John Pilger - “What does it take to shock them out of their baffling silence?” asked the playwright Ronan Bennett in April after the US marines, in an act of collective vengeance for the killing of four American mercenaries, killed more than 600 people in Fallujah, a figure that was never denied. Bennett was referring to the legion of silent Labour backbenchers, with honourable exceptions, and lobotomised junior ministers. He might have added those journalists who strain every sinew to protect “our” side, who normalise the unthinkable by not even gesturing at the demonstrable immorality and criminality. Of course, to be shocked by what “we” do is dangerous, because this can lead to a wider understanding of why “we” are there in the first place and of the grief “we” bring not only to Iraq, but to so many parts of the world: that the terrorism of al-Qaeda is puny by comparison with ours.
Jeff Riedel - Former Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey is a 12-year USA Marine veteran. He is one of a growing number of soldiers returning from Iraq who have become outspoken opponents of the war. Massey entered Iraq as part of the initial invasion, but the brutality of the USA military’s retaliation against the growing resistance of the Iraqi people transformed his view of the occupation and changed him for life. In this interview, he talks about the systematic dehumanisation meted out to military recruits, about the callousness of commanders in the one-sided war, about the lack of humanitarian assistance offered by the military to the Iraqi people, and about what it was like to go through the process of wrenching himself from the military system.
Sam Bahour - The Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence is larger than the late President Yasir Arafat. The decades-long symbolism that Arafat embodied should not be underestimated. It is this symbolism that Palestinians are mourning. The substance of Arafat’s symbolism has to do with how it has represented Palestinian nationalism and the five decade struggle for justice for a people that were dispossessed in 1948, militarily occupied in 1967, attacked while in exile in 1970 in Jordan and 1982 in Lebanon, and most recently, battered in their own homes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. A wide spectrum of opinions about Arafat, the man and the leader, will surely outlive the international flurry of media interest in his death. However, the world must be aware that the Palestinian struggle is beyond any single individual.
Naomi Klein - A year after Paul Bremer and George W Bush decided that Iraq was too insecure to hold elections - and besides, there were no voter rolls - the country is in grips of yet another invasion, and much of the rest of it is under martial law. As for the voter rolls, the Allawi government is planning to use the oil-for-food lists, just as was suggested and dismissed a year ago. So it turns out that all of the excuses were lies: if elections can be held now, they most certainly could have been held a year ago, when the country was vastly calmer. But that would have denied Washington the change to install a puppet regime in Iraq, and possibly prevented George Bush from winning a second term.
Media Lens Guest Editorial - In 1984, Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead described how “demonstration elections” are “organised and staged by a foreign power primarily to pacify a restive home population, reassuring it that ongoing interventionary processes are legitimate and appreciated by their foreign objects.” In the case of Iraq, it is of course vital that domestic audiences in the US and UK be persuaded that their governments are killing Iraqis with the support of, even on behalf of, Iraqis themselves. The possibility that Iraqis might be dying in their tens of thousands for Western power and profit must, of course, be kept so far out of sight that it is barely even thinkable.
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times - Fallujah is the ultimate asymmetric war - ultra high-tech F-16s, Cobra and Apache helicopters, AC-130 gunships, tanks, Bradleys and awesome firepower against a bunch of youngsters in tracksuits and trainers with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Nobody will know the full extent of the horror inflicted, because this is a war micromanaged by the Pentagon - carefully built up for weeks, timed to set off only after the re-election of Bush, and now conducted with a few embedded journalists on the side duly brainwashed by a barrage of propaganda and spin. But it’s a blatant lie to describe a city of 300,000 as a “militant stronghold”. Even if there were only 100,000 residents left, most of these, tens of thousands, are civilians, and as usual in any war, they are the most vulnerable: the poor, the elderly, the sick, the ones who could not get way because of fate, and the bravest of the brave - nurses and doctors.
John K. Wilson - From childhood I have been taught that when you have a problem, look for and remove the cause of that problem. A festering splinter or thorn will continue to fester until it is removed. If a small fraction of the billions spent on the war in Iraq had been spent feeding the hungry, demanding justice for the Palestinians, working with the United Nations to stop genocide, we might have more friends and fewer people hating us. When our government and the government of Israel asks the question “Why do they hate us?” and truly starts working to make friends around the world, maybe the ever deepening quagmire in Israel and Iraq will begin to improve. When the occupation of Iraq and Palestine ceases and when the destruction of homes and the killing of innocent civilians stops, maybe we will see a rainbow of hope on the horizon. There will be no peace in the Middle East - or in the world - until the occupations cease.
David R. Hoffman - Ladies and gentlemen, we gather here today to mourn the passing of the United States of America, a nation that once stood as a beacon light of hope for the world. America was betrayed and murdered on November 2, 2004. Also killed during this time of madness were the following virtues: truth, justice, integrity, freedom, compassion, brotherhood, tolerance, faith, hope, charity, peace, and respect for other cultures and nations. These virtues are survived by their antitheses--deceit, injustice, hypocrisy, fascism, selfishness, hatred, fear, hopelessness, greed, perpetual warfare and arrogant hegemony. As I will explain, also murdered were seven platitudes, which parents once used to convince their children that America was a rational and honorable nation.
Jeff Berg - Today the world economy is based on an ideology which exalts the virtue of supply and demand, and in practice at least to an extent this mechanism is allowed to operate in global trade. The monkey wrench to this system will come when the reality of oil supply refuses to cooperate with the demands of our economic ‘laws’. When the world hits peak oil, much less terminal decline, and demand outstrips supply our economic world order is forever changed. Because from that point on it will not matter to oil production what our governments say, what our corporate leaders demand or what laws the economists at the WTO assure us are as ineluctable as the law of gravity. It took hundreds of millions of years to make the oil we have now and when there is no more, well, there is no more, ever.
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