10.19.2002

I've tried my best (to the point of madness) to delineate the speakers with hyper-text. Apologies for where I've failed, but please read it. It's very important and useful document, thanks to David Andrews, an actor-buddy.


Detailed Analysis of October 7 Speech by Bush on Iraq


Thank you for that very gracious and warm Cincinnati welcome. I'm honored to be here tonight. I appreciate you all coming.
Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions, its history of aggression and its drive toward an arsenal of terror.


Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report: "This might indicate that Iraq is actively threatening the peace in the region. There is no evidence whatsoever that Iraq is doing so, or has any intention of doing so. Other powers are actively disrupting the peace in the region: Israel is trying to crush Palestinian resistance to occupation with brute force, and the U.S. and Britain have bombed Iraq 46 times in 2002 when their aircraft are ‘targeted’ by Iraqi air defense systems in the bilaterally enforced no-fly zones. Most of our ‘friends’ in the region -- Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan -- have strongly urged us not to go to war, and to tone down the war rhetoric. Aren't they better positioned than we are to judge what threatens their safety?"


Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons and to stop all support for terrorist groups.


Rahul Mahajan, author of The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism: "Resolution 687 also speaks of 'establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction' -- which also means Israel's 200-plus nuclear weapons as well as Syria's and Egypt's apparent chemical weapons capabilities, and any nuclear capability the U.S. has placed in the region."


The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons.


As'ad Abukhalil, author of Bin Laden, Islam & America's New 'War on Terrorism' and associate professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus: "The president fails to credit Reagan's and his father's administrations --prominent members of which included Rumsfeld and Cheney-- for their help in the construction of Saddam's arsenal, especially in the area of germ warfare."


Toensing: "After being presented with evidence that Iraq had used chemical weapons to attack the Kurds in 1987-88, the Reagan administration blocked a Senate resolution imposing sanctions on Iraq, and continued to pursue good relations with the regime."


James Jennings, president of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization that has worked in Iraq since 1991: "The evidence that Iraq gassed its own people is also not about a current event, but one that happened fourteen years ago. If that did not constitute a good enough reason for going to war with Iraq in 1988 (which the U.S. did not even contemplate at the time), it certainly is not a good enough reason now."


It is seeking nuclear weapons.
Susan Wright, co-author of Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives: "How does Bush know this? It's as if the inspections have already been conducted and we know the outcome. We’re expected to accept the administration’s word for this without seeing any evidence. We have no way of judging the accuracy of these claims and the only way to do so is to hold inspections. The only country in the region that is known to possess a nuclear arsenal is Israel." [The Administration says that it does not know if Israel has nuclear weapons: www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0521-06.htm]


Mahajan: "There’s no evidence that Iraq has gotten anywhere with seeking nuclear weapons. The pitiful status of evidence in this regards is shown by claims in e.g. Blair’s dossier that Iraq is seeking uranium from Africa, year and country unspecified. South Africa is, of course, the only country in the continent that has potentially the capacity for enrichment of uranium to bomb quality, and claims not to have supplied Iraq with uranium. Unenriched uranium does Iraq little good, since enrichment facilities are large, require huge investment, and cannot easily be hidden."


It has given shelter and support to terrorism and practices terror against its own people.
The entire world has witnessed Iraq's 11-year history of defiance, deception, and bad faith.
We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September 11, 2001, America felt its vulnerability -- even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.
Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons, and diseases, and gases, and atomic weapons.


"Only two members of the U.N. Security Council would appear to agree with the idea that Iraq threatens, or will threaten, 'America and the world' with Weapons of Mass Destruction, making the next sentence disingenuous at best."


Since we all agree on this goal, the issue is: How can we best achieve it?
Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: About the nature of the threat. About the urgency of action -- and why be concerned now? About the link between Iraq developing weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror.
These are all issues we have discussed broadly and fully within my administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions with you.


Toensing: "Bush may have shared the discussion, but he did not share the evidence, saying, like the British dossier and CIA reports, that intelligence has established the threat. But Americans apparently will not be seeing it."


First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone -- because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place.
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant, who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning, and holds an unrelenting hostility towards the United States.


Stephen Zunes, author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism and associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco: "The hostility toward the United States is a direct consequence of U.S. hostility toward Iraq. Iraq was quite unhostile to the United States when it was receiving support from the United States during the 1980s. The answer is certainly not to appease Iraq's tyrannical regime, as was done in the past. However, to imply this hostility is unrelated to the U.S. destruction of much of Iraq's civilian infrastructure and other actions during the Gulf War which went far beyond what was necessary to rid Iraqi forces from Kuwait and the U.S.-led sanctions and its impact upon the civilian population is very misleading."


AbuKhalil: "If Bush wants to punish nations that 'tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning' then he would have to punish Israel for an occupation of Palestinian lands that lasted far longer than the now famous (yet brief) Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Of course, Iraq did attack Iran and Kuwait, and Israel in the span of 30 years has attacked Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, not to mention Palestine, and not to mention a civilian Libyan airliner that was downed by Israeli forces in 1973."


By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique.
As a former chief weapons inspector for the U.N. has said, "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself: Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction."
Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?


Zunes: "He was far more dangerous in the 1980s when the U.S. was supporting him. It will take many years, assuming military sanctions continue in effect, before he comes close to the strength he was then. If U.N. inspectors are allowed to return, it would be impossible -- even if they don't find 100 percent of everything -- to get much stronger than he is today."


In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount.


Zunes: "If this is really a concern, then why did the United States supply Iraq with the seed stock of anthrax spores back in the 1980s?" [William Blum, "Anthrax for Export: U.S. Companies Sold Iraq the Ingredients for a Witch's Brew," The Progressive, April 1998, p. 18]


This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is capable of killing millions.
Zunes: "This is like saying that a man is capable of making millions of women pregnant. It's a matter of delivery systems, of which there is no proof that Iraq currently has."


We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, and VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September 11.


Mahajan: "All of this was done with the full support, approval, and connivance of the U.S. government. U.S.-supplied 'agricultural credits' helped fund the sustained counterinsurgency campaign in northern Iraq; the United States supplied military intelligence to Iraq for use against Iran even when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons in the war; and the United States ran diplomatic interference for Iraq at the U.N."


Toensing: "The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Iraq in 1984, while it was in the midst of fighting the first of these wars of aggression, because the U.S. wanted to contain the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The U.S. and Britain tilted toward Iraq throughout the war, and U.S. allies in the region, chief among them Saudi Arabia, bankrolled the Iraqi war effort. The U.S. was still trying to become closer to Iraq when it invaded Kuwait."


Zunes: "He attacked Iranian troops because he knew Iran had no allies that would defend it. And we now know that officials from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assisted Iraq in targeting Iranian forces in the full knowledge that they were using chemical weapons. Saddam used chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians because he knew they couldn't fight back. And the U.S. helped cover up the Halabja massacre and other assaults by falsely claiming the Iranians were responsible. In other words, Saddam is a coward. He will use WMDs when he knows he won't have to suffer the consequences, especially when the world's most powerful country is supporting him."


And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it has used to produce chemical and biological weapons.
Toensing: "That it 'has used.' The last time Bush made a big deal of this, he claimed that Iraq was again using the facilities in this way, an assertion which the IAEA promptly rebutted as unverifiable. It still is unverifiable."


Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991.


Mahajan: "There are no credible allegations that Iraq produced chemical or biological agents while inspectors were in the country, until December 1998. The reason we don't know whether they are producing those agents or not since then is that inspectors were withdrawn at the U.S. behest preparatory to the Desert Fox bombing campaign."


Yet Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons, despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.


[The U.S. has maintained for years that it would continue the sanctions regardless of Iraq's behavior regarding weapons, see "Autopsy of a Disaster: The U.S. Sanctions Policy on Iraq -- Myth: The Sanctions Will be Lifted When Iraq Complies with the U.N. Inspections": www.accuracy.org/iraq]
Zunes: "Again, the U.S. has yet to produce evidence that Iraq is building such weapons. Also, U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 calls for Iraqi disarmament as part of a region-wide disarmament effort which the United States has refused to enforce or even support."


Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work.


Toensing: "This is a neat rhetorical trick. Bush knows that Turkey and Saudi Arabia themselves do not feel under threat from Iraq's WMD, so he doesn't claim that. Rather, it's the threat to U.S.servicemen and oil company employees based in those countries which should concern us. The questions left unasked are why Iraq would attack Americans, knowing the massive response that would incur, and of course why so many American troops 'live and work' in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. They're partly there in forward deployment against Iraq."


Zunes: "According to UNSCOM, 817 of Iraq's 819 Soviet-build ballistic missiles have been accounted for and destroyed. They may possess up to a couple of dozen home-made versions, but none of these have been tested and it is questionable whether they have any functional launchers."


We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs for missions targeting the United States.


Toensing: "Other intelligence experts have disputed that UAVs are a threat, because the agents they released might disperse to basically harmless levels by the time they reached the ground if the UAV was trying to cover such a broad area."


Mahajan: "The claim that these UAVs have ranges that would enable attacking the United States, and that they could reach it undetected, is a startlingly new one, and entirely untenable. No one has ever produced evidence of Iraqi capability or intent to target the United States directly." [ed note: at this point I’m going crazy typing in hyper-text and will simplify.]


And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems are not required for a chemical or biological attack -- all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.


Mahajan: "Bioterrorist attacks and delivery of biological agents aren’t that easy -- the very limited effects of the anthrax attacks showed that. In fact, the loss of life in the anthrax attacks occurred mostly among the postal workers who were not issued antibiotics, and not among the congressional staff who were. As for chemical attacks with 'a small container and one terrorist,' they would be severely limited in effect."


And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups.
Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than ninety terrorist attacks in twenty countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans.


Michael Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights: "Although U.S.intelligence agencies have not found a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, Bush mentions one, but no evidence is shown. Likewise he tries to frighten Americans by talking about the crimes of Abu Nidal, but Abu Nidal is dead. Again it is an attempt to create fear by association with something from the past, not evidence of a current threat."


Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror, and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.


Toensing: " Yes, but neither of these groups is ideologically anti-American. Their attacks are aimed at Israel and Israeli interests, including the killing of Leon Klinghoffer and other Americans. This is a crucial piece of context."


We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq.
These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We have learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb making, poisons, and deadly gases.


Jennings: "The claim that al-Qaeda is in Iraq is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. Yes, the U.S.has known for some time that up to 400 al-Qaeda-type Muslim extremists, the Ansar al-Islam, formerly 'Jund al-Islam,' a splinter of the Iranian-backed Islamic Unity Movement of Kurdistan, were operating inside the Kurdish security zone set up under U.S. protection in the North of Iraq. For some reason this was kept quiet and has not been much reported in the mainstream media. Finally last Spring the Kurds themselves attacked and killed most of the terrorists in their territory, sending the rest fleeing for their lives across the border into Iran. Since this area was under U.S. protection, and not under Saddam Hussein's rule, it's pretty hard to claim that al-Qaeda operates in Iraq."


Mahajan: "Al-Qaeda has carried out no chemical or biological attacks. The anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 were almost certainly from a U.S. government employee. It’s hard to know what, if anything, to make of claims that one “senior al Qaeda leader” got medical treatment in Baghdad. Giving medical treatment, even to criminals, is not illegal, and with so little evidence given to us, there’s no reason to suppose this isn’t another story like the one about a meeting between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence in Prague (now discredited)."


And we know that after September 11, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliances with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.


Mahajan: "Biological or chemical weapons would undoubtedly leave fingerprints, just as the anthrax attacks in the fall did. Even if Iraq couldn't be conclusively shown to be the source of such materials, the U.S. government would assume Iraq was the source. Iraq has been under the gun ever since the Gulf War, and can't possibly assume that it could get away with such an attack. Moreover, Saddam has traditionally seen WMD as his ace in the hole, protecting him from defeat. Paranoid dictators do not give control of something they see as the foundation of their security into the hands of networks, like al-Qaeda, which they can't control."


Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.
When I spoke to the Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.
Terror cells, and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction, are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both. And the United States military is capable of confronting both.
Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. We don't know exactly, and that is the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to 10 years away from developing a nuclear weapon; after the war, international inspectors learned that the regime had been much closer. The regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.
The inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a workable nuclear weapon, and was pursuing several different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.


Toensing: "Yes, inspectors learned all of this -- the inspections worked."
Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium-enrichment sites.


Robert Jensen, author of Writing Dissent and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin: "Bush at least acknowledged that we know little about Saddam's nuclear capability, but he lied about why. Bush claimed that Iraq barred the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1998. In fact, the inspectors, along with those from the U.N. Special Commission, were withdrawn by their agencies -- not expelled by Iraq -- in December 1998 when it became clear the Clinton administration was going to bomb Iraq (as it did) and the safety of the inspectors couldn't be guaranteed. The inspectors also spied for the United States, in violation of their mandate."


That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected, revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue. The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.
Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahedeen" -- his nuclear holy warriors.
Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past.


Toensing: "As Lincoln Chafee said on NPR, if these satellite photos exist, then surely the public has a right to see them. Surely mere photos would not compromise sources and methods." [In 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.S. government claimed that Iraqi troops were threatening Saudi Arabia; this turned out to be false.]


Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.


Mahajan: "The aluminum tubes can also be used in conventional artillery, which Iraq is allowed to have. In the past, when Iraq tried to build such centrifuges, they used steel tubes. This is an incredibly weak indicator."


If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.


Toensing: "Both the CIA report and the British dossier say that this is very unlikely as long as Iraq remains under sanctions."
Mahajan: "This means only that it has the technological know-how to create the high-explosive 'lenses' necessary to set off the appropriate nuclear chain reaction. As long as it retains its scientists, this will remain the case."


And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.


Mahajan: "Again, such an act is not at all consonant with the history or the mindset of Saddam Hussein. One organization hosted by the Iraqi government, which is classified as terrorist by the State Department, is the Iranian Mujahedin-I-Khalq, whose activities are directed against the current government of Iran. They have never had access to any nonconventional resources from the Government of Iraq. Saddam Hussein sees the radical Islamist terrorist networks like al-Qaeda as a huge potential threat to his own rule, something that concerns him far more than any unrealistic ideas of revenge against the United States. Anything that could allow al-Qaeda (which, in its turn, is likely more concerned with replacing regimes in the Middle East with new radical Islamist regimes) to blackmail him would be the last thing he would give them."


Some citizens wonder: After 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now?
There is a reason. We have experienced the horror of September 11. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people.Our enemies would be no less willing -- in fact they would be eager -- to use a biological, or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.


Mahajan: "Invoking September 11 without showing any kind of link between the government of Iraq and those attacks is just transparent manipulation. What he really means is that after September 11 he thinks he can get away with such a policy."


Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
As President Kennedy said in October of 1962: "Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world," he said, "where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation's security to constitute maximum peril."

Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation: "The hypocrisy in this speech -- and in the Bush Administration’s overall national security strategy -- is monumental. If having weapons of mass destruction and a history of using them is a criteria, then surely the United States must pose the greatest threat to humanity that has ever existed. While Bush warns that 'we cannot wait for the final proof.... the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,' his September 2002 National Security Strategy states that 'America will act against...emerging threats before they are fully formed....by acting preemptively.' And his top-secret Nuclear Posture Review, leaked to the New York Times earlier this year, reveals that 'U.S. nuclear forces will continue to provide assurance.... in the event of surprising military developments....Current examples of immediate contingencies include an Iraqi attack on Israel or its neighbors....' It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to predict that if Iraq is attacked by the U.S. it might launch whatever it has at Israel -- itself a nuclear power. Further, while the U.S. is massively expanding its biological weapons research capabilities ­ for example by upgrading its bioresearch facilities at the Livermore and Los Alamos Nuclear weapons labs to aerosolize live anthrax and genetically modify bioorganisms ­ it is blocking a protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention that would allow international inspectors into U.S. facilities. The Bush Administration’s unilateral headlong rush to war threatens to unleash unprecedented regional instability and potentially catastrophic loss of life. It’s hard to image a more self-destructive course of action."


Understanding the threats of our time, knowing the designs and deceptions of the Iraqi regime, we have every reason to assume the worst, and we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.
Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried to do since 1991.
The U.N. inspections program was met with systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and offices of inspectors to find where they were going next. They forged documents, destroyed evidence, and developed mobile weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors.
Eight so-called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered inspections. These sites actually encompass 12 square miles, with hundreds of structures, both above and below the ground, where sensitive materials could be hidden.


[In fact, there were inspections of these "presidential palaces."]
Zunes: "These are not off-limits. They are open to unfettered inspections as long as an Iraqi official is accompanying the inspectors. Such a proviso is quite legal under U.N. Security Council resolutions authorizing the creation of UNMOVIC, resolutions that were supported by the United States."


The world has also tried economic sanctions and watched Iraq use billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more weapons purchases, rather than providing for the needs of the Iraqi people.


Toensing: "Yes, and all the while, the U.S.and Britain were undermining the logic of sanctions and inspections by speaking of regime change, giving the regime no incentive to cooperate."
Mahajan: "The government-instituted food ration program in Iraq has been widely praised, characterized as 'second to none' by Tun Myat, current U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. Money that comes in under the Oil for Food program cannot, despite constant allegations, be used for weapons purchases -- all proceeds from such sales are deposited to an escrow account in New York which is controlled by the U.N. Sanctions Committee. The government of Iraq cannot touch any of this money."


The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities ... only to see them openly rebuilt, while the regime again denies they even exist.
Mahajan: "For 'world' here, read 'United States and its lieutenant, the United Kingdom.' Those military strikes were a blatant violation of international law, done without Security Council authorization."


The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from terrorizing his own people ... and in the last year alone, the Iraqi military has fired upon American and British pilots more than 750 times.


Toensing: "Another remarkable rhetorical trick. The no-fly zones did not protect the Kurds from Iraqi incursions in 1995-96, nor have they protected the Shia or the marsh Arabs from ground-based repression throughout the decade. But rather than mention these somewhat significant failures, Bush concentrates on Iraqi air defenses, which have yet to come close to actually hitting a U.S.or U.K. jet. As with the Saudi-Turkish point above, it appears that US-U.K. attempts to protect the peoples of the region are to be counted as failures because the U.S.and U.K. are in danger."
Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: "It is the U.S. government that is violating the United Nations Charter ... by using military force to allegedly 'police' these illegal 'no-fly' zones that have never been authorized by the U.N. Security Council or by the U.S. Congress, in violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution as well. Iraq is simply exercising its legitimate right of self-defense under U.N. Charter article 51. The Bush administration has deliberately put U.S. pilots in harm's way in order to concoct a pretext for a catastrophic war of aggression against Iraq. The best way for the American people to protect the lives of our military personnel in the Persian Gulf is to bring them all home."
Mahajan: "Again, the no-fly zones don’t involve the 'world,' but are a naked projection of American and British power (France, the third partner in the no-fly zones, withdrew in 1996), unsanctioned by the Security Council."


After 11 years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons, and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.
Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions, or enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different. America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps to keep the peace. That is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements.


AbuKhalil: "Bush also fails to mention American violations of the sanctions regime, by using the inspectors to spy on Iraq, and to obtain information unrelated to the U.N. mandate."


Among those requirements, the Iraqi regime must reveal and destroy, under U.N. supervision, all existing weapons of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be interviewed outside of the country.
And these witnesses must be free to bring their families with them, so they are all beyond the reach of Saddam Hussein's terror and murder.
And inspectors must have access to any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay, without exceptions.


Susan Wright: "[The evidence] suggests that the United States and the United Kingdom intend to set such tough conditions for further arms inspections in Iraq that they would create a double bind. If Iraq rejects the conditions, then war with the United States will follow. If Iraq attempts to comply and an ambiguity triggers action by the security forces of one of the permanent members of the Security Council, which according to this draft, might accompany an inspection team, war could follow anyway. Other members of the Security Council should reject such traps. It is also essential to avoid a situation in which the inspection force is effectively hijacked by the United States and used for espionage, as was the case with the U.N. Special Commission in the 1990s."


The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself -- or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.
Many nations are joining us in insisting that Saddam Hussein's regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending the international security that protects the lives of both our citizens and theirs.


AbuKhalil: "When Bush speaks about 'many nations' supporting the U.S., he certainly means Israel and U.K., although public opinion in U.K. is running solidly against Bush's war."


And that is why America is challenging all nations to take the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council seriously.


Zunes: "There are well over 90 U.N. Security Council resolutions that are currently being violated by countries other than Iraq. The vast majority of these resolutions are being violated by allies of the United States that receive U.S. military, economic and diplomatic support. Indeed, the U.S. has effectively blocked the U.N. Security Council from enforcing these resolutions against its allies."


Those resolutions are very clear. In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. And it must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose fate is still unknown.


Zunes: "Most of these do not fall under Chapter VII, which allows for the UNSC to authorize the use of force."
AbuKhalil: "And Bush's sudden concern for U.N. resolutions should not lead one to believe that he will next move to implement all U.N. resolutions -- including those against U.S. allies".


By taking these steps, and only by taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. These steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself.
America hopes the regime will make that choice.
Unfortunately, at least so far, we have little reason to expect it. This is why two administrations -- mine and President Clinton's -- have stated that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing a great danger to our nation.
I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished.
If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully, we will act with the full power of the United States military, we will act with allies at our side, and we will prevail.
There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait -- and that is an option. In my view, it is the riskiest of all options -- because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I am convinced that is a hope against all evidence.
As Americans, we want peace -- we work and sacrifice for peace -- and there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I am not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.


Mahajan: "Throughout all of this, there has never been any credible evidence introduced to indicate that Hussein has any policy of trying to target Americans. His depredations have almost always been distinguished by actions against people that the Western powers don’t care about."


Failure to act would embolden other tyrants; allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources; and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events.
The United Nations would betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear.
That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve. We refuse to live in fear. This nation -- in world war and in Cold War -- has never permitted the brutal and lawless to set history's course.


Zunes: "Then why did the United States support Indonesian dictator Suharto for over three decades, as he oversaw the massacre of over a half million of his own people, invaded the tiny nation or East Timor, resulting in the deaths of an additional 200,000? How about brutal and lawless governments in Turkey, Morocco and Israel that have invaded neighboring countries at the cost of thousands of civilian lives? How about Pinochet and other Latin American tyrants supported by the U.S.?"


Now, as before, we will secure our nation, protect our freedom, and help others to find freedom of their own. Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security, and for the people of Iraq.
The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban.


Toensing: "Given what is known about the return of warlordism and chaos to Afghanistan -- not to mention the fiction that Afghan women have all thrown away their burqas -- this is a debatable proposition, and indicative of the administration's lack of interest in rebuilding Afghanistan. Why would Iraq be any different?"
Mahajan: "On every test of justice and of pragmatism, the war on Afghanistan fails. Worse, every one of these aspects, from an increased threat of terrorism to large numbers of civilian deaths to installation of a U.S.-controlled puppet regime is due to play out again in the war on Iraq. In fact, though it has been little noted, the sanctions regime has made Iraqis dependent on centralized, government-distributed food to survive and relief agencies have already expressed their concerns about the potential for a humanitarian crisis once war starts."


The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control within his own cabinet, and within his own army, and even within his own family.
On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured.


Jensen: "All of that and more was going on while Iraq was a 'valued ally' of the United States -- hence the hypocrisy of the next few sentences."


America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights -- to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.
People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture.
America is a friend to the people of Iraq.


Anthony Arnove, editor of the book Iraq Under Siege: "But the people of Iraq have good reason to feel otherwise. As Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times noted in his October 4 report from Baghdad, 'while ordinary Iraqis were very friendly toward me, they were enraged at the U.S. after 11 years of economic sanctions.... Worse, U.S. bombing of water treatment plants, difficulties importing purification chemicals like chlorine (which can be used for weapons), and shortages of medicines led to a more than doubling of infant mortality, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.' Another war on Iraq -- this time, a 'pre-emptive' attack aimed at 'regime change' -- will lead to more civilian casualties and damage to Iraq's infrastructure. And Iraqis are right to worry that the regime Washington installs, in violation of their right to self-determination, will be one that serves U.S. interests, not their own. We should recall the impact of the last war. In the words of Gulf War veteran Anthony Swofford, a former Marine corporal, writing in the New York Times, October 2, 'From the ground, I witnessed the savage results of American air superiority: tanks and troop carriers turned upside down and ripped inside out; rotten, burned, half-buried bodies littering the desert like the detritus of years -- not weeks -- of combat.' We should be skeptical of Bush's stated concern for the Iraqi people. His real interests in this war are not the Iraq people, or defending Americans from attack, but expanding U.S.hegemony in the Middle East."


Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women, and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.


Jennings: "The president has repeatedly claimed, 'We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people.' In his speech to the nation on Oct. 7, he said, 'America is a friend of the people of Iraq.' Try telling that to a friend of mine in Baghdad who walked out of his house following a U.S.bomb attack to find his neighbor's head rolling down the street; or to a taxi driver I met whose four year old child shook uncontrollably for three days following Clinton s 1998 'Monicagate' bombing diversion. Try telling it to the mother of Omran ibn Jwair, whom I met in the village of Toq al-Ghazzalat after a U.S.missile killed her 13 year old son while he was tending sheep in the field. Try telling it to the hundreds of mothers I have seen crying over their dying babies in Iraqi hospitals, and to the hundreds of thousands of parents who have actually lost their infant children due to the cruel U.S.blockade, euphemistically called 'sanctions.' Are the Iraqi people supposed to rejoice now that a new war is being forced upon them by their so-called 'friends?' It is understandable that people are frightened following the disastrous attacks of September 11. But fear is not a good reason to stop thinking. In fact, when we are in danger is when clear thinking is needed most of all."


Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.
Later this week the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands.


John Berg, director of graduate studies of the government department at Suffolk University: "Our Constitution makes it clear that Congress, not the President, is to 'declare war' -- that is, make the decision that war is necessary in a given situation. For Congress to delegate this determination to the President would be an abdication of its Constitutional responsibility."
Zunes: "According to the articles 41 and 42 of the United Nations charter, this can only be done if the U.N. Security Council finds the violator in material breach of the resolution, determines all non-military means of enforcement have been exhausted, and specifically authorizes the use of force. Otherwise, it will be illegal. Members of Congress would therefore be obliged to vote against it since -- according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution -- international treaties such as the U.N. Charter are the supreme law of the land. Furthermore, if the United States can invade Iraq for its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, then Britain could invade Morocco, France could invade Turkey, Russia could invade Israel, etc."


Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only choice is full compliance -- and the time remaining for that choice is limited.
Members of Congress are nearing an historic vote, and I am confident they will fully consider the facts and their duties.
The attacks of September 11 showed our country that vast oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date, we had only hints of al Qaeda's plans and designs.
Today in Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined -- and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam Hussein's actions have put us on notice -- and there is no refuge from our responsibilities.
We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it. Like other generations of Americans, we will meet the responsibility of defending human liberty against violence and aggression. By our resolve, we will give strength to others. By our courage, we will give hope to others. By our actions, we will secure the peace, and lead the world to a better day.


Phyllis Bennis, author of the just-released book Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies: "President Bush's speech ignored Congress, and instead was aimed at U.S. public opinion (where his support is dwindling) and international allies in the U.N. (where the U.S. is significantly isolated). It was designed to divert attention from the real reasons for this coming war: oil and empire. It is a war designed to rewrite the political map of the Middle East, and is not dependent on the particular threat posed by a particular dictator. The crimes of the Iraqi regime are serious and longstanding -- back to the days of massive U.S. economic and military support, and U.S. provision of the biological seed stock for the anthrax and other germs President Bush warned us about. But launching a massive bombing campaign against Baghdad, a city of more than 5 million inhabitants-- grandmothers, kindergarten classes, teenagers -- will not secure human rights for those living and dying under those bombs."
Thank you, and good night.

10.17.2002

John Perry Barlow is a dear old friend with whom I've had more caustic arguments than anyone on the Planet about everything from the CIA to the ultimate value of the Internet. We've disagreed more often than we've agreed about everything except friendship. Probably the only (ex) Republican who ever wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead, John is also a fine writer and I'm a huge fan. Had to pass this (his) newsletter on he sends to his wide spectrum of friends.


1. What Has Happened.
2. Why This Has Happened.
3. What We Might Do About It Now.


--------------------------------@#%!!**#@@--------------->>>>--->






THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC IS DEAD. HAIL THE AMERICAN EMPIRE. OR ELSE.


My old pal Mitch Kapor said years ago that what I needed was a "hyperbolectomy." Were such a procedure to exist, this would probably be a good time to get one, since I suddenly find myself incapable of discussing the present state of the American Experiment without veering off into Very Large Statements.


With that admonition in mind, I hope that you will continue to read this rant, adjusting it to your own reality settings. This is just how bad it looks to me. From my perspective, this is not hyperbolic at all.


I believe that the American Republic died in the U.S. Senate last Thursday morning and was buried yesterday morning in the East Room of the White House.


Despite a deluge of calls, letters, and e-mails, which Capital Hill staffers admitted ran overwhelmingly against the ludicrously-named "Resolution Authorizing the President to Use Force, if Necessary, to End the Threat to World Peace from Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction," Congress extended to George II the authority to make unlimited and preemptive war against another nation that has neither attacked us nor shown the ability or inclination to do so.


(Thank you, by the way, for your own contributions to this flood of futile dissent. They may have ignored you, but you will sleep better for knowing that you were not one of the "silent Germans.")


The resolution was deemed necessary on several grounds.


Iraq possesses and is developing weapons of mass destruction - an unquestioned if Orwellian phrase that makes no qualitative distinction between a hundred pounds of spoiled hamburger and a 50 megaton bomb.
Iraq has flouted a number of U.N. resolutions and international accords regarding such weapons, many of which the United States has also ignored or abrogated.
A member of Al-Queda is thought to have visited Iraq.
Iraq has shown a willingness to use military force in the Middle East, again, not unlike ourselves.
Saddam Hussein is a real son-of-a-bitch who is easier to find than Osama bin Laden.


Despite the fact that we have been exposed to far worse during our history - whether by Bloody Old England, the Kaiser, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, Red China, or, hell, France on a bad day - we have never before declared war without being attacked nor have we extended an American President the right to do so at his pleasure.


The dangerous possibility of such behavior was explicitly foreseen by the architects of the American Republic when they designed the Consitution. As James Madison declared in a letter to James Monroe:


The only case in which the Executive can enter on a war, undeclared by Congress, is when a state of war has 'been actually' produced by the conduct of another power, and then it ought to be made known as soon as possible to the Department charged with the war power.


Their reasons were eloquently restated by Abraham Lincoln in an 1848 letter to his law partner, William H. Herndon. Herndon had suggested that the United States would be prudent to attack Mexico before they attacked us, as they clearly appeared willing to do. Lincoln replied:


Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you 'be silent; I see it, if you don't.'


The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

Robert Byrd quoted that passage in his brilliantly Quixotic speech to the Senate last week. The Senate ignored him as easily as they ignored you and millions of others who believe in American principles.


And now we have a King, George II, where presidents have always stood.


Today, as he signed his coronation decree, he lied, "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary."


But, folks, he *has* ordered the use of force and began doing so shortly after seizing office. Though you'd scarcely know it to read the papers, we've been bombing the crap out of Southern Iraq since February 16, 2001, when we hit five radar installations in the vicinity of Baghdad. Since then, the bombing has been increasing steadily. There have been 48 bombing raids south of the "no-fly zone" so far this year. Iraq claims that 1300 civilians have been killed in these bombings - and, while I doubt that number, many of these casualties have been confirmed by international observers. I'll bet the last thing those innocent wretches saw looked a lot like force to them.


It is not simply that we have made a Caesar of Bush, we have, in effect, assented to allowing him the entire world as his Empire.


What this resolution is truly about is the elimination of all sovereignty but our own. This is about our becoming the Dad of the World. Having declared ourselves immune from international prosecution for war crimes, we have proposed our right to disregard the sovereignty of any country that, in our opinion, doesn't deserve it.


If another country harbors people we regard as terrorists, they have forfeited their sovereignty. If they cobble together a few of the weapons we possess in stupefying abundance, we will cross their borders and disarm them by force. Indeed, if they do anything that might eventually, left to develop unchecked, threaten American interests, we will stop them as brutally as we must.


These statements are not merely polemical on my part. They are American policy.


On September 20, the Bush Administration released its National Security Strategy. You can find it at http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf. It speaks plainly of American "convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities." According to whom?


In other words, Nations of the World, if you don't make smart choices, you will just have to accept that there will be consequences. Now go clean your rooms.


Reading this document, which makes ironic use of the word "freedom" every third sentence or so, one begins to imagine the United States as the jut-jawed marshal, patrolling the world's mean streets, showing the lonely courage that is the sinew of virtue.


But as a fellow Wyomingite, Don Cooper, wrote me after my last rant, the metaphor is horribly flawed. The Code of the West required proof of guilt and threats made bad. The scoundrels actually had to actually raise hell before the marshal took up arms against them.


What we are doing in Iraq is more like this, to quote Cooper:


A storekeeper is sweeping the wooden sidewalk in front of his shop and sees a rough stranger approaching. He runs across the street to the Marshal's office crying out and waving his broom in the air. The Marshal comes out, asking what all the fuss is about. 'It's a bad guy ridin' into town, Marshal. I can tell he's up to no good. Got that look about him. Word is he is planning to rob the bank, steal a horse, burn down the church and slap a barmaid.' The Marshal is aghast, 'Well, not in my town he ain't!' The Marshal grabs his shotgun and waits out in front of the saloon. When the stranger rides up, the Marshal levels his shotgun and blows him off his horse.


This isn't American. It's chickenshit.


I feared it would come to this when I realized, ten years ago, that we were the last credible superpower left on the planet. But Bill Clinton, whatever his manifold weaknesses, knew that if we were were to possess such towering power, we would have to wield it with the humility necessary to create moral as well as military force.


He might have had a zipper as slick as his tongue, but he was not facile when it came to deploying more lethal weapons. Furthermore, Bill Clinton knew himself to be an unlikely instrument for Almighty God. I suspect Clinton secretly hopes there isn't One.


But George II has been working for the Lord ever since he was divinely instructed some years back to stop snorting blow. He knows that God wants us to have oil and that the world's second largest petroleum reserves are not to be entrusted to a people whose divine messenger was, to quote Jerry Falwell, "a terrorist."


I don't think that our new Emperor is an evil man. But he has the kind of unquestioning belief in his own virtue that is the richest loam for growing evil. He is simply too weak to possess this kind of power without misusing it. And now we have removed all the Constitutional impediments that might have checked his hubris. We have thrown ourselves on the mercy of a conscience too clear to be reliable.






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PEACE IS WAR, LOVE IS HATE



How has this tragedy happened?


Why have Americans - whom I still believe are, in their essence, a decent people - allowed themselves to become complicit with such monstrosity.


It's because the terrorists won. Through incredibly deft manipulation of our media, encouraging that which is worst in our government, they have already inflicted astonishing casualties on the American mind.


Wherever he may be, I hope the ghost of George Orwell is up to date on contemporary American politics. If he is, I'll bet he's having a swell time.


I could give you a million examples of what I'm talking about, but I'll tell you a story instead.


A couple of weeks back, I was asked to do a brief live interview on MSNBC, the result of a piece I wrote which appears in the current Forbes ASAP on the irremediable failure of the American intelligence system. (You will find it at http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/1007/042.html and I will spam you the longer version sometime soon).


I had misgivings about doing this, since I think television is very bad for you, no matter which side of the camera you're on. But, since one of my many missions is trying inspire an intelligence system that actually increases political understanding, I figured I would seize whatever silly pulpit they briefly provided me.


They put me in a dark little room with a huge camera and a monitor that was displaying the current out-going feed from MSNBC. They wired me up and I waited for my cue, with nothing to do but watch the tube and try to keep myself from hallucinating as a result.


There ensued a series of events that compelled me to watch a stream of televised news longer than any I've seen since 911. (When it became obvious, once and for all, that there was no viewing level that wasn't inimical to clear thought.)


Like so many other bad things, it was Bush's fault. After I was all wired up and seated in involuntary viewing mode, I was suddenly preempted by an informal press briefing from the Cabinet Room.


There, apparently sitting across the desk from me, was our still unannointed Monarch. I sat there in speechless awe as he said, among other astonishing things, that we might have to attack Iraq in order to preserve peace.


That's right. We must start a war that there might have peace.

When the anchors came back on after the press briefing, they made absolutely no note of the surreal logic we'd all been exposed to. It made sense to them, I guess.


Nor did they make any mention of the the Malaprop Effect, such as when the Resident said, "He [Saddam] faces a true threat to the U.S," and didn't stop to correct himself. (And, indeed, didn't even appear to notice.)


Then we got back to "the news." All of it was straight out of 1984. Saddam Hussein has always been the object of the Two Minute Hate. Osama bin Laden was never our Emmanuel Goldstein.


The anchor-bimbo actually hissed whenever she uttered Saddam's name, and she did so involuntarily. I remembered the line from Orwell's novel, "The horrible thing about the Two Minute Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in." I managed not to.


There was plenty more Newspeak to follow. For example, practically everyone who spoke, anchor or civilian, used the phrase "weapons of mass destruction," as if they knew what they were talking about. I don't think they do.


What this insidious phrase does is to equate biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons in their degrees of lethality. But, as I said before, there is a vast difference between a cylinder of poisonous gas and a 5 megaton thermonuclear bomb. The former is easy to make but very hard to deliver in any massively destructive way. The latter is hard to make and easy to deliver, at least over short distances. But when it arrives, it doesn't just kill a few hundred commuters.


(Actually the latter is not terribly hard to make. I could probably do it with a good machine shop and a hundred kilos of weapons grade Plutonium. Making weapons grade Plutonium is very hard, but fortunately for the evil-doers, the U.S. and Russia have already manufactured so much of this vile stuff over the last 57 years that Iraq could, if it wanted to, probably pick it up from the right Russians simply by signing a few subrosa oil contracts.)


Never mind that. My point is, we're not thinking about these things to that level of detail. We're thinking things like "Weapons of mass destruction, bad. Iraq, bad. America, good." Or Eurasia, bad. Oceania, good.

We're also accepting rather blandly American support for a brutal military dictatorship in Pakistan which really *does* have nuclear weapons as well as the means to deliver them quite a distance. Why are we not disarming Pakistan? Why, for that matter, are we not disarming France? Or, perish the thought, ourselves?

I observed with mounting anxiety the way in which the "news" I watched that morning was subtly but continuously slanted to support the war.


For example, while reporting a story regarding considerable Labor Party unrest over Blair's support of Bush, one of the anchors casually (and rhetorically) asked, "But isn't that just the old Socialist wing of Labor coming back to life?" The question hung in the air like a mild mind toxin while they rushed off to the next bit of gory footage.

This involved a deranged person who had tried to slit the throat of a Greyhouse bus driver in California with a pair of scissors, causing him to veer off I-5. There were a number of vivid injuries for the cameras to feed on. One of the anchors asked about the attacker, a Mexican-American, "Do we know if this guy has any terrorist connections?"

Now is a time to think clearly. But the government and the media are mutilating the very structure of rational thought by attacking the language. Noam Chomsky was and is right about this.


Even the more reliable media, like, say, the New York Times, are editing reality in a dangerous way.


For example, somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 people spontaneously gathered in Central Park on October 6 and it barely made the papers. What few stories did appear placed a distorted emphasis that some of the bullhorn wielders had made anti-semitic remarks.


It's no wonder that many of us have been brain-washed into an uneasy stupor. You are what you watch.


But what about the millions of us who are agitated as hell about this? I know lots of different people, and they aren't all seditious scum like me. Hell, I come from Pinedale, Wyoming, the most conservative place in the non-Islamic world. And yet about one in a hundred people that I talk to approves of what's going on. Why don't we matter anymore?


It pains me deeply to say this, but I think that part of the problem may be the Internet.


A lot of what's wrong may be the very sort of thing you're reading right now.


The Internet, has, as expected, provided a global podium to everyone with an opinion. Cyberspace has become an infinite set of street corners, each with its lonely pamphleteer, howling his rage to a multitude all too busy howling their own to listen.


All of our energy goes into things like this BarlowSpam, energies that might be better spent in creating traditional blocs like the NRA, or the AARP, or some large group capable of either buying Congress or scaring the shit out of them. This screed won't scare an elected official anywhere. And it wouldn't generate enough money to elect or defeat a dogcatcher.


As much as I loathe organizations, we need to organize.


And we'd better start doing it now before the Empire decides it's necessary to declare a National Emergency and make it lethally illegal to oppose it. It could get that bad.


Or it might get oddly worse than that. The Empire has discovered something important. The best way to deal with us is to ignore us altogether, as they did last Thursday. Our calls and letters had no effect whatever.


But those were the acts of citizens. In an Empire, there are no citizens, only subjects.


Empires in the past found it expedient to jail, torture, and execute recalcitrant subjects. This one has learned that you can get a lot further with less trouble simply by pretending that the opposition doesn't exist.


These arrogant bastards are so persuaded of their sublime duties to God and Exxon that they no longer need concern themselves with public outrage or even, I shudder to say, elections.


Let us prove them wrong. We must make ourselves painfully visible to them.





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COME TOGETHER WHEREVER, OCTOBER 26, 11:00 AM.




What is to be done?

Well, for a start, I recommend that wherever you are in the world, you should pick an arbitrary public location in your area, call or e-mail everyone you know who feels as you do about this madness, and ask them to meet there at 11:00 am on Saturday, October 26.


Ask them also to call or e-mail everyone *they* know with the same message. Thanks to what my friend Howard Rheingold calls "smart mobs," a lot of people can gather very quickly this way. The microwave threads between cell phones can be like formic acid for ants. Make an instant electronic hive of humanity.


Be very peaceable and difficult to provoke, but don't worry about getting a permit. If no one's in charge, there's no one to hold accountable.


In Washington, DC and San Francisco, those locations have already been chosen. They are:

In DC -


Constitution Gardens adjacent to the
Vietnam Veterans War Memorial
21st St. & Constitution Ave. NW


In San Francisco -


Justin Herman Plaza
Market and Embarcadero




Unfortunately, there is a problem. And, as someone who went through this in the 60's, it's one I'm very familiar with.


The organization that nominated these two locations, International A.N.S.W.E.R.
(Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), is an honest-to-god Communist front. I'm not kidding. It is to the left of Mao. It is also virulently anti-semitic, and appears to be saddling up the wild horse of war opposition to pursue a lot of causes most you probably don't support, like Shining Path in Peru.


It is so radical that I almost wonder if it isn't a set of agents provocateurs created by the Empire to discredit the whole peace movement.


I also know that, after the poem I asked you all to read aloud, many of you concluded that I was also of this general political slant. But I am not a leftist propagandist. Hell, I was still a Republican until George II forced me to declare myself the obvious, an Independent.


I didn't write that poem. Had I done so, it certainly would have included an aeon of silence for the 50 million killed by Communism under Stalin and Mao, a millennium of silence for the many millions of Jews slaughtered by everyone from Goliath and his Philistines to Hezbolleh. I would have mentioned the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The poem was clearly leftist propaganda. Still, I felt it made a start on it. We could mourn the remaining blanks ourselves.


I got a lot of angry mail back regarding precisely these kinds of omissions and the rote socialism of its rhetoric.


I am very concerned that people will not engage in these gatherings, or that they will be easily misinterpreted, once they perceive these same qualities in A.N.S.W.E.R.


But I say it doesn't matter who names the gathering point. Wherever we normally reside in the political spectrum, this is not about the left wing or the right wing. It's about how to stop these wing-nuts from turning the world into a military playground for the Fortune 500. It's not about ideology. It's about human decency and common sense. The important thing is that we all get together in such numbers that the ideologues of A.N.S.W.E.R. will be but a small part of something so big that neither the media nor the Empire can ignore us.


I also recommend against speeches, though I suspect they are unavoidable in Washington and San Francisco. The less said the better. What do we need to say? We know how we feel. We don't need to be told.


So, even though I have grave misgivings about the organizers of the gatherings in DC and San Francisco, we can come together in such overwhelming diversity that there can be no party line aside from a love of peace, liberty, and the right of all nations to determine their destinies without American imposition.






The second thing I recommend we all do is vote. I know many of you gave up on this a long time ago, for which dereliction of citizen's duty you are getting exactly the government you deserve. But there's still time. Many states permit registration right down to the wire.


I particularly hope you will vote heavily against everyone who supported this treasonous resolution, no matter how enlightened they appeared before. Right now, a weakling with good intentions is worse than an outright Facist.


They didn't listen to your phone calls or letters. Let them now hear your silent voice speaking from the voting booth.


You should also organize on behalf of everyone who had the courage to resist it. Give money and time to their campaigns. Write letters to their local newspapers, expressing your support for them and praising them for their courage on behalf of the Constitution.


Right now, I agree absolutely with George Bush on one thing. One is either with him or against him. I am against him. As Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Lincoln would have been.


And if that makes me a terrorist, I am proud to be one.


Be Free,


Barlow


--

*************************************************************
John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident
Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Berkman Fellow, Harvard Law School

Home(stead) Page: http://www.eff.org/~barlow

10.16.2002



The following letter by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has
been sent to all members of the UN Security Council, with copies to
the UN General Assembly.

September 20, 2002


Secretary General Kofi Annan
United Nations New York, NY

Dear Secretary General Annan,

George Bush will invade Iraq unless restrained by the United Nations.
Other international organizations-- including the European Union, the
African Union, the OAS, the Arab League, stalwart nations courageous
enough to speak out against superpower aggression, international
peace movements, political leadership, and public opinion within the
United States--must do their part for peace. If the United Nations,
above all, fails to oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq, it will forfeit
its honor, integrity and raison d'être.

A military attack on Iraq is obviously criminal; completely
inconsistent with urgent needs of the Peoples of the United Nations;
unjustifiable on any legal or moral ground; irrational in light of
the known facts; out of proportion to other existing threats of war
and violence; and a dangerous adventure risking continuing conflict
throughout the region and far beyond for years to come. The most
careful analysis must be made as to why the world is subjected to
such threats of violence by its only superpower, which could so
safely and importantly lead us on the road to peace, and how the UN
can avoid the human tragedy of yet another major assault on Iraq and
the powerful stimulus for retaliatory terrorism it would create.

1. President George Bush Came to Office Determined to Attack Iraq and
Change its Government.

George Bush is moving apace to make his war unstoppable and soon.
Having stated last Friday that he did not believe Iraq would accept
UN inspectors, he responded to Iraq?Iraq's prompt, unconditional
acceptance by calling any reliance on it a "false hope" and promising
to attack Iraq alone if the UN des not act. He is obsessed with the
desire to wage war against Iraq and install his surrogates to govern
Iraq by force. Days after the most bellicose address ever made before
the United Nations--an unprecedented assault on the Charter of the
United Nations, the rule of law and the quest for peace--the U.S.
announced it was changing its stated targets in Iraq over the past
eleven years, from retaliation for threats and attacks on U.S.
aircraft which were illegally invading Iraq's airspace on a daily
basis. How serious could those threats and attacks have been if no
U.S. aircraft was ever hit? Yet hundreds of people were killed in
Iraq by U.S. rockets and bombs, and not just in the so called "no fly
zone," but in Baghdad itself. Now the U.S. proclaims its intentions
to destroy major military facilities in Iraq in preparation for its
invasion, a clear promise of aggression now. Every day there are
threats and more propaganda is unleashed to overcome resistance to
George Bush's rush to war. The acceleration will continue until the
tanks roll, unless nonviolent persuasion prevails.

2. George Bush Is Leading the United States and Taking the UN and All
Nations Toward a Lawless World of Endless Wars.

George Bush in his "War on Terrorism" has asserted his right to
attack any country, organization, or people first, without warning in
his sole discretion. He and members of his administration have
proclaimed the old restraints that law sought to impose on aggression
by governments and repression of their people, no longer consistent
with national security. Terrorism is such a danger, they say, that
necessity compels the U.S. to strike first to destroy the potential
for terrorist acts from a broad and to make arbitrary arrests,
detentions, interrogations, controls and treatment of people abroad
and within the U.S. Law has become the enemy of public safety.
"Necessity is the argument of
tyrants." "Necessity never makes a good bargain."

Heinrich Himmler, who instructed the Nazi Gestapo "Shoot first, ask
questions later, and I will protect you," is vindicated by George
Bush. Like the Germany described by Jorge Luis Borges in Deutsches
Requiem, George Bush has now "proffered (the world) violence and
faith in the sword," as Nazi Germany did. And as Borges wrote, it did
not matter to faith in the sword that Germany was defeated. "What
matters is that violence ... now rules." Two generations of Germans
have rejected that faith. Their perseverance in the pursuit of peace
will earn the respect of succeeding generations everywhere.

The Peoples of the United Nations are threatened with the end of
international law and protection for human rights by George Bush's
war on terrorism and determination to invade Iraq.

Since George Bush proclaimed his "war on terrorism," other countries
have claimed the right to strike first. India and Pakistan brought
the earth and their own people closer to nuclear conflict than at any
time since October 1962 as a direct consequence of claims by the U.S.
of the unrestricted right to pursue and kill terrorists, or attack
nations protecting them, based on a unilateral decision without
consulting the United Nations, a trial, or revealing any clear
factual basis for claiming its targets are terrorists and confined to
them.

There is already a near epidemic of nations proclaiming the right to
attack other nations or intensify violations of human rights of their
own people on the basis of George Bush's assertions of power in the
war against terrorism. Mary Robinson, in her quietly courageous
statements as her term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
ended, has spoken of the "ripple effect" U.S. claims of right to
strike first and suspend fundamental human rights protection is
having.

On September 11, 2002, Colombia, whose new administration is strongly
supported by the U.S., "claimed new authority to arrest suspects
without warrants and declare zones under military control," including
"New powers, which also make it easier to wiretap phones and limit
foreigners' access to conflict zones... allow security agents to
enter your house or office without a warrant at any time of day
because they think you're suspicious." These additional threats to
human rights follow Post-September 11 "emergency" plans to set up a
network of a million informants in a nation of forty million. See,
New York Times, September 12, 2002, p. A7.

3. The United States, Not Iraq, Is the Greatest Single Threat to the
Independence and Purpose of the United Nations.

President Bush's claim that Iraq is a threat justifying war is false.
Eighty percent of Iraq's military capacity was destroyed in 1991
according to the Pentagon. Ninety percent of materials and equipment
required to manufacture weapons of mass destruction was destroyed by
UN inspectors during more than eight years of inspections. Iraq was
powerful, compared to most of its neighbors, in 1990. Today it is
weak. One infant out of four born live in Iraq weighs less than 2
kilos, promising short lives, illness and impaired development. In
1989, fewer than one in twenty infants born live weighed less than
two kilos. Any threat to peace Iraq might become is remote, far less
than that of many other nations and groups and cannot justify a
violent assault. An attack on Iraq will make attacks in retaliation
against the U.S. and governments which support its actions far more
probable for years to come.

George Bush proclaims Iraq a threat to the authority of the United
Nations while U.S.-coerced UN sanctions continue to cause the death
rate of the Iraqi people to increase. Deaths caused by sanctions have
been at genocidal levels for twelve years. Iraq can only plead
helplessly for an end to this crime against its people. The UN role
in the sanctions against Iraq compromise and stain the UN's integrity
and honor. This makes it all the more important for the UN now to
resist this war.

Inspections were used as an excuse to continue sanctions for eight
years while thousands of Iraqi children and elderly died each month.
Iraq is the victim of criminal sanctions that should have been lifted
in 1991. For every person killed by terrorist acts in the U.S. on
9/11, five hundred people have died in Iraq from sanctions.

It is the U.S. that threatens not merely the authority of the United
Nations, but its independence, integrity and hope for effectiveness.
The U.S. pays UN dues if, when and in the amount it chooses.. It
coerces votes of members. It coerces choices of personnel on the
Secretariat. It rejoined UNESCO to gain temporary favor after 18
years of opposition to its very purposes. It places spies in UN
inspection teams.

The U.S. has renounced treaties controlling nuclear weapons and their
proliferation, voted against the protocol enabling enforcement of the
Biological Weapons Convention, rejected the treaty banning land
mines, endeavored to prevent its creation and since to cripple the
International Criminal Court, and frustrated the Convention on the
Child and the prohibition against using children in war. The U.S. has
opposed virtually every other international effort to control and
limit war, protect the environment, reduce poverty and protect health.

George Bush cites two invasions of other countries by Iraq during the
last 22 years. He ignores the many scores of U.S. invasions and
assaults on other countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas during
the last 220 years, and the permanent seizure of lands from Native
Americans and other nations
--lands like Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, and
Puerto Rico, among others, seized by force and threat.

In the same last 22 years the U.S. has invaded, or assaulted Grenada,
Nicaragua, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia,
Afghanistan and others directly, while supporting assaults and
invasions elsewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

It is healthy to remember that the U.S. invaded and occupied little
Grenada in 1983 after a year of threats, killing hundreds of civilians
and destroying its small mental hospital, where many patients died.
In a surprise attack on the sleeping and defenseless cities of
Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986, the U.S. killed hundreds of
civilians and damaged four foreign embassies. It launched 21 Tomahawk
cruise missiles against the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum
in August 1998, destroying the source of half the medicines available
to the people of Sudan. For years it has armed forces in Uganda and
southern Sudan fighting the government of Sudan. The U.S. has bombed
Iraq on hundreds of occasions since the Gulf War, including this
week, killing hundreds of people without a casualty or damage to an
attacking plane.

4. Why Has George Bush Decided The U.S. Must Attack Iraq Now?

There is no rational basis to believe Iraq is a threat to the United
States, or any other country. The reason to attack Iraq must be found
elsewhere.

As governor of Texas, George Bush presided over scores of executions,
more than any governor in the United States since the death penalty
was reinstated in 1976 (after a hiatus from 1967). He revealed the
same zeal he has shown for "regime change" for Iraq when he oversaw
the executions of minors, women, retarded persons and aliens whose
rights under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of
notification of their arrest to a foreign mission of their
nationality were violated. The Supreme Court of the U.S. held that
executions of a mentally retarded person constitute cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the U.S. Constitution. George Bush
addresses the United Nations with these same values and willfulness.

His motives may include to save a failing Presidency which has
converted a healthy economy and treasury surplus into multi-trillion
dollar losses; to fulfill the dream, which will become a nightmare,
of a new world order to serve special interests in the U.S.; to
settle a family grudge against Iraq; to weaken the Arab nation, one
people at a time; to strike a Muslim nation to weaken Islam; to
protect Israel, or make its position more dominant in the region; to
secure control of Iraq's oil to enrich U.S. interests, further
dominate oil in the region and control oil prices. Aggression against
Iraq for any of these purposes is criminal and a violation of a great
many international conventions and laws including the General
Assembly Resolution on the Definition of Aggression of December 14,
1974.

Prior regime changes by the U.S. brought to power among a long list
of tyrants, such leaders as the Shah of Iran, Mobutu in the Congo,
Pinochet in Chile, all replacing democratically elected heads of
government.

5. A Rational Policy Intended to Reduce the Threat of Weapons of Mass
Destruction in The Middle East Must Include Israel.

A UN or U.S. policy of selecting enemies of the U.S. for attack is
criminal and can only heighten hatred, division, terrorism and lead
to war. The U.S. gives Israel far more aid per capita than the total
per capita income of sub Sahara Africans from all sources.
U.S.-coerced sanctions have reduced per capita income for the people
of Iraq by 75% since 1989. Per capita income in Israel over the past
decade has been approximately 12 times the per capita income of
Palestinians.

Israel increased its decades-long attacks on the Palestinian people,
using George Bush's proclamation of war on terrorism as an excuse, to
indiscriminately destroy cities and towns in the West Bank and Gaza
and seize more land in violation of international law and repeated
Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Israel has a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear warheads derived from
the United States, sophisticated rockets capable of accurate delivery
at distances of several thousand kilometers, and contracts with the
U.S. for joint development of more sophisticated rocketry and other
arms with the U.S.

Possession of weapons of mass destruction by a single nation in a
region with a history of hostility promotes a race for proliferation
and war. The UN must act to reduce and eliminate all weapons of mass
destruction, not submit to demands to punish areas of evil and
enemies of the superpower that possesses the majority of all such
weapons and capacity for their delivery.

Israel has violated and ignored more UN Resolutions for forty years
than any other nation. It has done so with impunity.

The violation of Security Council resolutions cannot be the basis for
a UN-approved assault on any nation, or people, in a time of peace,
or the absence of a threat of imminent attack, but comparable efforts
to enforce Security Council resolutions must be made against all
nations who violate them,

6. The Choice Is War Or Peace.

The UN and the U.S. must seek peace, not war. An attack on Iraq may
open a Pandora's box that will condemn the world to decades of
spreading violence. Peace is not only possible; it is essential,
considering the heights to which science and technology have raised
the human art of planetary and se
lf-destruction.

If George Bush is permitted to attack Iraq with or without the
approval of the UN, he will become Public Enemy Number One--and the
UN itself worse than useless, an accomplice in the wars it was
created to end. The Peoples of the World then will have to find some
way to begin again if they hope to end the scourge of war.

This is a defining moment for the United Nations. Will it stand
strong, independent and true to its Charter, international law and
the reasons for its being, or will it submit to the coercion of a
superpower leading us toward a lawless world and condone war against
the cradle of civilization?

Do not let this happen.

Sincerely,

Ramsey Clark