View from the Loft 

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Thursday, November 14, 2002

Bet you didn't know that Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education bill, passed by Congress earlier this year, contains a provision requiring public secondary schools to provide military recruiters not only with access to facilities, but also with contact information for every student. We just can't militarize this country fast enough, can we?

You've already heard this, I'm sure: Iraq has agreed to allow UN inspectors into the country, but that isn't slowing down the war plans any.

The CIA is in Turkey to enlist help in capturing northern Iraq.

In the name of protecting us from terrorists, the Pentagon wants "a vast eletronic dragnet" providing instant access to the citizenry's personal information. It's Total Information Awareness, all right, and some legislation is pending already to make it happen. Read William Safire's piece on this, and then write, call or e-mail your senators and tell them to amend the Homeland Security Act.

In the coming war with Iraq, the U.S. will make heavy use of radioactive Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons. Such weapons were used in Afghanistan, where some health officials are now attributing increased numbers of birth defects to DU weapons. One shudders to think of the consequences for both Afghanistan and Iraq as soil and water become contaminated with radioactivity.

Peace signs are spreading!

Alexander Cockburn on the possible birth of a new anti-war movement.

Collateral Damage, a report by medical experts, predicts that as many as 500,000 lives will be lost in the war against Iraq--mostly civilian.

Monday, November 11, 2002

So. The UN finally agreed to a resolution, one that seems designed to be rejected, or at least impossible to comply with. Nor is Bush obliged to go back to the Security Council before invading Iraq. They have now handed Bush his war, and Bush can say that he did go to the UN, as the American people demanded. Of course, it was all mere window-dressing, anyway; while Bush calls on Iraq to abide by international law, he considers himself above it, as witness his contempt for Kyoto, little things like arms treaties, and so on. As the UN debated the resolution, the military buildup was already beginning in the Middle East. Bush is said to be ready to go as early as next month; the war plans are already drawn up.

The UN resolution demands access to every building, document, and person in Iraq. It calls on scientists to divulge any information they may have, and allows the UN to remove them and their families from Iraq in order to free them from intimidation within their country. Inspectors are to be accompanied by military guards for their protection. I foresee the US using this as a pretext for inserting soldiers into Iraq ahead of an invasion. Read an excellent critique of the resolution.

Despite the patent cynicism of the resolution, Saddam Hussein is said to be paving the way for inspectors to return to Iraq.

Eric Margolis writes that Iraq is not the real target at all: it's Iran that worries our ally, Israel. In fact, Ariel Sharon recently called for an invasion of Iran the day after Iraq is crushed. The Pentagon, Margolis writes, is already drawing up plans to invade Iran. Or, what the heck, why not Syria? Oh goody, unending war in the Middle East. I can hardly wait till the nukes come out!

Okay, everybody, let's review this once again. Where did Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD, as we say nowadays) come from? The ones they had, or, as Dubya would have it, still have. That's right, boys and girls! We supplied them! I'm not making this up, folks. There's a Senate committee report that details how, until March of 1992--that's after the end of the Gulf War--the US sold "anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs, and botulism (among other biological agents)" to Iraq. In fact, under Reagan and Bush the First, we also sold "dual-use" technology to Iraq to the tune of 771 export licenses. Could thatt be the evidence Bush keeps telling us he has that Iraq has WMD? The evidence he won't show us?

I think you'll find this refreshing: someone who has finally come out and called Bush a liar. Not an "embroiderer" or someone who makes "dubious" claims, but a liar. You go, Eric Alterman!

In an excellent article, James K. Galbraith predicts that the long-term effects of war on our economy will be ugly, even if the short-term effects are not.

Stewart Nusbaumer writes about war veterans who oppose war with Iraq. Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb is one of the better-known opponents.

A Pew poll found that support for a war against Iraq had slipped to 55% by October 30. This is down from 64% in mid-September. But as Andrew Kohut writes, it's just not that simple.

Over half a million people--that's the official estimate, not the organizers'--marched on Saturday in Florence, Italy against the coming war with Iraq. The march was the climax of the first European Social Forum, a meeting of anti-globalization activists.

Speaking of peace marches, there's a big one planned for January 18, to coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.

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