Beyond Greed

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"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
                Demosthenes

Anchor for this item  posted March 22, 2003 at 8:13 PM MDT

New American Century



EPITAPH ON A TYRANT

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.
                            W. H. Auden





"Don't be cruel to be kind;
    only then will your house be blessed."




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Intending merely to download my e-mail for a quiet Saturday evening of correspondence, I happened to look into today's Netscape News and found myself pondering a couple of articles that fit this thread.

The Hidden Cost of Peace spells out pretty well the huge consequences of unilateralism, as well as some of its dangers. "[Y]ou can't replace Saddam, as one former American military official puts it, with "some other mustache, a guy who's a thug, but just not as much of a thug as Saddam, and then leave." This standard is basic, and indeed Bush has publicly committed himself to it, emphasizing that a liberated Iraq should be a beacon in the totalitarian Middle East.
The problem is, it requires almost by definition that the U.S. get way under the fingernails of a post-Saddam Iraq." And that's the problem ... under the most favorable circumstances it's a can of worms. "That means, just for starters, that the U.S. needs Shiite Muslims in the south to not rise up in sectarian vengeance against the Sunni minority that has brutalized the country for decades."
This article was written nearly a week ago; the next sentence rings with near eerie prescience: "It needs the Turks and the Kurds, no matter how much they don't trust each other, to stand down. This is not even close to a given. Rubar Sandi, head of the U.S.-Iraqi Business Council, says flatly that the possibility that Turkish-Kurdish fighting destabilizes postwar Iraq is "my biggest fear right now." Today we know what's happening on Iraq's northern border ...


For those who don't like the idea of military adventeurism in the service of corporate interests, or even gun-boat diplomacy, the scenario emergin seems too grotesque to be real, but real it is. Again written nearly a week ago, "Iraq's New Chief?" might have been written to nauseate.

Jay Garner could soon be in charge of 23 million Iraqis.

"Jay Garner is about to become the most important businessman you've never heard of. On leave from defense contractor L-3 communications, he's on track to be the de facto governor of 23 million Iraqis after what looks like an inevitable U.S. invasion. Garner, 64, is an almost perfect fit for the job. As an Army general in 1991, he helped lead Operation Provide Comfort, which delivered food and shelter to Kurds in northern Iraq after the first Gulf war. He became well-known in military circles for espousing the then-unorthodox view that the military should be used as a "merciful instrument in shaping future humanitarian operations."
That's one reason his friend Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brought Garner back to the Pentagon in January to head the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which is working seven days a week to develop detailed plans for a post-Saddam Iraq. Insiders say Garner will implement those plans as the head of civil authority under General Tommy Franks.
[...]
[R]evitalizing Iraq will depend on two factors beyond Garner's control: the ability of U.S. soldiers to pacify Saddam's troops and the willingness of allies to assist in reconstruction (the tab could reach $20 billion a year, experts say). The military part of the cleanup will be led by Franks's Arabic-speaking deputy, Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid. The rest--feeding the hungry, fixing the infrastructure, and creating a democratic government--will fall to Garner."
After hubris, nemesis. God have mercy on the innocents who believe naively in those who have acquired power and accumulated wealth.


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Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are in cahoots, right? And Saddam's regime have weapons of mass destruction, right? And a lot of the 9-11 terrorists were Iraqi, right? Minor legislators like Premier of Alberta Ralph Kline like the simple line that comes from believing strong points like this; it justifies their going along with "you're with us or you're against us" very nicely.
Problem is, of course, most of this is nonsense: precisely zero Iraqis were on the hijack teams, bin Lader abhors Saddam's secular state (intelligence documents report that the has twice tried to kill Saddam ... perhaps three times), and hard evidence for WMD just refuses to materialize. Then there's the little matter of documentation turning out to have been lifted from dated university essays or outright faked ...

But there's something big behind this, something that it takes actual spine and integrity to confront.
Part of CBC News - Indepth: Iraq is a document called "Reality Check", and it weaves an interesting scene using hard, legitimate, authentic papers and real, actual, on-going relationships.
How's this for a list of players, co-authors of a specific paper: "The founding members included Vice-President Dick Cheney; Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Paul Wolfowitz of the Defence Department; Richard Perle, head of the defence advisory board; Louis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff; John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control; and Elliot Cohen of the defence policy board." What's this all about? Here's a sample from the CBC write-up:

"George W. Bush, presidential candidate, said on Oct. 11, 2000.

"I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, 'We do it this way, so should you.'"

One of Bush's more recent speeches is somewhat different: "The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder... By the resolve and purpose of America, and of our friends and allies, we will make this an age of progress and liberty."

So, what happened? After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Bush had to rethink. But for many of those around him, there was no need to. Long before Sept. 11, influential neo-conservatives wanted to see America as an enlightened ruler, unchallenged, astride the world. Long before Bush was elected president, they got together and they wrote down a manifesto.

The document was effectively a charter of the Project for a New American Century, a neo-conservative think tank in Washington.

Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says, "In essence it's a call for an American empire, for what they call Pax Americana ... it's basically saying that the United States has to take responsibility and to enforce peace around the world and enforce what they call American principles and American interests."


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A quick survey of editorials in Arab nations (I was actually looking for anything concerning Turkish intentions) reveals a thoroughly scathing abandonment of Saddam Hussein, couched in expressions of concern and solidarity for the Iraqi peope. But the most consistent thread is condemnation for American high-handedness. This item from Jordan Times (Opinion Section) is typical:
"What came out of yesterday's summit in the Azores was not an ultimatum to Iraq. It was an ultimatum to the world that it had 24 hours to jump on Washington's war bandwagon. [...] The Azores summit might go down in history as one of the lowest moments ever in diplomacy. It was a summit anticipated as a "war council." It was a summit whose duration was calculated to the second. It was a summit that had little to do with diplomacy and a lot to do with public relations.."
While the most simplistic in the international community continue with the theme of "you're with us or you're against us", the splits are increasing: first England and France, now Turkey and the US. (The US and Canada? The mindlessly right-wing here are practically begging Uncle Sam to spank us for having remained consistent in our support of multilateral operations in keeping with international law and the mandate of the United Nations.) And those most immediately impacted, the Arab nations, are thinking regionally with an eye to process:
US President George W. Bush told Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he still had 24 hours to leave his country. But Bush's message was not to Saddam. It was first and foremost to French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Bush's logic — the "you are either with us or against us" doctrine — France, Russia, Germany and the majority of governments all over the world that are not willing to lend their support to war are either to make a 180 degree turnaround today or else. Or else what?
In yesterday's press conference after the hasty summit, Bush launched a not too thinly-veiled threat to the pro-peace camp that the US will review its ties with those who oppose it on Iraq. He laid the first stone of the fortress in which America risks to relegate itself for years to come. US isolation was not only palpable in Bush's words, but it was apparent looking at the four leaders standing on the podium. Only four of them, but talking on behalf of the international community, of the UN, speaking a language alien to international legitimacy and collective imagination. They did not manage to go to war with the cover of international legitimacy, with a UN mandate, so they are going ahead on their own.
[...]
From a political point of view, Bush last night was already talking about a postwar Iraq. He sketchily laid out his plans for the "liberation" of Iraq, said the US will supply humanitarian relief — most likely, if historic precedents are to be taken into account, through the military, and as a means to reduce the independence and self-reliance of local communities.


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I'm sure fundamentalists have no use for documentary evidence that doesn't serve them ... "Don't distract me with the facts!!" is a good old-boy line (I can't imagine any professional soldier having a moment for that sort of crap) ... and they have good reason to dismiss counter-arguments: any time we look closely, their self-serving rhetoric begins to fall apart!

Enron-style evidence given to justify the war?

ABCNEWS.com : Is Weapons Case Against Iraq Disintegrating?

Before Congress, and in public, President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have repeatedly pointed to aluminum tubes imported by Iraq which they say are for use in making nuclear weapons.

But on Friday, head United Nations nuclear inspector Mohammad ElBaradei told the Security Council that it wasn't likely that the tubes were for that use. ElBaradei also said that documents Bush had cited and relied upon to make the case that Iraq tried to buy uranium from a country in central Africa were fake.
"These documents — which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger — are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the United Nations on Friday.
Transparent Fakes? The International Atomic Energy Agency wasn't blaming either Britain or the United States for the forgery.

Yaaaaaa right, like the deep-background security documents that turned out to be a 10 year old university essay! Nobody got blame for that, either


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I'm sure fundamentalists have no use for documentary evidence that doesn't serve them ... "Don't distract me with the facts!!" is a good old-boy line (I can't imagine any professional soldier having a moment for that sort of crap) ... and they have good reason to dismiss counter-arguments: any time we look closely, their self-serving rhetoric begins to fall apart!

Enron-style evidence given to justify the war?

ABCNEWS.com : Is Weapons Case Against Iraq Disintegrating?

Before Congress, and in public, President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have repeatedly pointed to aluminum tubes imported by Iraq which they say are for use in making nuclear weapons.

But on Friday, head United Nations nuclear inspector Mohammad ElBaradei told the Security Council that it wasn't likely that the tubes were for that use. ElBaradei also said that documents Bush had cited and relied upon to make the case that Iraq tried to buy uranium from a country in central Africa were fake.
"These documents — which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger — are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei told the United Nations on Friday.
Transparent Fakes? The International Atomic Energy Agency wasn't blaming either Britain or the United States for the forgery.

Yaaaaaa right, like the deep-background security documents that turned out to be a 10 year old university essay! Nobody got blame for that, either


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Those who are pro-war and who agree with acting without world agreement are quick to marginalize ... the French are cowards (and deserve US punsihment) and Canada is spineless (and deserves US punishment). Here's a column from Texas. Austin, Texas. Austin, Texas, USA. The Austin Chronicle: Beyond Limits Otherwise Prescribed - "This, according to Bush, is in the name of "good," against "evil."
No evidence cited by President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Powell has stood up to scrutiny. Robert Scheer, The Los Angeles Times, March 11: "After 218 inspections of 141 sites over three months by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei charged that the United States had used fake and erroneous evidence [my italics] to support claims that Iraq was importing enriched uranium and other material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons."

BTW, I just heard that a third career diplomat has resigned from the US service because of its policy regarding North Korea and its invasion of Iraq.
Without regard to dissent, the proud alientate themselves from the community. Then, reading the responses as antagonistic, they become defensive, which is precisely what authoritarian militarists need to justify their policies and rationalize their infringement of mundane civil rights. The petit bourgeois are apparently quite willing to abandon the enlightenment project of rationality that is foundational to true humanitarianism; the loudest critiques of international law are the quickest to flout it to further their interests.


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Google Search: "kofi annan" "oil for food" news

Washingtion is interfering with Kofi Anna's effort to reconstituted the UN-managed "oil for food" program, insisting that it administer any program. Knowing very well that a population weakened by years of hunger and ill-health are terribly in jeopardy, the US (after holing the UN below the water line) is strutting its imperial power. And meanwhile a spokesperson for Oxfam International tells that the world community has not yet raised even the $24 million required for immediate needs ... this in face of a battle costing US$90Billion that need not have been fought, and should not have been fought.
Rational agents? I'd called them hard-hearted bastards.


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Commanded by the Compulsive and Directed by the Deluded - the Coalition of the Coerced

Google Search: "regime change" "international law"
Now that Jaba the Hut is on the scene, talk is down to nuts and bolts: the imposition of democracy is surplus to requirement; any institution that can be trusted to observe the law of contract will suffice, be that monarchy or "limited government". Interestingly, the one mention I heard of a council had it put five years down the timeline of history although, perhaps as a momentary eruption of the democratic instinct, one retired general mentionned that a reasonable criteria was that a responsible body would be selected and approved by the population. Works for me!
As a child of Pearsonian peace-keeping, battles of obliteration are obscene evidence of diplomacy failed. But underlying all of this is my profound conviction is that decisions must be determined according to those who experience their consequences. The ultimate demand is not that we be maximized as units of consumption and production, but that we each and all of us be recognized in all our dignity as human individuals.

War is a rotten sport ... the incursion of Turkish troops (now reported to be 1000) creates a jagged edge in the north; the occassional piece of ordinance crossing over into Iran near Basra rouses some still simmering energies. The loss of a further two helicopters by mid-air collision at sea shows how aloof are the elements to our hopes of indestructability (one chopper leaves its ship, another is headed back in, and they meet five miles out ... not likely, and yet there it is).


"A bayonet is a tool with a worker on both ends.".


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Anchor for this item  posted March 21, 2003 at 9:42 PM MDT

Last word ... A CBC Radio journalist heading to the border of Southern Turkey was detained and held by Turkish authorities for a couple of hours and then simply released. unh-hunh.
Credibly, 1,500 commandos crossing the border into Northen Iraq with perhaps 10,000 as a total prepared to re-establish "a traditional presence", which translates to a 20Km buffer zone. One report suggests that 70,000 may be ready to cross into Iraq, and points out that the interests of Turkey and Iran align against the Kurds. And of course the Kirkuk oilfield is only just a hop skip and jump away ...
Uncle Sam has already stepped on a lot of toes in the community of his traditional friends and alies. How is he going to manage in the land of 4000 year old villages and 400 year old grudges?

Can we imagine two NATO allies (US and Turkey) crossing swords in the ancient land of Kurds?


As a CBC reporter just set, the middle east is no place for optimists. I don't imagine it's any more hospitable for prideful fools.
May the spirits of that strong land be with all people of good will and safe-guard them from bitter cynicism.


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Update: it could be worse; stating the need for control of refugees and in order to preclude any establishment of a Kurdish state [not a quote], a Turkish spokesperson announced that troops would be crossing into Northern Iraq. Reports are that an advanced force of 1,500 commandos have done so and that the Turkish force likely will be in the range of 10,000, advancing 10 or 15Km. It could be worse ... which is not to say it's good.

With humanitarian requirements estimated at US$15-20 Billion, first figures (of course contingent on how much the rubble is made to bounce) on reconstruction are in the range of US$280 Billion ... a lot of hambruger helper!


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Breaking news: Turkish troops move into Northern Iraq.
This is not a good thing.

Google Search: turkey iraq troops
This is notrptnot a good thing.


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Is Uncle Sam behaving like a psychopath?
The popular image of "Mr. P" is very unfortunately mstaken: the dripping-blood leering chainsaw wiedling monster is some sort of extreme sociopath, but the psychopath is much more likely to get his rocks off through shrewd and heartless manipulation than pure gore; Mr. P isn't motivated by sadism so much as the need to excercise his will. The real characteristic is absence of conscience, a real lack of shame.
American foreign policy, I'm sorry to say, is drenched in blood. Whether it's putting the fascist Pinochet in power, or meddling with Nicaragua, or slaughtering Panamanians to get at Noriega when he started acting independently (the official line had been "He's a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch"), or propping up Hussein's minority group because the majority community might be on good terms with Iran (the same way the minority was put into power In Lebanon ... the same era the CIA overthrew the democratic government in Iran to put the Shah's regime in power) ... it's a bloody tale of corporate interest.

Much decorated and beloved Marine General Smedley Butler, writing 20 years or more before President's Eisenhower's warning against the military industrial complex, described his military career in "War is a Racket" (1935):

" If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
[...]
I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." [my emphasis throughout bdt]
There is an alternative to war for greed ... the choice of war or nothing is a false choice offered by those who are motivated by greed. The processes of civil society are raw and slow and clumsy because they are new, often untried, and constantly being sabotaged by the oligarchs who have a near monopoly on wealth and power. Like the elite who executed Christ and Socrates, the greed-frenzied megalomaniacs are allergic to the good; every year hundreds and perhaps thousands of community workers are murdered, kidnapped, arrested, tortured, or simply "disappeared" by instituted power ... yet this does not rate as "state sanctioned terrorism" (why is the US pouring military aid into Colombia, the state that is worst of all?!).

The Bush / Rumsfeld / Wolfowitz gang are preaching "might makes right". How is that different from "power comes from the barrel of a gun"? Have the robber-barons dropped the mask and become gangsters? It has happened before: "A curious footnote to American history suggests that, except for the personal integrity of a remarkable American general, a coup d'état intended to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt from office in 1934 might have plunged America into civil war." ("An American Coup d'État?")

Here's a site that really deserves some good press: Ending Corporate Governance; We The People Revoking Our Plutocracy is the page I have onscreen just now, and here is the full text of Smedley's "War is a Racket" (1935) which is on the site's "Crimes Against Humanity" page along with The Enemy Within, by Gore Vidal. The page is fabulous on its own; site is quite awesome.
"An American Coup d'État?", which ends "the plot that Butler exposed - if what MacGuire claimed was true - is a sobering reminder to Americans. We were not immune to the sentiments that gave rise to totalitarian governments throughout the world in the 1930s. We make a serious mistake when we assume, 'It can't happen here!'", is part of Friendly Dictators Trading Cards
Another site my Smedley googling brought me was first Smedley Butler on Interventionism in the Military Analysis section of the site for Federation of American Scientists.

[Note: Kurdish interests may have to be bartered away to the Turks because of ham-fisted bullying by US maniacs: Turkey had been offered between US$15B and US$20B (how's that for arm-twisting!) for right of way ... which they refused ... but then granted over-flight (which puts them on the list of 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 [you pick a number!] who are in the coalition!) ... and so they wanted the bucks ... and US now says that deal is no longer on the table ... but they got overflight ... so now the Turks feel jerked around *well DUHH!*. Day 2 and the dog-fighting is about to begin.]

Who gets control of the US$6B in approved contracts for humanitarian aid? who controls the multi-billion dollar reconstruction?


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Anchor for this item  posted March 20, 2003 at 7:31 PM MDT

Yaa, that's what I was talking about!
When I heard about Arianna Huffington's "Corporate America Divvies Up The Post-Saddam Spoils" filed March 19, I almost fell out of my chair. It reads in part:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner in Iraq. Yes, I know that the first smart bomb has yet to be dropped on Baghdad. But that's just a formality. The war has already been won. The conquering heroes are not generals in fatigues but CEOs in suits, and the shock troops are not an advance guard of commandos but legions of lobbyists.
The Bush administration is currently in the process of doling out over $1.5 billion in government contracts to American companies lining up to cash in on the rebuilding of postwar Iraq. So bombs away! The more destruction the better -- at least for the lucky few in the rebuilding business."
It turns out that Ms Huffington has undergone something of a "road to Damascus" metagnoia ... a profound change of orientation based on experience. Not only does she reflect this in her columns, but she has written an entirely sufficient short essay on the subject. I recommend it, highly: "What prompted the transformation in my political thinking". (I sometimes wish I had had my revelation after having profited from my career for a decade or two instead of just as it was lifting off ... but HeyHo, karma's like that.)


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Win Without War - A mainstream voice advocating alternatives to preemptive war against Iraq


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OpenDemocracy.net


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Anchor for this item  posted March 18, 2003 at 8:18 PM MDT

Two modest proposals
After the fighting is done, the American authorities will substantiate its claim for having waged the "pre-emptive" strike; they will be in a position to present the smoking gun, the clear proof that their President has been alluding to for months. As a civil democracy, they can be expected to do no less.
Neither the UK nor US will have special powers in dispensing oil rights; the UN "oil for food" program can be expanded until there is a fully legitimate set of civil institutions empowered, that program taking care of not only health and education but also rehabilitation of those imprisoned by the Hussein regime as well as those orphaned and displaced over the past 14 years. Full intervention on the ground with some form of protectorate is appropriate.


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Anchor for this item  posted March 17, 2003 at 10:06 PM MDT

From [who else?!] Michael Moore: A Letter to George W. Bush on the Eve of War

Dear Governor Bush:
So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you: [...]

[I'd say the letter is a "must read" ... the site is definitely a "must bookmark".]


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[nota: I wrote this a couple of hours before Caesar's Dubya's speech] Are we ready for round two?

If one can hope for good from what is about to unfold, I hope for this: that many many people experience the searing realization that liberal law exists to protect the right of the powerful to profit; with all its high ideals, even the UN is crippled by the wealthy if it dare move to protect people.
A new generation of cynics will be born with this war, and they will seed the ground with salt with a destructiveness that any terrorist could only wish for.

The point of the attack is to discredit diplomacy and the United Nations (the Prince of Confusion inspires contempt), to humble the nations of Europe, and to humiliate the movement of peoples around the globe who have been active under the banner of "A Better World is Possible" ... but the people cannot be defeated, simply because the emancipation project is nothing other than the unfolding of history itself; however it may be delayed, and however it might be obstructed, justice will remain always, if only as a distant horizon.


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The Observer | Deep roots of Bush's hatred for Saddam - This article describes how today's policy came about, beginning twelve years ago when, shortly after the Gulf War, Dick Cheney (now Vice-President of the United States) and Paul Wolfowitz (presently Deputy Secretary for Defence) collected their thoughts concerning a trajectory for US foreign policy.
"What they argued in that memo was that America should have no rival on the planet - neither among friends nor enemies - and should use military might to enforce such a new order.
The paper's initial concern was raw power. Formally a draft for the Pentagon's 'Defence Planning Guidance' for the years 1994-1999, the document's first stated objective was to 'establish and protect a new order' and 'to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival' to the US.
Crucially, it would include a second innovation: a doctrine of the use of pre-emptive military force that should include the right and ability to strike firs against any threat from chemical or biological weapons, and 'punishment' of any such threat 'through a variety of means', including attacks on military bases or missile silos.
The two men had not finished there. In a rebuff to the multilateralism of the UN, they argued that the US should expect future alliances to be 'ad-hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted'. In Europe, Germany was singled out as a possible rival to US power, on the Pacific Rim Japan. 'We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements,' said the document.
[...]
By the spring of 1997 a hard core of activists from the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party had begun pushing hard for a new policy on Iraq. Many were men such as Wolfowitz who had enjoyed positions in the first Bush administration and their efforts were coalescing around a new think-tank. Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney and others had formed the Project for the New American Century, whose vision included the enactment of Cheney and Wolfowitz's dream of unilateral US power. Soon they would begin lobbying for regime change in Iraq.
[...]
[In early 1998] the group called for 'the removal of Saddam's regime from power', insisting that the US 'should establish and maintain a strong US military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the [Persian] Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.' "
There was nothing sudden about this development, nothing suprising, no change of aim or even of tack. What has changed is marked by a slight increase in typical citizens' willingness to acknowledge how corporate capitalism drips blood from every pore.
The end of this new age of robber barons will come when individuals take back onto themselves, singularly and as members of community, the responsibility of defying bullies. Until then it's just a matter of seeking protection from thugs for hire.


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Anchor for this item  posted March 16, 2003 at 8:02 PM MDT

Musicians For Peace
Peace Not War Compilation CD - A streaming radio station playing a series of anti-war songs. Listen to everything from a track by Public Enemy, to an unreleased Billy Bragg song, to a Tariq Ali speech remixed by the Asian Dub Foundation. Listen and learn.


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Listening to CBC Radio's weekly national forum March 16, 2003 - The end of diplomacy? (other forums) and came up with the following for the web-based message board (I can't afford to have long distance phone connected)

Greed beyond Need
The world situation is a pretty good reflection of our personal relations: we have to conquer to avoid being conquered, and the US position is nothing more than a representative of that view.
"It's a long road and we're not done with it yet" says Gwynn Dyer, and that's so. What has to be recognized is that those who have been operating under the guise of liberalism and "the rule of law" have to show their true colours now. Citiznes have trusted too much for too long (corporations have more power and political clout than any true democrat can feel comfortable), and governments have signed away their powers for the sake of re-election on platforms of balanced budget. In short, the only thing we can count on is dedication to the historic project of emancipation (call it "enlightened self-interest" if you will), and that means relying on the integrity and vision and strength of the individual ... along side the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahattma Gandhi.
As is spelled out in a document from the US Naval Academy (The Pentagon's New Map) the American's view of empire makes it seems necessary, and what they say is necessary carries a lout of clout: might has never made right, but it has always been a compelling argument.
We didn't build for a peaceful world, we don't have a peaceful world, and so when push comes to shove we get pushed and shoved around.
Our mistake was thinking we could sit back and let the experts run things (with all respect due Gwynn and his peers).
Note: this morning I read through the World Federation of United Nation Associations to see how UN activities could be brought into the community ... what did you do today?


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Only in America
by Norman Mailer

[final paragraph]
      "For those of the rest of us who are not going to depend on the power of prayer, we will do well to find the rampart we can defend over what may be dire years to come. Democracy, I would repeat, is the noblest form of government we have yet evolved, and we may as well begin to ask ourselves whether we are ready to suffer, even perish for it, rather than readying ourselves to live in the lower existence of a monumental banana republic with a government always eager to cater to mega-corporations as they do their best to appropriate our thwarted dreams with their elephantiastical conceits."

Norman Mailer's Commonwealth Club speech in San Francisco
February 20, 2003
The New York Review of Books: Only in America


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An Agenda For The Future
by Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor of the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica

Decide to be peaceful
    render others peaceful

Be a model of peace
Irradiate your peace

Love passionably the peace
    of our beautiful planet

Do not listen to the warmongers,
    hateseeders and powerseekers

Dream always of a peaceful,
    warless, disarmed world

Think always of a peaceful world
Work always for a peaceful world
Switch on and keep on, in yourself,
    the peaceful buttons,
    those marked love,
    serenity, happiness, truth,
    kindness, friendliness,
    understanding and tolerance

Pray and thank God every day for peace
Pray for the United Nations
    and all peacemakers Pray for the leaders of nations
    who hold the peace of the world
    in their hands Pray God to let our planet at long last
    become the Planet of Peace And sing in unison with all humanity:

"Let there be peace on Earth And let it begin with me."



Action Coalition for Global Change
"Until the age of seventeen I went to French Schools where I had to learn all the French rivers and their effluents, all the French provinces and their capitals, the French history, its heroes and victories, the French literature and its great authors, etc. The world and its history were taught us accessorily and mostly towards the end of our studies.

Then, one day the Germans invaded France and a German teacher appeared who told us that France was a decadent country and that they taught us lies. And we had to learn the German rivers and their effluents, the German heroes and victories, the German famous authors and philosophers, etc.

At the end of the war, I took a Doctorate of Law degree at the University of Strasbourg and was lucky to get a job at the United Nations on the basis of an essay I wrote. In the US the Americans told me that I had learned the wrong thing and that instead of law I should have studied economics. So I went to Columbia University and took a degree in economics.

In the middle of my life I discovered that the only true, objective education I had received was from the United Nations where the earth, humanity, our place in time and the worth of the human being were the overriding concerns."


Earth Charter Initiative


 

MailMe

Human need, not corporate greed ... without justice, there can be no peace. That's the meme stringing these items together.



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