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Guten Morgen Mr. Bush - 500 Beiträge pro Seite

Was hat Bush sonst noch gesagt?

The Worst President Ever


By: Norm. Walker - 02/10/03

For those of you that don’t know, Helen Thomas is a veteran White House correspondent who has been saying "Thank you, Mr. President," since her first press conference in 1961.

Helen has worked with eight Presidents and she says that George W. is the worst President ever. She has clearly stated, "He is the worst President in all of American history. She is in a position to have some authority on the subject.

George W. is the twelfth President of my lifetime. And, I’m convinced he is a walking talking disaster that is taking place in the United States every day he is in office. Even though his reading skills have improved in the past two years he is an embarrassment to the country in front of the rest of the world. When he is off script he is incapable of clarity of speech or meaning.

He stands before Congress and the American people in what we call the State of the Union and proceeds to deliver a Republican wish list as a substitute for the reality of our condition. Admittedly he did gloss over some negative conditions and hurriedly moved on.

Let’s take a close look at his speech and break it down by the amount of time on certain subjects. The time Bush spent talking about issues in his speech:

3 min - (Intro);

4 min - Economy/Corporate Crime/Tax-Cut;

2 min - AIDS in Africa;

26 sec - Social Security:

3 min - Energy / Environment;

4 min - Health Care / Elderly;

5 min - Faith Base / Mentor Program;

4 min - Abortion;

8 min - Terrorists / 9-11;

26 min - MWD/North Korea/Iraq

How much time did he spend on Homeland Security, States Budget, Unemployment, Poverty, Gas Prices, or the Price of War? I didn’t hear anything.

Daily more and more Americans are unemployed, financially ruined and uninsured, have lost their home and unemployment benefits, can`t afford to go to school or buy prescription drugs, and their country is about to squander $100 billion to $200 billion and put 150,000 American men and women in harm`s way while giving the wealthiest Americans the biggest tax break in history. If this is not ineptness I don’t know how else to describe it.

The majority of States are suffering from Revenue shortfalls. They can’t come up with the money to fund their governments. All of this has happened since Bush took office. Some Governors have described the current situation as the worst since the Great Depression. And have we heard any suggestions from The Twig on how to remedy this problem? I think not.

This is the Twigs reasoning when describing his proposed Tax Cut. Nineteen people are in a room and are fully employed making minimum wage of $5.15 per hour for 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year which gives them a total earning of $10,712.00 each for a $203,528.00 total. Bring in another person that makes $596,472.00 per year and now the average income for 20 people is $40,000.00 and his Tax Cut average is $1100.00 per year. This is what is known as rhetorical claptrap.

I’m amazed that this President can hold the average American is such low regard. His arrogance is pure contempt for Mr. Average American. He behaves as if the 100 million people that didn’t vote for him have no say in this democracy.

No doubt Helen Thomas is right on target. He is the worst President in the history of the United States and history will so regard him.

And for all this we can all say "Thank you, Mr. President."

Norm. Walker is a contributing writer for Liberal Slant.
The old and the ancient world confront Powell with new realities

Gary Younge in New York
Saturday February 15, 2003
The Guardian

The Russians smiled, the Chinese nodded, the French relaxed, the British froze in solemn contemplation and the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, stared sourly into the empty space where his now discredited case for war had shone only last week.
The answer to the question of whether the world was moving towards war or peace was written on the faces of the permanent members of the UN security council yesterday, following the report of Hans Blix.

The body language around him was precisely the opposite to the last time he spoke, two weeks ago, when his report had been far more critical of Iraq than most had expected. Yesterday, as he suggested that, while problems remained, improvements had been made and solutions may yet emerge, the doves cooed and the hawks delayed their swoop.

While Mr Blix`s report did not represent a clear endorsement of either camp there could be little doubt which side of an increasingly polarised divide had been strengthened.

All sides sought to laugh off the tension of the past week, during which the French and German resistance to war was dismissed as the peevishness of "old Europe". The Chinese went further, insisting they were "ancient". Mr Powell said he was representing "the newest country and the oldest democracy", while only the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, sparked any laughter with the claim: "I speak for a very old country... founded in 1066 by the French."

Responding to the report, the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, delivered an impassioned speech calling for more time in the name of peace and the unity of cultures that verged on the utopian.

Mr Powell could scarcely contain his irritation. With frustration and without notes, unyielding in his argument and relentless in his pace, he unloaded questions to the security council in rapid succession. "Are they serious? Are they going to comply? Are they going to cooperate?" he asked of the Iraqis.

In what may yet prove a reflection of global opinion, the chamber greeted Mr Villepin`s contribution with applause and Mr Powell`s with silence.

Immediately before the report the room had filled up quickly, a blur of lambswool coats, bespoke suits and leather cases milling in a last-minute flurry of diplomatic manoeuvring. With the balance of power shifting, nonaligned and less powerful nations such as Angola, Cameroon and Chile found themselves the object of intense interest.

Britain`s UN ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, glided from the Spanish to the Angolans before settling down with Syria. The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, headed first for the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, and then for Mr Powell. Only the delegate from Guinea stood alone, uncourted and apparently uninterested.

The call to order parted the sea of mingling dignitaries, sending them to their seats and entrenching them in the positions laid out earlier in the morning by their capitals to await Mr Blix`s verdict.

It did not come until the end of his report, which questioned Mr Powell`s intelligence reports and the need for military action. A conclusion that bought time and made the US and British positions even more difficult to sell.

Mal was Ernstes.

The Vulnerable Giant
By Ernest Partridge
Co-Editor, "The Crisis Papers."
February 13, 2003

George Bush and the Administration “chickenhawks” thrill at the contemplation of combat, past and future, that they did not and will not have to engage in personally. Thus they must be positively giddy at the very thought of onset of “Shock and Awe” – the unleashing of over eight-hundred cruise missiles in the first two days of the “Desert Storm II,” more cruise missiles than were fired through the entire first Gulf War.

Surely “Shock and Awe” will show every nation in the world who’s the boss of Planet Earth, and all those nations will yield to the will of The New Empire.

Today Iraq, tomorrow the world!

If this is what George Bush (a dropout from “the champaign squadron”) and his coterie of absentee warriors believe, they are wrong – as was Herman Goering who was convinced that the Blitz would shatter the morale of the British, and as was General Arthur “Bomber” Harris of the RAF, who similarly believed that the destruction of the German cities would demolish the morale of the German population.

Accordingly, while “Shock and Awe” might in fact result in the early capitulation of the Saddam Hussein regime, it is at least as likely that this blitzkrieg will steel the resolve of the Iraqi people, in addition to their Arab neighbors, to resist the invasion of their tormentors and avenge the slaughter of their compatriots. Thus the dreaded “urban warfare” will follow in Bagdad and Basra, while beyond Iraq, terrorism against American targets will escalate.

In either case, world opinion will be so infuriated at this bloodbath that Colin Powell’s so-called “Alliance of the Willing” (i.e., Tony Blair and the Seven Dwarfs), will be immediately overwhelmed by an “Alliance of the Enraged” extending throughout the world. At last, the world leaders may take seriously the imperial aspirations of the Bush gang, as stated explicitly in the “National Security Strategy" released last September, and articulated by George Bush at West Point in June.

Indeed, the precursors of that alliance can be seen today, in advance of “Shock and Awe,” as the leaders of Germany, France and Russia confer in a desperate attempt to forestall “Desert Storm II.” They are responding to the overwhelming sentiments of their populations. Public opinion on the European continent runs 60% to 80% against an Iraqi war without UN sanction – this includes the seven countries (minus Great Britain) of the so-called “Alliance of the Willing.” In Tony Blair’s United Kingdom, a solid majority of the population opposes a war without UN support. And in a poll just released, 32% of Britons consider the United States to be the greatest threat to world peace -- well ahead of Iraq and North Korea, each of which was cited by 27% of the respondents

The Bush regime’s “brain trust” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) is singularly uncurious about “side effects” and “unintended consequences.” And they never seem to ask, “and then what?” Thus, for example, we have heard precious little about what they plan for Iraq “post-Saddam.”

By all indications, an “Alliance of the Outraged” is totally off the Bush “projecto-scope.” Nonetheless, after Desert Storm II, the world at large will likely regard the United States military and the imperial designs of the Bush Administration as the pre-eminent threat both to their national sovereignties and to world peace. And one of the most fundamental and time-confirmed principles of politics is that alliances are formed by the perception of a common threat. Thus Athens and Sparta halted their war to join forces against the Persians. And capitalist America and Britain allied themselves with the communist Soviet Union against Nazi Germany – an alliance that fell apart after the defeat of Germany. As the familiar maxim states, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." And we are all familiar with the maxim, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Can we therefore doubt that a world-wide anti-American alliance might be in our future – indeed, tentatively forming even now?

“Well, so what? What can the rest of the world do about it? They are facing the sole remaining super-power with the mightiest military in history. No power on Earth today can overcome the US military in a face-to-face military encounter.”

Clearly, that last statement is true: “No power on Earth today can overcome the US military in a face-to-face military encounter.”

From that truth, the Bushistas conclude: “No power on Earth can challenge the United States hegemony or cause damage to the American economy.”

That conclusion is radically and dangerously false.

All that the first, true, assertion tells us is that no opposing power, with a modicum of intelligence, will directly confront the US military. It does not tell us that opposing nations or alliances are helpless in the face of American military might. They have other, non-military, options.

To shift the perspective, the mere fact that no army, navy or air force can defeat us Americans in battle does not imply that we are invulnerable. Quite the contrary. As we well know, a multi-billion dollar defense and intelligence regime was defeated by box cutters and airline tickets. And the only effective defense against that attack turned out to be bodies and bare hands of a few courageous private citizens.

What the Bush team fails to appreciate is that the US, while militarily supreme, is otherwise extremely vulnerable. And should the US decide to take on the entire world, the rest of the world, in concert, can take down the US with ease. The “outside world” has two weapons – foreign debt and resource imports -- which, if employed either separately or in concert, will quickly bring catastrophe upon the United States without a shot being fired.

The first weapon involves the US foreign debt, which has grown in the past fifteen years from zero to $2.5 trillion – which is a quarter of the US GDP. At present rates, that debt will increase by another trillion in three years. Given these facts , do we dare to lord it over the rest of the world? In his brilliant article, “The End of Empire,” William Greider wryly points out “any profligate debtor who insults his banker is unwise, to put it mildly.”

All that our creditors need do is withdraw their capital from our economy and/or shut their cash boxes and refuse to lend us any more. After that, chaos ensues. As Greider observes, “you can’t sustain an empire from a debtor’s weakening position – sooner or later the creditors pull the plug.”

But if “the rest of the world,” but most acutely, Europe, Russia, China and the Pacific Rim, put the squeeze on us and try to cut us down to size, can’t the US simply say, in effect, “screw you all – we hereby repudiate our debts.” At that point, the US becomes a pariah to international trade and is thereafter, as Sam Goldwin said, “included out.” No more foreign markets to sell our goods and, far more seriously, no more imports of essential raw materials – the most essential of all, of course, is petroleum. And note this: now half of our petroleum is imported, as domestic sources approach final depletion.

As we pointed out earlier (in “The Oil Trap”), the lost luxury of driving our SUVs is the very least of our worries when the oil tap is shut off. We quite literally “eat oil,” for petroleum not only carries the food to our tables, it also provides the fuel for the farm machinery and the raw materials for the fertilizer which are necessary for our mode of intensive, industrialized agriculture. In addition, we have foolishly opted to move most of our industrial and consumer products by trucks, rather than rail (which, incidentally, also uses diesel fuel).

So imagine a sudden and unrecoverable loss of half of our petroleum supply. From that moment, we might coast for a few months on the “strategic reserve” – crude oil that has been pumped back into the ground in case of emergencies. But after the reserve is gone, the US economy will collapse, as all inessential use of oil is forbidden, ordinary economic life grinds to a halt, gasoline is severely rationed, and all domestic oil supplies are directed to the task of bringing food and essential supplies to our cities – just to keep our populace alive.

The oil shortage might be further compounded by sabotage of the Alaska pipeline, which supplies approximately one and a half million barrels of crude oil per day. Almost all of the 800 miles of that pipeline is above ground – I know, I’ve driven alongside hundreds of miles of it. A couple of years ago a few rifle shots shut down the pipeline for several days. It is virtually impossible to protect the entire line, and a few well-placed satchel charges or bazooka shots could shut it down for good.

To put it graphically, the United States is like huge, ugly, menacing mechanical monster, powered by an AC line attached to a wall socket. The poor, cowering, intimidated victims need only notice that the wall socket is right behind them, within easy reach. (Would that I were a cartoonist!).

When the ninety-five percent of humanity that resides outside our borders – or at least a sizeable industrialized portion thereof – decides they have had enough of our bullying, they need only pull the plug, and our vaunted economy, along with our military, will collapse into a ruined heap.

To be sure, such a coordinated act of economic warfare would have serious economic repercussions for the anti-US alliance, though the damage would arguably less than the damage to the United States. After all, we need their raw materials, oil especially, to survive. The "outside world" has no need of our raw materials, and it can readily replicate our technology. But while the damage to the world economy might be considerable, the American bullying and empire-building might well become sufficiently onerous to the rest of the world that they would willingly suffer the consequences of bringing the US down. After all, any nation that goes to war believes that it is worth the cost of some rather horrific consequences. Never mind that the leaders almost always grossly underestimate the costs to their nation, and care little about the damage and misery that they inflict upon their enemies. The historical fact remains: nations (mis)-calculate the costs, and then willingly go to war. The costs of a bloodless economic boycott would seem to be considerably less than total war.

“Even so, they wouldn’t dare,” replies our irrepressible chicken-hawk. “If they did, we’d nuke ‘em. Just the threat should keep them in line, and should keep the oil coming in.” Sorry, fellas. You see, they also have nukes. Not as many as we do, but so what? With a few hundred warheads, and a reliable delivery to twenty of our largest cities, we will be adequately “deterred.” We have thousands of warheads, but no matter. Just a few hundred will do. More than that would be like adding more rifles to the firing squad. (See “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Armageddon”).

To sum up:, the mighty American military machine is a paper tiger. No military force on Earth can defeat it, but no such force need to. Our economy rests upon the willingness of our creditors to continue to put more billions of dollars “on the tab.” In addition, our economy – all of it -- depends totally on the energy supply that “the outside world” consents to sell us.

At any time, an “Alliance of the Fed-Up” can decide to cut off our credit line and/or pull our energy plug from the wall socket. George Bush and his gang of usurpers don’t seem to realize this.

Gawd help us all when the rest of the world comes to appreciate its leverage, and begins to look mischievously at that wall socket.

Copyright 2003 by Ernest Partridge

News Item: When Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared at the United Nations ... February 5, to argue that Iraq had not complied with UN demands to disarm and poses an imminent threat, UN officials closed the curtain -- literally -- on Pablo Picasso`s Guernica, the most widely known artistic interpretation of war. (, [link] February 7, 2003).

Artistic Sign Language: Signs of the Coming Bush Fall

Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
February 13, 2003

Sign is symbol, symbol is sign. Consider:

*Powell goes to the United Nations so that the missile attacks on Baghdad and Basra can begin -- and, in the lobby of that grand building, Picasso`s "Guernica" painting, which depicts the horrific results of the Nazi bombing of that Spanish town, is covered over prior to Powell`s arrival. No use embarrassing the U.S. by reminding folks of what`s in store for Iraqi civilians.

*Ashcroft, in his police-state zeal, begins shredding the Constitution`s Bill of Rights with its guarantees of due-process of law, and, early on, has the huge lobby statue of the Goddess of Justice draped and covered over because of its exposed breast. How appropriate to shroud Justice so that she can`t see what`s being done in her name.

*First Lady Laura Bush cancels a poetry workshop at the White House because she suspects that a number of America`s high-profile poets, in the sacred grounds of that seat of power, will raise the issue of the coming war with Iraq.

Did you notice the thread that unites these events? In all three cases, symbolic shrouds are placed over art, so that nobody will notice the bad things that are being done in American citizens` names.

But art knows. Art sees beyond, often before the general public is aware of what`s going on. (Often before the artists themselves are conscious of what they`re revealing.) Art points us in new directions that make us think and

To those inclined more to rigid-order mentality, art is a virus that needs to be stamped out, or, at the least, tightly controlled. ("When I hear the word culture," said Nazi leader Goebbels, "I reach for my revolver.")

It`s all part of the so-called "cultural civil war." Those who control the signs and symbols control the polity. Thus, minions are trotted out to denounce artists and their tendency to look for complexity, ironies, hypocrisies, hidden humor. To incipient fascists, the world is a Manichean one, divided into black and white, those who are Good and those who are Evil ("You`re either for us or against us").

And since they are certain that God obviously favors their side, it follows that those in opposition -- or even (or especially) those who point the way to other visions of complex reality -- are part of the enemy forces and must
be dealt with.

One problem with authoritarianism -- whatever brand comes along: Stalin`s communism, or Hitler`s fascism, or Islamic Talibanism, or whatever we`re moving into in America right now -- is that it makes art more delicious and tempting. The public is not dumb and eventually comes to figure out that the "truth" being propounded by the frightened rulers does not match the world most citizens actually live in. And so they begin to seek out and support art and artists and, most of all, comedians -- those sly artisans, those holy fools, that can shake the foundations of power with a well-aimed dart.

Musicians, playwrights, poets, painters, sculptors, dancers, novelists, filmmakers, online satirists, comics -- everything these artists do in an authoritarian society comes to be seen by the public in the light of the repression visited from above.

A story to illustrate this point: American avant-garde theater artist George Coates was invited to bring his visual extravaganzas to Poland during the dark times there. One of the huge slide projections used by Coates was of a manhole cover, which image covered the entire staging area. Various human forms emerged from the holes -- i.e., real actors came out of holes in the stage, but, given the projection, they appeared to be emerging from the holes in the manhole cover.

The audience took this in with rapt silence and then a few brave souls began clapping. Then waves and waves of applause and cheering washed over the actors. Coates was mystified by the audience reaction. Audiences in the U.S. loved this bit of theatrical magic, to be sure, but nothing like this Polish crowd.

After the show, various Polish theater artists came backstage to talk to Coates and his cast. They nudged Coates in the ribs and whispered their admiration for his willingness to confront the Polish Communist rulers by celebrating the "underground." Yes, what was merely an interesting use of a visual image for Coates was a cunning reference to the underground resistance of a budding Solidarity movement. After a few attempts at explaining himself, Coates simply smiled and nodded as the Poles heaped praise on his revolutionary "political" art.

Art has power. Art unmasks. Art tells lies in the service of truth. (Whereas governments lie in order to conceal truth.)

The more lies authoritarian governments tell their citizens, the more a sub rosa consciousness bubbles up from the culture`s artists and then from its ordinary citizens. It`s a slow-growing and, at times, dangerous movement -- which is why the forces of reaction try so hard to stomp on it -- but it is an amazingly strong and vital and resilient force.

Because totalitarian governments rest on fake foundations, when those regimes fall, they fall with amazing quickness and ferocity. One day there`s a wall, the next day it`s torn down and the celebrations begin. One day there is officially sanctioned art, the next day those huge statues are toppled. One day, the culture arbiters and censors are in control, the next day they are in disgrace -- or in jail.

Americans, still gripped by fear from 9/11, have tended to be in a state of animated numbness, putting up little resistance to the machinations of the authoritarian rulers. Similarly, out of great sympathy for the post-9/11United States, various nations around the world bowed to the wishes of the Bush government.

Bush&Co., meeting little resistance, interpreted this relative lack of opposition as full support for their programs, foreign and domestic. And so they`ve continued to want more, tighten the screws more, reach and then over-reach for more. Their motto and guiding principle seems to be: "We can`t be stopped, so let`s just go take it all."

Suddenly, though, Bush&Co. are running into overt opposition. Their allies abroad are telling them -- to their face -- that current American policies are mad, wrong, dangerous. More and more conservative allies at home are warning the Bush Administration that their dash toward imperial rule abroad and draconian Constitution-shredding at home is a violation of what America stands for, and will bring the United States (and, given the economic interweavings between nations, much of the world as well) nothing but disaster.

The current U.S. rulers will not alter their course. It`s war with Iraq, full speed ahead and to hell with the rest of you -- especially ignorant "old Europe," and American dissidents at home. It`s a proposed extension of the so-called USA Patriot Act, to give the federal government even more martial-law-like police powers in controlling the society -- the "cover" is hunting for terrorists, of course -- and to hell with the protections
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

These Bush&Co. leaders are so arrogant, so rude, so greedy and power-hungry, so taken with themselves as God`s mesengers and as the world`s only Superpower, so convinced they are right in the tunnel-vision black-and-white world they inhabit, that it`s clear their days are numbered. It may take a bit longer to build to critical mass -- and there is going to be death and destruction and persecution while that momentum is being built up -- but when the time for their fall arrives, it`s going to be quick and nasty. And we`ll finally all wake up from this nightmare that has crushed our economy, diminished our moral light in the world, disgraced our beloved Constitution and country.

And at the vanguard of this movement away from the shadow America and back into the light will be our our poets, our comedians, our painters, our playwrights, our novelists, and so on -- "dangerous" artists all, even when they`re not political. They simply see too much, too clearly.

A toast to their hungry vision.#

Copyright 2003 by Bernard Weiner


To commemorate Presidents` Day Weekend 2003, MWO is sponsoring a special write-in survey, posing the perennial question: Who was the worst White House occupant in American history?

We present some of the lowlights of five men generally held as among the very worst, just to jog your memory. Write in with your pick, and the reasons why you picked him

It`s educational! It`s historical! What`s more, it`s fun for the whole family! Send in your pick today!!

John Adams

--Alien and Sedition Acts
--Quasi-War with France
--Led What Jefferson Called a "Reign of Witches"

James Buchanan

--Doughface Democrat, Truckled to Pro-Slavery Radicals
--Backed pro-Slavery Lecompton Constitution in Kansas
--Did Nothing During Secession Crisis

Warren G. Harding

--Teapot Dome Scandal
--Cronyism of Ohio Gang

Herbert Hoover

--Economic Policies Worsened Early Stages of Great Depression
--Went On to Demonize New Deal, Back Ultra-Right Obstructionists

George W. Bush

--Radical Economic Policies Threaten New Depression
--Failed Quasi-War on Terrorism
--Repressive Legislation on Civil, Personal Rights
--Efforts to Destroy Social Security, Medicare
--Efforts to Demonize, Destroy NATO, UN: New Unilateralism
--Right-Wing Court Packing Scheme
--Largest Federal Deficit in U.S. History
--Neo-Confederate Appointees to Cabinet, Federal Courts

We think you`ll agree that we`ve scraped the bottom of the White House barrel here, folks. But we want to know who had truly been the very worst, the lowest of the low.
Lost Weekend
How the junta uses idiocy to hide fiascos
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Yeah, America’s probably had worse weekends than the one just past. There was the time the Brits burned down Washington, for instance. That wasn’t too good. There was that time the south American mob almost greased Nixon. Most Americans found that pretty upsetting, although if they knew then what we know now, they might have been routing for the mob. There was the Tet offensive, and when the My Lai story broke. Pearl Harbor. Various civil war battles.

This weekend was different. No howling mobs, no cities in flames, no shots being fired. And we can all take solace in the fact that this time around, Nixon is still dead. The man most responsible for turning American politics into the vicious reactionary circus we see today is dead. There’s that, at least.

Now, the set backs for America were in the quiet and cloistered halls of the diplomatic community, that realm of colorless little men discussing the unspeakable in calm and placid tones.

It started with Colin Powell’s UN address. Even as he was giving it, the story broke that a British "white paper" which was supposed to be an up-to-date risk analysis of Iraq’s capabilities, and one on which Powell was basing much of his argument, was in fact stale data largely plagiarized from a position paper written by a grad student some twelve years earlier. Another big element of Powell’s testimony, a chemical weapons lab in Iraq run by al Qaida elements (and one which Powell himself admitted was in a part of Iraq not under Saddam’s control) was opened to the media by gleeful militia types. It turned out to be a ramshackle collection of shacks without plumbing and with only a generator for electrical power. Oops. Later in the week, it came to light that the administration told the media the previous August that they had examined the facility, and had concluded that it was, in fact, too primitive to be capable of any significant military purpose. So Powell not only looked foolish, but he was proven a liar. Double oops.

Powell was the token decent guy in this administration. The resident bums fared much worse.

Rumsfeld, for example, got a dressing down from the German Foreign Minister. Just so there could be no mistake, the minister addressed Rumsfeld personally, in English. He said, " a democracy, you have to make a case, and you have not made your case. You have not convinced me."

Mild enough, except for the little jibe about how people do things in a Democracy. Well, it would be understandable if Rummy needed reminding.

Rummy had just enough brains to realize that the minister had taken a shot at him. He was openly livid, and for a moment, I wondered if he was going to jump up and start a fistfight.

That would have been entertaining.

Instead, he snarled that Germany and France were "old Europe" (Spain and Italy are apparently "new Europe"), which didn’t mean much except that Rumsfeld is an ignoramus who makes empty insults when frustrated in negotiations. Just the sort of guy you want representing your country, right?

Rummy and the rest of the administration forgot one little detail about the UN and diplomats in general. They exist for the main purpose of trying to AVOID war. This little nicety seems to have eluded the semi-literate stumblebum in the white house, and his handlers are too ideological to notice little things like that.

So when France and Germany proposed a peaceful way of bringing Saddam to heel, the Americans went right out of their tiny little minds.

The French and German proposal, which would be competing in the Security Council with the American demand to simply start bombing the hell out of Baghdad, was to triple the number of inspectors in Iraq, and station 150,000 UN troops there. This would give the Putsch junta the constraints and guarantees on Saddam that they claim is what they want, and pretty much finish off Saddam’s schemes, such as they are.

That’s when the Americans pretty much came unraveled. From across the blasted and desolate wasteland of the American right came a huge chorus of vituperation and insults, the like of which hasn’t been seen in years. Ranking members of the administration, Senators, and Congressmen joined the trashiest of talk show hosts in calling the French cowards and appeasers, and comparing the Germans to the Nazis. Rumsfeld, apparently with no sense of irony, said the UN risked "ridicule and discredit." He didn’t say who was going to discredit them – it certainly wasn’t going to be the juvenile clowns of the Putsch junta.

This so impressed Belgium that they were the first of three countries to vote to hold off on sending UN troops to defend Turkey. This was a lynchpin of the US/UK efforts to get good staging areas around Iraq. The Turkish government, mindful of the unpopularity of the American stance among its own people, and concerned that Saddam might lash out at Turkey, or that Kurds might engage in an uprising in both Northern Iraq and southern Turkey after the fall of Saddam, had demanded UN protection, along with guarantees from Britain to help get the financially wobbly Turkey into the European Union.

The right wing response here pretty much pushed American-German relations to a level not seen since 1945. The Republicans pulled out a memorable line about the French that was uttered on the cartoon show "The Simpsons," and characterized the French as "cheese eating surrender monkeys." This succeeded in simultaneously delighting and appalling the British media, who never think there’s a situation so grim that they can’t set aside a few moments to make fun of the French.

I wouldn’t say this particular overture greased the skids with the French. They probably aren’t going to be real helpful when the Security Council meets over the next few days.

It probably wouldn’t have made much difference. China, Syria and Germany are all going to veto it anyway, and there’s a pretty good chance the Russians might, too.

Which means Putsch acts unilaterally, with all that entails.

The Republicans know that with their followers, the best way to distract from the fact that they just made fools of themselves is to come up with something truly idiotic and scary. So they bumped Tom Ridges’ color bar up to Orange (It falls between yellow, which is "poke under your bed with a broom handle before getting in" and red, which is "Shit! We’re all gonna DIE!!!" and is officially classified as "Ohshitohshitohshitohshitohshitohshit!") They made a big production of placing stinger missile launchers around the capital, deployed a whole bunch of cops, and in a genius burst of staged idiocy, sonorously warned everyone that if they hoped to survive what might come, they should seal their homes with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

This might be the single most idiotic suggestion an administration has made to the public since the time the Reagan administration advised one and all that nuclear war was quite survivable – all you had to do was dig a hole, get in it, pull a board over yourself, and pile three feet of dirt on top of the board. (The actual mechanics of this were left unexplained). It seems that the three feet of dirt is what really turns the trick, and with it, you can handle a direct hit from a 10 megaton warhead, no problem.)

The administration didn’t explain whether it was the plastic sheeting or the duct tape that was going to save you from the big whatever, but in a reaction reminiscent of the Orson Welles panic, thousands of people ran out and cleared the hardware shelves of duct tape and plastic sheeting. It’s been cold in Washington. Carbon monoxide might present a problem in those sealed homes that Republican loyalists are creating.

As Larry Niven says, Think of it as evolution in action.
Aus der New York Times

Certainly, fuel cells that use renewable resources like wind and solar power to extract hydrogen from water promise America a safe, clean energy solution. However, in a sop to the energy industry, the White House wants to extract hydrogen instead from coal and natural gas (without controlling carbon emissions), thereby increasing global warming and fouling our landscape. Worse, the president wants to build a new generation of nuclear power plants specifically for hydrogen production.

The president`s hydrogen plan will further reduce our national commitment to renewables by cutting our already anemic financing for research into wind, solar and other energy-saving technologies.

Fuel cells offer bright prospects but it will be 10 to 20 years before economical hydrogen vehicles are on the road. Meanwhile, Americans are buying 17 million new cars, trucks and S.U.V.`s a year — vehicles that could be much more fuel efficient. It`s no secret that right now we have the technology to make cars that get better mileage and pollute less. But the administration has repeatedly scuttled efforts to put these innovations in place, fighting tougher fuel economy standards for all vehicles, refusing to compel S.U.V.`s to meet the same mileage standards as cars and creating tax incentives for Americans to buy the largest gas guzzlers. Last week, in an astonishing move, government lawyers joined General Motors and DaimlerChrysler in a federal lawsuit challenging a California law that rewards carmakers for selling low-emission, gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Hybrids are just one of the proven technologies that could start saving oil right now. They can increase fuel economy 50 percent, and never need plugging in. Other technologies that can lift fuel economy include more advanced transmissions; improved engine and valve train design; and tires that promote fuel-efficiency. Available now, these solutions won`t be widely used until Washington gets serious about the arithmetic of oil security: we use a quarter of the world`s oil, yet we have only 3 percent of the known reserves.

Requiring cars to average 40 miles per gallon by 2012 would save nearly 2 million barrels a day; that`s more than we imported from Saudi Arabia last year, and three times our Iraq imports. Raise that to 55 miles per gallon by 2020, and daily savings grow to nearly 5 million barrels, almost twice our current Persian Gulf imports.

We have an oil security problem and we have an air pollution problem. We also have the technology to fix these problems — if only we would have the will to use it
Hawks should let God stand down


Help me out on this one, please: Whose side is God on?

In his taped broadcast last week, Osama bin Laden re peatedly invoked the name of God in urging Iraq to rise up against the American "Crusaders," a not-so-veiled link to Pope Urban II`s declaration in 1095 of a "Holy War" or Crusade to rout the Muslims and to reclaim Palestine for the Christian faith.

Bin Laden made it clear that God is on the side of the Muslim world, urging Iraqis to "fight the allies of the devil." He warned that President George W. Bush wants to install a Baghdad regime run by Israel and the United States "in preparation for the establishment of greater Israel, God forbid."

Distancing himself from Iraq`s secular ruler, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden directed that "the fighting should be in the name of God only, not in the name of national ideologies nor to seek victory for the ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq. Victory is from God alone. . . ."

Saddam has a reputation for reveling in women and wine, not to mention acts of cruelty against his own people, but that does not deter him from proclaiming that God is on his side.

Saddam rails against "the hopeless cowardly Americans . . . hiding behind a technological advance that God, most gracious, wanted to be their curse and cause for shame," and tells his troops that God sees war against the West as "a source of honor, pride, glory and blessing for you in this life and the hereafter."

No matter how many times Saddam pays tribute to "God, the most gracious, the most merciful," he is no match for our president in the God-fearing department. Bush, who credits Jesus with enabling him to kick a heavy drinking habit, has infused the presidency with an evangelical fervor unrivaled in American history.

Bush was introduced at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville last week as a man who "unapologetically proclaims his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." Bush dismissed any doubts that the Prince of Peace might not look kindly on a U.S.-led attack against Iraq, saying such an attack would be "in the highest moral traditions of our country."

The Washington Post reported that many of the broadcasters said Bush was divinely chosen to lead the country during its trials, an interpretation that the president does not shy from.

In a speech to a joint session of Congress shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States, the president confidently assured the country that God is on our side.

"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain," he said. "Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war. And we know that God is not neutral between them." He called bin Laden "the evil one," a term synonymous with the devil.

Bush`s attorney general, John Ashcroft, the son and grandson of Pentecostal preachers, echoed the boss` words in his speech to the religious broadcasters a year ago, describing "a conflict between those who believe that God grants us choice and those who seek to impose their choices on us . . . a conflict between good and evil." He said God has no trouble picking between the two.

In an interview with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, Ashcroft went further, saying, "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you."

When American Muslims objected, Ashcroft said his reported remarks "do not accurately reflect what I believe I said." But Thomas said he had cleared the quotation with Ashcroft beforehand.

Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and President Bush are hardly the first to claim God as an ally. No less a beast than Adolph Hitler, in "Mein Kampf," unabashedly wrote, "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

The Rev. Jerry Falwell at first blamed the 9/11 attacks on liberal decadence in America, saying that God was punishing those who promote abortion and homosexuality.

Later, in an apparent attempt to redeem himself, he tried a different tack, suggesting that the terrorists were following the misguided teachings of Mohammed, himself "a terrorist . . . a violent man, a man of war."

Come to think of it, instead of arguing over whose side God is on, the world would be better off if the all-too-human instigators of war would leave God out of it.

Brazaitis, formerly a Plain Dealer senior editor, is a Washington columnist.

Contact Tom Brazaitis at:, 202-638-1366
Der Guardian berichtet, dass Saddam mit dem Euro viel Geld verdient hat, indem er im Oktober 2002 Öl für Euro verkauft hat zu 0,82$.

SADDAM SELLS OIL FOR EUROS, ONLY "A bizarre political statement by Saddam Hussein has earned Iraq a windfall of hundreds of million of euros. In October 2000 Iraq insisted on dumping the US dollar - `the currency of the enemy` - for the more multilateral euro. The changeover was announced on almost exactly the same day that the euro reached its lowest ebb, buying just $0.82, and the G7 Finance Ministers were forced to bail out the currency. On Friday the euro had reached $1.08, up 30 per cent from that time....`It was seen as economically bad because the entire global oil trade is conducted in dollars,` says Fadhil Chalabi, executive director of the Centre for Global Energy Studies. The marked appreciation of the euro, higher interest rates, and the ability to pay mainly European suppliers in euros is believed to have made hundreds of millions for the Iraqi oil-for-food programme. " 2.17.03
The Inpedendent

Robert Fisk: The case against war: A conflict driven by the self-interest of America

In the end, I think we are just tired of being lied to. Tired of being talked down to, of being bombarded with Second World War jingoism and scare stories and false information and student essays dressed up as "intelligence". We are sick of being insulted by little men, by Tony Blair and Jack Straw and the likes of George Bush and his cabal of neo-conservative henchmen who have plotted for years to change the map of the Middle East to their advantage.

No wonder, then, that Hans Blix`s blunt refutation of America`s "intelligence" at the UN yesterday warmed so many hearts. Suddenly, the Hans Blixes of this world could show up the Americans for the untrustworthy "allies" they have become.

The British don`t like Hussein any more than they liked Nasser. But millions of Britons remember, as Blair does not, the Second World War; they are not conned by childish parables of Hitler, Churchill, Chamberlain and appeasement. They do not like being lectured and whined at by men whose experience of war is Hollywood and television.

Still less do they wish to embark on endless wars with a Texas governor-executioner who dodged the Vietnam draft and who, with his oil buddies, is now sending America`s poor to destroy a Muslim nation that has nothing at all to do with the crimes against humanity of 11 September. Jack Straw, the public school Trot-turned-warrior, ignores all this, with Blair. He brays at us about the dangers of nuclear weapons that Iraq does not have, of the torture and aggression of a dictatorship that America and Britain sustained when Saddam was "one of ours". But he and Blair cannot discuss the dark political agenda behind George Bush`s government, nor the "sinister men" (the words of a very senior UN official) around the President.

Those who oppose war are not cowards. Brits rather like fighting; they`ve biffed Arabs, Afghans, Muslims, Nazis, Italian Fascists and Japanese imperialists for generations, Iraqis included – though we play down the RAF`s use of gas on Kurdish rebels in the 1930s. But when the British are asked to go to war, patriotism is not enough. Faced with the horror stories, Britons – and many Americans – are a lot braver than Blair and Bush. They do not like, as Thomas More told Cromwell in A Man for All Seasons, tales to frighten children.

Perhaps Henry VIII`s exasperation in that play better expresses the British view of Blair and Bush: "Do they take me for a simpleton?" The British, like other Europeans, are an educated people. Ironically, their opposition to this obscene war may make them feel more, not less, European.

Palestine has much to do with it. Brits have no love for Arabs but they smell injustice fast enough and are outraged at the colonial war being used to crush the Palestinians by a nation that is now in effect running US policy in the Middle East. We are told that our invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a burning, fearsome wound to which Bush devoted just 18 words in his meretricious State of the Union speech – but even Blair can`t get away with that one; hence his "conference" for Palestinian reform at which the Palestinians had to take part via video-link because Israel`s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, refused to let them travel to London.

So much for Blair`s influence over Washington – the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, "regretted" that he couldn`t persuade Sharon to change his mind. But at least one has to acknowledge that Sharon – war criminal though he may be for the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacres – treated Blair with the contempt he deserves. Nor can the Americans hide the link between Iraq and Israel and Palestine. In his devious address to the UN Security Council last week, Powell linked the three when he complained that Hamas, whose suicide bombings so cruelly afflict Israelis, keeps an office in Baghdad.

Just as he told us about the mysterious al-Qa`ida men who support violence in Chechnya and in the "Pankisi gorge". This was America`s way of giving Vladimir Putin a free hand again in his campaign of rape and murder against the Chechens, just as Bush`s odd remark to the UN General Assembly last 12 September about the need to protect Iraq`s Turkomans only becomes clear when one realises that Turkomans make up two thirds of the population of Kirkuk, one of Iraq`s largest oil fields.

The men driving Bush to war are mostly former or still active pro-Israeli lobbyists. For years, they have advocated destroying the most powerful Arab nation. Richard Perle, one of Bush`s most influential advisers, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton and Donald Rumsfeld were all campaigning for the overthrow of Iraq long before George W Bush was elected – if he was elected – US President. And they weren`t doing so for the benefit of Americans or Britons. A 1996 report, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ( called for war on Iraq. It was written not for the US but for the incoming Israeli Likud prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and produced by a group headed by – yes, Richard Perle. The destruction of Iraq will, of course, protect Israel`s monopoly of nuclear weapons and allow it to defeat the Palestinians and impose whatever colonial settlement Sharon has in store.

Although Bush and Blair dare not discuss this with us – a war for Israel is not going to have our boys lining up at the recruiting offices – Jewish American leaders talk about the advantages of an Iraqi war with enthusiasm. Indeed, those very courageous Jewish American groups who so bravely oppose this madness have been the first to point out how pro-Israeli organisations foresee Iraq not only as a new source of oil but of water, too; why should canals not link the Tigris river to the parched Levant? No wonder, then, that any discussion of this topic must be censored, as Professor Eliot Cohen, of Johns Hopkins University, tried to do in the Wall Street Journal the day after Powell`s UN speech. Cohen suggested that European nations` objections to the war might – yet again – be ascribed to "anti-Semitism of a type long thought dead in the West, a loathing that ascribes to Jews a malignant intent." This nonsense, it must be said, is opposed by many Israeli intellectuals who, like Uri Avnery, argue that an Iraq war will leave Israel with even more Arab enemies, especially if Iraq attacks Israel and Sharon then joins the US battle against the Arabs.

The slur of "anti-Semitism" also lies behind Rumsfeld`s snotty remarks about "old Europe". He was talking about the "old" Germany of Nazism and the "old" France of collaboration. But the France and Germany that oppose this war are the "new" Europe, the continent which refuses, ever again, to slaughter the innocent. It is Rumsfeld and Bush who represent the "old" America; not the "new" America of freedom, the America of F D Roosevelt. Rumsfeld and Bush symbolise the old America that killed its native Indians and embarked on imperial adventures. It is "old" America we are being asked to fight for – linked to a new form of colonialism – an America that first threatens the United Nations with irrelevancy and then does the same to Nato. This is not the last chance for the UN, nor for Nato. But it may well be the last chance for America to be taken seriously by her friends as well as her enemies.

In these last days of peace the British should not be tripped by the oh-so-sought-after second UN resolution. UN permission for America`s war will not make the war legitimate; it merely proves that the Council can be controlled with bribes, threats or abstentions. It was the Soviet Union`s abstention, after all, which allowed America to fight the savage Korean war under the UN flag. And we should not doubt that – after a quick US military conquest of Iraq and providing `they" die more than we die – there will be plenty of anti-war protesters who will claim they were pro-war all along. The first pictures of "liberated" Baghdad will show Iraqi children making victory signs to American tank crews. But the real cruelty and cynicism of this conflict will become evident as soon as the "war" ends, when our colonial occupation of a Muslim nation for the US and Israel begins.

There lies the rub. Bush calls Sharon a "man of peace". But Sharon fears he may yet face trial over Sabra and Chatila, which is why Israel has just withdrawn its ambassador to Belgium. I`d like to see Saddam in the same court. And Rifaat Assad for his 1982 massacre in the Syrian city of Hama. And all the torturers of Israel and the Arab dictatorships.

Israeli and US ambitions in the region are now entwined, almost synonymous. This war is about oil and regional control. It is being cheer-led by a draft-dodger who is treacherously telling us that this is part of an eternal war against "terror". And the British and most Europeans don`t believe him. It`s not that Britons wouldn`t fight for America. They just don`t want to fight for Bush or his friends. And if that includes the Prime Minister, they don`t want to fight for Blair either.
18 February 2003 11:15

Printable Story

Currently, less than half of the American public thinks that leaders of countries around the world have respect for President Bush.

Do you think leaders of other countries around the world have respect for George W. Bush, or do you think they don`t have much respect for him?

± 3% Margin of Error
February 3-6, 2003
Sample Size= 1,001
British Prime Minister`s Popularity Drops by 14 Percent in New Poll
The Associated Press
Published: Feb 17, 2003

LONDON (AP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair`s popularity has slumped amid concern over the Iraq crisis, according to an opinion poll published Monday.
The British prime minister was rated as satisfactory by only 35 percent of respondents to an ICM Survey for The Guardian newspaper. The figure was down from 49 percent a month earlier.

Fifty-five percent said they were dissatisfied, up 12 points from January. The other 10 percent expressed no opinion.

Blair is staking his political future on backing the United States against Iraq, despite considerable opposition from Britons to war without United Nations backing.

An estimated 750,000 peace demonstrators marched in London on Saturday as part of a global anti-war protest. Politicians, trade unionists and some British newspapers said Sunday that Blair will risk his political future if he ignores the protests.

According to the poll, 52 percent of respondents oppose a war with Iraq, up five percentage points from last month. The poll did not indicate if that opposition depended on U.N. backing for military action. Twenty-nine percent said they would support military action, down one point.

Support for Blair`s governing Labor Party fell from 43 percent to 39 percent, according to the survey. Support for the main opposition Conservative Party, however, rose only one percentage point to 31 percent, as it did for the Liberal Democrats, which stood at 22 percent.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults by telephone on Feb. 14-16. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.

AP-ES-02-17-03 1751EST

`Why war?` needs answer

Let`s make clear what the impending war in Iraq is not.

It is not a war to liberate the Iraqi people.

More than a few hawks are putting forth this fiction to soothe the sting of what war really would be: History`s first instance of America choosing to invade and occupy a sovereign nation that poses little discernible threat to this country or our allies.

The liberation hawks were inspired by President Bush, who, in his State of the Union message, referred to an America willing to make a ``sacrifice for the liberty of strangers.``

This is breathtaking sophistry. We`re going to liberate a population by killing them? How many Iraqi deaths have we decided are worth sacrificing for Iraq`s freedom -- 500? 50,000? More?

It reminds me of the wicked line from the animated movie Shrek in which Lord Farquad tells the knights competing for the chance to rescue Princess Fiona from the fire-breathing dragon, ``Some of you may die, but it`s a price I`m willing to pay.``

The liberation claim is part of the convoluted stew of rationalizations that the Bush administration has cooked up to obscure what is nothing less than the abdication of the very principles of peace, justice and law upon which America was founded.

We`ve been told we`re going to war to eliminate weapons of mass destruction we haven`t located yet; to retaliate for links to al Qaeda that are historically tenuous; to eliminate a man for actions he might take some day; to liberate an oppressed people we didn`t care about before Sept. 11.

Which is it? It doesn`t matter to the Bush administration, as long as you accept any of the above.

It`s the absence of a clear rationale for war that inspired millions of demonstrators around the world to voice their opposition over the weekend. It should be noted that nothing of the sort was seen prior to the Gulf War, because the reasons for war were evident to all, and because the world acted in concert to reverse Iraqi aggression.

It`s a fair assertion that the Iraqis would be better off without Saddam Hussein in power, even before considering if any alternatives might be worse.

But it isn`t up to the United States to decide when a people must be freed. A people`s liberation -- especially from an oppressor spawned from within, like Hussein -- isn`t something for outsiders to choose or impose. The agitation for liberation must first come from the oppressed people themselves.

When a population has decided on its own to make such a sacrifice, the door then opens for outside support. Yet even as American ``liberators`` gather on Iraq`s doorstep, one hears little enthusiasm from the Iraqis for the coming conflagration.

Pre-Dubya America placed its faith in peacefully exporting the ideals of democracy, liberty, capitalism and self-determination, concepts that inspired lovers of freedom the world over to accept the risks of challenging oppressors. Now, no matter what guise we adopt, the United States in Iraq will be an invading army bent on reshaping a foreign land to suit our own purposes.

Hawkish syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer cut through the lame liberation rationalizations to make exactly this case for war. In his column in the Feb. 17 edition of Time, Krauthammer argues that post-Sept. 11 America should use its military power to reshape troublesome parts of the world: ``A de-Saddamized Iraq . . . would provide friendly basing not just for the outward projection of American power but also for the outward projection of democratic and modernizing ideas,`` he wrote.

In an Internet piece, he was more direct: ``It`s about reforming the Arab world . . . We haven`t attempted it so far. The attempt will begin with Iraq.``

This is the same reasoning used by such notables as Adolf Hitler and General Tojo, who used military invasion to reform Europe and the Pacific to suit their own purposes. As distasteful as these parallels may seem, the question must be asked: What makes our rationale for invasion any different?

Haven`t we abandoned American ideals the moment we attempt to impose them by force?


© 2003 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
President Bush`s Ratings Fall Sharply

President`s Ratings Now 52% Positive, 46% Negative

Colin Powell Now the Only Cabinet Member or Political Leader with
Very High Ratings

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The last two months have taken a
heavy toll on the president`s popularity, but a modest 52% to 46% majority
still gives him positive ratings. Two months ago, almost two-thirds of all
U.S. adults (64%) gave the president positive ratings and only just over a
third (35%) gave him negative ratings.
Other members of President Bush`s cabinet, as well as the parties in
Congress and Congressional leaders, with one exception, have all seen a huge
decline in their popularity since the very high numbers we recorded soon after
September 11, 2001. The one exception is Secretary of State Colin Powell. He
still enjoys an extraordinarily high degree of popularity, with 76% giving him
positive ratings and only 21% giving him negative ratings. These numbers are
fractionally better than they were in December 2002, perhaps because of his
powerful recent testimony to the United Nations Security Council.
While none of the other leaders has seen as big declines since last
December as President Bush has, their numbers, nonetheless, are all down very
substantially since their peak soon after September 11, 2001.
Including results from the latest poll, we see the following declines in
popularity since soon after September 11, 2001:

* President Bush down from 88% to 52%, a decline of 36 points.
* Secretary of State Colin Powell down from 88% to 76%, a decline of 12
* Vice President Dick Cheney down from 69% to 45%, a decline of 24
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld down from 78% to 56%, a decline of
22 points.
* Attorney General John Ashcroft down from 65% to 51%, a decline of 14
* House Speaker Dennis Hastert down from 52% to 33%, a decline of 19
* The Republicans in Congress down from 67% to 43%, a decline of 24
* The Democrats in Congress down from 68% to 38%, a decline of 30 points.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll(R), a nationwide
telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R) among a sample of 1,010
adults, from February 12 to 16, 2003.

Mehr unter:…
February 20, 2003


This Road to Hell Is Paved With Bush`s Bad Choices
Misguided tax cuts hurt the economy, and diplomatic bungling resulted in our foreign policy crisis.

By John B. Judis, John B. Judis is senior editor of the New Republic.

With the Cold War`s end, many Americans thought we could close our air raid shelters and take the trillions of dollars that had gone into the military and put them into making our lives better by turning toward the pursuit of happiness rather than the defense of our liberty.

And some of that did happen in the last half of the 1990s, during the Clinton-era boom. But only three years into a new century, the United States finds itself plagued by rising unemployment, soaring budget deficits, constricted civil liberties, the threat of terrorist attack and the prospect of a war with, and occupation of, Iraq. We`ve gone from the best of times to the worst of times.

The Bush administration tells us that it is entirely because of Al Qaeda and now Saddam Hussein that we face these difficulties, but the dark clouds that hang over our country are largely the result of Bush administration policies.

Take the economy. Sure, an economic downturn was inevitable after the speculative excesses of the `90s, and 9/11 certainly hurt airlines and hotels. But the Bush policies of enormous tax cuts directed at the most wealthy, and equally large increases in military spending, will prolong the current slump well through the decade, leaving large deficits just as baby boomers begin to retire.

The nation won`t necessarily be in recession, but it will suffer, as it did during the high-deficit Reagan years, from above-average unemployment and below-average growth. And our vaunted advantage over our industrial competitors will narrow.

That won`t be because of Osama bin Laden; that will be because of George W. Bush.

Or take the current prospects of war with Iraq. Bad foreign policy creates bad choices, as in Vietnam in the 1960s. By the time the Iraq issue landed back in the United Nations Security Council this month, Americans had no good options about whether to go to war with Iraq. Doing so could create heavy costs down the road, increase the incidence of terrorism and split our longtime alliances; not doing so could also inspire terrorists and split other longtime alliances.

But the question is how we got to this dilemma. We got here because of bad choices.

Al Qaeda was an offshoot of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and of the first Gulf War, after which, through an act of folly, we decided to maintain a major military presence in Saudi Arabia -- creating a rallying point for Al Qaeda without improving Saudi security.

Though few of Al Qaeda`s recruits came from the clash of Israelis and Palestinians, that conflict remained the single greatest source of instability in the Mideast.

After 9/11, we had a clear path before us: wage war against Al Qaeda and those regimes that sustained it, while simultaneously waging peace in the Mideast by using our considerable influence to force the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

The Bush administration did wage war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But instead of seeking negotiations, the administration sided with Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, who responded to terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians by trying to destroy the Palestinian Authority -- Israel`s only viable negotiating partner. That made it impossible for the U.S. to win anything but grudging support from other Arab governments for our conflict with Iraq, and it also inflamed Islamic radicals.

As for Iraq, if our initial goal had been the reasonable and important one of preventing Hussein from acquiring nuclear weapons, there was a host of options that could have been pursued, such as a demand for inspections coupled with the threat of an air campaign against any potential military target.

If these efforts had failed, their failure would have created far more support for an invasion than currently exists. Instead, the Bush administration began by demanding "regime change," declaring its willingness to fight a preventive war, and sending troops.

It took the very last, fateful step before it had taken the first. As a result, the troops are there, and we have to use them or risk a credibility crisis.

We also face the entirely predictable prospect of an enhanced threat from Al Qaeda -- exactly what the Bush policies set out to eliminate. Secretary of State Colin Powell claims that Bin Laden`s latest jeremiad, urging Muslims to commit acts of martyrdom to defend Iraq against the U.S., is evidence of a partnership between Hussein and Bin Laden.

What it actually shows is that U.S. foreign policy has managed to accomplish the one thing that it should have avoided: bringing into a tacit alliance two people who were previously at each other`s throats and who still hold each other in contempt.

And, of course, this new threat has spawned new terrorism alerts and instructions to put duct tape on our windows, stock up on canned peaches and watch out for any swarthy-looking foreigners. It also has provided cover for conservative Republicans who want to roll back our environmental laws and privatize Medicare and Social Security.

We are on a fast train to hell, and the question is when the American people are going to decide they want to get off.

Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times
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What Is Really Driving The Bush Administration’s Desire For War With Iraq?


By: Jason Leopold - 02/19/03

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz undertook a full-fledged lobbying campaign in 1998 to get former President Bill Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein’s regime claiming that the country posed a threat to the United States, according to documents obtained from a former Clinton aide.

This new information begs the question: what is really driving the Bush Administration’s desire to start a war with Iraq if two of Bush’s future top defense officials were already planting the seeds for an attack five years ago?

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

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

“We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War,” says the letter. “In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power.”

“We urge you to turn your Administration`s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam`s regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council,” says the letter.

The full contents of the Rumsfield and Wolfowitz letter can be viewed at

Clinton rebuffed the advice from the future Bush Administration officials saying he was focusing his attention on dismantling Al-Qaeda cells, according to a copy of the response Clinton sent to Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Kristol.

Unsatisfied with Clinton’s response, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998 to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott saying that the United States should “establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.”

“We should take whatever steps are necessary to challenge Saddam Hussein`s claim to be Iraq`s legitimate ruler, including indicting him as a war criminal,” says the letter to Gingrich and Lott. “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein`s regime from power and establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place. We recognize that this goal will not be achieved easily. But the alternative is to leave the initiative to Saddam, who will continue to strengthen his position at home and in the region. Only the U.S. can lead the way in demonstrating that his rule is not legitimate and that time is not on the side of his regime.”

The letter to Gingrich and Lott can be viewed at

The White House would not comment on the letters or whether Rumsfield and Wolfowitz possessed any intelligence information that suggested Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States at the time. The letters offered no hard evidence that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

The Clinton aide said the former President believed that the policy of “containing Saddam Hussein in a box” was successful and that the Iraqi regime did not pose any threat to U.S. interests at the time.

President Clinton “never considered war with Iraq an option,” the former aide said. “We were encouraged by the UN weapons inspectors and believed they had a good handle on the situation.”

Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Kristol, however, disagreed; saying the only way to deal with Hussein was by initiating a full-scale war.

“The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months,” Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Kristol wrote in their letter to Clinton. “As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.”

Those alleged threats posed by Iraq and the advice Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol first offered the attention of the Clinton Administration five years ago have now become the blueprint for how the Bush Administration is dealing with the Iraq.

The existence of the Rumsfield and Wolfowitz “war” letters is just another reason to question the Bush Administration’s desire to go to war with Iraq now instead of dealing with other pressing issues such as Al-Qaeda. Because the letters were written in 1998 it proves that this war was planned well before 9-11 and casts further doubt on the claims that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Bush Gives You The Finger
Millions worldwide rally against Dubya`s oily little war -- not that he gives a damn
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, February 21, 2003
©2003 SF Gate


And then there`s the one about the smirky war-happy oil-drunk American president who shrugged off the disdain of pretty much the entire world and humiliated us all on a global scale and went ahead and blasted the living hell out of an otherwise worthless oil-rich nation with no real proof of serious wrongdoing and for no justifiable reason, except for the oil and the power and for Daddy and for the face-saving faux-macho pride, and the oil.

This is the guy. This is the president who cares not a whit that just last weekend, over a million people rallied in London -- the largest political gathering of any kind in British history -- to protest his (and Tony Blair`s) little multibillion-dollar war.

Or that 500,000 gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, chanting slogans against his fearmongering ego, or that another 500,000 attempted to gather for a huge protest near the U.N. building in New York but, lacking a permit, were partially blocked by police.

This is the smirky Texas executioner-president who looked on while even in God-thumping pro-family ultraconservative Colorado Springs, Colo., land of the Born Agains and the heavily uptight, police fired tear gas into a crowd of war protesters, even though children were in an adjacent playground. Isn`t that nice? And Christian? Shrub just shrugs. Damn hippies. God bless America.

And, really, who cares about the huge protests in Amsterdam, Brussels, Barcelona, Melbourne, Paris, Rome, Berlin, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo and at least 600 other cities all over the world last week? We`ve got a bogus war to fabricate here, people. And an environment to gouge. An economy to gut. Busy, busy.

And, besides, were any of those horrified protesters petrochemical CEOs? Military-supply execs? Members of Bush Sr.`s draconian Carlyle Group? Colleagues of the ShrubCo cabal of neo-conservative gangster executives who stand to rake in billions when we go to war? No they were not. Screw `em.

Tough numbers to deny, nonetheless. Over 600 cities across the globe, all staging major anti-war rallies against America`s aggro attitude and insipid war posture, millions and millions of people -- teachers and salespeople and politicians and doctors and students and workers, every creed and gender and age group and nationality and hairstyle -- and yet Geedubya simply equates them all with some sort of negligible "focus group."

And he said he doesn`t base his policy decisions on focus groups, of course, because naturally he uses Barbie`s Super Magic 8 Ball and old secret codes from his Vietnam draft-dodging days intermixed with his father`s late-night gin-soaked advice and a cassette of Dick Cheney whispering demon-conjuring incantations in Latin. I mean, really, how else can you explain it?

This is the president who "respectfully disagrees" with just about everyone on the planet, with the almost universally held and repeatedly proven fact that Saddam isn`t the slightest threat to the U.S. and never really has been, nor that he had anything to do with 9/11. Hey, with that sort of respect, who needs a bloody violent skull bludgeoning? Can I get a hell-yeah?

This is the president who scowled his super-duper scariest scowl at Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, as Blix calmly and rationally rebuffed everything a flustered Colin Powell could throw at him during the U.S. plea before the U.N. Security Council to please please please let America launch all our big new bombs and shiny cool expensive Lockheed Martin planes and then arm up 180,000 of America`s poor and have them go kill a half-million scary Iraqi people and destabilize an entire continent even further, please please oh pretty please.

U.N. inspectors, Blix reiterated for the 20th time, have found next to nothing. All those buildings in Powell`s super-top-secret satellite photos? Empty. Nuclear factories? Nada. All those terrifying WMDs? Almost nonexistent.

Can you smell it? This is when all that pro-war WWII-style jingoism starts to reek, its fumes just a little sour, a little venomous and toxic and soul curdling. Or that could just be Rumsfeld`s cologne. Eau du Warhead.

A touching side story: J. Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House and noted hunk of conservative sweating Muenster cheese, was actually considering legislation to ban French wine and bottled water -- for "health reasons," he said, and not because France has smartly dissed poor Shrub on the whole bogus-war thing. Isn`t that cute? Hastert claimed that some French wine is clarified using cow blood. Hee. Oh Dennis. As the kids say, are you high?

Hastert also reportedly claimed that certain molecules in French fries and French toast and French ticklers have perhaps been secretly coded by French porn stars with perverted terrorist messages designed to drive American babies insane and cause massive genital warts on teenagers and SUV owners. Just, you know, something he read. Note to Dennis: hush now.

But enough with the bit players. Have we seen this sort of thing before? This kind of protest, on this scale? Vietnam rings a rather bitter, and heartbreaking, bell. But that movement had a decidedly different complexion.

Huge protests, yes, but more localized, organized largely by doomed students, not quite so many millions of "normal" citizens rallying from Spain to Germany to Greece, all on the same day, all holding up signs featuring giant photos of our smirky squinty blank-eyed leader with a big red X over his face.

And oh yes, upwards of 50,000 U.S. troops were killed in Vietnam. In Iraq, we might suffer, say, two dozen casualties, most from our own mistakes and "friendly fire" (if Desert Storm is any precedent), while we can expect to massacre roughly half a million Iraqis in the first week. Now, that`s patriotic. Would anyone tolerate Shrub`s warmongering if we stood to lose 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq? Hardly. Good thing it`s mostly just innocent foreign civilians and children.

Which brings us to the latest phony Orange Alert. And all the other astoundingly coincidental announcements of alleged terrorist action threatening the U.S., shrill alarmist rhetoric that, every single time, just so happened to be conveniently timed for just when Shrub was prancing most precariously in the glaring light of general idiocy and ratings slippage.

Enron scandal: Time for a terror alert. The economy is tanking: Look out! Terrorists! Tax cuts for the rich: Terrorists are in your yard! The U.N. rejects your plea, the whole damn world is against your little war and you need to drum up some additional domestic fear like, pronto, to justify your small-scale megalomania: Stand back, time for a bogus Orange Alert! Coincidence? You do the math.

This just in: A federal appeals court just decided that Arkansas officials can use drugs to render an insane murderer sane enough to execute. True. Finally, something Geedubya can cheer about. Just like Texas, eh, George? When life was easy and killing them crimnulz was just a flipped switch away? When all you had to deal with were a few dozen ragtag protesters outside the prison, decrying your love of killin` in the name of the state. Shoot. Life sure was simpler then. Damn hippies.

"To justify the indefensible, [Bush] talks about "appeasement" and compares Saddam with Hitler.
But one of the reasons Hitler was appeased was that he commanded a frightening, nearly invincible
war machine. It took almost the entire world to defeat him, and it was a close thing at that.
The Second World War lasted from 1939 to 1945. Will it take six years to defeat Saddam,
or six days, or six hours? Whatever his intentions, he has no tanks, no airplanes, no submarines,
no nothing. Anyone comparing this guy with Hitler has no understanding of how terrible Hitler was.
--Nicholas von Hoffman, An Imperial Adventure For Anglo-Saxon Powers,
Art Spiegelman, cartoonist for The New Yorker, resigns in protest at censorship

Interview, Corriere della Sera (Milan)

13 February 2003

Art Spiegelman decided to leave The New Yorker in protest at what he calls "the widespread conformism of the mass media in the Bush era."

"The decision to leave was mine alone," the author of Maus, (the saga of Jewish mice exterminated by Nazi cats that won him the Pulitzer Prize -- the first ever awarded for a comic book), explained in an interview with Corriere della Sera. "The editor of the The New Yorker, David Remnick, was shocked when I announced my resignation. He attempted to dissuade me. But I told him that the kind of work that I`m now interested in doing is not suited to the present tone of The New Yorker. And seeing that we are living in extremely dangerous times, I don`t feel like stooping to compromise."

(Q) Do you consider yourself a victim of September 11?

"Exactly so. From the time that the Twin Towers fell, it seems as if I`ve been living in internal exile, or like a political dissident confined to an island. I no longer feel in harmony with American culture, especially now that the entire media has become conservative and tremendously timid. Unfortunately, even The New Yorker has not escaped this trend: Remnick is unable to accept the challenge, while, on the contrary, I am more and more inclined to provocation."

(Q) What kind of provocation?

"I am working on the sixth installment of my new strip, `In the shadow of no tower,` inspired both by memories of September 11 -- on that day, I had just left my apartment, a few steps from the tragedy -- and a present in which one feels equally threatened by both Bush and bin Laden. The series was commissioned by the German newspaper Die Zeit, but here in the USA, only the Jewish magazine The Forward has agreed to publish it."

(Q) Did you feel snubbed by the refusal of The New Yorker to publish it?

"Not at all. I knew from the beginning that the tone and content of the strip -- which, at this point in time, is of most importance to me -- were not in harmony with The New Yorker. A wonderful magazine, mind you, with delightful and refined covers, but also incredibly deferential to the present administration. If I were content to draw harmless strips about skateboarding and shopping in Manhattan, there would have been no problem; but, now, my inner life is inflamed with much different issues."

(Q) For what do you reproach The New Yorker?

For marching to the same beat as the New York Times and all the other great American media that don`t criticize the government for fear that the administration will take revenge by blocking their access to sources and information. Mass media today is in the hands of a limited group of extremely wealthy owners whose interests don`t coincide at all with those of the average soul living in a country where the gap between rich and poor is now unbridgeable. In this context, all criticism of the administration is automatically branded unpatriotic and un-American. Our media choose to ignore news that in the rest of the world receives wide prominence; if it were not for the Internet, even my view of the world would be extremely limited."

(Q) Then the Bush revolution has triumphed?

"Yes. In Reagan`s time, `liberal` was a dirty word and to be accused of such an offense was an insult. In the Bush Jr. era, the radical right so overwhelmingly dominates the debate that the Democrats have all had to move to the right just to be able to continue the conversation."

(Q) Will The New Yorker be the same without Spiegelman?

"The New Yorker existed long before I came on board. The great majority of the readers who adore the warm and relaxing bath of their accustomed New Yorker were very upset by the `shock treatment` of my covers. Those readers will feel more at ease with the calm and submissive New Yorker of the tradition which, since the 1920s, mixed intelligence, sophistication, snobbery, and complaisance with the status quo. Every time that I put pencil to paper, I was flooded with letters of protest."

(Q) Which of your works caused the most controversy?

"The cover with the atomic bomb issued on the 4th of July. The one from last Thanksgiving where turkies fell from military aircraft. The only one universally well-received was the Sept. 24 cover with the Twin Towers in two-toned black. The censorship of my work began as soon as I first set foot in the magazine, long before the 11th of September."

(Q) What kind of censorship?

"Large and small. For the Thanksgiving cover with turkies dropped in the place of bombs, I chose the title `Operation Enduring Turkey` to mimic `Operation Enduring Freedom` then begun by America in Afghanistan. But David Remnick forced me to change the title."

(Q) Is it possible that the media is more reactionary than their readers?

"I don`t think so at all, not after reading in the polls that George W. Bush is the most admired man in America. The world I see is very different from what they see. Those who think like me are condemned to the margins because the critical alternative press of the Vietnam War era no longer exists. The NYT chose to remain silent about the enormous protest marches that took place during the summer; and the readers of The Nation, the only major publication with any guts, are at most 50 thousand: that`s nothing in a country as large as ours."

(Q) What does your wife Francoise Moulay, the artistic director of The New Yorker, think of all this?

She thinks that I`ve left her at The New Yorker as a hostage, but I don`t think she wants to follow my example. Sometimes, I think I would like to emigrate to Europe; and seeing that in America they won`t even let me smoke, the temptation is very great."

Q) Your plans after The New Yorker?

"In May, at the Nuage Gallery in Milano, there will be an exhibition that covers my ten years at The New Yorker. Ten is a better number than eleven and, who knows, perhaps I left the magazine simply because it better suited the book and catalog that accompany the exhibition.
Rumsfeld was on board Of Company That Sold North Korea two nuclear power plants.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defense, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants.
swissinfo February 21, 2003 6:07 PM

Weapons experts say waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called “dirty bombs”.

The Swiss-based ABB on Friday told swissinfo that Rumsfeld was involved with the company in early 2000, when it netted a $200 million (SFr270million) contract with Pyongyang.

The ABB contract was to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho, on North Korea’s east coast.

Rumsfeld – who is one of the Bush administration’s most strident “hardliners” on North Korea – was a member of ABB’s board between 1990 and February 2001, when he left to take up his current post.

Wolfram Eberhardt, a spokesman for ABB, told swissinfo that Rumsfeld “was at nearly all the board meetings” during his decade-long involvement with the company.

Maybe, maybe not

However, he declined to indicate whether Rumsfeld was made aware of the nuclear contract with North Korea.

“This is a good question, but I couldn’t comment on that because we never disclose the protocols of the board meetings,” Eberhardt said.

“Maybe this was a discussion point of the board, maybe not.”

The defense secretary’s role at ABB during the late 1990s has become a bone of contention in Washington.

The ABB contract was a consequence of a 1994 deal between the US and Pyongyang to allow construction of two reactors in exchange for a freeze on the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea revealed last year that it had secretly continued its nuclear weapons programme, despite its obligations under the deal with Washington.

The Bush government has repeatedly used the agreement to criticise the former Clinton administration for being too soft on North Korea. Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, has been among the most vocal critics of the 1994 weapons accord.

Dirty bombs

Weapons experts have also speculated that waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called “dirty bombs”.

Rumsfeld’s position at ABB could prove embarrassing for the Bush administration since while he was a director he was also active on issues of weapons proliferation, chairing the 1998 congressional Ballistic Missile Threat commission.

The commission suggested the Clinton-era deal with Pyongyang gave too much away because “North Korea maintains an active weapons of mass destruction programme, including a nuclear weapons programme”.
From Zurich to Pyongyang

At the same time, Rumsfeld was travelling to Zurich for ABB’s quarterly board-meetings.

Eberhardt said it was possible that the North Korea deal never crossed the ABB boardroom desk.

“At the time, we generated a lot of big orders in the power generation business [worth] around $1 billion…[so] a $200 million contract was, so to speak, a smaller one.”

When asked whether a deal with a country such as North Korea – a communist state with declared nuclear intentions – should have been brought to the ABB board’s attention, Eberhardt told swissinfo:

“Yes, maybe. But so far we haven’t any evidence for that because the protocols were never disclosed. So maybe it was a discussion point, maybe not,” says Eberhardt.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Victoria Clark, recently told “Newsweek” magazine that “Secretary Rumsfeld does not recall it being brought before the board at any time”.

It was a long time ago

Today, ABB says it no longer has any involvement with the North Korean power plants, due to come on line in 2007 and 2008.

The company finalised the sale of its nuclear business in early 2000 to the British-based BNFL group.

swissinfo, Jacob Greber

"Bushs Politik ist bar jeder Weisheit"

US-Senator Robert C. Byrd hat mit einer Aufsehen erregenden Rede die Außenpolitik der Bush-Regierung als unbesonnen und arrogant gegeißelt. In scharfer Form kritisierte er auch das beklemmende Schweigen des US-Senats.

Byrd: "Offen gesagt, viele Erklärungen dieser Administration sind skandalös"

Hamburg - Seit 45 Jahren ist der Demokrat Robert C. Byrd, 85, als Vertreter West Virginias im US-Senat. In einer Rede, die derzeit in Deutschland in die Diskussion kommt, forderte er, jeder amerikanische Bürger müsse sich einmal bewusst machen, wie grausam jeder Krieg ist. "Doch im Senat herrscht weitgehend Schweigen, geheimnisvolles, bedrohliches Schweigen. Es gibt keine Debatte, keine Diskussion, keinen Versuch, der Nation das Für und Wider dieses Krieges darzulegen. Nichts!"
"Wir hüllen uns in passives Schweigen hier im US-Senat, gelähmt durch unsere eigene Unsicherheit, augenscheinlich erstarrt unter dem Eindruck der beunruhigenden Ereignisse.

Nur auf den Kommentarseiten unserer Zeitungen findet noch eine stichhaltige Diskussion über den Sinn oder Unsinn dieses Krieges statt. Der drohende Krieg stellt einen Wendepunkt in der Außenpolitik der USA dar und möglicherweise auch ein Wendepunkt in der jüngeren Weltgeschichte.

Diese Nation ist dabei, ihre revolutionäre Präventivschlag-Doktrin zu testen und sie zu einem ungünstigen Zeitpunkt anzuwenden. Sie beinhaltet die Idee, dass die USA oder jede andere Nation ganz legitim ein Land angreifen, das sie nicht unmittelbar bedroht, sondern das sie in der Zukunft bedrohen könnte - hierbei handelt es sich um einen ganz grundsätzlichen Dreh der traditionellen Vorstellung der Selbstverteidigung.

Diese Doktrin scheint gegen internationales Recht und die Charta der Völkergemeinschaft zu verstoßen. Sie wird ausprobiert in einer Zeit des weltweiten Terrorismus. Sie ist Grund dafür, dass sich viele Länder rund um den Globus fragen, ob sie auf unserer Hitliste stehen - oder auf der eines anderen Landes.

Hochrangige US-Regierungsvertreter weigerten sich jüngst, den Einsatz von Atomwaffen auszuschließen, als sie einen möglichen Angriff auf den Irak diskutierten. Was könnte destabilisierender und bar jeder Weisheit sein, als diese Art von Unsicherheit, besonders in einer Welt, in der vitale Wirtschafts- und Sicherheitsinteressen vieler Länder so eng verknüpft sind?

In unseren bewährten Bündnissen tun sich riesige Brüche auf, und die Ziele der US-Politik ist plötzlich zum Gegenstand weltweiter Spekulation geworden, was dem Ansehen der USA schadet.

Anti-Amerikanismus, der auf Misstrauen, falsche Informationen, Verdächtigungen und eine alarmierende Rhetorik führender US-Politiker zurückzuführen ist, untergräbt die ehemals feste Allianz gegen den globalen Terrorismus, wie sie nach dem 11. September existierte."

Die Bush-Regierung komme zwei Jahre nach Amtsantritt nicht gut weg, fährt der Senator fort. Einen für das kommende Jahrzehnt ursprünglich auf 5,6 Billionen Dollar bezifferten Haushaltsüberschuss habe sie in unabsehbar großes Defizit verwandelt. Und außenpolitisch sei es dieser Administration nicht gelungen Osama Bin Laden zu fassen.

"Diese Regierung hat die geduldige Kunst der Diplomatie in eine reine Droh- und Verleumdungspolitik verwandelt. Dies zeigt die Armseligkeit an Intelligenz und Einfühlungsvermögen unserer Führer, was Auswirkungen über Jahre haben wird.

Wenn Staatschefs Zwerge geheißen werden, wenn andere Länder als böse qualifiziert werden, und wenn mächtige europäische Verbündete als irrelevant bezeichnet werden, dann können diese Rücksichtslosigkeiten für unsere große Nation nichts Gutes bedeuten.

Wir mögen eine massive militärische Macht darstellen, doch wir können den weltweiten Krieg gegen den Terrorismus nicht allein führen. Wir brauchen die Zusammenarbeit mit unseren bewährten Verbündeten genauso wie die neuerer Freunde, die wir durch unseren Wohlstand gewinnen.

Den USA fehlt es bereits jetzt an Soldaten, daher brauchen wir die Unterstützung der Nationen, die uns Truppen zur Verfügung stellen und nicht nur ermutigende Briefe zusenden.

Der Krieg in Afghanistan hat die USA bisher 37 Milliarden Dollar gekostet. Dennoch gibt es Beweise, dass der Terror in dieser Region wieder aufkeimt. Auch Pakistan droht destabilisiert zu werden. Die US-Regierung hat den ersten Krieg gegen den Terror noch nicht beendet, da ist sie bereits scharf darauf, sich in den nächsten Konflikt zu stürzen, in dem die Gefahren viel größer sind als in Afghanistan. Haben wir nicht gelernt, dass es nach einem gewonnenen Krieg gilt, den Frieden zu sichern?

Über die Nachwirkungen eines Krieges gegen den Irak hören wir wenig. Wo es keine Pläne gibt, blühen die Spekulationen. Werden wir die irakischen Ölfelder beschlagnahmen? Wem wollen wir die Macht nach Saddam Hussein in die Hand geben? Wird ein Krieg die muslimische Welt in Flammen setzen mit der Folge verheerender Angriffe auf Israel? Wird Israel mit seinen Atomwaffen Vergeltung üben? Wird die jordanische und saudi-arabische Regierung von radikalen Muslimen gestürzt, unterstützt von Iran, der mit dem Terrorismus viel enger verknüpft ist, als der Irak? Können Verwerfungen auf dem Weltölmarkt zu einer weltweiten Rezession führen?

Stachelt unsere unnötig kriegerische Sprache und unsere ausgesprochene Missachtung anderer Interessen und Meinungen weltweit das Bestreben anderer Länder an, bald selbst dem Club der Atommächte anzugehören?

In nur zwei Jahren hat diese rücksichtlose und arrogante Regierung eine Politik eingeleitet, die über Jahre hinaus eine verheerende Wirkung haben kann.

Man kann die Wut und den Schock eines jeden Präsidenten nach den üblen Anschlägen vom 11. September verstehen. Man kann auch die Frustration nachvollziehen, die entsteht, wenn man nur einen Schatten, einen gestaltlosen Feind verfolgt, an dem Vergeltung zu üben nahezu unmöglich ist. Doch es ist unentschuldbar, die eigene Frustration und den Ärger durch eine extrem destabilisierende und gefährliche Außenpolitik zu einem Debakel werden zu lassen, wie es der Welt gerade vorgeführt wird von einer Regierung, die die furchteinflößende Macht und Verantwortung hat, das Schicksal der größten Supermacht der Welt zu bestimmen.

Offen gesagt, viele Erklärungen dieser Administration sind skandalös. Es gibt kein anderes Wort dafür.

Dennoch herrscht Schweigen im Senat. Ganz ehrlich muss ich auch das Urteilsvermögen eines Präsidenten in Frage stellen, der sagen kann, dass ein schwerer militärischer - nicht provozierter - Angriff auf eine Nation, die zu mehr als der Hälfte aus Kindern besteht, in den `höchsten moralischen Traditionen unseres Landes` stehe.

Dieser Krieg ist zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt nicht nötig. Der internationale Druck auf den Irak scheint eine gute Wirkung zu zeitigen. Es war ein Fehler der amerikanischen Regierung, sich so schnell festzulegen. Nun ist es unsere Aufgabe, uns möglichst elegant aus der selbstgedrehten Schlinge zu winden. Vielleicht gibt es einen Ausweg, wenn wir uns mehr Zeit lassen.",1518,237371,00.html
Die Demokraten wachen auf.

Feb 22, 12:15 PM EST

Candidate Edwards Defends His Background

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called President Bush "out of touch, out of tune" with regular Americans as the freshman senator sought Saturday to turn his political inexperience and lucrative legal career into virtues.

"And so, I ask you, and I ask the American people, are you better off than you were two years ago?" Edwards said in his address to the Democratic National Committee. "In two short years, George W. Bush has taught us what the W stands for: Wrong. Wrong for our children, wrong for our parents, wrong for our values, and very, very wrong for our country"

Two other announced candidates addressed the DNC, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

Sharpton said he opposes war in Iraq, especially when terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Bush "can`t find a man hiding in a cave in Afghanistan," Sharpton said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd.

The committee`s three-day gathering, which ended Saturday, gave a crowded field of presidential hopefuls the chance to court the party`s most active fund-raisers, political organizers and primary campaign voters.

Four Democratic hopefuls spoke Friday - Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the eighth candidate in a growing field, is recovering from prostate cancer surgery and did not address the DNC. His campaign shipped activists to his home in buses for private chats Friday night.

Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman are considered the field`s top candidates, DNC members say, although Moseley-Braun, Sharpton and Kucinich have plenty of time to make an impact.

Several other Democrats are considering joining the field, including Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, whose presence could change the top tier`s dynamics.

Amid all the jockeying, Edwards took a poke at Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman, three long-serving lawmakers.

"If you think the only way to restore people`s faith in our government is (with) someone ... who`s been in Washington politics for decades, I am certainly not your guy," Edwards said in a text of his address prepared for delivery.

Kerry`s campaign has questioned Edwards` credentials, which includes only five years in government. Gephardt says he`s not a flashy, flavor-of-the-month candidate, which has been interpreted as a jab at Edwards and Kerry, but the Missourian says his experience counts more.

Bush has lavished Edwards with attention, scheduling legal reform events in North Carolina and accusing trial lawyers of chasing high-paying verdicts that drive up insurance rates.

"Let me be as clear as I can about this: I am proud of my career. I am proud of the families I represented. I am proud of the cases I won," Edwards said.

"Mr. President, we`ll let you take the side you`ve always taken. You take the insurance companies` side," Edwards said.

"He is out of touch, out of tune, and in November 2004, he will be out of time," the senator said.…
Frankreich muß leiden.
The Times, Louisiana.
Viel Spaß beim übersetzen.

Tim Greening: Mon dieu! An angry Frenchman takes offense to our French bashing
Tim Greening / The Times
Posted on February 22, 2003
Dear American people,

Or, as I would rather say it,

listen up, you mullet-wearing Nelly worshippers!

I am a citizen of France. I am not an official with zee French government, nor an official spokesman. I am just your average Joe Six-paquet.

I am writing zis open letter to zee people of America to express my outrage over zee increase in French bashing by Americans.

Yes, we have heard zee jokes.

"A Frenchman on a battlefield is about as unnecessary as a men`s bathroom at a Lillith Fair show."

"Going to war without zee French is like going deer hunting without an accordion."

"How many French soldiers does it take to defend Paris? Nobody knows, it`s never been tried before."

We are not laughing.

Many blame zis increase in French bashing on our government`s refusal to support your president`s push for military action in Iraq.

But we Frenchmen know zee real reason you hate us: Because we ingest wine, cheese, butter and cream sauces from zee moment we wake up to zee moment we go to bed and we never gain an ounce.

Guilty, as charged. So take zat, you McRib-chomping Hummer jockeys! Stick zat in your Twinkie and deep fry it!

My question is, "Why all zee anger about war with Iraq?" (Well, perhaps zee real question eez, "Why does my accent translate to zee printed page?")

First of all, let me address zee misinformation that France is not ready for war. Of course, we are preparing for war - our white flag factories have been operating day and night.

Really, our militaries have a great history as allies. We were integral in your victory against zee British to win your independence, and we helped you fend off zee British again in zee War of 1812.

And zat alliance continues in zee modern era: In 1991, when American forces stormed zee deserts of Iraq to liberate Kuwait, we Frenchmen were behind you all zee way.

But now, one little disagreement and you get all bent out of shape like zee Tom Clancy-reading Zima addicts zat you are.

Well, I will explain to you tattoo-faced Bachelorette watchers why France opposes war.

Do you realize zee expense of war? To participate in zis effort, France would have to deploy 30 tanks, 300 military transport vehicles, 10,000 soldiers and one shower.

No, on second thought, we probably won`t need zee shower. Still, zat eez a very expensive undertaking!

See, war has a very high price - in human life and in money. That is what gives us pause, not, as you imply, because we are not tough.

And to prove to you we are tough, I have a warning for you gas-station-cappuccino-slurping Britney wannabes: We do have means of retaliation.

We still have your precious Joe Millionaire.

Zee people of France don`t share your fascination with zat Kangaroo Jack-loving mouth breather, and we will not hesitate to execute him if the French bashing doesn`t stop.

So quit with zee jokes or it`s guillotine time. We`ll lop his empty head off, Rick-James-circa-1983 Jeri Curl haircut and all.

Vive le France!


Jean Q. Publique
Nicht nur immer Spiegel:

Der postmoderne Krieg ist am Ende

Artur P. Schmidt 20.02.2003
Der gefährliche Trugschluss der Politik der Bush-Regierung

Die exponentielle Vermehrung der Waffen und deren potentielle Zerstörungskraft legt die Frage nahe, wie ernst wir es heute mit den Bemühungen um Frieden noch meinen. Insbesondere sogenannte saubere Hightech-Kriege, die dem Angreifer so gut wie keine Verluste bescheren sind heute en vogue. Leider trifft die Totalität dieser Angriffe immer mehr Zivilpersonen. Dies ist jedoch das besondere Merkmal der totalen Kriegsführung, deren Ziel nicht die Zerstörung von Soldaten oder Maschinen ist, sondern von Zivilisten. Der gewichtigste Grund für den Krieg ist angeblich der Frieden, der angeblich aber nur durch die Fortsetzung der Politik mit den Mitteln der Waffen gesichert werden. Betrachtet man jedoch die Ergebnisse der meisten Kriege, so sind diese völlig außer Kontrolle geraten und haben die Menschlichkeit in Massengräbern begraben.

Vietnam war das gleiche Fiasko für Amerika wie Afghanistan für die Sowjetunion. Kriege bekommen ab einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt eine unkontrollierbare Eigendynamik, die nur dadurch vermieden werden kann, indem man diese nicht beginnt. Die mögliche Eigendynamik, die ein amerikanischer Kreuzzug im Nahen Osten auslösen könnte, ist heute kaum abzusehen. Der angebliche Kriegsgrund Frieden führt jedoch oft in autokatalytischer Weise zu noch mehr Terror, Krieg oder Grauen. Mit dem 1. Irak-Krieg drangen die verlegten Bombenteppiche durch das Massenmedium Fernsehen endgültig in jeden Haushalt vor. Dies wurde nur deshalb während des Afghanistan-Krieges gestoppt, weil man keine Zeugen für das angerichtete Grauen mehr haben will. Das Grauen muss anonym bleiben.

Flucht vor der amerikanischen Unterdrückung

Ein Großteil der Weltbevölkerung lebt heute in bitterer Armut oder wird durch Krankheiten wie AIDS dezimiert. Die voranschreitende Globalisierung bietet nur noch für diejenigen wirkliche Vorteile, die über das nötige Kleingeld verfügen, um in den Konsumtempeln des Westens einkaufen zu können. Die vollständige Unterwerfung der Weltbevölkerung unter ein Wirtschaftsystem des sozialen Darwinismus bietet den Nährboden für die heutige Form des Terrorismus, den Neoliberalismus.

Allerdings kommen die Terroristen nicht aus den Slums der Entwicklungsländer, sondern wie beim Terror der 70er Jahr aus der Mittel- und Oberschicht. Die selbsternannten "Sprecher der Armen" sind ideologisch geprägt und wenden sich gegen die Verwestlichung der Welt. Der Grund für den Terrorismus ist nicht eine Verteidigung des Islam gegen das Christentum, sondern ein Kampf der Beherrschten gegen die Herrschenden.

Amerika, ein Land mit großartigen Bürgern, steht deshalb vor keiner geringeren Aufgabe, als der des Dialoges zwischen den Kulturen. Amerikanische Politiker müssen lernen, sich in den Anderen hineinzuversetzen und dessen Empfindungen zu verstehen. Sie müssen lernen, dass die Unterzeichnung und Einhaltung internationaler Verträge keine Sache ist, bei der man Sonderregelungen aushandelt, sondern die Basis für Vertrauen und gegenseitigen Respekt. Wenn Bush am 29. Januar 2002 sagte: "You will not esacpe the justice of this nation", so muss die Welt ausdrücklich hinzufügen: "But America has to accept the justice of this planet".

Die Rolle der Vereinten Nationen

In Somalia wurden die US-Kräfte von "Lord Bands" aus dem Land gejagt, in Ruanda scheiterte die U.N. bei dem Versuch, den Macheten-Genozid zu verhindern, und auch der Balkan wurde durch eine Alliierten-Bande in Schutt und Asche gelegt. Solange der Krieg als wesentlicher Bestandteil des wirtschaftlichen Systems fungieren kann, wird das Ziel des Friedens jegliche Form der Kriegsführung rechtfertigen, ob die Bürger dies wollen oder nicht.

Die Angewohnheit der USA, ihr eigenes Recht gegen das internationale Recht durchzusetzen, wann immer es gerade beliebt, repräsentiert die zeitgenössische Form politischer Heuchelei. Das Phänomen komplexer Systeme, positive und negative Rückkopplungen aufzuweisen, könnte uns im militärischen Maßstab zum Verhängnis werden, wenn es nicht gelingt, die heutigen Kriegsspiele in Friedensdialoge überzuführen. Das Wirken Gandhis hat gezeigt, dass friedliche Aktionen, wenn sie zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort stattfinden, tiefe und weitreichende Auswirkungen auf die Überwindung bisheriger Paradigmen haben können.

Wer in einer globalisierten Welt die Außenpolitik allein den Streitkräften und den Wohlstand für alle nur der Wirtschaft überlässt, wird zur Zielscheibe sich zunehmend vernetzender Gegenkräfte. Der heutige "Krieg" gegen den Terrorismus wird vor allem von eben dieser Zielscheibe geführt. Die USA wurden 1986 vom Internationalen Gerichtshof (International Court of Justice - ICJ) u.a. wegen vom Völkerrecht verbotener Kriegshandlungen verurteilt und die Notwendigkeit der "kollektiven Selbstverteidigung" der USA gegen die Sandnisten nicht anerkannt. Die USA sind den Verhandlungen ferngeblieben und haben das Urteil nicht anerkannt. Gegen die Resolution 595 aus dem Jahr 1987, die Staaten dazu aufruft, das internationale Recht zu achten, wurde zu allem Überfluss ein Veto eingelegt. Lapidar kommentierte die New York Times, dass der internationale Gerichtshof ein "feindliches Forum" sei, dem man keine Beachtung schenken sollte. Hierzu passt auch, das Bush die Vereinten Nationen mittlerweile nur noch als Debattier-Club ansieht, dem keine Beachtung mehr zu schenken ist.


Als Charles Lewinsky sein Buch "Der A-Quotient" schrieb, konnte er nicht wissen, dass G. W. Bush das perfekte Beispiel für seine theoretischen Überlegungen zu Arschlöchern abgeben würde. Demokratie erfordert Dialoge, aber sie ist, wie Attlee bemerkte, nur wirksam, "wenn man die Leute dazu bringt, dass sie aufhören zu reden".

Angesichts der imperialen Ansprüche Amerikas sind wir zwar alle sprachlos, jedoch kann dieser Zustand mittlerweile nicht mehr länger aufrecht erhalten werden. Die neue Botschaft heißt Solidarität. Damit ist nicht diejenige gemeint, die durch Beistandspakte den Krieg unterstützt, sondern diejenige, die sich nach den Aufräumarbeiten in New York im Jahr 2001 und der Flutbekämpfung im Jahr 2002 in Deutschland zeigte. Das Volk muss, wie es Jaspers ausdrückte, nachdenken: "Es lernt nachdenken. Es weiß, was geschieht. Es urteilt."

Wenn wir heute zu urteilen haben, dann müssen wir deshalb die Nichtunterzeichnung des Kyoto-Protokolls durch die Amerikaner verurteilen. Die amerikanische Antwort auf die Klimakatastrophe heißt ignorieren. Hierbei stellt sich nicht die Frage nach der Richtigkeit derartigen Handelns, sondern nur diejenige, wie lange der Arsch des Politikers diese Vorgehensweise aussitzen kann.

Jetzt wird klar, warum Demokratie eine Frage der Weltanschauung ist. Man kann die Welt vom Kopf her oder mit dem Arsch betrachten. Während der Kopf Augen hat, ist der Arsch zumindest temporär blind, da das Loch in der Regel auf eine Scheibe mit einem dunklen Loch gepresst wird. Es kommt deshalb nicht von ungefähr, dass Politiker oftmals als Flachdenker bezeichnet werden müssen. Letztendlich ist die Demokratie die vornehmste Form, mit der sich ein Land ruinieren kann. Besonders eklatant wird die Situation dann, wenn Präsidenten zum Sprachrohr von Lobbyisten werden. Deshalb bezeichnete Hobbes zurecht "die Demokratie als eine Aristokratie der Redner, die durch die zeitweilige Monarchie eines Redners unterbrochen wird".

Zwar mag die Demokratie in den USA vom Volke ausgehen, aber spätestens seit den Wahlmanipulationen in Florida und allerspätestens seit der einseitigen Berichterstattung der US-Medien heute wissen wir, dass diese das Volk verlassen hat. Was lernen wir daraus: Demokratie heißt, das zu akzeptieren, was die USA als Demokratie bezeichnen. Nicht umsonst betonte bereits Alexis de Tocqueville, der erste Theoretiker der Massendemokratie, dass die Demokratie nichts Gutes ist, es jedoch keine effektive und geeignete Alternative gibt.

Die Begeisterung hält sich in Grenzen

Die Begeisterungsstürme für Nach-Afghanistan-Kreuzzüge der amerikanischen Regierung wie einen 2. Irak-Krieg halten sich in Europa in Grenzen. Dies kümmert die Amerikaner jedoch wenig. Ihre zukünftigen Kriege sollen möglichst nur Luftkriege sein, bei denen die Bodentruppen nur noch für die Trümmerbeseitigung benötigt werden. Der bereits 1999 erprobte Luftkrieg im Kosovo-Konflikt wurde im Afghanistan-Krieg weiter perfektioniert.

Der "American Way of War" in Form von Hightech-Kriegen, finanziert durch ausländische Kredite und mit Unterstützung des 53. US-Bundesstaates in Form von Großbritannien, soll zukünftig auf eine Vielzahl von Ländern ausgedehnt werden. Außerdem will sich der Weltpolizist Nr. 1 wieder vermehrt in die inneren Angelegenheiten von Entwicklungsländern einmischen und somit deren nationalen Unabhängigkeit und Selbstbestimmung untergraben.

In einem Krieg gegen Terroristen sind auch geheime Militärgerichte vorgesehen, die Nicht-US-Bürger nach Belieben aburteilen und einsperren können. Nach dem 11. September wurde die Tradition der Bewahrung der Freiheit ad absurdum geführt. Die Regierung hat im Namen der Terrorismusbekämpfung die Rechte des Individuums und damit wesentliche Elemente der amerikanischen Verfassung bereits außer Kraft gesetzt. Amerika hat damit einen Rückschritt zu den Theorien von Hobbes aus dem sechzehnten Jahrhundert vollzogen, der den Bürger zu bedingungsloser Loyalität gegenüber dem Staat verpflichtete. G. W. Bush wird immer mehr zum Globalisierungs-Darth Vader, der keine Freunde mehr kennt, außer denen, die ihm den Playboy der Schurkenstaaten-Intellektuellen, Usama bin Ladin, ausliefern - tot oder lebendig.

Neuerdings gehören auch Deutschland und Frankreich zum illustren Kreis von Wüstenstaaten und Zigarrenfetischisten. Für Amerika ergibt sich eine immer schwierigere Konstellation. Je mehr Kriege diese für ihr Land im Rahmen der "USA for USA"-Doktrin gewinnen, desto mehr weltweite Feinde werden geschaffen. Die Autokatalyse der Gegner fordert jedoch Widerstand und zivilen Ungehorsam heraus. Privilegierte Gegner wie Pakistan und Nordkorea sind die nächsten absehbaren Opfer des amerikanischen Kreuzzuges gegen das sogenannte Böse. George Lucas wird deshalb kaum darum herumkommen, eine neue Star Wars-Episode abzudrehen mit dem Titel: "Die Vorfahren von Darth Vader - Big Brothers Bush, Rumsfeld und Ashcroft."

Das Imperium schlägt zurück

Der Kampf zwischen den sich mittlerweile als Imperium verstehenden USA (pax americana) und dem Rest der Welt hat gerade erst begonnen. Als Kämpfer stehen jedoch nicht 300 Millionen Amerikaner den etwa 6 Milliarden anderen Bewohnern des blauen Planeten gegenüber, sondern rund ein Dutzend Regierungsmitglieder und deren Militärs kämpft gegen den Rest der Welt. Dies müsste einen nicht weiter beunruhigen, wenn das Imperium nicht über derart viele Atomwaffen verfügen würde.

Wenn der Philosoph Peter Sloterdijk sagt, dass die USA das "europäische Programm der imperialen Ordnungsaufgabe in der Welt übernommen" haben, so trifft er damit in das Schwarze. Ebenso wie das große Vorbild Rom erzeugen die Amerikaner durch ihren Imperialismus ihre eigene Isolation. Dieser Isolationismus ist besonders gefährlich, da er auch noch religiös untermauert ist. Der amerikanische Flug in die Zukunft in Form einer zur Glaubenssache proklamierten Weltherrschaft wird allerdings ohne Kehrtwende in der Außenpolitik ausgesprochen einsam sein.

Ronald Reagans Diktum, dass der Staat keine gesellschaftlichen Probleme lösen könne, hat sich unter G.W. Bush ins Gegenteil verkehrt. Der Staat ist jetzt nicht mehr Teil des Problems, sondern nur die Staatsmacht kann angeblich die anstehenden Probleme lösen. Die Folge wird ein Überwachungsstaat sein, der auf Verfassungsschutz, NSA, FBI, CIA und Grenzpolizei setzt. Das Aufblähen des Staatsapparates und das Abschotten von Informationen gehören zu den Methoden, mit denen der amerikanische Präsident seine Macht erweitert. Die Welt soll sich dieser Macht des One World One Order-Imperalismus unterordnen, weil Amerika angeblich nur das Gute will. Leider entsteht aus diesem Machtwillen immer mehr das Böse, wie das Abhören von Telefonen, die Einschränkung von Verteidigungsrechten oder die unbegrenzte Haft wichtiger Zeugen (z.B. die 600 im kubanischen Guantánamo ohne Anklage, ohne Anwalt und ohne Zeitlimit einsitzenden Talibankämpfer).

Die Grenzen zwischen einer Demokratie und einer Diktatur zerfließen und der Rest der Welt soll eine neue Stärke zu spüren bekommen. Bush ist längst dabei, mit den Machteliten, dem Militär und seinen Schutzdiensten eine Art Neben-Regierung zu formen, die selbst die McCarthy-Ära in den Schatten stellen wird. Die Folgen dieses Wahnsinns werden den noch teilnahmslos zusehenden Amerikanern dann zu Bewusstsein treten, wenn immer mehr Menschen ohne Anklage von der Bildfläche verschwinden.

Der Feind ist die amerikanische Regierung

Dass sich das amerikanische Volk mittlerweile mit einem neuen Feind, der eigenen Regierung, auseinander zu setzen hat, ist das eigentliche Phänomen in Folge der Ereignisse vom 11. September. Mittlerweile wurde das CIA in eine exekutive Behörde mit der Befugnis zu Attentaten und politischen Morden verwandelt. Die Anarchie wird hierbei nicht von unten, sondern von oben ausgerufen. Amerika handelt wie ein angeschlagener Boxer. Die Weltmacht scheint zu wanken und zu einer "totalitären Demokratie" zu avancieren, wie Erwin Chargaff bemerkte.

Amerika unterschätzt das Risiko, dass die gesamte arabische Welt sich gegen Israel wenden könnte. Doch wenn die muslimische Welt in Flammen aufgeht, wird die USA daran zerbrechen. Der Schriftsteller Dostojewskij sah die Herrschaft der Großinquisitoren und den Triumph der Macht über die Gerechtigkeit voraus, wie Albert Camus richtig beobachtete. In Dostojewskis Roman die "Die Brüder Karamasow" ist die wesentliche Botschaft, dass der Mensch niemals die Fähigkeit zur Reue verlieren darf. Bei der aktuellen amerikanischen Regierung sucht man diese jedoch vergeblich. Es wird immer offensichtlicher, dass die Amerikaner nicht nur diese, sondern seit dem 11. September auch ihre Freiheit verloren haben.

Die von amerikanischen Politikern verordnete Lebenslüge, dass es gut ist, wenn 10 % der Bevölkerung über 90 % herrschen, wird bedenkenlos hingenommen. Da es für diese 10 % keinen anderen Gott gibt als den Mammon, scheint alles, was der Manipulierung der Massen dient, erlaubt zu sein. Dies gilt mittlerweile auch im globalen Maßstab. Die Formel von G.W. Bush ist einfach: "Wer nicht für die USA ist, ist gegen die USA". Diese Rambo-Logik ist einfach und für jeden, sogar den Dümmsten, verständlich: Was nicht weiß ist, muss schwarz sein. Jetzt dürfte auf klar sein, warum es gerade die dümmsten Anführer sind, die in Amerika das Wort führen.

Entzieht ihnen die Nutzungsrechte!

Für Amerika bedeutet Entwicklungshilfe, wie Denis Healy richtig bemerkte, nicht anderes, als wenn die armen Leute eines reichen Landes für die reichen Leute eines armen Landes Geld spenden. Und es ließe sich noch anfügen, dass Entwicklungshilfe solange von armen Mehrheiten betrieben werden wird, bis die reichen Minderheiten entmachtet sind.

Die Gewaltherrschaft der Armut ist das Übel, welches es zu bekämpfen gilt. Betrachtet man die aktuellen Entwicklungen in den USA und das dort vorherrschende Vormachtstreben, so hat man als Europäer heute wahrscheinlich keine andere Möglichkeit, als eine Gegenposition einzunehmen. Jeder Weltbürger muss das Grundrecht zur Sicherung der Freiheit wahrnehmen. Da das Wort Republikaner sich von "Republica" ableitet, was soviel wie "Wohlfahrt des Ganzen" bedeutet, müsste man eigentlich den amerikanischen Regierungsmitgliedern die Nutzungsrechte für dieses Wort entziehen.

Die republikanischen US-Politiker arbeiten nach drei Prinzipien: 1. Wenn es irgendwo in der Welt ein Problem gibt, wende Gewalt an. Wenn dadurch etwas zerstört wird, ist dies nicht schlimm, denn irgendwann hätte es sowieso erneuert werden müssen. 2. Konstruiere Waffensysteme, die selbst ein Irrer anwenden kann. Somit wird sichergestellt, dass später auch nur ein Irrer die Waffe anwenden will. 3. Die Bürokratie ist so auszulegen, dass jeder Untergebene seine Stufe der Unfähigkeit erreichen kann.

Der gefährliche Trugschluss

Ob mit oder ohne Europa, Amerika war und ist zu Alleingängen entschlossen, ohne UNO-Beschlüsse oder Konsultationen abzuwarten. Dies war in der Vergangenheit so und es ist nicht ersichtlich, was sich in Zukunft daran ändern sollte.

Es ist abzusehen, dass die aktuell anbrechende Phase des Terrorismus gegen die USA, den amerikanischen Imperialismus noch weiter schüren wird. Einen wirklichen Kriegsgrund muss es dabei nicht geben, sondern nur einen, den man nach Belieben konstruieren kann. Wenn die USA glauben, durch einen Krieg gegen den Irak den Terrorismus auszumerzen, könnte sich dies als gefährlicher Trugschluss erweisen, der Amerika international noch weiter isolieren dürfte. Nährböden für den weltweiten Extremismus ist die Armut und so lange diese nicht beseitigt wird, führt die Rolle des Rüstungsweltmeisters Amerika direkt auf den Abgrund zu.

Im Falle eines Irak-Krieges könnten Folgekosten von über 1.000 Milliarden US-Dollar entstehen und die Weltwirtschaft in ihre bisher schlimmste Krise stürzen. Europa hat deshalb keine geringere Aufgabe, als sich von den US-Positionen zu entkoppeln, ja diesen eine eigene Ordnung entgegenzusetzen. Somit bleibt nur zu hoffen, dass es gelingt, Amerika diejenigen Wege abzuschneiden, mit denen es zur Macht gelangt ist. Es geht deshalb um nichts geringeres, als den Kapitaltransfer in die USA so lange zu stoppen, bis sich ein Sinneswandel einstellt. Ebenso wie Hollywood ohne deutsche Steuersparmodelle implodieren würde, ebenso wird der amerikanischen Kriegsmaschinerie ohne Geld aus dem Ausland der Atem ausgehen. Die amerikanische Verschuldungsproblematik kann dann zum Damoklesschwert avancieren und den friedlichen Untergang des Imperiums durch eine Millisekundenpleite einleiten. Der Kybernetik sei Dank.
Ein Diskussionspunkt, der in der letzten Zeit ganz aus den Augen verloren wurde. Deutschland als selbstdenkendes Mitglied der Völkergemeinschaft und nicht als Appendix der USA.

Peter Sloterdijk, 09.02
profil: In den letzten Wochen des Wahlkampfs brachte Gerhard Schröder das Schlagwort vom „deutschen Weg“ ins Spiel, wofür er doppelt kritisiert wurde: von den Linken, weil sie nationalistische Tendenzen witterten; von den Rechten, weil sie die westliche Bündnistreue infrage gestellt sahen. Was hat die Formel vom „deutschen Weg“ bei Ihnen zum Klingen gebracht?
Sloterdijk: Deutschland ist nach dem Krieg groß geworden in einer Rhetorik der Leugnung deutscher Sonderwege. Wir haben uns quasi selbsttherapeutisch europäisiert und eine Art Quarantäne über die deutsche Mentalität verhängt, wenn es darum ging, nationale Interessen auszusprechen.

profil: Um damit auch krampfhaft Normalität zu simulieren?
Sloterdijk: Bis tief in die Ära Kohl hinein war deutsche Außenpolitik von dem Bewusst- sein geprägt, dass wir uns auf einer Sonderschule der Demokratie den Abschluss erst mühsam erarbeiten mussten. Schröder war, wenn man so will, der erste Kanzler der Normalität. Mit seiner Wahlkampfwendung vom deutschen Weg wurde sozusagen die Heimkehr der deutschen Demokratie in die Familie der nicht neurotischen Gesellschaften gefeiert. Darüber sind die ideologischen Sozialarbeiter und politischen Psychotherapeuten der Deutschen naturgemäß unglücklich, weil sie einen Patienten verlieren, an dem ihnen sehr viel lag und der sich so leicht nicht durch einen anderen ersetzen lässt. Schröders „deutscher Weg“ besticht vor allem auch durch die Selbstverständlichkeit seines Klangs, weil man weiß, dass hier kein Chauvinist oder Anti-Europäer spricht, sondern einer, der ganz deutlich signalisiert, dass im Bereich der deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen ein neues Kapitel aufgeblättert werden muss. Die Fähigkeit, zwischen den USA als kulturell verbündetem Projekt und der Bush-Administration zu unterscheiden, halte ich für eine elementare Tugend der deutschen Demokratie von heute.

profil: Eine spezifische Ausprägung dieses deutschen Weges war Schröders Weigerung, sich der amerikanischen Kriegsrhetorik gegen den Irak anzuschließen.
Sloterdijk: Das deutsche Nein in dieser Angelegenheit ist vor allem eine symbolisch-moralische Position, eine spezifische Form der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Sonderweg der USA. Der Begriff „rogue state“, mit „Schurkenstaat“ übrigens eher unglücklich ins Deutsche übersetzt, hat in der westlichen Politik seit einigen Jahren Hochkonjunktur. In der Biologie steht „rogue“ für das wieder ausgewilderte Einzelgängertier, das abseits von der Herde durch den Busch streift. Die beiden „rogue states“ der gegenwärtigen Weltpolitik sind, so gesehen, die USA und Israel, die jede Art von Alignment mit der internationalen Staatengemeinschaft aus dem Grundansatz ihres Selbstverständnisses heraus ablehnen, weil sie beide davon ausgehen, dass Nicht-Israelis beziehungsweise Nicht-Amerikaner sich in die besondere Situation dieser beiden Länder nicht einfühlen können. Das bestärkt sie auch in ihrer Neigung, die Fähigkeit zum Selbstmandat in einem überdurchschnittlichen Ausmaß auszuüben.

profil: Im Zusammenhang mit den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September 2001 wurde gern der pathetische Satz bemüht, nichts werde mehr so sein wie vorher. Hat „Nine-Eleven“ die Welt tatsächlich nachhaltig verändert?
Sloterdijk: Es gibt nicht nur sich selbst erfüllende Prophezeiungen, sondern auch sich selbst erfüllende Hysterisierungen. Sowohl die Sozial- als auch die Individualpsyche hat in weiten Teilen ihres Funktionslebens eine autohypnotische Struktur: Der Mensch wird, was er hört, und die Öffentlichkeit wird, was sie liest. Die Psychologisierung des öffentlichen Raums durch Massenmedien ist eine der Primärrealitäten einer Zeit, in der es Massenmedien gibt. Seit dem 11. September 2001 hat sich die westliche Welt in ein großes Labor autoplastischer Suggestion verwandelt, in dem das Modellieren mit pathetischem Material zu einer Massenbeschäftigung geworden ist. Gegen diese Hysteriezumutungen hilft meiner Meinung nach nur ein Stück nachgereichter Kaltblütigkeit.

profil: Mit anderen Worten: Der 11. September lässt Sie heute so kalt wie vor einem Jahr?
Sloterdijk: Ich bin so betroffen wie irgendwer. Ich gehöre aber Gott sei Dank einer Gruppe von Menschen an, die mit dem 11. September seit jeher den Geburtstag Theodor W. Adornos verbunden haben, und halte an der Einschätzung fest, dass diese Assoziation unter kulturgeschichtlichen Gesichtspunkten weiterhin die wichtigere bleibt. Im Übrigen gibt es nach dem 11. September immer auch einen 12., an dem das autohypnotische Schaumwerk wieder in sich zusammenfällt.

Interview: Sven Gächter

Das ganze Interview:[]=0010&xmlval_AUSGABE[]=2002_39&mdoc_id=3991488&content=main

Diskussion mit Richard von Weizecker und Peter Schneider:"Über die zukunft von Krieg und Frieden",1912,VI…

Bushs Alleingang gegen die Welt

Von Jochen Bölsche

Biowaffen in Händen Dritter gelten den USA als Kriegsgrund, doch Uno-Pläne zur Inspektion ihrer eigenen Labors lehnt die Supermacht ebenso strikt ab wie Klimaschutzverträge oder Landminenverbote. Hat die Uno überhaupt noch eine Chance?

Salbungsvoller hätte George W. Bush sein Gelübde nicht formulieren können: Er werde das mächtigste Land der Erde mit der "Bescheidenheit wahrer Stärke" und der "Demut wirklicher Größe" regieren, versprach der 43. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten vor seinem Amtsantritt im Januar 2001.

Die Inauguration lag gerade hundert Tage zurück, da war für politische Kommentatoren offenkundig, dass in Wahrheit Hybris die Hypermacht regierte - Bushs Ankündigung hatte sich binnen kürzester Zeit als pure Anmaßung erwiesen.

Gegenüber den Uno, aber auch im Umgang mit seinen Nato-Verbündeten schlug Bush unmittelbar nach Amtsantritt einen derart selbstgefälligen und selbstherrlichen Kurs ein, dass sich die "Washington Post" an den Spruch erinnert fühlte: "My way or the highway" - frei übersetzt: Nichts geht, wenn`s nicht nach mir geht.

Nach nur fünf Monaten im Oval Office hatte der Präsident sieben internationale Abkommen aufgekündigt, darunter Verträge zum Umweltschutz, zur Geburtenkontrolle und zur Rüstungsbegrenzung. Obendrein distanzierte sich Bush von der Zusage seines Vorgängers Bill Clinton, auf den Einsatz jener grausamen Anti-Personen-Minen zu verzichten, die gleichermaßen Infanteristen und Zivilisten verstümmeln und töten.

"Superschurkenmacht" mit Image-Problemen

Bevor Bush im September 2001 Verbündete für den Anti-Terror-Krieg gewinnen und sich daher vorübergehend mäßigen musste, suchte er monatelang "fast mutwillig" Streit sowie "Vorwände, internationale Verträge und Organisationen zu unterlaufen", wie die Berliner "Welt" mit Befremden beobachtete.

Das traditionell amerikafreundliche Blatt äußerte tiefe Sorge um das Image der USA, die sich manchem Europäer schon kurz nach Bushs Amtsantritt als "Superschurkenmacht" dargestellt hätten. In jenen Wochen außenpolitischen Wütens wurzelt die tiefe Entfremdung, die mittlerweile - wiederum durch amerikanisches Zutun - zum transatlantischen Zerwürfnis eskaliert ist, das Uno, Nato und EU entzweit.

So jedenfalls sieht es die Berliner Regierung. "Der außenpolitische Strategiewechsel der Bush-Administration, die Aufkündigung des Primats des Rechts und der Multilateralität, hat den Konflikt ausgelöst," beteuert der Grünen-Politiker Jürgen Trittin. Rapide gewachsen sei die Distanz zwischen den Partnerstaaten, als die USA im August vorigen Jahres erklärt hätten, sie würden die Uno im Notfall übergehen, wenn die sich nicht US-konform verhalte. Trittin: "Dieser eindeutig unilaterale Anspruch ist der Kern des Problems."

Nicht nur im Umgang mit ihren engsten Bündnispartnern, sondern auch im Alltagsgeschäft der Vereinten Nationen demonstrieren die USA seit Bushs Amtsantritt, wie tief die "Kluft zwischen außenpolitischen Stilen, Methoden und Instrumenten" in Nordamerika und Kontinentaleuropa geworden ist, die Reinhard Mutz vom Hamburger Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik ausgemacht hat. Die Liste der Streitpunkte wird von Monat zu Monat länger.

Nicht nur, dass der Rest der Welt verwundert reagierte, als die schießwütige Nation auf Drängen ihrer Waffen-Lobby ein Abkommen gegen den Schmuggel von Handfeuerwaffen durchlöcherte. Nicht nur, dass ausgerechnet die Megamacht, deren Präsident einem "göttlichen Plan" zu folgen vorgibt, sich fernhielt oder querlegte, als 178 Nationen für ein Abkommen zum Schutz der Umwelt kämpften und 148 Staaten ein verbindliches Verbot von Bio-Waffen verlangten.

"Selbstbewusst, um nicht zu sagen arrogant"

So wie ein "Single mit Bindungsangst" benehme sich die Supermacht seit dem Beginn der Bush-Ära, kritisiert die Öko-Organisation Greenpeace: "Sich festlegen, Verpflichtungen eingehen, Entscheidungen mit Partnern diskutieren - unter rechten Bushianern gelten solche Verhaltensweisen zunehmend als verpönt. Was die Handlungsfreiheit der USA einschränken könnte, ist von Übel, und damit gelten feste Bündnisse oder bindende Verträge als Überbleibsel der Vergangenheit."

Eine ebenso "selbstbewusste, um nicht zu sagen arrogante Positionierung" wie in Umweltfragen bescheinigt der Bonner Politikwissenschaftler Christian Hacke der Bush-Regierung auch bei ihrem wirtschaftspolitischen Umgang mit dem Rest der Welt. "Wenn Amerika weiter nach Belieben schalten und walten kann, Grundgesetze eines liberalen Welthandels nach Belieben aussetzt, den eigenen Markt durch protektionistische Maßnahmen abschottet und vor allem im Bereich der Rüstungskooperation so rücksichtslos nationalistisch handelt wie bisher, dann werden in Europa Unverständnis und Kritik weiter anschwellen," prophezeite der Professor auf einer Unionstagung: "Darauf müssen sich die USA einstellen."

Nicht minder schlechte Zensuren erteilt der Wissenschaftler dem US-Präsidenten für dessen Versagen bei der Friedenssicherung im Nahen Osten: "Viel zu lange" habe die Regierung Bush im palästinensisch-israelischen Konflikt "den radikalen Kräften freien Lauf gelassen". Und "zu lange" habe sie den Israelis erlaubt, "den legitimen Repräsentanten der Palästinenser, Arafat, auf eine Stufe mit dem Terroristen Bin Laden zu stellen".

Antiamerikanismus aus Amerika

George W. Bush mag derlei Stimmen aus Europa als puren Antiamerikanismus abtun. Doch über den Kurswechsel, den er nach seinem Amtsantritt vornahm, urteilten amerikanische Publizisten nicht weniger vernichtend als deutsche Politologen. Der "Washington Post"-Kolumnist Jim Hoagland etwa merkte voller Sarkasmus an: "Es muss eine bessere Methode geben, Freunde zu gewinnen und auf andere Nationen Einfluss zu nehmen, als aus Konferenzen auszuziehen, Abkommen zu schmähen oder auf seinen Händen zu sitzen, während der Nahe Osten brennt."

Als geradezu verheerend für das Ansehen Amerikas könnte sich Bushs Haltung zur Kontrolle jenes Teufelszeugs erweisen, dessen - auch nur vermutete - Präsenz in Drittländern auch schon mal als Kriegsgrund herhalten soll: A-Waffen, B-Waffen, C-Waffen.
"Da geht einem der Hut hoch"

Wie Pentagon-Chef Donald Rumsfeld jüngst den Mitgliedern des Washingtoner Verteidigungsausschusses eröffnete, bereiteten sich die USA darauf vor, im nächsten Golfkrieg auch "nicht tödliche" Chemiewaffen einzusetzen. Allerdings, bedauerte der Verteidigungsminister, machten internationale Verträge die Verwendung dieser "absolut angemessenen" Kampfmittel "sehr kompliziert". Tatsächlich verbietet die geltende Chemiewaffen-Konvention den Kriegseinsatz sämtlicher Kampfgase.

"Da geht einem der Hut hoch," entsetzt sich der Hamburger Jan van Aken, deutscher Leiter des internationalen "Sunshine Project"; der sonnige Name der Ökopax-Initiative spielt darauf an, dass manche C-Waffen-Wirkstoffe bei Tageslicht abgebaut werden.

Keinerlei Verständnis hat der Friedensaktivist dafür, dass die USA sich für den Häuserkampf im Zweistromland den Einsatz von Stoffen aus jener Gattung vorbehalten, die Washington als casus belli gilt. Die Bush-Regierung, argumentiert Akens Organisation auf ihrer Website, sei im Begriff, "dieselben Verträge zu verletzten, die zu verteidigen sie vorgibt".

Tod durch nicht tödliche Waffen

Die Deklarierung "nonlethal" hält der Experte im Übrigen für irreführend. Zur Gruppe der so bezeichneten C-Waffen gehören nicht nur bewusstseinsverändernde Mittel ("calmatives") und krampfauslösende Stoffe ("convulsants"), mit denen seit längerem in US-Geheimlabors experimentiert wird und die über die Haut oder die Schleimhaut auf den Gegner einwirken und ihn kaltstellen sollen. Unter dem verniedlichenden Etikett "nonlethal" rangiert auch das Kampfgas, das russische Militärs in einem Moskauer Musicaltheater zur Befreiung von Geiseln einsetzten; das Mittel forderte weit über hundert Menschenleben.

Die Friedenswächter vom "Sunshine Project" sind nicht nur, zumal seit Rumsfelds Vorstoß, in "großer Sorge" um den Fortbestand der C-Waffen-Konvention. Zugleich fürchten sie, dass die USA mehr und mehr dazu beitragen, dass auch das globale Ächtung von B-Waffen bröckelt.

Willkommener Vorwand für Dritte

Die Bush-Regierung lehnt es strikt ab, sich selber den Kontrollmechanismen der internationalen Biowaffen-Konvention zu unterwerfen. Unmittelbar nachdem vorletztes Jahr durch die "New York Times" publik geworden war, dass US-Forscher gentechnische Arbeiten an Milzbrandbakterien planen, appellierte "Sunshine" an die Berliner Regierung, sich gegenüber den USA "deutlich gegen diese Projekte auszusprechen" und die B-Waffen-Konvention "zu verteidigen und zu stärken".

Wie dringend notwendig eine lückenlose Kontrolle von biologischen Kampfstoffen wie Anthrax ist, das Milzbrand auslöst, erwies sich bald nach der Schrecken auslösenden Anschlagsserie im Herbst 2001 in den USA. Nachdem zunächst irakische Terroristen als Absender von Anthrax-Briefen verdächtigt worden waren, bestehen heute kaum mehr Zweifel daran, dass das weiße Pulver aus einem US-Militärlabor stammte.

Zwar unterstellt kaum ein Kritiker der US-Regierung, sie beabsichtige, tonnenweise Anthrax-Bomben zu produzieren wie etwa gegen Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Damals erwog der britische Kriegsherr Winston Churchill, mit C-Waffen und bereits angelieferten B-Waffen aus US-Produktion Hitlerdeutschland regelrecht zu "durchtränken". Doch die Weigerung Washingtons, die eigenen Labors internationalen Kontrollen zu unterwerfen, könnte Dritten als willkommener Vorwand dienen, ihrerseits internationale Inspektionen zu verweigern.

"Der Samen der Spaltung ist gesät"

Die gleiche gefährliche Doppelmoral legt die Bush-Regierung in ihrer Atomwaffenpolitik an den Tag. Washington wies nicht nur eine Anregung von Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer brüsk zurück, die US-Option eines nuklearen Ersteinsatzes zu "überdenken". Bush schockierte im Sommer vorigen Jahres auch die Moskauer Regierung mit der Ankündigung, einen amerikanischen Raketenschirm zu errichten, der zwar einigen europäischen Staaten Schutz bieten solle, nicht aber Russland.

Mit einer solchen Politik werde Europa erneut geteilt, fürchtet der SPD-Senior Egon Bahr, langjähriger Direktor des Hamburger Friedensforschungsinstituts und geistiger Vater der sozialliberalen Entspannungspolitik. "Frieden und Zusammenarbeit in Europa kann es ohne Russland nicht geben," verurteilt Bahr das Washingtoner Raketenschirm-Projekt: "Damit ist der Samen der Spaltung gesät."

Bedroht fühlen müssen sich die Russen - und nicht nur sie - vor allem aber durch amerikanische Pläne, die im März 2002 bekannt wurden: Das Pentagon will spezielle Mini-Atombomben zur Zerstörung von Bunkern, Höhlenverstecken und Waffenfabriken bauen lassen.

Wer zuerst schießt, stirbt als zweiter"

In einem an den US-Kongress adressierten Pentagon-Geheimpapier("Nuclear Posture Review") heißt es, diese neuartige Kategorie von Kernwaffen eigne sich zum Einsatz gegen sieben Staaten: Irak, Iran, Nordkorea, Libyen und Syrien sowie China und Russland.

Während US-Außenminister Colin Powell das Papier als "weise militärische Planung" rühmte, sprachen Europäer entsetzt von einem möglichen "Schritt vom Abschreckungsmittel hin zu aggressiven Präventivangriffen", wie der Wiener ÖVP-Sicherheitsexperte Bernhard Moser die Bedenken der Kritiker auf den Punkt brachte.

Die Regenbogenkrieger von Greenpeace, die schon seit Jahrzehnten vor pazifischen Atollen und in amerikanischen Wüsten gegen Atomtests protestieren, sehen in der offensiv verwendbaren Mini-Bombe eine Bedrohung des Weltfriedens: "Damit wird die Regel, die den Einsatz der Nuklearwaffen bislang verhinderte, außer Kraft gesetzt."

Den Umweltkämpfern schwant Schlimmes: "Im Kalten Krieg galt die Faustformel: Wer zuerst schießt, stirbt als zweiter. Zukünftig heißt es: Wer immer gegen die USA Gewalt einsetzt, muss mit seiner Vernichtung und der atomaren Verseuchung seines Landes rechnen - auch Länder, die selbst nicht über Atomwaffen verfügen."
Mit welchen Waffen auch immer die Vereinigten Staaten ihre nächsten Kriege führen werden - eine Gefahr will Bush ausgeschlossen wissen: dass sich der selbsternannte Weltpolizist vor irgendeinem Weltgericht gegen den Vorwurf verteidigen muss, im Eifer des Gefechts selber das Recht gebrochen zu haben.

Viele US-Falken fühlen sich noch immer tief gedemütigt durch ein über anderthalb Jahrzehnte zurückliegendes Votum des Haager Gerichtshofes: Die Jury hatte 1986 die Vereinigten Staaten für schuldig befunden, durch die Verminung von Häfen, die Zerstörung von Raffinerien und die Bewaffnung von Untergrundkämpfern den Sturz der Regierung von Nicaragua betrieben zu haben.

Massiv widersetzte sich die Bush-Administration - right or wrong, America - vorletztes Jahr dem Willen von mehr als 120 Nationen, einen Internationalen Strafgerichtshof zur Verfolgung von Völkermord, Kriegsverbrechen und Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit zu installieren.

Das Weiße Haus begründete den Boykott des Gerichtshofs, dessen Kosten zu einem Fünftel von Deutschland getragen werden, schlicht mit dem Bedürfnis nach "Schutz der amerikanischen Streitkräfte". Unterstützung erfuhren die USA lediglich durch Israel, China, Jemen und Katar sowie zwei der so genannten Schurkenstaaten: Libyen und Irak.

"Bisher gab es keinen Präzedenzfall, in dem die USA einen multilateralen Vertrag - den eine zu großen Teilen demokratische Koalition der Völkergemeinschaft anstrebt - mit solchem Druck zu verhindern sucht," kommentierte die liberale Hamburger "Zeit" den Widerstand Washingtons.

"Respektable Form des Kolonialismus"

Doch trotz des Dauerkonflikts mit der Uno - gänzlich missen möchten die USA die Weltorganisation nicht: Die Blauhelme werden noch gebraucht, zumindest für Nachkriegseinsätze in den zu besiegenden Ländern. Vor allem in der amerikanischen wie in der britischen Öffentlichkeit werden immer wieder Vorschläge erörtert, auf welche Weise sich die Uno im Ringen um eine neue Weltordnung nützlich machen könnte.

"Die Antwort auf den Terrorismus? Kolonialismus!" - unter dieser Überschrift plädiert der konservative britische Historiker Paul Johnson dafür, nach der militärischen Niederwerfung "halsstarriger Terroristenstaaten" das "Mandatssystem des alten Völkerbundes" wiederzubeleben, das einst als "`respektable` Form des Kolonialismus gute Dienste" geleistet habe.

Mit Hilfe einer "neuen Form des Uno-Mandats", so Johnson, könnten die Vereinten Nationen "terroristische Staaten einer verantwortungsvollen Aufsicht unterstellen". In Frage kämen neben dem Irak auch der Sudan, Libyen, Iran und Syrien.

Blauhelm ab, Tropenhelm auf?

Reminiszenzen an die Zeit des Tropenhelm-Kolonialismus weckte auch der Leitartikler Max Boot vom "Wall Street Journal": Viele Problemländer, schrieb er, schrieen heute geradezu "nach solch aufgeklärter ausländischer Verwaltung, wie sie einmal von selbstbewussten Engländern in Kolonialuniformen und -helmen geleistet wurde".

"Einseitige US-Herrschaft ist vielleicht keine Option mehr," fügte Boot hinzu - wohl weil er befürchtet, das schlechte Image der Yankees würde "Ami go home"-Forderungen Vorschub leisten. Aber, so Boot, "die USA können eine internationale Besatzungsmacht unter Uno-Mandat und in Kooperation mit einigen muslimischen Staaten anführen."

Ob allerdings die Uno, traditionell antikolonialistisch gestimmt, auf Dauer zur Kolonialmacht neuen Stils taugt und zur Verwaltung von Regionen bereit ist, die ohne ihr Plazet von den USA bombardiert und besetzt worden sind, steht dahin.

Falls nicht, bliebe ihr nach wie vor eine wichtige Rolle in der internationalen Arbeitsteilung - als mildtätige Hilfstruppe, die mit Euro-Millionen die Überlebenden jener Kriege ernährt, die das Pentagon führt.

Das wäre nichts Neues. Wie heißt doch der alte Nato-Spruch: "The US fights, the UN feeds, the EU pays."
Ein neuer Clinton?

Frieden in der Bewerbungsmappe

Von Lutz Kleveman, New York

Bisher folgte die Demokratische Partei der USA fast sprachlos dem Kriegskurs der Bush-Regierung. Doch nun regt sich Widerstand. Howard Dean, weitgehend unbekannter Bewerber um die Präsidentschafts-Kandidatur, bekam für seine Antikriegsrede beim Demokratentreff mehr Applaus als all seine renommierten Konkurrenten. Schon beschwören manche einen neuen Clinton.


US-Präsidentschaftskandidat Howard Dean: gegen einen US-Alleingang

Als Howard Dean ans Rednerpult tritt, hält er sich gar nicht erst mit einleitenden Floskeln auf: "Was ich wissen will: warum unterstützt die Führung der Demokratischen Partei den unilateralen Krieg des Präsidenten gegen den Irak?" Wie ein Geschoss fliegt die Frage durch den Saal des Hyatt Hotels in Washington, wo sich das Nationalkomittee der Demokraten am Wochenende zur Wintertagung versammelt hat. Erschrocken starren die Partei-Granden auf den Ex-Gouverneur von Vermont, einen der bislang eher unbekannteren Bewerber um die Kandidaten-Nominierung für die Präsidentschaftswahlen im nächsten Jahr.
Da brandet plötzlich tosender Applaus auf, von den Hunderten Funktionäre und Delegierten. Jede Zeile, mit der der 54jährige Arzt fortan das unterwürfige Mitläufertum demokratischer Kongressmitglieder in der Politik von Präsident George W. Bush geißelt, wird wild beklatscht. "Ich bin Howard Dean, ich vertrete den demokratischen Flügel der Demokratischen Partei", ruft der liberale Nordstaatler. Am Ende der feurigen Rede erheben sich viele Delegierte zu stehenden Ovationen und "Howard, Howard"-Rufen. Die Oppositions-Partei, die der Bush-Regierung seit dem 11. September 2001 geradezu ohnmächtig gegenüber steht, hat einen neuen Star.

Der Mann, der jahrelang dem linksliberalsten US-Staat Vermont als Gouverneur vorstand, begeisterte sogar Parteifreunde aus so konservativen Staaten wie Wyoming oder Alabama - denen gefiel Deans Rede am besten. "Er hat heute die Richtung gewiesen", sagte die texanische Demokratenführerin Molly Beth Malcolm. "Die Leute dürsten nach Führerschaft, und Howard Dean zeigte genau das." Erfahrene Parteigänger indes räumem Deans Ambitionen keine großen Chancen ein. Der Mann sei zu links; was die Demokraten bräuchten, ist eine Figur wie Clinton, der sich immer in die Mitte stellt, egal, wo die gerade ist.

Auf jeden Fall aber tritt Deans Rede ein schwelender innerparteilichen Streit um die Irak-Politik offen zutage. Mitte Februar hatte Senator Robert Byrd im Kongress bereits eine flammende Anti-Kriegs-Rede gehalten; Deans Fortsetzung könnte nun die Demokraten aus ihrer bisherigen loyalpatriotischen Erstarrung wecken, die den Republikanern um Bush bislang weitgehend widerspruchsloses Regieren erlaubt hat. So sahen sich zwei von Deans mächtigen Rivalen gezwungen, auf der Tagung ihre Unterstützung für Bushs Kriegskurs zu verteidigen. "Saddam Husseins Massenvernichtungswaffen müssen lieber früher als später zerstört werden, denn falls wir das nicht tun, wird er sie früher oder später gegen uns einsetzen", sagte Joseph Lieberman, der Senator von Connecticut. Der ehemalige Mitkandidat von Al Gore bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen vor zwei Jahren gilt als der konservativste Falke unter den demokratischen Aspiranten für das Weiße Haus.

Zwischenruf von hinten: "Schande!"

Zwar kritisierte Lieberman, dass Bush nicht eine breitere internationale Koalition für den Angriff auf den Irak gewonnen habe, doch das Ziel an sich nannte er richtig und entscheidend für die Sicherheit Amerikas. Lieberman warnte seine Parteifreunde: "Niemand wird im November 2004 zum Präsidenten gewählt werden, der die Wähler nicht überzeugen kann, dass er Amerika`s Familien schützen wird." Die Delegierten reagierten mit respektvollem, aber zurückhaltendem Applaus.


George Bush im Oktober 2002: Demokraten gaben ihm freie Hand in Sachen Saddam

Die Brandrede Deans galt auch dem Partei-Schwergewicht Richard Gephardt aus Missouri, der erst vergangene Woche seine Kandidatur um das höchste Amt im Staate bekannt gegeben hatte. Der langjährige Demokraten-Führer im Repräsentantenhaus war im vergangen Herbst entscheidend dafür eingetreten, dass die Demokraten mit grosser Mehrheit für die Kongress-Resolution votierten, die Bush einen Angriff auf den Irak erlaubte. "Ich glaube, wir müssen Saddam Hussein entwaffnen. Und ich bin stolz, dass ich die Resolution geschrieben habe. Sie half dem Präsidenten, schließlich seine Sache vor die Vereinten Nationen zu tragen." Die Delegierten schwiegen frostig, aus den hinteren Reihen donnerte ein Ruf: "Schande!"

Die offene Gespaltenheit der Demokraten spiegelt die wachsende Skepsis im amerikanischen Volk gegenüber der Kriegspolitik der Bush-Regierung wider. Zwar unterstützt eine knappe Mehrheit noch immer den Kurs des Weißen Hauses, doch der Widerstand im Uno-Sicherheitsrat und die Friedensdemonstrationen in amerikanischen Städten haben eine erneute Irak-Debatte entfacht. Am vergangenen Wochenende hatten in New York und San Francisco Hunderttausende gegen die US-Politik protestiert. Regierungssprecher und die bürgerlichen Medien spielten die Volksaufmärsche zwar nach Kräften herunter, und konservative Kommentatoren in Radio und Fernsehen sparten nicht mit Spott und Häme.

"Der Doktor ist in!!

Doch die Basis der Demokratischen Partei bekommt - ähnlich wie Tony Blairs Labour Party in Großbritannien - den Druck von unten immer deutlicher zu spüren. Auf seiner ersten Pressekonferenz als Kandidat etwa sah sich Gephardt vergangene Woche an einem College im US-Bundesstaat Iowa einem regelrechten Sperrfeuer von Fragen ausgesetzt, die seine Rückendeckung für das Weiße Haus kritisierten. Wahlkampfstrategen prophezeien bereits, dass die linksliberale Parteibasis in Iowa, traditionell der Ort der ersten Vorwahlen für Präsidentschafts-Kandidaten, den Falken Gephardt und Liebermann in diesem Jahr zünftige Abfuhren erteilen wird. Auch der wohl chancenreichste Kandidat, der Vietnam-Veteran und schwerreiche Senator John Kerry aus Massachusetts, wird jetzt auf die Frage antworten müssen, warum er für die Kriegsresolution gestimmt hat.


US-Demokrat Robert Byrd: Antikriegsrede im Senat

Davon könnte der bisherige Außenseiter und neue Hoffnungsträger Dean profitieren, dessen Vorstoß den Demokraten die Irak-Politik als Wahlkampfthema unumkehrbar aufgezwungen hat. Dabei betont der Sohn eines republikanischen Investmentbankers, keine pazifistische "Taube" zu sein. Dem New York Magazine sagte er: "Ich glaube einfach nicht, dass der Präsident überzeugende Argumente hat. Er muss zeigen, dass Saddam nukleare Waffen hat, und ich denke nicht, dass es dafür auch nur den Fetzen eines Beweises gibt." Biologische und chemische Waffen allein würden nicht reichen als Kriegsgrund, glaubt Dean, der sich offen für den französischen Vorschlag ausgesprochen hat, die Zahl der Uno-Inspektoren im Irak zu verdreifachen.

"Die meisten Leute haben keine Ahnung vom Krieg, außer Menschen, die ihre Kinder im Krieg verloren haben", meint der gebürtige New Yorker, dessen Bruder während des Vietnam-Kriegs von kommunistischen Vietcong in Laos als CIA-Spion hingerichtet wurde. "Deshalb glaube ich, dass meine politischen Mitbewerber um die Nominierung in Sachen Irak falsch liegen."

Nach der Tagung des Nationalkomitees in Washington waren sich jedenfalls fast alle Anwesenden einig, dass der Arzt aus Vermont von nun an ein ernstzunehmender Herausforderer sein könnte. Viele Delegierte, besonders junge, trugen Schilder, auf denen zu lesen war: "Der Doktor ist in!" Einige Ältere erinnerten an eine ähnliche Parteiversammlung vor zwölf Jahren, als sich ein ebenfalls weitgehend unbekannter Gouverneur eines kleinen Bundesstaats mit einer leidenschaftlichen Rede als Kandidat nach vorne gespielt hatte: Bill Clinton aus Arkansas.

We need to hear from Democrats on Iraq
Sunday, February 23, 2003


WASHINGTON -- The Democratic presidential aspirants have been pussyfooting around the Iraq question, wanting to have it both ways on whether to support President Bush`s rush-to-war.

The time has come for them to show some backbone. They should declare their position clearly and point to peaceful options that the president has no time for. Speaking of clarity, I salute Bush for his laser-focused campaign against Saddam Hussein, even if he ignores facts and history. Also getting strong marks for clarity would be Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who is just as hawkish as Bush.

It`s disappointing that the Democrats don`t have a leading candidate to challenge that point of view with the force of moral clarity. Most of the leading candidates are straddling the fence, reluctant to take a firm stand one way or another. These wafflers should get C-minus grades when voters are passing out grades for leadership.

At a time when the Democrats need giants to challenge the incumbent president, they are surrounded by "me too" candidates.

If it gets down to Lieberman, Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts or Joseph Biden of Delaware, the voters will have scant choice in `04 and may feel they have to stick with the known quantity.

Democrats have always felt slightly queasy when dealing with issues of national security. Polls invariably show that voters trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to war and peace. The same voters trust Democrats more when it comes to education, health care and Social Security.

Maybe that explains why most of the growing list of Democratic contenders are so nervous when it comes to challenging the president on Iraq. They also have to be acutely aware of the fact that the American people will rally behind the commander in chief in time of military crisis, as shown in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and its aftermath.

Against this wishy-washy backdrop, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean stands out because of his anti-war message.

In a foreign policy address earlier this week at Drake University in Des Moines, Dean said Bush is too focused on "the wrong war at the wrong time."

He suggested that the "right war" would be to target al-Qaida, which caused the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. U.S. officials are convinced the malevolent al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is still alive after his last tape rallying radical Muslims to more violence.

"What happened to the war against al-Qaida?" Dean asked in his Iowa speech.

Dean also said he believed Bush should be spending money for the defense of our country by hiring more emergency workers and suggesting more security measures.

At the same time, Dean said he would be prepared to go ahead against Baghdad if the U.N. Security Council approved and if it were "clear the threat posed to us by Saddam Hussein was imminent and could neither be contained nor deterred."

Bush hasn`t made the case for war, noted Dean, who endorsed more of "the hard work of diplomacy and inspection" as alternatives to the Bush war machine.

Dean said he would have voted against the congressional resolution giving the president open-ended power to go to war on his own terms and timing.

While attacking Bush, Dean also heaped scorn on his Democratic rivals who are members of Congress.

"I do not believe the president should have been given a green light to drive the nation into conflict without the case having first been made to Congress and to the American people for why war is necessary," Dean said.

"That the president was given open-ended authority to go to war in Iraq resulted from a failure of too many in my party in Washington who postured for position instead of standing on principle," Dean added.

He chided the congressional presidential aspirants for voting for the war resolution and then running around to voter groups and criticizing the administration`s war campaign.

Other anti-war Democrats -- Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Al Sharpton of New York -- also are on the growing list of presidential hopefuls.

Dean has burst on the scene in a way reminiscent of Jimmy Carter of Plains, Ga., the former governor of Georgia, who in 1976 was a virtual unknown outside the South. But he patiently put together a winning campaign to defeat the incumbent president, Gerald Ford. He stunned all the Beltway seers.

Dean isn`t making any brief for Saddam, calling him "a vicious dictator and a documented deceiver."

Kucinich, 56, notes that Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward`s book, "Bush At War," depicts the administration as so eager to attack Iraq that on Sept. 12, 2001, when the nation was in a state of shock after the terrorist attacks the day before, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was already urging war against Iraq.

"Why shouldn`t we go against Iraq, not just al-Qaida," Rumsfeld is quoted as saying. He was echoing his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, who has had Iraq on his target list since 1991 when he unsuccessfully tried to sell it to the first President Bush.

Rumsfeld was "raising the possibility that they could take advantage of the opportunity offered by the terrorist attacks to go after Saddam immediately," Woodward wrote.

There was no evidence then of any link between Iraq and al-Qaida. And try as they might, and despite lots of huffing and puffing, Bush administration officials haven`t produced any evidence since.

For reasons that I and many other people don`t understand, Bush has been angling to attack Iraq for years. His Democratic challengers should demand to know why.


Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: Copyright 2003 Hearst Newspapers.

© 1998-2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Poll suggests public wants U.N. support for military action

The Associated Press Monday, February 24, 2003


(02-24) 17:09 PST (AP) --

A majority of Americans want the Bush administration to build more support within the U.N. Security Council for military action against Iraq, even if that means moving more slowly, says a new poll.

In an ABC News-Washington Post poll, more than 56 percent said they want to see the United States win over more of the Security Council`s membership before attacking, even if that takes more time. Thirty-nine percent said this country should move quickly against Iraq even if that means acting without the Security Council`s support.

The public favors U.N. involvement in any military action, even though they tend to disapprove of the world organization`s handling of the Iraq situation -- 38 percent approval and 56 percent disapproval.

Public support for President Bush`s handling of the Iraq situation has dropped slightly from 61 percent two weeks ago to 55 percent now. Bush`s overall approval rating was at 60 percent, about where it has been in polls in the last few months.

The level of public support for military action depends on how much international backing the United States can muster.

* 63 percent favor military action against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

* 57 percent support military action even without approval of the United Nations as long as some allies such as Britain, Spain and Australia are involved.

* 50 percent back military action and 46 percent oppose when they`re simply asked their position if the United Nations opposes the military action.

The poll of 1,024 adults was conducted Feb. 19-23 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Harvey Wasserman

A regime that hates democracy can`t wage war for democracy
February 22, 2003

George W. Bush says he wants to attack Iraq to install democracy. But as he explained on December 18, 2002: "If this were a dictatorship, it`d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I`m the dictator."

Under Bush the Constitutional guarantees that have made America a beacon to the world for two centuries have been shredded in two short years.

In terms of basic legal rights and sanctuary from government spying, Americans may be less free under George W. Bush than as British subjects under George III in 1776.

Though the trappings of free speech remain on the surface of American society, the Homeland Security Act, Patriot I, Patriot II and other massively repressive legislation, plus Republican control of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, plus GOP dominance of the mass media, have laid the legal and political framework for a totalitarian infrastructure which, when combined with the capabilities of modern computer technology, may be unsurpassed.

The Administration has used the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, as pretext for this centralization of power. But most of it was in the works long before September 11 as part of the war on drugs and Bush`s modus operandi as the most secretive and authoritarian president in US history.

So with today`s US as a model, what would be in store for Iraqis should Bush kill hundreds of thousands of them to replace Saddam Hussein?

· President Bush has asserted the right to execute "suspected terrorists" without trial or public notice;
· The Administration claims the right to torture "suspected terrorists," and by many accounts has already done so;
· Attorney-General John Ashcroft has asserted the right to brand "a terrorist" anyone he wishes without evidence or public hearing or legal recourse;
· The Administration has arrested and held without trial hundreds of "suspected terrorists" while denying them access to legal counsel or even public notification that they have been arrested;
· The Administration has asserted the right to inspect the records of bookstores and public libraries to determine what American citizens are reading;
· The Administration has asserted the right to break into private homes and tap the phones of US citizens without warrants;
· The Administration has attempted to install a neighbors-spying-on-neighbors network that would have been the envy of Joe Stalin;
· The Administration has effectively negated the Freedom of Information Act and runs by all accounts the most secretive regime in US history;
· When the General Accounting Office, one of the few reliably independent federal agencies, planned to sue Vice President Dick Cheney to reveal who he met to formulate the Bush Energy Bill, Bush threatened to slash GAO funding, and the lawsuit was dropped;
· After losing the 2000 election by more than 500,000 popular votes (but winning a 5-4 majority of the US Supreme Court), the Administration plans to control all voting through computers operated by just three companies, with code that can be easily manipulated, as may have been done in Georgia in 2002, winning seats for a Republican governor and US senator, and in Nebraska to elect and re-elect US Senator Chuck Hagel, an owner of the voting machine company there;
· FCC Chair Michael Powell (son of Colin) is enforcing the Administration`s demand that regulation be ended so nearly all mass media can be monopolized by a tiny handful of huge corporations;
· Attorney-General Ashcroft has assaulted states rights, a traditional Republican mainstay, using federal troops to trash public referenda legalizing medical marijuana in nine states;
· Ashcroft has overridden his own federal prosecutors and assaulted local de facto prohibitions against the death penalty, which has been renounced by every other industrial nation and is now used only by a handful of dictatorships, including Iraq.

Overseas, the US record is infamous. Among those it has put in power are Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Manuel Noriega, not to mention Somoza, Pinochet, Marcos, Mobutu, the Shah, the Greek Junta and too many other murderous dictators to mention in a single article.

Afghanistan, leveled in the name of democracy and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, now stands ruined and abandoned. In sequel, Bush is gathering Iraq attackers with the promise of cash bribes, oil spoils and conquered land.

Turkey, Bulgaria and Bush`s manufactured Iraqi opposition are already squabbling over the booty. Bush says rebuilding will be funded by Iraqi oil revenues, probably administered through the same core regime now in place, but with a different figurehead.

In other words: the media hype about bringing democracy to Iraq is just that. There is absolutely no reason to believe a US military conquest would bring to Iraq the beloved freedoms George W. Bush is so aggressively destroying here in America.

A regime that so clearly hates democracy at home is not about to wage war for one abroad.

Copyright © 2003 by Harvey Wasserman
Ein neuer Star? Howard Dean

Howard Dean Gets Hot

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 24, 2003; 9:08 AM

All of you are surely wondering this morning: Who won the Democratic presidential bakeoff?

We were thinking the same thing as we sat in the press rows at the big DNC conclave here over the weekend, so we asked some fellow chattering-class members.

"I`ve never seen Gephardt that good, but Dean was on fire," said veteran analyst Charlie Cook.

"Dean kicked [butt]," another reporter declared.

Dean was the unofficial winner, and Joe Lieberman the unofficial loser (he`s a great general election candidate, but his centrist approach doesn`t provide much red meat for party carnivores).

Nearly all the candidates (other than the recuperating John Kerry and Bob Graham) were here to speechify before the DNC delegates and the assembled press corps. Which means the insiders were comparing notes and wondering who has the Right Stuff (or perhaps the left stuff) to knock off George W.

This is all about early buzz, of course. But early buzz can produce good media coverage. Just ask Howard Dean, who in the last week has gotten nice write-ups in Salon, New York magazine and the Baltimore Sun ("Vt. Democrat`s anti-war stance could be ticket from obscurity"). Such stories can create a sense of momentum and attract supporters and fundraisers (Rob Reiner has now endorsed Dean).

Nationally, it`s a different story. A Time-CNN poll gives Lieberman 16 percent, Dick Gephardt 13, Kerry 8, John Edwards 7, Al Sharpton 7, Carol Moseley-Braun 4, Dean 3, Graham 3 and Dennis Kucinich 2 (not bad for a guy who announced 12 minutes ago).

Kerry, meanwhile, gets first-class treatment in Vogue, with the cover line: "Can a Blue-Blooded Mega-Millionaire Win the Heartland?" (Hey, why not? Bush did it.)

These cattle calls can be a bit demeaning, with all the potential presidents and assorted egomaniacs waiting in the wings for their allotted few minutes. But they are the opening innings of a very long game – and a great opportunity for those don`t have a national profile.

Like a certain doctor.

Just check out the headlines:

Chicago Tribune: "Dean takes Democrats to task over Iraq stance"

Washington Times: "`Gutsy` Dean rouses Democrats with call to arms"

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Dean Scores a Home Run at Democratic Party Powwow"

Here`s the New York Times take:

"Former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont and Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri drew the day`s warmest receptions by far.

"Dr. Dean moved to distinguish himself sharply from his rivals. Taking advantage of the fact that he is not a sitting member of Congress, he criticized Democrats who had supported White House policies for the past two years, starting with the Iraq resolution last year. Dr. Dean did not even bother to warm up his crowd, starting his attack immediately after walking to his microphone.

"`What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president`s unilateral attack on Iraq?` he asked, to applause from most of his audience. `What I want to know is why are Democratic leaders supporting tax cuts? The question is not how big the tax cut should be; the question should be, Can we afford a tax cut at all, with the largest deficit in the history of this country?`

"`I`m Howard Dean, and I`m here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,` he said. . . .

"In interviews, Democrats spoke highly of Dr. Dean, saying he had with his speech provided a sense of ideology and passion that many said had been absent among Democrats in last year`s Congressional elections.

"But Mr. Gephardt – who as the former House minority leader took much of the blame for last year`s defeats – drew reviews that were almost as warm. . . . Indeed, in many ways, the day might prove to be especially beneficial for Mr. Gephardt, who is a regular and perhaps overly familiar figure to many Democrats here looking for a fresh face."

The Boston Globe also likes the doctor:

"Howard Dean, a former governor of Vermont, had the crowd buzzing with a speech that attacked his own party nearly as viciously as he castigated Bush. . . . The audience was far more reserved for its first speaker, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut."

Says Newsweek: "So far, the boat rising fastest on the antiwar tide belongs to Howard Dean."

The Washington Post delivers a similar verdict:

"Dean`s fiery and unabashedly liberal message drew the most enthusiastic response from an audience demoralized by Democratic losses in the 2002 elections. . . .

"Gephardt, who formally announced his candidacy this week, also drew strong applause with a speech that used personal and family experiences to promote an agenda to provide health care to all Americans, establish a pension system that would ensure workers a more secure retirement, create incentives to make it easier for young people to become teachers and work for a variable, international minimum wage. . . .

"Lieberman, the party`s 2000 vice presidential nominee, drew a polite but reserved response as he presented himself as a hawk on foreign and defense policy and a centrist on domestic policy."

ABC`s Note, before the cattle call, likes the man who wasn`t there. Democrats are "looking for an experienced fresh face with a military background and an anti-war stance. Barring that, they`re looking for the candidate with the best shot at beating George W. Bush.

"Right now, that candidate would seem to be Senator John Kerry, who, in fact, will be the only one of the current eight presidential candidates not addressing the DNC`s winter meeting because he is still recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

"Kerry`s top-notch staff`s ability to daisy-chain one advantage into another, in the vein of `good buzz leading to good clips leading to good staff hires leading to fundraising gains, and so on,` is no small part of why Kerry appears to be the frontrunner today. But the primary reason is his Vietnam/military credentials, which would seem, at least on the surface, to solve Democrats` biggest weakness – national security bona fides – for which they suffered badly in the 2002 elections."

In the Note`s handicapping, "the Senator from Massachusetts places first. In second: Senator John Edwards, followed by Senator Joe Lieberman at third, Rep. Dick Gephardt quite close behind in fourth, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean at fifth, and the Rev. Al Sharpton in sixth place."

The speakers also included the newest candidates, Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley-Braun (who, despite brain-lock on our part Friday, is not the first serious female candidate in a generation. We somehow forgot about Elizabeth Dole`s short-lived effort).

The Philadelphia Inquirer sees trouble ahead for whoever emerges:

"As they ponder the next presidential race, Democrats are plagued by a recurring nightmare.

"In the spring of 2004, fresh from a bloody and expensive primary season, their candidate could be strapped for cash – while the Republican candidate, who lives in the White House, is rolling in dough.

"In fact, President Bush is expected to run his reelection race with the fattest campaign war chest in history, maybe $300 million, totally financed by private contributors – defying the spirit of federal reform law that, since the Watergate era, has sought to curb the dominance of private dollars in presidential campaigns. No Democrat has a prayer of matching the Bush money juggernaut.

"As national chairman Terry McAuliffe said here at the party`s annual winter meeting, Democrats face `a tremendous gap` in the competition with Republicans to raise campaign money."

There are hints that Kerry and Lieberman could dispense with public financing.

The New Republic is pining for a big strong military man:

"Mickey Kaus is probably right to think we`re on the verge of a Wesley Clark boomlet. Clark came off as serious and uncalculating on `Meet the Press` last Sunday--at least as uncalculating as you can be when you`re on national television testing the waters for a presidential run. (The `All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kosovo` routine did wear a little thin after a while.) . . . There aren`t many Democrats who have the former Supreme Allied Commander`s credibility on national security, which seems to be the party`s biggest vulnerability going forward. The problem is that, for all his credibility, Clark`s foreign policy vision isn`t very compelling. . . .

"Wesley Clark`s thoughts on the use of force sound disturbingly Powell Doctrine-esque. Then again, Colin Powell is one of the most popular people in the country these days."

But Kaus himself sees the retired general leaving himself plenty of wiggle room: "His ultimate Iraq stand – we have to go to war now, but a year ago Bush should have `set Iraq aside` and avoided war – also happens to be a perfect straddle of the issue. If war goes well, he was for it. If it goes badly, he was against it!"

Mike Murphy, the GOP strategist who now opines for Hotline, goes online and asks: "Who has the longest bio listed on any announced candidate`s website? Teresa Heinz Kerry with an impressive 1,143 words, nearly twice her husband John Kerry`s 635 words. I had no idea Ms. Heinz-Kerry was `heralded by the Utne Reader in 1995 as one of 100 American visionaries.` I`d extract more but her bio is almost twice as long as this column. . . .

"Fragile front-runner John Kerry`s website is a bundle of tells. Beyond Ms. H-K`s epic bio, the Kerry website reveals both the strength and the weakness of the Kerry campaign; an ocean of words yielding a puddle of message. The site is admirably thick – the most elaborate of any Dem contender – but the actual content is weak."

The Orlando Sentinel finds its home-state candidate less than forthcoming on his medical treatment:

"Sen. Bob Graham, who will begin raising money for a presidential campaign next week, said Thursday that his Jan. 31 heart surgery was much more serious that he had previously disclosed.

"Graham, in his first interview with reporters since open-heart surgery, said that despite the health troubles he will open a presidential campaign committee next week. And if his doctors say he can withstand the rigors of a national campaign, he said, he will announce his candidacy in four to eight weeks.

"But the more serious nature of Graham`s health problems, and the fact that he did not disclose the extent of the problem until Thursday, could hurt his campaign, political analysts said. . . .

"Surgeons performed a double-bypass on Graham after finding he suffers from coronary artery disease. They also repaired a congenital hole between the upper chambers of his heart."

There may be more GOP governors than Democrats, but they are suddenly on the defensive, says the Washington Times:

"A threatened exodus of Republican governors from the National Governors Association was slowed yesterday when the organization`s executive committee managed to kill a resolution that would have opposed tax cuts favored by President Bush.

"The resolution would have put the nation`s governors on record as saying the best stimulus to the economy would be more federal tax dollars for the states, rather than the tax cuts supported by Mr. Bush and most Republicans in Congress.

"Rebellious Republicans led by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Colorado Gov. Bill Owens managed to thwart the resolution. The victory came a day after Republican governors met privately and resolved to work together to gain control over an NGA staff they say is dominated by liberals and Democrats."

Tired of Democrats and Republicans? This might be coming soon to a state near you, says the Baltimore Sun:

"Plans are underway for an invasion of New Hampshire. Or Wyoming. Or maybe Delaware, Montana or Alaska. Sparsely populated and independent in spirit, they`re all attractive targets for a certain bloodless coup in the making.

"Within the next several years, according to the plan, 20,000 Libertarians would move to a single state and begin infiltrating. They would get jobs, join civic groups, get elected and take a hatchet to taxes and laws. In this utopia called the Free State Project, schools would be severed from the state, gun-control laws abolished, drugs legalized, health and social services privatized, most federal aid rejected. Government`s only job would be to protect against `force and fraud.`

"`The Libertarian movement has existed for decades and produced leading intellectuals and Nobel Prize winners, but despite all that it hasn`t had much influence on a national level,` says Free State Project founder Jason Sorens. `I think it`s time we concentrate our resources in a place where we have a shot at actually winning.` . . .

"Once 20,000 have signed on – Sorens expects this by about 2005 – the migration begins."

The abortion issue may be popping up in an unexpected place:

"Advocates for women`s health are usually delighted when the government spends time and money to explore the causes of breast cancer," says the Los Angeles Times. "But some of them are charging that abortion politics, not science, is behind a conference starting Monday at the National Cancer Institute that will consider whether women who terminate a pregnancy also face a higher risk of breast cancer.

"The critics say the conference is the latest case of the Bush administration`s skewing the nation`s medical research agenda to please its conservative allies.

"There is hardly a breast cancer activist group around that can say that they`re happy this conference is happening, or that this is a high priority, or that they`ve called on the NCI to do more on this topic,` said Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the National Women`s Health Network, a Washington-based watchdog group."

Sandy Koufax has struck out Rupert Murdoch. As we told you Friday, the baseball legend disassociated himself from the Murdoch-owned Los Angeles Dodgers after a seamy gossip item in the Murdoch-owned New York Post, which has now apologized:

"A two-sentence blind item we ran here Dec. 19 about a `Hall of Fame baseball hero` has sparked a series of unfortunate consequences for which we are very sorry. The item said the sports hero `cooperated with a best-selling biography only because the author promised to keep secret that he is gay.`

"Two weeks later, the Daily News` Michael Gross, after finding `Sandy Koufax: A Lefty`s Legacy` by Jane Leavy on the best-seller list, named Koufax as the player and ran a photo of him. Koufax himself, an intensely private man, was deeply offended by our item. The author has denied making any deal with Koufax and called our item `erroneous.` We apologize to both Koufax and Leavy for getting it wrong."

Salon`s Keith Olbermann rips the Murdoch forces:

"It is the New York Post, of course, that published another piece of homophobic baseball gossip last spring that led the New York Mets` Mike Piazza to feel he had to publicly announce he was not gay. Besides the Post, the News Corp. also owns Fox Television, Fox News Channel, and other companies that produce products structurally similar to `news.` . . .

"I worked for News Corp. – for its Fox network and one of its cable sewers, Fox Sports Net, for three years. They were swine. Many companies are swine. But the Koufax episode is something extraordinary."

Tell us what you really think, Keith.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Norman Mailer: Gaining an empire, losing democracy?
Norman Mailer Tribune Media Services
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Iraq is an excuse

LOS ANGELES There is a subtext to what the Bushites are doing as they prepare for war in Iraq. My hypothesis is that President George W. Bush and many conservatives have come to the conclusion that the only way they can save America and get if off its present downslope is to become a regime with a greater military presence and drive toward empire. My fear is that Americans might lose their democracy in the process.

By downslope I`m referring not only to the corporate scandals, the church scandals and the FBI scandals. The country has gone kind of crazy in the eyes of conservatives. Also, kids can`t read anymore. Especially for conservatives, the culture has become too sexual.

Iraq is the excuse for moving in an imperial direction. War with Iraq, as they originally conceived it, would be a quick, dramatic step that would enable them to control the Near East as a powerful base - not least because of the oil there, as well as the water supplies from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers - to build a world empire.

The Bushites also expect to bring democracy to the region and believe that in itself will help to diminish terrorism. But I expect the opposite will happen: terrorists are not impressed by democracy. They loathe it. They are fundamentalists of the most basic kind. The more successful democracy is in the Near East - not likely in my view - the more terrorism it will generate.

The only outstanding obstacle to the drive toward empire in the Bushites` minds is China. Indeed, one of the great fears in the Bush administration about America`s downslope is that the "stem studies" such as science, technology and engineering are all faring poorly in U.S. universities. The number of American doctorates is going down and down. But the number of Asians obtaining doctorates in those same stem studies are increasing at a great rate.

Looking 20 years ahead, the administration perceives that there will come a time when China will have technology superior to America`s. When that time comes, America might well say to China that "we can work together," we will be as the Romans to you Greeks. You will be our extraordinary, well-cultivated slaves. But don`t try to dominate us. That would be your disaster. This is the scenario that some of the brightest neoconservatives are thinking about. (I use Rome as a metaphor, because metaphors are usually much closer to the truth than facts).

What has happened, of course, is that the Bushites have run into much more opposition than they thought they would from other countries and among the home population. It may well end up that we won`t have a war, but a new strategy to contain Iraq and wear Saddam down. If that occurs, Bush is in terrible trouble.

My guess though, is that, like it or not, want it or not, America is going to go to war because that is the only solution Bush and his people can see.

The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans` lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature - I`m 80 years old now - suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state.

Indeed, democracy is the special condition - a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already.

Norman Mailer`s latest book is "The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing." This comment was adapted from remarks Feb. 22 to the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and distributed by Global Viewpoint/Tribune Media Services International.
Fitzgerald: Bush talked of assassinating Hussein
By Eric Krol Daily Herald Political Writer
Posted on February 25, 2003

Sen. Peter Fitzgerald

President Bush recently told Sen. Peter Fitzgerald he would order the assassination of Saddam Hussein "if we had intelligence on where he was now and we had a clear shot," the Illinois senator said Monday.

Such an order would represent a major shift away from a nearly 30-year U.S. ban on assassinating foreign leaders. That ban was put into place during the Ford administration in response to criticism of CIA-backed plots in the 1960s and 1970s.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Monday he "can`t confirm whether or not" Bush and Fitzgerald discussed the potential assassination of Hussein. He said the Ford "executive order remains in place."

Fitzgerald`s comments came during an interview with the Daily Herald editorial board in which he was asked how the United States could capture and remove Hussein from power without killing thousands of Iraqi citizens in the process.

"That`s a really good question because the administration -- I have personally talked to the president about this and if we had intelligence on where he was now, and we had a clear shot to assassinate him, we would probably do that. President Bush would probably sign an executive order repealing the executive order put in place by President Ford that forbid the assassination of foreign leaders," Fitzgerald said.

Asked later to clarify whether Bush had told him he would authorize changing U.S. policy to kill Hussein, the Inverness Republican said: "Yes, yes. Now, he told me that aboard Air Force One."

A Fitzgerald spokesman said he thinks the conversation took place Jan. 7 when the senator flew back to Washington with Bush following the president`s Chicago speech touting his tax-cut plan.

"I don`t want to betray any confidences of the president," Fitzgerald quickly added. "I assumed he (Bush) had said that somewhere else. But maybe if he didn`t say that anywhere else, I shouldn`t have said that just now."

In February 1976, President Ford officially banned assassination attempts by the CIA. President Reagan extended that executive order in 1981 to include hired assassins.

Last October, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer raised eyebrows by suggesting "the cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it upon themselves, is substantially less" than the estimated $9 billion-a-month cost of a war in Iraq. Fleischer reiterated then that the Ford assassination ban remains in place.

Speaking at a Houston fund-raiser last September, Bush noted U.S. intelligence officials believe Hussein wanted Bush`s father assassinated 10 years ago: "This is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time."

Fitzgerald said he would support a change in policy to assassinate Hussein.

"I think in this limited case it would make sense if you could avoid a lot of civilian casualties, harm to our own young men and women in the armed forces, I think it would make sense. Not as a permanent change in policy but as a one-time policy," Fitzgerald said.

Illinois` senior senator, Democrat Dick Durbin of Springfield, cautioned against such a policy.

"I would say we ought to take care not to go too far on this issue," said Durbin, who sits on the Senate`s intelligence panel. "In the world we live in today, any elected official would be fair game for retaliation."

An official at the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations said only Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Aldouri could comment, but he was at U.N. hearings Monday and unavailable.

Assassinate: Fitzgerald would support policy change; Durbin urges caution
News Media Get Good Marks for Terrorism Coverage
But public generally skeptical about media accuracy and objectivity

by David W. Moore

PRINCETON, NJ -- According to the latest Gallup Poll, a majority of Americans perceive the news media to be acting responsibly in their handling of the recent threats of terrorism in the United States. But the poll also shows that, more generally, Americans are skeptical about the accuracy and objectivity of the "fourth estate." Almost six out of 10 Americans say that news stories are often inaccurate. While Americans are roughly as likely to say that the media`s news coverage favors the Republican Party as the Democratic Party, 45% say that the media are too liberal, while only 15% say the media are too conservative. Perceptions of inaccuracy are not strongly related to party or ideology, but perceptions of partisan bias, predictably, are related to partisan orientation. Conservatives and Republicans are highly likely to say that the media have a liberal and Democratic bias, while liberals and Democrats say that the media show a bias for conservatives and Republicans.

The poll was conducted Feb. 17-19 and finds that 57% of Americans believe that the news media have acted responsibly "in handling the recent threats of terrorism in the United States," while 40% say the media have acted irresponsibly. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the public was more positive. By a margin of 86% to 12%, Americans said the media provided responsible coverage. Fifty-seven percent of Americans also said the media handled the sniper shootings last fall in a responsible manner.

Overall, do you feel the news media have acted responsibly or irresponsibly in handling the recent threats of terrorism in the United States?

Feb 17-19, 2003

Despite this positive assessment, Americans express skepticism that the news media routinely provides accurate and objective coverage. The poll shows that 58% of Americans believe news organizations` stories "are often inaccurate," while just 39% say they "get the facts straight."

In general, do you think -- news organizations get the facts straight, or do you think news organizations’ stories and reports are often inaccurate?

Fractured Foreign Policy
President Bush and Captain Arab -- Psychological soul-mates

Alex A. Vardamis Wednesday, February 26, 2003


Literature can often place a current dilemma in perspective. To understand the crisis between the United States and Iraq, Americans would do well to refer to Herman Melville`s "Moby Dick."

The parallels are striking. Consider the cast of characters: Captain Ahab is played by President George W. Bush. First mate Starbuck is Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Pequod`s three harpooners -- the Indian Dagoo, the African Tashtego and the kindly cannibal Queequeg -- are the military forces of the USA. They are the ones who confront the enemy. Their job is to hurl harpoons (read cruise missiles) down the whale`s throat.

The Pequod`s diversified crew represents not only all races of mankind, but all temperaments. They are the American people. They range from the intellectual schoolmaster Ishmael and the easygoing second mate Stubb, to the third mate Flask, brave and high-spirited to a fault.

Finally, the great white whale, Moby Dick is, of course, none other than Saddam Hussein.

To carry the comparison further, suppose Ahab`s whaling ship, the Pequod, to be the United States of America. The hostile ocean, then, is the billion- strong Muslim world.

Ahab is motivated by a monomaniacal hatred of Moby Dick. He is unable to rest until he has killed the whale. Bush, too, displays an obsession with Hussein. Both Bush and Ahab feel a personal affront. Ahab lost his leg to Moby Dick. The president`s dad was politically crippled by an inability to destroy Hussein.

Just as the Pequod`s job is to harvest oil from the sperm whale, so the current crisis involves controlling Iraq`s oil supply. But Ahab, like Bush, demonstrates only a perfunctory interest in economics. He forgets the principal purpose of his voyage and, instead, uses his whaling ship as an instrument of vengeance.

Ahab and Bush view the universe through the same lens. They see mankind engaged in a perpetual struggle between right and wrong. Ahab and Bush believe they are confronting pure evil. Compromise, therefore, is impossible. Good nations support America and bad nations oppose her in this dualistic world view.

It is interesting that Ahab`s confidante, the sinister Persian (read, Iranian) Fedallah, shares this view of the universe with Bush`s advisers, including the "prince of darkness," Richard Perle.

However, Bush, like Ahab, faces opposition. Starbuck, the Pequod`s brooding first mate, initially tries to dissuade Ahab from his quest. Similarly, Bush`s first mate, Powell, was an early advocate of moderation. But Starbuck and Powell are good soldiers. They take orders.

Everyone is familiar with the conclusion of Moby Dick. The struggle with the great white whale ends with harpoons flying through the air, capsized whaleboats and churning waves. Ahab is garroted by a harpoon line. Moby Dick sinks the Pequod. All hands, but one, are lost. In the struggle between good and evil, evil triumphs, it appears.

Or, perhaps, does evil reside in Ahab`s obsession? Most whales live out their lives placidly floating in the sea and feeding on plankton. Perhaps Moby Dick, a force of nature and potential weapon of mass destruction, turns violent only when he is goaded by relentless New Englanders.

In any case, Ishmael, the only survivor of the Pequod, clings to a coffin floating among the scattered wreckage. Ishmael? Is Ishmael not the forefather of the Arabs?

What in God`s name was Melville thinking when he wrote the Great American Novel? Is there a message here?

Alex A. Vardamis is a retired professor of American literature from West Point and the University of Vermont. He lives in Carmel.
Poll: Support Erodes for Bush on Economy
Wed Feb 26, 7:58 AM ET Add White House - AP to My Yahoo!

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Eroding support for President Bush (news - web sites)`s handling of the economy is undercutting the high marks he earned for tackling terrorism, says a new poll that shows his lowest job approval rating since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

People who disapprove of Bush`s handling of the economy now outnumber those who approve, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday.

It found that 43 percent now approve of the president`s economic policy and 48 percent disapprove — the first time a Pew poll has found more disapproving.

His overall job approval, 54 percent, was at the lowest level in this poll since before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 sent it into the 80s.

Bush is still near 60 percent in overall job approval in some other polls, including an ABC-Washington Post poll released Monday.

Public support for Bush`s handling of terrorist threats remains strong, with two-thirds, or 67 percent, saying they approve. Just under half, 48 percent, said they approve of his handling of the situation in North Korea (news - web sites), while just over a third disapprove.

The public`s view of "Bush`s stewardship of the economy continues to erode and his tax plan isn`t helping him much," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. "The public is increasingly worried about finances."

Only four in 10 in the Pew poll, 42 percent, said they approve of his tax policy — suggesting his $670 billion tax-cut plan, including a centerpiece proposal to slash the tax on investor dividends, has not shored up eroding confidence in his economic leadership. About the same number, 44 percent, said they disapprove of his tax policy.

The poll was published the same day the Conference Board (news - web sites)`s Consumer Confidence Index (news - web sites) fell to its lowest level in nearly 10 years, plunging from 78.8 in January to 64.0 in February. That is its lowest reading since October 1993 and came in the face of analysts predictions for a reading of 77.0.

Kohut said his poll suggests many people "would roll back the last tax cut to pay for military spending rather than add to the deficit, so it`s not too surprising that the new tax proposals are a nonstarter."

When asked the best approach to pay for large increases in military defense and homeland security, 40 percent said the government should postpone or reduce last year`s tax cuts, 23 percent said it should add to the budget deficit and 21 percent said it should reduce spending on domestic programs.

More than half, 56 percent, said they are very concerned they will not have enough money for their retirement, up from 42 percent who felt that way in May 1997.

The poll of 1,254 adults was taken Feb. 12-18 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

This War Can Be Avoided
Harley Sorensen, Special to SF Gate
Monday, February 24, 2003
©2003 SF Gate


Kuwait is not Poland. Iraq is not Nazi Germany. Saddam Hussein is not Adolf Hitler. This year, 2003, is not 1939.

People who now urge a slaughterous attack on the Iraqi people don`t seem to understand these simple facts.

In September 1939, the mighty armies of Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and quickly conquered Poland, which was virtually defenseless. We like to say now that the world stood by and did nothing, but that`s not true. The world finally began to prepare for war.

Germany, at the time, had a magnificent army. Going one-on-one against almost any nation, it was capable of winning decisively. The Soviet Union`s military might was nearly on a par with Germany`s.

Japan, possibly the world`s third-strongest power at the time, had thrown in its lot with Germany.

So, in fact, there really was nobody to resist Germany`s aggression. The United States, a long way from becoming a superpower, was on a peacetime footing, and not prepared for war. Britain was gearing up, but it, too, was unprepared.

One can argue that the rest of the world should have seen what Hitler and Stalin and Tojo, and Mussolini, were up to, and perhaps it did. But not in time to help Poland.

How different things were in 1990, when Iraq decided to settle, once and for all, its long-standing dispute with the so-called constitutional monarchy (more monarchy than constitutional) of Kuwait. Hussein invaded and quickly conquered Kuwait, declaring it Iraq`s 19th province.

However, unlike Hitler`s ambitions in 1939, Hussein`s aspirations in 1990 quickly backfired. The rest of the world was mobilized and prepared. The United States -- fearing further aggression by Iraq and destabilization of oil prices -- quickly put together a fighting force to take back Kuwait for the emir and sheiks who own it and the Palestinians who do their work for them.

George Bush the Elder did a magnificent job at the time of rallying world support for a war to retake Kuwait, dropping bribes and forgiving loans at a dizzying pace. Whatever his tactics, they worked, and by the time the American-led and American-dominated forces went on the attack, just about the entire world was united behind them.

The "fight" to retake Kuwait was more like a slaughter. Iraq was said to have the fourth-strongest military in the world at the time, but it might as well have fought with sticks and stones. American technology and firepower pulverized the Iraqis.

So Kuwait was quickly retaken. After a virtual massacre of an estimated 85,000 retreating Iraqi troops, the war was deemed over. Bush, who had made commitments to neighboring nations to not destroy Hussein and throw Iraq into chaos, didn`t know what to do next, so he simply withdrew most of our forces.

Please note that there was no appeasement of Hussein after he invaded Kuwait. He was promptly kicked out, at great cost to his armies and his pocketbook. Arms inspectors were sent into Iraq to find and destroy Hussein`s major weapons, a job they carried out with varying degrees of success. Economic embargoes were placed against Iraq, and "no-fly zones" were established over huge parts of the country.

Over the past dozen years, U.S. and British planes have struck perhaps thousands of times against Iraq. According to "The World Almanac," more than 400 targets were struck within Iraq in the seven months between January and August 1999 alone. We even bombed and shelled military targets in Baghdad on occasion.

Because of the devastation inside Iraq, and a shortage of food, the United Nations relented on its economic embargoes enough to allow Iraq to sell oil for food. Unfortunately, the U.N. did not supervise the oil-for-food program, so it turned into an oil-for-palaces program. Iraqi children continued to starve, thanks to Hussein`s callousness and the U.N.`s carelessness.

The U.N. also allowed Hussein to wreck the weapons-inspections program.

The U.N., by itself, has virtually no enforcement ability, so it depends on the leadership of great nations like the United States to provide that ability. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton wasn`t up to that job during his terms of office, nor was George W. Bush before Sept. 11, 2001.

However, it`s not too late, not even now.

We seem to forget that Iraq is a vanquished aggressor nation. As such, Iraq does not call the shots. It does what it is told.

Good parents never threaten their children unless they`re willing to carry out the threat. Children constantly threatened but never punished grow up thinking they can get away with anything.

The same principle applies here. Hussein has been threatened mightily by the U.N., but punishment for noncompliance has ranged from puny to nonexistent. So Hussein believes he can get away with anything.

That`s why he keeps toying with the arms inspectors. Experience has taught him he can get away with it.

The U.N. has made mistakes. The United States has not provided the leadership it should have. However, the remedy for these mistakes is not mass murder. We don`t have to destroy Iraq and tens of thousands of its people -- and put our own people at risk of retaliation -- in order to set things right.

If we use our heads, instead of just our muscle, we can get the compliance from Iraq required by the world.

For one thing, we can supervise the oil-for-food program so it works as intended. The fact that Hussein abuses that program is our fault, not his. We know what he is, so why would we expect him to do anything right? It is our obligation to make sure he does it right.

We should disarm Iraq completely and turn it into a kind of U.N. protectorate. Hussein, of course, would not like this proposal. So what? We really don`t care what he likes, do we?

If the goal is tranquillity in the region, a clawless Iraq, protected by U.N. forces stationed within Iraq, would go a long way toward achieving that goal. Even Israel, bellicose as it is, might appreciate that solution.

War against Iraq can be avoided. An offensive war, for a nation as powerful as ours, is an admission of failure. It is a sign of impatience and emotional immaturity. Such a war diminishes our moral standing in the world because it demonstrates a lack of character.

Strong people don`t control weaker people by knocking their blocks off. "All or nothing" is the philosophy of morons. The same principles apply to nations. When we demonstrate we`re incapable of dealing with intermediate steps, we demonstrate our intellectual and moral weaknesses.

We Americans have no aversion to the use of force to achieve our goals. Nor should we, when our goals are noble. However, brute strength should be used wisely and judiciously. An all-out war against Iraq now, when intermediate measures are still available, is neither wise nor judicious.

Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and liberal iconoclast. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at

©2003 SF Gate
Robert Fisk: How the news will be censored in this war
A new CNN system of `script approval` suggests the Pentagon will have nothing to worry about
25 February 2003
Already, the American press is expressing its approval of the coverage of American forces which the US military intends to allow its reporters in the next Gulf war. The boys from CNN, CBS, ABC and The New York Times will be "embedded" among the US marines and infantry. The degree of censorship hasn`t quite been worked out. But it doesn`t matter how much the Pentagon cuts from the reporters` dispatches. A new CNN system of "script approval" – the iniquitous instruction to reporters that they have to send all their copy to anonymous officials in Atlanta to ensure it is suitably sanitised – suggests that the Pentagon and the Department of State have nothing to worry about. Nor do the Israelis.

Indeed, reading a new CNN document, "Reminder of Script Approval Policy", fairly takes the breath away. "All reporters preparing package scripts must submit the scripts for approval," it says. "Packages may not be edited until the scripts are approved... All packages originating outside Washington, LA (Los Angeles) or NY (New York), including all international bureaus, must come to the ROW in Atlanta for approval."

The date of this extraordinary message is 27 January. The "ROW" is the row of script editors in Atlanta who can insist on changes or "balances" in the reporter`s dispatch. "A script is not approved for air unless it is properly marked approved by an authorised manager and duped (duplicated) to burcopy (bureau copy)... When a script is updated it must be re-approved, preferably by the originating approving authority."

Note the key words here: "approved" and "authorised". CNN`s man or woman in Kuwait or Baghdad – or Jerusalem or Ramallah – may know the background to his or her story; indeed, they will know far more about it than the "authorities" in Atlanta. But CNN`s chiefs will decide the spin of the story.

CNN, of course, is not alone in this paranoid form of reporting. Other US networks operate equally anti-journalistic systems. And it`s not the fault of the reporters. CNN`s teams may use clichés and don military costumes – you will see them do this in the next war – but they try to get something of the truth out. Next time, though, they`re going to have even less chance.

Just where this awful system leads is evident from an intriguing exchange last year between CNN`s reporter in the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, and Eason Jordan, one of CNN`s top honchos in Atlanta.

The journalist`s first complaint was about a story by the reporter Michael Holmes on the Red Crescent ambulance drivers who are repeatedly shot at by Israeli troops. "We risked our lives and went out with ambulance drivers... for a whole day. We have also witnessed ambulances from our window being shot at by Israeli soldiers... The story received approval from Mike Shoulder. The story ran twice and then Rick Davis (a CNN executive) killed it. The reason was we did not have an Israeli army response, even though we stated in our story that Israel believes that Palestinians are smuggling weapons and wanted people in the ambulances."

The Israelis refused to give CNN an interview, only a written statement. This statement was then written into the CNN script. But again it was rejected by Davis in Atlanta. Only when, after three days, the Israeli army gave CNN an interview did Holmes`s story run – but then with the dishonest inclusion of a line that said the ambulances were shot in "crossfire" (ie that Palestinians also shot at their own ambulances).

The reporter`s complaint was all too obvious. "Since when do we hold a story hostage to the whims of governments and armies?We were told by Rick that if we do not get an Israeli on-camera we would not air the package. This means that governments and armies are indirectly censoring us and we are playing directly into their own hands."

The relevance of this is all too obvious in the next Gulf War. We are going to have to see a US army officer denying everything the Iraqis say if any report from Iraq is to get on air. Take another of the Ramallah correspondent`s complaints last year. In a package on the damage to Ramallah after Israel`s massive incursion last April, "we had already mentioned right at the top of our piece that Israel says it is doing all these incursions because it wants to crack down on the infrastructure of terror. However, obviously that was not enough. We were made by the ROW (in Atlanta) to repeat this same idea three times in one piece, just to make sure that we keep justifying the Israeli actions..."

But the system of "script approval" that has so marred CNN`s coverage has got worse. In a further and even more sinister message dated 31 January this year, CNN staff are told that a new computerised system of script approval will allow "authorised script approvers to mark scripts (ie reports) in a clear and standard manner. Script EPs (executive producers) will click on the coloured APPROVED button to turn it from red (unapproved) to green (approved). When someone makes a change in the script after approval, the button will turn yellow." Someone? Who is this someone? CNN`s reporters aren`t told.

But when we recall that CNN revealed after the 1991 Gulf War that it had allowed Pentagon "trainees" into the CNN newsroom in Atlanta, I have my suspicions.
Der "eingebettete" Reporter

Florian Rötzer 27.02.2003
Transparenz und Echtzeitjournalismus verspricht das Pentagon im zweiten Krieg gegen das Lügenregime Irak, bei dem alles anders sein soll, als beim ersten Mal

Dieses Mal wird alles anders, verspricht das Pentagon. In diesem Krieg, der für die Bush-Regierung längst beschlossene Sache ist, auch wenn immer noch so getan wird, als könne Hussein ihn noch vermeiden, wird die amerikanischen Öffentlichkeit eine "unglaublich starke Berichterstattung" vom Krieg erhalten und gewissermaßen in der ersten Reihe sitzen, um zu sehen, wie die amerikanischen Soldaten den Irak schnell und chirurgisch vom Bösen befreien.

Kritik war zuletzt im Afghanistan-Krieg laut geworden, da hier den Journalisten, wie gehabt, zunächst kein Zugang zur Front eröffnet wurde ( Krieg gegen ein Land im Schwarzen Medienloch). Dafür wurde bekanntlich der arabische Sender al-Dschasira, der aus seiner Redaktion in Kabul die einzigen Bilder und Berichte aus dem Land brachte, "zufällig" von einer amerikanischen Präzisionsbombe getroffen. Die Journalisten durften sich hingegen in Pakistan drängeln und an den Pressekonferenzen der Amerikaner und der Taliban teilnehmen ( Kriegswirtschaft). Erst mit dem Vorrücken der Nordallianz kamen auch Journalisten in die bombardierten Gebiete. Anders als die medienfeindlichen Taliban wird aber Hussein zumindest versuchen, bis vielleicht eine der vielbesprochenen "E-bombs" alles Elektronische zerschmilzt ( Schon wieder eine neue "Wunderwaffe"), eine Art Gegenöffentlichkeit aufzubauen, die nicht unter der Kuratel des Pentagon steht.

Aber zurück zu Afghanistan. Wie weit die Medien im Kriegsfall überhaupt die unabhängige Instanz bleiben können, ist sicherlich eine schwierig zu beantwortende Frage. Auch in Anwesenheit von Journalisten wurden beispielsweise in Afghanistan Massaker ohne Konsequenz verübt. So hatten britische und amerikanische Bomber und später die Krieger von Warlord Dostum gnadenlos einige Hundert aufständische Gefangene in der Festung Kala-i-Dschangi niedergemacht. Fotos zeigten Leichen, die teils noch mit gefesselten Händen am Boden lagen, also kaum gefährlich sein konnten. Nur wenige entkamen dieser Hölle. Einer war der amerikanische Taliban Lindh ( USA: Im Krieg ist das Recht eingeschränkt). Warum es zu diesem Massaker kam und ob es tatsächlich gerechtfertigt und kein Kriegsverbrechen war, blieb ebenso ungeklärt, wie das Massaker an Tausenden von Gefangenen Taliban ( Das Massaker, das nicht sein darf) oder einige Fälle von sogenannten "Kollateralschäden". Untersuchungen) des Pentagon kamen hier in aller Regel zu keinen Ergebnissen ( Beweise beseitigt?). Die Medien bestenfalls zu Vermutungen. Ansonsten diktiert der Sieger die Geschichte.

Der saubere Krieg

Natürlich will das Pentagon hier nicht für mehr Aufklärung und unabhängige Beobachter sorgen, sondern mit der neuen Medienstrategie nur geschickter die Journalisten an sich binden, indem sie, wie es so schön heißt, "eingebettet" werden. Zulassungsbeschränkungen gibt es auch hier, die Journalisten werden Einheiten zugewiesen, Bewegungsfreiheit haben sie keine. Krieg in Echtzeit für die aufgeregten Zuschauer an den Bildschirmen, die endlich den Höhepunkt des Reality-TV erleben wollen, wird es nach Zensur bestenfalls zeitversetzt und mit gewünschten Bildern geben. Jetzt freilich tönt die Pressesprecherin des Pentagon, Victoria Clarke, noch, dass die Journalisten von Anfang an die Kampfhandlungen auf dem Boden, in der Luft und auf dem Meer begleiten und die Zuschauer Echtzeit-Kämpfe sehen werden.

Die Journalisten werden zwar schon gleich einmal je nach Herkunft und Medium sowie nach Vertrauen zugeteilt, so dass die nicht-amerikanischen Medienvertreter vermutlich eher weit weg, beispielsweise auf Schiffen, stationiert werden. Clarke versichert, dass die einzigen Beschränkungen der Berichterstattung für die Informationen gelten sollen, "die den Erfolg einer Mission beeinflussen" oder das "Leben von Menschen in Gefahr bringen können". Ausschließen will sie nicht, dass die Zuschauer vielleicht auch live den Tod eines amerikanischen Soldaten sehen können, aber man kann sicherlich davon ausgehen, dass der Krieg, soweit dies das Pentagon kontrollieren kann, "sauber" sein wird (Patrick J. Sloyan: What Bodies?). Im ersten Goldkrieg hatte man beispielsweise schnell mit Raupen toten irakischen Soldaten in den Schützengräben und in den getroffenen Fahrzeugen und Panzern unter dem Sand verscharrt. Wenn es nicht die Bilder von der "Straße des Todes" gegeben hätte, so hätte der Krieg trotz Zehntausenden von Toten tatsächlich ziemlich "sauber" mit zerstörten und ausgebrannten Fahrzeugen ausgesehen.

Der damalige Verteidigungsminister und jetzige Vizepräsident Cheney war jedoch anderer Meinung, was vermutlich auch einige Implikationen für den zweiten Irak-Krieg mit seiner Beteiligung besitzt: "Das war der am besten dokumentierte Krieg. Die amerikanischen Menschen sahen mit ihren eigenen Augen durch die Magie des Fernsehens von ganz nah, was das US-Militär zu leisten imstande war."

Transparenz gegen Propaganda?

Aber dann gibt es natürlich doch die vom Pentagon nach "zahllosen Stunden" mit Medienvertretern festgelegten Regeln, obgleich eigentlich den Journalisten weitgehend vertraut werden könne, dass sie die Streitkräfte mit ihren Berichten nicht gefährden. Ob dann auch Journalisten weiter eingebettet bleiben, die unerwünschte kritische Berichte liefern? Für Disziplin sorgt wahrscheinlich schon die Androhung, sie und ihr Medium könnten ganz ausgeschlossen werden.

Aber von diesen Dingen spricht man eher nicht, schon lieber von dem Prinzip der Offenheit, mit dem das Pentagon der irakischen Propaganda entgegen treten will: "Wir gehen gegen Menschen vor, die Meister der Lüge, der Täuschung und des Verbergens sind." Und die Lügen, die Eingang in die Medien finden, erhalten dann den Anschein von Wahrheit und werden glaubhaft. Ob aber die Menschen wirklich überzeugt davon sind, dass die "eingebetteten", also nicht gerade unabhängigen Journalisten die reine und umfassende Wahrheit berichten werden, wie dies Clarke als Ergebnis der neuen Pentagon-Strategie gerne hätte, darf oder sollte doch bezweifelt werden.

"Für uns ist es eine Sache, aufzustehen und beispielsweise wahrheitsgemäß zu sagen, dass Saddam Hussein Zivilisten in die Nähe von militärischen Einrichtungen und umgekehrt postiert hat. Es ist etwas Anderes und Mächtiges, wenn NBC oder CNN International der Welt mit ihren eigenen Bildern und Worten zeigen, dass er dies tut." Aber wenn es sich dann um freiwillige Schutzschilde handelt und/oder die Amerikaner trotz des Wissens, dass sich hier Zivilisten aufhalten, bombardieren, dann wäre womöglich das Pentagon nicht mehr so glücklich, wenn nicht nur, wie offenbar erwünscht, patriotische US-Sender, sondern auch solche von anderen Ländern vor Ort wären ( Aufmerksamkeitswaffen).

Allerdings werden die Journalisten vom Pentagon, wie auch erst am 26. Februar wieder, schon vor oder bei Bombardierungen stets darauf hingewiesen, dass der Feind militärische Ziele durch zivile Einrichtungen und Zivilisten schützt und Vorfälle inszeniert, um sie propagandistisch auszubeuten. Das gehört im Medienkrieg zur beiderseitigen Strategie, die Opfer sind auf jeden Fall die Zivilisten. Wie jetzt wurde dies auch im Afghanistan-Krieg gemacht, wobei man hier wiederum auf Beispiele aus dem ersten Irak-Krieg sowie aus dem Kosovo-Krieg zurückgriff ( Verbergen und Täuschen).

Auch wenn nichts dafür spricht, dass dieser Krieg, wenn er denn beginnen sollte, unter einer größeren unabhängigen und kritischen Öffentlichkeit stattfinden wird, so darf man trotzdem zumindest auf die versprochene Einlösung der Transparenz gespannt sein - und sollte die US-Regierung, die als gute Befreiungsmacht gegenüber einer bösen Tyrannei sowie als Instanz der Aufrichtigkeit gegenüber einem System der Lüge und Täuschung antritt, auch daran messen. Nach all dem, was bislang geschehen ist, dürfte das erste Opfer eines Krieges aber trotz aller Echtzeitmedien und Pentagon-Propaganda dasselbe Opfer wie immer sein. Aber was ist schon Wahrheit? Noch dazu in einem möglicherweise postmodernen Krieg ...
Feb. 26, 2003. 05:35 AM

U.S. crackdown drives Muslims toward Canada
Refugee claimants jam border posts


LACOLLE, Que.—After surviving winter`s wrath to reach this desolate border post on the way to Montreal from New York state, about 20 refugee claimants huddle inside a large waiting room, waiting to be buzzed in by an immigration official. Most looked terrified earlier this month as they waited for their names to be called. Their concerns were not unfounded.

Refugee claimants have overwhelmed Canadian border posts since December when the American Department of Justice added Pakistan to a list of mostly Muslim nations, and North Korea, as countries whose visitors must undergo special registration.

Men aged 16 and older from these countries, who are not permanent residents or United States citizens, are required to report for interviews where they are also fingerprinted and photographed, steps the U.S. government has said are necessary to fight terrorism and track illegal aliens.

Fearing deportation, more and more refugee claimants — mostly from Pakistan — are seeking shelter in Canada.

Jalil Mirza was among hundreds of other Pakistanis fleeing the post-9/11 crackdown on illegal immigrants. He quit his job, packed up his possessions and headed north rather than face a forced return to Pakistan.

After a 16-hour bus ride from Virginia with his wife and seven children, he crossed into Canada from Burlington, Vt., hoping to gain asylum.

Besieged Canadian officials told him to come back in two weeks.

But when he dragged their suitcases back to the American side, U.S. immigration agents promptly arrested him and his two teenage sons, leaving the rest of the family wailing in despair in the icy cold.

The Mirzas are part of an unusual and chaotic exodus that has jammed land crossings from the U.S. into Canada over the past two weeks, overwhelming immigration officials and refugee aid groups on both sides of the border.

In Ontario alone, 871 people applied for asylum in January, nearly double the number in November. Pakistani refugee claimants represented only 5 per cent of claims in November, surging to 49 per cent in January.

In Buffalo, it now takes at least 14 days just to get an appointment at the Canadian border. It used to take a few days.

Once in Canada, refugee claimants can expect their cases to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board, a quasi-judicial tribunal whose members hear evidence during a face-to-face hearing, then render a decision on the refugee claim. Only about 55 per cent of refugee applications are accepted.

Rejean Cantlon, a spokesperson for Immigration Canada, said many more claimants are sent back to the U.S. with future appointments because "there are not enough translators or immigration officials available."

Back on American soil, hardship awaits.

Some are arrested by immigration officials for the same reason they seek refuge — not having proper paperwork — and return much poorer after paying bonds that start at $1,500 (U.S.).

A few are simply jailed.

But most head for emergency shelters, hoping for assistance until their hearings.

"It`s an outrage. It`s not the thing a great nation is supposed to do," said Patrick Giantonio, who helps run Vermont Refugee Assistance.

"I am crying, my wife is crying," said Samir Sheik, a Pakistani who had been working as a street vendor in New York City and was arrested at a checkpoint on his way to the Canadian border for having overstayed his visa.

Sheik said he could not return to Pakistan because he and his wife married against the wishes of both their families and he feared his wife would be killed by her father.

His wife, Erim Salim, shuffled silently around the crowded Salvation Army centre in Burlington, where they had been reunited after she borrowed from friends and neighbours to pay his $5,000 (U.S.) bond.

"She is sick now, mentally," said Sheik, nodding toward her sadly. "Millions of people live here and are overstays. Why is it only for Pakistanis and Muslim people that they do this?"

Hiraj Zafer, a Pakistani cook from Salt Lake City who was also trying to enter Canada, gave an answer. "After 9/11, people hate us," Zafer said.

Sheik said: "Yes, they hate us. But we love America. We feel free here."

Mirza joined the refrain, saying he loves America and does not want to leave.

A former restaurant manager in Virginia with four children born in the U.S., Mirza, 45, managed to scrape together the $4,500 (U.S.) he needed to get himself and his older sons out of jail. His family stayed two weeks in a shelter in Burlington, until yesterday when they had an 8 a.m. appointment with Canadian immigration officials.

With files from the New York Times and the Hamilton Spectator
Erst Bagdad dann Peking?

Decisions, decisions
While we agonise about whether to go to war, the US has moved on to a different question: what next?

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday February 26, 2003
The Guardian

Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus. So says the latest hot polemic exciting transatlantic policy types: Robert Kagan`s Paradise and Power, a meditation on how Europeans have grown soft and idealistic (and feminine) while the Yanks remain tough, booted and aware (like real men) of how brutal a place the world can be. According to Kagan, our outlooks have grown so far apart that it`s time we stopped pretending we even "occupy the same world". We are from different planets.

Maybe that explains why so many Europe