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World Crisis Analysis Archives - Arranged by Month

Understanding Islam

Omayma Abdel-Latif - The West explains everything happening in Muslim countries by use of an ideological construct of cultural and religious difference. Hence its obsession with ideas that if democracy cannot take root then it is because of Islam or Arab tribalism; if men and women are not provided with equal opportunities it is because Islam has decreed it; if there is violence and conflict it is a result of the fanatic tendencies that exist among Muslims, etc. And, as if the effect were mirrored, we are told that Muslims reject our culture and hate us because of our values. Yet opinion polls carried out in the Middle East repeatedly show that any negative sentiments harboured towards the West have a basically political foundation, alongside which there is an enormous desire for liberty, for a democratisation process and for states governed by law, none of which are perceived as incompatible with Islam.

Sunday, October 31st, 2004
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Uzbekistan and Bush Hypocrisies

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.

Saturday, October 30th, 2004
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Bush's Record

Serge Halimi - The polls in America next week will be as much a referendum on the current administration as an election. Bush has two rare, if not unique, distinctions: he was elected even though he received fewer votes than his opponent and he is the son of a former president. His enthronement was less democratic than dynastic. The election result conferred no particular mandate on him, and certainly no endorsement for a terrible leap to the right, an imperial inflection of the international order or the militarisation of American society and foreign policy. The Democrats prefer to attribute these dramatic shifts within the country to some “vast rightwing conspiracy” involving the media and the Supreme Court. But that ignores the way that President Clinton left behind him a party in disarray, without any clear plan and in a minority in the House of Representatives, the Senate and in the states.

Friday, October 29th, 2004
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Debating the Truth in America

Dahr Jamail - The United States of America had the support of every country on the globe after the events of September 11, 2001. Today, anti-American sentiment around the world is higher than it has ever been. In April, I spoke with a man there who was managing a small clinic inside besieged Fallujah. He hadn’t slept in days because of the incessant influx of casualties from US aggression. “For 48 years I believed in democracy and the good spirit of the American government,” he said while bombs from US warplanes blasted into yet another part of the city, “but now I know it took me 48 years to wake up to the fact that they are a brutal, heartless empire. A government-led empire which cares nothing about the Iraqi people. It has taken my entire life, but I am not asleep to this fact any longer.”

Friday, October 29th, 2004
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Death of the Bill of Rights, Part 2

David R. Hoffman - The Bill of Rights was designed by America’s founding fathers to serve as a “check-and-balance” between the government and the governed.  Unfortunately, as prescient as these founders were, they resided in an agrarian culture and therefore did not foresee the impact that industrialization and the private economic sector would have on people’s ability to exercise their rights and freedoms.  Fear of losing employment for advocating “unpopular” ideas, fear of censorship by a corporate-controlled media more devoted to enhancing their profits and promoting their agendas than serving the public interest, and fear of “civil law,” where monetary damages can be assessed against individuals or groups engaged in speech activities, have incessantly transformed the Bill of Rights into a litany of impotent platitudes.

Friday, October 29th, 2004
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The WMD-lite Scandal

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times - Whether it was poetic justice or yet one more instance of hubris, in the end there was indeed an “October surprise”. Call it the WMD-lite scandal: the disappearance of 380 tons of dual-use explosives in Iraq. Certainly Republican Machiavelli-in-charge Karl Rove didn’t see this surprise coming - hitting the Bush administration like a jet converted into a missile. Now the neo-cons and Pentagon civilians are scrambling like mad trying to cover US President George W Bush’s back and defuse yet another spectacular blunder. Even the best spin from the Bush administration will leave it looking incompetent, but the crucial facts about the whole affair are that the Pentagon knew that 380 tons of high explosives were stored at al-Qaqaa, but securing them were less of a priority than securing the country’s oil industry.

Thursday, October 28th, 2004
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A Campaign Thriving on Exploiting Voters’ Fears

Linda S. Heard - Let’s face it. Bush’s survival as president depends on America facing either real or imaginary enemies. The “Sept. 11 nineteen” were the ones who attacked but they are inconveniently dead. The eccentric Bin Laden served as the perfect personification of “evil” to oil the road to Kabul, only to be replaced by George W’s personal bogeyman Saddam Hussein, his father’s nemesis. So now that Saddam is watering plants in his jail between penning romance novels, another “evildoer” had to be paraded. This time, it’s the alleged one time Osama follower Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. There is some dispute as to whether he is actually alive and still sports a wooly balaclava, but the purveyors of fear are sure about one thing: He scoots around the so-called Sunni “Triangle of Death” planning his dastardly agenda amid women, children and babies.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004
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The Colonial Precedent

Mark Curtis - The redeployment of British forces in Iraq to support a US assault on Falluja marks another stage in a creeping return to the colonial era, when popular revolts against occupation were routinely suppressed by overwhelming force. These past episodes, revealed in declassified British government files, provide numerous parallels with Iraq, and suggest a pattern of future blunders and atrocities. Those in Britain who like to regard more recent military interventions as humanitarian might dwell on those parallels as the latest phase of the Iraq war unfolds.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004
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The Republican Coup Connection

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.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
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Right the Wrong - Free Maragaret Hassan

Kirsten Zaat - Margaret Hassan has dedicated her life to helping the international community understand that there is no ‘clash of civilisations’. Rather there is only ‘we the peoples’ who are entitled to enjoy our rights while fulfilling our universal responsibilities to protect our fellow human beings. The last 15 years have taught me that ‘we the peoples’ have more in common than we differ. And Margaret has spent more than 30 years now trying to convince the international community of this while tirelessly working to ensure that all peoples enjoy their rights and uphold their responsibilities in dignity and in hope. I hope whoever has taken Margaret away from us realises the momentous mistake they have made and shows the generosity and compassion to right their terrible wrong.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
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The George W. Bush Hypnosis File

Russell M. Drake - Call him hypnotist-in-chief. He earned it. Among modern era statesmen, only Adolf Hitler comes close to George W. Bush’s skill level as operator of the public consciousness. Consider: After three years of terror and death at the hands of a terrorist band run by two guys hiding in caves, after a bloody, failed invasion of the wrong country in search of who knows what, after a jobs market crash matched only by the Herbert Hoover Administration, and after mismanaging huge national budget surpluses into over-the-cliff national deficits – all supported by the most outlandish lies – Bush still holds a firm grip on the minds of more than half of the people who say they’re going to vote.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
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The Man Who Would Be President, Again

S’thembiso Msomi - A Black man is shot and seriously wounded. The unconscious man is rushed to hospital where a white doctor declares him dead. The body is transported to the mortuary where it is stored in a fridge, awaiting identification by the next of kin. A few hours later, the “dead” man wakes up. He screams and bangs on the walls of his icy cubicle, demanding release. A mortuary worker, also black, responds to him in a hushed voice: “Shhhh! Be quiet! The good doctor said you’re dead.” This is one of the stories, I am told, that deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is fond of relating when he addresses audiences. Although the tale is told to illustrate how “the West imposes its version of reality” on developing countries, it is safe to assume that the former Roman Catholic priest finds similarities between his own life and that of the shot man.

Monday, October 25th, 2004
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Ties with Terror

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.

Monday, October 25th, 2004
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Global Scale Politics

Bill Henderson - The big end of the year recap story of 2004 will not be Bush reelected, but peak oil. After years of underground speculation, the specter of Die Off in our time, right around the corner, is being debated even on the business pages. Of course, the tyranny of the present discounts any perspective that demands radical change, but the reality of peaking production and escalating demand is hard to ignore and the consequences are just a little bit scarier than even four more years of one of the worst US administrations ever. If these global-scale problems are going to be the hallmark of the 21st century, then we must make a conscious attempt to rid ourselves of lingering 20th century lens bias or at least add this global-scale appreciation to understanding how events and policy formation today will effect us tomorrow.

Friday, October 22nd, 2004
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What Can Be Done?

Don Nash - I think that I am beaten. I would never have believed that I would be a stranger in my own country. The social outcast and political pariah. I would never have believed that I could be forced to move from my own neighborhood. Unable to find suitable housing, and the welcome mat that was once on the front door has been unceremonially taken away, and the old place is being rented to criminal junkies. In my neighborhood, criminal heroin addicts are preferable to political dissidents. Especially dissidents that speak out and make the unacceptable political waves. I rank lower on the social ladder than heroin addicts, go figure. Somehow, waging a preemptive genocide on an Islamic people has become fashionable and perfectly acceptable. If one speaks out against this atrocity well then, shame on me and my bad for opening my big mouth.

Thursday, October 21st, 2004
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Death of the Bill of Rights, Part 1

David R. Hoffman - It is sanctified by words during the best of times, when it is not needed; It is ignored by deeds during the worst of times, when it is needed most; It is presented as the bedrock of American freedom; It is in reality as fragile as a pane of glass; It is praised when one requires its protections; It is scourged when one’s foe demands those same protections; It is promoted as a vibrant, living document; It is dying a slow, but certain, death. With apologies to Charles Dickens for paraphrasing the opening sentence of his immortal classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, this opening passage describes the demise of a single document: The Bill of Rights.

Thursday, October 21st, 2004
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‘Third World’ Election

Manuel Valenzuela - As much as America and the world wish to believe Florida will not be rigged with electoral fraud this November, the sad truth is that all the mechanisms needed to steal the state in favor of George Bush are already firmly entrenched. Thanks to Jeb Bush, Jim Crow manipulator of mandates, corrupt fraudster, decimator of democracy and brother of the president, and the Republican Party, which in essence controls the logistics of and the keys to running the election, Florida has already declared tens of thousands of voters, mostly black and Democratic, ineligible. Many more voters, of all creeds and colors, will be disenfranchised on election day, be it through intimidation, coercion, government intervention, criminal negligence, corruption and fraud, and, of course, through electronic voting machines, most of which are owned by staunch Republican supporters.

Thursday, October 21st, 2004
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America’s Perfect Storm

Jeff Berg - A fiscal train wreck is one thing but when it is combined with the following elements it makes the recipe for a perfect storm as American as apple pie.  Meanwhile back on the ranch America’s president and congress cut taxes during war time and America’s elite dances a merry jig to the tune played by the pied pipers of flat earth economics. The following projections and facts are in no particular order for the order changes naught a whit the laws that govern even such exalted beings as Republicans and Democrats.  The laws I speak of here are physics and the all too inevitable cycle of violence, blame, retribution, and violence; which I will refer in this piece by the fancy CIA moniker of ‘blowback’.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004
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Exploitation on Tap

George Monbiot - South Africa is the world’s 21st biggest economy. It is also one of the most unequal. It could afford to provide everyone with sufficient water, as long as it was prepared to sting the rich and subsidise the poor. But that is a “non-market policy”, and therefore out of bounds. The problem for any government which attempts to run its services on free-market principles is that some people cannot afford to pay. This means that you must send men to their homes to cut them off. In South Africa, where people are aware of their rights, that means confrontations and riots. So Johannesburg city council, which has set up a public-private partnership with the British firm Northumbrian Water and its French parent Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, has devised an easier way to do it: rather than disconnect people, you force them to disconnect themselves.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004
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'Struggle with Fadi Madi'

Genevieve Cora Fraser - Like a carrier pigeon landing on my windowsill, Fadi Madi suddenly appeared in my in-box bearing an urgent message with the subject heading: “Struggle with Fadi Madi”. “Fadi Madi,” I thought.  “Fadi Madi, who?” The name read like a nursery rhyme.  As I perused the text I wondered if the message was a hoax or for real. The message was addressed “TO ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS FREEDOM FIGHTERS - ANTI WAR MOVMENTS - PEACE HUMANITY JUSTICE MOVMENTS.” I examined the list of fellow recipients and soon realized I was one of the few individuals he had emailed.  If I had ever met Madi, he had slipped from my memory. Perhaps he had read my articles and somehow located my email address, I mused.  But Madi’s message was frantic, urgent, not exactly an appeal but clearly a man who wanted to be heard or to have his message heard.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004
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Thank you, Dubby

Uri Avnery - The statement by Dov ("Dubby") Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s most intimate confidant, is crystal clear: the “redeployment plan” was designed to “freeze” the peace process for decades, to put all peace plans “in formaldehyde”, to put an end to the possibility of a Palestinian state, once and for all. Why did “Dubby” disclose this plan? The answer is simple: Sharon wants to explain to the extreme right wing of his own party that “disengagement” is a war plan rather than a peace plan, a plan to annex territories rather than a plan to “give up” territories, a plan for the rapid expansion of the West Bank settlements rather than a plan to dismantle the settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, October 17th, 2004
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Why is Iraq Giving $190,000 to Toys R Us?

Naomi Klein - Next week, something will happen that will unmask the upside-down morality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. On October 21, Iraq will pay $200m in war reparations to some of the richest countries and corporations in the world. If that seems backwards, it’s because it is. Iraqis have never been awarded reparations for any of the crimes they suffered under Saddam, or the brutal sanctions regime that claimed the lives of at least half a million people, or the US-led invasion, which the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, recently called “illegal”. Instead, Iraqis are still being forced to pay reparations for crimes committed by their former dictator.

Saturday, October 16th, 2004
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Afghanistan: The Unnecessary War

Milan Rai - Three years ago, Tony Blair presented a dossier to justify war on Afghanistan. The dossier concluded that, “The attacks of the 11 September 2001 were planned and carried out by Al Qaida, an organisation whose head is Usama Bin Laden… The attack could not have occurred without the alliance between the Taleban and Usama Bin Laden, which allowed Bin Laden to operate freely in Afghanistan, promoting, planning and executing terrorist activity.” President Bush said of the Taliban, “I gave them a fair chance.” However, a close examination of the events at the time shows that the USA and UK consistently brushed aside such opportunities for a nonviolent solution.

Saturday, October 16th, 2004
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Political Roots of American Insecurity

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.

Saturday, October 16th, 2004
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The Three Iraqi Stooges, and the U.S.'s First Stooge

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.

Friday, October 15th, 2004
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A Cultural Genocide

Kamil Mahdi - The old city of Najaf is being demolished. Bulldozers are moving in to complete the work of the tanks, missiles and airborne machine guns. The promised help for reconstruction appears to be conditional on the population leaving their homes and businesses in order to allow what is left of the city’s old seminaries, historic homes, khans, markets, cellars, catacombs; its alleys and its beautiful but damaged and neglected architecture, to be swept away in a mad rush to create free fire zones that are accessible for humvees.

Friday, October 15th, 2004
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Medieval State, Medieval Carnage

Fawaz Turki - Irrespective of our national, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, there always remain common denominators that define our humanity — our media of interaction, our moral compass, our grammar of perception of what constitutes inherent decency in our social values. And when a community of people crosses a line, we know it. By its actions as an occupier, most notably since it chose a murderous bully like Ariel Sharon as prime minister, Israel clearly has enacted a decisive change in the tenor of that human behavior. Its action in Gaza most certainly attests to that. And many have recognized that behavior for what it is. Today Israel stands as the most reviled and isolated entity in the world, threatened with international boycotts, condemnation and divestiture.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
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Zarqawi - Bush's Man For All Seasons

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times - Everything imaginable, in Iraq and elsewhere, has been attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But not a single source, anywhere, claims to have actually seen “Zarqawi” since late 2001 in Afghanistan. “Zarqawi” is much like a movie. Fake leg or not, return of the living dead or not, he is everywhere. American corporate media do not even bother to examine all the holes in the story. Who cares? Without Zarqawi, the Bush administration would have to painfully admit that the Iraqi resistance is a national liberation struggle. With Zarqawi, the administration can parrot to oblivion the line that Iraq is in the frontline of the “war on terror”. If multi-purpose “Zarqawi” did not exist, he would have to be invented.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
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The Prime Minister Led Us Into An Illegal War

Charles Kennedy - Yesterday, at Prime Minister’s Questions, I challenged the Prime Minister to admit that he “led us into an illegal war”. I said that we now know that the 45-minute claim was unfounded; that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and that regime change - which is contrary to international law - was the only remaining argument. The Prime Minister blustered and was angry. But so was I. This war was wrong and it’s time he faced up to it. For those of us who care about the way this country is run, and have a duty to hold the government to account, it’s necessary to keep pursuing the truth about how we got involved in the worst foreign policy disaster since Suez.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
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History's Killing Fields Revisited

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.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
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Double Standards That Kill

Hasan Abu Nimah - In the current anti-terrorism hysteria, why are we supposed to feel that the murder of civilians by a suicide bomber in an exploding truck is more terrible than the murder of civilians by a man in a tank, or a helicopter or a bulldozer wearing a uniform? Israel’s assault on Gaza killed more children in a few days than the entire number of victims in the recent attacks in Egypt. It is simply immoral to continue to pretend that there is any difference whatsoever between the two types of terrorism. The point here is not to say that the attack in Taba is in any way excusable or justifiable, but rather to underline that the attacks in Gaza should be treated just like the attacks in Taba, as terrorist outrages, viciously targeted and calculated to kill innocent people.

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
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James Baker's Double Life

Naomi Klein - When President Bush appointed James Baker as Special Presidential Envoy on Iraq’s debt last year, he called Baker’s job “a noble mission.” At the time, there was widespread concern about whether Baker’s extensive business dealings in the Middle East would compromise that mission, which is to meet with heads of state and persuade them to forgive the debts owed to them by Iraq. Of particular concern was his relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake. Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker’s power has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents recently obtained, that is precisely what has happened.

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
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Who Cares About The Truth?

Mahir Ali - So, no WMD. And no WMD programmes either. The final findings of the Iraq Survey Group come as no surprise, but, given that the ISG is an organ of the US government rather than an independent entity, it was more or less inevitable that it would try to offer some comfort to the invaders. This takes the shape of its conclusion that Saddam Hussein was determined to revive his weapons programmes once sanctions were lifted. Conveniently, this assertion cannot be substantiated. It is purely speculative and based on hearsay, yet it is now supposed to suffice as a reason not only for maintaining sanctions even after they had served their ostensible purpose, but also for a military assault that has cost tens of thousands of civilian lives. This, surely, is the stuff that dystopias are made of.

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
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The Coming of Deindustrial Society

John Michael Greer - With the coming of Peak Oil and the beginning of long-term, irreversible declines in the availability of fossil fuels (along with many other resources), modern industrial civilization faces a wrenching series of unwelcome transitions. This comes as a surprise only for those who haven’t been paying attention. More than thirty years ago, the Club of Rome pointed out that unless something was done, a global economy based on fantasies of perpetual growth would collide disastrously with the hard limits of a finite planet sometime in the early 21st century. The early 21st century is here, nothing was done, and the consequences are arriving on schedule. The road that would have brought industrial society through a transformation to sustainability turned out to be the road not taken. The question that remains is what we can do with the limited time we have left.

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
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'Bush Lite' Kerry is Still Hazardous to Health

Omar Barghouti - De facto partition of Iraq is a bipartisan project. Today, rightist Republicans and Democrats speak of the “threat” of civil war dividing Iraq, and a recent report in the Financial Times, probably planted by Brits or Americans, is a variation on that theme. In the usual fashion, the paper quotes an “unidentified diplomat” as saying: “The south has been desperately disappointed, and they see Baghdad as continuing to leave them without representation. So they are working on ways to organize themselves to have more clout with the center.” In reality, civil war is the second item on the neocolonial wish-list. Should occupation of the whole of Iraq become untenable, they will foment inter-Iraqi strife in hopes of holding on to the oil-rich parts of the country through agreements with potentates of mini-states – sectarian and ethnic warlords, much like in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004
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Expect Push to Partition Iraq

Guest Editorial by The Black Commentator - De facto partition of Iraq is a bipartisan project. Today, rightist Republicans and Democrats speak of the “threat” of civil war dividing Iraq, and a recent report in the Financial Times, probably planted by Brits or Americans, is a variation on that theme. In the usual fashion, the paper quotes an “unidentified diplomat” as saying: “The south has been desperately disappointed, and they see Baghdad as continuing to leave them without representation. So they are working on ways to organize themselves to have more clout with the center.” In reality, civil war is the second item on the neocolonial wish-list. Should occupation of the whole of Iraq become untenable, they will foment inter-Iraqi strife in hopes of holding on to the oil-rich parts of the country through agreements with potentates of mini-states – sectarian and ethnic warlords, much like in Afghanistan.

Monday, October 11th, 2004
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Cheney’s Three Big Reasons

Sarah Whalen - Genies grant three wishes. But the moral of dealing with genies is that things never work out well. In last week’s debate against Sen. John Edwards, US Vice President Cheney rubbed his lamp and out popped three reasons for America’s invasion of Iraq: Saddam Hussein “had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with Al-Qaeda.” “Specifically,” Cheney challenged, “look at George Tenet, the CIA director’s testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations two years ago when (Tenet) talked about a 10-year relationship.” Sounds good, right? Let’s take things one by one.

Monday, October 11th, 2004
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Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq

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.

Monday, October 11th, 2004
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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
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If You Had Seen What I Have Seen

Scott Ritter - 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
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Occupation as Withdrawal

Mustafa Al-Barghouti - Sharon himself never used the word “withdrawal”, yet the word has spread like wildfire. The international media invented it, the Arab media picked it up, and Palestinian officials seem to have believed that he plans to “withdraw” from the Gaza Strip. Arab officialdom now acts as if “withdrawal” is just around the corner, but all Sharon ever wanted to do was to turn Gaza into one enormous big prison. Sharon seeks to surround the strip with Israeli forces on all sides and prevent its inhabitants from communicating with the outside world by air, sea or land. Sharon dreams of a Gaza he can invade and attack at will. This is his scheme. This is the alternative he offers to the roadmap and the assortment of other “peace plans”.

Saturday, October 9th, 2004
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The Most Important Thing About The 'Debates'

Liz Burbank - The elections/"debates” expose the real purpose of electoral charades as major political WMDs of deception, delusion, distraction and a draft into a deadly trap. Of course we liberals hate those unjust, undeclared wars without end, those fascist attacks on our multicultural values and also on our sisters and brothers, the ‘right-wing’ suppression of ‘civil rights’ - all that nasty shit those republicans do - but what else can we do but elect a democrat, even if he’s saying the same things, we’ll go along with the program just til we get rid of Bush then we can get back to capitalist ‘business as usual’. We can make Kerry keep his promises. Oops. Well, we’ll do something later-- so let’s just not talk about it, OK? Ever wonder “how could they let german fascism happen”? We better look hard in the mirror. It ain’t pretty.

Friday, October 8th, 2004
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The Verdict is Here

Abid Ullah Jan - Referring to the report by the USA’s Iraq Survey Group, the New York Times came out with a very fine editorial this morning. “The Verdict Is In”, it proclaimed. Despite the editorial’s title, however, it came to no conclusion at all, except to merely continue with the same war infected, biased and brainwashed mentality that caused the war against Iraq in the first place. “Sanctions worked. Weapons inspectors worked”, it suggested. Yes, sanctions worked for wiping out 1.8 million Iraqis. Yes, weapons inspectors worked but when the damage was already done. The total facts are that the basic premise for imposing sanctions at all was wrong because there was no WMD program at all. The invasion and occupation was wrong because there were no weapons of mass destruction at all.

Thursday, October 7th, 2004
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Phantom of the Opera

Daniel Patrick Welch - In Oz, the wizard is finally shown to be a tired old man in the corner manipulating machinery to create the impression of power. When Zod and his cohorts levelled the White House in Superman II, he saw through the stand-in for the president. “No one who commands so many could capitulate so quickly.” The real president comes out from a washroom next to the Oval Office - maybe the one Bill and Monica made famous, who knows? - and says: “I’m the one they’re protecting.” But what if the man in the corner is the actual Oz? What if the cover story is the bumbling fool, and when you pull back the curtain the actual embodiment of evil itself is staring you right in the face? This was the reaction I had when I saw just a glimpse of Dick Cheney during the vice-presidential debate on television.

Thursday, October 7th, 2004
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I Speak Out Because....

Don Nash - My country is in serious violation of the Geneva Convention and the charter my country signed to become a participant with the United Nations. It is to our shame. The preemptive war being waged on Iraq that was initiated by George Bush, is illegal, it is immoral, and it is unjust. The military of my country is being used by lying politicians to commit cold blooded murder on innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. It is to our shame. Are the good people of the United States of America, to be considered by the world at large as no better than war-mongering savages? Without moral context, without moral authority, and without the good sense to recognize deceit by my nation’s leaders. It is to our shame.

Thursday, October 7th, 2004
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New Labour's New Racism

Jonny Burnett and Dave Whyte - Legislation passed since 1997 by the UK government have created 28 new offences that apply exclusively to immigrants or those seeking asylum. That figure more than quadruples if we add in the number of new offences aimed at those seeking to employ, aid, or assist those designated ‘illegal’. Powers to enforce these laws include new powers to detain and imprison; the separation of children from their families; and the denial of welfare assistance. The insistence that failed asylum seekers will be made to work without pay while awaiting deportation should be read as a harbinger of the more extreme excesses of New Labour’s ‘workfare state’. It is this kind of explicitly xeno-racist reform that has prompted Amnesty to accuse the British government of failing to abide by the Geneva Convention.

Thursday, October 7th, 2004
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Hawks and Doves

Hafizur Rahman - They say that public men and women, particularly those managing affairs of state, are roughly divided into two types: hawks and doves. Unlike the hawks, the doves don’t go boasting about themselves, because somehow it is considered infra dig to be known as a dove. Not so long ago the expressions were widely used, but then after the end of the cold war, nobody was keen to be known as either. Now however, the policies of President Bush have revived the two terms and the hawks there are having a whale of a time. Last week I read in a Gulf newspaper that, in one of the cities there, a hunting hawk flew away with a cheque for a thousand dollars. While it was clearly stated in the report that the hawk was a bird, it was not clarified whether the bird was a hawk in the political sense also…

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004
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Stretching Cheney

In the end, Darth Vader did not eat Robin alive (no Batman to the rescue). Much to the contrary. The cyclopic spinning machine is ruling that the only vice-presidential debate in the US election, between incumbent Dick Cheney and challenger John Edwards in Cincinnati on Tuesday, was a tie - but not if you consider the numerous Darth Vader instances of, euphemistically, “stretching the truth”. Cheney denied he had made a link between Saddam and the attacks of September 11, 2001. False. Cheney insisted on an “Iraqi track record of terror”. False. Cheney said the Bush administration “captured or killed thousands of al-Qaeda”. False. But it’s astonishing that in such a crucial debate there was no mention whatsoever of the key intersection between Cheney’s oil connections and the “war on terror”.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004
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Judging the Intifada

Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah - From the first days of what began as a peaceful uprising, to which Israel responded with one million bullets in the first month of protests, Israeli and American analysts have been declaring that the efforts to stop all resistance would soon succeed. A few more assassinations, a few more missiles, a few thousand more arrests, a bit more torture, a few hundred more demolitions, a little more hunger and darkness—and the Palestinians will get the message and realize that their best option is servitude under occupation. But by any standard, in a war between a colonial occupier and an indigenous people, the Palestinians are in a comparable state to those who have trodden this path before them.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004
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Forget About The Constitution in Russia

Vladimir Ryzhkov - The new political system created by Putin in the wake of the Beslan disaster will have no legal foundation in the Constitution, and this will have disastrous consequences for the country. Nor will Kremlin-appointed governors enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Poll after poll has shown that a majority of Russians either don’t understand Putin’s proposals or don’t approve of them. Most voters want to carry on electing their leaders because they understand that elected officials care more for the interests of their constituents than appointed ones do. The Beslan tragedy made clear that the Kremlin-appointed leaders in Chechnya and Ingushetia have no connection with the people, and are therefore utterly impotent.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004
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What if America Were Iraq?

Juan Cole - U.S. President George W. Bush said last week that the Iraqis were refuting the pessimists, and he implied that things were improving in that country. What would the United States look like if it were in Iraq’s current situation? Violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent, proportionately, of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun shootings and aerial bombardments in just one week? That is a number greater than the deaths on Sept. 11, 2001. And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, mostly in Washington, the capital, but also in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004
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Two Peoples, One State

Maichael Tarazi - Support for one state in Israel/Palestine is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. In the words of one Palestinian farmer, you can’t unscramble an egg. But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates, and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.

Monday, October 4th, 2004
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Saddam as the Twentieth Hijacker

James Bovard - After the 9/11 commission staff report effectively nuked the USA’s justification for invading Iraq, White House chief spokesman Scott McClellan was asked whether the Bush administration had misled the American people. McClellan replied, “I guess I don’t look at polls and look at it in those terms. In terms of this administration, we laid out the facts very clearly for the American people.” McClellan’s reply epitomizes how the Bush administration will never admit any of its deceptions. The unjustified, unnecessary war against Iraq should be a lasting warning to Americans not to trust government officials who claim the need to kill in the name of peace.

Monday, October 4th, 2004
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Paradise Cleansed

John Pilger - The story of Diego Garcia is shocking, almost incredible. A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: “American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan).” It is the word “uninhabited” that turns the key on the horror of what was done there. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defence in London produced this epic lie: “There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation.”

Monday, October 4th, 2004
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Anatomy of Palestinian Outrage

Ramzy Baroud - Imagine the outrage if a series of Palestinian bombings rocked an Israeli town, spontaneously, and in less than four days killed 60 people and wounded hundreds, mostly innocent civilians. Not even the most open-minded of media pundits could dare justify the crime; not even the most lucid of government officials could rationalize the orgy of flesh and blood. How repulsive, albeit insensitive if Fox News decided to inundate its hapless viewers with self-congratulating ‘terrorism experts’ describing the ‘surgical procedure’ followed by the Palestinian bombers whose intent was merely to target a few unidentified Israeli army officers accused of threatening the life of Palestinian civilians. None of this, of course, has occurred. However, its exact antithesis has.

Monday, October 4th, 2004
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Was Allawi’s Speech a Crime?

Ahmed Amr - I don’t know how much a Bush speechwriter gets paid these days – but it can’t be much because they seem to be moonlighting for Allawi. One should compliment them for their invaluable assistance to George’s political career. During four years in the White House and two presidential campaigns, they have admirably kept the President ‘on message’. It’s a shame that they have to supplement their meager income by exporting their talents to Iraq. Not a few commentators noticed that Allawi’s speech to Congress was a neocon masterpiece. The administration immediately denied they had a hand in putting words in Allawi’s mouth. They insisted that no one in the White House was involved. OK. But what about all those neocons that linger outside the gates of the President’s sleeping quarters?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004
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Uncommon Sense, Conspiracy, and other Theories

Michael Hasty - What is true of the media’s treatment of Warren Commission critics can be equally applied to anyone who questions what is sometimes called the media’s “metanarrative” — the official media version of events. Usually this is accomplished by what Catholic theologians call “the sin of omission.” So, for example, the startling and uncomfortable fact that a Zogby poll found that half of New York City residents believe that the US government either had fore knowledge of, or was complicit in, the 9/11 attacks has been quickly stuffed into the media’s “memory hole.” But the great irony in the media’s rejection of “conspiracy theory” is that the metanarrative requires mainstream news consumers to subscribe to a far less credible “coincidence theory.”

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004
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An Elegant Exit From Iraq

John V. Whitbeck - With polls showing that only 2% of Iraqis consider Americans “liberators”, while solid majorities favour an immediate withdrawal of all American forces, scepticism as to the genuine eagerness of George W. Bush and Iyad Allawi to see free and fair elections held in January is understandable. There is widespread assumption in the region that these elections will be postponed or, rigged to ensure that any government remains effectively subservient to American control. Nevertheless, genuinely free, fair and early elections may offer the USA the best, if not the only, hope for a relatively elegant escape from the deep hole which it has dug for itself in Iraq. To seize this opportunity, Americans must come to grips with four hard truths which, if accepted, could set them (and the Iraqis) free.

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004
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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
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Is Bush's Biggest Mistake Too Awful to Admit?

William Saletan - How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? That’s what it all comes down to. For all the differences between Iraq and Vietnam, the awful question John Kerry posed in 1971 is the same one hanging over us now. This time, however, Kerry isn’t raising the question. His opponent, the president of the United States, is raising it. Why? Because Iraq is different from Vietnam. We were attacked on 9/11. We thought Saddam Hussein was behind it. We thought Iraq posed the next threat. We don’t want to believe that we were wrong, that we’ve committed $200 billion and sacrificed more than 1,000 American lives in error. We can’t imagine asking thousands more to die for a mistake.

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004
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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
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It's the Economy, Stoopid!

William Bowles - In today’s globalised environment, the idea of a single ‘superpower’ is a redundant concept. It is within this context that we need to set recent history, for there is no escaping the terrible ‘logic’ of capitalism – expand or die. The problem is where to expand to? The USA and UK are still attempting to recreate a world long dead and buried - a world dominated by an outdated economic model that nevertheless refuses to die simply because it has the military and economic power to threaten the rest of the world with destruction unless it tows the line. So what’s an ‘old’ socialist like me to do, for it’s clear that at least in the current climate of fear and repression, and the fact that an alternate economic model based upon cooperation and a shared system of humane values is not on the cards, the world is faced with catastrophe.

Friday, October 1st, 2004
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The Hapless and Wretched of the Earth

John Maxwell - If the war on Iraq was a crime against humanity, what description do we use for the decapitation of the Haitian democracy? The world press, those brave gladiators for justice and truth, speak about “hapless Haiti” and the “hapless Haitians”; they hide their prejudice and deceit behind euphemisms, behind circumlocution, obfuscations and outright lies to conceal foul crimes. They say President Aristide fled “amid a popular revolt” – of about 500 bandits in a population of eight million. But the Haitians are “hapless.” Our leaders, on the other hand, like the leaders of the United States, France and Canada, the triad behind the criminal enterprise in Haiti, are all full of hap: hatred, arrogance and prejudice.

Friday, October 1st, 2004
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Confessions of an Alleged ‘anti-American’

Don Nash - In all good conscience, I cannot support George Bush. His political philosophy of Machiavellian expedience is morally bankrupt and without precedent in the history of the American presidency. Bush’s premise of ‘preemptive war’ is so inhumanely offensive, it smacks of being almost genocidal by it’s very definition. The Bush administration is wrong on every count that one might care to examine. The Bush administration is wrong to plunder America’s resources simply to satisfy some pre-election pact that they entered into prior to the 2000 election. The Bush administration was wrong to have pulled America out of the Kyoto Accord. The Bush administration was wrong to squander America’s treasury with the still untested missile defense system. If Bush and company are for it, I am against it.

Friday, October 1st, 2004
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National Guard Bush vs. Swift Boat Kerry

Thomas Wheeler - Here’s an interesting thought experiment. Imagine a German citizen harshly denouncing Hitler’s invasion of Poland, then volunteering for the German military and eagerly participating in the brutal occupation of Poland. Or, how about harshly denouncing the bombing of abortion clinics, then joining a group to assist them in bombing clinics. Such a person would be mercilessly ridiculed as a complete idiot. But in the upside-down Orwellian world of hypocritical liberals and the utterly dumb-as-shit military veterans that support Kerry, this sort of insanely stupid criminal behavior is applauded.

Friday, October 1st, 2004
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Telling the Truth About the Election

Asad Haider - The left needs to come to its senses about the 2004 election. Some thoughtful analysis has appeared on ZNet and elsewhere, but it seems that too much commentary is coming to reflect the regrettable polarization into a “more-radical-than-thou” camp and a “more-sensible-than-thou” camp, one of the most unfortunate setbacks for the left since the fall of Barcelona. It’s a real shame, because there is a great need for serious strategic analysis today, and the often dogmatic and sectarian quibbling over Kerry is a real obstacle to creating the kind of unified left that is so necessary in the United States. Last year, we were able to unite into the strongest anti-war movement in human history; what the hell happened?

Friday, October 1st, 2004
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