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BUSH POLICIES, RHETORIC OF WAR AND PEACE TOE EVANGELICAL LINE "Nearly all of us in the news business are completely out of touch with a group that includes 46 percent of Americans. That's the proportion who described themselves in a Gallup poll in December as evangelical or born-again Christians. Evangelicals have moved from the fringe to the mainstream, and that is particularly evident in this administration. It's impossible to understand President Bush without acknowledging the centrality of his faith. Indeed, there may be an element of messianic vision in the plan to invade Iraq and "remake" the Middle East.President Bush has said that he doesn't believe in evolution (he thinks the jury is still out). President Ronald Reagan felt the same way, and such views are typically American. A new Gallup poll shows that 48 percent of Americans believe in creationism, and only 28 percent in evolution (most of the rest aren't sure or lean toward creationism). According to recent Gallup Tuesday briefings, Americans are more than twice as likely to believe in the devil (68 percent) as in evolution....I tend to disagree with evangelicals on almost everything, and I see no problem with aggressively pointing out the dismal consequences of this increasing religious influence. For example, evangelicals' discomfort with condoms and sex education has led the administration to policies that are likely to lead to more people dying of AIDS at home and abroad, not to mention more pregnancies and abortions." 3.05.03

IS BUSH APPLYING END OF THE WORLD EVANGELICAL TEACHINGS TO WORLD EVENTS? "By large margins, evangelical leaders say Bush is right on Iraq. Most say a pre-emptive strike would meet the traditional Christian criteria of a just war, a view from which the nation's Roman Catholic bishops and leaders of mainline Protestant denominations sharply dissent. "The question, as Lincoln said during the Civil War, is not whether God is on our side, but are we on God's?" says Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals. "I think President Bush is doing his best to be on God's side." Still, some wonder if the president might be influenced by evangelical teachings that envision an end-of-the-world battle between Israel and its enemies. "It would be dangerous for a president to take a particular theology like that and apply it to world events," says Charles Colson, an evangelical commentator and former Nixon aide." 3.05.03
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BUSH AND THE APOCALYPSE. EVANGELICAL FOREIGN POLICY OR POLITICAL HYPOCRiSY? "The origins of Bush's flirtation with End Times rhetoric, however, are no more remote than the New York Times Best Seller List, specifically the prophetic novels of Hal Lindsey ("Blood Moon") and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" series. Selling in the millions, these books are a florid updating of a 19th century school of bible-based soothsaying called "premillenial dispensationalism." Radio and TV evangelists, including the ubiquitous Jerry Falwell peddle this gibberish to millions. Adepts believe, writes historian Paul S. Boyer, that a series of last day signs including "wars, natural disasters, rampant immorality, the rise of a world political and economic order, and the return of the Jews to the land promised by God to Abraham" will signal the Rapture. True Believers will be magically whisked off to heaven, the Antichrist will seize world power--through the United Nations, naturally--thus ushering in the Second Coming, Armageddon and the Millenium. Bush's flirtation with End Times rhetoric makes some suspect that he actually perceives himself as God's instrument. Many Europeans fear they're trapped between rival fundamentalist zealots whose messianic delusions threaten World War III. Call me naïve, but I hold with hypocrisy. Everything known about Bush apart from his political rhetoric suggests belief in a conventional rich man's God. His idea of paradise is a country club golf course. His public religiosity is precisely calculated to enthrall fundamentalist Christians whose failure to turn out in 1992 led to his father's defeat--the only Armageddon Junior seriously anticipates. " 3.05.03
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"THE SIN OF PRIDE." DOES BUSH HAVE THE HUMILITY TO SEE THE WAR BEYOND THE SIMPLICITY OF HIS EVANGELICAL VISION OF GOOD VS. EVIL? "Christian theologians are wary when Bush uses the words of Jesus to draw neat lines and challenge the whole rest of the world: if you are not for us, or with us, you are against us. Without question, belief in American democracy as one of God’s blessings is part of the move against Iraq. But, as theologians in a number of faiths remind us, the demonization of the enemy—an “us and them” mentality—can inhibit self-examination and repentant action, critical components of any faith. " 3.05.03
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INMATES TAKE OVER ASYLUM. WHAT PLANET IS BUSH LIVING ON? "In the president’s version of reality, an invasion of Iraq brings democracy to the Middle East, a dividend-tax cut is a good idea and Star Wars is a viable defense plan." 3.05.03
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BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? BUSH BUDGET DEFICT RISING EVEN FASTER THAN PREDICTED, AND WAR COSTS NOT INCLUDED "The deficit is growing much more quickly than expected, even before Congress takes up President Bush's tax plan and without factoring in the costs of a war in Iraq....The new projections mean that the government's 2003 shortfall could soar to $400 billion if Mr. Bush's tax cuts are approved and if war costs this year run into the tens of billions of dollars....The White House has already estimated that the budget deficit this year will hit a record $304 billion, a calculation that includes the effect of the administration's tax-cutting proposals, though not the costs of a war with Iraq. But Congressional analysts say the outlook has grown considerably worse in the last few months. From October through January, the first four months of the current fiscal year, tax revenue plunged, and the deficit ballooned to $94 billion." 3.05.03
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BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE OF CORPORATE CEO'S REPORT BUSH ECOMOMIC PLAN AND THEORIES BEHIND IT ARE "PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS." RECOMMEND NO NEW TAX CUTS AND NOT MAKING OLD ONES PERMANENT "From the heart of the business establishment comes a statement criticizing and rejecting the Bush tax cuts -- a stunning repudiation of the president's fundamental economic strategy delivered by the very corporate leaders who make the investment decisions on which recovery and growth turn. Along with the criticism of the administration plan leveled last month by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, the report being issued today by the Committee for Economic Development, a blue-ribbon organization of corporate CEOs and civic leaders, is a warning that President Bush's policies risk long-term damage to Americans' prosperity and the government's fiscal stability. While administration officials defend the deficits in store for this year and next as small by historical standards and temporary, the committee says that more realistic calculations show that over the next decade we can expect "annual deficits of $300-$400 billion, increasing as far as the eye can see." Those estimates do not take into account the new tax cuts proposed by Bush in January and now beginning to make their way through the House of Representatives. "All told, the new budget proposals, if enacted, would raise the 10-year deficit by about $2.7 trillion and annual deficits 10 years from now by about $500 billion," the report says. And none of this, by the way, factors in the costs of a possible war with Iraq and its aftermath. Deficits of this scale, over that many years, would spell economic peril at any time, the business executives say, because they reduce the pool of national savings, diminish needed investments and make us more dependent on foreign creditors. But they are particularly dangerous at this moment. " 3.05.03
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WILL BUSH CHANGE HIS SOCKS OR DYE THEM PURPLE? "Bush and his aides are pretty much convinced that Iraq will never disarm with Hussein in power. But to oust him, the administration would like to have international support. And Bush can only get such support if he makes his goal the disarmament of Iraq, not the ouster of its leader. The administration therefore must embrace a new goal -- Iraq's peaceful disarmament -- that it regards as nearly impossible to achieve, so it can build support for its original goal of replacing Hussein." Got that? It's hardly surprising that the White House message has caused some head scratching. At one point, Mr. Bush even seemed to be arguing that regime change didn't necessarily mean removing Mr. Hussein's regime, just improving it. "If he were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations," the President said, "that in itself would signal the regime has changed." That was a bit too cute for most people. When Mr. Bush says he is going to change his socks, he presumably means he will take them off and put on another pair, not dye them purple. " 3.05.03
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IRAQ'S A PROBLEM, KOREA'S A CRISIS. BUSH "AXIS OF EVIL" FOREIGN POLICY HAS CREATED THREAT OF NUKE PROLIFERATION "All the talk in Washington of "taking out" Saddam's regime before it can arm itself with horror weapons has emboldened Korea, and tempted Iran, to shield themselves from attack by acquiring the very nukes Saddam lacks. Washington's aggressive doctrine of "pre-emptively" smashing regimes that pose no threat but in theory might risks inviting an arms race that can only damage U.S. interests. Having loosed this stampede, Bush must now try to rein it in. The campaign against terror remains America's chief priority. But getting North Korea to abandon its nukes and persuading Iran not to go down the nuclear road ought to be high on the presidential agenda. Higher than regime change in Iraq. Iraq is a problem. But Korea is a crisis. And Iran is fast becoming one. " 3.05.03
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BUSH RATTLES SABERS AGAINST NORTH KOREA "President Bush said that if diplomacy failed, he might be forced to turn to military options to prevent the North from making nuclear weapons. " 3.05.03
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FRIEDMAN'S WAR RESOLVE BEGINS TO CRUMBLE IN THE FACE OF REALITY. TURKISH "PARLIMENT GAVE THIS MORE THOUGHT THAN THE U.S. CONGRESS" " Bush...has some dangerous blind spots. Every day he asks us to ignore more and more troubling facts, and every day it seems more and more that Mr. Bush has mustered not a coalition of the willing, but rather, as one wag put it, "a coalition of the billing." It is very disturbing that so many of our "allies" have to be bribed or bludgeoned into joining this war. The Turkish Parliament's vote against allowing U.S. troops to use Turkish bases is stunning when you consider that the Bush team had offered the Turks a dream package - $6 billion in aid and new weapons, and veto power over the future of Iraq's Kurds. But there is something admirable about the Turkish democracy's refusing to be bribed into a war its people don't want. It would be shameful for us to force the Turks to vote again - considering that their Parliament gave this war more thought than the U.S. Congress. Indeed, our own Congress is being asked to suspend belief yet again and accept Mr. Bush's promises that this war, soaring oil prices and a weakening dollar won't bust the budget even more than his tax cuts already have. And when the respected U.S. Army chief of staff wisely cautioned that stabilizing Iraq could require some 200,000 troops, the Bush team told us to ignore him, too. Troubling. But it's also probably too late. For Mr. Bush and for the U.S., the costs of leaving Saddam in place - having made Washington blink and abandon its allies in the region - would be enormous. I suspect that when the small group of war hawks persuaded Mr. Bush to begin a huge troop buildup in the gulf back in July - without consulting Congress or the country - they knew that it would create a situation where the U.S. could never back down without huge costs....Those, like myself, who have argued that removing Saddam is the right thing to do have to admit that the risks of doing so are rising so high, and the number of allies we have for the long haul becoming so few, that it may be impossible to do it right." 3.05.03
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FRANCE, RUSSIA, GERMANY SAY THEY WILL "NOT ALLOW" UN PASSAGE OF WAR RESOLUTION "French, German, Russian foreign ministers said Wednesday at a news conference in Paris that they will "not allow" passage of a U.N. resolution to authorize war against Iraq. "We will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes resorting to force," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said. "Russian and France, as permanent members of the Security Council, will assume their full responsibilities on this point." When asked whether France would use its veto, as Russia has suggested it might do, de Villepin said, "We will take all our responsibilities. We are in total agreement with the Russians." On Tuesday, Ivanov suggested Russia could veto a new U.S.-backed resolution seen as paving the way to war in Iraq. Ivanov also said his country was unlikely to abstain in any Security Council vote on Iraq. " 3.05.03
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SUPPORT FOR THE BUSH WAR IS SHALLOW, BUT OPPOSITION IS DEEP "Despite shaky and ambivalent public commitment to war, this administration will not likely be stopped. Indeed, George Bush and his cohorts want -- and probably need -- to go to war before public support declines even further. They assume that once soldiers are in combat, the American people will unite behind the war. Television screens will show "smart bombs" exploding, and the secretary of defense will say that civilian casualties are at a minimum. This is the way it has always been: unity behind the president in time of war. But will it be this way again? Will the anti-war movement surrender to the martial atmosphere? I believe they won't. " 3.05.03
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TOP U.S. GENERAL CONFIRMS "SHOCK AND AWE" ATTACK ON IRAQ IS STILL ON "The nation's top military officer said today that the Pentagon's war plan for Iraq entailed shocking the Iraqi leadership into submission quickly with an attack "much, much, much different" from the 43-day Persian Gulf war in 1991. Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to give details. But other military officials have said the plan calls for unleashing 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours of a short air campaign, to be followed quickly by ground operations. " 3.05.03
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MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS MAY BE TESTED IN IRAQ WAR "If there is a war with Iraq, the US intends to use a new 21,000-pound bomb during the first nights of an attack. The bomb is called MOAB, short for "Massive Ordnance Air Burst" bomb, and its explosive punch is equivalent to a small nuclear device. It is designed to obliterate a command center hidden in tunnels and bunkers or a concentration of tanks, and its psychological impact is designed to terrorize enemy troops." 3.05.03
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"BRAZEN BUSH IMPERIALISTS" FIND OLD FASHIONED DEMOCRACY INCONVENIENT, AS THEY CALL FOR THEIR BRAND OF "DEMOCRACY" "Now, with the rest of the world outraged at the administration's barbed and swaggering style, the Bushies have grown tetchy about the word "empire." They insist they are not interested in hegemony, even as the Pentagon proconsuls prepare to rule in Iraq, the ancient Mesopotamian empire. Bernard Lewis of Princeton, Newt Gingrich and others worked on the August 2001 report on empires, which noted: "Without strong political and economic institutions, the Mongols and the Macedonians could not maintain extensive empires. What made the Roman Empire great was not just its military power but its `franchise of empire.' What made the Chinese Empire great was not just its military power but the immense power and might of its culture. "If we can take any lesson from history it is this: For the United States to sustain predominance it must remain militarily dominant, but it must also maintain its pre-eminence across the other pillars of power. " 3.05.03
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U.S. PRESENTLY HAS 1,000 TROOPS IN KURDISH IRAQ "The US plans to station at least 40,000 soldiers in the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq in the event of a war in Iraq. Their mission would be to secure the region and provide logistical support for a US-led offensive on the key cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. According to officials, the troops would establish a northern bridgehead to protect US supply lines and help defend against a possible Iraqi attack. They would also secure Iraq's northern border crossing with Syria to prevent the regime's scientists and officials from fleeing. There are currently around 1,000 US troops in Iraqi Kurdistan. " 3.05.03
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ARRESTED AL-ARIAN ISN'T THE ONLY ISLAMIC EXTREMIST WITH CONNECTIONS TO BUSH "SAMI AL-ARIAN and seven other people were arrested in Tampa last week on charges of financing, organizing, and materially abetting Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the world's deadliest terror groups. Islamic Jihad is responsible for more than 100 murders, many of them by suicide bombing, and prosecutors laid out in some detail the role played by Al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida, as the terrorists' chief US operative....Why...did Bush make a point of posing for pictures with Al-Arian and his family during a 2000 campaign stop in Tampa? Why was Al-Arian not only invited to a White House briefing given by Bush aide Karl Rove in June 2001 - against the advice of the Secret Service - but honored with a front-row seat? Why was his son Abdullah invited to yet another White House meeting a few days later?? The answer, it seems, is that Bush and his advisers have been so intent on attracting American Muslims to the Republican Party that they have closed their eyes to the fact that many of those they have embraced are Islamists - extremists who support terrorism and are linked to Saudi Arabia's fanatic Wahhabi religious establishment. Al-Arian is not the only Islamist zealot who has gained access to Bush and his inner circle." 3.05.03
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NEW BUSH DRUG PLAN IS RADICAL AND PUSHES ELDERLY INTO MORE EXPENSIVE PRIVATIZED PLANS Bush's "original, flawed notion was that prescription drug coverage should not be provided through the traditional Medicare program, which insures a vast majority of America's elderly. Instead, he proposed that coverage would come only through private health plans that would compete with traditional Medicare. His misguided goal was to entice the elderly to leave the much-loved social insurance program and move into a market-oriented form of Medicare. That lopsided approach raised such an outcry on Capitol Hill, even among Republicans, that the administration was forced to revise its plans. This week the president came back with a plan — essentially a concept lacking much detail — that would offer limited drug coverage under traditional Medicare but would still force the elderly to join subsidized private plans to get comprehensive drug benefits....The "framework" for drug coverage that he put forth this week falls far short of an adequate insurance benefit. Its main purpose is still to drive the elderly out of traditional Medicare as part of a radical and untested restructuring of social welfare policy." 3.05.03
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BUSH BOGUS MEDICARE REFORM HIDES BEHIND WAR DRUMS "WAR DRUMS in the Middle East are providing the Bush administration with camouflage for domestic policies so dreadful that they could not withstand the scrutiny of front-page attention. Take Bush's designs on Medicare. What the administration really wants is to privatize Medicare. This means that seniors would be herded into HMOs. The federal government's annual contribution would be capped. If you couldn't afford decent HMO coverage (if there is such a thing), too bad. This strategy neatly serves two conservative purposes. First, privatize everything possible. Second, cut federal social outlays, the better to finance tax cuts for upper brackets. " 3.05.03
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BUSH ABSTAINS FROM WAR ON TOBACCO (ROVE USED TO BE A BUTT LOBBYIST) "THE UNITED NATIONS has voted to go war against the world's worst weapon of mass destruction. The United States is against the resolution. " 3.05.03
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FACT CHECKING THE BLOND BANSHEE. ANN COULTER UNMASKED "The sheer weight of Coulter's factual errors demonstrates "the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a journalistic culture that allows her near a microphone, much less a printing press. " 3.05.03
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IRAQ AGREES TO DESTROY FORBIDDEN MISSILES "Baghdad's decision was conveyed by letter to Hans Blix, as he completed a report to be delivered to the Security Council today." 2.28.03
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INTERVIEW WITH IRAQI WEAPONS CHIEF DEFECTOR INDICATES U.S. MEDIA SELECTIVITY "On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that "raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims. Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq's deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek's John Barry-- who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade-- obtained the transcript of Kamel's 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM. Inspectors were told "that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them," Barry wrote. All that remained ere "hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches" and production molds. The weapons were destroyed secretly, in order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the hopes of someday resuming production after inspections had finished. The CIA and MI6 were told the same story, Barry reported, and "a military aide who defected with Kamel... backed Kamel's assertions about the destruction of WMD stocks." But these statements were "hushed up by the U.N. inspectors" in order to "bluff Saddam into disclosing still more." CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow angrily denied the Newsweek report. "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," Harlow told Reuters (2/24/03) the day the report appeared. But on Wednesday (2/26/03), a complete copy of the Kamel transcript-- an internal UNSCOM/IAEA document stamped "sensitive"-- was obtained by Glen Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who in early February revealed that Tony Blair's "intelligence dossier" was plagiarized from a student thesis. This transcript can be seen at . In the transcript (p. 13), Kamel says bluntly: "All weapons-- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed." The Kamel story is a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation of U.S. media reporting on Iraq, much of which has taken for granted that the nation retains supplies of prohibited weapons. (See FAIR Media Advisory, "Iraq's Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact," 2/4/03.) Kamel's testimony is not, of course, proof that Iraq does not have hidden stocks of chemical or biological weapons, but it does suggest a need for much more media skepticism about U.S. allegations than has previously been shown." 2.28.03
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NEW MEMBERS OF BUSH ECONOMIC TEAM THINK HIS SUPPLY SIDE REAGANOMICS THEORY BEHIND TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH SUCKS, BUT WILL CHEERLEAD IT ANYWAY "In nominating a respected Harvard economist as one of his top advisers, President Bush has now replaced nearly everyone from his original economic team with people who at one time spoke out against the kinds of policies Mr. Bush is prescribing. N. Gregory Mankiw, whom Mr. Bush nominated on Wednesday to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, wrote a popular economics textbook in which he ridiculed the supply-side tax cuts of President Ronald Reagan as "fad economics" conceived by 'charlatans and cranks.'...Few people think the new team will waver over Mr. Bush's plans, but the president is nonetheless now relying on people who had no role in drafting the plan that they have to sell." 2.28.03
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NEW BUSH ECONOMIST MEETS WITH CONGRESS TO PUSH FAILED TAX CUT TO RICH PLAN, AS EVEN SOME REPUBLICANS GAG "President Bush's tax cut plan moved from speechmaking to legislation today when it was introduced in both houses of Congress, setting off what may be the most tumultuous debate of the Congressional session. Within minutes of the introduction of the bill, which Republicans are calling the Jobs and Growth Tax Act of 2003, it was clear that significant changes would have to be made to get it through the closely divided Senate. Each party immediately began maneuvering to shape the bill to its political needs. With centrist senators of both parties questioning the wisdom of a $695 billion tax cut at a time of rocketing deficits and military spending needs, Democrats expressed new confidence that they could significantly reduce its size." 2.28.03
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BUSH CALLS FOR FULL STEAM AHEAD INTO AN ECONOMIC ICEBERG "One doesn't have to be a doomsayer to feel that the badly hurtling economy is all too likely to get even worse....So Glenn Hubbard has resigned as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers - to spend more time with his family, of course. (Pay no attention to the knife handles protruding from his back.) Gregory Mankiw, his successor, is a very good economist, but never mind: When the political apparatchiks who make all decisions in this administration want Mr. Mankiw's opinion, they'll tell Mr. Mankiw what it is. Meanwhile consumer confidence is plunging, and almost two-thirds of voters rate the current state of the economy as "poor." Is there any relief in sight? No....Why is the administration so uninterested in helping the economy? Here's my theory: The depressed state of the economy provides a convenient if bogus rationale for the huge, extremely irresponsible long-run tax cuts that, after Iraq, constitute this administration's principal obsession. To do anything else to help the economy would suggest that it's possible to create jobs now without putting the country's future solvency at risk - and that's not a message this administration wants to convey." 2.28.03
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BOMB NOW, TALK LATER. "GROWING POSSIBILITY" THAT BUSH COULD BOMB N.KOREA NUKE PLANTS "The scariest work under way in the Pentagon these days is the planning for a possible military strike against nuclear sites in North Korea....several factions in the administration are serious about a military strike if diplomacy fails, and since the White House is unwilling to try diplomacy in any meaningful way, it probably will fail. The upshot is a growing possibility that President Bush could reluctantly order such a strike this summer, risking another Korean war." 2.28.03
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WHAT ABOUT AFGHANISTAN, MR. BUSH ? "With the administration increasingly consumed by Iraq, there is a risk that Afghanistan's needs will be shortchanged. " 2.28.03
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BUSH STATEMENT INDICATES HE'S CUTTING THE ISRAELIS MORE SLACK RE SETTLEMENT EXPANSION ON PALESTINIAN LAND "In his speech Wednesday evening on postwar Iraq, President Bush signaled a shift in the administration's policy on the controversial issue of Israeli settlements, apparently embracing the Israeli government's view that substantial concessions by the Palestinians are necessary before Israel must begin to rein in the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories. 'As progress is made towards peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end,' Bush said. In contrast to earlier speeches, Bush dropped a reference to a 2001 report recommending how to resolve the settlement issue, a diplomatic nuance that experts said had important implications....In the eight months since Bush outlined his vision for resolving the conflict, many diplomats, especially in Europe and the Middle East, have said he has contributed little to the peace process but empty rhetoric. And many Middle East specialists said the administration's image in the Arab world has been badly damaged by the perception that its policies are too closely aligned with those of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. For months the administration has delayed release of a "road map" implementing the president's plan -- drafted with European, Russian and U.N. diplomats -- at the behest of the Israelis. Even now, the Israelis are seeking changes to the seven-page document, which calls for incremental steps by both sides in response to meeting certain targets, leading up to the creation of an independent Palestinian state by 2005. " 2.28.03
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"AMERICA USES ISRAEL'S WORDS TO JUSTIFY OCCUPATION" "Ah, to be a "viable" state! The word "viable" has now become the be-all and end-all of American policy towards Palestine. "For its part," George Bush told us, "the new government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state." Well, since Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says that the Palestinians may only get 50 per cent of the West Bank and his new chums in his coalition government are all for more settlements in that area, why should Muslims take this talk seriously? They don't. It's just another word trick to kick-arse the Arabs into support or at least acquiescence in the American invasion of Iraq. Not once did President Bush mention the word "oil" save for a brief reference to the disastrous oil-for-food "programme" though there was just one mention of the occupied territories (or "so-called occupied" as Donald Rumsfeld infamously called them). But once America occupies Iraq, what argument can the Arabs deploy against Israel? If the West Bank is occupied, well so is Iraq. If the United States occupied Iraq to spare the world from "terror", why shouldn't Israel occupy the West Bank to spare itself from "terror"? Few have yet worked through this dangerous equation. " 2.28.03
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U.S. IRAQ OCCUPATION PLAN NOT THE SAME AS GERMANY, JAPAN "One of the many differences between the Americans today and the Americans in Germany and Japan long ago is that nations round the world then overwhelmingly approved of the Allied occupations. They did so to the point of forgiving mistakes, like letting many thousands die for want of food and medical attention, which would not for one moment be forgiven today. America's time in Iraq will be subject to the most penetrating scrutiny, by her European allies, by Asians and Africans, and above all by Arabs and Muslims." 2.28.03
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THERE'S A DANGER THAT BUSH WILL FAIL HIS DIPLOMATIC TRIFECTA "Bush faces three diplomatic tests over the next few days in the final run-up to war with Iraq. If he succeeds, he will bolster international support and thereby reduce the risks that America will face in the postwar world. But there's a danger the Bush team will fail with all three and proceed down the road to war in relative isolation. That would be a grave matter, increasing the peril of the war to the United States." 2.28.03
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BUSH PRACTICES UNDEMOCRATIC VOTE BUYING BUT CONTINUES HIS RHETORIC ABOUT DEMOCRACY "Bush's "coalition of the willing" is looking more and more like a coalition of the bribed and the bludgeoned. Kuwait and Qatar have agreed to provide facilities for the invasion in return for their regimes being guaranteed by American power. So much for democracy in the Gulf." 2.28.03
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MORE UN VOTE BUYING GOING ON IN JUNIOR'S ADMINSTRATION THAN IN DADDY'S "Just as his father did, George W. Bush is offering generous packages of aid and arms to nations that join his drive for war against Iraq. There is so much bargaining going on that arms analyst Ira Shorr has called the Administration's ad hoc alliance for war the "coalition of the wanting." According to former Secretary of State James Baker, winning support for the first Gulf War involved "cajoling, extracting, threatening and occasionally buying votes." This time there is far more buying and threatening than cajoling going on, and recruiting allies has been far more costly." 2.28.03
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WILL AN IRAQ WAR SIGNAL MORE REPRESSIVE U.S. LEGISLATION? ""In early February, the Center for Public Integrity disclosed a leaked draft of the Bush Administration's next round in the war on terrorism--the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA). The draft legislation, stamped Confidential and dated January 9, 2003, appears to be in final form but has not yet been introduced in Congress. Presumably the Administration had determined that the timing would be more propitious for passage--meaning less propitious for reasoned debate--after we go to war with Iraq. But it is one thing to play politics with the timing of a farm bill; it is another matter to do so with a bill that would radically alter our rights and freedoms." " 2.28.03
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AS 36% OF CANADIANS SEE U.S. AS GREATEST THREAT TO WORLD PEACE, EXPLETIVE CAUGHT IN PARLIMENT "A member of Parliament from the ruling Liberal Party apologized today to the U.S. ambassador after being caught on camera calling Americans "bastards." Carolyn Parrish, a politician known for her strong antiwar stance, said Wednesday as she was walking away from a "scrum," or impromptu news conference, in Parliament: "Damn Americans. I hate those bastards." Referring to President Bush, she told reporters during the news conference: 'That man's ready to go. He doesn't care. He's gunning for a fight.'" 2.28.03
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U.S. CATHOLIC LEADER QUESTIONS "MORAL LEGITIMACY" OF BUSH WAR "Questioning the "moral legitimacy" of a war on Iraq, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called on Roman Catholics across the United States to "speak out strongly in accord with their conscience" and to fast and pray for peace on March 5, Ash Wednesday. " 2.28.03
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CLARENCE THOMAS'S CRUEL VIEW OF PRISONERS "CLARENCE THE CRUEL remains unusual. Two days before President Bush said Saddam Hussein has brought Iraq ''nothing but war and misery and torture,'' Justice Clarence Thomas again abandoned the entire Supreme Court to defend miserable prosecutions and torturous treatment of prisoners. Thomas has clearly declared his own private war, with no concern for collateral damage. " 2.28.03
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SHOULD LIBERALS CONFRONT FLAG-WAVING GOP DEMAGOGUES WITH A SLOGAN? "Compassionate conservatism was a brilliant slogan that did three things at once. It acknowledged that conservatives had a problem. It insisted that conservatives really did care about the poor. And it tried to change the debate about poverty by claiming that advocates of programs outside government, especially church-based programs, had better ideas about how to help the poor. By the same logic, it is time to proclaim loudly and without apology that there is such a thing as "patriotic liberalism." Of course there should be no need to do this. Liberalism, the philosophy of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, waged and won America's war against Nazi Germany and imperial Japan and laid the groundwork for the successful battle against Soviet communism. Jimmy Carter's campaign for human rights created the ideological underpinning of Ronald Reagan's successful Cold War policies. But contemporary liberals should acknowledge they have a problem. Yes, some of it is a problem of demagoguery by their opponents. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay accused the Democrats of being "the appeasement party" because of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's opposition to a war with Iraq. If opposing a war proposed by a president automatically makes somebody unpatriotic, then Abraham Lincoln was an unpatriotic appeaser for opposing the Mexican War as a young congressman in the 1840s. " 2.28.03
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GOP HOUSE MEMBERS UNETHICAL? I'M SHOCKED, I TELL YOU, SHOCKED ! "This is no way to run an ethics process. There have been serious and credible allegations, detailed in this newspaper, that Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) and members of his staff, who are investigating mutual fund practices, pressured the mutual fund industry to dismiss its Democratic lobbyist and hire a Republican. Most disturbing was this sentence in the Post report: "Six sources, both Republicans and Democrats who all declined to be identified, said certain members of Oxley's staff have suggested the congressional probe might ease up if the mutual fund trade group complies with their wishes." The article named one former Oxley staffer who now works for Mr. Blunt, as well as the committee's chief of staff, Robert U. Foster III. The correct question here is not should the ethics committee investigate but rather: How in the world could it not? Mr. DeLay had an answer: "Ethics charges filed because of . . . an article written in the newspaper with no proof or basis to it is very, very dangerous in this House, and that's why we have an ethics committee set the way that we do, and to protect members from frivolous charges." In fact, the purpose of the ethics committee is not to protect members -- though that is how it has functioned far too often. It was designed for matters such as this, and it is important to remember that its jurisdiction extends to House staff. " 2.28.03
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GOP AGAINST TELEMARKETING CONTROLS BECAUSE IT IS DOING THE TELEMARKETING "The House G.O.P. operation, which spent $3.26 million on telemarketing in January alone, dwarfs all rival operations, according to political watchdogs. Mr. DeLay is the standout in this crass crowd and deserves to be honored as politics' nonpareil pitchman of the year. " 2.28.03
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MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD "To some, Mr. Rogers was more than a face on television - he was a friend, a mentor, and maybe even a saint. " 2.28.03
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LIKE DADDY BEFORE HIM, BUSH TIES WAR ON IRAQ TO ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE, BUT, LIKE HIS FATHER, DOESN'T PROVIDE DETAILS "In saying he would exploit victory over Baghdad to develop a momentum toward peace in the Middle East, Mr. Bush put himself more firmly in the steps of his father, who told Congress after American forces defeated Iraqi troops in Kuwait: "The time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict." As challenging as bridging that rift will be, building a peace between Arabs and Israelis would require even greater diplomatic efforts. And, Mr. Bush, like his father, provided little in the way of details. Mr. Bush said Palestinians would have to chose new leaders and build "a reformed and peaceful state that abandons forever the use of terror." At the same time, he said that after threat of terror was removed and security improved, he expected the new Israeli government to "support the creation of a viable Palestinian state" Most significantly, Mr. Bush dedicated himself more forcefully than ever to the "road map" that the United States and European allies have been working on to accomplish the goal of Palestinian statehood within three years. The goals are lofty at a time when the Western alliance and most of the rest of the world is deeply divided over the whether there are any constraints on American power." 2.27.03
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ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN BUSH WORDS AS SHARON FORMS RIGHT WING, HARD-LINE CABINET "In a surprise move, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon replaced his foreign minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday with a relative novice in diplomatic affairs as he filled the most important cabinet posts in his new government with members of his rightist Likud Party....The prime minister tapped Silvan Shalom, the departing finance minister, as the new foreign minister. Mr. Shalom, an economist and lawyer, has been in Parliament for 11 years. He has been trying do find ways to strengthen Israel's ailing economy, and has made few public comments about the Middle East conflict. But he is seen as an adherent of Mr. Sharon's hard-line approach....The Cabinet makeup means Mr. Sharon will have close allies in most top posts, though his coalition consists of four parties, with a strong right-wing bent....Nabil Shaath, a cabinet minister in the Palestinian Authority, said the Palestinians would not miss Mr. Netanyahu, but did not expect significant changes in Israeli policy."This is a right-wing government, and I don't think it is a government that can negotiate peace," Mr. Shaath said. 'It's time to move forward with the peace process, but I don't think they are ready.'" 2.27.03
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BUSH STILL LEAVES CITIZENS IN THE DARK ABOUT POSTWAR COSTS OF NATION BUILDING IN IRAQ "Bush has never really prepared the American people for the cost of building a free and peaceful Iraq." 2.27.03
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U.S. "CONSENT AND HELP" AFGHAN "REGIME THAT MAY BE ALMOST AS REPRESSIVE AS THE TALIBAN" "Even as attention shifts to Iraq, America needs to be careful not to forget that its work in Afghanistan is just beginning. We have spent billions of dollars and lost precious lives to vanquish the Taliban. Yet the groundwork is being laid in Afghanistan for a regime that may be almost as repressive as the Taliban, particularly with regard to religious freedom. This is occurring with consent and, in some cases, help from the United States. When President Bush meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, he should tell him that it is essential to entrench freedom, not its enemies. " 2.27.03
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HOPE FOR DEMOCRACY A MIRAGE IN KUWAIT "Despite the prospect of a U.S.-led war against Iraq that President Bush says will foster democratization throughout the Middle East, many Kuwaitis are skeptical that their country will embrace democracy." 2.27.03
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U.S. DEAL WITH TURKEY IS TO STOP THE KURDS "The United States has promised to prevent Kurds from imposing a federation-style government in postwar Iraq that would ensure their continued autonomy and agreed to allow Turkish troops to enter northern Iraq and observe the disarmament of Kurdish militias once fighting has stopped, Turkish officials said today." 2.27.03
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WHITE HOUSE BLAMES GOP CONGRESS FOR WEAK SECURITY FUNDING, BUT CONGRESS SAYS BUSH TOLD THEM WHAT TO DO "The president's remarks, which came two weeks after the White House raised the color-coded national terrorist alert to "orange," signifying a "high risk" of terrorist attack, have infuriated Republicans in Congress, who say they closely consulted with the White House in preparing the spending deal...A Republican Congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Republicans were angry over the efforts of the White House to distance itself from the domestic-security provisions of the spending bill. "We told the White House months in advance what we were going to do with this bill " 2.27.03
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KEY U.S. DIPLOMAT IN ATHENS RESIGNS OVER BUSH WAR POLICY, BUSH FAMILY ASSOCIATES CONCERNED OVER WORLD BREAKDOWN OVER BUSH DIPLOMACY "The political counselor at the American Embassy in Athens has become the first diplomat known to have resigned over Mr. Bush's Iraq policy. In a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, the diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, said that "our fervent pursuit of war is driving us to squander the international legitimacy" built up since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.There were also indications that close associates of the Bush family were expressing private concerns about the fissures that have opened between Washington and its major partners in Europe and Asia." 2.27.03
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US DIPLOMAT RESIGNS PROTESTING "OUR FERVENT PURSUIT OF WAR" "Asked if his views were widely shared among his diplomatic colleagues, Mr. Kiesling said: 'No one of my colleagues is comfortable with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as good and loyal. The State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game — we have a very strong premium on loyalty.' " 2.27.03
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POWELL SAYS NO EVIDENCE N.KOREA REACTOR WORKING, SO KIM STARTS IT UP "North Korea has restarted a reactor at its primary nuclear complex, American intelligence officials said today. Over time, the reactor could provide a continuing source of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The action by North Korea - detected a day after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said there was no evidence the reactor was operating - was the latest in a series of steps it has taken toward building a significant nuclear arsenal, or at least appearing to do so. American officials are divided about whether the North Korean government is now on a determined course to produce more than half a dozen weapons or is still interested in drawing concessions from Washington. " 2.27.03
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BLOODLUSTY ASHCROFT AND BUSH SEEN AS UGLY AMERICANS ABROAD "I am tempted to ask whatever happened to the conservative doctrine that local is best. But, with Ashcroft, I know the answer. He is determined to establish the uniform application of the death penalty -- no more of these regional discrepancies. Trouble is, the standard he wants is that of Texas or Virginia, where the death penalty is liberally applied, and not that of New York, where, somehow, the crime rate has fallen anyway. In at least one New York case in which Ashcroft has overruled the local prosecutors, a plea agreement had been reached whereby, in exchange for his life, the defendant was going to provide information. What that defendant's incentive might now be is something of a mystery. Ashcroft, with an almost biblical bloodlust, has unfortunately become an ugly face of America abroad. In all of Europe -- and much of the rest of the world -- capital punishment has been abolished. Even some countries that retain it almost never use it anymore. It has become the sine qua non of a civilized nation: You don't torture, you don't execute. Almost every day, it seems, someone walks out of prison on account of DNA testing. Yet the Bush administration -- the president himself and his attorney general -- persists in believing in the infallibility of the system, not to mention its righteousness. " 2.27.03
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BUSH SUPREMES DECIDE TO BACK ABORTION PROTESTERS " The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a network of antiabortion protesters that shut down abortion clinics nationwide through sit-ins and human blockades during the 1980s and '90s could not be punished under the same federal laws used to fight organized crime. " 2.27.03
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BUSH TAX CUT ADVISER QUITS. MILLIONAIRE ACADEMIC MANKIW IS REPLACEMENT " R. Glenn Hubbard, the architect of President Bush's plan to slash taxes on corporate dividends and the last remaining member of the administration's original economic team, announced his resignation yesterday as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers....Opponents of Bush's tax policies have used the Mankiw-Elmendorf formula to charge that deficits that have appeared over the past two years will harm the economy over the long run, and that further tax cutting will make the situation worse." 2.27.03
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EDUCATION PRESIDENT BUSH LEAVES NEW YORK KIDS BEHIND THROUGH INADEQUATE FED FUNDING FOR STATES DUE TO TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH ""We rely on the state for a little over 80 percent of our operating funds," said Andrew Maddigan, a spokesman for the Buffalo school superintendent, Marion Canedo. The governor's budget would provide $32 million less than Buffalo received for the current school year. But to operate the same programs next year would cost the Buffalo school system an additional $30 million to $35 million because of contractual increases and other mandated expenses. So the gap that Buffalo would have to make up is $60 million or more. Mr. Maddigan said that would be impossible. " 2.27.03
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LABOR TARGETS NONUNION VOTERS TO DEFEAT BUSH "Union leaders meeting here have agreed to pour at least $20 million into a new political operation to mobilize nonunion voters -- especially blacks, Latinos and women -- in an effort to defeat President Bush in 2004. " 2.27.03
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BUSH'S AMTRAK FAILURE "The Bush administration has failed to offer any concrete ideas on how to resolve the nation's chronic underinvestment in rail. " 2.27.03
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"PRAYING FOR PAPEL INTERVENTION" "Pope John Paul II is causing heartburn among one of the president's key constituencies: conservative Catholics. The pope is unequivocally and fervently against the war in Iraq, and George W. Bush, who fancies himself something of a spiritual leader, has to grin and bear it. " 2.27.03
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BUSH SAYS HE KNOWS IRAQ HAS WMD. UN INSPECTORS NEED HIS PROOF "If Mr George Bush fails to cooperate with the UN inspectors, they should look for the evidence under his bed. If they do not find it there, they should go and see the president's psychoanalyst, having first equipped themselves with a mandate from the UN security council, and ask the following question: "Does a son necessarily have to complete his father's work?" If the answer is yes, please advise me at once: my father was a civil engineer and, when he retired, he may well have left unfinished projects for his heir to deal with. If the answer is no, demand that the psychoanalyst - on behalf of the UN, the US and the rest of the world - prescribe the necessary medication to his patient so that he no longer constitutes a threat to his country and to his planet." 2.27.03
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HOW THE WHITE HOUS MANIPULATES PRESS COVERAGE. INFORMED DEMOCRACY SUFFERS "So, first they ban you. Then they leave you stewing at the gate. Then they skip over you. And yesterday is not the first time we've been through that scenario. If you get in, and if Ari calls on you, he limits the number of questions you get. The Fox News reporter gets four, five or six a day. We get zero, one or two. If Ari takes your question, he more often than not evades the question. And if pressed, he dodges the question. Like today. " 2.27.03
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DONAHUE, MOST WATCHED SHOW ON MSNBC, GETS CUT AS NETWORK LURCHES TO THE RIGHT "While "Donahue" does badly trail both O'Reilly and CNN's Connie Chung in the ratings, those numbers have improved in recent weeks. So much so that the program is the top-rated show on MSNBC, beating even the highly promoted "Hardball With Chris Matthews."...A source close to Donahue claims that while he wasn't aware of the specific study, the tone and outcome aren't surprising. 'It's not a coincidence that this decision comes the same week that MSNBC announces its hired Dick Armey as a commentator and has both Jesse Ventura and Michael Savage joining the network as hosts. They're scared, and they decided to take the coward's road and slant towards the conservative crowd that watch Fox News.'" 2.27.03
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UNDER BUSH THE ATMOSPHERE HAS BECOME "PRE-FASCISTIC" AND DEMOCRACY IS ON THE ROPES "My guess though, is that, like it or not, want it or not, America is going to go to war because that is the only solution Bush and his people can see. The dire prospect that opens, therefore, is that America is going to become a mega-banana republic where the army will have more and more importance in Americans' lives. It will be an ever greater and greater overlay on the American system. And before it is all over, democracy, noble and delicate as it is, may give way. My long experience with human nature - I'm 80 years old now - suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state. Indeed, democracy is the special condition - a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already. " 2.26.03
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FIRST WE TAKE BAGHDAD, THEN WE TAKE BEIJING "This is not just twitchy, anti-war conspiracy talk. An outfit exists on 17th Street in Washington, DC, called the Project for the New American Century, explicitly committed to US mastery of the globe for the coming age. Its acolytes speak of "full spectrum dominance", meaning American invincibility in every field of warfare - land, sea, air and space - and a world in which no two nations' relationship with each other will be more important than their relationship with the US. There will be no place on earth, or the heavens for that matter, where Washington's writ does not run supreme. To that end, a ring of US military bases should surround China, with liberation of the People's Republic considered the ultimate prize. As one enthusiast puts it concisely: "After Baghdad, Beijing." If this sounds like the harmless delusions of an eccentric fringe, think again. The founder members of the project, launched in 1997 as a Republican assault on the Clinton presidency, form a rollcall of today's Bush inner circle. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle - they're all there. So too is Zalmay Khalilzad, now the White House's 'special envoy and ambassador-at-large for free Iraqis.'" 2.26.03
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BUSH DRAGS FEET ON DEALING WITH GLOBAL WARMING BY REPEATING PREVIOUSLY RESOLVED RESEARCH --NAS "The expert panel, convened by the National Academy of Sciences at the administration's request, said some of the plan's proposals for new research seemed to rehash questions that had already been largely settled.It also found that the plan listed dozens of disparate research goals without setting priorities - a particularly important failing, it said, inasmuch as the plan is intended to integrate about $1.7 billion a year in climate research now being conducted by more than a dozen agencies. The plan, the experts concluded, lacks "a guiding vision, executable goals, clear timetables and criteria for measuring progress, an assessment of whether existing programs are capable of meeting these goals, explicit prioritization and a management plan." 2.26.03
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BUSH TELLS GOVERNORS THE ECONOMIC BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THEY BACK HIS TAX PLAN, WHICH WILL UP THE NUMBER OF BEATINGS "Bush did not just stiff the nation's governors this week when they came seeking help in handling their ever-growing state deficits. He added insult to injury by lobbying the governors to support his latest wave of upper-bracket tax-cut proposals. These would cost the states an estimated $64 billion over the next decade beyond what they are suffering right now: total deficits of up to $50 billion this year and $80 billion next. As they plead for help, the president could only prescribe more of the same economic "cure" that helped to create the problem." 2.26.03
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BUSH TAX FREE INVESTMENT PLAN FOR THE RICH IS SO RADICAL THAT EVEN REPUBLICANS GAG ON IT "Less than a month after President Bush proposed a radical overhaul and expansion of individual retirement and savings accounts, the White House has abandoned the idea as a legislative priority. Administration officials say they still support the idea, which would allow nearly all Americans to avoid taxes on virtually their entire income from investments, but the officials no longer even mention it unless asked about it first....It was clear from the beginning that the savings proposals were not likely to make much headway in Congress quickly. In large part, the backpedaling reflects hostile reactions from Republicans who were not consulted in advance and were taken aback by the sweep of the Bush administration's proposals. Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they will not even begin to push for their pension proposals until this fall, and some say the plan could easily be dropped in the heat of negotiations about other issues. That is a significant retreat. When the administration announced the proposals on Jan. 31, officials called them a daring way to increase savings and expand retirement opportunities. President Bush created something of a storm when he included the retirement proposals in his budget plan early this month." 2.26.03
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SALESMAN BUSH PRACTICES BAIT AND SWITCH "A chronology of Bush saying one thing then doing another." 2.26.03
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BUSH PLAN SPEEDS UP TAX BREAKS FOR RICH, BUT NOT THE POOR "While the Bush administration's economic plan would speed up a variety of tax breaks, it would not accelerate two tax changes that experts say would greatly aid the nation's working poor...Given the proposed accelerations elsewhere in the tax package, both Lee and the Tax Policy Center's Burman said it was troubling the administration did not also want to speed up the benefits for low-income workers." 2.26.03
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GOT ANY GRAY HAIR? YOU'RE BUSH'S NEXT TARGET "The Bush administration has a plan (those are rapidly becoming the six most chilling words in the English language) to de-improve your pension. It allows companies to switch from traditional fixed-benefit retirement plans to what's called the cash-balance pension plan. You will be unsurprised to learn that corporations just love it because it saves them millions of dollars a year, as much as $100 million in the case of huge companies. Under the administration's proposed rules, companies can eat away at the retirement benefits they owe workers by using "reasonable" interest rates and mortality rates to calculate the value of a pension as the company converts to the cash-balance scheme. Presto: Hey, look honey, I shrunk your retirement package. The cash-balance plan is particularly harmful to older workers, so if you've got any gray hair, you might want to take a look at what they're about to do to you. " 2.26.03
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PARTICIPANT IN PRO-BUSH MIAMI-DADE RIOT, NOW A NY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, GOT FEDS TO STRIKE DOWN NY CODES OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT "The courts derive their legitimacy from their perceived neutrality. If judges are actively involved in partisan politics, their decisions will be seen as political, no different than a vote by a legislator. Judge Hurd said that concerns about bias could be addressed by judges recusing themselves on a case-by-case basis, as they would when a friend appeared in their courtroom. But judges are friends with only a small number of litigants, while political parties have views on a wide array of issues. People involved in many kinds of cases would wonder if they were being given a fair shake by a judge who has just returned from addressing a partisan political rally. Judge Hurd said in his decision that he did not know whether Justice Spargo's actions would "denigrate the integrity" of the judiciary. In fact, they already have. And Judge Hurd's decision will undermine the public's faith in the courts unless it is reversed." 2.26.03
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U.S. FIRMS BOUGHT OVER $1.6 BILLION IN IRAQI OIL OVER LAST TWO MONTHS "U.S. firms bought more than $1.6 billion of Iraqi oil over the last two months-nearly two-thirds of that country's total exports. Iraq is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the U.S. But oil isn't the only item we have traded with Saddam. We helped him build an agribusiness industry, and we sold him arms and equipment for Iraq's war with Iran in hopes he could act as a U.S. surrogate to keep Muslim fundamentalists at bay. However, in our busy rewrite of history, all that never happened." 2.26.03
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EVEN IF THINGS GO WELL, BUSH'S IRAQ WAR WILL BE A DIPLOMATIC DISASTER "The last war with Iraq greatly enhanced American prestige and influence. The irony is that this war with Iraq, intended by its proponents to consolidate United States hegemony, may erode and undermine it. Even if things go well, it could yield weakened American alliances and influence, a more anemic presence overseas, a diminished capacity to project power, fewer options and allies in the Middle East, and an increased threat of terrorism. From here, it looks like a bad bet against long odds. A committed Coalition of the Willing, drawn from allies and friends on six continents, won the last war in the gulf. This war will be fought by the United States, backed by a deeply divided Britain and a Coalition of the Sullenly Acquiescent." 2.26.03
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ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS INDICATE BUSH IS LYING ABOUT HIS WAR DECISION "President Bush has continued to say he has not yet decided whether to go to war. [Today Bush said, "If we go to war..."] But the message being conveyed in high-level contacts with other council governments is that a military attack on Iraq is inevitable, these officials and diplomats said. What they must determine, U.S. officials are telling these governments, is if their insistence that U.N. weapons inspections be given more time is worth the destruction of council credibility at a time of serious world upheaval....In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that "we're going ahead," whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said...."You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. 'That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not.'" " 2.26.03
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WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS LAUGHS AT BUSH LIE ABOUT NOT BUYING OFF NATIONS ""You're implying that nations allow themselves to be bought off and that just isn't the case." The whole room erupted in loud laughter. They reall did. Ari turned on his heel and left. The press corps was still laughing. " 2.26.03
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BUSH DEMANDS LOYALTY FROM UN COUNTRIES AND WILL PAY A LOT FOR IT "AMERICA faces a bill running into many billions of dollars even before the first missile strike against Iraq as it tries to coax, pressure and, if necessary, buy allied support.Washington’s unseemly cash-for-access wrangle with Turkey may involve big money, but it reflects only a small strand in a web of deals that the Bush Administration is trying to weave with potential allies in the Gulf, on the United Nations Security Council and in “new” Europe. " 2.26.03
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"WE HAVE TO BRIBE OTHER COUNTRIES" TO PARTICIPATE IN BUSH WAR "Now that Bush II wants another war with Iraq, not only is no other country offering to pay the bills, we have to bribe other countries to join up....Just a few weeks ago Israel was asking for $8 billion in commercial loan guarantees over and above the just less than $3 billion a year in aid it gets virtually automatically.....Israel also has asked for $4 billion in additional military assistance. What the United States gets for this is unclear. An agreement from Israel not to enter the war and aggravate Arab countries if Iraq launches only a few missiles? The aid is not contingent on progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then there's Turkey, recently rebuffed (correctly in my view) by France, Belgium and Germany after a request for NATO help if Iraq counter-attacked Turkey after a U.S. attack on Iraq. But don't weep for Turkey. It's getting AWACS and Patriot missiles anyway. And it's exacting a high and rising price for any agreement to allow U.S. forces to use bases in Turkish territory. A couple of weeks ago the United States was offering about $14 billion in direct aid and loan guarantees, up from a previous estimated price of $10 billion. Now the offer is around $26 billion ($6 billion grants, $20 billion loan guarantees) and Turkey says it's still too small. Turkey wants more like $32 billion, claiming it suffered costs in the last gulf war that were never compensated, expects to incur risks and costs this time, and needs a carrot to offer the Turkish people who, according to polls, overwhelmingly oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Turkey also wants to occupy some of the oil fields in the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq - and probably a guarantee from the United States to squelch any possible upstart Kurdish rebellion. Russia had an $8 billion oil deal, providing support services, equipment and the like, with Iraq. It is likely it is being coy just now in hopes of getting the best deal - not only a guarantee that U.S. taxpayers will cover that $8 billion in expected revenue if war makes the deal go sour, but a decent cut of the Iraqi oil spoils after the war. " 2.26.03
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BUSH'S OBSESSION WITH MONICA HUSSEIN HAS HIM IN BED WITH THE VERY COUNTRY "WHO DID THE WET WORK FOR THE K.G.B." "Our new best friends are the very people we used to protect our old best friends from. During the cold war, we safeguarded Old Europe from the Evil Empire. Now we have embraced the former Soviet Bloc satellites to protect us from the Security Council machinations of our former paramours France and Germany. NATO was created to protect Western Europe from the Communist hordes - namely the Bulgarians, who tried to outdo the bizarro Albanians as the most Stalinist regime in Eastern Europe and were renowned for the "thick necks" who did wet work for the K.G.B....As one Soviet expert put it, 'Bulgaria used to be Russia's lapdog. Now it's America's lapdog.'" 2.26.03
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"COALITION OF THE WILLING? MAKE THAT WAR CRIMINALS" "Until recently, the enforcement of international humanitarian law largely depended on the willingness of countries to try those responsible for grave breaches of the law. The creation of the International Criminal Court last year has, however, provided a stronger system of scrutiny and adjudication of violations of humanitarian law. The International Criminal Court now has jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity when national legal systems have not dealt with these crimes adequately. It attributes criminal responsibility to individuals responsible for planning military action that violates international humanitarian law and those who carry it out. It specifically extends criminal liability to heads of state, leaders of governments, parliamentarians, government officials and military personnel. Estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq suggest that up to quarter of a million people may die as a result of an attack using conventional weapons and many more will suffer homelessness, malnutrition and other serious health and environmental consequences in its aftermath. From what we know of the likely civilian devastation caused by the coalition's war strategies, there are strong arguments that attacking Iraq may involve committing both war crimes and crimes against humanity. Respect for international law must be the first concern of the Australian Government if it seeks to punish the Iraqi Government for not respecting international law. It is clearly in our national interest to strengthen, rather than thwart, the global rule of law. Humanitarian considerations should also play a major role in shaping government policy. But, if all else fails, it is to be hoped that the fact that there is now an international system to bring even the highest officials to justice for war crimes will temper the enthusiasm of our politicians for this war. " 2.26.03
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ADMINISTRATION NOW SETS PARTIAL COST OF WAR AT $95 BILLION, TOPS. 80% OF PREVIOUS WAR PAID BY OTHER COUNTRIES. THIS TIME WE WILL PAY THE BILL. CAN OUR BUDGET STAND IT? "About 80 percent of the 1991 Gulf War's cost was borne by U.S. allies. Administration officials said they expect the United States to pay most of the cost of a war in Iraq, although they would expect other countries to help with building a democratic Iraq after a war. A senior administration official said more than two dozen countries -- out of 191 U.N. member states -- have agreed to provide assistance, including troops, expertise, political support or donations to humanitarian groups.The officials said Defense Department planners are pegging the cost of the expected war at $60 billion to $95 billion. The long-term expense of occupying and rebuilding Iraq, as well as providing postwar humanitarian relief to as many as 2 million refugees, would be added to those costs, resulting in a marked increase in the $300 billion budget deficit the administration had projected for each of the next two years....Five weeks ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters that the administration was estimating the cost of a possible war at "under $50 billion." Now, several officials said they are working with an estimate of $80 billion just for the Pentagon, plus foreign aid and other expenses. The new figures provide a measure of vindication for Bush's former economic adviser, Lawrence B. Lindsey, who put the figure at $100 billion to $200 billion last fall, only to have other administration officials ridicule his estimate as excessive." 2.26.03
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WHY BUSH WATCH ESTIMATED THE COST OF WAR AT $0.7 TRILLION, WITH MASSIVE DEFICITS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE "The Bush budget implies a deficit of $5.4 trillion by the end of ten years, but the addition of a Bush Iraq war deficit of .7 trillion will push it up to $6.1 trillion, and assuming Bush will continue his ill-advised economic plans with a GOP Congress in place, the deficit by the end of his present term in office will reach $6.7 trillion. Bush plans to plunder the taxpayers' money coming in to support Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to bring down the deficit to $3.2 trillion, but pretty much eliminating the three programs by so doing, which is his ultimate goal, thereby destroying the key economic safety nets nearly all of the poor and most of the middle class have. By then, the government will have to delete 30% of its social programs or put heavy taxation in place to avoid doing so. Given the huge deficit we will still have at that point, "the temptation to print money to pay our debts will become almost irresistible." That being the case, inflation will set in, jobs will be lost, and wages will remain fixed as prices go up. By then, of course, ex-President Bush will be saying, "That's not my problem." It will be ours " 2.26.03
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PRO-AMERICAN ARABS FEEL BETRAYED BY BUSH IMPERIALISM, SEE IRAQ AS FIRST ARAB-AMERICAN WAR "A generation of Arabs wooed by the United States and persuaded by its principles has become among the most vociferous critics of America's world view. Within its ranks are affluent businessmen with ties to the West, U.S.-educated intellectuals and liberal activists. Their ire is directed not at U.S. culture, but at preparations for a war that they believe has left them voiceless, discredited and isolated in a landscape almost universally opposed to U.S. policy. To them, the Bush administration's talk of a more democratic Arab world is rendered hollow by its policy toward the Palestinians and Iraq. They see their desire for more secular, progressive societies overwhelmed by growing radicalism and religious fervor, a tide so pronounced that it has caught even mainstream Islamic activists off guard. In sentimental tones, they lament the end of an era in which the United States appeared as a beacon. "As far as I am concerned, this is going to be the first American-Arab war," said Mohamed Kamal, a professor at Cairo University. "If it ends with an American presence in Iraq, people have one description for this -- this is occupation, this is an American occupation of Arab land. America never had a colonial legacy in this part of the world, but it is about to have one." The shift among the Arab ruling and intellectual classes who identified with the West is a telling barometer in the Arab world. Anger at the United States appears greater than at any time since the 1967 Middle East war, greater even than during the headiest days of the 1950s, when Gamal Abdel Nasser ruled Egypt and made anti-imperialism a staple of his still-celebrated speeches. The fate of Iraqis and, to a greater degree, that of Palestinians have become pressing domestic issues. " 2.26.03
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BUSH LIES AND LIES AND LIES AND LIES "Credibility isn't just about punishing people who cross you. It's also about honoring promises, and telling the truth. And those are areas where the Bush administration has problems....I can't think of anyone other than the hard right and corporate lobbyists who has done a deal with Mr. Bush and not come away feeling betrayed.... These days, whenever Mr. Bush makes a promise — like his new program to fight AIDS in Africa — experienced Bushologists ask, "O.K., that's the bait, where's the switch?" (Answer: Much of the money will be diverted from other aid programs, such as malaria control.) Then there's the honesty thing. Mr. Bush's mendacity on economic matters was obvious even during the 2000 election. But lately it has reached almost pathological levels....Americans may not fully appreciate is the extent to which similarly unfounded claims have, in the eyes of much of the world, discredited the administration's foreign policy.... The rest of the world simply doesn't trust Mr. Bush either to honor his promises or to tell the truth." 2.25.03
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TEN PUNDITS SAY BUSH IS A LIAR "Bush lies So often and in so many different ways that I've never had the patience to keep a list of them. However, when I write something and include the generalization that Bush lies, some readers will write in and say, "Oh, yeh? What did he lie about? I don't believe it." What follows, then, is an informal listing of just some of the lies he typically tells, starting from February, 2001. " 2.25.03
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BUSH SAYS TORT REFORM NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE, BUT ROVE'S COMMENTS, CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS SUGGEST THAT'S A LIE "For those who argue that President Bush's support for limiting jury awards has nothing to do with politics, a complication has emerged: His top political adviser, Karl Rove, has taken credit for the issue....Though Bush has said a civil liability revamp, specifically his plan to limit medical malpractice awards, "is not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue," Rove's claim of paternity suggests otherwise....At the national level, Bush's support for overhauling civil liability law has won him friends among insurers and doctors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, health care professionals and insurers have given two-thirds of their $71 million in contributions to Republicans in the past two years...As Slater and Moore write, Rove was then a consultant to Philip Morris, an advocate for tort reform. As part of his work for the tobacco company, Rove in 1996 provided advice on a "push poll" to see how best to damage then-Texas Attorney General Dan Morales, who was threatening to sue the tobacco industry. Rove presented a copy of the findings to Bush's office. Rove's claim of responsibility for the tort reform issue is somewhat at odds with a deposition he gave during the tobacco lawsuit. Asked whether he discussed overhauling civil liability law with then-Gov. Bush, he replied: "I can't say that I did. But I can't say that I didn't. I do not recall. I know that tort reform was a significant part of his legislative agenda but it was not my area."..In an interview for a book published this week, Rove claimed responsibility for talking Bush into the subject of "tort reform" when he was packaging Bush for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial race....Slater and Moore write that while tort reform is standard Republican fare, "Rove wanted that issue elevated because he knew that its most ardent advocates in Texas could provide millions of dollars in campaign contributions needed to unseat [former Texas governor Ann] Richards." 2.25.03
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BUSH LIES WITH "BETTER FRIEND" BULL "Last week, Bush said Turkey has "no better friend" than America. A month earlier, he told Poland's leader "I've got no better friend in Europe." Israel's Ariel Sharon "has got no better friend than the United States," which, in turn, has "no better friend in the world than Great Britain." Even the Philippines has earned "no better friend" status. " 2.25.03
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DEMS SAY "NO MORE MR. NICE GUY" "Democrats lost the 2002 elections because they didn't know how to confront President Bush, because they didn't have a coherent approach to national security and because they lacked a domestic program with the power to inspire voters....Democrats have relearned a basic lesson of politics: If the opposition party is reluctant to oppose -- and criticize and even excoriate -- a large portion of the electorate will decide that the incumbent must not be so bad.True, voters say they don't like partisanship. But partisan voters account for a large share of the electorate, as Bush understood in 2002 when he did so much to get Republicans to the polls. And if swing voters don't like political attacks, they are influenced by the overall political climate. In 2002 Democrats conditioned them in Bush's favor by failing to take him on. No More Mr. Nice Guy was the theme of this week's DNC meeting." 2.25.03
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PENTAGON TRASHES BUSH MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN "It is a rare thing when an outside critique of the president's most cherished weapons project is validated by an official Pentagon agency, so let me gloat for a moment. In yesterday's Slate, I wrote that the Missile Defense system-which George W. Bush wants to start deploying next year, without first subjecting its components to serious testing-was not remotely ready for prime time. Tests conducted to date have been few and have not even pretended to simulate the complexities of shooting down an enemy's ballistic missile (much less missiles). Key elements of such a system are at an early stage of research and development; some do not exist in any form. Finally, there are reasons to doubt whether an anti-missile system can ever be successful, no matter how much money is spent (and at $9.1 billion next year, on top of $70 billion spent over the past two decades, Bush is giving it a major financial boost)....I did not know it at the time, but also yesterday the Pentagon's Office of Operational Test and Evaluation released its annual report, a 300-plus-page booklet that delves into every U.S. weapon in the Defense budget. And the section on Missile Defense makes many of the same observations, plus some." 2.25.03
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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS TO 9 YEAR LOW "Consumer confidence plunged in February to its lowest level in more than nine years, the Conference Board reported today, as concerns about a war with Iraq, rising energy prices and jobs took a toll on attitudes. The consumer confidence index, a monthly measure, fell to a reading of 64 from 78.8 in January. The drop is the second-biggest ever. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Conference Board's index fell by 17 points. The February reading was the third straight month in which consumers expressed waning optimism about their immediate and medium-term prospects. " 2.25.03
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U.S. "USING MILITARY MACHINE TO EXTEND ECONOMIC LIFE." ECONOMIC BLOWBACK FROM OTHER NATIONS POSSIBLE. "There are several means of contesting the unilateral power of the US, but perhaps the most immediate and effective one is to accelerate its economic crisis. Already, strategists in China are suggesting that the yuan should replace the dollar as east Asia's reserve currency. Over the past year, as the Observer revealed on Sunday, the euro has started to challenge the dollar's position as the international means of payment for oil. The dollar's dominance of world trade, particularly the oil market, is all that permits the US Treasury to sustain the nation's massive deficit, as it can print inflation-free money for global circulation. If the global demand for dollars falls, the value of the currency will fall with it, and speculators will shift their assets into euros or yen or even yuan, with the result that the US economy will begin to totter. Of course an economically weakened nation in possession of overwhelming military force remains a very dangerous one. Already, as I suggested last week, the US appears to be using its military machine to extend its economic life. But it is not clear that the American people would permit their government to threaten or attack other nations without even a semblance of an international political process, which is, of course, what the Bush administration is currently destroying." 2.25.03
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BUSH GUNS AND BUTTER WILL NOT WORK. WHO PAYS FOR WAR? "Even imperial powers that devise more subtle ways to cover costs usually end up confounded. Britain bankrupted itself in two world wars waged, in part, to protect its worldwide empire. The U.S., itself, has some experience with this, from the Vietnam era. Vietnam was known as the guns and butter war. Usually, when governments fight wars, they cut back on domestic spending (butter) to concentrate on armaments (guns). However, the Vietnam war was not popular in the U.S. and so the government of the day was reluctant to force its population to make sacrifices. The result: War spending rose, domestic spending rose, inflation rose - leading to the disruption of the international monetary system and two decades of stunted growth. These days, U.S. President George W. Bush seems to be making the same mistake. His state of the union address was a clarion call for guns and butter - war on Iraq coupled with tax cuts at home, a combination that virtually guarantees big budgetary deficits. If the U.S. economy were shockproof, this might work. But it is not. " 2.25.03
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BUSH WAR PROSPECT IS HARMING THE ECONOMY, BUT A COSTLY WAR COULD CAUSE A RECESSION "This much is certain: A drop in corporate spending concerns financial analysts, such as Ethan Harris, chief U.S economist at Lehman Brothers in New York. He points out the United States is still recovering from a rash of corporate scandals and the continued specter of terrorism. The prospect of war could tip the fragile economy into further trouble, he said. Already, the unemployed are finding it harder to find jobs. About 20 percent of the unemployed remain jobless for more than half a year, up from 14 percent a year ago, he said. But what concerns Harris even more is what could happen in the event of a war that does not go according to Pentagon plans. "That's the environment where one major shock to the system is enough to cause a recession," he said. 'A bad war could do it.'" 2.25.03
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BUSH HELD IN CONTEMPT IN ENGLAND, WHILE U.S. MIDWESTERNERS WANT TO BELIEVE "THEIR PENSION PLANS ARE BEING WRECKED FOR GOOD REASON" "The caricature of the current state of public opinion is that there are these two polarised continents: Europe, where everyone is against a war on Iraq except Tony Blair and some Spanish bloke with a moustache, and America, where everyone is absolutely gagging for it... That is worse than an over-simplification. The polls vary, depending on what question is asked and how it is phrased, but on the whole the same lack of enthusiasm for the venture pervades every set of findings, and the difference between one side of the Atlantic and another is not all that marked. And there is an altogether more mysterious phenomenon: it is surprisingly hard, even in the US, to find people who share their leaders' enthusiasm." 2.25.03
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RUMSFELD "PRINCIPLE CULPRIT" IN "DANGEROUSLY INEPT" WAR ADMINISTRATION "The administration's efforts to rally support for war have been dangerously inept, and Rumsfeld has been a principal culprit. The administration's mistakes have now produced so much opposition that the United States will face serious political problems in the future, no matter how quick or decisive the victory in Iraq....To a world that is already suspicious of unilateral American power, these American ninjas -- licensed by the Pentagon to assassinate those who are deemed America's enemies -- will hardly be welcome. They are another sign of this administration's decision to treat the world as a global battlefield and to rewrite the rules with friends and allies accordingly. We may indeed be living in such a global battlefield, especially if the Iraq war goes badly. But to operate effectively against its enemies, the United States will need friends, and strong political support at home and abroad. That's the part that Rumsfeld, like McNamara before him, seems to have forgotten." 2.25.03
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NORTH KOREA TESTS MISSILES AS "PROVOCATIVE REMINDER" "North Korea, in a provocative reminder of the tense security situation on the Korean Peninsula, on Monday conducted its first missile launching test in three years, South Korea's Yonyap news agency said today. The move by North Korea appeared to be an attention-getting measure as a new South Korean president, who has vowed to be aggressive in reshaping his country's relationship with the United States, prepares to take office today....Anti-American sentiment has grown in South Korea over the last year, including large street protests this winter against the American troop presence here. Although he has distanced himself from those demonstrations, Mr. Roh has spoken frequently and with apparent conviction about the need to "rebalance" the alliance with the United States, an ally that he has complained has become inattentive and overbearing." 2.25.03
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BLOWBACK? S. KOREA, CHINA, AUSTRALIA TELL POWELL TO DEAL WITH N. KOREA, HIMSELF "The Bush administration suffered a setback in its North Korea policy on Monday, as officials in China, Australia and South Korea urged the United States to begin direct talks with North Korea about its nuclear weapons programs, a strategy Washington has repeatedly rejected....The Bush administration contends that a group of nations could place far greater pressure on North Korea to abandon its programs than one nation alone. It has also called on Russia, South Korea, Japan and particularly China to play larger roles in pushing North Korea to disarm. But those countries have balked at taking more forceful action against the North Koreans. On Monday, three of the countries the administration had hoped would join a forum said Washington cannot ignore the North's demands and should enter into direct talks with North Korea." 2.25.03
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REPORTS SAY MEMBERS OF PAKISTANI INTELLIGENCE HELPING REVIVED AL QAEDA OFFENSIVE VS. AMERICAN TROOPS "TO THE LIST of threats coinciding with the crisis in Iraq add the possibility that U.S. troops in Afghanistan will face an offensive this spring from revived forces of the Taliban and al Qaeda based in Pakistan. Already, in the past few weeks, American units deployed in the southeastern border provinces have been engaged in the heaviest fighting in nearly a year, and attempted ambushes of patrols and rocket attacks on bases have steadily increased. Senior officials of the Afghan government say former Taliban and al Qaeda militants have joined with those of another Islamic extremist, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and are amassing funds, weapons and communications for a concerted campaign once the worst of winter is over. The staging grounds are two Pakistani provinces populated by the same Pashtun ethnic group that dominates southern Afghanistan. Even more disturbing, several reports say that the regrouping has been supported by elements of Pakistan's military intelligence agency, which helped to create the Taliban and backed it until the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001....Sooner or later the administration must face the fact that Pakistan has become the base for terrorists who seek to undo everything that has happened since Sept. 11 in Afghanistan." 2.25.03
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"HOW THE NEWS WILL BE CENSORED IN THIS WAR" "Already, the American press is expressing its approval of the coverage of American forces which the US military intends to allow its reporters in the next Gulf war. The boys from CNN, CBS, ABC and The New York Times will be "embedded" among the US marines and infantry. The degree of censorship hasn't quite been worked out. But it doesn't matter how much the Pentagon cuts from the reporters' dispatches. A new CNN system of "script approval" - the iniquitous instruction to reporters that they have to send all their copy to anonymous officials in Atlanta to ensure it is suitably sanitised - suggests that the Pentagon and the Department of State have nothing to worry about. Nor do the Israelis." 2.25.03
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SADDAM TOLD RATHER HE WILL NOT DESTROY UN BANNED MISSILES "Saddam Hussein said yesterday that he would resist demands by Hans Blix, a chief United Nation weapons inspector, to destroy Iraq's Al Samoud missiles...Mr. Hussein, the Iraqi president, made the comments in an interview yesterday with the CBS News anchor, Dan Rather, the first American journalist to interview Mr. Hussein since President Bush declared his intention to disarm Iraq. " 2.25.03
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RICE POINTS TO SADDAM REFUSAL AS ONE MORE REASON FOR WAR RESOLUTION TO UN BY U.S., BRITAIN, SPAIN "In a three-hour interview with Dan Rather of CBS News, parts of which were to be broadcast Tuesday, Mr. Hussein said that none of its missiles violated the range limits set by the United Nations and that "Iraq is allowed to prepare proper missiles and we are committed to that," an article on the CBS Web site said.At the White House tonight, Ms. Rice waved off Mr. Hussein's arguments about whether he would comply with Mr. Blix's demands on the missiles. "I can absolutely predict" she said, that Mr. Hussein will offer "a little cooperation in hopes that he can release the pressure." Then, she said, "he goes back to cheating and retreating and deceiving again." She noted that the new resolution was constructed to recall many of the provisions that the Council adopted in November. More time to coax Iraq along, she said, would only allow Mr. Hussein to try to 'split the Council trying to play public opinion.' " 2.25.03
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SADDAM HAS PLAYED INTO BUSH'S HANDS "Desn't anyone over there read NYT and WP on the Internet and give the man daily briefings? The deal is this: Bush wanted the UN to create some new action for Saddam to prove his willingness to cooperate with the UN in its attempt to disarm him of WMD. The ploy was to start from scratch, right now, since the Bush-Powell team has lost credibility with respect to previous evidence, such as mis-sized aluminum tubes. Blix and the UN cooperated and came up with something Saddam reported in his 12,000 page document. The UN previously warned Iraq that its design for Samoud 2 missiles would create missiles that would exceed a previously agreed upon limit of 93 miles. But Saddam had them built anyway, then included the results of the testing of those missiles in the report. The missiles reportedly went 100+ miles, but Saddam claimed that was because they did not include the weight of the payload and guidance system, which would put them within the 93 mile range." 2.25.03
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FRANCE, GERMANY, RUSSIAN, WITH CHINESE BACKING, CALL FOR LONGER INSPECTIONS IN MEMO "The memorandum calls for tougher inspections, including precise deadlines for Iraq to disarm, an increase in the number of inspectors, the creation of mobile units to inspect movable targets like trucks, better aerial spying on Iraqi sites and better processing of the spy data. Under this proposal, the chief inspectors would report on Iraq's progress every three weeks. Apparently in an effort to head off criticism that the three-nation initiative is a tactic to avoid a decision on going to war, the declaration stated that inspections "cannot continue indefinitely," adding: 'Iraq must disarm. Its full and active cooperation is necessary.' " 2.25.03
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Would many of us be so eager to go to war if it was happening HERE rather than THERE? "My beautiful Sarajevo, it is a city of ghosts," said a young Croatian woman I was helping with her English. I accompanied her as she became a Canadian citizen and listened as she talked about how peaceful Canada is and how she no longer listens for the sound of bombs. I tried to imagine what she, her sister and her mother experienced in Sarajevo while the bombs whistled overhead as they went each morning to find out which of their neighbours were dead and which were alive. And I could not imagine because I had always lived Here and the wars have always been There. In London, in Sarajevo, in Stalingrad, in Hiroshima, in Cambodia, in Vietnam, in Chechnya. Never in Montreal or Toronto, or Winnipeg, or Calgary or Vancouver. And soon there will be another war There. In Iraq -- where mothers will cover their children with their own bodies in a doomed effort to save them. Where men and women alike will run screaming from the bombs. Where starvation will become king and illness will reign. " 2.25.03
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DEBORAH COOK IS THE TYPICAL BUSH NOMINEE. SO WATCH OUT "She is now President Bush's nominee to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. Ms. Cook is no Miguel Estrada, the so-called conservative "stealth nominee," who is facing a Senate filibuster. Blacks are not rallying against her, the way they are against Charles Pickering, the Trent Lott protégé who lobbied the Justice Department to go easy on a convicted cross-burner. Disabled people are not lined up against her, as they are against Jeffrey Sutton, who argued a major case that weakened the Americans With Disabilities Act. Deborah Cook, a 51-year-old onetime corporate lawyer from Akron, Ohio, may actually be the most utterly typical of the Bush administration's judicial nominees. Which is why, based on her judicial record, we should all be very worried about the future of the federal courts. In eight years on the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Cook has been a steady voice against injured workers, discrimination victims and consumers. The court's most prolific dissenter, she frequently breaks with her Republican colleagues to side with big business and insurance companies. Often she reaches for a harsh legal technicality to send a hapless victim home empty-handed. " 2.25.03
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POWELL'S KID SERVICES A REVOLVING DOOR AT FCC BETWEEN REGULATORS AND THOSE THEY REGULATE "Powell’s senior legal advisor on cable matters, Susan Eid, was vice president of federal relations for Media One Group, one of the country’s largest cable companies. Powell’s Chief of Staff Marsha McBride came back to the FCC after a stint as vice president of government relations for the Walt Disney Co. Before ducking through the revolving door to join Disney, McBride held several top staff positions within the FCC. She originally joined the FCC in 1991, after a six-year career as a communications lawyer in Washington. John Muleta, who last week took over as chief of the agency’s powerful Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, came directly from Source 1 Technologies LLC, where he was president and CEO. Muleta previously worked at the FCC from 1994-1998, serving in the Common Carrier Bureau and the Office of Plans and Policy. He served as deputy bureau chief there and was chief of the Enforcement Division. After leaving the FCC, Muleta worked at PSINet, Inc. He began his career at GTE Corp. and later worked at Coopers & Lybrand Consulting, LLC, before joining the FCC in 1994. When Attwood left the Wireline Competition Bureau, she was replaced by Washington attorney William Maher. Maher came to the FCC from the telecommunications law firm of Halprin, Temple, Goodman & Maher. Before that, he was at the U.S. Department of Commerce assisting on telecommunications issues. Prior to that job, he was at the FCC as a special counsel for competitive issues. " 2.25.03
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DEMS HAVE DECIDED TO FOCUS ON BUSH'S LIES "After months of searching for a unified political attack against President Bush, congressional Democrats have settled on a new and, some say, controversial strategy: questioning the president's truthfulness.On an almost daily basis now, congressional Democrats are warning of a "credibility gap" between what Bush says to the American people and what he does through new government policies....Last week, with most members away for the Presidents' Day recess, Democratic leaders circulated "Caught on Film: a photo history of the Bush credibility gap," highlighting "various examples of the Administration making promises at various photo-ops and then slashing funding for the very priorities it stressed." It covered everything from education to programs for the poor." 2.24.03
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LATEST BUSH LIE: HE CITES REPORT THAT DOESN'T EXIST "There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.Bush and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer went out of their way Thursday to cite a new survey by "Blue-Chip economists" that the economy would grow 3.3 percent this year if the president's tax cut proposal becomes law. That was news to the editor who assembles the economic forecast. "I don't know what he was citing," said Randell E. Moore, editor of the monthly Blue Chip Economic Forecast, a newsletter that surveys 53 of the nation's top economists each month. "I was a little upset," said Moore, who said he complained to the White House. 'It sounded like the Blue Chip Economic Forecast had endorsed the president's plan. That's simply not the case.'" 2.24.03
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IRAQ WAR HIDING BUSH ECONOMIC WAR ON THE NON-RICH AMIDST REPORTS OF EVEN MORE ENRON MISMANAGEMENT " Reform of corporate mismanagement, malpractice and tax-dodging is being overshadowed by George W Bush's latest fiscal plans and prep arations for war. Economists estimate the Enron and WorldCom scandals cost the US up to £26 billion in a year. Bush -- who most voters see as overly cosy with big business and who has several multi- millionaires in his Cabinet -- is proposing to eliminate taxes on corporate dividends. Over the next decade, that alone will cost the country almost as much as the projected deficit. The federal deficit, sure to continue ballooning if there is war, is expected to reach a record 3% of the gross domestic product next year. In a rare split with the Bush administration that grabbed the headlines earlier this month, Alan Greenspan, chair of the Federal Reserve Bank, warned that the projected shortfall of £190bn will endanger consumers. The New York Times has dubbed parts of Bush's proposal mean-spirited. Now in the hands of Congress, it would increase rents for the poorest people in public housing -- those who are ill or jobless and facing eviction. " 2.24.03
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BUSH PROPOSES SCREWING ELDERLY, DISABLED, POOR ON MEDICARE AND MEDICAID WITH LESS SECURITY, FEWER GUARANTEED BENEFITS, AND MORE FINANCIAL RISK "States would have far more power to determine who receives what benefits in the Medicaid program, which covers 45 million low-income Americans. The elderly would rely more on private health plans, and less on the government, for their health benefits under Medicare, which covers 40 million elderly and disabled people. " 2.24.03
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WELL FINANCED CONSERVATIVE FORCES WISH FOR RACIAL WORLD OF 1957 "A glance at the current challenges to affirmative action in higher education would show little more than the fact that a number of white applicants have asserted in court that they were illegally denied admission to college or law school because of preferences given to racial or ethnic minorities. A closer look at these challenges, however, would show that they are largely being driven by a huge, complex and extraordinarily well-financed web of conservative and right-wing organizations that in many cases are hostile not just to affirmative action but to the very idea of a multiracial, pluralistic America....An unchallenged right-wing war against the very idea of diversity will turn us back in the direction of the noxious beliefs spewed out by National Review in 1957...In those days blacks were frozen out of the mainstream of American life, routinely turned (or shoved) away not just from public schools, but from hotels, restaurants and movie theaters, from department stores and soda fountains, from most trades and professions, from polling booths and hospitals, from even the semblance of a shot at equal opportunity. " 2.24.03
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WILL THE BUSH SUPREME COURT PROTECT US FROM HIS ATTACK ON THE CONSTITUTION IN THE NAME OF ENDLESS WAR? "After 200 years Americans are so accustomed to judges having the last word that alternatives seem unthinkable. We rely on the courts to enforce what the Constitution promises us.But in one area the courts have disappointed us. In time of war, actual or threatened, they have repeatedly abdicated their function, bowing to claims of national security. A dramatic example in the last century was the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; bowing to government claims that they were a security threat, the Supreme Court, in the Korematsu case, refused to interfere.We are now headed for a profound test of our commitment to the Constitution in time of war: the war on terrorism, as President Bush has proclaimed it. His administration has taken steps that radically impinge on the right to counsel and other fundamental liberties. Will the courts, in the end the Supreme Court, subject those measures to real constitutional scrutiny, or give way to arguments of war emergency?" 2.24.03
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BUSH INSIDER RECOMMENDED ESTRADA TO AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AS NONPARISAN EVALUATOR "The lawyer who recommended the American Bar Association's highest rating for controversial appellate judge candidate Miguel Estrada took part in partisan Republican activities during his term as a nonpartisan judicial nomination evaluator for the Bar, according to records and interviews. While serving on the ABA's nonpartisan Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, veteran Washington lawyer Fred F. Fielding also worked for the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, accepted an appointment from the Bush administration and helped found a group to promote and run ads supporting Bush judicial nominees, including Estrada.Fielding evaluated Estrada in the month after President George W. Bush nominated him on May 9, 2001, ABA officials said. That was just weeks after Fielding vetted executive appointments for Bush's transition team and a year before he helped start the partisan Committee for Justice, records show. The overlap has thrust Fielding - and his evaluation that led to the 15-member ABA Standing Committee's unanimous vote to rate Estrada "well qualified" - into the heated political battle over Estrada's nomination to the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court. " 2.24.03
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U.S. EQUIVOCATION ABOUT NORTH KOREA HARMING RELATIONSHIP WITH SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN "The Japanese are on the spot because the U.S. alliance with South Korea is defunct, and there is no point in insisting on it any more," said Robyn Lim, a regional security expert at Nanzan University in Japan. 'The U.S. alliance with Japan is integrally linked with the U.S. alliance with South Korea. Indeed, since the Korean War, the American presence in South Korea has been as much about protecting Japan as it was about South Korea.'" 2.24.03
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BUSH IMAGE CONTINUES TO WORSEN OVERSEAS "Around the globe many think he's a greater threat to peace than Hussein " 2.24.03
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"A ROUGH-RIDING COWBOY IN THE HOLY GHOST CORRAL" "It should be no surprise that, when President Bush was asked his favourite philosopher, his unhesitating reply was "Jesus Christ". After all, his biography comes straight out of the country singer's lifestyle manual, from the problems with alcohol, the confusion of his youth, to the fervent, aggressive born-again religious belief cut with an affection for hard-line politics and capital punishment - indeed, Paycheck's song "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone To Kill" could have been the theme tune to Bush's tenure as governor of Texas." 2.24.03
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POOR AFRICAN NATIONS IN SECURITY COUNCIL BELIEVE THERE WILL BE A U.S. PAYOFF FROM BACKING BUSH ON IRAQ "Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched in recent days to the capitals of key Security Council countries, where they are warning leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq or risk "paying a heavy price." For some of the countries, such as Angola, Guinea and Cameroon -- poor African nations whose concerns drew little attention before they landed seats on the council -- there is the possibility that supporting Washington's drive for a new U.N. resolution authorizing war may reap benefits down the line. "For a long time now, we have been asking for help to rebuild our country after years of war," said Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins. 'No one is tying the request to support on Iraq, but it is all happening at the same time.'" 2.24.03
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BUSH LIKELY SHARES CHENEY'S "UNREASONING VENOM" TOWARDS UN, AND ITS REJECTION OF BUSH WOULD PROVE IT IS RELEVANT "The Bush administration's attitude to the United Nations is extraordinary. We know that its more ideological members, such as Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, and the curiously invisible Vice-President Dick Cheney, dislike the UN with an unreasoning venom akin to that shown by British Eurosceptics towards the European Union. They regard the UN almost as a socialist conspiracy, an alien supranational power planted on Manhattan as a standing affront to the values of freedom and democracy...It must be suspected that George Bush himself shares much of this view. Yet he is also a practical politician of some skill, and recognised that domestic opinion was allergic to the idea of the US going into a war on Iraq alone. He realised that the UN was a way of mobilising the "coalition of the willing" against Saddam Hussein." 2.24.03
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"I DON'T BELIEVE POWELL" "Maybe all Saddam wants is a chance to gas or sicken or nuke somebody. But isn't there a chance that he wants things that, to his mind, are worth trading for some of the things the civilized world wants? What?! Allow this madman to blackmail us? We don't describe it as blackmail when the North Koreans imply their willingness to trade a few atomic bombs for desperately needed economic assistance. We don't call it blackmail when our pals the Turks, learning how much our war plans hinge on using bases in their country, tell us that the price of their cooperation has doubled -- pay up or find yourself another launching pad." 2.24.03
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U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTORS SAY U.S. WASTING THEIR TIME WITH PHONY INTELLIGENCE "US spy chiefs were branded "time wasters " yesterday after weapons inspectors rubbished their evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Angry and frustrated at being given vague or wrong information, a senior member of the UN team said they had been fed "garbage after garbage after garbage". The inspector said: " It took a long time for the US to hand over intelligence in the first place and when they did it has proved to be highly inaccurate. "Intelligence is circumstantial, outdated or completely wrong. It's wasting our time and our resources. "Frankly, we have better things to do than run around the country chasing bogus so-called evidence." The broadside will fuel UN Security Council opposition to war on Iraq just as the US and Britain seek a new resolution supporting the use of force. " 2.24.03
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FORMER PM MAJOR SAYS IRAQ WAR COULD LEAD TO MIDEAST CIVIL WAR BETWEEN MUSLIM GROUPS "The former prime minister John Major yesterday warned that Saddam Hussein may try to create Armageddon by blowing up the oilfields of Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia if he is attacked by the west. He also suggested it may be impossible to create a unified and stable Iraq if President Saddam is toppled, instead predicting there may be a civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims throughout the Middle East. . " 2.24.03
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"BLAIR HASN'T EVEN CONVINCED HIS OWN SECURITY ESTABLISHMENT" TO GO TO WAR "Why now? The question is of course being asked by those opposed to a war against Iraq, and those who have not made up their minds. But it has also been asked by one of the most senior Whitehall officials at the centre of the fight against terrorism. The message was clear: the threat posed by Islamist extremists is much greater than that posed by Saddam Hussein. And it will get worse when the US and Britain attack Iraq." 2.24.03
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SADDAM DRAGS FEET ON DESTROYING MISSILES, FRANCE SAYS GET RID OF THEM, POWELL TO PROPOSE MILITARY FORCE "Iraq's ambiguous reaction to a United Nations demand made on Friday for the destruction of the missiles came as diplomatic maneuvering intensified ahead of a Security Council resolution to be submitted by the United States and Britain. The resolution is expected to declare that Iraq is not in compliance with orders to disarm and would face military force" 2.24.03
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WE NEED TO HEAR FROM DEMS ON IRAQ "The Democratic presidential aspirants have been pussyfooting around the Iraq question, wanting to have it both ways on whether to support President Bush's rush-to-war. The time has come for them to show some backbone. They should declare their position clearly and point to peaceful options that the president has no time for. Speaking of clarity, I salute Bush for his laser-focused campaign against Saddam Hussein, even if he ignores facts and history. Also getting strong marks for clarity would be Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who is just as hawkish as Bush. It's disappointing that the Democrats don't have a leading candidate to challenge that point of view with the force of moral clarity. Most of the leading candidates are straddling the fence, reluctant to take a firm stand one way or another. These wafflers should get C-minus grades when voters are passing out grades for leadership. At a time when the Democrats need giants to challenge the incumbent president, they are surrounded by "me too" candidates. If it gets down to Lieberman, Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts or Joseph Biden of Delaware, the voters will have scant choice in '04 and may feel they have to stick with the known quantity. " 2.24.03
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CLINTON VET SAYS GOP IMPEACHMENT ACTIONS PREVENTED CLINTO FROM IRAQ GROUND WAR IN 1998 "France grumbled and Germany was unhappy -- on the eve of the attack a long phone call from the secretary of state failed to persuade German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. But once the campaign began, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder issued the following statement: "Saddam Hussein had to know that the international community could not tolerate his behavior. There is no question whatsoever about our solidarity with the international community, and with our alliance partners the United States and Britain." The year, of course, was not 2003 but 1998, and the president was not George W. Bush but Bill Clinton. Madeleine Albright was the secretary of state. It's interesting to think about what else was different -- and how much was not. Saddam Hussein was clearly the same, as, on the other side, was Tony Blair. More strikingly, the U.S. administration was driven to much the same conclusions by the same logic. There was no doctrine of preemption, no contempt for multilateralism, no Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld. But Clinton, too, perceived the evil -- or unholy -- axis, and the imperative that the United States stand up to the gathering threat. So what is different? One Clinton veteran deeply involved in the events of 1998 answered that question for me in two words: "September 11th." Though it endorsed regime change in Iraq, the Clinton administration, which was fighting off impeachment, simply did not have the wherewithal to contemplate a ground invasion; it settled for a 70-hour air campaign. Five years later, with the country on a war footing and the president focused, decisive action is an option." 2.24.03
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THE AL-ARIAN DEFENSE "The government's long-running investigation, like the university's actions, has been troubling at times. Mr. Al-Arian's brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar, was held on secret evidence for nearly four years while the government pursued his deportation. But the indictment suggests that many people were too reflexive in their disbelief that an urbane, politically active professor -- one who had been to the White House and who regularly talked to journalists -- could be a genuine terrorist, and in their automatic assumption that he must be a victim of university railroading and FBI abuses." 2.24.03
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PUBLIC DOESN'T SEEM TO KNOW HOW DANGEROUS BUSH ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE IS "We shouldn't call it a stimulus package until there is evidence to show that in fact it is a stimulus package. Right now there is no such evidence. It's a horrendous bill. This must be well known by every single member of Congress, and I am sure that it is clear in the reports from the Congressional Budget Office, which has always done a good job. But the public does not seem to be aware of the extraordinarily serious consequences of this stimulus package. The deficits being contemplated are out of sight. Each and every measure in this package contemplates long-term cuts in revenues, which means that the government will not have the revenues it needs to pay its bills. These bills fund extremely necessary things like Social Security, Medicare, and an effective military....There are four problems with the so-called stimulus package. The first is that it creates deficits so large that one cannot even contemplate how we are going to pay for our governmental needs but especially our promises to the elderly - Medicare and Social Security, programs that have been extraordinarily popular and for very good reason. Second, because the tax cuts are long term and permanent, it's very likely that instead of being a stimulus, they will act as a damper on the economy. If the tax cuts are implemented, they will cause deficits, which in turn will raise long-term interest rates, which will actually cause an economic contraction. The net effect is likely to be negative rather than positive. The third reason to vote against this package is that since it's going to result in higher long-term interest rates, that will increase the deficits even more. Higher long-term interest rates will increase the interest payments on the national debt. The additional debt repayment burden means that the current estimates of the government deficits are far too conservative. They have to be multiplied by a very large factor. Say the government has approximately $5 trillion worth of debt. Higher interest rates resulting from that very deficit will massively increase the repayment on that debt. Lastly, the redistributive aspects of the package are extremely worrisome. It seeks to redistribute wealth in the wrong direction, in a very big way, to the very wealthiest end of the spectrum. The people who least need a tax cut in the U.S. economy are those whose major source of income is taxable dividends. The average tax dividend dollar will go to people who are already indeed quite rich. In terms of redistribution of income, this is probably one of the worst possible places to give money. " 2.23.03
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BUSH HAS TARGETED FOOD FOR THE POOR TO HELP FUND HIS TAX CUTS TO THE RICH "Food stamps and cash welfare are two halves of a whole," said Robert E. Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "All the things about cash welfare that discouraged work and marriage, and encouraged long-term dependence, apply identically to food stamps." But opponents say Congress and the administration are using the rubric of flexibility to disguise a move to cut costs. "Right now if the economy goes down, the federal government picks up the cost," said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal Washington research group. "Under a block grant, states would get a set amount and if there are a bunch of layoffs locally the state is stuck with the bill. And if it doesn't want to pay, it can cut back on what it spends. Over time you squeeze down on what the federal government spends for the poor." The Bush administration is also trying to tighten enforcement of the National School Lunch Program. In its budget, the administration proposes to enforce the income eligibility rules for free meals more strictly. " 2.23.03
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ALLEGED TERRORIST AL-ARIAN STORY "PAINFUL FOR...BUSH REPUBLICANS" "Not only were the al-Arians not avoided by the Bush White House - they were actively courted. Candidate Bush allowed himself to be photographed with the al-Arian family while campaigning in Florida. Candidate Bush denounced the immigration laws that detained - and ultimately deported - Mazen al-Najjar. In [June] 2001, Sami al-Arian was invited into the White House complex for a political briefing for Muslim-American leaders. The [same] month his son, Abdullah, who was then an intern in the office of Congressman David Bonior, joined a delegation of Muslim leaders at a meeting with John DiIulio, head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. After the group entered the complex, a red flag belatedly popped up over the al-Arian name, and the Secret Service ordered him out of the complex. The entire delegation marched out with young al-Arian - and soon afterward, President Bush personally apologized to the young man and ordered the deputy director of the Secret Service to apologize as well.... The al-Arian case was not a solitary lapse. The Bush campaign in 2000 very determinedly reached out to Muslim voters. Indeed, Muslim-Americans may have tipped the election to George Bush. One survey suggests that the 50,000 Muslim voters of Florida, normally staunch Democrats, reacted to Al Gore's selection of Joe Lieberman as his running mate by voting 80% for Bush. That outreach campaign opened relationships between the Bush campaign and some very disturbing persons in the Muslim-American community. Many of those disturbing persons were invited to stand beside the president at post-9/11 events....Is it too much to ask a wartime White House - please, please choose your friends more prudently!" 2.23.03
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"SECRET SERVICE HAD FLAGGED AL-ARIAN AS A POTENTIAL TERRORIST PRIOR TO HIS VISIT" TO THE WHITE HOUSE "For George W. Bush, it was just another campaign stop. But for Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida engineering professor, it was a golden opportunity. When Bush appeared at Tampa’s Strawberry Festival in March 2000, Al-Arian sidled up to the candidate and had his picture taken....Bush joked around with the professor’s son, Abdullah, nicknaming the 6-foot-3 teen “Big Dude.” Al-Arian later told friends he even used the occasion to press Bush on a key issue among Muslim Americans: the Justice Department’s use of “secret evidence” to deport accused terrorists. In those pre-9-11 days, Bush was eagerly courting the growing Muslim vote-and more than willing to listen to seemingly sincere activists like Al-Arian. When he debated Al Gore later in the year, Bush even made a point of bringing up the secret-evidence issue. Al-Arian was thrilled-and began registering local Muslims for the Republican Party and praising Bush at local mosques. “I think I personally played a big role in electing Bush,” he boasted at a Muslim American dinner last April. Al-Arian’s politics took on a decidedly darker cast last week when federal agents arrested him at his home in south Florida and charged him with being a top leader of one of the world’s most violent terrorist organizations: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).The Iranian-backed group has carried out a rash of suicide bombings that have killed more than 100 Israelis, as well as two Americans. Al-Arian had long been under government scrutiny for his alleged connections to the group...A law-enforcement official told NEWSWEEK the Secret Service had flagged Al-Arian as a potential terrorist prior to [his visit to the White House.]. But White House aides, apparently reluctant to create an incident, let him through anyway." 2.23.03
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"PROFESSOR IN TERROR INDICTMENT WAS A BUSH SUPPORTER" "Sami Amin al-Arian, the University of South Florida professor charged with being the US leader of a Mideast terrorist group, was an influential figure in Tampa's small Muslim community whose political activism landed him in a photograph with President Bush during the 2000 campaign. ''He was a Bush supporter,'' said Robert McKee, an attorney who is representing Arian in a legal dispute with the university. ''As close as the election in Florida was, Sami may have put him over the top. He got out the vote in the Muslim community in Florida, and now Bush's attorney general is going after him.''...A photograph taken during a campaign stop in the Tampa area shows George and Laura Bush, both smiling, flanked by Arian, his son Abdullah, and three women wearing Islamic scarves. Newsweek magazine published the picture in July 2001. Asked about the photo, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said yesterday that Bush met Arian and his family at a strawberry festival in Florida. ''Then-Governor Bush just walked around greeting people,'' Buchan said. Arian did not contribute money or volunteer work to the Bush campaign, she said. Her account differed from Newsweek's in its July 16, 2001, issue: ''It was one of the coolest moments of his life. Abdullah al-Arian was finally old enough to vote for president, and George W. Bush singled him out in the crowd. Bush called the college student `Big Dude' and posed for pictures with his Arab-American family - an ethnic group politicians have long ignored.'...Remembering his campaigning for Bush in Florida and the president's thin margin of victory there, Sami Arian was indignant. ''We certainly delivered him many more than 537 votes,'' Newsweek magazine quoted him as saying." 2.22.03
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FOCUS ON THIS, TOM RIDGE: "WHITE HOUSE SHORTCHANGES NATIONAL SECURITY IN ITS AHAB PURSUIT OF SADDAM" "George Bush has always mocked Washington's dependence on focus groups. Only last week, he derided mass European protests against the war, saying listening to the marchers would be like relying on focus groups to set foreign policy. (Millions of people marching in the streets of world capitals is not a sampling of opinion; it is opinion.) Mr. Bush leads a West Wing that thinks politically all the time. Andy Card talks about rolling out the war with Iraq like a marketing campaign, and now Mr. Ridge runs his agency according to the principles of consumer marketing. (And maybe fund-raising, too. According to Al Kamen of The Washington Post, almost half the duct tape sold in the U.S. comes from a company whose founder gave more than $100,000 to Republicans in 2000.)...An upcoming article in The New Republic, contending that the president has not done enough, cites an American Association of Port Authorities estimate that it would cost $2 billion to make the ports secure. But since Sept. 11, only $318 million has been spent. Although Mr. Bush himself endorsed a program to screen cargo at foreign ports, his budget provides no money for it. What Mr. Ridge is supposed to be doing is getting the best scientific and technical expertise, as it relates to all threats, and developing concrete plans and suggestions for every possible contingency. He's not supposed to be selling security, or spinning it; he's supposed to be providing it. He doesn't need to make security more alluring to us. We already find it absolutely alluring. We'd just like to get some more of it. " 2.23.03
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SECURITY COMES WITH A PRICE TAG. ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY IT? "A national conversation is starting about what kind of country we want to live in and what balance we will tolerate between public safety and private freedom. The decisions won't come all at once, and we may be changing our minds a lot, depending on whether there are more attacks here, what our government tells us and what we believe. Two weeks ago, Congress decided to sharply curtail the activities of the Total Information Awareness program, a Pentagon project led by Rear Adm. John Poindexter and invested with power to electronically sift through the private affairs of American citizens. For the time being, it was felt that the threat of having the government look over our credit-card statements and medical records was more dangerous than its promised benefits. Congress didn't completely shut the door on the T.I.A., though. Agents can still look into the lives of foreigners, and its functions could be expanded at any time. We could, for instance, reach the point where we demand the installation of systems, like the one along the Israeli coastline, to maim or kill intruders in certain sensitive areas before they have a chance to explain who they are or why they're there. We may come to think nothing of American citizens who act suspiciously being held without bail or denied legal representation for indeterminate periods or tried in courts whose proceedings are under seal. At shopping malls and restaurants, we may prefer to encounter heavily armed guards and be subjected to routine searches at the door. We may be willing to give up the freedom and ease of movement that has defined American life, if we come to believe our safety depends upon it. For the better part of a generation now, Americans have gone to great lengths to protect their homes -- living in gated communities, wiring their property with sophisticated alarms, arming themselves with deadly weapons. Now imagine this kind of intensity turned outward, into the public realm. As a culture, our tolerance for fear is low, and our capacity to do something about it is unrivaled. We could have the highest degree of public safety the world has ever seen. But what would that country look like, and what will it be like to live in it? " 2.23.03
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WITHOUT UN SUPPORT, WILL BUSH DECIDE UPON "THE COMMON GOOD" OR "SMALLER IMPULSES"? "Many foreigners, and large numbers of Americans, wonder whether this administration is capable of dispassionate judgment as it relentlessly pushes for war. All too often, American officials have undermined their own case by demonstrating reckless enthusiasm for a brawl, denigrating allies who fail to fall in line or overstating their case against Iraq, particularly when it comes to a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda....The war is likely to go well in the short run, but that the long run will be messy, difficult and dangerous. If America acts virtually on its own, it is hard to imagine either the Bush administration or the American people having the staying power to make things right. Washington may be counting on Iraq's oil revenue to pay for rebuilding the country after the war, but the oil wells could be damaged in the fighting. It seems certain that an administration that will not give up tax cuts to pay for the war itself is not going to inflict economic pain at home to pay for the cleanup. And while Americans have always shown themselves willing to risk anything, even their own children, for a critical cause of high purpose, their support for this particular fight is thin as a wafer and based on misapprehension that Iraq is clearly linked to terrorism....The test now is whether we will find a new way to exercise our power in which leadership, self-discipline and concern for the common good will outweigh our smaller impulses. An invasion of Iraq that is not supported by many traditional allies, or those powers that we need to be allied with in the best possible future, will send a message that we can do whatever we want. But it is not going to make the rest of the world want to root for us to succeed. " 2.23.03
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EUROPE ISN'T "OLD," THE U.S. IS, WITH BUSH PRACTICING AN EVANGELICAL FOREIGN POLICY "Europe defends a secular vision of the world. It does not separate matters of urgency from long-term considerations. The United States compensates for its shortsightedness, its tendency to improvise, with an altogether biblical self-assurance in its transcendent destiny. Puritan America is hostage to a sacred morality; it regards itself as the predestined repository of Good, with a mission to strike down Evil. Trusting in Providence, it pursues a politics that is at bottom theological and as old as Pope Gregory VII.Europe no longer possesses that euphoric arrogance. It is done mourning the Absolute and conducts its politics . . . politically. It is past the age of ultimatums, protectorates at the other end of the planet, and the white man's burden. Is that the age America is intent on entering? One can only wish it good luck." 2.23.03
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THOSE WHO MISTRANSLATED CHIRAC'S ADVICE TO "NEW" EUROPEANS SHOULD "SHUT UP" "Mr. Chirac said that these countries "ont manqué une bonne occasion de se taire," rendered in part of the American and British press as "missed a good opportunity to shut up." But Mr. Chirac's words were a significant notch above that level of discourse. To be sure, he could have been quite formal and said "ont manqué une bonne occasion de s'absentir de tout commentaire" ("refrain from making any comment"), or "garder le silence" or "se garder de s'exprimer" ("keep silent" or "say nothing"). And of course, he also could have taken a much lower road and said "ont manqué une bonne occasion de fermer leur gueule" or "de la fermer"), which would indeed mean "to shut up." The verb Mr. Chirac chose, "se taire," was neither elegant nor rude, simply neutral. " 2.23.03
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"NEW" EUROPE WANTS "OLD" EUROPE ECONOMIC BACKING BUT U.S. SECURITY PROTECTIONS " Americans should not make the mistake of assuming that the "new" Europeans will be uncritically pro-American. That would be to fall into the French trap of equating "new" with deferential. There is, in fact, no shortage of popular opposition in Hungary and the Czech Republic to an Iraq war: 82 percent of Hungarians oppose it, and 47 percent of Czechs. There is also generally more support for reformed Communists in the former Eastern bloc than for advocates of the free market. As they prepare to join the European Union, the Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Slovenes, Slovaks and Balts are singing not "Ode to Joy," but something more like "Won't Get Fooled Again." They understand how the European Union works: as a system of agricultural protectionism and income redistribution which transfers resources from rich Germans to poorer Europeans (especially farmers). With incomes ranging from a half to a quarter of the European Union average, the Easterners would be crazy not to want to join. But when it comes to security, Eastern Europeans look not to the European Union but to the American-led NATO. It is no coincidence that the three countries who first lined up against France last week are the new recruits to NATO: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Nor is it surprising that the countries who followed their example a few days later were the "Vilnius 10," all of whom have applied to join NATO." 2.23.03
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WHILE SADDAM PRETENDS TO COOPERATE, BUSH'S "ALLIANCE OF THE WILLING" IS WILLING TO CASH IN ON BUSH'S OBSESSION "Right now, things don't look promising for those of us who believe this is a war worth waging, but only with broad international support. The United States has an invasion force in place, and the military's schedule seems to demand that it attack within a few weeks before spring brings on withering desert heat. Washington has some support among other nations, but many of them are newcomers to the world of high-stakes diplomacy and few have much to offer in the way of troops or financial support. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, America's only strong and consistent ally among the world's other major military powers, is facing fierce opposition at home and ridicule abroad for his allegiance to the Bush administration. Turkey, another important ally, held out for more money as it considered whether to allow American invasion forces on its soil. The size of the Turkish demands made the anti-Iraq forces look less like a serious coalition than a diplomatic version of 'Let's Make a Deal.' " 2.23.03
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"SELF-INDUCED BLINDNESS" LEADS SADDAM TO DIG IN HIS HEELS, WHICH IS WHAT BUSH NEEDS "You grow touchy, old chum. Yes, I did say that you sealed your fate with the 12,000 pages of recycled phony documents you submitted to the U.N. Security Council in December. Not even the French or Russians would defend that pack of lies, I thought. Okay, so I underestimated the human capacity for self-induced blindness. But the forecast doesn't change. Because you don't change. Saddam, Iraq's opposition leaders will someday build statues in their liberated towns to the European diplomats and politicians who have sought to delay or undermine a U.S. invasion in this winter of decision. These Europeans clearly have convinced you by now that you can outlast this President Bush too -- that you don't have to deal with the demands to disarm seriously, or at all. You can go on stiffing inspectors ad infinitum. Getting you to dig in your heels is all the help this President Bush needs. " 2.23.03
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POWELL LOOKS TO MID-MARCH UN WAR RESOLUTION "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that the United States will push for action on a new U.N. resolution on Iraq shortly after arms inspector Hans Blix reports to the U.N. Security Council on March 7. Powell said the new resolution, a final bid to rally international support for a war, would be introduced by the United States sometime this week. It will be a "simple resolution, directly to the point," that would ask the Security Council to "take note that Iraq still is not complying," he said at a news conference in Tokyo today. A Security Council decision on bringing the resolution to a vote would likely come "shortly after" the scheduled March 7 report to the Security Council, Powell said. Blix will report on Iraq's response to his demand that it begin destroying Al Samoud 2 missiles and associated equipment by March 1. " 2.23.03
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"FRANCE-BASHING IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR POLICY" "France-bashing is not a substitute for policy. The administration should not be let off the hook without questioning some of its recent tactics and strategy. After the masterful diplomacy by Secretary of State Colin Powell that produced Security Council Resolution 1441, the administration, urged on by Prime Minister Tony Blair, made the decision to seek a second resolution that would at least implicitly authorize the use of force. For Blair, this was politically important, and Washington went along with the request of its staunch ally in London. But something akin to a train wreck is now approaching, because that second resolution is unlikely to be achievable, with France and Germany (and probably Russia) leading the opposition. As a result, the U.S.-led coalition now faces the prospect of undermining its 1441 triumph with a humiliating rejection of a second resolution that was not necessary. This would leave the clear impression that any military action that follows is in violation of the Security Council's will, rather than being derived logically from the long trail " 2.23.03
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BUSH P.R. CAMPAIGN TO BLAME SADDAM FOR PREDICTED CIVILIAN DEATHS DOES NOT ABSOLVE AMERICANS, SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHER "The Bush administration has launched a pre-emptive public relations campaign warning that Mr. Hussein might try to put his own people at risk in order to increase the civilian body count. Last month, the White House Office of Global Communications issued a report saying that Mr. Hussein purposely put civilians into military bunkers like the one bombed in 1991, and might try to do so again. Two weeks ago, President Bush said Mr. Hussein was likely to use chemical or biological weapons against his people, and blame the United States for their deaths. Last week, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said the Iraqi military would probably try to use "human shields" to protect its sites.But Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said that even if Mr. Hussein uses human shields, it does not absolve American troops of the responsibility under the Geneva Convention to avoid killing them. "You can't just say, `It's Saddam's fault,' " he said. Despite all the Pentagon's precautions, no one believes civilian casualties can be avoided. Even with the precision-guided munitions used in the Afghan war, some human rights groups estimate that more than 1,000 civilians died - twice as many as in the Kosovo war, and about one-third as many as in the 1991 gulf war....A war in Iraq would probably be watched live on television by more people than witnessed any war before. And while nobody thinks wars can be fought without some unintended deaths, the Bush administration knows that reports of Iraqi civilian casualties, beamed into millions of homes, could undermine the tenuous support, at home and abroad, for a war to oust Saddam Hussein." 2.23.03
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FROM VIETNAM TO IRAQ. DOES BOMBING FOR PROGRESS WORK? "I count myself among those who would like to believe that there could be an optimistic justification for the coming war. Beyond simply putting an end to a menacing dictator, this fantasy holds, the United States could be using its military to do some long-term good for a beleaguered nation and a backward region. A bucket of ice water was dumped on this cheery reverie last Thursday with news of the death, at the age of 86, of Walt Rostow. His was the hopeful face of war. An elfin figure of joyous certainty in the highest ranks of American power, he is history's leading proponent of the concept of war as a tool of social and economic development. His death, in deep obscurity and wide disrepute, reminded me just how horribly badly this vision can turn out." 2.23.03
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"JINGOISM, NOT JOURNALISM" IN U.S., BUT U.K.'S MIRROR TELLS IT LIKE IT IS. "In North America, the media have been pretty much pro-war or neutral.A dissenting voice on television or in print is about as rare as a lefty in the Bush cabinet. The Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqui, who writes critically about the Bush administration, accuses Canadian newspapers, generally, of not reflecting the view of their readers, which is against a war.As for the U.S. media, Mr. Siddiqui says, by and large, they offer "jingoism, not journalism." But what about charges the Star's commentary is anti-American? "That's absolute crap," said Mr. Siddiqui, who is editor emeritus of the newspaper's editorial page. "When people run out of intelligent things to say, they say you're anti-American. "It's a new brand of McCarthyism. If you don't agree with me, you're anti-American." In Britain, the Mirror, which is historically left and pro-Labour, staked out its territory in a market where most of the tabloids and the two leading broadsheets, The Telegraph and Times, are conservative. But what is the motive behind the Mirror's campaign? Since the majority of Britons were against an Iraq war from the beginning, is this merely a marketing strategy or a position based on principle? James Hardy, the newspaper's political editor, says the notion of the Mirror cynically cashing in on a popular movement is rubbish. "We were ahead of public opinion on this issue and we took a lot of flak over it, beginning last summer," Mr. Hardy said. "But public opinion has swung around. " 2.23.03
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NEW LOW. 50% AMERICANS, 74% CANADIANS AGAINST BUSH IRAQ WAR WITHOUT UN SUPPORT "Support in Canada for a U.S.-led war on Iraq has reached a new low, a poll done for the Toronto Star shows. According to a poll conducted by EKOS Research Associates for The Star, La Presse and the CBC, 74 per cent of Canadians would oppose Canadian participation in a war without the "full support" of the United Nations Security Council. Only 25 per cent would support a war without it. With Security Council approval, 63 per cent of those surveyed support Canadian participation, with 35 per cent opposed. "The pattern is quite clearly one of a continued decline, and actually support by now is much lower than it has been at any point since well over a year ago," said Frank Graves, president of EKOS. He noted later that EKOS tracking of support for the war now shows it is at an all-time low. Last month about 59 per cent of Canadians polled were opposed to war without U.N. backing. " 2.23.03
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HOW PROTESTERS MOBILIZED SO MANY LAST WEEK "The worldwide protests drew millions of people onto the streets, from San Francisco to London, and the Bush administration hit some diplomatic roadblocks. Sensing delay in White House momentum, the organizers themselves paused and decided to make a strategic move, delaying the demonstrations from March 1 until March 15. They spread the news the old-fashioned way, through alternative radio stations and word of mouth, and the instantaneous way, through Web sites and e-mail messages....But the Internet has become more than a mere organizing tool; it has changed protests in a more fundamental way, by allowing mobilization to emerge from free-wheeling amorphous groups, rather than top-down hierarchical ones." 2.23.03
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LOOKS LIKE IRAN "MAKING HEADWAY IN ITS SUSPECTED PROGRAM TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS" "International inspectors visiting Iran this week were shown a network of sophisticated machinery to enrich uranium, spurring concerns that Iran is making headway in its suspected program to develop nuclear weapons, Western officials and international diplomats said today. " 2.23.03
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BUSH "SPINNING AIDS" FUNDING FOR AFRICA " THE ADMINISTRATION is sending out a confused message on its global AIDS initiative announced in the State of the Union address. A recent internal memo was portrayed as a deepening of the president's resolve. "Abortion Providers May Get AIDS Money," one headline read, implying that the president had nobly set aside political pressure from antiabortion groups to focus on the bottom line: "getting help to people with AIDS," as an unnamed official said. But the real news of the White House memo in question, circulated last week, seems to be the opposite. It alludes to White House plans to extend the "Mexico City policy" -- what abortion rights group call the "gag rule" -- to AIDS funding, meaning many clinics that receive U.S. money to combat AIDS could not discuss abortion as part of family planning....The administration has done this before: In a negotiation with Asian regions on HIV prevention in December, officials tried to delete a mention of condom use and substitute abstinence-only education. In the domestic context this stance is mistaken; in the context of AIDS in poor countries it is myopic and dangerous. " 2.23.03
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DEAN TELLS DEMS LIKE IT IS "Dr. Dean did not even bother to warm up his crowd, starting his attack immediately after walking to his microphone. "What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq?" he asked, to applause from most of his audience. "What I want to know is why are Democratic leaders supporting tax cuts? The question is not how big the tax cut should be; the question should be, Can we afford a tax cut at all, with the largest deficit in the history of this country?" "I'm Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," he said. Dr. Dean did not mention any names either in his speech or in an interview afterward. But the meaning of his remarks was not lost on anyone in a room where Democrats were torn on the issue of Iraq. Dr. Dean followed Mr. Gephardt, who noted in his own speech that he had helped to write the resolution authorizing Mr. Bush to move against Saddam Hussein. At that, a man in the back of the hall shouted, "Shame!" Mr. Gephardt did not even cast a look in his direction. " 2.23.03
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DEAN "STAR OF SHOW" AT DEMS WINTER MEETING, OUTSHINES GEPHARDT "Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who said he wanted to win votes from Southerners "who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals" hit a home run Friday at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting....He was the star of the show," said a surprised Tom Lakin, a Democratic National Committee member from a town near East Alton in southern Illinois....The four who spoke Friday--Dean; former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.); Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), and Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) disagreed over a war in Iraq and had in common criticism of Bush's domestic policies and a call to provide health coverage for the uninsured. Three more candidates--Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.); Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), and the Rev. Al Sharpton make their appeals this morning to the party's most prominent opinion makers. " 2.23.03
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DEAN SAYS HE REPRESENTS "THE DEMOCRATIC WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY" "So far, the boat rising fastest on the antiwar tide belongs to Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont. A doctor, he didn’t enter the race last year intending to become the peace candidate; Dean’s agenda was national health care and balancing the budget. Dean is no pacifist—and he has a gun-rights record to prove it. But by Christmas it became apparent that he also had a powerful claim. Dean was the only candidate (there were a mere five at the time) who hadn’t supported the war resolution. " 2.23.03
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"ALLEGED TERRORIST MET WITH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER" KARL ROVE, PHOTOGRAPHED WITH BUSH DURING CAMPAIGN "A former university professor indicted this week as a terrorist leader attended a 2001 group meeting in the White House complex with President Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, administration officials said yesterday. Sami Al-Arian, a former computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida, had been under investigation by the FBI for at least six years at the time of the June 2001 briefing for a Muslim organization. Numerous news accounts also had said federal agents suspected Al-Arian of links to terrorism. Al-Arian and his family also were photographed with Bush during a March 2000 campaign stop near Al-Arian's suburban Tampa home.... Al-Arian posed with Bush and his wife, Laura, at the Florida Strawberry Festival on March 12, 2000, a moment captured in an Al-Arian family photo. Nahla Al-Arian said Bush noticed her traditional headscarf and asked to meet her family. "The Muslim people support you," she recalled telling him. The family said that Bush gave their lanky son, Abdullah, the nickname "Big Dude."...And Bush sent a letter of apology to the suspect's wife after the Secret Service ejected their son -- who was then a congressional intern -- from the White House complex during a separate June 2001 meeting of Muslims interested in the president's faith-based initiative.Al-Arian's appearance at the White House came six days earlier, also as part of the administration's outreach to Muslims, officials said.... Al-Arian has told The Post that he and wife Nahla campaigned for Bush in Florida mosques and elsewhere because they thought him the candidate most likely to fight discrimination against Arab Americans." 2.22.03
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"PROFESSOR IN TERROR INDICTMENT WAS A BUSH SUPPORTER" "Sami Amin al-Arian, the University of South Florida professor charged with being the US leader of a Mideast terrorist group, was an influential figure in Tampa's small Muslim community whose political activism landed him in a photograph with President Bush during the 2000 campaign. ''He was a Bush supporter,'' said Robert McKee, an attorney who is representing Arian in a legal dispute with the university. ''As close as the election in Florida was, Sami may have put him over the top. He got out the vote in the Muslim community in Florida, and now Bush's attorney general is going after him.''...A photograph taken during a campaign stop in the Tampa area shows George and Laura Bush, both smiling, flanked by Arian, his son Abdullah, and three women wearing Islamic scarves. Newsweek magazine published the picture in July 2001. Asked about the photo, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said yesterday that Bush met Arian and his family at a strawberry festival in Florida. ''Then-Governor Bush just walked around greeting people,'' Buchan said. Arian did not contribute money or volunteer work to the Bush campaign, she said. Her account differed from Newsweek's in its July 16, 2001, issue: ''It was one of the coolest moments of his life. Abdullah al-Arian was finally old enough to vote for president, and George W. Bush singled him out in the crowd. Bush called the college student `Big Dude' and posed for pictures with his Arab-American family - an ethnic group politicians have long ignored.'...Remembering his campaigning for Bush in Florida and the president's thin margin of victory there, Sami Arian was indignant. ''We certainly delivered him many more than 537 votes,'' Newsweek magazine quoted him as saying." 2.22.03
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ASHCROFT'S JUSTIC DEPT. ADMITS TERRORISM CONVICTION NUMBERS HAVE BEEN INFLATED " The Justice Department reported inflated numbers of terrorism convictions as a result of misinformation from U.S. attorney's offices around the country, the General Accounting Office has found....The Justice Department said it agreed with the GAO's findings and plans stronger oversight of terrorism conviction data sent to Washington." 2.22.03
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RUMSFELD ON BOARD OF COMPANY THAT SOLD N. KOREA NUKE POWER PLANTS IN 2000 "Weapons experts say waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called “dirty bombs”. The Swiss-based ABB on Friday told swissinfo that Rumsfeld was involved with the company in early 2000, when it netted a $200 million (SFr270million) contract with Pyongyang. The ABB contract was to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho, on North Korea’s east coast. Rumsfeld – who is one of the Bush administration’s most strident “hardliners” on North Korea – was a member of ABB’s board between 1990 and February 2001, when he left to take up his current post. Wolfram Eberhardt, a spokesman for ABB, told swissinfo that Rumsfeld “was at nearly all the board meetings” during his decade-long involvement with the company. " 2.22.03
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NYT HOMELESS SHELTER POPULATION REACHES RECORD HIGH "The number of homeless people in city shelters has reached a historic peak, with children and their families forming the fastest-growing segment of this population, advocates said Wednesday....Currently, the majority of New York's homeless people are children and their families _ 79 percent of the shelter population, according to the Department of Homeless Services. The number of children in shelters, 16,711, has doubled in the past five years. The Coalition for the Homeless blames the situation on a decrease in the number of affordable housing units _ a rent of $600 or less a month _ by more than a half-million in the past decade. " 2.22.03
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POOR RECEIVING FED HOUSING AID TO PAY MORE UNDER BUSH BUDGET "The Bush administration is proposing to increase rents charged to thousands of poor people who receive federal housing aid. The increase would be accomplished by changing three little words in federal law. The minimum rent for tenants, which is "not more than $50" a month under current law, would have to be "at least $50" a month under President Bush's plan. In budget documents sent to Congress last week, the administration said the proposal was "intended to promote work" by people who live in federally subsidized housing."If the ceiling becomes a floor," Ms. Wider said, 'we will see minimum rents set at varying levels that will be more burdensome to some tenants. We'll see more homeless folks. That is not the government's intent. But it could be the result, because people with very low incomes won't be able to find affordable housing in our market.' " 2.22.03
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RADICAL BUSH BUDGET FOR THE POOR SHIFTS MORE ECONOMIC MISERY TO STATES "Offering state block grants in the middle of the most severe state fiscal crisis we've seen in a long time -- with little or no new federal aid -- almost guarantees that states will either fail to take up the option or that they will use the money in inappropriate ways," Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said at a gathering of policy analysts held to assess the budget. " 2.22.03
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BIGGEST TAX CHEATS ARE CORPORATE TAX SHELTERS, SMALL BUSINESSES, SO REPUBLICANS LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE POOR, INSTEAD "A TAX CHEAT is a tax cheat, no matter how rich or poor. But as long as the Internal Revenue Service has been auditing, it has known who are the most common fudgers (small businesses) and which fudging costs the government the most revenue (abusive corporate tax shelters). Those two categories have strong vocal constituencies, however, and the wrong kind of political resonance. So Republicans have begun to dig where they already know they will reap the least: the earned-income tax credit (EITC) designed for the working poor. " 2.22.03
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BUSH-POWELL MOVE TO CONGLOMERATE PHONES SLOWED DOWN BUT NOT STOPPED "It is rare for the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to be outvoted on a major policy issue, but that is what happened on Thursday to Michael Powell in a showdown with Kevin Martin, a fellow Republican, and two Democratic commissioners. Mr. Powell, the son of the secretary of state and a rising star in the Republican Party, had been seeking to sweep aside regulations designed to provide a competitive market for local telephone service. He failed. This was good news for consumers, who benefit from the existing rules, but not good news for regulatory coherence. The majority blocked the chairman's ambitious deregulatory agenda by agreeing to shift some fundamental decisions to the states. This raises the alarming prospect that the country will wind up with 51 separate telecommunications policies. " 2.22.03
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BUSH PRESSED TO ABANDON HIS "IRRESPONSIBLY PASSIVE" APPROACH TO GLOBAL WARMING "The pressure on President Bush to abandon his irresponsibly passive approach to global warming was ratcheted up this week. On Thursday the attorneys general of seven Northeastern states announced their intention to sue the administration - in the person of Christie Whitman, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - for its failure to regulate power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, as required by the Clean Air Act....The suit could fail. State challenges to federal policy are always iffy. But it may at least inspire honest discussion about how to control the largest single source of carbon dioxide in the world. And it may force the administration to explain a global warming strategy that is becoming increasingly indefensible" 2.22.03
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13 MYTHS ABOUT THE CASE OF WAR IN IRAQ "At no time in the last 30 years has our government put our sons and daughters into the battlefield in the face of such widespread international opposition. Therefore, it is appropriate to examine both the case for war and the potential drawbacks. Why are so many other countries opposed to a war in Iraq? We are fortunate that the U.S. Constitution includes a Bill of Rights, to ensure that we have the right to ask questions about government. " 2.22.03
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IS IRAQ IS BECOMING ANOTHER VIETNAM? "Today American military might dominates the world. But there is, at least in some quarters, a disquieting feeling that without drawing a drop of American blood, the setbacks in the U.N. Security Council a week ago, the standoffs with NATO and the waves of global protests against a U.S.-led war on Iraq may come to be seen one day as our 21st-century diplomatic Tet. The Vietnam analogy is, I know, pretty gauzy. It doesn't hold up in many respects. But Tet comes to mind because at the time it happened we regarded it not as an event that turned the tide but rather as a defeat for the enemy. It was to be seven more years before the military of North Vietnam would march victorious into Saigon. Current plans call for taking out Saddam Hussein. Fine. But there's more to come after he's gone. And that's the worry. Where is this dream of making Iraq a model of Middle East democracy and an American-led transformation of the Arab world taking us? Today the absence of support from a broad international coalition, and the millions in the streets protesting a possible war with Iraq, are not regarded by the Bush White House as serious cause to pause. The administration instead is emboldened to push ahead." 2.22.03
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UN WARNED IRAQIS NOT TO BUILD PROHIBITED MISSILE, BUT IT DID ANYWAY, ACCORDING TO UN "Iraq began to develop the missile after the Persian Gulf war in 1991. An early design was quickly identified as a serious problem by United Nations inspectors. They concluded that the missile, in its original design, would be able to carry so much fuel that it could exceed the range limit. The United Nations warned the Iraqis not to build the missile, recalled Timothy McCarthy, a senior analyst at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and former weapons inspector. Iraq said it would build a missile with a smaller diameter. But the United Nations has determined that the Samoud missiles Iraq is building are essentially based on the larger, prohibited design. Mr. Blix's letter, which diplomats said was presented to the Iraqi envoy, Mohammed Aldouri, during an hourlong meeting late this afternoon, followed a day of meetings in which American and British diplomats tried to build support for their proposed Security Council resolution. [On Saturday, the Iraqi foreign minister, Naji Sabri, reacted to the letter, saying, "We think all pending issues can be solved beteen the two parties without any pressure being exacted on them by certain powers," Reuters reported. Mr. Sabri spoke to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was attending the Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting.] " 2.22.03
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SHORT WAR IN IRAQ COULD COST THE WORLD AT LEAST $1 TRILLION "A short war with Iraq could cost the world one percent of its economic output over the next few years and more than $1 trillion by 2010, Australian researchers said in a report Thursday. A long war could more than triple the costs, they said. The compounding effects of rising oil prices, extra budget spending and economic uncertainty could cut $173 billion from the world economy in 2003 alone, said the researchers, Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin and Center for International Economics executive director Andrew Stoeckel. " 2.22.03
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RECENT DANIELS WHITE HOUSE ESTIMATE OF IRAQ WAR COST WAS $50-60 BILLION, BUT U.S. GIVES TURKEY $6 BILLION NOW, $10 BILLION FOR IMMEDIATE NEEDS, PLUS MORE LATER "The United States has reached agreement with Turkey on a package of $15 billion in immediate economic and military aid, in a step that is expected to pave the way for American troops to use Turkish territory as a base in case of war with Iraq, administration officials said today. The United States had been discussing an offer of $26 billion with the Turks. But much of that money was to be given over a number of years. The breakthrough in the talks was said to have come when the United States focused on what could be furnished to Turkey this year.That sum was $6 billion in immediate cash, with roughly $1 billion of that money set aside to guarantee $10 billion in American loans for Turkey's immediate needs, the officials said. Turkey would then have many years to pay those loans off." 2.22.03
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WHITE HOUSE OMB DIRECTOR SAYS $200 BILLION WAR COST "UPPER END OF A HYPOTHETICAL" "Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, the outgoing Senate Budget Committee chairman, issued a statement Tuesday saying "the reality is no one knows how much it will cost us to wage war with Iraq." "Mitch Daniels' $50 billion to $60 billion estimate is as viable as Larry Lindsey's $100 billion to $200 billion estimate in September. So much depends on the duration and type of combat forces as well as the presence, duration and size of a peacekeeping force," Conrad said. Conrad also said that "despite this potential new expense, the Bush administration continues with its ill-fated economic policy of more tax cuts for the wealthy, bigger deficits for the American people and growing debt for our children and grandchildren." The cost of the Persian Gulf war was shared by many countries in the U.S.-led coalition against Saddam. It is unclear how many nations would pick up some of the cost of another campaign. " 2.22.03
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"BAD START" FOR BUSH PHILLIPPINE MILITARY OPERATION "IN THE PAST DECADE the United States has only twice sent ground troops into combat. The first instance, in Somalia, grew out of a humanitarian operation and ended abruptly with the first U.S. casualties. It also ended the career of the secretary of defense. The second, in Afghanistan, came in response to an attack on the United States, was approved by Congress and was thoroughly explained to the public by President Bush and his Cabinet. Over the years the threshold for putting U.S. soldiers at risk has sometimes seemed too high: Think of the Rwandan genocide or the Balkan wars. Yet now the country appears to be drifting toward the opposite extreme. On Thursday, via a series of background briefings by unnamed spokesmen, the Pentagon casually let the public know that it intends to dispatch 1,700 Special Forces and Marines for a combat mission against Muslim guerrillas in a remote and hostile corner of the Philippines. The first American soldiers are due to arrive within days, officials said; the term of the mission is open-ended. Though dwarfed, perhaps, by the scale of the impending war with Iraq, this sounds like a substantial and potentially treacherous campaign. Yet neither the president nor any senior official has explained to the country why young Americans might need to die for this new cause -- nor has Congress, which is on recess, discussed it. Whatever the merits of the Philippine operation, that is a bad start. " 2.22.03
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CONGRESSMAN LANTOS SAYS SADDAM WILL BE REPLACED BY "PRO-WESTERN DICTATOR." "My dear Colette, don't worry," said Tom Lantos, the California congressman, as he tried to calm MK Colette Avital of the Labor Party, who was visiting Capitol Hill last week as part of a delegation of the Peace Coalition. "You won't have any problem with Saddam," the Jewish congressman continued. "We'll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we'll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you." 2.22.03
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"NEW REPUBLICAN CONGRESS RETAINS PRO-ISRAEL BENT" "In the final election returns, which came early Wednesday morning, a predominance of pro-Israel lawmakers retained their seats, and several new faces emerged, many of whom pro-Israel officials called promising. The new Congress will take office at a critical time in U.S.-Israel relations, with Israel entering a heated election campaign, prospects for peace with the Palestinians at a standstill and a U.S.-led war against Iraq looming. The congressional approach to Israel and the Middle East are a significant component in those relations. " 2.22.03
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QUIT YOUR WHINING ABOUT CLINTON, NEOCONSERVATIVES "Charles Krauthammer's column blaming all the world's problems on former president Bill Clinton [op-ed, Feb. 14] echoes attacks by ultraconservative writers and regurgitates their anti-Clinton bile to distort history. Krauthammer's allegations are wrong and misleading. At a time when our nation is preparing for war, we should be serious about serious things, rather than gathering debating points to please one extreme of the political spectrum " 2.22.03
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BUSH WANTS TO "BRIBE" STATES TO SCREW POOR KIDS, ELDERLY, DISABLED OUT OF HEALTH CARE "After Congress failed to create a national health care plan, Medicaid became the default solution to the crisis of the growing number of uninsured Americans. Expanding Medicaid was a success in terms of meeting a critical need. But the price is now staggering strapped state governments. The Bush administration is responding with an offer of modest help, essentially a loan against future Medicaid payments - but there is a catch. To get the aid, states must agree to radical changes in their Medicaid plans, which will eventually take the federal government off the hook for some - and perhaps much - of its share of the costs. At bottom, Washington wants to limit its long-term responsibility for the only kind of health program many Americans can afford. And it's planning to bribe the governors to go along. This is outrageously unfair. Any federal aid should be made available to all states, even those that want to maintain the current structure of their Medicaid programs. Medicaid was originally intended mainly for poor children and the disabled, but most states have expanded it to include the families of the working poor or near-poor and elderly people who could not afford to fill in the gaps in their Medicare coverage. It grew, almost without notice, into the largest health " 2.21.03
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"WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING" "WITHOUT A PUBLIC hearing and only a brief floor debate, House leaders passed a new, stricter welfare-reform bill-which calls for tougher work requirements and limits on training, education and child-care funding. “I think the Republicans are using what’s going on to get their goods through Customs,” says Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton aide who helped shape the original 1996 welfare-reform plan. Next week the House is expected to pass a bill banning all human cloning-also without any new hearings. Opponents, who favor an alternative that would allow cloning for research, complain they haven’t had time to educate lawmakers on the complex topic. Also introduced last week: a bill outlawing “partial-birth abortion.” “It seems crazy to us that banning partial-birth abortion should be at the top of the agenda,” says Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette. In the Senate, the agenda won’t change much: Senate Republicans just put welfare reform and partial-birth abortion on their list of priorities." 2.21.03
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BUSH TAX CUTS "FOOLHARDY...MISLEADING USE OF AVERAGES" "AT A HIGH SCHOOL in Kennesaw, Ga., yesterday to sell his tax cuts, President Bush repeated several of his favorite sound-bite statistics to argue that his plan would help ordinary Americans, small-business owners and senior citizens. But as any math teacher there could have attested, Mr. Bush's arguments rely on a misleading use of averages to make his foolhardy plan appear fair. Under this plan, 92 million Americans receive an average tax cut of $1,083," Mr. Bush said. "That's fair." No, it's deceptive. The vast majority of taxpayers -- 80 percent -- would receive less than that amount, according to data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. For the truly typical household -- filers in the middle fifth of the income spectrum -- the average tax cut would be $256. Almost half of all taxpayers would see their taxes drop by less than $100. At the top of the income pyramid, however, the tax savings would be huge; the top 1 percent of filers would receive an average tax cut of $24,100. The average tax cut touted by Mr. Bush is more than $1,000 only because the savings for the wealthiest Americans are so large." 2.21.03
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BUSH ECONOMIC DOUBLESPEAK: EARN MONEY BY BORROWING IT "Suppose you had a friend who was grossly overweight for years but lately had been looking very trim. Suddenly, though, he puts on 30 or 40 pounds and is waddling around like his old porcine self. He explains that he's found a marvelous new diet: "You eat like a pig and stop exercising until you get so fat that you just have to lose weight." Would you say that your friend is kidding himself? And if your friend went on to complain that he was getting fat because other people were eating too much, and this diet was the only way to stop these other people from putting those unsightly pounds on him, would you think his self-delusion was becoming clinical? Or would you start to suspect that the joke is on you? Yet this is essentially the logic adopted by the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership to rationalize turning the federal budget surplus back into huge deficits. They say that deficits are actually a good thing—despite what you may have heard from Ronald Reagan and almost every Republican before and since—because deficits create pressure for smaller government. "Conservatives Now See Deficits as a Tool to Fight Spending" was the headline on a recent New York Times article quoting a slew of them—including the chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, Glenn Hubbard. This line of patter started a couple of years ago, when Bush inherited a budget in surplus. There is some sense in the idea that a surplus stimulates appetites and that prudence suggests giving the money back before it gets spent. But 'giving back" money you don't have turns prudence on its head." 2.21.03
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BUSH WANTS TO SPEND $9 BILLION MORE ON MISSLE DEFENSE SYSTEM AND BYPASS LAW THAT IT MUST WORK BEFORE BEING PUT IN PLACE "Bush is serious about Missile Defense. He didn't pull out of the Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty as a symbolic gesture; he means to start deploying anti-missile interceptors and radar systems, on the ground and on ships at sea, by the end of next year ...A closer look, however, reveals some drawbacks to this haste: a) By the MDA's own admission, the $9.1 billion—on top of the $73 billion appropriated for missile-defense R&D over the past 19 years—buys little, if any, protection in the near future; b) in the longer run, again by their own testimony, the MDA's managers don't know where the program is going, what it will look like, when it will be finished, or how much it will cost; and c) the program is still technologically immature—some of its most vital elements have yet to be built, even as prototypes.If Bush is worried about rogue states and terrorists blowing up Americans, as he has even more reason to be, he should do more to stave off attacks that might take place tomorrow. Last November, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees offered Bush a free ride on this road. It passed an amendment that allowed him to take $814 million out of Missile Defense, transfer it to the Department of Homeland Security, and spend it there in whatever ways he saw fit. Bush turned the offer down. " 2.21.03
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IF BUSH WANTS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT WORLDWIDE WMD PROLIFERATION, HE SHOULD LOOK AT AMERICAN DEFENSE CONTRACTORS "IN A PARTICULARLY seething rant in December about ''weapons of mass destruction,'' President Bush said: ''We will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes and terrorists to threaten our nation and our friends and allies with the world's most destructive weapons.'' ''Weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger. They could allow America's adversaries to inflict massive harm against our country, our military forces abroad, and our friends and allies.'' ''For terrorists, WMD would provide the ability to kill large numbers of our people without warning. They would give them the power to murder without conscience on a scale to match their hatred for our country and our values.'' Because of this, Bush said, ''we will pursue robust counterproliferation policies and capabilities to deter and defend against the use of these weapons.'' Have we ever. Amid the flaming debate over Iraq, the United States not only continues to seed the world with conventional weapons of mass destruction but arms contractors are increasingly entering into deals that all but give away US technology. Recent newspaper reports have detailed how American contractors are aggressively pursuing arms sales in India despite the frictions between India and Pakistan, both of which have nuclear weapons programs. ''The potential in this market is significant,'' said Dennys Plessas, a Lockheed Martin vice president, to The New York Times. " 2.21.03
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7 STATES SUE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CLEAN AIR "Seven state attorneys general, all Democrats, mostly from the Northeast, announced today that they would file a lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to enforce the Clean Air Act by neglecting to update air pollution standards. The lawsuit, which would be the third brought by states against the Bush administration over the Clean Air Act in the last seven weeks, shows the increasingly antagonistic relationship between the Northeastern states and the federal government over clean air. Across the country, states are becoming increasingly active on environmental matters, with many officials criticizing the Bush administration as eager to roll back regulations and Congress as unable to demonstrate effective oversight. " 2.21.03
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DEMS WOULD BE GUILTY OF POLITICAL MALPRACTICE IF THEY DIDN'T FILIBUSTER ESTRADA "Never mind that eight of the 10 Hispanic appellate judges were appointed by Clinton. And never mind that Republicans had no problem blocking such Hispanic Clinton nominees as Enrique Moreno, Jorge Rangel and Christine Arguello....The fight over Estrada's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is not simply about him. It is about a concerted effort to pack our courts with representatives of a single point of view. If Democrats just rolled over on Bush's judicial nominations, they would be guilty of oppositional malpractice.To understand this battle, you could go back to Richard Nixon's campaign against liberal judges. But let's just look at what happened to Bill Clinton's effort to get two highly qualified nominees onto the D.C. Circuit.Elena Kagan, who served in the Clinton White House, graduated at the top of her class at Estrada's law school and now teaches there, saw her nomination languish in the Republican Senate for 18 months. Allen Snyder clerked for that well-known left-winger, U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and was also at the top at Harvard Law School. His nomination languished for 15 months.If Republicans believe in voting for quality -- their argument for Estrada -- why didn't they confirm Kagan and Snyder? The answer is obvious: We have before us, sadly, a fierce political struggle for control of the courts. " 2.21.03
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WOLFOWITZ AND RUMSFELD WANTED IRAQ WAR WHILE CLINTON WAS IN OFFICE "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz undertook a full-fledged lobbying campaign in 1998 to get former President Bill Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's regime claiming that the country posed a threat to the United States, according to documents obtained from a former Clinton aide.This new information begs the question: what is really driving the Bush Administration's desire to start a war with Iraq if two of Bush's future top defense officials were already planting the seeds for an attack five years ago? President Clinton "never considered war with Iraq an option," the former aide said. "We were encouraged by the UN weapons inspectors and believed they had a good handle on the situation." Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Kristol, however, disagreed; saying the only way to deal with Hussein was by initiating a full-scale war." 2.21.03
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EUROPEANS FEAR BUSH'S BLACK AND WHITE RELIGIOUS WORLD AS "RECIPE FOR DISASTER" "Mr Bush's Christian fervour only confirms suspicions that the looming war with Iraq is indeed a "crusade" against Muslims, exactly as Osama bin Laden suggests. For world-weary Europe the presidential language evokes mirth and queasiness in equal measure. A European leader who spoke in such terms would be laughed off the stage. An American one who speaks this way only increases the fear that simplicities of faith, and a habit of seeing a hideously complicated world in a black-and-white, good or evil fashion, are a recipe for disaster." 2.21.03
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DON'T LOOK FOR MORAL CLARITY IN BUSH PLANS FOR IRAQ "Turkey has reportedly been offered the right to occupy much of Iraqi Kurdistan. Yes, that's right: as we move to liberate the Iraqis, our first step may be to deliver people who have been effectively independent since 1991 into the hands of a hated foreign overlord. Moral clarity! Meanwhile, outraged Iraqi exiles report that there won't be any equivalent of postwar de-Nazification, in which accomplices of the defeated regime were purged from public life. Instead the Bush administration intends to preserve most of the current regime: Saddam Hussein and a few top officials will be replaced with Americans, but the rest will stay. You don't have to be an Iraq expert to realize that many very nasty people will therefore remain in power - more moral clarity! - and that the U.S. will in effect take responsibility for maintaining the rule of the Sunni minority over the Shiite majority. If this all sounds incredibly callous and shortsighted, that's because it is. But then what did you expect? This administration doesn't worry about long-term consequences - just look at its fiscal policy. It wants its war; there's not the slightest indication that it's interested in the boring, expensive task of building a just and lasting peace. " 2.21.03
krugman |related stories

SAUDIS WANT SUNNIS IN POWER, LEBANON FEARS ISRAEL WILL USE WAR AS PRETEXT TO DEPORT PASESTINIANS "Saudi Arabia appears most worried about what will follow in Iraq, where the grievances of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have deepened through decades of repression, the Gulf official said. Saudi Arabia, an austere Sunni Muslim kingdom, has sought assurances from the United States on Iraq's territorial integrity, fearing partition would leave a Shiite-dominated state on its border. Like Jordan and other Arab states, Saudi Arabia has pushed for Iraq's military to remain intact to prevent civil war and proposed that a Sunni general head a transitional government, the official said.Egypt and Jordan, in particular, have pushed the Bush administration to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a war. In Germany, Mubarak said Bush had promised him in conversations to take such a step, and Bandar said in the meeting Sunday that the best way to win leverage would be what he called a more pragmatic approach to a war. All Iraq's neighbors have taken steps to prepare for a feared outpouring of refugees. Jordan has begun digging wells and marking off sites for camps, diplomats say. Lebanon, which fears Israel will use a war as a pretext to deport Palestinians, has pushed sand mounds against three border crossings with Israel and concrete barriers across another, officials there say." 2.21.03
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CLUELESS IN D.C.: THE MORNING AFTER "Apparently, the administration doesn't have a clue what will happen the morning after Saddam is gone. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asked over the weekend if he can guarantee the next government in Iraq will be preferable to Saddam's said frankly, "there aren't many guarantees in life." In other words, the deluge is ahead of us and we're jumping in head first. That's precisely how Sharon behaves, as well. First we'll get rid of Arafat and break up the Palestinian Authority and then, well, God is great. " 2.21.03
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BUSH ADMIN PLAN FOR POST-WAR IRAQ SAID TO BE IN FLUX "The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources...Criteria by which officials would be designated as too tainted to keep their jobs are still being worked on, although they would likely be based more on complicity with the human rights and weapons abuses of the Hussein government than corruption, officials said. A large number of current officials would be retained...Said retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, one of a number of senior military and civilian experts who have been briefed by the Pentagon on the plan, "My own view is that it will take five years, with substantial military power, to establish and exploit the peace" in Iraq....The administration is particularly keen on averting interference by other regional powers, and cites the "ability of people like the Iranians and others to go in with money and create warlords" sympathetic to their own interests, one official said. "We don't want a weak federal government that plays into the hands of regional powers" and allows Iraq to be divided into de facto spheres of influence. 'We don't want the Iranians to be paying the Shiites, the Turks the Turkmen and the Saudis the Sunnis," the official, referring to some of the main groups among dozens of Iraqi tribes and ethnic and religious groups.'" 2.21.03
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EUROPEANS ARE HEARING WHAT AMERICAN LIBERALS HAVE HAD TO PUT UP WITH FOR YEARS: NEOCONSERVATIVE BAD MOUTHING "Timothy Garton Ash, a British writer, put his finger on an important aspect of American anti-Europeanism: ''The most outspoken American Euro-bashers are neoconservatives using the same sort of combative rhetoric they have habitually deployed against American liberals,'' he wrote. Precisely. Richard Perle, chair of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board, goes around Europe behaving as though he thought he were on ''Crossfire,'' and Donald Rumsfeld is just as bad. ''Crossfire'' combatants are not noted for their diplomacy. Using the language of right-wing radio talk show hosts, complete with macho posturing, is reassuring to no one. Bush once described something as ''the language of diplomatic nuanced circles.'' One could wish he were rather more practiced in it. It is not reassuring to be told we are going to war because he ''has already seen this movie'' and is bored by it. Far be it from me to discourage blunt speaking, but issues of war and peace are not aided by displays of petty impatience. There is something deeply unserious about it. " 2.21.03
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BLAIR NOW SEEN BY BUSH AS A LIABILITY "To London commentators the continued search for UN backing is seen as a credit to Tony Blair's power of persuasion. To Washington it is seen as helping out Blair in view of his own domestic troubles. Far from being seen as a staunch ally he has recently begun to look like a liability... It's not sympathetic and it's certainly not comforting, but the Washington of George Bush has finally taken on the role once presumed by Henry Kissinger, the lone cowboy riding on a white horse to clean up the world wherever it threatens America's peace. And other countries' feelings or protestations just don't count at all. " 2.21.03
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BUSH UN WAR BID STRATEGY IS TO PRESSURE ANGOLA, GUINEA, CAMEROON TO OFFSET FRANCE, RUSSIA, CHINA "The United States and Britain have decided that their strategy in the United Nations will be to try to persuade 9 of the 15 members of the Security Council to back a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, and then to challenge France, Russia or China to veto the will of the Council's majority, administration officials said today....Part of the discussion this week, diplomats said, concerned how to win over six wavering Council members, known informally as "the middle six" — Angola, Guinea, Cameroon, Mexico, Chile and Pakistan — countries that do not command a great deal of diplomatic attention, as a rule. They are nonpermanent members, along with Bulgaria, Germany, Spain and Syria....It takes nine votes to pass a resolution, and the United States and Britain have only Bulgaria and Spain on their side. The permanent members, with veto power, are the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China. If any of them vote no, the resolution is killed. The strategy is to try to get Russia, France and China to acquiesce by abstaining, perhaps under pressure, if there is a base of 9 or 10 votes in favor. But many in the administration concede that this would be extremely difficult. " 2.21.03
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BUSH IS FORMING A "COALITION OF THE BOUGHT OFF" "It's not that the Bush administration is always stingy. In fact, right now it is offering handouts right and left. Most notably, it has offered the Turkish government $26 billion in grants and loans if it ignores popular opposition and supports the war. Some observers also point out that the administration has turned the regular foreign aid budget into a tool of war diplomacy. Small countries that currently have seats on the U.N. Security Council have suddenly received favorable treatment for aid requests, in an obvious attempt to influence their votes. Cynics say that the "coalition of the willing" President Bush spoke of turns out to be a "coalition of the bought off" instead....But it's clear that the generosity will end as soon as Baghdad falls. After all, look at our behavior in Afghanistan. In the beginning, money was no object; victory over the Taliban was as much a matter of bribes to warlords as it was of Special Forces and smart bombs. But President Bush promised that our interest wouldn't end once the war was won; this time we wouldn't forget about Afghanistan, we would stay to help rebuild the country and secure the peace. So how much money for Afghan reconstruction did the administration put in its 2004 budget? None. " 2.21.03
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"CULT OF SECRECEY ONLY INCREASES THE GRAVE DANGER OF TERRORISM" "Richard Powers, in his introduction to Moynihan's book, argues that one of the baleful effects of secrecy is that it inclines public opinion toward conspiracy theories. Nothing is accepted as stated, politicians always lie, there is always a hidden agenda. Both the Bush administration, the most secretive in America for years, and the Blair government have taken their share of shots from these lockers, particularly from the European side of the Atlantic. The combination of secretive government, guarding exaggerated or misconceived ideas of the threats facing the nation from rational discussion, and a public opinion distorted by the notion that all secrets are by definition discreditable to government, was an unhappy one during the cold war. It is even less desirable now. " 2.21.03
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PROFESSOR INDICTED AS TERRORIST LEADER "The Justice Department yesterday accused a former Florida university professor of conspiracy to commit murder via suicide attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, saying he has secretly been a top leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization for years.In a 50-count indictment unsealed yesterday in Tampa, Sami Al-Arian and seven other people, including three Muslim activists arrested yesterday in this country and several top officials of Islamic Jihad still at large abroad, also were charged with crimes ranging from racketeering to money laundering. Al-Arian was arrested at his suburban Tampa home yesterday. The 120-page indictment relies heavily on dozens of telephone calls and faxes between Al-Arian and other alleged Islamic Jihad officials that were intercepted in investigations secretly approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, officials said." 2.21.03
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ALLIES BOIL OVER AFTER TWO YEARS OF BUSH BULLYING "'There have been really aggressive battles that have got people's backs up,' said a diplomat from a country that publicly supports the US position on Iraq. "The US team often acts like thugs. People feel bullied, and that can affect the way you respond when someone makes a request." Since the September 11 attacks, the Administration has pursued an especially muscular foreign policy but foreign officials say anger at the Administration's style set in almost from the moment President George Bush took office. The Administration's rejection of the Kyoto Treaty to stem global warming and Mr Bush's abrupt dismissal of South Korea's "sunshine" policy towards North Korea set the impression that the Administration was not interested in listening too closely to the concerns of its allies. The Administration worsened tensions by refusing to join the International Criminal Court, withdrawing from the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty and announcing a doctrine of fighting preventive wars - a move that surprised and concerned allies. "The Administration seems to believe that if you push hard enough, everyone will give in," said a senior European diplomat. 'This hardball presentation is part of the reason this Iraq thing has been hard to sell in a number of European countries.' " 2.20.03
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CANADA WILL NOT JOIN A U.S. ATTACK ON IRAQ WITHOUT UN BACKING "Canada toughened its line on the Iraq crisis on Tuesday, saying it had no intention of contributing to a possible U.S.-led attack that had not been blessed by the United Nations Security Council. U.S. President George W. Bush says if the U.N. backs away from the idea of authorizing force to disarm Baghdad, he is prepared to wage war with what he calls a "coalition of the willing". Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has until now refused to rule out contributing forces to a possible unilateral U.S. attack, but on Tuesday he told Parliament this was not an option. "We have not been asked and we do not intend to participate in a group of the willing," he said in reply to a question asking whether Canada would join "a coalition of willing countries'. " 2.20.03
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NO WAR IDEALISM HERE: TURKEY WANTS MORE DOUGH "The leader of Turkey's governing party said that the offer the White House described as "final" was not yet good enough. " 2.20.03
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BUSH'S DOLLAR DIPLOMACY: EVERYONE HAS A PRICE "After taking a hard look at the poker game being played by President Bush and Saddam Hussein, Turkey, in effect, told Mr. Bush this week to ante up $32 billion if he wants Ankara to take a seat at the table. That's serious money and the demand, which Washington is pondering, says a great deal about the tradeoffs taking place beneath all the lofty arguments about going to war with Iraq. The business of lining up reluctant governments to provide bases and support for possible military action is not exactly an exercise in Wilsonian idealism. " 2.20.03
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BUSH CAKEWALK TO WAR LOSING MOMENTUM "Turkey demonstrated what the "coalition of the willing" that George Bush so often cites really means: willing at a price. First, Turkey got $4 billion for giving us space for a second front. But now, with American troopships headed its way, Turkey is holding a gun to Uncle Sam's head. They're talking $10 billion. They deny they're greedy; it's just that 94 percent of the country is against the war.With allies like that it's no wonder the cakewalk is losing momentum, n'est-ce pas? " 2.20.03
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"NEW" EUROPE'S CITIZENS ARE ANTI-WAR "When it comes to public attitudes toward U.S. military power, there's no continental divide between "new Europe" and "old Europe." The Europeans are conflicted, but not over Iraq: The conflict is about Europe itself....Near across-the-board support, given largely in the face of domestic opposition, from democratically elected leaders in 13 formerly Communist countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania [has more to do with future European power politics than Iraq]. For many, the Iraq spat is a proxy battle for the forthcoming redefinition of the European Union. The message to EU powerhouses France and Germany is clear: We'll join you, but that doesn't mean we'll follow you. " 2.20.03
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THE PEOPLE VS. BUSH AND BLAIR "It was no accident that in the 60 nations where protests were held, the biggest turnouts, as here, were where governments have bucked their electorates to back the American march toward war - Italy (2 million), Spain (2 million), and Australia (500,000, the biggest political protest in Aussie history). It also partially explained why authorities everywhere - including Toronto and several American cities - were so surprised by the turnouts, so little did they know the extent to which the anti-war movement had spread, almost by stealth. The media, too, stand reproached, especially in Canada and the United States. Too many have been too busy beating war drums to hear their own constituents. Never before has so much slick and powerful war propaganda met with such universal public derision in a common language of resistance from around the world: "Don't attack Iraq." "Not in my name." "No war for oil." And, one here with a local twist, "Stop Mad Cowboy Disease." "Wake up and smell the democracy," a poster admonished Prime Minister Tony Blair. The biggest applause of the rally went to pop star Ms Dynamite when she addressed him: "How long will you lie and deceive the country? Don't underestimate or insult our intelligence." "Regime change begins at home," read a sign. " 2.20.03
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THE DAY THE PROTEST MUSIC DIED "Independent radio stations that once would have played antiwar anthems have been gobbled up by corporations that have no wish to rock the boat." 2.20.03
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"IRAQ CRISIS IS BEING USED BY ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS TO ATTACK THE OIL BUSINESS, ACCORDING TO A LEADING INDUSTRY CHIEF" "The Iraq crisis is being used by anti-war protesters as an excuse to attack the oil business, according to a leading industry chief . David O'Reilly, chairman and chief executive of Chevron Texaco said there was a view among some sections of the public that the conflict was about nothing but oil and that was not a good enough reason to go to war. But he said that the diversity and continuity of the world's energy supply were vital strategic concerns. "National security and energy security are not one and the same thing but they are clearly intertwined. It's hardly surprising that current events have put our industry in the spotlight," he told the Institute of Petroleum annual lunch at the Dorchester Hotel in London. " 2.20.03
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SECRECY OF ASHCROFT'S PATRIOT ACT II SUGGESTS HE'S WAITING FOR A CRISIS TO SPRING IT ON US "The Patriot Act II would severely diminish the procedural protections that keep innocent people from being investigated and unfairly treated by government. It creates two systems of justice, one for citizens and one for noncitizens, and it moves us further toward having a national security exception to the Constitution....Although there are some reasonable provisions,...the bulk of the draft bill is designed to give more unilateral authority to the executive branch. It dangerously undermines our system of checks and balances....The secrecy surrounding the 120-page draft, stamped "CONFIDENTIAL -- NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION" suggests Ashcroft was waiting for the right time to unveil it -- perhaps when the nation is once again in crisis mode." 2.20.03
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U.S. HOPE FADING FOR UN BACKING OF WAR "The outlook for the United States has grown even darker. On the weekend came a series of giant antiwar protests around the world. Back at the UN, a parade of UN ambassadors came to a special open session of the council to echo France's call for more time, more inspections, more talks -- anything but war. Of the 27 countries whose ambassadors entered the debate Tuesday, only four -- Australia, Japan, Peru and Argentina -- suggested that force was or might be necessary. On the other side were Brazil, New Zealand, Ukraine, Greece, India and a host of Middle Eastern countries sharply opposed to war. Things went a little better for Washington yesterday, when a collection of countries from Macedonia and Iceland to Nicaragua and Serbia warned Iraq to take action on disarmament or face severe consequences. But these are hardly international titans and the overall mood was still against war. Trying to put the best face on things, U.S. and British officials suggested yesterday that they will give the bid for a UN resolution one last try before making the fateful decision to go to war without it. " 2.20.03
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NOT SO FAST, MR. BUSH The Bush administration's determination to keep to a tight timetable that would see its forces ready to go to war against Iraq by early March is in danger of coming unstuck... Plans to open a northern front against Iraq - seen as vital to ensure a pincer movement against Baghdad - were looking shaky last night as Turkey resisted an ultimatum from Washington to accept US troop deployments or forfeit a multi-billion dollar compensation package." 2.20.03
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SADDAM MISREADING BLIX REPORT, PROTESTS ON STREET AND AT UN "The disarray over military planning will boost the Iraqi government, which has already been buoyed by Mr Blix's last report as well as by worldwide anti-war demonstrations. UN officials said yesterday that the Iraqi government has been emboldened to the point where it sees no urgency in meeting the weapons inspectors' call for deeper cooperation. "After last Friday's security council meeting, it has shifted backward the other way. We have not really seen any moves that would indicate additional cooperation," a UN official told the Guardian. UN officials in Baghdad also said yesterday that they had detected a disturbing shift in Baghdad's attitude in the last few days. They say the protests have encouraged Iraq to believe it can turn the divisions in the security council between the US and Britain and France and Russia to its advantage, a strategy that could stall the speedy progress sought by Mr Blix, who is expected to make a further report to the security council around March 6 rather than, as suggested by Washington and London, on February 28. " 2.20.03
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THERE'S MONEY TO BE MADE IN POST-WAR IRAQ "Boys, boys, you're all right. Sure, it's Daddy, oil, and imperialism, not to mention a messianic sense of righteous purpose, a deep-seated contempt for the peace movement, and, to be fair, the irrefutable fact that the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein... But there's also an overarching mentality feeding the administration's collective delusions, and it can be found by looking to corporate America's bottom line. The dots leading from Wall Street to the West Wing situation room are the ones that need connecting. There's money to be made in post-war Iraq, and the sooner we get the pesky war over with, the sooner we (by which I mean George Bush's corporate cronies) can start making it. " 2.20.03
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U.S. UNDERSEC. OF STATE COULD BE ADDING FUEL TO THE "EXPLOSIVE IDEA" OF "A U.S.-ISRAEL PLOT TO CONTROL THE ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST."Given the enmity between Israel and its Arab neighbors, it's not surprising that many in the Arab world think attacking Iraq is just the first step in a U.S.-Israeli plot to control the entire Middle East. What is surprising is that a senior U.S. official would fuel such an explosive idea at such a sensitive time. Yet that could well be the effect of recent remarks by John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. As reported in Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Bolton told Israeli officials Monday that he has "no doubt America will attack Iraq and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterward."...This kind of talk is extremely dangerous and extremely undiplomatic," said John Isaacs of the Council for a Livable World, a Washington, D.C., arms control organization....Bolton "doesn't realize the difference between being a think-tank official and a high government official who should be watching what he says," Isaacs said. 'The rest of the world pays attention to his words even if nobody in this country does.' " 2.20.03
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BUSH DOING NEXT TO NOTHING TO PROTECT US AT HOME "As much as $160 billion in new financing has been poured into national security since 9/11, yet only a small fraction has been used to make Americans safer at home. In fact, the bulk of the money has been used for troops, conventional weapons systems and traditional military investments, not for confronting terrorism. This trend will accelerate with the president's 2004 budget: at $380 billion, spending on the military is expected to grow $40 billion over last year and almost a third since 2001, an extraordinary jump by historical standards. " 2.20.03
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BUSH PLANS TO LEAVE THE CHILDREN OF THE MILITARY BEHIND "With the country gearing up for war, this is the worst time to cut federal school aid for the children of men and women in the armed forces. " 2.20.03
nyt |related stories

BUSH WANTS STATES TO CUT COSTS BY SCREWING THE POOR OUT OF MEDICAID "In announcing the proposal on Jan. 31, the administration said it would give states vast new power to expand, reduce or eliminate benefits for millions of low-income people, including many who are elderly or disabled. States have long sought more control over the program, to tailor benefits to the needs of individual recipients and to control costs, which shot up 13 percent last year and have increased an average of 9 percent a year since 1997. In return for such flexibility, states would receive a fixed amount of federal Medicaid money, set by a statutory formula, in each of the next 10 years. The amount would grow each year, but the growth would be constrained by the formula. By contrast, the federal commitment to Medicaid is now open-ended; the federal government puts up more money for every additional dollar spent by a state. " 2.20.03
nyt |related stories

LATINOS BITTERLY DIVIDED OVER ESTRADA NOMINATION "Latino activists have differing perceptions of who Estrada is and what kind of judge he would be....Opponents question whether Estrada appreciates the interests of poor people -- his family came from the Honduran elite -- and say his conservative politics would color his decisions on the bench. They say Estrada has a low regard for hard-won civil rights protections that benefit Latinos. Ideological wars over federal judicial nominations are nothing new, but the fight among Latinos offers a small window on how what will soon be the nation's largest ethnic minority is divided by ideology and geography." 2.20.03
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COLIN'S KID CONTINUES TO PUSH DEREGULATION AS A MEANS OF PLACING COMMUNICATIONS POWER IN THE HANDS OF A FEW CONGLOMERATES "In passing the 1996 law Congress wanted competition not just among modes of communication but also within existing telephone systems. The FCC shouldn't give up on local competition just as it is finally becoming a reality. At least three of the other four commissioners -- including one of Mr. Powell's fellow Republicans -- reportedly have serious reservations about the chairman's plans. They should make sure that competition is the goal, not the victim, of deregulation. " 2.20.03
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BUSH OPERATES FROM THE CERTAINITY OF HIS OWN EGO, WITHOUT PAUSE, WITHOUT WISDOM "The President's simple swagger isn't merely a consequence of his religious faith. He has long disdained the tortured moral relativism he first encountered at Yale. He doesn't come from the most introspective of families. And he has recently found an intellectual home in the secular evangelism of the neoconservatives, who posit a stark world of American good and authoritarian evil. But George W. Bush's faith offers no speed bumps on the road to Baghdad; it does not give him pause or force him to reflect. It is a source of comfort and strength but not of wisdom....The world might have more confidence in the judgment of this President if he weren't always bathed in the blinding glare of his own certainty. " 2.20.03
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BUSH OBSESSED OVER MONICA HUSSEIN. DRAGGING US THROUGH THE MUCK "When the Lewinsky affair broke mid-way through Clinton's second term, the world wasn't exactly in crisis. Kosovo and the East Asian currency crisis aside, the planet seemed OK for a change. The Lewinsky obsession only deepened the delusion that nothing else of great importance needed attention. After 2001 Bush had no such excuse, and in 2003 even less. The United States is threatened by a worldwide terror network. Osama bin Laden is still happily at large. Al-Qaida's dalliances with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, those Bush administration "friends," don't even bother with covertness. North Korea is rattling nuclear-tipped sabers. Anti-Bushism is at an all-time high. Bush's domestic popularity, after its NASDAQ-like bubble of 2001, is paralleling the sputter-coughs of the economy. Deficits are out of control again, and the nation's health care system is as good as a daily human right abuse for millions. But Bush persists in courting his Babylonian Lewinsky and dragging us all through the muck. " 2.19.03
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SO MUCH FOR INEXPENSIVE AIDS MEDICATIONS. BUSH BLOCKS ANOTHER DEAL TO PROVIDE CHEAP DRUGS FOR THE WORLD'S POOR "George Bush's close links with the drugs industry were last night blamed for the failure of talks in Geneva aimed at securing access to cheap medicines for developing countries. Delegates at the World Trade Organisation expressed frustration after the US again rejected a deal that would have loosened global patent rules to enable poor countries to import cheap copies of desperately needed drugs. "We believe that governments should maintain their distance and should not be directed by pressure groups," one EU trade official said. " 2.19.03
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JEB PRACTICES BUSH-STYLE FOREIGN DIPLOMACY BY INSULTING SPAIN "Jeb created diplomatic embarrassment after mistakenly describing Spain, one of the staunchest supporters of the US position, as a republic. In the kind of gaffe George Bush has been famed for, the governor of Florida temporarily forgot King Juan Carlos as he complimented Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister whose title, in Spanish, is president of the government. Speaking in Madrid he said: "I would like to finish by thanking the president of the republic of Spain for his friendship with the United States....Spanish historian Juan Pablo Fusi was less forgiving of Jeb Bush¹s slip-up, calling it a "foolish and grotesque error". "It¹s an offence to Spain and its democratic monarchy," Mr Fusi said. 'It further ridicules the Bushes in general.'" 2.19.03
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ALLIES OF SAME "OLD" RUMSFELD AND SAME "NEW" BUSH ATTACK CHIRAC "France and Germany, who lead Europe's antiwar forces, were livid when Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which are due to become members of the EU in 2004, joined five existing members led by Britain and Spain in signing in support of Washington's view on the conflict. That was followed by an open letter signed by 10 other candidate countries, mainly from central and eastern Europe and known as the Vilnius 10, who also backed the U.S. approach. That prompted U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to say that Washington had the backing of the "new Europe," belittling the role of the "old Europe" led by Paris and Berlin. British Prime Minister Tony Blair rushed to the defence of the Eastern Europeans yesterday. "They have as much right to speak up as Great Britain or France or any other member of the European Union today," Mr. Blair said in London, in a swipe at Mr. Chirac. "They know the value of Europe and America sticking together." " 2.19.03
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AMERICANS WHO DISLIKE THE FRENCH SHOULD TAKE A HISTORY COURSE "I was in Paris on Sept. 11, 2001. The reaction was so immediate, so generous, so overwhelming. Not just the government, but the people kept bringing flowers to the American embassy. They covered the American Cathedral, the American Church, anything they could find that was American. They didn't just leave flowers, they wrote notes with them. I read over 100 of them. Not only did they refer, again and again, to Normandy, to never forgetting, there were even some in ancient, spidery handwriting referring to WW I: "Lafayette is still with you." Look, the French are not a touchy-feely people. They're more, like, logical. For them to approach total strangers in the streets who look American and hug them is seriously extraordinary. I got patted so much I felt like a Labrador retriever. I wish Andy Rooney had been there. This is where I think the real difference is. We Americans are famously ahistorical. We can barely be bothered to remember what happened last week, or last month, much less last year. The French are really stuck on history. (Some might claim this is because the French are better educated than we are. I won't go there.) Does it not occur to anyone that these are very old friends of ours, trying to tell us what they think they know about being hated by weak enemies in the Third World? " 2.19.03
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BLAIR SPINS HISTORY. HISTORIANS RESPOND "In 1939, the Third Reich was the most powerful and highly armed state in the world. To defeat it took six years, even though for much of that time it was fighting on several fronts at once. But although the Nazi party was destroyed, Germany itself was not: divided and occupied for half a century, its essential unity re-emerged with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Iraq, by contrast, weakened by defeat in 1991 and sanctions since, is so far from being the most powerful state in the Middle East that, even now, hostile forces control its skies and northern territories with impunity. A war with it is likely to take much less than six years but coping with the aftermath will make dealing with postwar Germany look easy." 2.19.03
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BUSH TELLS UN "MY WAY OR HIGHWAY," SAYS HE'S FIGHTING FOR U.S. CITIZENS AS THE MAJORITY OF U.S. CITIZENS PROTEST HIS WAR POLICY "'Unless the United Nations shows some backbone and courage, . . . it could render the Security Council irrelevant,' Mr. Bush told reporters at the White House, where he spoke publicly for the first time since antiwar protests on the weekend drew millions of people around the world....Mr. Bush said he wasn't impressed by the recent antiwar rallies, saying such protests won't shape U.S. decision-making." 2.19.03
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RUMSFELD, CHENEY, BUSH STUDY MAPS, TIN SOLDIERS WHILE GENERALS BOIL OVER MICROMANAGEMENT "The US war plan for Iraq is being prepared in great detail by Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush's civilian advisers in the White House. America's generals are outraged at this micromanagement. It is as if Britain's war plan was made by Alastair Campbell and Geoff Hoon... Colin Powell created the idea that the US should always use massive and overwhelming force in any war when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the late 1980s. Rumsfeld has set aside the Powell doctrine in favour of a more adventurous approach." 2.19.03
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THE WORLD IS CORRECT TO HOLD U.S. TO DOUBLE STANDARD "This week, a New York Times columnist, Patrick Tyler, observed that the scale of the anti-war demonstrations showed that, "there may still be two superpowers on the planet: The United States and world opinion...George W. Bush himself and his Praetorian Guard are as contemptuous of outside opinions as any old Roman. The "cultural cringe" that many Americans once exhibited toward the sophisticated, worldly Europeans has just about entirely vanished.Yet it still matters critically that Bush is an American emperor, not a Roman one. He has to be concerned about the effect of world opinion upon his allies, most particularly Britain's Tony Blair. And he has to be concerned about the effect of world opinion upon domestic American opinion....There's sound sense to this double standard. As is true for no one else, U.S. national actions repeatedly have international consequences." 2.19.03
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BUSH ADMIN SAYS "SEARCH CARS." SEATTLE-TACOMA SAYS "NO." "First, air travelers had to submit to an electronic wand waved over the body. Then they were asked to remove their shoes. After that, their checked luggage was opened and searched. Now, with the nation under a Code Orange alert, local police are pulling over drivers as they approach airport terminals for random searches of their vehicles. The searches at all three major Washington area airports and across the nation have met resistance in some cities as airport managers assess their legality. The measures, ordered by the federal agency in charge of airport security, have been criticized by civil liberties groups and prompted legal scholars to question whether random searches imposed by the federal government violated states' rights. At least one major airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said it would not comply with the directive because it ran counter to state laws prohibiting police from searching a vehicle without a specific reason. "We can't just stop everybody, or stop every third car or every blue car," said airport spokesman Bob Parker. " 2.19.03
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BUSH WORKING ON NUCLEAR ARSENAL "The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters" and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document... The meeting of senior military officials and US nuclear scientists at the Omaha headquarters of the US Strategic Command would also decide whether to restart nuclear testing and how to convince the American public that the new weapons are necessary." 2.19.03
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ATTACKING IRAQ OFFERS "MEANS OF OFFLOADING CAPITAL WHILE MAINTAINING...GLOBAL DOMINANCE" "Why, when the most urgent threat arising from illegal weapons of mass destruction is the nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan, is the US government ignoring it and concentrating on Iraq? Why, if it believes human rights are so important, is it funding the oppression of the Algerians, the Uzbeks, the Palestinians, the Turkish Kurds and the Colombians? Why has the bombing of Iraq, rather than feeding the hungry, providing clean water or preventing disease, become the world's most urgent humanitarian concern? Why has it become so much more pressing than any other that it should command a budget four times the size of America's entire annual spending on overseas aid? ...It has little to do with Iraq, less to do with weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with helping the oppressed. ...The impending war will not be fought over terrorism, anthrax, VX gas, Saddam Hussein, democracy or the treatment of the Iraqi people. It is, like almost all such enterprises, about the control of territory, resources and other nations' economies. Those who are planning it have recognised that their future dominance can be sustained by means of a simple economic formula: blood is a renewable resource; oil is not." 2.19.03
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HOMELAND SECURITY FAILURE "OUGHT TO BE THROWN DAILY IN MR. BUSH'S FACE" "Americans think terror will strike again. They don't know where or how, but they feel in their bones that terror, or the fear of terror, will be with their country for a long time. Canadians do not understand these apprehensions, even though to miss them is to misunderstand the contemporary United States. Why not be fearful when Osama bin Laden keeps issuing public messages. President George W. Bush promised to catch him "dead or alive." The terrorist chieftain is alive all right, but taunting Americans. It was bad enough for the U.S. to have endured the intelligence failures that led to Sept. 11; it's another thing to know that 18 months, billions of dollars and untold numbers of bombs later that Osama bin Laden and most of his top advisers remain on the loose.This failure ought to be thrown daily in Mr. Bush's face, but he has diverted attention to Iraq, where the United States is about to make a mistake of historic proportions." 2.19.03
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BUSH'S "COALITION OF THE WILLING" WILL NOT PAY THE WAR TAB. IN FACT, SOME ARE BEING PAID TO JOIN "Mr. Bush's coalition also creates the misleading impression that governments around the world are lining up to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq. This is not the same coalition that Mr. Bush's father assembled in 1991 to evict Iraq from Kuwait. That fraternity included the Security Council, most of the Arab world and Japan, and it contributed more than $50 billion to finance the Persian Gulf war. In the new conflict with Iraq, Washington seems to be issuing more checks than it is depositing, including a possible multibillion-dollar assistance program for Turkey. " 2.19.03
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COST OF WAR COULD BE DWARFED BY COST OF PEACE "Some combination of heavy casualties, protracted urban warfare, gory pictures on the nightly news, major terrorist action or a sharp jump in oil prices could easily tip the fragile US economy back into recession. It could touch off a process of contraction that took on a life of its own, causing a decline in economic activity worth maybe as much as $650 billion in just the first two years. Of course, like just about everything associated with this episode, Nordhaus' figuring rests on the unconscious assumption that America's interests are the only ones that count. But you don't need me to tell you that, should the US economy be knocked around to anything like the degree he suggests, there'd be plenty of fallout on the rest of us. " 2.19.03
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COST OF BUSH WAR ESTIMATED AT $682 BILLION "The Bush budget implies a deficit of $5.4 trillion by the end of ten years, but the addition of a Bush Iraq war deficit of .7 trillion will push it up to $6.1 trillion, and assuming Bush will continue his ill-advised economic plans with a GOP Congress in place, the deficit by the end of his present term in office will reach $6.7 trillion. Bush plans to plunder the taxpayers' money coming in to support Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to bring down the deficit to $3.2 trillion, but pretty much eliminating the three programs by so doing, which is his ultimate goal, thereby destroying the key economic safety nets nearly all of the poor and most of the middle class have. By then, the government will have to delete 30% of its social programs or put heavy taxation in place to avoid doing so. Given the huge deficit we will still have at that point, "the temptation to print money to pay our debts will become almost irresistible." That being the case, inflation will set in, jobs will be lost, and wages will remain fixed as prices go up. By then, of course, ex-President Bush will be saying, "That's not my problem." It will be ours. " 2.19.03
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BUSH'S SIMPLISTIC VIEW OF THE WORLD IS HARMFUL TO DEMOCRACIES "And I do object to an Iraq invasion — because I feel that extremist Islam can be stopped only by moderate Islam, and extremist Arab nationalism can be curbed only by moderate Arab nationalism. America, Europe and the moderate Arab states must work to weaken Saddam Hussein's despicable regime — but they should do so by helping those who would topple it from within. An American war against Iraq, even if it ended in victory, is liable to heighten the sense of affront, humiliation, hatred and desire for vengeance that much of the world feels toward the United States. It threatens to arouse a wave of fanaticism with the power to undermine the very existence of moderate governments in the Middle East and beyond. This pending war is already splitting the alliance of democratic states and cracking the ramshackle edifice of the United Nations and its institutions. Ultimately, this will benefit only the violent and fanatical forces menacing the peace of the world." 2.19.03
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THE WORLD IS ANGRY WITH THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, NOT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE "These are uneasy, tense times for Americans living abroad. As the possibility of war against Iraq rises, especially a war that the United States may fight virtually alone, so does anti-Americanism in the streets, newspapers and cafes of foreign cities. Interviewed around the world, Americans expressed confidence that people nearly everywhere tried to distinguish between them and their government. But they acknowledged that anger over American policies — and resentment of American power — had translated into varying degrees of wariness, discomfort and even risk for Americans living in different parts of the world." 2.19.03
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PROVINCIAL BUSH THINKS DIPLOMACY CONSISTS OF PLACING A CALL "The Bush folks are big on attitude, weak on strategy and terrible at diplomacy. I covered the first gulf war, in 1990-91. What I remember most are the seven trips I took with Secretary of State James A. Baker III around the world to watch him build - face-to-face - the coalition and public support for that war, before a shot was fired. Going to someone else's country is a sign you respect his opinion. This Bush team has done no such hands-on spade work. Its members think diplomacy is a phone call....It's time for the Bush team to shape up - dial down the attitude, start selling this war on the truth, give us a budget that prepares the nation for a war abroad, not a party at home, and start doing everything possible to create a global context where we can confront Saddam without the world applauding for him. " 2.19.03
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DAD DOUBLE-CROSSED THE KURDS. NOW IT'S JUNIOR'S TURN "As the Bush administration struggles to induce Turkey to support a war with Iraq, our Kurdish allies in northern Iraq are realizing that once again America is about to double-cross them. Zalmay Khalilzad, President Bush's special envoy to the Iraqi opposition, went to Ankara this month and told top Kurdish leaders to accept a large deployment of Turkish troops - supposedly for humanitarian relief - to enter northern Iraq after any American invasion. He also told the Kurds that they would have to give up plans for self-government, adding that hundreds of thousands of people driven from their homes by Saddam Hussein would not be able to return to them. For the Kurds, this brought bitter memories. They blame Henry Kissinger for encouraging them to rebel in the early 1970's and then acquiescing quietly as the shah of Iran made a deal with Iraq and stopped funneling American aid to them. (Mr. Kissinger's standing among Kurds was not helped by his explanation: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.") After the Persian Gulf war, the first President Bush called on the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam Hussein. When the Kurds tried to do just that, the American military let the Iraqis send out helicopter gunships to annihilate them " 2.19.03
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THOSE WHO WANT TO "FINISH" 41'S IRAQ WAR ARE USING 9/11 AS AN EXCUSE, BUT 43 WANTS THE NEXT GENERATION TO FOOT THE ECONOMIC BILL "I have a terrible foreboding that when we look back on our debate over the impending war with Iraq, we will be disappointed in ourselves. We may end up starting a war without any real argument over what it will take to win the peace....My own doubts are rooted in the Bush administration's failure to prepare our country for the long commitment that will be required if this war is to achieve the results its supporters promise. We still don't know how the administration intends to handle the aftermath of what one hopes would be an American military victory. And it is not as obvious to me as it is to the war's supporters that this battle is the clear next step in our response to 9/11. It's hard to escape the feeling that those who always wanted to "finish" the last Gulf war by getting rid of Hussein are using the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as a rationale for doing what they wanted to do on Sept. 10....Some of my doubts are, purely and simply, doubts about this administration. I find it astonishing that Bush and his lieutenants are not willing to offer a sober calculation of the long-term costs of this war, factor those costs into the nation's budget and ask Americans to pay the price. Instead, they would shuck off the costs to the next generation." 2.18.03
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THE NEWS MEDIA IS IGNORING THE ECONOMICS OF WAR, HELPING BUSH TO AVOID IT "The United States' economic imbalances -- and Americans' economic security -- are topics almost invisible on the tube. The constant orchestration of Iraq war stories is missing one key note -- the conflict's $60 billion to $100 billion cost, and the $10 billion annual cost of occupying the country... Here is the real security issue facing Americans, more lasting and dangerous than any orange alert... Yet, after several hours of the cable cacophony, I came away ready to second Fallows' observation and raise him one. The realization crystallized in my mind as Fox cut away from Iraq war preparations to Michael Jackson... Not only are political leaders not addressing what really threatens us, but the news media are massively disconnected. " 2.18.03
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COST OF WAR: NOW THAT TURKS HAVE NATO PROTECTION, THEY BALK AT U.S. USE OF BASES WITHOUT CASH UP FRONT "The Bush administration's plans for a northern front against Iraq reached a critical point today, as Turkish leaders ruled out a deal to allow American combat troops to use their country without agreement first on a multibillion dollar economic aid package. With time running out, a senior Turkish official said the government would present its final offer to American diplomats tonight. If the Bush administration agreed to the proposal, the official said, Parliament would probably vote this week to allow American combat troops to use the country as a base against Iraq. If the Americans rejected the offer, the official said, Turkish leaders would decline to put the question to Parliament this week. In all likelihood, the Turkish official said, such a decision would mean that the American plans for a northern front from Turkey would be all but dead. " 2.18.03
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BUSH DOESN'T NEED THE WORLD TO HELP DESTROY IRAQ, BUT AMERICAN TAXPAYERS SURE NEED IT TO PAY FOR ITS REBUILDING "Walking away from the U.N. and important European allies over this issue is not in America's long-term interests. Iraq's unconventional weapons aren't a uniquely American problem, but an international one. And while the United States does not need broad international support to prevail on the battlefields of Iraq, it will need plenty of help from Europe and the Arab world in managing the consequences of military action, including rebuilding Iraq. " 2.18.03
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BUSH ECONOMIC PLAN GAMBLES ON TWO QUESTIONABLE "IFS" "It all comes down to a gamble. President Bush has promised that if the White House's economic plan becomes law, the economy will flourish and deficits will shrink. But if the plan should fail, as some experts argue, the government will be handcuffed by trillions of dollars in shortfalls as it faces a difficult future. Who is most likely to win? For the experts, handicapping this bet requires taking sides in a debate about the path from saving to investment and from there to innovation and long-term growth. The administration says that its policies will follow that path to its end, leading to an enduring surge in economic growth. But its argument rests on two notions that remain highly disputed among economists, including more than 400 who predicted the policies' failure in an advertisement in The New York Times last week. The first is that the proposed changes in the tax code - including an end to taxes on some dividends and expanded tax-free savings accounts - will increase households' eagerness to save....The second notion is that the accumulation of enough capital would, by itself, lead to innovation.... Mr. Greenspan, however, hinted that a broader solution would be needed, requiring further spending cuts or perhaps future tax increases. "Faster economic growth alone is not likely to be the full solution to currently projected long-term deficits," he said." 2.18.03
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FOX, CNN BIAS TOWARDS WAR HELPS AMERICANS THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN REST OF WORLD ABOUT IRAQ, WAR PROTESTS "Most people...get their news from TV - and there the difference is immense. The coverage of Saturday's antiwar rallies was a reminder of the extent to which U.S. cable news, in particular, seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media. What would someone watching cable news have seen? On Saturday, news anchors on Fox described the demonstrators in New York as "the usual protesters" or "serial protesters." CNN wasn't quite so dismissive, but on Sunday morning the headline on the network's Web site read "Antiwar rallies delight Iraq," and the accompanying picture showed marchers in Baghdad, not London or New York.This wasn't at all the way the rest of the world's media reported Saturday's events, but it wasn't out of character. For months both major U.S. cable news networks have acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war. " 2.18.03
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PROTESTS MAKE DIFFERENCE: EU LEADERS AGREE, INSPECTORS SHOULD GET MORE TIME BECAUSE "THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE OF EUROPE WANT" "Acknowledging antiwar protests across the continent, the 15 European Union leaders agreed tonight that U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time to find and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and declared that a war against President Saddam Hussein "should be used only as a last resort.... British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the U.S. ally most closely aligned with Washington, had sought these elements as part of his effort to narrow the gap between his fellow European Union leaders, who want to give the U.N. inspectors more time, and a Bush administration that is saying with increasing impatience that time is up. Instead, the statement said Europe wants to disarm Iraq peacefully. And in a bow to the millions of antiwar protesters who took to the streets over the weekend, it said the union is pushing for a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis because 'it is clear that this is what the people of Europe want.'" 2.18.03
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BUSH'S WORLD VIEW IS NOT IN THE BEST TRADITIONS OF OUR COUNTRY "Texans tend to be pretty provincial. What a generalization, but it's true. I think provincialism is an endemic characteristic with mankind, I think everybody everywhere is provincial, but it is particularly striking with Texans, and we tend to be very Texcentric. I think one of the most attractive things about Texans is that they really don't give a shit what you think of them....Bush has always reminded me of -- it's like having dinner at the Midland Petroleum Club. You go out to dinner with those guys and you think, "Goddamn, those are nice people. I'm sure glad they're not running the world." It's a very, very limited world view....I'm not giving the conspiracy theory that it's all about oil. On the other hand I think it's absolutely silly to sit around and pretend that if Saddam Hussein was the same revolting son of a bitch in some other part of the world that we'd feel compelled to do anything about him. Yeah, I think oil is definitely part of this mix." 2.18.03
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"BUSH'S FAITH-BASED FOREIGN POLICY" "Although the president has yet to announce formally that his foreign policy also relies heavily on faith, this reality has become increasingly clear as his term in office has unfolded. When the administration released its "National Security Strategy" to Congress last summer, the grandiosity of the intentions expressed in the document stunned many observers -- as Mises Institute historian Joseph Stromberg noted, "it must be read to be believed." The strategy amounts to an enormously presumptuous agenda for domination of the entire world, not only overweening in the vast scope of the specific ambitions enumerated but also brazen in the implicit assumption that the president of the United States and his lieutenants are morally entitled to run the planet. I would like to believe that sooner or later the American people will resist, and resist strongly, the Bush administration's crusade for global domination in general and its present plan to conquer and reconstruct Iraq in particular. As matters now stand, though, I just don't have much faith in the majority of my fellow citizens." 2.18.03
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BUSH WAR TRIFECTA: OIL, ISRAEL, WORLD DOMINATION "The reasons for war that the Bush administration doesn't want to talk too much about, but which, in my view, it actually regards as the most important reasons: I've put three entries into this category--and again, I emphasize that some of you might prefer to see different items listed here, or might want one or more of my items removed. The first reason here is oil--the desire for greater U.S. control of Iraqi (and thus indirectly other Middle Eastern) oil resources. The second reason is the U.S. desire to extend the U.S. drive for global domination. The third and last reason on this list is the desire of many dominant leaders of the Bush administration in the U.S., in partnership with the Sharon government in Israel, that a conquest of Iraq become the first stage of a "strategic transformation" of the entire Middle East. " 2.18.03
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HOW BUSH'S IRAQ WAR FOR OIL IMPACTS EUROPE "The American occupation of Iraq will ensure American control not only over the vast oil reserves of Iraq itself, but also of the Caspian Sea and the Gulf States . The hand on the oil tab of the world can choke Germany , France and Japan , because it can manipulate at will the price of oil throughout the world. Lower the price, and you choke Russia . Raise the price, and you choke Europe and Japan .Therefore, preventing the war is an essential European interest, in addition to the profound longing for peace of the European peoples. Washington does not even hide its desire to bring Europe to its knees. Lately, there is a crude American effort to create a coalition of peripheral countries in order to oust Germany and France from the leadership of the European Union. America is organizing a bloc of the former Communist nations, who are about to join the Union, together with the UK, Spain and Italy . The Paris-Berlin axis, aided by Moscow , is designed as a defense against this ploy, too. This war, then, goes much beyond the Iraqi problem. It is not a war against Saddam’s microbes. It is, quite simply, a war for world dominion, economic, political, military and cultural. Bush is ready to spill a lot of blood to achieve this (as long as it is not American blood). " 2.18.03
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FINALLY, THE ADMINISTRATION TALKS ABOUT SOME OF THE RISKS OF WAR, BUT NOT "CHEERLEADER" BUSH. LOSS OF OIL IS DISCUSSED, BUT NOT "ULTIMATE NUMBER OF AMERICAN CASUALTIES" "Senior Bush administration officials are for the first time openly discussing a subject they have sidestepped during the buildup of forces around Iraq: what could go wrong, and not only during an attack but also in the aftermath of an invasion. [Rumsfeld's] list includes a "concern about Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction against his own people and blaming it on us, which would fit a pattern," Mr. Rumsfeld said. He said the document also noted "that he could do what he did to the Kuwaiti oil fields and explode them, detonate, in a way that lost that important revenue for the Iraqi people." That item is of particular concern to administration officials' postwar planning because they are counting on Iraqi oil revenues to help pay for rebuilding the nation. Although administration officials are no doubt concerned about the ultimate number of American casualties, they have declined to discuss the issue and it is not known how that risk figures in Mr. Rumsfeld's list." 2.18.03
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BUSH ATTACKS IRAQ, BUT NOT ISRAEL, FOR FAILING TO COMPLY WITH UN RESOLUTIONS "Announcing the adoption of the doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence in a speech to US army officer cadets at West Point, President Bush said the principle was to "take the battle to the enemy; disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge". There is danger here for the future prospects of any country that appears to defy the national self-interest of the only remaining superpower: a superpower that condemns Iraq for failing to comply with one UN resolution, but abstains when Israel is condemned for disregarding dozens; a superpower that attacked a country which harboured terrorists who committed the terrible outrage of September 11, but then declined to commit troops to peace enforcement because they might be unpopular following the US bombing; a superpower that is now alleged to be suggesting that the UK should secure and police Iraq because it has other national self-interests to pursue; a superpower that is prepared to risk the future of the United Nations if it does not follow a timetable that seems to be determined as much by the problems of reservist availability as by the difficulty of agreeing on a programme that could carry world support; a superpower that unilaterally supports Israel over the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians, the main cause of friction and fragility in the Middle East." 2.18.03
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"SHARON CAN'T RELY ON BUSH TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS" "Neither can he (Sharon) rely on Bush, with the sudden shift in his fortunes, to solve our political and defense problems and get us out of our economic rut. The defeat suffered by the United States in the Security Council, along with the millions of demonstrators protesting the attack on Iraq, are a personal blow to Bush. Overnight, the good cowboy who was all set to save the world has turned into the bad guy. Conventional wisdom has it that Bush will attack as promised, even if he has to go alone. But in this crazy world, anything can happen - even revoking the sanctions on Iraq." 2.18.03
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2,000 ISRAELIS IN TEL AVIV PROTESTED THE WAR "Could anything be more pathetic than the Arab demonstration against war? A million Britons marched in London, more than half a million Spaniards in Madrid; 200,000 in Paris and New York. And Cairo? Well, just 600 Egyptians turned up in their capital to protest at America's forthcoming invasion of brotherly Iraq - surrounded by 3,000 security police. By way of contrast - brave contrast - 2,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv against the war.... True, 200,000 Syrians protested against the war in Damascus. But no one protests in Syria unless they are in accord with their government, which means that this particular "popular" protest was arranged by the Arab Socialist Baath Party of Syria. But at least the Syrians did not carry, as their neighbours in Beirut did, portraits of Saddam Hussein. For in Arab capital cities, there is a special problem. Repeatedly, Arab opposition to war is trammelled up with Arab support for the Iraqi dictator." 2.18.03
fisk |related stories

"BUSH'S WEAK FOCUS HAS MADE HIM AN ACCOMPLICE TO ISRAELI EXPANSIONISM" "The Bush administration has hung itself up on the narrow terrorist aspect. Bush accepts Sharon's fight against terrorism as a compelling priority and as an instrument of Sharon's basic policy of territorial expansion. What is to Palestinians the salient issue of Israel's West Bank settlements has been consigned to the mists of "eventually" -- Condoleezza Rice's word. Bush is right to fight terrorism fiercely. But he has gone wrong in his choice of means. His way has been to ignore the inflammatory aspect of settlements and to enable Israel to extend its territorial reach in the West Bank. The result, Israeli left oppositionist Naomi Chazan told Washington's Foundation for Middle East Peace not long ago, is the existing stalemate: "Terrorism, which Israelis fear most, is continuing, and occupation, which Palestinians fear the most, is continuing. Unfortunately, the fight against terrorism has embroiled Israel in occupation, and the fight against occupation has embroiled Palestinians in terrorism. . . . The Palestinians cannot defeat Israel militarily, and Israel cannot defeat the Palestinians politically. These are the facts of life." To ignore these linkages is to doom any peace policy before it gets off the ground. " 2.18.03
rosenfeld |related stories

HOMELAND SECURITY: "A SERIOUS DISCONNECT BETWEEN PROMISES AND ACTION" "Congress has talked of increased funding for homeland defense, yet several initiatives critical to bolstering the nation's security were shortchanged in a new budget approved last week. In spite of claims by lawmakers who insist that the spending plan they approved provides adequate resources, vital needs were not fully met. " 2.18.03
usa ed |related stories

WHAT ABOUT TERROR PLANS FOR KIDS? "As [emergency physician] Henretig ponders the terrorist threats facing the United States, he sees what he calls a "nightmare" scenario: not a single critical child, but dozens, felled by an attack on a school, a sporting event or an ice show. He sees children separated from parents, wailing as other-worldly rescuers clad in frightening yellow suits attempt to provide first aid.... Henretig was among nearly 70 of the country's top pediatric and emergency medicine experts who met in Washington last week to discuss something they say has been woefully unexplored during the preparations for acts of terrorism: the unique challenges the youngest patients and those who treat them will face if catastrophe strikes.... What Redlener and others find especially troubling is the lack of pediatric experience among most "first responders." It's understandable, since children rarely have strokes, heart attacks or any of the other health problems that paramedics and EMTs are most familiar with. As Holbrook puts it: "It could be argued that children are too healthy for their own good." They are also disturbingly vulnerable targets for a terrorist strike with chemical, biological or radiological weapons. In the words of Theodore Cieslak, an Army pediatrician and bioterrorism expert who traveled from San Antonio for the conference, they "live closer to the ground," which means their "breathing zone" is at the level where heavier-than-air chemical agents may settle. " 2.18.03
wp |related stories

"WOMEN AND BABIES ARE DYING IN AFRICA BECAUSE OF MR. BUSH'S IDEALISM." WORLD CAN'T AFFORD ANY MORE OF HIS "IDEALISM" "There's a macabre sign of what's ahead in Iraq. The federal government publishes notices of contracts awarded, and recent listings include announcements from the Defense Personnel Support Center for a total of more than $400,000 for the likes of "Pouch, human remains, type II. Nylon; chloropene."The irony is that some on the right seem to be sinking into ineffectual idealism just as the left has shown signs of growing out of it. President Clinton moved away from his early demagogic Republican-bashing on China (coddling dictators) and came to appreciate the need to engage China's leaders and bring about change through engagement. The model in this respect is Jimmy Carter, who first made human rights an essential part of American foreign policy; he stands for ideals but does not let them trample real people. In his travels to third-world hot spots, staring down dictators and fighting disease, Mr. Carter recognizes that what matters most to Nigerian women or North Korean peasants isn't whether the White House mouths pious slogans on their behalf, but whether their children survive. So let's hope President Bush learns from liberal mistakes and worries less about ideals and more about practical results. The world may not be able to afford much more of his idealism. " 2.18.03
kristof |related stories

"BUSH'S AIDS PLAN TO INCLUDE ABORTION RESTRICTIONS" "President George W. Bush's $15 billion AIDS plan for Africa and Haiti would restrict the flow of money to groups that perform or promote abortions overseas, U.S. officials said on Friday....That would be in keeping with the so-called "Mexico City Policy" announced by then President Ronald Reagan at a Mexico City conference in 1984 and rescinded by Bill Clinton when he became president in 1993. Under U.S. law, no tax dollars have directly paid for abortions since 1973. The Mexico City rule, which was reinstated by Bush, prohibits giving U.S. funds to groups that spend their own money for abortions or counseling. Critics of the ban call it a "global gag rule" that imposes free-speech restrictions on family planning groups and could lead to even riskier abortions worldwide by denying crucial health counseling." 2.18.03
reuters |related stories

HOW CAN WE DEFEND OUR FREEDOMS WHEN WE ARE NO LONGER UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE OR HOW THEY'RE DERIVED? "We once had "Founding Fathers." Today we have the neutered "Founders." We once celebrated Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. Today we celebrate the anonymous "Presidents' Day."... We have forgotten our history -- forgotten it because, in the most literal sense, we have neglected to teach it. The evidence is indisputable and most disquieting. The recent survey conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress finds that more than four-fifths of the students tested, in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades, are below the proficiency level in the knowledge of American history. According to other studies, 65 percent of American high school seniors do not know the primary subject of the Bill of Rights, and nearly half of people between the ages of 15 and 25 believe that voting is unimportant....The situation in higher education is no less abysmal....American history has been dropped from most college core curriculums....Learning nothing from the past, nothing of value, that is, we flounder in the present without mentors or guides." 2.17.03
himmelfarb |related stories

HISTORY WILL NOT BE KIND TO GEORGE W. BUSH "Bush, G.W. 43d American President. In private life an unsuccessful oil executive, George W. Bush was installed as president of the United States by the Supreme Court in the year 2000. At first an ineffectual president both at home and abroad, he was invested following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 (see sidebar) with enormous political authority. Seizing opportunity in the name of fighting terrorism, Bush advanced an aggressive agenda to secure the world's natural resources for private interests, especially the petroleum industry. After initiating a disastrous program of economic, military and diplomatic actions coupled with severe domestic security measures, Bush's administration collapsed under a wave of scandals. The impact of his presidency on America's international standing is still felt today. According to an obscure satirist of the period, "George W. Bush was the a**hole that ate the world." See also Stalin, J. and Hitler, A. " 2.17.03
tripp |related stories

SADDAM SELLS OIL FOR EUROS, ONLY "A bizarre political statement by Saddam Hussein has earned Iraq a windfall of hundreds of million of euros. In October 2000 Iraq insisted on dumping the US dollar - 'the currency of the enemy' - for the more multilateral euro. The changeover was announced on almost exactly the same day that the euro reached its lowest ebb, buying just $0.82, and the G7 Finance Ministers were forced to bail out the currency. On Friday the euro had reached $1.08, up 30 per cent from that time....'It was seen as economically bad because the entire global oil trade is conducted in dollars,' says Fadhil Chalabi, executive director of the Centre for Global Energy Studies. The marked appreciation of the euro, higher interest rates, and the ability to pay mainly European suppliers in euros is believed to have made hundreds of millions for the Iraqi oil-for-food programme. " 2.17.03
guardian |related stories

"THE REAL REASON FOR THE UPCOMING WAR WITH IRAQ" "Although completely suppressed in the U.S. media, the answer to the Iraq enigma is simple yet shocking -- it is an oil currency war. The real reason for this upcoming war is this administration's goal of preventing further Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) momentum towards the euro as an oil transaction currency standard. However, in order to pre-empt OPEC, they need to gain geo-strategic control of Iraq along with its 2nd largest proven oil reserves. This lengthy essay will discuss the macroeconomics of the `petro-dollar' and the unpublicized but real threat to U.S. economic hegemony from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency. " 2.17.03
clark |related stories

AS GOLD PRICE GOES UP UNDER THREAT OF WAR, THE BUSH FAMILY PROFITS " President Pretzel's relentless hissy-fit for war on Iraq has of course goosed the price of gold enormously -- and that's set Bush Family coffers a-clinking. How so? In the waning days of his failed presidency, Bush I invoked an obscure 1872 statute to give a Canadian firm, Barrick Corp., the right to mine $10 billion in gold from U.S. public lands. (U.S. taxpayers got a whopping $10,000 fee in return.) Bush then joined Barrick as a highly paid "international consultant," brokering deals with various dictators of his close acquaintance. Barrick reciprocated with big bucks for Junior's presidential run. And in another quid for the old pro quo, last year Junior dutifully approved Barrick's controversial acquisition of a major rival. " 2.17.03
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"TRACKING BIN LADEN'S MONEY FLOW LEADS BACK TO BUSH'S MIDLAND" "Though Bush told the Wall Street Journal he had “no idea” BCCI was involved in Harken’s financial dealings, the network of connections between Bush and BCCI is so extensive that the Journal concluded their investigation of the matter in 1991 by stating: “The number of BCCI-connected people who had dealings with Harken—all since George W. Bush came on board—raises the question of whether they mask an effort to cozy up to a presidential son.” Or even the president: Bath finally came under investigation by the FBI in 1992 for his Saudi business relationships, accused of funneling Saudi money through Houston in order to influence the foreign policies of the Reagan and first Bush administrations....When President Bush announced he is hot on the trail of the money used over the years to finance terrorism, he must realize that trail ultimately leads not only to Saudi Arabia, but to some of the same financiers who originally helped propel him into the oil business and later the White House. The ties between bin Laden and the White House may be much closer than he is willing to acknowledge." 2.17.03
madsen |related stories

BUSH IS EYEBALL TO EYEBALL WITH PUBLIC OPINION "The fracturing of the Western alliance over Iraq and the huge antiwar demonstrations around the world this weekend are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion. In his campaign to disarm Iraq, by war if necessary, President Bush appears to be eyeball to eyeball with a tenacious new adversary: millions of people who flooded the streets of New York and dozens of other world cities to say they are against war based on the evidence at hand....War, like politics, is affected by psychology and momentum. The strong surge in momentum the Bush administration felt after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's Feb. 5 presentation to the Security Council on the case for war has been undermined by at least four converging negatives. " 2.17.03
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BLAIR IS INCREASINGLY ISOLATED IN BRITAIN "After a watershed weekend following setbacks at the United Nations and on the streets of his own capital, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain — Washington's main ally in the effort to disarm Iraq — looked lonely today, his destiny pinned to the uncertain progress of the campaign against Saddam Hussein....As millions across this divided continent marched in Europe's biggest antiwar demonstrations on Saturday, with at least 750,000 in London, Mr. Blair seemed to acknowledge that his increasingly vocal moral commitment to ousting Saddam Hussein had set him apart from many of his own people." 2.17.03
nyt |related stories

BLAIR MUST KNOW HE'S BEATEN "What is now absolutely clear is that the Daily Mirror is right about this war. And Tony Blair is wrong. The Prime Minister is not a stupid man so he must realise in his astute head that he is beaten logically, politically and democratically... The only support he has in this country is from a few lapdogs in the Cabinet - take a bow, John Prescott - the Tory leadership and newspapers owned by George W Bush admirers living in America." 2.17.03
mirror ed |related stories

BLAIR PLAYS HIS LAST "OUTRAGEOUS" CARD "Nobody advocates doing "nothing" about Iraq, as No 10's panic-station chief, John Reid, fatuously suggested yesterday. An intensified, permanent UN-led disarmament process, containment and sustained diplomatic pressure to remove Saddam is hardly nothing. Rather, it is the consensual, common sense and proper way forward. For sure, Bush may scorn such arguments. But others have a moral duty not to aid and abet his irresponsibility. Like his other arguments, Blair's "moral" case for war does not convince. It is but another excuse for the inexcusable." 2.17.03
tisdall |related stories

THE WORLD IS REJECTING BUSH'S DOCTRINE OF PRE-EMPTIVE ATTACK "There is a titanic, historic struggle going on, is there not? Why would Germany, of all countries, as well as France, get into a shouting match with the US? What causes Nato meetings to break up in public acrimony for the first time in 50 years? How come the Security Council erupts into unprecedented applause when the French Foreign Minister emotionally opposes the US? Why were there marches in so many countries involving so many people?... If we seek out the immediate reasons for each event we may miss the underlying explanation. It is this: millions of citizens and many governments are saying "no way" to the doctrine of pre-emptive attack enunciated by President Bush following the events of 11 September." 2.17.03
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AS WITH VIETNAM, THE CIA HAS SOLD OUT TO THE WAR PROPAGANDA MACHINE (See Also Next Story) "The analysts have been holding their noses ever since CIA Director George Tenet's February 11 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Tenet caved in to administration pressure to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Equally important, he retracted key intelligence judgments of barely four months ago on Iraq....Briefing the Senators, Tenet demonstrated high tolerance for cooking intelligence to the recipe of policy-a tolerance much higher than that of his analysts, who have been taken in by the verse chiseled into the marble at the entrance to CIA Headquarters-"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.". With no evident embarrassment, the CIA director backtracked on key judgments on Iraq that he gave the Senate committee in a letter of October 7, 2001. Those conclusions were call-them-as-you-see-them judgments in the best tradition objective CIA analysis. But, alas, they caused much reflux pain at the White House and Pentagon among those who prefer to damn the torpedoes and press full speed ahead to invade Iraq." 2.17.03
mc govern |related stories

"DECLASSIFIED CIA REPORT UNDERCUTS BUSH DESIRE TO INVADE IRAQ" "The CIA's newly declassified judgments on the likelihood of Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction severely undercut the Bush administration's case for attacking Iraq. The CIA noted that Iraq now appears to be deterred from initiating terrorist attacks against the United States with conventional, biological or chemical weapons. But if the United States invades Iraq and attempts to depose Hussein, the CIA concluded that he would be more likely to conduct such attacks. According to the CIA's analysis, Hussein might decide that the extreme action of helping radical Islamist terrorists in carrying out a biological or chemical attack on the United States would be his last chance to get revenge by taking a large number of American victims with him. The CIA's assessment confirms what opponents of a U.S. invasion of Iraq have been arguing in public all along. The uncovering of such analysis shows that the policy of deterring and containing Iraq does work and that a more aggressive policy of invasion could prove disastrous. The U.S. government's national security policy is supposed to enhance the security of the nation, not reduce it. Risking terrorist attacks against the United States with conventional, biological, or chemical weapons merely to remove a thug who has been successfully deterred and contained for more than a decade defies common sense. " 2.17.03
eland |related stories

BUSH NEEDS TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE TRUE COST OF HIS WAR "President Bush and his hawkish advisers speak blithely about a U.S.-led invasion leading to a garden of democracy blooming in the desert soil of Iraq. I wouldn't reach for my gardening tools too quickly. What the administration has been unwilling to tell the public is the truth about some of the implications of war with Iraq — first and foremost, the bloody horror of men, women and children being blown to smithereens in the interest of peace, and then the myriad costs and dangers associated with a long-term U.S. military occupation. As late as last week the administration tried to give the impression that the U.S. could be in and out of Iraq in as little as two years. That's of optimism. As former Senator Gary Hart said in a conversation last week, "Most thoughtful people who don't have a bias here think there is no short-term exit strategy." More realistic, he said, is a U.S. occupation of 5 to 10 years, or longer. " 2.17.03
herbert |related stories

IS BUSH WAITING FOR A SECOND TERRORIST ATTACK BEFORE MAKING HOMELAND SECURITY MORE IMPORTANT THAN TAX CUTS TO THE RICH? "Most of America's population centers, and most of its economic infrastructure, are nearly as vulnerable to attack now as they were on Sept. 11, 2001...."If a catastrophic terrorist attack occurred today, emergency first responders -- police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel -- in most of the nation's cities are no better prepared to react now than they were prior to September 11."... Contrary to the warnings of his own key advisers, the president has made a cold, political calculation that tax cuts are of far greater importance than homeland security. It appears that nothing short of a second catastrophic attack will change his mind. I pray my gut is wrong. " 2.17.03
o'malley |related stories

WHY DOESN'T BUSH INCLUDE ISRAEL IN HIS LIST OF IRAQ WAR ALLIES? "The men driving Bush to war are mostly former or still active pro-Israeli lobbyists. For years, they have advocated destroying the most powerful Arab nation. Richard Perle, one of Bush's most influential advisers, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton and Donald Rumsfeld were all campaigning for the overthrow of Iraq long before George W Bush was elected--if he was elected--US President. And they weren't doing so for the benefit of Americans or Britons. A 1996 report, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ( ) called for war on Iraq. It was written not for the US but for the incoming Israeli Likud prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and produced by a group headed by--yes, Richard Perle. The destruction of Iraq will, of course, protect Israel's monopoly of nuclear weapons and allow it to defeat the Palestinians and impose whatever colonial settlement Sharon has in store. Although Bush and Blair dare not discuss this with us--a war for Israel is not going to have our boys lining up at the recruiting offices--Jewish American leaders talk about the advantages of an Iraqi war with enthusiasm. Indeed, those very courageous Jewish American groups who so bravely oppose this madness have been the first to point out how pro-Israeli organisations foresee Iraq not only as a new source of oil but of water, too; why should canals not link the Tigris river to the parched Levant? No wonder, then, that any discussion of this topic must be censored, as Professor Eliot Cohen, of Johns Hopkins University, tried to do in the Wall Street Journal the day after Powell's UN speech. " 2.17.03
fisk |related stories

"ONE RULE FOR ISRAEL, ANOTHER FOR SADDAM" "Americans want it both ways. That is not unusual for the world's dominant power, but to claim that a disarmament of Saddam should be undertaken primarily to secure peace in the region is to neglect the permanent threat to peace caused by Israel's intransigence. There are many good arguments for toppling Saddam, especially the treatment of his 23 million subjects, but to Arabs they will not carry much weight until the West squares up to Israel and insists on compliance of 242. Those who make policy know this is right, but say it is also unrealistic. Israel has nuclear weapons and it is a fact of life that America is forced to intervene in the Middle East to prevent challenges to Israel's regional dominance. It would, of course, be far more dangerous for Israel to act overtly on its own behalf as the great military power that it now is. If America is to be Israel's chaperone and agent, it cannot also be its policeman. The role must fall to others, as Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, perhaps came near to admitting on the BBC Iraq debate. He said that Israel-Palestine issue should be addressed with much more 'energy' after any war against Iraq. That energy is unlikely to come from America, partly because of the Jewish lobby, although its influence is sometimes exaggerated, but mostly because it is powerless to control the state to which it so uniquely obligated. " 2.17.03
porter |related stories

MURDOCH AND HIS 175 NEWSPAPERS (INCLUDING NEW YORK POST) GO TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ, AND HE SAYS IT IS ABOUT OIL "You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch's News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the anti-war tune. Their master's voice has never been questioned. Murdoch is chairman and chief executive of News Corp which owns more than 175 titles on three continents, publishes 40 million papers a week and dominates the newspaper markets in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. His television reach is greater still, but broadcasting - even when less regulated than in Britain - is not so plainly partisan. It is newspapers which set the agenda. " 2.17.03
greenslade |related stories

WELL-FINANCED GROUP WORKING TO PRODUCE LIBERAL RADIO TALK SHOWS "The group, led by Sheldon and Anita Drobny, venture capitalists from Chicago who have been major campaign donors for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, is in talks with Al Franken, the comedian and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot." It hopes to enlist other well-known entertainers with a liberal point of view for a 14-hour, daily slate of commercial programs that would heavily rely on comedy and political satire....The list of successful conservative radio hosts is, in fact, fairly long Rush Limbaugh; Sean Hannity; Michael Savage; Michael Reagan. And there is no equivalent list of liberals. Past attempts, such as the programs of Mr. Hightower and Mario Cuomo, have failed." 2.17.03
nyt |related stories

BUSH LIED ABOUT THE AIDS FUNDING HIS ADMINISTRATION IS PROVIDING, AS WELL AS ITS TIMING "Mr. Bush's other foreign aid initiative, announced in his State of the Union address, is $10 billion in new money to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over five years. But his budget falls short of that promise. He is proposing only a $550 million increase over the global AIDS money in this year's spending bill now in Congress. Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would be an effective channel for the aid, there is no excuse for the initiative's leisurely start. Mr. Bush's 2004 budget for the Global Fund, $200 million, actually cuts in half what Congress is likely to do in 2003. Mr. Bush has also found part of the money for his AIDS programs by cutting nearly $500 million from child health, including vaccine programs. Child survival is the biggest loser in the foreign aid budget — a scandalous way to finance AIDS initiatives. With the budget dominated by defense spending and huge tax cuts for the wealthy, the White House should not be forcing the babies of Africa to pay for their parents' AIDS drugs." 2.17.03
nyt |related stories

BUSH WAR ON WOMEN'S SPORTS APPEARS TO BE SUCCEEDING "Title IX, the landmark law that has greatly expanded opportunities for girls and women to engage in sports, is in danger of being watered down. A Bush administration commission has recommended changes that would give schools, colleges and universities more leeway to favor men's and boys' athletics. There is nothing wrong with helping men's and boys' programs, but not at the expense of women and girls....Women make up 56 percent of students in higher education, but only 42 percent of college athletes, and on some campuses, men's programs receive twice the financing women's do. Instead of trying to rob women's sports, schools should look for ways to make financing within men's sports more equitable. Top football programs pay their coaches more than $1 million a year, shower luxuries on their players and inflate rosters. Since the average college wrestling program costs $330,000 a year, redirecting just a small part of the football budget could go a very long way. " 2.17.03
nyt ed |related stories

FORGET IRAQ. KOREA CAN'T WAIT. BUSH MUST DECIDE NOW "Within weeks, North Korea may start reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods containing enough plutonium for five to six nuclear weapons. Today we have no good options to confront that threat. But if we do not act now, our options will only get worse. North Korea may already possess one or two nuclear weapons, but U.S. policy correctly calls for the Korean Peninsula to be free of all nuclear weapons. In a matter of months, the six to eight bombs' worth of plutonium Pyongyang could then possess would be enough to support an offensive military strategy -- and to export. North Korea has announced the restart of its existing nuclear reactor, and it could finish construction of two larger reactors that were frozen under the 1994 Agreed Framework. Within a few years it could be churning out dozens of bombs' worth of plutonium each year. By then, its secret enrichment program could be producing bomb-grade uranium, too. Under those circumstances, intense pressure would build in South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. The reverberations would quickly extend to Taiwan and China, then India and Pakistan. If North Korea continues to view unconventional weapon exports as its chief cash crop, it will find numerous customers with adequate means and motive. Access to plutonium could shave years off the efforts of al Qaeda and other terrorists to obtain the weapon of ultimate destruction. We cannot afford to defer this issue. " 2.16.03
scowcroft |related stories

WHEN'S DADDY GONNA TELL IT LIKE IT IS ABOUT JUNIOR'S "VOODOO ECONOMICS"? "During the 1980 battle for the Republican presidential nomination, George Bush called Ronald Reagan's belief that you could dramatically increase military spending and cut taxes, while preserving fiscal discipline, "voodoo economics." Mr. Bush proved prescient, though he could hardly boast about it from his vice-presidential office. Now Mr. Bush's son is practicing voodoo economics, and it is Mr. Greenspan who has, however delicately, called him on it. Even without factoring in the cost of his latest round of proposed tax cuts or a war with Iraq, President Bush's budget for the next fiscal year would result in a $307 billion deficit - a worrisome 3 percent of gross domestic product. And his administration concedes that deficits are back to stay. But the White House line is that they don't matter. To worry about the impact of deficits on the economy, administration officials are fond of saying, is to engage in "Rubinomics." It's a mystery why they would think it disparages a view to associate it with Robert Rubin, President Clinton's widely admired Treasury secretary, whose policies were rooted in mainstream economics. It's equally bizarre to see conservatives in Congress embrace large deficits as an antidote for government spending. It's a theory that goes back to Reagan days, and it surfaces only when there are Republican deficits that need explaining away. To the unenlightened, it sounds like telling a compulsive shopper to solve his problem by maxing out on his credit cards. " 2.16.03
nyt ed |related stories

BUSH CLASS WARFARE. BUSH PLAN IS TO SCREW THE POOR, SHIFT THE BURDEN TO THE STATES, THEN BLAME THE STATES "IT TAKES SOME fitting of puzzle pieces, and a bit of looking into the future. But from disparate strains of the Bush administration budget a theme emerges. When it comes to a safety net for the poor, President Bush's method is to shave away money slowly over the years and at the same time shift the burden to the states. When crunch time comes, presumably the states will be blamed for the damage.In addition to cutting some public housing programs, for example, Mr. Bush has proposed turning federal housing vouchers over to states as block grants. He's promised to fund them enough to keep up with inflation, which would be reasonable except that housing prices are rising much faster than inflation. His plan would require the states to give out the same number of vouchers but would remove the requirement that 70 percent of them go to families at or below the poverty line. With budget crunches in most states and an already critical housing shortage, states will inevitably give those vouchers to lower-middle-class families who can afford to get by on less of a supplement, and the poor will get squeezed out. By that point, everyone will have forgotten how the states found themselves in this bind in the first place. A similar block grant plan (although with sketchier details) is emerging for Medicaid, the health care insurance program for the poor. Federal funds for welfare and child care have already been converted to block grants to states. With both those Mr. Bush has proposed freezing the grants at current levels. Some of this comes from a governor's mentality: Let the states manage the money. But some of it is just cost-cutting with a gloss of reform and states' rights. Sustaining a tax cut that will cost more and more every year requires some budget restraint, especially as retirement costs grow. Who will pay the price? If it didn't constitute class warfare to say so, we would tell you what is emerging as the unsurprising answer: the poor. " 2.16.03
wp ed |related stories

"THE WHOLE WORLD IS AGAINST THIS WAR" PUSHED BY "THE MOST CORRUPT AND RACIST ADMINISTRATION IN OVER 80 YEARS" "'The whole world is against this war. Only one person wants it,' declared South African teenager Bilqees Gamieldien as she joined a Cape Town antiwar demonstration on a weekend when it did indeed seem that the whole world was dissenting from George W. Bush's push for war with Iraq. Millions of protesters marched into the streets of cities from Tokyo to Tel Aviv to Toronto and Bush's homestate of Texas to deliver a message expressed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to a crowd of more than one million in London: "It's not too late to stop this war." Britain's Guardian newspaper described the London march as the largest peace demonstration in the country's history. The headline on Sunday morning's Observer newspaper read, "One million. And still they came," and announced that the "massive turnout surpassed the organisers' wildest expectations and Tony Blair's worst fears." Organizers of the British march estimated that as many as 1.5 million were cheering as London Mayor Ken Livingstone told the crowd, "So let everyone recognise what has happened here today: that Britain does not support this war for oil. The British people will not tolerate being used to prop up the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years." German police said 500,000 marched in Berlin, while organizers put the number considerably higher. In Rome, an estimated one million marched on a day when newspapers reported that polls show 85 percent of Italians do not support a war to disarm Iraq. Organizers put the size of the Madrid crowd at 600,000, while city officials said as many as 1.3 million took to the streets in Barcelona. At least 300,000 people gathered in cities across France. The protests spread around the globe, to Canada and Mexico, to Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Russia, and to Bahrain, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Iraq, South Korea Thailand. New York's streets were jammed by a crowd that stretched 20 blocks down the city's First Avenue and overflowing onto Second and Third avenues. Estimates of the actual turnout varied wildly, but it seemed reasonable to suggest that at least 300,000 protesters converged for the midtown rally site." 2.16.03
nichols |related stories

"WALKING ALONG THE STREETS OF PEACE " "They said it with their presence and with the most signs of my time in my city. The signs were against war, and against George W. Bush, who, for the first time, was being heralded as a man who lost the popular vote in this country by 500,000. Looking down Third Avenue and Second Avenue, as the crowds came up to try to get to the rear of the great crowd on First Avenue, and then peering as far down First Avenue as you could see, the size of throngs caused you to tell yourself, "maybe a million.” Whatever it was, out on the street it felt like a million, and it was glorious. A news photographer I know came along. "I've been everyplace. I have to say a million.”...War may be a great favorite with a Texas Theocracy, with a president who speaks in the first person more than anybody we have had in decades -- "I'm sick and tired of waiting” -- and who calls on God to bless the country as if no other people made in the image and likeness of God are alive on earth." 2.16.03
breslin |related stories

"AMERICANS STILL PREPARED TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, DESPITE BUSH'S TUB-THUMPING FOR WAR " "Polls show a majority would give the United Nations more time to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime. A majority want the Security Council to approve any war if Saddam refuses. And a majority say Washington shouldn't act without its allies. When Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said this week in Chicago that "working through the United Nations ... will not only immeasurably strengthen the hand of the United States but also of those around the world who want to support it," he was saying something Washington's hawks need to hear. The peace marches in Canada and around the world today reflect a general uneasiness with Bush's doctrine of "preventive war," and a healthy skepticism toward claims that Saddam cannot be contained. " 2.16.03
ts ed |related stories

"ANTI-WAR MARCHES REVEAL GULF BETWEEN LEADERS AND PEOPLE " "The drive toward war with Iraq has produced many divisions along the way - between the United States and Europe, and within Europe itself. But, on Saturday, as millions across this divided continent marched to demand peace, a further, sharp rift opened up - not across continents, but within nations, between ruler and ruled....And in the process the political lines shifted from an almost legalistic argument at the United Nations about the evidence required to force Saddam Hussein's disarmament to a more visceral debate here about the justness of the war, and the moral legitimacy of those prepared to either fight or oppose it. Significantly, the biggest demonstrations on Saturday were reported from those European nations whose governments sided with the United States against France and Germany in an open letter two weeks ago. " 2.16.03
cowell |related stories

THE "REDNECK" RUBBER HITS THE "INTELLECTUAL" ROAD IN AUSTIN TEXAS "It was a telling moment, a symbol of the vast gulf of reason between the pro- and anti-war movement in America. They don't talk to each other. And if they do, neither comprehends the other. Like the endless chat programmes on Pacifica Radio and all the smaller liberal talk shows from Boston to LA that serve up inedible dollops of anti-Bush, anti-Republican rant, there is simply no contact between the intellectual "elite" of the left and the less privileged Americans who work with their hands and join the military to gain a free education and end up fighting America's foreign wars." 2.16.03
fisk |related stories

FBI RETRACTED ITS AL QAEDA IN U.S. NUMBERS AFTER THIS STORY WENT TO PRESS "So why would the F.B.I., which must know a bit about Al Qaeda, have given Congress such an unrealistically high estimate? Bureaucratic politics. The greater the threat, the larger the budget that can be justified. Even more important, says Larry Johnson, a former State Department counterterrorism official: ''If you give a realistic estimate, people can say, 'See, you underestimated the threat.' As long as you make a dire prediction, it's never going to be proved wrong.'" 2.16.03
scheiber |related stories

"THE ALERT SYSTEM IS POLITICAL" "Americans have never once been told what to do with that information. It’s like your doctor saying, “Something’s wrong, but I’m not going to tell you what—or what to do about it—only that you are in big trouble.” The administration needed a way to appear to be providing information without actually providing any information....That warning regarding tape and three days of water is profoundly helpful to people who are choosing to go to war with Iraq and need to cause an environment of fear in order that the public will do anything to break the fear fever. It serves the administration for the public to be so afraid. When you are afraid enough, you’ll get on any train that’s leaving the station, even if it is not going where you want to go " 2.16.03
de becker |related stories

BUSH HAS FAILED TO GET "A CREDIBLE AND COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM IN PLACE" "While the Administration demonstrated again last week its determination to remind Americans of the dangers of terrorism, it has done far less to prepare the country for actually defending against it. While the White House's suggestion that Americans defend themselves against chemical or biological attacks with duct tape and plastic sheeting was dismissed by many for its naivete, it laid bare a sobering truth: the U.S. still doesn't have a credible and comprehensive system in place to cope with such attacks. "We're not building the means to respond well," says Stephen Flynn, a homeland-security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "And when we have that next terrorist incident, there will be hell to pay, because the American people will be in disbelief about how little has been done." 2.16.03
time |related stories

LAURA DUCTS TAPE. BUSHIES USE MEDIA FOR PROPAGANDA, BUT BLAME MEDIA WHEN IT BACKFIRES "On Thursday, First Lady Laura Bush also weighed in, telling a New York audience that she believes the "constant news alerts" on TV about terror "are frightening people. "It's a little bit like crying wolf," she said. "You know, it hasn't happened yet." She went on to say "I think the media needs to be very, very responsible." Yes, well, the media, in fairness, are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. If they don't report the White House line, they risk being branded as negligent and unpatriotic. If they do, they're labelled as reckless fear-mongers. But when you consider the extent to which some are going to make a buck off the mayhem by torquing the already terrifying, you have to figure that they're spoiling for a fight. Take broadcast powerhouse Clear Channel Communications, which owns 1225 radio stations and 39 TV stations in the U.S. According to an internal memo obtained by media critic Danny Schechter, Clear Channel management, the same folks who banned certain songs, including John Lennon's anti-war "Imagine," in the wake of 9/11, are spoiling for a fight. Among the nuggets within: "Always err on the side of overkill. Actually, there is no such thing as overkill in a situation like this. " 2.16.03
ts |related stories

BUSH'S FORCEFUL TACTICS CATCH UP WITH HIM, AS WORLD RESENTMENT IS FELT AT THE UN "Months of painstaking efforts by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to win international consensus for military action against Iraq have been complicated by a growing resentment over what many foreign diplomats regard as the Bush administration's heavy-handed and bullying tactics over the past two years. Those tensions boiled over at the Security Council on Friday to a degree rarely seen in the U.N. chamber. Although Iraq's cooperation with weapons inspectors was the official subject at hand, U.S. behavior became an important subtext of the debate as the audience broke U.N. rules and applauded French and Russian demands that the rush to war be slowed down. "There have been really aggressive battles that have got people's backs up," said a diplomat from a country that publicly supports the U.S. position on Iraq. "The U.S. team often acts like thugs. People feel bullied, and that can affect the way you respond when someone makes a request." Experts and diplomats said international backing for a strike on Iraq remains weak. Some smaller countries have signaled support not because they believe in attacking Iraq, but because they want loans, business deals and a chance to join Western institutions. Other allies are swallowing hard and joining the campaign in part because they fear the administration is willing to shred long-standing international institutions to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein." 2.16.03
kessler |related stories

BUSH IRAQ ATTACK PLAN STALLS, HARMS BLAIR "UN staff were expecting the US and Britain to produce their draft of a second resolution within 24 hours of Mr Blix's report. None came, though British officials say there may be one this week. But the confidence that they can find a set of words with which France, Russia and China will agree has gone... Before yesterday's marches, more than 100 Labour MPs and at least 70 MPs from other parties had indicated that they will oppose a war that is not UN sanctioned. That number is likely to grow after the demonstration which filled the streets of London. Tony Blair will also come under pressure to allow a vote in the Commons before he sends in British troops, leaving him in the ghastly position of having to lean on Iain Duncan Smith for parliamentary support. For the first time in 1997, experienced Labour politicians are beginning to wonder whether their Prime Minister will still be in office by the summer." 2.16.03
mc smith |related stories

WHEN ONE MAN'S "FREEDOM" IS ANOTHER MAN'S "FAVOURITISM" "Whatever the form of words eventually accepted, the US and UK are still certain to meet opposition from Europe and in turn the hawks in the US government will condemn those urging a veto of early action in Iraq. So it is a good moment to remember America's own record of vetoing resolutions critical of Israel... To raise this at any time, but especially now, will inevitably be considered to be anti-American and anti-Israeli, possibly even anti-Semitic. But it is none of these things. There is long-term legal and political inconsistency between the treatment of Israel and other countries in the region, and the greatest weakness in America's case on Iraq is that it shows no signs of acknowledging its history of favouritism." 2.16.03
porter |related stories

U.S. SUGGESTS SPECIFIC TWO-WEEK TESTS OF SADDAM. WILL ALSO OFFER WAR PLANS ANTICIPATING TESTS FAILING "Despite what appeared to be a setback at the United Nations on Friday for the American-led effort to win international backing for military action against Iraq, officials say Britain and the United States have decided that the new resolution will specifically threaten Iraq with "serious consequences" - code words for the use of force. The threat will be made in light of Iraq's failure to comply with arms inspections, the officials say. But the other part of the administration's strategy is no less important, especially given the opposition to force by France and other countries, officials said. That part relates to its plans to present Iraq with specific tasks over the next two weeks, which would make clear, even to skeptics like France, the extent of its willingness to cooperate. " 2.16.03
nyt |related stories

HOW BUSH PLANS TO PUNISH THE GERMANS "America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries - moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros... The plan - discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - is designed 'to harm' the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's 'treachery'." 2.16.03
ob ed |related stories

SUNDAY TALK SHOW HEADS PREDICT WAR "LIKELY" "Lawrence S. Eagleburger, who was secretary of state in the administration of President Bush's father, said today on CNN that war was "95 percent inevitable." Concurring was R. James Woolsey, a former director of central intelligence. And on NBC, Wesley Clark, a former supreme commander of NATO, said war appeared to be likely. Ms. Rice said it was "hard to imagine the circumstances" in which Iraq could convince the world that it was ready to disarm. " 2.16.03
iht |related stories

ARAB STATES PRESSING BUSH TO LEAVE IRAQ UNDER CONTROL OF SADDAM'S BA'ATH PARTY "A leading figure in Iraq's opposition last night rounded on American plans to install a US military governor in Baghdad to rule post-war Iraq, describing the plans as an 'unmitigated disaster', 'deeply stupid' and a 'mess'... In an interview with The Observer, Kanan Makiya, an adviser to Iraq's main opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, said America now appeared to have dumped its commitment to bring Western-style democracy to Iraq. Instead, under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states, Washington was preparing to leave Iraq under the control of President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party." 2.16.03
HARDY |related stories

STOMPING OUR FEET IN A PUDDLE OF POISON "What will happen to any chemical or biological materials if the US kills Saddam and blows up Iraq? How will we then find these materials? Those who know where they are may be dead or fleeing. Written records may be burnt, lost or scattered. How many of those who know the truth about these weapons will want to come forward to tell what they know? Afterall, defection is already an option and the fear of reprisals will not go away simply because there are US troops in fortified camps scattered around Iraq... Any remaining poisons may simply lie unnoticed in the ground until they decay or are accidentally uncovered and perhaps released. Finally, of course those with the knowledge may flee or go to ground. They may take samples of these deadly materials with them, or return later. They may use their knowledge as currency and a passport to other regimes and to terrorist groups. Is this likely? Nobody can know for sure. But if anything is certain it is this. Destroying by war Saddam's control over any hidden stocks and forcing those involved to flee is the surest method of getting weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorists. An invasion of Iraq should be characterised as stamping in a puddle of poison." 2.16.03
plesch |related stories

"CASE FOR WAR ERODED BY ABSURD U.S. ARGUMENTS " "When punch-drunk with power, you get blinded to reality and become deaf to even friendly advice. One suspects that's what's happening to America. What else explains its determination to invade Iraq in the face of the biggest anti-war protests of modern times? Against the near-unanimous advice of key allies, including Jean Chrétien? In defiance of the report of the United Nations inspectors that Saddam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction, that he has not resumed his nuclear program and that it may be possible to peacefully force him to comply with all his international obligations? When Colin Powell responded to Hans Blix and Mohammed elBaradei at the crucial Security Council session Friday, it was as though he had not heard what they, along with the French foreign minister, had said in challenging some key aspects of Washington's relentless propaganda. While all wars are preceded by varying degrees of mass manipulation, the current American blitz to soften public opinion at home and badger allies abroad has been in a league all its own. America has been twisting facts, leaping to questionable, at times illogical, conclusions and resorting to scare tactics. " 2.16.03
siddiqui |related stories

A HALF CENTURY OF U.S. LIES LEADING US INTO WAR "For much of the last half of the 20th century, American presidents and their chief advisers and military leaders were directly involved in elaborate schemes of drug-running, manipulating public opinion through planted editorials and news stories, and illicit campaigns of what they themselves called "White propaganda," like the now-notorious episode of the hoked-up Iraqi atrocities against incubator babies in Kuwait, a crime invented by a powerful public relations firm and used to sway Congress to support the Gulf War....The history of U.S. foreign policy is paradoxical: so much bush-league covert action, so many lies, so many failures, so little understanding of consequences, so many botched interventions. And yet, such openness. What other regime would make its top secret documents available through freedom of information laws, to be read on the Internet by anyone with an inquiring mind? Perhaps U.S. leaders can afford to be so open because they believe their citizens to be infinitely manipulable through the obligingly docile media. The patriotic American public, after all, bought the lies about the Gulf of Tonkin (a supposed attack on U.S. warships that actually never happened), precipitating the disastrous Vietnam War. They believed the TV version of the Gulf War, with "smart bombs" zipping through windows to kill only bad guys. And for all I know, they believe the charade that Saddam Hussein is linked to Al Qaeda. The U.S. media have almost turned themselves into an arm of government propaganda. " 2.16.03
landsberg |related stories

"THE THING IS, IT IS ABOUT OIL " "The astonishing thing about American power is not that it will soon crush the feeble nation of Iraq, but that it has managed for months to keep world attention riveted on Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" when Washington's real interest is Iraq's oil. In saying that, I realize I risk being dismissed as a naive, knee-jerk simpleton. One is allowed to voice skepticism about the upcoming invasion and still move in sophisticated circles these days. It's quite appropriate at a cocktail party, for instance, to question the timing of the invasion or to wonder whether the U.S. has the stomach to deal with post-war Iraq. These are serious questions, according to New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick, who at the same time is dismissive of those who think war is being driven by "a conspiracy of oil interests." Let me redeem myself slightly, by saying that I partially agree with the sophisticates — this war is not just about oil. It's also, for instance, about eliminating an intransigent foe of Israel and possibly diverting Iraqi water to Israel. And it's about giving George Bush a major military victory, without risking nuclear mayhem too close to an election. But it's also very much about oil. It's odd there's so much resistance to this notion, since commentators sniff the oil factor quickly enough when analyzing the motivations of countries like France and Russia. " 2.16.03
mc quaig |related stories

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT OIL, IT'S ABOUT DADDY, TOO "The real reason the Bush team has leapfrogged Iraq over more urgent priorities is that conservatives won't be happy until they erase what they see as the emasculating legacy of leaving Saddam in power, back when we were tied up with our coalition of nervous Nellie allies. Henry Kissinger summed up the logic of conservatives: "If the United States marches 200,000 troops into the region and then marches them back out . . . the credibility of American power . . . will be gravely, perhaps irreparably impaired." The painful parts of Washington history have often been about men trying harder to save face than lives. With or without the fussy Frenchies, we're going to war. For this White House, pulling back when all our forces are poised for battle would be, to use the Bush family's least favorite word, wimpy. " 2.16.03
dowd |related stories

ASHCROFT STEERING JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TOWARDS HIS RADICAL VISION OF REALITY "WHETHER discussing terrorist threats, the importance of religious faith in public life or the role the death penalty should play in American justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft seems informed by a moral certainty not often associated with lawyers. He has, for instance, recently overruled the recommendations of local federal prosecutors in 28 cases where they decided not to seek the death penalty. He has similarly used federal prosecutions to override state laws concerning social issues like medicinal marijuana and doctor-assisted suicide.Whether by force of circumstances, personality, ideology or a combination of all three, Mr. Ashcroft may be forging a new role for himself and the Justice Department...."As the son and grandson of Assembly of God preachers, he is spiritually as well as politically inclined to do battle with evil....The terrorist attacks have energized Ashcroft in a remarkable way, resonating with his sincere belief that there is evil in the world," said Nancy Baker, an associate professor of government at New Mexico State University "There is a lot more centralization of power," Professor Baker said, 'and that reflects his view that law is a moral imperative to be used as a sword.'" 2.16.03
liptak |related stories

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