View from the Loft 

war and peace, politics, books, rants, the passing parade ...


Friday, November 01, 2002

We always knew it was about oil. The leading contender for leader of post-Saddam Iraq is Ahmed Chalabi, and he's already got plans to denationalize oil and parcel it out to American oil companies. But it doesn't stop there: he and his backers "are spinning scenarios about dismantling Saudi Arabia, seizing its oil and collapsing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)."

Youssef Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who covered the Middle East for 30 years for The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, says that the coming war on Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism but can be attributed to two desires: (1) to bolster the president's popularity and (2) to turn Iraq into "a private American oil pumping station."

After Saddam is overthrown, assuming that the U.S. succeeds in its goal at whatever heavy price, what then? A Carnegie report calls the notion of establishing a democracy in the Middle East a "mirage," because free elections might well put into power Islamic fundamentalists. And any democratic "regime" imposed on Iraq would not likely influence other governments to put democracy in place.

Peter Maass warns that cozying up to governments that brutalize their citizens and violate human rights, in th name of anti-terrorism, will result in those governments being replaced by ones that support terrorism. He cites the recent elections in Pakistan, where a coalition of religious parties won enough seats to make them the third-largest group in the National Assembly.

We were told they were "the worst of the worst," the "hardest of the hardcore," "enemy combatants." Well, maybe half of them, anyway ... Half of the suspected terrorists held at Camp Delta are to be released, according to some reports. The spokesman for the Southern Command in Miami says the number 300 is "exaggerated."

The British anti-war movement is facing a news blackout worse than ours.

The Pentagon is offering combat training to journalists. Somehow I still feel pessimistic about getting decent coverage of any military action. The "journalists" seem to function more as cheerleaders these days.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

The fallout from the inaccurate portrayal of the October 26 anti-war march in Washington has actually caused the New York Times and NPR to do some serious back-pedaling. FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) issued a plea for people to express their outrage at the biased covering of the marches by these two media outlets. Many organizations rallied their members to e-mail and call NYT and NPR. See the story. The NYT piece, "Rally in Washington Is Said to Invigorate the Antiwar Movement," screamed "make-up article." NPR apologized.

More pictures of the demonstrations here.

Okay, fess up: how many of us had at least a fleeting thought--quickly brushed aside with horror and a "that's not rational," perhaps--that Paul Wellstone's death might not be an accident? Ted Rall says the fact that we can entertain such a thought at all indicates just how criminal Bush's actions are: "A man capable of these things seems, by definition, capable of anything."

Ran across this site and thought some of you might enjoy it: SeeYaGeorge. "Like father like son--one term only."

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Pictures of an anti-war demonstration in Grand Rapids. (Thanks, Cindy, for bringing these to my attention.)

It's an article of faith with Bush et al. that if we invade Iraq, the Iraqis will rise up in a righteous fury and join the fight against their despotic leader. Well, the CIA has some bad news for our own Axis of Evil: a report release just two weeks ago says that Saddam is safe on the home front. Then again, the CIA and the administration can't seem to agree on anything about Iraq.

The Guardian reports that despite public pronouncements in Washington and Paris, a new UN resolution bridging the gaps between the U.S. and France could be passed this week.

But according to The Boston Globe, a draft may not be agreed upon this week because Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, believes that Iraq will not be able to comply with the deadline proposed by the U.S.

Says the BBC about the current military buildup in Iraq, "Whatever may have been happening at the UN, the US military has been working to a pre-determined timeline - one that envisages a potential conflict with Iraq early in 2003."

A write-in candidate opposes Senator Kerry's run for re-election, hoping to get an anti-war message across.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Some sobering news from The Guardian: The U.S. is apparently working on biological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. Scientists fear that these weapons will "undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare," and this at a time when the U.S. has raised a hue and cry about the possibility of such weapons in Iraq. Last July the U.S. blocked an attempt to institute inspections for such weapons. Wonder why?

Representative Cynthia McKinney writes about America's double standard when it comes to vilifying Saddam Hussein.

Read one person's experience of the D.C. anti-war march.

Is Bush's haste to go to war due to fears that a delay might actually give people time to debate the issues? But why the rush to war in the first place? One writer believes that "the main engine for the war juggernaut ... seems to be supplied by the military-industrial complex--the powerful beneficiaries of the Pentagon budget, the strong vested interests that derive dividends from war."

Last Friday brought the tragic news of Senator Wellstone's death and the death of his wife and daughter and five others. This is a loss to our national leadership and brings with it the additional worry that the Republicans will now grab control of the Senate. Rumor has it that Walter Mondale will run in Wellstone's place. Stay tuned.

The peace marches were held on Saturday, and as might be expected in these days when there's no longer journalism, only propaganda, both NPR and the NY Times behaved as though nobody showed up. The Times buried the story on page 8, giving it less than 500 words, and said vaguely that "thousands of protesters marched through Washington's streets," adding that "fewer people attended than organizers had said they hoped for." NPR reporter Nancy Marshall claimed that the crowd in Washington was "fewer than 10,000," while both news outlets reported the "disappointment" of the organizers--although they didn't name any or conduct any interviews.

Huh? While police wouldn't confirm estimate numbers, it would seem that at least 100,000 marchers showed up in D.C.--at least, that's what the UPI, the LA Times and the Washington Post said, the Post in a page one story. The Post added that both police and organizers called it the largest anti-war march since the Vietnam era. Police in San Francisco put the number of protestors there at 42,000, while organizers estimated that 80,000 showed up. There were marches in other cities, like St. Paul, MN, as well.

E-mail NPR and the New York Times and ask them why they failed to cover this important story (as if we didn't know ...).

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