The American Civil Liberties Union has just released a report entitled Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society (500KB PDF). This is an important document.
John le Carre - English novelist
A PREDATORY AND DISHONEST WAR
This is High Noon for American democracy. The rights and freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. A new McCarthyism is abroad. Bush tells us that those who are not with him are against him. I am not with him. The American over-reaction is beyond everything Osama could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. [...]
Roger Scruton - English philosopher, novelist and composer
AMERICAN INTENTION, TO LIBERATE NOT TO ENSLAVE
When assessing US foreign policy it is important to remember that America has often intervened around the globe, and is unique in seeking instantly to withdraw thereafter. It withdrew from Europe after the two world wars, and from Korea, Japan, and (wrongly) Kuwait and Iraq last time round. The Americans tried to withdraw from Vietnam, having established what they believed to be a friendly regime in the South. Of course, the Americans do not withdraw, as a rule, until securing a settlement in their own favour.[...]
John Berger - Anglo-French writer and critic
SHAME, NOT INDIVIDUAL GUILT
I write in a night of shame.
Many fear that U.S. military forces will soon be launching its preventive war against Iraq. Others hope that this can be avoided. Between the announced decisions and the secret calculations, everything is kept unclear, since lies prepare the way for missiles. By shame I do not mean individual guilt. Shame, as I'm coming to understand it, is a species feeling which, in the long run, corrodes the capacity for hope and prevents us looking far ahead. We look down at our feet, thinking only of the next small step.[...]
Pervez Hoodbhoy - Pakistani nuclear physicist
THREE HORSES OF BUSH
Three horses draw George W. Bush's furiously racing chariot of war. Their names are Vengeance, Greed, and Fear. Vengeance is a young steed born on 11 September 2001, and gallops well. Greed is old but sturdy, can smell oases of oil from afar, and understands his master's corporate compulsions. The third horse, Fear, is weak and anaemic. Despite lashes from the Texan's whip, he is a drag on the team. Nevertheless he is indispensable for convincing the American public that a puny Saddam Hussein, castrated of weapons of mass destruction, remains a mortal threat to a superpower many oceans away.[...]
Salman Rushdie - a writer
THE WAR OF LIBERATION WORTH FIGHTING FOR
There is a strong, even unanswerable case for a â€œregime changeâ€� in Iraq that ought to unite Western public opinion and all those who care about the brutal oppression of an entire Muslim nation.
Saddam Hussein and his ruthless gang of cronies from his home village of Tikrit are homicidal criminals, and their Iraq is a living hell. This obvious truth is no less true because we have been turning a blind eye to it and "we" includes, until recently, the government of the United States.[...]
David Hare - playwright
AN EXACT REVERSAL OF CHRIST'S STATED MISSION ON EARTH
I supported the United States in 2001 when it had a clear right to pursue the murderers of 3,000 of its residents and citizens. To me, the invasion of Afghanistan was justified and inevitable.
Shortly after the assault on his own country, President Bush made an explicit promise that he would work to help reinforce the move towards democracy for the Palestinians, and to reinforce security for the Israelis. [...] President Bush has since reneged on all his promises. By his failure of purpose in the Middle East, he has sanctioned extremists who pursue mayhem and murder in pursuit of ultimately unobtainable goals - on one side, continued occupation and expansion ; on the other, an end to the state of Israel. [...]
Denis Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq
A NEED FOR DIALOGUE
In relation to Iraq, UN sanctions and now the threat of another American war, I tend to hold the minority viewpoint. Now I find myself in line with the majority view - that is, the majority viewpoint of the Arab community. I base this on recent visits to Tunis, Cairo, Amman and Baghdad. I failed to find one Arab - offical or private citizen - who understands the current crisis between the USA and Iraq to be about weapons of mass destruction. The unanimous view from prime minister to taxi driver is that the conflict is primarily about oil - access, control and cheap! Nobody I talked with sees a threat from Iraq, be it in Turkey, Jordan or Egypt. Why is it that the Washington regime is apparently so threatened? Has it swallowed its own spin, propaganda?
Where is the middle ground? How do we find a solution that saves the face of our two ego-players - Presidents George Bush and Saddam Hussein? [...]
Edwin Morgan, poet
I deplore the idea of a declaration of war - or even worse, a military attack without such declaration - on Iraq. I retain the rather forlorn hope that diplomacy will still find a way out of the present impasse without the loss of face, but the steady build-up of American forces (tagged by a token tail-wagging British contingent) may already have acquired a momentum of irreversibility. Who thinks of the consequences? [...]