11.15.2002

You Are a Suspect
>
>
> By WILLIAM SAFIRE
>
>
> ASHINGTON ‹ If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage,
> here is what will happen to you:
>
> Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you
> buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail
> you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit
> you make, every trip you book and every event you attend ‹ all these
> transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department
> describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
>
> To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources,
> add every piece of information that government has about you ‹ passport
> application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce
> records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper
> trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance ‹ and you have the
> supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S.
> citizen.
>
> This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your
> personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the
> unprecedented power he seeks.
>
> Remember Poindexter? Brilliant man, first in his class at the Naval
> Academy, later earned a doctorate in physics, rose to national security
> adviser under President Ronald Reagan. He had this brilliant idea of
> secretly selling missiles to Iran to pay ransom for hostages, and with the
> illicit proceeds to illegally support contras in Nicaragua.
>
> A jury convicted Poindexter in 1990 on five felony counts of misleading
> Congress and making false statements, but an appeals court overturned the
> verdict because Congress had given him immunity for his testimony. He
> famously asserted, "The buck stops here," arguing that the White House
> staff, and not the president, was responsible for fateful decisions that
> might prove embarrassing.
>
> This ring-knocking master of deceit is back again with a plan even more
> scandalous than Iran-contra. He heads the "Information Awareness Office" in
> the otherwise excellent Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which
> spawned the Internet and stealth aircraft technology. Poindexter is now
> realizing his 20-year dream: getting the "data-mining" power to snoop on
> every public and private act of every American.
>
> Even the hastily passed U.S.A. Patriot Act, which widened the scope of the
> Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and weakened 15 privacy laws, raised
> requirements for the government to report secret eavesdropping to Congress
> and the courts. But Poindexter's assault on individual privacy rides
> roughshod over such oversight.
>
> He is determined to break down the wall between commercial snooping and
> secret government intrusion. The disgraced admiral dismisses such necessary
> differentiation as bureaucratic "stovepiping." And he has been given a $200
> million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans.
>
> When George W. Bush was running for president, he stood foursquare in
> defense of each person's medical, financial and communications privacy. But
> Poindexter, whose contempt for the restraints of oversight drew the Reagan
> administration into its most serious blunder, is still operating on the
> presumption that on such a sweeping theft of privacy rights, the buck ends
> with him and not with the president.
>
> This time, however, he has been seizing power in the open. In the past week
> John Markoff of The Times, followed by Robert O'Harrow of The Washington
> Post, have revealed the extent of Poindexter's operation, but editorialists
> have not grasped its undermining of the Freedom of Information Act.
>
> Political awareness can overcome "Total Information Awareness," the
> combined force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar
> overreach, Attorney General Ashcroft tried his Terrorism Information and
> Prevention System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and
> postal workers as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate
> should now do the same to this other exploitation of fear.
>
> The Latin motto over Poindexter"s new Pentagon office reads "Scientia Est
> Potentia" ‹ "knowledge is power." Exactly: the government's infinite
> knowledge about you is its power over you. "We're just as concerned as the
> next person with protecting privacy," this brilliant mind blandly assured
> The Post. A jury found he spoke falsely before

11.14.2002

"Journalist Helen Thomas Condemns Bush Administration
By Sarah H.  Wright, Black World Today, 11/12/02


Veteran journalist Helen Thomas brought the grit and whir of a White House press conference to Bartos Theater on Monday evening, speaking with passion about the media's role in a democracy whose leaders seem eager for war. Actually, the 82-year-old former United Press International reporter didn't just speak: she surged into her topic, giving everyone present an immediate sense of the grumpy wit and fierce precision that gave her reporting on American presidents Kennedy through Bush II such a competitive and lasting edge.

"I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter," said Thomas, who is now a columnist for Hearst News Service. "Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'" Her short list of answers seems not to vary from war, President Bush, timid office-holders, a muffled press and cowed citizens, pretty much in that order. Angered by what she views as the Bush administration's "bullying drumbeat," Thomas referred early and often to her own hatred of war, quoting from poets and politicians to bear down on President Bush and his colleagues.

Winston Churchill, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Louis Brandeis, George Santayana, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. all made appearances in Thomas' sweeping portrayal of what she sees as the administration's betrayal of both the character and will of the American people and the principles of democracy.

"I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral - such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It's as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam," she said to enthusiastic applause. Thomas ignored the clapping just as she once ignored the camera flashes and shouting matches of the Washington press corps.

"Where is the outrage?" she demanded. "Where is Congress? They're supine! Bush has held only six press conferences, the only forum in our society where a president can be questioned. I'm on the phone to [press secretary] Ari Fleischer every day, asking will he ever hold another one? The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul."...

THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IS POSTED AT: http://athena.tbwt.com/content/article.asp?articleid=1930

11.13.2002

The Push for War

By Anatol Lieven

Originally published in the London Review of Books (Vol. 24 No. 19) on 3 October 2002



Anatol Lieven considers what the US Administration hopes to gain

The most surprising thing about the Bush Administration's plan to invade Iraq is not that it is destructive of international order; or wicked, when we consider the role the US (and Britain) have played, and continue to play, in the Middle East; or opposed by the great majority of the international community; or seemingly contrary to some of the basic needs of the war against terrorism. It is all of these things, but they are of no great concern to the hardline nationalists in the Administration. This group has suffered at least a temporary check as a result of the British insistence on UN involvement, and Saddam Hussein's agreement to weapons inspections. They are, however, still determined on war - and their power within the Administration and in the US security policy world means that they are very likely to get their way. Even the Washington Post has joined the radical rightist media in supporting war.

The most surprising thing about the push for war is that it is so profoundly reckless. If I had to put money on it, I'd say that the odds on quick success in destroying the Iraqi regime may be as high as 5/1 or more, given US military superiority, the vile nature of Saddam Hussein's rule, the unreliability of Baghdad's missiles, and the deep divisions in the Arab world. But at first sight, the longer-term gains for the US look pretty limited, whereas the consequences of failure would be catastrophic. A general Middle Eastern conflagration and the collapse of more pro-Western Arab states would lose us the war against terrorism, doom untold thousands of Western civilians to death in coming decades, and plunge the world economy into depression.

These risks are not only to American (and British) lives and interests, but to the political future of the Administration. If the war goes badly wrong, it will be more generally excoriated than any within living memory, and its members will be finished politically - finished for good. If no other fear moved these people, you'd have thought this one would.

This war plan is not like the intervention in Vietnam, which at the start was supported by a consensus of both political parties, the Pentagon, the security establishment and the media. It is true that today - for reasons to which I shall return - the Democrats are mostly sitting on the fence; but a large part of the old Republican security establishment has denounced the idea and the Pentagon has made its deep unhappiness very clear.

The Administration has therefore been warned of the dangers. And while a new attack by al-Qaida during the war would help consolidate anti-Muslim American nationalism, the Administration would also be widely accused of having neglected the hunt for the perpetrators of 11 September in order to pursue an irrelevant vendetta. As far as the Israeli lobby is concerned, a disaster in the Middle East might be the one thing that would at last bring a discussion of its calamitous role into the open in the US.

With the exception of Donald Rumsfeld, who conveniently did his military service in the gap between the Korean and Vietnam Wars, neither Bush nor any of the other prime movers of this war served in the military. Of course, General Colin Powell served in Vietnam, but he is well known to be extremely dubious about attacking Iraq. All the others did everything possible to avoid service. If the war goes wrong, the 'chicken hawk' charge will be used against them with devastating political effect.

Vietnam veterans, both Democrat and Republican, have already started to raise this issue, stirred up in part by the insulting language used by Richard Perle and his school about the caution of the professional military. As a recent letter to the Washington Post put it, 'the men described as chicken hawks avoided military service during the Vietnam War while supporting that war politically. They are not accused of lacking experience and judgment compared to military men. They are accused of hypocrisy and cowardice.' Given the political risks of failure - to themselves, above all - why are they doing this? And, more broadly, what has bred this reckless spirit?

To understand the Administration's motivation, it is necessary to appreciate the breathtaking scope of the domestic and global ambitions which the dominant neo-conservative nationalists hope to further by means of war, and which go way beyond their publicly stated goals. There are of course different groups within this camp: some are more favourable to Israel, others less hostile to China; not all would support the most radical aspects of the programme. However, the basic and generally agreed plan is unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority, and this has been consistently advocated and worked on by the group of intellectuals close to Dick Cheney and Richard Perle since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

This basic goal is shared by Colin Powell and the rest of the security establishment. It was, after all, Powell who, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in 1992 that the US requires sufficient power 'to deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage'. However, the idea of pre-emptive defence, now official doctrine, takes this a leap further, much further than Powell would wish to go. In principle, it can be used to justify the destruction of any other state if it even seems that that state might in future be able to challenge the US. When these ideas were first aired by Paul Wolfowitz and others after the end of the Cold War, they met with general criticism, even from conservatives. Today, thanks to the ascendancy of the radical nationalists in the Administration and the effect of the 11 September attacks on the American psyche, they have a major influence on US policy.

To understand the genesis of this extraordinary ambition, it is also necessary to grasp the moral, cultural and intellectual world of American nationalism in which it has taken shape. This nationalism existed long before last September, but it has been inflamed by those attacks and, equally dangerously, it has become even more entwined with the nationalism of the Israeli Right.

To take the geopolitical goals first. As with National Missile Defense, the publicly expressed motive for war with Iraq functions mainly as a tool to gain the necessary public support for an operation the real goals of which are far wider. The indifference of the US public to serious discussion of foreign or security affairs, and the negligence and ideological rigidity of the US media and policy community make searching debate on such issues extremely difficult, and allow such manipulation to succeed.

The immediate goal is indeed to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. There is little real fear, however, that Saddam Hussein will give those weapons to terrorists to use against the United States - though a more genuine fear that he might conceivably do so in the case of Israel. Nor is there any serious prospect that he would use them himself in an unprovoked attack on the US or Israel, because immediate annihilation would follow. The banal propaganda portrayal of Saddam as a crazed and suicidal dictator plays well on the American street, but I don't believe that it is a view shared by the Administration. Rather, their intention is partly to retain an absolute certainty of being able to defend the Gulf against an Iraqi attack, but, more important, to retain for the US and Israel a free hand for intervention in the Middle East as a whole.

From the point of view of Israel, the Israeli lobby and their representatives in the Administration, the apparent benefits of such a free hand are clear enough. For the group around Cheney, the single most important consideration is guaranteed and unrestricted access to cheap oil, controlled as far as possible at its source. To destroy and occupy the existing Iraqi state and dominate the region militarily would remove even the present limited threat from Opec, greatly reduce the chance of a new oil shock, and eliminate the need to woo and invest in Russia as an alternative source of energy.

It would also critically undermine the steps already taken towards the development of alternative sources of energy. So far, these have been pitifully few. All the same, 11 September brought new strength to the security arguments for reducing dependence on imported oil, and as alternative technologies develop, they could become a real threat to the oil lobby - which, like the Israeli lobby, is deeply intertwined with the Bush Administration. War with Iraq can therefore be seen as a satisfactory outcome for both lobbies. Much more important for the future of mankind, it is also part of what is in essence a strategy to use American military force to permit the continued offloading onto the rest of the world of the ecological costs of the existing US economy - without the need for any short-term sacrifices on the part of US capitalism, the US political elite or US voters.

The same goes for the war against al-Qaida and its allies: the plan for the destruction of the existing Iraqi regime is related to this struggle, but not as it has been presented publicly. Links between Baghdad and al-Qaida are unproven and inherently improbable: what the Administration hopes is that by crushing another middle-sized state at minimal military cost, all the other states in the Muslim world will be terrified into full co-operation in tracking down and handing over suspected terrorists, and into forsaking the Palestinian cause. Iran for its part can either be frightened into abandoning both its nuclear programme and its support for the Palestinians, or see its nuclear facilities destroyed by bombardment.

The idea, in other words, is to scare these states not only into helping with the hunt for al-Qaida, but into capitulating to the US and, more important, Israeli agendas in the Middle East. This was brought out in the notorious paper on Saudi Arabia presented by Laurent Murawiec of the Rand Corporation to Richard Perle's Defense Policy Board. Murawiec advocated sending the Saudis an ultimatum demanding not only that their police force co-operate fully with US authorities, but also the suppression of public criticism of the US and Israel within Saudi Arabia - something that would be impossible for any Arab state. Despite this, the demand for the suppression of anti-Israeli publications, broadcasts and activities has been widely echoed in the US media.

'The road to Middle East peace lies through Baghdad' is a line that's peddled by the Bush Administration and the Israeli lobby. It is just possible that some members of the Administration really believe that by destroying Israel's most powerful remaining enemy they will gain such credit with Israelis and the Israeli lobby that they will be able to press compromises on Israel.

But this is certainly not what public statements by members of the Administration - let alone those of its Likud allies in Israel - suggest. Rumsfeld recently described the Jewish settlements as legitimate products of Israeli military victory; the Republican Majority Leader in the House, Dick Armey (a sceptic as regards war with Iraq), has advocated the ethnic cleansing ('transfer') of the Palestinians across the Jordan; and in 1996 Richard Perle and Douglas Feith (now a senior official at the Pentagon) advised Binyamin Netanyahu to abandon the Oslo Peace Process and return to military repression of the Palestinians.

It's far more probable, therefore, that most members of the Bush and Sharon Administrations hope that the crushing of Iraq will so demoralise the Palestinians, and so reduce wider Arab support for them, that it will be possible to force them to accept a Bantustan settlement bearing no resemblance to independent statehood and bringing with it no possibility of economic growth and prosperity.

How intelligent men can believe that this will work, given the history of the past fifty years, is astonishing. After all, the Israelis have defeated Arab states five times with no diminution of Palestinian nationalism or Arab sympathy for it. But the dominant groups in the present Administrations in both Washington and Jerusalem are 'realists' to the core, which, as so often, means that they take an extremely unreal view of the rest of the world, and are insensitive to the point of autism when it comes to the character and motivations of others. They are obsessed by power, by the division of the world into friends and enemies (and often, into their own country and the rest of the world) and by the belief that any demonstration of 'weakness' immediately leads to more radical approaches by the 'enemy'.

Sharon and his supporters don't doubt that it was the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon - rather than the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories - which led to the latest Intifada. The 'offensive realists' in Washington are convinced that it was Reagan's harsh stance and acceleration of the arms race against the Soviet Union which brought about that state's collapse. And both are convinced that the continued existence of Saddam Hussein's regime of itself suggests dangerous US weakness and cowardice, thus emboldening enemies of the US and Israel across the Middle East and beyond.

From the point of view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, war with Iraq also has some of the character of a Flucht nach vorn - an 'escape forwards' - on the part of the US Administration. On the one hand, it has become clear that the conflict is integrally linked to everything else that happens in the Middle East, and therefore cannot simply be ignored, as the Bush Administration tried to do during its first year in office. On the other hand, even those members of the American political elite who have some understanding of the situation and a concern for justice are terrified of confronting Israel and the Israeli lobby in the ways which would be necessary to bring any chance of peace.

When the US demands 'democracy' in the Palestinian territories before it will re-engage in the peace process it is in part, and fairly cynically, trying to get out of this trap. However, when it comes to the new rhetoric of 'democratising' the Arab world as a whole, the agenda is much broader and more worrying; and because the rhetoric is attractive to many liberals we must examine this agenda very carefully.

Belief in the spread of democracy through American power isn't usually consciously insincere. On the contrary, it is inseparable from American national messianism and the wider 'American creed'. However, this same messianism has also proved immensely useful in destroying or crippling rivals of the United States, the Soviet Union being the outstanding example.

The planned war against Iraq is not after all intended only to remove Saddam Hussein, but to destroy the structure of the Sunni-dominated Arab nationalist Iraqi state as it has existed since that country's inception. The 'democracy' which replaces it will presumably resemble that of Afghanistan - a ramshackle coalition of ethnic groups and warlords, utterly dependent on US military power and utterly subservient to US (and Israeli) wishes.

Similarly, if after Saddam's regime is destroyed, Saudi Arabia fails to bow to US wishes and is attacked in its turn, then - to judge by the thoughts circulating in Washington think-tanks - the goal would be not just to remove the Saudi regime and eliminate Wahabism as a state ideology: it would be to destroy and partition the Saudi state. The Gulf oilfields would be put under US military occupation, and the region run by some client emir; Mecca and the Hejaz might well be returned to the Hashemite dynasty of Jordan, its rulers before the conquest by Ibn Saud in 1924; or, to put it differently, the British imperial programme of 1919 would be resurrected (though, if the Hashemites have any sense, they would reject what would without question be a long-term death sentence).

Beyond lies China. When the Bush Administration came to power, its major security focus was not the Middle East. There, its initial policy was benign neglect ('benign' at any rate in the case of Israel). The greatest fears of right-wing nationalist gurus such as Robert Kagan concerned the future emergence of China as a superpower rival - fears lent a certain credibility by China's sheer size and the growth of its economy. As declared in the famous strategy document drawn up by Paul Wolfowitz in the last year of the first Bush Administration - and effectively proclaimed official policy by Bush Jr in his West Point speech in June - the guiding purpose of US strategy after the end of the Cold War should be to prevent the emergence of any 'peer competitor'anywhere in the world.

What radical US nationalists have in mind is either to 'contain' China by overwhelming military force and the creation of a ring of American allies; or, in the case of the real radicals, to destroy the Chinese Communist state as the Soviet Union was destroyed. As with the Soviet Union, this would presumably involve breaking up China by 'liberating' Tibet and other areas, and under the guise of 'democracy', crippling the central Chinese Administration and its capacity to develop either its economy or its Army.

To judge by the right-wing nationalist media in the US, this hostility to China has survived 11 September, although in a mitigated form. If the US can demonstrate overwhelming military superiority in the Middle East, there will certainly be groups in the Republican Party who will be emboldened to push for a much tougher line on China. Above all, of course, they support formal independence for Taiwan.

Another US military victory will certainly help to persuade these groups that for the moment the US has nothing to fear from the Chinese Navy or Air Force, and that in the event of a Taiwanese declaration of independence, the island can be defended with relative impunity. Meanwhile, a drastic humiliation of China over Taiwan might well be seen as a key stepping-stone to the overthrow of Communism and the crippling of the Chinese state system.

At present these are only long-term ambitions - or dreams. They are certainly not shared even by a majority of the Administration, and are unlikely to be implemented in any systematic way. On the other hand, it's worth bearing in mind that the dominant groups in this Administration have now openly abandoned the underlying strategy and philosophy of the Clinton Administration, which was to integrate the other major states of the world in a rule-based liberal capitalist order, thereby reducing the threat of rivalry between them.

This tendency is not dead. In fact, it is strongly represented by Colin Powell, and by lesser figures such as Richard Haass. But their more powerful nationalist rivals are in the meantime publicly committed to preventing by every possible means the emergence of any serious rival or combination of rivals to the US, anywhere in the world, and to opposing not just any rival would-be world hegemon, but even the ability of other states to play the role of great power within their own regions.

Under the guise of National Missile Defense, the Administration - or elements within it - even dreams of extending US military hegemony beyond the bounds of the Earth itself (an ambition clearly indicated in the official paper on Defense Planning Guidance for the 2004-09 Fiscal Years, issued this year by Rumsfeld's office). And while this web of ambition is megalomaniac, it is not simply fantasy. Given America's overwhelming superiority, it might well work for decades until a mixture of terrorism and the unbearable social, political and environmental costs of US economic domination put paid to the present order of the world.

As things stand, the American people would never knowingly support such a programme - nor for that matter would the US military. Even after 11 September, this is not by historical standards a militarist country; and whatever the increasingly open imperialism of the nationalist think-tank class, neither the military nor the mass of the population wishes to see itself as imperialist. The fear of casualties and of long-term overseas military entanglements remains intense. And all opinion polls suggest that the majority of the American public, insofar as it considers these issues at all, is far more interested than this Administration in co-operation with allies.

Besides, if the US economy continues to stagnate or falls sharply, the Republicans will most probably not even be in power after 2004. As more companies collapse, the Administration's links to corrupt business oligarchies will become more and more controversial. Further economic decline combined with bloated military spending would sooner or later bring on the full consequences of the stripping of the public finances caused by this Administration's military spending and its tax cuts for the rich. At that point, the financial basis of Social Security would come into question, and the Republican vote among the 'middle classes' could shatter.

It is only to a minimal degree within the power of any US administration to stimulate economic growth. And even if growth resumes, the transformation of the economy is almost certain to continue. This will mean the incomes of the 'middle classes' (which in American terminology includes the working proletariat) will continue to decline and the gap between them and the plutocracy will continue to increase. High military spending can correct this trend to some extent, but because of the changed nature of weaponry, to a much lesser extent than was the case in the 19th and most of the 20th centuries. All other things being equal, this should result in a considerable shift of the electorate to the left.

But all other things are not equal. Two strategies in particular would give the Republicans the chance not only of winning in 2004, but of repeating Roosevelt's success for the Democrats in the 1930s and becoming the natural party of government for the foreseeable future. The first is the classic modern strategy of an endangered right-wing oligarchy, which is to divert mass discontent into nationalism. The second, which is specifically American, is to take the Jewish vote away from its traditional home in the Democratic Party, by demonstrating categorical Republican commitment not just to Israel's defence but to its regional ambitions.

This is connected both to the rightward shift in Israel, and to the increasingly close links between the Republicans and Likud, through figures like Perle and Feith. It marks a radical change from the old Republican Party of Eisenhower, Nixon and Bush père, which was far more independent of Israel than the Democrats. Of key importance here has been the growing alliance between the Christian Right - closely linked to the old White South - and the Israeli lobby, or at least its hardline Likud elements.

When this alliance began to take shape some years back, it seemed a most improbable combination. After all, the Christian Right and the White South were once havens of anti-semitic conspiracy theories. On the other hand, the Old Testament aspects of fundamentalist Christianity had created certain sympathies for Judaism and Israel from as far back as the US's 17th-century origins.

For Christian fundamentalists today the influence of millenarian thought is equally important in shaping support for Israel: the existence of the Israeli state is seen as a necessary prelude to the arrival of the Antichrist, the Apocalypse and the rule of Christ and His Saints. But above all, perhaps, this coming together of the fundamentalist Right and hardline Zionism is natural, because they share many hatreds. The Christian Right has always hated the United Nations, partly on straight nationalist grounds, but also because of bizarre fears of world government by the Antichrist. They have hated Europeans on religious grounds as decadent atheists, on class grounds as associates of the hated 'East Coast elites', and on nationalist grounds as critics of unconstrained American power. Both sides share an instinctive love of military force. Both see themselves as historical victims. This may seem strange in the case of the American Rightists, but it isn't if one considers both the White South's history of defeat, and the Christian Right's sense since the 1960s of defeat and embattlement by the forces of irreligion and cultural change.

Finally, and most dangerously, both are conditioned to see themselves as defenders of 'civilisation' against 'savages' - a distinction always perceived on the Christian Right as in the main racially defined. It is no longer possible in America to speak openly in these terms of American blacks, Asians and Latinos - but since 11 September at least, it has been entirely possible to do so about Arabs and Muslims.

Even in the 2000 elections, the Republicans were able to take a large part of the white working-class vote away from Gore by appealing to cultural populism - and especially to those opposed to gun control and environmental protection. Despite the real class identity and cultural interests of the Republican elite, they seem able to convince many workers that they are natural allies against the culturally alien and supercilious 'East Coast elites' represented as supporting Gore.

These populist values are closely linked to the traditional values of hardline nationalism. They are what the historian Walter Russell Mead and others have called 'Jacksonian' values, after President Andrew Jackson's populist nationalism of the 1830s. As Mead has indicated, 11 September has immensely increased the value of this line to Republicans.

If on top of this the Republicans can permanently woo the Jewish vote away from the Democrats - a process which purely class interests would suggest and which has been progressing slowly but steadily since Reagan's day - there is a good chance of their crippling the Democrats for a generation or more. Deprived of much of their financial support and their intellectual backbone, the Democrats could be reduced to a coalition of the declining unionised white working class, blacks and Latinos. And not only do these groups on the whole dislike and distrust each other, but the more the Democrats are seen as minority dominated, the more whites will tend to flee to the Republicans.

Already, the anti-semitism of some black leaders in the Democratic Party has contributed to driving many Jews towards the Republicans; and thanks to their allegiance to Israel, the liberal Jewish intelligentsia has moved a long way from their previous internationalism. This shift is highly visible in previously liberal and relatively internationalist journals such as the New Republic and Atlantic Monthly, and maybe even in the New Yorker. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that as a result the internationalist position in the Democratic Party and the US as a whole has been eviscerated.

The Democrats are well aware of this threat to their electorate. The Party as a whole has always been strongly committed to Israel. On Iraq and the war against terrorism, its approach seems to be to avoid at all costs seeming 'unpatriotic'. If they can avoid being hammered by the Republicans on the charge of 'weakness' and lack of patriotism, then they can still hope to win the 2004 elections on the basis of economic discontent. The consequence, however, is that the Party has become largely invisible in the debate about Iraq; the Democrats are merely increasing their reputation for passionless feebleness; whereas the Republican nationalists are full of passionate intensity - the passion which in November 2000 helped them pressure the courts over the Florida vote and in effect steal the election.

It is this passion which gives the nationalist Right so much of its strength; and in setting out the hopes and plans of the groupings which dominate the Bush Administration, I don't want to give the impression that everything is simply a matter of conscious and cynical manipulation in their own narrow interests. Schematic approaches of this kind have bedevilled all too much of the reporting of nationalism and national conflict. This is odd and depressing, because in recent decades the historiography of pre-1914 German nationalism - to take only one example - has seen an approach based on ideas of class manipulation give way to an infinitely more subtle analysis which emphasises the role of socio-economic and cultural change, unconscious identifications, and interpenetrating political influences from above and below.

To understand the radical nationalist Right in the US, and the dominant forces in the Bush Administration, it is necessary first of all to understand their absolute and absolutely sincere identification of themselves with the United States, to the point where the presence of any other group in government is seen as a usurpation, as profoundly and inherently illegitimate and 'un-American'. As far as the hardline elements of the US security establishment and military industrial complex are concerned, they are the product of the Cold War, and were shaped by that struggle and the paranoia and fanaticism it bred. In typical fashion for security elites, they also became conditioned over the decades to see themselves not just as tougher, braver, wiser and more knowledgeable than their ignorant, innocent compatriots, but as the only force standing between their country and destruction.

The Cold War led to the creation of governmental, economic and intellectual structures in the US which require for their survival a belief in the existence of powerful national enemies - not just terrorists, but enemy states. As a result, in their analyses and propaganda they instinctively generate the necessary image of an enemy. Once again, however, it would be unwise to see this as a conscious process. For the Cold War also continued, fostered and legitimised a very old discourse of nationalist hatred in the US, ostensibly directed against the Communists and their allies but usually with a very strong colouring of ethnic chauvinism.

On the other hand, the roots of the hysteria of the Right go far beyond nationalism and national security. Their pathological hatred for the Clinton Administration cannot adequately be explained in terms of national security or even in rational political or economic terms, for after a very brief period of semi-radicalism (almost entirely limited to the failed attempt at health reform), Clinton devoted himself in a Blairite way to adopting large parts of the Republican socio-economic agenda. Rather, Clinton, his wife, his personal style, his personal background and some of his closest followers were all seen as culturally and therefore nationally alien, mainly because associated with the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

The modern incarnation of this spirit can indeed be seen above all as a reaction to the double defeat of the Right in the Vietnam War - a defeat which, they may hope, victory in Iraq and a new wave of conservative nationalism at home could cancel out once and for all. In Vietnam, unprecedented military defeat coincided with the appearance of a modern culture which traditionalist Americans found alien, immoral and hateful beyond description. As was widely remarked at the time of Newt Gingrich's attempted 'Republican Revolution' of the mid-1990s, one way of looking at the hardline Republicans - especially from the Religious Right - is to see them as motivated by a classical nationalist desire for a return to a Golden Age, in their case the pre-Vietnam days of the 1950s.

None of these fantasies is characteristic of the American people as a whole. But the intense solipsism of that people, its general ignorance of the world beyond America's shores, coupled with the effects of 11 September, have left tremendous political spaces in which groups possessed by the fantasies and ambitions sketched out here can seek their objectives. Or to put it another way: the great majority of the American people are not nearly as militarist, imperialist or aggressive as their German equivalents in 1914; but most German people in 1914 would at least have been able to find France on a map.

The younger intelligentsia meanwhile has also been stripped of any real knowledge of the outside world by academic neglect of history and regional studies in favour of disciplines which are often no more than a crass projection of American assumptions and prejudices (Rational Choice Theory is the worst example). This has reduced still further their capacity for serious analysis of their own country and its actions. Together with the defection of its strongest internationalist elements, this leaves the intelligentsia vulnerable to the appeal of nationalist messianism dressed up in the supposedly benevolent clothing of 'democratisation'.

Twice now in the past decade, the overwhelming military and economic dominance of the US has given it the chance to lead the rest of the world by example and consensus. It could have adopted (and to a very limited degree under Clinton did adopt) a strategy in which this dominance would be softened and legitimised by economic and ecological generosity and responsibility, by geopolitical restraint, and by 'a decent respect to the opinion of mankind', as the US Declaration of Independence has it. The first occasion was the collapse of the Soviet superpower enemy and of Communism as an ideology. The second was the threat displayed by al-Qaida. Both chances have been lost - the first in part, the second it seems conclusively. What we see now is the tragedy of a great country, with noble impulses, successful institutions, magnificent historical achievements and immense energies, which has become a menace to itself and to mankind.



Anatol Lieven, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, is the author of Chechnya and Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry.






11.12.2002

Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11

America's most controversial novelist calls for an investigation into whether the Bush administration deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks to happen


Talk: Gore Vidal on Bush

Observer Worldview

Terrorism crisis: Observer special

Sunder Katwala
Sunday October 27, 2002

America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans.
Vidal's highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled 'The Enemy Within' - published in the print edition of The Observer today - argues that what he calls a 'Bush junta' used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.
Vidal writes: 'We still don't know by whom we were struck that infamous Tuesday, or for what true purpose. But it is fairly plain to many civil libertarians that 9/11 put paid not only to much of our fragile Bill of Rights but also to our once-envied system of government which had taken a mortal blow the previous year when the Supreme Court did a little dance in 5/4 time and replaced a popularly elected President with the oil and gas Bush-Cheney junta.'
Vidal argues that the real motive for the Afghanistan war was to control the gateway to Eurasia and Central Asia's energy riches. He quotes extensively from a 1997 analysis of the region by Zgibniew Brzezinski, formerly national security adviser to President Carter, in support of this theory. But, Vidal argues, US administrations, both Democrat and Republican, were aware that the American public would resist any war in Afghanistan without a truly massive and widely perceived external threat.
'Osama was chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long-contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan ... [because] the administration is convinced that Americans are so simple-minded that they can deal with no scenario more complex than the venerable, lone, crazed killer (this time with zombie helpers) who does evil just for the fun of it 'cause he hates us because we're rich 'n free 'n he's not.' Vidal also attacks the American media's failure to discuss 11 September and its consequences: 'Apparently, "conspiracy stuff" is now shorthand for unspeakable truth.'
'It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life. Yet, a year or so ago, who would have thought that most of corporate America had been conspiring with accountants to cook their books since - well, at least the bright dawn of the era of Reagan and deregulation.'
At the heart of the essay are questions about the events of 9/11 itself and the two hours after the planes were hijacked. Vidal writes that 'astonished military experts cannot fathom why the government's "automatic standard order of procedure in the event of a hijacking" was not followed'.
These procedures, says Vidal, determine that fighter planes should automatically be sent aloft as soon as a plane has deviated from its flight plan. Presidential authority is not required until a plane is to be shot down. But, on 11 September, no decision to start launching planes was taken until 9.40am, eighty minutes after air controllers first knew that Flight 11 had been hijacked and fifty minutes after the first plane had struck the North Tower.
'By law, the fighters should have been up at around 8.15. If they had, all the hijacked planes might have been diverted and shot down.'
Vidal asks why Bush, as Commander-in-Chief, stayed in a Florida classroom as news of the attacks broke: 'The behaviour of President Bush on 11 September certainly gives rise to not unnatural suspicions.' He also attacks the 'nonchalance' of General Richard B Myers, acting Joint Chief of Staff, in failing to respond until the planes had crashed into the twin towers.
Asking whether these failures to act expeditiously were down to conspiracy, coincidence or error, Vidal notes that incompetence would usually lead to reprimands for those responsible, writing that 'It is interesting how often in our history, when disaster strikes, incompetence is considered a better alibi than .... Well, yes, there are worse things.'
Vidal draws comparisons with another 'day of infamy' in American history, writing that 'The truth about Pearl Harbour is obscured to this day. But it has been much studied. 11 September, it is plain, is never going to be investigated if Bush has anything to say about it.' He quotes CNN reports that Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to limit Congressional investigation of the day itself, ostensibly on grounds of not diverting resources from the anti-terror campaign.
Vidal calls bin Laden an 'Islamic zealot' and 'evil doer' but argues that 'war' cannot be waged on the abstraction of 'terrorism'. He says that 'Every nation knows how - if it has the means and will - to protect itself from thugs of the sort that brought us 9/11 ... You put a price on their heads and hunt them down. In recent years, Italy has been doing that with the Sicilian Mafia; and no-one has suggested bombing Palermo.'
Vidal also highlights the role of American and Pakistani intelligence in creating the fundamentalist terrorist threat: 'Apparently, Pakistan did do it - or some of it' but with American support. "From 1979, the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ... the CIA covertly trained and sponsored these warriors.'
Vidal also quotes the highly respected defence journal Jane's Defence Weekly on how this support for Islamic fundamentalism continued after the emergence of bin Laden: 'In 1988, with US knowledge, bin Laden created Al-Qaeda (The Base); a conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic terrorist cells spread across 26 or so countries. Washington turned a blind eye to Al-Qaeda.'
Vidal, 77, and internationally renowned for his award-winning novels and plays, has long been a ferocious, and often isolated, critic of the Bush administration at home and abroad. He now lives in Italy. In Vidal's most recent book, The Last Empire, he argued that 'Americans have no idea of the extent of their government's mischief ... the number of military strikes we have made unprovoked, against other countries, since 1947 is more than 250.'
Forwarded by my friend Jonathan Granoff, head of the ngo The Global Security Institute founded by Senator Alan Cranston. Jonathan operates at extremely high levels of information (both Gorbachov and Richard Butler are on his board) and always fully documents his assertions. Pete


In light of the US drive toward war with Iraq and the urgency of preventing that disaster and somehow derailing this Bush/Cheney death train, I would like to call to your attention some recent findings by Thomas Nagy, Professor of Expert Systems at George Washington University, concerning U.S. Air Force Doctrine Document 2-1.2, "Strategic Attack." And I'm asking you to help in spreading the word about the horrific implications of this document concerning US war crimes (those already committed and about to be committed in the next war against Iraq if the policies in this document are followed now as they were in 1991).
The "Strategic Attack" document (20 may 1998) is posted on the U. S. Air Force Doctrines documents site (about #7 on the list):

http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/pubs/speclist.asp?puborg=AFDC&series=dd
Nagy called this document to my attention, and believes (as I do) that the content, if widely known, could and should be used to argue for revoking the blank check given to President Bush regarding the the use of force against Iraq. This is because the document appears to be documentary evidence from the USAF regarding what appears to be an open admission and approval of the war crime of destroying or rendering useless items essential to the survival of civilian populations. This is specifically banned by Protocol Additional #1 of the Geneva Conventions, Article 54, par. 2 -- and is an illegal action under international law and a war crime.
Nagy's work and research in this area has uncovered important, shocking findings in the past, as you may already know. Nagy previously obtained a U.S. military report that was issued the day after the 1991 Gulf War started -- it detailed the vulnerabilities of Iraq's water systems (which the U.S. bombed during the Gulf War) including a listing of the specific items which would need to be barred by the UN sanctions committee in order to totally degrade the water and sanitation system of Iraq. Water-borne diseases are now pervasive in Iraq.
Nagy's findings were published in England and then in the September, 2001 issue of The Progessive -- "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How The US Intentionally Destoryed Iraq's Water Supply." (Summary: Pentagon documents reveal how the United States, contrary to the Geneva Convention, intentionally destroyed Iraq's water supply. Nagy shows that there were extremely serious and still-deadly U.S. violations of international law and human rights in US Defense Department planning for the 1991 US war against Iraq and for the sanctions against Iraq. http://www.progressive.org/0801issue/nagy0901.html )
Noam Chomsky wrote 11/8/02: " Dear Frank Kromkowski: ... I'm familiar with Nagy's earlier work. He's quite right. And I have no doubt that the same is planned this time. All that has to be added is that this is standard operating procedure. The US has never accepted international conventions on war crimes and crimes against humanity. It's hard to think of a use of force where they have not been grossly violated, quite consciously and purposefully, and accepted by educated opinion, often praised. Not pretty, but no point having illusions about it. Noam Chomsky. "
Thomas J. Nagy, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the George Washington University Schoo. of Business and Public Management, a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Presenter at the 1999 and 2001 DOD's Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics (regarding the issues raised in his correspondence...excerpts below). (More on Magy below) Nagy can be reached by phone at (301) 564-0326 at George Washington University. nagy@gwu.edu. Tom Nagy's home page at GWU: http://home.gwu.edu/~nagy.
Nagy's concern is with previous and likely future grave violations of Protocol 1, Article 54, paragraph 2 (1977) of the Geneva Convention which bans attacking or rendering useless infrastructure essential to the survival of civilian populations under any circumstances. Nagy says: "I am gravely concerned in view of, inter alia the admission on p. 26 of U.S. Air Force Doctrine Document 2-1.2, "Strategic Attack" dated 20 May, 1998 that "The electrical attacks [on Iraq] proved extremely effective... The loss of electricity shut down the capital's water treatment plants and led to a public health crisis from raw sewage dumped in the Tigris River." Lt. Col. Rizer in the May 2001 issue of "Air & Space Power Chronicles" [see below] elaborates on the effect of this bombing attributing to it a massive epidemic of water borne disease that killed 100,000 civilians and doubled the infant mortality rate."
[Reference: Kenneth R Rizer, "Bombing Dual-Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives," http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/cc/Rizer.html ]

Nagy is very concerned, as I am (I'm a volunteer for the Montana Peace Seekers and the Helena Peace Seekers organization, http://www.montanapeaceseekers.org), that in view of the imminent prospect of an expanded war against Iraq that the same doctrine -- illegal -- will be applied resulting in more than the 100,000 civilian fatalities from water borne disease estimated by Lt. Col. Rizer in his Maxwell AFB article referenced above.
Nagy's concern is all the greater in view of his recent trip to Iraq at the behest of the Canadian Affiliate of the Nobel Peace Prizing winner in 1985 to estimate civilian fatalities in the event of another full scale war. Nagy is a great and knowledgable peace advocate who speaks out on these issues as a parent, ex-refugee and college professor who did his postdoctoral work in public health and as former research director with the American Bar Association.

Nagy is pursuing contacts with congressional opponents of the war resolution
to discuss the USAF documents and possible constructive steps such as
inclusion of the relevant portions into the Congressional Record and using the documents as the basis for calling for reconsideration of legislative approval of the blank check to President Bush.
Neither he nor I can see how these actions and policies he has discovered could possibly contribute to US national security in a way consistent with law and morality. Nagy's "The Secret Behind the Sanctions" report relies on documents obtained from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and paints a chilling picture of US military planners determined to use sanctions to spread disease and death among civilians in Iraq.
Nagy says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that the documents demonstrate that "the United States knew it had the capacity to devastate the water treatment system of Iraq. It knew what the consequences would be: increased outbreaks of disease and high rates of child mortality. And it was more concerned about the public relations nightmare for Washington than the actual nightmare that the sanctions created for innocent Iraqis..." ( This Nagy report was #5 among Project Censored's "Most Censored News Stories of 2001-2002" http://www.commondreams.org/news2002/0828-04.htm)
In light of the even greater vulnerability of the Iraq people after 12 years of sanctions that Pope John Paul II (rightly) called "merciless" -- sanctions which are the most severe ever imposed in human history -- a new war against Iraq would be even more devastating to the civilian population. This must be stopped.
Nagy comments on the 'Strategic Attack" document and its policies: "On the contrary they appear to be, on their face, to constitute grave war crimes within the meaning of Article 54 (which is now customary and ordinary and hence binding upon the U.S. according to Lt. Col. Solis, who teaches international law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point). Nor is this a matter of past history, since according to the UN, water borne disease continues after all these years to be the leading killer of children under the age of 5 in Iraq -- a situation that Rep. Hall (2000 letter to then Sec. of State Albright) quoting UNICEF attributes to U.S. holds on contracts deemed by the UN to be indispensable to the rehabilitation of the water supply..."
Nagy is a peace advocate, a pacifist like myself, but he does not attack military personnel in his approach to this issue and its tremendous ethical implications. Nagy writes "...I have over the years taught many military officers. I do not believe they are willing killers (directly or indirectly of children). In fact I believe that that vast majority are conscientious and decent people. I believe, however, that continuing to kill Iraqi children endangers, rather than safeguards our own children. I blame primarily professors such as myself for refusing to face up to the consequences of a disastrous policy which was not designed for genocide but has had and continues to have a genocidal impact to the detriment of all."
Nagy says: "It is my hope that this letter will hasten the end of a grave crime, prevent future instances and lead to a saner, more humane and safer world -- especially for children. I'm sure that you and your colleagues [in Congress] agree with these goals. I ask only that you will do your duty pursuant to your oath to defend the Constitution by passing on my letter and doing all in your power to see that justice is done and that the laws are followed. I presume that, unlike me, you are a lawyer and are fully conversant with the Law of Air Combat as well as the the Nuremberg Principle that superior orders can not be used as a defense in matters involving war crimes." ~~ Sincerely, Sincerely, Thomas J. Nagy, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Expert Systems, George Washington University School of Business and Public Management, Washington, D.C. 20052 202/994-7090, nagy@gwu.edu

Nagy also noted that in the "Strategic Attack" document, he thinks, "...is a picture pre-post of the U.S. attack on a Korean dam as a sucesss story. I think I recall Prof. Kleinfelter, a prof at National Defense U. (at Ft. Leslie McNair) in D.C. as saying that that's clearly a war crime. Think it is on tape at C-SPAN. This guy is a specialist on aerial bombardment history..."
I urge you to do everything you can to share this information wherever and however you can, in the hopes that its being known may help to save the lives of thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi children and their families.
Sincerely,
~ Frank Kromkowski (H: 406/443-0843; W: 406/841-2780)
Some other articles about or by Nagy:
Tom Nagy's home page at GWU: http://home.gwu.edu/~nagy.
(1) August 13, 2001 Interview of Nagy by Amy Goodman on Democracy NOW! Story: THE SECRET BEHIND THE SANCTIONS: HOW THE US INTENTIONALLY DESTROYED IRAQ'S WATER SUPPLY http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20010813.html "Newly declassified documents have been found which reveal that US officials were aware as early as 1991 of the impact that US bombing and sanctions would have on Iraq's water supply. The documents predicted that preventing Iraq from importing desperately needed chlorine and spare parts would result in epidemic disease. The new documents come more than ten years after the imposition of US-backed sanctions against Iraq which have killed more than a million people. Guest: Thomas Nagy, Nagy is author of "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply."
(2) http://www.flyte.net/iraq/about.html#Thomas Tom Nagy bio -- for a conference: The Effects of Sanctions on Health: A Case Study on the Gulf, February 9th, 2002, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
(3) http://www.merip.org/pins/pin21.html ("This May, protesters at the commencement ceremonies of George Washington University and UC-Berkeley took the movement to a new level of militancy. In Washington Sunday, dozens of activists handed out "Unofficial Commencement Ceremony Supplements," prepared by George Washington university professor Thomas Nagy, listing "the top ten reasons to cheer" commencement speaker Secretary of State Madeleine Albright...")
(4) http://www.house.gov/mckinney/news/pr010814.htm Congresswoman McKinney decries war against Iraqi people
(5) "Total control, not self-defense, behind US plans to topple Saddam" By Stephen Gowans http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/total.html
(6) Excerpts from the book "The Decline and Fall of
Public Broadcasting" by David Barsamian,South End Press, 2001 http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Media_control_propaganda/Decline_Fall_PublicBroad.html
(7) How Many Dead Children from Sanctions?http://www.iraqwar.org/childunicef.htm
(8) Many more Nagy references can be found via a Google.com Search: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Thomas+Nagy%22++%2B+%22George+Washington+University%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&start=20&sa=N -- or -- searching "nagy + sanctions" (URL given below) shows that Nagy's research has gotten published and referenced in the alternative press and reveals some very interesting commentaries on the implications of Nagy's work, and is very worth spending some time on. Please see: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Nagy+%2B+sanctions&btnG=Google+Search
(9) Gannett News Service finally broke the taboo (in the mainstream press) about discussing the sanctions-contaminated water, the leading cause of death of Iraqi kids for more than a decade. It put the following story on the wires (run in the Detroit News): http://detnews.com/2002/nation/0208/04/a05-553459.htm. "Report: Sanctions imperil Iraqis. Civilians fear being caught in crossfire"
By Greg Barrett / Gannett News Service. This story (printed below) also ran in the Seattle Times. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi- bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=sanctions04&date=20020804&query=nagy+%2B+iraq
FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=" Report: Sanctions imperil Iraqis. Civilians fear being caught in crossfire

By Greg Barrett / Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON -- Massive new irrigation systems stretching like tentacles in the breadbasket regions of rural Iraq would normally be cause for celebration. In a nation where nearly a quarter of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition, abundant crops of wheat and barley would signify hope and progress.
But when Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, visited Iraq last month he found neither: The spigots were turned off. Although the sophisticated sprinkler systems had survived the exhaustive vetting of U.N. trade sanctions, the water pumps had not. "The danger is, these pumps could be used by the (Iraqi) military for other purposes," said von Sponeck, a 32-year veteran of the United Nations who resigned two years ago to protest the sanctions. "Anything that has a sophisticated pumping mechanism can be used for propelling weapons of mass destruction, I guess."
Such is life in Iraq 12 years after the international trade sanctions of Aug. 6, 1990, attempted to peacefully push Iraqi President Saddam Hussein back from Kuwait, and 11 years after the allied forces of the Persian Gulf War rained bombs on Baghdad.
The ongoing collateral damage of the war and sanctions on Iraqi civilians has totaled more than 1 million deaths, half of which are children under age 5, according to UNICEF and World Health Organization reports.
As U.S. lawmakers this summer debate whether the military should again strike at Saddam's regime or simply tighten the trade embargo, Iraqi civilians fret over the inevitable crossfire. More than 700 targets were bombed in 1991 to cripple Saddam -- bridges, roads and electrical grids that powered 1,410 water-treatment plants for Iraq's 22 million people.
Coupled with the U.N. sanctions that blocked or rationed dual-use imports such as the water pumps, electric generators and chlorine -- that can also be used in the making of mustard gas -- epidemics ensued. Iraqi children died from dehydration and waterborne illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea and other intestinal diseases.
At his confirmation hearing last year, Secretary of State Colin Powell laid the blame at Saddam's feet. "No one cares for children more than I do," Powell said. "And I understand that a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon of a Saddam Hussein threatens not only the children of Iraq but the entire region far more than tightened sanctions."
At the freshly painted Al-Mansour Children's Hospital in Baghdad, pediatrician Qusay Al-Rahim said the nation that once was among the most industrialized in the Middle East has made some progress in the past decade. Electricity is again reliable. More than half of the pharmaceutical drugs his patients need are available. Hospital elevators work and colostomy bags no longer have to be washed and reused.
The sanctions -- which have been maintained because Saddam refused to comply with U.N. resolutions for arms inspections -- do not prevent the import of food and most medicines. Just Thursday, the Iraqi government invited the chief U.N. weapons inspector to Baghdad, hinting that inspections could be renewed after nearly four years.

War's collateral damage
In an independent study published 19 months after the completion of the six-week gulf war, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a trend that foretold Iraq's future. During the first eight months of 1991, nearly 47,000 more children than normal died in Iraq, and the country's infant and child mortality rates more than doubled, to 92.7 and 128.5 per 1,000 live births respectively.
A 1999 UNICEF study showed a continuing trend: In 1998, the infant and child mortality rates were 103 and 125 per 1,000, respectively. The U.N. Oil-for-Food program was created five years ago to generate a sense of normalcy for Iraqis. Yet as of July 30, 2002, it was still withholding more than 1,450 import contracts worth $4.6 billion in humanitarian supplies for Iraq. A U.N. pledge in May to regenerate and expedite the contracts has so far produced only a trickle of change -- 14 humanitarian supply contracts worth $7.6 million. The United States, meanwhile, concerned with Saddam's potential for developing weapons of mass destruction, initiated roughly 90 percent of the blocks on humanitarian supplies by the U.N. Security Council.
In Amman, Jordan, this summer, Jordanian Minister of Water Munther Haddadin addressed the plight of Iraqi children, who, for example, suffered almost a fourfold increase in low birth weights (4.5 percent to 21.1 percent) between 1990 and 1994. The rate remains steady today at 25 percent.
Less than a month after the Persian Gulf War, U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the U.N. Security Council the conflict had "wrought near-apocalyptic results upon the economic infrastructure of what had been, until January 1991, a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society."
In a letter to the council dated March 20, 1991, de Cuellar wrote: "Iraq has, for some time to come, been relegated to a pre-industrial age, but with all the disabilities of post-industrial dependency on an intensive use of energy and technology."

Degraded water supply
It was a result the United States predicted even as allied forces bombed Iraq's civilian infrastructure.
In a January 1991 document titled "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said the bombing of Iraq coupled with an embargo of chemicals and supplies could fully degrade Iraq's civilian water supply. "Unless the water is purified with chlorine, epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis and typhoid could occur," read declassified portions of the report.
George Washington University professor Thomas Nagy came across the document in 1998 during online research about depleted uranium. The subject line of the Pentagon paper read: "Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad."
Its analysis, as Nagy said, was blunt: "Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification-distribution, electricity and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks."
Nagy gets tearful discussing the document. "Switch the nouns," said Nagy, who immigrated to America in 1949 and considers it his savior. "Imagine if the document had read, 'U.S. Water Treatment Vulnerabilities,' "and it described in detail how to spread epidemic to the U.S. civilian population."
"It would be called terrorism," he said. "Or worse. Genocide."
The Pentagon, meanwhile, dismissed the document. Defense Intelligence Agency spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jim Brooks called it an assessment written for U.S. policy-makers, but he said he didn't know who had requested it or for what purpose. "It's too long ago," Brooks said. "If you have this report, the best thing to do is to then look at what policies went into place. ... There are no sanctions that prevent (Saddam) from sustaining the water treatment program" and caring for his people.
But Saddam has delivered on his part of the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, according to the United Nations, which has 158 observers in Iraq monitoring the movement of supplies. Since the relief effort began in 1997, Saddam has never been cited for diverting or hoarding supplies, said program spokeswoman Hasmik Egian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
###
(10) "Most Censored News Stories of 2001-2002" (Project Censored) -- http://www.commondreams.org/news2002/0828-04.htm
[Project Censored press release, excerpt below]
# 5: U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System
Sources:
The Progressive, September 2001
Title: "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply" www.progressive.org
Author: Thomas J. Nagy - nagy@gwu.edu
"During the Gulf War the United States deliberately bombed Iraq's water system. After the war, the U.S. pushed sanctions to prevent importation of necessary supplies for water purification. These actions resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians many of whom were young children. Documents have been obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which prove that the Pentagon was fully aware of the mortal impacts on civilians in Iraq and was actually monitoring the degradation of Iraq's water supply. The destruction of civilian infrastructures necessary for health and welfare is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention."
"After the Gulf War, the United Nations applied sanctions against Iraq, which denied the importation of specialized equipment and chemicals, such as chlorine for purification of water. There are six documents that have been partially declassified and can be found on the Pentagon's web site at www.gulflink.osd.mil.
"These documents include information that prove that the United States was fully aware of the costs to civilians, especially children, by upholding the sanctions against purification of Iraq's water supply. The primary document is dated January 22, 1991 and is titled, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities." This document predicts what will take place when Iraq can no longer import the vital commodities to cleanse their water supply. It states that epidemics and disease outbreaks may occur because of pollutants and bacteria that exist in unpurified water. The document acknowledges the fact that without purified drinking water, the manufacturing of food and medicine will also be affected. The possibilities of Iraqis obtaining clean water, despite sanctions, along with a timetable describing the degradation of Iraq's water supply was also addressed."
"The remaining five documents from the DIA confirm the Pentagon's monitoring of the situation in Iraq. In more than one document, discussion of the likely outbreaks of diseases and how they affect "particularly children" is discussed in great detail. The final document titled, "Iraq: Assessment of Current Health Threats and Capabilities," is dated, November 15, 1991, and discusses the development of a counter-propaganda strategy that would blame Saddam Hussein for the lack of safe water in Iraq."
"The United States' insistence on using this type of sanction against Iraq is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention was created in 1979 to protect the victims of international armed conflict. It states, "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installation and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."
"The United States, for nearly a decade, has "destroyed, removed, or rendered useless" Iraq's "drinking water installations and supplies." Although two Democratic Representatives, Cynthia McKinney from Georgia and Tony Hall from Ohio, have spoken out about the degradation of Iraq's water supply and its civilian targets, no acknowledgment of violations has been made. The U.S. policy of destroying the water treatment system of Iraq and preventing its re-establishment has been pursued for more than a decade. The United Nations estimates that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions and that unclean water is a major contributor to these deaths."
[Project Censored Faculty evaluator: Rick Luttmann, Student researchers: Adria Cooper, Erik Wagle, Adam Cimino, Chris Salvano]


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11.10.2002

Thrill Is Gone With Hyphen Politics
--------------------

Jimmy Breslin

November 7, 2002


It is depressing to realize that people who voted on Tuesday in an election that blew stale air through polling places might think that this is how it always was, that there is no other possibility, that this is our politics.

They never saw or realized what it was like in 1968, when Robert Kennedy of New York ran for president on two issues: he was against war and against poverty.

I don't think that anybody today can understand the sheer thrill of a campaign that was based on uncomplicated good. Vote for the guy and you could stop people from getting killed. Your own vote could save a life! Vote for the guy and you could get a roof for somebody in Brooklyn and food for children in Mississippi. People got so excited they couldn't sleep.

Wherever he went, there were huge crowds and tumult and hope. I never experienced a reaction to a candidate like the ones at the University of Kansas and Kansas State on the same day. At Kansas State, the big field house had a dirt floor and the crowd - what was it, 14,000? - was so packed that it couldn't move either way. But it could roar and stomp. It stomped so much that it raised dust high to the rafters and made it difficult to see.

Nobody wanted war. People weren't crazy. They didn't want to get killed. The leaders were shot with grandiose notions: I am heroic with other people's children. People then also didn't want poverty. People are human. They couldn't stand the guilt of knowing that so many lived desperate lives.

It is the single political party and not the people who want to kill now, and poverty ended by throwing more of the poor into the streets.

In 1968, candidate Kennedy was exciting and right and gave people so much hope that everybody wanted to do their utmost on the two great topics, war and poverty. Huge crowds reached out and tore at Kennedy. It never subsided. He has lived on in the American imagination.

Suddenly, after a California presidential primary, a young Palestinian, Sirhan, shot and killed him in a ballroom kitchen of the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles. Nobody saw anything significant about Sirhan being from the Mideast. It was just a place where he was from, where he had lived a lousy life and grown into a murderer.

Not one single solitary person realized what it was, nor did anybody until now, that Sirhan Sirhan of the Mideast was the start of terrorism.

All these years later, I didn't realize there was an election this week until the Sunday before. On election day, I was in neighborhoods where they should have been calling out Carl McCall's name. There was no sound. Then I realized that this silence was right, that there was no election. McCall was the candidate, but he did not ruin the politics here. It was shameless Bill Clinton who used the Democratic Party and left it with a hyphen. Not because of his trailer camp sex, nor his lying under oath to a grand jury. Rather, he merged the Democratic Party with the Republican Party. The Democratic-Republican Party. He left the Democrats with no issues, no purpose, no aim, no desire for anything except keeping the job. Do whatever the Republicans do. They want a tax cut that can break us? Good. Vote for it. They want a war? Of course. Let's kill.

Therefore, Carl McCall yesterday had no reason to be the least despondent over the election. McCall didn't lose any election. He was with the winner, the Democrat-Republican party. There's not a dime's worth of difference between them and the candidates would never change this. Why differ when you believe what the others say? And why cry when your views win? Keep your job. Vote with the president. Or in New York, with the governor.

Of all the crowd of payroll bums and bindle stiffs on the stage with Pataki the other night, Hugh Carey was the one committing an indictable offense. He would have been an unknown singing at the bar at Snooky's or Farrell's or the old P.J.'s. Instead dead loyal Democratic voters put him in Washington, then into Albany twice as governor. He had no excuse. Whenever he did things that made no sense, you could just say, "That's Society Carey." But on Tuesday it was different. It looked ugly.

The Democrats got carried out everywhere on Tuesday. Why not? Why would you ever vote for a Democrat when you can vote for the original, the Republicans?

There is not one national voice that is against a war with Iraq. You don't have to go past New York to see what hyphen politics - Democrat-Republican
- has done. The two Democratic senators voted for the Republican resolution to invade Iraq.

Clinton's wife raises her wedding ring to vote aye for all New Yorkers. Let's blow Iraq up. The other senator, Schumer, usually has a Sunday press conference to announce a new red light in Bay Ridge. This time he went bigger and voted to give the government a green light on killing.

Yesterday, Gephardt of Missouri resigned as Democratic minority leader of the House. He was an illusion with a haircut. He never was the leader of anything. On Monday, Daschle was the Senate majority leader and on Wednesday he was the minority leader and tomorrow he should be out of there, too. He is another one from the Empty Quadrant, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and the like, where there aren't enough voters to make a district in Brooklyn. All officials listed as Democrats, but we know they are in a hyphen party, must get out of the way. The people are going to have to manage a peace movement themselves that is certain to give legitimate Democratic voters a chance at something real.

Copyright (c) 2002, Newsday, Inc.

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This article originally appeared at: http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-nybres072995101nov07,0,1553393.col
umn
The Pentagon Plan to Provoke Terrorist Attacks
by Chris Floyd (Counterpunch) • Friday November 01, 2002 at 11:26 PM



The Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

November 1, 2002

Into the Dark
The Pentagon Plan to Provoke Terrorist Attacks
by CHRIS FLOYD

This age: layers of lime harden in the sick son's blood... There's nowhere to run from the tyrant-epoch... Who else will you kill? Who else glorify? What other lies will you invent?

Osip Mandelshtam,
"1 January 1924"

This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?

Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense.

This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There--in an article by military analyst William Arkin, detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon--came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception."

According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization--the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)"--will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

In other words--and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan--the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people--your family, your friends, your lovers, you--in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.

For P2OG is not designed solely to flush out terrorists and bring them to justice--a laudable goal in itself, although the Rumsfeld way of combating terrorism by causing it is pure moral lunacy. (Or should we use the Regime's own preferred terminology and just call it "evil"?) No, it seems the Pee-Twos have bigger fish to fry. Once they have sparked terrorists into action--by killing their family members? luring them with loot? fueling them with drugs? plying them with jihad propaganda? messing with their mamas? or with agents provocateurs, perhaps, who infiltrate groups then plan and direct the attacks themselves?--they can then take measures against the "states/sub-state actors accountable" for "harboring" the Rumsfeld-roused gangs. What kind of measures exactly? Well, the classified Pentagon program puts it this way: "Their sovereignty will be at risk."

The Pee-Twos will thus come in handy whenever the Regime hankers to add a little oil-laden real estate or a new military base to the Empire's burgeoning portfolio. Just find a nest of violent malcontents, stir 'em with a stick, and presto: instant "justification" for whatever level of intervention/conquest/rapine you might desire. And what if the territory you fancy doesn't actually harbor any convenient marauders to use for fun and profit? Well, surely a God-like "super-Intelligence Support Activity" is capable of creation ex nihilo, yes?

The Rumsfeld-Bush plan to employ murder and terrorism for political, financial and ideological gain does have historical roots (besides al Qaeda, the Stern Gang, the SA, the SS, the KGB, the IRA, the UDF, Eta, Hamas, Shining Path and countless other upholders of Bushian morality, decency and freedom). We refer of course to Operations Northwoods, oft mentioned in these pages: the plan that America's top military brass presented to President John Kennedy in 1963, calling for a phony terrorist campaign--complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans--to provide "justification" for an invasion of Cuba, the Mafia/Corporate fiefdom which had recently been lost to Castro.

Kennedy rejected the plan, and was killed a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but on a far grander scale, with resources at his disposal undreamed of by those brass of yore, with no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him--and with an ignorant, corrupt president who has shown himself all too eager to embrace any means whatsoever that will augment the wealth and power of his own narrow, undemocratic, elitist clique.

There is prestuplyeniye here, transgression, a stepping-over--deliberately, with open eyes, with forethought, planning, and conscious will--of lines that should never be crossed. Acting in deadly symbiosis with rage-maddened killers, God-crazed ranters and those supreme "sub-state actors," the mafias, Bush and his cohorts are plunging the world into an abyss, an endless night of black ops, retribution, blowback, deceit, of murder and terror--wholesale, retail, state-sponsored, privatized; of fear and degradation, servility, chaos, and the perversion of all that's best in us, of all that we've won from the bestiality of our primal nature, all that we've raised above the mindless ravening urges and impulses still boiling in the mud of our monkey brains.

It's not a fight for freedom; it's a retreat into darkness.

And the day will be a long time coming.

http://www.counterpunch.org/floyd1101.html


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MILITARY INTELLIGENCE: CIA Out, SOCOM In--"Grey Fox" military covert action on spending spree

OSS Comment: William Arkin in The Los Angeles Times offers up a really excellent and detailed article on all of the spending that the various military services are directing toward new covert action capabilities, and pays special attention to the Office of the Secretary of Defense resurrection of the old Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), now dubbed "Grey Fox" and proposed for institutionalization as the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG)--in layman's terms, an organization that will go all over the world poking bees' nests and then trying to kill the individual bees. We cannot fault the Pentagon for trying to make up for what it perceives to be both management and capability deficiencies at the Central Intelligence Agency, but we would get a lot more for the taxpayer dollar if we had a coherent national security strategy focused on reforming intelligence and transforming all of the instruments of national power, not just heavy metal writ black.

EXTRACT: SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. -- In what may well be the largest expansion of covert action by the armed forces since the Vietnam era, the Bush administration has turned to what the Pentagon calls the "black world" to press the war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The Defense Department is building up an elite secret army with resources stretching across the full spectrum of covert capabilities. New organizations are being created. The missions of existing units are being revised. Spy planes and ships are being assigned new missions in anti-terror and monitoring the "axis of evil." The increasingly dominant role of the military, Pentagon officials say, reflects frustration at the highest levels of government with the performance of the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and much of the burgeoning homeland security apparatus. It also reflects the desire of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to gain greater overall control of the war on terror.


SOURCE: Opinion; Editorial Pages Desk; Opinion The Secret War Frustrated by intelligence failures, the Defense Department is dramatically expanding its 'black world' of covert operations William M. Arkin 10/27/2002 Los Angeles Times Home Edition Page M-1

http://www.oss.net/extra/news/?module_instance=1&id=306


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Excerpts from the Defense Science Board Powerpoint briefing:

Slide 26

Recommendation

Develop an entirely new capability to proactively, preemptively evoke responses from adversary/terrorist groups

Form a new elite Counter-terrorism Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) at the NSC level

Highly specialized people with unique technical and intelligence skills such as information operations, PSYOP, network attack, covert activities, SIGINT, HUMINT, SOF, influence warfare/deception operations


Slide 27

Recommendation

Develop new capabilities, sources, and methods to enable deep penetration of adversaries

DO/DHS develop new modes and methods for covert operations – See classified chart on HUMINT

Increase emphasis on CT CA to gain close target access

Develop new clandestine technical capabilities


Slide 28

Recommendation

Expand counter terrorism and asymmetric adversary analytical capabilities and throughput

Increase Service and intelligence agency analytic specialties, unique to CT challenges, by 500 people over the next 18 months to add depth of expertise

Focus on understanding effects of globalization, radicalism, cultures, religions, economics, etc., to better characterize potential adversaries


Slide 29

Recommendation

Establish additional “centers” of excellence to handle the greatly increased work load and to augment JWAC to support “targeting” (in the broadest sense) of terrorist organizations and their supporting infrastructure—these activities will draw upon intelligence feeds, Red Teaming, and a great variety of subject matter experts (regional, cultural, psychological, soft and hard sensors)


The report can be downloaded here:

www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/dsbbrief.pp