March 21, 2004
Like I've said before, I'm no good at fisking. I don't really like to do it; it goes back to my post about being rude. But I also said that the published are fair game, so when I found this old article from Sept 2003 called The Terrible Truth About Iraq and started inwardly grumbling, I decided a fisk was in order. I won't copy the whole article here -- it's really long -- but I'll pull out some things that made me grumble. And swear. Sorry. The more I read, the more angry I felt.
According to polls last week, some 60 to 70% of Americans still think we were justified in invading Iraq. Apparently, the majority of Americans still agree with Paul Bremer, who recently referred to the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a "great and noble thing."
Can you feel the contempt for the majority of Americans? This is indicative of how the "educated" on the Left feel about us. We're dumb and need their guidance to understand how peace is the answer. If 70% of us see something as "great and noble", it's because we've been duped, hoodwinked, or lied to. Really we just need smart people like Freeman instead of morons like Bremer to show us the way.
The terrible truth that America cannot face is that the whole thing was never justified in the first place and is thus certainly not a "great and noble thing." If the invasion of Iraq was not justified, then our continued occupation of Iraq can only make things worse. Of course it is a terrible, terrible thing to subject the Iraqi people to the horror they have been subjected to if the war was never justified to begin with. Of course it is a truly terrible thing (and thus a mockery of the slogan--"support the troops") to send our troops into this nightmare if the war was never justified to begin with. Certainly the majority of Americans can recognize what a terrible thing this war and occupation are if the whole thing was never justified to begin with.
Is it just me, or does this paragraph say nothing at all? Seriously. I'm planning my syllabus for teaching ENGL 101, and I swear I'd mark Freeman down for wordiness. Freeman's trying to prove his point in a circular way, using something that 70% of Americans don't see as truth at all. If people don't accept that the war was unjustified, then none of this other junk in this paragraph matters.
Despite ample evidence that the Administration's whole case for war proved to be based on lies and distortions and never amounted in the first place to anything more than a fig leaf for the neo-con agenda, Americans have not been able to face the terrible truth. America can never hope to even begin to try to set things right until she faces the terrible truth. As a nation we can never begin to really confront the problem of terrorism until we face the truth about America and this war and occupation of Iraq.
Minus five points: using the phrase "face the truth" WAY TOO MANY TIMES. And, by the way, does this guy know anything about, to quote Ace Ventura, a little something we like to call evidence? Please point out to me how we "never adequately examined the case for war." I was under the impression that I had to watch a billion speeches in front of the UN last winter.
What is it that would justify war, if indeed anything ever justifies it?
Ah, there we go. That's what he's really saying. The "terrible truth" is that nothing ever justifies war.
If there really was any evidence at all that Saddam Hussein had indeed masterminded or provided assistance to the hijackers there would have been an obvious case for self defense and there is little doubt the United States would have gotten UN authorization for a military response. Only the most dedicated pacifist would have not found just cause to attack Iraq.
Oh please. I'm gonna have to call bullshit on that one. I seem to remember France saying they'd vote no on the resolution no matter what we said. Freeman is just making things up to advance his point, fabricating a what-if scenario that he can't possibly prove would have happened. I maintain the UN still would've wussed out and there still would've been protestors. And I'll back it up with the same evidence Freeman provides: because I say so.
The other major deception the Administration used to provide a just cause was the idea that Iraq was indeed an imminent threat to the United States.
No no no no no. Haven't we been over this a million times? I'm skipping this paragraph because it's worthless.
But now we know that it is all a moot point anyway, for as Hans Blix, the former UN disarmament chief in Iraq, has recently commented: "I'm inclined to think that the Iraqi statement that they destroyed all the biological and chemical weapons, which they had in the summer of 1991 may well be the truth." It turns out that Iraq may well have been in compliance with the UN resolution all along.
If Hans Blix says so, it's truth; if George Bush says so, it's lies. I don't give one good goddam what Blix is "inclined to think."
Freedman goes on to say that the last justification the Administration provided was latecoming and grounds for Bush to be "hauled off right then and there to the nearest insane asylum":
...we need to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, at a cost of billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, not to mention the lives of many good young Americans, all just to--get this--bring democracy to the Middle East...
I personally don't care one flip about WMDs or yellowcake or imminent anything because I saw the big picture long ago. The Arab world is a freaking mess, and some of that mess has now started interfering with our lives i.e. the WTC. The big picture is that we most certainly do need to bring democracy to the Middle East to protect us all down the line. The fact that Freeman ridicules this notion proves to me that he doesn't grok and that we have no common ground whatsoever.
However, I will say that I personally wish the President would've addressed this before the war. I saw the big picture because I read USS Clueless and LGF and I already knew how important this antediluvian idea of jihad is to certain wackos. I wish the President had laid out the big picture for everyone to see. That's my one complaint.
Nevertheless, as so many Americans think the war was justified just to get rid of the evil Saddam Hussein, it might perhaps be worthwhile to pause and consider for a moment, purely as a philosophical question, whether it would make sense to extend the notion of just cause for war to include the idea of removing a brutal dictator in order to install a democracy.
Yep, I'm fer it. What's that, Freedman? You were just being rhetorical? You didn't really mean for me to answer yes. Oh.
In the case of Saddam Hussein, there is no question that he was a brutal dictator. However, most of that brutality, which the American people have been constantly reminded of over the last few years--that he gassed his own people for example--happened while he was supported by our government. Without that support, and with the presence of the UN and the focus of international attention, it was becoming increasingly difficult for Saddam Hussein to act as he pleased.
I'm sorry, I seem to remember jails full of children being opened during the war, a man who lived underground hiding from Saddam for like 30 years, and a poor Iraqi named Adnan Abdul Karim Enad who tried to reach freedom by climbing into Hans Blix's car only to be drug out and never heard from again. "Increasingly difficult" my ass.
Two years after 911, billions of dollars later, thousands of lives lost, and Americans are not really any safer--but we do now have a pipeline across Afghanistan and control of that vast resource beneath the sands of Iraq.
Not worth my time.
Let's not forget the military establishment. One thing this war proves is that the nation with the most powerful military in the world cannot be trusted with that power. What has to be questioned now is the whole military culture that has had such a pervasive influence in shaping American culture. The military knows plenty about the value of courage in war but apparently nothing about moral courage. One simply has to follow orders--the call of conscience, the voice of dissent is just forbidden. This undoubtedly has had a powerful impact on the shallow patriotism that blinded America to the terrible truth about this war. Support the troops? I feel so badly for those brave young men and women who had no idea what they were signing up for, who never imagined their country would send them into an unjust war and force them to kill innocent men, women and children. Those that don't come back in body bags, horribly wounded, or sick from depleted uranium, will still be scarred for life when they find out the terrible truth about the war. This war will turn out to be some recruitment poster. For the military establishment and culture it may turn out to be worse than Vietnam.
To quote James Lileks: Fuck you.
What do you know about moral courage, Freeman? Have you watched your battle buddy explode next to you? Have you gotten letters saying that what you do for a living is wrong, as LT Smash did? Have you talked to one single servicemember since 9/11 and heard the determination in his voice and seen the pride in his eyes? Moral courage is an 19-year-old Marine volunteering for his second tour in Iraq so he can make a difference in this world. Moral courage is going back into the WTC to help other out like Rick Rescorla did. You know nothing about courage, Freeman.
That so many Americans were so easily misled by lies and distortions is surely an indictment of our entire educational system. It has long been recognized that education is the key to democracy, but rarely if ever has it dawned upon Americans just what sort of education is that key. ... It's only an education that stresses the development of philosophical questioning and critical thinking skills that can be the best hope of saving democracy from the dustbin of history.
The key to our future is therefore not my husband's job, but Freeman's job. Ah, I see now. The Adjunct Professor of Philosophy thinks he's the one to lead us all to salvation. And how? By educating a generation of moral relativists who discuss the zen of multilateralism while sequining NO WAR onto their baby t's.
It seems to me there is no solution to the problem of Iraq without first facing the terrible truth that we should never have initiated this war of aggression in the first place.
Read: Now that I've wasted two hours of Sarah's time setting up what we should have done, I offer no solution for the present or future other than we never should've done it in the first place. Oh, and "at the very least, no American company should be allowed to profit from Iraq, especially one with close ties to the Bush Administration." I don't know how to fix Iraq, but I sure don't want American corporations to try. I just want to pontificate; someone else can deal with the pesky details.
See I'm a philosophy teacher. My job is to think about deep stuff while drinking a latte or smoking a pipe or something. I just write about what should have been or what could have been if another latte-drinker had been in the White House. The hard stuff, like pulling bodies out of the wreckage at the WTC or charging into the 6 of Diamond's house, can be done by people who aren't "educated" enough to be insulated by a university's walls. I'll prophesy about "moral courage" and "terrible truths", but I'll never grasp the philosophy of making the split-second decision to waste a terrorist who comes running at me with an RPG.
Thanks for that article from your ivory tower, Professor Freeman. Now I'm going to post this and go back to wondering when my husband will have water and electricity to make his 14 months a little more comfortable while he risks his life to protect your way of living.
Freeman. What an oxymoron of a name.
Posted by Sarah at March 21, 2004 02:28 PM
Yep...you need a place like The Dinner Table to just chill out and have fun.
I read your blog daily and enjoy it so much! Thanks for such a wonderful blog.
I actually got a boost from this entry. My dream is to be a professional writer one day. I tend to be too verbose and ramble though. Compared to this guy's thoughts, my writing has promise lol! If he used "terrible" one more time I was going to fall out of my chair. And he's a professor? Maybe he should take your class for a refresher!! When even a novice like myself can pick out the problems in his writing - he has serious issues ;).
And did anyone notice this: "Those that don't come back in body bags, horribly wounded, or sick from depleted uranium,..."
What is he referring to in regards to the uranium? Certainly there are no WMDs. Hans Blix says so. How would our soldiers be sick from something that is not there? When Israel bombed their nuke plant (provided by France no less), it was before it was ever opened, to ensure the safety of innocent civilians. What am I missing?
Admittedly I did not read the entire thing. The few quotes you shared were enough for me. Perhaps I missed that the crooks and liars in Washington were going to contaminate our OWN troops?? Sheesh.
Outstanding fisking of a total moron!
You Rock! Outstanding! My blood pressure went up just reading the quotes your brought out. To say that jerk is clueless doesn't begin to cover it.
Freeman, how about Fartman? As in Gasbagman. What a joke, and the taxpayers are supporting this moral furball.
uuuhmm...all i can say is...wow!
Whoa Sarah - I'm just glad you didn't watch Tim Russert or Fox News Sunday this morning or errr whatever time it would be for you. You should hear me mumbling and grumbling to myself as I put myself through torture listening to Teddy Kennedy and John McCain and Joe Lieberman - I think they call it sadomasochistic tendencies. LOL
Thank you for exposing Freeman. There are a whole clique of his type organized as the "Global hope Club" at UH-Hilo. Here are some quotes from them:
“There is probable cause to investigate just what connection the Israeli spying operation had with 9-11…. US Government classified the evidence that links the arrested Israeli spies to 9-11.” -- Previously posted on Global Hope’s website
"The attacks on New York and Washington were an Israeli-engineered attempt at a coup against the government of the United States*" -- currently posted on website of longtime Global Hope member, BZ Evans.
“There is no way any group could have carried out such a complex incursion without assistance from US agencies. It’s likely a terrorist cell could hijack a plane and crash it, yes, but a second plane, a third and fourth plane, and then crash one into the Pentagon? No way. Can’t happen without a go-ahead from shadowy US sectors.” -- “Longtime Global Hope member” B Z Evans’ website
9/11 a big Conspiracy of the FBI, CIA & U.S. Government? Kathy Dorn reports a new book that she says is compelling. The thesis of the book is that "... our intelligence agencies were reined in, air interceptors grounded - and the attacks exploited to launch a devastating war on Afghanistan. -- Global Hope website
Was there really a plane crash at the Pentagon on 9/11?
Pentagon Plane Crash a hoax? Here's an excerpt with photos of a best-selling book in France that has NOT hit the mainline media in this country but is widely discussed all over Europe. -- Currently posted on Global Hope website
“It (9-11) ties into the root causes of terrorism about people in poverty that don’t have any hope. (An airplane) is the poor man’s bomb. As I watched the pictures of the airplane crashing into the building, I thought those people (al-Qaeda) must have felt so powerless to do that.... If Osama had as much money as the United States military...it would probably be a whole different world.” -- Global Hope community supporter Cory Hardin
“The American population is ignorant. They (al-Qaeda) have a passion to develop their culture.” -- Global Hope supporter, Dr. Manulani Meyer
And here's a piece I did for the UH Hilo student paper attacking the ARROGANT left:
By Andrew Walden
Bitterness and brittle conceit are on display when opponents of Iraqi liberation question the intelligence of the American people. Insults such as “the American public is ignorant” or “America is a nation of sheep” are so commonplace in anti-liberation rhetoric they pass almost without notice. Democrat Presidential candidate, Howard Dean, urged Wisconsin voters not to be “a rubber stamp”--implying that voters who oppose him are but tools. A common anti-liberation bumper sticker, “Think--it’s patriotic”, implies we are not thinking. In the previous issue of Ke Kalahea there are examples both subtle and gross. One writer makes an unfavorable comparison between the intelligence of a US Navy sailor and that of whales. Another, who ascribes intelligence to trees, promises to dedicate herself to, “enhance the minds of the uninspired.” A third wonders, “Where a nation worth of minds have been dumped.” Finally, my debate opponent opines, “…since the American people seem to be more concerned about whether Janet and Justin planned ‘breastgate,’ I think it is…doubtful that they will hold the government accountable….”
America is the product of nearly 300 million people from the four corners of the globe assembled together under conditions of democracy, individual and political liberty, and free enterprise. America is not the representation of a race or nationality--we are the avant-garde of a revolution, based on these ideals, started with the European renaissance. Americans are the most prosperous people on Earth because we are most productive workers on Earth. By their millions, people emigrate from their homes; travel thousands of miles, risking their lives to become Americans. We are not an ignorant people.
Opponents of Iraqi liberation, who have trouble making it to their own demonstrations, routinely attack the intellect of George Bush, a man who makes it all the way to the Presidency. They see evidence of ignorance in that we don’t buy their accusation that Bush “lied” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They are wrong about us. Americans remember that President Clinton and the first President Bush also warned of the dangers of Iraqi WMD. We know life is more complex than the simplistic equation: “no WMD” equals “lie”. Anti-liberation activists bemoan many Americans’ belief in a connection between Iraq and 9-11. Did it occur that the connection Americans make is: terrorists in caves on the far side of the globe can attack us therefore we can no longer consider ourselves safe from an anti-American dictator who gasses his own people? Do those who call us “ignorant” think this kind of connection too difficult for us?
Where they see apathy, I see people who are confident things are on track. “Breastgate” was a minor media frenzy no one in the real world cared about. Television is less a reflection of the American people than of the Hollywood elite, many of whom are…opposed to the liberation of Iraq.
Ascribing ignorance to your political opponents is a sign of terminal paradigmatic collapse. Opponents of the liberation of Iraq are not “ignorant”, they are just responding to different real or perceived interests and values than Americans. For instance, Saddam’s erstwhile protectors, France, Germany, and Russia made billions of dollars from oil and munitions deals in Iraq. Anti-liberation spokesman and former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, interviewed on September 13, 2002, by CNN’s Paula Zahn, admitted receiving $400,000 from an Iraqi businessman with connections to Saddam Hussein. The April 22, 2003, Daily Telegraph, reports British Member of Parliament and anti-liberation spokesman, “Gorgeous” George Galloway, “received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least £375,000 a year….”
MSNBC reporter, Peter Arnett, on March 31, 2003, explained network Iraq coverage policy, “…reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces, are going back to the United States. It helps those who oppose the war, when you challenge the policy, to develop their arguments.” Apparently he hoped by explaining this, to land an exclusive, and profitable, interview with Saddam Hussein. And finally, according to the findings of Britain’s Hutton Inquiry, BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan lied about “sexed up WMD intelligence.” When he invented those lies, I’m sure he too thought he was making a profitable career move. These folks are not ignorant; they just value money and career advancement over the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
This November, American voters will select between President Bush and liberal Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in large part based on accountability for their respective records in the war on terror. I expect American voters, in our wisdom, will vote to reelect Bush. Kerry, who voted against just about every weapons system used in liberating Iraq, is not “ignorant”--just wrong.
“Intelligence” is an artificial conceit useful to those who cannot make much claim of actual accomplishments. We Americans have many great accomplishments to be proud of--the liberation of Iraq is one of them.
Here's my favorite from Timid Unfreeman:
"That so many Americans were so easily misled by lies and distortions is surely an indictment of our entire educational system. It has long been recognized that education is the key to democracy, but rarely if ever has it dawned upon Americans just what sort of education is that key. When the politicians and pundits go on and on about education it's clear that they think the underlying purpose of education is simply to gain some scientific or technical knowledge and the skills to find a job and make money. That's all fine and good, but it's not the key to democracy. All the success in business and scientific and technological advancement cannot save democracy when its crumbling from within.
"Perhaps democracy is a foolish idea to begin with. Certainly there have been great philosophers, beginning with Plato, who thought so.
"Plato thought it no better than mob rule to trust the ignorant masses.
"That Bush is even President—that the Republicans have had such power and influence at all—seems to be a confirmation of Plato's indictment.
"The only defense of democracy against Plato's indictment has always only rested upon the hope that the people can become in some measure wise.
"It's only an education that stresses the development of philosophical questioning and critical thinking skills that can be the best hope of saving democracy from the dustbin of history."
Yep...sign up for A Junk Professor Freeeman's Philo 101 class or democracy is doomed!!!
Like all cheap propaganda, Freeman's piece may be transformed into its opposite simply by changing a few words. (Poor syntax in the original.)
The Terrible Truth About Anti-Americans
It seems most anti-Americans are still having a hard time facing the truth about the liberation of Iraq. The situation in Iraq today is clearly a far cry from that portrayed by the chief anti-American mouthpieces, CNN and BBC. Instead of a resented occupation, it’s now looking more like Iraqi civilians are fed up with the activities of Saddam’s unemployed torturers and al-Qaeda.
Nevertheless, the anti-Americans insist that this is a “war for oil” and we have to “get the troops out now.” Perhaps it would be worth considering some relevant details about their proposed course of action.
With the deadly toll from this last weekend, some 376 of our troops have now given the ultimate sacrifice, 238 since the end of major combat operations was declared. More have come home wounded. The number of Iraqi casualties is, of course, far harder to determine, though anti-Americans regularly play propaganda games with this figure.
Though CNN hypes the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found, David Kay’s report shows clear evidence of Saddam’s effort to sustain both chemical and biological weapons programs—a clear violation of several UN resolutions. Recent reports of up to 300,000 mass graves show it’s clear now that Saddam’s regime was a continuing threat to the Iraqi people. Keep in mind also that Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda group, was fighting against Saddam’s Kurdish enemies in Northern Iraq.
As part of the anti-Americans continuing campaign to depict the American people as ignorant sheep, liberal pollsters with deceptively worded questionnaires have worked diligently to pretend that we cannot tell the difference between the secular terrorists typified by the Baathist regime in Iraq and “Islamic” terrorists such as al-Qaeda, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad. It might still be a surprise to many anti-Americans, but the truth is that we can see right through your con game. We know that you want to replace American democracy with a totalitarian dictatorship—with you as Dictator!
We know now that the anti-Americans ignored the conclusions of the Iraqi people and greatly downplayed the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. We now know that in many cases the anti-Americans spread lies such as the claim that 9-11 was an Israeli conspiracy, a CIA conspiracy, or our government had foreknowledge. They have also lied about Presidential statements to make it seem that Bush blamed Saddam for the 9-11 attacks.
The Bush Administration has correctly pointed out that the liberation of the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein is a “great and noble thing”. It is hard to imagine the anti-Americans ever supporting any war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, since his regime was their paradigm.
It is painfully obvious by now that our troops are not there to “occupy” Iraq, but rather to liberate the Iraqi people. Our troops are clearly perceived by Iraqis who were not part of the old regime, as liberators. The terrorists are showing their hand by attacks on targets like the UN Iraq Headquarters, Red Cross/Red Crescent, the Jordanian Embassy, the Tomb of Ali, and Arab residences in Saudi Arabia. Where are the anti-Americans when these civilian casualties are counted?
Their real reasons for opposition to the war are spelled out in numerous conspiracy-oriented websites. The left wing conspiracy “theorists” call 9-11 a CIA operation. The right wing conspiracy theorists call it an Israeli one. The anti-Americans drug-addled brains are satisfied with both claims. If one really wants to know the course the anti-Americans ask us to follow, one really should read these articles. These articles chart a reckless course toward surrender to al-Qaeda that promises many more wars to come.
The truth about the anti-Americans is that they hate us so much that that eagerly embrace anyone who stands against America. Anti-Americans use the tragic events of 9-11 to push a plan that would lead to America’s destruction and usher in a new dark age for humanity.
After years and years of failed UN sanctions, undercut by greedy French, German, and Russian arms merchants and oil profiteers, war was the absolute last resort. It is now quite clear that there was no more time; there remained no peaceful means of dealing with Saddam.
The anti-Americans would lead this country into war by misleading the people about the source of the threat posed by terrorism. The terrible truth is that they blame us for the terrorists’ atrocities. A typical claim is that the war on Iraq has only poured gasoline on the fire that is the problem of terrorism and thus made the world a much more dangerous place. Obviously the reverse is the truth—the Iraq war has eliminated one of the world’s great terrorist sponsor states and our troops have killed hundreds if not thousands of terrorists who foolishly entered Iraq to fight us.
Now that all their lies and distortions have been exposed, the only thing the anti-Americans have left to try and spin this liberation as a evil and imperialistic thing is simply an appeal to the blind anti-American hatred. The terrible truth about the anti-war “movement” is that anti-Americans have been manipulated by a shallow and mindless hatred and a constant message of fear, and basically conned into opposing a war that was really an act of liberation. It was, all along, a war to end Saddam’s genocide, and genocide is the supreme crime condemned at Nuremberg. This liberation of Iraq is thus certainly a great and noble thing.
It is certainly not supporting our troops to call them criminals and killers as anti-Americans have. To oppose the war on such false pretenses has to be the very worst thing to do to those who have so bravely put their lives on the line in the service of their country.
The truth about the liberation of Iraq is that we should have finished the job the first time. Those who protested against the war, who sat in vigils for peace, were wrong. The Iraqis slaughtered after the end of Gulf War I paid the price for other peoples’ pacifism.
You'd make the point better if you were less angry. Pulling out quotes and saying you disagree with them doesn't advance the argument, and as for the "f*** you" comment, how does this compare to the bad mannered comments you've recently complained about?
"he's the one to lead us all to salvation. And how? By educating a generation of moral relativists who discuss the zen of multilateralism while sequining NO WAR onto their baby t's." He never says anything like this. If you have to invent ridiculous things like this for him to say, you must be short on arguments against what he actually does say, no?
Extreme-Right Republicans' "Global Endangerment Project":
Bush Regime MUST Join International Criminal Court (On the Docket!)
Editorial via Metamagic Media Network 10-10-2004
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
The world approaches what is arguably the most crucial "election" in the history of humankind, one which will decide the direction of America's immense military and nuclear arsenal, as well as the ideals of the European colonial (ie. Roman) "Republican" political agenda. Some find in the Bush regime a frightening premonition of Hitler's Third Reich, but being brutally honest-- the Bush regime is more dangerous in the extreme.
While the Third Reich perfected political propaganda, their ends always justifying horrific means, keep in mind they didn't have a global television network, 24 hour right-wing smear-mongers, or billionaires like Rupert Murdoch pounding their message into millions of minds-- they had newsreels and posters. While Hitler had at his disposal a vast military force, with ruthless special forces and death camps, he didn't have a global satellite survelliance network, a nuclear arsenal capable of incinerating entire countries, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, or Trident submarines. If he had, we would all be living in a much more ruthless world, pledging allegiance to the superior white race.
George W. Bush and Richard Cheney have taken us halfway around the world once again into Hitler's nightmare. This time, however, they are playing a global game of corporate Monopoly¨. The millions of citizens are but pawns in struggle between two factions of extremely wealthy and powerful elite for control of the last resources on the planet. The far-right ideologues known as "Project for a New American Century" are the reactionary revolutionaries whose motto was carved by Karl Rove into the oily political landscape: "Win at any cost." This "Cabal" has a secret army of operatives at its disposal, deploying "destabilization" around the world and hatred at home, keeping pace with another of their mottos "Order out of Chaos."
Meanwhile, the Republican extremists' appeal to American "democratic" ideals is a monstrously ludicrous exercise in cognitive dissonance. Their seizing power through a corrupted election in 2000, with a biased Supreme Court appointing the son of their benefactors, was as far from a democratic process as having a King declare himself ruler. Though they lost the popular vote, at every step the Bush regime has deployed an expoitative agenda, shredding our hard-won civil rights, environmental protections, and economic prosperity.
Make no mistake, the fate of the Earth is in the balance here, and these far-right "chickenhawks" have extended the American warfront to the point where nuclear launching is on the table as an inevitable option. Dr. Strangelove is chuckling with George Jr. in a secure underground missile base while Dick Cheney counts his Swiss accounts...
Wise up, America! The media has been squashed beneath the boots of these criminals! We aren't being told the truth about the most critical evidence of the time-- regarding the 9-11 attacks, the Saudi-corporate connections, the Bush-CIA history of drugs and corruption, or even the FACT that a former attorney general of the country (Ramsey Clark) has launched impeachment proceedings as well as war crimes indictments against the Bush regime. He can't get even 60 seconds of recognition by the corporate media!
How can a society have any chance of "election" when the citizens are overwhelmingly ignorant of the most crucial factors at stake, terrorized by a political spin-masters and corporate criminals, and decieved to an extent that can only be considered tyrannical?
Meanwhile, fellow Earthlings, the planet is reminding us that greater issues of survival are pressing on us. Our immune systems, our atmosphere, our oceans, what's left of our wildlands and forests, are all caught up in the most rapid and radical extinction since the fall of the dinosaurs.
Is it possible that the Bush regime's far-right reactionary revolution is all a carefully-scripted distraction from the needs of a suffering planet? If so, they've succeeded beyond their most arrogant ambitions.
"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
--H. G. Wells
Sara you're up:
To Shannon, who wondered about depleted uranium:
Washington's secret nuclear war
By Shaheen Chughtai
Tuesday 14 September 2004, 22:17 Makka Time, 19:17 GMT
The US has dropped tonnes of depleted uranium on Iraq
US secretly removed Iraqi uranium
The ABC of WMD
Iraq's real WMD crime
Send Your Feedback
Illegal weapons of mass destruction have not only been found in Iraq but have been used against Iraqis and have even killed US troops.
But Washington and its allies have tried to cover up this outrage because the chief culprit is the US itself, argue American and other experts trying to expose what they say is a war crime.
The WMD in question is depleted uranium (DU). A radioactive by-product of uranium enrichment, DU is used to coat ammunition such as tank shells and "bunker busting" missiles because its density makes it ideal for piercing armour.
Thousands of DU shells and bombs have been used in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and - both during the 1990-91 Gulf war and the ongoing conflict - in Iraq.
"They're using it in Falluja, Baghdad is chock-a-block with DU - it's all over the place"
Major Doug Rokke,
ex-head of US army DU project
"They're using it now, they're using it in Falluja, Baghdad is chock-a-block with DU - it's all over the place," says Major Doug Rokke, director of the US army's DU project in 1994-95.
Scientists say even a tiny particle can have disastrous results once ingested, including various cancers and degenerative diseases, paralysis, birth deformities and death.
And as tiny DU particles are blown across the Middle East and beyond like a radioactive poison gas, the long-term implications for the world are deeply disturbing.
DU has a "half-life" of 4.5 billion years, meaning it takes that long for just half of its atoms to decay.
Only 467 US soldiers were officially wounded during the 1990-91 Gulf war.
But according to Terry Jemison at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), of the more than 592,560 discharged personnel who served there, at least 179,310 - one third - are receiving disability compensation and over 24,760 cases were pending by in September 2004.
A sixth of the Iraq war veterans
have already sought treatment
This does not include personnel still active and receiving care from the military, or those who have died.
And among 168,528 veterans of the current conflict in Iraq who have left active duty, 16% (27,571) had already sought treatment from the VA by July 2004.
"That's astronomical," says Rokke, whose team studied how to provide medical care for victims, how to clean contaminated sites, and how to train those using DU weapons.
Rokke admits the exact cause for these casualties cannot be confirmed. But he insists the evidence pointing to DU is compelling.
"There were no chemical or biological weapons there, no big oil well fires," he says. "So what's left?"
Cradle to grave
Dr Jenan Ali, a senior Iraqi doctor at Basra hospital's College of Medicine, says her studies show a 100% rise in child leukaemia in the region in the decade after the first Gulf war, with a 242% increase in all types of malignancies.
The director of the Afghan DU and Recovery Fund, Dr Daud Miraki, says his field researchers found evidence of DU's effect on civilians in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan in 2003 although local conditions make rigorous statistical analysis difficult.
Iraqi and Afghan doctors have
seen a rise in deformed foetuses
"Many children are born with no eyes, no limbs, or tumours protruding from their mouths and eyes," Miraki told Aljazeera.net. Some newborns are barely recognisable as human, he says. Many do not survive.
Afghan and Iraqi children continue to play amid radioactive debris. But the US army will not even label contaminated equipment or sites because doing so would be an admission that DU is hazardous.
This "deceitful failure", says Rokke, contradicts the US army's own rules, such as regulation AR 700-48, which stipulates its responsibilities to isolate, label and decontaminate radioactive equipment and sites as well as to render prompt and effective medical care for all exposed individuals.
"This is a war crime," Rokke says. "The president is obliged to ensure the army complies with these regulations but they're deliberately violating the law. It's that simple."
But these blatant violations are practically irrelevant because Rokke's Iraq mission found that DU cannot be cleaned up and there is no known medical remedy.
US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair used Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of illegal weapons to justify invading Iraq. But several prominent jurists hold Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes for waging DU warfare.
The vice-president of the Indian Lawyers Association, Niloufer Bhagwat, sat on an international panel of judges for the unofficial International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan.
Bhagwat and her fellow judges ruled that the US had used "weapons of extermination of present and future generations, genocidal in properties".
And not just against defenceless Afghan civilians.
Critics say George Bush (R) and
Tony Blair are 'war criminals'
"Bush was guilty of knowingly using DU weaponry against his own troops," Bhagwat told Aljazeera.net, "because the president knew the effects of DU could not be controlled".
A prominent US international human-rights lawyer, Karen Parker, says there are four rules derived from humanitarian laws and conventions regarding weapons:
weapons may only be used against legal enemy military targets and must not have an adverse effect elsewhere (the territorial rule)
weapons can only be used for the duration of an armed conflict and must not be used or continue to act afterwards (the temporal rule)
weapons may not be unduly inhumane (the "humaneness" rule). The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 speak of "unnecessary suffering" and "superfluous injury" in this regard
weapons may not have an unduly negative effect on the natural environment (the "environmental" rule).
"DU weaponry fails all four tests," Parker told Aljazeera.net. First, DU cannot be limited to legal military targets. Second, it cannot be "turned off" when the war is over but keeps killing.
Third, DU can kill through painful conditions such as cancers and organ damage and can also cause birth defects such as facial deformities and missing limbs.
"Use of DU weaponry violates the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions"
human rights lawyer
Lastly, DU cannot be used without unduly damaging the natural environment.
"In my view, use of DU weaponry violates the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions," says Parker. "And so its use constitutes a war crime, or crime against humanity."
Parker and others took the DU issue before the UN in 1995, and in 1996, the UN Human Rights Commission described DU munitions as weapons of mass destruction that should be banned.
Despite the evidence, Rokke says Pentagon and Energy Department officials have campaigned against him and others trying to expose the horrors of DU.
That charge is echoed by Leuren Moret, a geoscientist who has worked at the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons research laboratories in California.
White House denials are part of a long-standing cover-up policy that has been exposed before, she says.
President Bush insists warnings
about DU are merely propaganda
"For example, the US denied using DU bombs and missiles against Yugoslavia in 1999," she told Aljazeera.net. "But scientists in Yugoslavia, Greece and Bulgaria measured elevated levels of gamma radiation in the first three days of grid and carpet bombing by the US."
Moret said: "A missile landed in Bulgaria that didn't explode and scientists identified a DU warhead. Then, Lord [George] Robertson, the head of NATO, admitted in public that DU had been used."
Even the US army expressed concern about the use of DU in July 1990, some six months before the outbreak of the first Gulf war. Those concerns were later echoed by Iraqi officials.
But brushing his own army's report aside - now said to be "outdated" - US President George Bush has dismissed such warnings as "propaganda".
"In recent years, the Iraqi regime made false claim that the depleted uranium rounds fired by coalition forces have caused cancers and birth defects in Iraq," says Bush on his White House website.
"But scientists working for the World Health Organisation, the UN Environmental Programme and the European Union could find no health effects linked to exposure to depleted uranium," he said.
Bush can point to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report in 2001 that said there was no significant risk of inhaling radioactive particles where DU weapons had been used.
It said the level of radiation associated with DU debris was not particularly hazardous, but it accepted that high exposure could pose a health risk.
WHO also commissioned a scientific study shortly before the 2003 invasion of Iraq that warned of the dangers of US and British use of DU - but refused to publish its findings.
The study's main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, told Aljazeera.net that "the report was deliberately suppressed" because WHO was pressed by a more powerful, pro-nuclear UN body - the International Atomic Energy Agency. WHO has rejected his claims as "totally unfounded".
"[WHO's] report was deliberately suppressed"
Dr Keith Baverstock,
co-author of WHO report on DU
The study found DU particles were likely to be blown around and inhaled by Iraqi civilians for years to come. Once inside a human body, the radioactive particles can trigger the growth of malignant tumours.
Bush's claim that the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) gives DU pollution a clean bill of health is also disingenuous.
UNEP experts have yet to be allowed into Iraq, its spokesman in Geneva Michael Williams told Aljazeera.net, citing security concerns.
And a scientific body set up in 1997 by Green EU parliamentarians - the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) - found that DU posed serious health risks.
An eminent Canadian scientist involved with the ECRR, Dr Rosalie Bertell, says the deadliness of DU derived not just from its radioactivity but from the durability of particles formed in the 3000-6000C heat produced when a DU weapon is fired.
"The particles produced are like ceramic: not soluble in body fluid, non-biodegradable and highly toxic," she told Aljazeera.net. "They tend to concentrate in the lymph nodes, which is the source of lymphomas and leukaemia".
The US military and political establishment cannot plead ignorance. As early as October 1943, Manhattan Project scientists Arthur Compton, James Connant and Harold Urey sent a memo to their director, General Leslie Groves, saying DU could be used to create a "radioactive gas".
DU targets human DNA and may
thus affect future generations
In 1961, two nuclear experts, Briton HE Huxley and American Geoffrey Zubay, informed the scientific community that DU targeted human DNA and "the Master Code, which controls the expression of DNA", Moret said.
In September 2000, Dr Asaf Durakovic, professor of nuclear medicine at Washington's Georgetown University, told a Paris conference of prominent scientists that "tens of thousands" of US and UK troops were dying of DU.
"There has to be a moratorium on the manufacture, sales, use and storage of DU," geoscientist Moret says, warning that this will not happen unless more Americans realise what is happening.
The Middle East has been severely contaminated, warns Moret. "That region is radioactive forever," she says, but worse is yet to come.
Moret says the air carrying DU particles takes about a year to mix with the rest of the earth's atmosphere.
Radioactive sites continue to kill
and contaminate Iraqi children
The radiation released by DU nuclear warfare is believed to be more than 10 times the amount dispersed by atmospheric testing.
As a result, DU particles have engulfed the world in a radioactive poison gas that promises illness and death for millions.
Rokke went to Iraq a fit and healthy soldier, but the major is now beset with a variety of illnesses and each day is a struggle.
He suffers from respiratory problems and cataracts while his teeth - weakened by DU radiation - are crumbling. At least 20 of the 100 primary personnel he worked with on the US army's DU project have died. Most of the rest are ill.
Meanwhile, WHO says cancer rates worldwide are set to rise by 50% by 2020, although it does not link this publicly to DU.
"They would never say that - they offered various strange explanations," said Moret. "But DU is the key factor. People will slowly die."
By WALTER A. DAVIS
The US CODE, TITLE 50,CHAPTER 40 Sec. 2302 defines a Weapon of Mass Destruction as follows: "The term 'weapon of mass destruction" means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity."
Depleted uranium (DU) is a waste product of the uranium enrichment process that fuels both our nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power programs. In fact, over 99% of the uranium enrichment process results in this waste product, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years. DU is both a toxic heavy metal and a radiological poison. The U.S. currently has over 10 million tons of DU. As we all know, the disposal of nuclear waste is one of the unintended consequences or blowback of the development of nuclear power. A solution to the problem of DU has, however, been found. DU is now used in virtually every weapon employed by the U.S. in Iraq (and in Afghanistan and in Kosovo). To cite the most conspicuous example: every penetrator rod in the shell shot from an Abrams tank contains 10 pounds of DU. DU is selected for weapons for three reasons: it's cheap (was made available to arms manufacturers free of charge and is easy to develop); it's heavy, 1.7 times the density of lead and thus most effective at killing because it penetrates anything it hits; it's pyrophoric, igniting and burning on contact with air and breaking up on contact with its target into extremely small particles of radioactive dust dispersed into the atmosphere. The result: permanent contamination of air, water, and soil. 
DU was first used by the U.S. in Desert Storm. The amount used was between 315-350 tons. Five times as much was used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Over a third of the U.S. soldiers who served in the first Gulf War are now permanently disabled. VA reports indicate 27,571 U.S. soldiers already disabled from the current war and occupation.. The Department of Energy and the Department of Defense of course continue to deny that DU has any harmful effects. A U.N. sub-commission on Human Rights has ruled that DU, which fits the definition of a "dirty bomb," is an illegal weapon. 
Huge chunks of radioactive debris full of DU now litter the cities and countryside of Iraq. Fine radioactive dust permeates the entire country. The problem of clean-up is insoluble. The entire ecosystem of Iraq is permanently contaminated. The Iraq people are the new hibakusha. Their fate, like that of the "survivors" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a condition of death-in-life. The long term health effects of DU on the Iraqui people (and on our own troops) are incalculable. There is no mask or protective clothing that can be devised to prevent radioactive dust from entering the lungs or penetrating the skin. Moreover, DU targets the DNA and the Master Code (histone), altering the genetic future of exposed populations. Because it is the perfect weapon for delivering nanoparticles of poison, radiation, and nano-pollution directly into living cells, DU is the perfect weapon for extinguishing entire populations. The Iraqi's are not alone. Vast regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans have been permanently contaminated with radioactive dust and debris 
These facts are worth bearing in mind the next time we are told what has now become a bipartisan article of faith: the Iraqi people are better off with Saddam Hussein gone. Or as Bill Maher put it on his show of Sept. 24th "Eventually they're better off."
Signing up to be a soldier has different motivations for different people as does not signing up. Courage from the latin for heart(fulness) is expressed in different ways. It is not courageous in my book to denigrate those who are lacking in heart.