|Iraq + war on terrorism + Middle East conflict + critical perspectives|
The ticking bomb
The Western ideal of comfort and wealth holds a hollow promise for the rest of the world and provides fodder for extremists
Wade Davis, Toronto Globe & Mail, July 6, 2002
On Sept. 11, in the most successful act of asymmetrical warfare since the Trojan horse, the world came home to America. "Why do they hate us?" asked George W. Bush. This was not a rhetorical question. Americans really wanted to know -- and still do, for their innocence had been shattered. The President suggested that the reason was the very greatness of America, as if the liberal institutions of government had somehow provoked homicidal rage in fanatics incapable of embracing freedom. Other, dissenting voices claimed that, to the contrary, the problem lay in the tendency of the United States to support, notably in the Middle East, repressive regimes whose values are antithetical to the ideals of American democracy. Both sides were partly right, but both overlooked the deeper issue, in part because they persisted in examining the world through American eyes.
War on terror colors the battle for Congress
Helen Dewar, Washington Post, July 5, 2002
Despite public assertions by Republican and Democratic leaders that the war should not be exploited for political purposes, candidates seem to feel compelled to evoke the struggle, and all the patriotic symbolism it entails. Sometimes with subtlety, often without, Republicans not only portray themselves as wholehearted supporters of President Bush's policies, but also question the commitment of their Democratic rivals, frequently by harking back to speeches and votes that occurred long before last September. Democrats, keenly aware of Bush's popularity and the GOP's long-standing electoral advantage on national security issues, go out of their way in speeches and ads to emphasize their support for the war and the president's handling of it.
Deluge of hate crimes after 9/11 pours through system
Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2002
Mark Anthony Stroman was an easy case. A white supremacist, in the days after Sept. 11 he walked into a succession of convenience stores in the Dallas area and killed a clerk from Pakistan and another from India, and he partially blinded a third from Bangladesh. Tried, convicted and sentenced to death, Stroman voices no remorse. He recalls telling each of his victims, "God bless America."
Mike Ferner, Common Dreams, July 6, 2002
"So what is our mistake? We are also human beings. Treat us like human beings," says Gulalae, a 37 year-old Afghan mother living in the dust, hunger and fear of the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Pakistan. She calls Osama bin Laden an “outsider” and says that because of him, “Afghanistan is made into a hell for others.” Grim does not begin to describe the conditions Gulalae and her family endure. In one three-month period, in just one district of Shamshatoo, bacteria-related dehydration killed a child nearly every day. The misery in this refugee city is like a grain of sand on the beach of suffering that is Afghanistan. But Americans know little of it.
Aid agencies condemn Israel
BBC News, July 4, 2002
More than 30 international aid agencies working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have accused Israel of obstructing their operations to the point that they can no longer fulfil their mandates. Their joint statement comes as concern mounts about the humanitarian impact of the Israeli-imposed curfews.
Winning friends in the Arab world
David Ignatius, Washington Post, July 5, 2002
Change won't come about unless ordinary Arabs want it themselves. If it comes at the point of an American cruise missile, many Arabs will view it as another defeat at the hands of Israel and its proxy, the United States. That would be a disaster -- a recipe for military occupation of a bitterly resentful swath of the globe. And I'm sorry, Mr. Perle, but the idea that people will rally alongside Uncle Sam once they see our troops on the ground just doesn't cut it. That's what the Israelis thought would happen in Lebanon in 1982 -- and it did, for about a week. After that, they were sitting ducks.
(For an extensive discourse promoting the neo-imperialist perspective, see Power and weakness by Robert Kagan. In contrasting American power with European weakness, he claims that "[unlike Americans] Europeans have a deep interest in devaluing and eventually eradicating the brutal laws of an anarchic, Hobbesian world where power is the ultimate determinant of national security and success." Americans, on the other hand, will do just fine sustaining such a world where American power reigns supreme. The historical burden of America (in Kagan's mind) is to operate by the double standard through which it can use brute force to protect "civilization.")
America creates its own terrors
Jill Nelson, USA Today, July 5, 2002
Lost in the cacophony of military music, flying the red, white and blue and the patriotic rhetoric that marked the celebration of Independence Day and surrounds the war on terrorism is democracy's most wonderful and critical aspect: the right to dissent.
U.S. raid on village raises hard questions
Alissa J. Rubin, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2002
Although many questions remain about the reasons for the raid and the amount of Taliban activity in the province where it took place, there is no doubt that during the attack women and children were killed and injured; friends and fellow fighters of Karzai's were killed; and a party for an upcoming wedding came under fire. Here in Kandahar, where the majority of the severely injured were brought, the episode poses hard questions about the costs associated with the U.S. policy of hunting down every last Taliban and Al Qaeda fighter.
Bush raises the stakes in Iraq
Charles Knight, Foreign Policy in Focus, July 3, 2002
The Bush administration's enthusiasm for toppling Saddam Hussein is so single-minded that American officials are failing to recognize the effect of broadcasting publicly their intent to seek "regime change." The Pentagon's joint staff, which has the enormous task of planning any military campaign against Iraq, is forced to deal with the strategic blunder inherent in the administration's policy.
The U.S. military establishment is especially concerned about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and their potential threat to U.S. forces and allies in the region. We know that stockpiles of these weapons are far fewer than the number Iraq possessed in 1991, but residual stocks remain a real worry. Although the Pentagon believes the conventional superiority of U.S. arms can easily defeat Iraq's army, military planners know that the use of chemical or biological weapons by Iraq might result in the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of American soldiers. And then there is the possibility that the Iraqis will launch missiles with chemical warheads against Tel Aviv, provoking a nuclear response by Israel.
Israel stung by imports ruling
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, July 6, 2002
British supermarkets have been told that they must clearly identify produce on sale from the illegal Jewish settlements of the West Bank and Gaza. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday that it told importers last week that cherry tomatoes, baby potatoes, avocados, fruit juice and flowers grown in the illegal outposts could no longer be sold under the "Produce of Israel" label. "Supermarket customers over here raised questions about produce with supermarkets, who raised it with us," it said. "Produce from these occupied territories ought not to be labelled 'Produce of Israel', because the territories are not recognised as part of Israel."
Remembering why we are Americans
Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, July 5, 2002
Right after John Ashcroft revived the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover (its headquarters, after all, is named after him), The Bill of Rights defense committee of Northampton, Massachusetts, reacted by recalling Hoover's disgraced COINTELPRO program, which serially abused the Bill of Rights:
"In the 1970s, the Senate banned COINTELPRO because of its unconstitutional character. The FBI had invaded privacy in order to disrupt lawful political activity. . . . By banning COINTELPRO, Congress declared illegal what was obviously unconstitutional. It was a major step forward for democracy in this country.
"Now Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Bush . . . have unilaterally placed in jeopardy the right to organize peacefully and legally, [putting] our communities at risk. Who is sitting next to us at city council, church, peace, or ACLU meetings? And what will that mean to the outcome of that meeting or to our individual security?"
See also Operation Enduring Liberty by David Cole;
The cops are watching you by Robert Dreyfuss
From deterrence to pre-emption? The US military after 9/11
Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, July 3, 2002
Beyond the problems in Afghanistan, the wider implications of US security policy post-9/11 are now beginning to emerge, although they will not be made clear until the publication of the National Security Strategy, expected in the early autumn. There have been two early indications of the rigorous commitment to an independent security policy: the controversy over the UN International Criminal Court, which came into being in The Hague this week; and the issue of the treatment of the prisoners held at Guantanamo in Cuba and elsewhere.
International law seen at risk in U.S. fight with Security Council
Jim Lobe, OneWorld.net, July 5, 2002
A meeting to be held by major western nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in London next week to discuss United States opposition to the new International Criminal Court (ICC) will underline growing concerns among about how the administration of President George W. Bush sees Washington's global role.
U.S. builds up forces in Qatar
Associated Press, MSNBC, June 30, 2002
If President Bush ordered airstrikes on Iraq, this vast, remote and little-publicized base in the central Persian Gulf would be a critical hub for U.S. warplanes and their aerial pipeline of bombs and supplies. The government of Qatar is spending millions of dollars to expand al-Udeid. Over the past months, the U.S. military quietly has moved munitions, equipment and communications gear to the base from Saudi Arabia, the control center for American air operations in the Gulf for more than a decade. About 3,300 American troops are in Qatar, mostly at al-Udeid.
Afghans want informers handed over
Amir Shah, Associated Press, July 5, 2002
Enraged by an American airstrike, an Afghan governor on Friday demanded the United States hand over the Afghan men who are providing intelligence on possible al-Qaida and Taliban hide-outs in his province. Uruzgan Gov. Jan Mohammed Khan also warned that local residents could wage a "holy war" against the United States if another attack goes awry. He said the United States has wrongly attacked his province three times.
What is patriotism?
Various contributors, The Nation, July 22, 2002
Since the tragedy of September 11 and the US response, the Nation community, like the rest of the world, has tried to make sense of these calamitous events. In trying to understand what an appropriate response should be, we thought it would be useful to draw from a special issue on patriotism that we published ten years ago to celebrate both The Nation's 125th anniversary and the birthday of the nation at large. The issue invited people to address the question of just what patriotism is and ought to be.
Bitter Afghans bewail US attack
Ebadullah Ebadi and Elizabeth Neuffer, Boston Globe, July 5, 2002
Residents of this battered hamlet yesterday tallied their dead and missing from a US airstrike on Monday and angrily denied that hostile fire could have prompted the attack. Local elders estimate that more than 150 people - most of them women and children - may have been injured or killed in the attack, which they say hit a late-night wedding celebration. The Afghan government estimated 44 people had been killed.
Sisters in arms
Jonathan Steele, The Guardian, July 5, 2002
Kristina Olsen sits on the stairs of a guest house in Kabul and remembers her sister. Laurie Olsen was a passenger on American Airlines flight 11 which was flown into the World Trade Centre's north tower on September 11. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of her," she says with her head in her hands. Especially not here, on the quest for understanding that has brought her to Afghanistan. Many American families who lost loved ones in the September attacks supported their president's decision to bomb Afghanistan. Some kept their counsel.
Olsen, a nurse from Massachusetts, is one of a number of people who not only opposed the reprisals but, as time went on, felt a growing need to make their opposition public. Her trip to Afghanistan to meet the innocent victims of America's revenge strikes is the most controversial step in her journey so far. She says she came to Kabul "to learn about Afghanistan, but also because I didn't want suffering to be perpetuated".
Why I won't serve Sharon
Shlomi Segall, The Guardian, July 5, 2002
It is remarkable how easily one learns to live with occupation. When I was born, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories was already three years old. When I became 18 the occupation was still in full force, only by then the Palestinians had had enough of it. That was the first intifada. I was there, along with many others, ready to serve as the iron fist to crush the Palestinian resistance. Elsewhere people our age contemplated going to university or travelling around the world, but I and many young Israelis found ourselves in the narrow alleys of Jebaliya and other refugee camps. We should have known better, but almost without exception we didn't.
Bush: Time to mend the crockery
Jim Lobe, Asia Times, July 5, 2002
There is indeed a growing sense in the US and abroad that despite its unprecedented power, Washington is becoming increasingly detached from an international system that it dominates, even as it pursues its global war on terrorism. "The paradox is that we need more and more cooperation, and the world's strongest nation is pulling back," noted Pierre Schori, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, at a recent seminar. "There will be no stability in the world without the US."
Dissent in pursuit of equality, life, liberty and happiness
Howard Zinn interviewed by Sharon Basco, Tom Paine.com, July 3, 2002
While some people think that dissent is unpatriotic, I would argue that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. In fact, if patriotism means being true to the principles for which your country is supposed to stand, then certainly the right to dissent is one of those principles. And if we're exercising that right to dissent, it's a patriotic act.
The last defender of the American republic?
An interview with Gore Vidal
Marc Cooper, AlterNet, July 3, 2002
He might be america's last small-r republican. Gore Vidal, now 76, has made a lifetime out of critiquing America's imperial impulses and has -- through two dozen novels and hundreds of essays -- argued tempestuously that the U.S. should retreat back to its more Jeffersonian roots, that it should stop meddling in the affairs of other nations and the private affairs of its own citizens.
When patriotism turns into paranoia
William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, July 4, 2002
The historical American response to international disorder has been to strengthen and extend international law - the country's policy from the first Theodore Roosevelt government to the second Clinton administration.
The contrary policy of the Pentagon, Congress and the Bush administration seems motivated by fear, but fear of what? Of America's allies themselves? I suppose, in a sense, that is partly the case.
The administration's implicit demand is for a totally free hand in acting internationally. To put it in other language, it wants a grant of unaccountable power. No one is going to agree to that.
Fear has been the principal theme, and the justification offered, for administration policies and public statements since Sept. 11. A different America would have scorned such fear.
Life, liberty, Ashcroft
Mary McGrory, Washington Post, July 4, 2002
On the Fourth of July we celebrate the signing of one of our two most consequential documents, the Declaration of Independence, which is about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," of which there seems to be less all the time. Two hundred and twenty-six years after the tremulous but resolute members of the Continental Congress took up their pens and scratched their names on the radioactive parchment, we have an attorney general whose most active pursuit is of the death penalty.
US seeking a 'two-tier' system of international justice
Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, July 4, 2002
The United States is trying to force a controversial plan through the UN Security Council that would give itself immunity from the new International Criminal Court, creating what some condemned as a two-tier system of justice.
'It was like an abattoir - blood all around'
Saeed Ali Achakzai, The Guardian, July 4, 2002
Eight-year-old Kako was among those woken by the bombing on Sunday night. She ran outside after hearing a loud bang. "I saw the pool in the courtyard filled with blood, there were bodies lying all around. I saw a woman without a head."
Are you a real American?
Take Tom Tomorrow's helpful quiz to find out whether you deserve the right to wrap yourself in red, white and blue.
The rogue state
John Pilger, The Mirror, July 4, 2002
In recent months, the American rogue state has torn up the Kyoto treaty, which would decrease global warming and the probability of environmental disaster. It has threatened to use nuclear weapons in "pre-emptive strikes" (a threat echoed by Hoon). It has tried to sabotage the setting up of an international criminal court, understandably, because its generals and leading politicians might be summoned as defendants.
It has further undermined the authority of the United Nations by allowing Israel to block a UN committee's investigation of the Israeli assault on the Palestinian refugee camp at Jenin; and it has ordered the Palestinians to get rid of their elected leader in favour of an American stooge.
It ignored the World Food Summit in Italy; and at summit conferences in Canada and Indonesia it has blocked genuine aid, such as clean water and electricity, to the most deprived people on earth.
Bush's war is the new Great Game
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, July 4, 2002
How goes the war on terror? President George Bush, America's commander-in-chief, is in no doubt it is going swimmingly - and will say so today. "Our fine servicemen and women are fighting and winning the war on terror," Mr Bush will proclaim in his Independence Day address. "They deserve the gratitude of all people who cherish freedom." Gratitude will come hard to relatives of the 40 Afghan civilians "liberated" from the Taliban yoke only to be killed by the US air force this week north of Kandahar.
The eagle has crash landed
Immanuel Wallerstein, Foreign Policy, July-August, 2002
Pax Americana is over. Challenges from Vietnam and the Balkans to the Middle East and September 11 have revealed the limits of American supremacy. Will the United States learn to fade quietly, or will U.S. conservatives resist and thereby transform a gradual decline into a rapid and dangerous fall?
The United States in decline? Few people today would believe this assertion. The only ones who do are the U.S. hawks, who argue vociferously for policies to reverse the decline. This belief that the end of U.S. hegemony has already begun does not follow from the vulnerability that became apparent to all on September 11, 2001. In fact, the United States has been fading as a global power since the 1970s, and the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks has merely accelerated this decline. To understand why the so-called Pax Americana is on the wane requires examining the geopolitics of the 20th century, particularly of the century's final three decades. This exercise uncovers a simple and inescapable conclusion: The economic, political, and military factors that contributed to U.S. hegemony are the same factors that will inexorably produce the coming U.S. decline.
America is not so special that she can be allowed to shirk her obligations
Editorial, The Independent, July 2, 2002
Washington's obstinacy reflects its visceral opposition to the ICC, as a threat to the supremacy of its own judicial system. That hostility is of the same coin as America's refusal to submit to other international treaties, including those covering global warming, nuclear testing, landmines, and chemical and biological weapons. Essentially, the US is arguing that its special role in world affairs makes it a special case, entitled to different treatment.
But this reasoning simply will not do. Certainly, the US occupies a unique position, in which unchallengeable power brings unparalleled responsibilities. That, however, makes it all the more important that America should play by the international rules – above all when Washington is exhorting all and sundry to join its "war against terrorism". Many will be tempted to draw a parallel between the refusal of the US to observe international norms in its treatment of people rounded up in this "war" and its rejection of the ICC, and conclude that it sees itself as above the law.
Rise of a new imperialism
John Pilger, Sidney Morning Herald, July 3, 2002
It is nearly 10 months since September 11, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked and humane response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the "war on terrorism" - when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them.
Afghan victims speak of errant attack
Associated Press, July 3, 2002
Eight-year-old Ghulam furiously sucked at an oxygen tube Tuesday as he slept on a simple hospital cot that stunk of iodine. Suddenly he awoke, crying for his parents. But Ghulam's father and mother were both killed and he was left critically injured in a pre-dawn attack Monday by coalition forces, relatives said. Afghan officials said the attack killed 40 people - including all 35 members of one family - and injured 100 more in four impoverished villages in southern Afghanistan.
Land of hype and glory
Ros Davidson, Glasgow Sunday Herald, June 30, 2002
When Samuel Johnson said that patriotism was the last refuge of scoundrels, he probably wasn't thinking of crocheted Stars and Stripes doilies or a Kate Spade bag in red, white and blue. For anyone who wants to flaunt American colours this Independence Day there's plenty more where that came from -- Ralph Lauren's limited edition flag teddy bear (a steal at £530), for instance, or Tupperware's Fourth of July dessert cups. America: A Patriotic Primer, a new best-selling children's title by Lynne Cheney, wife of vice- president Dick Cheney, is flying off the shelves in bookshops across the country. Meanwhile newspapers run adverts for Longs Drugs, a US institution: 'We will be open on July 4!' they shriek. American shops are crammed with more sentimental patriotic schlock than for any Independence Day in living memory. Inside one of Longs' huge shops, gaudy Christmas-like decorations are draped from aisle to aisle -- red, white and blue, of course -- and stacked at the front are boxes of Marshmallow Peeps: star-shaped, artificially flavoured and flecked with yet more red, white and blue.
Uninvited guests become neighbors
Sam Bahour, Counterpunch, July 2, 2002
I am the General Manager of the Arab Palestinian Shopping Centers. We are trying to build a chain of modern shopping cetners in the midst of the Israeli re-occuption of Palestinian cities. Below are two personal accounts, one today and one from 4 days ago, of life under Israeli military curfew.
Human rights, American wrongs
Kenneth Roth, Financial Times, June 30, 2002
The most important human rights institution in 50 years [came] into being on Monday, but its future is far from assured.
The US is doing everything it can to undermine the new International Criminal Court. Unless Europe acts decisively, the cause of international justice will be imperilled.
The current battleground is at the United Nations. The Bush administration is pressing to exempt UN peacekeepers from the reach of the court. By undermining the court's universality, the exemption would severely damage its credibility.
The move is the latest manifestation of the view in Washington that international justice is only for others, not for Americans. Yet behind this breathtaking arrogance, the US administration is trying to determine how far it can push its allies. It knows that the European Union has adopted a legally binding common position to defend the letter and spirit of the court's treaty. But it hopes that bluster and threats will force European governments to back down.
IS PRESIDENT BUSH A CROOK?
Bush brushes off question about his business past
Reuters, July 2, 2002
President Bush brushed off a question on Tuesday about whether he may have benefited from a sweetheart deal as a Texas oil man more than a decade ago, saying "everything I do is fully disclosed." New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Tuesday suggested that Bush's dealings may bear similarities to the accounting scandals at Enron Corp and other companies that have undermined faith in corporate America and dragged the stock market down.
See also Everyone is outraged by Paul Krugman
Too much collateral damage
Hans Von Sponeck, Toronto Globe and Mail, July 2, 2002
Six years of revisions to sanctions policy on Baghdad have repeatedly promised "mitigation" of civilian suffering. Yet, in 1999, Unicef confirmed our worst fears: that one child in seven dies before the age of 5 -- an estimated 5,000 excess child deaths every month above the 1989 pre-sanctions rate. Four months ago, Unicef reported that more than 22 per cent of the country's young children remain chronically malnourished, confirming yet again how limited this "mitigation" has been.
President Bush against the world
Editorial, Toronto Globe and Mail, July 3, 2002
The relentless U.S. drift toward isolationism is by now familiar. Eighteen months after President George W. Bush moved into the White House, a lengthy array of complex multilateral issues is bedevilled by a narrow, me-first U.S. foreign policy that seems to neither understand nor much care what the rest of the world thinks.
A coup in The Hague
Hannah M. Wallace, Mother Jones, June 28, 2002
Is Washington's unilateralist bent a threat to multinational organizations? Jose Bustani, ousted as director of the world's largest chemical weapons control group, certainly thinks so. When the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons was formed in 1997, it was given the sweeping charge of enforcing the international Chemical Weapons Convention, the treaty banning such arms. The man appointed to lead that mission was Jose Bustani, an experienced and widely respected Brazilian diplomat.
On April 22 of this year, Bustani was ousted from that post after an unprecedented (and some say unsupportable) vote orchestrated by the Bush White House. Now, Bustani is saying that the implications of that vote should be clear -- and chilling -- for anyone committed to true multinational action.
Homeland Security department must be open and accountable
ACLU Action Alert, June 27, 2002
The Bush Administration's proposed new cabinet-level Homeland Security Department would create an enormous agency with massive authority -- including more armed federal agents with arrest powers than any other branch of government. The President's proposal also explicitly removes structural and legal safeguards necessary to keep the agency open and accountable to the public.
Congress must reject the portions of the President's proposals that exclude the new agency from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and whistleblower protections. It should also require that the agency have a strong and unimpeded Inspector General who can investigate alleged abuses within the agency without the veto of the department secretary. Finally, Congress should reject any proposal that the FBI and CIA be melded into this new department.
Take Action! Congress is rushing with unusual haste to pass the President's sweeping proposal. But some influential Senators and Representatives are already beginning to express concerns about the proposed agency's lack of public accountability. Insist that your Members of Congress keep the new agency open and accountable to the public.
Group returns to wartime mission
Jane L. Levere, New York Times, July 1, 2002
The Ad Council, the public service advertising organization established in 1942 to rally support for the national effort during World War II, is returning to its original mission with a campaign that begins today. [...]
Each ad takes a different approach to the campaign's theme ["Campaign for freedom"]. During one DeVito/Verdi commercial, depicting a street lined with row houses, an announcer says, "On Sept. 11, terrorists tried to change America forever." The image then fades out and is replaced by another of the same street, with a flag flying from each home, as the announcer continues, "Well, they succeeded."
British minister snubs Americans with visit to Arafat
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian, July 3, 2002
Britain delivered an emphatic snub to the United States president, George Bush, last night by sending one of its foreign ministers, Mike O'Brien, to meet the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. Mr O'Brien travelled from Jerusalem through Israeli checkpoints to meet Mr Arafat in his ruined compound in Ramallah in the West Bank. The visit was a clear sign of defiance on the part of the British government, emphasising its determination to go its own way on at least one aspect of Middle East policy: the role of Mr Arafat.
God is not in the constitution
Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, June 28, 2002
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox politics, nationalism, religion, or any other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." Justice Robert Jackson
War on terror puts blocks to 'justice for all'
Marie Cocco, Newday, July 2, 2002
The war on terror unleashed an assault on the Constitution no one has yet seen fit to check. It began with the roundup and secret detention of hundreds of immigrants. They were Arabs and Muslims and not citizens at all, the public seemed to say, so why not find a way to be rid of them? Now the dire predictions of those cranky civil libertarians have become official policy. The government contends American citizens have no legal rights, so long as the president says so.
Afghans express outrage over attack
BBC News, July 2, 2002
The Afghan Government has expressed its outrage at a US military bombardment which left at least 30 villagers dead. Newly-appointed leader Hamid Karzai summoned senior US officials, including the US commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, and "strongly advised them of the grave concern" at the incident. [...]
Foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah told reporters: "This situation has to come to an end. Mistakes can take place, human errors are possible, but our people should be assured that every measure was taken to avoid such incidents". "There is no explanation that in a country where people have suffered so much under al-Qaeda and the Taleban, they continue to suffer as the result of the campaign against al-Qaeda," he said.
Afghan civilians pay heavy price for faulty intelligence
Kim Sengupta, The Independent, July 2, 2002
The bombing of the village of Kakarak may turn out to have caused the largest number of civilian casualties yet in the Afghan war, but it is just the latest tragic mishap during attacks by American forces. Running the war in Afghanistan from headquarters in Tampa Florida, 6,000 miles away, is proving more difficult than expected – even with the aid of the most advanced hi-tech equipment deployed in combat. From the first days of air strikes over Afghanistan, there had been repeated claims of civilians killed by American warplanes. But only since the fall of the Taliban government, and the influx of the media into the country, have the allegations been investigated to any degree.
Cities from Cambridge to Berkeley reject anti-terror measure
Dean Schabner, ABC News, July 1, 2002
Over the last three months, the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge, Northampton and Amherst and the township of Leverett, as well as the town of Carrboro, N.C., all passed resolutions that call the USA Patriot Act a threat to the civil rights of the residents of their communities.
Why we should be worried about George W Bush
Bruce Wilson, Australian Telegraph, June 29, 2002
The world outside the US is now getting used to the fact Americans have a fraudulently elected nitwit as their president, but George W. Bush excelled himself this week with a "long-awaited" definitive speech on Middle East policies that stretched even the weirdest imaginations.
The secret of the settlers' strength
Hannah Kim, Ha'aretz, July 2, 2002
It has been and still is one of the great mysteries: How is it that there is no political expression of the fact that most of the Israeli public is in favor of evacuating the settlements? Why has the state of Israel been dragged over the years into chanting the mantra of the right - Haifa is Nablus, Hadera is Hebron - until it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy? How does Ariel Sharon - yes, he too - promote policies that completely contravene the feelings of the majority of Israelis, who are ready and willing to leave the territories?
How Abd a-Samed became the 116th child killed in Gaza
Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, July 2, 2002
Abd a-Samed Shamalekh, who was supposed to start Grade 4 after the summer vacation, was the 116th Palestinian child the IDF has killed in the Gaza Strip since September 28, 2000. According to figures compiled by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 450 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF during the intifada as of yesterday.
See also Suffer the little children in Mideast
We can't allow US tantrums to scupper global justice
This campaign against the international court reveals a pitiful world view
Hugo Young, The Guardian, July 2, 2002
[The unacceptable face of the anti-ICC position] is ugly, brutish and self-regarding, to the point where it sees only beauty, justice and irreproachable rectitude in the mirror. This is the face of American exceptionalism, shown first by Bill Clinton's narrow-eyed aversion to the ICC, and now in the full-frontal harshness of the Bush regime, threatening to scupper both the court and, failing that, UN peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and anywhere else the US might have forces deployed on such work.
See also Europe seethes as defiant US goes its own way and
Contempt of court - US puts ideology before justice
Civilian catastrophe as US bombs Afghan wedding
Staff and agencies, The Guardian, July 1, 2002
US helicopter gunships and jets today fired on an Afghan wedding, killing or injuring at least 250 civilians, witnesses and hospital officials said. The attack occurred in the village of Kakarak in Uruzgan province, in the south of the country, where special forces and other coalition troops were searching for remaining al-Qaida and Taliban fighters.
One survivor, Abdul Qayyum, told reporters at a Kandahar hospital that the attack began shortly after midnight and continued for more than two hours until US special forces ground troops moved into the area. "The Americans came and asked me 'who fired on the helicopters', and I said 'I don't know' and one of the soldiers wanted to tie my hands but someone said he is an old man and out of the respect they didn't," he said.
Afghans often fire weapons during weddings in celebration.
Hospital officials said a number of wounded were being brought to Kandahar. Most of the dead and injured were women and children.
World's silence over Sharon's military policies
Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz, July 1, 2002
The world's sudden, uncustomary silence over Israeli military policies could give Ariel Sharon unprecedented latitude - license to take far-reaching military actions, or to refrain from acting diplomatically - in what could mean license to kill the peace process.
Mideast needs new mediator
Jimmy Carter, USA Today, June 30, 2002
The United States has now joined almost all other nations in accepting the basic premises of Israeli withdrawal, peace between Arab states and Israel, and a Palestinian state. This is a notable decision, but further progress is undermined by our almost undeviating approval of Israel's demands and our refusal to deal with the Palestinian leaders who are apt to be re-elected in January. The situation seems likely to fester until then, and perhaps long afterward.
A new questioning of the war
David Broder, Washington Post, June 30, 2002
In San Francisco, during a taping of PBS's "Washington Week," a member of the studio audience asked the panel why we had said that support for the war remained strong, "because I don't know anyone here who favors it." The next night, at a social gathering, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown asked skeptically, "How do you wage war on a technique?" And, he added, "How do you ever know when you have won?"
At every stop in Iowa, [would-be Democratic presidential nominee, Vermont Gov. Howard] Dean heard similar questions. Many involved not just the war itself but also its effects on personal liberty and political dissent. Attorney General John Ashcroft was a frequent target.
"Monomedia" and the First Amendment
Norman Solomon, FAIR, June 27, 2002
Beginning early last fall, a function of monomedia was to let us know that massive U.S. bombing of Afghanistan was wise, prudent and just. After all, it was a necessary safety measure to protect ourselves as a nation!
But on June 16 a front-page New York Times article, citing "senior government officials," reported that the Pentagon's killing spree in Afghanistan did not make Americans any safer: "Classified investigations of the (Al) Qaeda threat now under way at the FBI and CIA have concluded that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the threat to the United States, the officials said. Instead, the war might have complicated counterterrorism efforts by dispersing potential attackers across a wider geographic area."
Such a flat-out conclusion -- about 180 degrees from the trumpeted rationale for spending billions of our tax dollars to kill thousands of people in Afghanistan -- might seem to merit more than a few dozen words. But the Times did not belabor the point. The assessment, while prominent, was brief and fleeting. It seemed to cause little stir in American news media.
Bush overplays the terror card
It's 'unpatriotic' to say that corrupt business is ruining our economy
Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2002
Has the war on terrorism become the modern equivalent of the Roman Circus, drawing the people's attention away from the failures of those who rule them? Corporate America is a shambles because deregulation, the mantra of our president and his party, has proved to be a license to steal. Yet to question our leaders' stewardship of the economy has been made to seem unpatriotic.
Although combating terrorism is of compelling importance--and should have been before Sept. 11--one is likely to be branded a nut for daring to suggest that the administration might be using current security threats as a smoke screen to obscure our floundering economy.
Yet, after the miserable performance of the stock market these past five weeks, the forced resignations and indictments of corporate titans (not to mention the conviction of a top accounting firm), the humbling of the dollar and a rise in the trade gap, isn't it time to ask whether the war on terrorism isn't being milked as a convenient distraction? The question seems particularly relevant when our man in the White House has had close personal and financial ties to the company--Enron--whose demise is the most glaring symbol of the broad moral disarray of the nation's corporate culture.
Ed Vulliamy, The Observer, June 30, 2002
The scandals [World Com, Enron, Xerox, etc] have rocked Washington and redefined the political agenda. For the first time since 11 September, there is a bitter, domestic issue to the fore. The administration of President George Bush has been rocked back on its heels - joining the chorus of condemnation, with a major speech on corporate reforms planned for next week. Mindful of the fact that nearly half of all voters are shareholders, Bush has so far reacted in language that echoes Teddy Roosevelt's famous lines about the 'malefactors of great wealth'. But most analysts see in his reaction a case of the jitters. Bush has extremely close ties to those malefactors - no administration has been so closely associated with, and beholden to, corporate America.
Young icons of death who warn the world of the rise of Hamas
Peter Beaumont, The Observer, June 30, 2002
The rise in popularity of Hamas has also been noted with worry by European diplomats who fear that far from uprooting terrorism, and the scourge of the suicide bomber, Israel and the United States' joint policy of isolating Arafat and dismantling his institutions is making the suicide bombers stronger.
Pledging allegiance to fundamentalism
David Corn, AlterNet, June 28, 2002
A Christian socialist who turned his back on religion. That's the guy whose handiwork politicians of both parties and religious right leaders rushed to defend this past week. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister in upstate New York who sermonized against the materialism of the Gilded Age and who resigned from his church after businessmen cut off funding because of his socialist activities and lectures, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. Now his words, composed for a magazine-sponsored school program celebrating the quadricentennial of Columbus Day, are treated as a sacred writ. Holy irony!
A flock of chickenhawks
Randolph T. Holhut, The American Reporter, June 2, 2002
Why does it always seem like the distinguished folks who scream the loudest for the use of military force are the ones who never spent a day in uniform? The super-patriots who wormed their way out of military service when it was their time to fight have richly earned the title of "chickenhawks." Daniel Fowle, editor and publisher of The New Hampshire Gazette, has made it easy to keep track of the men who, in his words, "share a number of qualities: a tendency to favor American military action, past, present and future; allegiance to the Republican Party, and a paradoxical lack of military service despite there having been a war on in their youth."
Blair's aides denounce US 'blundering' in Afghan war
Christina Lamb, The Telegraph, June 30, 2002
Senior officials in the [British] Prime Minister's office have launched an astonishing attack on America's handling of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'eda fugitives. They have told The Telegraph that troops carrying out house-to-house searches in the remote tribal areas of Pakistan along the Afghanistan border were "blundering" with a "march-in-shooting" approach. The US action was "backfiring", increasing support for terrorism and making it harder for bin Laden and his henchmen to be caught. "The Americans think they and the Pakistanis can just march in shooting", said an official closely involved in the direction of the war. "They don't understand the sensitivities. We have years of experience in the tribal areas and we know using force will just backfire and increase sympathy for al-Qa'eda."
HOME | ABOUT | CONTACT | Copyright © 2002-2004 Paul Woodward
A daily record of America's post-9/11 impact on the world
Researched, edited and sprinkled with occasional commentary by Paul Woodward
Sign up for weekly email updates
DIRECTORY OF LINKS
A resource for more information about Iraq, the Middle East conflict, Afghanistan, Korea, nuclear proliferation, war, peace, and the foreign policies of the Bush Administration.
SUPPORT THIS SITE!
Get a DVD!
USS Liberty Survivors: Our Story
:: Search Site :: Archives
archives prior to April 21, 2002
Not In Our Name
A Statement Of Conscience