View from the Loft 

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


Saturday, March 08, 2003


War will begin immediately after the U.S., on March 17, declares itself dissatisfied with Iraq's efforts to disarm.

Turning a deaf ear to the rest of the world, to the majority of human beings in the world, to its traditional allies, to the voices of reason, the United States and its lapdog, Britain, are irreversibly committed to this war. As we knew all along.

To give the Iraqis ten days to do the remaining work of disarming is a cynical and cruel ultimatum. It is simply more posturing on the part of the big bully, more demonstration of the bully's strength and power. And this is how the United States now conducts itself in the international arena, as if all the world were a schoolyard and the U.S. the biggest bully, who must prove again and again, by humiliation, aggression, and "I double-dare-you's," that he can make anyone do whatever he wants, any time. And even if the victim does it, he will still be beaten up. This is what we have come to.

No matter that the U.S. has used false documents to make its case. This administration doesn't care about niggling little details like that. You can afford to ignore the truth, apparently, when God is on your side.

I guess God doesn't care about the thousands of Iraqis who have already died and who will die because of U.S. policy. God apparently approves of dropping hundreds of missiles on Baghdad in the first two days of fighting, killing only God knows how many Iraqis. The Pentagon promises to try to keep civilian deaths low, but I ask you, how can there not be high numbers of civilian casualties with that many missiles dropping on a city of five million people?

And then there's after the war: the dead and dying, the wounded, the displaced; the lack of food and clean water; and all this for a nation that already has two million malnourished children.

In the days to come, I hope to write about the after-effects of the invasion, both the humanitarian cost and the possible civil strife that will almost certainly result. I'll continue to write about peace efforts and about protests that will continue after the war begins. It's important that we not lose hope. That's what the bullies in Washington want.

Friday, March 07, 2003

You might as well laugh ...

especially after hearing the usual last night from Dubya--in other words, the same tired assertion that Saddam has to be stopped. These people apparently believe that saying it makes it so. An antidote to windbaggery and cowboy-speak seems in order. Enjoy!

George W. Bush, blogger? See for yourself. Or take a peek at his diary.

The White House--Iraq, Korea, the economy, and everything else notwithstanding--is never too busy to do what's really important: save the reputation of the Second Lady. See what got them all riled up.

Pictures of the illegitimate leader of the free world--not, I repeat, not the official portrait.

And here are some examples of Dubya's inspiring eloquence.

Read about the
pro-war counter-demonstrators!

In the mood for a song? Try one of these.

Thursday, March 06, 2003


One day closer to war. It seems inevitable, doesn't it? And yet there are people who think war may still be averted. Would that it were so! If Turkey holds fast to its refusal to allow the deployment of U.S. troops, war will be delayed for a bit, in any case, but confusion reigns where Turkey is concerned. One moment the media report that pressure from Turkey's powerful military means a new and favorable vote for deployment; next thing you know, the news is that the Turkish government will wait to see what the UN Security Council will do. Yesterday, one news outlet even reported that the Bush administration had abandoned hope that it could use Turkey as a northern front. But given that military equipment was offloaded from U.S.-flagged carriers in Turkey after the parliamentary vote (and how's that for U.S.respect for a democratic vote?), I think it's safe to say that Turkey will indeed be a staging area and northern front during the quickly approaching war.

And what will the Security Council do? That, too, is the subject of debate and speculation. For the moment, let's just note that the administration's bullying of countries that aren't lining up quickly enough behind a yes vote continues. Bush has said he will "discipline" Mexico if it does not support the use of military force. How shabbily we do treat our neighbors and allies these days.Vincente Fox is hanging tough, saying Mexico doesn't fear reprisal and would not accept any unilateral action by the U.S. to disarm Iraq. Fox has been the master of the ambiguous statement thus far.

Meanwhile, London's Daily Express claims that British troops have been told that an invasion of Iraq is to begin March 17, with a heavy bombing campaign being launched four days earlier. True? Who knows?


Well, despite all that, let's talk about peace for a moment. Warren Langley, who used to head the Pacific Exchange, has joined the anti-war forces and is working with activists who are organizing acts of civil disobedience on the first business day after a U.S. attack. Imagine--a one-time stock-market chief involved in trying to shut down San Francisco's Financial District! There's hope for humanity after all.

High school and college students across the nation walked out of classes and took part in demonstrations against the war yesterday as part of "Books, Not Bombs." Thousands of students abroad did the same, in solidarity with the anti-war action.

Heard of Code Pink? This group of women has been a presence at the White House for weeks. They are staging an International Women's Day rally and march for peace in Washington D.C. (participants will include men, of course!). Alice Walker, Janeane Garofalo, Dr. Helen Caldicott, and Michelle Shocked are among the better-known women who'll be there.

As of March 5, 130 cities had passed a resolution against war. Campaigns are under way in many more.

On May 3, the American Friends Service Committee is sponsoring Made in Texas, an event that will see thousands of people gather in Dubya's home state to take a stand against the President. Yeeee-haaaaaaa!

Scroll down to the blog entry before this if you have not yet signed the petition or sent the e-mails to the U.N. The drive to collect signatures on the petition resulted in 550,000 signatures from 200 countries--in less than two days! Delivery date for the petition has been pushed back to Monday, so send the word on to anyone you know who might sign the petition. It's quite a statement of anti-war feeling.

A boycott against the companies that have made significant financial contributions to this administration is in the works. Go here for info on the criteria for including a corporation on the boycott list or to download a flyer.

Read about labor unions worldwide and their opposition to the war.


Yes, censorship has reared its ugly head. Michael Savage has called for the arrest of anti-war leaders after we go to war, under the Sedition Act. Sigh. Remember, this man will soon have a show on MSNBC.

In Dearborn Heights, MI, a high-school student wearing an anti-Bush, anti-war T-shirt was told to turn it inside out or go home and change it. He called the ACLU--and the media.

A Guilderhall, NY, man was arrested at a mall for wearing a peace T-shirt he'd bought from a vendor there. After about 100 protestors showed up at the mall, management asked police to drop the charges.

Last week Canadian customs seized 50 antiwar videos produced before 9/11 and featuring the likes of Martin Luther King, Susan Sarandon, and Ramsey Clark. They are investigating whether the tapes being imported by an Ontario man "are obscene or constitute hate propaganda." Mmm-hmmm.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I'm baaack! The break did me good, but I noticed that I've begun obsessively reading about the latest developments once again, so I guess it's time to take up my pen (or rather, computer keyboard) again. Let me just insert here a word about a new blog Hannah and I are collaborating on, called Savage Lies. Read about how you can join the effort to keep hate-radio host Michael Savage (actual name Weiner, but "Weiner Nation" just doesn't have the ring to it that "Savage Nation" does) off MSNBC.

Now to the task at hand.

Actions You Can Take

MoveOn has a petition drive and will deliver signatures to the UN Security Council on March 6--that's this Thursday. This is a legitimate petition drive, not one of the phony ones that were making the rounds weeks or months back. Please visit MoveOn and add your name to the petition. It takes only a minute. Wouldn't it be great if we got hundreds of thousands of signatures and gave the council members that extra courage to say no to war?

Voice4Change has an e-mail campaign going to China, Russia, and France, the veto-wielding, permanent members of the UN Security Council. Send e-mails urging a veto. You can also send an e-mail to ALL members of the Security Council.

Voices in the Wilderness is calling for Pre-Emptive Non-Violence. Read more about peace activists' plans to go beyond demonstrations in a worldwide effort to convey the message of peace.

March 15 there is to be an Emergency National Convergence at the White House. Click on the link for info.

Actions Others Have Taken

Italian workers have been blockading military convoys and vow further resistance to U.S. movement of personnel and materiel.

Read the letter of resignation that U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling wrote to Colin Powell, saying he could not "reconcile [his] conscience with [his] ability to represent the current U.S. Administration."

Poets Against the War has announced an International Day of Poetry Against the War tomorrow, March 5. "Poets around the world will schedule readings and/or discussions of poetry and protest for that day. At noon on March 5th on Capitol Hill, three of America’s preeminent living poets (representing an extraordinary cross section of distinguished poets) will present approximately 15,000 anti-war poems to members of Congress. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) will host the event with other members of the Progressive Caucus including Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). The poems will be presented by Pulitzer prize winner and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets W.S. Merwin, Pulitzer prize winner Jorie Graham, author and poet Terry Tempest Williams and founding editor of Copper Canyon Press Sam Hamill." Poets Against the War began when Laura Bush invited poets to the White House to celebrate three great American poets, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes. Sam Hamill thought it an ideal time for poets to speak out against the war by reading anti-war poems. When Mrs. Bush got wind of it, the invitation was cancelled. (Mrs. Bush, according to her own words, labors under the delusion that American literature is not political.) Visit the site and read some anti-war poems.

Dennis Kucinich has introduced a bill that would establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace. Read the bill and find out how you can help make the Department of Peace a reality.

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