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America’s ‘Strongman Strategy’ Redux

Jeff Berg - The mantra from both George Bush and Tony Blair remains that the world is a safer place with Saddam behind bars. But is it? When one examines the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq today, it seems hard to draw any conclusion that postulates a scenario built around the notion of an improved environment of stability and security. Indeed, many Iraqis hold that life under Saddam was a better option than the life they are facing under an increasingly violent and destabilising US-led occupation. The ultimate condemnation of the failure and futility of the US-UK effort in Iraq is that if Saddam were released from his prison cell and participated in the elections scheduled for next January, there is a good chance he would emerge as the popular choice.

Sunday, October 10th, 2004 - 08:53pm GMT
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November Realities and Judicial Orgies

Don Nash - I will pose a question to the “leaders” of the world, can’t you come up with any better solutions than bombing? Holy guacamole, it won’t be too long and there won’t be anyone left to bomb. Putting the track record on the table with regards to the current round of bombings that are happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other ‘hot spot’ on the globe, our governments are killing more innocent women and children than they are killing “enemies and insurgents and terrorists”. What are the nations paying these leaders the big bucks for? Bombing? The nations of the free west have been killing the Muslim people for a little over one hundred years in our current scheme of Middle Eastern atrocity so, is it any wonder that the Muslim world is angry with the west?

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004 - 04:35am GMT
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Anything Goes

Azmi Bishara - Why did the world have to wake up on 22 September, to George Bush’s heart-warming mood music at the United Nations? For no other reason than that Bush’s speech writers decided it had to. They decided we had to be optimistic, that the circle of liberty is expanding, that this year, unlike its predecessor, is a year of hope and historic opportunity for the UN. Why? Because this is election year in the US and candidate Bush needs to create an upbeat mood on the eve of the elections, a mood of great achievements and victories. So the speech writers give us an opening that suggests that victory has already been won, that liberty and democracy are blooming and that the UN had better wake up and get its act together so that it can reap the fruits.

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004 - 04:26am GMT
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The Cost of Killing

Jean Stimmell - New studies show that soldiers who killed in combat suffer higher rates of PTSD. Certainly, I saw Vietnam vet clients who experienced multiple stressors from combat but were most traumatized by the killing they had done, even when against clearly identifiable enemy combatants. And now it is happening all over again. The war in Iraq, like Vietnam, is a counterinsurgency conflict becoming more controversial and unpopular over time. And in Iraq — even more than Vietnam — most combat soldiers have shot at people and many have killed. Quoting one soldier: from the New Yorker article “There’s just too much killing. They shoot, we return fire, and they’re all dead.”

Saturday, September 25th, 2004 - 10:08am GMT
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Human Dignity, Crazy Mike, and Indian Country

Jim Lobe, Asia Times - The reason Washington is having such a difficult time persuading of its good faith and its good works in its “war on terror” was best illustrated on Tuesday. While President George W Bush told the United Nations General Assembly that the US belief in “human dignity” - a phrase he used no fewer than 10 times - was the main US motivation for pursuing the war, two articles that appeared in two major US newspapers the same morning offered an altogether different subtext.

Saturday, September 25th, 2004 - 10:03am GMT
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The Most Important Terrorism

John Pilger - Every day now, a one-way moral mirror is held up to us as a true reflection of events. New threats are given impetus with every terrorist outrage, be it at Beslan or Jakarta. Seen in the one-way mirror, our leaders make grievous mistakes, but their good intentions are not in question. Heretics who look behind the one-way mirror and see the utter dishonesty of all this, are few, but only by recognising the terrorism of states is it possible to understand, and deal with, acts of terrorism by groups and individuals which, however horrific, are tiny by comparison. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied. It is time we stopped denying it.

Friday, September 17th, 2004 - 08:46am GMT
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Nothing New in the World

"Memory says, ‘I did that’,” Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote. “Pride replies, ‘I could not have done that’. Eventually, memory yields.” Three years ago in the United States, on September 11, airplanes fell from the sky and thousands died. Countless numbers mourned the mass murder. Countless mourn still. On the same day 31 years ago, the sky fell in Chile when the democratically elected Allende government was overthrown in a bloody coup staged by the USA government. Who mourns the Chilean sky? In 1953, the USA engineered a coup in Iran that ousted the government of prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh - an Iranian colossus who had done more for his people than any leader in the country’s history. But what goes around comes around. There is always a day of reckoning.

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004 - 08:23am GMT
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Rumsfeld's Dirty War on Terror - Parts 1 & 2

In the late summer of 2002, a CIA analyst made a quiet visit to the detention centre at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was fluent in Arabic and familiar with the Islamic world. He was held in high respect within the agency, and was capable of reporting directly, if he chose, to George Tenet, the CIA director. The analyst did more than just visit and inspect. He interviewed at least 30 prisoners to find out who they were and how they ended up in Guantánamo. Some of his findings, he later confided to a former CIA colleague, were devastating.… In an explosive extract from his new book, Seymour Hersh reveals how, in a fateful decision that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the US defence secretary gave the green light to a secret unit authorised to torture terrorist suspects.

Monday, September 13th, 2004 - 07:29am GMT
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Three Years On, War on Terrorism Looks Like a Loser

Three years after al Qaeda-commandeered planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon, the leaked ruminations of U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seem more pertinent than ever. ”Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror,” he wrote in a memo to his top staff 11 months ago. ”Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?” If that is how success in the Bush administration’s ”war on terrorism” is to be measured, then Rumsfeld would have to conclude that he is failing badly.

Saturday, September 11th, 2004 - 04:40am GMT
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