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.
Conn Hallinan - The Bush administration likes to invoke the so-called changed nature of the post-9/11 world as the justification for rendering the Geneva Conventions obsolete, somehow trumping USA adherence to international law. White House counsel Alberto Gonzales dismisses the Geneva Conventions as “quaint,” and the U.S. Justice Department wrote up memos giving the CIA the right to violate both international laws and the U.S. War Crimes Act. But systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions by the USA hardly started with 9/11. Indeed, they are characteristic of virtually every conflict the USA has been involved in since the end of World War II.
Brian Cloughley - It isn’t often you can have a real belly-laugh about testimony to the US House International Relations Committee. Most of these depositions are pompous and boring and almost nobody reads the material, anyway. But the testimony to the Subcommittee on the Middle East in July by Mira R Ricardel, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy was different. It was pompous, of course - but some of the detail was far from boring. The subject of Ms Ricardel’s sworn statement was the country of Uzbekistan, and she produced a travesty of morality that at first reading might seem to be satire - perhaps an exuberant and very funny caricature of what House Committee testimony so often is. Alas, it wasn’t intended to be a parody.
Joshua Kurlantzick - Did the rebellion in Haiti earlier this year really spring from nowhere? Maybe not. Several leaders of the demonstrations—some of whom also had links to the armed rebels—had been getting organizational help and training from a U.S. government-financed organization. The group, the International Republican Institute, is supposed to focus on nonpartisan, grassroots democratization efforts overseas. But in Haiti and other countries, such as Venezuela and Cambodia, the institute—which, though not formally affiliated with the GOP, is run by prominent Republicans and staffed by party insiders—has increasingly sided with groups seeking the overthrow of elected but flawed leaders who are disliked in Washington.
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed - Most of us recall that Osama bin Laden is a creation of the CIA. He was employed as a key player in the Afghan war against Soviet occupation. Under his CIA contract, and backed by Saudi finances and Pakistani military intelligence, he built the multi-million dollar CIA-financed underground Tora Bora tunnel complex to serve as a major arms storage depot, training facility and medical center for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. According to the conventional wisdom, US ties with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda ended with the victory of the Afghan war against the Soviets. In the post-Cold War period there was no reason to continue funding the mujahideen. But this convenient narrative falls apart upon closer inspection.
Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti - A few months ago, while speaking of the US war in Iraq, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: “We’re killing a lot, capturing a lot, collecting arms. “We just don’t know yet whether that’s the same as winning.” Rumsfeld apparently laid more stress on the “quantitative performance” and “instrumental efficiency” of an illegal war than on its lack of righteousness and moral legitimacy. It’s not surprising, therefore, that even three years after the 9-11 tragedy, Washington’s political elite still lacks the moral vision and intellectual clarity to delve deep into the roots of the security problem the average American is facing today. This has, indeed, resulted in further loss of human life and the wasting of resources.
William Marina - The original architects of the U.S. empire - long before its celebration by today’s neoconservatives - understood the importance of legitimacy in the neo-colonialist enterprise. In order to achieve some degree of legitimacy, it was important to create a native stooge, heavily dependent upon American power to govern in the interests of the U.S. government. In Iraq we have had the proverbial “Three Stooges” - Saddam Hussein, followed by Ahmed Chalabi, and now Iyad Allawi. But, if one ignores a number of compliant American Indian leaders in America’s expansionist march across the continent, the first U.S. stooge was probably Emilio Aguinaldo in the Philippines.
Robert Fisk - I once sat down with old Malcolm Macdonald, Britain’s Colonial Secretary during the 1930’s. I’ll always remember the way, talking to me in his Sevenoaks home 26 years ago, he turned to me during our conversation. “In Palestine, I failed,” he said. “And that is why you are in Beirut today.” And he was right, of course. Had we really “fixed” the Middle East, I wouldn’t have spent the last 29 years of my life travelling from one war to another amid the lies and deceit of our leaders and the surrogates they appointed to rule over the Arabs. Had we really “fixed” the Middle East, Ken Bigley would not have been murdered in Iraq last week.
Walter A. Davis - The maximization of death under the reign of thanatos finds in Iraq one of its ghostliest embodiments. Hiroshima was the first pure and unrestrained expression of thanatos as global terror. Iraq now serves to advance that logic in a new, and qualitatively different, way. Thanks to DU, death is again released in a way that promises to bring about its omnipresence through its silent, unseen, inner working on all that lives. Death is everywhere now: in the air they breath, the food they eat, the water they drink, the shards radiating up at them from the DU debris that litters their cities, the sperm they transmit in the act of love, the cancers and birth defects, the violence to the DNA, in all the leukemias of body and of soul that will turn Iraq into one vast Thanatopolis, the city of the future, an oidos where all that lives will come to bear Death as its sole meaning, the visible and invisible sign that is present everywhere.
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