web log 2002-09-28

11:20 AM CST (-6:00 GMT)
The Hutch News is reporting (but not in its www edition) "Officials Question Pro-War Evidence Against Iraq" as its "above the fold" front page headline today.  The citizenry is vastly more "nuanced" (as the talking heads on TV put it) in its judgement about Iraq than either Shrub or the anti-war fundamentalists who are leading the opposition.   If  other local and regional news outlets are reporting the weaknesses in the administration's strategy it  might help to avoid voter backlash against Democrats in the upcoming election.   But the Republicans are painting all who question Bush's imperial ambitions with the brush of the most extreme opponents of his policies.

The administration's proposed Iraq resolution was framed by the White House to create conflict and delay in enacting it.  Motive?  To protract the distraction of  voters from domestic policy issues and the economy, and to exploit the war to electoral advantage.   As much as they hope otherwise, if the Democrats in the Congress do their job and force rational consideration and modification of the proposed resolution, the Republican strategy will probably work, Democrats will be portrayed as "weak" on Iraq (the old weak on Communism lie, in a new form) and punished at the polls.

That is really sad, because though the Republicans are big on talking up and fomenting the conditions for war, Democrats are much better at fighting and winning them.

"Not in Our Name" is a "Statement of Conscience" which leads with "Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression."  On Sept 19th the statement ran as a full page in the New York Times.

web log 2002-09-27

11:30 PM CST (-6:00 GMT)
We may actually be making some progress toward getting the kind of discussion and planning, and cooperation with the UN and NATO that would be needed to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in Iraq.  But even if we are making such progress, it seems that Bush and his political people have maneuvered the situation to the significant disadvantage of Democratic candidates in the upcoming elections.

The immense failures and wrong headedness of Bush economic policies are being covered by the fog of war.   http://www.tampatrib.com/MGAGI2YOI6D.html

This use of war and the threat of war to influence and distort the US electoral process and results is a tragedy, and bodes ill for the future of free and democratic government everywhere.  http://www.wvgazette.com/display_story.php3?sid=200209213&format=prn

 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/bomb-s27_prn.shtml analyzes the military buildup around Iraq, and describes elements of the planned attack there which have been leaked from Pentagon plans for an invasion of Iraq which were submitted to the Bush White House earlier this month.   No independent verification of the information at the site is available to me yet.  Still, it passes the smell test as a credible description of military planning in these circumstances.

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,786992,00.html describes how USMC Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, in a Pentagon war game "Millennium Challenge"  run in August, in his role as the leader of the enemy "Red" forces, destroyed a major part of the US naval forces in the Persian Gulf early in the game.  Then, when the "referees" had restored those forces and restarted the game, the referees interfered with his command of the Red force to prevent his use of further unorthodox and "asymmetrical warfare" strategies and tactics.   In other words, the game was rigged to ensure the "Blue" force won handily, and the assumptions of Bush's radical chickenhawk Pentagon planners about the outcome of an adventure in Iraq were supported.  General Van Riper, now retired, was pissed, and is now talking.

Brigadier General Aharon Levran is the author of "Israeli Strategy after Desert Storm," published by Frank Cass.  He argues in his Haaretz Daily OpEd piece that "Waging war on Iraq is not justified", and "The Bush administration has no solid grounds for waging war on Saddam and the arguments about the variety of risks he poses are exaggerated."

Those interested in Israel should put http://www.haaretzdaily.com/   in their Bookmarks or Favorites.

 http://www.artvoice.com/may9_may15_2002/pages/gettingagrip.html - ARTVOICE's Michael I. Niman provides an excellent summary of  "The Coup That Went South", the Shrubbyists abortive coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuala; especially welcome are his descriptions of the slavish eagerness of the US press to follow the line laid down for it by the Dept. of State (Our Goose-Stepping Media), and of the poisonous activities of Otto Reich, the Bush regime’s Assistant Secretary for Western Hemispheric Affairs (The Forth Reich).

Reich is a rightist veteran of the Reagan White House who ran its disinformation service, the "Office of Public Diplomacy", and worked for Ollie North, convicted felon.  Gees.  These people never go away and never change their friends.  Former Venezualan dictator Pedro Carmona visited with Reich last November at the White House - presumably to discuss plans for overthrowing the elected government of that country.

Another Reagan White House felon, Eliot Abrams,  currently serves in the Bush regime, with the Orwellian title of “Senior Director of the National Security Council for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations.”   It goes on and on.

web log 2002-09-26

11:30 PM CST (-6:00 GMT)
I have added links to two web sites I think are valuable; they appear at the bottom of this page.

Charlie Rose's guests tonight are talking about the connection between the negotiations for a UN resolution on Iraq, the discussion of the Iraq resolution under consideration by the US Congress, and nature of the actual actions which may be taken in Iraq.   Am I too optimistic in sensing that real discourse is occuring here, and that it is beginning to address the issues I have felt must be addressed prior to military action?

I hope, at least, that any resolution adopted by the Congress will recognize the importance of a sustained and energetic effort to work through the UN in securing a resolution which can form the basis for effective inspections and disarmament, and for coordinated, not unilateral, action in the event military intervention is needed.   Pre-emptive action against Iraq, which may be justified and supportable under such a resolution, cannot be supported unless we have made this effort to gain UN support.

9:40 PM CST (-6:00 GMT)
PBS's "Civil War" finished tonight.  I've spent more time watching it than I have at the computer this week.   Seeing it again after 12 years it seemed both to go much faster, and to give me a broader sense of the meaning of that conflict.   It seems more clear to me than ever that the motive and leadership this nation had during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II have drawn on and defined the best elements of our national character, while many of our other military efforts were far less noble in motive and conduct.

5:40 PM CST (-6:00 GMT)
The Most Dangerous Person On Earth?  According to an article by Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, Jack M. Balkin, at the Hartford Courant web site, "Today the world faces a single man armed with weapons of mass destruction, manifesting an aggressive, bullying attitude, who may well plunge the world into chaos and bloodshed if he miscalculates. This person, belligerent,  arrogant and sure of himself, truly is the most dangerous person on Earth."   Who could this be?

The black kitten Dad and I found lying in front of the big shed a couple of days ago has gone from total lethargy to active friendliness.  I think it must have been dehydrated, and nearly gone, judging from its dramatic change once we gave it water and a dilute cream and milk mixture.  Now it comes running up to me, begging for its treat.  Odd, considering how wild the other cats here are.

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