The War in Context  
  Iraq + war on terrorism + Middle East conflict + critical perspectives     
'We're not human shields, but we'll stay through the bombing'
Kim Sengupta, The Independent, December 15, 2002

They have been accused of naivety and vilified as traitors, but for Kathy Kelly and her colleagues in Voices in the Wilderness, that is something which comes with the territory.

Many of them have suffered far worse than abuse in their years of campaigning for peace. Ms Kelly, who founded the group, spent a year in a maximum security prison in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1988 for repeatedly trespassing on to a nuclear missile site. She currently faces a $10,000 (£6,300) fine for breaking sanctions regulations.

Now members of her group intend to stay in Iraq for the next few critical months, during which a war may begin. They have inevitably become known as "human shields" who position themselves at bombing targets, in the hope of deterring American and British warplanes.

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Flawed assumptions on war
David Isenberg, Asia Times, December 14, 2002

The view that there simply is no alternative to invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein is one that is largely accepted by the US media and public. Over and over the administration points out certain, inarguable points: that Saddam is a brutal, despicable dictator responsible for horrific human rights abuses; that he has repeatedly threatened and attacked his neighbors; that he has violated international law and treaty commitments; that he continues to seek nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

So, the thinking goes, it may be unpleasant, but there really is no other choice. Or is there?

In fact, the assumptions underlying that thinking are highly debatable. The most recent prominent critique of those assumptions is a study released last month by the Committee of International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: "War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives."

See also War with Iraq: Costs, consequences, and alternatives (93-page PDF document)

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100,000 demand end to the 50-year US domination of South Korea, December 14, 2002

A crowd estimated to be more than 60,000 by the police staged a peaceful anti-US march in South Korea. The marchers demanded a retrial of the Americans responsible for the deaths of two Korean girls, a more sincere, meaningful apology from George Bush, and an end to the 50-year US domination of South Korea.

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Why does Washington concentrate its fire on Iraq rather than North Korea?
Fergal Keane, The Independent, December 14, 2002

Think of a country that possessed weapons of mass destruction, had already waged war on its neighbour, which kept its citizenry in a state of abject misery and fear, and you would think of a certain country which was shortly to be the target of a US military invasion. Well no, actually. North Korea might be part of George Bush's "axis of evil", it might have all the attributes of the Iraqi state but it isn't going to be an American target any time soon. This is because North Korea has one major advantage. It's a great deal more dangerous than Iraq.

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Exit Henry Kissinger
Editorial, New York Times, December 14, 2002

Henry Kissinger's decision yesterday to step aside as chairman of the Sept. 11 investigative commission clears the way for a fresh start for this critically important endeavor. The nation needs an unflinching review of the government failures that preceded the terror attacks. The only way to conduct such an inquiry is if all the commission members are free of business interests that could influence their work. President Bush, who selects the chairman of the 10-member panel, must now find someone of unquestioned independence and boldness.

See also Kissinger pulls out as chief of inquiry into 9/11 attacks

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Four in 10 speak with conviction: No war
Howard Troxler, St. Petersburg Times, December 13, 2002

About 55 percent of Americans support a ground invasion of Iraq, according to a current poll. Only 39 percent oppose one.

One way of looking at that support is that it is a decisive majority.

Another way is that if support dips a few points, and opposition jumps a few points, the universe is a lot different.

Even now, with four in 10 Americans saying no, it's not as though the existing opposition is a lunatic fringe.

Yet the traditional U.S. media (big newspapers, TV networks, news magazines) have been slow to explore the depth and breadth of antiwar sentiment in America. Antiwar efforts have been downplayed while reporters focus on the prospect of bang-bang.

This failure is based on a collective editorial misjudgment -- writing off the dissenters as irrelevant kooks. It also is based on a subconscious reluctance to appear "disloyal."

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Leagues apart, Iraqi exiles convene in London
Infighting, absence of key figures and diminished importance to U.S. limit meeting's relevance

Daniel Williams and Peter Slevin, Washington Post, December 13, 2002

As the United States builds toward a possible invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi exile leaders have convened in London in a show of precarious unity in hopes of guaranteeing a role for themselves in the future of their country.

But the main organizations and leaders here have competing ambitions, and key representatives of Iraqi society are missing. As a result, the show of unity will be just that -- largely a show.

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Muhammad Atta's neighborhood
Carla Power and Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, December 16, 2002

The worn barber chair in the little shop on Madbuh Street has been there for 40 years. The photo of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in the cluttered cabinet is almost as old.

But the signs taped in the windows - laboriously hand-lettered in classical Arabic - are nearly new. IRAQ IS THE CEMETERY FOR BUSH THE CRIMINAL, reads one. BUSH IS A SERIAL KILLER, reads another. YOU ARABS SHOULD UNITE, a third sign counsels. UNITY IS POWER.

"I drew them myself," says the 75-year-old barber, Salah Abdelaziz Moussa. Confronted by an American journalist, his smile is weary but welcoming. He shows none of the fury poured onto the many taped-up pages, or that he often hears from customers. He offers tea.

If there is war between Washington and Baghdad, the reporter wants to know, what then? Will the streets of Egypt and the rest of the Muslim world explode? Will it help spawn suicidal terrorists and plots to bring on the apocalypse? Or does the anger begin with slogans - and end there, too? It’s a vital calculation. The Bush administration is betting nothing will happen. Saddam is betting that everything will, and so is Osama bin Laden.

"Only God knows," says the barber. "But think of this: if you come here to my street and you beat somebody on the head in front of all of us—maybe we will wait a little bit, maybe we will not react right away—but eventually we will turn against you, and we will explode, and we will not let you alone."

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Islam and the West:
Incompatibility of values

William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, December 12, 2002

In the months following the terrorist attacks of September 2001, it was politically taboo to say that the United States had in some way brought these attacks upon itself. Television talk show hosts and print journalists lost their jobs for suggesting such a thing.

Yet anyone with any serious knowledge of the American relationship in recent years with the Muslim Middle East knows that it is true, even if it is only part of the truth.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is a self-evident source of the alienation of Arab Muslims from the United States since 1948, and particularly since 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The essential cause for conflict, however, is one that commentators are trying to get at when they talk about the "crisis of modernization" in the Islamic world. It is the incompatibility of values between Islamic society and the modern West. The power and material dynamism of the West seem inseparable from a value system that demands that Muslims give up their moral identity.

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Profiles in protest
Romesh Ratnesar, Time, December 9, 2002

A former fourth-grade teacher who sews quilts for peace, a 24-year-old who is the closest thing to a professional pacifist, a Gulf War veteran who is trying to rally his brethren against Gulf War II — these are the new faces of the peace movement, a motley collection of activists who would seem to have little chance of changing popular sentiment but have started to make their voices heard all the same. Some protests have been hard to miss, like the Oct. 26 march on Washington that drew 100,000 people. But for months the antiwar movement has been churning in smaller, less clamorous ways. In Dallas antiwar protesters wore yellow ribbons and read poetry at the city's cultural festival; in Miami a dozen people wave NO WAR signs on U.S. 1 every Friday during rush hour. This week several peace groups plan to stage protests in at least 15 states — but don't expect the spectacle of Vietnam War — era rallies. "You can't burn a flag here," says Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, a longtime Dallas peace activist. "Here people are very image conscious, and the image of peace protesters is very weird."

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An unnecessary war
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, January-February, 2003

The belief that Saddam’s past behavior shows he cannot be contained rests on distorted history and faulty logic. In fact, the historical record shows that the United States can contain Iraq effectively—even if Saddam has nuclear weapons—just as it contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Regardless of whether Iraq complies with U.N. inspections or what the inspectors find, the campaign to wage war against Iraq rests on a flimsy foundation.

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Israeli censors ban movie on IDF operation in

Associated Press, December 12, 2002

Israel's censorship board has banned a movie produced by an Israeli Arab that depicts events in the West Bank Palestinian town of Jenin during an Israeli military offensive in April, a board official said Tuesday.

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Pakistan is being slowly Talibanised
Musharraf has handed over the border regions to al-Qaida allies

Isabel Hilton, The Guardian, December 11, 2002

Akram Khan Durrani is not a politician likely to loom large on the world stage. But in his own pond, Mr Durrani is a very large fish. And his pond - Pakistan's North West Frontier Province - has, since September 11, become a place of strategic interest. It is of more than passing concern, then, that when Mr Durrani was sworn in as the new chief minister of NWFP, he banned the sale of alcohol, put an end to all gambling and outlawed music in all public vehicles.

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U.S. set to use mines in Iraq
Tom Squitieri, USA Today, December 11, 2002

The Pentagon is preparing to use anti-personnel land mines in a war with Iraq, despite U.S. policy that calls for the military to stop using the mines everywhere in the world except Korea by 2003.

To prepare for a possible war with Baghdad, the Pentagon has stockpiled land mines at U.S. bases in countries ringing Iraq, according to Pentagon records. The decision to make the mines available comes despite a recent report by the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, concluding that their use in the 1991 Gulf War impeded U.S. forces while doing nothing to impair Iraqi forces.

Using the mines would stoke the international debate over the merits and morality of using land mines, which can remain deadly long after fighting ends.

From 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed or maimed worldwide each year by land mines, according to the United Nations. Of those, 80% are civilians and one-third are children.

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The peace warriors
David Montgomery, Washington Post, December 10, 2002

If you knew where to look around Washington this past week, you saw anarchists scouting Army recruiting offices for good places to get arrested, socialists sticking red flag pins on a map to mark where the masses are mobilizing, anti-corporate-globalization kids zipping themselves up in white vinyl body bags they bought online for $7.

But let's not define the movement only by its wild frontiers. Don't forget the suburban seniors fixing to march on the White House in spite of arthritis and titanium kneecaps, women wearing pink keeping vigil in the cold, Quakers in the basement debating slogans that are too long and nuanced to fit on a bumper sticker, mainline Protestant pooh-bahs buying newspaper ads, union bosses taking a gut check of the rank and file, professional peaceniks holding 50-person conference calls, drafting white papers, asking for money . . .

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Here we go again
Jonathan Raban, The Guardian, December 11, 2002

Somewhere in the letters-home of Gertrude Bell, the doughty English archaeologist and colonial administrator, there is a description of a pleasant afternoon spent riding in the Mesopotamian desert in 1918 or 1919. Bell trails a walking stick in the sand. Behind her, Arab boys erect cairns to mark the future boundary between what will eventually become the states of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Bell was one of the many British and French nation-builders who carved up Arabia in the years following the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916. The lines they drew in the sand rarely corresponded to any pre-existent historical, tribal, cultural or geographical reality. The nations they invented were arbitrary agglomerations, their borders thrown up around dozens of warring local sheikdoms. These fictional states were given kings (the British loved to create monarchies in their own image) and elegant written constitutions, as if the right sort of ceremonial language and regular 21-gun salutes could somehow transform the chaos of post-Ottoman Arabia into a neat patchwork of Denmarks, Hollands and Swedens with date palms and minarets.

A nation so fancifully constructed does not easily lend itself to governance. You need a warlord, with a loyal standing army and a far-flung force of secret policemen, to prevent the country from falling into the turmoil that is the natural state to which it is perpetually tending. The systems of government that have evolved in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are paranoid family dictatorships with ancestral roots in a single city or village. Thus the Assad family of Qurdaha, an Alawite village up in the hills behind Latakia, Syria's Mediterranean port. Thus the Saud family of Riyadh, an oasis-town in the Nejd desert, now the capital of Saudi Arabia. Thus the Husseins of Tikrit, a town 90 miles north of Baghdad, and the birthplace of Saladin. (Saddam's full name is Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti.)

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Carter uses peace prize speech to condemn US policy
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, December 11, 2002

The former US president, Jimmy Carter, marked his elevation to the status of Nobel peace laureate yesterday by chiding President Bush on his doctrine of pre-emptive war, and urging him to respect the UN's role in Iraq.

The comments, delivered at the Nobel awards ceremony in Oslo, were the second time that the award has been used as a vehicle for criticism of US preparations for a possible war on Saddam Hussein.

In a speech that deplored the emergence of terror and sectarian conflict since the end of the cold war, Mr Carter said the United Nations - though flawed - remained the best way of ensuring global harmony.

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children," Mr Carter said.

If there were doubts that Mr Carter was speaking directly to the hawks of the Bush administration, who have argued that a strike on Iraq is essential to eliminating Baghdad as a nuclear threat, the former president dispelled them.

"For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventative war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences," he said.

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Response to gas, germ warfare may be nuclear: U.S.
White House threatens 'overwhelming force' in retaliation

Associated Press, December 10, 2002

The White House issued a chilling reminder today to Iraq and other hostile countries the United States is prepared to use "overwhelming force" - including nuclear weapons - in response to any chemical or biological attack.

In a new, six-page mission statement on countering weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, the U.S. administration underscored long-standing policy that the United States "reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force - including through resort to all of our options - to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad and friends and allies."

That passage intends to threaten U.S. nuclear retaliation as a deterrent to hostile governments, said senior administration officials who briefed journalists about the document.

The officials emphasized the strategy, developed jointly by U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and homeland security adviser Tom Ridge, is an overall statement of the administration's overarching principles. Its timing, however, coincides with other muscle-flexing by President George W. Bush designed to show Iraqi President Saddam Hussein the United States is serious about seeing him disarmed.

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Groups gather to protest Iraq war
Allen G. Breed, Associated Press, December 10, 2002

From Indiana Mennonites collecting care packages for Iraq's poor to a "die-in" on an Ivy League campus, Americans took to the streets Tuesday in mostly small, low-key events to protest a possible war with Iraq. More than 100 people were arrested.

World War II veteran Ray Kaepplinger was picketing outside a Chicago federal office building as 20 people were being arrested in the lobby for criminal trespass.

Kaepplinger, 84, said he had "been through the plume of hell in New Guinea" and didn't want to see another war erupt. "As far as I'm concerned, President George II is as bad as Saddam Hussein," he said.

About half the 200 protesters outside the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York were arrested for disorderly conduct, including clergy members. Across the country in Sacramento, Calif., nine were taken into custody for blocking the entrance to a federal courthouse.

"It's my first time ever," said Maria Cornejo, 41, a mother of four from Dixon, Calif. "That's how important this is."

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‘Keep America safe; win without war’
December 10, 2002

Following is the text of the letter to President Bush sent by Artists United to Win Without War.

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US arms Algeria for fight against Islamic terror
Giles Tremlett, The Guardian, December 10, 2002

The US has agreed to sell arms to Algeria to help it put down the Islamic rebellion which has cost more than 100,000 lives in the past 10 years.

In its wish to win the support of Muslim states for its war on terrorism, Washington appears to have replaced its previous reluctance to arm Algiers, because of its bad human rights record, with admiration.

Announcing the agreement as he ended a visit to Algiers yesterday, William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, said: "Washington has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism."
Algerian radical Islamists took up arms against the military establishment when the 1992 general election, which the Islamic Salvation Front was expected to win by a landslide, was abandoned and the generals took control.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since then, according to the government. Independent sources put the number at more than 150,000.

The army has been accused of carrying out some of the village massacres - the main characteristic of the conflict - which it has blamed on the Islamists. An exiled former paratroop officer, Habib Souaidia, is among those who say he has witnessed them.

He said he had been ordered to "exterminate anyone who supports the Islamists, not just terrorists".

"The army was also killing indiscriminately to smear the Islamist terrorists."

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Rumsfeld's abrasive style sparks conflict
Dave Moniz, USA Today, December 9, 2002

Rumsfeld, who left Monday on a five-day trip to the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa, is poised to lead the United States into its biggest war in a decade. The worry is that he would ignore crucial advice from top commanders or that commanders would censor themselves, reasoning that it would be risky to disagree with him.

Some of that concern has diminished in recent weeks, after Rumsfeld abandoned his original notion of a relatively small ground force of 75,000 troops to attack Iraq and approved plans for an invasion that would use up to 250,000.

But Rumsfeld's initial insistence that a modest strike force could do the job led some senior officers to wonder if he would accept unnecessary risk to prove a point about his vision of modern warfare.

"I think he is probably at a critical juncture," says Paul Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general. "I am amazed at how widespread some of the sentiment about Rumsfeld is. The difficulties that people in the Pentagon are having with the secretary are being transmitted far and wide to troops in the field."

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Dalai Lama troubled by Israel's treatment of the Palestinians
PR Newswire, December 10, 2002

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader and one of the world's most recognized moral authorities, is "particularly troubled" by the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of
the Israelis, Scott A. Hunt notes in his new book The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World's Great Peacemakers. [...]

The Dalai Lama abhors violence from all quarters. He has been extremely supportive of Judaism and Jewish people throughout the world. He holds that the Wailing Wall is one of the most sacred spots on earth. After visiting the Holy Land, though, he could not help but notice the dire poverty and social instability facing the Palestinian people, as opposed to the relative comfort and wealth in Israel proper. He notes that this inequality does not contribute to a culture of peace.

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Is Bush deaf to church doubts on Iraq war?
Jim Wallis, Boston Globe, December 9, 2002

Recent news stories indicate that the White House and new Republican controlled Congress intend to put the president's faith-based initiative high on the agenda for 2003. But the president is not acknowledging another faith-based initiative - the strong majority of Christian leaders opposing a war against Iraq.

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Most Israelis, Palestinians agree on terms of new state
Associated Press, December 10, 2002

Most Palestinians and Israelis agree about setting up a Palestinian state in all or most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but each deeply mistrusts the other's intentions about peace and an end of violence.

A survey released yesterday and sponsored by the Washington and Brussels-based Search for Common Ground group, was carried out by separate pollsters in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The main question was whether the people would accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, when Israel captured the territories. The poll indicated that 72 percent of the Palestinians would be willing to renounce violence if Israel would be willing to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state on terms acceptable to the Palestinians.

A similar percentage on the Israeli side said it would be ready to favor the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders if they were confident that the Palestinians would genuinely forgo the use of violence.

See the complete poll report (PDF format).

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Poisoning the air
US reports of Iraqi stockpiles of nerve gas antidote should be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism

Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, December 9, 2002

One of the oldest tricks in the run-up to a war is to spread terrifying stories of things that the enemy may be about to do. Government officials plant these tales, journalists water them and the public, for the most part, swallow them.

On November 12, the New York Times reported that Iraq had ordered a million doses of a well known antidote to nerve gas. This information came from "senior Bush administration officials" whom the paper did not name, and was soon regurgitated by other news media across the US and beyond.

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Daniel Ellsberg: 'It's time to take risks'
Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, December 10, 2002

"I believe Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz are using our own troops as bait. There will be deaths, and they know that."

Ellsberg [who leaked documents that exposed US government lies and helped end the Vietnam war] has noted that there have been frequent leaks about the war plans in recent weeks. "There is great dissent and that is clearly the major reason for the leaking. It is clear that the administration is filled with people who believe this is reckless, unnecessary, foolish ... I am using every opportunity to say to people in the government who are in the position that I was then, and who know that their president is lying us into a wrongful and reckless war, to do what I wish I had done in 1964-65: to go to Congress and the press with documents and tell the truth. That would be a risk but there are times when big risks are worth that to save a lot of lives."

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On remote hilltops, Israelis broaden settlements
Molly Moore, Washington Post, December 8, 2002

In the past two years -- since the start of the Palestinian uprising and the subsequent election of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon -- the number of new settlement outposts has exploded in the West Bank, far outstripping the pace of growth before 2001, according to records kept by several monitoring organizations.

At least 66 new Jewish outposts, or fledgling settlements, have sprouted across the ridgelines and hilltops in those two years, compared with the 44 outposts started over the previous five years combined, according to Peace Now, an advocacy group that opposes Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More than two-thirds of the new outposts were established in the past 11 months, the most intense period of the conflict.

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Anonymous sources fueling push for war
Douglas Turner, Buffalo News, December 9, 2002

A generation ago, the great investigative reporter and columnist Jack Anderson said that when the press was doing its best work, it performed as "the alternative source of information."

He meant alternative to the government. Admittedly, it was another time, when editors and newsrooms ran newspapers. Anderson did his job so well that there were speculations in the Nixon White House about whether to have him killed.

Right now, with the Bush administration talking war almost daily, I think the country could use a bit more of Anderson's "alternative" approach toward reporting national affairs.

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Lack of hard evidence complicates U.S. aims
Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, December 8, 2002

Now that Iraq has completed its report, pressure will mount on the United States to produce solid evidence to bolster its contention that Hussein still has an extensive program to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in violation of the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War. U.S. officials have refrained from providing such evidence until now on the grounds that it would enable Baghdad to fill in gaps in its "full and final" accounting of its arsenal.

In briefings last week, senior administration officials went out of their way to play down expectations of dramatic new evidence showing that Iraq has been caught red-handed. As one White House official put it, this will not be like the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, shocked the Security Council with spy-plane photos of Soviet missile emplacements in Cuba.

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Peace movement growing below U.S. radar
Allan Thompson, Toronto Star, December 9, 2002

Jane Coe says she cannot sit home any longer and listen to the drums beating for war against Iraq. So, tomorrow, she'll take to the streets of the U.S. capital to join this country's growing anti-war movement.

"I'm not an activist really. I much prefer letter-writing to marching,'' the 64-year-old anthropologist said this weekend. "But I just couldn't sit at home any longer amid this drift, and all the buildup to a war in Iraq that we don't need."

Coe is helping to organize a peace march in downtown Washington on International Human Rights Day, a rally expected to bring together faith groups, seniors and peace activists.

"The public discourse is: `Bomb 'em. Gear up for war.' But in terms of Iraq, they didn't have anything to do with Al Qaeda, so linking them to terrorism is stretching it. And we need to give weapons inspections a chance to work. That's a chance, that's a hope,'' Coe said.

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Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US
David R. Francis, Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 2002

Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person.

This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby.

For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War.

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At Ground Zero, Iraq is 'a totally different thing'
Peter H. King, Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2002

I came to Ground Zero -- which is stripped of debris, sanitized and surrounded now by tidy steel fence work -- to ask people who live and work around it about Iraq, about the possibility of war. It seemed logical enough.

In pressing for "regime change" in Iraq, the Bush administration and other advocates have made repeated references to this hole in the ground and all that it represents. They see Ground Zero and the showdown with Iraq as points on the same line, part of a general "war on terror" that had in 9/11 its Pearl Harbor.

In a speech Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney put it this way: "Confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror. It is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror."

Not all the New Yorkers I bumped into, though, could follow such logic. Some failed to see -- beyond the rhetoric of politics -- any connective tissue between the hell unleashed here on Sept. 11 and the case for taking on Hussein.

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New breed of patriots speaking up
Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2002

Under pressure from a campaign that drew together liberals and Libertarians, Democrats and even a few Republicans, the Eugene City Council recently joined a growing list of local governments calling for a full or partial repeal of the Patriot Act, part of a nascent nationwide effort organizers hope will persuade Congress to undo the law.

Last week, city councils in Sebastopol, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, and Burlington, Vt., joined with their own resolutions, and activists are busy in Pasadena, Santa Barbara and at least eight other California communities.

The campaign began in November 2001 in Northampton, Mass., although the first cities to pass resolutions were Ann Arbor, Mich., and Denver, said Nancy Talanian, one of the Massachusetts organizers. So far, 17 cities have passed resolutions, and campaigns are underway in at least 50 cities in 25 states.

Organizers hope that by marshaling the voices of locally elected officials, they can better pressure Congress.

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Anti-war protesters are flowing in from the mainstream
Marjie Lundstrom, Sacramento Bee, December 5, 2002

In Chico, a shy, 83-year-old World War II veteran and former naval officer surprises his son by attending an anti-war protest outside Rep. Wally Herger's office, where 21 are arrested.

In Sacramento, a land surveyor for the state rounds up his book group to attend three peace rallies in Sacramento and San Francisco.

In the Bay Area, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur creates a Web site whose current anti-war agenda has attracted nearly 600,000 Internet followers.

It has been four weeks since I wrote about the burgeoning anti-war movement and the flawed media coverage around it. The stories have been pouring in since...

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Women wait for right to vote in Kuwait
Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, December 8, 2002

Massoumah al-Mubarak knows the power of democracy in Kuwait. She has felt its sting all too sharply.

When Kuwait's emir decreed women should have the vote, the freewheeling Parliament - a rare symbol of democratic ideals in the Persian Gulf - used its constitutional powers to overrule him. A week later legislators rejected women's suffrage again in a separate bill.

"This is what they are so proud of here," said al-Mubarak, a professor of international relations and prominent women's activist. "They use the tools of democracy to undermine democracy."

Nearly 12 years ago, U.S.-led forces drove Iraqi occupiers from Kuwait amid promises of political equality in Kuwait, promises that made it easier to sell Americans on a distant war to protect a tiny, wealthy autocracy. As U.S. troops mass here for a possible second war against Iraq, Kuwaiti democracy remains an ideal that is usually discussed using comparisons.

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