questions one asks *always* determine the answers one gets. Values and theories form the basis of all inquiry. This blog asks questions about Bush's "pre-emptive war on Iraq", the political influence of corporations, US foreign policy, the ''politically right'' media bias, developing countries, wealth distribution, and political philosophy.
My God: “The President considers this nation to be at war,” a White House source says, "and, as such, CONSIDERS ANY OPPOSITION TO HIS POLICIES TO BE NO LESS THAN AN ACT OF TREASON.” Senior Pentagon officials are quietly urging President George W. Bush to slow down his headlong rush to war with Iraq, complaining the administration’s course of action represents too much of a shift of America’s longstanding “no first strike” policy and that the move could well result in conflicts with other Arab nations. “This is not Desert Storm,” one of the Joint Chiefs is reported to have told Rumseld. “We don’t have the backing of other Middle Eastern nations. We don’t have the backing of any of our allies except Britain and we’re advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies.” An angry Rumsfeld, who backs Bush without question, is said to have told the Joint Chiefs to get in line or find other jobs. Bush is also said to be “extremely angry” at what he perceives as growing Pentagon opposition to his role as Commander in Chief.
Mon Dieu: Sources say the White House has ordered the FBI and CIA to “find and document” links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. “The implication is clear,” grumbles one longtime FBI agent. “Find a link, any link, no matter how vague or unproven, and then use that link to justify action against Iraq.”
In addition, Capitol Hill Blue has learned that both House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist have told the White House that they have “increasing” numbers of Republicans in both Houses raising doubts about the war. “Nobody in the party wants to come out publicly and tell the President he’s wrong,” says one Hill source close to the GOP leadership, “but we don’t have the kind of unity we need on this thing. It could blow apart on us at any time.”
What is wrong with the New York Times and other major media coverage of the anti-war protests, as they occur? Why would they once *again* underestimate the size of the anti-war marches, in Washington and San Francisco? It was over 100,000 in San Francisco (and maybe 200,000), not 50,000. And it was closer to 200,000 in Washington. Not "30,000" as the New York Times and AP reported. (The Washington Post at least reported a range of estimates, "from 30,000 to 500,000".)
In the previous march, on October 26, 2002, the Times reported that "thousands" protested. Four days later they had to acknowledge that 100,000 had turned out. They were off by 1-2 orders or magnitude! Editor & Publisher trade journal analyzed the discrepancy. What is wrong with Times' reporter Lynette Clemetson or--more likely--her editors? The local NBC affiliate in DC was even worse, their evening news broadcast the night of October 26th reported that "hundreds" of protesters turned out--when it was in fact 100,000--they were off by 2.5 orders-of-magnitude!
The Times' inaccuracy prompts a wide variety of criticisms, with one suggesting that the Times over-estimated a pro-Israeli rally last April. One might expect this from Faux News (Tony Snow labeled the mom-and-pop protestors "socialists"), but from the Times?
Last June (long before the October 11th vote in Congress on Iraq), Bush knew that Pakistan was supplying North Korea with nuclear-weapons technology, and he with-held this information from Congress, and even from his own arms-control offices. North Korea began to produce enriched uranium in "significant quantities" by 2001. Pakistan is the shaky US ally in the "war on terror", it is rife with Al Qaeda sympathizers. Seymour Hersh reports in The New Yorker: a former American intelligence expert on North said, "The Administration was deeply, viciously ideological [on Korea]."
"There is an awful lot of Al Qaeda sympathy within Pakistan's nuclear program," another intelligence official told me. One American nonproliferation expert said, "Right now, the most dangerous country in the world is Pakistan. If we're incinerated next week, it'll be because of H.E.U."—highly enriched uranium—"that was given to Al Qaeda by Pakistan." Pakistan's relative poverty could pose additional risks. In early January, a Web-based Pakistani-exile newspaper opposed to the Musharraf government reported that, in the past six years, nine nuclear scientists had emigrated from Pakistan—apparently in search of better pay—and could not be located. An American intelligence official I spoke with called Pakistan's behavior the "worst nightmare" of the international arms-control community: a Third World country becoming an instrument of proliferation. "The West's primary control of nuclear proliferation was based on technology denial and diplomacy," the official said. "Our fear was, first, that a Third World country would develop nuclear weapons indigenously; and, second, that it would then provide the technology to other countries. This is profound. It changes the world." Pakistan's nuclear program flourished in the nineteen-eighties, at a time when its military and intelligence forces were working closely with the United States to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. [The US and Pakistan provided support for Osama bin Laden at that time, to fight the Soviets.]
Bush dude-ranch rhetoric has heightened security threats to the US; a foreign policy disaster. Article cites Warren Christopher, Graham Allison, Richard Betts, etc. "It was harmful both conceptually and operationally," said Graham Allison, government professor and former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. "Conceptually, the 'axis' suggested a relationship among the entities that doesn't exist. More important, operationally, the reaction of the world and the North Korea debacle demonstrates that it was a mistake." The "axis of evil" language upped the rhetorical ante significantly. Some believe it played a role in undermining Iran's moderate leaders and squelching the country's nascent democracy movement. Many believe it helped provoke North Korea into nuclear confrontation.
Christian Science Monitor reports that war on Iraq could fracture unity against Al Qaeda. "If we thumb our nose at others, they will be less willing to cooperate ... and if you're looking at the war on terror, we can't do it alone," says Joseph Nye, dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Tony Blair today acknowledged there is no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq! "Is there any link between al-Qa'ida, Iraq and terrorist groups in Britain?" Blair watchers were astonished when the Prime Minister said: "No." "So, the US government knows of no link, either?" Alan Williams went on. Blair replied: "I've said what I've said, and I don't think I can add to it."
In May 2002, Dan Rather of CBS-News described post-9/11 censorship in US media. He said that fear of being labelled unpatriotic "keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions. And one finds oneself saying: 'I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.' There has never been an American war, small or large, in which access has been so limited as this one. Limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those who are in charge of the war, is extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted. And I am sorry to say that, up to and including the moment of this interview, that overwhelmingly it has been accepted by the American people. And the current administration revels in that, they relish that, and they take refuge in that."
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