::  Search Site

::  Archives

< < current

::  Comments or questions about The War in Context

::  MediaChannel Affiliate

This page is powered by Blogger.
 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

US seen at risk of repeating Cold War mistakes
Jim Lobe, Asia Times, March 9, 2002

As the administration of President George W Bush ramps up its global anti-terrorism campaign, it risks repeating the mistakes Washington made in Latin America during the Cold War, says a longtime critic of US policy in Latin America.
[The complete article]

Americans are masters of destruction
The US is driving the Muslim world to hatred

Abdel Bari Atwan, The Observer, March 10, 2002

It never occurred to me when I met Osama bin Laden in one of the caves of the Jalalabad overlooking Tora Bora mountains more than five years ago that this slim, rarely smiling man would be the leading figure responsible for paving the way for inter-religious, inter-cultural wars that may last for five or more decades but this is what he has done. Although 11 September changed the Western world the effect on the Islamic world has been far greater. The gulf between the two is widening.
[The complete article]

'Bombing Saddam is ignorance'
Henry Porter, The Observer, March 3, 2002

Robert Baer's objections to an attack on Iraq could hardly be principled. As the CIA's point man in Iraq during the failed uprising in 1995, he encouraged dissident groups to believe that the United States wanted the overthrow and death of Saddam Hussein. Yet Baer, whose memoir of life in the CIA, See No Evil, is published in Britain tomorrow, is appalled at the idea of a US strike against Iraq today.
[The complete article]

Secret plan outlines the unthinkable
A secret policy review of US nuclear policy puts forth chilling new contingencies for nuclear war

William M Arkin, Los Angeles Times, March 10 2002

Heretofore, nuclear strategy tended to exist as something apart from the ordinary challenges of foreign policy and military affairs. Nuclear weapons were not just the option of last resort, they were the option reserved for times when national survival hung in the balance--a doomsday confrontation with the Soviet Union, for instance. Now, nuclear strategy seems to be viewed through the prism of Sept. 11.
[The complete article]

Bush is doing nothing to stop Israel's immoral civil war
Robert Fisk, The Independent, March 9, 2002

The American press made much of US Secretary of State Colin Powell's criticism of Mr Sharon. But read what Mr Powell actually said: he asked whether Sharon's military policy – of killing more Palestinians – would work. One of his spokesmen, speaking two days ago, announced that "we had to make clear to him [Sharon] there is simply no evidence that approach will succeed''. Mr Powell and his minions were not attacking Mr Sharon because the Israeli policy was immoral. It was the military ineffectiveness of killing Palestinians, not the abuse of human rights that this embodies, to which the Americans took objection.
[The complete article]


COMMENT - When it comes to understanding the thinking of the Bush administration, one need look no further than The Weekly Standard and National Review to find a steady flow of unofficial foreign policy statements. This should hardly be surprising, given that William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, is also a member of the Defense Policy Board (a Pentagon advisory panel charged with overseeing military preparedness and engaging in defense policy big-think) and contributors to both publications are supporters of The Project for the New American Century (whose original sponsors include Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney).
Over the coming months we are likely to witness a concerted effort to bolster the image of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) until they acquire a status similar to that of the Northern Alliance. The only difference will be that no one will be claiming that the INC can serve as a proxy that circumvents the need for a substantial US ground force. Interestingly, if discrediting one of their own intelligence agencies is necessary for furthering their attack-Iraq agenda, the principal backers of the INC - Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey and Richard Perle - appear to be unconstrained by any need to abide by the united-we-stand philosophy.

Believe the CIA?
How reliable is the agency’s information on Iraq?

Max Singer, National Review, March 7, 2002

As the discussion about what the U.S. should do about Iraq comes to a head, the CIA has stepped up its efforts to discredit the main Iraqi opposition movement, the Iraqi National Congress (INC).
[The complete article]

Pakistani intelligence and Americans 'abduct' Briton
Case part of trend in casual detention, say lawyers

Audrey Gillan, The Guardian, March 9, 2002

Fresh fears about the circumstances in which alleged terror suspects are being detained by US authorities have emerged after Pakistani intelligence was accused last night of working with Americans to kidnap a British man, bundling him into the boot of a car and smuggling him to Afghanistan. The case is being closely scrutinised by British and US lawyers who believe it reflects a trend of casual detention of terrorist suspects in the region, with apparent disregard for international law.
[The complete article]

The kilim fields
Christopher Kremmer, Sydney Morning Herald, March 9, 2002

More than a decade ago, I walked into a rug shop in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and in a sense, I never walked out. The store was a musty repository of woollen objects with strange, angular motifs, and the proprietor a man of gentle piety, who would eventually become one of my most valued friends. As that first afternoon rolled along on a river of green tea, we exchanged more in the way of ideas than carpets, traded more details of our lives than rare weavings. Afghanistan had already been at war for a decade, and a decade since that meeting, it still is.
[The complete article]

Six months later, the basic tool is language
Norman Solomon, Media Beat, March 7, 2002

Cameras have recorded countless defining moments. And six months after Sept. 11, some nightmarish televised glimpses of that day's horrors still resonate deeply. Visual images are powerful. Yet there's no substitute for words that sum up what might otherwise seem too ambiguous, upsetting or baffling. Words attach meaning to events. Since last fall, the biggest media buzz-phrase has been "the war on terrorism." By now, journalists are in the habit of shortening it to "the war on terror" -- perhaps the most demagogic term in recent memory.
[The complete article]

US faces guerrilla warfare
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, March 8, 2002

Few here believe peace has really dawned in a country torn apart by more than 20 years of war. "I don't think the fighting will ever finish in Afghanistan," said Abdul Matin Hassan Kheil, who commands around 100 of the Afghan soliders now fighting in the mountains near Gardez. "In Afghanistan people always want to be more powerful than anybody else. This fighting will continue for a long time."
[The complete article]

George's journey makes the big screen
Julian Borger, The Guardian, March 8, 2002

Now that he has evolved into a steely-eyed, firm-jawed wartime leader, it is sometimes hard to recall the callow and goofy figure that George Bush cut on the campaign trail. But today, at the height of his popularity, a ghost of his pre-presidential whimsy will come back to haunt him.
[The complete article]

The politics of rights
UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, visits Egypt

Amira Howeidy, Al-Ahram Weekly, March 7, 2002

"Frankly speaking," Abdel-Raouf El-Ridi, Egypt's former ambassador to the US, addressed Robinson at the seminar, "we see the Western world applying double standards. When there was occupation in Europe, those resisting it were considered heroes. When there was a Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, the resistance fighters were called mujahideen, who, back then in the Western lexicon, were considered heroes... But we have to observe the relationship between occupation and so-called terrorism, because [the Palestinians'] feeling of humiliation, resentment and anger at the Israeli occupation has led to the situation we have today. And occupation, Mrs Robinson, is a violation of human rights."
[The complete article]

History shows that after the war comes the real battle
Martin Woollacott, The Guardian, March 8, 2002

It is usually supposed that victory crowns a military campaign. In Afghanistan it seems to be working out the other way round. The nasty skirmishes between rival bosses in the regions, the violence that took the life of a member of the interim authority in Kabul, the very limited reach of the small international force in the capital, and now the genuine battles going on with Taliban and al-Qaida forces near Gardez all suggest that much remains to be done.
[The complete article]

From Suez to the Pacific - US expands its presence across the globe
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian, March 8, 2002

Today, almost six months after the attacks on New York and Washington, the US is putting in place a network of forward bases stretching from the Middle East across the entire length of Asia, from the Red Sea to the Pacific.
[The complete article]

It's the oil pipeline, stupid
Peter Dale Scott, AlterNet, March 5, 2002

Deployment of U.S. Special Operations forces to the Caucasus state of Georgia would help enforce a Washington pipeline policy aimed at neutralizing Russian influence in oil-rich Central Asia.
[The complete article]

Parallax and Palestine
D.D. Guttenplan, The Nation, March 11, 2002

Always present to some degree, in the weeks following the attack on the World Trade Center the divergence in British and American views of the Middle East has become acute in ways that are both revealing and suggestive. "All the differences in the way Britain and America view the conflict have come to the surface," says Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall, a history of Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors. "Most Americans only know the Israeli side of the story," says Shlaim, a Baghdad-born Israeli who teaches at Oxford. The resulting blindness, he adds, makes for an American approach that is irrelevant at best and often disastrous. [...] The American view of the conflict is "shaped by a false paradigm of equivalence," says Chris Doyle of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, a pro-Palestinian lobbying group. "America acts as if there was a moral equivalence between the occupiers and the occupied, and a military equivalence between a nuclear power and teenagers throwing stones."
[The complete article]

The Pashtuns: A tribe is prey to vengeance after Taliban's fall in North
Dexter Filkins and Barry Bearak, New York Times, March 7, 2002

The Pashtuns of northern Afghanistan are fleeing their villages by the thousands now, telling tales of murder and rape and robbery, and leaving behind empty towns and grazing grounds just beginning to shimmer with the first grass of spring. Some refugees are living in caves; others are heading south, to where their ethnic brethren still dominate. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of Pashtun villages have been looted. Reports like these inspire proposals by the interim government in Kabul for a security force to police areas outside the capital, proposals that the Western allies are reluctant to accept.
[The complete article - registration required]

Terrorists under the bed
Eric Boehlert, Salon, March 5, 2002

"Terrorism expert" Steven Emerson paints a terrifying picture of lethal Muslim fundamentalists among us in "American Jihad." But he doesn't know the difference between Osama bin Laden and Yasser Arafat.
[The complete article]


The debate within
The objective is clear—topple Saddam. But how?

Seymour M Hersh, The New Yorker, March 11, 2002

After a year of bitter infighting, the Bush Administration remains sharply divided about Iraq. There is widespread agreement that Saddam Hussein must be overthrown, but no agreement about how to get it done.
[The complete article]

Iraq: the phantom threat
Scott Ritter, Christian Science Monitor, January 23, 2002

There is a substantial lack of clarity and credible sources on the actual nature of the Iraqi threat to the US. A wider debate on US policy toward Iraq is imperative, especially in light of the increasing war talk out of Washington. Rather than relying on information from dubious sources, let's put all the facts on the table. The conclusions drawn from such a debate could pull us back from the brink of an unnecessary and costly war.
[The complete article]

U.S. suspends funding to Iraqi opposition group
Robin Wright, Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2002

Despite the growing drumbeat to expand the war on terrorism to Iraq, U.S. officials this week suspended key funding to the leading Iraqi group opposing President Saddam Hussein because it has failed to account for tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
[The complete article]

America's morality has been distorted by 11 September
'It's as if all the lessons of history, in Afghanistan and the Middle East, have been tossed into a bin'

Robert Fisk, The Independent, March 7, 2002

I'm beginning to suspect that 11 September is turning into a curse far greater than the original bloodbath of that day, that America's absorption with that terrible event is in danger of distorting our morality. Is the anarchy of Afghanistan and the continuing slaughter in the Middle East really to be the memorial for the thousands who died on 11 September?
[The complete article]

For their eyes only
Julian Borger, The Guardian, March 6, 2002

The democratic principle of open government is under pressure from a US administration obsessed with secrecy and media manipulation. The United States possesses an extraordinary institution which sets it apart from almost every other nation on Earth and helps define America as an open democracy. It is called the 1966 Freedom of Information Act, and it is in serious trouble.
[The complete article]

Shades of gray
In Colombia, U.S. must not turn a blind eye to corruption, abuses of authority

Lynn Holland, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 1, 2002

As a result of the United State's new "War on Terrorism," Colombia's bloody civil war has finally entered the limelight of international attention after spending thirty-eight years in the shadows. The events of 9-11 have permitted the Bush administration to paint U.S. foreign policy as a matter of black and white choices. But Colombia's internecine conflict -- and the role the United States is to play in that conflict -- make for a study in shades of gray.
[The complete article]

Taliban draw strength from tribal roots
Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times, March 7, 2002

Traditional political enmities and tribal rivalries have allowed the Taliban to regroup around Gardez in eastern Paktia province in Afghanistan, from where they will coordinate guerrilla operations in many parts of the country. Although United States officials claim that Taliban and al-Qaeda resistance in Gardez is weakening, the realities on the ground would appear to indicate otherwise.
[The complete article]

Ghosts of Vietnam era haunt US in endgame for Afghanistan
Rupert Cornwell, The Independent, March 5, 2002

"What is more important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Muslims, or the liberation of central Europe and the end of the Cold War?" Thus did Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, once dismiss charges that by its support for the Afghan mujahedin in 1979 America had created a terrorist monster.
[The complete article]

With God on their side
Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, March 5, 2002

On his recent visit to China, President Bush informed his hosts that "95% of Americans", including the president, believed in God. While those figures may be accurate in the same way that the Florida presidential election results in 2000 were accurate, he is right in saying that a much larger percentage of Americans believe in God, heaven and hell than most other nationalities do. The attorney general John Ashcroft, who comes from the Pentecostal wing of the Christian church, informed a recent gathering of Christian broadcasters that "civilised people - Muslims, Christians and Jews - all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the creator." Since the current war is being fought on behalf of "civilisation", this would seem to indicate that those 5% who do not believe in God should now also be classified as the enemy.
[The complete article]

Bush's little shop of horrors
Where fear is always on sale—and the truth is made to order

Geoffrey Gray, Village Voice, March 5, 2002

The Bush administration likes to brand the fight against terrorism as a new kind of war, with new enemies and new rules, but using fear to push policy has been an actual play in the White House book since the Truman administration began commissioning behavioral studies on "emotion management" during the early days of Cold War hysteria.
[The complete article]

When things turn weird, the weird turn pro
Propaganda, the Pentagon and The Rendon Group

Jeff Stein, Tom Paine.com, February 26, 2002

Rendon has had a lot of plum assignments since Desert Storm, including a $23 million propaganda campaign in 1991 aimed at undermining Saddam Hussein with smuggled leaflets and radio broadcasts beamed into Iraq. [...] If the Rendon Group’s track record against Saddam Hussein is any guide, however, the company’s real expertise is in spending taxpayer dollars.
[The complete article]

Former senior CIA officer: Why the "war on terror" won't work
Bill Christison, Counterpunch, March 4, 2002

Bill Christison joined the CIA in 1950, and served on the analysis side of the Agency for 28 years. From the early 1970s he served as National Intelligence Officer (principal adviser to the Director of Central Intelligence on certain areas) for, at various times, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Before he retired in 1979 he was Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit.. These remarks, which he has made available to CounterPunch, have been recently delivered to various peace groups in New Mexico.
[The complete article]

Secret finger-pointing over Danny Pearl's death
G. Pascal Zachary, AlterNet, March 4, 2002

For weeks during the ordeal of Pearl's captivity -- and the uncertainty about whether he was dead or alive -- Wall Street Journal senior editors privately debated amongst themselves whether they somehow had put Pearl in harm's way. And not in any general, existential sense, but whether the paper's controversial decision to hand over an al Qaeda laptop computer to the Department of Defense and the CIA late last year had blown back on them.
[The complete article]

War on the third world
An insidious result of September 11 is that the US treats many non-whites as terrorists

George Monbiot, The Guardian, March 5, 2002

Those of us who opposed the bombing of Afghanistan warned that the war between nations would not stop there. Now, as Tony Blair prepares the British people for an attack on Iraq, the conflict seems to be proliferating faster than most of us predicted. But there is another danger, which we have tended to neglect: that of escalating hostilities within the nations waging this war. The racial profiling which has become the unacknowledged focus of America's new security policy is in danger of provoking the very clash of cultures its authors appear to perceive.
[The complete article]

Rogue states? America ought to know
The hyperpower sets its own rules

Phyllis Bennis, Tom Paine.com, March 1, 2002

It's hard for most Americans to think of the United States as a rogue state. We're a democracy, after all. Our elections are free and fair (well, some of the time). But our foreign policy is far less accountable to democratic ideals, or to the global community than we like to think. The problem isn't isolationism -- we're engaged (at least our military forces and our U.S. manufactured weapons are) all over the world. The problem is unilateralism -- our tendency to act out our unchallenged 'super-power of super-powers' role without concern for what others in the world think.
[The complete article]

Report on Colombia from the North American Congress on Latin America
Adam Isacson, February 2002

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it was not clear what would become of the United States' large and growing military aid program in Colombia. With higher-profile missions in Afghanistan and the "homeland," might Washington reverse its steady descent into Colombia's messy, complicated conflict? Or would Colombia, with three groups on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, become a new front in the "war on terrorism," breathing new life into the failed "Plan Colombia" drug-war strategy?
[The complete article]

The "War on Terrorism" for Dummies
Bernard Weiner, Counterpunch, March 3, 2002

Don't know about you, but all this war and politics stuff can be mighty confusing. So I picked up a copy of "The 'War on Terrorism' for Dummies," a kind of primer on current events, and now feel much better-educated. Here are some of their answers.
[The complete article]

The textile lobby v. the war on terrorism
Franklin Foer, New Republic, February 28, 2002

Ever since he signed on as America's ally in the war on terrorism, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been asking for one simple favor in return: the suspension of U.S. tariffs and quotas on Pakistani textiles. And, last Monday, Musharraf finally got a definitive response to his request: No.
[The complete article]

How bin Laden got away
Philip Smucker, The Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2002

A day-by-day account of how Osama bin Laden eluded the world's most powerful military machine.
[The complete article]

The end of the modern world
Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros, Open Democracy, February 27, 2002

The 20th century ushered in a historic era of optimism for the rational, "modern" future of humanity. As the century fades into history, that modernist dream lies in pieces — but new outlines are emerging for a wiser, more hopeful future.

History may well record that the "modern" world ended on 11 September 2001.

On that day anti-modern extremists with medieval sensibilities launched a horrific attack upon a pinnacle symbol of twentieth-century modernity: the coolly rational towers of the World Trade Center, in New York City.

We now know that the organizer of that attack, Mohammed Atta, was a professional planner educated in Germany, and a skyscraper-hating anti-modernist. Atta personally flew the first plane into the north tower.

Atta was a religious fundamentalist of the most extreme sort, to be sure, along with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime. But clearly Atta felt more than a hatred of the west’s libertine ways. He hated the west’s hegemony in the third world, and he hated the western modernist buildings that he saw wiping out the traditional vitality of its cities. The thesis Atta wrote to get his master’s degree at Hamburg University was on the preservation of the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, against the onslaught of western modernism.
[The complete article]

The aftermath of war
Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, February 27, 2002

As US forces pound the Afghan government’s opponents, military supply and logistical problems augur a lengthier preparation for its planned assault on Iraq. But meanwhile, the tentacles of war are spreading across the globe – from the Philippines and Nepal to Colombia – amidst US research into new types of nuclear weaponry.
[The complete article]

Briton held as terror suspect threatens to sue FBI
Owen Bowcott, The Guardian, March 4, 2002

The British law student at the centre of an international security alert - during which Canadian and US warplanes were scrambled to intercept a civilian airliner heading into New York's JFK airport - yesterday condemned his treatment at the hands of the FBI.
[The complete article]

Whack Iraq? Striking Hussein is ill-conceived
R.C. Longworth, Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2002

Well, that was a tidy little war in Afghanistan. We won, more or less. Not many casualties, and we caught a few of those Al Qaeda guys, if not the big shots. What's next? Why, Iraq, of course. It's time to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Everyone agrees. So why not? Actually, there are lots of reasons why not. But Washington seems so intent on attacking Iraq, as the first point on President Bush's "axis of evil," that bombs will be falling on Baghdad before any questions are asked or objections raised.
[The complete article]

When 9/11 consipracy theories go bad
David Corn, AlterNet, March 1, 2002

Please stop sending me those emails. You know who are. And you know what emails I mean ... Okay, I'll spell it out -- those forwarded emails suggesting, or flat-out stating, the CIA and the U.S. government were somehow involved in the horrific September 11 attacks.
[The complete article]

Iran/Contra rehab
David Corn, The Nation, March 11, 2002

The Bush Administration is turning into one big rehab center for the Iran/contra schemers of the Reagan/Bush White House.
[The complete article]


September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.