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Hot Spot! Iraq
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- Trade Unionists Launch 'U.S. Labor Against the War'
Bill Onasch (Jan. 11, 2003) KClabor
WHEREAS, the principal victims of any military action in Iraq will be the Sons and daughters of working class families serving in the military who will be put in harms way, and innocent Iraqi civilians who have already suffered so much; and
Whereas, we have no quarrel wit!, the ordinary working class men, women and children of Iraq, or any other country; andWhereas, the billions of dollars spent to stage and execute this war are being taken away from our schools, hospitals, housing and Social Security; and
Whereas, the war is a pretext for attacks on labor, civil, immigrant and human rights at home; and...
We hereby establish the "U.S. Labor Against the War’ (USLAW); and
Resolve that U.S. Labor Against the War stands firmly against Bush’s war drive; and...
- Anti-war train drivers refuse to move arms freight
Kevin Maguire (Jan. 9, 2003) Guardian
Train drivers yesterday refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces being deployed in the Gulf....
The two Motherwell-based drivers declined to operate the train between the Glasgow area and the Glen Douglas base on Scotland's west coast, Europe's largest Nato weapons store....
Dockers went on strike rather than load British-made arms on to ships destined for Chile after the assassination of leftwing leader Salvador Allende in 1973.
In 1920 stevedores on London's East India Docks refused to move guns on to the Jolly George, a ship chartered to take weapons to anti-Bolsheviks after the Russian revolution.
- Vets warn of risks to troops' health
Todd Leskanic (Dec. 27, 2002) FayettevilleOnline
Steve Robinson's phone rings all the time these days. Usually, the callers are soldiers who want to know what they should do to prepare for chemical or biological attacks if there is a war with Iraq....
"The guys who fight the next gulf war, they're going to be just as unprepared as we were," Robinson said.
- Few but proud: US antiwar activists in Iraq
Scott Peterson (Dec. 17, 2002) Christian Science Monitor
Some of the pacifists are here to stay through any US attack. Others will rotate in for a week or two. But all see themselves as the vanguard of a growing peace movement in the US, one that has roots in the Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s.
- Most Americans Believe Case Against Iraq, But More Want Proof
Daniel Merkle & Gary Langer (Dec. 17, 2002) ABCNews
With the United States soon to issue its critique of Iraq's weapons declaration, the vast majority of Americans believe Baghdad does possess weapons of mass destruction — but a growing number want to see the Bush administration's evidence....
One important factor in the public's cautious approach is its doubt about the immediacy of the threat. Eighty-one percent of Americans see Iraq as a threat to the United States. Fewer but still a majority, 64 percent, think that threat is a substantial one. But far fewer still, 44 percent, see Iraq as an "immediate" danger....
Republicans lead the Democrats by more than 2-1 in trust to handle terrorism, 61 percent to 25 percent; by 58 percent 31 percent on homeland security; and by 56 percent 30 percent on Iraq....
- AFSCME Issues Resolution Condemning War on Iraq
Press Release (Dec. 13, 2002) AFSCME
The International Executive Board of the American Federation of State, County and Municipals Employees, (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, issued a resolution condemning war on Iraq during its meeting on Thursday.
See 'Comprehensive U.S. Labor Antiwar or Related Statements & Groups' compiled by Michael Letwin at Yahoo Group Labor Against War, Message #1329.
- Source: U.S. Firms on List Aided Iraq Arms Development
Mohamad Bazzi (Dec. 13, 2002) Newsday
Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs lists American companies that provided materials used by Baghdad to develop chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s, according to a senior Iraqi official....
Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, said Tuesday that he does not intend to release the names of foreign companies that provided material to Iraq. He said such firms could be valuable to UN inspectors as sources of information about Iraq's weapons program. If the inspectors "were to give the names publicly, then they would never get another foreign supplier to give them any information,” Blix said.
- The American administration is a bloodthirsty wild animal
Harold Pinter (Dec. 11, 2002) Daily Telegraph via PfP
America is at this moment developing advanced systems of "weapons of
mass destruction" and is prepared to use them where it sees fit. It has
more of them than the rest of the world put together. It has walked away
from international agreements on biological and chemical weapons,
refusing to allow inspection of its own factories. The hypocrisy behind
its public declarations and its own actions is almost a joke....
The planned war against Iraq is in fact a plan for premeditated murder
of thousands of civilians in order, apparently, to rescue them from
- Has the Prospect of War Faded?
Paul Rogers (Dec. 11, 2002) OpenDemocracy via FPIP
Diplomatic moves by the United States to gain support for the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime have intensified in the past two weeks. One aspect of this has been the request to NATO for backing for a military campaign; more important has been a series of discussions between the U.S. and its regional allies in the Middle East and the Gulf.
The latter may have led to an increase in support for U.S. action against Iraq, but this is partly because most of the region's elites are convinced that the U.S. fully intends to go to war, whatever happens with the inspection process. Thus, continued opposition does not make sense--it is more important to engage in the maneuvering necessary to avoid political isolation when the war comes.
At the same time, there is a region-wide concern about the impact of a war, not least its potential to increase sympathy among Arabs for al Qaeda and its associates. As a result, the distinction between declaratory and actual policies is widely apparent. Regimes may loudly proclaim their fears of a war, yet privately allow the U.S. some leeway, and even give tentative support for its war plans.
- Major Religious & Civic leaders To Launch National Coalition To Oppose President.s Push for War with Iraq
Press Release (Dec. 11, 2002) MoveOn.Org
Leaders of major civic and faith organizations will gather in the nation's capital [Dec. 11] to announce the creation of a new coalition in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the crisis in Iraq. The new group, Win Without War, represents millions of Americans and seeks to prevent bloodshed and loss of life on all sides by slowing the Bush Administration.s apparent rush to war so that U.N. Arms Inspectors have time to carry out their mission. Win Without War leaders believe that security for Americans and our allies abroad can be achieved through aggressive inspections and sustained monitoring. They will pledge to continue and intensify the protests that begin next week in dozens of cities for as long as the Bush Administration presses for invasion of Iraq.
- A Sacred Day in New York
Chris Vaeth (Dec. 10, 2002) Portside
Today the faith-based revolt against the impending war
in Iraq poured out of hallowed halls and into the
streets. Joining people in 120 other cities and towns
under the banner of United for Peace, New York's
religious leaders celebrated International Human Rights
Day by bearing witness to the poverty and suffering of
those both in Iraq and at home. Before the day's end,
the mass arrest of interfaith leadership marked the
arrival of still another dimension of the burgeoning
Prior to today's civil disobedience, Rev. James Lawson,
who was responsible for much of the training in
nonviolent resistance during the Civil Rights Movement,
addressed the participants. He admonished that the
severity of the impending war in Iraq will demand much
more than symbolic protest. It will require Americans,
especially people of faith, to render the war plans of
this administration literally unmanageable ... blocking
traffic in the streets, standing in front of government
agency doorways, sitting on the floors of congressional
offices, and choosing the rite of passage into the
- Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War
William D. Nordhaus (Dec. 5, 2002) NY Review
It seems likely that Americans are underestimating the economic commitment involved in a war with Iraq. This is hardly new, for the record is littered with failed forecasts about the economic, political, and military outcomes of wars. The history of war is, as Barbara Tuchman entitled her wonderful book, the march of folly. Is America writing another chapter in the march of folly? It is impossible to know in advance, but historians may look back at several early warning signs of economic and political miscalculations....
Notwithstanding all the warning signs, the administration marches ahead, heedless of the fiscal realities and undeterred by cautions from friends, allies, and foes.
- More Families Face Loss of Heat With Public Aid Scarce
John W. Fountain (Dec. 5, 2002) NY Times
With the economy stagnant, social service agencies say people are seeking help in paying their heating bills earlier this year and the coming winter is likely to pose a chilling bind. It is expected to be colder than last winter, the price of gas is rising and the Bush administration has proposed cutting $300 million from the $1.7 billion federal program that provided energy subsidies for needy families in the last fiscal year.
Such a cut would mean that 438,000 fewer families received aid from the program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helped 4.5 million families last year, said Mark Wolfe, spokesman for the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, an education and policy group for directors of the program in states and on Indian reservations....
With almost every state and city facing major budget cuts, it may be difficult to use public money to make up for any federal spending cuts.
- President Bush: Jesus Changed Your Heart Now Let Him Change Your Mind
Religious Leaders for Sensible Priorities (Dec. 4, 2002) NY Times
PRESIDENT BUSH, We beseech you to turn back from the brink of war on Iraq. Your war would violate the teachings of Jesus Christ. It would violate the tenets, prayers and entreaties of your own United Methodist Church bishops. It would ignore the pleas of hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders. You’ve proclaimed the crucial role of your faith in your life, and you’ve said that
people of faith are often 'our nation’s voice of conscience.' Listen to our voices now.
- Global Gloom and Growing Anti-Americanism
What the World Thinks in 2002 (Dec. 4, 2002) Pew Research Center
While Europeans view Saddam as a threat, they also are suspicious of U.S. intentions in Iraq. Large percentages in each country polled think that the U.S. desire to control Iraqi oil is the principal reason that Washington is considering a war against Iraq. In Russia 76% subscribe to a war-for-oil view; so too do 75% of the French, 54% of Germans, and 44% of the British. In sharp contrast, just 22% of Americans see U.S. policy toward Iraq driven by oil interests. Two-thirds think the United States is motivated by a concern about the security threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
In addition, respondents in the five nations surveyed (aside from the U.S.) express a high degree of concern that war with Iraq will increase the risk of terrorism in Europe. Two-thirds of those in Turkey say this, as do majorities in Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany. By comparison, 45% of Americans are worried that war will raise the risk of terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Suspicions about U.S. motives in Iraq are consistent with criticisms of America apparent throughout the Global Attitudes survey. The most serious problem facing the U.S. abroad is its very poor public image in the Muslim world, especially in the Middle East/Conflict Area. Favorable ratings are down sharply in two of America’s most important allies in this region, Turkey and Pakistan. The number of people giving the United States a positive rating has dropped by 22 points in Turkey and 13 points in Pakistan in the last three years. And in Egypt, a country for which no comparative data is available, just 6% of the public holds a favorable view of the U.S.
- The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA
Devising Bad Intelligence to Promote Bad Policy
Robert Dreyfuss (Dec. 3, 2002) Am. Prospect via Truthout
Morale inside the U.S. national-security apparatus is said to be low, with career staffers feeling intimidated and pressured to justify the push for war. At the State Department, where Secretary of State Colin Powell's efforts at diplomacy have thus far slowed the relentless pressure for war, a key bureau is chilled by the presence of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Elizabeth L. Cheney, the vice president's daughter, who is in charge of Middle East economic policy, including oil. "When [Near East Affairs] meets, there is no debate," says Parker Borg, who served in the State Department for 30 years as an ambassador and deputy chief of counterterrorism. "How vocal would you be about commenting on Middle East policy with the vice president's daughter there?" Undersecretary of State John Bolton is also part of the small pro-war faction.
And at the Pentagon, where a number of critical offices have been filled by hawkish neoconservatives whose commitment to war with Iraq goes back a decade, Middle East specialists and uniformed military officers alike are seeing their views ignored. "I've heard from people on the Middle East staff in the Pentagon," says Borg, referring to the staff under neocon Peter Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs. "The Middle East experts in those officers are as cut off from the policy side as people in the State Department are."
But the sharpest battle is over the CIA. "There is tremendous pressure on [the CIA] to come up with information to support policies that have already been adopted," says Vincent Cannistraro, a former senior CIA official and counterterrorism expert. What's unfolding is a campaign by well-placed hawks to undermine the CIA's ability to provide objective, unbiased intelligence to the White House.
- Cool War: Economic sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction
Joy Gordon (Nov., 2002) Harpers via Seattle CPPI
Over the last three years, through research and interviews with diplomats, U.N. staff, scholars, and journalists, I have acquired many of the key confidential U.N. documents concerning the administration of Iraq sanctions. I obtained these documents on the condition that my sources remain anonymous. What they show is that the United States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country. And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics. It has sometimes given a reason for its refusal to approve humanitarian goods, sometimes given no reason at all, and sometimes changed its reason three or four times, in each instance causing a delay of months. Since August 1991 the United States has blocked most purchases of materials necessary for Iraq to generate electricity, as well as equipment for radio, telephone, and other communications. Often restrictions have hinged on the withholding of a single essential element, rendering many approved items useless. For example, Iraq was allowed to purchase a sewage-treatment plant but was blocked from buying the generator necessary to run it; this in a country that has been pouring 300,000 tons of raw sewage daily into its rivers.
- What Bodies?
Patrick J. Sloyan (Nov., 2002?) Alicia Patterson Foundation
One reason there was no trace of what happened in the Neutral Zone on those two days [in the 1991 Gulf War] were the ACEs. It stands for Armored Combat Earth movers and they came behind the armored burial brigade leveling the ground and smoothing away projecting Iraqi arms, legs and equipment....
To Cheney, who helped Bush’s approval rating soar off the charts during Desert Storm, the press coverage had been flawless. "The best-covered war ever," Cheney said. "The American people saw up close with their own eyes through the magic of television what the U.S. military was capable of doing."
- Unilateral power -– by any other name
It's unanimous! U.N. Security Council votes 15-0 in favor of the U.S. picking on somebody other than them
Norman Solomon (Nov. 24, 2002) WorkingForChange
But if the United Nations, serving as a conduit of American power, is now worthwhile because it offers the best way for the United States to "legitimize its overwhelming might," how different is that from unilateralism?...
"Backroom deals with France and Russia regarding oil contracts in a postwar Iraq were a big part of the picture," Phyllis Bennis writes in The Nation's latest issue. "And the impoverished nation of Mauritius emerged as the latest poster child for U.S. pressure at the U.N. The ambassador, Jagdish Koonjul, was recalled by his government for failing to support the original U.S. draft resolution on Iraq. Why? Because Mauritius receives significant U.S. aid, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act requires that a recipient of U.S. assistance 'does not engage in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.'"
- Malnutrition in Iraq - What the New UNICEF Study Shows
Ramzi Kysia (Nov. 22, 2002) CommonDreams.Org
UNICEF just released statistics showing a significant improvement in the nutritional status of children in Iraq. According to the figures, over the last two years chronic malnutrition has declined by 23%, and acute malnutrition has declined by almost 50%....
If we care about the children of Iraq, then we need to stop this war from happening. But, in the end, the only thing that will truly end Iraq’s humanitarian crisis, and put an end to malnutrition once and for all, is if we stop the war that is already going on. Economic sanctions are intended to damage economies and increase poverty. Increased poverty means increased malnutrition. And - no matter how hard UNICEF, or the Iraqi government, or anti-sanctions activists try - there's no way around that.
- Critical resistance: A vast and diverse movement turns its energies to halting the Bush administration's war plans – and to creating a vision of the future in which the progressive left sets policy rather than reacts to it
Camille T. Taiara (Nov. 20, 2002) SF Bay Guardian
The magnitude of popular dissent to the impending war – before the United States has so much as begun its first (official) bombing campaign – is exceptional. The country was five years into the Vietnam War before such large numbers of protesters began to hit the streets (see "Planning Ahead," page 20). Groups from the traditional left have experienced exceptional growth. And new coalitions have formed in direct response to the war on terror. Like ANSWER, Not in Our Name has focused its efforts on mobilizing nationwide demonstrations. In February, 40 community-based organizations from across the nation formalized their relationship as Racial Justice 911: People of Color Against the War, a collective effort to stop the war abroad and at home. Among its local members are the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Women of Color Resource Center, Third World Majority, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and many others. A more recent coalition, United for Peace, includes labor unions, churches, and civil rights, women's, and youth groups.
- Physicians' Report Forecasts Large Death Toll, Long-Term Health, Environment Damage From US-Led Attack On Iraq; Seeks To Avoid Pre-Emptive War, Massive Humanitarian Catastrope
Press Release (Nov. 12, 2002) IPPNW
Amy Sisley, MD, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical System, explained the report's findings, "In an era where images of combat are beamed from aircraft, it is too easy to forget about the direct, physical consequences of war. Bombs deafen, blind and blow apart people, riddling them with shrapnel, glass and debris. They collapse buildings on victims and destroy infrastructure vital to finding and treating the wounded. Unexploded ordinance left behind kills and maims, and battlefield toxins can contaminate the environment for decades."
Hot Spot! Iraq
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