View from the Loft 

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


Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I'm going to wish you all a happy new year despite the grim news from around the world. As the Dalai Lama says, worrying accomplishes nothing, so why not be happy? A difficult assignment, perhaps, but here's something to think about: a recent study in Britain showed that people involved in protests, strikes, and demonstrations "experience an improvement in psychological well-being that can help them overcome stress, pain, anxiety and depression." So get out there and DO something!

Well, it's happened: a bill is to be introduced that would call for mandatory military service. Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat from NY, says "such legislation could make members of Congress more reluctant to authorize military action." He reasons that if Congress members' kids had to face the possibility of being cannon fodder, perhaps Congress would be less hawklike. Let's hope he's right ...

Speaking of hawks, it looks like Lieberman is betting that rah-rah patriotism is the way to go if one has ambitions. He's bragging that he warned Saudi Arabia of consequences if it failed to support the war against Iraq.

No wonder Bush's former economic adviser, Larry Lindsey, had to go. According to White House "thinking," his estimate of the cost of war was, at $100-$200 billion, way too high. Now the Bushies are saying that Gulf War II will cost $20 billion less than Gulf War I, demonstrating their belief that we will crush the Iraqis in record time. Shhhh ... don't mention peacekeeping or reconstruction costs ...

All these estimates of war costs, deployment of troops and equipment, and the like are supposed to be taken by the U.S.--and the world--as contingency planning only, the administration keeps telling us. Kofi Annan has said that there's no justification for going to war at this time. Yet for the first time, the Army is sending a full division to the Gulf. And some analysts are comparing the situation to 1914, in that once mobilization on this scale begins, it's pretty hard to stop the momentum. This, of course, is no accident on the part of the administration. We all knew war was inevitable, and so it seems to be.

Iraq is accusing the U.S. and/or Britain of bombing civilian targets--but wait! We aren't at war yet. Are we? I mean, you don't count those bombings in the "no-fly" zones, do you? Just because no-fly zones were never authorized by the UN ...

"Dang it," Chimpy must be thinking, "why don't these Americans fall in line here? I've been working my butt off to convince them of the terrible threat the lack of Iraqi oil--oops, I mean that evil Saddam Hussein--poses to our national security, yet they just aren't buying." A recent AP poll shows that by a margin of two to one, Americans fear al-Qaeda more than Iraq. Two-thirds believe that war with Iraq will increase chances of terrorist attacks. Well, heck, things aren't going so well with the war on terror, so we don't want to talk about that. And let's not even mention Afghanistan and the utter chaos that reigns there.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Despite the increasing skepticism of the American public about the wisdom of waging war against Iraq--or maybe because of it--war plans are moving forward quickly. The UN inspections have always been a charade, designed to mollify the international community and Americans leery of going it alone, and this has become particularly clear as the administration prepares aggressively for the war we always knew was coming.

Two aircraft carrier groups have been issued "prepare to deploy" orders, along with two amphibious assault groups and the hospital ship USS Comfort. Many newspapers predict the start of the war within 6 to 8 weeks.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has given the U.S. permission to use its airspace, bases, and an important operations center.

Turkey is understandably nervous about war and what it might do to the economy, but when it comes to bribes, nobody does it better than the Bushies. Especially when it comes to rounding up support for its war of aggression. Reportedly, amounts of up to $28 billion in aid are being talked about in hopes of winning Turkey's okay to station troops there and use Turkey's bases, ports, and railroads.

The administration is continuing to work on plans for post-war Iraq. Of particular concern, of course, is how the oil will be divvied up.

The generals are still not convinced that Rummy and Wolfie know what they're doing.

It's been something like six weeks since I've posted anything here, for which I apologize. It's just that Thanksgiving brought a rush of warm fuzzies that I was loath to dislodge for the sake of this blog. And you have to admit, there's nothing that can bring on depression like a look at the news. But it's time to face the music.

First, an important action coming up: an anti-war march in Washington January 18.

Go to VoteNoWar.org to sign a petition against the war.

Visit the War Resisters Leagueto download flyers, get a list of upcoming anti-war actions and demonstrations, and find statements and commentary.

On the lighter side: an anti-war song called "Bomb Bomb Iraq,"sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It." First verse:

If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy,
Bomb Iraq.

Back in November, the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leadership of Chicago drafted a joint letter to President Bush urging him not to go to war.

The anti-war movement goes mainstream: see David Corn's column on Win Without War. Corn was critical of the early anti-war efforts because they were organized by a far-left group with little or no credibility or appeal.

Some good news: Chimpy's approval rating is down to 55%! In a little-reported Time/CNN poll, other interesting nuggets include growing distrust of him and Cheney, and people's belief that Bush's accomplishments have been due mainly to his advisors. Of course, the poll got little or no news coverage ... wonder why?

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