are the only troops stationed in Baghdad. The loyalty of this force's officers is beyond doubt. About 80% of them come from the same region as President Saddam, and they have been used as the regime's main tool for policing Iraq. . . . Finally, surrounding President Saddam and the 50 or so people who rule Iraq are a myriad of competing security organizations. Each one is charged with overseeing the others, and they are headed by a small group of individuals who are keenly aware that their continued health and prosperity is dependent upon the rule of their boss. They too would fight to the last to defend him. . . . Once bombing begins, with its inevitable civilian casualties, the hope is that international press coverage will put pressure on Washington to stop the war prematurely, as it did in 1991. . . . Caught between a potentially hostile Iraqi population bent on revenge and an invading army committed to regime change, those fighting alongside President Saddam will have little choice but to remain loyal to the end. The result could be the worst-case scenario for US military planners: an organized, committed and disciplined force with nowhere to go, defending a highly populated urban area. In front of the world's media, US troops would have the unenviable task of distinguishing these forces from the wider, innocent, civilian population. . . . If Mr Bush orders US troops to invade Iraq to topple the regime, it will not only be the most important and risky decision of his presidency, but a momentous event in world politics. The only thing certain about it is that it will not be as simple as Mr Rumsfeld says.
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posted by Lorenzo 9:42 AM