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NEWS AND OPINION

MAD KING GEORGE, WILLING SUMMITEERS (2) OFF TO THE AZORES "The White House hastily arranged a weekend summit between President Bush and his two staunchest council allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. The summit will be held in the Azores Islands in new effort to work out strategies for salvaging the trio's troubled war resolution at the U.N. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MAD KING GEORGE. MANY THINK BUSH HAS GONE ROUND THE BEND "Many people don't just question the competence of President Bush and his inner circle; they believe that America's leadership has lost touch with reality." 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHILE BUSH TALKS OF BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO IRAQ, HE IS SERIOUSLY HARMING DEMOCRACY IN TURKEY "The world should know about the damage that has been done to Turkish democracy by the Bush government, which, has bypassed the sentiments of the Turkish people, preferring to cooperate with the army. Already, parliament's "no" to war has been dismissed and the massing of American troops in Turkish harbours is continuing as if nothing had happened. In response to this scandalous disrespect for the parliament, its president bravely declared that it made his hair stand on end, while his fellow party member, prime minister Erdoan, seemed quite undisturbed. The justified complaint that there is not enough democracy in Turkey, which we have become accustomed to hearing from the US for years has, thanks to the Bush government, been transformed into a grumble that there is too much democracy in Turkey." 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MOSTLY LIES, MOST OF THE TIME. BUSH CREDIBILITY ABOUT ANYTHING IS SHOT DUE TO IRAQ "US Credibility on Iraq Has Eroded to an Extent That It is Becoming Hard to Believe Anything from the Bush Administration.." 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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AMERICANS READ CANADIAN PAPERS FOR THE NEWS. DURING PRESS CONFERENCE BUSH SAID IT WAS "SCRIPTED," BUT YOU HAD TO READ A CANADIAN PAPER TO FIND THAT OUT "Some major news organizations have misquoted and distorted the record on President George W. Bush's stage-managed news conference last Thursday, altering his slip about how the whole thing was "scripted" to "unscripted." If you stayed awake, you would have seen Bush at one point look at a list of reporters he planned to call upon while recognizing CNN's John King. When another reporter tried to cut in, Bush said: "This is a scripted -" Check the official White House transcripts and you'll see the word "scripted." But go to the online transcripts at The New York Times, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the Los Angeles Times and you'll see the reference has either been cut or changed to "unscripted." A typo? Perhaps. One George Orwell might have appreciated. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IT'S THE JOB MARKET, STUPID. BUSH ECONOMY IS TANKING, AND THE PEOPLE KNOW IT "Talking about the economy on the eve of war seems almost in bad taste. In the face of a momentous decision, we are not supposed to be preoccupied with jobs and incomes, profits and losses. Yet most of us are necessarily preoccupied with such matters, and even the rumors of war cannot obscure just how troubled Americans are about the economy. Their unhappiness is translating into impatience with President Bush. The New York Times/CBS News Poll taken March 7-9, typical of a series of recent surveys, found that just 40 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of the economy. That's roughly the core Republican vote. The survey found that 52 percent disapproved. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH GAMBLES WITH YOUR MONEY. DISASTROUS DEFICIT WILL GET WORSE ONCE BUSH CONFESSES COST OF WAR "The High Costs of War With Iraq: The Administration plays "Russian Roulette" With Our Economy. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KERRY SAYS BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH SCREW THE MIDDLE CLASS " Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) yesterday accused the Bush administration of lavishing tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans while starving fiscally strapped state governments. The effect, he said, will be a decline in the quality of life for the middle class. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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PENTAGON SEEKS TO POLLUTE LAND, SEA, AND AIR "The Pentagon is quietly seeking exemptions from some of America's main environmental laws, which would give the military free rein to dump spent munitions, pollute the air and poison endangered species at its bases without risk of liability for any damage. The proposal, slipped into the fine print of the 2004 military budget last week, is enraging environmentalists and some senior figures on Capitol Hill, who say the Pentagon is taking shameless advantage of the 11 September attacks and the looming war against Iraq to wriggle out of its responsibilities to public health and the country's natural heritage. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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THE THIRD WAY. KILLING IRAQI PEOPLE IS NOT THE ANSWER, NEITHER IS LEAVING SADDAM IN POWER "The world is desperate for a "third way" between war and ineffectual responses -- and it must be strong enough to be a serious alternative to war. The threat of military force has been decisive in building an international consensus for the disarming of Iraq, for the return of inspectors and for pressuring Hussein to comply. The "serious consequences" threatened by the Security Council need not mean war. They should mean further and more decisive actions against Hussein and his regime, rather than a devastating attack on the people of Iraq. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH RESOLUTION APPEARS DOOMED AS HE PUTS OFF VOTE UNTIL MONDAY "A U.S.-backed U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq appears doomed to fail, senior U.S. officials and foreign diplomats said today, though the Bush administration agreed to a British request to continue negotiations until Monday before calling for a vote or withdrawing the measure. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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SIGNS THAT BUSH IS READY TO SCREW THE KURDS, JUST LIKE HIS FATHER DID "The world has turned its back on the Kurds many times before, and there are signs that we're planning to betray them again. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAQ HISTORY BELIES BUSH PROMISE OF POST-WAR IMPROVEMENT "In the last half century, regime change in Iraq has been accompanied by bloody reprisals. How fierce, then, may be the resistance of hundreds of officers, scientists and others identified with Saddam Hussein's long rule? Why should they believe America and its latest Iraqi clients will act more wisely, or less vengefully, now than in the past? " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH PLANS TO PUT IT TO THE ENVIRONMENT WITH DRILLING IN ALASKA, USING HIS WAR AS AN EXCUSE "Oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is among the highest priorities of the Bush administration, and the Senate's switch to Republican control after the November elections has put the drilling plan in closer reach than last year, when the Senate rejected it, 54 to 46. Supporters are seeking to persuade wavering senators with an argument that increased domestic oil production is needed more than ever on the approach of a possible war with Iraq and with gasoline prices rising sharply. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH IS GOING EASY ON ROGUE EMPLOYERS "The Bush administration's belated policy to enforce workplace safety rules against flagrant violators falls short of what is truly needed. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAN'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS APPEAR OBVIOUS "Iran claims that it has no nuclear weapons ambitions but there are good reasons to think otherwise. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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OSCARS BLACKLIST STARS IN BID TO PREVENT WAR PROTEST SPEECHES "THE backlash against prominent stars opposing any attack on Iraq has impacted on this year's Oscars, with organisers drawing up a blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views. Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman and Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally. In a move denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have been ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no control over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything much more than a brief thank you. " 3.14.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS GRABS ITS ANKLES "The Bush press conference to me was like a mini-Alamo for American journalism, a final announcement that the press no longer performs anything akin to a real function. Particularly revolting was the spectacle of the cream of the national press corps submitting politely to the indignity of obviously pre-approved questions, with Bush not even bothering to conceal that the affair was scripted. Abandoning the time-honored pretense of spontaneity, Bush chose the order of questioners not by scanning the room and picking out raised hands, but by looking down and reading from a predetermined list. Reporters, nonetheless, raised their hands in between questions–as though hoping to suddenly catch the president’s attention. In other words, not only were reporters going out of their way to make sure their softballs were pre-approved, but they even went so far as to act on Bush’s behalf, raising their hands and jockeying in their seats in order to better give the appearance of a spontaneous news conference. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"HAVE YOU NO SHAME, SIR?" MR. BUSH? "At his press conference last week, President Bush broke a 43-year tradition by failing to call on Helen Thomas, now of the Hearst Syndicate, who has been asking questions at presidential press conferences since 1960. Thomas is openly critical of this administration, and particularly of this war. Afraid to take a question from an 82-year-old woman? George W. Bush has no class. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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VICE-PRESIDENT "CHENEY IS STILL BEING PAID BY CONTRACTOR" WITH IRAQ OIL CONTRACT "Bush [Vice-President] gets up to one million from firm with Iraq oil deal. Halliburton, the Texas company which has been awarded the Pentagon's contract to put out potential oil-field fires in Iraq and which is bidding for postwar construction contracts, is still making annual payments to its former chief executive, the vice-president Dick Cheney. The payments, which appear on Mr Cheney's 2001 financial disclosure statement, are in the form of "deferred compensation" of up to $1m (£600,000) a year....The company would not say how much the payments are. The obligatory disclosure statement filled by all top government officials says only that they are in the range of $100,000 and $1m. Nor is it clear how they are calculated. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.S. TAXPAYERS GIVE AL QAEDA SOLDIER $27 MILLION FOR MOHAMMED CAPTURE TIP "An Egyptian radical will get $27 million as a reward for giving the United States information that led authorities to alleged September 11, 2001, mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, government sources said Wednesday. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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HALF A LOAF TOO MUCH. MODERATES SHOULD NOT BACK ANOTHER BUSH TAX CUT "THE HAGGLING over President Bush's tax cuts is just starting, and the first instinct of many "moderates" is, as usual, to split the difference. In this case, the instinct is misguided. In Mr. Bush's first year in office, these moderates went along with a gargantuan tax cut mostly in response to an anticipated surplus. Now the surplus is gone and Mr. Bush is back -- urging them to pass another huge cut. In the face of such irresponsibility to future generations, the moderates need to control their compromise gene. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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GOP SENATE APPROVES BAN ON LATE TERM ABORTIONS, GOP HOUSE EXPECTED TO AGREE "The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ban a late-term abortion procedure, a triumph for President Bush and the Republicans who took control of Congress this year. The 65-32 vote sent the legislation to the GOP-controlled House, where passage is expected this spring. The lopsided roll call was a marked contrast to three days of emotionally-charged debate in which supporters of the bill attacked the controversial procedure as barbaric and opponents said the measure was the opening salvo of a larger assault on abortion rights. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH BOMBS, BACKED BY POORLY INFORMED AND THOUGHTLESS U.S. CITIZENS, WILL FALL ON INNOCENT IRAQI CIVILIANS, HALF UNDER 18 "I interviewed a number of people in the vicinity of Independence Mall about their views of a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. No one I spoke with was particularly well informed. But what struck me about those in favor of invading Iraq was the cavalier way in which they talked about it. Their message, essentially, was: "Saddam's a bad guy. It's time for him to go." I got no sense that they thought of war as a horrible experience. No one mentioned the inevitable carnage. No one spoke as if they understood that war is always hideous, even if it's sometimes necessary. The children in Iraq are already in sorrowful shape. The last thing in the world they need is another war. More than half the population of Iraq is under the age of 18, and those youngsters are living in an environment that has been poisoned by the Iran-Iraq war, the first gulf war and long years of debilitating sanctions. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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FBI WARNS OF POSSIBLE HATE CRIMES BY U.S. POPULATION IF WAR BEGINS "A war with Iraq or a terrorist attack against American interests could prompt a wave of hate crimes against Arab-Americans, Muslims and other minorities in the United States, the F.B.I. said today. The F.B.I. said the September 2001 hijackings led to a "spike" in attacks against Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans and members of Indian, Sikh and other minorities. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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TERRORIST STRIKES AGAINST U.S. "CERTAINLY WILL OCCUR" IN TIME OF WAR " A war with Iraq now will be vastly different from the one 12 years ago. So, too, is the likelihood of retaliatory strikes. ... To prepare for the threat, the US is moving swiftly to take precautions at home and abroad ... "[Retaliatory strikes] certainly will occur, ... What we can expect to see are more medium- and small-scale attacks." ... The threats come from many directions. Terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, may try to take advantage of whatever lapses might occur while the US is engaged in a full-scale war - both abroad and at home. And there is an abundance of sympathy worldwide for what many Arabs and Muslims believe is an attack on Islam. ... And even though intelligence officials and terror experts don't think Osama bin Laden has aligned himself with Mr. Hussein, he has long trumpeted the plight of Iraqi children and women, suffering from US-led sanctions. ... A war with Iraq, experts say, provides fertile ground for the rejuvenation of Al Qaeda's network ... "For [bin Laden] to have any relevance, he must demonstrate the veracity of his claims," says Bruce Hoffman, an expert on terror at the Rand Corp. 'Here is an ideal opportunity for him to make good.' " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"SLUR OF 'ANTI=SEMITISM' IS BEING LEVELED TO INTIMIDATE AND TO KEEP US FROM DISCUSSING THE REAL ISSUES" "A woman who identified herself as Jewish and antiwar wondered why more Jews weren't attending the event, and Rep. Moran answered her. His thoughts are widely supported by Jewish commentators in and out of Israel. Rep. Moran also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not always say everything Israel's supporters want to hear, and this has gotten him in hot water before. Israel wants $12 billion in supplemental aid, which Rep. Moran has not challenged or criticized. He simply says that in return for $12 billion, the settlement-building should end. He said that to have peace, Israel must withdraw to its 1967 boundaries. He also was emphatic that Israel must be safe and secure. Those are moderate requirements. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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REPUBLICANS DIRECTED BY TOM DELAY HOPE TO WOO JEWISH VOTERS WITH MORAN REMARKS "Republicans have seized on the assertion of Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) that Jews are determining American policy toward Iraq as a new weapon in the GOP's long-term effort to attract traditionally Democratic Jewish voters and donors. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) told a group of more than 150 Orthodox Jewish leaders from around the country yesterday that the Democratic Party "appears to countenance remarks like those made by Representative Moran in the past few weeks." DeLay has been the driving force in the Republican effort to capitalize on President Bush's strong support of Israel and his leadership in the war on terrorism to weaken Democratic support and financial backing from Jews....In states such as Florida and New York, Jewish voters are a large enough percentage of voters to play a crucial role in election outcomes. In presidential elections, Democratic candidates depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 percent of the money raised from private sources. Any significant reduction in the financial support will weaken Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party organizations. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MEET THE CHAIRMAN OF BUSH'S DEFENSE POLICY BOARD, WAR HAWK AND EX-DIRECTOR OF JERUSALEM POST RICHARD PERLE "Perle served as a foreign-policy adviser in George W. Bush’s Presidential campaign—he had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan—but he chose not to take a senior position in the Administration. In mid-2001, however, he accepted an offer from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to chair the Defense Policy Board, a then obscure group that had been created by the Defense Department in 1985. Its members (there are around thirty of them) may be outside the government, but they have access to classified information and to senior policymakers, and give advice not only on strategic policy but also on such matters as weapons procurement. Most of the board’s proceedings are confidential....Under Perle’s leadership, the policy board has become increasingly influential. He has used it as a bully pulpit, from which to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the use of preëmptive military action to combat terrorism. Perle had many allies for this approach, such as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, but there was intense resistance throughout the bureaucracy—most notably at the State Department. Preëmption has since emerged as the overriding idea behind the Administration’s foreign policy. One former high-level intelligence official spoke with awe of Perle’s ability to “radically change government policy” even though he is a private citizen. 'It’s an impressive achievement that an outsider can have so much influence, and has even been given an institutional base for his influence.'" 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CONSPIRACY THEORY OR REALITY? CHARGES OF ISRAEL-BACKING NEOCON HAWKS AND ANTI-SEMITISM HEATING UP "MSNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews said war supporters in the Bush Pentagon were 'in bed' with Israeli hawks eager to take out Saddam. That line of argument has spurred a furious counterattack, with many saying that some of the criticism has crossed the line from legitimate policy debate to classic anti-Semitism....The War Party may have gotten its war," [Pat Buchanan] writes. "But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: 'Can you assure American viewers . . . that we're in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?' "Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group." 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"COALITION OF THE WILLING" GROWS, THOSE WILLING TO CHALLENGE BUSH'S WAR OBSESSION "As President Bush's vaunted "coalition of the willing" continues to shrivel -- who's left, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Tony Blair? -- the coalition of those Americans willing to challenge his obsession with invading Iraq continues to grow... Galvanized by this growing army for peace, many of the leaders of the antiwar movement are now searching for ways to build on the renewed commitment to dissent and direct the newly mobilized energy toward protesting the president's equally misguided policies here at home... And no issue is more emblematic of this administration's perverted domestic priorities than its scandalous refusal, in a time of soaring deficits, to stop corporations and wealthy individuals from cheating the public out of billions of dollars a year by either reincorporating offshore or simply hiding their profits in offshore subsidiaries. While our young men and women are ready to lay down their lives on the sands of Iraq, these companies are allowed to avoid paying their fair share by hightailing it to the sands of Bermuda." 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BLAIR'S IN THE DOG HOUSE "Tony Blair has been called "Bush's poodle" for his support of the war in Iraq. He may be headed for the pound unless George W. Bush can do some fancy footwork and perhaps eat a little humble pie to rescue him. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH NEEDS TO GET BEHIND BLAIR'S PLAN FOR 6 BENCHMARKS, BUT WITH A REALISTIC TIME FRAME "With his political fortunes sinking at home, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain is doing his best to reunite the United Nations Security Council on Iraq. His efforts, though in need of some refinement, deserve strong American support because they appear to offer the last hope of forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm voluntarily and, failing that, to ensure that any war with Iraq is sanctioned by the Council. President Bush worked the phones yesterday to lobby other leaders to support a new resolution, but Washington did not seem fully sold on the British plan. It should get squarely behind the proposal and give Britain more leeway to adjust crucial details. In its present form, the British proposal is not likely to win a Security Council majority of nine votes, let alone deflect the vetoes of France, Russia and maybe China. Britain's proposal would establish six disarmament benchmarks and a tightly limited time frame for achieving them. The benchmarks are generally right, but the time frames under discussion yesterday were unrealistically short, and the mechanisms for determining compliance need some modification. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IN ATTEMPT TO GAIN SECURITY COUNCIL MAJORITY FOR FRIDAY VOTE, U.S. BACKS BLAIR PLAN, BUT WITH UNREALISTIC TIME LINE "Trying to gain support for that resolution, the administration gave provisional backing to a British compromise proposal that would give United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq a short extension, perhaps to March 21 or 24. The compromise would also require that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq meet a series of six tests, including admitting on television that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he will give them up. Bush administration officials said today that they could still win 9 of 15 votes in the Security Council for a resolution effectively authorizing an attack on Iraq but they cautioned that the situation was extraordinarily chaotic and changing by the hour. Still, White House officials insisted that they would force a vote on the resolution by Friday, whether or not they had the votes. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CLINTON SUGGESTS BUSH RELAX DEADLINE TO GET SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES "Clinton's speech to a meeting of union leaders in Washington, appeared to be the first time the former president has publicly espoused an approach substantially different from the administration's stance. As fevered negotiations continued around the world yesterday, the Bush administration held to a short, stern schedule for resolving the question of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's compliance with U.N. disarmament orders. Wavering members of the Security Council and other interested countries at the United Nations have proposed deadlines extending into April, while permanent council members France and Russia have opposed deadlines of any kind. Clinton warmly praised British Prime Minister Tony Blair and endorsed his proposal to set five specific benchmarks that Hussein must meet to prove that he is disarming. The former president also said chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix should set the timetable for compliance. "Then I would hope the United States would agree to that amount of time, whatever it is," he said. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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VISIT TO IRAQI DRONE FACTORY PROVIDES FARCE, NOT FEAR "To hear senior Bush administration officials tell it, Iraq's latest pilotless drone has the potential to be one of Saddam Hussein's deadliest weapons, able to deliver terrifying payloads of chemical and biological warfare agents across Iraq's borders to Israel or other neighboring states. It could even, they say, be broken down and smuggled into the United States for use in terrorist attacks. But viewed up close today by reporters hastened by Iraqi officials to the Ibn Firnas weapons plant outside Baghdad, the vehicle the Iraqis have code-named RPV-30A, for remotely piloted vehicle, looked more like something out of the Rube Goldberg museum of aeronautical design than anything that could threaten Iraq's foes. To the layman's eye, the public unveiling of the Iraqi prototype seemed to lend the crisis over Iraq's weapons an aura less of deadly threat than of farce. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.S., BRIT OIL COMPANIES WOULD WIN BIG TIME AFTER IRAQ WAR "American and British oil companies would be long-term beneficiaries of a successful military offensive ... Industry officials say Hussein's ouster would help level the playing field for U.S. and British firms that have been shut out of Iraq as Baghdad has negotiated with rivals from other countries -- notably France, Russia and China, three leading opponents of war. A post-Hussein Iraq also would be a bonanza for the U.S.-dominated oil-services industry, which is in the business of rehabilitating damaged infrastructure, reversing declining output from aging fields and providing essential support work to drillers and explorers. A leader in that industry is Halliburton Co., where Dick Cheney was chief executive before becoming vice president. ... Experts say it would make sense for U.S. and British firms to get a significant share of any repair and development jobs in Iraq, because they are such major players in the global industry with arguably the best technology and professional expertise. ... And with the door open to companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. of Irving, Texas, and Royal Dutch/Shell Group of London, the losers could be the French, Russian and Chinese oil companies that have either signed contracts or negotiated preliminary agreements to drill in Iraq. ... The company with perhaps the most at stake is Paris-based TotalFinaElf ... Presuming a U.S.-led military victory, industry officials and experts expect the postwar work to proceed in two phases. ... For the first year or two, companies that provide repair, rehabilitation, engineering and construction services -- including Halliburton, Schlumberger Ltd., Baker Hughes Inc. and BJ Services Co. -- would receive an estimated $3 billion to $5 billion in contracts from an interim government. ... "We know where the best reserves are in the world. We covet the opportunity to go get those someday," said Archie Dunham, chairman of ConocoPhillips in Houston. ... "In the last three or four years, most of the world's oil companies have either visited Iraq or opened offices or had representatives there," he said. 'They have no choice. It's the world's cheapest oil. They have to be there.'" 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAN ATTEMPTS TO GET OUT OF THE WAY "Iran's decision to go public with its nuclear technology seems intended to impress its neighbors and to avoid meeting Iraq's fate. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"PREEMPTIVE ATTACK ON IRAN'S PROCESSING PLANT WOULD SEEM HIGHLY PREMATURE" " It's been more than a year since President Bush tagged Iraq, North Korea, and Iran as an "axis of evil" for their past support of terrorism. Since then, all three nations have been caught flouting international agreements on weapons of mass destruction. ... The latest is Iran, the most powerful nation of the three. Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confronted the Islamic republic for not reporting that it had opened a plant that can produce bomb-grade uranium. Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which it is allowed to build a 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor for electricity at Bushehr, under the watchful eye of the IAEA. But a dissident Iranian group blew the whistle on the secret plant, creating doubts about the IAEA's credibility as a nuclear watchdog and a potential next crisis in the US-led war on terrorism. While Iran's Islamic leaders claim the plant is for peaceful purposes, they nonetheless defend their right to develop nuclear weapons. ... A preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear processing plant would seem highly premature. Yet such a step is probably not ruled out by the Bush administration under its new security doctrine, since Iran has a clear history of supporting terrorist groups. " 3.13.03 www.bushwatch.com
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COULD DERIVATIVES TRIGGER A DEPRESSION ? HEAVY HITTERS DEBATE "Just last week, legendary investor Warren Buffett denounced derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction" that could cause economic havoc. By contrast, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says derivatives have improved economic stability. Who's right? This is an important debate, because derivatives have exploded and are implicated in two recent financial scandals -- Enron's bankruptcy and the near-bankruptcy in 1998 of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), a private investment fund. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN PERIL "With legislation that would impose restrictions on abortion headed toward approval by the Senate, women's reproductive freedom is in peril. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DIRTY LITTLE SECRET: ELITE SCHOOLS GENERALLY HAVE MORE LEGACY STUDENTS THAN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION STUDENTS "Colleges are open about their reasons for legacy admits -- they bolster alumni loyalty and, not insignificantly, alumni donations. "It seems reasonable, as a tip factor in a close call, that it's in everybody's best interests that colleges show some exceptions for alumni children," said Charles Deacon, Georgetown's dean of undergraduate admissions. He often tells freshmen that they have joined "a community for life," he said. Their families, then, "leave with certain expectations." While minorities are admitted to Georgetown at a higher rate than the total applicant pool -- about 28 percent compared with 21 percent of all applicants -- the proportion of legacy applicants admitted is higher still, at 40 to 42 percent, Deacon said. The numbers are similar or somewhat higher at many elite schools. Legacy students are about twice as likely to get into the University of Virginia, more than three times as likely to get into Harvard. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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APPEALS COURT WEIGHS BUSH'S RIGHT TO TAKE U.S. INTO IRAQ WAR "Act of Congress needed for Iraq invasiou, suit says...A federal appeals court is weighing on a rare and expedited basis a lawsuit challenging the president's right to wage war on Iraq without a formal declaration of war by Congress. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WITH THE BUSH DEFICIT, SECURITY IS A MYTH, BUT SHOULD IT BE EVEN IF WE HAD THE CASH ? "Last week the mayors were in town. From Connecticut and Minnesota and Massachusetts they came, prepared to lobby Congress and the White House and the press about their concern, in this age of bone-scraping budget cuts, for their cities. They wanted to talk about the poor. They wanted to talk about schools. Most of all, on the eve of war, they wanted to talk about money for homeland security, which they aren't getting. One of them -- the mayor of Minnetonka, Minn. -- said she's been asked whether the new money that Congress recently promised for firefighters, police officers and other "first responders" was "enough." Her reply was acidic: 'We received zero last year, so more of zero is still zero, right?' " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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ANOTHER AFGHAN CAUTIONARY TALE " As a gung-ho administration moves toward major commitment to war and peace in Iraq, it should study the cautionary tales of previous experience. None is more pointed than Afghanistan. Today, nearly a year and a half and billions of dollars after military victory, Afghanistan is on the razor's edge. ... But lawlessness and insecurity are on the rise again. Local warlords and their militias fight it out. One of the biggest, Ismail Khan of Herat, simply doesn't recognize the national government. An old extremist mujahideen, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has declared war on Kabul. The vanished Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, calls for holy war against "America, the crusaders, and their allies." ... In February, the UN suspended its aid operation in the north because of factional skirmishes. Roads are unsafe in much of the country. The voluntary program to disarm militias has not even begun. Only a small step has been taken to create a national army. Police, such as they are, can't handle the upsurge in crime. A penal and judiciary system doesn't exist. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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HOW CAN WE EXPECT AMERICAN JOURNALISTS TO REPORT AN IRAQ WAR WHEN THEY DIDN'T REPORT BUSH'S CAMPAIGN LIES AND DECEPTIONS "Well, let's go back to the dawning of the W era. Scan the accounts of newspapers across the country and you elicit a picture of the president we thought we elected. He was a president bent on making "remarkably centrist appointments," said the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He was a practitioner of "pragmatic, centrist politics," said the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He was a man who said, "I was bipartisan before bipartisan was cool," according to the Baltimore Sun. The New York Times told us that the new president, in forming his Cabinet, was desperate to find "at least one Democrat" -- an instinct that "has echoes of John F. Kennedy." Dick Cheney was quoted by the Times as saying that the election put a "special burden" on the President "to work on a bipartisan basis and in a cooperative spirit." Notice, the most common word describing the new Bush presidency was "centrist." Well, if George W. Bush is a centrist, then Attila the Hun was a dangerous lefty. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH BELIEVES HIS OWN LIES AND IS OFF TO WAR "At the moment, what Bush has to say matters little. He has no new evidence to reveal. He has no better case to make. He's got what he's got. Moreover, there's no jury or judge he has to convince. It's his decision, and it appears it has already been rendered. The only answer to this threat (real or potential) is a disarmed Saddam. The only disarmed Saddam is a dethroned Saddam. That requires war. What happens in the UN over the next days seems to have no bearing on what will transpire in Iraq. The question is merely whether Bush has to run a red-light on his way to Baghdad. His foot is already heavy on the gas. Emboldened by his own half-truths and lies, he is heading off to war. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH RUNS ROUGHSHOD OVER U.N., AND OTHER COUNTRIES WILL REMEMBER "Questions about sincerity and motives apply in spades to Mr Bush and his advisers, in whom Mr Blair invests far too much trust. The US president's arrogant claim to need nobody's permission to attack Iraq (or anybody else) is deeply damaging to the system of collective UN security. So, too, is US undermining of the inspectors. Most objectionable, perhaps, is the cynical manner in which the US is trying to buy UN votes from poorer, weaker countries. This discredits and besmirches that same UN process that Mr Blair is trying, through persuasion not purse strings, to turn his way. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DAD GIVES JUNIOR'S FOREIGN POLICY A KICK IN THE SLATS "In the coup de grâce of public criticism, even George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, last week gave his son's foreign policy a subtle kick. In a speech at Tufts University, the senior Bush talked about the "unprecedented international coalition" he built before attacking Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war. That coalition does not exist today. But, according to the New York Times, the elder Bush said it was "totally false" to accuse his son of wanting to "go it alone, rush to war" with Iraq. It was easier to build a coalition back then, he said, in what the Times described as a "nuanced" answer. "The objective was clearer." In diplo-speak, that's pretty potent language. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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RUMSFELD'S PENTAGON LOOKING AT CHENEY'S HALLIBURTON FOR POST-WAR IRAQ CLEANUP. (IT ALREADY HAS GVT. OIL CONTRACT FOR IRAQ) "The American government is on the verge of awarding construction contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Iraq once Saddam Hussein is deposed. Halliburton, one of the companies in the running for the deals, was headed by the US vice-president Dick Cheney between 1995 and 2000. Halliburton has already been awarded a lucrative contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to resurrect the Iraqi oilfields if there is a war. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DID A BUSH EVANGELICAL NAME THE U.S.-BUILT "MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS" ? "Officials said they were unaware if the name MOAB was chosen for a biblical reference. According to Genesis, Moab was born through an incestuous relationship between Lot and a daughter following the destruction of Sodom. The Book of Numbers tells how the Israelites chose the Plains of Moab as their final camp before entering the Promised Land. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH WILL GO TO WAR WITH HARVEY AND A GALAXY TO BE NAMED LATER "Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars here yesterday and reassured the group that America would have "a formidable coalition" to attack Iraq. "The number of countries involved will be in the substantial double digits," he boasted. Unfortunately, he could not actually name one of the supposed allies. "Some of them would prefer not to be named now," he said coyly, "but they will be known with pride in due time." Perhaps the hawks' fixation on being the messiahs of the Middle East has unhinged them. I could just picture Wolfy sauntering down the road to Baghdad with our new ally Harvey, his very own pooka, a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit that the U.S. wants to put on the U.N. Security Council. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH LOSING THE MORAL HIGH GROUND "The American (and British and Spanish) "war" resolution has, in effect, been defeated resoundingly. The votes in favour of it remain unchanged at four (the three sponsors, plus Bulgaria). None of the Uncertain Six (Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan) has declared support, despite intense lobbying, and — undoubtedly — bribery and blackmail. French President Jacques Chirac has now said he will veto the resolution, while Russia has come close to making the same commitment. In response, Washington and London are now working on a revised version that will be less bellicose and have a later application date (the original one was March 17). It might contain specific disarmament "benchmarks" that Saddam Hussein must meet or be in "material breach" of the U.N.'s requirements (pretty much as proposed in the Canadian compromise resolution that Washington originally dismissed). ...The international scene has changed rapidly — radically indeed, although not yet irrevocably — in an extraordinarily short space of time. Today, the main concern of large numbers of people and of many governments is not to disarm Iraq but to disarm the U.S. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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A BUSH WAR BUSH'S WAY WILL DESTROY NATIONAL AND WORLD SOLIDARITY "My main criticism of President Bush is that he has failed to acknowledge how unusual this war of choice is - for both Americans and the world - and therefore hasn't offered the bold policies that have to go with it. Instead, the president has hyped the threat and asserted that this is a war of no choice, then combined it all with his worst pre-9/11 business as usual: budget-busting tax cuts, indifference to global environmental concerns, a gas-guzzling energy policy, neglect of the Arab-Israeli peace process and bullying diplomacy. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BRITISH DISSENT OVER IRAQ WAR IMPERILS BLAIR'S FUTURE "The clearest sign of the severity of Mr. Blair's predicament came late Sunday when Clare Short, the influential and often outspoken cabinet minister, blind-sided the prime minister and his followers by threatening to resign if Britain joined the United States in a war in Iraq without a second United Nations Security Council resolution. Not only that, Ms. Short, the international development secretary, called his stewardship in the Iraq crisis "deeply reckless." It is a seeming token of Mr. Blair's current political weakness — or at least of his desire to avoid the perils of Ms. Short's being cast as a martyr to peace — that he has responded with public silence, neither castigating nor dismissing her. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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THE BRIT HITS THE FAN. BLAIR GETS THE BAD NEWS "America has suggested for the first time that Britain may have to reduce its role in a war against Iraq – or not take part at all – because of Tony Blair's political difficulties....In Britain, only 19 per cent of the public would back British participation in an attack on Iraq without a new UN resolution. In the US, however, 55 per cent would support an American invasion even in defiance of a vote at the Security Council, a New York Times/CBS News poll found....Legal experts added to the doubts by saying British troops could be the first defendants to face war crimes charges if the government joined a war without UN backing. Even the accidental bombing of Iraqi civilian targets could trigger criminal prosecutions, senior lawyers warned last night. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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UNLIKE BUSH, BLAIR IS NOT SLEEPING WELL THESE DAYS "It is a sign of sudden loss of authority that a programme could ambush the prime minister with not one word of complaint issued from Downing Street afterwards. Alastair Campbell was there in the next room watching this hiding-to-nothing on a monitor and saying not a word. Now it is open season and the prime minister was harpooned - again... One woman was in the Bali bombing, her boyfriend blown to bits. One mother had three sons at the front in the Gulf. One woman's husband was a human shield at an Iraqi oil installation - would Blair promise not to bomb him? He writhed. An Iraqi victim of Saddam begged him not to attack her people. Worst of all, one mother lost her only child in the World Trade Centre and could not bear any other mother to suffer her agony. Their vehemence left him with a hunted air, his eyes flickering here and there, looking for escape. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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100 POETS AGAINST THE WAR "The Internet has...become the powerful conduit of an explosion of new anti-war poetry with the plea for protest poems in Britain receiving an amazing response from more than 10,000 poets. The editor of a new paperback entitled 100 Poets Against The War says the response is quite unprecedented, and in the e-version some 48,000 copies of the book have been downloaded already. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BEASTIE POP: "HOW MANY PEOPLE MUST GET KILLED FOR OIL FAMILIES' POCKETS TO GET FILLED ?" ""Now how many people must get killed?" begins the latest antiwar refrain from the pop world. "For oil families' pockets to get filled?" The song is "In a World Gone Mad," which was released yesterday with no advance fanfare by the Beastie Boys. Though not commercially available as a single, the song is available free at the Beastie Boys Web site (www.beastieboys.com) and is being distributed to disc jockeys, who were unaware of it until they began receiving copies yesterday. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER REPORTED TO BE KILLED IN SHOOTING "Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic -- a key leader of the revolt that toppled former President Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000 -- was assassinated Wednesday by gunmen who ambushed him outside the government complex, police sources said. Djindjic, 50, died in a Belgrade hospital after having been shot in the abdomen and back, the sources told The Associated Press. " 3.12.03 www.bushwatch.com
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HOW THE BUSH EVANGELICAL WAR PARTY CONTROLS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT "Seldom in modern times have we had a U.S. president speak so prayerfully while done up in his war paint. It recalled those memorial services at the Dover Air Base, or Jimmy Carter on Sunday mornings, or Billy Sunday anytime. One might be moved to snicker, or even to laugh, until one recalls what President Bush 41st said of his son. "He is a man of the spirit," the father once said, trying to allay fears of his son's finger on the nuclear trigger. At one level, the former president meant that the current one is a born-again Christian. At another, more disturbing level, the father knew that his son had substituted the Bible for the bottle. In a timely article, Newsweek magazine detailed how President Bush wasted his young years in riotous living and how, at age 40, he went dry with the aid of a Bible-thumping, fundamentalist West Texas religious group. "It was goodbye Jack Daniels, Hello Jesus," according to a friend from those early days. The problem with middle-aged drunks turned Christian is that they can't sleep without yakking about Jesus, and they won't let anyone else sleep, either. Instead of embracing their religion as a private matter, they flaunt it as a mission to convert. They can become a terrible nuisance, especially to those born into the religion. The drunk-gone-zealot may be reassuring to the troubled family. But it is not altogether reassuring to a modern world facing such a fanatic on the trigger of weapons of mass destruction that are capable of destroying the Earth several times over. Is it possible that through religious zealotry Bush might make himself a nuisance when facing a non-Christian menace? Already he shows signs of violating secular doctrine in this republic that constitutionally separates government and religion. Already the religious talk has stirred the hard Christian right to expect their man to walk the walk and enact favorable legislation. Ministers of the evangelical movement, Newsweek points out, "form the core of the Republican Party, which controls all of the capital for the first time in a half century." " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IS THE WHITE HOUSE PULLING A "NIXON," PAINTING BUSH AS A RELIGIOUS FANATIC WHO CAN'T BE REASONED WITH? "'Bush & God,' the cover of Newsweek announces, as if the two were business partners. That's what the White House wants us to think. It is mounting a massive campaign to paint the president as a man on a divine mission, a man who sees himself as an agent of God. Some of the reasons for this PR ploy are obvious. It's so much easier to go to war if we believe that God is on our, and our leader's, side. Wrap the flag around God, and who can question your moral credibility? If Bush stands with God, those who actively oppose his war must be down below with Satan. If Bush is so sincerely religious, those who question his motives must be misguided. Such a spiritual man would never send others to their death for crass motives like power and oil. Surely, he must have higher ethical principles in view. There is a risk in this strategy. It makes Bush look like a fanatic. That could easily drive some of the undecided into the antiwar camp. But making Bush look like a fanatic might very well be the point. If he really believes he is on a mission from God, why would he care what the French, the Russians, or even the American people think? Nothing can stop a religious fanatic from doing God's work on earth. As antiwar sentiment mounts, the White House may be using this "Bush and God" gambit as a way to say: Forget it. March and lobby as much as you want. Nothing can stop this Christian soldier from marching out to war. This is a new twist on Richard Nixon's famous "madman" theory. Nixon wanted the North Vietnamese to believe that he was so irrational, he could easily nuke them into oblivion if they did not settle the war on his terms. Now the White House says that George W. is so irrationally sunk in his Christian beliefs, he must have U.S. policy settled on his terms. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH IS FIRMLY UNDER THE THUMB OF THE HAWKS, BUT THE TRADE OFF IS HE GETS TO PLAY RIGHT HAND OF GOD "There is no doubt that Bush's hawkish advisors, who have Iraq as our Enemy No. 1 and coveted U.S. dominance of the Persian Gulf, are having their day with the president. ABC-TV's Ted Koppel Nightline program recently discussed reports that Bush has been influenced by the Project for the New American Century, which proposes that the United States assume military control of the Gulf region. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz are members of the advisory committee for the project. It is a pity that only the ultra conservatives influence Bush, a neophyte in foreign affairs. He apparently hears no other voices. Representatives of church and peace groups are not welcome to the White House these days. Bush did meet with the papal emissary in the White House recently, but Bush aides tried to play it down. Oval Office news coverage was limited to photographers. That's a sad commentary on the president's ability to tolerate other points of view, particularly on the question of war and peace. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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EVANGELIST BUSH ACTUALLY BELIEVES WHATEVER HE DOES IS THE WILL OF GOD. "President Bush's war plans are risky, but Mr. Bush is no gambler. In fact he denies the very existence of chance. "Events aren't moved by blind change and chance" he has said, but by "the hand of a just and faithful God." From the outset he has been convinced that his presidency is part of a divine plan, even telling a friend while he was governor of Texas, "I believe God wants me to run for president." This conviction that he is doing God's will has surfaced more openly since 9/11. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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HAVE BUSH'S EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS MOVED GOVERNMENT FURTHER TO THE RIGHT? "People who describe themselves as evangelical, born-again or charismatic Christians could not fail to notice...open dismissal and covert contempt. Inevitably, an alternative media emerged and these alternatives - talk radio, conservative columnists (who had previously functioned as gadflies or tokens), tabloid television and Rupert Murdoch's Fox News TV network - have become so successful here that the entire media have, on balance, moved right. During Friday night's prime-time presidential press conference, the most emotional moment came when George Bush said he would never be able to meet or thank the millions of Americans who offered their prayers for him. This was not some general comment. This week I have been staying in the heart of Texas in "Christian accommodation" run by a couple who are members of a very large internet operation known as the Presidential Prayer Team. I didn't know it existed, but it is huge and it caused Bush to tear up in front of the White House press corps. Every few weeks, an email goes out to those whose email addresses are registered with an office affiliated with the White House and, on behalf of Bush, they are asked for their prayers over a specific challenge facing the President and his cabinet....The number of Americans who are evangelical, charismatic or conservative Christians now exceeds 100 million. The centre has shifted. Control of the national debate has shifted. The entire country has shifted." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"BUSH IS GOING TO WAR, NO MATTER WHAT IRAQ DOES" "The White House announced that it didn't matter if Iraq disarmed: the goal was regime change. Now there is a "willful charade" if there ever was one. In one sentence, the Bush administration admitted to the world that the whole inspection process, the arguments over whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or is complying with UN resolutions, were just a smokescreen. Many people had suspected as much, since "regime change" in Iraq has long been one of the Bush administration's goals. The administration had made a similar statement back in October, but then took it back, saying that if Saddam really disarmed then that would constitute a change of regime. Now the mask is off. Bush is going to war, no matter what Iraq does or does not do, no matter what weapons it has or does not have. So what if the documents that Britain and our government relied on to claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium turned out to be a forgery? Or if those infamous aluminum tubes, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, can't be used for nuclear weapons? None of this matters because George W. Bush has decided to invade Iraq, and he intends to do it very soon. More than the coming hot desert weather or moonless nights, he is in a hurry because he is losing support at home with each passing day. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHILE BUSH TURNED COMPLEX WAR ISSUES INTO SIMPLISTIC BABY TALK, THE PRESS CONFERENCE REPORTERS REMAINED SCRIPTED AND OUT OF TOUCH "As candidate and as president, Bush has demonstrated his belief that persuasion for him is often reduced to simple repetition. His is the rhetoric of the sound bite. It works well on the campaign trail, where different audiences in different locales need to hear the same message. However, when the same point is made over and over in the same words in a single news conference, his rhetoric tends to sound scripted, and the effect can be disquieting. Blame some of it on a fixated press corps. I was astonished and dismayed that in the first opportunity to quiz the president in four months, not one question was asked about the shaky economy or the out-of-control federal budget. The very next day came news of the largest monthly jump in unemployment since the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and an official estimate that Bush's budget proposals would add $2.7 trillion to the national debt in the next 10 years. An economically cushioned set of reporters seemingly couldn't care less about this looming disaster. Talk about being out of touch! " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"HIJACKING" OF U.S. GOVERNMENT BY "SMALL CABAL" OF UNELECTED RADICALS REPRESENTS THE FAILURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY "The Bush administration's relentless unilateral march towards war is profoundly disturbing for many reasons, but so far as American citizens are concerned the whole grotesque show is a tremendous failure in democracy. An immensely wealthy and powerful republic has been hijacked by a small cabal of individuals, all of them unelected and therefore unresponsive to public pressure, and simply turned on its head. It is no exaggeration to say that this war is the most unpopular in modern history. Before the war has begun there have been more people protesting it in this country alone than was the case at the height of the anti- Vietnam war demonstrations during the 60s and 70s. Note also that those rallies took place after the war had been going on for several years: this one has yet to begin, even though a large number of overtly aggressive and belligerent steps have already been taken by the US and its loyal puppy, the UK government of the increasingly ridiculous Tony Blair. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHY ARE SO MANY LOOKING THE OTHER WAY WHILE BUSH THREATENS "AN EVERY-GROWING NUMBER OF STATES"? "Why do the supporters of this war find it so hard to see what is happening? Why do the conservatives who go berserk when the European Union tries to change the content of our chocolate bars look the other way when the US seeks to reduce us to a vassal state? Why do the liberal interventionists who fear that Saddam Hussein might one day deploy a weapon of mass destruction refuse to see that George Bush is threatening to do just this against an ever-growing number of states? Is it because they cannot face the scale of the threat, and the scale of the resistance necessary to confront it? Is it because these brave troopers cannot look the real terror in the eye?" 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH HOPES TO USE IRAQI OIL TO TURN ECOMONY AROUND "Military victory is anticipated inside the Bush administration as the tonic that will prompt corporation officers and private investors to unleash the American economy's dormant power. Although it is impolitic to say so, the fact that the U.S will be sitting on a new major oil supply will stimulate the domestic economy. That puts a high premium on quickly gaining control of Iraq's oil wells before they can be torched -- a major uncertainty in an otherwise strictly scripted scenario. "This is Texas Poker, with the president putting everything on Iraq," a Republican senator (who thoroughly approves of this policy) told me. The extraordinary gamble by President Bush leads to deepening apprehension by Republican politicians as they wait for the inevitable war. They consider the Democratic Party divided, drifting to the left and devoid of new ideas. Yet, Bush's re-election next year is threatened by two issues: the economy and the war on terrorism. Success on both is tied to war with Iraq. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WASHINGTON SOURCE TELLS RUSSIANS HOW U.S. WILL GAIN CONTROL OF IRAQI OIL "It looks as if we [Russians] are not very successful in getting guarantees from the USA that our interests in Iraq will be taken in account. Argumenty i Fakty has been given to understand by a source in Washington that a post-war settlement in Iraq has already been decided with representatives of the Iraqi opposition who will succeed Husayn. The matter was not decided in our favour. According to information available to Argumenty i Fakty, the division of the country will be based on the principle "the winner gets all". The four companies which will divide Iraq's oil fields among themselves are already known. They are Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell. Another two giants, Halliburton and Backtel, will get contracts for the restoration of oil wells and pipelines. The privatization of the Iraqi oil will be run on the basis of a scheme similar to loan auctions in Russia in 1996. There is a joke in Washington political circles that they will use "Russian know-how" in Iraq. The gist of it is that oil corporations will give a new Iraqi government big loans on conditions which are impossible to meet. The loans will be secured against the oil fields. As soon as the Iraqi authorities delay payments, the oil fields will become the property of the Americans. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IF IT'S NOT ABOUT OIL WHY WHOULD EVERYONE WANT TO FIGHT OVER IT? "When the war in Iraq begins, the nightmare is that the Turks, Kurds, Iraqis and Americans will all end up fighting over the oil fields of Kirkuk or Mosul. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DEFICIT CRISIS WILL MAKE LIFE VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU "With the Bush tax cuts and a war looming, we're looking at a fiscal crisis that will drive interest rates sky-high....I'm terrified about what will happen to interest rates once financial markets wake up to the implications of skyrocketing budget deficits. From a fiscal point of view the impending war is a lose-lose proposition. If it goes badly, the resulting mess will be a disaster for the budget. If it goes well, administration officials have made it clear that they will use any bump in the polls to ram through more big tax cuts, which will also be a disaster for the budget. Either way, the tide of red ink will keep on rising. Last week the Congressional Budget Office marked down its estimates yet again. Just two years ago, you may remember, the C.B.O. was projecting a 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. Now it projects a 10-year deficit of $1.8 trillion.And that's way too optimistic." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CONCERNS ABOUT ECONOMY AND WAR SEND MARKET DOWN "Worries about a war with Iraq have increased as the standoff between the United States and France, Germany and Russia made it more probable that the United States would go to war without the support of all its major allies. In addition, investors may be losing confidence that a fast victory for the United States against Iraq will open the way for the stock market to rebound. The report on Friday that showed the nation lost 308,000 jobs in February has forced economists to cut their growth estimates for the year. And the rift with allies over Iraq may mean the aftermath of a war will not provide the kind of geopolitical certainty the stock market may need to rally. The worry about the economy and the geopolitical uncertainty is also undermining the dollar, which fell yesterday to $1.1045 against the euro, from $1.101 Friday, and 116.94 yen from 116.99. So far this year, the dollar is down 5 percent against the euro and 1.6 percent against the yen. " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHY WOULD THE WORLD WANT TO CONTINUE SUBSIDIZING OUR ECONOMY? "The splurge of borrowing explains why the US economy looks so lopsided and why the current account deficit has continued to explode despite the chunky fall in the value of the dollar. Imports have been rising far more quickly than exports, with the result that there is a leakage of income - and profits - from the US to overseas companies. Another way of looking at the same phenomenon is that the US lacks the capacity to satisfy its own domestic demand. Yet another is that the world's biggest economy has been relying on an inflow of foreign capital to cover the current account deficit. There is a limit to the willingness of global investors to subsidise another country - even one that is massive and boasts the world's reserve currency - and that limit was reached last year when a blind eye could no longer be turned to the scale of the current account deficit." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"WE ARE STUCK WITH A GOVERNMENT THAT DOES NOT REPRESENT US, PROSECUTING A WAR WE DO NOT WANT" "Under his leadership, New Labour has now leapfrogged European Social Democracy and even Gaullism and landed in the lap of the most rightwing forces on the planet, from America's Republican president George Bush to Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi. This result is the most glaring example of the fundamental dislocation between popular political culture and an isolated political class." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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VIRGINIA CONGRESSMAN SAYS JEWS COULD STOP BUSH WAR. JEWS SAY HE'S ANTI-SEMITIC "Jewish organizations condemned Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) yesterday for delivering what they said were anti-Semitic remarks at an antiwar forum in Reston, where he suggested that American Jews are responsible for pushing the country to war with Iraq and that Jewish leaders could prevent war if they wanted to...."If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Moran said in comments first reported by the Reston Connection and not disputed by Moran. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."...A January poll commissioned by the American Jewish Committee found that 59 percent of American Jews supported war against Iraq, a percentage not appreciably different from that of Americans generally. Reports of Moran's comments and his apology drew a variety of responses among political leaders and observers of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Virginia Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), who is Jewish, said: "Was it tremendously insensitive? Yes. Is [Moran] an anti-Semite? No. I've known this guy since 1979, and he's not an anti-Semite."...Moran said he was trying to make a larger point that "if more organizations in this country, including religious groups, were more outspoken against a war, then I do not think we would be pursuing war as an option." He said he framed his answer the way he did because his questioner identified herself as Jewish, and 'I regret doing that.' " 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BLAIRITES BEGIN BAILING OUT OF FALTERING BRITISH GOVERNMENT "Tony Blair was last night facing the opening of floodgates to a catastrophic rebellion in his own ranks, as Clare Short, the international development secretary, warned that she would quit the cabinet if there was no second UN resolution supporting war in Iraq... In comments which were frank even by her standards, she said she feared the prime minister was being "extraordinarily reckless" with the future of the government... Her dramatically timed intervention raises the stakes for Mr Blair as he battles to persuade wavering states on the UN security council to support a resolution. It followed yesterday's resignation of a cabinet member's parliamentary private secretary and the threat by other parliamentary aides to follow suit." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH "APOPLECTIC" AS INTERNATIONAL LAW BECOMES "THREAT TO DEMOCRACY" "Legal protections aside, even the theoretical prospect of international prosecutions of its soldiers and officials has left the Bush administration apoplectic. An absolutist conception of sovereignty prevails in Washington, where international rules that might constrain the US are regarded as threats to American democracy. This view, when combined with the self-confidence, insularity and impatience that comes with overwhelming military superiority, assures that the single superpower will remain actively opposed to the International Criminal Court." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IS THE U.N. FACING A CATCH-22 SITUATION? "As matters stand, the result of the security council's forthcoming vote on Iraq will almost certainly be rejected by the "losing" side. From this likely failure to attain consensus on a matter as significant as the invasion and occupation of an independent, sovereign state, far-reaching consequences may flow for the UN itself. If the US and Britain are unable to win majority support, and even if the resolution is vetoed, they are expected to go to war regardless. If the resolution is carried, opponents will still justly maintain that it does not explicitly authorise force, contravenes international law, is driven by political considerations and is partly attributable to US vote-buying. This is no mere passing difference of opinion. It could mark a potentially fatal rupture to the UN's founding principles." 3.11.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THINK. NOW IT'S CONGRESS' TURN TO HELP BUSH DIG US DEEPER INTO A TWO DECADE DEFICIT HOLE "THE DEFICIT NUMBERS grow ever grimmer. The Congressional Budget Office on Friday put out a new estimate for this fiscal year in which the projected deficit is 24 percent higher than the CBO had anticipated two months ago, mostly owing to the faltering economy. Meanwhile, Congress this week will begin outlining a course for federal spending and tax cuts that would push the country further into a deficit hole. So it seems like an opportune moment to pause for a reminder of how we got into this mess, how bad it is and how bad it could be if President Bush's tax wishes come to pass. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHAT DOES 9/11 HAVE TO DO WITH SADDAM? WHAT DOES OIL HAVE TO DO WITH BUSH? "How has an attack on the United States by a terrorist group based in Afghanistan led us to war against Iraq? Why are nuclear weapons in Iraq worth a war but not nuclear weapons in North Korea? For most skeptics about Gulf War II (including me), the Bush administration's failure to answer these two questions sincerely or even plausibly, let alone convincingly, is central to our doubts." 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CHENEY SAID THE FIRST GULF WAR WAS ABOUT OIL, AND THE REASONS HAVE NOT CHANGED SINCE "And U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney made it clear that oil was front and centre in the U.S. decision to go to war against Iraq the first time. Cheney, who served as secretary of defence in that war, explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1991 that, after invading Kuwait, Iraq controlled 20 per cent of the world's oil reserves. Cheney said that this - and the possibility that Iraq would invade Saudi Arabia - put Saddam Hussein "clearly in a position to dictate the future of worldwide energy policy and that gave him a stranglehold on our economy and on that of most other nations of the world as well." The "stranglehold" image is apt. Because of the acute importance of oil to the modern world, whoever controls the massive reserves of the Gulf effectively has a stranglehold on the global economy. But, as Michael Klare argued last month in the U.S. academic journal, Foreign Policy in Focus, it is Washington that maintains a stranglehold over the global economy through its dominant position in the Gulf." 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CHENEY "IS ONE OF THOSE IDOLOGICAL PURISTS WHO NEVER LET LITTLE THINGS LIKE LOGIC, MORALITY, OR MASS MURDER INTERFERE WITH...PROFITABILITY "No one in the administration embodies this bottom line mentality more than Dick Cheney. The vice president is one of those ideological purists who never let little things like logic, morality, or mass murder interfere with the single-minded pursuit of profitability. His on-again, off-again relationship with the Butcher of Baghdad is a textbook example of what modern moralists condemn as "situational ethics," an extremely convenient code that allows you to do what you want when you want and still feel good about it in the morning. In the Cheney White House (let's call it what it is), anything that can be rationalized is right.... No, Cheney's company chose to do business with Saddam after the rape of Kuwait. After Scuds had been fired at Tel Aviv and Riyadh. After American soldiers had been sent home from Desert Storm in body bags. And in 2000, just months before pocketing his $34 million Halliburton retirement package and joining the GOP ticket, Cheney was lobbying for an end to U.N. sanctions against Saddam." 3.10.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH EXEMPTS OIL INDUSTRY FROM CLEAN AIR ACT "The Bush administration has decided to give the oil and gas industry two years to comply with a storm-water regulation that goes into effect across the country Monday, and will consider granting a permanent exemption. Environmental groups and environmentalists in Congress argued that the administration is granting special rights to a favored industry, at the risk of polluting rivers and lakes. The administration said it needs additional time to determine the effect the rule would have on the industry and whether it should be applied to companies producing and exploring for oil and gas. The rule orders builders and others whose construction projects cover from one to five acres to get permission from state or federal officials before beginning work. It also requires municipalities with populations of less than 100,000 to seek permits for urban runoff from streets and parking lots. It was written in 1999, but its effective date was delayed for four years. The regulation is the second phase of an effort intended to reduce by 80% sediment and other polluted runoff from cities, towns and construction projects. Existing rules under the Clean Water Act cover construction areas greater than 5 acres and communities with populations greater than 100,000. Environmental Protection Agency officials said they were delaying the oil and gas industry's compliance because they had mistakenly believed that most oil and gas construction projects would not impact more than one acre. The industry, however, said most of the 30,000 sites drilled annually fall within the range of one to five acres. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH HAS DESTROYED THE GOOD WILL OF EUROPE OVER WAR "The Bush administration has dissipated an astonishing amount of goodwill abroad. They're like the lottery winner who wins the big one and who, a very short time later, doesn't have enough cash left to pay the insurance on the two SUVs in the driveway. I would have thought it impossible to destroy that goodwill. But they have. In Europe in the winter and spring after 9/11 the Europeans kept picking up the check. Now they talk to us with reserve, in embarrassment, as if some member of our immediate family had just been the subject of a televised prostitution arrest... Donald Rumsfeld says, "Well, they never liked us anyway." That's the depth of insight in our foreign policy: someone disagrees with us and it's "They never liked us anyway." I stopped using that excuse for failure in the third grade. When did you stop using it?" 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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THE BABY IN THE INCUBATOR. 42% OF AMERICANS BELIEVE SADDAM ATTACKED US ON 9/11, AND BUSH WORKED HARD IN HIS PRESS CONFERENCE TO STRESS THAT FALSE CONNECTION " It still confuses many Americans that, in a world full of vicious slimeballs, we're about to bomb one that didn't attack us on 9/11 (like Osama); that isn't intercepting our planes (like North Korea); that isn't financing Al Qaeda (like Saudi Arabia); that isn't home to Osama and his lieutenants (like Pakistan); that isn't a host body for terrorists (like Iran, Lebanon and Syria)...But citing 9/11 eight times in his news conference was exploitative, given that the administration concedes there is no evidence tying Iraq to the 9/11 plot. By stressing that totem, Mr. Bush tried to alchemize American anger at Al Qaeda into support for smashing Saddam.William Greider writes in The Nation, "As a bogus rallying cry, `Remember 9/11' ranks with `Remember the Maine' of 1898 for war with Spain or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964. . . ." A culture more besotted with inane "reality" TV than scary reality is easily misled. Mr. Greider pointed out that in a Times/CBS News survey, 42 percent believe Saddam was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe he gives direct support to Al Qaeda.. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH HAS HOODWINKED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THROUGH ENDLESS REPETITION OF AN IMPLIED FALSEHOOD "The shortage of critical challenges from the press (and from intimidated Democrats) assisted the manipulation of public thinking. By relentless repetition, Bush and his team accomplished an audacious feat of propaganda--persuading many Americans to redirect the emotional wounds left by 9/11, their hurt and anger, away from the perpetrators to a different adversary. According to a New York Times-CBS News survey, 42 percent now believe Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe Saddam provides direct support to Al Qaeda. The Iraqi did it, let's go get him. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"WE HAVE NOT SEEN SUCH SYSTEMATIC DISTORION OF INTELLIGENCE...SINCE THE WAR IN VIETNAM ""We have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of the American people, since the war in Vietnam," wrote John Brady Kiesling, a twenty-year veteran of the US Foreign Service in his letter of resignation last week to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Kiesling, who was political counselor in US embassies throughout the Mideast, added that "until this Administration, it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my President, I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer." 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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LIBRARIES FORCED BY FEDS TO USE SOFTWARE THAT ENDS UP BLOCKING POLITICAL SITES "It is clear that the software being forced on libraries prevents their patrons from seeing a large amount of constitutionally protected material. By one estimate, it "overblocks" by 15 percent or more, meaning that untold hundreds of thousands of Web sites that should be accessible to library users are not. The trial court found that the software blocked the Web sites of political candidates and sites discussing such topics as sexual identity and abstinence. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BRITISH WOMAN ARRESTED. FOR LEAKING "DIRTY TRICKS" MEMO? "An employee at the top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been arrested following revelations in The Observer last weekend about an American 'dirty tricks' surveillance operation to win votes at the United Nations in favour of a tough new resolution on Iraq... Gloucestershire police confirmed last night that a 28-year-old woman was arrested last week on suspicion of contravening the Official Secrets Act. The woman, from the Cheltenham area, has been released on police bail pending further inquiries. More arrests are expected." 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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AMERICANS DIDN'T LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE DIRTY TRICKS AT THE U.N. MEMO, SO THEY ATTACK THE REPORTER "Security analysts in the United States talk of a 'shoot the messenger' culture in the Bush administration when experts give them information not to their liking. This clearly applied to sections of the wider community as well. To use a footballing metaphor, my correspondents had decided to go for the man rather than the ball, which, come to think of it, is precisely what happens in the American version of the game. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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ROVE FEEDS BUSH HIS RADICAL, HARD RIGHT AGENDA, BUT WHO HAS ROVE'S EAR? "From California to New Hampshire and from think tanks to Wall Street, Rove's network of 150 politicians, lobbyists, strategists, academics and executives -- the most influential among the many Rove speaks with, according to those familiar with his thinking -- have so far helped him to help Bush exceed expectations about his political power. In an administration that is highly centralized and highly secretive, Rove's network of informal advisers explains much about how the White House decides on politics and policy. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHILE BUSH FOCUSES ON IRAQ, IRAN'S NUKE PROGRAM SPEEDS AHEAD "'Startling' Progress at Complex Poses Challenge to Bush Administration at Delicate Time. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NORTH KOREA ESCULATES CRISIS WITH CRUISE MISSILE TEST "Tensions mounted on the Korean peninsula after U.S. officials said last October that North Korea had admitted to enriching uranium in violation of a 1994 accord and escalated when Pyongyang withdrew from a nuclear non-proliferation pact. North Korea test fired a short-range, anti-ship cruise missile on February 24, apparently as part of a periodic training exercise. In 1998, it shocked the world by firing a Taepodong ballistic missile that flew over Japan's main island of Honshu. It later said it would not carry out further testing, but late last year said the moratorium was no longer in effect. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH IRAQ WAR IS NOT ABOUT ISRAEL "Maybe we're all a little too desperate these days for a simple formula to explain how our safe world came unhinged. That, as much as anything, may explain one of the more enduring conspiracy theories of the moment, the notion that we are about to send a quarter of a million American soldiers to war for the sake of Israel. " 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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JIMMY CARTER SAYS SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BACKING WAR HAVE "COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL BASED ON...FINAL DAYS THEOLOGY" "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology." 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH MIDDLE EASTERN FOREIGN POLICY IS ABOUT ISRAEL "There are nearly 40,000 permanent lobbyists in Washington, swarming over our 535 elected officials like flies on roadkill. We have the bizarre ritual of practically every candidate for president making a visit to the Israeli lobby and pledging undying support for a foreign country. While millions in Africa and Latin America suffer terrible poverty, not to mention 30 million of our own people, we pour billions of dollars of aid into Israel, which has a comfortably high standard of living....Do you realize that if the United States announced that its policy is to rid the entire Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, including those possessed by Israel, that the United States would receive the overwhelming support of the Arab world?" 3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH HAS LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT THE WAR AND ISRAEL "The American people have thus been deliberately lied to, their interests cynically misrepresented and misreported, the real aims and intentions of this private war of Bush the son and his junta concealed with complete arrogance. Never mind that Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle, all of them unelected officials who work for unelected Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, have for some time openly advocated Israeli annexation of the West Bank and Gaza and the cessation of the Oslo process, have called for war against Iraq (and later Iran), and the building of more illegal Israeli settlements in their capacity (during Netanyahu's successful campaign for prime minister in 1996) as private consultants to him, and that that has become US policy now."3.09.03 www.bushwatch.com
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POPULATION DECREASE SUGGESTS SHIFT IN WORLD POWER. IS U.S. PREPARED TO BE MORE COOPERATIVE TO SURVIVE? "The geopolitical implications of this change that may well be the most important. There is not a one-to-one relationship between population and power. But numbers matter. Big nations, or big groups of nations acting in concert, can become major powers. China and India each have populations of more than a billion; their power and influence will almost surely increase in the decades to come. Europe will shrink and age, absolutely and relatively. Should the world face a "clash of civilizations," America may find itself with weaker allies. It may then be forced to play a greater role in defending and promoting the liberal, pluralist beliefs and values of Western civilization. We may have to do more, not because we want to, but because we have to. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHAT, ME WORRY? INDICATION THAT BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE SOLEMNITY WAS JUST A "DELIBERATELY UNDERSTATED" ACT "Friends and officials who met with President Bush at the White House this week said they were surprised to find him upbeat and chatty despite a barrage of diplomatic setbacks, and said he seemed to be at peace with the clear path he has set toward war with Iraq. The guests' descriptions of Bush's mood contrast with the studied solemnity that marked his East Room news conference Thursday night, when he appeared bent on convincing American and overseas audiences that he would be a reluctant, not rash, warrior.... One of the leaders described Bush as "cocky and relaxed" and said he conveyed the clear impression that he had concluded that attacking Iraq was inevitable.... Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said Bush's East Room bearing seemed designed to allay one of the biggest vulnerabilities that polls are showing in his public image -- the impression of many people that he has rushed to war, has pushed Iraq too hard and has done too little diplomacy....Behind the scenes, though, Bush is still Bush. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH REPETITION AT PRESS CONFERENCE FED MASS CONFUSION ABOUT SADDAM BEING RELATED TO 9/11 "The shortage of critical challenges from the press (and from intimidated Democrats) assisted the manipulation of public thinking. By relentless repetition, Bush and his team accomplished an audacious feat of propaganda--persuading many Americans to redirect the emotional wounds left by 9/11, their hurt and anger, away from the perpetrators to a different adversary. According to a New York Times-CBS News survey, 42 percent now believe Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe Saddam provides direct support to Al Qaeda. The Iraqi did it, let's go get him. As a bogus rallying cry, "Remember 9/11" ranks with "Remember the Maine" of 1898 for war with Spain or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 for justifying the US escalation in Vietnam. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IT'S "LAW AND ORDER" VS. "WEST WING" AS MAINSTREAM MEDIA WAR PROPAGANDA MACHINE GOES INTO HIGH GEAR "'Of 414 stories on the Iraqi question that aired on NBC, ABC and CBS from Sept. 14 to Feb. 7, Tyndall says that the vast majority originated from the White House, Pentagon and State Department. Only 34 stories originated from elsewhere in the country, he says. "Similarly, a check of major newspapers around the country from September to February found only 268 stories devoted to peace initiatives or to opposition to the war, a small fraction of the total number. Most editors and reporters think the diplomatic story -- the great power narrative -- is more 'real,' New York University's [Jay] Rosen says. 'And people who move into the White House know how to dominate the news agenda.'" ...Even as it appears the bulk of the coverage has joined the march towards war, the public still has not fully enlisted. This points to a growing gap between what the polls are showing about popular attitudes, and even support for anti-war views, and the mainstream media's enchantment with the spin of the Washington consensus. In an intensifying media war, alternative sources flood the internet as anti-war articles from European media circulate in the American heartland. This battle within the media, between new media and old, alternative and independent voices and mainstream pundits, is also heating up. A culture war is erupting as well as popular musicians, actors and even athletes take sides. It's "Law and Order" versus "West Wing" is how one commentator put it. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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RECESSION OR DEPRESSION? CHRONIC BUSH BUDGET DEFICITS FORCAST "The federal government, burdened by war costs, falling tax receipts and the likelihood of explosive growth in health care spending, faces chronic deficits that only dramatic policy shifts can reverse, according to lawmakers, budget analysts and business leaders....There's a massive deterioration of the budget going on," warned Edward McKelvey, an economist at Goldman Sachs. The drumbeat of bad fiscal news is beginning to lead to alarm that goes beyond partisan finger-pointing in Washington. Neutral budget experts, Wall Street analysts and even some business leaders are beginning to implore policymakers to pay attention to a worsening budget picture that threatens to spiral out of control. "We should not be going blithely down the path of this [Bush budget] plan without thinking about the demographic challenges ahead, without thinking about the costs that states are facing in these trying times, without thinking sufficiently deeply about how much this new role we're playing in the world is going to cost us," said Landon H. Rowland, chairman of the mutual fund giant Janus Capital Group, who contributed to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. "It's my job as a citizen to look at this and say, 'Hey, this isn't going to cut it.' "...The CBO's newest forecast indicates that current and proposed policies will saddle future presidents and Congresses with intractable, long-term deficits just as the retiring baby boom generation places even higher demands on government resources. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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308,000 LOST JOBS IN FEB. UNEMPLOYMENT UP TO 5.8. BUSH SAYS GIVE THE RICH MORE TAX CUTS "The figures...were almost uniformly negative. Payrolls shrank in virtually every goods-producing industry and edged down or remained flat across the service sector.Only government payrolls managed a broad-based increase."It's uniform, across the board - you couldn't find a good sector in there," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's." 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BIG GAP BETWEEN BUSH TALK AND BUSH WALK "After-school programs keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievements. They engage students in service and ensure that youth have access to anti-substance abuse programs. For America's working parents, they provide the confidence that their children are well cared for after the school day ends.' Excellent points. President Bush made them in a letter he wrote on Oct. 4, 2002, to a group called the Afterschool Alliance. So why, exactly, has the president proposed to cut federal spending on after-school care by 40 percent? Under Bush's budget, federal spending on 21st Century Community Learning Centers would drop from $1 billion this year to $600 million next year. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who worked with Bush on the education bill, notes that the program now covers about 1.5 million kids. The program's advocates estimate that at least 500,000 would be affected by the cut. This cut, alas, perfectly embodies what's wrong with the way this administration is doing business. The dissonance between the president's moderate, compassionate words and his spending priorities is jarring. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH BAIT AND SWITCH "The idea that we can invade Iraq to bring democracy and freedom is a confidence trick designed to draw western liberals into providing legitimacy for old-fashioned conquest." " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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OIL HITS HIGHEST PRICE SINCE 1990 "Crude oil prices rose yesterday to their highest level since Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in 1990, hitting $37.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as President Bush's comments at a news conference Thursday convinced many traders that a war with Iraq was near. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KURDS IN IRAQ GET READY FOR WAR WITH U.S. BACKED TURKEY "For the first time since the modernization program began in 1997, the pesh merga are being deployed to defend against an invasion of their territory, a U.S.-protected haven in the northern stretches of Iraq where the Kurds have enjoyed self-rule since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But the pesh merga are not deploying against the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the south. Rather, units are taking up posts in towns and villages along the border with Turkey, preparing to repel Turkish troops if they try to occupy the Kurdish zone during the expected U.S.-led war against Iraq.The Turks are their historic enemies, having repressed Kurdish nationalism inside Turkey. The Kurds believe Turkey is now poised to do the same inside Iraq. The Bush administration appears to be a partner in the Turkish plan. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH...BLINDNESS" TO THE WAR GOING ON "So anxious are we about the coming war in the Middle East that we sometimes overlook the one that is already going on. It takes an unusually bloody round of killing by Israelis and Palestinians like the one this week to remind outsiders that they are still at each other's throats. Yet the hostilities between the two peoples are clearly as great a source of instability, violence, and terror as anything for which Saddam Hussein is at this moment responsible. Clearly. And yet that is not clear to the Israeli government, nor to the Bush administration in Washington, welded as it is to Ariel Sharon and his purposes. Their blindness is familiar enough, but familiarity does not mean that it is any the less dangerous. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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SHARON USING BUSH WAR AS COVER FOR REPRESSION OF PALESTINIANS "Set in this real-time, tearful context, Mr Bush's panaceas and his promises of peace in our time look like the most vulgar kind of political expediency. This is the same Mr Bush whose inaction and ignorance has contributed so much to the Palestinians' plight in the past two years. And while Mr Sharon's attempt to equate Palestinian violence and al-Qaida terror is plainly transparent, it is hard not to conclude that the Iraq crisis is providing convenient cover for a new wave of repression. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHEN WILL WE LEAVE IRAQ? "Against the background of the American expectation that an 80-year-old Sunni businessman will be able to unite the Iraqis and establish a civilian administration, we would do well to take seriously the assessment of a Turkish government official, who believes that the American forces will not be able to leave Iraq within 18 months... "It will be a years-long occupation," he says, "and hence the Arab concern that Iraq will become an island of regional wildness and that no one will be able to prevent the Kurds from seizing power in parts of the country. We find it difficult to believe that the United States will want or be able to impose order in the country over time." " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.N. NUKE INSPECTOR SAYS U.S. USED FORGED DOCUMENTS TO MAKE CASE AGAINST IRAQ "A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions. Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council. ElBaradei also rejected a key Bush administration claim -- made twice by the president in major speeches and repeated by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday -- that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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ARE BUSH BACKERS DYSFUNCTIONAL? "From Colin Powell dissing the French as cowards to Donald Rumsfeld raising his fists at the podium, the Bush Administration bristles with an almost cartoonish macho. It's a little like watching pro wrestling in a global arena. Why is this smackdown style acceptable to many Americans now? Bill Clinton has an explanation. "When people feel uncertain," he said after the Democratic Party's recent electoral rout, "they'd rather have somebody who's strong and wrong than somebody who's weak and right. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MORE LAWYERS SAY BUSH HAS NO INTERNATIONAL LEGAL JUSTIFICATION "Tony Blair last night faced fresh pressure to abandon the threat of war against Iraq when 16 eminent academic lawyers warned him that the White House doctrine of "pre-emptive self-defence" has no justification under international law... Not only do all the UN security council's existing resolutions on Iraq - including 1441 passed unanimously in November to enforce disarmament on Saddam Hussein - fail to provide such authority, there are currently no grounds for passing a new one to give the "clearly expressed assent" to a war that Mr Blair still seeks, the lawyers declare. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DEMS ON BOTH SIDES OF WAR ISSUE CHARGE BUSH HAS LEFT U.S. MORE VULNERABLE TO TERRORISM DUE TO MISGUIDED FOREIGN POLICY "Leading Democrats remain at odds over whether the United States should go to war against Iraq without the United Nations' approval. But Democrats on both sides of that divide have found consensus by arguing in increasingly vigorous terms that Bush's approach to foreign policy has damaged U.S. prestige in the world and alienated other countries in a way that could leave the United States more vulnerable in the war against terrorism. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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GOP HOUSE LEADER LETTER TO WHITE HOUSE BLAMES BUSH FOR UNDERFUNDING HOMELAND SECURITY "A senior Republican lawmaker, firing back at President Bush for recent statements blaming Congress for underfunding emergency workers, accused the White House of factual inaccuracy and inadequate communication. In an extraordinary departure from the public unity that has characterized White House relations with congressional Republicans, House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) wrote to urge White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. to "be responsible" and "move on from this pointless and harmful debate" over legislation passed last month that included money for "first responders" involved in homeland security " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NORTH KOREA FLIERS SAID TO HAVE SOUGHT U.S. HOSTAGES "North Korean fighter jets that intercepted an American spy plane last weekend were trying to take its crew hostage. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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POPULATION DECREASE SUGGESTS SHIFT IN WORLD POWER. IS U.S. PREPARED TO BE MORE COOPERATIVE TO SURVIVE? "The geopolitical implications of this change that may well be the most important. There is not a one-to-one relationship between population and power. But numbers matter. Big nations, or big groups of nations acting in concert, can become major powers. China and India each have populations of more than a billion; their power and influence will almost surely increase in the decades to come. Europe will shrink and age, absolutely and relatively. Should the world face a "clash of civilizations," America may find itself with weaker allies. It may then be forced to play a greater role in defending and promoting the liberal, pluralist beliefs and values of Western civilization. We may have to do more, not because we want to, but because we have to. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
wattenberg |related stories

WHAT, ME WORRY? INDICATION THAT BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE SOLEMNITY WAS JUST A "DELIBERATELY UNDERSTATED" ACT "Friends and officials who met with President Bush at the White House this week said they were surprised to find him upbeat and chatty despite a barrage of diplomatic setbacks, and said he seemed to be at peace with the clear path he has set toward war with Iraq. The guests' descriptions of Bush's mood contrast with the studied solemnity that marked his East Room news conference Thursday night, when he appeared bent on convincing American and overseas audiences that he would be a reluctant, not rash, warrior.... One of the leaders described Bush as "cocky and relaxed" and said he conveyed the clear impression that he had concluded that attacking Iraq was inevitable.... Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said Bush's East Room bearing seemed designed to allay one of the biggest vulnerabilities that polls are showing in his public image -- the impression of many people that he has rushed to war, has pushed Iraq too hard and has done too little diplomacy....Behind the scenes, though, Bush is still Bush. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH REPETITION AT PRESS CONFERENCE FED MASS CONFUSION ABOUT SADDAM BEING RELATED TO 9/11 "The shortage of critical challenges from the press (and from intimidated Democrats) assisted the manipulation of public thinking. By relentless repetition, Bush and his team accomplished an audacious feat of propaganda--persuading many Americans to redirect the emotional wounds left by 9/11, their hurt and anger, away from the perpetrators to a different adversary. According to a New York Times-CBS News survey, 42 percent now believe Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe Saddam provides direct support to Al Qaeda. The Iraqi did it, let's go get him. As a bogus rallying cry, "Remember 9/11" ranks with "Remember the Maine" of 1898 for war with Spain or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 for justifying the US escalation in Vietnam. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IT'S "LAW AND ORDER" VS. "WEST WING" AS MAINSTREAM MEDIA WAR PROPAGANDA MACHINE GOES INTO HIGH GEAR "'Of 414 stories on the Iraqi question that aired on NBC, ABC and CBS from Sept. 14 to Feb. 7, Tyndall says that the vast majority originated from the White House, Pentagon and State Department. Only 34 stories originated from elsewhere in the country, he says. "Similarly, a check of major newspapers around the country from September to February found only 268 stories devoted to peace initiatives or to opposition to the war, a small fraction of the total number. Most editors and reporters think the diplomatic story -- the great power narrative -- is more 'real,' New York University's [Jay] Rosen says. 'And people who move into the White House know how to dominate the news agenda.'" ...Even as it appears the bulk of the coverage has joined the march towards war, the public still has not fully enlisted. This points to a growing gap between what the polls are showing about popular attitudes, and even support for anti-war views, and the mainstream media's enchantment with the spin of the Washington consensus. In an intensifying media war, alternative sources flood the internet as anti-war articles from European media circulate in the American heartland. This battle within the media, between new media and old, alternative and independent voices and mainstream pundits, is also heating up. A culture war is erupting as well as popular musicians, actors and even athletes take sides. It's "Law and Order" versus "West Wing" is how one commentator put it. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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RECESSION OR DEPRESSION? CHRONIC BUSH BUDGET DEFICITS FORCAST "The federal government, burdened by war costs, falling tax receipts and the likelihood of explosive growth in health care spending, faces chronic deficits that only dramatic policy shifts can reverse, according to lawmakers, budget analysts and business leaders....There's a massive deterioration of the budget going on," warned Edward McKelvey, an economist at Goldman Sachs. The drumbeat of bad fiscal news is beginning to lead to alarm that goes beyond partisan finger-pointing in Washington. Neutral budget experts, Wall Street analysts and even some business leaders are beginning to implore policymakers to pay attention to a worsening budget picture that threatens to spiral out of control. "We should not be going blithely down the path of this [Bush budget] plan without thinking about the demographic challenges ahead, without thinking about the costs that states are facing in these trying times, without thinking sufficiently deeply about how much this new role we're playing in the world is going to cost us," said Landon H. Rowland, chairman of the mutual fund giant Janus Capital Group, who contributed to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. "It's my job as a citizen to look at this and say, 'Hey, this isn't going to cut it.' "...The CBO's newest forecast indicates that current and proposed policies will saddle future presidents and Congresses with intractable, long-term deficits just as the retiring baby boom generation places even higher demands on government resources. " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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308,000 LOST JOBS IN FEB. UNEMPLOYMENT UP TO 5.8. BUSH SAYS GIVE THE RICH MORE TAX CUTS "The figures...were almost uniformly negative. Payrolls shrank in virtually every goods-producing industry and edged down or remained flat across the service sector.Only government payrolls managed a broad-based increase."It's uniform, across the board - you couldn't find a good sector in there," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's." 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BIG GAP BETWEEN BUSH TALK AND BUSH WALK "After-school programs keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievements. They engage students in service and ensure that youth have access to anti-substance abuse programs. For America's working parents, they provide the confidence that their children are well cared for after the school day ends.' Excellent points. President Bush made them in a letter he wrote on Oct. 4, 2002, to a group called the Afterschool Alliance. So why, exactly, has the president proposed to cut federal spending on after-school care by 40 percent? Under Bush's budget, federal spending on 21st Century Community Learning Centers would drop from $1 billion this year to $600 million next year. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who worked with Bush on the education bill, notes that the program now covers about 1.5 million kids. The program's advocates estimate that at least 500,000 would be affected by the cut. This cut, alas, perfectly embodies what's wrong with the way this administration is doing business. The dissonance between the president's moderate, compassionate words and his spending priorities is jarring. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH BAIT AND SWITCH "The idea that we can invade Iraq to bring democracy and freedom is a confidence trick designed to draw western liberals into providing legitimacy for old-fashioned conquest." " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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OIL HITS HIGHEST PRICE SINCE 1990 "Crude oil prices rose yesterday to their highest level since Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in 1990, hitting $37.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as President Bush's comments at a news conference Thursday convinced many traders that a war with Iraq was near. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KURDS IN IRAQ GET READY FOR WAR WITH U.S. BACKED TURKEY "For the first time since the modernization program began in 1997, the pesh merga are being deployed to defend against an invasion of their territory, a U.S.-protected haven in the northern stretches of Iraq where the Kurds have enjoyed self-rule since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But the pesh merga are not deploying against the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the south. Rather, units are taking up posts in towns and villages along the border with Turkey, preparing to repel Turkish troops if they try to occupy the Kurdish zone during the expected U.S.-led war against Iraq.The Turks are their historic enemies, having repressed Kurdish nationalism inside Turkey. The Kurds believe Turkey is now poised to do the same inside Iraq. The Bush administration appears to be a partner in the Turkish plan. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH...BLINDNESS" TO THE WAR GOING ON "So anxious are we about the coming war in the Middle East that we sometimes overlook the one that is already going on. It takes an unusually bloody round of killing by Israelis and Palestinians like the one this week to remind outsiders that they are still at each other's throats. Yet the hostilities between the two peoples are clearly as great a source of instability, violence, and terror as anything for which Saddam Hussein is at this moment responsible. Clearly. And yet that is not clear to the Israeli government, nor to the Bush administration in Washington, welded as it is to Ariel Sharon and his purposes. Their blindness is familiar enough, but familiarity does not mean that it is any the less dangerous. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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SHARON USING BUSH WAR AS COVER FOR REPRESSION OF PALESTINIANS "Set in this real-time, tearful context, Mr Bush's panaceas and his promises of peace in our time look like the most vulgar kind of political expediency. This is the same Mr Bush whose inaction and ignorance has contributed so much to the Palestinians' plight in the past two years. And while Mr Sharon's attempt to equate Palestinian violence and al-Qaida terror is plainly transparent, it is hard not to conclude that the Iraq crisis is providing convenient cover for a new wave of repression. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHEN WILL WE LEAVE IRAQ? "Against the background of the American expectation that an 80-year-old Sunni businessman will be able to unite the Iraqis and establish a civilian administration, we would do well to take seriously the assessment of a Turkish government official, who believes that the American forces will not be able to leave Iraq within 18 months... "It will be a years-long occupation," he says, "and hence the Arab concern that Iraq will become an island of regional wildness and that no one will be able to prevent the Kurds from seizing power in parts of the country. We find it difficult to believe that the United States will want or be able to impose order in the country over time." " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.N. NUKE INSPECTOR SAYS U.S. USED FORGED DOCUMENTS TO MAKE CASE AGAINST IRAQ "A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions. Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council. ElBaradei also rejected a key Bush administration claim -- made twice by the president in major speeches and repeated by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday -- that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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ARE BUSH BACKERS DYSFUNCTIONAL? "From Colin Powell dissing the French as cowards to Donald Rumsfeld raising his fists at the podium, the Bush Administration bristles with an almost cartoonish macho. It's a little like watching pro wrestling in a global arena. Why is this smackdown style acceptable to many Americans now? Bill Clinton has an explanation. "When people feel uncertain," he said after the Democratic Party's recent electoral rout, "they'd rather have somebody who's strong and wrong than somebody who's weak and right. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MORE LAWYERS SAY BUSH HAS NO INTERNATIONAL LEGAL JUSTIFICATION "Tony Blair last night faced fresh pressure to abandon the threat of war against Iraq when 16 eminent academic lawyers warned him that the White House doctrine of "pre-emptive self-defence" has no justification under international law... Not only do all the UN security council's existing resolutions on Iraq - including 1441 passed unanimously in November to enforce disarmament on Saddam Hussein - fail to provide such authority, there are currently no grounds for passing a new one to give the "clearly expressed assent" to a war that Mr Blair still seeks, the lawyers declare. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DEMS ON BOTH SIDES OF WAR ISSUE CHARGE BUSH HAS LEFT U.S. MORE VULNERABLE TO TERRORISM DUE TO MISGUIDED FOREIGN POLICY "Leading Democrats remain at odds over whether the United States should go to war against Iraq without the United Nations' approval. But Democrats on both sides of that divide have found consensus by arguing in increasingly vigorous terms that Bush's approach to foreign policy has damaged U.S. prestige in the world and alienated other countries in a way that could leave the United States more vulnerable in the war against terrorism. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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GOP HOUSE LEADER LETTER TO WHITE HOUSE BLAMES BUSH FOR UNDERFUNDING HOMELAND SECURITY "A senior Republican lawmaker, firing back at President Bush for recent statements blaming Congress for underfunding emergency workers, accused the White House of factual inaccuracy and inadequate communication. In an extraordinary departure from the public unity that has characterized White House relations with congressional Republicans, House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) wrote to urge White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. to "be responsible" and "move on from this pointless and harmful debate" over legislation passed last month that included money for "first responders" involved in homeland security " 3.08.03 www.bushwatch.com " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NORTH KOREA FLIERS SAID TO HAVE SOUGHT U.S. HOSTAGES "North Korean fighter jets that intercepted an American spy plane last weekend were trying to take its crew hostage. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.S. AND U.K. PROPOSE "DROP DEAD" DATE OF MARCH 17 TO U.N. "After the Blix U.N. report this morning of limited cooperation by Iraq and a with a desire to extend the armm-twisting period to try to gain a majority, Colin Powell and Jack Straw produced an amended resolution to the U.N., asking the security council to approve a proposal to have Iraq totally disarm by March 17 or face war. However, in his remarks this past week as well as at last night's press conference, Bush has said that he desired a regime change in Iraq, something the U.N. resolution does not demand. Accordingly, even if the U.N. were to reject the U.S.-U.K. proposed resolution, Bush has asserted the desire to go to war on the basis of something the U.N. isn't even considering, the removal of Saddam from power. Clearly, the message Bush is sending to the U.N. is that it may as well vote for the new U.S.-U.K resolution, because even if it doesn't, Bush may very well go to war on grounds that the U.N. isn't even discussing. Thus, Bush continues his attempt to bully the U.N. into submission, an undiplomatic approach to a serious world situation that most other countries will not take kindly and will well remember in future negotiations with the U.S. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BRIT TROOPS REPORTEDLY TOLD OF MARCH 17 INVASION "BRITISH troops had been told an invasion of Iraq would begin on March 17, with a huge bombing campaign being launched four days earlier, the Daily Express in London has reported. The tabloid quoted a senior government source, who it reported had direct access to British military planning in Kuwait, as saying that "everything is being geared up towards a ground invasion beginning on Monday week". British newspapers also reported that Britain and the US were considering an amended new United Nations resolution giving Iraq a short time to disarm or face imminent military action. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH OFFICIAL EXPLAINS HOW PRESS CONFERENCE WAS RIGGED "The extended questioning of the presidential news conference was a regular exercise for all presidents of the recent past. But President Bush has turned the tradition into a rarity, both because of his distaste for the format and his staff's determined message management....Communications director Dan Bartlett said this White House uses news conferences more sparingly than other types of presidential events, because "if you have a message you're trying to deliver, a news conference can go in a different direction. In this case, we know what the questions are going to be, and those are the ones we want to answer," Bartlett said. 'We think the public will see the thought and care and attention [Bush has] given to a lot of the different questions that are being asked about the diplomatic side and the military side and the potential post-Iraq issue. These are all legitimate questions that he has answers for and wants to talk about.'" 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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HOW HEAVY WAS THE MEDICATION BUSH WAS ON? "George W. Bush kept seeming to lose interest in his own remarks last night as the president did that rarest of rare things -- for him -- and held a prime-time news conference... He spoke with little urgency and no perceptible passion... There were times when it appeared his train of thought had jumped the tracks. Occasionally he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be endless... Watching him was like counting sheep... The contrast between the foggy Bush of last night and the gung-ho Bush who delivered a persuasive State of the Union message to Congress not so long ago was considerable... Bush may have been ever so slightly medicated. He would hardly be the first president ever to take a pill. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE GEARED TO UNDERCUT U.N. REPORT "It was... no accident, advisers to the White House said, that Mr. Bush's news conference came only 14 hours before Hans Blix, a chief United Nations weapons inspector, was due to present in the Security Council what administration officials were dreading as a rebuke.The strategy was to pre-empt Mr. Blix, whom furious administration officials would have fired by now if they could, then go on the offensive and try to wrest back control of the debate. Mr. Bush's approach was to present himself as a calm, reasonable leader, not an aggressive warrior, in a human give-and-take with the media. His manner was extraordinarily tranquil, perhaps aiming to soothe a nation anxious about war. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MEDIA DODGING U.S. DIRTY TRICKS AT U.N. STORY "Three days after a British newspaper revealed a memo about U.S. spying on U.N. Security Council delegations, I asked Daniel Ellsberg to assess the importance of the story. "This leak," he replied, "is more timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers." The key word is "timely." Publication of the secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, made possible by Ellsberg's heroic decision to leak those documents, came after the Vietnam War had already been underway for many years. But with all-out war on Iraq still in the future, the leak about spying at the United Nations could erode the Bush administration's already slim chances of getting a war resolution through the Security Council....Several days after the "embarrassing disclosure," not a word about it had appeared in America's supposed paper of record. The New York Times -- the single most influential media outlet in the United States -- still had not printed anything about the story. How could that be? " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH IS PRESENTLY ALLOWING NORTH KOREA TO GET NUCLEAR DATA FROM WESTINGHOUSE "The Bush administration has not suspended or revoked the authority of Westinghouse Co. to transfer documents related to nuclear technology to North Korea, despite the fact that the Asian nation has admitted that it violated terms of a nonproliferation agreement it signed with Washington in 1994, US Department of Energy documents show.... Congressional Democrats have been increasingly critical of Bush's approach to North Korea, with many insisting that the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea is far greater than any posed by Iraq." 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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LOOK FOR WAR-EAGER BUSH TO PRETEND GRAVITAS OVER WAR, WHILE THE TRUTH IS HE SLEEPS LIKE A LOG "In fact, Bush seems a little too eager for war. Meeting with a small group of reporters this week, Bush was asked whether he held a grudge against Hussein for attempting to assassinate his father. He denied that family considerations play a role, but his personal history and his quick-trigger personality are important factors in the showdown with Iraq. Bush won the presidency because voters liked his fraternity-guy personality. That aspect of his leadership has surfaced in flip remarks about getting Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," or labeling North Korean president Kim Jong Il "a pygmy." Such loose talk undermines the presidential authority that is needed to govern on the world stage. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH VISION, LIKELY TO CREATE MORE TERRORISM, TERMED "PHANTASMAGORIC" "At Boston University, a history professor and presidential scholar, Robert Dallek, said that Bush's vision of how American intervention could transform Iraq into a vibrant democracy was ''phantasmagoric.'' He warned that the issues of Iraq and Al Qaeda ''are hardly linked,'' and to the extent that they are, not in the way Bush indicated. ''You are going to touch off a jihad against Americans all around the globe - Osama bin Laden is praying for this,'' Dallek said. ''And you are going to encourage nuclear proliferation. Nations will take North Korea as a model, not Iraq - that if you get a few nuclear weapons you can prevent the US from coming after you. ''Remember how often presidents are wrong,'' said Dallek, running off a list of foreign policy mistakes by Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Woodrow Wilson and others. ''These guys make error after error in judgment.'' With every 100 Iraqi civilians killed, said James Akins, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the successes of the war against Al Qaeda could be neutralized. ''If we were to move in, in an entirely different way, to move in very, very carefully and spare the civilian population in Iraq - if you did that, the war could be successful. You could actually enhance the war on terrorism; show that this is a different America. But we are not going to do it that way,'' said Akins, who also was a diplomat in Iraq. ''No, we are the new Rome, the superpower, and we cannot have any American casualties. ''You kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the revulsion against the US is going to be so great it will enhance [terrorist] recruitment,'' said Akins. 'That is what the whole world is afraid of.' " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KILLING ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN CHILDREN MUST STOP "THERE IS something so dark and cruel about the terrorist bomb that killed 15 people in a Haifa bus Wednesday - most of them children and teenagers - that any effort to analyze the event in the context of the political conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can seem obtuse, even irrational. One desolating implication of such an atrocity is that failure to resolve a conflict over land and self-determination has driven at least some of the antagonists into the blind rage of an archaic vendetta. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"BUSH READIES U.S. FOR PROSPECT OF IMMINENT WAR" "The president said the U.S. would seek a U.N. vote even if it appears that a new resolution could not pass. A defeat would not deter him, he said, from disarming Iraq. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH GOES TO WAR "President Bush did not sound like a man searching for a diplomatic compromise at his press conference on Iraq. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH "ON WARPATH," ASIAN STOCK MARKET FALLS "Prices fell in most of Asia's stock markets after nervous investors watched the Bush news conference live on television. The prime-time event in the United States occurred as Japanese trading was getting under way on Friday morning Asia time. ``With indications that war might even be declared next week ... the market is facing downside pressure,'' said Norihito Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi Securities. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH SACRIFICING MEXICAN TIES TO WAR OBSESSION "The threats the Bush administration has made against Mexico to get its vote on Iraq are quickly destroying any semblance of good will. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH LOSING CANADA OVER WAR OBSESSION "Canada's incivility is a reminder that the U.S. and its allies are slugging one another to death while Iraq watches. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"GRATITUDE IS A DEBT WHICH GOES ON PAYING LIKE BLACKMAIL" "Seeking national gratitude may be peculiar to Americans more than other societies. We hate the idea that we are more feared than loved, and we are so positive of our virtues that we want to be thanked for trying to spread them. Regis Debray, the French scold, writing in The New York Times about America's Iraq policy, said: ''Provoking chaos in the name of order, and resentment instead of gratitude, is something to which all empires are accustomed.'' He may have said ''all empires,'' but he chose his words carefully to hurt this one. Previous empires were less interested in gratitude. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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APPOINTMENT OF DEATH IN BAGHDAD "The US appointment in Baghdad has taken on that same feeling of inevitability, with the White House brushing off Iraq's destruction of 34 of its arsenal of illegal missiles, shrugging off Turkey's vote against letting the US troops use Turkish soil as an invasion-staging area, and vowing not to be deterred by French, Russian, Chinese, and German opposition in the United Nations to an attack on Iraq. Nor can the Bush administration expect chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to bolster the case for war when he addresses the Security Council today. With Iraq now destroying some missiles and granting some access to scientists, Blix is likely to claim measured progress on some fronts. All that should signal to the White House that it's time to rethink its current course. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHAT WOULD AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR LOOK LIKE? "The United States is marching to war as if there were no alternative. Judging from President Bush's press conference last night, the administration seems to have no exit strategy, no contingency plans to stop the march. Our leaders have created a situation where any failure to fight would count as a victory for Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DEMS SAY BUSH WAR IS PREMATURE "The two Democratic leaders of Congress said today that it would be premature for the United States to initiate armed conflict with Iraq, with Senator Tom Daschle accusing President Bush of "rushing to war" without exhausting other remedies."I just fail to concede that war is inevitable," Mr. Daschle said. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH ATTEMPT TO PACK D.C. FED COURT WITH ESTRADA CONSERVATIVES SUFFERS "MAJOR SETBACK" "Senate Democrats yesterday blocked President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to a federal appeals court, the first successful filibuster of a judicial nominee in more than 30 years....The Senate vote to continue debate essentially killed Estrada's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, at least for the time being, and represented a major setback for the White House and congressional Republicans, who lost to a Democratic minority determined to demonstrate its power." 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NEW POLL SAYS BUSH WOULD LOSE TO DEM IN PREZ ELECTION "President Bush would lose narrowly to a Democratic Party candidate if the U.S. presidential election were held now because of concerns about possible war and the economy, according to an opinion poll published on Thursday. The Feb. 26-March 3 nationwide survey of U.S. voters by Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University found that by a 48 percent to 44 percent margin, voters would pick the as yet unknown candidate out of nine Democrats running over the Republican incumbent. The survey of 1,232 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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PENTAGON WANTS CONGRESS TO END BAN ON MINI-NUKES "The Pentagon has asked the US Congress to lift a 10-year ban on the development of small nuclear warheads, or "mini-nukes", in one of the most overt steps President George Bush's administration has taken towards building a new atomic arsenal. Buried in the defense department's 2004 budget proposals, sent to congressional committees this week, was a single-line statement that marks a sharp change in US nuclear policy. It calls on the legislature to "rescind the prohibition on research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons". If passed by Congress, the measure would represent an important victory for radicals in the administration, who believe the US arsenal needs to be overhauled to make it more "usable", and therefore a more meaningful deterrent, to "rogue states" with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NOW YOUR VOTE IS THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE CORPORATION "Just as computerized voting machines can be reprogrammed, so too, apparently, could a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Court's reporter - a former railroad president - took it upon himself to grant corporations personhood in the commentary (headnote) he wrote on the case, even though it explicitly contradicted the Justices' ruling itself. (And to this day other forms of association, like unions, unincorporated small businesses, and even governments do not have personhood rights.) But corporations have claimed the First Amendment right of persons to free speech and struck down thousands of state and federal laws against corporations giving money to politicians or influencing elections; they've claimed Fourteenth Amendment rights against discrimination to prevent communities from "discriminating" against huge out-of-town retailers or corporate criminals; and have claimed Fourth Amendment rights of privacy that will prevent voters or public officials from examining the software that runs their computerized voting machines. Now corporations will be telling the citizens of Santa Clara County how they voted. And those same corporations will use the shield of corporate personhood - once valiantly disputed before the Supreme Court by the County's attorney - to withhold from the County's voters the right to "look behind the curtain" at the corporate-owned software and computerized processes that tabulate their vote. How sadly ironic. " 3.07.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH WAR ON EDUCATION IS IN HIGH GEAR NATIONWIDE "It's an insane society that can contemplate devastating and then rebuilding Iraq, but can't provide schooling for all its own young people....Without giving the costs much thought, we'll spend hundreds of billions of dollars on an oil-powered misadventure in the Middle East. But we won't scrape together the money for sufficient textbooks and teachers, or even, in some cases, to keep the doors open at public schools in struggling districts from Boston on the East Coast to Portland on the West. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH WAR ON MEDICAID PROMISES DESTRUCTION OF PROGRAM IF STATES BECOME COMPLICIT "President Bush's reform plans would force many states to cut back on Medicaid just when their citizens need it most....Unfortunately, that progress is now in jeopardy. With more people out of work and private health insurance increasingly unaffordable, there is a new wave of struggling Americans looking to the government for help. But the states, suddenly beset by budget deficits, are in no position to provide it this time around. That's why the country's governors went to Washington last week, literally begging for temporary assistance, and why even normally spendthrift Republicans in Congress seemed inclined to support them.President Bush, however, has proposed something quite different. Instead of helping states bolster Medicaid, he wants to help them cut it. It's an odd way to preserve such an important piece of public policy; then again, preserving Medicaid may not be the precise goal Mr. Bush has in mind." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WITH BUSH FOCUSED ON IRAQ, FBI AGENT SAY WE'RE STILL NOT PREPARED TO ENCOUNTER TERRORISM COUNTERATTACK AT HOME " The veteran F.B.I. agent who exposed the bureau's failure to heed evidence of terrorist plots before the Sept. 11 attacks is now warning her superiors that the bureau is not prepared to deal with new terrorist strikes that she and many colleagues fear would result from an American war with Iraq....She said that many of her colleagues share her view that an American invasion of Iraq would result in a wave of new domestic terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and that the F.B.I. was ill-prepared to deal with the new threat." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CATHOLICS TORN BETWEEN EVANGELIST PRESIDENT AND POPE "On the prospects of war with Iraq, almost all of them find themselves in a bind: as conservative Catholics, they follow the pope, but as conservative Americans, they support the president. They, like many other religious Americans, are more deeply indecisive and ambivalent than their religious leaders appear to be....Religious leaders of nearly every denomination and faith have condemned an American attack on Iraq. Only the Southern Baptist Convention and some evangelical and Pentecostal leaders have rallied behind the president. Jewish leaders are deeply split. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KIM COULD PRODUCE A NUKE BOMB A MONTH AS BUSH OBSESSION WITH IRAQ PREVENTS MEANINGFUL RESPONSE "NORTH KOREAN dictator Kim Jong Il has one big advantage in his face-off with the Bush administration: He has a clear strategy. His regime is racing to produce nuclear weapons, while taking steadily escalating steps to force the United States into direct negotiations at which Pyongyang can demand political recognition, security guarantees and economic bribes. Most experts believe North Korea has the means to achieve at least one of those aims, and maybe both. Once it opens a reprocessing plant now being readied, something that could happen within weeks, it will be able to produce one nuclear bomb a month. If that doesn't succeed in bringing Washington to the table, Mr. Kim can always use military provocations, like the attempt last weekend to force down a U.S. surveillance plane on North Korean territory. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH RHETORIC PUSHING FOR WORST CASE SCENARIO OF DESTROYING U.N. "The world will have lost before any war begins if the Security Council is ruined as a mechanism for unified international action..... Mr. Bush and his team laid the groundwork for this mess with their arrogant handling of other nations and dismissive attitude toward international accords. Though they mended their ways to some extent after Sept. 11, and initially tried to work through the Security Council on Iraq, the White House's obvious intention to go to war undermined that effort. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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AMERICANS ILL-SERVED BY OWN MEDIA "Here are a few under-reported yet telling statistics from a Princeton Survey Research Associates poll conducted two months agO. At the time, 65 per cent of Americans were convinced that Al Qaeda and Iraq were "allied" even though the U.S. administration had yet to present its "evidence'' — which turned out to be cribbed, typos and all, from a student paper.Despite the fact that 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi, with the rest Egyptian, Lebanese and from the United Arab Emirates, 49 per cent of those surveyed were convinced that at least one of them, if not most of them, was a card-carrying Iraqi citizen. Only 17 per cent knew that not one was a boy from Baghdad. Now, as much as we Canadians like to rag on our nearest and dearest neighbours, telling ourselves that they're so stupid, we have to cut them some slack. That's because they are so ill-served by their news media. Not all of it, mind you, but certainly most of it, and definitely by the most pervasive of it, whether local or national. They package and market this "Showdown" thing like info-burger: Pre-ground, overcooked, and then served with a side of processed cheese, just like the Monica Lewinsky scandal. No wonder more than two dozen authors, historians, scholars and journalists this week signed a group letter to media organizations charging them with overplaying military tactics while ignoring significant and relevant issues. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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THE "NEW" DEMOCRACY IS BUSHSPEAK, THE "OLD" DEMOCRACY IS WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING WORLDWIDE "The latest from George W. Bush is that he wants to establish democracy there. "A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region." Its domino effect would even set "a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestine." These grand promises would be more convincing had Bush shown some respect for the free and democratic will of the world against his war; had America not been cavorting with the most repressive regimes in the region, including Saddam Hussein's at one time; had America not been perpetuating the medieval monarchy in Kuwait even after liberating it from Iraqi occupation; and had the president's father, George W.H. Bush, not made an equally empty pledge of Mideast peace on the eve of the 1991 Gulf War: "The time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict." An elected parliament in Turkey has thus far refused to be bribed into letting American troops use Turkish soil to attack Iraq. A quarter of the caucus of the governing Justice and Development party, just like a quarter of British Labour MPs a week earlier, voted against their own government. Britons, Italians, Spaniards and Danes are against their governments backing America. Three-quarters of Spaniards oppose war even with the approval of the Security Council. Italian parliamentarians backed Silvio Berlusconi only on the condition that Italian troops do not participate in the war. In Greece, where the government lets American spy planes take off from Crete for missions over Iraq, the people are overwhelmingly against war. So are Canadians and Mexicans, whose governments are walking a fine line in trying not to offend America. In France, Germany, Norway and Belgium, both the people and the governments are solidly against this war. In semi-democratic Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia — with a combined population of a third of the Muslim world — there is near-unanimous opposition to war. So, too, in the monarchical or dictatorial Arab world where, faced with prohibitions against public assembly, people have grabbed every available opportunity to express their outrage. The fear of popular upheaval has turned even such traditional American allies as Saudi Arabia and Egypt against offering any moral or physical support for the war. Outside of Kuwait, only mercenary Qatar and Bahrain, with tiny, easily controllable populations, are hosting American troops. In America itself, nearly half the people are wary. Besides most mainstream Christian denominations, the labour movement — which supported the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War — is opposed. Influential voices are besieging Bush to slow down. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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STUDENTS ACROSS U.S. MOUNT ANTI-WAR ACTIONS AS PART OF WORLDWIDE PROTEST "More than 1,000 others skipped classes and trekked through several inches of snow this afternoon for an antiwar "teach-in" at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller chapel. The acts of defiance on this campus were part of a coast-to-coast effort in which thousands of high school and college students cut class, read poetry, performed skits and played loud rock music to try to halt what they view as an irrational march toward war in Iraq. More than 300 high schools and colleges participated in the protest, characterized as a national student strike. Thousands of students in Britain, Sweden, Spain and Australia rallied in solidarity with their counterparts in the United States, who wanted to highlight the effects of war on domestic issues, including education, health care and the economy. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH ISOLATION GROWS AS WAR POLICY IS SEEN AS BEING OUT OF SYNC WITH PUBLIC OPINION "The sense of U.S. isolation, which has been building for some time, culminated with a series of setbacks in the past week for the U.S. position. Turkey's parliament Saturday rejected a request to accept U.S. troops, which experts said emboldened smaller countries on the Security Council to consider defying the United States. Iraq's efforts to demonstrate cooperation strengthened the resolve of France and Russia -- two veto-wielding powers on the Security Council -- to say the inspections are working and a war is not necessary. Antiwar protests on college campuses yesterday and around the world in major cities last month have left the image of a policy out of sync with public opinion. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH APPEARS TO BE USING TWO DICTIONARIES FOR A LOT OF WORDS, LIKE "JUSTICE" AND "FREEDOM" "'The United States,' sighed a well-heeled, US-educated Arab businessman, "has two dictionaries: one for internal consumption and one for external use. Words like democracy and justice mean different things, depending on which dictionary you use." It is a perception widely shared across the Muslim world and one that steadily undermines US efforts to recruit moderate Muslim opinion in its support. While Washington argues that it is promoting democracy, freedom and justice, from the ground the US is seen to pursue its own interests, regardless of justice or even of legality. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DEMOCRACIES ARE IN DANGER WHEN WARLIKE, POWER ELITE LEADERS NEITHER REFLECT THE GOALS NOR THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE "We have an Americanised, historically warlike and pro-superpower political elite. It is also overwhelmingly male, and generally older than the population as a whole. The political problem is that the rest of the country has moved on, and changed. The British public is like the French public and the German public. We are a mixed, liberal, sceptical lot, who don't take to Bush and flinch from Christian fundamentalism almost as much as from the Islamic variety. That is why there is such turmoil, such enthusiasm for mass marches and protests. We look at our ruling elite and we do not recognise ourselves in them. In any democracy, that is a dangerous moment." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CANADIAN GOVERNMENT AND ITS PEOPLE REFUSE TO BE COMPLICIT IN BUSH WAR "As the Security Council tears itself apart under U.S. pressure, Chrétien has declined to reflexively march to this drum roll, and has sought to distance us from a manufactured crisi He insists the Security Council retain the political lead in disarming Iraq. He resists a unilateral U.S. attack, or one with only a few allies. He has put forward a "Canadian compromise" seeking to preserve the council's unity while pressing Iraq to disarm. He has encouraged our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to adopt a like-minded approach. And by committing Canadian troops to peacekeeping in Afghanistan he has deftly ensured that we can play no major offensive role in a divisive Iraq war, and a messy occupation. Canadians can't prevent Washington from having its way, the PM's thinking seems to run, but we can retain the option not to be complicit. These political markers mirror public opinion, and reflect a sense that Washington is going down a perilous path. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHY OUSTING SADDAM WON'T BRING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST "Even if terror attacks were halted, Sharon and the Palestinians remain fundamentally divided over where the borders might be drawn between two states. That's an issue on which they may need a little forceful help from the international community, and yet the parameters of a settlement is an issue on which President Bush remained curiously silent. The administration has adopted its stance from Sharon himself — Israel is not required to make any movement towards ending its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and curbing settlement activity before the intifada ends. It's a significant break with U.S. policy that until now has held that Israeli settlements in territories captured in 1967 are unacceptable, regardless of the state of the peace process. More important was the president's silence on UN Resolution 242. Long a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, that resolution calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories seized in 1967 in exchange for recognition, peace and security. It remains the basis of an international consensus on resolving the conflict, and has been the starting point for negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders throughout the peace process. The president emphasized 242 in his Mideast policy speech last summer. But the Bush administration is spit on whether to continue to support it. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, a number of key Defense Department appointees and White House Mideast policy supremo Elliot Abrams are noted critics of the Oslo peace process and the idea of Israel giving up the West Bank and Gaza. Rumsfeld even challenges their designation as "occupied territories." Another camp in the administration, led by secretary of State Colin Powell, has consistently pushed for a political solution based on Resolution 242. Despite President Bush's insistence, there's little reason to believe ousting Saddam will bring Middle East peace any closer." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"IT'S NOT ANTI-SEMITIC TO CONNECT IRAQ AND ISRAEL" "We are condemned...as anti-Semites because we dare to question Israel. I am obviously a Jew-hater because I use the word "murdered" for six hundred Jewish victims of Palestinian bombers and the word "massacred" for over 2,000 (plus 14 more since I last wrote) Palestinian victims of the Israeli army. As I was writing this, 15 more Israeli victims were felled by another suicide bomb. More blood and sorrow. I am not cowed by this accusation. We are also, apparently, secret supporters of Saddam, a reprehensible slur, currently being used by our government and pro-war journalists. We are misguided or manipulative when we make the linkages between Iraq and Israel. So can't he see that...threads which tie our protests against the war and Sharon with a sly love for Saddam seem spurious and menacing to us too? And guess who wrote this, in Time magazine, just three weeks ago? "Israel is wrapped up in Iraq... [the goal of] a stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for a war with Iraq." No, not some swarthy Arab of ill intent, but Joe Klein, yes Joe Klein, the hard-headed American political guru and a man of impeccable Jewish descent. Then the Holocaust argument, which is always valid. What happened must forever be kept alive in the memory of the world. But that does not mean granting the state of Israel immunity from criticism in perpetuity. That state today betrays the memory of its too many dead, says one of many readers from the US: "My husband's grandmother was murdered in Theresienstadt. His four-year-old cousin, aunt and uncle perished in Auschwitz. With a very heavy heart, he now says his relatives were murdered by jackbooted Nazis only to be commemorated by jackbooted Israelis." We watched Israel actively supporting apartheid; we were silent when Israel was arming Idi Amin so that he could oppress his own people. Today they send their tanks into Gaza to destroy all that they find. And yes, the fact that three times as many Palestinians have died does count as more." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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ISRAELIS, PALESTINIANS DRIVING EACH OTHER TO ECOMOMIC DISASTER "A study issued today by the World Bank reported that almost two million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are living below a poverty level of $2 a day, triple the number before the conflict began with Israel more than two years ago. The result means that 60 percent of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories now lives in poverty, as defined by the World Bank....The Israeli economy is also in steep decline, experiencing its worst recession in decades. Facing the need to make deep cuts to stem a mounting budget deficit, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has told allies that only a diplomatic solution to the conflict will revive Israel's economy....Israel says that it must blockade Palestinian cities and towns to prevent such attacks. The Palestinian economy is historically intertwined with Israel's and heavily dependent upon it. But the closures have drastically cut back the numbers of Palestinians working for Israelis. Many Palestinians have turned to agriculture, but the closures make it hard for them to get their crops to market, the United Nations reported." 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KEY COMPONENT OF SADDAM'S CHEMICAL ARSINAL SECRETLY BUILT BY BRITISH IN 1985 "A chemical plant which the US says is a key component in Iraq's chemical warfare arsenal was secretly built by Britain in 1985 behind the backs of the Americans, the Guardian can disclose. Documents show British ministers knew at the time that the £14m plant, called Falluja 2, was likely to be used for mustard and nerve gas production. Senior officials recorded in writing that Saddam Hussein was actively gassing his opponents and that there was a "strong possibility" that the chlorine plant was intended by the Iraqis to make mustard gas. At the time, Saddam was known to be gassing Iranian troops in their thousands in the Iran-Iraq war. But ministers in the then Thatcher government none the less secretly gave financial backing to the British company involved, Uhde Ltd, through insurance guarantees. Paul Channon, then trade minister, concealed the existence of the chlorine plant contract from the US administration, which was pressing for controls on such exports. He also instructed the export credit guarantee department (ECGD) to keep details of the deal secret from the public. The papers show that Mr Channon rejected a strong plea from a Foreign Office minister, Richard Luce, that the deal would ruin Britain's image in the world if news got out: "I consider it essential everything possible be done to oppose the proposed sale and to deny the company concerned ECGD cover". The Ministry of Defence also weighed in, warning that it could be used to make chemical weapons. But Mr Channon, in line with Mrs Thatcher's policy of propping up the dictator, said: 'A ban would do our other trade prospects in Iraq no good'. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"RUNSFELD FILLED HIS POCKETS WITH PYONGYANG'S NUCLEAR LOOT" "Even while he chairing commission meetings on the "dire threat" posed by the Korean program, Rumsfeld was junketing to Zurich for board meetings of the Swiss-based energy technology giant, ABB, where he was a top director. And what was ABB doing at the time? Why, negotiating that $200 million deal with North Korea to provide equipment and services for the KEDO nuclear reactors, of course!... The Korean caper was not the first time Rummy signed up for both teams, of course. There is the little matter of his former financial tryst with the leaders of Communist China -a most Bushian affair, featuring ruling family members profiting from Daddy's government power. It happened on this wise. A few months after Rumsfeld joined the Bush Regime stable, the American master of war bagged an estimated $500,000 by cashing in his joint investment with Jiang Mianheng, son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin. The pair had been partnered in Shanghai's Red Flag Software, which is used by the godless Chinese commies to, er, block attempts by American spies to penetrate Beijing's computer networks. Naturally, Red Rum was not bothered by these national security considerations--not when there was easy money to be had. Politically-Connected Insiders of the World, Unite!" 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CLINTON, DOLE AGREE TO 10 WEEK COUNTERPOINT GIG ON 60 MINUTES. 41 TOO BUSY? "Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole said yesterday that they were looking forward to the opportunity to provide the kind of thoughtful commentary that has been missing from the superheated and often shrill discourse that dominates much of television news. "I see this as an opportunity to try to have a really civil debate that enlightens people on the issues," Mr. Clinton said. " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CHENEY CONSIGLIERE LEANS ON BUSH PARODY WEB SITE "An Internet lampoon of Vice President Dick Cheney's wife is no laughing matter at the White House, which has asked a satirist to remove pictures of her -- complete with red clown noses -- from his Web site. But the New York Civil Liberties Union struck back Wednesday on behalf of John A. Wooden, 31, threatening a lawsuit to protect his First Amendment rights to parody the White House and Bush officials on his site, whitehouse.org. The official White House site is whitehouse.gov. Cheney counsel David S. Addington warned Wooden's Chickenhead Productions Inc. that Lynne V. Cheney's name and pictures -- altered to show her with a red clown's nose and a missing tooth -- could not be used to make money without her consent, and asked Wooden to delete the photos and ``fictitious biographical statement about her.'' Instead, Wooden cautioned Web site visitors that the vice president ``wishes you to be aware ... that some/all of the biographic information contained on this PARODY page about Mrs. Cheney may not actually be true.'' And, it added, the editors of the Web site were 'confident that any rumors about Mrs. Cheney formerly being a crystal meth pusher are 100 percent likely to be absolutely untrue. Similarly, any stories about her penchant for licking brandy Alexanders off the hirsute belly of her spouse are all lies, lies, lies!' " 3.06.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"WITHOUT HIS WAR, BUSH IS AN OBVIOUS ONE-TERM BLOWHARD" "I said earlier that America's war aims remain partly undisclosed. The frank answer to the question "why now?", for instance, would be the usual jumble, something like: a) to pre-empt Saddam's acquisition of more WMDs; b) in good time for the next election; and c) before the weather gets too hot. Without his war, Bush is an obvious one-term blowhard; and he listens to his political handler, Ken Rove, at least as keenly as he listens to Donald Rumsfeld. The supplementary motivation, hatched at the thinktank and prayer-breakfast level, is, I fear, visionary in tendency. It has been noticed that a great deal of the world's wealth is in the hands of a collection of corrupt, benighted and above all defenceless regimes. The war, as they see it, will not be an oil-grab so much as a natural ramification of pure power: manifest destiny made manifest, for the good of all." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DRIVE TO WAR IS POLITICAL, SAYS EXPERIENCED LAWMAKER "'Bush seems very determined to go ahead towards war,' said Lee H. Hamilton, president of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. For many years, Mr. Hamilton was chairman of the House committee overseeing foreign affairs.... "I think Bush has come to the conclusion that he cannot really exit the path toward war without severely damaging his own political standing," he said. "And I don't think he can go into the next presidential election with Saddam Hussein still in power." This raises the question of whether, if Mr. bin Laden turned himself in tomorrow along with the rest of Al Qaeda's leaders, Mr. Bush would still feel compelled to launch a war in Iraq. Mr. Hamilton thinks he would. "He has put so much of his political standing and prestige on Iraq," he said, "that he simply must have a politically acceptable solution, not just the disarmament of Iraq, but the removal of Saddam Hussein from power." That might explain the shift by the White House on Friday, in which Mr. Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said disarmament was no longer sufficient and resurrected the goal of "regime change" in Baghdad. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAQ WAR WILL FEED THE HUNGRY MAWS OF "THE MERCHANTS OF DEATH...NOTHING WILL CHANGE." "Maybe you think that after Saddam Hussein is gone, everyone will live happily ever after, but I'm here to tell you that it will be the same. Nothing will change. No liberal democracy is going to bloom in the ancient desert of old Babylonia. No American will be able to say "I'm safer and freer now" because those young people died in Iraq. No Iraqi standing in the rubble is going to say, "Gee, I'm glad the Americans got rid of Saddam by destroying my home and my family." All this war is going to accomplish is to add to the world's store of misery - more death, more wounded, more destruction, more debt, more poverty, more hatred, more profits for the merchants of death, more pollution and more terrorism. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"SERIOUS STUFF." WHILE SADDAM DESTROYS MISSILES IN IRAQ, N. KOREAN JET LOCKS RADAR ON U.S. SPY PLANE FROM 50 FEET OVER SEA OF JAPAN "Four North Korean fighter jets intercepted an unarmed United States Air Force spy plane on a surveillance mission over the Sea of Japan on Saturday, and came within 50 feet of the American aircraft, military officials said today. The fighters shadowed the spy plane, an RC-135S Cobra Ball, for 22 minutes in international airspace about 150 miles off the North Korean coast, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. No shots were fired, officials said....This is serious stuff," said a senior American official who deals frequently with North Korea policy. 'It's worrisome because they are creating their own drumbeat.'" 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH NEEDS TO START TALKING WITH NORTH KOREA NOW "It's time to stop quibbling about format and start talking, with North Korea suspending nuclear weapons work once talks begin....There is no way to ignore North Korea's nuclear programs, and almost any military response would endanger hundreds of thousands of lives. As this past weekend's encounter between an American spy plane and North Korean fighter jets shows, the current standoff is already dangerously volatile. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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EX-AD EXEC, STATE DEPT. PROPAGANDA GURU FOR MIDDLE EAST, QUITS "Over the last year, [Beers'] office has produced videos, pamphlets, booklets and other materials promoting its view of the United States as a place hospitable to all religions and of Saddam Hussein as an evil dictator compiling lethal weapons. The "Shared Values" campaign, which featured a video about the favorable view of American Muslims toward the United States, was both praised and derided within the administration. Ms. Beers said it helped inform Muslims around the world that Islam flourished in a tolerant United States. The criticism focused on the charge that the advertisement did not address the main problem with America in Muslim eyes - its policies toward Iraq, Israel and the Middle East generally." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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LIES, PROPAGAND FUEL AMERICAN IGNORANCE "What I dislike even more than Saddam's nasty regime are government lies and propaganda. Since 9/11, Americans have been subjected to the most intense propaganda campaign from their government since World War I. Much of the mainstream U.S. media have been intimidated by the Bush administration into unquestioningly amplifying its party line. Or, in the worst tradition of yellow, jingoist journalism, they act as cheerleaders for war. I am reminded of the sycophantic Soviet media during the days of Chairman Leonid Brezhnev. The American public, often wobbly about geography, history and international affairs, has been alternatively terrified and enraged by bare-faced lies that Iraq was about to attack America with nuclear weapons or germs, and was a secret ally of al-Qaida. A shocking two-thirds of Americans mistakenly believe Iraq staged the 9/11 attacks. A surging wave of anti-Islamic hate, promoted in part by Bush's allies on the loony far right, and administration repression of Muslims, frighteningly recalls Europe's growing anti-Semitism of the early 1930s. These are the reasons why a majority of Americans still support a war of aggression against Iraq, though more and more question the president's motives. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"SUPPORT THE TROOPS? WHY? "Oh, well. Time to "support the troops" and lay aside your religious, moral and practical convictions. War has begun! Got a problem with that? That's more or less what the U.S. government and a complicit media have badgered us into doing since the military adventures of the Ronald Reagan era. In the constant media barrage about a probable war with Iraq, how often have you heard something like, "Americans remain skeptical of a war. But once bombing starts, they will rally 'round the president and support the troops"?...Don't get me wrong. I wish no harm on any American, and I would never treat with disrespect the men and women who defend us. But I will not meekly surrender my opposition to the war simply because of government and media propaganda. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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WHITE, MALE, UNDER-EDUCATED, UNTRAVELED EQUALS TALK RADIO LISTENER "You are white, male, and old enough to vote but probably too young to have been forced into combat. You are most likely somewhere west of New Jersey but east of California. You may well be driving a pick-up truck while imagining it is one of those tank-like things known as Hummers. You are not very well-educated and certainly not well-travelled. You don't harbour doubts. You are the target audience for American talk radio." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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MSNBC BOSSES DEMANDED CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY ON DONAHUE "Monopolist Microsoft and oligopolist General Electric - the co-owners of MSNBC - took their highest rated show off the air and sent Phil Donahue away on February 25, 2003. After choosing Donahue to host his own 8pm daily show only six months ago, the corporate managers micromanaged, mismanaged and refused to let Phil Donahue be Phil Donahue. About the only freedom Donahue had was the freedom to say what he thinks. Beyond that he was often told what kinds of subjects to showcase and what kind of guests to have. And he was often chided for being too tough on some guests - shades of Fox's Bill O'Reilly, his competition for that hour, and the spitting, screeching, viper-like Sean Hannity. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH RHETORIC IS ATTEMPT TO MANIPULATE PUBLIC OPINION "As George W. Bush prepares to plunge the nation into war against Iraq, he is using rhetoric in a highly manipulative way. Though that may not be unusual for a wartime president, we as citizens should recognize when he is leading us around by the nose....Twice in his State of the Union speech and again Wednesday, Bush used the words, "if war is forced upon us." No one is forcing war on the U.S. or on the administration. Quite the contrary: Bush has been forcing the war issue for months now. For him to claim otherwise is to shirk responsibility for the grave consequences his war may have. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DRIVE TO WAR DIVIDING THE COUNTRY BETWEEN YOUNG AND OLD, BUT 6 IN 10 HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT GOING TO WAR "The poll found that 59 percent of respondents favor using military force against Iraq, even without the support of the U.N. Security Council. But four in 10 supporters also said they had reservations about the looming conflict with Iraq. When these doubters are combined with opponents of military action, the result suggests that more than six in 10 Americans harbor at least some doubts about using force while only a third are unequivocally behind going to war...."My hunch is that it's just life-cycle effects," said Lawrence Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. "Folks who lived through wars . . . are just more worldly and seasoned about the many things that can go wrong." For young people, he said, 'the tough talk and seemingly surgical nature of what militaries are capable of is very seductive.'" 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"BUSH'S CONTEMPT FOR DEMOCRACY" INDICATED IN HIS PRAISE FOR LEADERS WHO IGNORE THE WILL OF THEIR PEOPLE "Bush has a habit of praising as "courageous" those leaders who most effectively ignore their people. In the U.K., polls show more than half the public against the war, and close to a million people turned out for the Feb. 15 protest in London. In Spain, 2 million hit the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, and 74 percent oppose the war. But Bush has praised the courage of prime ministers Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar in remaining fanatically prowar in the face of massive public opposition. Silvio Berlusconi is another favorite of Bush. The Italian prime minister has to ignore the 80 percent of his people who object to the war, and on Feb. 15 the largest demonstrations in the world were in Rome, where police put the crowd at 1 million and others estimated two to three times that many. But perhaps the most courageous leader in Bush-speak is the prime minister of Turkey, Abdullah Gul. The Bush team found that it took some convincing (and $15 billion) to secure the ruling Justice and Development Party leadership's support for U.S. use of bases for a war. In that effort, as a former Pentagon planner and ambassador to Turkey explained, "the biggest problem is that 94 percent of the Turks are opposed to war." " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"SERVES RUDE AMERICA RIGHT," SAY TURKS "NESRIN ALOGLU, a bank clerk, is delighted that Turkey’s parliament has thrown Washington’s plans for an attack on Iraq into disarray by blocking the deployment of US troops. “Serves them right. Now they can apologise.” Apologise, she said, for the way in which the United States so rudely took Turkey for granted and issued threats, insults and ultimatums when it did not get what it wanted. In rejecting Washington’s demands, the recession-hit country is turning its back on US aid worth more than $20 billion (£13 billion). But Turks still support the parliament’s decision. “At least it’s cleared Turkey’s name and dispelled the image abroad that Turkey can be bought,” Zafer Dorttas, a 27-year-old customs official, said. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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TURKISH PARLIMENT VOTE SHOWED HARMONY WITH POPULAR SENTIMENT THROUGHOUT EUROPE "The Turkish parliament's vote on Saturday has changed my mind. In rejecting a string of US requests to station troops in Turkey for deployment against Iraq, Ankara demonstrated its sense of national identity and its democratic credentials. In voting as it did, Turkey's parliament has done more than any institution in any other country to force a re-think in Washington, at least of means, if not of ends. And even if Turkey's parliament reverses its vote today – or sees it overridden on economic or strategic grounds – that will not alter two striking facts. On Saturday, Turkey's parliament showed itself, perhaps for the first time, prepared to resist the will of its transatlantic patron. It also showed itself more in harmony with popular sentiment across Europe than with Washington's war plans." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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TURKISH VOTE MAY DELAY BUSH WAR "America admitted yesterday that the war due to begin as early as next week might have to be put back by at least a month because of Turkey's refusal to allow US ground troops to deploy there... The surprise rejection by the parliament in Ankara made the planning "more complicated", Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said. Some military analysts predicted that an attack of the speed and decisiveness President George Bush wants might have to be delayed until late March or even early April." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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KURDS AGAINST TURKISH PRESENCE IN N. IRAQ "The American plan to form a northern front against Saddam Hussein slipped deeper into crisis yesterday when Kurdish leaders made clear they would resist any attempt by Turkey to occupy Iraqi Kurdistan, even if it was a member of the American-led coalition... The Kurds have already declared they would fight if Turkey unilaterally occupied a swath of territory in northern Iraq with the intention of limiting Kurdish influence in Iraq after the overthrow of President Saddam." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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POLITICIANS WANT SIX DAY WAR, GULF GENERAL PREDICTS 30 DAYS "It is easy to forget how large Iraq is: nearly twice the size of Britain. For an invasion over the next few weeks, it now seems likely that, among neighbouring states, only Kuwait will be available as a launchpad. Iran and Syria will not come to the assistance of the US. Jordan and Saudi Arabia cannot risk the reaction of their populations without direct UN authorisation of the action. Even Turkey seems unable to deliver on the complicated and expensive bargain that would have bought US basing rights. Cruise missiles can be launched from ships and submarines in the Gulf. Aircraft can come from carriers and bases more distant, but will require air refuelling support for the long flights. The real difficulty will be deploying the land forces simultaneously over considerable distances in a hostile environment. " 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NEOCONSERVATIVE GROUP AROUND BUSH MAKE SURE HE'S KOSHER "The dispute between the White House and the U.S. State Department regarding the road map is becoming more and more reminiscent of the worst days of the unity government. On one side is Elliott Abrams, Bush's new National Security Council adviser on Middle East affairs, who has deposed three top officials from his department: Flint Levert, Ben Miller and Hillary Mann. All three are ex-CIA, all three were professional appointments, and all three were suspected of supporting the road map of the Quartet, a forum, it should be remembered, that includes the U.S. Abrams is part and parcel of the neo-conservative gang surrounding Bush, and was appointed to make sure the road map is kosher." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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COMPANY THAT HELPED FLORIDA ELIMINATE BLACK VOTERS NOW WANTS TO GET YOUR DNA TAGS FOR ASHCROFT "Bush failed to get Osama. But we did successfully eliminate the threat of Congresswoman McKinney -- you remember, the one who dared question ChoicePoint, the company that helped Katherine Harris eliminate Black voters... On May 30, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft released new Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering and Terrorism. Ashcroft authorizes the mining of private information from commercial databases on citizens even, says the Electronic Privacy Information Center with alarm, "where there is no suspicion of criminal conduct." And who is one of the biggest commercial database firms? ChoicePoint. Forget that FBI agents say this is a big waste and a distraction to their work -- ChoicePoint, having chosen our president for us, certainly knows what's best. They also want your blood: The administration is pushing for a national repository of DNA tags for each of us, a job already begun by Bode Technologies, a division of ChoicePoint. And if you have any complaints about this, just remember, they know where you live." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DRUG PROPOSAL FOR SENIORS PUSHES THEM INTO PRIVATIZED PLANS WITHOUT SPECIFIC HIGHER COST PROTECTIONS "Patients who sign up with private insurers, including health maintenance organizations and other managed-care plans, would get much more extensive benefits, the officials said. For example, a patient might be covered for the remaining cost of drugs after paying a co-payment, a monthly premium and an annual deductible. Administration officials hope that propelling seniors into private insurance would control the costs of the new benefit. Democrats called it a first step toward privatizing Medicare." 3.04.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DISCUSSION OF ECONOMIC PLAN "IRRESPONSIBLE" AND "UNHINGED FROM REALITY" "AS A U.S. WAR with Iraq draws closer, the Bush administration's discussion of its economic plan is becoming increasingly unhinged from reality. It would be an amusing case study in the surreal nature of Washington debate if it were not simultaneously so irresponsible -- and so real. The situation is this: The administration, already facing a record budget deficit of $304 billion this fiscal year, wants Congress to enact a 10-year, $637 billion tax cut plan that by the administration's own estimates will dig the deficit even deeper. As Congress considers that course, the administration is refusing to put any price tag on the coming war with Iraq; any number would be wrong, it says, so why try? White House press secretary Ari Fleischer offered a particularly galling version of this argument the other day " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH GOVERNMENT FOR THE RICH AND THE HAWKS RUNS "ON THE BACKS OF THE POOR" "The shortfalls in federal Medicare payments mean that costs are "shifted onto local businesses, industries, commercial payers and the working poor, who are mostly self-insured," Ennen told me. Local firms in Bryan, Ohio, often are owned by conglomerates headquartered in distant cities, he said, and when the green-eyeshade executives at headquarters see how disproportionately high the health care costs are in cities such as Bryan, those plants and their jobs become vulnerable. Thus, budgetary economies affect whole communities, not just hospitals. My next visitors were leaders of child advocacy groups from Arizona, Illinois and Missouri, in town for a meeting of their national association, Voices for America's Children. They described in measured but dead-serious tones what the combination of state budget crunches and Bush's recommended spending restrictions are doing. "I have been doing this for 25 years," said Carol Kamin of Arizona, "and I have never seen the situation as dire." She and her counterparts talked about the reductions that are looming in health insurance for children, in day-care services for those whose mothers have moved off welfare, and in preschool programs. The message from all of them: The gains that have been made, slowly and painfully in the past decade, may well be reversed now. " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAQ REVEALS LOCATION OF NERVE GAS, ANTHRAX "Ongoing excavations have uncovered important quantities of anthrax and VX nerve agent, Iraqi presidential adviser Amer al-Saadi said yesterday. United Nations inspectors have been seeking clarification of the whereabouts of such deadly agents for years.Mr Saadi said excavations at the al-Aziziya air base, 104 km south-west of Baghdad, had uncovered nearly all bomb fragments filled with tonnes of toxic agents which Iraq insists it destroyed unilaterally in 1991.He said that so far Iraq had not quite found all 157 tonnes of anthrax, 'but we are nearing it, there is work in progress', he told a news conference." 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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IRAQ CONTINUES TO DESTROY MISSILES "Iraq destroyed a second batch of banned missiles and Turkey held up the Pentagon's battle plans, handing more ammunition to France and other countries opposed to any U.S.-led rush to war against Baghdad. Baghdad made the destruction of its arsenal of some 120 al-Samoud 2 missiles, expected to take two weeks, a key test of world opinion on its cooperation with the United Nations, warning it would stop if Washington launched any war without U.N. authorization." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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NORTH KOREA WARNS OF WORLDWIDE "NUCLEAR DISASTERS" "North Korea yesterday warned of 'nuclear disasters' worldwide if it is attacked by the United States, while its civilian officials urged greater cooperation between North and South Korea to stave off conflict on the volatile Korean peninsula. The North's official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted the ruling Communist Party's Rodong Sinmun as saying the US Department of Defence recently ordered huge US air force deployments in South Korea, Japan and around the Korean peninsula.As well, it added, the US Air Forces Command in South Korea had put its units on a 'semi-war footing'. The newspaper said: 'If the US imperialists ignite a war on the Korean peninsula, the war will turn into a nuclear war.'" 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
st |related stories

HARD TO THINK HOW BUSH COULD MAKE A BIGGER MESS OF N. KOREA CRISIS "In 2000 the Swiss company ABB agreed to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho. Interestingly enough, Donald Rumsfeld was on the board of ABB at the time, though a Pentagon spokeswoman says the secretary does not recall the $200 million deal ever having been brought before the board. So, in comes Bush, and six weeks into his term, March 2001, Bush humiliates South Korean President Kim Dae Jung during his visit to Washington by announcing we would not support his "sunshine initiative" to improve relations between the Koreas, for which Kim Dae Jung won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. North Korea had been sending lots of signals that it was ready to deal, ready to open up and to make concessions. But the Bush administration denounced it as a "rogue state" and used it as a prime excuse to promote the national missile defense system. Bush, ever the soft-spoken diplomat, told a reporter that he "loathes" Kim Jong Il on a "visceral level" and also called the dictator "a pygmy." True, Kim Jong Il is vertically challenged and a repellent dictator, but insulting paranoiacs who have nukes is not smart. Then came the "axis of evil" speech in 2002. According to Bush's speechwriter David Frum, North Korea got thrown into the axis as an afterthought, apparently for rhetorical purposes. Unfortunately, Kim Jong Il, like, kind of took it personally. Then the Bush doctrine of "pre-emptive war" was announced, along with the policy of using nuclear weapons to maintain American hegemony. In October, North Korea admitted it was running a secret uranium enrichment program, so Bush promptly renounced the Agreed Framework and cut off the food and fuel-oil supplies we had agreed to. (Don't ask me to explain this, but apparently an enriched-uranium program is not nearly as dangerous as making plutonium.) The North Koreans said they would drop the uranium enrichment and allow inspections to continue in return for a promise of no pre-emptive strike from us and a normalization of relations. Bush refused. A few months later, the North Koreans kicked out the U.N. inspectors and announced it would begin making plutonium from the spent fuel rods. Bush then announced we would absolutely not negotiate with the North Koreans, then in January he announced again we would not negotiate but would "talk." The North Koreans want direct talks with the United States, while we want multilateral talks (Bush endorses multilateralism, at last!) with Japan, China and South Korea, and possibly Russia, Australia and the European Union. China, Australia and South Korea have all urged us to have direct talks. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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RESIGNED U.S. DIPLOMAT SAYS BUSH HAS SHOWN TRUE COLORS TO WORLD IN TWO YEARS The diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in Athens, said in his resignation letter: "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson....We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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CONDI RICE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE REQUESTED U.S. "DIRTY TRICKS" IN EFFORT TO CONTROL U.N. VOTE "The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq. Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer. The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input. The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq. The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.... Sources in Washington familiar with the operation said last week that there had been a division among Bush administration officials over whether to pursue such a high-intensity surveillance campaign with some warning of the serious consequences of discovery. The existence of the surveillance operation, understood to have been requested by President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is deeply embarrassing to the Americans in the middle of their efforts to win over the undecided delegations." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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U.N. NATIONS FACING "BRIBES, PERSUASION, AND BLATANT THREATS" FROM U.S. "The missions of the Middle Six, on New York's Upper East Side, have been inundated by emails, phone calls and visitors from the US presence at the UN, while emissaries have been dispatched from Washington to their capitals, armed with goodies for those who toe the line - and sanctions against those who do not. The feverish efforts flow seemlessly from the American mathematics over the nine votes required to win the necessary majority, if a veto from one of the Permanent Five is not deployed. The votes from Britain, Spain and Bulgaria are assured. Russia and China, both with veto powers, are expected to abstain or vote against. France - which also has a veto - will almost certainly vote against, along with Syria. All six have been reminded what the price for non-compliance may be. The precedent is that of Yemen, which had the audacity to vote, along with Cuba, against the last Gulf war. A $70 million US aid package was instantly cancelled. It is abundantly clear that this time the threats are heavier. Two senior officials from the State Department - Kim Holmes and Marc Grossman - were sent last week to Mexico, where their pleading was described as 'hostile' by diplomats, who said Mexico would face a 'very heavy price' for doing anything but supporting the Americans. " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH HAWKS' BLUEPRINT FOR EMPIRE STARTED A DECADE AGO "Conservatives began drawing up steroid-fueled plans to reorder the world a decade ago, imperial blueprints fantastical enough to make "Star Wars" look achievable. In 1992, Dick Cheney, the defense secretary for Bush 41, and his aides, Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, drafted a document asserting that America should prepare to cast off formal alliances and throw its military weight around to prevent the rise of any "potential future global competitor" and to preclude the spread of nuclear weapons. The solipsistic grandiosity of the plan was offputting to 41, who loved nothing better than chatting up the other members of the global club. To Poppy and Colin Powell, this looked like voodoo foreign policy, and they splashed cold water on it. In 1996, Richard Perle, now a Pentagon adviser, and Douglas Feith, now a Rumsfeld aide, helped write a report about how Israel could transcend the problems with the Palestinians by changing the "balance of power" in the Middle East, and by replacing Saddam. The hawks saw their big chance after 9/11, but they feared that it would be hard to sell a eschatological scheme to stomp out Islamic terrorism by recreating the Arab world. So they found Saddam guilty of a crime he could commit later: helping Osama unleash hell on us. " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH "PUMPING UP" WAR PATRIOTISM TO GET "FREE PASS" ON FALTERING ECONOMY. "HE'S MILKING THAT FOR ALL IT'S WORTH." "Bush has wagered not only his historical reputation but his immediate political future on Iraq....Even some of the greatest foreign policy triumphs are no guarantee, so in strictly political terms, he's taking a great risk going to war in Iraq," Mr. Lichtman said. "His biggest danger is the economy. No incumbent president has ever been re-elected during an election-year recession, and that's one of the most potentially perilous effects of this war." No one knows this better than President Bush. Will a war plant the seeds of a more peaceful, more democratic Middle East, as Mr. Bush contends, or inflame anti-American feeling and spark terrorist attacks throughout the Muslim world? Or both? "In terms of politics, it's probably highly profitable, with a rally round the flag," said Nelson W. Polsby, a professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley. 'If you can keep pumping that up, you get a free pass with respect to almost everything else, and he's milking that for all it's worth.'" 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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JUMP IN OIL PRICES DURING TALK OF WAR WEAKENS TROUBLED BUSH ECONOMY, WARNS OF RECESSION "The most common cause of recessions, a surge in oil prices, is again afflicting the global economy. Just as they have before every American downturn over the last 40 years, energy costs have risen significantly in the last year, capped by a sharp spike since December. With more money being spent on gasoline and heating fuel, economic growth has slowed in both the United States and Europe, and the uneven recovery that began in late 2001 is facing perhaps its biggest threat yet. Most forecasters expect the United States economy to avoid a new recession this year, saying that only an unexpectedly protracted war in Iraq would keep oil at its current price or higher. But any war is an unknown, and the price increases for both oil and natural gas have already caused consumers to cut back on other spending. The increases have also created a new problem for businesses trying to emerge from the hangover of the late-1990's boom. "The economy is extremely fragile," said Mark M. Zandi, the chief economist at Economy.com, a research company in West Chester, Pa. "We've got some real problems if this drags on for any length of time." " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH PLANS TO SPEND RECORD $250 MILLION AS REELECTION PLANNING BEGINS ON EVE OF WAR "Bush has postponed his reelection campaign until after a war with Iraq, but White House and Republican Party strategists have begun planning for a contest in which they envision raising as much as $250 million to wage a battle designed to break the political stalemate of the 1990s and make the GOP the country's majority party. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH DOES NOT HIDE AMBITION TO "RESHAPE" ME "IN THE INTERESTS OF...ISRAEL" "All Arabs, regimes and peoples, agree on one thing: war on Iraq may affect the entire world, but they and their region will pay far the highest price. The Arab League's secretary general, Amr Moussa, warns that war will "open the gates of hell", and President Mubarak of Egypt says that it will light a "gigantic fire" of violence and terror... An Arab world deeply conscious of its history of humiliation by foreigners' affairs is about to see one of its member states conquered and occupied; and the Bush administration does not hide its ambition to make this the first step in a "reshaping" of the region at least as much in the interest of the Arabs' historic adversary, Israel, as its own." 03.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH "SOLICITUDE FOR THE PALESTINIANS...STUNNING AND TOTALLY CONTRADICTED BY BUSH RECORD" "President Bush's speech to the American Enterprise Institute seemed an implicit admission that cowboy lingo and U.N.-trashing hadn't won over the world. Solicitude for the Palestinians was a wholly new tack. Bush has sedulously avoided the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, turning a deaf ear to all appeals to consider evenhandedness as the not-so-secret weapon against anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. If he had said six months ago -- or six weeks ago -- that he could see a time when settlements in the occupied territories would end, he might have made a difference. The one-minute-to-midnight conversion could have astonished the West Bank, although it may have had trouble believing it. The idea that the war would benefit Palestinians is stunning and totally contradicted by the record. Bush has sedulously ignored the Middle East. He has accepted all of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's alibis for not going forward with the "road map" that the so-called Quartet -- consisting of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia -- is supposed to use in negotiations. Sharon pleaded suicide bombers, the election and finally the formation of his new government as reasons not to come to the table. The time for action has never been ripe, nor is it likely to be: Sharon has chosen a hard-line cabinet that would rather fight than switch. " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"WE OFTEN CAUSE TO HAPPEN THAT WHICH WE WORK HARDEST TO PREVENT" "On the other hand, [Washington lobbyist] Ashmore says, a war launched in the name of preventing terrorism could have the effect of increasing it. He offers an aphorism from former Lyndon Johnson aide Horace Busby: "We often cause to happen that which we work hardest to prevent." But if Hussein deserves a spanking and we have both the will and the means to deliver it, why not do it and deal with the consequences when they come? Because, says Ashmore, some of the most likely consequences are dangerous to our interests. His great fear is that war will revive the "ugly American" syndrome in the region -- of a tough, self-righteous bully who throws his weight around because there's no one big enough to stop him. Revival of that image, he said, would stymie our ability to act effectively (except militarily) anywhere in the Arab world. Actually, there's a great deal more than that to worry about. There's the prospect that a full-scale assault on Iraq would spark terrorist attacks against Americans and American interests all over the world. There's the prospect that the likes of bin Laden, who wants desperately to foment a war of civilizations -- Islam against the infidels -- would be able to paint an attack on Baghdad as the opening campaign in just such a war. His evidence might include the Bush administration's talk of changing the political face of the region, "liberating" people who don't see us as rescuers and democratizing populations that haven't asked for it. Imagine some American viceroy in a postwar Iraq trying to cobble together a government out of warring Shiite and Sunni Muslims, secularists and Islamist theocrats, while holding at bay ambitious Iranians and Turks and damping down the territorial ambitions of independence-minded Kurds. And all this while controlling -- largely for our own use, influence and economic benefit -- Iraq's huge oil resources. "Ugly American" won't begin to describe it. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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PURPOSE WILL BE LOST IF BUSH DOES TO IRAQ WHAT HE'S DOING TO AFGHANISTAN "We think Mr. Bush is right to make political liberalization a principal postwar goal. But with it comes another danger: that the president's bold rhetoric will not be matched by concerted follow-through on the ground. That has been the pattern in Afghanistan, where Mr. Bush's promise of a "Marshall Plan" has been mocked by the thin flow of resources for security and reconstruction. A repeat of that pattern in Iraq could trap the United States and its troops in a losing situation." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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DEOMCRACY GETS IN THE WAY OF BUSH'S WAR FOR DEMOCRACY "It was a bad weekend for the war initiative. The Turkish Parliament failed to approve American plans to use Turkish bases as a staging ground for the invasion. Iraq's willingness to begin destroying its missiles is sure to give invasion opponents a stronger hand during U.N. debates this week. A White House spokesman's statement late last week that Mr. Bush would be satisfied only with the departure of Mr. Hussein appeared to shift the rationale for war to fit new circumstances. The Turkish Parliament's vote, narrow though it was, conveyed an awkward message. Mr. Bush argued last week that invading Iraq would help bring democracy to the Middle East. A few days later, a parliament full of democratically elected Muslims rebuffed Washington's request to use Turkey as a springboard for an invasion of Iraq." 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
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TURKEY REFUSES TO ALLOW BUSH THE USE OF LAND FOR INVASION OF IRAQ, REJECTS TURKISH TROOPS ON KURDISH LAND "The Turkish Parliament today dealt a heavy blow to the Bush administration's plans for a northern front against Iraq, narrowly rejecting a measure that would have allowed thousands of American combat troops to use the country as a base for an attack....The defeat stunned American officials, who had been confident that Turkey's leaders would be able to persuade the members of their party to support the measure. American ships had already begun unloading heavy equipment at Turkish ports in anticipation of a victory, and two dozen vessels were idling off the coast. The vote also quashed the possibility, at least for now, that Turkish troops would enter northern Iraq, a prospect that many there, especially the country's Kurds, regarded with dread." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
nyt |related stories

U.S. PRESSES FOR TURKEY TO KEEP VOTING UNTIL IT GETS IT RIGHT "Under intense American pressure, Turkey's foreign minister indicated today that his government would ask Parliament to vote a second time on whether to allow American troops to use the country as a base for a military attack against Iraq. The minister, Yasar Yakis, spoke one day after lawmakers here rejected such a plan. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
nyt |related stories

U.S. UNLOADING ARMS WITHOUT TURKEY'S O.K. "The U.S. isn't waiting for Turkey's parliament to authorize use of its territory to prepare for an Iraq war. For the past week it has been unloading armaments, including Patriot missiles, at the port of Iskenderun -- an apparently illegal move sanctioned by the military dependent on the U.S.... The U.S. has had permission to upgrade ports and airbases, but not unload armaments for an offensive against Iraq Turkey's divided Cabinet has sent a bill to parliament authorizing military cooperation, although terms are being negotiated. On Thursday the Turkish Parliament is expected to vote on a six-month agreement that would permit the U.S. to send as many as 62,000 troops through Turkey into northern Iraq, and to base 255 aircraft and 65 helicopters on Turkish soil. An economic assistance package for Turkey is part of the agreement. Although the governing AK (Justice and Development) Party holds a large majority, opposition is vigorous and most of the Turkish population is opposed to war." 03.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH FACED WITH DANGER IN N. IRAQ "The Bush administration is trying to convince the world that it is ready to fight for a free Iraq. Nothing would undermine that assertion faster than abandoning the Kurds. " 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH USES KURDS TO PROMOTE WAR BUT PLANS TO BETRAY THEM LIKE HIS FATHER DID --ZAHEDI "History is about to record another Kurdish disaster," wrote Bakhtiar Zahedi, a member of Jalal Talabani's Kurdish faction, one of the two major factions that control northern Iraq. "The new plan is intended to betray the Kurds yet again," Zahedi continued. "The Kissinger school - of fraud and deception - is alive and well. President George Bush is invoking the victims of Halabja [referring to a chemical weapons attack on the village of Halabja, in northern Iraq, in 1988] in order to win the support of public opinion. But he is not committing himself to protect the citizens of Kurdistan - as though the Kurdish people and Iraqi people did not suffer enough in the episode of the first George Bush." 03.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
ha'aretz |related stories

KURDS CALL ON TURKEY NOT TO SEND TROOPS TO N. IRAQ "By an overwhelming vote, the Kurdish parliament in the semi autonomous north of Iraq has rejected the entry of foreign forces entering the region....However, the Turkomen minority in the region called on Turkish soldiers to enter Northern Iraq in order to prevent the official founding of an independent Kurdish state. The Washington representative for Turkomen groups, Orhan Ketene, said that if a Kurdish state was established in Northern Iraq it would be less than 15 years before this led to the breaking away of the south east part of Turkey. " 03.01.03 www.bushwatch.com
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"AL QAEDA ARREST SIGNIFICANT BUT NO BREAKTHROUGH" "U.S. President George W. Bush will sleep easier knowing the mastermind of the September 11 attacks is behind bars. But with Osama bin Laden still free and a war on Iraq likely to help his cause, the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed offers no opportunity for U.S. counterterrorism operatives to relax." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
reuters |related stories

BUSH WILL LOG FED LAND IN ALASKA "The Bush administration, in a closely watched conservation decision, ruled yesterday that it will not provide wilderness protection to millions of acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The decision by the U.S. Forest Service, rebuffing an effort by environmentalists to limit logging, formally affirms a recommendation the Forest Service made last May. Environmental groups said the decision could open more than a million acres of old-growth forest to logging, particularly if the administration or federal courts reverse the Clinton administration's restrictions on forest road building." 3.02.03 www.bushwatch.com
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BUSH WANTS TO "ENRICH COMMERCIAL INTERESTS WHILE IMPOVRISHING THE ENVIRONMENT" "A bipartisan group in Congress has now moved to reassert the historical reach of the Clean Water Act to protect all the waters of the United States - not just those chosen for protection by the Supreme Court, the Bush administration or the Army Corps of Engineers. It's a necessary move. An ill-considered Supreme Court decision two years ago narrowed safeguards for certain isolated wetlands long covered by the law. Then, in January, the administration invited a further reinterpretation of the statute that could narrow its scope far more severely than the court required - enriching commercial interests while impoverishing the environment. " 3.03.03 www.bushwatch.com
nyt ed |related stories

BUSH, HITLER, AND CHURCHILL "As a historian, I worry about the crude use of history, particularly our old friend the 1930s. Time and again we hear that this crisis is the 1930s come again - what nonsense. Saddam is not another Hitler. Where is his Mein Kampf? Where is his dream of universal conquest? George Bush is certainly no Churchill; it would be a calumny on the reputation of that great man to suggest it. It is a facile argument, and it disturbs me that Downing Street produces it, all the more because I taught one or two of them. My efforts were clearly in vain." 03.01.03 www.bushwatch.com
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