You can be forgiven if, like me, you were a bit depressed to hear that the war had started. But this is no time to go into a funk. It's time to sustain and build the peace movement, and engage in a full-throated debate about the meaning of this war. Otherwise, as Michael Klare has noted, this could be the first of many resource-driven wars for regime change. If the millions who turned out at demonstrations in New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and throughout the world since the war started are any indication, the global peace movement is up to the challenge.
Take action today together with CCR, Greenpeace International, the Center for Economic and Social Rights and Peacerights to ensure the accountability of persons responsible for war crimes against the Iraqi people.
War Crimes Are Being Committed in Iraq
International humanitarian law requires that warring parties not indiscriminately attack civilians or the infrastructure on which they depend to live. Likewise, attacks designed to spread terror amongst civilians are not permitted.
Today the US, UK and other forces launched a massive air strike against Iraq as part of the US military plan, "shock and awe." In the first 48 hours of this attack some 3,000 precision-guided missiles will be fired at or near Baghdad, a densely populated city of 5.6 million. In Afghanistan, these weapons had a maximum success rate of 85%, indicating that at least some 200 missiles will miss their targets daily and result in the indiscriminate deaths of innocent civilians.
These tactics are illegal under the Geneva Convention as well as under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The U.S. B-2 Bombers involved in this attack were based at Fairford Air Base in the UK and Diego Garcia, an Island territory of the UK in the Indian Ocean. This fact brings these crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
If you want to see the criminals of this war prosecuted to the full extent of the law, please send a message to the Prosecutor of the ICC who is due to be appointed in the very near future.
Help us ensure that the atrocities in Iraq are at the top of his or her agenda with a mountain of mail demanding justice. Add your name and address below and send this letter as is, or by using your own words. By clicking Send Action Alert!, your name and address will automatically be inserted at the bottom of this e-mail letter. The subject of your e-mail will be the title of the Action Alert!.
Help stop Jay Garener by signing the following petition:
Dear President Bush and Prime Minister Blair,
We are writing to express our grave concern over your selection of Mr. Jay Garner to be the top civilian in the transitional government of Iraq and to urge you to allow the United Nations to oversee reconstruction and democratization.
Your selection of Mr. Garner to direct the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq speaks loudly. And we are concerned about the message you are sending.
Without public debate or a public hearing, you chose a former Army General who was, until recently, an executive at SY Technology - a weapons maker that built elements of missile systems now being used to bomb Baghdad.
Selecting Mr. Garner does not send a message of peace and reconciliation to the people of Iraq. At a time when anti-American and anti-British sentiment are at an all-time high, we believe the selection of Mr. Garner risks inflaming the entire region.
As human rights leaders, and as American and British citizens, we believe that the Iraqi people deserve better. They deserve transitional civilian leadership that represents freedom and democracy - not military conflict, weapons manufacturing, and back room deal-making.
It is not too late to make a change. We urge you to allow the United Nations oversee the process of democratization and reconstruction. It's not just what's best for the Iraqi people - it's essential to protecting us all.
While the U.S. military finds itself bogged down on the road to Baghdad, the real hitch in Bush administration's grand vision for post-war Iraq may well be the man slated to take charge of it – arms-dealer and former "Star Wars" guru General Jay Garner.
In a move typical for what passes for U.S. diplomacy these days, the Pentagon developed and announced its occupation plan without consulting the rest of the alleged coalition (no, not even trusty Britain) or the State Department. Worse, to this highly visible and important position, it picked a man with a dubious past and ideological credentials worthy of a Bush appointee.
This war is un-American. That's an unlikely word to use, I know: it has an unhappy provenance, associated forever with the McCarthyite hunt for reds under the beds, purging anyone suspected of "un-American activities". Besides, for many outside the US, the problem with this war is not that it's un-American - but all too American.
But that does an injustice to the US and its history. It assumes that the Bush administration represents all America, at all times, when in fact the opposite is true. For this administration, and this war, are not typical of the US. On the contrary, on almost every measure, they are exceptions to the American rule.
First public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
As US veterans were invited to the White House on Friday to applaud President George W. Bush’s Iraq campaign, others who fought for their country vehemently oppose the war.
“It looked to me like he was taking advantage of selected veterans who were predisposed to his position,” said Seth Pollack of Veterans for Common Sense. “I wouldn’t expect anything better from Bush. It was shameful.”
Pollack’s association sent a letter – signed by about 1,000 veterans including two retired vice admirals and the actor Kris Kristofferson – to the president on the eve of the war rejecting the case for the use of force against Iraq and seeking a meeting to discuss their humanitarian concerns.
Their appeal was ignored, fitting into a pattern of behavior the anti-war veterans say is typical of an administration run largely by people with no war experience – starting with Bush himself, who served in the National Guard in Texas during the Vietnam War.
Right now, hundreds of American soldiers are dying and being wounded in a war that was sold to Americans on a shifting desert sand of lies. Most of the men who are responsible for sending our brave young men off to die were themselves cowards (Chickenhawks) who supported the Vietnam War, but sent other young men to die in their places.
The top two Chickenhawks, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, had different excuses to explain the yellow streaks down their backs. Dick Cheney said he was too busy to go to Vietnam. George W. Bush said he was too busy patrolling the skies of Texas. The reality is that both of them spent most of the Vietnam War boozing themselves up (and in George W's case indulging in some white candy on the side).
Dozens of Iraqi villagers were killed and injured in a ferocious American air and land assault near the Iraqi city of Babylon, hospital officials in the town said yesterday.
Reuters reporters on the scene confirmed the deaths of at least nine children, two other civilians and two Iraqi fighters at Hilla in a bombardment on Monday night and early yesterday morning.
An Iraqi hospital official said the death toll stood at 33 civilians, with more than 300 wounded.
An Iraqi family who lost 11 members when U.S. soldiers opened fire as their sport utility vehicle approached a checkpoint Monday were fleeing toward U.S. lines because they thought a leaflet dropped by American helicopters told them to "be safe" and that that meant getting out of their village to Karbala, a survivor of the incident said Tuesday.
Bakhat Hassan - who lost his daughters, ages 2 and 5, his son, 3, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces, ages12 and 15, in the incident - said American soldiers at an earlier checkpoint had waved them through as they drove away from their home village. As they approached another checkpoint 25 miles south of Karbala, they waved again at the American soldiers.
"We were thinking these Americans want us to be safe," Hassan said through an Army translator at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital set up at a vast Army support camp near Najaf.
The soldiers didn't wave back. They fired.
Martin van Creveld's advice to the US marines on what lessons to draw from Israel's bloody urban battle in Jenin was precise: Forget the helicopters, invest in armoured bulldozers.
For months now, the Pentagon has been taking notes from the Israelis in preparation for what looks increasingly likely to be an arduous house by house, street by street, fight for Baghdad. Pentagon strategists have pored over videos of the Israeli military's assault on Jenin a year ago, when 150 lightly armed but determined Palestinians kept the army at bay for 11 days and killed 23 soldiers.
US officers watched Israeli tank raids into West Bank cities in February, and American soldiers have learned in the Israeli desert how to blow their way from house to house to avoid booby traps and street fighting. The Israeli insights build on years of exchanges of military technology and intelligence between the deeply intertwined armies. Among other things, the US is using Israeli-manufactured drones to scout across Iraqi lines.
On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawl colourful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse. A building goes down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loves a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles.
On March 21, the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private AJ said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11."
To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded" he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11 attacks. Private AJ stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well that stuff's way over my head," he said.
According to a New York Times/CBS News survey, 42 per cent of the American public believes that Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll says that 55 per cent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein directly supports al-Qaida. What percentage of America's armed forces believe these fabrications is anybody's guess.
It is unlikely that British and American troops fighting in Iraq are aware that their governments supported Saddam Hussein both politically and financially through his worst excesses.
But why should poor AJ and his fellow soldiers be burdened with these details? It does not matter any more, does it? Hundreds of thousands of men, tanks, ships, choppers, bombs, ammunition, gas masks, high-protein food, whole aircrafts ferrying toilet paper, insect repellent, vitamins and bottled mineral water, are on the move. The phenomenal logistics of Operation Iraqi Freedom make it a universe unto itself. It doesn't need to justify its existence any more. It exists. It is.
President George W Bush, commander in chief of the US army, navy, airforce and marines has issued clear instructions: "Iraq. Will. Be. Liberated." (Perhaps he means that even if Iraqi people's bodies are killed, their souls will be liberated.) American and British citizens owe it to the supreme commander to forsake thought and rally behind their troops. Their countries are at war. And what a war it is.
It's time to say the obvious: The Bushites are insane.
From George W on down, their behavior toward the world, toward our basic liberties, and toward the real needs of America – is delusional and maniacal.
Start with George's war. He's lost in a fantasy of Messianic Mission and no reality can penetrate it. Forget what liberals, Democrats, and millions of peace protestors say – people in his own party and the wiser heads from his father's presidency also think the boy has slipped into the weird. Bush doesn't merely think he's right, he thinks he's righteous and that only God and he see the righteousness of his war wrath. He's not thinking victory – he's thinking Mt. Rushmore...or higher!
The Administration was forced to turn over documentation to Congress about Iraq due to a Resolution of Inquiry filed by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH). The Administration finally released to Congress the 12,000 page Iraqi declaration made to the United Nations on December 7, 2002.
Kucinich, Ranking Member of the Government Reform Subcommittee National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, used a rare House procedure known as a Resolution of Inquiry, filed in the House on February 12, 2003, to pry the information out of the Administration.
“This is a small step forward in obtaining information that the Administration has deliberately withheld from the public and the Congress,” stated Kucinich. “This Administration has marched the nation, and the world, to the verge of war without revealing any evidence to this Congress or the American people to back up its war rhetoric. I will continue to oppose this unjustified war, and continue my efforts to ensure that this Administration reveals evidence, to the public, it may have before its sends the young men and women of the Armed Force into battle. I believe Congress, and the American people, deserve nothing less.”
In a concession by the Administration, the report will now be available for Members of Congress to view.
While Tony Blair and Colin Powell plead with Muslims throughout the Middle East to "trust" the allies, the Bush administration has offered the world nothing but a litany of lies in the past several w eeks, most of them exposed within a few days. Now we are supposed to believe that a Republican Guard unit is "destroyed" and key bridge "secured" - without a shred of evidence, despite the supposed presence of embedded journalists who should be able to show us footage of said destruction and said bridge. According to the Iraqis, the current "triumphs" touted by Bush are lies. Although the truthfulness of the Iraqis must be questioned, too - the pattern of Bush lies alone suggests the Pentagon is lying now, too. And who will pay the price? The US soldiers on the ground, being forced to press on because no one knows the reality of their plight, thanks to Bush.
But Bush and his chickenhaws are pressing on with the war beneath a smokescreen of lies and disinformation, assuring the American public that all is well - the plan is "on track" and "progress is remarkable." Where did they learn this technique? Not from any military tradition - it is the EXACT SAME SCHEME used by Ken Lay and the other con artists at Enron in the months before the companies fall. Remember how the Enron execs, knowing full well that the company was going down, actuallyclaimed the future of Enron was "on track" and "progress was remarkable." They even encouraged its employees and stockholders to buy MORE soon-to-be-worthless stocks. When the company fell, the employees and stockholders were screwed, while Lay and gang made out like bandits. So, Bush is, in essence, urging America to "buy more stock" in the war with his phony projections of how well things are going. Meanwhile, when the ugly reality sets in, Bush and gang will make out like bandits - they have already made a killing on the war, no matter what happens now (troop support contracts, weapons contracts, the vast amount of petroleum products sold to fuel the tanks, ships, planes and other vehicles. And America, like the Enron stockholders, will be left holding the bag and wondering why justice is not being served.
Here are some Bush lies that have been exposed in recent days:
MARKETPLACE BOMB: The UK Independent now reports that fragments of the bomb that killed dozens of Iraqi civilians, a tragedy the Pentagon blamed on Saddam's military, have been conclusively identified as coming from a US "smart bomb." One fragment was clearly marked Ray-theon.
LEGIONS OF IRAQI DEFECTORS:The first week of the war we heard reports of how legions of Iraqi defectors were coming out of the woodwork. Now the Pentagon admits that defections have been all but nonexistent (USA Today)
BASRA UPRISING: It's bad enough that the Shiite uprising falsely claimed by the Pentagon did not exist, but now Gen. Myers is trying to say all will be well in Baghdad because the Shiites will create an uprising there! Yet the Shiite population of Baghdad is considerably smaller than that of Basra - and Baghdad is being bombed heavily - not an incentive to rise up in support of the bombers.
CAPTURED IRAQI GENERAL: This made the headlines of most US news sources a few days back...turns out there was no such capture
CAPTURED DIVISION: Late last week it was admitted that the 8,000 Iraqis claimed to have been captured in the first days of the war had never been captured and, in fact, were fighting US troops in the area around Basra.
CHECKPOINT SLAUGHTER: According to the military, the Toyota van ignored a warning shot and thus forced soldiers to shoot. First the military claimed a warning shot was not fired soon enough (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4638218,00.html). Now eyewitnesses, including at least one journalist, say that no warning shot was fired at all.
BUSH's HUMANITARIAN AID: Bush promised that aid would arrive within 36 hours of March 24. But the aid sources themselves within the US government say that aid from the US will not even arrive until mid-April. Instead, Bush has let Britain pick up the aid tab with its shipment on the Sir Galahad.
DESTRUCTION OF REPUBLICAN GUARD DIVISION AND CAPTURE OF TIGRIS BRIDGE: this claim was made, with nothing to prove it, on 4/02. Here's a report from the Aussie network ABC:
"Iraq's information minister has denied US troops have crossed the Tigris river in their advance on Baghdad. "I have detailed information about the situation ... which completely proves that what they allege are illusions," Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told a news conference. "They lie every day. Therefore what they say or allege about success and advances in Najaf and Karbala are illusions. "They also said they crossed the Tigris, which is another lie. As is what they said about Kut." " Australian Broadcasting Corp.
EVIDENCE OF TORTURE AND CRUELTY:
Increasingly lurid "reports" of "evidence" of Iraqi atrocities will start flying thicker and faster to counter the documented cases of US atrocities. Thus the day after the slaughter of 10 women and children, Rumsfeld could be heard floating the claim of an Iraqi found with his tongue This is one of the most irresponsible thing that the Bush administration has done - and that the news sources reporting it have done. By disseminating these stories, they are complicit in the war crimes being committed by our troops. Why? Because these stories whip exhausted, frightened men up into a state of paranoia that gives rise to incidents like the checkpoint shooting. These rumors dehumanize the enemy to a point that makes soldiers and the public cheering them on feel justified in brutality. What's next? We start calling them by some subhumanizing nickname, like Gooks?
HOSPITAL AS MILITARY BASE "EVIDENCE": I think the reported "discovery" of "evidence" that the hospital from which Jessica Lynch was rescued was being used as a military facility was a little bit too conveniently timed. This story aired this morning everywhere.....along with the news that the US had bombed a maternity hospital, killing several people (some of them pregnant women and their babies, we can assume). So the Jessica Lynch hospital story was designed to "justify" the maternity hospital bombing...afterall, the message is, it wasn't REALLY a hospital - it was a "military facility."
US MIMICS WORST OF SHARON WEST BANK TERRORISM TACTICS
PENTAGON PLANS TO USE BULLDOZER TERRORISM IN BAGHDAD.In the UK Guardian April 2 edition it is revealed that one of the strategies the US troops will use in Baghdad is to flatten everything in their path with bulldozers - including civilians. If the U.S. thinks it's got a detiorating world image now, just wait till the world sees those images. Maybe Rachel Corrie did not die in vain afterall - her death may help underline the true ugly brutatlity of the Bush Reich. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,927780,00.html
SPEAKING OF BRUTAL REGIMES....I think it is an extremely telling fact that of all "civilized" nations, Israel and the US have the highest rate of infant mortality...shows that when your focus is on killing, the survival of the most vulnerable citizens are pushed way down the priority list. See http://newsinsider.org/seal/myths_US_healthcare.html
ANTI-VETERAN PROPAGANDA ON C-SPAN:
C-Span is now being used as the government mouthpiece. This morning, they had as a guest Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the armed services committee. Man, what a belligerent old fart! If this guy represents the tone of today's military - no wonder the troops are committing atrocities! This guy is a "Deliverance"-style rightwinger who condemns all people questioning the war as anti-American, etc.. He also sat there and lied through his teeth to a woman who demanded to know why Veterans benefits were cut. He actually told her they weren't being cut - a baldfaced lie.
The "increases" he referred to over the past several years were cost of living increases (always below realworld inflation) and administrative costs. Right now, the waiting time for a veteran who files for ANY KIND of benefits is up to TWO YEARS. And, Bush has created corporate style roadblocks to vets getting access to the money. For example, he made a show of increasing how many APPLICATIONS for benefits the VA would process - then not providing for any additional claims counselors, or worse, downsizing the claims processing departments. In other words, he makes sure the money sits there, unclaimed so he can dip into it later for his own purposes. But, in any case, Duncan Hunter is a classic Bush henchman.
QUESTION: Where's America's sense of balance? We now believe that one American soldier rumored to have been tortured is a much worse development than the proven revelation that 10 innocent women and children were blown to bits at a checkpoint. That is the way the Roman Empire used to work - if resistors - early Christians, for ex., were to kill one Roman soldier and scores of Christian civilians must die horrible deaths. Is that who we want to be?
~Did You Miss These?~
Just a Reminder - Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003
Ravyne Is Moving - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
The Mission - Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003
Siege Heil - Thursday, Oct. 09, 2003
Litany Of Lies - Wednesday, Oct. 08, 2003
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