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2003-02-22 - 9:00 a.m.

:::News and Commentary:::

As you have noticed by reading my weblog, I like to stay informed on what is going on in the country and around the world. Many would say I am a bit biased in my reading material and I guess they are right. I usually take a middle-road approach on most things, but these days, I cannot help but hang my sign on the slightly left side of the shingle. I urge anyone who reads my blog to make comments (yes it is working now!) on anything you see here. And now, on with the NEWS!

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Live from Palestine: ei Diaries

Nablus: "What are the reasons?"

Amer Abdelhadi writes: For everything that we do, there is a reason. For every aggression there should be a reason but what possible reason there could be for attacking Nablus the way it is being targeted now is totally puzzling.

We know that the Israeli army has been attacking Palestinian cities for a long time to drive people out and prepare to replace Palestinians with Jews from all over the world. We also know that the Israeli government has been rapidly building settlements on Palestinian lands ever since Israel was established on Palestinian soil. But what reason could there be for the violence that started several days ago?

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Complications on U.S. Road to War"

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On the verge of war in Iraq, the Bush administration finds its goals complicated by its own uncompromising approach as it builds a legacy that could do long-term damage to NATO, the United Nations and U.S. leadership, diplomats and analysts say.

Such criticism, made in the heat of rhetorical struggle over Iraq policy and vigorously rejected by administration officials, could well be revised if war against Baghdad is quick and reasonably successful.

But as it works to maximize world support in the countdown to military action against Saddam Hussein and to isolate North Korea, the United States finds itself nearly as much on the defensive as the ``axis of evil'' regimes it seeks to curtail.

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White House advisors looking for a "way out" of war with Iraq

Excerpts:

Some strategists within the Bush Administration are urging the President to look for an "exit strategy" on Iraq, warning the tough stance on war with the Arab country has left the country in a "no win" situation.

"At this point, the United States and Britain do not have the support for passage of a second UN resolution," admits a White House aide.

In addition, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate are telling the President privately that he is losing support in Congress for a "go it alone war" against Iraq.

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U.S. Needs More International Backing

Post-Blix: Public Favors Force in Iraq, But…

A solid 66% majority of Americans favor the use of military force against Iraq, as long as the U.S. has sufficient backing for military action from major allies. But there is a growing belief that the U.S. does not yet have enough international support to conduct the war following the Feb. 14 report by U.N. weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei and the mixed reception it received from members of the U.N. Security Council – as well as weekend antiwar protests around the world.

While most remain skeptical that Iraq will disarm peacefully, in the wake of Blix’s report and the contentious Security Council debate, a growing minority thinks it is too early to tell whether that can be achieved. And nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) believe the U.S. should get a second U.N. resolution before taking military action.

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GOP threats halted GAO Cheney suit

Peter Brand and Alexander Bolton report: Threats by Republicans to cut the General Accounting Office (GAO) budget influenced its decision to abandon a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, The Hill has learned.

Sources familiar with high-level discussions at the GAO said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, met with GAO Comptroller General David Walker earlier this year and “unambiguously” pressured him to drop the suit or face cuts in his $440 million budget.

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Quote of the Day:

“ My hopes spring everlastingly, and thus I’ve never believed that war is inevitable, despite all the doomsayers. To me it is simply amazing that a small band of super hawks has brought the United States to the brink of a conflict with incalculable consequences for the future. Still, it is possible that the overwhelming American military buildup will yet prove to be the best strategy for bringing Saddam Hussein to his senses. If not, we may be entering a perilous period that will evoke memories of World War II when Winston Churchill warned that mankind approached ‘the abyss of a new dark age.’” - Paul Duke, senior commentator, PBS

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Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'

Excerpt:

(CBS) While diplomatic maneuvering continues over Turkish bases and a new United Nations resolution, inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases.

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U.S. Seeks 9 Votes From U.N. Council to Confront Iraq

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 — The United States and Britain have decided that their strategy in the United Nations will be to try to persuade 9 of the 15 members of the Security Council to back a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, and then to challenge France, Russia or China to veto the will of the Council's majority, administration officials said today.

American and British officials worked today to settle their differences over the resolution's language while refining it to attract the support of other Council members. Administration officials said the talks meant the resolution would not be introduced until next week, possibly on Monday.

One point of disagreement was a desire by British diplomats to include in the resolution an explicit deadline for Iraq to disclose its weapons and start disarming, administration officials said.

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Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz tried to start Iraq war in 1998

Jason Leopold writes: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz undertook a full-fledged lobbying campaign in 1998 to get former President Bill Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's regime, claiming that the country posed a threat to the United States, according to documents obtained from a former Clinton aide. This new information begs the question: what is really driving the Bush Administration's desire to start a war with Iraq if two of Bush's future top defense officials were already planting the seeds for an attack five years ago?

In 1998, Rumsfield and Wolfowitz were working in the private sector. Both were involved with the right-wing think tank Project for a New American Century, which was established in 1997 by William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, to promote global leadership and dictate American foreign policy.

While Clinton was dealing with the worldwide threat from al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, Rumsfield and Wolfowitz wrote to Clinton urging him to use military force against Iraq and remove Hussein from power because the country posed a threat to the United States due to its alleged ability to develop weapons of mass destruction. The January 26, 1998 letter sent to Clinton from the Project for the New American Century said a war with Iraq should be initiated even if the United States could not muster support from its allies in the United Nations. Kristol also signed the letter.

Letter to Clinton

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Turkey Assesses Question of Kurds

Excerpts:

STANBUL, Feb. 20 — As Turkish and American diplomats struggled this week to strike a deal on the use of American troops in northern Iraq, one of the most intractable hurdles for negotiators has proven to be Turkey's bitter history with the Kurds.

The long struggle between the two groups, which resulted in one of the region's bloodiest insurgencies in the 1990's, is figuring prominently in Turkey's calculations over how to deal with the Bush administration's request to use the country as a base for thousands of combat troops.

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The president's real goal in Iraq

Summary:

Here is a seminal article, in a conservative paper (the Atlanta Journal Constitution), describing the real aims of the "New World Order" crew that infests this Administration. "This war is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the 'American imperialists' that our enemies always claimed we were. Once that is understood, other mysteries solve themselves. For example, why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled? Because we won't be leaving."

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'Why war?' needs answer

Robert Steinback writes, "Pre-Dubya America placed its faith in peacefully exporting the ideals of democracy, liberty, capitalism and self-determination, concepts that inspired lovers of freedom the world over to accept the risks of challenging oppressors. Now... the US in Iraq will be an invading army bent on reshaping a foreign land to suit our own purposes. Hawkish syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer ... argues that post-Sept. 11 America should use its military power to reshape troublesome parts of the world: 'A de-Saddamized Iraq ... would provide friendly basing not just for the outward projection of American power but also for the outward projection of democratic and modernizing ideas'...: 'It's about reforming the Arab world ... We haven't attempted it so far. The attempt will begin with Iraq.' This is the same reasoning used by such notables as Adolf Hitler and General Tojo, who used military invasion to reform Europe and the Pacific to suit their own purposes."

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Republic or Empire?

Joseph Wilson, the senior American diplomat in Baghdad during Desert Shield, advocated a muscular US response to Saddam's brutal annexation of Kuwait in flagrant violation of the United Nations charter, but has different views of Bush's new adventurism. "The upcoming military operation has one objective, though different from the several offered by the Bush Administration. This war is not about weapons of mass destruction. The intrusive inspections are disrupting Saddam's programs, as even the Administration has acknowledged. Nor is it about terrorism. Virtually all agree war will spawn more terrorism, not less. It is not even about liberation of an oppressed people. Killing innocent Iraqi civilians in a full frontal assault is hardly the only or best way to liberate a people. The underlying objective of this war is the imposition of a Pax Americana on the region and installation of vassal regimes that will control restive populations."

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HEEDING THE VOICES OF COMBAT

Mark Shields writes, "Norman Schwarzkopf had a gentle rebuke for the fawning flatterers who tried to lionize him after his successful leadership in the Persian Gulf War: 'It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.' The time is long past for Washington's 'Gucci guerillas' -- so full of swagger, bluster and themselves -- in the Bush administration, in the Congress and, yes, in the press corps to confront the truth of the Schwarzkopf maxim and reflect on its wisdom. Lately, I have heard the clear and cautionary words of American heroes, Marine officers who repeatedly went into battle and who still carry the scars of war, warning against another United States war against Iraq."

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Two Arrested For Posting Pictures of Iraqis in NYC

Don't Dare Even Post a Picture of the Truth

"Artist Emilie Clark and writer Lytle Shaw were arrested for posting pictures of people from Baghdad in Soho late Thursday night. Both have been released. A court date has been set to prosecute the two for showing New York City the people who will die in a possible war against Iraq. Clark and Shaw were members of the Baghdad Snapshot Action Crew. Based in New York City, the crew of 75 artists and activists began posting simple flyers with pictures of ordinary Iraqi citizens around New York City."

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This Road to Hell Is Paved With Bush's Bad Choices

John B. Judis writes, "With the Cold War's end, many Americans thought we could close our air raid shelters and take the trillions of dollars that had gone into the military and put them into making our lives better by turning toward the pursuit of happiness rather than the defense of our liberty. And some of that did happen in the last half of the 1990s, during the Clinton-era boom. But only three years into a new century, the United States finds itself plagued by rising unemployment, soaring budget deficits, constricted civil liberties, the threat of terrorist attack and the prospect of a war with, and occupation of, Iraq. We've gone from the best of times to the worst of times. The Bush administration tells us that it is entirely because of Al Qaeda and now Saddam Hussein that we face these difficulties, but the dark clouds that hang over our country are largely the result of Bush administration policies."

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The Worst Defense

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon write, "As much as $160 billion in new financing has been poured into national security since 9/11, yet only a small fraction has been used to make Americans safer at home. In fact, the bulk of the money has been used for troops, conventional weapons systems and traditional military investments, not for confronting terrorism. This trend will accelerate with the president's 2004 budget: at $380 billion, spending on the military is expected to grow $40 billion over last year and almost a third since 2001, an extraordinary jump by historical standards... Whether driving a bomb-laden skiff into a warship or flying a wide-body jet into a skyscraper, Al Qaeda has shown extraordinary tactical ingenuity. Against this innovative and resilient foe, the United States needs to muster the resources and creativity for an effective defense, instead of overarming for battle with the rogue regimes that its military can already easily defeat."

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Not so Humorous

President George W Bush, wanting to raise positive opinions among youth, went to visit a school, in which he proclaimed his administration's goals.

Then he allowed children to ask questions.

Little Bob asked:

"Mr President, I have three questions :

1. How were you elected, when you had less votes?

2. Why do you want to attack Iraq so much?

3. Do you think that Hiroshima was the biggest terrorist attack in world history?"

At that very moment, the school bell rang for the break.

When the break was over, George W.Bush allowed children to again ask questions.

Little Joey asked :

"Mr President, I have three questions :

1. How were you elected, when you had less votes?

2. Why do you want to attack Iraq so much?

3. Do you think that Hiroshima was the biggest terrorist attack in world history?"

4. Why did the school bell rang 20 minutes fast ?

5. Where the hell is Little Bob?"

At that very moment, the school bell rang for another break.

To be continued ...

(Story circulating from France)

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Real patriots free to question Bush

Dick White writes: So, my girlfriend sees George Dubbya on the tube and she immediately flashes tight lips and a furrowed brow.

"I just don't trust him," she says. "I want to, but I don't. Some kind of patriotic American I am, huh?"

That got a rise out of me:

"I would argue that your questioning him makes you more of a patriot than those knee-jerk Americans who are willing to follow him into war without any evidence.

"Real Americans should absolutely question the validity of going to war. And it certainly takes more guts to do so than to go blindly into that good night."

Which brings me to my point.

Ever since 9/11, conservatives -- along with the growing legions of other Angry White Men and Women in America -- have suggested, implied, or otherwise flatly stated that anyone who doesn't blindly back "Our President" (and with it, the Conservative agenda) is being nothing short of unpatriotic.


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~Did You Miss These?~

Just a Reminder - Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003
Ravyne Is Moving - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
The Mission - Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003
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Litany Of Lies - Wednesday, Oct. 08, 2003
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