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Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia : a Diary of Three Wars
 1844675068, 9781844675067

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IRAQ

AFGHANISTAN AND YUGOSLAVIA

ALEXANDER COCKBURN and JEFFREY

ST. c|l

A

I

R

!

S.S.F.

Public Library

West Orange 840 West Orange Ave. South San Fiancisco, CA 94080

JUN

2004

c

S.S.F.

o TtH SA NF RA MC SCO L BR AR Y

PUBLIC LIBRARY

WEST ORANGE AVENUE

Iraq,

3

9048 06105472 6

IMPERIAL CRUSADES Afghanistan and Yugoslavia

V

SSF

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2016 with funding from

China-America

Digital

Academic

Library

(CADAL)

https://archive.org/details/imperialcrusadesOOcock

S.S.F.

PUBLIC LIBRARY

WEST ORANGE AVENUE

IMPERIAL CRUSADES Afghanistan and Yugoslavia

Iraq,

A by

Diary of Three Wars

ALEXANDER COCKBURN and JEFFREY

ST.

CLAIR,

the editors of CounterPunch

V

VERSO London



New

York

1

First

published by Verso 2004

© Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey

St.Clair,

and CounterPunch 2004

All rights reserved

The moral

rights

of the authors have been asserted

13579

8642

10

Verso

UK: USA: 180

6 Meard Street, Varick Street,

W1F 0EG

London

New

York,

NY

10014-4606

www.versobooks.com Verso

is

the imprint of

New

Left

Books

ISBN 1-84467-506-8 British Library Cataloguing in Publication

Data

Imperial crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia: a diary of three wars

2003 History — 2001— 1. CounterPunch 1.

Iraq War,

2. 4.

Yugoslav War, 1991—1995

United

States

-

Politics

3.

Afghanistan



and government - 2001—

973.9 '3

ISBN 1844675068 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cockburn, Alexander St. Clair, Jeffrey

Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia: a diary of three wars/ edited by Alexander

Cockburn

& Jeffrey

St.

Clair

p.cm Includes index

ISBN 1844675068 1.

Iraq War,

History 5.

2003

— 2001

United

States

4.

-

2.

Yugoslav War, 1991—1995

United Politics

States

-

Politics

3.

Afghanistan

and government - 1993-2001

and government - 2001-

DS79.76. 146 2004-03-16 973.931 22 Typeset in Printed in the

USA



Bembo

by R. R. Donnelley

&

Sons

CONTENTS PART ONE: The Laptop Bombardiers and the Yugoslav Campaign

PART TWO: Overview PART THREE: War on

Index

85

Iraq

PART FOUR: The Thirteen

1

171

Years'

War

245

365

PART

ONE

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS AND THE YUGOSLAV CAMPAIGN

March

6,

1999

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS by Alexander Cockburn

Strange are the ways of men!

New York

Lewinsky’s breasts.

pieces.

on

its

editor

now,

feels like

Times was denouncing President

deserving of the

measured

It

harshest

And

praise to the

only yesterday that the Bill as a

reprobation

today here’s the

same president

for

Monica

fondling

New York

for

moral midget,

blowing

limes doling out little

children to

The Times last Thursday had pictures of those dead refugees cover, bombed by one of NATO’s aviators. Editorial page Howell Raines staked out the Times

NATO must sustain

guy Raines must

official

view

that ‘For

and intensify the bombing.' What

be. Kiss

Monica’s

tits

and he goes

a

crazy.

weird

Bomb

peasants and he shouts for more.

Maybe some corner of Serbia will extinguish

Clinton’s brain reckons that

bombs on

Monica Lewinksy from popular memory. But

what man of mature judgement and compassion would not to be

remembered by

dead bodies?

Many

the Starr report than by

bomb

prefer

craters

people thought Clinton would be the

and first

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

4

president

who would somehow

prefer Starr’s

however embarrassing. But no. Like and corpses

Being again



a

as his

as his

epitaph,

the others he wants craters

all

requiem.

peacenik

is

definitely passe. Liberals are learning

-

did they ever truly forget?

cheer the high explosive the

volume

end of the Vietnam

as

it falls.

affair,

it’s

fun to be

a

once

warmonger and

After suffering indigestion towards

they got the taste for war again in the

mid-1990s, with Bosnia. They became the ‘laptop bombardiers,’ phrase coined by

Simon Jenkins

Back then, there wasn’t Lewis didn’t

call for

the

a

in the Spectator in 1995.

week,

for

months on end,

bombardment of Serbia. The

that

Anthony

Serbs

demons, monsters, and Milosevic the most demonic of all. I

a

became

Last

week

ran across an interesting piece by an Indian, Lt. General Satish

Nambiar,

who

had been

First

Force Commissioner and Head ol

Mission of the United Nations force deployed in the former

He was

Yugoslavia from March 1992 to March 1993. Indian journal. ‘Portraying the Serbs

as evil

good was not only counterproductive but writes. ‘According to

the Serbs

would

my

would admit

insist that

Nambiar

experience

that they

all

a

and everybody

else as

dishonest,’ the general

sides

were guilty but only

were no angels while the others

they were.’

says accurately that there

agreement on

writing in an

were plenty of chances

for

Bosnian settlement in the mid-1990s but the

Americans always nixed them. There was the Lisbon plan and then the

Vance— Owen

deaths

— from

plan,

the final

both not so different -

Dayton

plan.

US, amid the furious screams of the

after

thousands of

But the trouble was that the liberals,

refused to admit the

Serbs had legitimate grievances and rights. In Britain in 1995 there was a coalition running from Margaret

Thatcher to the Labourite Serbs.

Ken

New

Statesman in favor of

bombing

the

Livingstone, the pinko firebrand of London, bellowed

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS bombs. So did Michael

for

Ignatieff. In the

US the laptop bombardiers

crossed from the Wall Street Journal editorial page,

anything (though most of

Anthony Lewis,

The worst accounts of

Little

all,

Democratic

to the

5

which

Rock), to William

Socialists

bomb

Satire, to

of America.

offender was the press, which carefully ignored detailed

how

Muslims were manipulating Western

the Bosnian

opinion, most notoriously by almost certainly lobbing a

likes to

marketplace

with their

filled

own

a missile into

When

people.

the Croats

ethnically cleansed the Krajina of hundreds of thousands of Serbs

the biggest such cleansing in the Balkans since

US

with direction from

military and

CIA

Serbs Asked For

It,’

exulted the headline on

Times by pundit William

prepared

a

confidential, a

Pfaffi

Monitors

a

World War Two —

officers, reporters

commentators mostly looked the other way or

actually cheered.

Fisk of the

London

and ‘The

piece in the Los Angeles

European Union

for the

report on the Croat atrocities and, though

Robert

-

it

was

Independent was able to get

copy:

Evidence of

emerge

...

the corpses

of old men. throats

slit,

atrocities,

Many

an average of six corpses

— some

fresh,

a day,

continues to

some decomposed —

are

mainly

have been shot in the back of the head or had

others have been mutilated

continue to be looted. (Croatian Army), the

...

Serbian

The crimes have been

CR

it

lands

perpetrated by the

(Croatian Police) and

have been no observed attempts to stop

homes and

CR

civilians.

HV

There

and the indications point

to a scorched earth policy.

If American journalists

public opinion are

no innocent

had bothered to report

would have been prepared

it is

to

then perhaps

for the notion that there

political players in the Balkans.

the people are, the harder

this,

The better-informed

demagogue them with

the idea that

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

6

way forward now is — to get back New York Times editorial - to ‘sustain and

the best

But Bosnia, back

contemptible opportunists

now

go

like

retrouve

strafe refugees in

by Democrats

like

,

the price

to a

McCain

Kosovo?). But

bombing.'

was

a hysteria that

is

McCain have

and get assigned

that

being paid, with

McCain shouting

Senator John

out in Belgrade’ (why doesn't

John Glenn’s temps

intensify the

middle 1990s, rode on

in the

never properly confronted, and

‘lights

Howell Raines and

to

is

for

the guts to emulate

bombing crew and

more than matched

Senator Carl Levin, or by that brass-lunged fraud

from Vermont Bernard Sanders,

progressive,'

‘socialist

who

has

endorsed Clinton’s bombs. Well over 80 per cent of the Democrats in the House are cheering the bombs, and senatorial liberals like Barbara Boxer are discovering the joys of war.

‘I

never believed

I'd

go back and vote on

she marveled in an article in the Boston Globe for

These

days, to get a dose

air strikes,'

March

of common sense you have

31.

to

go over

the Republican side of the aisle and listen to people like Rep. Curt

Weldon of Pennsylvania, who made 12, reporting

on

his contacts

(where Weldon has many

a fine

speech in Congress on April

Duma

with members of the Russian

friends),

endorsing their idea that Russia

should pledge that Milosevic will abide by the Rambouillet accords

on condition

that an international

peacekeeping force moves into

Kosovo, devoid of any personnel from nations

Follow

this carefully,

what’s causing

bombs

now bombing

because the exact nature of such

to

fall

on

civilians in

a

Serbia.

force

is

Belgrade and Kosovo.

Remember

that Milosevic agreed to virtually everything

table at the

Rambouillet meeting, with two exceptions. For him

the status of

Kosovo

as part

of Serbia was non-negotiable, and he

wouldn’t agree to the stationing of

which does

after

all

on the

NATO

include Kosovo. But

solution could have been found.

forces it’s

on Yugoslav

clear

enough

soil,

that a

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

US

plain too that the

It’s

and

NATO

its

confrontation and ultimately forced ingly vocal

Liberation

explicit charges

Army (KLA) was

It’s

subordinates wanted

a

also clear that increas-

by the Russians that the Kosovo

Germans and the itself was roundly denounced — before supplied by the

The KLA bombings - in the London

CIA the

and

it.

7

have merit.

heroin-trafficking. (This

is

Times

as a

Maoist gang fueled by

standard operating procedure for a

CIA

operation, as any scrutiny of recent histories of Afghanistan or

Southeast Asia will

So the

NATO

attest.)

bombs began

been predicted, the Serbian tidal

NATO

power

plants,

and, exactly as could have

brutalities in

purpose'

(i.e.,

bombs

Kosovo

and the

escalated

is

to bits.

when he

convoy.

We

by

NATO

spokesmen

possibly also for Serb military use) unless

no conceivable

Wednesday

commander, Wesley Clark, to date,

electricity, gas, oil supplies.

hastily described

that only peasants, with

been blasted

to the

destroying Serbian civilian infrastructure:

sewage treatment,

thing that’s hit

all

fall

wave of refugees began. Everything has gone according

script.

to

to

said that

utter his

‘There was

last

Every-

as ‘dual-

obvious

it’s

‘dual purposes,’ have

saw the

NATO

supreme

most deliberate and obvious a military

struck the Serb convoy and

convoy and

we have

a

lie

refugee

very strong

evidence that the Serbs then retaliated by attacking the column of refugees.'

convoy,’

By

the next day

it

became

clear that there

no ‘very strong evidence,' and

refugees on tractors had been killed by

that a

was no ‘Serb

column

NATO

of Albanian

bombers.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

8

March

10,

1999

SIEG HEIL! by Alexander Cockburn

It’s It

Germans

bracing to see the

NATO’s bombing.

taking part in

lends moral tone to an operation to have the grandsons of the

Third Reich willing, able and eager to drop high explosive again, in this instance

on the

Serbs.

To add symmetry

to the affair, the last

time Serbs in Belgrade had high explosive dropped on them was in

1941 by the sons of the Third Reich. To bring even deeper

symmetry, the German

German

ordered

whose

party

political

participation in the

bombing

leader, Schroeder, is

that

of the Social

Democrats, whose great-grandfathers enthusiastically voted credits to

wage war

all

social

in 1914.

Whether

Germany

in

or England or France,

democratic parties in 1914 tossed aside previous pledges

against war, thus helping

produce the

great bloodletting of our

first

century. Today, with social democrats leading governments across

Europe - Schroeder, This

is,

leftists.

all fall

in

behind Clinton.

NATO

some patronizing

sense of ‘grievance’

at

the

way

talk

and many

liberals

Bernie Sanders has voted Aye, and

Vanessa Redgrave cheers on the There’s been

Prodi -

war most earnestly supported by

largely, a

so-called

Blair, Jospin,

in

London

bombers.

here about the Serbs’ deep

history has treated them, with the

implication that the Serbs are irrational in this regard. But scarcely irrational to

Belgrade in World

remember

War Two,

that

Nazi Germany

or that Germany’s prime

region, Croatia, ran a concentration

camp

at

it’s

bombed

ally in

the

Jasenovac where tens

of thousands of Serbs — along with Jews and Gypsies — were liquidated.

years has

Nor

is it

irrational to recall that

been an unrelenting

assailant

Germany

in

more

recent

of the former Yugoslav

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

9

federation, encouraging Slovenia to secede and lending determined

support to Croatia, in gratitude for which Croatia adopted, on

independence

So much

in 1991, the

German hymn,‘Danke

for Serb feelings

Deutschland.’

about Germany. Serbia has some

reason to feel similar resentment towards the United States.

The

biggest single ethnic cleansing of the mid-1990s in the former

Yugoslavia was conducted by Croatia under the supervision of the

United

States,

whose

CIA

military generals and

officers issued

targeting instructions to Croatian artillery for the ethnic clearing.

The

targets

were Serbs, living in Serbian

Heading the Croatian

who

Now

who

is

Tudjman,

cleansers was President Franjo

has rehabbed Nazi

Milosevic

territory, in the Krajina.

war criminals. Yet somehow

demonized here

Serbia’s

it is

as Hitler.

the Serbs are being asked to give the Albanians living in a

southern province of Serbia — Kosovo — autonomy for three years, at

the end of

which time

NATO

would probably have

issued a

command for Kosovo’s independence. Even so, the balked only at NATO’s insistence that a Serbian province,

peremptory Serbs

Kosovo, should accept

a

Western garrison

could have been negotiated peacefully, but has been saying in Europe, the

US

The

other towns and

feel as

outraged

New

bombing

cities until India

Kashmiris’ and Tamils’ demands.

doubtless

Mikhail Gorbachev

Serbs

India if the United States started

Bombay and

as

this

apparently wanted to rush into

war, on an obviously illegal pretext.

would

and

force,

as

Delhi,

surrendered to the

You can make

the same parallel

about China and Tibet or Spam and the Basques, or the Turks and the Kurds, or the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Would we

Of course not. how America’s gangsterism

ever

bomb

Istanbul or Tel Aviv? It’s

remarkable

has

grown more

shameless even since the days of George Bush. In

1991

Bush

devoted months of diplomatic effort towards getting supportive

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

10

votes in the United Nations for the expedition to free Kuwait. In

1999

Clinton more or

Bill

Annan,

Appropriately enough,

United

borders and

UK,

‘security.’

paramilitary and

— 2,000

about

its

it

Without doubt

army

secretary-general, Kofi

NATO’s

it’s

been

units have

that unless the

won’t be entitled to

it

US

game, abetted

the arbiter of Europe’s

disgusting that Serb police,

killing Albanians in

bombing began.

or so before the

bomb.

decision to

bother? The

NATO

make

to

is

UN’s

back dues,

UN anyway. But would

chiefly by Blair’s

the

week brought news

last

some of

States pays

vote in the

CNN

from

to find out

less left

KosOvo

was disgusting

It

that

Russians killed Chechens, that Indonesians killed East Timorese, that

US

The Hutus didn’t

lift

a

killed

it

around

He

finger.

decision since

get the idea.

meant

millennium

that

a

million Tutsis in

Rwanda and

refused to

UN

under the Genocide Treaty. of the

You

cavalry killed the Sioux, that

call

it

genocide,

If the

US

May

4,

is

significant

decides in the waning hours

bomb anyone

of legality, solemn treaty and obligation, so be that cause

a

Clinton

forces weren't compelled to intervene

can

it

...

wants

it it.

to, regardless

But do not pretend

humane.

just or even

1999

MAY DAY

MISSILES

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

The same weekend in pieces a

NATO

St.

member of

the

US

May Day by blowing men women and children,

planes celebrated

busload of forty-nine Serbs,

CounterPunch was relayed

Clair

this confidential

military at

assessment from

NATO HQ

in

a

senior

Mons, Belgium.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS ‘The White House,’ this.

They’re desperate to get

Clinton knows

Bill last

said the officer,

how

‘is

in a

out.'

radical

a

on

to read polls. All agree

that. In the

down. Even General

war had done nothing towards

air

down

proclaimed objective: grinding

Support for

its

the Serb forces in Kosovo.

ground war was melting away.

amazing

In an

Democrats lined up the Republicans and forced

tie vote,

1

complete panic over

days ot April he saw the trend lines pointing

Wesley Clark admitted the

1

a

vote,

213—213

thus withholding congressional support for the war.

Hence

Reverend

the back-channel overture to Milosevic via the

Jesse Jackson, with a desperate appeal to the Beast of Serbia that he

give Clinton cover for the big climb-down, said cover being that Serbia will allow a small

force assigned to stops.

The

Kosovo

maybe

NATO contingent in the international

to supervise partition,

when

the

bombing

other function of Jackson’s mission was to head off any

unpalatable negotiating with Milosevic by Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican, in

Moscow

who

was

in

Vienna

after

Duma

with members of the Russian

conferring

on terms

for a

deal.

The end is in sight. NATO The hunt is on for a brokered

has achieved

none of its

solution, not too far

objectives.

removed from

the deal that could have been struck with Milosevic before the

bombing

started.

This does not

mean

the

bombing

POWs,

day after Milosevic released the three American intensified

its

raids

and readied B-52s

reprise of the Arclight sorties over

for carpet

The

will stop.

NATO

bombing

in a

Vietnam when hundreds of

square miles of countryside were saturated with 500-lb iron bombs.

Even though no other

NATO

objective.

has destroyed a lot of Serbia,

The White House wants

out.

Jackson’s mission to ask Milosevic to give Clinton

war emptied Kosovo of most Albanians and

it

has achieved

Hence

some

failed to

cow

Jesse

cover.

The

the Serbs.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

12

It is

also

beginning to have

a seismic effect

of Western Europe, where almost

Even here

parties are social democrats.

just in

Columbine High but

Here

US we re

in the

all

on the

political landscape

warmongering

the ruling its

tremors can be

felt,

not

Washington DC.

also in

having to redraw the political maps.

Leftist

now march shoulder to shoulder with Chuck Colson, Barry Farber, Don Feder, Bob Grant, Bob Novak, Arianna Huffington, A. M. Rosenthal, Charles Krauthammer, Edward opponents of the war

Luttwak, Oliver North, Joe Sobran and the Pope.

Support for

ground

a

and broadcasters

assault

fading. There

is

There were the

in Serbia.

High, which rubbed people’s noses in death universal ol contexts (Johnny

and the House in the

vote. In the

House even

War, even the

to

isn’t

in the

approach that War,

era

it

most

familiar

been the

level. It’s

if

and

today),

took years for resistance

you read Tony

communique

in

war has been

progressive, in the imperial sense

upon

Columbine

killings in

coming home from school

Vietnam

First Progressives’

were the dead refugees

Progressives’

Blair’s

Newsweek. In the eyes of those waging them

excited

many

a

of imposing progress

those in the cross-hairs. Teddy Roosevelt undoubtedly thought

the wars

on America’s

natives

were

progressive. If history

is

progress,

then wars have often been fuel for the onward march.

The Democrats

— about 80

- have affirmed

per cent of them in

a

their confidence in the just cause

The Republicans the United States has

are

congressional vote

of bombing Serbia.

more deeply

divided,

no business fighting

a

many of them

war

saying

in the Balkans.

This

stance excites the derision of liberal Democrats. Listen to Joe

Conason, writing for reasons that

in Salon: 'Action against Milosevic

go well beyond humanitarian

of Kosovo. The Western

allies

destabilizing force in Central

and demagogues elsewhere

needed

Europe and

to to

was necessary

interest in the fate

draw

a

line against a

demonstrate to tyrants

that their ambitions too

may encounter

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS This repellent passage offers both the

fierce resistance.' itarian rationale

13

and the true motives of the United

human-

States

and

its

accomplices: to wit, that no one had better mess with Uncle Sam.

The

on

liberals are

crusade, historically the most merciless of

a

forms of bellicose engagement, self-serving illusions. ‘If there

making,' Conason writes,

albeit the

is

such

a

all

one most suffused with

thing

progressive war-

as

must be preceded by every possible

‘it

diplomatic approach to the avoidance of war.

must be accomp-

It

anied by the informed consent of the nations whose children and resources

may be

lost.

must be conducted with the

It

feasible regard for sparing

innocent

Maximum

feasible regard.

Wesley Clark and air

his

lives.’

of the Liberals of Salon

Let’s take those Protocols

We

are

war planners

maximum

now

at

in reverse order.

the point at

which Gen.

are reaching the conclusion that

wars don’t work. Also, their vaunted arsenal of million-dollar

missiles

dwindling

is

rapidly.

The answer

will

be ever-increasing

recourse to cluster bombs, which are cheap. Cluster kill civilians,

not soldiers. About 25 per cent of them

bombs tend fail

to detonate,

thus littering the terrain as landmines for years to come. This store for

lies in

Kosovo and

large swaths

of Serbia

at

to

is

what

the progressive

hands of NATO. There won’t be fancy camera shots of those cluster

bombs blowing up not,

on

Back

peasants and children.

in the Sixties the

United

bombs and today clearing crews. So much for the

resources

States,

showered the Plain of Jars

with the most progressive of

in

Laos with millions of these

refuses to contribute

cluster

As

the Pentagon will

be helping the cluster-bomb clearing crews.

past evidence,

intentions,

And

for

maximum

its

expertise to the

feasible regard.

informed consent of the nations whose children and

may be

scarcely sending

lost,

up

of relevance here

is

those people on the streets of Belgrade are

cries

of welcome. Perhaps the only consent

that

of the KLA, which of course requires

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

14

catastrophe sufficient to inflame Western passions. So

what about

Conason’s protocol of progressive warmaking, that every diplomatic

avenue has to be exhausted? Wesley Clark and Madeleine Albright, as

resolution; otherwise, they

Milosevic on the Serbs’

Kosovo

if

Nor would

troops,

countenance peacekeepers in

UN. The

which seems

Serbs

entirely reasonable.

they yield on the matter of Kosovo being part of Serbia’s

which

is

also understandable.

Serbian military in Kosovo was certainly behaving in a

disgustingly brutal fashion. a

would have parleyed further with

final offer to

NATO

sovereign territory,

The

interest in peaceful diplomatic

the latter were under the auspices of the

would not accept

by

no

surrogates for Clinton, had

rebel army, this

What army

doesn't,

when under

one almost certainly supplied by

powers, in breach of the

UN

Security Council’s

attack

NATO

embargo on arms

imports into the territory of the former Yugoslavia? Listen to Dr Jan Oberg, director of the Transnational Foundation's conflictmitigation team to the Balkans and Georgia,

‘The truth

April:

is

there |were|

ethnic cleansing, no genocide.’

Kosovo has been

a

police state.

no mass

Oberg

who

wrote in mid-

killings,

no systematic

states readily

‘Many Albanians

left

enough

that

because of the

repression but also because of the misery, the utter poverty and lack

of future opportunities for themselves and their children. Serbs, too, left for

such reasons and not —

as

they sometimes claim - because

they were victims of an Albanian genocide plan.’

have turned the flow of refugees into

a

torrent.

NATO’s bombs But before the

bombs came the guided missiles of the IMF, which ravaged the Yugoslav economy throughout the Eighties. The KLA wanted confrontation, which has been US strategy with Serbia for close to

a

decade: the dismemberment of the

former Yugoslavia, the heightening of ethnic tensions, economic siege

and the supply of a client armed force (the KLA). Seen that

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

15

scenario before? In Sarajevo the Bosnian Muslims kept Western

sympathies aflame with contrived incidents, culminating

lobbing of that

into the marketplace.

shell

The KLA and

Western advisers would not have forgotten the is

a

are

monstrous

fellow,

though

a

midget

whom

lesson. Milosevic

thuggery

him and have worked for his national flag; and who — looking at

detest

downfall, have rallied to the their analysis

its

when his deeds now bombing his country.

in

compared with the records of those

But Serbs, many of

in the

and those of the progressive warmakers of the West

— cannot

but agree with them? For years they awaited invasion

from the

East.

What

a

shock

to get

who

spent so

rubble, by those liberals

be reduced to

in the neck,

it

much

time hailing Yugoslav

exceptionalism.

May

11,

YES,

1999

PEACE

AT

IS

HAND

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

As so often when peace

down on

raining

supposedly

is

more

Serbia

bombed Chinese

embassy

in Belgrade.

On

tried to argue that this ‘targets’ in

error.

at

Newark and

are

good measure,

and, for

sovereign territory in the form of the latter blunder,

NATO

its

flacks at first

embassy was inconveniently located amid it

was

all

an understandable

But the embassy’s actual location was as

US bombs

hand, the

a hospital;

downtown Belgrade and

neighborhood and, ing for

Clair

heavily than ever! Shrapnel in the

marketplace; high explosives on

NATO

St.

someone

hitting

said,

in

a

residential

the ‘mistargeting’ was like aim-

Queens.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

16

Exactly

happened

as

Vietnam

in the

era, the liberal

doubling up the ferocity of their war bluster

in step

were shelling Beirut,

Tom

Friedman,

at

are

with every mile

when

they forge farther into the quagmire. Back in 1982

hawks

that time the

Times correspondent there, wrote a famous internal

the Israelis

New

memo

York

to his

editors complaining that they had softened his unsparing description

of the indiscriminate refused to use the

Israeli

word

(The Times

shelling of west Beirut.

‘indiscriminate.’)

It

was eloquent, quickly

made

public and, for a while, did nothing to advance Friedman’s

career.

These days Friedman

is

the

for war, urging that if necessary

mad dog of the journalistic the Serbs be bombed back

claque to the

fourteenth century.

There

are plenty of history’s

Jane Fonda flew out to

gun

Israeli

two erstwhile

protesters of the

on Arab

Hayden

cluster

Vietnam War cheered on the

May

week, in the

bombs used by

5 Los Angeles Times,

the Israelis didn’t

now -

Israeli

quite rightly

NATO prompt

— they

do.

then of the intentional indiscriminate infliction of shrapnel

wounds on whole

and

denounced by Friedman, and the

outrage seventeen years ago, but

What

Tom Hayden

issued a ringing denunciation of the present

bombardment. The his

batteries

civilians. Last

ironies here.

1982, were escorted north by Gen.

Israel in

Sharon to the

assault

little

areas

children?

Unexploded cluster-bomb

of Yugoslavia into

a

‘no man’s land,’

units are turning

wounding large num-

bers of children in the process. According to the Los Angeles Times, the director of Pristina’s hospital says he has never

amputations I

as

done

so

many

he has since victims of the weapons started coming

keep an early model of the cluster bombs used

my shelf as a

reminder of the

The bombs

are

evil

dropped over

a

done

in the

in

in.

Vietnam on

name of good

intentions.

broad landscape, where they explode

via timers or the simple vibration

of a passerby. The

blast causes

up

to

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS 300 pieces of deadly shrapnel is

very

difficult to

to scatter in

remove because of its

column

NATO

Pentagon has announced carried by B-52s



highly limited war, Clark

As

NATO

put out magnificent

to

6 Robert

Novak wrote

college in

a

bombing” with “dumb”

clearly an anti-population tactic. In a

is

using the methods of total war.'

descends rapidly into straightforward terror bombing, revulsion across the country. the war,

on National Public

heard one morning the voice of some young

1

shrapnel

deliberately jagged design.

“area

we cannot detect too many signs of Amid the repulsive cheerleading for Radio

The

Gen. Wesley Clark of war crimes: ‘The

essentially accusing

bombs

On May

directions.

all

The right-wing peaceniks continue specimens of antiwar prose.

17

Pomona

disparaging the notion that the

woman

at a

bombing

is

stimulated by compassion for the Albanians in Kosovo. She said she

was always cynical about such claims by her government, but added

was indeed

that she

in favor

of the bombing.

A

lot

of her

friends,

she said, already had jobs with big companies, doing international

marketing, and she herself was planning to go into business.

markets

for

become

to think the

in the Balkans.

What war

She seemed

will

it

take to

At

stir

least

this line

bombing would ensure

of

tranquil

she was honest.

public emotion in this virtually risk-free

Americans, where the verbal currency for discussing war has so debased that Jesse Jackson could

they were ‘heroes'?

tell

three

US POWs

that

Why are they heroes? Jackson supplied the answer.

They were heroes because they were known around

the world.

We’ve seen those endlessly repeated snippets of footage of bomb explosions lighting up the night sky over Belgrade. We’ve even seen pictures of that

burned

train at the Grdelica

Serb passengers were blown to sixteen

bits

gorge where

fifty-five

or burned alive and another

wounded. There was the carnage amid the refugee column.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

18

But these snapshots don’t give

proper sense of what

a

is

happening

to Serbia.

The Yugoslav bulletin

foreign minister has been putting out a running

of what has been

to assess the cumulative effect

terms of a county or

seems pretty credible. The best way

hit. It

of the

Want

a state here.

of targets

list

to

go

to

Bridges gone. Factories destroyed or damaged.

More

to school? stay

warm

gas for the car, road cut,

the hospital itself has been three

POWs

intensified

attacks,

to take the kids

after

a

Want

Got

out.

a

to

sick

good chance

Jackson told those

NATO

were heroes,

inching the body count up from the

so dead and 4,500 seriously injured in the

The

Want

phones out and

bombed. The day

of it in

work? Railways gone.

bombed

released by the Serbs that they

its

to think

than 200 schools damaged or destroyed.

next winter? Power plants

No

grandma?

is

1

,000 or

month of bombing.

first

Serbs say that after the demolition of the Petrovaradin

bridge, water supplies to

Novi Sad and Petrovaradin were

leaving a million people short of water.

The bombing

cut,

has put.about

500,000 people out of work; the Serbs reckon that around 2 million citizens are therefore destitute.

where you trial as a

live

and, amid

all

Think of

that

Geneva Convention of 1949, if there

Back

bombing

the years of the

in

Vietnamese

who would

all

in the

context of

the talk about putting Milosevic

war criminal, remember

has a civilian function,

it

never

is

is

on

under the Protocols of the

any likelihood that the target

prohibited.

Vietnam War one would meet fail

to

make an

absolute distinction

between the American government and the American people. They

would

stress that

the

American people were not responsible

for their

government’s action. But could one ask for the indulgence of that distinction

from

a

Serb today amid the falling bombs? After

Vietnamese knew there was distinction has to be earned.

real resistance

all,

the

here to the war. That

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

The

relentless

devaluation of history continues.

nesting in the editorial page reverently quoted

19

bomb pod

George Will

as

at

The hawks

the Wall Street Journal

saying that Milosevic’s depre-

dations represent the greatest crimes against humanity since

World

War Two. Greater than the US’s wipeout in Vietnam? Pol Pot’s massacres? The US-backed Guatemalan junta’s rampages that lasted twenty years? Rwanda?

May

16,

1999

POMPOUS BROWN-NOSER'

'A

VAIN,

by

Andrew Cockburn

Anyone seeking

to understand the

bloody

of war on the Serbs

fiasco

need hardly look further than the person of the beribboned

Supreme

Allied

and journalists

Commander, General Wesley are generally according him a

K. Clark. Politicians respectful hearing as

he discourses on the ‘schedule’ for the destruction of Serbia,

embracing words favored by military bureaucrats such

as ‘systematic’

and ‘methodical.’

The

reaction from former

army subordinates

‘The poster child for everything that officer] corps,’

Clark 1

in action, citing,

official

wrong with

the

GO

[general

exclaims one colonel, who has had occasion to observe

Cavalry Division

st

is

very different.

is

at

among other examples, his command of the Fort Hood from 992 to 994. While Clark’s 1

Pentagon biography proclaims

his

1

triumph

in ‘transitioning

the Division into a rapidly deployable force’ this officer describes the in



1

st

Horse Division’

25 years of doing

as ‘easily

this stuff.’

the worst division

I

have ever seen

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

20

Such strong reactions

are

of the 4th Infantry Division

command

was in

who

Fort Carson, Colorado,

and every one of

when

him

Clark

as a

his

junior officers with

watchful suspicion, he customarily accords the lower ranks

more than arrogant contempt. A veteran of

Hood didn’t

jump

Clark’s

out of the way

demeanor

mode of behavior Thus, early

in

as

that has

to

skill

crowded [canteen] checkout

enough

above

is,

to let

a

through.’

of course, very

different, a

candidate for promotion from two- to

Command

maneuver

him

lines

earned him rich dividends over the years.

war-game

a

exercise

Training Program in which Clark

his division against

commander of the opposing military

Clark’s tenure at Fort

Only one hurdle remained —

the Battle

would have

fast

to those

1994 he was

three-star general.

known

in the

little

tantrum because the privates

recalls the general’s ‘massive

and sergeants and wives

man

his subordinates as a potential

While he regards

career.'

his

at

in the 3rd Brigade

there in the early 1980s described

‘regards each

threat to

common. A major

force,

an opposing force.

or‘OPFOR,’ was known

The

for the

with which he routinely demolished opponents.

But Clark’s patrons on high were determined that no such humiliation should be visited on their fivorite. Prior to the exercise, therefore, strict orders

way. Accordingly, the

came down

that the battle should

go Clark’s

OPFOR was reduced in strength by half, thus

enabling Clark, despite deploying tactics of signal ineptitude, to

triumph. His third

Battle exercises

star

came down

and war uames

fighting skills of

are

Fort Irwin, California,

troops.

test

the

The army’s most

the National Training Center

where Clark commanded from October

1989 to October 1991 and where

him

is

later.

of course meant to

commanders and

important venue for such training at

few weeks

a

his

men

derisively

nicknamed

‘Section Leader Six’ for his obsessive micro-management.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS At the

NTC, army

21

OPFOR that has, through

units face a resident

constant battle practice coupled with innovative tactics and close

knowledge of the

terrain,

become adept

routing the visiting ‘Blue

at

Force' opponents. For Clark, this naturally posed a problem.

only were

men

his

using unconventional

humiliating Blue Force generals against the

some

NTC

future date.

commander and To the

they were also

tactics,

who might

nurture resentment

discommode

thus

disgust of the junior

Not

his career at

OPFOR officers Clark men on suicidal go home happy and

therefore frequently fought to lose, sending his attacks in order that the Blue Forces should

owing debts of gratitude

to their obliging foe.

All observers agree that

Clark has always displayed an obsessive

concern with the perquisites and appurtenances of rank. Ever since he acceded to the he

NATO command post, the entourage with which

accordingly

travels has

grown

to gargantuan proportions to the

point where even civilians are beginning to recalls his

the

room

appearances to

Supreme

‘We

prior to

which

Allied

timed and choreographed

Commander Europe makes

are state-of-the-art

remarks the

when

aide. ‘So

NATO

subordinates is

career. ‘But his

whole

in the interests

of his

life

traits

know we ’re

here,’

so egre-

in trouble.’

him, not with affection, ‘the Supreme

smart,’ concludes

Being.’ ‘Clark

control.’

call

moment when

his entrance.

witness displays those

giously that even the senators notice, you

His

microphone

pomposity and arrogance up a

aide

aides scurry about

adjusting lights, polishing his chair, testing the

etc prior to the precisely

the

testify,

comment. A Senate

one

who

has

monitored

his

has been spent manipulating appearances

career.

Now

he

is

faced with

a reality

he can’t

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

22

May

19,

THE

WAR BEHIND

by Jeffrey

1999

Clair

St.

Two months

THE BRIEFINGS

into the war,

NATO’s

NATO

caused by massacres of civilians by that in

one

NATO

been blown apart and, slept provides

raid

is

now

bombs. The response

on Konsa about 100

many

in

command

with the collateral media damage

settling into a routine for dealing

news

military high

cases,

burned

an instructive guide to what

had

to a cinder as they

by

is

civilians

to

now becoming

a

familiar routine.

reports

First

came complete with

network news anchors warning

that viewers

reporter for AFP,

US

the

in

pictures so horrific that

prefaced their coverage by

might find the footage

among

the

first

responsibility

seemed

clear

Serb

to reach the scene, retrieved the

of what was unquestionably an American bomb.

fin

A

‘disturbing.’

NATO

and unquestionable. However, the Serb

provenance of the reports allowed

NATO

authorities to swing

effortlessly into a standard evasive

maneuver by suggesting

reporters were of course suspect as

mere mouthpieces of Milosevic’s

propaganda machine. Addressing

this point,

foreign correspondent of the

though

tightly controlled by

that the

John Simpson, chief

BBC, noted from Belgrade

that,

the Belgrade government, Serb

reporters are:

very

much

journalists

like

Western journalists. Even under Tito, Yugoslav

were well-known

for their relative objectivity.

They

will

certainly report the official assessment of casualties in an attack, but, if

their reporters

that.

And

on the scene give

a different figure,

the reporters will use their

they will broadcast

own judgement. My

experience

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS after fifty-four days

in that civilians

of warfare here

have died

is

that,

NATO

in a

when

23

the

first

reports

come

attack, they are almost always

correct.

Such informed caveats do not of course enter the and background, of the Pentagon spinners and Brussels,

moved

Jamie Shea. By the day

to stage

after the Korisa killings, they

were unclear, along with hints

they informed the Washington Post for

or, as

their counterpart in

had

two of the damage control formula: the suggestion

that the true facts it,

briefings, formal

that the Serbs did

its

May

16 edition,

‘Serb artillery had been active in the area.’

NATO

At the

May

briefing on

spokesman Shea introduced projected on

his

14, the

presentation with a large slide

screen bearing the words ‘A

a

day after the bombing,

Good

Day.’

no mention of the Korisa

attack in his presentation,

questioned, he promised

‘a

command

had already made

had reportedly stayed up

full its

investigation.’ In

though when fact,

investigation. General

until 3

am on

Shea made

the high

Wesley Clark

the night before Shea spoke

reviewing the pilot reports and video footage and had personally edited the

Two

initial

NATO

statements.

days after the attack, in time for the Sunday papers,

was ready to abandon the ‘Serb had indeed

killed the Kosovars.

had become target.

a

‘command

Background

removed

signs

artillery’

NATO

defense and admit that they

Now, however,

the village of Korisa

center’ and therefore a legitimate military

briefings suggested that the Serbs had hurriedly

of military

activity,

including an artillery bunker,

before allowing reporters on the scene.

By

the beginning of the following week,

NATO

had

settled into

the final phase of the operation: the massacres were wholly the Serbs' fault, since the refugees hills

to act as

‘human

had been ‘herded’ down from the

shields' against

NATO

bombs. (They would

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

24

hardly have been of

NATO The

knew

much

human shields unless, of course, and bombed anyway.)

use as

they were there

true facts of the matter appear to have been that the inhabitants

of Korisa, some four thousand people, had

tied their

weeks before the bombing attack and taken attack they returned, either at the behest

one survivor

told Paul

to the

were running out of food. The Washington by

a

hills.

Just before the

of the Serb authorities,

Watson of the Los Angeles

that ‘A visit to the scene

homes some two

'Limes,

because they

Post did note

on May

field

Yugo-

provided no indication of a military presence near the

where the people were

killed,'

but that came in paragraph seven

of a story that gave deferential weight

May

18

Washington Post reporter Saturday, and

interviews with survivors conducted without the presence of slav authorities,

or, as

to the

bombers’ view of events.

1999

21,

TOM FRIEDMAN: THE MADDEST DOG by Alexander Cockburn

Liberals

and

against the

did those

social

war

who came of age politically amid protest Vietnam now talk in exactly the same phrases as

democrats

in

Kennedy

liberals

back

in the Sixties

about the crusade that

required planes, helicopters, Special Forces, troops, B-52 raids, the

Phoenix program, Listen to the

dog

in the

My

New

Lai

and ultimately 2 million dead people.

York Times

'

s

Thomas Friedman,

the maddest

war chorus:

Only when

[the Serbs]

brought them

conclude that their nationalist

to a very dark

and lonely corner

fantasies have

will they change.

The

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS Balkans don’t need

a

new

produce

can't

new

Serbian

to live in 21st-century Europe.

NATO

Serbian leader, they need a

how

ethic that understands

that transformation.

and intensifying the diplomacy,

it

But by intensifying the bombing

can create the conditions in which

might begin. Stay the course.

that transformation

And

25

ravings,

Punch and Judy version of Friedman’s coming out of the mouth of Bill Maher on Politically

Incorrect

addressing the Serbs:

listen also to the

,

me

Let

be the

to say

first

I

regime has turned into such

am

so sorry that supporting a genocidal

a hassle for

has delayed the delivery of your J.

Crew

And by

screwed up your commute.

you. I’m sorry

if our

bombing

catalog or screwed [laughter]

the way,

if

I

were you,

I

would

write a strongly worded letter to the transit authority, because I’ve seen

your bridges, and Believe me, it

frankly, they’re

we would

need

fascists

to

kicked your ancestors'

some

give

‘Can

you I

asses

a hint. If in

(Maher learned

class.

we

realized

So maybe what you

stop supporting an evil dictator

who

is

600 years ago. Let

it

go. You’re yuppies,

Get your moral clock working. Let

me

I

make

a left at the

death camp?’ [laughter]

redneck.

later the

when he was

propaganda

Tae-Bo

if

your language you have ever used the phrase,

get to the mall if a

bombing them

entire people just because their ancestors

therapy, [laughter]

you might be

tide

is

on eliminating an

hell-bent

get

do

to

[laughter and applause]

mess,

never have started

was keeping you from getting

yuppie

a

consequences of swimming against the

swiftly fired for a

line after 9/11.)

minor

infraction of the official

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

26

May

23,

1999

THE ANTIWAR LEFT by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

At

first

the reaction of the antiwar

twitch in the Bay Area in the

first

St.

left

Clair

seemed very poor. Barely

days of bombing, whereas

at

the

of the Iraq war demonstrators tied up the bridges almost

start

a

at

once.

But round the country activity.

there’s

spirited organizing

and

In the Pacific Northwest, to take one region, one of our

CounterPunch editors spoke to

opposed

all

been some

a lively

audience

to the war. CounterPunch readers

at

Humboldt

State,

David Messerve and

Betsy Roberts contrasted the atmosphere handing out

leaflets at the

Areata entry to route 101 in 1991, and today. Back then, they conservatives got back

at

say,

the Areata City Council (which had

opposed the war) by putting up an enormous American

flag

next

to the highway. This

time Dave and Betsy saw the crusty old fellow

-

— who had put up

a local

leaflet

US

contractor

attacking the Serb bombing.

had no business

He

in the Balkans.

As

antiwar groups have been good and the bad.

Amnesty

that flag

took a

it

and offered him

a

cordially, saying the

general rule the pacifist

human

rights

International did issue a statement

groups very

condemning

the

bombing of the TV station but conspicuously failed to denounce the bombing overall. Human Rights Watch has been bad.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

May

27

1999

27,

EPIC POETRY by Alexander Cockburn

In

nnd-May

I

traveled to

Sacramento

to give a talk at

who works

Books, having been invited by Scott Soriano,

and

who

Comment.

My

store

Time

Tested the

at

also publishes an excellent local newsletter, Sacramento

eye was caught by the cover of

a

slim

volume on

a

high shelf behind the cash register, decorated with an engraving of a

naked warrior with

subtitled ‘Heroic

The gift

store's

spear,

and the

Songs of the

title

Kossovo (the older spelling),

Serbs,' translated

by Helen Rootham.

owner, Peter Keat, was generous enough to make

of the volume, published by Houghton Mifflin

in

a

1920, with

an intro by Maurice Baring and an informative historical preface

byjanko Lavrin, citing both Jacob of Serbian press

Grimm and Goethe on

epic. Since there’s plenty

of patronizing

about Serbia’s unwonted obsession with

defeat (some of this

comment

the genius

comment

its

past

in the

and with

written by British journalists brought

up on obsessive school lessons about the Battle of Hastings and the retreat

from Dunkirk),

let us

quote from Lavrin averring that ‘the

entire political mentality even of the

been formed

...

chiefly

modern

by folk-poetry

...

Serbian peasant

That

is

the reason

lias

why

fervent patriotism has such a romantic, noble, and almost

his

religious character.’

This enthusiasm for epic poetry could be studied with profit by

our

own

legislators. Lavrin cites an historical

memoir of Mrs.

Lawton-Mijatovich:

During the winter of 873-74, happening 1

the meeting of the National Assembly,

I

to be in Kragrjevatz

during

had the opportunity of hearing

E.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

28

a certain peasant,

Anta Neshich,

Room

audiences outside the Assembly for introducing the fresh

same taking form,

War with

Bill.

numerous

whole debate on the

the

monetary system into

the final acceptance of the in the

recite in blank verse to

The poet put

Serbia, concluding with

the debate

to the great delight

Bill

on the Budget

of his many auditors.

reporting in the fourteenth century could also be studied

profit

how

by Wesley Clark, Jamie Shea and the others. Here’s

the son of Sultan

Murad recorded

the death of his father,

at

Kosovo,

writing to Suleiman-Bey, the Kadhia of Brussa:

When

this

my

firman comes into your hands you should

in accordance with Allah’s will there

Kossovo.

My

father, Sultan

whose death was sleeping, to

that

Murad, whose

a battle life

battle

from the

being ended,

battlefield to his

which was elevated towards the heavens. And while we enjoyed

how

the greatest pleasure in seeing

the cut heads of the Christian

dukes rolled under the horses' hoofs, and hands and others with broken fighter,

how many of them

legs stood, there

by name Milosh Obilich.

He came

army.

When

after his

illustrious Sultan,

boldly thrust

it

martyrdom. After

pieces.

he drew

into the

Thus he caused

shone

own

perfidiously, saying that

wish he was allowed to a

Sultan, sorely

a

he

in the victorious

kiss

poisonous hanjar hidden

body of the

with tied

suddenly appeared

accepted Islam, and asking that he might so be ranked

who

of

field

after a vision whilst

make him worthy of martyrdom. The his full health,

on the

that

had been happy and

of a martyr, prayed to Allah,

he returned unhurt and in tent,

was

know

the feet of the

in his sleeve,

and

wounding him.

the illustrious Sultan to drink the sherbet of this

deed Milosh

like stars in the sky,

tried to escape

through the soldiers

but was caught by them and cut

in

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS Like almost

all

29

Murad

other chroniclers of battle,

II

not entirely truthful. His father was stabbed and mortally

by Milosh before the

Kad u jutru danak osvanuo,Ali

On

the

wounded

Kosovo now, ‘the

for

Na

lete

kljunove b'jela pjena

morrow

as

the

dawn

is

beaks the blood-flecked foam

trgla

breaking,

...

lo,

there

two

fly

is

From

that

distributes

electricity

a

District, a publicly

a

publicly

plant,

duly did, simultaneously voting in

SMUD

SMUD

is

burdensome

is

a

a

go up

All in

all,

is

progressive

board, of

(sadly

dwindling) kind.

It

has eliminated

deposits, pushes energy conservation, cogeneration

SMUD’s

rates are far

rate increase in eight years

steadily.

are not, as

a

which they

member.

model of its

solar programs.

imposed no

owned

decade ago, gave Sacramento voters the chance to

decommission the Rancho Seco nuclear power

which Keat

member

from hydro power

generated off dams on the American River. As

SMUD,

their

falling.

of the board of the Sacramento Municipal Utility utility

two

ravens,

Peter Keat combines love of literature with activism as a

utility

of

dva vrana gavrana, Krvava im krila

black ravens; Bloody are their wings up to the shoulders,

owned

plain

words of the epic poet need not be changed:

blackbirds,’ the

do ramena,

As

battle began.

was being

lower than PG&E’s;

and has seen

its

bond

it

and has

rating

Big companies have to pay their proper whack and

usually the case, subsidized by the ordinary consumers.

SMUD

is

a fitting

subject for Serbian epic poetry.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

30

June

1999

1,

YOUR WAR CRIMINAL

FIRST PICK

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

Compared with

when

piker

it

Clinton and

Bill

comes on

devastating effect

May

children. In

civilian

The

who worked Iraq and who

in

of human rights provisions

for the

would it ‘a

as a

Broderick,

US

off.

By

It

charter.’

a professional aid

worker

poor health conditions. He

turned out that

his

result

many

as

576,000

of sanctions. Using figures from

World Health Organization estimated

Iraqi children Iraq’s

that

Food and it

had

have died

as a

Ministry of Health the

90,000

every year in Iraq’s hospitals, over and above those expired In

at

called

prophecy was

the end of 1995 alone the United Nations

that as

who

Iraqi children

Agriculture Organization said that after careful investigation

determined

public

contradiction

‘in

consequence of sanctions 175,000

slow motion.’

many

charity Catholic Relief Services,

certainly die because of the

disaster in

badly

Doug

United Nations

has issued

UN’s own

in the

Baghdad by the

predicted that

semi-

a

no medical

hospitals have almost

denunciations of the sanctions, says that they are

to

notoriously

a

treatment plants either barely function or don’t

Development program

was sent

a

population, particularly the

Denis Halliday,

In July 1991,

is

sanctions

of the country’s population has been on

The sewage

at all.

The

Iraq.

1991 have had

States in

Iraq’s

starvation diet for years.’

work

accomplices Milosevic

of 1996 the World Health Organization said that

‘the vast majority

supplies.

his

Clair

war crimes. Take

to

imposed by the United

St.

Iraqis

were dying

who would

have

the normal rate.

sum,

engineered

it

a

is

beyond argument

program of enforced

that the

United States has

scarcity that has caused the deaths

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS ot

hundreds of thousands of

World War Two the Nazis by opening the dikes the

German

end

ot

to

months of

Iraqi civilians. In the final

tried to delay the

Holland.

in

31

The man

advance of the Allies issuing this order was

By

high commissioner in Holland, Seyss-Inquart.

the

1944 about 500,000 acres ot land had been tlooded, leading

what

in food

historian Gabriel

Kolko

called ‘the

most precipitous decline

consumption any West European country suffered during

the war.’

Ot

the 195 Nazis indicted at

Nuremberg, Seyss-Inquart

was one of 24 sentenced to death.

Seyss-Inquart merely opened dikes in Holland. Gabriel Kolko,

who commented on

that

food consumption, was testifying about at

the

Vietnam

The

consequent

this

fall

in

German war

convened by Bertrand Russell

tribunal,

historian

Dutch

criminal

in

1967 to

US war crimes in Indochina. Kolko told the US Air Force had bombed the Toksan dam near

hold hearings into tribunal

how

the

Pyongyang. The plan was to destroy the irrigation system supplying

A

75 per cent of North Korea’s rice farms.

subsequent

USAF

study

of the bombing of the Toksan and Chasan dams noted: ‘These strikes, largely passed

commentators

...

over by the press, military observers and news

constituted one of the most significant air

operations of the Korean war.'

remarked equably its

Of these

that the timing

psychological effect,

when

deeds, the

USAF

was aimed to be devastating

embedded. There

work making

in

the exhausting labor of rice trans-

planting had been completed, but before the roots had firmly

historian

are probably

become

Pentagon planners hard

at

similar calculations regarding the attrition of Serbian

agriculture and commercial activity right now.

The bombing of the North Korean dams was Water bursting through the holes

bombs ‘scooped

clean’ miles

in the

a

rousing success.

Toksan dam made by

US

of valley below, with the added bonus

o

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

32

of not only wiping out the rice paddies but also drowning Korean civilians in

underground

Communists

the

shelters.

The USAF

the smashing of the



destruction of their chief sustenance



has for the Asian

rice.

The Westerner can

on desperate

action

bombs

also

of

loss

repair efforts

j

way

the

little

Another

North Koreans

without regard for the delayed-

dropped around the

Similar successful assaults were

[t

food

this staple

starvation and slow death.'

study detected ‘Oriental fatalism’ in the carried



dams meant primarily the

conceive the awesome meaning that the

commodity

study exulted that

target area.

made on dams

in

Vietnam. In

Kamm, a New York Times reporter, recounted how a of Hue had been ‘blasted by American jets to deprive

1969 Henry

dam the

south

North Vietnamese of

find that the paddies

a

food supply.’

Kamm

returned

had by then been destroyed by

later to

salt

water

encroaching from the South China Sea.

We

don’t have the

trial

Inquart was asked

why

answered

in

the

transcript at hand, but

he had opened the dikes. Perhaps he

same words

as

Secretary of State Madeleine

Albright. In 1996 Albright was asked

children have died [in Iraq].

Hiroshima.

the price

— we think

So, back in

hanged,

if

mean,

1

And you know,

Albright famously replied:

‘1

is

is

that’s

more

that half a million

children than died

the price worth

think

the price

Nuremberg

on CBS’s 60 Minutes by Lesley

‘We have heard

Stahl the following question:

in

no doubt Seyss-

this

worth

time, Albright

is

a

it?'

The

repulsive

very hard choice, but

it.'

would

certainly have

been

the standards applied to Seyss- Inquart had been leveled

against her,

and

if

she had been on the losing side. So

would her

commanding officer, Bill Clinton. The protocols of the Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibit bombing not justified by clear military necessity. If there is any

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS likelihood the target has

civilian

a

33

function, then

NATO

prohibited. In other words the vast majority of

NATO’s bombers

been criminally attacked.

bombing

is

targets have

have damaged and

often destroyed hospitals and health care centers, public housing, infrastructure vital

the well-being of civilians, refineries,

to

warehouses, agricultural

NATO spokesmen

facilities,

have directly stated their hope that the suffering

of Serbs will prompt them to

was publicly expressed by Iraq,

rise against

US

officials

knew

even though they

abandoned the Shia

how

well

NATO,

- and Kosovar

Milosevic. (The same hope

amid the sanctions enough,

rebels in the late spring

awful the effect of sanctions,

survive.

schools, roads and railways.

in other words,

is

alter

Bush had

of 1991, that no matter

Saddam and

his

regime would

waging war on Serbian

civilians for that matter.) If

against

civilians

Milosevic goes on

trial

before the International Criminal Court, Clinton, Albright and

Defense Secretary William Cohen should have their place on the court’s calendar too.

Under

the terms of the International Criminal Tribunal for the

former Yugoslavia —

a

1993 — anyone can

body file

set

up by the

UN

Security Council in

formal complaints for the Tribunal’s

prosecutor, Justice Louise Arbor, to consider within the terms of

Geneva Conventions. Thus

the

far there

have been three serious

requests for investigation and indictment against the for their

for

Arbor

now working in

The Hague

war crimes -

together. Already the Canadian

team has

requests for indictment against 67 persons

said persons

spokesman Jamie Shea,

ranging from

whom

Bill

Clinton to

NATO

Canadian lawyer Michael Mandel

likened in role to William Joyce aka Lord gandist for the Nazis hanged by the Allies

War Two.

leaders

conduct against Serbia. Lawyers in Canada, Britain and

France are sent

NATO

Haw-Haw, at

a

the end of

propa-

World

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

34

Prof.

Mandel,

York University is

who

in

teaches law

indictable

a great case. It will

war crimes

towns and

be

in the

villages,

military necessity; the willful destruction

2,

good

are:

Among

all

the

the

wanton destruction of

and kindred devastation, not caused by

of, or willful

and schools,

test to see

bombardment of undefended towns;

publicly the essentials of

June

at

complaint and request for indictment

damage done

dedicated to religion, charity or education hospitals

a

actually applies to powerful people.'

prepared by the Canadian lawyers cities,

Hall law school

Toronto (of which, coincidentally, Louise Arbor

an alumna), says ‘we have

whether the law

Osgood

at

hit all

by

NATO’s

the

to institutions

(i.e.,

monasteries,

bombs). ‘They’ve admitted

these crimes,’

Mandel

says.

1999

HUMANITARIAN ADOLF by Alexander Cockburn

Jules Lobel

and Michael Ratner, of the Center

for Constitutional

Rights, point out that on September 23, 1938 Hitler wrote to Prime

Minister Chamberlain that ethnic

been

‘tortured,’ that

that the ‘security stake,’

Germans

in

Czechoslovakia had

120,000 had been ‘forced to

of more than 3,000,000

flee the country,’

human

beings was

and that they had been ‘prevented from realizing

at

also the

right of nations to self-determination.’ Hitler was also laying the basis for

humanitarian intervention:

in a sovereign state

a

claim to intervene militarily

because of claimed

human

rights abuses.

Hitler precedent illustrates the mischief caused assert

humanitarian intervention

as a

when

The

countries

pretext for acting in their

own

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS geopolitical interests, and

governments

June

3,

1

to take the

it

sets a

same

35

dangerous precedent for other

tack.

999

THE ANTIWAR RIGHT by Alexander Cockburn

We

ll

say this for right-wing columnists like

they turn against

Novak

war, they do

a

lashed out at

NATO,

it

Novak

right. In

or Feder:

when

one column Robert

excoriating liberal warmongers and

reaching back in literary history to the social democrat H. G. Wells’s

Shape of Things

Come, where Britain

to

is

liberated

from enemy

occupation by an international armada. Novak also evoked Sumner Welles,

the

FDR’s

Secretary of State,

weapon of an an

Try

this

international police force.

now

that we’re in the conflict,

remain credible. By 1973,

which gave If

us far

we’d applied

we would

still

know,

be slugging

naked will

a far if

we

it

But

if

politburo,

I

as a

55,000 Americans

stake there than

paper

out

we

like

to

Vietnam,

in

Southeast Asia,

and the Vietnam

structure.

don’t take Belgrade and display Milosevic

and evildoers from Baghdad to Pyongyang

tiger.

were Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong

I’d

in

it

have in Kosovo.

in the rice paddies,

more imposing

in a cage, malefactors

view us

lost

America must win

do-or-die logic to the war

this

know,

I

we had

more of a

memorial would be I

thought bombers should be

from Feder:

argued that

It’s

who

II

or the Chinese

nothing better than to see America wasting

its

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

36

limited military resources (very limited, thanks to our anti-defense

commander

in chief) in the Balkans.

Think of how

thrilled Hitler

would have been

1939, England had decided to begin

NATO achieving

Who

cannot survive its

says

if

it

objective, insists

NATO

birth, the Iron

Presumably,

if

now abandons

Henry

is

Roman

of

Liechtenstein.

the campaign without

Kissinger.

a rust heap.

NATO’s

Eastern Europe and the Baltic

why NATO?

NATO

loses credibility,

ability to pull us into future abysses.

The armed

in the spring

has to survive? Half of a century after

Curtain

states are free. So,

bombing

if,

forces

of the United

it

will limit the alliance’s

Wouldn't

be

that

a pity?

States aren’t the legions

of the

Empire. The soldiers of a republic shouldn't be walking endless

foreign battlements in a deranged and futile attempt to enforce a pax

Americana.

It

takes a robust

Republican to throw

Liberals never talk like that. For is

like

June

attending

5,

a

NATO

into the trashcan.

them, talking dirty about

baptism and spitting

NATO

in the font.

1999

A FRAUD CALLED SANDERS by Alexander Cockburn

The most Bernard

useful parable about progressives

is

Sauciers, self-styled ‘socialist progressive

that offered by

independent’ rep

from Vermont. Sanders owes

his political career to rage against the

Vietnam War among

many of whom moved

radicals,

into the state

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS in the early 1970s.

They forthwith planned

37

long-term, carefully

a

organized, assault on Vermont’s two-party structure. Sanders linked

ambitions to

his political

He became mayor

Progressive Alliance.

congressman. At

movement

moved from ago

least five years

B. Sanders

a third force,

of Burlington and,

rapid clip the emphasis

a

building to Sanders-building. At that the only

organize

this effort to

the

later,

party-

was apparent

it

was interested in was

that

of

One

political

piece of opportunism followed another, always forgiven by

Vermont

liberal

money

pwogwessives against the

who

fraud, even though, last year, Sanders spoke

Congress

in

of Sanders and fear to speak out

are frightened

loudmouth

vehemently

campaign trough.

into his political

in favor

of sending

his state’s

nuclear waste

into a poor, largely hispanic, township in Texas called Sierra Blanca.

He

supported sanctions against

war.

He

did

it

once, he did

it

Iraq. Then

which

reserves

of Article

warmaking powers

who owes

progressive’ Sanders,

sentiment, had not voted for the

have been even more dramatic,

vote,

tie

House of Representatives repudiated in violation

which meant

the war

One

NATO

a straight

office

stance.

was occupied by

The

last

occupied was

that the

if

the ‘socialist

antiwar

result

would

majority for the coalition

Dennis Kucinich,

as a

handful of others.

most recent vote of shame, Sanders’s

fifteen radical

Vermonters sickened by

his

time any political rep from Vermont had an office

when in

So

bombers, the

a

group

later

known

as

the

(Republican) Senator Robert Jefford’s office

Reagan’s war

again.

it

Constitution,

career to

entire

Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark and 26, even before his

US

to Congress. his

of this

on Serbia launched

of the

of Republicans and radical Democrats such

On April

in favor

twice and on April 28, he did

This was the astounding 213—213

by Clinton

he voted

Winooski 44 in

sat in

1984, protesting

Central America. Jefford waited three days before

asking the police to remove the protesters. Sanders waited six hours.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

38

On Monday May 3, he held a town meeting in Montpelier attended by the

fifteen protesters,

Burlington office

them was

to

who

wearing chains. The

Readers of the Washington they missed the historic first

on

Titties its

had

a

Post

first

House vote

one of the Winooski 44.

edition can be forgiven

still

better sense of

played

down

news and

on

a

The New

and put the vote

front page, above the fold: ‘Deadlocked Titties

House Denies did better too,

War Separate Vote Denies Funds for Deploying Ground the Vietnam era it took years for resistance in the House

front-page banner headline, ‘House Refuses to Back Air

Serbs:

Forces.’ In

even to approach that

June

on page A27.

the vote.

history

Support for Air Campaign.’ The Washington with

if

refusing to approve the

the Post reported the vote coyly

In the late edition the Post York

in Sanders’s

told the protesters Sanders wouldn’t speak

Philip Fiermonte, ironically

bombings. At

man

7,

1

level.

999

THE COST by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

The

deal brokered by

NATO’s

St.

Clair

errand boy Chernomyrdin on June

2 was virtually identical to that offered by Milosevic to

before the

bombing

started.

The

sole

NATO

-

purpose of the bombing was

NATO’s capacity to bomb, thus killing nearly 2,000 civilians, destroying much of Serbia’s to

demonstrate to Serbia and to the world

infrastructure, a

prompting the forced expulsion and

flight

million Kosovars. Wars have been triggered by the

of around frailest

of

excuses and prolonged on the slightest of rationales, but the

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS Cowards' War,

as

39

Nicholas von Hoffman aptly christened

of

to beat for the effrontery

supposed

its

it, is

hard

rationales.

The Rambouillet negotiations lasted from February 6 to February 23. The so-called contact group' of NATO powers - US, Germany,

UK - pushed for Kosovar autonomy, guaranteed by the presence of NATO troops. Kept unrevealed at the time was a secret Appendix B to the deal presented to NATO on the final day. Not only were NATO troops to occupy Kosovo, but NATO troops France, Italy and

were

to have the right to ‘free

access throughout the shall include,

and

billet

training,

(Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)

but not be limited

utilization of

demand

use of

all

any areas or

Appendix

in

Yugoslav

facilities as

required for support,



and

i.e.

NATO

ports. In other

Serbia



Department

back briefings of

US

official

boasted of

NATO

surrender sovereignty.

was setting impossible conditions, certain

senior State

cost-free

words

that Milosevic

indeed every Serb would find them impossible to accept.

set

This

the right of bivouac, maneuver,

B. Article 10 allowed

streets, airports

insisting that Yugoslavia

NATO

to,

...

and operations.' This language comes in Article 8 of NATO’s

secret

was

FRY

and unrestricted passage and unimpeded

this at

reporters, saying that the

US

It

and

seems

a

the time in deep

‘had deliberately

the bar higher than the Serbs could accept’ and that ‘they need

some bombing and

The

final offer

guaranteed by

a

that’s

what

they’re

get.’

of the Serbs was for Kosovar autonomy, to be

UN

force with a Russian

presence in Serbia was unacceptable. this.

going to

The

component. A

NATO

NATO

powers rejected

Serbia refused to sign the Rambouillet agreement and so did

the Kosovars, until forced to by

March 24

the

NATO

powers on March

18.

On

bombing began.

On June 2 the deal agreed to by Milosevic and the Serb parliament was for

a

UN force with

plus Kosovar

a

Russian component, plus

autonomy within

a

NATO force,

the Yugoslav federation.

The

unstated

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

40

agenda seems to be the partitioning of Kosovo. The ‘demilitarized’ and Yugoslav troops allowed at

numbers

in limited

Kosovo.

to

No

KLA

some point

will be

to return

international force either under

UN or NATO auspices will enter Serbia. The Kosovar refugees will be able to return, but that was never

sticking point so far as

a

Milosevic was concerned.

NATO

forced

war and ended up with

a

could have been signed in

UN

helmets alongside the a

late

Cowards’ War would

this

essentially the deal that

February. There will be

some

NATO

blue helmets in Kosovo, but only after

be called victory.

June 10, 1999

THE LIBERALS'

WAR

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

St.

This was the Liberals’ War, bombing

a

months from 30,000

feet. It

was the

Clair

country for two and

Liberals’

War waged by

a

half

social

democracy’s best and brightest, intent on proving once again that wars can be fought with the best and most virtuous of intentions: the

companion volume

An

to Hillary Clinton’s

Air Force,’ though

‘It

Takes

a Village’

turns

no doubt claim

out to be

‘It

one day

wasn’t his idea and he only partly went along with Sandy

it

Takes

Bill will

Berger, Strobe Talbott and Madeleine Albright because he wanted to ‘preserve

my

political viability,’ the

words he used

draft-dodging shuffle in the Vietnam viability.

Americans

who

had supported

president even though he had kissed

turn sharply against

era.

in his

famous

But war eroded

Bill’s

his

right to remain

Monica Lewinsky began

him when he bombed Serbian

schools.

to

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

41

Europe voted

Just as social democratic parties across

for

war

in

1914, so did they again in 1999. In Britain social democrats rallied to the pipsqueak bombardier,

exceptions:

Alice



the bridge with

as

to Belgrade

There were honorable

Dalyell,

was

and to Novi Sad and stood on

she later described

including Albanians, defying

whose

Blair.

Tony Benn and Yorkshire Labour Member of Parliament

Mahon who went

MP, Tam

Tony

opponent. So was Harold Pinter,

we excerpted

So was our friend Tariq Ah,

War campaigns. The two

nationalities

NATO’s bombers. Another fine Labour

a spirited

fine denunciation

- twelve

a

in a recent CounterPunch.

veteran of the Sixties’ anti-Vietnam

leading liberal papers, the Observer and

the Guardian, both favored the war. In France

most

intellectuals

fell

once again there were exceptions, notably Regis and Kosovo and wrote

to Belgrade

Monde put on

its

front page.

liberal intellectuals,

In

Germany

Democratic

NATO, though Debray, who went

into line behind

a fine

denunciation which Le

Debray was then savaged by France’s

including

a vitriolic assault in Liberation.

there was increasing division, even in the Social

Economics Minister Oskar Lafontaine

Party. After

resigned rather than support the war, he also quit the party.

Though Chancellor Schroeder

opposed,

fully

as

ran for this position un-

30 per cent of the delegates

at

a

special

Democratic Party convention voted against him. There was dissension

among

leader of

Social

also great

the Greens against the conduct of Foreign

Minister Joschka Fischer. In Italy the resistance

of 130,000

in

Rome

was strongest. There was

in

late

a

demonstration

May, with the red banners of the

Rifundazione Party of leftists paired bravely with the white banners of the Catholic Boy Scouts. The famous appealed publicly in

II

leftist

Rosanna Rosanda

Manifesto for Italian soldiers to desert if

required to fight in Yugoslavia. She received

much

public support.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

42

The Pope from an

flayed the

war

in his Easter

Greeting, which was dropped

The Pope described NATO’s bombing as retribution.’ From a man of God what stronger

Britain’s broadcasts.

of diabolical

‘act

words could come?

Here

in the

US

the

marshalled for war.

Democrats

in the

war found almost

The

all

Democrats

Congress

exceptions were twenty-six

heroic

House, led by Dennis Kucinich of Ohio — himself

of Irish-Croat ancestry -

who

leagued with

a

majority of

Republicans twice to deny Clinton legitimation for liberals

in

favored the bombing. Susan Sontag termed

House

his war. it

‘a

Most

just war.’

Among those opposing the war was a man who has written finely about this same trahison, Edward Said. Noam Chomsky, as always, set

NATO’s

claims to humanitarian motive in clarifying context.

Peace groups

rallied

and by

late

May

organizing across the country. Here

we

so often do, heartening evidence

there was evidence of intense at

CounterPunch

we

found,

of interesting coalitions.

as

Many

people visiting our website and subsequently calling us up are not

from traditional

left

constituencies, but were delighted by our

commentaries and have declared

their admiration

and pleasure

at

our stance. Wars are never beaten nor even greatly inconvenienced in the

law courts, but

the suit brought by

we should

Tom

note that Clinton has had to face

Campbell, Republic rep from San Jose,

charging Clinton with unconstitutional warmaking, with the

suit

being lodged for him, twenty-three other Republicans and two

Democrats — Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur,

Center for Constitutional Rights.

We

also

of Ohio - by the

should also note the

War Crimes about war for the tribunal, which we

complaints to the International Tribunal on

crimes by

NATO

leaders.

We

don’t care

see merely as a judicial errand

we

see a

win-win. Either

Milosevic or

it

it

will give us the

boy

for the

NATO

will discredit itself

enormous

powers, but here

by indicting only

pleasure of seeing Clinton,

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

43

and the others accused of war crimes. Either way,

Blair

it

spells

death to the public viability of the tribunal.

June

1

3,

1

999

THE McCAIN STORY by Jeffrey

The

top

St.

Clair

warmonger

in

Congress has been Senator John McCain,

Republican from Arizona, seeker of the Republican presidential nomination. In one rhetorical bombing run

after another,

has bellowed for ‘lights out in Belgrade’ and for

NATO

the Serbs. At the start of May he began declaiming in the for the

to ‘cream’

US

Senate

NATO forces to use ‘any means necessary’ to destroy Serbia.

McCain resume

McCain

is

often called a ‘war hero,’ a

title

adorning an unlovely

who was an admiral and US Naval Academy, where

starting with a father

graduated

fifth

from the bottom

the

nickname ‘McNasty.’ McCain flew twenty-three bombing

at

the

he earned

missions over North Vietnam, each averaging about half an hour, total

time ten hours and thirty minutes. For these brief excursions

the admiral’s son was awarded

two

Silver Stars,

two Legions of

Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Stars, the

Vietnamese Legion of Honor and three Purple Hearts. Dispatch calculates our hero earned a

US

medal an hour, which

is

Veteran

pretty

good going. McCain was shot down over Hanoi on October

26,

1967 and parachuted into True Boch Lake, whence he was hauled by Vietnamese, and put

A

couple of years

Fernando

in prison.

later

he was interviewed

Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist living in

in

prison

camp by

Cuba. The interview

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

44

appeared

McCain pieces

how

Granina on January 24, 1970. Barral’s evaluation of

in

quoted

is

on McCain

Amy

t>y

in the

Silverman, author of

Phoenix-based

many

New Titties

excellent

weekly. Here’s

Barral described ‘the personality of the prisoner

responsible for

many

who

is

criminal bombings of the people.’ Barral goes

on:

He (McCain) showed interview.

He was

From

a

himself to be intellectually alert during the

morale point of view he

able to be sarcastic,

equilibrium.

From

showed

is

us he

the moral and ideological point of view he

acts

from the absolute impunity of those people saved his

now

healthy and strong.

spoke of banal things

long it

as he’s

is

as if

does not appear to have

he committed against his airplane,

I

I

and

believe that he has

a

population

that nevertheless

bombed

densely

noted that he was hardened, that he

he were

at a

deeply loved by the

the noble outsider,

seems - the Keating

who

depth, who

fed him, and looked after his health and

life,

populated places for sport.

McCain

human

an insensitive individual without

thought about the criminal

is

not in traumatic shock.

and even humorous, indicative of psychic

does not show the slightest concern,

he

is

cocktail party.

press.

As Silverman puts

McCain can

it,

‘as

away with anything

get

Five, a drug-stealing wife, nasty jokes

about

Chelsea Clinton - and the pundits will gurgle and coo.’

William the

New

McCain

Safire,

Maureen Dowd,

Russell Baker, the

York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, have in

60 Minutes

all

New

Yorker,

slobbered over

The culmination was a love poem in from Mike Wallace, who managed to avoid any inconempurpled

prose.

venient mention ot McCain’s close relationship with Savings

Loan fraudster Charles Keating, with kids

romped on Bahamian

beaches.

whom

&

the senator and his

McCain was

similarly spared

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

knew nothing of

scrutiny for his astonishing claim that he wife’s scandalous dealings. His vicious

45

his

temper has escaped rebuke.

McCain’s escape from the Keating debacle was nothing short of miraculous, probably the activity for which he most deserves

medal. After

he took more than $100,000

all,

a

campaign

in

contributions from the swindler Keating between 1982 and 1988,

while simultaneously log-rolling for Keating on Capitol

same period McCain took nine Bahamas.

When

trips

muck began

the

Hill. In the

to Keating’s place in the

to rise,

McCain threw Keating

over the side, hastily reimbursed him for the trips and suddenly

developed

The

a

profound

McCain because of his grandstanding on

pundits love

money’s baneful

campaign finance reform.

interest in

soft

role in politics, thus garnering for himself a

reputation for willingness to court the enmity of his colleagues. In fact colleagues in the

They know last

Senate regard

he already has

that

a

McCain

as a

mere grandstander.

big war chest

senatorial campaign, plus torrents of pac

corporations that crave his indulgence

as

left

over from his

money from

chairman of the Senate

Commerce Committee. Communications companies (US Bell South,

McCain’s

ATT,

Bell Atlantic) have

treasury, as

bites it

been particularly

that

former

POW,

McCain drew

rose in the Senate

effusive in

that liberals love: solid military

ever ready with acceptable sound-

on campaign finance reform and other cherished

was

West,

have banks, military contractors and UPS.

They also know he has a rich wife. McCain is the kind of Republican credentials as a

the

enthusiastic plaudits

chamber

to

denounce the

last

issues.

year

Thus

when he

insertion of

$200

million worth of pork in the military construction portion of the

defense authorisation service families

bill.

Eloquently, he spoke of the

on food stamps, the

lack

11,200

of modern weapons

supplied to the military, the declining levels of readiness in the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

46

armed

leagues: that

is

he

forces. Bravely,

at

the doors of his col-

could find only one commonality to these projects, and

‘I

90 per cent of them happened to be

that

districts

blame

laid the

in the state or

of members of the Appropriations Committees.’

Sternly, in

tones befitting

Cato or

a

a

Cicero, he urged his

colleagues to ponder their sacred duty to uphold the defense of the

Republic rather than

away the public purse on such

frittering

‘We

frivolous expenditure:

live in a

have some serious foreign policy military that

but

do

I

know

is

crises.

capable of meeting

that

what we

are

very dangerous world.

am

I

not sure

some of these

doing with

this

we

We

will

have the

foreseeable threats,

$200 million

will not

thing to improve our ability to meet that threat.'

a single

In the gallery, partisans of pork-free spending silently cheered

who hoped

while those

to profit

from portions of the $200 million

Yet such emotions were misplaced

gnashed their teeth

in chagrin.

on

was vintage McCain. Had he wished

either side. This

words with deeds, he could have called

for a roll-call

to follow

on the kerns

he had just denounced so fervently. That way the looters and

gougers would have had to place their infamy on the record. But no,

McCain

simply

down and

sat

anonymous babble of

to be authorized in the

Had McCain

those in favor say Aye’). his alleged

really

a

voice vote

(‘All

had the courage of

convictions he could have filibustered the entire $250

billion authorisation

evidence. Instead,

voted for

allowed the offending expenditure

bill,

when

but, inevitably,

the

$250

no such bravery was

billion finally

came

in

to a vote, he

it.

This miserable display provides useful insights into the reasons for

McCain’s ineffectiveness on

have garnered him so Senate

much

issues

such

campaign finance

favorable publicity.

staffer offers these observations'

weakness of character:

as

A

that

conservative

on McCain’s fundamental

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

...

the real question

he has to bill.

is

why

this

senator did not use the strong leverage

insist that his ‘ethical’

After

Senator

all,

47

a

major

in issues

of the

position be incorporated into

McCain couched

his

concerns

highest national importance: readiness, modernization, and the

we

military’s ability to defeat the threats

Pragmatism a

is

commonly

the most

heard excuse.

If McCain

had made

pain out of himself in insisting on keeping the unneeded and wasteful

pork out of the milcon authorization he would have respect

lost

comity with

his

bill,

some people would argue

Senate colleagues.

They wouldn’t

him anymore. They would have been angry with him, because

he kept them up

late

(it

been embarrassed by

would weaken

was about 10.30 pm), and they would have

his

showing them up

his ability to get things

contest: if

you want

to get anything

go along and get along. Well,

as

pork-meisters. This

done.

‘This argument assumes politics in the

is

face (whatever they are).

US

Senate

done around

this place

is

a

is

here,

a

popularity

you have

popularity contest, but

to it

supposed to be one with the voters, not one’s colleagues. Besides,

this place doesn't really

for fluffy

show

someone who

pieces.

some on

Mr McCain

Show them you mean

business,

and you’re

has to be dealt with (rather than a talk-only type), and

you'll begin to get

there are

operate that way. Here, they have contempt

some

results.

Get ready

the other side

who

are

for a fight, though, because

no push-overs. Obviously,

was not prepared to make that investment.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

48

June 20, 1999

HERE COMES

WIESEL

ELIE

by Alexander Cockburn

Usually, that

when

some

Elie Wiesel

spectacular piece of moral fraudulence

unctuous

that Wiesel’s

week

Last

this

on Larry King (the

trundled before the cameras, is

it’s

a signal

about to be

onto the American people and the powers-that-be reckon

foisted

it

is

kiss

of approval

is

required.

ardent supporter of the war on Serbia appeared

Live with ,

bombing] had

to

Wolf Blitzer standing

I

do not believe

the right to send troops or even airplanes to all

think

‘I

be done,' Wiesel said piously, ‘because

the other options had been explored.

exhausted

in for King.

the other possibilities, and

bomb

we

did

we we

that

unless try.

all

have have

Milosevic,

apparently, disappointed everybody.’ This balderdash puts Wiesel,

morally speaking, on

a par

with Cardinal Spellman, blessing the

52s as they set off to drop napalm on

On

to

the

children in the

Vietnam

other possibilities’ were never explored, because

era. ‘All the

wanted

little

bomb

Serbia.

It

didn’t matter

NATO

what Milosevic agreed

same show Wiesel appeared on, no

less a

13-

to.

person than

Brent Scowcroft told Blitzer bluntly that what he had called ‘the

Rambouillet

had been changed

diktat’

Blitzer then asked

in

the final agreement.

whether by the phrase ‘Rambouillet

diktat'

Scowcroft was referring to ‘the peace agreement that the Serbs rejected in February.' ‘That’s right,’ Scowcroft answered. ‘Because that, to Milosevic,

meant

that

he would never see Kosovo again — absolutely

unacceptable to troops to

changed

him

personally.

roam around (in

It

also gave the right for

inside Serbia

the final agreement].’

NATO

— another no-no. That was

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

49

Scowcroft clearly thought the whole attack on Serbia pretty unpalatable, though he didn’t say so directly, merely insisting that possibly the ‘war’ wasn't

July 10,

perfect recipe for the future.

a

1999

A DIME'S WORTH OF DIFFERENCE? by Alexander Cockburn

Not long

after the official

Bay Bridge

to

honor

a

end of the war on Serbia

commitment

I

crossed the

Michael Lerner on

to debate

the immorality and lawlessness of this same war. Arriving

of meaning — had day. Lerner,

James

Noe Valley found that Lerner — who once Rodham Clinton with his sermons on the politics

Lick High School in ravished Hillary

at

felt

I

no such obligation, baling by

fax the previous

an ardent armchair bombardier, told the organizers he

had no desire to have the delicately nuanced nature of his support for the

war distorted by

that odious perverter

So the meeting, organized by

a

left

of truth, Cockburn.

group called

Socialist

Action, proceeded without him, most of the panel’s speaking time

woman

being consumed by

a

Balkans across the

generation. In

the

crowd

last

to look

the war that

all

giving

on the bright

a

detailed history of the

my own

side.

At

the awful things we’d ever

brief remarks

least felt

And we’d also learned that as leftists we on the right. The backbone of opposition to true.

all,

been conservative.

It

was Jack

Kemp who

we had about have

I

urged

learned in

liberals

many

were

friends

the war had, after

had written

in the

Washington limes that the war on Serbia had been ‘an international

Waco.’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

50

In the question period

members of the audience, the

hope

I'd

expressed

my of my

plus both

the end

at

fellow panelists, criticized chat that there could be a

of left and right against business

coalition

my

of the invective rained on

found exciting at a local

of

this

a

me

self-proclaimed anarchist I

him

told

that I’d

energy and gut hatred of corporate power

political

‘Gunstock,’ a target

head by

reminded

as usual. It

few years ago when

talk radio host in Detroit a

been the

listened gloomily as at least three

I

rally

same

of supposed right-wingers that had anarchist’s ripest

but most enduring truth in political

life is

venom. The saddest

that

most people cling

with desperate strength to the prejudices that they are pleased to call

‘informed opinions.’

In

August 1996

Norman

with Pat Buchanan, can be shared by article

come

a

left

Mailer published in Esquire

brave effort to explore what

and right

in

his

interview

common

terrain

America, against the center. The

ended with Buchanan’s remark

to Mailer that

‘left

and right

together basically in opposition to big business, government,

big corporations — against the oppressive weight of gigantic institutions

upon

and Right. They

up

in.

That

is

feel

they are going to lose the country they grew

line:

‘Four years to the millennium!’

Buchanan went nowhere

six

get a broad coalition of Left

the underlying focus.’ Mailer ran Buchanan’s quote,

then closed with the

crusader,

You

the individual.

Ralph Nader, ran

a

m

1996 and the

pro-forma

listless

months from the millennium and things

even worse.

Politics always

draw

left's

anti-corporate

campaign.

are, at least

their vitality

on the

surface,

from the extremes.

George Wallace and Malcolm X, even though he was years earlier, set the political thermostats in

Now we’re

killed three

1968, and with the

addition of the Weather Underground, did the same in 1972. In

every spavined sentence in the

numbing

argot of the

Democratic and Republican party platforms there

lurks, albeit

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

DNA

often in barely detectable volume, the

DNA

have

become

of what was once

But today the

robust, even ‘extreme’ political idea.

of such

51

register a presence.

Gore and George W. Bush, currently favored

fact that at this

twice

The only

real difference

as Al,

who

breaking truckloads of cash. Oh,

Northwest and declared himself

the timber

between them

the

is

at

the level of rhetoric there are

a better

men

will

a

swing through the

a

Pacific

friend of the chainsaw and the

money

that

investment than Gore, the Tree-Hugger.

And

logging deck, thus sending is

the presidential

as

himself has hauled in record-

minute deviations. George W. just took

George W.

Take A1

point in the political season George W. has raised

much money

as

trace elements

so infinitesimally small that even the

most powerful microscopes scarcely

contenders in 2000.

a

a

message to big timber

no doubt pony up

George W., happily

for

aware that for them there’s no downside, since the ancient of the Pacific Northwest have been cut

down

at a

forests

bracing rate

all

through the Clinton— Gore years.

Gore and George W. same

slightly

as fathers

are alike as

peas, right

down

to the

dazed look that comes of having big-time politicians

and interesting encounters with powerful drugs

formative years.

I

don’t

know

in their

anything about Gore’s mother, but

Barbara Bush was one of the nastier (a

two

women

I’ve

ever interviewed

when George Sr was fighting Ronald nomination). Maybe there’s a difference here.

half-hour session in 1979,

Reagan

for the

between Al and George W. on the subjects of parents — might be the sole means of putting together

In fact a debate

parents



their

an exciting debate in 2000. Imaginatively staged, with both injected with

men

sodium pentothal, and moderated by Geraldo Rivera

and Gail Sheehy, such an encounter might scrape off the dreadful rime of banality that cakes their public personae and reveal the

wounded

egos beneath.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

52

At the

level

of

performance in the White House,

political

2001-2004, we can

say with

some

certainty that

an iota of difference whether Gore or Bush

Corporations will plunder the Earth dislodged from their mothers’

at

wombs

would make not

it

the leaseholder.

is

the same rate,

at

embryos be

same pace, constitu-

the

and freedom be abused with the same frequency, drug

tional rights

The

wars fought with the same intensity or growing disillusion.

same small countries thirteen-year-old

women

will

glue Nike shoes together.

girls

will pass

be bombed, the same infants

Row

from Death

die, the

The same men and

millennium. (Since

Ed Muskie of

into the

quarter of a century ago

a

it’s

crowd

the younger

that

better

I'd

Muskie was the front-runner

Democratic nomination

1972, proceeding

in

with

solemnity towards certain triumph, until he tumbled

expected showing arena

in

we

New

have

as

did

As is

political Bill a

scam

himself with

l imes,

George W. his

DLC ‘New

in terrible shape. Its national

in

— which

Democrats’

to

left will

Clinton

DNA

the

left

champions — Bernard Sanders, Jesse

has contributed



are

all

phonies.

80 per cent of the

-

is

The

political

almost

as

a hostility to state

never break away from the Democratic Party

any important degree, since the institutional

and the Democrats

Bill

in 1992.

the country for the past twenty years

The

majestic

merely pulling the

impotent, although more healthily endowed with

power.

for the

‘compassionate conservatism’

Jackson, Michael Moore, Jim Hightower

energy

is

force capable of reinvigorating our political

radical right

remind

in a less-than-

dead end. As

to a

1999 with

in

the

Hampshire.) Within the conventional

come

remarked to the Los Angeles

same

Al, or

Bradley surges past Al, or whether Steve Forbes or

Bill

Lamar Alexander turn George W.

political

of

to their graves, regardless

whether A1 trounces George W. or George W. trounces whether

same

will never allow

it.

The

ties

right

between labor

might well

tear

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

seems keen on leading such so.

is

demagogue,

a

whom

ancient Greeks, for

two

and

certainly

I

hope he does

meaning

agogos,

the

a

it,

word contained

popular leader or orator

who

in

way through

meaning

its initial

To Hobbes and Dryden,

word

the seventeenth century, the

gave

royalists

demagogue

its

and cynically inflaming base victim to

fell

Yet in the

first

our present problem

is

part of the

political passions for selfish ends.

we need demagogues

that there are

no

Here’s

how

Rivera’s

way

that people can

MSNBC

on July

the death penalty, then? Gov.

RIVERA:

thirteen, twelve, infancy. Gov.

6.

VENTURA:

Really? Gov.

position, because u that

VENTURA:

and

what about

I

it

fifteen, fourteen,

disa

I’ve

t

Yeah.

...

— disagree with



taken

I’ve

I’ve

...

taken that

— upon becoming governor, Geraldo, wouldn’t

weight on

I

my

shoulder, especially in the light of

evidence that they have today. die,

Well,

on Geraldo

don’t support the

I

now to make -

one

evident capacity

issue,

RIVERA:

the death penalty altogether now, and

demagogic

understand and believe.

VENTURA:

Because they’ve moved

RIVERA:

The

fulfills at least

his

he dealt with the death penalty

show on

war,

desperately. Part of

leaders with the

demagogic requirement, by

to speak directly in a

civil

someone wantonly

current sense of

virtue to rally and arouse the people. Ventura initial

half-

mugging.

a class

sense,

as

carried this

still

At the same time, amid the storms of the English

sense.

want

defined

is

espoused the cause of the people

against any other party in the state.’

word

sum of commons,

the simple

As the Oxford English

leader, or leading.

demagogue

Now,

highly esteemed by the

a quality

demos meaning the people, the populace, the

parts,

Dictionary puts ‘a

breakaway.

a

Who else might precipitate a reinvigoration of the system?

Jesse Ventura

its

Bob Smith of New Hampshire

loose from the Republicans.

itself

53

five years later

it’s

I

mean,

if

DNA

you sentence someone

to

proven that they didn’t do the crime,

I

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

54

would have

make

a

hard time living with that. But what

not

life

sentence someone to

life

and they

Life

you’re going to

make

it

say

is

let’s

imprisonment. That’s phony. They

is

life, life.

I

life, let’s

them out

let

make

life,

it

in ten years. If

but

I

do not agree

with the death penalty.

And

this

came

directly after Ventura affirmed his belief in the

Second Amendment while making the vation that

at

the precise

moment

the

entirely accurate obser-

gun control crowd screams

guns to be taken out of the hands of children, the army

for

is

drafting

teenagers and shoving automatic weapons in their hands and training

them

to

kill.

In the

same conversation he came

out, in coherent

terms, against the drug war and in favor of medicinal use of

marijuana, plus agro-industrial cultivation of hemp.

who campaigned in New York in 1988 as the man who paroled Willie Horton.

So here we have A1 Gore, by pasting Mike Dukakis

And we

have George W. who’s never met

he didn’t to

be the

a

death warrant in Texas

And we have Ventura who admits he doesn’t want man who puts to death innocent people, a man who

like.

admits, unlike

My

a

George W.,

that this

friends, at this desperate

would cause him

hour we have

at least

to lose sleep.

the makings of

decent demagogue. Six months to the millennium, and right

the prospect of ultimate political darkness: A1 versus

George W.

Y2K, plunging

now

us into mental

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

55

1999

July 27,

WHERE TOMORROW'S BOMBS WILL by Jeffrey

St.

Clair

No more Mr Nice

Guy,

we ’re going

it

to

do

says

NATO. Next

No

right.

time

shilly-shallying.

water-treatment plants will be blown up on the to

any pretense that bombs are aimed

in

what

described by

is

London

FALL

at

a

Power first

stations

and

night. This

end

military targets

Tim Butcher and

Daily Telegraph as

we bomb someone,

is

disclosed

Patrick Bishop of the

private preliminary review by

NATO

bombing campaign concludes that the bombing

experts of the seventy-eight-day Allied Force against Serbia.

The

report apparently

campaign had almost no military

bombing

sorties they failed to

Kosovo.

in

tanks,

NATO’s

effect, that despite

thousands of

damage the Yugoslav army

current assessment

is

tactically

that only a handful

of

guns and armored personnel carriers were damaged. You may

recall that at

one point

in the

bombing

NATO cried exultantly that

thousands of Serb soldiers had been killed and that Serb forces

were therefore on the verge of losing

The

NATO

all

operational viability.

report also concludes that

have opened the campaign with

bombs

it

that

was

a

big mistake to

wreaked

little

havoc

but firmed up civilian morale. In the chilling words of the Telegraph, the is

NATO

report intimates that ‘Any future operation by

likely to involve heavier,

such

as

power

stations

more

ruthless attacks

on

and water-treatment plants

NATO

civilian targets

earlier in the

campaign.’ Recall that the Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits

bombing of any strategists are

now

target that has a civilian

function.

NATO’s

concluding that the only point of bombing

is

to

destroy civilian-related infrastructure. So, the Clinton-Albright war

prompted

at its

onset the slaughter of thousands of Kosovars by the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

56

Serbs, the flight or expulsion of hundreds of thousands more, the killing via

bomb and

missile

of around 1,600 Yugoslav

destruction of Serbia’s economy, the ruin of the

and environmental catastrophe.

make

will try to

July 29,

it all

And

NATO

civilians, the

Danube

says that

river trade

next time

it

worse.

a lot

2002

INSIDE PAKISTAN

AND AFGHANISTAN

WITH RAWA by Anne Brodsky

I

just returned

from another

six

weeks with

RAWA (Radical Afghan

Women’s Association), five weeks in Pakistan and one amazing week in Afghanistan. RAWA’s work is very busy and the need is still enormous — this includes some cities in Pakistan where refugees are actually flowing in, not out. They are doing creative things such as

working

time to

to help other established schools rather than taking the

start their

own.

In

one example an eight-year-old Afghan

high school in Peshawar thought funds and losing students.

it

RAWA

would have

to close for lack

started funding

them and even

made

tuition free for the

now

not only can they pay their teachers, but they have

first

time

in the history

students than they did before and the

who could RAWA's work in

students

never afford to attend Afghanistan

the need and possibility to help

women

and

demand

is is

more

growing because

can.

keeping everyone quite busy

actually expanding.

girls are in their literacy

are either too old to attend the

of this school, and

is

now

and sewing

of

as

Many, many

classes,

many who

newly reopened schools

for girls

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS (there

need

an age limit lor entering the lower grades, which

is

to attend after five years

them attend schools

still

will not let

women

and

girls say that five years

their resolve its

have more

still.

still

women

have never been in

and learning. Most

are interested in joining

demand

than

RAWA

has teachers and funds.

women we saw in Kabul were in we saw no women without burqa. The

In Jalalabad

interim government

the

starting to require ‘permission’ lor every-

is

many

thing, as a veiled attempt to keep

things under control.

visiting a public high school required special permission.

trend increases

have

it

will

many enemies

Alliance

make

things very dangerous for

in the

(NA) and warlords

government with in positions

operate quite underground. There

is

is

a necessity,

is

slice

of the landscape and

this

RAWA. They

that the as

need

is

great

well as political

women.

Because we drove to Kabul from Pakistan, remarkable

As

of control, so continue to

no doubt

especially for the

Even

many Northern

so

and their particular message of humanitarian

change

The

of Taliban rule only strengthened

importance. Most of these

About 80—90 per cent of burqa

for safety reasons.

and commitment to education and made their families

school before, but classes

many

without any education) or whose

families

realize

57

life. It is

I

was able to see

a

true that Afghanistan

an amazingly beautiful country. Even that small stretch, which

took ten hours across destroyed roads, was incredibly diverse with blue-green flat

mesa

rivers,

undulating valleys with

fields

of rounded stones,

plateaus, sandstone hills with natural caves, steep shale

peaks turned sideways, jagged mountains and roads that zigzag

through mountain switchbacks.

We

drove through small villages

where the influence of the Taliban was

men treated me and the if we had no right to be

US

the response to

RAWA in

still

very evident, and the

member who accompanied me

as

public except for their curiosity. In the

them would be

a sarcastic

‘Haven’t you ever

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

58

seen

woman

a

before?’ or ‘You really should get out more”.

both of the statements, which played sarcasm. In

To change the men

many

in

my

head, were

town would be

in this

Here not

fact,

a revolution.

other places Abdul Haq, Massood and Rabbam's pictures

were everywhere but Karzai’s was not. Just for

some

on

our taxi-drivers from Pakistan

life,

were both former Taliban and former mujahideen.

to Afghanistan

They

perspective

talked quite openly to the male supporter

who

was with us

about their time with both groups and were probably Taliban tor

money and

to further their private gains, but nonetheless

points

it

out that former Taliban, both foot soldiers, middle managers, these drivers, and the leadership, are

who

only ones

their midst

were the foreigners

them government

scared to

The like is

Many

Everyone

else

knows but

too

is

say.

time stood as if it

still

in others,

happened

is

evident in

some

places, but

yesterday. People live

buildings destroyed by rocket attacks.

bombings. The refugees

and run shops

buildings without by, for

1

windows or

saw the

in tents

doors.

Panjshiris only

and others

Many

They

refugee camps in Pakistan say they had I

shells

result

of

of

US

and many

say that jobs are hard to as

well as for

jobs are reportedly going to

are available only

starving here without any assistance.

side

and unprotected commercial

those willing to do hard manual labor

those with higher education.

who had only

also

are returning to difficult lives

cannot find jobs and are living

it is

where the ten-year-old destruction

by side with buildings riddled with bullet holes and

come

people

who were employing them and

positions.

reconstruction in Kabul

evident

everywhere.

couldn’t identify the former Taliban in

said that the

giving

still

like

with bribes.

more help

talked to a

Some from

there and are

number of refugees

returned because harassment from the Pakistani police

in Islamabad in particular

made them

feel

too unsafe in Pakistan.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

They

wave of refugees back

will be a

too cold to I

now

doing worse

are actually

live in

was afforded

59

Many think that there come winter, when it is

in Kabul.

to Pakistan

Kabul without shelter and jobs.

unique view of

a really

life

Kabul because

in

of my meetings and interviews and the humanitarian projects

were

Many

Kabul and surrounding villages/suburbs.

in

see

I

running water or indoor

toilets.

Even

in the capital

people rely on wells and public pumps. Electricity in most parts

of the

city

available only every other night. In the outer villages,

is

the electric lines were stolen ten years ago and

have no their

electricity,

homes. The

factions in

even

as

still

homes

these

wall lamps and chandeliers remain in

library at the University

electricity because

live

saw

I

of these were the equivalent of middle-class homes, but in

none did city

homes

in private

all

of Kabul has virtually no

of the wiring was stolen by the various

all

and Taliban. As

in the older refugee

camps, most people

high-walled enclosures with gardens and small farmyard

animals, even in the

the older

city.

Construction however

camps and here

windows and

glass

is

sturdier than in

permanent and comfortable environment. The one broadcast

I

saw did have

a

woman

a

more

TV

news

screens gave

broadcaster, but she never looked

up from the page she was reading and the whole broadcast had very amateur

feel to

The people

it.

There

is

so

much

a

to be reconstructed here.

are cautiously optimistic, but this

seems only because

of the presence of the peacekeepers and the continued hope that the international

community

of aid and that someone presence of

NA

are other types fitting. It

is

will follow

will

soldiers in dark

Often young boys with the

who

NA

and responsible-looking men

its

promises

actually stop the warlords.

unmarked

of soldiers and police

hard to judge

through on

will

in

cars

is

ominous. There

various uniforms,

have

a

The

many

weapon and who

ill-

not.

had weapons and older more mature in

Afghan army uniforms were

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

60

unarmed.

I

saw taped interviews of Loya Jirga attendees

in

which

they too were expressing their concern about the needs for peace

and security and controls on the warlords,

who were

too evident

Loya Jirga process.

in the

For more information on

Anne Brodsky

is

FL\WA

go

to:

http://www.RAWA.org

an Assistant Professor of Psychology

at the University of

Maryland, Baltimore County.

August

1

1

0,

999

THE FIRST LADY AS THERAPEUTIC COP by Alexander Cockburn

Hillary cluster

Rodham bombs

set to kill

that

now

litter

the Serbian and Kosovan landscapes,

or cripple for the next half-century. But

short. Perhaps

bent over the

some

Clinton was an enthusiastic advocate for the

responsibility for that lost limb?

end of a century

What do we In fact First

of

Man

life.’

are

we will soon see HRC clutching some Balkan infant, maimed tyke, and who will then recall that she bears

confided to Lucinda Franks in the

memories

have

Falk.

urged him to bomb,’ she

“You cannot

that has seen the

NATO

‘I

let this

go on

at

major holocaust of our time.

for if not to

defend our way of life?’

it’s

scarcely surprising that Hillary should have urged the

to

drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend “our way

The

First

Lady

is

a social

engineer. She believes in thera-

peutic policing, and the duty of the state to impose such policing.

War

is

more

social engineering, fixitry via high explosive, social

therapy via the nose-cone of

a cruise missile.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS There’s not

much of

any more. But there are plenty of

a left

therapeutic cops around, and Hillary

their leader, the very

is

quintessence of social worker liberalism. All

New

61

it

takes to usher in the

Jerusalem are counselors, community action programs and

tougher gun laws, which

is

what Hillary

not long after she gave the

bombing As

called for after

Man

First

that bit

Columbine,

of advice about

the Serbs.

tough therapeutic cop, Hillary does not shy away from the

a

most abrupt expression of the perspective perhaps

we ought

therapy, the death penalty. In this

look

to

at

her

commitment

to

Choice

as at least in part

another piece of therapeutic policing. Steve Levitt,

an economist

the University of Chicago, and

a

law prof

at

at

John Donohue

— reported

in

that the legalizing

of

Stanford, have been circulating a paper

the Chicago Tribune

on August 8 - arguing

III,

abortion in the early 1970s has contributed to the falling crime rate in the 1990s.

for as

much

Indeed they claim that legalized abortion may account as

half the overall crime drop

way

Levitt says abortion ‘provides a

those kids

them

who

are

going to lead

into the world.'

The

These

five states

‘This

is

a

Roe

with high abortion

policy

wonk

an argument for

tough

authors cite

greater crime drops in the 1990s.

Richards,

for the

really

that legalized abortion before the

women

they don’t want to have. This

is

v.

from the

lives to

statistics

avoid bringing

from

The

five states

Wade decision of 1973.

rates in the early Trib's

1970s had

story quotes

Cory

Institute, as saying:

not being forced to have children

making the point

bad for the women, but for children and So,

would-be mothers of

Guttmacher

the

at

between 1991 and 1997.

social engineering,

that

it’s

not only

society.’

crime fighting point of view the

reintroduction of the death penalty in 1977 had the legalization of

abortion in 1973 — the Roe

and concomitant.

And

v.

Wade decision —

as its logical

the death penalty for undesired

precursor

embryos has

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

62

had the advantage of being

a lot

more

certain,

and cheaper

administer, than the death penalty for undesired adults. it’s

the

way

the

women’s movement saw

the early 1970s, but

abortion

as socially

I

the

Choice

I

to

don't think

issue

back in

can certainly imagine Hillary arguing for

therapeutic.

She comes from the

liberal

social

engineering tradition that

boom earlier in the century, whose only now coming to light. As in many

sponsored the great sterilizing

rampages in Vermont are other to

states,

progressives with a devout belief in the ability of science

improve Vermont’s gene pool lobbied successfully

a sterilization

Hillary,

1931.

never forget,

improvement

is

of

The law targeted poor rural Vermonters, and others deemed ‘unfit’ to procreate.

law in

Abenaki Indians

for passage

is

Methodist, and that bleak creed of

a

bedrock for

her. She’s a social cleanser.

This

is

cold steel that stiffens her spine and carries her forward, righteous amid the untidy mess of

all

the

self-

her contradictions.

August 30, 2000

THE PENTAGON'S PRESIDENTIAL AUCTION by Andrew Cockburn

Gore’s famous embrace of Tipper before his speech

Democratic convention may pale beside

at

the

his prospective ecstasies

Roman

Praetorian

Guard murdered the Emperor Pertinax and proceeded

to auction

with the Joint Chiefs of

Staff.

In

AD 193

the

off the imperial throne to the highest bidder. Until this year the

most strenuous emulation of 1980,

when

this feat

by the

the Joint Chiefs of Staff took bids

US

military

came

in

on the White House

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS from the ramparts of the Pentagon. Despite

no hesitation

Carter, the Chiefs haci

fierce

63

bidding by Jimmy

accepting Republican

in

pledges and in proclaiming that only Ronald Reagan would keep the

Empire

We

strong.

are in the climactic

the ritual

is

moments of the 2000

auction.

By now

One: senior Praetorians and

well established. Stage

associated intellectual prostitutes repine the pitiful condition of

America’s fighting folk and the decrepitude of the

Defense Department

US

military

arsenal.

Frank Gaffney

Reagan

years, set the tone in an article in the Washington Times in

Jr, a

may be

early August: ‘Future defense capabilities

seriously inad-

equate. History suggests that the consequence of such

vacuum of power that Then Gaffney relayed the

a

in the

official

a

practice

hostile nations often feel invited to

Praetorians’ reserve price

is

fill.’

on the imperial

throne: ‘A nation with a projected $1.9 trillion budget surplus can afford consistently to allocate a

minimum

domestic product to ensure

security.’

Already on July 21,

down from

its

Adm.

his post as the

of 4 per cent of its gross

Jay Johnson had said, as he stepped

Navy’s top

officer, that national security

requires a defense expenditure of 4 per cent of 16,

GDP.

On

August

Gen. James Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, used the

occasion of an interview with Defense Daily to

ramp up’

in

defense spending

‘to

call for a

‘gradual

about 4 to 4.5 per cent of the

US

Two days after Jones’s comments, Gen. formerly Army Chief of Staff and now president

gross domestic product.’

Gordon

Sullivan,

of the 100,000-strong Association of the Praetorians’ floor

demand: ‘We must prepare

security of our nation.

The actually

US

We

should

set the

Army, confirmed the for the future

marker

at

of the

4 per cent.’

Praetorians have avoided spelling out what 4 per cent

means

in dollar terms.

The

of Management and Budget project

latest figures

GDP

at

$10.9

from the Office trillion in

2002,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

64

So

rising to SI 3.9 trillion in 2007.

GDP

cent of to

$558

just

in

billion.

on $300

budget

a military

2002 would amount

S438

to

billion,

4 per

set at

and

in

This year’s budgetary tribute to the Praetorians

The combined spending of all

billion.

the United States



Russia, China and our old friends the rogue

and Sudan — amounts to It is

Cuba

over $100 billion.

a little

not well understood that though the

and troops

number of ships,

planes

available to guard the nation has declined sharply, the

actual flow of dollars into the pockets of the Praetorians

commercial partners has remained in the

is

putative foes of

including Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Serbia,

states,

2007

at

cold war

immediate aftermath of the cold war,

under George Bush

I

diminished

slightly.

levels. It

US

is

and

their

true that

military spending

Clinton reversed

this

trend

with enough brio to allow Gore, speaking to the Veterans of Foreign

Wars

in the

1996 campaign,

to declare that the

Democratic bid

to

the Praetorians that year was far superior to that of the Republicans. In his offer to the Praetorians this year,

offered Star Wars plus a pay raise for the scarcely

enough. An August 23 Washington

Praetorians’ contempt: rhetoric,

your

is

‘It is

George W. Bush has

armed

Mr. Bush who, despite some muscular

know

well that the missile defense

is

been more or

constant since the early Sixties.

less

a fantasy

Emperor Clinton, who

as

a

scheme

spending has

Republican emperor

is

undercut

further solidified the loyalty of the senior officer

days, an officer can retire

at the

that missile defense

it’s

the recent 10 per cent raise enacted by

by smoothing out wrinkles

These

work

and

appeal of a pay raise from

by lavish disbursements such

is

Post editorial relayed the

endorsed by Bush

class

This

sounding weak on defense.’ In other words, ‘George,

bid. ’The Praetorians

The

forces.

Pentagon in

in the practice

on

full

of double- dipping.

pension and then return to

civilian capacity at a hefty salary,

unimpaired. ‘There are retired colonels in

with pension

this building,’ a

Pentagon

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

number cruncher remarked a year.' ‘I'm proud,’

Gore

recently,

told the

‘who

65

are taking

VFW

home $200,000

days after he kissed

five

we won the largest military pay increase in twenty years.’ commitment to the Praetorians was well advertised by his

Tipper, ‘that

Gore’s

choice of running mate. Senator Joe Lieberman has been the faithful errand boy of Connecticut’s arms firms. their lips at the prospect

of

a

chastising

Dick Cheney

There may be

a

can look forward to Lieberman

the

as

budget and even canceling such

A- 12

economy

logical

Tom

still

it’s

been getting harder

Hollywood and our

economy

Praetorians, and there

For now,

let

when Lieberman as

may come

a

day

Praetorians get their 4 per cent out of analyst Franklin

4 per cent defense solution

a

their bluff

a

the way,

if

the

in

to a declaration

of

the following decade.

if our nation’s survival

the co-author o/

called.

Spinney accurately remarks: ‘The

would be tantamount

war could be justified only

is

bidding war between Gore

Such

Obsession.

camera

extolled the most

Oh, and by

war on Social Security and Medicare

is

in

The

the Pentagon’s weight in

when

total

Andrew Cockburn

militarist

diminishes, so too does the clout of the

us await the next bid.

and Bush, Pentagon

to claim

has a powerful cultural hold.

powerful military force on Earth. But

no

are

agenda for techno-

Hanks, the rescuer of Private Ryan,

in the Staples Center,

the overall

down. There

in setting the

innovation. Thanks to

heritage, the Pentagon

view

R&D

role for military

Democrats had

Stealth fighter.

has been going

convincing external enemies, and

prime

Defense

deeper reason for the 4 per cent solution. The

military share of the

a

war stretching

for his temerity, as President Bush’s

Secretary, in cutting the military

egregious boondoggles

Praetorians are licking

delightful bidding

We

over the presidential debates.

The

were

at stake.’

Saddam Hussein: An American

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

66

October 26, 1999

GENOCIDE

IN

KOSOVO?

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

an important

It’s

chorus from the genocide

liberal

NATO

the

issue, since

Clair

St.

powers, fortified by

the charge of

intelligentsia, flourished

bombing that

as justification for

economy and killed around 2,000

destroyed

civilians,

a

much of Serbia’s

with elevated death

may

predicted for years to come. Whatever horrors they

levels

have been

planning, the Serbs were not engaged in genocidal activities in

Kosovo before the bombing began. They were fighting

movement,

led

of security

forces,

by the

KLA

though

a separatist

and behaving with the brutality

to a

backed by the United States

typical

degree more restrained than those

One common

America.

in Central

number of Kosovar Albanians killed in the year bombing is 2,500. With NATO’s bombing came the

estimate of the

before the

and expulsions and charges

flights a

genocidal plan; on

An

dead.

largely to

some

accounts,

alternative assessment

blame

House

as

and

on June

press conference that

many

was that

for the expulsions

After the war was over,

that the Serbs as

were accelerating

100,000 were already

NATO’s bombing was

killings.

25, Bill Clinton told a

White

on Slobodan Milosevic’s orders

of thousands of people had been

killed in

Kosovo.

A week

tens

before,

from the British Foreign Office, came the statement from Geoff

Hoon

that ‘according to the reports

the refugees,

it

we had

gathered, mostly from

appeared that around 10,000 people that [

US

Kosovar

massacres.’

Of course,

and British governments had an obvious motive

in painting

Albanians] had been killed in the

is,

as

horrifying

to,

since the

a

more than 100

picture as possible of

what the Serbs had been up

bombing had come under

increasingly fierce attack,

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS with

rifts in

the

NATO

alliance.

The

NATO

67

powers had plenty of

reasons to rush charges of genocide into the headlines. For one thing,

it

was becoming embarrassingly clear

indicted no significant

bombing had army. All the more

that the

damage on the Serbian

reason, therefore, to propose that the Serbs, civilians as well as soldiers,

were collectively guilty of genocide and thus deserved

everything they got.

Throughout the end

of

June and July there were plenty of press

accounts running along lines similar to York Times

from John Kifner with

this

‘The bodies keep turning up, day

a July

4 dispatch in the

sentence in

after day,

its

New

lead paragraph:

and are expected

now

number 10,000 or more. On August 2 Bernard Kouchner, the UN’s chief administrator in Kosovo, said that 11,000 bodies had

to

already been discovered in mass graves in the province.’

According

and interesting analysis put out on October

to a useful

17 by Stratfor.com (an independent operation based in Austin,

on the

Texas, that offers intelligence briefings

Internet),

cited the International Criminal Tribunal for the

of Yugoslavia

as his authority,

Kouchner

former Republic

but the tribunal has said

it

hadn’t

provided any such information. Nonetheless, the 10,000 figure became the baseline, with some estimates soaring far higher. fifteen nations, including a

work

since June.

To date

Teams of

forensic investigators

from

detachment from the FBI, have been

they’ve

examined about 150 of 400

at

sites

of alleged mass murder. There’s are not

still

immense

enough bodies

uncertainty, but at this point to

it’s

plain there

warrant the claim that the Serbs had

program of extermination. The FBI team has made two

Kosovo and investigated In early

thirty sites, containing nearly

October, the Spanish newspaper El

Spanish forensic team had found in

its

Pais

a

trips to

200 bodies.

reported what the

appointed zone

in

northern

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

68

Kosovo.

The

UN

figures, said Perez Pujol, director

of the Instituto

Anatomico Forense de Cartagena, began with 44,000 dead, dropped to

now

22,000 and

pared to perform

stand at 11,000.

at least

He and

his fellows

were pre-

2,000 autopsies in their zone. To date

they’ve found 187 corpses. Pujol said he had the impression that

the Serbs had given families the option of leaving. If they refused,

or

back, they were killed. Like any murder of civilians, these

came

were war crimes, just

as

any mass grave, whatever the number ot

bodies, indicates a massacre. But genocide?

One in the

700 Kosovars had been dumped

persistent story held that

Trepca lead and zinc mines.

spokeswoman

On

October 12 Kelly Moore,

for the international tribunal,

announced

a

that the

had found absolutely nothing. There was an alleged

investigators

mass grave containing 350 bodies in Ljubenic that turned out to hold seven. In Pusto Selo, villagers said 106 had been killed by the Serbs,

and

Nothing

NATO

rushed out

satellite

to buttress that charge has yet

two were

allegedly killed in Kraljan.

photos of mass graves.

been found. Another eighty-

No

bodies have

as yet

been

turned up.

Although surely by now investigators would have been pointed to

all

probable

sites,

it's

conceivable that thousands of Kosovar

corpses await discovery. But

as

matters stand, the

turned up by the tribunal’s teams

which tends

to

in the

hundreds, not thousands,

confirm the view of those

bombing provoked that there

is

was and

Count another

a is

wave of Serbian

number of bodies

who

killings

hold that

NATO

and expulsions, but

no hard evidence of a genocidal program.

victory for the Big Lie.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

October 29, BILL'S

1

69

999

GOOD

SIDE

by Alexander Cockburn

Our

itinerant president

mendacity that forms

seems to be wearying of the formalized

a substantial

portion of his daily round. In

a

recent meeting with the two most prominent Kosovar Albanians,

man who clambered to his present eminent position over the bodies of many serious rivals, discoursed on the ‘reconciliation’ now under way in Kosovo. Finally Clinton fidgeted irritably

Clinton could stand

you know

it.’

it

as

Hacim,

no longer.

a

‘That’s nonsense,’ he cried, ‘and

Then he rounded on Rugova, who was chanting an

interminable ode of gratitude, and curtly bid

him be

silent.

The president is most certainly right. Amid growing embarrassment among the war crime investigators at the scanty evidence of ‘genocide’

as

supposedly perpetrated by the Serbs, the Kosovar

Albanians are methodically driving out or slaughtering Serbs, well as other minorities such as Gypsies, 90,000 of

been expelled according Gottingen, Germany. in early

September

The

to the Society

very

lives.’

have

now

of Endangered Peoples in

Society’s president,

Tilman Zuelch,

that ‘dark-skinned people can

the streets of most towns in

whom

as

said

no longer walk

Kosovo without risking injury

to their

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

70

June 20, 2002

SERBIAN RESERVATIONS by James

‘Did you

Phillips

T.

come

to see the zoo?’

A teenage girl wearing a colorful headband and dangling earrings stared at me as she asked about my intentions. The look on her face was

mixture of defiance and bemusement. Journalists prowling

a

around her turf were once

hood

a

is

man with The

a

common

sight and, since the neighbor-

small Serb enclave in the center of Pristina, noticing a a

camera wasn’t very

teenager’s

One hundred

home

is

difficult.

located in

a six-story

and seventy-four Serbs

block of apartments. the apartments, and

live in

other buildings housing thousands of Albanians surround the

The when

enclave.

and,

I

pointed to

Twenty

a

Serbs have access to one small store, a fitness center,

asked where do the children

play, the

dusty courtyard that functions

British

KFOR

soldiers live in

they guard the Serbs day and night.

The

as

a

teenage

girl

football pitch.

one of the apartments, and soldiers are alert, well

armed

and, like the Serbs in the courtyard, easy targets for those staring in

through invisible bars that encircle the enclave.

‘We

are like prisoners here,' said the girl.

‘We

live like

animals

in a zoo.’

Yugoslavia was once multi-ethnic and modern, a

United Nations and, after the

until 1991, ruled

member of

the

by communists. Eleven years

beginning of the endless warfare in the Balkans, the nation

of Yugoslavia has been cleaved into pieces by various leaders identified in the international press as (Croats), democrats

nationalist

freedom

fighters

(Bosnian Muslims), rebels (Albanians) and

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

71

butchers (Serbs). With the assistance of politicians, diplomats and

US -

NATO

bomber

pilots

from the

and the

UN -

the leaders of these various entities have succeeded

in creating ethnically

and compliant members of

pure regions carved out of the carnage of

war.

Capitalism has replaced

although

communism

many of the same

in these

new

nations and,

leaders continue to rule, the cleansing

operations during the past decade have assured the people of the

former Yugoslavia

a

future free from oppression, fear and ethnically

incompatible neighbors. Except, of course, in Kosovo.

During the Balkans wars (1991-2002), Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians (Croat, Serb and Muslim),

Macedonians and Albanians fought and

died for the right to be independent and

Kosovo brutal

also

war

The

Serbs living in

fought and died, yet three years after the end of NATO’s

against Yugoslavia they are

Statistics

free.

about the success or

gathered and published by

still

failure

not

free.

of the mission

KFOR, UNMIK

in

Kosovo,

and humanitarian aid

groups — and reported by journalists and writers looking to confirm their

own

biases

and agendas -

are available in

located in the bustling city of Pristina.

The

many busy

offices

dissemination of

this

information and propaganda sometimes seems to take priority over the delivery of food and supplies to the people concentrated in a

few ethnically pure enclaves scattered throughout Kosovo. The simple stories about the

lives

living in these enclaves have

of Serbs,

Roma

and other minorities

gone missing, and the less-than-equal

undesirables of Kosovo continue to live in fear, loathing the rise of a

government dominated by Albanians and the

precarious living standards.

fall

of their

own

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

72

man

‘I’m sorry,’ said the

‘My

next to me.

sitting

son, he

full

is

of

energy.’ I

met Jovica Rajkovic and

train that runs

Milan was

to G. Jankovic.

sitting in the

from me, and he was kicking the edge of

seat across

admonished the

father gently to stand

from Zvecan

seven-year-old son Milan on the

his

up on

his seat

my

boy. Milan stopped kicking

Zvecan city

is

a

still

and

His

tried

and look out the dirt-encrusted window.

Jovica reached over and took hold of his son’s arm. Milan

He remained

seat.

sat

down.

for less than five seconds.

town located north of Mitrovica, the ‘flashpoint'

small

where Serbs and Albanians

live,

separated by the polluted Ibar

river.

Serbs live north of the river and Albanians live in the southern

areas

of the segregated

cleft

between crumbling

city.

The

hills

rusting remains of the Trepca

railroad station in

and shares

a

Zvecan

sits

in a

small valley with the

mining complex, the source of the

pollution that flows in the Ibar river. G. Jankovic

is

a large

town

located near the border crossing between southern Kosovo and

northern Macedonia, and

Three years ago, same

tracks

June of 2002,

camp a

in

end of the

the

in the spring

were used

Blace refugee

it is

line.

of 1999, the same

to transport thousands

On

Macedonia.

and the

of Albanians to the

hot and

a

train

humid day

in

Serb father and son boarded the ancient train and

traveled the short distance to their

home

in

Kosovo

Polje.

Armed

KFOR soldiers from Greece provided protection for the passengers as

the train

chugged slowly through

The damage done war has been

to the Albanian

repaired,

would be considered peered

Jovica

blackened

‘Look

shells

areas populated

towns and

by Albanians.

villages

during the

and the new houses dotting the landscape

small mansions in

North America.

through the window.

of burned-out houses

there,’ said Jovica.

in

He

pointed towards

abandoned Serb

villages.

‘The Albanians have destroyed our homes.’

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS There was very

73

rebuilding or remodeling occurring in

little

no

the Serb villages, and there were

and constructed for Serbs,

as

large

homes being financed

was being done for the

and inde-

free

pendent Albanians of Kosovo. Since the end of the war between

NATO and Yugoslavia, thousands of new structures have been built by Albanians and paid for by the international community.

However, three years live in tents little

aid

after the

war ended, many Serbs continue

and small prefabricated

and assistance

is

trickling

on what

shelters, surviving

down

to

them

after the

to

Albanians

have siphoned off most of the money, goods and services being

provided by the international community. ‘It is a

my

catastrophe for

When we

arrived

at

people,’ said Jovica.

the station in

Kosovo

goodbye and stepped down onto

said

a

Polje, Jovica

and Milan

platform crowded with

passengers waiting to board the southbound train. Gripping his son’s

hand

tightly in his

own huge

fist,

Jovica quickly threaded his

way through groups of Albanians standing

The atmosphere was

platform.

in

and around the railway

tense. Hostile stares

and smirking

laughter by the Albanians quickened the pace of the Serb father

and son, and they were out of

UNMIK

the

is

acronym

for the

my

sight within seconds.

United Nations Mission

the international organization responsible for reorganizing

in

Kosovo,

a

shattered

land and people. Although the landscape of Kosovo has seen definite

And,

improvements, many of the people

fittingly for this surreal

even been able to provide civilian

‘This

province of Serbia,

live

broken

UNMIK

secure environment for

its

lives.

has not

own

Serb

employees. is

terribly humiliating,’ said Marija, a

who works I

a

still

some

for

young Serb woman

UNMIK.

was escorting Marija to her job

in Pristina.

She

lives

only three

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

74

blocks from her office, but

is

afraid to

walk through the

Although she speaks excellent English and

streets alone.

passes herself otY as an

American, the young woman, a hard-edged and proud Serb, is scared to

acknowledge her

ethnicity.

Marija

real

is

not her

of Kosovo can

easily

A

name.

become

Serb working in Albanian areas

of Albanians

a target

who want

to

continue the cleansing of the ethnic minorities that began immediately

after the

end of the war

disapproves of any disparaging

could lose her

life

or her job

other Serbs, Marija has

lost

comments from if

her

and

KFOR.

real

her identity

‘The internationals want to get to the enclaves

of 1999.

in June

of

rid

the local

name was as

UNMIK also staff.

published. Like

well as her freedom.

Marija, referring

us,’ said

UNMIK

populated by minorities and protected by

‘They want

to get rid

of

a

Marija

problem, and the problem

the Serbs.’

is

‘The Serbs are not

David Pierson as

UNMIK

an

is

free.’

a

48-year-old American from Colorado working

policeman

in the city

of

Pristina;

he agrees with

Marija.

‘They

The

are always

Serbs have to

under

escort,’ said Pierson.

come and go

Officer Pierson was sitting

at a table

a

try to offer protection to the

beat in Pristina usually

when

I

assistance

office.

There

are

minority communities, but walking

Utility Vehicle painted to resemble a is

stopped and said

currently working in Kosovo.

means driving around

Their contact with the people

call that free.

outside a small kiosk, drink-

His perch was only a few blocks from Marija’s

more than 500 American policemen They

don’t

in groups.’

ing coffee and watching the people pass by, hello.

‘I

in a

brand-new Sports

Coca-Cola can with wheels.

limited to responding to

from Serbs, and ordering coffee

at

Albanian

calls for

cafes.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS ‘Crime

spokesman ‘Now,

it’s

pull out

what

it

down, murders

is

for

UNMIK.

down,’

are

Fletcher

is

just street crime, car thefts

of here

in the

75

Barry Fletcher,

said

a press

American policeman.

also an

and sexual

assaults.

But

if

we

next few years, the situation will return to

was in 1999.

‘Both sides view themselves

‘They do

as victims,’ said Fletcher.

not accept that they are also the perpetrators. Only time will heal the hate.’

The Albanians once

lived

under Serbian

With

against their alleged oppressors.

Americans —

politicians

the Albanians

won

that

their

The policemen now

and they rebelled

the assistance of other

and diplomats, aid workers and soldiers —

war of liberation and have created

discriminating against the Serbs,

is

rule,

Roma

stationed throughout

a society

and other minorities.

Kosovo have

to deal

with

the problems. ‘It’s

apartheid,’ said Fletcher, the

edging the

fact that

UNMIK

spokesman, acknowl-

good cops cannot change bad behavior, and

giving credence to the Serb complaints about whether the international lives. ‘If you

we

ll

community

give us information about

book them. We’d

Marija thinks

it is

a

love

crime

and does not believe is

really cares

that

about protecting innocent a

crime, and give us

a

name,

to.’

when

her right to walk to

freedom

work

for the ethnic minorities

is

denied,

of Kosovo

very high on the agendas of the Albanians or the Americans.

‘The internationals want to get escorted her to her job

at

UNMIK

going to remain

in a cage.’

fames

a freelance reporter.

T. Phillips

is

rid

Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

He

of the Serbs,’ she said

as

I

headquarters. ‘The Serbs are

has covered wars in Iraq, Croatia,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

76

March

6,

2003

'LIBERATION' by

FOUR YEARS AFTER

Chad Nagle

‘That

Kosovo,’ says

is

window

at a

my Macedonian

driver, pointing

out the

ravine by the roadside, piled high with garbage. Four

years later, ‘liberation’ in this forlorn patch of the former Yugoslavia

looks like

a destitute

landscape of scrubby fields and abandoned

and

industrial enterprises, ransacked or destroyed buildings,

breakdown

in

town

the world that wars seldom

pledged by those their

much

town.

alter lifeless

desolate reminder to

a

ever bring the sort of rosy results

if

who wage

It is

them, and that

Iraqis

-

homeland destroyed by American bombs and to

beware ol when the

social

US

as

they watch

missiles

— have

promises to bring them freedom

and democracy by force of arms.

Kosovo

is

by the West

an economic wasteland, a

in an ex- Yugoslav district that

2 million, but

which

non-Albanians

who

life free

new

has

been

once numbered perhaps

‘ethnically cleansed’ of

lived there.

Except for

a

Now

weird construction

most of the

Kosovar Albanians once enjoyed

of taxes or even - for the most part —

Republic of Yugoslavia.

welfare state adopted

bills

a

within the Federal

they are the West’s dependants.

boom

that has

produced mile upon

mile of ugly three- and four-story, unoccupied red-brick houses,

nothing of any substance the ‘international

is

produced

community’

has

in

Kosovo

endowed

the inhabitants with

copious quantities of construction materials to build monstrosities, but these structures less, as if

now

stand

Aid from

today.

new

residential

empty and window-

in preparation for a mass population drive.

‘They’ve tricked the West into giving them to rebuild

damaged homes,’

says

my

money and

driver. ‘But these

materials

damaged

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

homes

77

don't exist, and they just use the resources to put up these

houses. They’re speculating in real estate by taking over church land,

moving

in

and announcing the ground

do exactly the same thing,

The base,

their property.

is

planning

like a tribe

Camp

Bondsteel, sprawls

as far as

main

a

job

or fast-food outlets on the base

Kosovo

as a

whole





The

as

the

locals highly prize

one of the bowling

in

since

military

and serves

city, Pristina,

in Bondsteel

US

the eye can see a short

center of economic activity in the province. the prospect of

all

future.’

heavily guarded and conspicuously gigantic

distance south of Kosovo’s

in

its

They

alleys

employment opportunities

are so scarce. Despite the paucity

of regular

jobs for ordinary folk, enough Kosovar Albanians manage to travel to the

West

to justify regular available flights to destinations like

Zurich and Frankfurt from Pristina airport (regular

flights to the

Serbian capital, Belgrade, have not been restored since the 1999 war).

Smuggling and prostitution

are rampant,

and Macedonia seem unable to mentioning

talk

and people

about Kosovo without

illegal trade in narcotics, cigarettes,

In Pristina,

guns and alcohol.

which numbers anywhere between

million and 400,000 inhabitants depending on electricity

is

available a

mere four hours

in Serbia

a day.

a

quarter of

who you

Only

a

ask,

buildings like

Grand — once buzzing with people from the press or international organizations — can count on electrical power around

the Hotel

the clock. But even this

of the Grand

still

is

thanks to private generators, and guests

have to do without running water after midnight.

The social and economic disaster in Kosovo can be forgiven, many say, because NATO halted ‘genocide’ by the Yugoslav armed forces. Yet the figures

of 500,000 Albanians killed were debunked

even before the bombing stopped, and only

a

few hundred bodies

were eventually found, many Serbs or Albanians itself.

The Kosovar Albanian

guerrilla

war

killed

by

NATO

for ‘national liberation'

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

78

had nothing

to

do with

the propaganda-driven

drive to avert mass murder, but even after

a

war was over the West had

Those watching the

as truth.

Iraq

war on

therefore be prepared to recognize similar

governments about crimes,

TV

to bolster the

lie

West should

in the

myth-making by Western and ‘weapons of mass

atrocities

destruction’ in Iraq before and after hostilities end.

Today, Kosovo

is

covered with signs of such ‘myth maintenance,’

mostly in the form of gaudy memorials to legendary fallen heroes

of the Kosovo Liberation

Army (KLA).

Giant cornucopias of plastic

flowers and hideous roadside cemeteries

province, testaments to the gratitude with

lie

scattered

all

over the

which ordinary Albanians

supposedly view the sacrifices of their paramilitary brethren. In

many of

the state of

these ugly

monuments

is

evidence of

fact,

a less

than sincere reverence on the part of Kosovo’s current inhabitants

of their freedom struggle.

for the agents

According to the

official history,

was largely prompted by at

the US-led assault

on Yugoslavia

massacre of Albanians on January 15; 1999,

a

the Kosovar village of Racak,

where the American envoy of the

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE),

William Walker, alleged Serbs had gunned peasants before.’

on

a hillside in a

Many

whether the

crime

‘the like

down

forty Albanian

of which has not been seen

have disputed Walker's account, raising questions

US

diplomat

involved in an even

more

may have

as to

fabricated the incident or been

sinister way, like a

model of the ‘Quiet

American’ from the recent film of Graham Greene’s novel. Walker’s credibility in the

served

as

US

there was at

Racak

affair

was shaky to begin with, since he had

ambassador to El Salvador

its

zenith (1988-92).

Even

when

if the

death-squad activity

episode did in fact occur

as told

by Walker, Racak should surely have become ‘sacred ground’

to any

Kosovar Albanians retaining memories of victimization by the

Serbs.

So what does Racak look

like

today?

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

The

of the slaughter

site

patch of hillside covered with the

a

is

79

KLA

usual unsightly plastic flower display and fascistic

while entrance to the makeshift cemetery

archway with Albanian wording above massacre

site

winds

base of the hillside

The

it.

through

down which

contribute to the scenery of

and

at

junked

fateful day,

this

the

cars,

Kosovar Albanian version of

Albanians took international aid and bought

my

appliances,’ says

the streets and

NATO

even

fields,

Kosovo

new

if it

worked

perfectly.

war, the

and kitchen

cars

‘They just threw their old

driver.

things, like children,

stuff

out into

They wanted new

and they got them.’

safe

and peaceful now? ‘Security decreases every

Serb shop owner in Gracanica,

day,’ says a

side,

the murderous Serbs were alleged

Arlington Cemetery. ‘Immediately after the

is

Racak

and other large and rusting kitchen appliances

refrigerators

But

dark metal

a

path up to the

of garbage on either

past heaps

approached the Albanians on that

to have

is

hagiography,

of

site

fourteenth-

a

century Serbian Orthodox monastery. ‘Before, the bus to Belgrade used to have it’s

safer

Swedish escort, but not any more. Maybe they think

now but

What about he

a

I

don’t think

the free market

‘None of it

says.

Then

there

is

is

it’s

so rosy.

I

can’t

even go to

economy? ‘Investment here

have democracy instead of

killed

by

mafia,’

the ‘tyrant’ Milosevic, and the democratization of

people of the former Yugoslavia have

But

is all

the product of an honest day’s sweat.’

Yugoslavia, another purported result of the West’s war.

line goes.

Pristina.’

a

after Serbian

a

few problems,

vicious dictatorship

-

Even at least

if

the

they

so the official

Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was

a single sniper’s bullet as

he was getting into

his

Mercedes

limousine on March 12, the climate of fear that gripped Belgrade

was palpable even to an outsider. The government of Djindjic’s

Democratic Party (DS) decreed arrests,

which reached 1,000

a ‘state

a little

over

of emergency’ and started a

week

later,

according to

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

80

official reports.

As

if rubbing

home

a point, televised

fifty-year-old’s

tall

endlessly

moment of Djindjic’s

replayed video camera footage of the

showing the

news

frame shudder for an instant

bullet entered his shoulder, pierced his heart,

and exited

his

bodyguards

also

took

a hit

as a

stomach

before he was pushed into the back of the waiting vehicle. his

death,

One

of

with the same kind of ammunition

banned by the Geneva Conventions - an expand-on-impact dum-

dum bullet. While

the temptation to blame Milosevic for the killing

was obvious, no one could seriously believe the ex-president of Yugoslavia was behind 'I

it.

believe the state of

party

emergency

Zoran Belmovac,

state,’ says

being used to create

is

legal

Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), once

a

government but now powerless, without cabinet. ‘Not even in

them says

for thirty days

wartime can you

without right to

Belmovac, already resembles

partner with the

someone and

The media

one-party

Media Bureau

DS

in

minister in the

a single

arrest

one-

adviser to the

affairs

a lawyer.’

a

a

state’s,

detain

in Serbia,

because

a

government organ

called the

and content and

completely controlled by the DS. ‘The situation

is

was barely better before the

state

controls

all

media

access

of emergency,’ claims Belinovac.

‘Under Tito, media always talked about the “rule of the workers”.

Under

Milosevic, state media talked about the “national interest”.

But the DS’s media game

is

smarter and more complex.

enough

you

Now

it’s

are a

“democrat” and

“reformer” without having to prove anything.’

Ironically, in the

all

about “reform”.

It’s

to say

aftermath of the Djindjic murder the

DS removed two judges who

had been appointed under Milosevic’s presidency.

Most leading

representatives of Serbia’s

apparently accept the government’s official

cracking

down on

also accept that the

main

political parties

line:

Djindjic started

organized crime and was rubbed out. But most

pro-Western Djindjic had long made deals and

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS compromises with mobs

power of

consolidate the

Zemun

like

81

and Surcin

in an effort to

government and the DS.

his

Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs Dusan Mihaijlovic

emergency — even described one

directing the state of

‘respected citizen’ in a public statement

‘Right

now state institutions in

news magazine

have twenty-four years of service to the

me

state representative,

no more

and you ago.

because of the

‘The current

state.

I

was

a

The economy

professionals in the civil service,

on income you earned ten

still

DS

years

now

Dusan

Jelicic

no authority or

of the Socialist Party of Serbia

formally chaired by Slobodan Milosevic,

war crimes

in

everything

government.’

structures obviously have

state

influence now,’ says

for

asks not to be

have no pension and unemployment benefits are practically

‘private’

(SPS),

and speak four

who

Health services are completely destroyed, and

nil. is

I

are obliged to pay taxes

Nenad

Vreme. ‘The

out on the street for no reason.

and they have destroyed the

doesn’t work, there are

rascal as a

state.’

state

languages,’ says a career Yugoslav civil servant ‘Yet they put

man

last year.

mafias are stronger and better organized than the

named.

the

Serbia are very weak,’ says

Stetanovic, a correspondent for the

‘I



In fact,

The Hague.

now on

trial

‘Djindjic was doing a balancing act

with the mafia and switched sides from

Zemun

to the Surcin clan,’

he claims. ‘A Croat businessman named Stanko Subotic had even provided Djindjic with

of this inspired

was acting

one can

much

a private

official trips.

None

confidence in the public that the government

in the best interests

criticize the

plane for his

DS

of the people.’ Now, Jelicic

or the government.

Even assuming Djindjic was

‘We can

actually trying to

all

be

says,

no

arrested.’

clamp down on

Serbian organized crime, the West probably cared

little

about any

problems he was having. Former Swiss magistrate Carla Del Ponte,

now

chief prosecutor

at

the

War Crimes Tribunal

at

The Hague,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

82

had been handing Djindjic longer and longer

lists

— himself the key of Milosevic — had to put up

of people

to be

extradited, until finally Djindjic

figure responsible

for the extradition

his

‘Djindjic told Del Ponte

Serb kept

who

had been

to indict every single

Kosovo during the war

in

coming with

was ridiculous

it

the

frequent reporter on developments

at

in 1999,

Nenad

Vreme's

says

lists,’

hand.

The Hague.

but she just

Stefanovic, a

‘Del Ponte has

often said she didn’t care about the political circumstances inside individual countries, only the

of war criminals,’

community and

‘Yet the international lot

trial

the

says Stefanovic.

Hague Tribunal

of attention to the domestic problems of Croatia, and

representative in Kosovo]

Michael Steiner

also

Nobody

retaliate.

if

we

them

sent

to

The Hague

(UN

high

used to say

diplomatic meetings that although there were clearly criminals in Kosovo,

paid a

the

a lot

KLA

at

of war could

paid any attention to Serbia.' After the Serbian

premier’s murder, Del Ponte stated publicly that she had

met with

Djindjic weeks before his death, and said he had told her in a one-

on-one meeting: ‘They

The Ponte

‘international as

will kill me.’

community’ has generally

above moral reproach, but back

appointment

at

The Hague,

articles

in

treated Carla

Del

1999 before her

from the Swiss and

Italian press

suggested that Del Ponte tipped off banks in Lugano, Switzerland, that

money from cigarette Kosovo war, when Del Ponte was

they would be investigated for laundering

smuggling. At the height of the prosecuting the Mabetex scandal

awarded by the Kremlin to Pacolli), just as

a

Moscow’s opposition

(in

which construction tenders were

KLA-tied Albanian named Beghijet to

NATO’s war

Russian President Boris Yeltsin and

implicated. Shortly after that,

little

his family

were being

Del Ponte won the Hague job. However

effective her actions in the service

probably did

suddenly evaporated

to fortify the rule

of

NATO’s war

of law

in the

aims, Del Ponte

Balkans or elsewhere.

THE LAPTOP BOMBARDIERS

Although Zoran Djindjic

83

played a destructive role in

likely

strengthening Serbian political institutions, his violent removal looks set to plunge the country into further chaos.

So

dire has the political, social

become

that

many people have

government’s

and economic situation

evidently placed hopes in the ruling

of emergency.' A recent poll showed 86 per cent

‘state

of respondents support the policy of

in Serbia

state institutions in Serbia,

as a

and

way of restoring

it is

no exaggeration

memories of the Communist period

are

among

Many

large swathes

of the

citizenry.

for the Tito days, just as in

remember Communist

leader

the authority to say that

overwhelmingly positive in

Belgrade

now

pine

neighboring Bulgaria pensioners

Todor Zhivkov’s

era as a time

when

the police did their jobs, pensions were paid, and schoolchildren didn't abuse drugs

The

and carry handguns to school.

assassinations

and mafia rule

in Serbia

and Kosovo

are a sad

testament to the merit of ‘democratization’ and ‘reform’ that has

come

to the region as a legacy

much in Hamid Karzai —

West,

the

way

of the country’s

that Afghanistan

‘liberation’

by the

under Western puppet

featuring regular assassination attempts and bloody

warlords ruling the countryside - offers another example of the

hollowness of Western trumpeting of democracy and freedom.

Chad Nagle Kosovo

in

is

a lawyer

March on

and

freelance writer

who

behalf of the British Helsinki

traveled to Serbia

Human

and

Rights Group.

PART

TWO

OVERVIEW

March

6,

2002

FORMER SENIOR CIA OFFICER: WHY THE 'WAR ON TERROR' WON'T WORK by

Christison

Bill

On

January 15 the Attorney General of the United

States,

Ashcroft, held a press conference in order to describe the

would make

criminal charges that the government

Walker, the twenty-year-old American citizen Taliban military forces. In his States

Ashcroft said

talk,

terrorists.

We

fact

of September 11,

no uncertain terms

that

we

enemies seek to destroy

way of life

The

is

not

us.

have enemies

We

immune from

attack,

guts of what Ashcroft said

submit to you that I’ve

this

is

seen shows that the

a

is:

John

‘The United

own

citizens

do so today

day that reminded us in

in the

world and

learned on September

and these enemies seek to destroy

dence

this:

are impelled to

by the inescapable

initial

had joined the

does not casually or capriciously charge one of its

with providing support to

I

who

against

John

1 1

that these that

our

and even from destruction.’

‘We have enemies

in the

world

us.’

simply not

a true

real objective

statement.

The

evi-

of the Muslim extremists

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

88

Osama

led by

Muslim world

bin Laden was to rid the

American domination and

influence.

wanted the

the United States; rather they

Bin Laden and

They wanted

US

itself

NOT to destroy

out of their

own

land.

supporters also wanted, and those yet alive

his

of

still

want, to unite Muslim nations behind an extreme version of Islam, believing that the Islamic world can thereby better control future.

think they realize

I

United

‘destroy’ the

grandiose,

States,

well there

no

possibility they can

one Islamic world. This

New York

Review of Books

a call to purify the Islamic

is

of the idolatrous West, exemplified by America. The aim at

American heathen

fashion, that the

US

is

shrines,

innocent people

the

in

US

drive for global

its

over the Islamic world.

because

if

1

think

‘is

US —

to

world

to strike

most spectacular

Those

still

alive,

continue to try to

and elsewhere. But what the

do

is

to stop the

United States

hegemony, including hegemony

it’s

important to understand

this,

people in the United States believe that some enemy

trying to ‘destroy’ the

and actually has some

doing so — then waging an all-out war against

more

is

,

one

tiger.'

their cause, will

extremists see themselves as trying to

from continuing

in the

are not nice people.

and other future adherents to kill

and show,

vulnerable, a paper

These Islamic extremists

pretty

still

limited. Their aim, according to

recent analysis that appeared in the create

is

and their objective, while

more

considerably

is

full

own

its

that

possibility

is

of

enemy can be

easily justified.

But what but instead

if is

In that case,

I

the

We

is

not trying to prevent

trying to preserve and extend

think

our government policies.

US

a

we

should

all

destruction,

its

global

hegemony?

and

start

demanding of

serious public debate over future

US

foreign

should be strenuously debating the degree to which

the people in this country, given

want the

step back

own

its

US government

to

all

of our

own

domestic problems,

continue foreign policies intended to

OVERVIEW

US hegemony

strengthen

world

89

over and domination of the

economic and military

in the political,

rest

of the

arenas.

In short, Ashcroft’s claim that enemies are seeking to destroy the

United

makes

States

limits that

it

US government

easier for the

might otherwise be imposed on

its

to avoid any

‘war against terrorism'

by an informed public opinion. President George W. Bush’s

own

references in his

speeches to America’s enemies

same

ones’ tend in the

I’m defining here

direction.

as killings of,

noncombatants —

Although

acts

or other violence against, innocent

makes

Or

But

are

all

Afghans

September

1? In

1

And

they were accomplices,

if

punishing the accomplices just

selves?

It

seems to

me

My own view September

when Yet

all

in this

is

that the use

of

to avoid discussion

after

case,

is it

clear that

a lot

that the

11,

the polls

country

alternatives to

to

crime

a

much

as

of the term

the criminals

‘evil

ones’

is

as

war the

right that in this

United

States

is

now, almost

our foreign policies

them-

intended

show

that

up

to

our present foreign

of the world.

months

be required.

90 per cent of the people

policies.

of Americans care

five

difficult time,

will

don’t even want to listen to anyone

that only 10 per cent rest

as

bin

not true that the better

heading into an extraordinarily

seem

still

Is it

all

of nuances.

substantial changes in

toward the

is it

of the world do not punish accomplices to

severely as the criminals themselves? is

any

members were accomplices of A1 Qaeda and Osama

legal systems

US

Or all members of the know about the planned

ones’?

‘evil

did only a few Taliban leaders

terrorist attacks before

Laden?

US government to which the US might

foreign policies to reduce the likelihood of future

its

terrorist acts.

Taliban

perpe-

easier for the

it

avoid any inconvenient discussion of ways in

Taliban?

of terrorism - which

are always inexcusable, simply labeling

trators as ‘the evil ones'

modify

as ‘the evil

So

I

who

proposes

guess that shows

much about our

policies

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

90

The is

first

and most basic belief

I

have about the current situation

that military action will never be effective in solving the

of terrorism against the United

States.

At best

it

will only prevent

terrorism temporarily. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s

US

that the

somehow

will

problem

little

doubt

or capture or otherwise neutralize

kill

Osama

bin Laden and most of his lieutenants.

The US

pretty

much

bombing, and has

by

pulverized Afghanistan

incidentally killed an

has already

unknown number of innocent noncombatants

The US government, by the way, seems uninterested in even estimating how many innocent noncombatants have in fact been killed, but it is possible that the number is as large as or larger in the process.

US on

than the 3,000 killed in the

September

11.

Whatever the

military success of the US, however, a couple of years hence

extremists just as clever as bin Laden, and hating the will almost certainly arise

we need If I

that

1

We let’s

we should

it,

world. That’s

behind the terrorism.

in

at

go. I’m

all

some people would urge

root causes,

as

going to

six

list

right

of these

The

six issues

is

one compared

to another.

thing you should keep in

critical

that there

With

is

a

with those

1

great deal of disagreerelative

importance of

that caveat, here are the six root

causes of terrorism against the US. starts

us to do.

major root causes of the terrorism

Washington and elsewhere over the

order that

terrorism,

working on these root causes

start

why

should not wait until the military actions are finished

think are important.

mind on ment

even more,

am right that military action will not prevent future

before looking

So

else in the

to understand the root causes

but only delay away.

somewhere

US

new

I

’ve

arranged them

in a

rough

think are most difficult to deal with,

but the order does not necessarily reflect their relative importance.

My

personal feeling

is

that

all

six are

of equal importance.

OVERVIEW

One My number

one root cause

91

the support by the

is

US

over

recent years for the policies of Israel with respect to the Palestinians,

and the as

belief

much

to

among

blame

five-year-long

Arabs and Muslims that the United States

the continuing, almost thirty-

as Israel itself for

Israeli

is

occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza

Strip.

My

first

comment on

this issue

that

is

it

root cause than any ot the others on our Israel,

and many supporters of Israel

not want to 1 1

Top

.

Israel,

talk

a

is

list.

in the

United

States,

United

‘freedom

itself,’

after

September

- about how the

how they had attacked hatred. More recently, when and

irrational,

out of mindless

States, really did

most of whom strongly support

preferred to talk only in general terms

were mad and

controversial

The government of

about any root causes immediately

leaders in the

terrorists

more

pressured to talk about root causes

at

all,

the Israelis and their

supporters have gone to great lengths to reject arguments that Israel’s

US

behavior toward the Palestinians, or

are in

any way even

to say

something positive about root

a partial

support for

When

cause of the terrorism.

I

think

exists.

They

also

distract their

people from their

need

modern

democracy and the

who are depicted as own internal grievances

of Arab nations,

ping up hatred of I

its

emphasize the internal

tensions within the Arab world, the lack of dictatorial rulers

forced

causes, they tend to allege a

broader Islamic religious hatred of the West and technology than

Israel,

trying to

by whip-

Israel.

to digress for a

moment.

clearly multiple root causes

In a situation

of terrorism,

it’s

where there

in the interest

are

of any

person or nation that might be blamed for one of the root causes to

emphasize instead the other root causes. In the

months,

a sizable

last

couple of

propaganda campaign has been launched suggest-

ing that Saudi Arabia

is

the most important root cause of the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

92

September

terrorism.

1 1

government and

decrepit Saudi

world

certainly agree that the dictatorial

I

for a harsh

and

support throughout the Muslim

its

and immoderate version of Islam can be seen

as

one - but only one — of the root causes behind the recent terrorism. I'll is

have more to say about

that

this later.

I

want

to point out here

suspect supporters of Israel are aggressively pressing this

I

campaign against Saudi Arabia, world leaders cause.

What

hope of persuading other

in the

that the issue ol Palestine

is

NOT

The Neu> York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

practitioner of this pro-Israel campaign.

support for

and

Israel

for

its

root

a significant

The United

a leading

is

States’ strong

occupation and colonization of the

West Bank and the Gaza Strip

is

indeed

a

major root cause of the

terrorism against the US.

Two My number two States to spread

its

root cause

is

hegemony and

the present drive of the United

version of big-corporation,

its

free-enterprise globalization around the world. At the same- time,

Muslim

the massive poverty of average people, not only in Arab and

nations but also in the

important

as a

global political issue.

grown wider during the precisely, the

US

as

the

US

globalization based

The gap between

last

and poor

rich

twenty years of globalization

grown among has

on

the poor of the world,

expanded both its

its

own economic

have seen no or very

little

hegemony and

show

more

who a

have

type of

benefit from these changes.

almost impossible to grasp. Global

but they

or,

system, while they them-

This problem of poverty around the world it's

become more

version of globalization. Animosities against the

States have

watched

selves

has

and rich and poor people within most of the nations, has

nations,

United

whole Third World,

is

immense

so

statistics are far

from

that

perfect,

that the world’s population hit 6 billion last year.

2.8 billion people, almost half of the world’s total, have incomes of

OVERVIEW than two dollars

less 1

day.

a

93

Here’s another

per cent of the world’s people receive

the poorest 57 per cent.

25 million people

And

much income

as

Can we even comprehend

in the

United

third

of the

the magnitude

have no doubt -

And

of the injustice that these figures represent?

we

more income

— one

than the 2 billion poorest people of the world world’s total population.

as

here’s a final statistic: the richest

the United States receive

in

the richest

statistic:

blamed

States are, rightly or wrongly,

for these

figures.

The

world includes

the

US

catalog of reasons for animosity toward the a

number of

things

throughout

addition

in

our

to

overbearing assertion of both economic and political hegemony:

our arrogance

in insisting that

whatever we say goes, our penchant

for abrogating or ignoring international

happen

to like, as well as the influence

treaties

of

US

that

don’t

corporations that

make consumer

exploit cheap labor in Third

World countries

goods for Americans. Take

these things together and

all

we

to

you have

a

wide sense among the poor people of the world of being oppressed by the United

States.

This

in turn

made

it

possible for

Laden and the fundamentalists around him

to instill

Osama

bin

and spread

intense hatred of us, just as a sense of being oppressed by the Allies after

World War One made

it

possible for Hitler to arouse the kind

among Germans World War Two.

of fear and hatred of Jews and to

The

pressures arising from the

US hegemony, grow

steadily

that led

complex and

globalization and the

more

explosive.

both to the slaughter

My

related problems of

immense gap

proposal

is

in wealth will

that the

US

should

immediately develop and implement, with active participation of the

UN and the

European Union,

a

new, very

‘Marshall Plan’ type of aid program for

all

large,

and long-term

of the poor nations of

the world. This plan should specifically be aimed at reducing the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

94

size

of the income gap between the poorest and richest nations, and

reducing the income gap between the rich and poor within

at

nations. This type of plan could contribute significantly to reducing

the likelihood of future terrorism against the United States.

show

also

who

more generous

a far

them highly

to

US

present see only a

at

would

States to people

version of globalization that seems

and beneficial

selfish

United

side of the

It

largely to big corporations

and

the rich of the world. I’ve

been talking about

poor since

last

More

Santa Fe.

in

October,

massive aid program for the world’s

a

when

spoke to

I

recently, the British

a

number of peace groups

Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Gordon Brown,

has proposed a similar plan, in the

billion for each

of the next four

the

amount

after

all,

amount

is

$350

My own

years.

I

just about

what the

to in the next

ONE

would regard

as a

US

of

this

how

guy

get!

just see

answer

inequalities stability

is

that

all

this

One would

fiscal vear. J

a

think that

we

three-year period for

are probably thinking,

money

me —

how

unrealistic

should be aware

around the world

is

I

down

the drain.

absolutely critical to the future

far the

at all.

simply going

are,

problem of massive income

solving the

of the world, and so

US

version of globalization has

think there are enough intelligent

UN, US, Europe and the underdeveloped countries that we could set up a planning and monitoring group

in the

themselves

to oversee the wise use ot

corruption to a

is,

military budget will probably

of all people - meaning

not improved the situation

people

billion

corrupt the governments of most Third World nations

and you can

My

He

$350

as to

better purpose.

About now some of you can

suggestion

billion spread over three years.

could find an equal amount to spend over

what

amount of SI 00

program

a

such large funds and to hold the level of

minimum. The United

unilaterally,

and the

States should not

institutions set

run such

up to manage

it

OVERVIEW

95

should not be used to perpetuate and strengthen

hegemony, as

now with

the case

is

When

some new program

even in the detailed planning

you're entitled to ask

if

you hear charges of unrealism before

those

making

that the

world

is

in such a mess,

I

think

My own

feeling

and the inequality problem

maybe we should worry

severe, that

stages,

the charges aren’t really

opposing the new program for some other reason. is

global

Monetary Fund

the International

and the World Bank. is

US

is

so

about alleged ‘unrealism’

less

and more about getting on with the business of planning, followed by

do something about the problem.

real action, to

Three The number

three root cause

I

want

discuss

to

is

the

continuing sanctions and lack of food and medicines for the people

of

of

Iraq, deaths

Muslim I

US

by the

Iraq

Iraqi children,

and Great Britain. Right or wrong, the Arab and blames

‘street

don’t have

and the almost daily bombing of

much

this

to

on the US, not on Saddam Hussein.

comment about on

and the bombings have been

this

one.

in effect for ten years,

The

sanctions

and have neither

brought about the ouster of Saddam Hussein nor significantly

weakened him. And they have caused the deaths of children variously estimated at up to or over a million. The US government’s position

is

that

Iraqi people,

Saddam himself is

but the fact remains that after

US

people are the ones hurt by

My view tions

blame

to

is

for the troubles all

actions, not

that simple justice argues for an

and the bombings.

Four My number

My

proposal

four root cause

is

is

that

of the

these years, the Iraqi

Saddam. end

to both the sanc-

we do

precisely that.

the continued presence of

US

troops in Saudi Arabia.

Ten years ago hostility

this

was the principal cause of Osama bin Laden's

toward the United

States. (His hostility

on account of

US

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

96

actions against Iraq and then the massive later

and

in

both cases may be

tactical

US

— an

support for

effort to

broaden

popularity in the Arab world.) Today the thousands of

personnel in Saudi Arabia are relations.

we

The

men

keep

My

US

constant irritant in

came

own

his

military

Saudi-US

Saudi people clearly do not want them there. Unless

plan to invade Iraq again,

to

a

Israel

and

US

I

doubt there

is

any longer

ground-based military

a vital

reason

facilities there.

The obvious one — that we remove the troops. understand, of course - you’d have to be blind and deaf not to know this - that some people at high levels in the US government do want

proposal?

I

to invade Iraq again. All

not carry the day.

broaden Islam



this

I

I

can’t think

can say

of

a

is,

I

hope such people do

thing that

would do more

to

‘war on terrorism' into a Judeo-Christian war against

despite any

US

governmental protestations

to the contrary.

The fifth root cause on my list is the dissatisfaction and anger of many average and even elite Arabs and Muslims over their own Five

authoritarian, undemocratic, and often corrupt governments, are

supported by the United

My

comment

first

example of directed as

this

much

States. is

that

Osama

particular root cause. against the Saudi

was against the United his

here

States.

own government was

which

bin Laden

is

a

good

His extremist wrath was

government, for example,

as

it

His opposition to what used to be

probably the main reason

why

he had the

men under twenty-five in Saudi Arabia. He received similar support from many young men in other Arab and Muslim states as well. Right now these groups of angry young men obviously no longer have a viable leader in Osama bin support of a majority of the young

Laden, but other extremist leaders are almost sure to

arise. In

addi-

some of these

states

tion, the

next generation of leaders in

may

emerge from among these young men.

well

at least

If

any of them do

OVERVIEW

come

into power, their future

97

governments

be more

will likely

anti-American than the present governments, which Washington but which are really nothing of the

likes to call ‘moderate,' If

we

have not reduced our energy dependence on

oil

sort.

in

the

is

that

meantime, we may face serious trouble. In

my

view, this

we should adopt

a truly difficult

is

proposal

draconian measures immediately to reduce our

dependence on Mideast tax structure to

United

States as

oil.

We

make energy

expensive to consumers in the

as

Europe and Japan. This

in

it is

should, tor example, change our

cant life-style changes in the US. believe that alternative

we

think

I

we

will require signifi-

kid ourselves

if

we

can solve any coming energy crunch by expanding

power sources or by increasing ‘clean

usage, and Alaskan oil usage.

The

coal' usage, nuclear

shortages will be too great;

so will the long-term environmental costs;

and so

will the political

our relationships with other nations that have already

costs in

accepted higher energy prices for consumers

of twenty-first-century

We

My

energy usage, including but not limited to cutting our

overall

power

problem.

also

as a

necessary burden

life.

should not count on

new

oil

supplies

from Central Asia

allowing us to forget about the need for conservation and to stop

being concerned about the

of the Middle Central Asia

East.

Even assuming

become

of Saudi Arabia or other areas

stability

that massive supplies

available quickly,

all

we’ll be

of oil from

doing

is

trans-

ferring our support from the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and the

Gulf States that

we should

we must I

to the dictatorships of Central Asia.

we

ties

Muslim

my

is

not

view, conservation

a

is

prospect the route

follow.

think

of our

blithely accept. In

That

should,

at

the

same time, gradually reduce the closeness

with the present authoritarian governments

states,

and

try to

develop

a

in

Arab and

better understanding of and

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

98

improved

with groups in these

relations

We

present governments.

states that

own

oppose their

should seek out groups that appear to be

democratically inclined and ‘moderate' in the true meaning of the

Of course

word. Difficult? in

my

opinion, to have

in the future.

It’s

But

will be.

it

it is

we’ve got

also the best shot

Osama

bin Ladens that arises from

the anger of Arabs and Muslims with their

The

US

sixth

and

last

root cause

‘war on terrorism.’

now

on

my

list

own governments. arises directly

from the

do with the kind of war the US is three recent occasions - the Gulf War of

It

On

able to fight.

many Muslim states if we wish to diminish,

decent relationship with

a

over time, the support for future

Six

the best shot we've got,

has to

1990—1991, the Kosovo War of 1999 against Yugoslavia, and the current war against Afghanistan



the United States has easily

achieved victories by relying almost exclusively on

air

power, on

now even on drone aircraft with no humans on board. The US has won these wafs with practically no casualties among its own forces. But while few launched from

missiles

Americans get

in

nationalities do.

the United States are proud both of these

and of the low

the viewpoint of anyone

armed

and

numbers of other

killed, sizable

Most people victories

a great distance,

US who

casualties in these three wars.

supports the wars, this prowess of US

forces deserves to be honored.

But elsewhere

the world, especially the underdeveloped world, this invincibility of the

US

From

in

much of

overwhelming

military intensifies the frustrations about and

hatred of the United States. This in turn makes future terrorist acts against the

US —

or what

now

is

asymmetrical warfare - even more lands

who

increasingly effective

oppose the

coming

US

to see

called by likely.

drive for

US

Those

strategic thinkers

in

underdeveloped

worldwide hegemony

no means other than terrorism

method of opposing

the United States.

as

are

an

OVERVIEW This

an issue that demands

is

getting,

and

a lot

99

more

discussion than

goes to the heart of our future foreign policies. For

it

the immediate future, perhaps the next five or ten years, to be

going to war, because it

going

it’s

tempting for any government of the United States to

implement and enforce whatever foreign

that

been

it's

won’t lose

a

it

will

in this direction,

it

chooses by

be confident — even overconfident —

many

military confrontation and won't suffer

The US government

casualties.

policies

in fact has already started

moving

by threatening to launch preemptive wars against

nations that are trying to develop nuclear

weapons or other weapons

of mass destruction. Another thing the

US

is

already doing

unnecessary, degree in comparison with other nations.

March

New York

3

Times puts

up the Pentagon’s budget

as

much

it

as

bluntly. ‘If

you

are.

healthcare, and

To me,

These military expenditures

spending on domestic

to cuts in

make

it

US

same

would

this

like,

is

all

absurd

will clearly lead

problems such

as

poverty and

harder to do anything about solving the

problems of global poverty and income inequality that discussed. In this

editorial

more on defense than

the other countries of the world combined.’ there

An

Congress cranks

President Bush

the United States will soon be spending

- but

to

the United States to an unprecedented, and wholly

militarize

in the

is

I’ve already

five- to ten-year period, the readily available

military option will also encourage the

US

to avoid facing

the hard decisions necessary for a peaceful resolution of our

up

to

more

intractable foreign policy problems.

This leads

me

to a very important conclusion. Since the greater

willingness to initiate and fight wars intensifies hatred of the US, is

US

in the

interest to

ing warfare based on terrorism.

innocent

The

show

bombing

fact that

civilians

is

restraint in

US bombs

tragic

it

and voluntarily stop employ-

order to combat future acts of

and missiles have already

and puts us on

a

killed

par with the extremists

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

100

who committed now,

all

the September

The US should stop, right risks killing more civilians. At

acts.

1

1

further military action that

the same time,

want

I

to

emphasize that

am

I

quite sure there

enough evidence of Osama bin Laden’s complicity 1

1

1

terrorist actions to arrest

would

in the

and indict him. Assuming he

is

September is still

alive,

therefore support covert or Green-Beret-type operations to

capture, but not assassinate, him.

Maximum

precautions should be

taken, however, to prevent such operations from killing or injuring

any more innocent

civilians.

Once

captured, bin Laden should be

prosecuted and tried in an international court. fully

1

understand that compared to most views you hear

concerning the

But

1

US

my

‘war on terrorism,’

believe that unless the

US moves

views are

RADICAL.

in the directions I’ve

been

suggesting, in five or ten years the terrorism against the United States will

become

so intense that our global relationships with

other nations will be in

a

shambles.

On

the other hand,

if

the

US

government voluntarily moves toward the kind of foreign policy changes a

I’ve

been talking about,

trend toward

first

century than

Bill Christison

times

,

considerably

now

seems

was an analyst

think that

more

and

later,

its

actions might start

peaceful, and stable, twenty-

likely.

for the

CIA

1950

from

he worked on Soviet and European

proliferation,

as a

a

1

on Asian and A frican

affairs,

affairs.

to

1979. At various

on global nuclear

In the 1910s, he served

National Intelligence Officer and as the Director of the CIA’s Office of

Regional and Political Analysis.

He now

lives in

Santa Fe,

NM.

OVERVIEW

101

February 26, 2001

W: FIRST BLOOD by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

Bombing

Clair

the Iraqis should properly be listed as part of the Inaugural

ceremonies, a till

St.

man

not being truly President of the United States

he drops high explosive on Baghdad or environs.

evidently

felt

that the

The new team

Commander-in-Chief could not be allowed

to leave the jurisdiction, even to

and bombs against Saddam,

for

Mexico, without unleashing planes

whom

the

bombardment produced

the effect of widespread sympathy across the world for Iraq.

Clinton delayed

Bill

this

portion of his inaugural ceremonies to

June 27, 1993, when he was urged by Vice-President A1 Gore order

to

salvo of cruise missiles supposedly in retaliation for an

a

alleged Iraqi plot to

kill

George Bush Sr when he

Kuwait

visited

of 1993. Both Clinton and Bush were somewhat reluctant

in April

about the

sortie.

‘Do we have

to take this action?’ Clinton

to his national security team, as the cruise missiles in the Persian

muttered

on two

carriers

Gulf were being programmed. Gore advised

that a

demonstration of national resolve was of paramount importance. Clinton’s reservations were amply justified. Eight of the twentythree missiles

suburb

in

homed

in

with deadly imprecision on

Baghdad, one of them

a residential

killing Iraq’s leading artist, Leila

al-Attar.

Feasting

on shrimp,

cocktail canapes

House group watched CNN’s Wolf

and Diet Coke, the White

Blitzer

announce the

strike;

the misfortune of the errant missiles and al-Attar’s death were never

mentioned. Clinton’s pollster Stan Greenberg,

on the popular sentiment, reported

who

to the gratified

did daily surveys

Commander-in-

Chief that bombardment of Iraq caused an uptick of eleven

points.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

102

Since the Clinton administration was its

meltdown,

first

remembered by

was

this

welcome

a

new Bush

the

at that

time in the process ot

ray,

and one no doubt

team, possibly eager to

Bomb

from the headline-hogging former president.

shift the

focus

your way into

favorable headlines has been the policy of every president since

World War Two.

Of There

bombardments

course, these

UN

no

is

all

provision for such assaults.

sometimes referred

document

to as a

bombardment, makes no reference airspace.

week’s a

violate international law.

UN

Resolution 688,

legitimizing the no-fly-zone

to a right to take over Iraqi

There was nothing new about the declared motive

bombing

raids,

described

for last

as “protective retaliation.' Just

over

year ago, after similar raids, the British Defence Secretary, Geoff

Hoon, invoked

the sorties as being ‘in pursuit of legitimate self-

defence,’ a phrase hard to read without laughing out loud.

There’s nothing Iraqis say killed

some

bombing

routinely

discernible effect a

new about

this particular

bombing, which the

The US and Britain have* been much of the past decade, with no

civilians.

Iraq

for

beyond the slaughter of about 500

Iraqis overall,

death count which only looks scrawny in comparison to the

million or

mostly children,

so,

imposed

sanctions since they were

Secretary of State

plays

UN

a

God

Cohn

US-dominated in

officials

have died a

consequence of

as a

decade ago.

Powell had barely settled into his

he was affirming

office before

whereby

who

UN

this

murderous sanctions

committee

in

New

York routinely

in

Baghdad have long agreed

cause of child mortality and other health problems lack ot food available in electrical

policy,

decreeing what can and cannot be shipped to

working

all

power,

Iraq.

that the root is

not simply

and medicine but the lack of clean water parts

new

(freely

of the country prior to the Gulf War) and of

now running

at

30 per cent of

its

pre-bombing

OVERVIEW

103

with consequences for hospitals and water-pumping systems

level,

be

that can

Of the UN’s

all

too readily imagined.

21.9 per cent of contracts vetoed

sanctions committee,

efforts to repair the

a

high proportion were integral to the

water and sewage systems.

worth $236 million

contracts

of mid- 1999 by the

as

in this area,

worth — roughly one-quarter of the

The

Iraqis

of which $54 million

total

value

— have been

disapproved. ’Basically, anything with chemicals or even liable to get

thrown

one

out,'

UN

official revealed.

power supply

has been apparent in the

story.

full

meaning

UN

that items

officials

pumps

The same

is

trend

sector.

The proportion of approved/disapproved the

submitted

refer to the

contracts does not

‘complementarity

tell

issue,’

approved for purchase may be useless without

other items that have been disapproved. For example, the Iraqi Ministry of Health once ordered $25 million worth of dentist chairs, said order

being approved by the sanctions committee - except for

which the

the compressors without

quently gathering dust in the

US moved

France.

of the Iraqi

a

chairs are useless

Baghdad warehouse.

to prevent Iraq

and conse-

In February of

from importing

fifteen bulls

2000 from

The excuse was that the animals, ordered with the blessing UN’s humanitarian office in Baghdad to try to restock the

beef industry, would require certain vaccines which,

knows, might be diverted into

a

program

to

make

who

biological

weapons of mass destruction. For sheer bloody-mindedness, however, the interdiction of the bulls pales beside an British

initiative

of the

government, which banned the export of vaccines for

tetanus, diphtheria

and yellow fever on the grounds that they too

might find

way

their

into

the

hands of Saddam’s biological

weaponeers. It

has been the self-exculpatory mantra of US and British officials

that ‘food

and medicine are exempt from sanctions.’ This,

like so

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

104

many

other Western policy pronouncements on Iraq, has turned

out to be

So

a he.

now the wheel

turns

full circle.

Back

1991 Defense Secretary

in

Dick Cheney and top uniformed Pentagon man Cohn Powell urged

bombardment and President Bush approved. Cheney are at Bush IPs elbow as he approves I

first

military adventure.

thumping? Well,

it

Is

there a strategy,

in a

UN Tribunal

Israel’s

new prime

ill

Sharon,

Beyond

signaling

man who would

a

world about

viz.,

Ariel

its

new

Iraq policy,

readiness to

Bush time,

priorities in

whereby the new

embark on

stance towards Iraq, beefing up aid to the in exile, the Iraqi

Saddam,

as

probably

minister.

there could be the outlines of a is

beyond Inaugural chest-

on War Crimes

this ‘signal’ to the

government

his administration’s

changes the subject from what the Bush

administration proposes to do about fare as

2001 Powell and

In

tougher

a far

main opposition group

National Congress (INC), led by

Ahmad

Chalabi.

In the late 1990s Chalabi ’s cause was pressed by Republicans in

A

Congress, most notably Jesse Helms and Trent Lott. alliance, stretching

New

from Helms to The

Christopher Hitchens, pressed Chalabi’s

Basra and the

oil

guarantees could

fields, to

Republic to Vanity Fairs

call for

‘military exclusion zones' in northern Iraq

to guarantee

in the

south near

be administered by the INC. Such

set the stage for a

new

military assault

bombing

an unlikely prospect, but George W. Bush could

with the thought that

US

the

and

Against the continuation of sanctions and is

bizarre

at last

on Saddam. sorties this

at least

be toying

the Clinton— Gore campaign’s slurs

against his father for not finishing off

Saddam

will

be avenged.

OVERVIEW

September

2001

12,

WHO SAW

105

IT

COMING?

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

Clair

St.

Tuesday’s onslaughts on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon

being likened to Pearl Harbor, and the comparison

are

Not

obliteration the attack

is

virtually

a

without historic

parallel, a

trauma

Chicago

great as the San Francisco earthquake or the

There may be another of

just.

terms of destructive extent, but in terms of symbolic

in

at least as

is

fire.

The possibility December of 1941 was known to US

similarity to Pearl Harbor.

Japanese attack in early

Naval Intelligence and to President Roosevelt. Last Tuesday, derision at the failure of

US

Washington Post quoted an

unnamed

Security Council

‘We don't know anything

watching

CNN

as saying:

too.’

intelligence budget,

intelligence was widespread.

top

Are we to believe

immense

official at the

$30

that the

The

National

here.

We ’re

billion annual

electronic eavesdropping capacity,

thousands of agents around the world, produced nothing in the way

of a warning?

In fact

Osama

bin Laden,

now prime

suspect, said in

an interview three weeks ago with Abdel-Bari Atwan, the editor of the

London-based al-Quds al-Araby newspaper,

‘very,

very big attacks against American

Here

is

interests.’

CIA, planner of other

planet, originally trained by the

successful attacks

on

US

installations

imminence of another

such

as

FBI bounty on

Africa, carrying a $5 million

assault,

and

US

the embassies in East his

in the

1960s and 1970s,

the possibility of air assaults

when

head proclaiming

intelligence

even though the attacks must have taken months,

Back

he planned

bin Laden, probably the most notorious Islamic foe of

America on the

the

that

if

hijacking was

on buildings such

as

was impotent,

not years to plan. a

preoccupation,

the Trade Center

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

106

were

major concern of

a

US

security and intelligence agencies. But

since the 1980s and particularly during the Clinton— Gore years the

more modish

focus shifted to

such

fears,

as

biochemical

nuclear weapons launched by so-called rogue

This

had the

latter threat

investment

in Missile

allure

assault

and

states.

of justifying the $60 billion

Defense, aka Star Wars.

One

ot the biggest

proponents of that approach was A1 Gore’s security advisor Leon Fuerth,

who

wailed plaintively amid Tuesday’s rubble that ‘In effect

the country’s

war but we don't have the coordinates of the

at

enemy.’

But the

lust for retaliation traditionally outstrips precision

By

identifying the actual assailant.

on Tuesday

early evening

America’s national security establishment were calling for

of

all

impediments on the

assassination

in

a

removal

of foreign leaders. Led by

President Bush, they were endorsing the prospect of attacks not just

on the perpetrators but on those

From

the nuclear priesthood

be deployed on

The

a

preemptive

coming

(most of which,

US

like the

the Bill of Rights.

The

all

demand

the

The

that

mini-nukes

enemies of America.

the usual suspects: rogue states

Saddam Hussein,

Taliban or

intelligence).

might have harbored them.

basis against the

abroad will be

targets

creatures of

is

who

target at

home

will

started off as

of course be

explosions of Tuesday were not an hour old

before terror pundits like Anthony Cordesman, Wesley Clark, Robert

Gates and Lawrence Eagleburger were saying that these attacks had

been possible ‘because America

some democratic might

this

ment and national

perquisites

is

a

democracy,' adding that

might have

to

be abandoned.

mean? Increased domestic snooping by

US

now What

law enforce-

intelligence agencies; ethnic profiling; another drive for a

ID card system. Tuesday did not

of America’s

leaders.

composed and

offer a flattering exhibition

who looked who happened

For most of the day the only Bush

in control in

Washington was Laura,

OVERVIEW to be waiting to testify

and

on Capitol

107

Hill.

Her husband gave

stilted initial reaction in Sarasota, Florida,

an hour before resurfacing

he gave another tranquilizers.

someone

flaccid address

He was

finally

at a

at

a

bunker

in Nebraska, before

that the best place for an

time of national emergency

is

the Oval Office.

of explaining with

similarly incapable

likely context

where

with every appearance of being on

then flown to

The commentators were any depth the

then disappeared for

base in Barksdale, Louisiana,

had the wit to suggest

American president

timid

a

of the attacks. By contrast, the

commentary on economic consequences was informative and sophisticated.

Worst

hit:

the insurance industry. Likely outfall in

the short-term: hiked energy prices, a further drop in global stock

markets. George Bush will have no trouble in raiding the famous

lock-box, using Social Security Trust Funds to give more to the

Defense Department. That about sums

are successfully steered into three

it

Three planes

of America’s most conspicuous

buildings and America’s response will be to put

way of bolstering

missile defense as a

up.

money

more money

in

the economy.

September 20, 2001

THE PRICE, MRS ALBRIGHT? by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

What moved ago, as

St.

Clair

those kamikaze Muslims to embark, so

on the training

well of those

that they

knew would culminate

in their

deaths

(they must have hoped) of thousands

upon

thousands of innocent people? America has led its

many months

wars on people. The wars mostly didn’t

a

charmed

life

amid

come home and

the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

108

made

press

workers has

as sure as

Trade Towers weren’t

in the

been wrought

made

could that folks including the ordinary

it

in

really

up

on what

to speed

Freedom’s name. In Freedom’s name America

sure that any possibility of secular democratic reform in the

Middle East was shut mid-1950s,

as

CIA

the

Khomeini twenty-five

CIA

the

Iraq, as

Mount

off.

did,

coup

a

Mossadegh

against

in the

and you end up with the Ayatollah

did,

years later.

Mount

a

coup

against

Kassim

in

and you get the Agency's man, Saddam

Hussein.

What about Afghanistan?

In April

of 1978 an indigenous populist

Mohammed Daoud, who had man the US had installed in Iran, Reza

coup overthrew the government of formed an

alliance with the

Pahlevi, aka the Shah.

The new Afghan government was

Noor Mohammed Taraki, and albeit

with

a

good

theTaraki administration embarked,

deal of urban intellectual arrogance,

reform, hence an attack on the opium-growing feudal

went

to

the

UN, where

substitution for the

poppy

he managed to

down on opium

to finance attacks

ment, which they regarded that allowed

estates.

Taraki

loans for crop

raise

production

border areas held by fundamentalists, since the

modernity

on land

fields.

Taraki also tried to bear

opium revenues

led by

as

latter

on Afghanistan’s

in

the

were using

central govern-

an unwholesome incarnation of

women

to

go

to school

and outlawed

arranged marriages and the bride price.

At that time the mujahideen were getting money not only from

Muammar Qaddafi, who sent them $250,000. In the summer of 1979 the US State Department produced clear how the US government saw the stakes, no a memo making the

CIA

but from Libya’s

it

matter

how modern-minded

mujahideen.

The memo was

Taraki might be or

dispatched to

world, including the one in Tehran.

A

US

how

feudal the

embassies around the

few months

later the

embassy

OVERVIEW

109

was occupied by Iranian students and the occupants taken hostage.

The diplomats and CIA

residents shredded their secret

files

but the

students laboriously reassembled them, and ultimately they were

published in sixty-eight paperback volumes.

was the following memo, written shortly

The United

States’ larger interest

...

Among

after the Taraki

of the rest

DR A

and economic reforms

this

in Afghanistan.

might mean

The overthrow

[Democratic Republic of Afghanistan] would show the

of the world, particularly the Third World, that the Soviets’ view

of the

socialist

course of history being inevitable

Taraki was killed by Afghan Hafizullah

Amin, educated

regularly with

US

embassy

army

in the

is

in Afghanistan, the Soviets

The

back-office

US, took over and began meeting

officials at a

invaded

staffs,

time

when

in force in

in the

culture

US was arming

US-backed regime 1979.

messenger boys, cleaners, and other

know

that history.

of other relevant history they probably didn’t

a lot

but which those

people

the

December

workers throughout the Trade Center didn’t There’s

not accurate.

September 1979.

officers in

Islamic rebels in Pakistan. Fearing a fundamentalist,

istic

coup:

would be served by the demise

of the Taraki—Amin regime, despite whatever setbacks for future social

the documents

men on

the attack planes did.

Towers have known, when

is

a

US

How

political

know

could those

and journal-

conspiracy to perpetuate their ignorance? Those

people on the Towers were innocent portions of the price that Albright insisted, in just one of

applications,

was worth

it.

It

memory to insist that in future our press offers accounting of how America’s wars for Freedom are fought

would honor a better

its

their

and what the actual price might include.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

110

September 25, 2001

RETRIBUTION by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

We’re passing from appalling front yard of the

media

human

capital

St.

Clair

loss

and suffering,

live in

the

of the world, to the traditional

parameters of imperial retribution.

It

won’t be bombs that

settle

the issue, and the Pentagon has small appetite for any substantial foray into Afghanistan

on the ground. Cash

be the lubricant

will

of victory, and since unlimited supplies of cash are available to buy support for the

US among

the Afghan factions,

before the Taliban are chased out.

from Bush’s point of view

The only

is

may

is

not be long

inauspicious factors

are that the bribing will

of the CIA, whose record tor screw-ups

mediary

it

be the province

ample, and the inter-

to be Pakistani military intelligence,

which sponsored

own

agenda, not one

the Taliban’s triumph and

which

has

its

dedicated to peace and reconstruction for Afghanistan.

Much

has been

been made of the

doom

awaiting martial forays

into Afghanistan, the British debacles of the nineteenth century

and

the Soviets’ in the 1980s. But the British were exceptionally stupid

and the Russians

some 13,000

didn’t suffer unduly. Across ten years they lost

in Afghanistan.

A

Russian colonel, veteran of the

campaign, recently disclosed to Patrick Cockburn that about 33 per cent of these mortalities were due to accidents (tanks falling off roads and so forth),

which brings down the number of Russians

actually killed by the

muj

to

under

a

thousand

a year.

The muj,

including bin Laden, held out against the Russians and in the end forced their withdrawal because they enjoyed the limitless support

of the Pakistani military and of the US,

running the

largest covert

op

in

its

in the

form of the CIA

history at a cost of $3.5 billion.

OVERVIEW

Who

have the Taliban got?

A

1

1

1

starving, discontented domestic

population and external enemies on

sides,

all

wallowing

in

promises

of huge American dispensations. Their original sponsors

in

the

Pakistani military have far larger satisfactions than temporary loss

of

a

regime in Kabul before

client

now

together. Pakistan

is

nuclear club, with

its

The

US so

OK

certified as

to

be

can be cobbled a

member of

the

debts rescheduled.

globe-spinners talk about bin Laden’s dangerous appeal to

Muslims around the world chafing of their

new one

a

leaders, the

at

the despotism and corruption

occupation of Jerusalem by the Jews and their

protector, the starving of Iraqi children, but if the

much of a

tinder box,

why

there? All talk of fragile

didn’t bin

Laden

Arab world

try to apply the

is

match

Araby notwithstanding, the regimes there

have been astoundingly stable across years of political turmoil.

October

5,

'SMALL

IS

by Jeffrey

St.

2001

BEAUTIFUL' Clair

minimum, tactical

‘At a bare

the bin Laden rightly seen

camps

nuclear capabilities should be used against

in the desert

of Afghanistan. To do

by the poisoned minds

less

would be

that orchestrated these attacks as

cowardice on the part of the United States and the current administration.’

war

These

New

are not the

York Post.

words of a columnist

No. These

are

for the rabidly pro-

the considered sentiments of

Thomas Woodrow, a former officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon has come to a remarkable conclusion with regard to nuclear

weapons: smaller

is

better.

These days the Wizards of

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

112

Armageddon

are palpably anxious to develop a

new

class

of nuclear

weapons, the so-called ‘deep penetrator’ warheads. Over the decade the Pentagon and busy crafting

its

variety of

a

weapons designers have been quietly

new weapons.

Clinton administration generated

comprehensive

test

ban

past

treaty

a lot

(which

string of subcritical tests), the

Indeed, although the

of hoopla by supporting the it

promptly violated with

a

Department of Energy and the

Pentagon were busy developing new breeds of weapons. In 1997, they unveiled and deployed the 136 1-11, described

as

modification of the old B61-7 gravity bomb. In reality

was largely

a

new

nuke

‘package,’ the prototype for the ‘low-yield' bunker-blasting

weaponeers see

that the

The

nuclear priesthood

generation of nukes and

which

it

mere

a

is

as

the future of the

US

arsenal.

salivating at the prospect

of

new infusions of cash under the Bush

a

new

regime,

been stockpiled with nuclear hawks, ranging from Richard

has

Armitage and Paul Wolfowitz to Assistant Secretary of Defense Jack

Couch, who dropping

a

couple of years ago wrote that the

a small

nuke on North Korea

The Pentagon, of course, So

are the nuclear labs

isn’t

to teach

the only

US

should consider

them

a lesson.

one pushing new bombs.

and their legions of contractors.

October 20, 2001

THE LEFT

AND

THE 'JUST WAR'

by Alexander Cockburn

The

left is

getting itself tied up in knots about the Just

propriety of

bombing

Afghanistan.

I

suspect

some

War and

the

are intimidated

by laptop bombardiers and kindred bullyboys handing out white

OVERVIEW feathers

A

113

and snarling about ‘collaborators’ and being‘soft on

fascism.’

recent issue of The Nation carried earnest efforts by Richard Falk

and an

editorial writer to

mark out

frameworks

‘the relevant

of

moral, legal and religious restraint’ to be applied to the lethal business of attacking Afghans.

through a just

felt

sorry for Falk

he clambered

as

moral obstacle course. This business of trying to define

his

war

I

against Afghanistan

is

what C. Wright

Mills used to call

crackpot realism.

War,

as

the United States has been fighting

it

in

Iraq

and

Yugoslavia, consists mostly of bombing, intended to terrify the

population and destroy the fabric of tolerable social existence. Here’s

of

how

a

couple of Pentagon briefers described the infliction

reported by Jonathan Landay of the San

terror, as

News on October

bomb from

a

17: “‘If you’re

B-52

and you hear an

it’s

over,’’

Jose

on the ground and get

the officer said.

AC- 130 coming,

with

“But

if

hit

Mercury

with

a

you're there

Gatling gun going, the

its

experience can be even more frightening.’’’ Marine Corps Lieut.

Gen. Gregory Newbold provided further context: ‘The psychological effect

they have

was intended to convince the Taliban leadership that

made

an error and their calculus

some day

will

be

in their

interests to see that.’

Those AC- 130s were over Kabul. What quence be but

to terrify

and

kill civilians,

else

can the conse-

whose anguish may or

may not impinge upon the ‘calculus’ of the Taliban leaders? Remember, too, that bombs mostly miss their targets. Colonel John

who planned the air campaign in Iraq, said afterwards that dropping dumb bombs ‘is like shooting skeet. 499 out of 500 pellets Warden,

may

miss the target, but that’s irrelevant.’ There will always be

shattered hospitals and

wrecked old

folks’

homes, just

as

there will

always be Defense Department flacks saying that the destruction ‘cannot be independently verified’ or that the hospitals or old folks’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

114

homes were and

enemy

actually sanctuaries for

‘command

forces, for

control.’

How many bombing decade to recognize

campaigns do we have

sets

a

the usual landmarks?

all

There can be no ‘limited war with limited

bombing

go through in

to

objectives’

when

the

matches to tinder from Pakistan and Kashmir to

Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem. ‘Limited war' prospect than to regard September

1 1

as a

is

a far less realistic

crime, to pursue

perpetrators to justice in an international court, using

all

its

relevant

police and intelligence agencies here and abroad.

The

left

should be for peace, which in no way means ignoring

demands of either

the

Iraq,

US

left says

Aye

on

Bin Laden

side.

calls for

an end to sanctions

The

troops out of Saudi Arabia, justice for Palestinians. to those,

though we want

a

two-state solution, whereas

bin Laden wants to drive Jews along with secular and Christian Palestinians into the sea.

The US government

of the Terror Network, and the

left says

Aye

to that too.

we oppose networks of people who wage war on So we’re pretty

know this

these

close to supporting

demands

war about?

On

are not

dismantling

calls for a

civilians.

demands on both

going to be achieved by war.

Bush’s side

it’s

of theocratic fundamentalist Islam.

We don’t want anyone

Empire, for the ‘war on

anywhere

else,

or for anyone to

fundamentalism. 1

1

was

A

a

to the

On that issue the left be cashed kill

in

name

against

both

name of the American blood

or die in the

UN, proceed on

is

in the

in

Colombia or

name of

the basis that

Islamic

September

crime. Bring the perpetrators to justice by legal means.

final

killings,

Go

but

about the defense of the American

to kill or die in the

terror' to

we What is

sides,

Empire; on the other, an attempt to challenge that Empire

sides.

Of course

word about

‘rationalizing.’ After the

Columbine school

people called for more security in schools. They also asked

big questions:

How

could

we

have raised such children? Was

it

OVERVIEW

115

distance parenting, violence in culture, bullying? If questions,

no one confused explanation with justification.

charged you with being Leave the

final

word

soft

on teen

to Seth

civilians

November FBI

10,

is

No

one

killers.

Bardacke,who remarked

Frank, the afternoon of September 11:

bombing

you asked such

‘I

to his father

now we know

guess

that

wrong.’

2001

EYES TORTURE

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

St.

Clair

‘FBI and Justice Department investigators are increasingly frustrated

by the silence of jailed suspected al

Qaeda network, and some

civil

may have

liberties

to be

information about the Sept.

Thus began Post

a

getting

1 1

beginning to say that traditional cast aside

attacks

and

for torture,

if

you suspect

you

are right.

Metropolitan Correctional Center.

The FBI

...

the overture to an

interrogators have been

None of these men in

New

have talked,

the interrogation as

we could go to pressure and we are probably getting

a

choice,

Pincus reports that ‘among the alternative strategies under

discussion are using drugs or pressure tactics, such as those

occasionally by idea

is

York’s

could get to that spot where

where we won’t have

there.’

is

suspects, held in

and Pincus quotes an FBI man involved ‘it

they are to extract

terrorist plans.’

that this

nowhere with the four key

saying that

if

piece by Walter Pincus on page 6 of the Washington

on Sunday, and

argument

are

of Osama bin Laden’s

associates

Israeli

employed

interrogators, to extract information.

extraditing the suspects to allied countries

Another

where security

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

116

services

sometimes employ

members

threats to family

or resort to

torture.’

Some FBI

interrogators are thinking longingly of drugs like the

so-called ‘truth serum,’ tactics,’ i.e.,

sodium pentothal; others of the

straightforward tortures, used by Shin Bet in

after savage public

‘pressure

Israel,

banned

debate a few years ago, which included sensory

deprivation (an old favorite of British interrogators in Northern Ireland), plus

many agonizing

physical torments.

Another idea

is

to

send the suspects to other countries for torture by seasoned experts.

The FBI

claims

is

no need

If so, there’s

torturers.

it

As

interrogation

hampered by

to eye

a practical

rooms of

Morocco

or France

matter torture

US

present codes of gentility.

its

is

far

from unknown

New

York

known recent example. The most infamous disclosure of consistent concerned cops

in recent years

Seventies through early Eighties deprivation, hanging testicles.

A

The

subcontracting in the

law enforcement, with Abner Louima,

the Haitian immigrant brutalized by

department

as

who

in

police, the best-

torture by a police

Chicago

in the

used electroshock, oxygen

on hooks, the bastinado and beatings of the

torturers

were white and

their victims black or

brown.

prisoner in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison was thrown into

boiling water. Others get 50, 000-volt shocks from stun guns. states

m

mid-

have so-called ‘secure housing units’ where prisoners are kept

solitary in tiny concrete cells for years

going mad

US

in the process.

police forces for

amounting

States for

A

‘a

on end, many of them

Amnesty International

has

denounced

pattern of unchecked excessive force

to torture.’

Last year the

ment.

Many

its

UN

delivered a severe public rebuke to the United

record on preventing torture and degrading punish-

ten-strong panel of experts highlighted what

Washington’s breaches of the agreement

ratified

it

said

were

by the United

OVERVIEW 1994.

States in

UN

The

117

Committee Against

Torture,

UN

monitors international compliance with the

which

Convention

Against Torture, has called for the abolition of electric-shock stun belts (1,000 in use in the

well

US) and

restraint chairs

an end to holding children in adult

as

on

prisoners, as

jails. It also

said female

detainees are ‘very often held in humiliating and degrading circumstances’ and expressed concern over alleged cases of sexual

by police and prison

assault

sively harsh

officers.

maximum

regime in

The

panel criticized the exces-

security prisons, the use of chain

gangs in which prisoners perform manual labor while shackled together, and the

number of cases of police

brutality against racial

minorities.

So

far as

rape

is

concerned, because of the rape factories more

known as the US prison system there are estimates many men as women are raped in the US each year.

conventionally that twice as

A Human

Rights Watch report

December 2000 in

in April

on

Prison Journal study based

seven men’s prison

facilities in

that 21 per cent of the inmates

four

of

states.

had experienced

a

this

year cited a

survey of inmates

The

results

at least

showed

one episode

of pressured or forced sexual contact since being incarcerated, and at least

7 per cent had been raped in their

facilities.

A 1996

study

of the Nebraska prison system produced similar findings, with 22 per cent of male inmates reporting that they had been pressured or forced to have sexual contact against their will while incarcerated.

Of these, more

than 50 per cent had submitted to forced anal sex

at least

once. Extrapolating these findings to the national level gives

a total

of

Since

at least

its

140,000 inmates

inception the

CIA

who

have been raped.

has taken a keen interest in torture,

avidly studying Nazi techniques and protecting their exponents

such

as

Klaus Barbie.

The FBI could

plenty of countries taught torture by

ship the four key suspects to

CIA

technicians, including El

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

118

Salvador.

Robert

that after the

SAVAK,

Fisk reported in the

1979 revolution Iranians found

the Shah’s political police,

William Blum, whose Rogue a useful a

in Brazil’s

the former

Otero,

State

overview of the United

1970 story

as

London

instituted torture in

to

made lor torture women. film

Courage, 2000) gives

States’ relationship to torture, cites

extremely respectable Jornal do

Uruguayan chief of police

saying that

CIA

a

on how

(Common

Independent in 1998

US

refinement in technique (such

a

quoting

intelligence, Alejandro

Dan

advisers, particularly

Uruguay on

Brasil,

Mitrione, had

routine basis, with scientific

the precise upper limits of electric

as

voltage before death intervened) and psychological pressure, such as a tape in the

next

room of women and

children screaming, telling

the prisoner that his family was being tortured.

The CIA’s It

is

official line

indeed wrong.

On

is

that torture

is

wrong and

is

ineffective.

it

has been appallingly

and

here’s Jonathan Alter,

countless occasions

effective.

November

15,

2001

ALTER ASKS: 'CAN WE TORTURE JUST A TEENSY BIT?' by Alexander Cockburn

Open

the

November

munching on

5 edition of Newsweek

the week’s hot topic,

torturing obdurate September

1

1

namely the propriety of the FBI suspects in the bureau’s custody

here in the United States. Alter says no to cattle prods, but continues the sentence with the observation that something start

the stalled investigation.’ The tone

is

is

needed

to

‘jump-

lightly facetious: ‘Couldn’t

OVERVIEW

we

at least

subject

them

119

to psychological torture, like tapes of

rabbits or high-decibel rap?’

There

dying

are respectful references to Alan

Dershowitz (who's running around the country promoting the idea Israel,

where

an interrogation technique called “shaking” was

legal.

holding

dark room, then

of ‘torture warrants’ issued

a

by judges) and to

smelly bag over

applying scary psychological torment

room

a little

for

“ticking time

head in

a suspect’s

a

Even now,

...

“moderate physical pressure"

bomb"

‘until It

1999

entailed

Israeli

law leaves

what

are called

in

cases.’

As so often with unappealing

labor. Alter arrives at the usual

Amer-

ican solution: outsource the job. ‘We’ll have to think about transferring

some

suspects to our less squeamish

allies,’

he

says.

What’s striking

about Alter's commentary and others in the same idiom abstraction that

all

from

reality, as if

torture

is

is

the

so indisputably a dirty business

painful data had best be avoided.

One would

have thought

hard to be frivolous about the subject of torture, but Alter managed

it it.

Would one know from his commentary that under international covenants — signed and ratified by the United States — torture is illegal?

One would

not,

and one assumes

that as

with the war against the

Taliban’s Afghanistan, Alter regards issues of legality as entirely

immaterial.

Would one know

has been charged by the

such

as

Human

that in recent years the

United

UN and also by human rights organizations

Rights Watch and Amnesty International with

tolerating torture in prisons, by

methods ranging from

twenty-three-hour-a-day confinement

in

solitary,

concrete boxes for years on

end, to activating 50,000-volt shocks through a mandatory belt

by prisoners? Would one postwar

US

States

know

that

worn

one of the darkest threads

in

imperial history has been the CIA’s involvement with

torture, as instructor, practitioner or contractor?

Remember Dan

Mitrione, kidnapped and killed by Uruguay’s

Tupamaros and portrayed by Yves Montand

in

Costa-Gavras’s film

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

120

State oj Siege? In the late

of Public

Safety, part

In Brazil, so A.

Langguth

J.

US

(a

New

former

book Hidden

Office

without

York Times bureau chief

Terrors

advisors teaching Brazilian police

to apply to prisoners

US

of the Agency for International Development.

in Saigon) related in his

the

1960s Mitrione worked for the

Mitrione was

,

how much

among

electric

shock

them. In Uruguay, according to

killing

the former chief of police intelligence, Mitrione helped ‘professionalize’ torture

as

techniques such

a

routine measure and advised on psychological

as

playing tapes of

that the prisoner’s family

women

and children screaming

was being tortured.

Alter expresses a partiality for ‘truth drugs,’ an enthusiasm shared

by the

US Navy

officers got

serums’

at

after the

on the

trail

war

against Hitler,

when

its

intelligence

of Dr Kurt Plotner’s research into ‘truth

Dachau. Plotner gave Jewish and Russian prisoners high

doses of mescaline and then observed their behavior, in

expressed hatred for their guards and

about their

own

As part of its

made

which they

confessional statements

psychological makeup.

MK-ULTRA

larger

Dr Ewen Cameron

at

project the

gave

McGill University. Cameron was

the sensory-deprivation techniques for issued his approval.

CIA

a

which Jonathan

Cameron once locked up

woman

a

money

to

pioneer

in

Alter has in a small

white box for thirty-five days, deprived of light, smell and sound. The

CIA

doctors were amazed

experiments with

a

at

this

knowing

and

it’s

less

CIA

own

than forty hours.

easy to get carried away. Torture destroys

the tortured and corrupts the society that sanctions

FBI today, the

that their

sensory-deprivation tank in 1955 had induced

severe psychological reactions in Start torturing,

dose,

in

1968 got frustrated by

its

it.

Just like the

inability to

suspected leaders of Vietnam’s National Liberation Front by

methods of interrogation and advanced experiments,

in

torture.

its

break usual

So the agency began more

one of which

it

anesthetized three

OVERVIEW prisoners,

opened

They were

their skulls

121

and planted electrodes

room and

revived, put in a

in their brains.

given knives.

The CIA

psychologists then activated the electrodes, hoping the prisoners

would

attack

one another. They

didn’t.

The

electrodes were removed,

the prisoners were shot and their bodies burned. Alter can read about it

in

Gordon Thomas’s book Journey

The

Israelis?

They’re

still

torturing. In

Sun relayed charges from the ‘severe torture'

Madness.

into

Israeli

July,

human

But

Israel

outsourced too. After

‘security strip’ in southern

for the Independent,

torturers

had

May

the electric leads for the

as

fourteen

its

puppet South Lebanese prison. His report

25, 2000, began thus:

grilles

little

There was the

where prisoners were

thrown over them

dynamo —

off to Israel by the interrogators

at night.

Then

tied

naked

there were

the machine mercifully taken

- which had

the inmates shrieking

the electrodes touched their fingers or penises.

there were the handcuffs

forth.

retreated from

just left but the horror remained.

for days, freezing water

when

its

group B’tselem of

bowls and so

Khiam

Fisk visited

whipping pole and the window

with pain

toilet

and the Baltimore

young

as

finally

Israel

Lebanon, run by

Army, the journalist Robert

The

rights

by police: Palestinian youths

being badly beaten, their heads shoved into

AP

which an ex-prisoner handed

to

And

me yesterday

afternoon. Engraved into the steel were the words: ‘The Peerless

Handcuff Co. Israel’s

Springfield, Mass.

most shameful prison,

Made

if the

what they were doing when they

If

in

USA.’ And

I

wondered,

executives over in Springfield

in

knew

sold these manacles.

handcuffs are sold these days to the FBI’s subcontractor of

choice,

at least

the executives will

know

explain the patriotic morality of their

they have Jonathan Alter to

bottom

line.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

122

November

28, 2001

WHERE WERE THEY WHEN

COUNTED?

IT

by Alexander Cockburn

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Hindu Kush and America’s children

as

the Taliban fled into the

flocked to Harry Potter, the

Bush administration

nation’s opinion formers discovered that the

had hijacked the Constitution with the Patriot Act and the military Time magazine burst out that Avar

tribunals. liberties.'

stories

The New

is

on your

hell

York Times suddenly began to run big

civil

news

about John Ashcroft. But well before the end of September

Ashcroft’s proposals to trash the Bill of Rights

were

available for

inspection and debate.

At the time

when

it

counted,

when

a

volley of barks from the

watchdogs might have provoked resistance Patriot Bill

and warned Bush not to

tribunals, there

in

try his luck

that

US

the

with military

torture.

press did not raise adequate alarums

was going

to

was mostly decorum from the opinion-makers, aside

from amiable discussions of the propriety of whole, the

Congress

as a

about legislation

full

snoop powers on the Internet,

to non-citizens,

expand even further warrantless

to give the

deny habeas corpus

Taken

FBI

searches unleashed in the Clinton era with

new powers

given in

1995 to secret courts operating under the terms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act passed in the Carter years, in 1978. In the

run-up

to

Bush's signing of the

October 25, the major papers were in the bill that

were horrifying to

only have taken profuse after

a

few

fierce

November

spiritless

Patriot Act

on

about the provisions

civil libertarians. It

columns or

15, to

USA

editorials,

would have

such

as

were

have given frightened politicians

cover to join the only bold soul in the

US

Senate, Russell Feingold

OVERVIEW of Wisconsin. the spring

let

Now

it

was Feingold, remember, whose vote back

Ashcroft’s

when most of his Democratic

time

the

news cameras about

The

in

nomination out of the Judiciary Committee,

at a

process.

123

colleagues were roaring to

Ashcroft’s racism and

contempt

for

due

Times and the Post both editorialized against Ashcroft’s

nomination.

But then, when the rubber met the road, and Ashcroft sent up the Patriot

Bill,

which vindicated every

spring,

all fell

silent

speech

in the

US

dire prediction

who made

except for Feingold,

a

of the

magnificent

Senate on October 25 citing assaults on liberty

going back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of John Adams, the

US Supreme Court of World War Two (along with

suspension of habeas corpus sanctioned by the in 1

World War One, the internments

10,00 Japanese Americans there were

and 3,000

Italian

blacklists

protesters in

the

nications as

would be

1,000

German Americans

Americans put behind barbed wire), the

McCarthyite

of the 1950s and the spying on antiwar

Under

1960s.

warned, the Fourth

1

Amendment

the terms of the as

it

applies to electronic

effectively eliminated.

an assault on ‘the basic rights that

represented, he warned,

bill,

He

commu-

Hayed the Patriot

make

us

who we

truly breath-taking expansion

‘a

Feingold

Bill

are.’

It

of police

power.’

Feingold was trying to win time for challenges in Congress to specific provisions in Ashcroft’s

bill.

In vain.

The USA

Patriot Act

passed into law and Feingold’s was the sole vote against

it

in the

Senate. There weren’t even articles about his reasons for being the sole hold-out.

Though Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted since tried to get the

‘left’

in

war-making, he has

Congress to pull the plug on Bush’s

November 28 could only find thirtywith him, one of whom is Bob Barr, the

military tribunals, but as of

seven colleagues to agree

for

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

124

who

conservative former prosecutor

from the

new

earliest days the provisions

who

guess

also

wrote

this:

‘Today,

undeclared war, against

for

Congress to do

We

do not need

its

duty,

to have

was among those attacking

USA

of the

America

is

being stampeded into

This

is

a

Iraq.

time for truth,

our

politics

We’ve always in

no way

No more

like Safire,

time

a

poisoned for yet another a

War

Party and a Peace

Party in the aftermath of yet another undeclared war.

Buchanan who,

a

and debate and decide on war or peace.

generation by the mutual recriminations ot

undeclared wars.

And

Patriot Act.

presidential wars.’

It

No more

was Patrick

wrote speeches for Richard Nixon.

said that the true

contours of American politics are

reflected by the conventional political maps.

December 7 2001 ,

AND SONS: THE BUSHES AND LADENS GO WAY BACK

FATHERS BIN

by Jeffrey

Chances to

St.

Clair

are that

George W. Bush

didn’t

pronounce Osama bin Laden’s name,

informed about the events of 9/1

be tutored on

how

after the President

was

need

to

while reading that story about

1

the goat to grade-schoolers in Sarasota, Florida.

the Bushes go

Exactly

many

how The

far

back remains

a

matter of conjecture. But, like

Laden brood has always had

patriarch of the bin

Laden

Laden, the son of a Yemeni bricklayer

and struck

it

bin Ladens and

way back.

ultra-rich Saudis, the bin

for Texas.

The

clan,

a

thing

Mohammed

who moved

bin

to Saudi Arabia

rich in the construction business, flew frequently to

OVERVIEW

125

Dallas to seal deals with his associates in the oil industry, often in his private jet.

that

Mohammed knew

banking and

much

There’s

George Bush the

political cronies in the

Mohammed power

lines.

First

Lone

and

his

cohort of oil,

Star state.

died in a plane crash in Saudi Arabia.

Houston when

elder sons, Salem, died near hit

no hard proof,

speculation, though

Of all

the bin Ladens,

close relationship to the Bushes.

of

his

his ultra-light airplane

was Saleem

it

One

who

The connection was

a

had the

Houston

named James Bath, who haunted the darker back of the Bush-Reagan years, amid the fragrance of scandals

wheeler-dealer corridors

BCCI

ranging from Iran/contra to

Loan debacle

to Iranian

to the Silverado Savings

weapons mogul Adnan Khashoggi.

Bath was an Air Force fighter pilot National Guard

in the

Bush,

who

had

is

a lot

In

of

in

Vietnam

in

Houston, where he

tied to the

and Bush became

and

Guard

fast friends,

in

who ended up met George W.

first

order to avoid combat. Bath

with Bush

later recalling that ‘Bath

fun.’

became vice-president of

the mid-1970s, Bath

Atlantic

Aviation, one of the world’s top business-aircraft sales companies.

At the time, Atlantic was owned by Edward DuPont, of the DuPont chemical empire. DuPont’s brother, Richard, served on the board of Atlantic. According to Gerard Colby’s excellent book, DuPont Dynasty Richard’s ,

CIA

own company, Summit Aviation, was

a

longtime

contractor.

In 1976,

Bath met

Osama

bin Laden’s brother Salem. Salem was

entranced by planes and he and Bath

Soon Salem had Bath named

hit

it

off almost immediately.

as trustee for

the bin Laden family

operations and considerable investments in the United States.

It

was

through the bin Ladens that Bath was introduced to one of their old family friends,

Adnan Khashoggi. According

book, Die Kingdom: Arabia and

the

House

of

to

Sand,

Robert Lacey’s

Mohammed

bin

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

126

Laden was physician.

of Khashoggi’s

a patient

The young Khashoggi became

Laden conglomerate

George W. Bush’s

middleman

for the bin

in

met bin Laden

Arbusto Energy,

first

by nego-

earned the Iranian $25,000.

wasn’t too long after Bath

$50,000 investment

a

prominent Iranian

in the late 1950s, getting his start

tiating a big truck sale that It

father, a

a small oil

he made

that

company

business venture. Arbusto

that

from the bin Laden

that

Brewton

asserts in his

one of Bath’s former business

White, claims that

it

was

in this very

administration, recruited Bath to as

same year of 1976

work

for the

book on that

the

George

for the

CIA. Brewton

Ford cites

saying one of Bath’s jobs was to report on the investments

of Saudi millionaires. White, by the way, was another fighter

and went

came

partners, Charles

W. Bush, then director of Central Intelligence

White

in

family.

Investigative journalist Peter

Bush clan

was

means Bush

Spanish. Bath later claimed in court records that the $50,000

a

to

Through

pilot

Annapolis with Oliver North. the bin Ladens, Bath was also introduced to Sheik

Khalid bin Mahfouz, the

CEO

of the National Commercial Bank,

The NCB was a prime lender for time when the arms dealer was moving

Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank.

Khashoggi. In 1985,

weapons

at a

to Afghanistan,

Iran

and the contras,

NCB

loaned

Khashoggi $35 million. Bath would team with Khalid, and former Texas governor John Connally,

Houston, an institution

in

buying the Main Bank

that helped finance the

Texas politicians through the

late

campaigns of many

1970s and 1980s.

Khahd’s banking empire would eventually extend to the

Bank of Credit and Commerce

that catered to crooks prises,

with

BCCI

Iran, a

served

as

in

and spooks.

a stake in

International, the institution

Among

other nefarious enter-

Khashoggi’s chief bank for

his

arms deals

depository for Oliver North's covert action funds,

OVERVIEW and the conduit

127

CIA money bound

for

for the

mujahideen

in

Afghanistan. In 1992, Khalid was indicted on fraud charges stem-

ming from found

his

involvement with

that Khalid

he teamed with First

and

his

BCCI

BCCI.The

NCB had violated US banking laws when

to try to take over the

US

Bancshares. His assets in the

Avenue

New

Federal Reserve Board

York penthouse was

Washington-based

were frozen and

his Fifth

seized.

Bath was also an investor in Skyways Leasing,

a

Grand Cayman-

based firm, controlled by Khalid and, according to White, the CIA.

Skyways was

Two

of North’s contra supply network.

also part

of

Skyways’ original owners, David Byrd and William Walker, were also officers in IC, Inc.,

which channeled some $3.6 million

in funds

for North’s enterprise.

But the bin Laden group’s

US

military

ties to

and intelligence establishment extend

curious career of James Bath. has enjoyed the benefits of

perhaps none so lucrative airstrips

The

far

beyond the

bin Laden construction empire

numerous contracts with the Pentagon, those for the construction of the

as

new

and barracks following the 1996 truck bombing of the

army base that

the Bushes and the elite of the

many

in

Dhahran, which

killed eighteen

Osama

have blamed on

bin Laden.

people —

The

US

bombing

a

bin Laden family

has also invested at least $2 million in the Carlyle Group’s Partner’s II

Fund, which specializes

The

Carlyle

Pentagon

Group

staffers,

is

is

the

which

companies and security

in the acquisition

DC

investment house, run by former

specializes in

firms.

of aerospace companies.

the financing of

The chairman of the

weapons

Carlyle

Group

Frank Carlucci, secretary of defense during the second Reagan

administration.

not to trade also

in

Its

counselor

his

is

James Baker. And, despite

presidency for

employs George H. W. Bush

Asian Fund.

a

as a

his

pledge

spot on corporate boards,

it

senior adviser for the group’s

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

128

The

bin Ladens’

money has been

zealously courted by the Carlyle

Group. Baker, Bush and Carlucci have

made

all

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, headquarters of bin Ladin

Bush Sr has met with the bin Ladens the Carlyle

Group — once

of 2000. Baker has

Washington Carlucci ’s

ties are

even more involved, dating

the behest of

again in January

He

even flew from

on the bin Laden family

to Saudi Arabia

which engaged

in several joint ventures

attention appears to have

Journal, in a

with

courted the bin Ladens.

at

jet.

at least as far

back to

chairman of Nortel Networks, the telecommunications

his days as

The

also

Enterprises.

[sic]

twice

at least

November 1998 and

in

pilgrimages to

ties

September 27

to bin

story,

with the bin Laden group.

more than paid

off.

The

Wall Street

quoted an international financier

Ladin Enterprises

investments in the Carlyle

giant,

Group

as

saying that the family’s

are substantially larger than

million, saying that the holdings in the aerospace fund

were

$2

just an

initial deposit.’

Until 1997, the Carlyle called Vinnell,

which,

as

Group used

Ken

own

a security* outfit

Silverstein details in his

Warriors, holds a contract to train the

is

bases and the nation’s oil infrastructure.

the

it

According to

Vinnell’s operatives are veterans of the

did

some of the

nickname our

little

nastier

work

mercenary

Private

to protect Saudi military

for the

force.’

Silverstein,

CIA and

Army’s Special Forces. Vinnell’s roots can be traced

where

book

Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The National Guard’s primary duty

many of

to

to

the

US

Vietnam,

Pentagon and earned

During the Gulf War,

Vinnell operatives basically led Saudi units. Today Saudi Arabia

The company maintains more than 1,000 employees in the country, many of them working fulltime to protect Saudi assets against attacks from homegrown militants, such as Osama bin Laden and his followers.

remains one of Vinnell's top

clients.

5

OVERVIEW

December

PEBBLES

2001

5,

1

129

AND

POPPIES

by Alexander Cockburn

First the

come

tumult ot war,

tidings

at least for

new

of the

now

the fruits of peace.

of tolerance,

era

now

From Afghanistan

that the Taliban have,

the time being, slunk off the stage of history. Shortly before

the turn of the year Justice Minister Karimi declared that Afghanistan's

new government

people but with

The

less

will

still

impose sharia Islamic law on

harshness.

were fleshed out by Judge Ahamat Ullha

details

has told the French

its

news agency Agence France

Zarif,

who

Presse that public

executions and amputations will continue, but there will be changes: ‘For example, the Taliban used to for four days.

We

will

hang the

victim’s

only hang the body for

body

in public

a short time, say

1

minutes.' Very Warholian.

Kabul’s sports stadium, financed by the International

Monetary

Fund, was where the Taliban used to carry out public executions and amputations every Friday. will find a

new

No

longer. ‘The stadium

it

clear that the ultimate penalty will

force for adulterers, both male and female. to death, Zarif told the

Now

They would

French news agency, ‘but

size

they are able to run away, they are

free.’ It

condemned by

a

in

be stoned

will use

only

who judge

a

chance to escape.

who

refuse to confess their will

will, the ‘If

turns out that this avenue

only available to those adulterers

misdeeds. ‘Those

we

still

remain

of the executive munitions

judge explains, allow the condemned person

is

We

there’s progress!

This adjustment in the

of escape

for sports.

place for public executions,’ says Judge Zarif.

Judge Zarif makes

small stones.’

is

admit their sexual

wrongdoing and

are

have their hands and feet bound so that

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

130

they cannot run away.

They

be stoned to death,' Zarif

will certainly

said.

The winds of change can be

felt

on another

farmers faced bankruptcy after Mullah planting of

opium poppies

last year.

rallying Afghanistan’s landlords

Omar

front. Afghanistan’s

ordered

a halt to the

In the years that the

CIA was

and mullahs against the Soviets,

Afghanistan became the West’s prime supplier of heroin and

morphine. Mullah Omar’s ban has been variously explained

or

aid,

US in

regime with the

effort to ingratiate the Taliban

as

an

hopes of getting

an effort to restrict supply and thus hike prices. Whatever

as

the motive, the prohibition led to a 96 per cent

fall

in Afghanistan’s

production of raw opium — from more than 453,500 kilograms

1999 to 18,500 kilograms

in

2001, according to the United Nations

in

Drug Control Program.

Now

news

reports, such as this

renewed poppy cultivation says

Ashoqullah,

a

from Craig Nelson, describe

in lyrical terms:

‘Everyone

is

planting,’

twenty-five-year-old landowner. ‘In a few months,

these fields will be covered in a blanket of spectacular red and white flowers. We’ll

draw the ooze from the flower bulbs, pack

bags or small soap cartons and the raw in

opium

will

make

its

Pakistan or Tadzikistan,

coalition,

sell it at

the bazaar.’

way north or south

two members of the

it

From

in plastic

the bazaars

to processing labs

great anti-terror

and then westward to the veins of addicts

in

Europe and

the United States. But Afghanistan’s swift return to preeminent status as

the

USA’s number one heroin supplier

is

surely a small price to

pay for the extinction of the Taliban and routing of A1 Qaeda. Alas, this raises the question

Fudge the numbers

as

of just

their

way

extinct the Taliban

is.

you may, not too many of them ended up

dead, aside from those prisoners killed

on

how

to other prisons.

at

Mazar

Presumably the

homes, awaiting further instructions from

al

Sharif or suffocated

rest

dispersed to their

their Pakistani supervisors.

OVERVIEW

Osama

bin Laden? Suppose he pops up in Kashmir, calling for

renewed jihad cat

131

among

Now

against the Indian occupiers.

that

would

set

the

the pigeons!

So perhaps

how much

not quite so clear

it’s

achieved in the great crusade, but for sure,

December

it is

a

has really

been

famous victory!

20, 2001

ANTHRAX AS NORMALCY: 500 CASES A YEAR by Jeffrey

Imagine

Clair

St.

if

the anthrax attacks had killed nearly 500 people, instead

of the four

in the

US who

have died from the bacteria so

would most

certainly erupt had

US government knew

about the anthrax

Consider further the outrage it

come out

outbreak

from the

in

that the

far.

that

advance, but failed to take any action to protect people

disease.

Then

factor in the big

drug companies, which

have refused to administer out life-saving vaccines because to do so

might undermine their lucrative patents.

Sound

far-fetched? Hardly. This

has been going

on

is

in Haiti since the

a

rough description of what

mid-1970s, where nearly 500

people contract anthrax every year. You can search the major media

and the

US government

called an

ongoing

locate a

few

tourists

about

in vain for

At most, CounterPunch has been able to

crisis.

press releases this

to restrict the

coverage of what can only be

from the State Department warning

danger and

a

move by

the

US

Commerce Department

import of certain goods made from animal hides,

though not major league

baseballs,

which

are

manufactured

by workers making about twenty cents an hour.

in Haiti

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

132

Here

is

Commerce Department:

the text of an advisory from the

Consumers who may have goatskin items such

bongo drums,

as

wineskins, hassocks, small rugs, decorative wall coverings (mosaics), ‘balancers,’ ladies’ purses or unfinished goatskin hides

known

have been imported from Haiti should place the products in plastic

bag and

it,

or throw

it

a sealed

or State health department for disposal

Consumers should not attempt

instructions.

incinerate

call a local

to

to sterilize the product,

away because of the

risk

of additional

contamination.

The their

fact that so

many American

textile

corporations have

sweatshop operations to Haiti to exploit pathetically low wages

doesn’t

seem

to have

prompted much concern

their workers. Indeed, the only detailed analysis

we

moved

for the health of

of the situation that

can find comes from the college ot veterinary medicine

Louisiana State University. According, to the

LSU

study,‘27% to

at

50%

of goatskin products are contaminated. During 1973—77 there were 1,587

human

anthrax cases reported in the southern peninsula or

and 1,396

during 1985 to 1988,

317 per year; 85

cases in 1983;

or 349 per

Then, amazingly, between 1989 and 1993, no one

year.’

human

even surveyed in

1993,

it

anthrax cases.

turned out that

contracted the disease. In

During these

years,

vaccinated against the

in

cases

When

the surveys resumed again

that year

more than 100 people

1995, 449 people contracted anthrax.

more than 700,000 cows and goats were disease. No humans were given vaccinations.

‘We have an emergency medical

clinic in

mostly with burns, but have been working for over

30

years,'

Cap

Haitien, dealing

in the

north of Haiti

Eva DeHart, of For Haiti With Love,

CounterPunch. “Anthrax gets sick, they slaughter

is it

normally ingested in the

in Haiti.

tells

The animal

market quickly and unsuspecting

OVERVIEW victims take

home, cook

it

it,

eat

it,

133

and because of their already

malnourished condition and lack of available medical care they

They

also contract the disease

from the

factories.

An

die.

entire family

on our support program died of pulmonary anthrax. They

lived

downwind from a tannery when they were tanning infected hides. can’t remember a time where you were not advised to avoid skins and hides with hair for items being bought to bring home, and we have been working down there for 30 years. It is a poor country, you just accept certain restrictions for your own safety.’ I

February 27 2002 ,

DANIEL PEARL: SHOULD HIS EDITORS HAVE SENT HIM THERE? by Alexander Cockburn

Daniel

Pearl’s dispatches

in the days

when he was

reminded

me somewhat

of Peter Kami's

the Wall Street Journal's most light-heartedly

stylish reporter,

before assuming the imperial purple and

the company’s

CEO.

It

was Kann, back

in the late

becoming

traveled to Afghanistan and reported that the place was a

covered with

flies

and

that

it

was hard to understand

Power would want any truck with the Ironically, since his captors

the

Pearl

Pentagon or even of the mad dogs on the

tations

of

a

fulfill

Muslim

on

a

any Great

place.

was not

reports contradicting the claims of the State

ravings

why

charged him with being an agent of

American Empire and of Zionism,

whose

who dump

1970s,

weekly

fanatic. Just

afraid to file

Department or the

Journal's editorial pages

basis the

most paranoid expec-

about the time they were killing

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

134

Pearl,

had they paused to buy

would have found

killers

a

particularly feverish article

copy of the Wall

a

on the

reprint

Street Journal his

,

flatly that to

be opposed

was to be anti-Zionist, and to be anti-Zionist was

anti-Semitic.

oppose the

be

to

the familiar two-step logic of the Israeli lobby:

It’s

sale

a

from Commentary in-house periodical

of the American Jewish Committee, stating to Israel

of

editorial pages

of Apache helicopters to Sharon or the bulldozing

of Palestinian homes and you become

a

co-conspirator in the

Holocaust.

The

Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote, the day after

of Pearl’s death was confirmed, that

showed

was

news

still

stalking

the world, ‘evil’ being the current term of art for ‘awfulness

beyond

it

‘evil’

our comprehension.’ Now, these editorial writers have spent years writing urgent advisories to whatever in

power

that the

president happens to be

most extreme reactionary forces

given unconditional backing.

about fifteen minutes are to

US

would

It

in a clips library to

in Israel

must be

take any Islamic fanatic

demonstrate that

if

bombs

be dropped on Palestinians, peace overtures shunned,

just

settlements rejected, then the Wall Street Journal's editorial page

on board,

Why in lieu

full-throat.

was

it

left

to Pearl’s wife to offer herself to the kidnappers

of her husband?

Why did

Paul Gigot, proffer himself, or

were not yet his

sufficiently

behind into the

if that

US

WSJ

in

why

the

of the relationship

Wall Street Journal to overall moral

policies in the

editorial writer

killed because his

his credentials

not bring Robert Bartley out

to Karachi for discussion

honest, he might have written:

was

he had protested that

editorial chair,

of editorial writing responsibility for

it

not the WSJ' s editorial page editor,

seasoned since he has only recently plumped

of retirement and send him

So

is

“It

Middle East and South Asia?

who may

invoked

‘evil’

well be that

had been

Danny

Pearl

murderers held him responsible for positions

OVERVIEW on the Middle East

135

and on Islam

conflict

oft expressed in these

editorial pages. If so, then he died for principles that

will always uphold,’ or

something of that

sort,

we honor and

while simultaneously

emphasizing that reporters are not editorial writers and that Pearl bore no responsibility for the

Might

it

editorials.

ed him to South Asia, that the

might put him

The

in a report,

of

fact

fact that

Israeli citizen

dangerous crowd of Muslim

his citizenship

February 24,

he was an

assign-

given the fact that he was seeking

in extra peril,

to contact an extremely

Karachi?

who

not have occurred to Pearl’s editors, those

terrorists in

only emerged after

in the Israeli

his death,

newspaper Ha’aretz, by Yossi

Melman: Professor

Yehuda

Pearl, father

of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter

Daniel Pearl, has told Ha’aretz that he fears that making public his son's Israeli citizenship could adversely affect investigative efforts

Pakistani police to reporter’s body.

apprehend the

In a

killers

by

and track down the murdered

telephone conversation from

his

Los Angeles

residence. Professor Pearl expressed regret and anger over the revelation

by the

Israeli

media of his

family’s ‘Israeli connection.’

The US media,

which was aware of the information, complied with the request not to

make

it

family’s

public.

Then Melman concluded with The American media was

this

minor bombshell:

asked to comply with this request after

information was obtained that confirmed reports that the 38-year-old reporter was dead.

It

seems to

me

almost certain that those Pakistani terrorists would

have killed any reporter for

a

US news

organization

who

had the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

136

ill-fortune to

Robert

Fisk,

come

seeking an interview

particular time.

at that

of the London Independent, has probably written more

pieces sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than almost any other

mainstream reporter, yet

him from

that didn’t prevent

beaten to death by Afghans in

a frontier

town

a

nearly being

few weeks ago.

On

February 23, Fisk wrote:

In Pakistan

Our

faces,

and Afghanistan, we can be seen our

The Muslim

hair,

Peshawar

village outside

pointed

at

even our spectacles, mark us out

who

cleric

me

wished to last

later, a

crowd of Afghan

because they thought

for

I

I

our work.

We

were

a journalist,'

used to risk our

.

rarely deliberate targets.

I

this.

(as

US

We first

.

.

Over

the past quarter

we

still

do -"but

were impartial witnesses writers of history.

ordering

Bhamdoun

his

men when

in 1983.

trend whereby journalists clamber into

correspondents did in Vietnam) Fisk continues:

the Palestinians evacuated Beirut in 1982,

1

noticed that several

French reporters were wearing Palestinian kuffiah scarves. reporters turned

Even

‘Protect him, look after him, he

recall a Palestinian guerrilla

After discussing the

in the

our

air raid, tried to kill

wars -

lives in

entered the burning Lebanese town of

When

this Kaffir into

US B-52 bomber

was an American

the nastiest militias understood

uniforms

man who

a

refugees, grief-stricken at the

to conflict, often the only witnesses, the

I

an Afghan refugee

have witnessed the slow, painful, dangerous erosion of respect

journalists

is

in

Westerners.

as

October was stopped by

slaughter of their relatives in a

century

me

and asked: ‘Why are you taking

mosque?’ Weeks

me

talk to

unbelievers.

as Kaffirs, as

up

in

occupied southern Lebanon with

pistols.

Israeli

Then

1991 Gulf war, American and British television reporters started

dressing

up

in military

costumes, appearing on screen - complete with

OVERVIEW

137

helmets and military camouflage fatigues ot the

82nd Airborne or the

Hussars.



they were

as if

members

One American journalist

even

arrived in boots camouflaged with painted leaves, although a glance

any desert suggests that

at

In

this

would not have served much purpose.

the Kurdish flight into the mountains of northern

Iraq

more

reporters could be found wearing Kurdish clothes. In Pakistan and

Afghanistan

last year,

phenomenon

the same

Peshawar could be seen wearing Pushtun

occurred. Reporters in

Why? No one

hats.

could

me with an explanation. What on earth was CNN’s Walter Rodgers doing in US Marine costume at the American camp outside

ever supply

Kandahar? Mercifully, someone told him broadcast.

with

Then Geraldo Rivera of Fox News

He

gun.

a

was the

we no

Perhaps

title

correspondent think

silly

in

The

he

reporter had

so. It’s

of ‘hacks' as a

it

Osama

said, to kill

now become

It

Maybe we re

all

should regard the job of foreign

decent, honourable profession

gas cape a decade ago

bin Laden.

combatant.

in military

.

.

— helped

murdered by vicious men. But we

to

are

.

Can we do better?

costume - Rodgers

Marine helmet, Rivera clowning around with

my

first

to sneer at each other, to adopt the

when we

not that reporters

off after his

arrived in Jalalabad

longer care about our profession.

demean our own jobs,

to quick to

I

fully intended,

last straw.

ridiculous

to take

kill

all

a

in his

gun, or even

me

He was

Daniel Pearl.

of us - dressing up

in

combatant’s clothes or adopting the national dress of people - helping to erode the shield of neutrality

the past. If

we

don’t stop now,

colleagues are seized by ruthless

Pearl’s style

was

and decency which saved our

how

can

we

men who

protest

claim

we

when

lives in

next our

are spies?

totally alien to the bloodthirsty rantings of his

editorial colleagues.

He

sent excellent dispatches questioning the

claims of the Clinton administration that

it

had been justified

in

the 1998 destruction via cruise missile of the El Shifa Pharmaceutical

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

138

Industries plant in the Sudan. Again, he and fellow

Robert Block entered some

effective reservations

of Serbian genocide in Kosovo. In

make

use of

them

in

mounting

sponsored kangaroo court

fact

his

reporter

about allegations

Slobodan Milosevic might

vigorous defense in the

The Hague

in

WSJ

USof

against charges

genocide. Pearl and Block stigmatized the Serb armed forces

as

having done ‘heinous things,’ while also writing that ‘other allegations



indiscriminate mass murder, rape camps, cremato-

riums, mutilation of the dead

months

NATO

since

militants,



haven't been borne out in the six

troops entered Kosovo. Ethnic-Albanian

humanitarian organizations,

NATO

and the news media

Now,

fed off each other to give genocide rumors credibility. different picture

emerging.' David North, of theTrotskyist Fourth

is

International, wrote

23:

‘On

on the World

Secretary of Defense

to apologize.

killed 16 anti-Taliban

It

a

major subjective

murder

speech

revenge

outlook of the Pakistani

that the

Thomas Friedman,

New York

the repellent

Times also recently recruited ,

Lelirer

terrorists

as a

kind

News Hour. North

Friedman column which praised Bush’s Axis of Evil

in these terms:

Sept. lost

troops

fighters, but refused

Pearl, the desire for

of Charles Kuralt of globalization by PBS’s cited a recent

US

factor.’

not so different from that of

columnist of the

Afghan

that

US

does not require exceptional political insight to

North then remarked is

on February

murder was confirmed,

Donald Rumsfeld admitted

realize that in the decision to

was

Socialist website

the very day that Pearl's

had mistakenly

it

1 1

happened because America

because for 20 years

justice, those

killed

a

we

lost its

deterrent capability.

We

never retaliated against, or brought to

who murdered Americans

...

innocent Americans were

and we did nothing. So our enemies took us

less

and

less

seriously

OVERVIEW and became more and more emboldened weakness

over

all

us,

and

we

139

.

.

.

America’s enemies smelled

paid a huge price for that.

North very properly comments: By changing only

few words, the Pakistani

a

could use

terrorists

Friedman’s argument to justify their murder of Pearl: ‘We have failed to retaliate against

were

...

innocent Arabs, Afghans and Moslems

and we did nothing

killed

seriously

America

America took

...

and became more and more emboldened.’ The thought

pompous and

patterns of the

the Islamic terrorist have far

Both think

in

Both believe

Leave the

in

last

belligerent

more

common

in

beautiful, true

easy,

but

it is

words

far

responsibility as nations

terrorism.

throughout

than either imagine.

and are mesmerized by violence.

My own

courage

this ordeal

I

to Daniel Pearl’s

more

address this problem of terrorism with

own

American columnist and

terms of ethnic, religious and national stereotypes.

Revenge would be

our

us less and less

and

arises

valuable in

my

enough honesty

facts.

opinion to to question

as individuals for

from two

widow:

the rise of

One

that

is

have been surrounded by people of amazing

me trust that humanism ultimately will prevail. hope now - in my seventh month of pregnancy - is

value. This helps

My other I

will

be able to

tell

our son that

his father carried the flag to

terrorism, raising an unprecedented

compassion, friendship and citizenship

of civilizations.

end

demand among people from

countries not for revenge but for the values

clash

that

far

we

all

share:

all

love,

transcending the so-called

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

140

March

6,

2002

OF A BUMPER CROP: OPIUM AND AFGHANISTAN POLITICS

by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey

Though on

Terror,’ there

new

been blaring

Britain has

era

is

Clair

St.

its

support for America’s ‘War

public disquiet in the

of freedom

now

UK

at

one aspect of the

prevailing in Afghanistan: the renewal

of opium cultivation, banned with unprecedented and near

Mullah

success by

Hamid in

Omar

in July

Karzai’s coalition

had to make

January that opium cultivation

this

renewed commitment

forbidden, but the extent of

is still

to abstention

from Afghanistan’s prime

unceremonious

ejection of Afghanistan’s drug control agency from

A

tsar’s

its

offices in

desk being kicked physically into the"street.

couple of weeks ago the London Guardian reported in

line that

‘MI5

fears flood of

Afghan

heroin.’

Nick Hopkins and Richard Norton-Tvylor ‘Police

aid,

pro forma announcement

a

cash crop was almost simultaneously displayed in the

Kabul, with the drug

US

of 2000. In order to receive

total

The ensuing

led

a

head-

story by

with the news that

and intelligence agencies have been warned

that Britain

is

facing a potentially huge increase in heroin trafficking because of

massive and unchecked replanting of the

opium crop

The

be equivalent to the bumper

expectation

one of three

The

is

that the

years ago,

2002 crop

will

which yielded 4,600 tonnes of raw opium.’

Guardian went on to report a

office for after the

in Afghanistan.

new

assessment by the

drug control and crime prevention, based

war the West stands

in

UN

Vienna, that

to lose the ‘best-ever opportunity’ to

suffocate the illegal trade. Afghanistan

is

the source of 75 per cent

of the world’s heroin and 90 per cent of Britain’s supply.

Opium

poppies are primarily grown in the south and east of

OVERVIEW

141

Afghanistan, the regions dominated by the Pashtuns, the ethnic

became an

fraction that sustained the Taliban until such support

obvious poor bet. In

political terms,

serious effort will be

made

so

would be

Omar

it’s

a safe forecast to say that

opium

crop.

blow

as

did Mullah

when he banned opium

cultivation

to interfere with the

to deal the Karzai

regime

to loyalty to the Taliban

no

as

serious a

To do

(an act variously explained as a last-ditch attempt to get recognition

from the West, or

as a

price-support

These developments lend costly ads

bought by the

US

a

tactic, restricting supply).

enormously

certain irony to the

government on Superbowl Sunday

to

inform America’s consumers of illegal drugs that to buy cocaine or heroin

is

Afghanistan a sure

help terrorism. To the contrary,

to is

200,000

A

sure

in the fields

income

to the

whose support

opium from

opium farmers means

in essential for the future

is

to provide

which employs

sector,

harvesting the

so far as

least

concerned, to buy heroin and morphine

market for Afghanistan’s farm

as

at

a

the

many

as

poppy

heads.

cut for the rural barons

well-being of America’s

selected government, headed by Karzai.

Meanwhile, readers here can marvel

March

the otic

the tact displayed by

at

issue

US

of the magazine Vanity Fair

Maureen Orth

in

her article in

on ‘Afghanistan’s Deadly Habit,’ about

‘the

symbi-

connection between drugs and terrorism.’ The impression

given by Orth in

in the

is

that only with the

coming

to

power of the Taliban

1996 did the opium industry ‘grow so quickly

that in

1999

Afghanistan produced 5,000 tons of opium, more than 70 per cent

of the world’s supply.’ It

is

true that deep into the article

Orth makes very

fleeting

reference to the CIA’s possible role in the late 1970s and 1980s in the expansion of

opium

cultivation in Afghanistan.

easily available (and cited at

Whiteout,Tlie

CIA, Drugs and

some length

the Press

,

in that

The

facts are

very fine book

coauthored by Jeffrey

St.

Clair

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

142

and Alexander Cockburn).

House

advisors

One

of President Jimmy Carter’s White

on the drug trade

opium growers

into Afghanistan to support the

we

against the Soviets. Shouldn’t

the

advisers,

New York

went public with

in their rebellion

growers

if

they will

his

concerns in an op-ed in

Times in 1980.

Reports issued by the stration in the

producers

try to pay the

'We were going

David Musto, one of President Carter’s

eradicate their production?’

drug policy

said later that

early

UN

and Drug Enforcement Admini-

1980s stated that by 1981 Afghan heroin

may have captured 60

Western Europe and the United alone, the year the

per cent of the heroin market in States. In

New

CIA-organized flow of arms

York City

in

1979

mujahideen

to the

began, heroin-related deaths increased by 77 per cent. There were

no Superbowl ads

You could

say that those

fight to drive

The only income Decade

to

that year

back

about doing drugs and aiding

dead addicts had given their

lives in

way

to curb the trade

grow something

else, at

decade there have been

tried crop substitution in

a

is

reasonable level of profit.

efforts.

Mohammed

Iran in the early

land barons running the short-lived

opium-growing feudal

Mossadegh

1950s and was soon

and got loans

Orth does

say frankly that 'the Taliban

the largest,

most

history’s dustbin

the

US

opium

its

attacked the

for crop substitution.

ban on poppy growing was

successful interdiction of drugs in history.' is

where

allies

trade. In Afghanistan,

new Afghan government

estates

enough

to offer farmers

toppled with the help of the CIA, which found some of

among the big Noor Taraki’s

the

Communism.

possible

after

terror.

that interdiction speedily

And

in

ended up. Will

press for crop substitution? Probably not, always for the

reason: to suppress drug cultivation requires putting

money

same

in the

pockets of peasants and that means expensive aid programs and also

enormous

political risks

of offending important,

if unpalatable, allies.

OVERVIEW

143

August 7 2002 ,

BODYGUARD

KARZAI'S

by Gary Leupp

One

often hears that Afghanistan

the most ferociously inde-

is

pendent of countries, the graveyard of invaders. So the news

Hamid

that

Karzai has been fitted with a battery of American body-

Why, one might

guards must give us pause.

hardened country brimming with warriors,

outnumber men, should

its

head of

ask, in

this battle-

which Kalashnikovs

in

require this foreign

state

guardianship?

The Pope has

Guards; but the mini-state

in the Vatican has his Swiss

no competent armed population

to

draw on, and

history behind that quaint convention.

American handlers, opt

when

We

to

there ought to be so

Why

many

were the

trustworthy Afghan entourage?

actually;

If

that

case,

of

(First

why

all,

Minister and warlord

special

isn’t

the case,

become head of

Mohammed

Fahim,

whom

state a

having been placed

best thing to the late

people.

by Defense

Western

official

‘street

thug,’

a

envoy and kingmaker Zalmay Khahlzad.) The

that Karzai,

own

he muster

it

quoted by the Washington Post has likened to

US

can’t

former king Zahir Shah enjoyed wide support but was

forced to withdraw his bid to

his

aliens,

have been told that Karzai received overwhelming support

a

is

his

local, loyal troops?

the Loya Jirga in June.

fact

long

should Karzai, or

surround him with gun-toting

at

and

there’s a

CIA

in

power by

the

US

as

next-

operative Abdul Haq, has reason to fear

His ‘political base remains weak,’ notes the

Washington Post (August

5),

and

his ‘authority

barely extends

beyond Kabul.’

Two members

of Karzai’s administration have been assassinated.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

144

cases

On

unresolved.

still

Minister Abdul

February

Rahman was

Transport and Tourism

14,

assassinated at

Kabul Airport. Karzai

and Foreign Minister Abdullah gave entirely different accounts of the incident.

was

On

July 6, Abdul Qadir, one of the vice-presidents,

also assassinated for reasons that

‘terrorists,’

George Bush suggested

remain unclear. (Karzai blamed that

opium

interests

might have

been involved, and others blamed Northern Alliance forces

for

slaying a rising Pashtun leader.)

More

these acts of political violence

significant than

emergence of

a political

opposition

is

the

movement rooted among

the

common

people. There have been ongoing protests in Kabul about

that July

1

wedding party

raid, in

which according

Afghan government report, forty-eight

civilians

were

bombs; and demonstrators have targeted both the the president so intimately associated with

it.

two

part ways, he will

at

military and

Anti-government as well.

view

far greater native military support),

that there

should be minimal foreign

military presence in the country. (His line since

December

‘Thanks for the bombs that broke the Taliban, but Alliance forces can handle things from here.’) Karzai’s

US

by

loggerheads with Karzai (and should the

command

has long expressed the

killed

US

demonstrations have occurred in Gardez and Khost

Fahim, sometimes

to the official

Yankee bodyguard. Those defenders

He

is

has been:

we Northern furious about

are an admission

of

Karzai’s

vulnerable position in the lawless environment the

bombing

has produced, and of the well-founded fear that tends to

encompass puppets making Faustian

An AP said

all.

it

that the

Afghan said a

article It

pacts.

and accompanying photo published on August 3

reported that Karzai ‘dismissed allegations yesterday

United officials

States tried to cover

up

a

deadly airstrike [which

claimed occurred south of Kabul on August

1]

and

continued American presence was crucial to Afghanistan’s

OVERVIEW future. Flanked

one of the

visited

asked so.

if

US

by

145

special forces bodyguards, Karzai said

villages attacked in the July

he believed there had been

a

air raid

1

cover-up, said,

“I

he

and when

don’t think

People would have told me.”’

Reporters were asking about

of London stating that the attack and violated

US

a

UN

report leaked to the Times

may have removed evidence after human rights. Now, the UN, once a site of forces

US

contestation between the

bloc and the Third World (and

frequently the object of Washington's scorn), has since the collapse

of the Soviet Union been more or

less

tucked under Washington’s

The New World Order in international diplomacy has been especially evident since December 1991, when the Security Council revoked Resolution 3379 (passed in November 1975) armpit.

describing Zionism

changed

their votes

In

istration.

as a

form of racism. Many nations’ delegates

under extreme pressure from the Bush admin-

December 1996

the

US

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (of Egypt) General; the 14 to

1

as

vetoed

a

second term for

United Nations Secretary-

vote in the Security Council outraged the

UN

Arab world. Under the leadership of Kofi Annan, the

US

avoided confrontation with the

by Annan’s report on the

Human

in the

this

lapdog

UN And

dismiss the report out of hand

even more abject status than

walking towards

armed

indicated

invasion of Jenin in April,

states)

US

sideways,

a

which

for the President is

to

Mr Annan. The A P

mis-

lends particular

of Afghanistan

confirm that he

‘US bodyguards clearing the

in

1

US

is

a

to

lapdog of

photo shows Karzai

shrine, fingering prayer-beads, with

forces to the fore,

gun

secretary-general alleges

Uruzgan province incident of July

credence to the allegation.

caption

Israel), as

Rights Watch has called ‘fundamentally flawed.’

That even conduct

Israeli

(and with

has

way.’

There

(as

the

are well-

one peering forward, the other walking

hand, scrutinizing the

rear.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

146

Way back

in

made some very

1857, Friedrich Engels (who

interesting observations about Afghanistan, then pivotal to ‘the

Great Game’ played out in Central Asia between Britain and Russia) described ‘the attempt of the British to

making

set

1842, linking

in Afghanistan’ in

up

its

a

own

prince of their

failure to the

Afghans’

‘indomitable hatred of rule, and their love of independence.’ (This

New American

was published in the of Marx and Engels’s leisure time, in his

stuff, it’s

Kabul

office,

probably on the Net now;

surrounded by

his

Karzai might want to peruse

it.

Gary Lettpp

Department of History

is

a professor in the

most

Cyclopedia in 1858.) Like

in his

Swiss Guard,

at

Mr

Tu fts University

and coordinator of the Asian Studies Program.

September

7,

2002

THE TENTH CRUSADE by Alexander Cockburn

Amid

the elegies for the dead and the ceremonies of remembrance,

seditious questions intrude: is

Is

there really a

indeed being waged, what are

TheTaliban

are out

blooms once more bluster

the

war on

war on the

in

terror;

and

if

Afghan

objectives?

as

pastures.

The

military budget

from every headline.

of Rights

popular with each day

is

On

set at full throttle,

the

is

up.

home

in public esteem.

The

front

though getting

judges thunder their indignation

at

unconstitutional diktats of Attorney General John Ashcroft, a

low

one

of power. Papaver sonmiferum, the opium poppy,

Iraq blares Bill

its

war on

less

the

man

OVERVIEW

On than

a

we can turn to Merle Haggard, the bard of America, the man who saluted the American flag more

this latter

blue-collar

147

point

generation ago in songs such

as

‘The Fighting Side of Me’ and

‘Okie from Muskogee.’ Haggard addressed City

few days ago

a

John Ashcroft

went on

a

to say:

tomorrow

jail

It

like

(pause)

...

‘The way things

are

for saying that, so

will take generations to roll

wake of

in the

the attacks.

1

‘I

think

going

hope

I'll

government

without

is

y'all will bail

relies

me

out.’

back the constitutional damage done

grass.

a

lawyer

The government’s August 27 combatant’ case

Haggard

lie

around

for decades

As Joanne Mariner of

Human

legal precedents

using to justify detaining ‘enemy combatants’

or access to

trial

should give

probably be thrown in

Rights Watch pointed out to me, one of the main that the

we

right in the mouth!’

...

Emergency laws

summer

rattlesnakes in

concert crowd in Kansas

following terms:

in the

big hand

a

heavily

is

an old strike-breaking decision.

legal

brief in the Padilla ‘enemy

on Moyer

v.

Peabody

,

a

Supreme Court

case that dates back to 1909.

The

case involved Charles Moyer, president of the

Western

Federation of Miners, a feisty Colorado trade union that fought for

such radical reforms

and payment

in

as safe

money

working conditions, an end

rather than in

company

to child labor,

scrip.

As part of

a

concerted effort to crush the union, the governor of Colorado had declared a state of insurrection, called out the state militia, and

detained

Moyer

for

two and

a half

months without probable cause

or due process of law. In an opinion that deferred obsequiously to executive

the ‘captain of the ship’ metaphor), the

Moyer’s detention. fired

upon

It

US Supreme

power

(using

Court upheld

reasoned that since the militia could even have

the strikers

(or,

in

the Court’s words, the

‘mob

in

how could Moyer complain of a mere detention? The government now cites the case in its Padilla brief to argue that insurrection’),

.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

148

whatever

governor can do, the president can do

a state

Mariner remarks, next thing you

know

better.

As

be citing the Japanese

they’ll

internment precedents.

September

2002

7,

THE TROUBLE WITH by Jeffrey

Clair

St.

We are told

that

irrevocably.

That

back.

Some

NORMAL

we

are different.

it’s

That things have changed, changed

new world now. And

a strange

there’s

no going

pundits even appropriated the language of Stephen Jay

Gould (though he would never have done of the towers

so), calling the leveling

kind of historical punctuated equilibrium,

a

a great

leap forward in the evolution of the nation.

The of

a

collapse of the towers

tarnished exoskeleton,

Roger Gorman.

became

a

metaphor

a tale right

In Jerry Falwell’s

for the

shedding

out of Ovid directed by

words, 9/1

1

was

a

preview of the

Apocalypse, which expurgated the Sixties, humanism, cultural tolerance,

and

all

of that jazz. Suddenly, everybody espoused an

eschatology.

By and

large,

to normal, slide

After

all,

out here in Oregon, people just wanted to get back

back into

a daily

routine of work, family and play.

Oregon’s economy had bottomed out prior to 9/

1

1

There

wasn’t any time for extended periods of cross-continental grief, and there wasn't

money

k

to

buy

a car to

demonstrate our patriotism,’

even with Greenspan quashing interest to if

rates.

But the media refused

go along, they force-fed us patriotism through the cable

we were

all

hooked up

to a collective IV.

Even

so,

lines as

the ubiquitous

.

OVERVIEW American

flags didn’t start

two or three weeks These as

going up

after the attacks

seem

raisings didn’t

149

our

in

on the

little

mill-town until

WTC and the Pentagon.

like genuflections

much

of patriotism so

symbols of surrender to the imprecations of

CNN

diva Paula

Zahn.

The 3,000 cops

who

victims

at

‘ground

zero,’ especially the

rushed into the towers only to have them collapse on top

of them, were swiftly turned into

a global scale.

sacrificial heroes, national

revenge tragedy that

in the cause of the

on

martyrs everywhere, from

way.

a

his wife,

Todd Beamer, whose Lisa — it’s the American to

the thirst for virgins in the afterlife so inexhaustible?

Every aspect of American society continues this sticky

our

to be

drenched

and unrelenting patriotism. You get the sense

serial killers are

about.

being played out

pop. Suddenly there were

Mohammed Atta

words were trademarked by Is

now

is

martyrs

Bruce Springsteen roused himself out of hiber-

nation to sing the soundtrack, for $20

last

firemen and

And

who came killers since

that even

uniquely American. Something to be proud

perhaps so

it

should be. Those Special Forces troops

back from the hunting grounds of Afghanistan to

their wives at Fort

in

Bragg

kill

most pampered and ‘understood’

are the

William Galley.

Looking back,

it’s

hard to see any fundamental change in the

character of life in America.

The

events of 9/1

1

and their aftermath

The economy remains in a rut. Environmental laws are being peeled back day by day. The Sharon war machine tramples Palestinians with impunity. The unemployment rolls grow daily by the thousands. More and more are going merely solidified the

status quo.

without food stamps or welfare checks.

manufactured trauma of 9/1

Of

course,

Constitution.

some

The

It’s all

blotted out by the

1

things were clarified.

The

fragility

of the

supine nature of the environmental groups and

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

150

big labor, which stood

pursued

down

the

Bush administration cravenly

domestic agenda. And, of course, the

post-9/ 11

its

as

comphcit character of the Democratic

Party,

which green-lighted

Bush’s war without debate and helped enact

some of

the most

oppressive domestic policing laws in the history of the Republic

with only two or three voices of dissent.

Now one ol those, Cynthia

McKinney, has been driven from the Congress tinence. I

And

the beat goes on.

opened the paper

dip recession.

number

ot

imper-

for her

this

morning. More indications of a double-

Boeing stiff-armed the machinist union,

again.

The

Americans ensnared by the criminal justice system

topped 6 million. The US-armed death squads in Colombia slaughtered live

more

peasants.

More

than 90 per cent of Native Americans

without access to adequate health

severance package that pays

GE’sJack Welch got

care.

him $17,000

population has declined by 50 per cent

a day.

in

the

The last

a

spotted owl

ten years and

seems headed inevitably toward the black hole of extinction. It all

seems so

familiar.

Same

with normal, Bruce Cockburn

September

12,

direction, faster pace.

sings,

is

that

it

The

trouble

always gets worse.

2002

THE MOST DANGEROUS

MAN

IN

WASHINGTON by Alexander Cockburn

At 2.40 pm, September

11,

Rumsfeld was commanding whether good enough

2001, Defense Secretary Donald

his aides to get ‘best info hist.

hit S. H.’

Judge

— meaning Saddam Hussein —

‘at

OVERVIEW same time. Not only U.B.L.' - the

151

initials

Osama quote him as

used to identify

bin Laden. ‘Go massive.' Notes taken by these aides saying:

‘Sweep

it all

up.

Things related and

We

not.'

can thank David

Martin of CBS for getting hold of these notes and disclosing them last

Wednesday.

This was our Donald, thinking

Command

Military

rationale for

all

For Rumsfeld,

Center, seeking to turn the attack into

of unrelated revenges and

sorts

as for his boss, as for

in his career as a cabinet

wake of the

attacks

he paced about the National

fast as

member

Rumsfeld

so many,

in the

was

it

Bush

II

of accounts.

turning point

a

presidency. In the

swiftly learned to revel in his role as

America’s top exponent of bully-boy bluster.

running rings around Colin Powell, whose stories that Powell

settlings

a

may throw

towel

in the

And

he’s kept

pals are at

now

it

up,

leaking

the end of Bush’s

present term. Small wonder. Rumsfeld has humiliated Powell,

reaching

a

peak

in effrontery

when,

dicted decades-worth of formal Israel

US

a

few weeks ago, he contra-

foreign policy and declared that

had every right and every reason to occupy the West Bank

and have settlements

The

there.

specter of military

government here

in

the

US

lurks

eternally in the imagination of fearful constitutionalists, right or left.

There’s

a lot

more reason

for these fears today, particularly after

the Patriot Act shot through Congress. Today the FBI can spy on political a

and religious meetings even when

there’s

no suspicion

that

crime has been committed. Dissidents can get labeled ‘domestic

terrorists'

The

and be the target of every form of snooping.

Patriot Act allows ‘black bag’ searches for every sort of record

that

might shed

of a

library.

light

suspects, including the

books they get out

Computers and personal papers can be confiscated and

not returned even suspect.

on

Such

if

an indictment

is

never lodged against the

secret searches can take place even in cases unrelated

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

152

The

to terrorism.

two

federal cases

to indefinitely detain

without any

Department argued

Justice

that the president has the

power

charges any person, including any

US

in

‘enemy combatant.’ Furthermore the administration argues president’s

conduct of the war on terrorism

that civilian courts have

The

Justice

an

citizen, designated as

that the

be challenged and

can't

no authority over the detentions.

Department argues

that people designated

‘enemy

combatants’ can be put behind bars, held incommunicado and cienied counsel. If the detainee does get a lawyer, their conversations

can be bugged. In such

Sixth

manner we

are saying

Amendments. Back

to

goodbye

Fourth and

to the First,

Rumsfeld. The Defense Secretary

is

currently trying to get the Pentagon greater authority to carry out

He

covert ops.

also

wants Congress to agree to have

undersecretary of defense, responsible for

Now

all

a

new

intelligence matters.

blend these proposals in with the erosions of the Posse

Comitatus Act, which forbids the

US

military to have any role in

domestic law enforcement, shake the blender vigorously, and you have the Rumsfeld cocktail with an Ashcroft cherry. undersecretary

couple

in the

may soon be

able to target

YOU

A

(or the antiwar

apartment next door), bug your phone and computer,

burglarize the place, grab you, stick All legally. That’s

what we

call

you

in prison

and

let

military government, the

teach the Latin American officers mustered for training

Benning

to

do things

in their countries, plus

in the

O’Neill had

a

rot.

way we at

Fort

who

antiwar group mentioned above.

their

team-

Remember,

lobby here for torture too.

there’s a strong

Try holding

you

hanging electrodes on

the testicles and nipples of those slow to confide

mates were

defense

a

placard up

when George Bush

good column

Gazette describing

last

Thursday

in

is

driving

by.

Kevin

the Pittsburgh Post

what happened when demonstrators

against

OVERVIEW

153

President Bush were herded inside a fence at Neville Island for his

Labor Day

visit.

Police called this enclosure the designated free-speech area, though

who

anyone

the island’s

had

main

signs praising the president

reasons, are

of course. Those

the

who

Ohio was

pose

a

set

up

Bill

the erection of the

Neel of Butler

remember

a

time

So when he refused arrested, cuffed

Not-OK entire

strictly for security

as

such, as a courtesy.

Corral.

just doesn’t get

when our

to line

genuine threat to the president

expected to carry signs identifying themselves

Hence

OK

motorcade.

street for the

The mini-Guantanamo on

was evidently

it,

though. He’s 65 and can

country was

a

free-speech zone.

to get inside the fence with his sign, he

and detained

in

was

the best place for inflammatory

rhetoric, the fire hall.

Neel’s confiscated sign said, ‘The Bushes must truly love the poor



they’ve

made

so

many of us.’ For holding

the censored speech zone, Neel was given a

this

contrary opinion in

summons

for disorderly

conduct.

September 25, 2002

THE DOGS OF WAR, THE BEARS OF WALL STREET by Alexander Cockburn

The higher Bush the

economy’s

industrials

tries to loft

dire

himself with war

responses.

On

talk,

the darker

Tuesday the

dropped nearly 190 points to

hit a

grow

Dow-Jones

four-year low.

T

he

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

154

The Nasdaq composite index, New Economy, set a new six-year low. The 500 index was down 14.45, or 1.7 per cent, at

broader market also finished down.

homeport

for the

&

Standard

Poor’s

819.25.

The

Fed’s

year lows

Open Market Committee

at its

chose to leave rates

meeting on Tuesday, saying bravely

and business demand

is

‘growing

moderate

at a

forty-

consumer

that

pace.’

at

But

it

also

noted that considerable uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of an

economic

Meanwhile, leading economic

recovery.

indicators and housing starts have fallen for three

Oil prices are up 40 per cent since the

We’ve

now

a

names

another drop

months. Suppose, we asked,

five

in equity prices, reflecting

has been based entirely

on fraudulent numbers.

equity prices have dropped again and federal prosecutors

have announced they’re opening

a

criminal probe into Xerox’s

accounting practices. Xerox stock promptly after the

company

said federal prosecutors

fell

The

it

71 cents to $5.96

were opening

inquiry into the company’s accounting practices. that

dawning awareness

performance of many of America’s mightiest corporate

now

So

year.

sharp drop of the growth of consumer

spending over the past four or

that the

of the

in a row.

seen seven straight quarters of declining investment

on plant and equipment and

there’s

start

months

a

criminal

WorldCom revealed

probably misreported $9 billion in revenue, not $7 billion.

official

rate

corporate sector

of profit on capital stock as a

whole

is

now

at its

in the

non-fmancial

lowest level ot the postwar

period (except for 1980 and 1982). If this

alive for

was

Bill

wag-the-dog attempts

attention from aloft

on

Street

Clinton, the commentators would be flaying him

his

war

economic bad news. Thus

magic carpet, but

chews

to use

its lip,

talk as a far

way

Bush

to distract

has

he’s losing altitude steadily

remained

while Wall

foreign denunciations pour in, and the

German

OVERVIEW Democrats and Greens exult

Social

an entirely unexpected victory has Senior

Men'

Reps of the Ruling

last

155

way Bush handed them

in the

weekend. America no longer

Class like John

McCoy

tacky Clark Clifford. At

like the infinitely

Old

or ‘Wise

moments

like this,

such Senior Reps would step forth with measured warnings to Bush

about

his reckless path.

These days we’re

we

Probably the nearest thing that brilliant

monuments has to fear

is

rivaled only

week Byrd

Democratic

itself,

with Henry Kissinger.

have to

senior statesman

a

politician Senator

strew West Virginia.

death

left

is

Bobby Byrd, whose

The only opponent Senator Byrd

so in Congress he speaks with a frankness

by the Texan

libertarian,

Ron

Rep.

Paul. In the

on the Senate

has excelled himself in speeches

last

floor.

denounced Bush’s proposed Homeland Security Agency

He

as

a

ramshackle, hastily conceived outrage to constitutional protections, a

way of undercutting

mission thus

the hard rights of federal workers,

undefined. Byrd

far entirely

made

all

in a

particular reference

Bush's contemptuous dismissal of criticism of the proposed

to

Agency

as Lilliputian.

deriding Bush

as a

The

venerable but frisky senator riposted by

Caesarist Gulliver impatient with the restraints

of democratic constitutional government. gave Bush against

some

Iraq:

derisive

In

another speech Byrd

whacks on the topic of his warmongering

‘The president was dropping

in

the polls and the

domestic situation was such that the administration was appearing to be

much

like the

coming of ‘war

the

emperor fervor, the

who

had no

clothes.’

Byrd described

drums of war, the bugles of war, the

clouds of war.’ ‘I

sat in

on some of the

secret briefings,’

Byrd

said,

‘and

nobody

from the administration has been able to answer the question:

Why

now?’

A few

days later in San Francisco another prominent Democrat,

A1 Gore, lacked Byrd’s

fizz

but

still

wagged an admonitory

finger

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

156

at

Bush. Gore’s weekend speech to the

widely billed

as

antiwar.

Gore did

Commonwealth Club was some strong language

issue

denouncing Bush’s onslaught on the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Beyond

that the speech

was

in fact a

measured,

fairly

well written advisory on the pretenses and postures appropriate to

Gore echoed Henry Kissinger

the world’s premier imperial power. in saying that

an attack on Iraq had to be properly justified, not by

bluster about a ‘regime change,’

right to

wage ‘preemptive

and by hot

talk

about America’s

war,' but by traditional rhetorical

escalation within the grand tradition of such rationales, stretching

back to the dawn of the Cold War. There’s probably not been in

a

president since

such low international esteem

safe to play

three

one

on

months year,'

he

this

ago,

theme

in his

as

Bush.

World War Two held

Mark how Gore

it

San Francisco speech. Six, even

Core would never have taken such

said, ‘the

felt

President has

a risk: ‘In

just

somehow squandered

the

international outpouring of sympathy,

good

followed the attacks of September

and converted

1

1

and apprehension aimed much more

at

will

and solidarity it

that

into anger

the United States than

at

the terrorist network.’ If the

economy continues

to slide.

Bush and

his circle will face

a truly

desperate gamble, trying to figure whether

war on

Iraq will save them, or just plunge

all

messes.

them

a

$200

into the

billion

mother of

OVERVIEW

October

157

2002

9,

DWARF-THROWING AND THE UN by Alexander Cockburn

Here’s

why

I’m against the

UN as promoter of federalism and world

guv’mint. This just in from Geneva, Switzerland, via the Reuters wire:

‘UN

upholds French ban on “dwarf throwing.”’

that a diminutive

stuntman

who

had protested against

on the practice of ‘dwarf throwing' has sort

of a

UN

human

rights judicial body.

UN

claptrap about the

typically pious

a

turns out

French ban

before

some

tribunal issued

some

lost his case

The

It

need

human

to protect

dignity being paramount.

The

dwarf,

a

fellow called

Manuel Wackenheim, argued

that a

1995 ban by France’s highest administrative court was discriminatory and deprived similar venues. The ‘the

him of a job being

tossed around discos and

UN Human Rights Committee said

it

was

satisfied

ban on dwarf-tossing was not abusive but necessary in order to

protect public order, including considerations of also said the

human

dignity.’

It

ban ‘did not amount to prohibited discrimination.’

Dwarfs and their throwers

will have to search

prizefighters in eighteenth-century England.

Iceland will be the only venue.

No

doubt

a

out venues,

Soon some

like

place like

UN embargo will

then

ensue, with draconian sanctions, appointment of inspector/spies,

followed by the inevitable intervention and occupation.

So

here’s a

hauling

down

bunch of

administrators, each of

unemployment

life,

dooming poor

lines before

going

Romanian maidservants

year-old

girl

them probably

an annual salary hefty enough to keep

dwarfs in caviare for

paid

UN

from Kiev

home

or to get

in the local

a

little

a

troupe of

Wackenheim

to scream at their

blowjob from

whorehouse.

(UN

a

to the

under-

thirteen-

guys would

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

158

do

that,

you

ask?

Oh

UN

sex scandal about

yes they would.

Remember

the nasty

observers in Kosovo?)

In the old days dwarfs could stand proud, strutting

boulevards, around circus rings, or forming part of display, or

matching themselves against

century English pastime).

my

childhood

in

little

remember

can

1

some amusing

popular nineteenth-

plenty of dwarfs from

down

the mainstreet of any Irish

town reminded one of Breughel. Not any more. Catholic Ireland the doc takes

the

with other bodies remote from

Ireland, along

conventional anatomy. Walking

pitbulls (a

down

I

guess even in

look and chokes nature’s sports

a

before they’ve got out of the starting gate. If the

UN had been around at the time, the hunchbacks of Philip

IV of Spain would have been forbidden to pose for Velazquez, and Jeffrey

Hudson

(18 inches at the age of nine, albeit gracefully

proportioned) would never have been permitted to step out of pie

on the dining-room

table

of his boss, George

of Buckingham. Having emerged from the Villiers’s guests,

who

King Charles

I

and

his

Villiers, first

pastry,

Hudson

a

duke

saluted

queen, Henrietta Maria,

promptly adopted him.

Spared

a

UN-sponsored abortion

incompatible with

human

dignity,

Hudson

and survived two duels, one against

Mr

to save

a

him from an existence led an adventurous

life

turkey cock and the other in

The arrogant Crofts turned up for the duel with a water pistol, but Hudson stood on his dignity and insisted that the engagement be for real. They put Hudson up combat with

on

a

man

a certain

Crofts.

horse to get him level with Crofts and he promptly shot the dead. Captured by Turkish pirates,

made him grow, and having thirty,

Hudson

held steady

at

said his tribulations

18 inches from nine to

he shot up to 3 feet 9 inches.

Tom Thumb), Haydon, who was

Another dwarf, Charles Stratton (aka General killed

one of

my

favorite painters,

Benjamin

OVERVIEW exhibiting his vast

159

work The Banishment

ofAristides, in the Egyptian

gawp

Hall in London. But the crowds preferred to

Thumb, on

same

display in the

hall.

Thumb drew ^600

week, while Haydon got only

his first

sterling in

measly JT7 13

a

General

at

shillings.

Haydon went off home to his studio and killed himself. Dwarf tossing? The job came with the stature. William Beckford,

who

the eccentric millionaire

was one of the

folly at Fonthill,

though

E.

wrote Vathek and last

to have a

Woods, author of the

J.

says Beckford’s

dwarf was

at

famous

dwarf in private

service,

useful Giants and Dwarfs (1860)

‘rather too big to

was the custom

to another, as

built the

be flung from one guest

dinners in earlier days.’

UN

As the repellent harbinger of world guv’mint the allure.

Its

(rightly

kangaroo tribunal, the International Criminal Court

denounced by the Bush administration), bears

features as the International Criminal Tribunals

Rwanda a fine

(heartily

US

hypocrisy on

control. Prosecutor

to

trial

and

insist

site

by George Szamuely,

is

no

jury. Prosecutors

on continued detention of

US to the

This same charter

a

The may

court

is

answerable

appeal an acquittal

defendant.’

UN Kulchur at full

is

the

Earth

Summit

in

Johannesburg

‘My hope

is

Sermon on

that this charter will

the

last

month.

spawn of Steven C. Rockefeller, Canadian

eco-mogul Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev,

a

out of

was the carrying of a cheesy ‘Ark of Hope’ containing the Earth

Charter from the

it:

is

and court are one and the same. Appellate court

Perhaps the most grotesque recent display of stretch

the same

on Yugoslavia and

‘The prosecutor

this issue,

court are also one and the same.

no one. There

all

endorsed by the Bush administration). To quote

recent piece on the CounterPimch

addressing

and

holds scant

Mount,

be

a

kind of Ten

that provides a guide for

who

has said of

Commandments,

human

toward the environment in the next century and beyond.’

behavior

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

160

The portage of the Charter at the end of last year began at an Earth Ceremony in Vermont, where Rockefeller (chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Earth Charter International Drafting Committee)

is

professor emeritus of religion at Middle-

bury College. Present was Jane Goodall, of chimpanzee fame. (One of her thumbtips was once nipped off by

when Goodall

tried

to

cosy up to

Experimental Medicine and Surgery

a

chimp

it

asserting

its

dignity

the Laboratory for

at

in Primates, part

of

NYU and

located in Sterling Forest. Goodall tried to cover up by saying she’d

caught her thumb in

a car

door.)

transported to Johannesburg

its

described on the Neu> American

mimicry of the

biblical

The Charter was housed and

cheesy Ark of Hope, furiously Patriot

website

blasphemous

as ‘a

Ark of the Covenant, which held the two

Commandments

tablets

containing the Ten

Moses.’

Accompanying Charter and Ark

that

are the

God

gave to

‘Temenos Books,’

containing aboriginal Earth Masks and ‘visual prayers/ affirmations for global healing, peace,

teachers, students,

precincts of

of

UN

a

and

gratitude,’ created

and mystics. ‘Temenos’

by 3,000 -artists,

the

is

word

for the

temple, and accurately reflects the ersatz religiosity

ritualism.

According

to the Charter,

are interdependent

course for

human

we

must: ‘Recognize that

and every form of life has value foetuses,

definition of ‘every

which

form of

...’

all

(except of

are not included in the

life,’

beings

UN’s

rating merely as disposable

protoplasm). There’s the predictable affirmation of faith in the ‘inherent dignity of

all

human

beings,’ excluding those

finished off by euthanasia or haled before the

ICC

are

or required to

UN

bureaucrats.

comes the jackboot. The Earth must ‘adopt

at all levels

give blowjobs or clean the bathrooms of overpaid

Now

who

sustainable

development plans and regulations. Prevent pollution of

any part of the environment. Internalize the

full

environmental and

OVERVIEW goods and services

costs of

social

in

161

the selling price. Ensure

universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and

responsible reproduction.’ In other words, population control, as

promoted through the century by the Rockefellers, who of course assigned the Manhattan real estate to the

October

1

for

its

HQ.

2002

2,

ANATOMY OF

THE

UN

FEAR

by Carol Norris

The

first

time

I

with us or against

xenophobic

lines

embarrassed.

I

now

heard the us’

famous, overused slogan ‘Either you’re

thought

I

was one of the most inane,

it

ever heard. Frankly,

I’d

an American,

as

had an incredible urge to write

a blanket

I

was

apology to

the people the world over. This oversimplification utterly dismisses

the complexities of people, societies and their relationships. I

can be ‘with’

just as

even for

I

my country and still

not agree with

can remain completely loyal to

when

I

think they

make

my

Of course

many of its policies,

friends, family

and

clients

incredibly foolish choices, as they

do

me.

But

as

I

thought more about

brilliant line, exactly

because

it

overlook the complexities of tapping into deep-seated class It

and I’m thinking is

it

no coincidence

I

realized

it

was an absolutely

was meant to encourage people to

life

fears.

it,

and think

Someone

in oversimplified terms,

paid attention in psychology

wasn’t C-student Bush. that

successful children’s author,

Both genres of writing get

in

Ted

Geisel, aka

was once

a

Dr

Seuss, the hugely

writer of war propaganda.

touch with the same concrete, childlike

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

162

(not to be confused with childish) thought processes like ‘You bad,

me

good.’

Young

children think like this because of

have been seriously threatened - or perceive

lives

that their lives are seriously threatened

They move from

are

development.

in their cognitive

Adults whose

where they

a healthy

- sometimes think

balance of operating from

all

similarly.

areas

of the

brain (including the rational neocortex) to operating primarily from the limbic system (the primitive brain and the intermediate brain),

which,

The

among

other things,

limbic system

is

responsible for self-preservation.

is

where

fear

and

its

physiological responses are

born, and they function to help us mobilize and defend ourselves against the woolly

mammoth

or the saber-toothed

where the mechanisms of aggression is

responsible,

among

are developed.

This

also

is

The neocortex

other things, for rational thought, abstract

thinking and the ability to consider complexities. fearful times, as the

tiger.

neocortex

is

And during

such

overridden by the limbic system,

we

find ourselves with fear-based, reactive, jingoistic and seemingly intractable

pro-war reactions

about self-preservation. (As

in

much of

this isn't a

the

American people.

neuropsychology

It’s

class this

is

an oversimplification and certainly a spotty explanation, but you get the

drift.)

Coupled with

this fact. I’ve

come

to realize that

have parentified our government - not in the

psychological one.

judgemental way, but of our

life

I

do not

say

in a factual one.

this

in

We’ve

literal sense,

all

is

a psychotherapist

and

but in the

condescending or

a

done

or another.

Carol Norris

many Americans

freelance writer.

it

in

one arena

OVERVIEW

October

2002

5,

1

163

IRAQ AS PRISON STATE by Jeffrey

Clair

St.

Iraq isn't a rogue state; state,

kept under

a captive nation,

it’s

a level ot

the world’s

All the recent chatter in the

media about

Iraq conveniently ignores the fact that the

envy.

forthcoming war

a

US

and Britain have

been waging war against Saddam since 1990 — although a

decidedly one-sided

affair,

Iraq has

days.

Its

jammed; navy are

is

been

War Round

been remorselessly bombed about once every three

feeble air defense system air

its

it’s

too one-sided to mention, apparently.

Since the accords that brought an end to the Gulf

One,

prison

microscopic control and surveillance that

would have made Jeremy Bentham tremble with on

first

force

destroyed.

is

The

is

shattered and

its

grounded, the runways cratered; nation’s northern

radars are

its

and southern

primitive

territories

occupied by hostile forces armed, funded and overseen by the

CIA. Every

bit

new

of

construction in the country

is

scrutinized for

cameras capable of

any possible military function by

satellite

zooming down

Truck and tank convoys

to a square meter.

zealously monitored. certainty.

Bunkers

Troop locations

are

are pinpointed

with

are

a lethal

mapped, the coordinates programmed into

the targeting software for bunker-busting

This once wealthy and secular nation

bombs. is

bankrupt,

its

financial

reserves crippled by the sanctions that have blocked not only the

export of Iraqi

oil

but also the import of medical and food supplies,

leading to the deaths of millions of Iraqi civilians.

Now along comes

mini-Bush

emaciated nation,

shackled

in

to proclaim to the

world that

this

the political equivalent of an isolation tank inside

a

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

164

maximum-security prison

for these past twelve years,

threat to

world peace on the planet.

The

Saddam

Iraq

is

case against in league

bomb

down

with A1 Qaeda; Iraq

weapons

biological

boils

capability; Iraq

rebuilding

its

by the

chemical and

close to developing a nuclear is

exporting weapons of mass

destruction to other nations or terrorist groups. allegations are accepted as fact

the greatest

to the following allegations:

is

is

or radiological weapon; Iraq

is

Most

US press, but Milan

ot these

Rai proves

there’s precious little substance to the charges.

Rai,

founder of the London-based antiwar group

a

doesn’t spare

Tony

do much

Blair to

Blair.

ot the

It’s

ARROW,

only natural. Bush has, of course,

heavy

lifting

Blair serves as a kind of Minister of

— or

at least

left

the elocution.

Rhetoric for the Bush crowd.

He was assigned the task of assembling the dossier against bin Laden. And later he was given the task of presenting the case against Iraq. bin Laden indictment was

Blair’s

frail

on

facts

and speculative

in

the extreme. But his dossier against Saddam, his litany of ‘kiUer.facts,’

was vaporous by comparison. The Iraq dossier was written by John Scarlett, a

former

Committee, the Scarlett

MI6

officer presiding over the Joint Intelligence

British equivalent of the National Security Council.

submitted

his report in April,

had been demanded by

Blair

but

and Bush.

it

fell

far short

of what

In tact, British Foreign

Secretary Jack Straw was so infuriated by the lack of evidence that

he sent the six-page document back to Scarlett with instructions to

amp up

the allegations against Saddam.

In the end, the Blair dossier didn’t disclose

much

of the hard evidence regarding

Iraq’s

Indeed,

all

capacity stems largely from reports by British intelligence

Saddam was any

that

was new.

bio- weapons

UN inspectors prior to

1999.

concluded that there wasn't any evidence that

greater a threat than he was in

conclusion of the Gulf War.

1991

at

the

OVERVIEW

Some of the new

claims are tenuous

165

at best.

Take the peregrinations of Dr Khidir Hamza, the self-professed

former head of the

program,

Iraqi nuclear

The US-educated Hamza

from the

retired

who

a

number of wild

nuke program

Iraqi

in

US

intelligence to

claims, including: that Iraq

was behind the

1987, but has been put forth to the media by

make

defected in 1994.

anthrax attacks in the US; that Iraq gave technical and financial aid to the A1

Qaeda

developing

a ‘dirty

weapon capable to

know

UN

operatives behind the 9/11 attacks; that Iraq

bomb' and

close to assembling a nuclear

is

Hamza

ol striking Israel.

hasn't

about any of these matters in over

weapons inspector Scott Ritter the crucial issue of Iraqi

a

labels

concocts information to curry favor with

On

is

his

been

in a position

decade, and former

him

who

a ‘fraud’

backers in the CIA.

weapons of mass destruction

(the

top reason cited by the Bush— Blair tag team for overthrowing

Saddam), Rai concludes that since

December 1998 and

there’s

been no new evidence produced

there’s

no evidence

at all that

they’ve

provided such weapons to other nations or to terrorist groups.

The second argument advanced for invading Iraq is that Saddam was somehow behind the attacks of9/ll.This conspiracy was first promoted by former CIA

director James Woolsey, A1 Gore’s tutor

in intelligence matters. Recall that

Woolsey helped

script Gore’s

craven speech on the floor of the Senate justifying his vote for war against Iraq in 1990.

Then

in

1998 Woolsey helped peddle through

Congress the Clinton/Gore-crafted Iraq Liberation izing funds for the overthrow of

new

Bill,

author-

Saddam. ‘Regime change’

isn’t a

coinage.

Within days of 9/11, the ghastly Woolsey was front and center before the cameras asserting, with the insider, that the attacks

group of

terrorists.

knowing look of

had been carried out by

The

a

a

Langley

‘state-sponsored’

culpable state? Iraq, naturally. Woolsey ’s

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

166

main piece of evidence consisted of a rumor

that

Osama

bin Laden

had sent an emissary to Saddam’s birthday party in Baghdad of 1988. That’s After the

right, 1988.

promoted by Woolsey

initial allegations

Mohammed

charge surfaced. Supposedly, hijacker Iraqi agents in

in April

Prague

a

fell flat, a

Atta

few months before the 9/

1

1

new

met with

attacks, the

implication being that here Atta received his final instructions from

Saddam. The evolution of the story

is

a

textbook case of media

Within days the allegation had mushroomed from Atta

inflation.

huddling with

agent, to a secret meeting with

a ‘low-level’ Iraqi

a

‘mid-level’ Iraqi intelligence agent, to a session with a ‘senior’ Iraqi official to, finally, a

service.’

One

pow-wow

report played up in the

‘obtaining a flask of anthrax’

While the Saddam, visited the

a

with the ‘head of

US

press ran wild

Czech

Prague

in

at this

But

operative.

this

press

even had Atta

assignation.

with speculation over Atta’s

2001, although

Atta didn’t

a

Mohammed Atta

(not necessarily

to the city twice in the previous

meet with an

The man who met with

Iraqi

diplomat/intelligence

the Iraqi agent (identified as the

ambassador to the Czech Republic) was actually another

named

Saleh,

who

ties to

police investigation revealed that Atta had not

M.A.) apparently had been

year.

German

Iraq’s intelligence

is

now

a

Iraqi

used-car dealer living in Nuremberg,

Germany. At the time Atta was supposed to be getting instructions in Prague, he was actually living just

from the FBI

HQ

in Virginia

Beach, Virginia.

his

murderous

down

the road

OVERVIEW

167

October 22, 2002

IRAQ:

WHEN

THE GOING

WAS GOOD

by Vanessa Jones

The interview

takes place

impromptu,

in a cafe in the exclusive

diplomatic suburb of 'Manuka' in Canberra, the capital of Australia.

The

suburb, pronounced Mar-nik-a by locals, reads phonetically to

out-of-towners ‘slut’;

as

Ma-nu-ka, which

pronounced ma-nuke, male.

(receiving)

Not

masculine form

used for

is

quite polite to mention,

a

gay

know, but an

I

Western diplomatic suburb, considering

interesting choice for a that

its

Arabic slang for (female)

is

25 per cent of Australia’s food exports are bought by Arabic

countries.

an extremely offensive and derogatory label to use

It is

or to receive.

Manuka,

Sitting in

smoking

Drum

an Italian cafe,

at

and drinking

we comment on

a flat

current politics

of things spreading to

Iraq.

He

white.

I

meet

We

me

he’s

chat slowly, and

start to

— Afghanistan, Sept. tells

handsome man

a

1

been to

1

,

the likelihood

Iraq, after

mini-

mally completing his compulsory Egyptian military service.

A

of his had refused to do military service, and had paid for

dearly

he was imprisoned His

own

hundred Egyptian pounds

in

him paying

house, in exchange for his freedom.

of bribes, normal being

compulsory military

at

released

service.

It

others in

a

bribe

officer

at

a

in the

couple man’s

the normal level

pounds

was more an

young men of being

many

a

the thousands of

from duty. The military

situation for

Not

a military

1987 (equal to

of months’ wages) and doing some carpentry work

release



in putrid conditions for three years in Cairo.

military service was cut short by

officer three

it

friend

illegal,

level, to

escape

compassionate

was aware of the horrendous

in

the military, and probably

similar fashion.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

168

He was to the

twenty, and wanted to

West were impossible

‘piss off’

to obtain, so

anywhere. Visas to get

he ended up in

From Jordan another bus long

trip.

Memory

to Iraq.

A

Speaking

fades.

three- or four-day journey.

Arabic

his native

refugee in Iraq

a

He

was the only place in 1987,

it it

was easy was

Europe or Australia.

work

a

slave,

If

a visa to

you cannot

which

dearer.

wealthy and prosperous country.

a

war with

He

is

amounts

dear for the average man, and

And when you

in

get there

you

a

are as a

leave the country or travel to another city before

the employer signs your papers. slave to another.

work

he wanted to go to work in the Gulf, he had

contract,

good contract even

He

He

didn’t like the idea of being a

chose, instead, Iraq.

A

country

at that

time

at

Iran.

arrived after three or four days, by coach, in Baghdad. There

was not just

and get

to enter

liquor shops he saw there he’d never seen in such

buy

felt like

way.

At the time,

The

A

the way.

all

Everything new. Different cultures and different food.

to

a

through the Aqaba Gulf, across the Sinai desert and into Jordan.

ship,

in.

He

Cairo by bus — over the Suez Canal - the bus went inside

left

a

Iraq.

a sign

of poverty. In 1987 the population in Baghdad was

under 4 million people. Food was very cheap and

There were many foreign

plentiful.

nationals, Thais, Filipinos, operating

businesses. Unlike

Gulf countries, foreigners could open and operate

businesses of their

own. East Europeans, Russians, Europeans. He

moved

in to a

cheap hotel, and found work making furniture, sofa

frames, cinema chairs, parliament chairs, furniture

Hussein’s relative’s house



his

cousin or

sister’s

Egyptian co-worker was petrified of making

being shot. Most government Iran-Iraq war was going on. a

school was

bombed by

men seemed

You could hear

a

work

palace

in

Saddam

home. His

mistake for fear of

to carry guns.

The

the rockets nearby and

an Iranian rocket during his

stay.

OVERVIEW Everything in Iraq was running

of

169

fine, as

long

as

you didn’t speak

or critique the powers that were. There used to

politics, dissent

be prostitutes visiting the carpentry workshop. You could go to prostitute bar

anywhere

in

Baghdad. Iraq was the

first

It

happened

were

in

Women

own

land, the

and

a politician

The

wage was adequate

was

a socialist

for food, health

to

or to go for top jobs. Food was plentiful.

option to be

ably. It

and women.

1969, after the July 17, 1968 Revolution.

also given the vote, the right to divorce

average

Arabic nation

men

to legislate equal property inheritance rights for

a

to cover living expenses

comfort-

system, so the government was responsible

and education, and there were adequate government

family payments to cover the well-being of each child.

He

noticed young

unlike

women

some other Arabic

were

nations.

prosperous country, comparable to

own

really into their It

was

US

education,

a civilized, plentiful

and

UK

standards.

No

and

one

appeared homeless, starving or medically neglected. Free healthcare

was

US

private

citizens.

During

war carried home

to their

for anyone, Iraqi or foreign, unlike the current

health system, refusing to freely treat even

1987 he saw the

Iraqi

men

killed in the

wrapped

families in coffins,

the roof racks.

On

be seen driving

at

its

in the Iraqi flag,

the streets, each day,

own

on top of taxis,

many

taxis

tied to

could regularly

normal speed, taking the dead men home

to their

families. In the hotel

where he

stayed, military

men were

openly, actively

gay and the whole society seemed very liberal and open. People

were

free to

go

to church, or to the

or to university, or to

moral or

political

a prostitute,

interference.

mosque, or

or to their gay lover. Without any

The only

thing disallowed was

political agitation/meeting. Healthcare, education,

were readily in

many

available.

ways.

This

is

to a liquor store,

food and housing

what the West’s sanctions have wrecked

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

170

The hidden agenda of the Gulf War and to shove the Iraqi people, their

economic

the sanctions has been

prosperity, free healthcare,

education, back into the basement of the Third World. has

been crippled and frozen. Within fourteen years of

Iraq, the

Egyptian

man

lives in

Iraq

his visit to

has migrated out of Egypt, to the West. In

fourteen years from now,

Vanessa Jones

Now

how

will a

young Egyptian

Melbourne, Australia.

find Iraq?

PART THREE WAR ON IRAQ

November

1

1,

2002

FROM MARINE TO ANTIWAR ORGANIZER: TO SERVE OR NOT TO SERVE? by Scott Cossette

Being an

activist for social justice

is

not an easy

task.

You seldom

get paid and often lose partners, family, friends or your job it is

discovered that you equate the welfare of others with your own.

somehow makes you So why do it, you ask?

This

I

when

a

pariah, a target for derision.

believe that if you see injustice and

as guilty as

fail

to act, then

the perpetrators of the injustice.

I

bring

you this

are just

up now

because our nation’s ‘volunteer’ armed services are being forced, not asked, to continue the perpetration of injustice on the people

of

Iraq.

An

injustice

all

the

more rank because

it

has nothing to

do

with liberation of people but aims to liberate natural resources for exploitation.

US

servicepersons are forbidden to choose whether

or not they will facilitate or actively engage in this slaughter of

innocent security.

civilians for the interests

of the

oil

barons,

I

mean

national

They - mostly poor African-American, Latino and White

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

174

enlisted

men and women

medical benefits and

enticed by the promises of education,



‘job’ training

are

bound by oath

to

obey the

orders of their arbitrarily appointed superiors and ‘elected’ officials

even

when

those orders result in the commission of war crimes that

command or political masters can be of. Our refusal to join the World Court

they and not their chain of

charged with and convicted ensured

To be such

this.

fair

I

My

recruiter never revealed that information to me.

never asked, because

never thought that

I

Andy

Stapp,

who founded

1967 to support GIs

on

this

in

the

the Brass, the story

endeavor in

a small

by

all

August 1999,

the United States really

means at

relaying

this

the ripe ‘old’ age of twenty-nine,

Marine Corps. Why? The truth

deluded into thinking that

and democracy. Perhaps safety.

and many other war

war and

1

The

resist

necessary.

do not know the answer

ensuring their

decided to try and

my own experimen and women in uniform

way by

why our

I

and those pondering enlistment should oppose it

in

opposition to the war in Vietnam and to

ences and offering reasons

serving in

of Private

American Servicemen’s Union

of the military in general,

fight the hypocrisy

In

in

a situation.

Having recently read Up Against

carry

could be

I

I

is,

to that loaded question.

I

enlisted in

to this day

Maybe

1

I

was

was championing the cause of freedom

felt

I

was serving

my

fellow Americans by

heroic deeds of General Smedley Butler

‘heroes’ are methodically drilled into

your head

during Marine recruit training. Their names and accomplishments are recited

by boots while waiting

forced vaccinations, urination and chow. This

toiletries,

ensure that each and every Marine in battle

Sadly,

in the endless lines for haircuts,

and bring honor to I

came

their

is

done

to

feels pressure to aspire to greatness

country and themselves.

across General Butler’s enlightening

‘War

Is Just

A

Racket’ speech after being discharged from the Corps. This, the most

WAR ON IRAQ

175

important of the General’s accomplishments,

during ‘indoctrination,’ even though

is

conveniently

was delivered

it

Being the police protection for big business is

would

they really represented,

refuse to

school, with

all

do

Boot camp

so.

1

Third World

in the

members

have no doubt that they

day

like the first

is

ont

in 1933!

neither honorable nor just. If the rank-and-file service

knew whom

left

new

at a

the fear and anxiety of being alone in a foreign

place except that in this school the teachers control your every

waking moment. You

are

admonished never

Army

instructor a drill ‘sergeant' (that’s the nasty

Marines

are superior to

to urinate, permission

manner.

I

call

the

drill

terminology and

other branches), or to look them in the

You do not speak

eye for any reason.

need

all

to

unless spoken to

must be requested

witnessed more than one boot

in the

and

you

proper military

on himself

piss

if

at

the

position of attention because he failed repeatedly to request

permission in the proper military manner. This

moment It It It

in

someone’s

is

made

stammer or nervously mix up your words.

behoove you you

clear to

proud

life.

doesn't pay to have a

also doesn’t

truly a

is

at

to stand too close to a drill instructor.

the beginning of training that

if

an

in ‘self-defense.’ Let’s say that

may respond with some kids never heard

saw

was

instructor feels ‘threatened’ by a recruit he or she

extreme force because

this,

I

The only words

a

few black eyes while that

make

I

there.

the loneliness, the physical torture,

the verbal abuse, the humiliation, the gas chamber, the group

punishment

for individual mistakes, the endless

bunk, unmake your bunk worthwhile

your next duty the

word

It

at

station.’

‘infantile’

are: ‘It gets

The School of

- was

my

does not get any better.

hours of make your

Infantry

-

much I

better at

assume from

next duty station.

When

in

attention and keep your eyes straight.

formation you must stand

One

of our sergeants used

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

176

walking up to

to take great pleasure in

my

‘Do you know what

Marine and asking him:

a

favorite city in Thailand

When

is?’

Marine, without moving, answered No, the sergeant would in the genitals

we

and exclaim: ‘Bangkok!’ After

a

slap

few rounds of

the

him this

learned to answer correctly while shielding our groins.

for.

am

still

I

not sure what

months

After three

and

‘Jackie the Iraqi,’

reciting chants like kill,

pillage

‘Joe rag-head'

‘Napalm

what the

about.

Could

easier?

killers in

that a

with

sticks to kids’

hell

all

available

and

and ‘We’re gonna rape,

streets

was doing

I

means

of the base,

in the

I

began

Marine Corps.

my

That certainly couldn't be what

was Urban Combat

class,

30 per cent casualty

more than

Imagine

that: at least three

towns and

a

cities.

will fight furiously to

Another duty

out of ten GIs will

Haven’t

combat

‘arts.’

When

it

was learned

we

DIE when

‘contract’!

they invade

learned from Vietnam that people

defend their homes? Wouldn’t you?

and nothing changed. This time

station

to

training.

few of them regretted signing the

had thankfully been scrapped

due

was

was expected in house-to-house

rate

enrolled in electronics school

training and

this

experience, even for the hard-core would-be

fighting

the

to kill ‘Luke the gook,'

it?

The most sobering

Iraqi

how

were we dehumanizing these people? Does racism make the

job of killing them all

ol learning

of ‘training’ was preparing us

and burn’ while we ran on the

to really question

Why

this sort

much

Who

29 Palms.

at

after

I

was

career in Infantry

an injury during Reconnaissance

pleading on

knows,

My

I

my own

behalf to be out of

might have gone on

to protect

now President of Afghanistan, own brethren. More than likely, would

former Unocal Oil spokesman and

Hamid still

be

Karzai,

from

his

I

in the brig for refusing to crash

Marine Corps Base 29 Palms

is

wedding

just about the

parties.

most desolate and

bizarre piece of real estate in the country. Located in the high desert

WAR ON IRAQ outside Palm Springs,

Morale here If

my new

is

be the lowest of any duty station in the Corps.

said to

superiors were any indication, the reason

morning before

is

clear.

Every

get into formation for

your uniform, your haircut and most

at

One

importantly, your shave. class liked to

would

the platoon

class

They look

inspection.

our

hard to believe you are not on Mars.

is

it

177

pace up and

of the young corporals in charge of

down

the ranks and indiscriminately

swat an unsuspecting Marine in the crotch. Non-commissioned officers

seem

to have an affinity for this in the

defeating your

this the secret to

to exclude

One

Why

enemy?

Marine Corps. Was

do they

fight so hard

homosexuals from military service?

particular

morning stands out

had been found to have,

in

my memory. A

few Marines

in the class sergeant’s opinion, unsatis-

factory shaves. Protests and verbal abuse, including threats of bodily

harm and instructors,

death, over the situation caught the attention of our

two

One

staff sergeants.

Bic shaver and handed

it

to

of them produced

Corporal

‘Slaps

a

pink Lady

Your Nuts.’ Brimming

with satisfaction he ordered the offending parties to dry-shave right there

on the

spot.

instructors ordered

Death

threats

I

was

them

pissed. After a

few moments one of the

into the head so as not to attract attention.

and sharing

a lady’s

razor because of poor hygiene?

we were being trained for were among ourselves. When one human being believes they are above another then they become their own enemy. vowed then and there I

could see that the only battles

I

to get out any I

way

I

could.

was losing weight.

cramps and diarrhea. sessions

due

rehydration.

to

I

I

was unable to

eat

without severe stomach

missed almost

all

of

weakness and the frequent

More

than once

I

needed IV

‘my’ problem was not the discharge that I

I

my

physical training

visits to

fluids.

the hospital for

Their solution to

sought but the idea that

buck up and get with the program. They even suggested putting

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

178

me on

antidepressants!

I

them under no circumstances was

told

going to medicate myself in order to put up with

And

I

this shitty existence.

certainly wasn’t going to engage in the universal military

pastime of drunkenness in order to deal with After seeing suffering from

the best

My

news

a a

shrink on base

‘personality disorder’

had heard in

I

it

a

it.

was determined that

and should be

master sergeant, however, was not going to

We

Get over

how

his

it,’

he shouted.

wife or her

My memory

wasn’t quite sure

I

out.

flashed back to

They requested

orders to fleet

combat

Recon

in their desperation.

It

was

me

let

are

‘My

depressed.

all

his

go.

unhappiness

training. felt

I

had witnessed

they had no other

discharges and were denied and given

units.

This had so devastated their morale

Mexico and bought

that they traveled to

was

had anything to do with me.

illness

three Marines attempt suicide because they

way

go.

let

I

long time.

wife has been bipolar for twenty-two years.

with

I

Lucky

for

a large

them Valium

is

amount of Valium a

poor choice

for

The dose one would have to take is almost impossible swallow. They were groggy as hell for the first few days and spent least a week in the psych ward for observation. won’t forget

poisoning. to at

I

having overheard one of their instructor’s remark that they should have died because they were pussies. Semper fidelis! I

can only imagine what the parents of these young

have gone through.

be on their way In truth

I

about taking I

I

was just glad that they had survived and would

home life.

to get the ball rolling, to

I

few short weeks. could not bring myself to even think

all,

this

decided, after a letter

ofAWOL.

I

After

had to get away from I

in a

was jealous.

my

men must

I

had so

much

to live for.

But

I

knew

demoralizing machine.

wrote to

my commanding

officer failed

go UA. That’s the Marine Corps version

WAR ON IRAQ which

After five days, in

my

to divulge

179

my mother was pressured and frightened

whereabouts,

contacted legal counsel and turned

1

myself in.

There

are

some good people

my

spoke up on

behalf

at

my

in the

Marine Corps. One of them

adjudication proceeding.

sergeant,

on the other hand, advised punishment

allowed.

My

commanding

restriction to barracks I

was

tantly,

and

as

were

them on all

this

period

received forty-five days'

thirty days’ extra

duty to run concurrent.

I

came

whole

had one thing

were processing

into contact with

of separation or

in various stages

the

to be decent,

all

me

for discharge.

the ‘malcontents’

legal limbo.

found

I

hard-working individuals and we

common; we were

in

to the fullest extent

I

officer agreed.

greatly desired, they

I

master

month's pay for two months. More impor-

also fined half a

During that

and

My

not going to be broken and

used to propagate the degradation and cruelty of militarism.

Some officers.

take to military

The

enlisted

life

very well. Especially senior

however

live in

constant anxiety.

NCOs and The pay

is

low, racism and sexual harassment are rampant, and domestic

violence

is

a

harsh

reality.

Fort Bragg has recently

one’s attention because of the

come

to every-

number of murder/suicides

that have

taken place there. Vaccinations that are FDA-approved for experi-

mentation only are routinely given to of court martial for

from ‘friendly

amphetamines

fire'

refusal.

by

USAF

soldiers with the threat

troops are in constant danger

These

pilots.

are

pilots

given

and

to increase their stamina for longer missions

downers when they land Canadian unit

Ground

US

in

to allow

them

Afghanistan have been

to sleep.

bombed

Could the

as a result

of

this

criminally negligent policy?

Times have changed

little.

Soldiers in

Vietnam were given speed

T

new meaning

to increase their killing efficiency. ‘war’

his gives a

on drugs. Not only do troops have

to be

wary of

to the

their

own

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

180

forces, but battlefield.

now

According to

how many

any idea

almost outnumber them on the

civilian contractors

recent report, the

a

army does not have

contractors they employ!

Many new combat

systems are totally dependent on civilian maintenance. What’s

more, they are upset because

when he

A

soldier

war

last

to

fails

show

uranium

a soldier

can’t shoot a civilian contractor.'

Remember

that.

167,000 veterans of the

acknowledge Gulf War Syndrome. They

depleted uranium pass

you

words, ‘You can shoot

being denied benefits because the government

in Iraq are

refuses to

up, but

expendable.

is

in their

Many US and

hazardous.

is

deny

that

allied soldiers

still

also

in their urine! Still others deliver hideously

deformed

children or watch as seemingly normal ones die of rare cancers. all

that I

you can

Do Not Go To

be:

why

guess the reason

I

could speak to others on

work,

an activist with

as

End Racism, and rest

in

to

show

joined the Marine Corps was so that

ANSWER,

civilians

Korea, Vietnam and the

‘No War

On

those thinking about is

Now

to

DC

My

listen.

Stop War and

me

the

on October 26th with the

and veterans of previous wars

who

important event will always be one of

this

the greatest achievements of

There

Act

I

their opposition to this unjust military aggression.

Helping to organize

to say:

and have them

this subject

Washington

of the over 200,000

came

Iraq.

the International Action Center, afforded

opportunity to be

Be

no proof

first

Iraq.’ it

I

my

life.

Gulf War. They

To those who

say this. Iraq

that

spoke with veterans from

I

Iraq

is

all

had the same thing

are currently enlisted

not

a threat to this

and

country.

sponsors terrorism or has any

connections to those that do. They are barely able to feed themselves or treat their sick.

Why

would they provoke even more devastation

than has already been visited

upon them?

The US government used Saddam while he was ‘punishing’ Iran.

Donald Rumsfeld was present

in Iraq

capable of

when

the

WAR ON IRAQ

181

Kurds were being gassed with technology that the

Our ambassador

provided and said nothing!

we would

not interfere in

was about

that

from

Iraq’s conflict

territorial integrity

US government

to Iraq told

Saddam

A

conflict

with Kuwait.

and the

illegal

pumping of

oil

Iraqi fields.

The

first

Gulf War reduced

Iraq

from the most industrialized,

educated and progressively secular nation in the Middle East to

beggar

Sanctions and daily

status.

have killed over

American

life.

a

Now

that Saudi Arabia oil

is

becoming more and more

companies need

to gain access

happens to possess the second-largest

else. Iraq just

reserves in the

for nearly eleven years

million innocent people without one loss of an

non-cooperative with the US, the

somewhere

bombing

world and by coincidence

is

oil

weak and

a militarily

ostracized country. If

they could defend themselves effectively, say like China, then

would the

US

demonizes

Iraq

this

war

be so bold? The

US

corporate media thoroughly

and grossly nnsreports the demonstrations against

that are taking place daily in this

world. George Bush restriction

of

is

country and around the

using fear and patriotism to justify the

and imperial aggression

civil liberties, racial profiling

on behalf of corporations. Save yourselves. Don’t become thugs for big business. Instead use your help alleviate the conditions that breed terrorism in the

Stand up and be counted

among

the majority that say:

Jobs, Education, Healthcare and Housing,

Scott Cossette, a former marine

Action Center in San Diego.

,

is

now an

Not

talents to

first

place.

‘Money

for

for War!’

organizer with the International

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

182

November

14,

2002

MOVEMENT AND

THE ANTIWAR

ITS

CRITICS

by Alexander Cockburn

Do we

We re

have an antiwar movement?

we Ye

be, because

getting there.

Marc Cooper, Todd

Corn and Christopher Hitchens. Marc Cooper, like Gitlin, has carved out himself, belaboring various to represent robust

back, the author had credentials, since the

sense.

to rubbish the credentials

It’s

credentials.

prime

line

same year

‘free

It’s

fair to raise

the issue of

of attack by the Light Infantry

dictator-lovers, cultists, practitioners

that

niche for

posture endearing to op-

a

of the antiwar

the start of 2000

a pleasant

David

an insinuation that somewhere, way

if there’s left

Gitlin,

causes from a position purporting

left

common

ed editors, particularly

at

must

catching flak from the anti-antiwar movement,

Light Infantry division, staffed by

Back

We

Cooper

left as

dumbos,

of unmentionable

publicly prayed to

cat’s-paws, vices%

God

How precisely the year Death Row he tastefully left

of Mumia.’

is

make would be to

man on unstated. In the jibes at the Mumia cult that followed, Cooper hiccuped bashfully that Mumia Abu Jamal ‘probably’ didn’t get a fair trial, liberated

from

this

then suppressed important

Mumia and saved his Eighties

facts

fatal

the police officer, or even that the

life

encounter between

Mumia ‘cult’ probably

by drawing attention to Mumia’s situation

when no one

cared

a

in the

mid-

whit.

In a recent Los Angeles Times this

about the

column Cooper

prays

once more,

time for ‘an effective, attractive and moral opposition.' And

how

can the antiwar opposition become effective, attractive and moral?

Cooper’s recipe: condone the tions; accept as

framework

US

rationale for continuing sanc-

for discussion

of the war and military

WAR ON IRAQ George Bush and

action the rationales offered by

Cooper

derides

Ramsey Clark

Would you march with Clark

US

his associates.

for calling the sanctions ‘genocidal.’

or Cooper? If you are hesitating read

Joy Cordon’s chilling description the

183

in the

November

has been applying sanctions designed to

kill

Harper’s

of how

children in Iraq,

make up your mind. Todd Gitlin has made a career out of issuing advisories about the 'hard left,' the ‘Old Left' and others. Though Gitlin usually pretends

then

that he’s trying to counsel the left towards

the Gitlin Seal of Approval, left as

improved conduct under

much

don't think he has

I

interest in the

anything other than raw material for his unctuous punditry.

In a recent Mother Jones Gitlin reports that at a rally outside the

he spotted placards saying ‘No Sanctions,

you

say.

Exactly the message

across. Gitlin disagrees.

a

peace

No

UN

Bombing.' Snappy,

movement might want

to get

His preferred placard would be the most

heavily footnoted text since

Lynn White

Jr’s

history of the stirrup.

Like Cooper, Gitlin craves for respectability, which means that he

wants the placard to make sibility for his

by the fly if

US

zone

you

clear that

(a)

Saddam

bears respon-

country’s plight, (b) the bombings of Iraq since 1991

(tactfully

described by Gitlin, echoing the

sorties’) are okay.

Tough

DoD,

as

‘no

placard to design, and pretty heavy,

factor in the square footage required for Gitlin’s text.

David Corn’s most Ghost,

it

substantial piece

which could be described

of Ted Shackley,

a

CIA

as a

of work to date

is

The Blonde

not unsympathetic account

supervisor of one bloodbath after another,

most notably the Phoenix program. Corn has

now

taken to issuing

cop-style intelligence reports, reminiscent of FBI field advisories to

Hoover, on the Workers World nefarious role in the

No

need

to dwell

DC

Party, stigmatizing the party for

and Bay Area antiwar demonstrations.

any longer on Hitchens,

commentator, speaking

in

its

good

activist faith.

at least as a ‘left’

When

Hitchens

libels

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

184

the

does so

born

as

who

has forsworn any

left

credential,

who

and

neocon, dispensing to the Washington Post

is

Podhoretz.

recent Hitchens piece in Slate attacks the term ‘chicken

which

is

to indicate that

many of the

Bush or Cheney shirked the

its

use now,

current civilian war-whoopers

duty back in the Vietnam

call to

period but are mustard keen on deploying others to the front It

now

lines.

seems that G. Bush was an actual deserter from the National

Guard.

well

It’s

documented on www.awolbush.com:

W. Bush never showed up

for National

Guard duty

of approximately one year, possibly more, definitions: for

new-

anti-left prose

hawks,’ while carefully avoiding the main point of

like

now

excellently pilloried by Katha Pollitt) he

frothing crudity eerily echoes that of his erstwhile butt,

Norman

A

one

as a

whose

modes

(in

left

AWOL, absent

more than

thirty days

for thirty days or

in

less.

George

that

for a period

Some

1972—73.

Desertion, absent

with evidence of no intent to return

to duty.

General Hitchens invokes the forces, a

bill.

good

Fort Bragg,

at

a year,

which

where members of the

is

probably

less

his

armed

next tour of

Special Forces get

than Hitchens’s annual bar

As with Poddy, Hitchens’s mind appears to have become

clouded by the fog of war-whooping.

He

reviles his old

Kerrey, seemingly unaware that this particular

attacking Iraq, then states last

pay’ of the

view he should impart personally on

inspection

$25,000

‘fairly

flatly that

chum Bob

war criminal

‘Lincoln became the

first

president to hear shots fired in anger.’ While president?

about Madison, fleeing the advancing troops

Admiral

Sir

George Cockburn?

TR

too

if

favors

and

What

commanded by

you count the angers

and joys of the chase. Hitchens invokes the ‘glorious Douglas McArthur.'

Is

this

written with

a straight face?

Hard

to

know

these

days with General Hitchens. He’s offended that chicken hawk’s

WAR ON IRAQ original

meaning was

above-mentioned

of preyer on young people. Reading the

that

article

185

on

sanctions, this seems appropriate.

So, having scouted out the anti-antiwar ask.

What

sort

Look back

movement, now we can

of an antiwar movement do

we

have?

to the early 1960s. In 1962, a full eight years after

President Eisenhower had decreed secretly that

Ho

Chi Minh could

not be permitted to triumph in open elections, the

beginning

to

educate

Kennedy was sending Vietnam and

itself

the

first

When President of US troops to South

about Vietnam. detachments

Ngo Dinh Diem

being incredulous

when one of my

Thomas Hodgkin, remarked

to

me

the

Workers

that

rallies that

set the stage for

more

1962

I

remember

that the next big anti-imperial

It

the big anti-war

in

radical mentors, the historian

battleground would be Vietnam. particularly the Socialist

South

there was scarcely the

semblance of an antiwar movement. In Oxford

and

was just

setting the stage for the assassination of

Vietnamese president

left,

left

wasn’t until 1966 and 1967 that Party,

managed

to stage

broke for ever the pro-war consensus radical actions.

And by

then there was

potent fuel for an antiwar movement, the

draft,

which

prompted Stop the Draft Week.

By 1968 we had the

a

worldwide anti-imperial movement; we had

May-June upheavals

was on our Today? Like the

side.

We

SWP

in Paris;

we

very definitely thought history

Not any more.

have the premonition of forty years ago, the

a

big antiwar movement.

Workers World Party did much

of the organizing of the recent demonstrations, which doesn’t mean the 150,000 or so

DC

are

who marched

in the

Bay Area and

in

Washington

dupes of Karl Marx, Ramsey Clark and Saddam Hussein,

but merely that organizing big demonstrations takes dedication, energy and experience.

I

have

a

a

lot

of

dream, said Martin

Luther King, and so he did, but the Communists in the south

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

186

helped him put

flesh

on

dream

that

as

they did the dreams of Rosa

Parks.

Will there be

war with

a

Iraq?

resolution rubber-stamped by the

To judge by the amended

US

UN

can

we

Security Council,

have one any time the Commander-in-Chief decrees

it,

with

February/March 2003

A

draft?

No

time soon.

A

and already there

probably the

as

up of the National Guard? More

calling are tens

of them no doubt chafing

And

if

George Bush

a

new

at their

reservists

on

duty,

killed in large

many

on the grounds

to a full personal cavity search, will if

likely,

condition.

the dogs of war

age of protest? Certainly,

Americans get that’s

of thousands of

lets slip

Saddam wouldn’t submit

earliest practical slot.

the

that

we

see

war goes on long enough and

numbers. There’s

a slab

of the right

denouncing America’s imperial wars. That wasn’t happening

the early Sixties. If the

left

could ever reach out to

in

which

this right,

almost constitutionally incapable of doing, we’ll have something.

it’s



Merle Haggard on Ashcroft’s colonoscopy. The night

after

Democrats nosedived

storm of

the

fall

drove

I

my local town

to

Merle has

a

at

9

pm

walking

there he was a bit stiffly

When

it

comes

miles through the

of Eureka, for

rap sheet for

about him canceling on

fifty

a

first

concert by Merle Haggard.

no-shows and there d been worrying this

tour because of

on the

stage

the

with

his

a

talk

herniated disk. But

band,

The

Strangers,

but looking and sounding good. to the big

themes of love and war and history

nothing concentrates the mind

like a

few songs by Merle, whose

1969 pro-war country anthem ‘Okie from MuskogeeTambasted the

dope-smoking hippie peaceniks and earned the former San Quentin

a full

resident of

pardon from Governor Ronald Reagan.

Sitting there in a white, mostly working-class audience even a

tad older than the equally white

crowd

listening to

Bob Dylan

in

WAR ON IRAQ Greek amphitheater

the

question bulked

in Berkeley a

187

few weeks ago, an obvious

the Stars and Stripes hanging above

as large as

Merle: had Merle changed since the time antiwar

movement of the

Sixties

when he

riposted to the

with ‘Muskogee’ and ‘The Fighting

Side of Me’? Back to Merle.

Yes he has,

we

as

already knew. Cheryl Burns reported this to

CounterPunch a few weeks ago from Kansas City:

Haggard tonight

now

in

KC — great show. He

was headed. But then he

war except the ‘Then he ...

(pause)

are

going

so

I

hope

I'll

think

right in the

said there

proud

was wondering just where he was nothing good about any

we should give John mouth!" Went on to

probably be thrown

ya’ll will bail

Merle wasn’t hints. ‘Friends

I

still

soldiers, sailors, etc.

says, “I

...

that, so

all

saw Merle

something about “so

we're in another war" and went on to say he was

be an American and

to

said

‘I

me

in this ripe

in jail

Ashcroft say,

a

big hand

“the way things

tomorrow

for saying that,

out.’’’

form

in

Eureka, but he dropped some

and conservatives,’ he began, then he made

about George Bush’s colonoscopy, and the search for

a

joke

Osama

bin

Laden. ‘He’s up there somewhere,' Merle said somewhat cryptically,

and the crowd wasn’t quite sure

how

to take

it.

Then he

said

offhandedly, without enthusiasm: ‘Looks like we’re in another war,’

and sang ‘The Fighting Side of Me.’ At another concert, June Derbyshire years

in National

we went

downhill, and

an ex-convict,

I

year ago, he was quoted by John

Review online

have their fucking eyes on as

a

...

if

as saying:

‘Look

people don’t realize

In 1960,

when

I

at

the past 25

it,

they don’t

came out of prison

had more freedom under parolee supervision

than there’s available to an average citizen in America right

God

almighty,

what have we done

to each other?’

now

...

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

188

Coining from

inside the Beltway in

DC

Washington

is

Sam

Smith’s

on-line Progressive Review. In the wake of Hitchens’s departure from

The Nation and

his foolish

interesting reflections

ing the

I

more

varieties.

elite

with the colloquial, informal,

left

than to

have never gotten on that well with

I

my

time to straighten out

because

elite left

paradigm.

It

not the famous talkers but the

turns out

known

little

never could find the

I

who made

important anyway, because the people

Conrad’s phrase, for one brief

in

consists of, contrast-

far closer to the idiomatic, colloquial left

Hitchens’ former pals in the

who,

left’

Sam had some

left,

left:

have always been

the

on what exactly ‘the

or old Marxist

‘elite’

spontaneous

denunciations of the

wasn’t

it

that

all

the difference were

doers, ordinary people

moment

did something out

of the ordinary.

They were people who had not couldn’t

when

tell

aTrotskyite from a

to ‘stand

the people of



world

Do

you know

am

I

maker of the world’s food and history.

But they knew,

whom Carl Sandburg wrote:

done through me?

is

the

clothes.

‘I

that

I

am all

in Pogo’s

action.’

the people the great

workingman, the I

am

words,

These



the

are

mob

work of this inventor, the

the audience that witnesses

The Napoleons come from me and

and then

Marx and Hegel and

on the piano and demand outrage

crowd - the mass.

the

troll.

studied

the Lincolns.

send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns

.

.

.

They

die.

Sometimes

I

growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to

remember. Then -

when

who

I,

I

forget.

When

I,

the people, learn to remember,

the People use the lessons of yesterday and

robbed

me

be no speaker

in

last year, all

who

played

me

for a fool

the world to say the name:

any fleck of a sneer in

his

mob - The crowd - The

no longer

- then

“The

forget

there will

People”, with

voice or any far-off smile of derision.

mass - will arrive then.

The

WAR ON IRAQ Consistently, the East Coast shuttle

left

189

from which Hitchens has

departed has been indifferent about, ignorant

of the idiomatic, colloquial

sition to the issues

are

or even in oppo-

of,

left.

The people who

changing the way other people think about things

scattered

And when some of them came

around the nation.

most



Green Party — they were not only not welcomed

effective progressive political organization

they were frequently excoriated.

And

as for

found

together

of modern times

in the

the

are

into the club,

the critics of an Iraqi

invasion, they are typically just ordinary citizens

who

have learned

without the help of Ramsey Clark to be scared to death of what their leaders are about to

Hitchens and carefully

do

to

them.

his ilk will

framed in

a

continue to have their

manner

that excludes

do with

either

I

I

worked

It

liked

at

and

university

America or the

it

left as

some of what Smith

said

who

really

with creative, non-doctrinaire spirited

it

has

little

to

is.

about the

think his contrasting of the doctrinaire

all

produce

actually

works now. But

it

debates,

most of the people they

claim to care about and most of the people

change.

little

left

sterility

and non-left, but of failed ‘old

‘real left’ left a lot

left’

of the story

untold. In

my years

of going around the country doing anti-intervention

talks, fund-raisers,

book

tours etc, etc, the

there’s a truly vast left that

is

first

thing to notice

invisible to almost

all

is

that

East Coast

commentators. Church people, labor people, public defenders, Lawyers Guild, faculty people, farm people,

radical greens,

World

Federalist types, red-diapered middle-agers, in almost every town.

(And

in

every town the

conservative their

And

in

meeting

see older folk

town after

who were

left will tell is.

you with gloomy pride how

)

meeting you can look labor

commies

at

the audience and

in the Fifties

and

who

have

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

190

and

certainly had their share of doctrinal struggle

Marx

etc,

and

way through people

the

RCP

who might

still

people

Sixties vintage

who might

and out the other have

come aboard

have read

have fought their

and then younger

side,

in

who

WTO

who

wars and

read CounterPunch. It’s

in

geology that varies from place to place. For example

a rich

one town

Wisconsin the two most bustling

in

Communist

organizers were both kind of ex Revolutionary In the

Deep South

Maoists in the Seventies. In for the long haul and

deserving of Smith’s misprision.

A

might

lot

on the Nation

managed

DC

the

site

about

demo, but

lively

Corn may

write long

Party stage-

what? Corn’s ideological forebears

were redbaiting the Commies

for

being behind the

civil, rights

movement, which often they were. Sectarians know how organize.

Someone

Sam was lot, I

right in

has to

one

do

thing:

positions and a lively

impatiently what was for Hitchens,

long ago, Jeffrey

and

as 1

I

a

many of these, especially

was reminded of this

I

when

in a left

group asked

me

the talk about this ‘Clifford Hutchins.’ As

he parted ways with anything decently radical long, occasionally point out.

try to

push along

common who take

understand that populist right

the younger

few months ago and derided Hitchens’s

young woman

all

to

it.

couldn’t give a toss about Hitchens.

gave a speech in SF

still

instinctively deride as fossilized

how the Workers World

so

and not

of good organizers are

Trots or Maoists or whatever. Red-baiters like articles

Party.

lawyers

radical

organizing backbone of their

in left groups mainstreamers

and

who are still the communities who came down as

met

I’ve

left activists

General Ashcroft

is

doing

in

My

hope of course, which

CounterPunch

cause can be

,

is

that the left should

made with many

in the

the Bill of Rights seriously. Attorney his best to help.

WAR ON IRAQ

December

12,

2002

TORQUEMADAS by Jeffrey

IN

BIRKENSTOCKS

Clair

St.

My dear old

191

Brower must be fuming

friend David

in his grave.

The

Sierra Club, the organization he almost single-handedly built into a

global green powerhouse, has

two

years ago that

now

which Brower believed

it

become

refuses

so cowardly since his death

even to take

a

stand against war,

to be the ultimate environmental nightmare.

Even worse, its bosses — like petty enforcers from the McCarthy era — are now threatening to exile from the Club any leaders who looming bombing and

step forward to voice their opposition to the

subsequent invasion and occupation of It

is

a telltale sign

that there’s precious

of another war

of the enervated condition of the big greens little

dissent in the Sierra

in the Persian Gulf.

from Utah, of all

Iraq.

places, to light the

Club on the prospect

Indeed,

fire.

Let

it

took four

activists

them be known

as

the

Glen Canyon Group Four: John Weisheit, Tori Woodard, Patrick

Dan Kent. Last week they announced that they opposed the war. They identified themselves as leaders of the Sierra Club’s Glen Canyon Group, based in Moab, Utah, former stomping grounds of Edward Abbey. Diehl and

‘The present administration has declared total military

chair of the will

produce

dominance of the world,’

its

says Patrick Diehl, vice-

Glen Canyon Group. ‘We believe a state

intention to achieve

that such ambitions

of perpetual war, undoing whatever protection

of the environment that conservation groups may have so

far

achieved.’

This noble stand was soon followed by

a similarly principled anti-

war resolution enacted by the Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

192

HQ

Then: slam! The long arm of Sierra Club

them - clumsily

as usual.

There’s apparently scant

when

speech inside the Sierra Club these days, even

paramount concern

The

came down on

to the health

room

lor tree

the topic

is

of

of the planet. Especially then.

Club’s executive director, Carl Pope, and his gang of

glowering enforcers blustered that the Glen Canyon Four had impertinently violated Club rules. They threatened to level sanctions against the activists, ranging

from expelling them from their positions

to dissolving the rebellious

group

nasty emails flew back and forth.

entirely.

threatened with

a

Angry phone

and

calls

The Glen Canyon Four were

BOLT action — BOLT is the acronym for a

Breach

of Leadership Trust. “For the board to

world, where

a

compel our

silence plays right into Bush’s

nation ot police, prisons, bombs, bunkers

than lowering oneself to diplomacy to save

The

lives,’ says

better

is

Dan

mad

Kent.

Sierra Club’s Breach ot Leadership Trust rule functions as a

kind of prototype for Ashcroft’s Patriot Act, designed to stigmatize, intimidate and muzzle internal dissenters. As a result, the

with snoops, snitches, and would-be Torquemadas In this case, the intimidation isn't likely to is

Club

is

rife

in Birkenstocks.

work. John Weisheit

perhaps the most accomplished river guide on the Colorado.

He

s

stared

down

Cataract

Canyon and Lava

violent incarnations without flinching. Tori

Diehl

live in the

Falls in their

Woodard and

band

ot local

bottles ot beer through

beast.

still

there

-

A

couple of

yahoos vandalized their home, threw

two

tront

windows, kicked

door, trashed the garden, and cut the

They’re

Patrick

outback ot Escalante, Utah, where they routinely

receive death threats tor their environmental activism. years ago, a

most

phone

in the front

line to the house.

the only enviros in that distant belly of the

Pompous chest-thumping by

scare off these people.

the likes of Carl

Pope won’t

WAR ON IRAQ Club has chosen

Peculiarly, the

power mainly

against

mining and logging on public Party; or

crackdown came

Blechman,

its

internal policing

policies:

lands;

for the

Club

to

ending livestock grazing,

backing Ralph Nader and the

opposing the sell-out of Yosemite National Park

to a corrupt firm linked to

internal

to invoke

members who have pushed

adopt more robust environmental

Green

193

a Sierra

Club

Bruce Babbitt. The most disgusting year in a spiteful attack on Moisha

last

activist in

New York City, who was smeared

with accusations of the most scurrilous kind, mainly because she was too green for the cautious twerps

who

run the Club.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Club turns chapters in

current policies, such

its

being too a

New Mexico

radical.

blind eye to renegade

and other places that attack and ridicule as

the

No

Commercial Logging

Even worse, the Club leadership

gang of Malthusian brigands

the organization

a

as

a

stands

plank, as

mute

as

ranks seeking to hijack

infiltrate its

vehicle to carry forward

a

racist

anti-

immigration agenda that would make Pat Buchanan cringe. All

of

enough

this

would seem mighty

to believe that the Sierra

Club

is

you remain naive

an organization principally

devoted to the preservation of the planet.

(or even parenthetically) It’s

strange, if

not, of course. Like any other corporation, the Sierra Club’s

managers

bottom

preoccupied with beefing up the Club’s

are obsessively

line

and solidifying

most nonprofits. (Read:

a

its

access to power, the bloodstream of

snuggling relationship to the Democratic

National Committee, supine though

So

here’s a warning:

When

it

may

you join the

membership card you

be.)

Sierra

Club and

affix

your signature to

that

oath. Loyalty to

what? Certainly not the environment. These days

it’s

loyalty to the

image of the Club

the desired image of the

members.

Club

is

are also signing a loyalty

that matters.

manufactured by

And its

increasingly

bosses, not

its

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

194

How important than $2 million

time in

its

a

is

‘image’ to the Sierra Club? Well,

is

not

spends more

year and employs twenty-five people to

Communication and Information Services

as if

unknown.

work fullunit - the

amalgamation of tunds.

outfit’s largest single It’s

it

the environmental ruin caused by the

In January

Gulf

first

War

2000 Green Cross International, a Christian

environmental group, released

its

detailed investigation of the war’s

environmental consequences. Their findings were grim: more than

60 million gallons of crude lakes;

spilled into the desert,

forming 246

1,500 miles of the Gulf Coast was saturated with

oil

Kuwait’s

oil;

only freshwater aquifer, source of more than 40 per cent of the country’s drinking water, was heavily contaminated with benzenes

and other

toxins;

desert; incidences

33,000 landmines remain scattered across the

of birth defects, childhood

climbed dramatically

many of

these

of Iraq

US

by

and British planes and cruise

missiles

behind an even more deadly and insidious legacy: tons of

also left

casings, bullets

uranium. In radioactive

More

all,

and

bomb

US

hit

the

bombs and

fragments laced with depleted

Iraqi

with more than 970

targets

missiles.

than ten years

radioactive

And

later,

remained destroyed, unremediated and hazardous. Months

bombing

shell

chemical

oil refineries, pipelines,

and water treatment systems. Ten years

facilities

of

and cancers

after the war.

Cruise missiles targeted Iraqi plants

illnesses

the health consequences

later,

bombing campaign

are

from

this

beginning to come into focus.

they are dire, indeed. Iraqi physicians

call

it

‘the

white death’ —

leukemia. Since 1990, the incidence of leukemia in Iraq has

by more than 600 per cent. The situation

is

grown

compounded by

Iraq’s

forced isolation and the sadistic sanctions regime, recently described

by

UN

secretary-general Kofi

Annan

as ‘a

humanitarian

makes detection and treatment of the cancers

all

the

crisis,’

more

that

difficult.

WAR ON IRAQ

195

The return engagement promises to be just as grim, if not worse. Compared to a titan like Brower, timid little people run the Sierra Club these has

two

years as president, Jennifer Ferenstein

gone from being the bubbly Katie Couric of the environmental

movement

to

may have

Margaret Thatcher. In the process, she

its

back the cause of eco-feminism by twenty

set is

days. In her

years.

But Ferenstein

hand puppet of executive director

largely just a figurehead, the

much of a reputation wheeler-dealer, who keeps the

Club’s

big funders and political patrons.

Where

Carl Pope. Pope has never had

environmental

activist.

He’s

policies in lockstep with

Dave Brower

scaled mountains, nearly

been up organizational This limp

its

a

state

of

all

as

an

of Pope’s climbing has

ladders.

affairs

has been

coming

for

some

time. After

9/11, the Club leadership was so cowed by the events that they publicly

announced

were putting

that they

campaigns on hold and pledged not to very

moment was

criticize

Bush,

who

at that

seeking to exploit the tragedy in order to expand

some of the most

oil drilling in

their environmental

fragile

and imperiled lands on the

continent.

To date only two board members have stood up

against the war:

Marcia Hanscom from Los Angeles and Michael Dorsey, the Club’s only black board

member and

and environmental

a

man with

a

true passion for social

two out of fifteen. There’s more

justice. That’s

vigorous dissent inside Bush’s National Security Council. All this

would have disgusted Brower, who was

famous 10th Mountain Division at heart.

I

first

met Brower

in

in

a

veteran of the

World War Two but

a

peacenik

1980. He’d already been booted out

of the Sierra Club for being too militant and had gone on to found Friends of the Earth, where he was about to meet the same

He

asked

me

to

do some writing

for

fate.

him on what he thought was

the great environmental issue of our time: war. At the time,

Brower

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

196

was helping jump-start the nuclear freeze movement and

greens don’t broaden our thinking to tackle war,’ he told

we

me, ‘we may save some wilderness, but master



at

aphorisms

He was

lose the world.’

like that. Especially after a

a

couple of martinis

heavily charged with Tanqueray.

He was

of course.

right,

environment

'the

century of wars have ravaged the

the

book Brower

Earth, a

of the

also

DC

whole shebang with what Jonathan

second death’: the extinction of

Brower

and the chemical

the nuclear industry, headquartered in

Moscow, threatened The Fate

A

brutally as the timber giants

as

And

companies.

in

was

to join him.

honored ‘If

I

and

Schell

ceaselessly plugged, called

all life

on Earth.

knew what most contemporary

the day-to-day operations of the military

enviros don’t: that

complex

itself —

weapons

production and testing — amount to the most toxic industry on the planet, as a trip to the

Nevada or Rocky Back

in

1

poisoned wastelands of Hanford, Fallon,

Flats will readily reveal.

990, Brower and his beautiful and courageous wife

Anne

came

to Portland, just as the

gear.

There were demonstrations on the streets nearly every night

bombing

had gotten into high

ot Iraq

we joined a crowd of several December rain. We stood shoulder-

over the course ot that war. Together

hundred

activists

gathered in the

to-shoulder on the old

down rush-hour

traffic

Hawthorne Bridge

for an hour, shutting

out of downtown.

Overcome,’ the Browers unmistakable voices

Those days

are gone.

movement The spirit ot

peace

is

rising

the

Both Dave and Anne

We

sailing

it life

and

in the

late to join.

No

woods, where

it’s

membership card

It’s

always been. Hurry. required.

it all.

But

a

new

and meaning.

peace (and environmental)

won't be found within the confines of any club. streets

above

are deaci.

and Brower helped give

new

sang 'We Shall

movement out on the It’s

not too

WAR ON IRAQ January

6,

197

2003

DECEPTIONS IN MILITARY RECRUITING:

AN

OUT

EX-INSIDER SPEAKS

by Chris White

I

condemn my

past

Marine

who

myself an ‘ex-Marine’

is

and therefore

proudly

call

against any offensive use of the

US

identity,

I

military.

am not against the men and women serving in the military per se; am against the way in which they are used by the government to promote the interests of its richest constituents. Which is why I

I

I

work hard

anyone from joining the

to dissuade

recruiters are the

the interests of the

of offense in

line

first

power

elite at

military. Military

machinery

this

the expense of the

that serves

fortunate.

less

Recruiters creep into the civilian world touting slogans to

otherwise dismal job seem appealing. Their training oriented toward marketing and

sales

techniques: on the

recruiting school, a recruiter friend of

with

a

gimmick

for selling a pen.

have teaching recruiters to

sell

mine was

What

make an largely

is

first

told to

day

come up

business does the military

anything? Are the

lives

of America’s

youth just another commodity for the government to exploit? the

war

Why

is

justified,

then

do they even have

do they have

to

why do sell

at

recruiters have to exist at

the military to

young people?

to use manipulative sales techniques to

If

all?

Why

convince

young, uneducated minds to carry out the dirty work of war? As an assistant recruiter, ulate the

once

witnessed first-hand

poor and young into fighting

First, recruiters

for the

I

recruiters

manip-

for the rich.

have every incentive to be dishonest. Speaking

Marine Corps

filled,

how

only, recruiters have

they can slack off for the

rest

monthly quotas and,

of the month. However,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

198

the

sign up, the better their chances lor promotion.

more people they

So the incentive for dishonesty

high indeed. Recruiters

is

lie

about

college benefits, duty station assignments, veterans' benefits, and

countless other aspects of the military in order to convince their

Once you

clients to sign.

boot camp,

are in

it is

too

late to

change

anything.

H ow

do they

lie

about college benefits? They

you must pay $1,200

GI

get the is

Bill,

only $700

GI

Bill

check

bureaucracy

money out

is

a

is

which

in is

your

in

your

first

you

tell

that

chunk of money when your salary be lucky if you get your monthly

will

months of college anyway,

three

you had better hope

so inept that

to

year of the military in order to

first

quite a

month. You

tail

to have

as

the

enough

saved up before you arrive. Another point recruiters leave that

most students

five, civilians

and veterans

who

independent and over twenty-

are

alike, are eligible for

of financial aid anyway. That

unless

is,

enormous amounts

you already receive the GI

Bill.

Wait

a

minute. Back up. So,

‘my country,’ then

1

if

may not be

eligible for

ask any veteran over twenty-five tell

you

working

that the financial aid office

grants and fellowships (tree

earned the GI

1

Therefore,

if

one were

$9,000 from the GI

one

Bill, well,

though. All the loans one

in college,

money) according $9,000

gets

desires.

no

then

why

it

the GI Bill

is

income, and

one

One

may seem

argument, but remember, recruiters use the GI into joining the military. So,

aid

will

eligibility lor

in grants,

grants.

This

and they

to one’s

amount of

eligible for

serving

any financial aid? Yep,

determines one’s

then deletes one’s income from the for.

Bill for

is

eligible

but received can get loans like

a

petty

Bill to lure civilians

not necessarily

a benefit,

should one join lor the college money?

How do recruiters lie about duty station assignments? Recruiters tell

potential reservists that they can go to college and serve

one

WAR ON IRAQ weekend

a

active duty. to

300,000

month, with very

little

199

chance of being called back to

However, the current administration wants

Gulf alone.

reservists to the

with the story of

my

I

can further

who

neighbor’s daughter

up

to call

illustrate this

had considered

joining the National Guard. As an incentive to get her to sign, her recruiter told her that she I

would be stationed

in Kansas,

but luckily

persuaded her not to join. Her friend was not so lucky. Shortly

after

joining the Guard, he was called to active duty and sent to

Bosnia for two years. Thousands of National Guard and other reservists

have been called back to active duty since 9/11, and

thousands more will be called to go to

How VA

do

recruiters deceive us about veterans’ benefits?

medical

facilities

appointment, but

my

if

I

want

am 30

both veterans, but

all.

Of course, who would

I

want

infestation of mice, maggots, a

them

(at least in

VA

to use the

AP

and

Kansas).

report in

for a year,

is

We

not

at

the

the years leading up to

flies in

VA

scandal as to pressure

Secretary

Anthony

for the regional Illinois.’

did not touch the food storage areas or cafeteria

and maggots had nested

noses! This

is

March 2002,

network, which includes Missouri, Kansas, and southern staff

can use

hospital in Kansas

remove ‘the director and deputy director

The janitorial

1

wait five months for an

per cent disabled, and she

City anyway? According to an

2001 created such

to

wife cannot use

are

Principi to

Iraq.

not necessarily the

in

fault

two of the comatose of the

government decides how much money

VA

will

patients’

because the federal

be allotted to our

disabled veterans.

Ron

Kovic exposed the horrible conditions of the

during the Vietnam era

wounded Vietnam

in his

book. Born on

VA

hospitals

the Fourth ofJuly.

As

a

veteran, Kovic was outraged at the outdated

equipment, under-qualified and uncaring

staffs

and the unsanitary

conditions that disabled veterans were forced to endure. Therefore,

IMPERIAL

200

not

much

has

CRUSADES

changed since 1970s, and any hope of future change

is

diminished by Dubya’s slashing of the VA’s healthcare budget by $275 million in 2002, and further cuts recruiters never

of the

benefits

mention

this in their deceit-filled

which

military,

is

why more

lies

who

realities

of military

life.

bad enough, interactions with recruiters can

are

One

be hazardous to one’s health.

boot camp

speeches about the

veterans need to speak to

high-school students and parents about the

Although the

Of course,

around to the VA.

all

poolee (person waiting to go to

me

has already enlisted) wrote

that

my

first

essay

had helped him to decide to leave the Marines. The recruiter poolee by saying that

to the

it

was too

late, that

he had already

enlisted

and therefore he was obligated for the next four

During

my

recruiting days,

he had

little

finally received his

‘If

example

My

was

1

a

among

knock you

I’d

out.’

that

Great

who had He actually

served in El

admitted to

weapon only

to be used

on

against

My

for

me

Brother.

some

of

seven years

later,

once

I

read Scott Peterson’s

Peterson wrote: ‘the snipers killed

them children who were found

toy pistol, or nothing.’

UN

more than

later to

spokesperson George Bennet

Peterson: ‘They were shooting at anything by the time they

statement only further confirms

Unfortunately,

from

vehicles,

he had taken pictures of his victims afterward. His story was

14 Somalis,

this

by

by military service.

Marine sniper

other places.

a .50 caliber sniper rifle, a

semi-confirmed

Me

was

a physical threat

a

with excitement that he had killed noncombatants in Somalia

with

and

now

of the quality of leadership instilled

recruiter in 1994

me

emails, the poolee told

discharge after pushing the matter

of you right

in front

Salvador and Somalia

me

more

more. His recruiter responded to him with

saying:

years.

learned that any poolee can get out

I

before boot camp, and after several that

lied

that

same

I

too

am

guilty

recruiter, but

of

a

my

have

a

later told left,’

and

recruiter’s story.

of following an unlawful order

much

lesser

magnitude. While

WAR ON IRAQ assisting

him

for

two weeks just

after

I

201

graduated from boot camp,

my job was to make poolees lose weight before they shipped out. One poolee was still 12 pounds overweight the day before boot camp, so naturally my recruiter ordered me to force the poolee to part ot

eat an entire

box of Ex-lax,

after

which

I

had to make him do

calisthenics until he lost the 12 pounds. Needless to say, he

admitted to boot camp the next day, but

am

I

still

ashamed

was

that

I

made him do

that.

The

Recruiters

now

have even more access to the young minds of

America, with the

No

business of recruiting

is

dark indeed.

Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002. These Acts require every high school receiving federal education funds to

hand over the names,

and phone numbers of every

addresses,

junior and senior to local recruiters upon request. That means that

even fifteen-year-olds, with no idea whatsoever about the world,

alone the military, are

let

now

vulnerable to the mani-

pulation and deception of recruiters in their refuses to steps in

hand the information

after

own homes.

If a

school

Department of Defense

over, the

and pressures the school,

real

which

federal

funding may

be withdrawn. According to Secretary of Education

Rod

Paige

and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Acts give students

more

access to college, but

ment does not

offer

high school graduates

we need

to ask

why

it is

that the

govern-

any alternative to the military for unskilled

who

wish to go to college but are unqualified

for college.

Our Commander-in-Chief himself took

the opportunity to join

the military, then took a Bush prerogative and failed to return to his

duty station for

a

year and

serve the prison sentences that

Nevertheless,

it

makes perfect

Of course, he did not have to others who left for that long did.

a half.

sense. After

any different from half of Americans,

who

all,

the president

is

not

support our impending

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

202

war on mately

of us

While over 50 per cent support an invasion, approxi-

Iraq. 1

per cent serves in the military. Therefore, only

1

per cent

willing to fight a battle that over 50 per cent of us favor,

is

which makes

much more

it

palatable to start a war.

majority faces no direct military consequences,

I

As long

as

the

guess anything,

including deceptive measures in recruiting, goes. Thus, the cycle ot historical

US

military

an ex-Marine infantryman with experience as a

recruiter-

amnesia

allowed to continue, and future

is

more 9/1

action will surely bring about

Chris White assistant.

is

He

is

currently

working on

University of Kansas, Lawrence. Garcia, also a

Camp

Pendleton,

member of

He

Is.

his

doctorate

served from

1994

in to

history at

1996,

CA, Okinawa, Japan, and Doha,

in

Qatar.

the

Diego

He

is

Veterans for Peace.

January 30, 2003

BOMBING

IRAQ: THEY'VE BEEN

DOING

IT

FOR EIGHTY YEARS by Alexander Cockburn

The word no place

‘new,’ as in in

‘new

US

doctrine’ or ‘new imperial role,’ has

any discussion ot the

Western bombing

latest

strategies in Iraq stretch

Western plans for back

as far as

the Royal Air Force ventured into the ‘Shock and

the earliest

moment

of Nations

after

ot Iraq’s existence as a

1920,

Iraq.

when

Awe’ business

in

mandate of the League

World War One.

As with Palestine and Transjordan, the newly conceived entity of Iraq, created

by the imperious drafting pencils of Gertrude Bell and

WAR ON IRAQ T. E.

203

Lawrence, was under British supervision. As the Turks were

came

evicted there was brave talk of an independent Iraq, but soon

the familiar vista of colonial supervisors and occupying troops from British garrisons in India.

Though

Iraq was, as

is

it

today, an essay

enforced multiculturalism - Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi 'a — British

in

wrought the near-miracle of the unified

stupidity soon

revolt

of

1920.

At

a cost

of some 8,000

government reeled

pressed, but the British large

numbers of troops

The

to the scene.

Arab

cost of financing the

Iraqi lives the revolt at

was

finally

sup-

the expense of rushing

bill

rising against the

exceeded the entire

Ottomans

in

World

War One. At for

point the Royal Air Force, desperately seeking rationales

this

independent existence, stepped forward and offered

itself as a

guarantor of the ‘security’ of Iraq. Air Marshall

thrifty

Hugh

RAF would cheaply police the former of Mesopotamia. The RAF took over its new

Trenchard promised that the

Ottoman provinces duties in 1922. Only British military,

it

four years old

an independent

as

had already formulated

and Awe. Here’s what

Wing Commander J.

a

arm of the

prototype of Shock

A.

Chamier wrote

in

the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute in 1921, under the

boastful

title

‘The Use of Air Power for Replacing Military

Garrisons’:

To

establish a tradition, therefore,

threat

of what

if called

in the

upon

is

which

to follow afterwards

is

will

One

do

it

with

all its

objective must be selected

-

the most inaccessible village of the most prominent tribe desired to punish. All available aircraft

with

if

only

a

displayed, the Air Force must,

to administer punishment,

proper manner.

prove effective,

might and preferably

which

it

is

must be collected ...The attack

bombs and machine guns must be

relentless

and unremitting and

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

204

carried

and

on continuously by day and

cattle

.

.

This sounds brutal,

.

to start with.

the lesson

is

The

I

night,

know, but

it

must be made brutal

threat alone in the future will prove efficacious if

once properly

learnt.

Citing Chamier’s prescriptions in essay

on houses, inhabitants, crops

on ‘The Myth of Air Control’

a

highly informative and witty

in Aerospace

PowerJournal (winter

Corum cites the RAF's Notes on of the Air Arm in Iraq as proudly pointing

2000), the military historian James the

Method of Employment

out that ‘within 45 minutes

wiped out and five planes

a third

which

a full-sized village

...

can be practically

of its inhabitants killed or injured by four or

otter

them no

real target

and no opportunity for

glory or avarice.’

But British

just as

Tony

Labour

Party, so

too did dissent ascend from the same ranks

three-quarters ot a century ago, atter the

came

to

remote

power

political

in

1924. Displaying tar

first

Secretary James

more moral

consequent on the RAF’s

run away.

4

Awe

high

civilian

not be easily

RAF

fine-tuned

rain

time for the villagers to

down, though

with the aim of actually destroying the

merely of disrupting daily in the field,

quotes an

forays, leaving

hen the bombs would

insisted,

Out

the

about collateral damage. Henceforth there would be early

warnings ot Shock and

RAF

The

to

of heavy

raids, ‘will

explained or defended in Parliament by me.'

PR

fiber than his

Thomas wrote

in Iraq stating flatly that reports

casualties in Iraq,

its

Labour government

descendant in the Foreign Office, the repellent jack

Straw, Colonial

commissioner

of the

Blair today faces dissent in the ranks

RAF

not, so the village,

life.

such niceties were swiftly discarded.

flight

but

commander

Corum

based in India’s Northwest

Frontier in the 1930s as recalling the fairly constant action against tribes in that part

of the empire:

WAR ON IRAQ It

205

we would warn them

they went on being troublesome,

that

we

would bomb an assembly of people. An assembly was normally defined as

ten people

...

Indeed, in

my

case

can remember actually finding

I

nine people and saying ‘That’s within ten per cent and

enough,’ so

I

blew them

good

up.

This was before the days

of Western plunder

that’s

in Iraq

when

oil

become

the prime objective

and throughout the Middle

East, but

time-honored methods of imperial extortion from subject peoples required the collection of taxes, and the

RAF

was placed

in

charge

of Levies and Collections, bombing to extort money. Nothing has changed, the

of

Iraq’s oil.

modern

‘tax’ in its

(Corum

guise being recapture and control

notes that while ‘the French, under their air-

bombed bombed the

control doctrine, regularly exists that

they ever

enforcement,

as

tribes

and

natives as a

cultural differences that the

no evidence

means of revenue

did the British in Iraq. This difference in air-control

doctrines between the French and British

is

villages,

between the two nations.

may

A

indicate deep

likely explanation

French are culturally more tolerant of and sympathetic

to tax evasion than are the British.’)

Naturally enough, the

RAF

was

at great

pains to suppress in

its

reports and histories of campaigns in Iraq the role of the army, thus

giving the entirely

false

impression that

maintain imperial control. But in fact

air

RAF

power alone could

bombing accuracy

the interwar period was mostly awful, and there were

unfortunate mistakes, familiar today to those following

all

in

the usual

US bombing

mishaps in Afghanistan.

Bombing remote Kurdish villages was one thing, but dropping bombs on Palestinian villages quite another. The outbreak of the Arab from

revolt in Palestine

RAF

from 1936 to 1939

commanders, such

as

Air

elicited eager suggestions

Commodore

Arthur Harris,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

206

commanding officer of the RAF in Palestine and later chief of Bomber Command in World War Two, and hence one of the major war criminals of the twentieth century. Harris offered halt

Arab

Drop ‘one 250-pound or 500-pound bomb

unrest.

each village that speaks out of turn understands

is

...

The only

this as folly,

in

thing the Arab

the heavy hand, and sooner or later

be applied.’ The British army saw a

his recipe to

it

will have to

and certain to make

bad situation worse. Harris’s advice was rejected, and the world

had to wait

bombers dropping US-

later years to see Israeli

till

supplied explosives on Palestinian villages and camps. In the years after

eagerly through the

triumphs

Colonel

in

Raymond

Air Force prowled

RAF’s mendacious accounts of

Corum

Iraq.

US

World War Two the

among

reports that

member of

Sleeper, a

prewar

these enthusiasts

the Air

War College

developed ‘Project Control,’ an air-control doctrine to deal

faculty,

with the Soviet Union. In an 1983, Lt Col. David Dean, testimonial of the

article in

USAF,

Air University Review in

issued a fervent but misleading

RAF’s experience with

control as a cheap and effective

air control.

way of policing

airpower theorist Carl Builder discussed British AirpowerJournal

model

its

article in

1995, arguing that

tor ‘constabulary missions’ in

or ‘peace operations.’ But

air-control system described really existed

...

Basically,

of such doctrine tor current

US

air

The

control in an

provided an excellent

concludes, ‘the idealized Air Force writers never

one could barely

doctrine 80 years ago, and people

the empire.

air

support of the United Nations

Corum by US

as

it

Dean saw

who

justify air control as a

advocate an updated version

Air Force operations have misread

history.’

So much

The

tor

‘new

strategies’

and ‘revolutions

in military affairs.’

punitive expedition pressed by Bush and his circle remains

squarely within the tradition of similar punitive expeditions

WAR ON IRAQ

207

launched, with aerial bombardments, nearly eighty years ago over the same terrain.

February

2003

9,

CONDITION ORANGE AS A WAY OF

LIFE

by Alexander Cockburn

The day

Ashcroft and Ridge announced that the entire nation had

New

joined

military

York

made

at

Level Orange, four fugitive

landfall

southern Florida’s vast

Cubans from

the

on the Homeland, passing undetected by flotillas

of Coast Guard and Navy

vessels,

plus Fat Albert, the blimp panopticon tethered above the lower

The

Keys.

four tied up their 32-foot fiberglass cigarette boat

(sporting the

Cuban

magazines and

a

flag

GPS

and containing two AK-47s, eight loaded

finder tuned to the coordinates of the

Coast Guard station) on the southern shore of Key West, Hyatt Resort dock. Then, clad in their

had

Chinese-made handgun strapped

a

about, marveling

looking for

Had

at

Cuban army

at

US the

fatigues (one

to his hip) they

wandered

the serene emptiness of the evening streets,

a police station

where they could turn themselves

in.

they been terrorists there were plenty of rewarding targets

within strolling distance, including

a

major surveillance center

the Caribbean and Latin America, run by also a

US Navy

colony.

base, plus

US

Southern

for

Command,

of course Key West’s extensive

literary

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

208

February 16, 2003

COLIN POWELL

AND THE GREAT

'INTELLIGENCE'

FRAUD

by Alexander Cockburn

Events do rush by us in

a

blur,

I

know, but

let’s

not abandon

Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Feb. 5 speech to the

graveyard of history without one after

all,

by the President

billed

as a

backward glance.

last

Now, when

the

how

lie’s

now

ulative,

and

advance by

at

we

can be safe in assuming

looks

that Yes, the

US

intelligence ‘community’ has

as

though

its

a

week

major claims were

Chief Inspector Hans

test

ramp

tor long-distance missiles that

sinisterly

was nothing of

been cleared by the

inspection teams; the strange eavesdropped conversations that

could tor

spec-

that turned out

from the Baghdad health department; the

the sort; the suspect facility that had recently

UN

at best

Blix.

There was the supposed transporter of biotoxins enlarged

after Powell’s

worst outright distortions, some of them derided in

UN

to be a truck

weapons

states publicly that his

indeed got the goods. But barely more than it

his

Commander-in-Chief

been assured

speech

was,

It

hand-in-glove with A1 Qaeda.

Secretary of State will deliver the goods, that he’s

in the

conclusive intelligence briefing

on exactly how Saddam Hussein has been concealing of mass destruction, and

UN

as

well have been Iraqi officers discussing

how

to hide

stills

making bootleg whisky. The promoter of the Iraq/Al Qaeda

link,

Abu Musab Zarqawi,

to get a prison sentence

Islam

a

bunch

ot

turns out to be an imaginative

commuted, and

liar

trying

the terror cell Ansar al-

Islamic fundamentalists violently

opposed

Saddam and operating out of Kurdish territory. (A few days Powell cited Osama bin Laden’s latest tape as confirming

to

later

that

WAR ON IRAQ

209

Saddam and A1 Qaeda are in cahoots. Actually it’s mostly a vivid account, which has the ring of truth, of how he and his men in minimal

Saddam and they

Bin Laden concludes by urging

casualties.

up your pant

pull

is

legs for jihad' against the forces

similar to the

who

particularly ‘fine. articles

written by

a

came along with

who commended

The

from

Jane's,

and from

student called Ibrahim

fulfill a

how

been

in

A ffairs,

Marashi,

a

Md.

US

Israel

Marashi himself

He’s never visited Iraq

invasion.

Middle

in the

is

in International Affairs)

Barry Rubin,

Washington

policy think tank.

that

who

Rubin

Institute for is

has also

Near

East

part of the coterie



Ledeen, and the arch

Pipes, Michael

conspirator Richard Perle

- who have been pressing

Iraq.

Monterey

plagiarism represents

which includes Daniel on

the

scholarly magazine run by the

in Herzliya, Israel. Its director

— an

at

September 2002,

(acronym for Global Research

a senior fellow at the

Policy

plagiarisms

paper on Iraqi politics

a

emerges

it

family in Baltimore,

East Review of International

Center

as

From some enterprising work Kenneth Raposa, who worked on the Iraqi

Marashi ’s essay was published

GLORIA

speech

‘intelligence’ reports actually get put

keen to see Saddam toppled by

is

a series of

The Marashi

Dossier story for the Boston Globe, a Shi’a

al

UN

his

political agenda.

by freelance reporter

and

the interests of the

in

it

report turned out to be

an intrusive parable on

comes from

take place

war between Muslims and Romans when

Institute for International Studies.

together, to

Of

there was the British intelligence report sent by

Blair to Powell,

from old

of darkness.

‘to

both fought against the Romans.’)

And of course Tony

Muslims

all

Baghdad or Aden. Such war which may

the interests of the Muslims Persians

with

the Ba'ath he says: ‘The Socialists are infidels wherever

are, either in

these days

US bombing

Bora foxholes survived ferocious

their Tora

for a

US

attack

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

210

Marashi told Raposa that the documents on which he had based his

paper had been given him by Kenaan Makiya,

Iraqi exile,

own

State

and proponent of invasion,

much

a

well-known

favored by Powell’s

Department. Makiya claims to have some 4 million pages

of documents seized from northern Iraq

after

Operation Desert

Storm.

So here we have by

inspired

a politically

document, spliced together

published by an Israeli-based think tank hot for

a Shi’a student,

web by

war, swiped off the

to Powell as a masterpiece

Blair’s harried

minions and served up

of British intelligence collection from

MI6. Quite aside from the welcome damage done credibility

and to the war party

reminds us of just

American people

how much

in the guise

in general, the

of

Marashi saga vividly

reliable ‘intelligence.’

the build-up to the

invoked

photos of 265,000

last

Remember

Iraqi war, the

St. Petersburg

persuaded her newspaper to buy two photos

each from the Russian commercial

satellite,

Pentagon

massed to invade

Iraqi troops

Saudi Arabia? Jean Heller, a journalist from the in Florida,

Powell’s

rubbish has been served up to the

how back amid satellite

to

at

Times

$1,600

the Sovuz Karta.

No

showed up on the photos. ‘You could see the planes sitting wing tip to wing tip in Riyadh airport,’ Ms Heller says, ‘but there troops

wasn’t was any sign ot

a

quarter of

a

million Iraqi troops sitting in

the middle of the desert.’

The

ridicule

now

being showered on Powell’s Iraq Dossier won't

slow up the production ol these ridiculous documents or hinder the endless flourishing of supposedly conclusive satellite photo-

graphy or communications intercepts.

If

war does come, we can be

sure there will be repetitions of the ‘misinterpretations’ errors’

and

‘tragic

of the 1991 onslaught.

When my

brother Patrick drove from

Amman

to

Baghdad back

WAR ON IRAQ at

211

the end of the 1991 onslaught he passed the hulks of

oil

tankers

bombed to bits under the claim they were mobile Scud launchers. The single biggest atrocity of that war was the US bombing of the Almariya shelter in Baghdad. The Pentagon claimed it was a topsecret military command center. It wasn’t. In the absence of its intended occupants, university professors and technocrats, ordinary Iraqi

mothers and children had taken shelter

intelligence screw-up, with several as

there. Just

another

hundred dead mothers and kids

the price.

And

yes,

American

we

history, for

they gave the

George Tenet

He

are in the

CIA is

wake of the

which not one

greatest intelligence failure in

intelligence head rolled. Instead

even more money, and yes,

sitting beside

Powell in the

should have been too ashamed to show

UN

its

grateful chief

Security Council.

his face in public.

February 23, 2003

RUMSFELD'S

ACCOUNT BOOK:

WHO ARMED SADDAM? by Stephen Green

You have

to give

a risk taker

and

Both were Senate

Armed

in

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld he’s

damned

evidence

brassy about

last

characterizations of France and

Under

Germany

credit: he’s

testified

before the

it.

week when he

Services Committee.

much

this

criticism for his prior

as ‘old

fumed: ‘We would not be facing the problems

Europe,’ Rumsfeld in Iraq

today

if

the

technologically advanced countries of the world had seen the

danger and

strictly

enforced the economic sanctions against

Iraq.’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

212

The Defense Secretary knew well, naturally, his audience in the Senate Armed Services Committee. As Senator Robert Byrd recently said from the Senate floor/this Chamber is, for the most part, silent - ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to

lay

war. There

is

Still,

that

out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular nothing.’

Rumsfeld’s statement was some chutspa!

was the

it

US

Senate

itself

He was

well aware

(Committee on Banking, Housing

and Urban Affairs) which had conducted extensive hearings in 1992 and 1994 on ‘United States Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Impact on the Health of Persian Gulf

War

probably read the front-page Washington Post story

Role

in Iraq Buildup,’

declassified

who,

as

December

30, 2002) based

documents, which revealed that

it

And he’d (‘US Had Key

Veterans.’

upon

recently

was Rumsfeld himself

President Reagan’s Middle East Envoy, had traveled to the

region to meet with

Saddam Hussein

in

December 1983

to

normalize, particularly, security relations.

At the time of the State Department’s

Iraq

visit,

list

of

had already been removed from the

terrorist countries in

previous month, November, President National Security Decision Directive relations generally.

But

it

1

14,

1982; and in the

Reagan had approved on expansion of US— Iraq

was Donald Rumsfeld’s

trip to

Baghdad

which opened up the floodgates during 1985—90 for lucrative US weapons exports — some $1.5 billion worth — including chemical/ biological and nuclear

with

critical

weapons equipment and technology, along components tor missile delivery systems for all of the

above. According to

a

GAO

1994

letter report

(GAO/NSI AD-

94-98) some 771 weapons export licenses for Iraq were approved

during the

this six-year

US Department

To be

sure,

many

period

.

.

.

not by our European

allies,

but by

of Commerce. of these

weapons were expended

in the latter

WAR ON IRAQ

213

phases of the Iran-Iraq War. Others were destroyed by Coalition

control regime established by the that conflict.

But

many undoubtedly

a great

US

150,000

risks to the

UN weapons inspectors in the UN Security Council following

Gulf War, or by

forces in the Persian

remain, and pose grave

troops deployed in Kuwait, and 100,000

on the way. Imagine the embarrassment

Defense Secretary

to

Rumsfeld before the Armed Services Committee or

more

senators had had the awareness

AND

last

week

if

one

the courage to raise

the matter of Iraq’s secret supplier.

And

in this case, the devil

There were few

quite literally in the details.

is

any reservations evident in the range of

if

weapons which President Ronald Reagan and W. H. Bush were willing

to

sell

his successor

Saddam Hussein. Under

Export Control Act of 1 976, the foreign defense equipment and technology

is

sale

George

the

Arms

of munitions and other

controlled by the Department

of State. During the 1980s, such items could not be sold or diverted to

Communist

states,

nor to those on the

When

porting countries.

Iraq

came

US

off that

list

list

in

of terrorist-sup1982, however,

some $48

million of items such as data privacy devices, voice

scramblers,

communication and navigation equipment, electronic

components, image approved for of $1.5

sale

billion

intensifiers

its

pistols (to protect

during 1985—90. But

of American ‘dual-use

arguably, both military

bulk of

and

and

it

was through the purchase items,’ having,

civilian functions, that Iraq

weapons of mass destruction

where the In

1

real

sometimes

obtained the

in the late Eighties.

use items’ are controlled and licensed by the

Commerce under

Saddam) were

‘Dual-

Department of

the Export Administration Act of 1979. T his

is

damage was done.

992 and again

in

1

994, hearings were conducted by the Senate

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has Senate oversight responsibility for the Export Administration Act.

The

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

214

purpose of the hearings was the Committee’s concern that thousands’ of Gulf

War

veterans were suffering from

associated with the ‘Gulf

War Syndrome,'

possibly

‘tens ot

symptoms

due

to their

exposure to chemical and biological agents that had been exported

US

from the

during that brief period of ‘normalization’ of relations

with Iraq in 1985-90.

At the opening of the second round of hearings on 1994,

May

25,

Chairman Donald Riegle and Ranking Member Alphonse

D’Amato

released a detailed staff report

indictment of

US

which constituted

a searing

arms export policies during the Reagan/Bush

administrations, linking those exports to the health problems ot Gulf

War

veterans,

stration for

and excoriating the then current (Clinton) admini-

denying that such

According

to

a link existed.

on

the hearing reports (which are available

a

current website: www.chronicillnet.org/PGWS/tuite/ default.htm),

among some

the chemical

ot the very

weapons which had been sold

most

lethal available: Sarin,

were

Soman, Tabun, VX,

lewisite,

cyanogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide,

mustard

gas.

Some

to Iraq

and

blister agents

ot the powerful biological agents sold included

anthrax, Clostridium botulinum

,

Histoplasma capsulatum (causes a

tuberculosis-like disease). Brucella melitensis, Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia

coli.

Witnesses on the

first

day of the hearings included Under-

secretary ot Defense for Personnel and Readiness,

and the

officials in

Edwin Dorn,

both the Defense Department and the

responsible tor non-proliferation policy. Interestingly, in

often an adversarial exchange officials,

CIA

what was

between the Committee and these

the latter admitted in

sworn testimony

that while

no

chemical/biological weapons had been found to have been ‘stored or used by the Iraqi army during the conflict, American troops

had nevertheless been exposed to airborne traces of

C/B

agents

WAR ON IRAQ from having been downwind of storage by

US

215

planes.

Simply put, while Saddam Hussein had shown

Gulf War by not deploying government had,

them

were bombed

facilities that

his

most

restraint in the

sold chemical/biological agents and shipped

a)

directly to Iraqi military installations, including

months before

US

weapons, the

lethal

some

just

invasion of Kuwait, b) distributed faulty

Iraq's

chemical/biological agent detection sensors and protection gear

such

as

US

gasmasks to

troops, and, c) caused the exposure of these

bombing of military storage areas upwind of them. got worse. Dr Gordon Oehler, Director of the Central

troops by the It

Intelligence Agency’s Non-Proliferation Center, testified that,

between 1984 and 1990, the CIA’s Office of Scientific and Weapons Research had issued

United

when

with

Iraqi’s dealings

discussions, or visits that appeared

weapons of mass destruction programs.’ Such memos,

Oehler explained, were sent the FBI

memos ‘covering

on purchases,

States firms

to be related to

five alert

to

Commerce,

Justice, Treasury

US

collected intelligence indicated that

and

firms had

been targeted by foreign governments of concern, or were involved in possible violations

At another point

of

lines

law.

in the hearings,

CIA’s concerns about

Samarra chemical

US

Iraqi

Dr Oehler

indicated that the

weapons programs,

plant, including six separate

Under questioning from Chairman

fied these as the President

our

US

State.

by the Senate

Affairs

1992 hearings on the matter of

Iraqi ballistic missile

‘directly to

and the Secretaries of Defense and

Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban

‘a

Riegle, he identi-

Perhaps the most surprising testimony taken

in the earlier

particular

chemical weapons

between 1983 and 1986,’ had been reported

customers.’

in

was

that given

assistance to the

and nuclear weapons programs. Gary Milhollin,

Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear

Arms Control,

IMPERIAL

216

CRUSADES

testified that

US

Department

to ship such items directly to the

which the Pentagon had formally

facilities,

Iraqi nuclear

known In sales.

companies were being licensed by the

its

And

was

it

welders, mass

US

C/B

to Salah

development

Dm,

efforts.

companies involved in such

spectrometers, accelerometers, missile

agents in missiles,

was being sent to Iraq

al

equipment — vacuum pumps, electron beam

critical

systems, navigational radar, high-speed to load

identified as part of the

ballistic missile

Milhollin identified forty

all,

Al-Qaqaa and Badr

weapons production program, and

be the center of

to

Commerce

computers and

among many

guidance

filling

systems

other items. Such

‘stuff’

until late 1989, less than a year before Iraq’s

invasion of Kuwait!

Through the

mid and

the

CIA and

late

1980s, said Milhollin, the Pentagon,

the Office of Naval

Intelligence,

among

others,

continued to warn the White House that

Iraq’s nuclear,

and biological weapons were maturing

rapid pace, as was

on the

ballistic missiles to deliver

on deaf

ears:

in

14,

George Bush signed

and again committing the

Hussein

them. The warnings were

work

falling

October 1989, ten months before the Kuwait

invasion, President 1

at a

chemical

US

to

NSD

normal

26, updating

relations

NSDD

with Saddam

government. As had been the case with chemical and

s

biological weapons, the

list

of

American and European companies

which sold the nuclear equipment and technology to Iraq was a virtual pantheon ol industry names: Hewlett Packard, International

Computer

Systems, Siemens, TI Coating, Carl Zeiss, Rockwell

Collins International, Spectra Physics, Unisys, Tektronix, Scientific

Atlanta and Semetex, assistance, Iraq

became

among many, many a

regional

others.

With such

power during 1984—90, and

developed regional ambitions.

But these companies were not, per

weapons

se,

Saddam Hussein’s main

suppliers: that designation should properly

go to Ronald

WAR ON IRAQ Reagan and George W. H. Bush, the 1

14 and

NSD

recipients

intelligence

of NSDD

signers, respectively,

which remain

As the primary

classified.

the

CIA

community, they were currently and

fully

and ultimate ‘customers’ of the

US

and the

26, both of

217

alert

memos from

aware of the use to which the equipment and technology were being put, and of the security policy implications of the process.

And

the instrument, the person, the envoy,

process in the

first

instance

is

the current

US

who

negotiated the

Secretary of Defense,

Donald Rumsfeld. Stephen Green

lines in Berlin,

Vermont.

February 25, 2003

THE WEEKEND THE

WORLD

SAID

NO TO WAR

by Gary Leupp

At

least

10 million people demonstrated

Iraq attack, in open-air rallies

in

and marches.

major If

cities against

we

an

include smaller

demonstrations, the figure will be larger; in Greece, for example,

between

1

00,000 and

1

50,000 are reported to have

rallied in

Athens,

but another 60,000 rallied in 52 other communities.

The demonstrations occurred on Antarctica,

where 50—55

all

scientists staged a

continents

half-hour

(including

rally),

indicating

extremely widespread opposition to Bush policy, and effective of communication linking the

and

also international links

US

lines

and European antiwar movements,

between anti-globalization

activists in

the Western countries, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

News

reports indicate that there were at least 60 demonstrations

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

218

of over 10,000 people. Almost 40 of these occurred greatest center

of economic power outside the

US

in

Europe, the

and the

likely

focus of contention for years to come.

Barcelona,

Rome, London, Madrid and

between the Madrid and Berlin especially conspicuous. in nations

Terror Five

And

exceeded

probably

demonstrations

of the

Five

Berlin.

figures, so

notice: the top four

There the

500,000:

is

first

demos

all

a

big gap

four are

occurred

with governments pledged to support the Bush-Blair

War on

Iraq.

Top Antiwar Demos,

Rome

Feb. 15: Barcelona 1.3 million;

1—2 million; London 750,000 (police), 1.5 million (organizers);

Madrid 660,000-800,000; Berlin 300,000-600,000. Spain, and Britain as

are

all

members

the relationship

ot the ‘gang

between the

deteriorated, to reassure the

US

backing. Their heads of state

all

US

of eight’ pieced together

and France and Germany

public that Bush has international

signed

a letter

circulated

indicating their intention to cooperate in a future Iraq.

Italy

last

month

US-led attack on

(Other gang members include Portugal, Denmark, and the

former Soviet-camp members Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.)

Within the ‘gang

of eight’

governments, Spain's meets with

particularly widespread opposition in supporting the

Ot

the tour largest demonstrations,

two occurred

US war

in Spain, in

plans.

widely

separate regions; there were also several other demonstrations of

over 100,000 in the country.

It

appears likely that between 2.5 and

3 million Spaniards (out of 40 million total) took a stand against

war on Saturday. There appears

to

be strong support

in

the vilified European

Germany and Belgium for the antiwar assumed by their regimes. The demonstration in

nations of France,

stands

currently

Berlin

was complemented by large gatherings

in Stuttgart (50,000)

and

WAR ON IRAQ Gottenberg (30,000). demonstrations

I’ve

Paris heads the

found so

far

list

219

of venues of the thirteen

estimated to involve 100,000 to

half a million.

There were huge demonstrations

two

15, including

in this

next category of

and half a million. Australia

Demos

in Australia

is

another key

rallies

around February

between 100,000

ally in the

US

war

effort.

of 100,000-500,000

Paris 400,000;

Sydney 250,000

(Feb.

16);

Damascus 200,000;

Ovidio (Spain) 200,000; San Francisco 150,000

(police),

250,000

(organizers) (Feb. 16); Las Palmas (Spain) 100,000; Cadiz (Spain)

100,000; Melbourne 100,000-200,000 (Feb.

14);

New

York

100,000 (police), 375,000-500,000 (organizers); Los Angeles 100,000; Montreal 100,000; Dublin 100,000; Athens 100,000 (police),

150,000 (organizers).

Demos

of 50,000-100,000

Lisbon 80,000; Amsterdam 70,000; Seattle 60,000-75,000; Oslo 60,000; Seville 60,000; Brussels 50,000; Montevideo 50,000;

Buenos Aires 50,000; There was

American

Stuttgart 50,000.

significant participation in antiwar organizing in Latin

cities,

Montevideo (Uruguay) and Buenos

especially

Mexico City and Sao Paulo

Aires (Argentina), but also in

There were demonstrations

in

(Brazil).

Havana, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and

Santo Domingo.

The only demonstrations of around 10,000 east Asia in

were

in

to take place in

South-

(predominantly Muslim) Pattani, in Thailand, and

Manila. Twice that

number

rallied in Pattani

There were smaller demonstrations

between 10,000 and 50,000

a

week

in

on February

16.

Djakarta (following one of

earlier),

Kuala

Lumpur

(3,000

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

220

despite a police ban)

and Bangkok. Largely, one supposes, because

movement remains low-key

of government repression, the antiwar in the region. In

South Asia, 10,000

numbers

in

Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Karachi, Pakistan. In

region, too, the

movement

Africa, protest against the cities

in

this

faces organizational difficulties.

war has been

In

largely confined to the large

of South Africa. There were demonstrations of 4,000—5,000

Durban, Cape

Town and Johannesburg.

The 200,000-strong ten demonstrations in

Calcutta, India, and smaller

rallied in

rally in

Damascus,

on February

Baghdad the same day)

this

Syria,

was among the top

15, but (like the

was

a

pro-Saddam

government-sponsored event.

In Beirut, perhaps 10,000 protested; in

Amman, 3,000. Riot

attacked a rally of 3,000 in Sfax, in Tunisia. Palestinians strated in

police

demon-

Ramallah and Jews and Palestinians marched together two

or three thousand strong in Tel Aviv.

Bahrain,

rally

as

it

to test the

A

few hundred protested in

monarch’s commitment to democratic

reform. But in Cairo, greatest city in the contemporary Arab world,

only

a

tew hundred

rallied,

some

violating security regulations.

happened

since the Cairo

suffering arrest and torture for

(This

is

the third time this has

Conference helped launch the Egyptian

antiwar campaign in December.) potentially

Demos

The fear of repression restrains a mighty anti-imperialist movement in the Arab world. of 20,000-50,000

Berne (Switzerland) 40,000; Stockholm 35,000; Glasgow 30.000— 50,000; Gottenberg 30,000; Girona 30,000; Toronto 25.000— 80,000; Tokyo 25,000; Copenhagen 25,000; Vancouver 20,000; Budapest 20,000; Trondheim (Norway) 20,000; Brisbane

20,000; Vienna 15,000-30,000; Montpelier 15,000-20,000.

WAR ON IRAQ

Demos

221

of 10,000—20,000

Canberra 16,000; Helsinki 15,000; Newcastle

(Australia) 15,000;

Bergen (Norway) 15,000; Munich 14,000—20,000

(Feb.

8);

Mexico City 13,500; Sao Paolo 10,000—20,000; Toulouse 10,000; Calcutta 10,000; Porto (Portugal) 10,000; Copenhagen 10,000; Thessaloniki

10,000;

10,000; Leipzig 10,000 (Feb. 10,000; Perth (Australia) Pattani

Zagreb 10,000; Philadelphia 10);

Hobart 10,000; Warsaw

10,000; Manila 10,000 (Feb.

14);

10,000; Auckland 8,000—10,000; Seoul 2,000—10,000;

Beirut 10,000.

February 26, 2003

MEET THE

NEW YORKER'S GOLDBERG

by Alexander Cockburn

Who’s

the hack?

He’s the

I

nominate the

New

Yorkers Jeffrey Goldberg.

new Remington, though without

the artistic talent. Back

1898, William Randolph Hearst was trying to fan war fever

in

between the United the

artist

Frederic

States

and Spain.

Remington

to

depictions of Spanish beastliness

He

dispatched a reporter and

Cuba to send back blood-roiling to Cuban insurgents. Remington

wired to say he could find nothing sensational to draw and could he

come home.

Famously, Hearst wired him: ‘Please remain. You furnish

the pictures and I

wouldn’t

I’ll

furnish the war.’

set the

New

Remington duly

Yorkers editor,

shoes of a Kong-sized monster like Hearst. talent

who

did

so.

David Remnick,

Remnick

is

in the

a third-tier

has always got ahead by singing the correct career-

enhancing tunes,

as

witness his awful reporting from Russia in the

1

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

222

New

1990s. Art Spiegelman recently quit the

Yorker

,

remarking that

these dangerous times require courage and the ability to be provocative, but

alas,

That’s putting lackluster

of the

it

‘Remnick does not feel up to the challenge.’ far too politely. Remnick’s watch has been

and cowardly.

New

He

was an

Republic

also the current

is

25 of

last year.

one) of Goldberg, whose

earlier

major chunk of agitprop for the

sponsor (Marty Peretz

New Yorker was

Titled ‘The Great Terror,’

it

was

first

March

published on

billed as containing

was

disclosures of ‘Saddam Hussein’s possible ties to A1 Qaeda.’ This at a

moment when

party’s claim

of

a

the FBI and

CIA had

Mohammed

meeting between

intelligence agent in Prague before the 9/1

the day for the

Kurdish-held

Iraqi

Mansour Shahab, who about

liar,

The

fell

The

a

wealth of detail

same prison

in

Iraqis,

The coup de

Link.

on February 9 of this year

,

beyond doubt

Mohammed

piece was gratefully seized

Observer administered by Jason Burke,

visited the

was an interview

Goldberg

the administration as proof of

established

Goldberg saved

between Osama bin Laden and the

grace to Goldberg’s credibility

Burke

attacks.

town of Sulaimaniya with

shuttling arms and other equipment.

London

war

Atta and an Iraqi

16, 000-word piece

offered the eager

his activities as a link

upon by

the

Bush crowd.

At the core of his rambling in the

down

just shot

its

in the

chief reporter.

Sulaimaniya, talked to Shahab and

that Goldberg’s great source

is

clumsy

a

not even knowing the physical appearance of Kandahar, whither

he had claimed to have journeyed to deal with bin Laden; and confecting his fantasies in the hope of

Another experienced European the Continent, findings.

‘I

who

a

shorter prison sentence.

journalist,

whom

visited the prison last year agrees

talked to prisoners without

director of the prison

seemed surprised

authority present the interview

at

would be

someone

my

request.

I

reached on

with Burke’s present.

With

a

The

prison

worthless. As soon as

we

WAR ON IRAQ talked to this particular

“This

is

worthless.

journalist,

who

one

colleague said after thirty seconds:

a

The guy was just want

doesn't

misjudgement but

as

we

did and as

[the Kurdish

my even

are located.

It’s

stronger criticism

group

common

this area

that the

sense

200 meters

would

across

one

Finally,

I

hear that a

who would

New York Times

tell

though

for the Times to have tried to

adds:

‘It’s

to

think

are

what

of

all

it’s

us,

I

but

outrageous

reporter also concluded after

one

who

it

like I

— and

about

to hear

have not been able

would not have been surprising

check up on Goldberg’s

of experience

lot

was obviously lying

in

‘scoop.’

An

interviewing in prisons

tricky interviewing prisoners in the

vulnerability, etc

you they

Look where they

happen I

PUK about

]

river to Iran. That’s

Saddam and A1 Qaeda.

to talk to this reporter,

a

tell

you.

anyone would

say anything

A1 Ansar and Saddam,

American with

that if you talked,

ran that story.'

talking to the prisoners that there was

and

matter

a

of northern Iraq

PUK.

talk to generals in the

New Yorker

is

of them would

all

find upsetting. Misjudging a source can

Goldberg did

charitably

Shahab ‘could have been

group controlling

Iran, as

me

gather Goldberg did, to anybody in the

1

this particular Islamic

backed by

The European

a story teller.’”

to be identified, said to

that Goldberg’s credulity about

ot

223

responsible journalists

first

place

make some



their

sort

of

minimal credibility assessment before they report someone’s statements. But the prisoner said exactly

wanted

to hear, so

that the prisoner

On

February

Goldberg

was 10,

what

didn’t feel that he

Jeffrey

Goldberg

needed to mention

nuts.’

amid widespread cynicism about the admini-

special,

Remnick published another Goldberg ‘The Unknown: The GIA and the Pentagon take another

look

Al

stration’s rationales for war,

at

sions to

Qaeda and

Iraq.’

This 6,000-word screed had no preten-

being anything other than

a servile

rendition of

Donald

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

224

and then

a hypothesis,

Rumsfeld’s theory of intelligence: ‘Build

see if the data supported the hypothesis, rather than the reverse.’

In other words, decide

what you want

to hear, then torture the data

until the data confess.

This

piece of Goldberg’s was a truly disgraceful piece of

last

brown-nosing (of Rumsfeld, Tenet

as

retire the rubric, at least for

‘White House Handout.’

in Israel’s

political

devoid of even the preten-

independent journalism. ‘Reporter

sions of

should

et al),

armed

forces,

I

at

Remnick

Large’?

Goldberg, and advertise

his

work

should note that Goldberg once served

which may or may not be

a

guide to

his

agenda.

March

4,

WHY

LET FACTS

2003

STOP A

GOOD WAR?

by Alexander Cockburn

CounterPunch hears that the top 2,500 Iraqis have been getting

on il

their cellphones

down

they lay

trial

lor

their

war crimes.

US

trom

intelligence officers telling

them

One

seasoned

hand

Iraqi

calls

tells

us the

US

got screwed up.

predict prolonged resistance. Estimates ot the duration of any five

issue dated

war

of the season was the one

On

February 24, Newsweek ’s

in a recent

Newsweek.

March 3 reported

its

Few

significant story

that the Iraqi

defected from the regime in 1995 told destroyed

did

minutes to three weeks.

To our mind the most by John Barry

that

arms when D-day comes they may escape

the same thing in 1991, but that often the

range from

calls

UN

entire stockpile of chemical

weapons chief who

inspectors that Iraq had

and biological weapons

WAR ON IRAQ and banned

225

missiles, exactly as Iraq claims.

Gen. Hussein Kamel,

Saddam Hussein’s former son-in-law who defected and who was 1996, was debriefed by

killed shortly after returning to Iraq in officials

from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and

UN

the

UNSCOM.

inspections team,

Kemal

transcript of that debriefing.

words

Newsweek,

in

‘that after the

Barry got hold of the

told the inspectors, in Barry’s

Gulf War,

Iraq destroyed

all

its

chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them.' All that remained were ‘hidden blueprints, computer disks,

microfiches and production molds.’ secretly, in

The weapons were

order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the

hopes of someday resuming production

The CIA and MI6 were

finished.

reported, and

‘a

who

military aide

after inspections

On

into disclosing

still

UN

WMD

the

Cambridge University

that

Tony

thesis.

backed

stocks.’

But

FAIR

reports, a

complete

UNSCOM/IAEA

— was obtained by Glen Rangwala,

analyst

who

Blair’s ‘intelligence dossier'

Rangwala

Barry

inspectors’ in order

copy of the Kamel transcript — an internal ‘sensitive’

...

had

more.’

February 26, the media watchdog

document stamped

story,

Kamel

defected with

these statements were ‘hushed up by the

Saddam

same

told the

Kamel’s assertions about the destruction of

to ‘bluff

destroyed

has posted the

in early

February revealed

was plagiarized from

Kamel

transcript

a

student

on the Web:

http://casi.org.uk/info/unscom950822.pdf.

In

other words Bush, Blair and the

perfectly well

war stocks any nuclear

all

rest

of them have

known

along that there are no chemical and biological

to be found.

No

one seriously maintains

capability. Barry’s

ignored by the mainstream

tremendous scoop

press.

in

that Iraq has

Newsweek was

IMPERIAL

226

March

2003

7,

WHEN

CRUSADES

GOLDBERG DID BRAZIL

JEFFREY

by Alexander Cockburn

Goldberg

Jeffrey

the

is

New

A1 Qaeda, so succulent to the Bush crowd,

week.

No

continent

New

28, 2002, the

is

safe

from

and the United

States.’

It

Public Radio’s mind, and that

Hezbollah had long

Up

who

a letter of protest to

up shop

one journalist,

incredible that

that

Arabs are plotting to

and

come and

kill

‘The

in his

mind, National

in the ‘Triple Frontier'

who at

the time and wrote

who

has as his mainstay the

Jews and destroy America’s

visit Brazil just to

see if Hezbollah It

is

theme

‘interests,’

operating here,

was an impressive

feat

ol research actually.

Not only did Goldberg come up with what many

here thought was

far-fetched hypothesis

a

- could

the Hezbollah be

funding anti-Israel/US operations from the Triple Frontier? - but he proved that they are doing just this part ol

and

lines.

a slap in

Even the

that, all

by himself.

No

reporter in

the world has been able to find the slightest bit of evidence

along those

I’m

fairly

convinced that

his

claim

is

irresponsible,

the lace to the peaceful communities that exist here.

police,

who

of

region

lives in that

recalls:

he found ’em running rampant.

voila,

called

state, Brazil.

New Yorker,

It is

could



read Goldberg’s story

the

October

Operations in South America

and friend ol CounterPunch

part ol the year,

last

of the right-wing pundits’ minds

all

Argentina, Paraguay and Parana

A journalist

On

Goldberg piece

‘confirmed’

set

discussed here

I

his inventive pen.

Yorker published a

Party of God: Hezbollah Sets

whose work on

Yorker fantasist

monitor narco-trafficking, don’t see the

link.

WAR ON IRAQ

in

227

The CounterPuncher phoned the Ministry of Justice in Brasilia November and talked to the Justice Minister’s assistant, who

confirmed

that joint Brazilian,

police, including

undercover

Paraguayan and Argentine federal

forces,

had not found any evidence that

Arabs involved in narco-trafficking were laundering terrorist operations.

communities along the arrests that

WERE

There

were made post-September

10,

made

arrests

CD

triple frontier, for

the Arabs that were held were

March

some

1 1

piracy.

money

into

in these

Arab

But

all

of the

were minor charges, and

let go.

2003

A CIA ANALYST ON FORGING INTELLIGENCE:

WHOSE

DELIBERATE DISINFORMATION?

by Ray Close

There was

small but very important passage in

a

Elbaradei’s testimony

Mohammad

on behalf of the UN’s International Atomic

Energy Agency before the

UN Security Council last week that cries

out for further investigation:

With regard in

its

uranium

acquisition, the I.A.E.A. has

investigation into reports that Iraq sought to

Niger

in recent years.

provided by

Niger and

The Iraq

to

a

progress

buy uranium from

This investigation was centered on documents

number of states

Iraq for the sale

that pointed to an

agreement between

of uranium between 1999 and 2001.

I.A.E.A. has discussed these reports with the governments of

and Niger, both of which have denied

place.

made

For

its

part, Iraq has

that

any such

provided the I.A.E.A. with

a

activity

took

comprehensive

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

228 explanation of

its

Iraqi official to a

relations

with Niger and has described

number of

by an

African countries, including Niger, in

February 1999, which Iraq thought might have given

The

a visit

the reports.

rise to

coming from

I.A.E.A. was able to review correspondence

compare the form,

various bodies of the government of Niger and to

format, contents and signature of that correspondence with those ot the alleged procurement-related documentation. Based analysis, the I.A.E.A. has

experts, that these

on thorough

concluded, with the concurrence of outside

documents, which formed the

basis tor the reports

of recent uranium transaction between Iraq and Niger, are authentic. are

On

We

not

in tact

have therefore concluded that these specific allegations

unfounded.

Saturday,

March

8,

the Washington Post reported under the

headline ‘Some Evidence on Iraq Called Fake’ that the documents in

question had been given to the

UN

inspectors by the British

government and ‘reviewed extensively by

documents were then forwarded government, an action

clearly

US

IAEA by

the

to

intelligence.’

The

US

the

implying that in Washington’s opinion

they constituted reliable intelligence.

A

similar

stamp of authenticity

must have been implied in the case of the British government’s actions.

Such

is

certainly the impression that

the United Nations recipients,

been ‘reviewed extensively' by

However,

alter the

experts’ that the

knowing

US

would be gained by

that the

documents had

intelligence experts.

IAEA determined through

documents were bogus, the

governments were reluctantly compelled

to

its

US

own

‘outside

and British

acknowledge

that they

had both been the victims of an elaborate deception operation.

unnamed

(but hopefully red-faced)

US

official

One

was honest enough

to

admit to Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick that ‘We

it.’

In a curious display

of unwarranted courtesy, an

fell

for

IAEA spokesman

WAR ON IRAQ

229

graciously informed the Washington Post that his agency did not

blame either Britain or the United

documents ‘were shared with

The

States for the forgery.

good

us in

faith,’

he

The

said.

following questions immediately occur to anyone with experi-

ence in the area of covert technical operations (‘Department of Dirty Tricks’),

The

and to everyone

else

with

a

modicum of common

fabrication of false documentation, especially

to be official

what purports

correspondence between the agencies of two different

governments,

is

a

major undertaking

for

any professional

ligence service or criminal enterprise. This

when

sense:

is

intel-

obviously most true

the perpetrator intends to accomplish an extremely important

purpose and so anticipates that

his

work

will

be carefully scrutinized

by competent experts. The job requires extensive and time-

consuming level

research, reasonably

of motivation.

It

advanced technical

such

as

deliberate fraud

this,

where the

would be very

Unless accomplished with quality of the

and

a

high

would not be attempted by anyone whose

intentions were frivolous. All of these factors in a case

skills,

documents

a

political

would be accentuated costs

of exposure of

high.

high degree of skill, the counterfeit

in this case

should have been quickly

obvious to the British and American intelligence services, and the contents dismissed immediately

however, according to the contained

‘relatively

The

Washington Post story, the forgeries

crude errors’ that gave them away. This clearly

points to one or the other of

a.

as a trivial diversion. Surprisingly,

two

possible conclusions:

technical services departments of MI6 and

reputed to be credible technical

rivals to the

sophistication)

are

in

CIA

KGB

and

fact

incompetent.

Israel’s

manufactured the forgeries themselves, they did

clumsy job.

On

the other hand,

(historically

if

Mossad If

a careless

for

they

and

they merely evaluated the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

230

documents

authenticity of the

a

as

means of determining

whether the information contained therein was valuable ligence for their

own governments,

equally appalling lack of professional

intel-

they obviously showed an

They

skill.

‘tell

tor

we

it,’

are informed.

b.

The only other explanation

that

can think ot

I

is

that the British

and American intelligence services, despite having figured out

documents were crude

that the

UN

to pass the information to the

that

torgeries, nevertheless decided

inspectors anyway,

knowing

IAEA

they would serve conveniently to mislead the

into thinking that this was

US-UK

documentary evidence supporting

made

claims that Iraq has

nuclear resources.

illegal

attempts to acquire

(Of course, intelligence Note

incredibly obtuse sometimes.

by the British that the famous

Cohn

glowingly praised by

services can be

the recent public admission

‘dossier'

of evidence against

Powell in

his

Iraq,

testimony to the

Security Council, consisted mainly of hearsay plagiarized from the

work

ot a California graduate student.)

Somebody evidence. before. life

It

The

has

it

has been

issues

and death

engaged

in the

criminal act of manufacturing

done once,

under consideration

tor perhaps thousands

despicable could a crime be?

And

it

may

well have been

yet our

done

of war and peace,

are matters

of people.

false

How much

government and

more

that

of

Great Britain seem more bemused than concerned. Shouldn’t

Congress be alarmed that our intelligence service, on which we are so

dependent these

days,

is

so

incompetent or so inured

corruption ot the national intelligence process

to the

as to tolerate

the

deliberate or careless introduction of false evidence into a process so critically important to our national security

and

to the credibility

WAR ON IRAQ United

231

Those responsible for this humiliating fiasco should be exposed and discredited — for the good of our country. ot the

The of

States?

Washington Post story

American

who

testament to the flaccid quality

also a

investigative journalism these days.

how

occurred to any reporter exactly

is

was

it

important

that forged the

it

apparently never

It

to

know

first

place.

would be

documents

in the

Here was an organized

effort to

disinformation to

two governments, and through them

at least

spread extremely significant

the Security Council of the United Nations, that might have

influence on a

momentous

Immediately,

Who

a

to

a direct

decision about war and peace.

host of other specific questions

come

to

mind.

were the ‘outside experts’ consulted by the IAEA

who

correctly spotted the falsity of the Iraq-Niger correspondence (and

exposed the incompetence of

Were they governments, or

whom

MI6 and

private

CIA in the process)? agencies? Where located? By the

controlled?

Elbaradei reported that these documents were provided to the

IAEA by ment

‘a

Any other governand American? Did ‘a number of states’

number of states.’ Very

besides the British

interesting.

UN

provide identical counterfeit documents to the representing those documents

as reliable ‘intelligence’?

inspectors,

Did each of

those states originally obtain the documents from the same source?

When

the information was passed by the British and Americans to

the United Nations, was the original source identified?

and the CIA claim the necessity methods’? (Wouldn’t

same

familiar claim

it

Or

did

to protect ‘sensitive sources

be interesting to learn that

was made? What would

that

do

MI6 and

in this case that

to the credibility

of other intelligence provided by us to the United Nations? This is

not

a trivial

question. If the United States

careless indifference or deliberate corruption

is

accused of either in

matters of this

import, what does that do to our reputation and to our image

as

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

232

‘leader

of the

free

world

?

Or

is

Brady Kiesling right —

it

only

matters that others fear our power?) It

would make no sense

non-

to suppose that a neutral or

governmental entity would go to the trouble and expense ot falsifying

documentation and then convincing

to deliver that

evidence to the IAEA. Quite

thinks about this intrigue, the

one was responsible

more obvious

‘a

number of states’

clearly, it

the

becomes

more one that

some-

for a deliberate intelligence disinformation

campaign targeting the United Nations with an aim toward padding the evidence supporting an is

a world-class

any definition.

Ray

Close was a

American—British

criminal act,

We

CIA

felony of historic proportions, by

a

should not

invasion of Iraq. That

let

analyst in the

it

be swept under the carpet.

Near East

division.

March 21, 2003

FOURTH-GENERATION PROTESTING: SHUTTING DOWN SAN FRANCISCO'S

DOWNTOWN by Scott

Handleman

Thursday, the day after the

start

of bombing, was the long-

anticipated day ot direct-action protest in San Francisco. For weeks,

the flyers were circulating from Direct Action to Stop the War, and

weekly spokescouncil meetings were held, alternating between San Francisco and Oakland.

The

Thursday morning seemed San Francisco's financial

decentralized planning paid

like

district.

Sunday morning

off:

in large parts

of

WAR ON IRAQ The most noteworthy

233

thing about this day of protest,

I

think,

was the effectiveness of the new strategy of protest by

small,

autonomous

clusters.

to report at 7 a

am

few minutes

A

I

midnight yesterday,

and Bryant

to 9th

late,

after

little

saw

honked

in

a call

freeway off-ramp blocked by debris and

a

Highway

Patrol officers

pushing back protesters and hauling the obstacles traffic

got

for legal observation. Arriving

large objects (old sofas, etc). California

hour

I

irritation.

while rush-

why some might

understand

I

aside,

were

question the nobility of blocking drivers from getting to work, far

from the

seats

of power that are the true

targets,

but what was

surprising was that, here in Police State America, a group of twenty to thirty openly created a fairly serious (though brief) disruption,

not

one got

a single

As the cops cleared the ramp and things

arrested.

started looking hot, the

crowd

Market, taking the wide

started

shambling up 9th Street toward

and chanting. This bunch,

street

was Queers Against Capitalism, marching under

Upon

and

a giant

incidentally,

pink

flag.

reaching Market, the militant queers took over the

intersection,

still

unbothered by cops. Meanwhile,

the intersection of Van Ness and Fell,

a

a

block away

at

small group had occupied

the intersection, linking arms in lock-boxes. Van Ness was silent as

Market.

A

block further on,

Franklin and Fell occupied. in

a

lock-box, and

felt

a

a similar I

group had the intersection of

fed a banana to a supine stirring in

my

young woman

subconscious.

returning to Market, the perambulating homosexuals had

Upon

somehow

taken over the major intersection of Van Ness and Market, and the

cops had

still

on bullhorn Bear

in

made no move directed, and the

mind

that there

to arrest.

‘Move

aimlessly,’ a

woman

group moved on.

were small numbers

at

each of these

sites.

The Queers had perhaps grown to fifty by this point, and the lockdown sites, counting the surrounding supporters, probably had less. Dispersal, and the simultaneity of many happenings, meant the cops’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

234

resources were spread thin; they were too busy clearing the

down

intersections to deal with the troublemakers

on

sit-

toot.

my bike down Market Street, empty of cars, encountered scenes. A sparse crowd, around twenty people, had taken

Riding similar

I

over 6th and Market. This was a guerrilla-theater group in costume, called

Dead Against War. Scary horse cops approached, and

group walked

the

otf.

At Montgomery and Sutter, in trout ot the Schwab building, another tiny cluster had taken the intersection, including locked down.

of the

street.

A

couple of fellows

This group included

lawn chairs in the middle

sat in

a

core group

a

hippyish contingent, joined in

soothing hum. But argument broke out between protesters and

a

an angry driver,

a

scene that

saw repeated several times today.

I

At Montgomery and Pine,

a

group of only seven persons

lock-boxes closed Pine on one side; on the other sat

on overturned newspaper

bins.

The

violation of the traffic law. walk,’ etc etc.

The mystery

side, protesters

At Montgomery and California,

another tiny group held the intersection. loads of cops arrived.

in

cop’s leader

1

waited while two bus-

came and

said:

‘You are in

am ordering you to move to the sideis why this group did not take advantage I

of their warning and walk around awhile to another intersection, in

conformity with the emerging principles of fourth-generation

protest.

This group

sat

Montgomery and

there and

let

themselves get arrested.

Clay, the corner

of the Transamerica Pyramid,

saw another blockading group, some in lock-boxes. Hay was mysteriously scattered in the street, a

warm

showed up and menacingly took out fill

I

plastic

trench plates with water.

talked to

Back

pastoral touch. its

A

firetruck

hose, but only used

They drove

it

to

away, protesters dry.

two white-collar onlookers, mildly sympathetic.

to Market,

surrounded by

where

a fairly large

a

group was locked down

in boxes,

crowd of protester onlookers (maybe

WAR ON IRAQ

235

100). Sparks flew copiously as the firemen cut through a lock-

box.

It

threw

was here

that

a glass bottle

didn't even

flinch.)

I

saw ugliness on both

first

which

hit a

Someone

sides.

cop square on the helmet. (He

A

Protesters booed.

of cops marched

line

From my perch high They walked around for

briskly into the crowd, and looked around. in a tree, a

saw the cops’ body language.

I

while acting unconvincingly

like

body, then the victim-cop pointed

they were in pursuit of some-

at a

and the cops went and grabbed him.

fellow standing on

I

did not see

bottle, but a legal observer later told

man who

got arrested.

threw the thing would view.

I

It

me

who

a

bench,

threw the

was not the young

it

stands to reason that the fellow

try to

who

blend away and not stand in high

think the cops just decided they had to punish and deter,

so better to arrest an innocent person

and show eye-for-an-eye

retribution.

(As they were pulling away their unfortunate victim, one of these cops backed into the misplaced bicycle of yrs truly and over; another cop

back

tire

somehow

fell

with him. This severely warped

and broke three spokes. Safe

in

my

tree,

fell

my

declined to

I

request compensation.)

Meanwhile, the lock-box extractions had been continuing - but the firemen did not break

open the box linking the

The cops dragged them off, still linked piggish move on their part, for it was causing

last

two

protesters.

together. This

was

those arrested

a

visibly to shout out in pain,

might do them I

continued

planters had

and looked

lasting physical

down

like the sort

damage.

Market, where Christmas trees in big cement

been dragged

to the

middle of the

newspaper vending boxes were overturned. At taking regular notes.

of thing that

It

street,

and many

this point,

I

stopped

was probably around 10 in the morning,

and anarchy reigned downtown. Unwarping

my

tire,

I

rode to the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

236

Federal Building; protesters had shut

vomit puddles

it

over the sidewalks.

all

Back downtown, Market remained and rowdy bunch on Mission

a large

so rejoicing in their

speakers.

We

went back

Old Navy was open

Street,

I

hooked up with

around

thousand or

a

Market

to

It

for

more

was 11.45 and

for business.

I

went

intersection facedowns

noticed, strangely, that

I

to Civic

Center for the

room and no one listened to the headed back down Market. At around

there was plenty of

rally;

Ready

speaker.

in chaos;

numbers, Spearhead blasting from bike-ferried

with riot-ready cops.

noon

down. Red, white and blue

for

home,

I

5th Street was a confrontation noteworthy because the cluster ot

perhaps 100 protesters consisted almost entirely of youth of color

(many of high-school

age).

From my observations good way

are a

to

go

to

today,

I

think that small, mobile clusters

make numbers have

their

The lmger-then-escape method of blocking ideal in that thrills

and

On

not.

it

a

frustrates

sense of defiance that a permit-obeying

saw

a certain

a lot ot graffiti

planning to

let

convergence

at

By ment

dignity and moral high

Hard

to picture

ground

Rosa Parks

pull a

1

is

.00

1

still

I

loose

and overturned newspaper

had at

a

racks, but

feeling the hard-core vandals

no

were

another time, perhaps after the 5

pm

Powell and Market.

had had enough of the noise and chaos.

bombing Baghdad, and

reflecting

on

Our govern-

that,

I

wonder

None of this is going to Stop the War. Of course, what will? The day of protest didn’t have to stop the war to be

what

a

march does

onto an off-ramp and scram.

smashed windows;

but

creates

It

the other hand, the cat-and-mouse confrontations of the

associated with the sit-downs.

I

effect.

intersections seems

cops and minimizes risk of arrest.

fourth generation lack

sofa

maximum

it all

good

means.

in itself.

Not freedom, but

defiance was in the

air.

People

WAR ON IRAQ were starring blend of

own

in their

human

nature:

cops and protesters

blow off steam.

alike.

237

movies, circumstances were revealing the

People got

a

chance to get together and

Last but not least, they sent a strong signal that

business will not be tolerated, not if that business

Handleman

Scott

among

people honorable and craven,

is

law student

a

Berkeley.

at

He

is

war.

can be reached at:

[email protected]

March 28, 2003

A ROAD

TRIP IN

WARTIME

by Daniel Wolff

My

thirteen-year-old son and

and back during the

Thursday, March

from

20

first

We

I

drove from

week of the

will see almost

local papers in the

towns we

pass

We

can bring

we

go, including the long stretch of

in

New

York

to

Memphis

war.

no TV, get most of our news through and from the radio.

National Public Radio stations almost wherever

Highway

81 that cuts south

through Pennsylvania Dutch country. NPR’s coverage of the war is

intelligent, exhaustive,

me

of the prose

in the

and very carefully modulated.

It

reminds

higher-end garden catalogues or on the

packaging of gourmet foods. The overwhelming impression a

smart person

is

talking; so

that they’re trying to

This

first

day, the

sell

much

so that

you

forget,

is

that

sometimes,

you something.

news

is

mostly about the war not going

according to plan. There’s been

tactical

bombing of Baghdad

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

238

instead of ‘shock and awe.’ that the military

journalists keep repeating

not following the script;

is

following the script; vvhat does the script?

NPR

The

mean

it

isn’t

they’re not

that they're not following

raining hard and the landscape

It’s

odd

it

brown and

is

gray,

except for the hex signs painted on the barns. In

Roanoke,

Virginia, there’s a peace vigil at the

downtown war

monument. Most of the people holding candles are gray-haired, but there are some teenagers, too. It’s the twenty- to forty-yearolds is

who seem

to

be missing.

probably mostly pro-war.

honks or waves

none of the

slabs

Still,

their support.

tells

about but one out of

There

are

no

hecklers,

no

live cars

police,

and



just thirty or so people standing

among

the

engraved with the names of Roanoke’s war dead.

Our motel

clerk

is

a

woman

black

in her twenties.

us in with a cellphone cradled by her ear;

war comes up

as

We

She checks

someone’s on hold. The

she hands us our key, and she

should get out ot there.

is

adamant. ‘We

got no business there.' Does she have

And we

triends serving? “Friends ot triends. It’s

us that, yes, the city

tingling sensation I’m used to at a demonstration about

to get dangerous

marble

A woman

not only clear to her, but

it’s

got no business there.’

a position she’s

ready and willing

to volunteer to strangers.

March 21 We’re below the Mason-Dixon

line

and climbing

through the mountains ot West Virginia to Tennessee.

My prejudice pro-war. On

Friday,

is

to expect the

empty

South

to

where cows

hilltops over the fields

otten erected three plain

white.

be adamantly and visibly

And

American

wooden

crosses, the

there are military bases

flags are

tew and

9/11. There are ‘Support

far

Our

yellow ribbons, but not many.

graze, the

all

middle one painted

through

between,

owners have

much

this area.

But the

fewer than

after

Troops’ signs here and there and

WAR ON IRAQ Bristol

where the famous

is

239

Bristol sessions took place: the

first

commercial recordings of country music including the Carter Family and the singing brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers.

Main

Street

Confederate

from the

side with

flags to the side

If

you

cross

the antique shops filled with

with the amateur geek show that

includes a chick with two heads in formaldehyde, you’re crossing

from West Virginia to Tennessee. Today, the and motorcycles pulling into town

trailers

streets are

for the

busy with

NASCAR

race

on Sunday.

On line

the Tennessee side of the street, there’s

a

repair shop with a

of antique jukeboxes, pinball machines, and some video games

in the

window. The owner’s

probably in

his seventies.

a

He

man with gray hair and glasses, how things are in New York. I’m

lanky

asks

cautiously non-committal: folks are worried. ‘I’m worried we’re

going to end up looking believe he’s said that store.

1945

He

He

he volunteers.

like Hitler,’

- not on

sunny Main Street

this

I

can’t quite

in this quiet

War Two: 1943

goes on that he served in World

in Italy,

in France.

understand

can’t

more blood

why

France

isn’t

supporting

us:

‘We

spilled

there than they got red wine.’ But he also doesn’t

understand what we’re doing there, and he’s most worried about what’s going to happen after

blaming

us, they’re

shakes his head.

packed with

tourists for the

among

We

back

at us,

and what’ll we

get to Nashville at dusk, and

NCAA

basketball game.

the well-fed and slightly tipsy crowd, there are

Colors Don’t Run' T-shirts. a

win. ‘Everyone’s going to be

to get

He

have gained?’ it’s

gonna want

we

shaved head

tell his

mean I’m a bigot.’ The radio tells us Hussein.

On

We

overhear

friend: ‘Just because

that the

first

strikes

a I

some ‘These

middle-aged man with have

this haircut doesn’t

may not have

the other hand, the video of

Here,

him on

killed

Iraqi

TV

Saddam doesn’t

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

240

prove he’s

alive.

The

local

paper profiles families with sons and

daughters in the military and editorializes for supporting the troops.

There

are also good-sized articles covering the antiwar protests

both

here and overseas. Nashville has the largest Kuwaiti population in the US.

Saturday,

We’ve been stopping

March 22

at little

where

the way, wandering through flea markets

their children’s toys, used clothes, old records.

Jackson, Tennessee, and the main street to

is

towns

Now, we drop

empty but

clean.

power

full

of stereo equipment,

It’s

into

hard

lots ol trailer

parks and small factories, and the car washes are busy. is

along

folks are selling

judge the economy from the outside, but there are

town pawnshop

all

The down-

guitars, toolboxes

and

drills.

NPR interviews various experts, from from think tanks, and they

retired generals to people

good news

agree on the

all

that the

troops are progressing faster than expected towards Baghdad.

Memphis and

are progressing to

afternoon to tour Graceland.

It’s

arrive there early a small

Tonight, outdoors, to a crowd of

and P-Funk play

comes ready

a

There

are

in the

house.

some

1,200,

long and inspired concert.

to party.

enough

We

George Clinton

The Memphis crowd

young white

professionals,

drunk

and feeling each other up; middle-aged black couples doing the funky two-step; here and there in place.

haired

a blitzed freak jumping

Clinton wanders out an hour into the

man who

As well

lets his

as singing,

dreadlocks grow

down

he seems most interested

on

sets

He’s a big, gray-

to his shoulders.

cueing the band, and signaling for solos from

the fifteen or sixteen musicians and singers

it,

set.

up and down

in the

who

drop in and out,

crowd’s hand clapping.

He

calls for

the beat, and then listens attentively, his sunglasses pushed up

his head.

It’s

as

it

the clapping were the true measure of the

WAR ON IRAQ music.

Among

will follow.’ is

many

his

chants

is

241

mind and your ass do that — to free people -

‘Free your

The power of the groove

to

apparently best gauged by hand clapping.

We

don’t

know how

get ready to leave



long the concert eventually

that way.

Brown

riffs,

but

A

Groove,’ and

— the

really

it

we

as

three and a half hours into the music

band bumps into ‘One Nation Under

seem

lasts,

does

P-Funk’s crazy-ass dream to unite us around fames

throaty girl singers and wailing guitar seems to have

worked. The open-air space just off Beale Street moves

one

as

kinky, thousand-piston machine. Clinton announces, ‘This

America,’ and

we

believe.

Sunday, March 23 West

Memphis, Arkansas,

physical manifestation of a hangover.

It’s

noon

at

cing barber shops and discount meat.

NPR’s

encing setbacks. Again, angry, that the assault

full

of

a

black

isn’t

experts

The

is

the exact

sleepy and

boarded-up yellow-brick buildings and hand-painted

of our own,

signs

flat

announ-

radio says we’re experi-

going forward according to plan.

Muslim

One

sergeant, has apparently fragged a tent

an army maintenance unit

with twelve missing or captured, and citizens in the southern

As we

with

seem mostly shocked, almost

his fellow officers. Iraqis capture

instead of

is

welcoming our troops

cross the Mississippi,

cities

are resisting.

headed back

east,

NPR

runs

a

long

piece on the history of Iraq. Asked what most surprised her in doing the research, the reporter says she wasn’t aware

how much Saddam

Hussein was created and supported by the US.

We

drive

many of the

up through Tennessee and into Kentucky.

It

sounds

like

captured and the dead are either from around here or

were stationed nearby. The parents of explain that she joined the

couldn’t find any

work

in

army

after

a

missing

woman

soldier

high school because she

her small Kentucky

hometown.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

242

In a motel run

cricket out

by

a Pakistani

couple (their daughter practices

We

on the driveway), we watch the Oscars.

count the

number of celebrities who speak either against the war or for peace. Then Michael Moore wins and begins his speech denouncing the and shouting

election results, shaking his finger into the camera,

Mr

‘Shame on you, offensive.

It’s

offensive. is

Moore

Bush'

I’m

a

as

what we’ve been

can’t quite

From town

seem thoughtful and

fit

war into

this

worried.

that picture.

And everywhere

it’s

man who

Part of

it

the

is

town, most of

to

quietly concerned.

the country to be a decent place, believe

liberals; they’re

ness.

no matter what.

seeing.

out.

reaction, but

looks big and soft and selt-involved: a

the people we’ve talked to

They want

my

surprised at

little

always talking about himself

contrast to

drown him

the music rises to

They

it

and

is,

aren’t ‘radicals’ or

there seems to be a sad-

There’s no sadness in Michael Moore’s speech, only Michael

Moore. *

Monday, March 24

A

long day’s drive through Kentucky and West

Virginia to Maryland. At

over to

some point

AM radio and get G. Gordon Liddy’s

ing his listeners on the right protesters in San Francisco.

the its

we program. He is

in the

He

way

dry

ot dealing

recalls

hills,

with approval how, during

building with machine guns. His rant seems

as

pitchforking sinners into hell

much

(a

and absolute

Now,

the radio says that the cities

Iraq aren’t actually secure.

ot

A

ot the art

is,

it’s

we had

defend

in

as

Morehead

bright red devils

brightly painted

fierce

as

scenarios:

to

out of place

Michael Moore’s was. The Kentucky Folk Art Center

Judgment Day

lectur-

with the antiwar

Vietnam War, the Justice Department was prepared

features a lot ot

switch

tire

filled

rim).

But

with humor.

captured in southern

sandstorm has slowed troops outside

Baghdad. Instead ot the single news event —

a

war —

it

has

WAR ON IRAQ become

a series

of complicated

to give their opinions, but

out of certainty.

The

stories.

experts are

still

eager

you can almost hear them running

been

hasn't

It

243

a

week

and the war’s gone on

yet,

too long. In a bar in Frostburg,

Maryland,

vision set while a sit-com plays

CNN

on another.

tends bar. All of her customers are men.

up they're

playing on one tele-

A

They

thin,

unsmiling

girl

about the pick-

talk

motorcycle they’re racing, the loan they’re

selling, the

trying to take out

is

on the house. One guy keeps feeding quarters

into the pool table, playing by himself and rolling his eyes at the ceiling:

once

‘I

ain't

been able

in a while,

when

people will look up

to shoot anything since yesterday.’

the announcer’s voice gets the news.

at

It’s

mostly

a clip

more

Every

insistent,

of two American

prisoners of war, repeated over and over. Occasionally, there’s a tank on

woman men look a

Draft beer

Tuesday,

son

a city,

and drinking.

fifty cents.

It’s

says. Instead,

New

stifling in the

their house,

we

eat

Jersey.

Pennsylvania Dutch family like old people,’

sandwiches by the bank of a stream

We’ve stopped

is

in

news

listening to the

books-on-tape ‘Spoon River Anthology.’

shifting to a

son’s favorite part

down

to talking

and we leave before ordering. ‘Smells

Bloomsbury,

much,

moment, then go back

March 25

restaurant,

my

is

over

But nobody’s bleeding, nobody’s dead. The

in a veil.

for a

a desert, lights flaring

My

where an old woman goes crazy and burns

dancing on the lawn

as

the flames leap up.

At home, we’re road-numb and glad to be back. We’ve covered

something close

to

2,500 miles.

Six days’ worth of emails includes lots of denunciations of George

Bush: pictures of him looking simple, jokes, messages from friends saying he’s various kinds of idiotic.

Maybe I’m just

tired,

but

I

skip

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

244

over

a lot.

which

to

The

hang

Daniel Wolff

president seems mostly beside the point: a face the country

a policy. It’s

lines

in

New

and

its streets,

talking about.

He is the author of You Send Me, great Sam Cooke, and Memphis Blues

York.

the acclaimed biography of the

Again, an exquisite

were

on

collection

of Ernest Withers photographs of

people and musicians.

Memphis

PART FOUR THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

WAR

March 31, 2003

US PROPAGANDA DURING THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF THE IRAQ WAR by Paul de Rooij

It

become much more

has

difficult to sell

wars these days, and the

propagandists are remarkably inept. Watching jarring shoddy propaganda that

is

immediately transparent. Marines

‘discovered’ a camouflaged chemical

CNN It

and

BBC

CNN or BBC reveals

weapons

factory, but then

revealed the source of the story: the Jerusalem Post.

was then distributed by Fox News. This was the

discredit the story,

which only

fabrication by the

March 25

lasted

two days -

story, elaborating the details

and saying

day

factory

later

CNN

— another

a

Scud

story with a half-life of a day.

It is

like

as a

repeating the

was

missile inside a

On March

were talking about finding 3,000 chemical protection proved something.

exposed

to

now proof (WMD).

that there

mentioned finding

way

meantime, one

CNN,

of the existence of weapons of mass destruction

fastest

later

Financial Times. In the

of the warmongering neocons appeared on

A

both

26, they

suits, as if this

smelling manure, and then claiming you

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

248

have found

a horse.

This story also

ex-UN weapons

only because Hans Blix, the pixel of first

few

Scud be

backbone

missiles (illegal

by the

under

it

inspector, mustered a

didn’t prove anything. Finally, the

Iraqis

UN

it

on Kuwait were intimated

to be

resolutions), but this turned out to

false too.

Jacques to

to state that

missiles shot

destined for the trashcan,

is

be effective

else.

One

book Propaganda

Ellul, in his it

,

states that for

propaganda

must have monopoly and drown out everything

of the reasons that propaganda doesn’t stick

at

present

is

many alternative information channels. CNN monopoly by any means; at an Amsterdam airport

that there are so

doesn’t have a

lounge recently, the waiting passengers rebelled and forced the attendants to change the channel!

The

become

Internet has also

a

very important alternative news source. Robert Fisk’s reports on

DemocracyNow he

is

a

or his columns in London’s Independent prove that

one-man propaganda demolition machine. Listening

reports from a clearer

Baghdad allows one

view

paragraph of

of

what

Fisk’s

is

to peer

through the fog, and obtain

happening on the ground. Every other

comments demolishes

yet another nonsense

statement uttered by Ari Fleischer and his

forgotten.

On

last a

The next

March

ilk.

The

hard task of

war has given way to a barrage of lies or tew days — thereafter they are immediately

selling or justifying the

semi-lies that only

to his

follow directly.

lies

26, a missile killed scores of civilians at a

Baghdad

market and wounded even more. Houses and shops were demolished.

The subsequent stream

of

propaganda

is

very instructive.

‘Must check what happened,’ to ‘Inevitably to ‘Likely that an Iraqi missile finally,

on March 28

it

was:

collateral

It

went from:

damage

occurs,’

was the cause of the explosion,’ and

‘It

was

a missile fired

Another market bombing on March 29

by the enemy.’

killing sixty-two-plus civilians

was immediately denied and blamed on the

Iraqis themselves.

Some

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR background may

historical

reveal the real reason for these explosions.

During the bombing of Serbia over Americans and the general a

the

Kosovo

staff were surprised

situation,

both the

because they expected

quick capitulation. Serious dissension grew within the ranks of the

then coalition of the willing,’ and pressure

on the Serbs

TV

even the

with

this

targets,

station (with

was revealed

that

was necessary

it

to increase the

to obtain their surrender. This

by hitting more military

it

249

then bridges, railroads, factories, and

some lame

most Serbian

bombing intensity, the

was achieved

justification). After the war,

factories

had been bombed! Even

Serbians didn’t yield, and

at this

point

the laptop bombardiers started targeting the civilian population, i.e.,

and simple terrorism

plain

Propaganda

remember

also

TV

the

through the

censoring things. Most Americans

entails

scenes where dead

US

of Mogadishu. Within

streets

of the word.

in the true sense

a

soldiers

week

were dragged

the US’s appetite

for that intervention collapsed.

Americans only accept clean wars,

only the ones that appear

video game. All the blood and gore

like a

must be excised, especially and Americans dead Americans

if

there

will not see this

is

blood of American

When

on TV.

elicited a vicious reply

it

soldiers,

A1 Jazeera showed

from the censors shutting

down

websites and hindering A1 Jazeera from broadcasting in the

US.

the

If

in Basra,

US

then

istan, the

finds out the coordinates

of the A1 Jazeera journalist

could be bombed. During the attack on Afghan-

this

bombed when

A1 Jazeera offices in Kabul were

reporting proved

awkward

to the

media spinners.

Bush’s practice session for his ‘war ultimatum’ speech was to Portuguese

American

TV

and

Italian

stations.

TV

audiences, but

it

was never shown on

as

at a safe

The media mouth firmly

a ‘statesman.’

spinmeisters prefer to have the president with his

and

shown

Perhaps the unflattering appearance didn’t

portray the monosyllabic president

shut,

their

distance from the media.

On

the eve of the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

250

impending war, they chose

from

to film the dear president

a

distance

on the White House lawn. The burden of worrying about the impending deaths and destruction required some

light distraction

by throwing some

his

balls for his dogs.

him, and they didn’t run

But wait, even he threw!

after the balls

dogs ignored

Maybe

it is

time

for a pet change.

The most important propaganda is

the reason to go to

the

war and

topic deserving

some

evolution over time.

its

warmongers uttered ‘regime change'

war. This was considered too crass, and

it

discussion

Months

earlier,

the

as a justification for

briefly

made way

for ‘Iraq

way

has links to terrorism,’ a very short-lived justification. This gave to

WMD.’ A

‘Rid Iraq of

UN

inspection team was set up, and

was clear from the beginning that

UN

didn’t lend

that

many Europeans sought

its

imprimatur

this

Once

the

and given the

fact

was meant

to justify the war,

it

to

fail.

continue the inspections regime,

to

Now, ‘Let’s liberate Iraq’ — ‘regime change’ — was concocted

then another justification was necessary. in

other words,

much

without

There

is

a

euphemism

for

reflection.

only one antidote against propaganda, and that

relevant sense of history and a strong collective

remember

the lessons from the past, and

happened even their

a

bloated

when

When we

when we remember what

tew days ago, then the job of the propagandists and

warmongering

ultimately

memory.

a

is

their

bosses

becomes much more

message

is

difficult.

It

is

challenged that war can be stopped;

armament budgets can be

pared; international law can be

upheld; and shallow mean-spirited politicians with blood-soaked

hands can be put on

Paul de Rooij

is

whole day glued mental health.

trial in

an international war crimes tribunal.

an economist living

to

He

theTV— is

this

in

London.

He

does not spend the

would have a detrimental

effect

grateful for all the snippets forwarded by

on anyone’s

many

folks.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

251

2003

April 2,

HATING WOLF

BLITZER'S

VOICE

by Bruce Jackson

I

have recently

hate

it,

but

now

TV

the only

Wolf

to hate

do. Before

I

performer’s voice

didn't hate

I

come

came

I

I

to hate

all

much how he was

saying

one of the few speechwriters

is

Wolf

Blitzer’s voice

the time.

speeches crafted for him by Karen Hughes

Hughes

didn’t used to

hated was George Bush's.

really

George Bush’s voice

saying, but not so

I

Blitzer’s voice.

I

it.

who

When

hated what he was

That’s because Karen

could get him to utter

words and phrases the way people normally utter them

- stopping little

where the

briefly

longer where

When

without Karen Hughes’s

he’s speaking

where

no reason

there’s

in English

or semicolon and

a

has a period.

it

script,

Bush

usually

with the caesurae coming

talks in four- or five-syllable bursts,

points

comma

text has a

he read

for a pause.

There

is

no

link

at

between

phrase and content, but he hits those dead stops and his eyes dart left

and right over

drives

me

phrases.

nuts, that dissonance

Watching and

the victim of some

everybody

is

still

has figured out

DJ give

smug born-again

that

a

disco

DJ

who

moving and then to

as if

there were.

Bush

is

being

like

when

keeps stopping the disk

starts

it

again before

go next. Neither Bush nor the

damn where you

are. It’s all in

anybody

mad

disco

terms of some inner beat

only they can hear, one that wouldn’t make sense to you even they told you about

It

between George Bush’s content and

listening to unscripted

mad

where

grin

if

it.

Wolf Blitzer’s voice

is

a lot like that,

only with him

it’s

the

punch

rather than the pause. Unlike Bush, Blitzer can utter an unscripted

and unrehearsed complex sentence.

He

can utter an unscripted and

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

252

unrehearsed paragraph. Wolf Blitzer

and

very intelligent, informed

a

man.

articulate

when

But,

is

on camera,

he’s

all

of

number of punches, no matter what

same elocution school but reversed the

same

every phrase.

stress in

would be

bars

would have

velocity, the If

I

were

a

It’s

like

irrele-

they went to the

polarity.

same

hysteria, the

musician scoring

perfectly regular, the

at least

Bush has

the substance.

vant silence; Blitzer has irrelevant punch.

Blitzer has the

have the same

his sentences

tempo

one fortissimo notation

same

triple

his voice, the

allegro or presto, in

and

I

every single measure.

Bam! bam! bam! bam! bam!

Wolf Blitzer like

like that in conversation. In

conversation he’s

you or me, with ordinary major and minor

stresses, inflected

and uninflected listened to

anyone

him

syllables,

a

and with phrases of varying duration.

few cellphone

take a

on

else’s

Bhtzer’s

not

is

cellphone.

on-camera

The

there too his voice

calls:

driving relentless voice

You’re

Wolf

That voice and velocity and

television voice.

maybe

thinking: ‘Well, Jackson, if you don’t like

voice you don’t have to turn on the TV.'

TV. Most of the time

ing

when go

my

at

I

I

Wolf

on the

have the experience of Wolf Bhtzer’s voice

desk elsewhere in the house. is

Blitzer’s

hardly ever turn

to the kitchen to get coffee or take a break

I

the kitchen. She

capable of sitting

at

My

from work-

wife likes to

work

on.

I

am

incapable of ignoring the images and voices.

into that kitchen

punch punch

in

any sense

at all

music; for

me

from the other part of the house

Wolf of

it's

Blitzer’s

his

like

voice before

words. For Diane,

I

I

I

a

I

hear the punch

get close

enough

suppose

it’s

pneumatic jack

TV

When come

somebody doing angry carpentry

apartment or someone working with

in

the kitchen table and reading

the newspapers, grading exams, or getting ready for class while the is

like

pattern belongs to his on-camera persona.

stress

only

is

is

I’ve

to

make

like elevator

in the next

down the block.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

I

became aware of

the newsreaders'

253

punching technique

movies. William Hurt’s character Tom Grunick to teach

to Albert Brooks’s neurotic

it

at

the

unsuccessfully

tries

Aaron Altman

James

in

L.

Brook’s Broadcast News (1987).

’And

try to

Grunick

punch one word or phrase

tells his

When

he’s

hapless friend.

on camera. Wolf

every sentence,’

in

‘Punch one idea Blitzer

is

matters not one iota what the story

Punch!’

a story.

punching

all

the time.

It

Sometimes the subject

is.

deserves punching: major awful things are indeed happening out there, halfway

around the world, where the holy war, the

jihad of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, just as often the subject could have aside.

It

Wolf

matters not:

the same

number of words,

is

being executed. But

been dealt with

Blitzer will

the same

fill

terrible

in

an uninflected

the time segment with

number of punches,

the same

passionate intensity.

A humvee went

off the road? a

one aboard? bombs destroyed for food?

a

Huey went down

market where

Rumsfeld and the generals

food and water are being offloaded

something to

say?

It’s

all

at

punched

civilians

say the

war

killing every-

were shopping is

going well?

an Iraqi port? the Brits have exactly the same,

it’s

all

of

equivalent value.

Cut

for a

few minutes

to the

commercials

(a

huge portion of

which seem

to be for garden or pharmaceutical products) or to the

guy back

CNN stateside HQ with a tabletop mockup of the war

in

zone, a pointer, and

Donald Rumsfeld imitation (‘You ask

a

at a

general

as his foil

press conference

me THAT?

or respondent, or cut to

doing

I’m shocked!

his

Claude Rains

SHOCKED!'), and

then cut back to Wolf Blitzer with those slightly-out-of-focus

Kuwait City minarets over never cut away.

bam!

No

his

shoulder and

it’s

as if

the camera had

matter what the subject: bam! bam! bam! bam!

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

254

While

punches away, headlines of disasters on the

Blitzer’s voice

and elsewhere crawl telegraphically across the bottom of

battlefield

CNN

the screen, along with the single constant in the

‘CNN

the phrase

the most trusted

name

there in the telegraphic crawl, as if

it

in news.'

It

universe,

down

appears

were the same order ot

tact

and deserved the same kind of belief as the number of dead reported just before

and the number of bomber

reported just

after.

And when

there

is

no new news

‘CNN Web

asks the

sorties

for a

flown against Baghdad

minute or so? Then

Blitzer

question of the day,’ which on Sunday was

‘What’s the biggest threat to Coalition forces in Iraq? Friendly

Weapons of mass write

down and

destruction?’ forgot. In

question subject to

one of

whom

a

There was

what world of sane journalism

vote by

members

didn’t

I

is

such

a

ot a television audience every

ignorant of every fact

is

a third alternative

fire?

at play?

Why

would

‘the

most trusted name

in

processing

computers, making charts and graphs of the

results?

in

it

Why

would

we

‘the

most trusted name in news' give currency

notion that people ot good will can vote on facts?

to the idiotic

Betore

its

news’ waste time pooling such ignorance,

got any answers, there was another cut to commercials

tor pharmaceuticals or

garden products,

after

which

Blitzer read

questions and emails from the audience with exactly the same stresses,

same

velocity,

same implication of significance he

battlefield casualties

earlier reported

and statements by presidents of nations and

leaders of armies.

There

is

no

difference,

no discrimination.

CNN

is

a

world of

equal-opportunity information. Facts and pooled ignorance, offthe-wall opinion,

Anyone who what

is

all

are equal in the carnival

of 24/7 reporting.

has ever taken high-school physics can recognize

going on.

It’s all

whatever container

it

about

gas.

A

gas will always

occupies. Put the same

expand

amount of

to

fill

gas in a

WAR

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

little

container and

only difference

no

big container and the gas will

a

The

gas couldn’t care

structural identity of

its

The

less. It

no shape, no form,

filled.

or four-minute

in his three-

has

own. The only shape comes from the

container, the space available to be

Jim Lehrer,

either.

fill

the distance between gas molecules and pressure

is

in the container.

255

summary

the top of

at

Newshour, provides just about everything you might have learned in a full

CNN

day watching

or any of its

minutes spent reading the day’s give you

a

briefs

competent

less

on the Guardian

A

clones. '

s

few

website will

wider range of far more accurate information and

much

a

wider range of informed opinion.

When

I

was carrying on about

where the

kitchen,

something, Diane

TV

said:

You're thinking the

entertainment. I

got

war

It’s

while ago

‘You don’t get

isn’t

news;

and

as

computer game, only

she’s right.

it.

For you, TV

is

CNN,

This

is

it’s

war it’s

entertainment. Get as

entertainment,

more

as titillation.

you don’t

passive because

as

good

another.

as

space between commercials.

One

fact

as is

things

exactly

another, one bit of videotape exactly as important

CNN

is

a

medium

in

which there

noise and information. All that matters

is

it’s

it?’

even get to fondle the joystick. Facts don’t matter except fill

the

information.

generation. For Blitzer and

it,

with which to

in

was on and Wolf Blitzer was talking about

wrong

CNN

this a little

as

no difference between is

that

ever-changing

eye-candy appears on the screen, voices you cannot ignore are heard, and you’re awake for the lawn product and pharmaceutical

commercials. I

hate

Wolf

Blitzer’s voice

not because of what he’s saying, but

because everything he’s saying exactly the

same

is

exactly the same, everything has

value. All those things are not exactly the

and they do not have exactly the same value. Some

some

are

unspeakably horrible, none

is

simple

same

are awful,

- and not one of the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

256

terrible facts in dispute will

be resolved or even clarified by

vote

a

of the well-meaning ignorant.

Bruce Jackson

SUNY

is

P Capen

Distinguished Professor and Samuel

Professor of American Culture at University at Buffalo.

He

Buffalo

edits

Report.

April 3,

2003

BAGHDAD: FAREWELL TO A CITY UNDER SIEGE by Jo Wilding

1

started crying this

convoy

morning.

and

for Jordan

Many’s the evening

said

I

1

thought

goodbye

1

was leaving

a bit,

out

at

spent setting the world to rights over tea

I’ve

leaning against

jets

when

got worse

‘Ma’assalama,’

who I

I

said

on the roof with Ahmed, looking

goodbye

young

to the

share their tea with us and

said,

and added,

couldn’t bear the thought of

as a reflex,

tell

‘Good

them having

soldiers

And

luck.’

then

to face those over-

body armour, with nothing but an aging

to protect

on the

jokes in mime.

whelmingly powerful tanks and guns and ammunition pierce

week

of flame.

street outside,

I

post

a

or, in the last

the city lights, or sometimes the lack of them, and the flashes

and the It

in a

to the staff in the Andalus.

and cake round the desk on the ground floor and

am

8

at

rifle

and

a

that can

hard hat

them.

Then when

all

the bags were in the car, there was a

the rest of the convoy

and leaving was the

left

last

without us and

I

thing in the world

mix-up and

wasn’t leaving after I

wanted

all,

to do, but by

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

my

then

had

257

defences had lapsed and the crater of sorrow inside

filled to

mother

WAR

the top and

overflowed with the tears of Akael’s

it

for her boy, writhing in pain, with metal in his head,

Nahda’s husband for

farmhouse, and

new

his

me and

wife, crushed in the rubble of the

the unbelievable, intolerable, uncontainable

all

sadness in this place.

Missing the convoy meant because he arrived here

at

I

got to say goodbye to Zaid,

the Service Centre just after

at least,

did.

I

He

looks tired — he said he hasn't been sleeping, because there’s nothing to

do

all

day:

no work, no money, nowhere open

the kids to play with because they’re staying

to

go

not even

to,

somewhere

else.

There’s been no chance today to go and catch up with the people

we met Akael’s

yesterday in the hospital and find out

mother rebounds around

wound be shallow. The bombing is stereo with All

is

no

a

my

how

they’re doing.

thoughts. Please

constant background noise today,

head

let his

a

rhythm

in

visible source.

playing

a

game on

the

computer involving tanks

firing

missiles at things in a city. Wasn’t that a bit too close for comfort, I

asked, or was

in the

The

it

simulator practice in case he needed those

coming weeks? He thought kids in the Fanar Hotel

basically a

that

skills

was funny.

were playing Risk the other day -

war board game, where

players invade each

other’s

countries and try to take over the entire world with small plastic pieces. It

War

will

is

deeply strange.

probably be

to read this, but I’ve

a

while before any of my friends

when you

met you and had time

friendship, for glasses

do, this to

is

what

I

wanted

to

in Iraq are able say.

I’m so glad

hang out with you. Thank you

for

your

of tea and numi basra and coffees and nargilehs

and songs and chat and gossip and tours of the

city

and evenings by

the river and rollercoaster rides and shared secrets and everything.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

258

I

hope you make

through

safely

it

war and

this

US/UK

your freedom, from the bullying ot the

government;

I

hope you

are allowed

I

hope you

find

and the

Iraqi

your peace. Your courage, your

your kindness and humor inspire me. Ma’assalama.

dignity,

Jo Wilding

is

a British peace activist from Bristol.

2003

April 5,

WAR MEANS

(ALMOST) NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY by Joanne Mariner

It

may

reflect a purely

perhaps

a

more

calculated apprehension of what

dubbed the ‘Al-Jazeera and suffering in Iraq world.

humanitarian concern for

Whether

effect’



civilian

life,

or

commentators have

the fact that images of civilian death

will further inflame

an already angry Muslim

for altruistic or strategic reasons, or a

combination

of both, President George W. Bush has repeatedly promised that

US

military forces will take

number all

all

necessary steps to minimize the

ot civilian casualties in the Iraq war.

‘I

want Americans and

the world to know,’ Bush declared in a radio address

that

US

civilians

and

allied forces ‘will

effort to spare

innocent

from harm.’

But President Bush and edged

make every

on Saturday,

his

top military brass have also acknowl-

that civilian deaths are inevitable.

heavy bombardment, careful reliance

is

a city

Baghdad, currently under

of some 5 million people. Even with

on precision-guided weapons, any mistakes made

during the ongoing ‘shock and awe’ bombing campaign could be

lethal.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR Questioned about possible start of hostilities in Iraq,

civilian deaths

259

not long before the

White House spokesman Ari

Fleischer

explained that they are an inevitable consequence of war. But, he affirmed, ‘The President will regret any action that

does lead to

loss

of innocent

Fleischer's note is

a telling

taken that

life.’

of sympathetic regret

armed

conflict.

is

worth examining,

US

and accurate indicator of the

to civilian deaths during

is

for

it

government’s approach

Unquestionably, the govern-

ment would

prefer to

wartime.

has even instituted certain preventive measures to help

achieve

ment

It

this

end. But

minimize the number of civilians

when

them

in

fudging by past practice, the families of should not expect

during

do occur, the govern-

civilian casualties

rarely accepts responsibility for

killed

any meaningful way.

civilians killed in Iraq

or compensation, or justice.

official apologies,

Nor

US government will expend significant effort investigating why and how their relatives died, or conducting a systematic assessment of how to prevent such deaths in the future. should they imagine that the

THE US RECORD

ON

Official apologies can

extended

OFFICIAL APOLOGIES be understood

damage caused and,

perpetrator.

But the

this first step.

the

first

step

on

a

more

of assuming responsibility for American errors or

scale

wrongs. Beyond apologies the

as

US

lies

in

the possibility of compensation for

some

instances, sanctioning

government

is

of the

rarely willing to take

even

Indeed, in past incidents involving civilian deaths,

even extremely high numbers of deaths, the government has been notably unapologetic.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the most example. More than fifty years later, peace activists persist so far

unheeded

has the

calls for

an

official

glaring in their

apology and compensation. Nor

government ever apologized

for

any of the atrocities

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

260

committed by in

US forces in

Vietnam, including the

which hundreds of innocent |ust

before he

left office,

regret about a massacre village

No Gun

of

were hiding under

number.

‘I

Gun Rif

civilians

were

killed.

President William J. Clinton did express

committed during the Korean War

Ri, in which

US

troops fired

on

a railroad bridge, killing a large

deeply regret that Korean civilians

Clinton

My Lai massacre,

at

civilians

but

the

who

unknown

lost their lives at

No

said.

But the wording of Clinton’s statement was

telling.

Expressions

of regret, in international currency, are not entirely equivalent to

While they indicate sorrow

apologies.

that an incident occurred,

they lack the acceptance of responsibility implicit in

a full

apology.

Unsurprisingly, South Korean groups have continued to press the

US government for No Gun Ri

to

assume responsibility and provide compensation

and other wartime incidents.

Besides the precise wording of an apology, the form in is

made

is

also

viewed

it

meaningful. Formal written apologies,

as

preferably hand-delivered by

carry

which

much more weight

a

personal envoy of the head of state,

than informal, verbal expressions ot

repentance. Squabbles over such differences, in addition to intense attention to wording, have been

much

in

evidence during the

acrimonious debate over Japanese apologies for crimes committed against Koreans

SOME

and Chinese during World War Two.

CIVILIANS

Were one

to

COUNT MORE THAN OTHERS

judge by recent experience, one might conclude

besides American deaths, the

deaths

as truly significant.

By

US government only registers Chinese a clear

openly apologetic response to accidental

occurred

bombing

in

ot the

May 1999

that,

margin, the government’s most

civilian

casualties

Chinese embassy

was with the

in Belgrade,

which

during the US-led war on Yugoslavia.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

The embassy bombing, killed,

drew

incidents.

in

261

which three Chinese

civilians

more deadly

greater official attention than other far

Although

a total

of about 500

were

civilians

were

killed

during

the conflict in Yugoslavia

- indeed, 73 Kosovar Albanians died

single incident in April

1999 — none of these deaths merited

in a a

reaction remotely comparable to that of the embassy bombing.

President Clinton personally apologized for the embassy

ing just days after

happened, and

it

was unequivocal:

‘I

leaders of China,

I

want

this time, for

to say to the

once, his wording

Chinese people and to the

Members of Congress,

apologize.'

bomb-

too,

imme-

diately introduced a concurrent resolution expressing Congress’s

and apologies’ for the bombing, and extending

‘regret

its

‘deepest

sympathies and condolences to the Chinese Government, citizens,

and families of the bombing’s

A US

spy plane’s collision with

not happen during military

example of

China a

victims.’

US

a

Chinese plane, although provides

hostilities,

when good

willingness to apologize

are at risk. In April 2001, after a

Chinese fighter plane, resulting

ambassador to China delivered

a

in

US

more

a

it

did

recent

relations with

aircraft collided

with

the pilot’s death, the

US

personal letter of apology to the

Chinese authorities. ‘Both President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have expressed their sincere regret over said. ‘Please

Wang Wei

convey

that

we

your missing

to the

pilot

and

aircraft,’

the letter

Chinese people and to the family of pilot

are very sorry for their loss

.

.

.

We

are very sorry

the entering of China’s airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance.’

No

Chinese were

killed

during the US-led war

but plenty of Afghans were. According to

Global Exchange, an international

Afghan

civilians

were

killed

human

a

in

Afghanistan,

survey carried out by

rights group, at least

824

during the US-led bombing campaign

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

262

between October

2001, and the end of January 2002. (The

7,

researchers emphasized that their survey

-

it

far

is

from comprehensive

covered only ten of Afghanistan’s thirty-two provinces - and

that the actual

number of

deaths

single incidents

of the war,

in fact,

ended, and

after the study

were winding down. including

a

On July

number of

wedding party

1,

One

higher.)

may have occurred

valley, a

were

mid-2002,

in

military operations in the country

approximately forty-eight

children,

were

an

killed in

come

Afghanistan

killed in

American bombing

civilians,

air assault

Most

to an end.

February 2003, Afghan authorities reported that civilians

ot the bloodiest

Nor

southern province of Kakarak.

in the

civilian deaths in

US

as

is

on

a

have

recently, in

at least

seventeen

Baghran

raids in the

remote area of southern Afghanistan.

None of

these incidents resulted in

presidential apology,

a full

although President Bush did say that he called Afghan President

Hamid

Karzai on the telephone after the mistaken attack in July.

His statement oi remorse, bland. ‘Any time innocent

if

you can

lite is lost,’

call

Bush

told Karzai, ‘we’re sad.'

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s equally feeble. life,

While

stating that

States

stab at apologizing

he regretted the

he added that ‘bad things happen

United

was studiously

that,

it

in

had ‘no regrets about going

combat after

loss

was

of civilian

zones,'

and the

bad guys.'

COMPENSATION AND PROSECUTION With apologies

tor the killing

of civilians being scarce,

unsurprising that compensation for such killings the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators

The 1999 Chinese embassy bombing, resulted in substantial

building and tor the sation has

US

been extremely

But other than

rare.

is

even scarcer, and

scarcer

still.

always the exception,

compensation both

loss ot life.

is

is

it

for the

damage

this incident,

to the

compen-

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

While

is

it

members

CIA

believed that the

263

gave $1,000 cash to family

of Afghans killed in a mistaken attack that took place in

January 2002, the war’s other mistaken

went uncom-

killings

pensated. Global Exchange, the organization that conducted the

study of Afghan civilian deaths, has been pressing the

ment

compensate Afghans

to

but so

far

its

in the

US

govern-

amount of $10,000 per

family,

appeal has been unsuccessful.

Even the most negligent

killings

almost never lead to the successful

criminal prosecution of responsible

members of the

of incidents that resulted

numbers of

in large

military.

A review

civilian deaths

When

that charges rarely reach the court-martial stage.

shows

they do,

moreover, the defendants are nearly always acquitted.

While

civilian casualties

may be

an inescapable fact of war,

it

is

apparently not one that the Pentagon has any real interest in

examining. As former deputy

assistant secretary

of defense Sarah

New

Sewall pointed out in an op-ed recently published in the

Department of Defense has never undertaken

York Times, the

systematic evaluation of

its

a

record in preventing civilian casualties.

Indeed, the military does not even officially tabulate the numbers

of

civilians killed in

This studied concern.

damage

And

it

each war.

ignorance belies

official

official

expressions of

the government’s failure to take responsibility for the

wreaks on

civilian lives

the words of an Afghan

American bombs. As he

is

equally disappointing. Consider

man who

much of

his

family to

told the Los Angeles Times

last

year:

lost

k

We

thought the Americans were good people. But they just drop their

bombs and

leave.

They

don’t explain.

They

don’t apologize.

They

An

earlier

don’t even offer to pay for what they did.’

Joanne Mariner

is

a

human

rights

version of this article appeared in

lawyer based in

Find Law’s Writ.

New

York.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

264

April 7,

2003

EGO, CRUELTY

AND

LIES

by Diane Christian

CNN

ran an elegiac piece on April 5th called ‘The

Baghdad.’ Among other stories

it

included one ol

crowd

town surrounded by

diers

watched uneasily and uncomprehendingly

and

called out at

them. The voiceover

ted by a religious leader, but the

vented anger or anguish to kneel

down and

to turn their

and calmed everyone.

The

line

from

at their

It

took

Isaiah that

said the soldiers

presence.

The

The

sol-

people gestured

had been invi-

crowd hadn’t known

and

just

soldiers' response

was

this

weapons upside down. This quelled

my

we

as

to

soldiers in an

yelling angrily at them.

Iraqi

a

US

Road

breath away and

made me

cry.

can beat our swords into plowshares

and our spears into pruning hooks

is

inscribed on the wall ot the

United Nations. The text goes on to predict that man can come to not learn war any more.

Can war make peace’ suggests?

or rationalizing.

I

peace,

as

Saint Augustine’s ‘the purpose of

presume the

How

could

fucking for virginity — protesters chanted?

Is

saint isn’t cynical

it

and

war

is

just spinning

be that fighting for peace

isn’t like

wrong tactic, as the Vietnam required method to destroy a war-

the

i.e.

war the

Or is war the required pain that precedes the relief which comes when you stop banging your head against the wall? Or is it a mystery which can invoke its opposite - soldiers kneeling down maker?

and lowering

their

weapons? Christ and Gandhi and King preached

peace and got assassinated I

search the

for bits

dangerous people. Everybody

dies.

of worry and self-consciousness — loving

who fears his wife will think of him as a killer, applauding officer who told the Marine to take down the American flag

the soldier the

news

as

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

as

we're not in Iraq to conquer but to liberate. In our wars pictures

show

soldiers fighting, suffering

sharing child. is

265

a

smoke with

What you

wounded enemy

a

have to buy in



the necessary tool

and handing out candy to

a

or carrying

war scenario

like surgery. In this

is

We

are destroying a

wounded

a

that destruction

war we boast

even more surgical and precise in our targeting than Gull War.

kids, or

were

that

in the 1991

regime of bad people, not the good

people they oppress.

We

see fireworks

we

coverage but

of destruction.

more than rubble and body

much human damage

don’t see

‘Iraqi

Freedom’ may seem

less

We

parts.

or the dark side

sanitized than the wars

where no photo of wounded or dead was permitted, but even more sanitized because

warn

war

us that

‘off-scene’

- which

war

is

the

is

we

cruel, that

really

it is

show more. The

generals

regret

are anxious to protect us

all

from

dramatists too insisted violence occur

literal

meaning of ‘obscene.’ Ted Koppel

Jack Nicholson movie general

stand to see

show

isn't pretty, that

The Greek

the real scene.

a

claims to

But they and the networks

casualties.

quoted

it

24/7

see

who

sneered ‘You can’t

and Ted opined we could and promised he would

it'

us.

Nobody

admits to feasting on the drama

and guts and

thrill

political leaders

perform

humanity, national

Baghdad

Human

is

rituals

piety.

to loving the

Our media

blood

priests

and

pretending objectivity, detachment,

That beautiful

moment on

the road to

not war but peace, packaged into the story of war.

history

approaches

of vicarious danger.



it.

is

a

TV

tragedy of ego and cruelty and

news

is

a

soap - neither the

real

lies.

Only

thing nor

art art,

just entertainment.

Diane Christian at Buffalo.

is

SUNY

Distinguished Teaching Professor at University

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

266

April 8,

2003

SAVING PRIVATE LYNCH:

HOLLYWOOD AND WAR by

I

Doug Lummis

have been hearing

the Heroic well.

Rescue of Jessica Lynch.

But the reports

First,

only have radio, no

(I

raise

doubts

Bless her soul,

I

hope she

gets

various levels.

they say her arms and legs were broken. Hard to think ol

an accident that would do

GIs where she was.

If

wounded, and

all

What seems

they had been killed in the battle, the Iraqis

is

result

they were

and Jessica’s broken limbs,

of the Heroic Rescue. in a rescue

the captors see that rescue

attempt

coming, they

is

than have them taken away. If

when

Maybe

to the hospital.

that those deaths,

one of the dangers

died just

there were eight or nine dead

died of their wounds, but that sounds unlikely.

likely

were the indirect

And

that.

all

would not have dragged them

that

at

TV) over and over about

It’s

like that

kill

it

that

when

turns out that the eight or nine

it

was the rescue that

Second, to what extent was

is

sense

the prisoners rather

the rescue was taking place, that

strong evidence that

common

this

killed

would be

pretty

them.

Heroic Rescue designed

as a

media event?

Nothing new assault

in that:

on Mount Suribachi

just the flag-raising, but the

Corps media event. was

also a

been pretty well proven

has

it

at

I

wo

whole

If it turns

Jima

assault)

in

World War Two (not

was largely

a

legs will

be something that the

be hard put to explain (not that

and breaking).

US Marine

out to be true that the Heroic Rescue

media event, then the eight or nine dead and

broken arms and

that the

I

absolve

US

Ms

Lynch’s

planners will

whoever did the

killing

WAR

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

Which Vietnam told

went

leads to point three.

vet

who

turned

One

pacifist

heroes, Allen Nelson, a

and comes

me

me: ‘You know what surprised into

my

of

267

Okinawa

to

the most the

a lot, first

once

time

I

combat? [long pause] There was no music.’ For us

moviegoers and

TV

by music.

the music that gives

It’s

viewers, war

is

something its

it

battlefield,

no music. But now on Fox and

radio, the

music has been restored.

I

all

is

accompanied

dignity.

But on the

that

the crap

get musical

I

get

on the

background

to

Bush's speeches, music between battle descriptions, music backing

up Central

The

Command

briefings. This

advocates of the

Roman Empire

New

is

a

movie.

American Century

talk

about the

we don’t do the Circus: battles to the death as entertainment. But now listened to (and guess people with TVs it has begun. Today watched) a live battle in which people were killed. You could see as a

model, but

I

had been thinking,

I

I

dead and dying bodies on live (live-to-dead?)

at least

real time.

entertainment

With music. After experiencing like this,

can

we hope

that the

viewers will be willing to go back to ordinary sitcoms?

Douglas Lummis

is

a political scientist living in

Radical Democracy. Later It

on,

Lummis

’s

Okinawa and

instincts

were entirely confirmed.

turned out that the whole ‘rescue’ had been contrived as

was not guarded; the hospital the

US

troops in the

staff had tried to return

unguarded hospital was

the author of

violent.

US PR: the hospital

Lynch; the behavior of

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

268

2003

April 9,

NEW YORK TIMES AND

THE

THE PEACE

MOVEMENT by Susan Davis

We

remember that the antiwar movement has done something, and become something, remarkable. It’s an international movement that has made it impossible for many otherwise supportive It

need

to

governments

to join the coalition of the ‘bribed

much of

brought

the world to a halt

and the

bullied.’

on the day the bombing

began, in huge demonstrations, strikes, school walkouts and disobedience.

It’s

also

civil

time to recognize that the Bush admini-

and isolating the

stration has a great deal at stake in containing

domestic influence of the antiwar movement.

So

take a look at

let’s

There

was, on Saturday

it

page of section B.

Wild-Eyed is

It

was

one particular

March

titled

to Civil,’ by Kate

not the worst

article,

29,

New

York Times article.

below the

‘Antiwar

first

Movement Morphs from

Zernike and Dean

not the best

on the

fold

article,

but

it

E.

was

Murphy. This a

major piece

of reporting, and one of the few by the mainstream media, which in general has frozen the

until recently.

A

are five

movement out of serious coverage

major points.

piece of conventional wisdom: the antiwar

first

failed,

Here

antiwar

because

it

failed to stop the war.

Second point: the antiwar movement lized, at

than

its

earliest, after

September

1

1,

is

mobi-

relatively recent,

2001 Therefore .

it is

wider

deep.

it is

Third

pillar of

wisdom: antiwar movements

ments — and limited to protest Protest

movement

is

an entitlement in

a

are protest

move-

only, in the politest formulations.

democracy,

as

long

as

it

doesn't

,

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

269

threaten to change anything.

Fourth wisdom, encapsulated in the headline: the antiwar move-

ment was wild-eyed,



has been mainstreamed

manners has been contained, because

a sensible

a threat to

antiwar

good

movement

will try not to offend anyone. In order to appeal to the majority,

you must not offend anyone. Fifth

wisdom: the antiwar movement

is

now

being run from the

down (big sigh of relief), once again by responsible people. It’s made up of mostly white peaceniks, guided by large organizations top

with public relations consultants, and with other so-called labor,

and

Now,

I

failure.

civil rights

think

We

it’s

it

only connects tangentially

groups.

a great

movement

error to consider the

have done something remarkable.

international

organized

‘interest groups’ like the religious,

movement

that has

made

it

much

have been for the Bush administration to act

We

thus far a

have built an

harder than

militarily.

might

it

We

built a

movement before the local and national media took very much notice at all. And this was in spite of insistent mass media celebration - on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, to name only television - that for fully six months made war seem inevitable. It is true that prewar, antiwar

the attack on Iraq had been planned long before September

but

it

was never

inevitable. Popular pressure

delayed the attack, forced more and

1

1

,

2001

from below delayed and

more spin-doctoring and

manufactured evidence, and brow-beating and arm-twisting. As result,

the shifting and specious arguments for the war

and more implausible, and the war’s

more naked. The

real, if

a

became more

mixed, rationale became

international antiwar resistance and mobilizations

gave voice to skepticism and sentiment that already existed, and they fanned those sentiments. held back, and

may

still

The

hold back,

resistance a

may

very well have

further push into Iran.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

270

The

lack

of cooperation from Turkey

resignations of

Labour

MPs

George W. Bush

all

There

was are

a very,

in the world,

very bad idea,

many more

examples,

of them unprecedented, and largely unrecognized by the

voices that

we

have almost always to listen

Second: that the antiwar at

listen.

in Great Britain.

Muslim country

largest

that this adventure

and George W. Bush had to

an example. So are the

and cabinet ministers

The premier of Indonesia, the told

is

most two.

activists

It

to think

in terms of future ins,

panels

1

and

But last

in the last year, or

September

11,

2001, peace

and citizens began to meet to discuss what might happen,

and then

1,

to.

movement emerged

true that following

is

official

through what

US

policies,

at universities,

vigils as well.

there’s

been

a

a

war

in

Afghanistan might

mean

and the prospects lor peace. Teach-

began immediately following September

These were reinvigorated

in the last year.

long continuity of activism to draw on

in the

decade, again largely under the radar of the mainstream media.

The networks of independent media and Internet activism that the antiwar movement draws on grew out of the anti-globalization movements that became visible in Seattle. But they also drew on the

knowledge and activism of the Anti-Nafta campaigns of the

early 1990s, the

movement

tor redress for the veterans

Gulf War, the American victims of which may number

of the as

first

many

as

100,000 sick men, the anti-sweatshop movement, the living wage

movement. These movements — and argue about their

size

future historians will have to

and connections — have educated

of young people about the United

States' political

a

generation

and economic

The last time this happened was with the Central American solidarity movement in the 1980s. And then there are the efforts of pacifists like Voices in the Wilderness — which relationship to the world.

have been part of years.

It’s

a

movement

notable in the

protesting the sanctions

New York

on

Iraq for

Times recent coverage of peace

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

name of

demonstrations that the

be mentioned.

A

continuous.

It’s

Voices in the Wilderness cannot

because their

radicalism

pacifist

base was there to draw on, and

it

deeply moral positions, rather than strategic or

Third point — and

wisdom would

my most

really

like the

disagreement, safely cordoned dissent

visible

as

movement

that

is

One

is.

off. It’s

How has

done

- but without

all

to be just protest, just as

important

of the big successes of the antiwar

this?

effort to

from the

make

in the

official sources, in

war seem

the



inevitable.

Certainly the Internet has been important

the networks laid

so powerfully informational to put

down,

there

would be nothing

on the Internet except

for the

The Internet has absolutely been key, but so have hundreds, maybe thousands of small groups meeting around the

same old the

tactical positions.

has been able to influence the media

it

enormous

it

deep and

usually spoke from

not just protest,

face of unrelenting propaganda blitzes

the face of an

is

important. Conventional

movement

antiwar

271

stories.

country to

about the war and

talk

the United States. Talking about

it,

its

meaning

sharing information about

press. In that

But

also

which

different perspective than the

of the

local

paper to cover them real local

ing demonstrations position news.

the media.



They

conglomerate chain media - forcing the at

the

same time

embodied

that they are

media — organizing and

working

faithfully attend-

made the antiwar make the connections

these local activists have also

worked hard

between the war and terrorism

apparatus

US

by writing position papers, flyering, cracking open the

hard to produce

clear

much

way antiwar groups have been

editorial pages local

gives a

it,

news from the

digesting the news, and especially digesting the foreign press

of

for the future

in the

USA

at

to

home, with

Patriot Act,

and the

its

repressive

assault

on

Iraq.

Taking up the space both physical, with demonstrations, and informational, with letter writing and editorial writing, the antiwar

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

272

movement American

The

has

fact that all

movement

for re-democratization ot

a

over the country and here in Urbana we’ve been

corporate-sponsored pro-war campaign, orches-

by radio station chains

Coca-Cola, means This

a

society.

responded to by trated

become

we

that

like clear

channel and sponsored by

really forced ourselves into the picture.

serious business.

is

More wisdom from become mainstream.

let’s

make

the

York Times:

movement

has broken with International

It

sectarian original organizers

organizers,

New

the

(who were not

has

Answer and

its

the movement’s original

the distinction, but were organizers of mass

The problem according of Win Without War - was

- and

demonstrations).

to the Times

the leaders

that the antiwar

certainly

movement

connected the impending attack on Iraq with supposedly unrelated domestic

issues like the

death penalty, the case of

and racism, and other international in

Palestine.

crises,

such

In other words, the smaller,

as

Mumia Abu Jamal the war under

more

radical

way

and

less

generously funded antiwar groups insisted on connecting state violence,

government authoritarianism and the

Palestinians, racism at

home and

But more importantly, the

abroad, with the assault

rest

Israel,

such

on

as a racist

connections to the United

as

Iraq.

issues as

war, they continuStates'

support for

they see the connection between barbaric practices

This

at

home,

the death penalty, and barbaric histories abroad. is

what the pro-war party means when

movement war

its

war on the

of the world sees these

connected — they see the war on Iraq ously point out

Israeli

is

‘anti- American':

in light ot the

it

means

it is

it

says that the

peace

willing to consider the

broader picture of American relations abroad,

many of which

have been moral outrages.

in the so-called

mainstream that the heart of the antiwar

It is

many movement

infuriating to

recognizes Arab rage over the nuclear arming of Israel and

US

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR support for

policies

its

toward Palestine.

the so-called political mainstream that

edge and want to speak about the

among words

273

think

I

American

Israeli

it is

infuriating to

pacifists

acknowl-

peace movement, and

fears

the Israeli people aroused by this war. In the past, these were that could not be spoken,

and thoughts

thought. But should not the antiwar

movement

that could not be

in the

United

continue to make these connections? Undoubtedly, given

and the work

has already done,

it

it

will

States

origins

its

make them, and perhaps

pay the cost of being ‘mainstream.’

Or bit

moved just a little bit, just antiwar movement has moved it. It

perhaps the mainstream has

— and perhaps

the

possible that mobilization against this particular latest

cracks in the

American consciousness of foreign

hard work, but

some of

the antiwar activists

I

war

policy.

know

is

a little is

just

causing

very

It’s

have simply

refused to be intimidated by charges of anti-Semitism. That simple refusal, so hard, so painful,

Fifth point: that

down by



so important.

big sigh of relief —

responsible people.

relations techniques to

on the country’s

They

it’s

Sierra

so offensive.

being run from the top

are using corporate-style public

become

values.’

routine.

Groups

It is

Club was trying

New York

no longer seen

as

an

Club now

find

that’s a relief. Just a

few

like the Sierra

they can take an antiwar position. Well,

months ago the

And

keep everybody on message. The

Times writes: ‘protest has assault

is

to expel local chapters for

taking public antiwar positions. But this can happen because of the

formulation linking antiwar sentiment to patriotism. Responsible

people support the troops — they the troops. Peace

is

patriotic. Carl

While the patriotism of really got as

groups

wheeled out like

may be Pope

pacifists has

in the big

Win Without

is

antiwar but they support patriotic.

always been an argument,

it

demonstrations after Christmas, and

War, and MoveOn.org, which the

New

York Times especially approves of, stepped to the forefront to help

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

274

national demonstrations of January and

enormous

organize the

February and March. These were very useful and very threatening

Win Without

demonstrations. But in

MoveOn.org

arguably

Voices in the Wilderness have

like

undermine the

sanctions were

today

at

is

becoming

MoveOn.org’s

call

managing what

There should be some There should be some violation of the

limits

limits,

problem.

for years to

which

as Jeff

politically unacceptable. If you

for letters

will be

a

another word for sanctions

really just

management of postwar Iraq there isn't made — the argument is simply back to nations

worked

acceptability of so-called containment,

Gunsel of Voices points out

— but

think

I

approach, the United States’ policy towards

war was fundamentally acceptable. That’s

Iraq before the

Groups

’s

War’s formulations, and

look

the editor about the

to

a single critical

the status

connection

quo of European

Middle Eastern occupied

territory.

on how responsible we want

to be.

given the scale of mass death, the

Nuremberg and Geneva conventions by our own •

country, the scale of impoverishment of an already brutalized country

- some

limits

patriotic’

on how

we want to be about this. If ‘peace is troops’ mean we will back off from these

polite

and ‘support the

questions of illegality and atrocity

-

illegality

and

atrocities that are

transparent to hundreds ot millions of people around the world

then

I

For

strongly argue that alter

all,

it

we

to have

support the troops, do

young men and women orders' as they

we continue

to have to say they

move from one

theater of

war



bad manners.

we

really

were to

want our

just following

what

I

am

pretty

certain will be the next?

Susan Davis is

teaches at the University of Illinois,

the author of Spectacular

Nature.

Urh ana- Champaign. She

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR April 19,

275

2003

PATRIOT GORE: THE FATAL FLAWS IN THE PATRIOT MISSILE SYSTEM by Jeffrey

St.

Clair

Once

Who

the rockets are up

cares where they

That's not

come down?

my department

Says Wernher von Braun.

('Wernher von Braun' by Tom Lehrer)

This time around Patriot missile

it

was going

was going to

installment of the Gulf

first

out against Iraqi Scuds, the

live

different.

up to

all

War when

softballs

This time around the

the hype, unlike in the

the missiles nearly struck

of the

ballistic missile

world.

riding on the Patriot missile system’s success.

just the safety

of American and British troops and journalists

or Kuwaitis and

Scud

Israelis,

who

missiles (assuming the

improved Patriot

missile also

of the Bush administration’s

feared they might be targets of Iraqi

regime had any

left).

The new and

was going to demonstrate the efficacy

mad

rush to deploy a revamped Ballistic

Missile Defense System, the Star in

be

a lot

There was

Not

to

Wars of Reagan’s

fantasy. Billions

defense contracts were riding on the backs of those missile

batteries.

As

in the first

Gulf War, the

initial

were breathlessly glowing. As missile

embedded

reporters ritually

donned

reports on the sirens

went off

in

Patriots

Kuwait,

their chemical gas masks,

descended into bunkers, then emerged minutes that they’d

new

been saved by the mighty Patriot

later to

missile.

announce

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

276

The mobile

US Army

Scuds headed toward

Iraqi

Later,

knocked down

missile batteries supposedly

several

Kuwait

positions and

City.

turned out that the missiles weren’t Scuds and they

it

down

have been brought

Kuwait desert under

in the

momentum, not by US missiles. Then came the really bad news. On March battery near the

Force Tornado

Four Patriot

Kuwait border locked onto

G-4

jet that

missiles

were

24, a Patriot missile

and one

plane and killing two British pilots.

days

another Patriot missile battery locked onto

a

the radar for

later,

US

US Navy F/A-18 Hornet

The pilot it. Then on

F-16.

down by

was shot

Basra.

destroying the

of the fighter jet located the radar dish and destroyed April 2 a

on

a raid

hit the jet,

Two

Royal Air

a British

was returning from

fired

their

may own

another

Patriot missile, killing the pilot.

‘They’re looking into

Commander out.

When

Navy

software problem,’ said

a

Lt.

Charles Owens. ‘They’re going to check everything

they do find

a fault, they'll

put

it

out to the

rest

of the

world.’ But Pentagon watchers aren’t holding their breath. Based

on

past experience,

it’s

more

likely that

Pentagon

brass will attempt

to obscure the cause rather than reveal a fatal design flaw in a revered

centerpiece in the Army’s

new

arsenal of smart weapons.

Indeed, there’s plenty of evidence that the Pentagon and the Patriot’s contractors a

(Raytheon and Lockheed) have known

decade that the missile has

missiles first

from friendly

aircraft.

revealed during testing

that test a

flying

m

a

US

aircraft

at

difficulties

The

little

discriminating incoming

Nellis Air Force Base in 1993.

simulating a return

home from

corridor reserved for friendly aircraft but it

a

combat

improvement

in this

a

still

During

mission was

would have

situation.

the years, billions had been poured into the

sign of

problem was

target discrimination

been shot down by the Patriot were

Over

for nearly

fundamental and

program with lethal defect.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR Subsequent exercises and

277

have revealed that the Patriot radar

tests

discrimination problems were not solved, according to Philip Coyle,

former Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, the Pentagon’s independent testing

office.

in so-called Joint Air

Coyle

problems were identified

says the

Defense Operations/Joint Engagement Zones

exercises during the mid-1990s.

Despite Patriot

III

this,

the Pentagon pushed to increase production of the

months leading up

in the

November 2002, Lt. Gen. Ronald

dramatically step up production of the

but also

‘My recommendation said.

Kadish brushed them ing.’

In

new

Army needed

Patriots,

to

not only for use

counter threats in North Korea, Iran and Libya.’

‘to

buy them,' Kadish

Iraq.

Kadish, the head of the Pentagon’s

Missile Defense Agency, told Congress that the

in Iraq

of

to the invasion

is

When

off,

buy PAC-3s

to

as fast as

we

are able to

asked about problems with the system,

saying they were merely ‘minor’ and ‘annoy-

Congress consented, ever anxious to peddle Pentagon pork,

and boosted Patriot missile production by more than 10 per cent.

As usual with the Pentagon, cost a

very expensive system and

Raytheon and Lockheed

it’s

Each Patriot

first

object.

But the Patriot

getting costlier

Now

missile unit costs

Gulf War, an average of four

single

no

all

is

the time.

originally promised to deliver the

system for S3. 7 billion dollars. billion.

is

new

the cost has soared to $7.8

about $170 million. In the

missiles

were launched against

a

incoming Scud.

The

old

PAC-2

is

seriously flawed. But the

new

version of the

Patriot has struggled through field testing, although this didn

the Pentagon’s rush to increase production.

of 2002, the

new

Patriot missile

had

failed

Through

the

more than

t

deter

summer

half

of

its

field tests.

From

the beginning there were signs of serious glitches in the soft-

ware program that guides the

missile.

The program was two

years

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

278

behind schedule and the costs soared from $557 million to $1 for the software alone.

And

still it

has never

worked

right.

the cost overruns for the system had topped $10 million a

You simply

its

big ticket items.

During the

crowed about the success of the

generals

1

billion

By 2001, month.

Pentagon to be honest about the

can't trust the

performance of

.

first

Gulf War, the

Patriot, saying that

hit

it

more than 80 per cent of its targets. In fact, the missile scarcely hit any incoming missiles, as was revealed in a General Accounting Office investigation.

GAO

The

of the

missiles hit less than 9 per cent

launched during the

‘The the first

the

results

MIT

first

Gulf

audit concluded that the Patriot Iraqi

Scud

who

said

Theodore

studied the Patriot missile’s

Gulf War. ‘They suggest

were

conflict.

of these studies are disturbing,'

scientist

missiles that

Postol,

the

kill rate in

that the Patriot’s intercept rate

during

Gulf War was very low. The evidence from these preliminary

studies indicates that the Patriot’s intercept rate could be

lower than 10 per cent, perhaps even after Postol

ments

with

a

on the ineptitude of the

What's more disturbing it

up.

The Pentagon went

vengeance, accusing him of using

for his conclusions

covered

zero.’

So did the

is

that the

Patriot’s

much

classified

docu-

Patriot system.

Pentagon knew

all

this

and

prime contractor, Raytheon.

the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War, the

US Army

issued

In

two

assessments on the Patriot missile system’s performance: one on Patriot

Scud

kills in Israel

Pentagon claimed

50 per cent

and another

a success rate

in Israel.

of 80 per cent

A few months

later,

back to 70 per cent and 40 per cent. admitted that cent’ of the

Why firearms

it

had

a

Saudi Arabia.

in

in

Initially,

the

Saudi Arabia and

the Pentagon scaled those

A

year

later,

the Pentagon

high degree of confidence in only ‘ten per

kills.

comedown? American wars have served as live shows. The hype on the Patriot, which the US media

the slow

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

279

eagerly gobbled up, was designed to help market the missile system to other nations. In the

more than

The

a

immediate aftermath of the

dozen nations placed orders

first

Gulf War,

for Patriot missile systems.

contracts were signed before the purchasers (including Turkey,

South Korea, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) learned of the

Patriot’s

weak

batting average.

There were the

first

lethal

consequences to the

Patriot’s failures

Gulf War, which the Pentagon glossed over.

On

during

February

25, 1991, a Patriot missile battery in Dharhan, Saudi Arabia, missed

an incoming soldiers.

The

It

Iraqi

Scud.

The Scud

hit

an army barrack housing

US

28 people and injured more than 100 others.

killed

Patriot missile

based on 1970s technology and was

is

originally designed for use as an anti-aircraft

weapon,

a

role

it

reverted to with tragic consequences in the latest Gulf War. In the 1980s, the Patriot was modified to serve as an anti-ballistic missile

system for use against short-range rocket attacks.

‘The Pentagon has known distinguish

its

targets

for a

from our

decade that the Patriot cannot

own

aircraft,’ says

Danielle Brian,

Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight,

Pentagon watchdog group. this

fundamental

and have the star

when

flaw, yet

gall to

they’ve

‘It is

known

an outrage that they have not fixed

continue to buy

promote it is

a

this

it

weapon

a dud.’

and in

sell it

to

our

allies,

both Gulf Wars

as a

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

280

2003

April 22,

WHAT

HAPPENING

IS

THE UNITED STATES?

IN

by Edward Said

In a scarcely reported speech given

day the war was launched against

19, the

Democrat of West Virginia and chamber, asked: ‘What

become

we

on the Senate

a

is

the

happening

floor

on March

Robert Byrd,

Iraq,

most eloquent speaker

in that

When did we friends? When did

to this country?

nation which ignores and berates our

decide to risk undermining international order by adopting

radical

and doctrinaire approach

might?

How

world

No tary

cries

can

our awesome military

to using

we abandon diplomacy when

the turmoil in the

out for diplomacy?’

one bothered

to

answer him, but

machine now planted

as

the vast

begins to

in Iraq

name of the American

directions in the

and

it

Let’s

first

what

George W. Bush came decided

Even before the and Gaza, to

power almost

other

we

urgency to the

are living through.

East policy has

wrought since

three years ago in an election

by the Supreme Court, not by the popular vote.

finally

Ariel Sharon’s

to

US Middle

mili-

people, their love of freedom

not the corruption of democracy

examine

American

stir restlessly in

their deep-seated values, these questions give

failure,

a

atrocities

of September

government

kill,

a free

hand

1

1,

Bush’s team had given

to colonize the

West Bank

detain and expel people at will, to demolish their

homes, expropriate

their land,

of military blockades,

imprison them by curfew and hundreds

make

life

for

them generally speaking

impossible; after 9/11, Sharon simply hitched his

on terrorism’ and

wagon

to ‘the

war

intensified his unilateral depredations against a

defenseless civilian population, six years, despite literally tens

now under

of

UN

occupation for thirty-

Security Council resolutions

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' enjoining

crimes and last

to

Israel

human

withdraw and otherwise

rights abuses.

Bush

called

281

from

desist

Sharon

a

war

its

man of peace

June, and kept the $5 billion subsidy coming without even the

vaguest hint that

On

WAR

October

7,

it

was

at risk

because of

Israel’s lawless brutality.

2001 Bush launched the invasion of Afghanistan,

which opened with concentrated high-altitude bombing ingly an ‘anti-terrorist’ military tactic, bearing in

(increas-

and

effects

its

structure a strong resemblance to ordinary, garden-variety terrorism),

and by December had regime with no has been

no

installed in that deVastated

power beyond

effective

US

significant

few

streets in

effort at reconstruction,

seem the country has returned a

a

country

to

its

Kabul. There

and

former abjection,

noticeable return of elements of the Taliban,

as

a client

it

would

albeit

with

well as a thriving

drug-based economy. Since the

conducted an

summer of 2002,

the

Bush administration has

campaign against the despotic government

all-fronts

of Iraq and, having unsuccessfully tried to push the Security Council into compliance, began against the country. dissent disappeared

I

war along with the United Kingdom

its

would

from

a

say that

from about

last

November

mainstream media swollen with

on,

a surfeit

of ex-generals and ex-intelligence agents sprinkled with recent terrorism and security experts drawn from the Washington right-

wing think

tanks.

Anyone who spoke up and

actually

managed

appear was labeled anti-American by failed academics

mounted

websites to

list

to

who

who didn’t toe the line. figures who struggled to say

‘enemy’ scholars

Emails of the few visible public

something were swamped,

their lives threatened, their ideas trashed

and mocked by media newsreaders

who

had just become the

self-

appointed, all-too-embedded sentinels of America’s war.

An overwhelming

torrent of crude as well

as

sophisticated

material appeared everywhere equating the tyranny of

Saddam

282

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

Hussein not only with

evil,

was

this in part

but with every

factually correct but

known

crime:

much

ot

eliminated from mention

it

the extraordinarily important role played by the

US

and Europe in

fostering the man’s rise, fueling his ruinous wars, and maintaining

No less a personage than the egregious Donald Rumsteld Saddam in the early Eighties as a way of assuring him ol US

power.

his

visited

approval for his catastrophic war against Iran.

US

corporations

who

role

of the various

supplied Iraq with nuclear, chemical and

weapons

biological material for the for

The

that

we supposedly went

to

war

was simply erased from the public record. and more was deliberately obscured by both government

All this

and media Iraq

in

which

manufacturing the case for the further destruction of

has been taking place for the past

and

ization of the country

simulacrum of and

this bears

forces Iraq

were

was

a

repeating —

as

its

it

it

it

into a

all

demoralized and basically useless armed

no one

rich culture,

people: these were

country

strutting leader turned

its

formidable quasi-metaphysical threat whereas —

a threat to

its

month. The demon-

its

a

What was

complex

made

were only

at all.

society,

invisible, the

formidable about long-suffering

its

better to smash the

den of thieves and murderers. Either

without proot or with fraudulent information, Saddam was accused ot harboring to the

US

weapons of mass destruction

7,000 miles away.

He

where

Saddam illegally

Ahab-

it

Iraq

what

its

as

like

a

a direct threat

day most Americans have no

history consists of, and

contains) destined for the exercise of US

way of cowing

what besides

power unleashed

the entire world in

its

Captain

quest for reshaping reality and imparting democracy

to everyone.

the

is,

were

was identical with the whole of

Iraq, a desert place ‘out there’ (to this

idea

that

At

home

the Patriot and Terrorist Acts have given

government an unseemly grip over

civil life.

A

dispiritingly

quiescent population for the most part accepts the bilge, passed off

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

as tact,

about imminent security

detention,

illegal

eavesdropping and

policed public space have to be for

The

anyone

threats,

who

think and speak independently.

US

and British intervention

beginning to unfold,

calculated destruction of

its

a heavily

the university a cold, hard place

appalling consequences of the

in Iraq are only just

result that preventive

menacing sense of

a

made even

tries to

with the

283

modern

first

with the coldly

infrastructure, then with the

looting and burning of one of the world’s richest civilizations, and finally the totally cynical

motley

‘exiles’ plus

American attempt

engage

to

a

band of

various large corporations in the supposed

rebuilding of the country and the appropriation not only of

but also

its

modern

destiny. In his reaction to the dreadful scenes

of looting and burning which

in

the end are the occupying

power’s responsibility, Rumsfeld managed to put himself in

beyond even Hulagu. ‘Freedom and

‘Stuff happens’

its oil

is

untidy,’

a class

he said on one occasion,

on another. Remorse or sorrow were nowhere

in evidence.

General Jay Garner, handpicked for the job (and soon

seems

like

a

Pentagon’s favorite exile,

mated openly

TV

person straight out of the

Ahmad

serial

fired),

Dallas.

The

Chalabi, for example, has inti-

that he plans to sign a peace treaty with Israel, hardly

an Iraqi idea. Bechtel has already been awarded

a

huge contract.

name of the American people. The whole business smacks of nothing so much as Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. This too

This not

in the

an almost total failure

is

Iraq’s.

to be for

in

democracy, ours

as

Americans,

Seventy per cent of the American people are supposed

all this,

but nothing

is

more manipulative and

than polls of random numbers ofAmericans

who

fraudulent

are asked

whether

they ‘support our President and troops in time of war.’ As Senator

Byrd

said in his speech, ‘there

is

a

pervasive sense of rush and risk

and too many questions unanswered.

A

pall

has fallen over the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

284

Senate Chamber.

We

on the minds of

all

avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic

Americans, even while scores of our sons and

daughters faithfully do their duty in

now

questions

Franks in a

sits

Tommy

triumphantly with

his staff around

one of Saddam’s

tables

Baghdad palace?

neither

a

rest

a rigged,

and

popular war. The deeply reactionary

‘research’ institutions that

Abrams, Feith and the

spawned Wolfowitz,

Perle,

provide an unhealthy intellectual and moral

atmosphere. Policy papers circulate without

government requiring what seems

a

was

that in nearly every way, this

necessary nor

a

Washington

by

going to ask

is

Middle Western farm boy General

that that

am convinced

I

Who

Iraq.’

justification for a dubious, basically

illicit

real

peer review, adopted

be rational (even moral)

to

policy of global domination.

Hence, the doctrine of military preemption, which was never voted

on

of this country or by their half-asleep repre-

either by the people

How

sentatives.

can citizens stand up against the blandishments «

offered the

government by companies

Lockheed? And

as for

what

in effect

by

ment

in history,

is

conflicts, that task

groups such

planning and charting

far the

one is

like Halliburton,

that left

is

most fully

lavishly

military establish-

to the various ideologically based pressure

the fundamentalist Christian leaders like Franklin

as

their bibles

on

destitute

the wealthy private foundations, and such lobbies as

associated think tanks

What seems

so

and research

AIPAC,

Committee, along with

its

centers.

monumentally criminal

is

that

good, useful words

‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ have been hijacked, pressed into

service as a

of

course for

capable of dragging us into unending

the American-Israel Public Affairs

like

a strategic

endowed

Graham who have been unleashed with Iraqis,

Boeing and

scores.

Israel’s.

mask

for pillage,

muscling

The American program

Along with

in

on

for the

territory,

and the

Arab world

is

the

settling

same

as

Syria, Iraq theoretically represents the only serious

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR long-term military threat to

Israel,

out of commission for decades.

democratize

country

a

and therefore

What

when no one

you occupy

in the process

does

relief at

with

it

mean

it

militarily and, at the

it

had to be put

it

to liberate

asked you to do

miserably to preserve public law and order?

and

285

it,

and when

same time,

Iraqis feel has

brought

understanding or compassion either from the

from the other Arab

states,

who

fail

The mix of resentment

Saddam’s disappearance that most

little

and

US

or

have stood by idly quarreling over

minor points of procedure while Baghdad burned. What

a travesty

your presence

after

when you assume that ‘natives’ will welcome you've bombed and quarantined them for

thirteen years.

The

truly preposterous mindset about

of strategic planning

beneficence, and with right

and wrong, has

a story

about

a

it

that patronizing Puritanism

infiltrated the

herself with rage,

— wrecked

New York

is

widow who US raids — and

in the

ran a cultural is

now beside

Times reporter Dexter Filkins implicitly

having had

chastises her for

about what

minutest levels of the media. In

seventy-year-old Baghdad

center from her house

American

‘a

comfortable

life

under Saddam

Hussein,’ and then piously disapproves of her tirade against the

Americans — ‘and

this

from

a

Americans have been cheated,

Bush looks

like the

Iraqis

On

University.’

have suffered impossibly, and

moral equivalent of

just led his righteous posse to a victorious

enemy.

London

graduate of

a

cowboy

sheriff

showdown

who

has

against an evil

matters of the gravest importance to millions of people,

constitutional principles have been violated and the electorate lied to unconscionably.

back.

We

are the

ones

who

must have our democracy

Enough of smoke and mirrors and smooth-talking who

Edward

Said,

Out of

Place:

other hooks.

died on September 25,

A Memoir,

hustlers.

2003, authored Orientalism,

Freud and the Non-European, and many

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

286

May

2003

3,

THE CONTINUING DANGER OF CLUSTER BOMBS by Joanne Mariner

Human pose to

With

rights groups criticize cluster civilians; the

munitions for the threat they

Pentagon defends them

the Iraq war, the debate over cluster

for their effectiveness.

bomb

new

use has a

test

case.

The US

military used cluster munitions in 1991, during the

Persian Gulf War; in 1999, during the

2001 and 2002

human

in Afghanistan.

rights groups to urge the

in or near

The

Kosovo

and

conflict;

in

resulting civilian casualties led

Pentagon not

populated areas during the war in

to deploy the

weapon

Iraq.

Recent statements by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of

Staff

suggest that the Pentagon has taken heed of this advice. At a press

conference said that

in

US

Washington

The

result,

collateral

types’

General Richard

Myers

B.

hit targets

during the Iraq War, but that only 26 of these

within 1,500 feet of civilian neighborhoods.

he noted with

satisfaction,

damage’ caused by

military-speak, that only It

Friday,

and British forces had dropped ‘nearly 1,500 cluster

bombs of varying bombs had

last

cluster munitions. (This

one

would be heartening

was ‘only one recorded case of

civilian

was

means,

in

non-

killed or injured.)

to think that the

Pentagon

getting the message. Although twenty-six cluster

is

finally

bombs aimed

at

or near civilian areas are twenty-six too many, they obviously represent a tiny proportion of the total ordnance used in Iraq.

Unfortunately, Myers’s figures are highly disingenuous.

They only

cover air-dropped cluster munitions, not the surface-launched type that are believed to have caused

many more

civilian casualties in

WAR

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' Iraq.

Not only

that,

287

but unexploded cluster bomblets, lying in wait

for future victims, are likely to increase the toll of civilian deaths

and

injuries.

WHAT CLUSTER BOMBS Cluster

bombs

ARE weapons

are large

hundreds of smaller submunitions. They come

and can be delivered from the

air

dozens and often

that contain

over 200 models

in

or the ground, releasing ‘bomblets’

or ‘grenades' respectively.

Because of the wide dispersal pattern of their bomblets, cluster munitions can destroy broad,

and surface-to-air missile

move

that

relatively ‘soft' targets,

sites.

or do not have

a

They

such

as airfields

are also effective against targets

precise location, such as

enemy

troops

or vehicles.

THE DANGERS OF CLUSTER It

is

BOMB USE

precisely the qualities that

desirable that

make them

make

bombs

cluster

so dangerous to civilians.

militarily

From

the

humanitarian perspective, the weapons have two main problems: they are difficult to target accurately, and they leave large numbers

of unexploded bomblets, or duds. Cluster

opens, a

wide

it

it

bombs cannot be

releases

area.

bombs

Cluster

Once

hundreds of unguided bomblets

The wide

dispersal pattern

very difficult to avoid civilians

the

if

a cluster casing

that disperse over

of these submunitions makes

they are in the area in which

are dropped.

bombs

also

produce problematic

many of the bomblets do all

precisely targeted.

weapons have

after-effects as

intended. While

are

more dangerous

not explode on impact

a failure rate, cluster

bombs

because they release such large numbers of bomblets. As every cluster

bomb

leaves

because

some unexploded ordnance.

a result,

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

288

This high dud rate puts civilians

bomblets become

who

landmines: they

like

the battlefield days or

visit

weeks

great risk.

at lie

Unexploded

in wait, killing civilians

after

an attack

is

over.

Some

people consider cluster bomblet duds even worse than landmines because of their extreme

volatility.

Sadly, children are particularly vulnerable to

unexploded bomb-

lets

because of their curiosity and failure to understand danger.

On

Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported the case of Nabil Khalil,

age fourteen, hospitalized in Kirkuk after playing with a cluster

bomblet

that he

found

abandoned

in an

one hand, suffered severe

face injuries

army camp. He

lost

and can barely open

his

Iraqi

eyes. It is

because of these dangers that

that cluster

human

bombs should never be deployed

rights groups

contend

in civilian areas.

While

the Pentagon has offered figures indicating low use of air-dropped cluster

bombs

in Iraqi cities,

it

has not provided similar information

regarding ground-based cluster munitions.

According to

Human

Rights Watch, the

US Army

did, in fact,

use ground-based cluster munitions in populated areas of Baghdad, as

well as in other Iraqi

cities.

weapons caused many more cluster

Its

researchers believe that these

civilian casualties than did air-based

bombs.

Media

reports have confirmed these claims. Several journalists

have provided eyewitness accounts of cluster munitions use against

southern part of Baghdad. Newsday reported

populated areas

in the

on April

two children were

when

1

5 that

a cluster

killed,

and one seriously injured,

munition they were playing with exploded.

At Friday’s press conference, discussing cluster

Myers

bomb

use,

General

talked about the ‘tough choices’ that the military faces in

making

targeting decisions.

But some choices should not

tough; they should be excluded.

just be

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

The

WAR

289

record shows that the military should not use cluster

bombs

of any type in populated areas. Moreover, given the weapon’s terrible impact

the cluster

on

Pentagon should reconsider whether

civilians, the

bomb

Joanne Mariner

is

necessary to

is

a

human

its

arsenal.

rights attorney

and

CounterPunch

regular

contributor.

May

2003

10,

LABOR

THE

IN

DAWN OF

EMPIRE

by JoAnn Wypijewski

EDITORS’ NOTE: This

last

spoke about those heroes country’s

first

Philippines. the

May Day

of the

labor

movement who denounced

It

,

was a powerful address, warmly received given ,

Unitarian Society, Schenectady,

(AFL-CIO),

Solidarity

their

imperial lunges in the Spanish—American war and in the

Annual Hudson Mohawk May Day

Fifth

Council

US

CounterPuncher Jo Ann Wypijewski

the

Committee of

NY;

New the

Festival at

as part of

the

First

sponsored by the Troy Area Labor

York Labor History Association, the

Capital District and Eighth Step.

-

AC/JSC Workers, Comrades, Friends,

We

gather here to celebrate

May Day -

Workers’ Day, 8-Hour-Day

Day, Revolutionary Labor Day, Haymarket Riot Day, give or take a

few

days.

Some might

say ‘terror day’ but terror cuts

two ways.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

290

We commemorate May

Day, Workers' Day, but in another,

May

less-remembered sense,

might

1st

also

be called Empire

Day.

For on

this

And on

eight-hour day.

effect the

warships

day in 1886, labor had declared

commenced

itself

dedicated to

day in 1898, American

this

the Battle of Manila Bay,

which would be

the culminating act of the Spanish-American War, and thus the

inauguration of America

an overseas imperial power.

as

Separated by twelve years, those two events are nonetheless on a

continuum —

as

bardment of Iraq,

we, its

this day,

with the fresh

culture looted,

its

memory

cities devastated, its

crying out, gagged with rags to keep from howling

on

Call

it

are in

We

a

continuum. Call

the

it

capitalism and imperialism. it,

deep

home and

We

have seen

ruined

— just

as

we

the war abroad. this before.

We

it.

being seduced, even by some of our

are

what we

in

at

war

children

as their

limbs are amputated without anaesthetic or clean water are

bom-

of the

are seeing unfold today



allies,

to think that

the cries of terror, the

call to

arms, the assaults on workers, the false consciousness, the scoundrel's patriotism



is

something new.

Of course, its features are new, moves. We are in new times. But

its

it is

is

not something frozen in the

and remade

in the present.

today are new, the outline

So while we

working

to

class in

remember

for their

And is

if

good It is

to

the details of

that history

what

is

made

unfolding

familiar.

the midst of war, at

remember

on the matter of the

home, abroad,

I

thought

it

the Battle of Manila Bay as well:

the Philippines and

independence

remember

revived and revised,

are concentrated here today

necessary for us to •

past.

simply because history

details,

its

people, slaughtered fighting

in the aftermath

of that famous

battle.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR



remember

to

war

a

291

many ways resembled

that in

the one just

prosecuted in Iraq — prosecuted in most elemental form by the

working •

and

class against

to consider

its

the working

meanings

class, for

the rich.

for workers, for people

of consci-

ence, for anyone keen to the lessons of the past.

The wonderful Czech struggle of people against forgetting.'

that

So

let

us

writer Milan Kundera once said: ‘The

power

the struggle of

is

remember curious

memory

against

things. In 1886, the

was rolled into Chicago’s Haymarket Square during

bomb labor

a

may have been the work of anarchists — or it may have been the work of police or agents provocateurs. Louis Lingg, the only one of the seven men later prosecuted for the bombing who may have actually done it, told the court rally

upon sentencing:

‘I

despise you!

I

despise your “order”, your laws,

me

your force-propped authority. Hang Before they could hang him, percussion cap into his off.

cell.

He

his

bit

for

it!’

sweetheart smuggled

down on

But he never claimed the bombing

as his

it,

and blew

a

his

tiny

head

deed.

we don't know exactly who was responsible for it. But we do know that in its wake came a crackdown on labor: came To

this day,

the blacklist,

came

movement, came

And we

also

a

fear and,

know

time, the counselors to

The

histories

generation-long setback for the eight-hour

-

too many, resignation.

that elsewhere in the

country

at

about that same

power were propounding theories of expansion.

of the period are

urging America to build Pacific

among

full

a great

of the propaganda of intellectuals:

Navy -

to gain a foothold for trade

to claim

(i.e.,

dominion over the

theft) in

China -

to find a

solution to the problem of America’s ‘surplus manufactures.’

Before the election of 1896, William McKinley cried: ‘We need foreign markets for our surplus products!’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

292

Like his capitalist braintrust, he never considered that the solution

might be found in those

to the surplus

who

created

it:

other

in

words, in raising the wages of American workers, in limiting their

work hours and employing American working

There was

a

made

short, in transforming a system that

and general misery; in the

the jobless, in eliminating child labor

class a

band of near-beggars.

Robin Hood

simple solution, a

solution: take

from

the rich and give to the poor. Bye-bye surplus.

But markets were

all

anyone

in

power could think about. While

the workers toiled and starved, their masters spoke ot markets, is

a

more

polite

create a bigger

way of saying:

take from the poor,

from the poorest,

band of beggars and near-beggars, and give

now

Westward expansion had created markets, but was closed. While workers

in the industrial cities

tracts

subduing the

the frontier

woods, reading

on revolution and dynamite, the cavalry had been

last

of the Indians. Four years

explosion came the massacre official

to the rich.

had been agitating

for better conditions, taking rifle practice in the

dangerous

which

at

Haymarket

after the

Wounded Knee, and with

it

the

closing of the frontier. That was 1890.

Westward expansion continued on,

across the waters,

its

racist

presumptions going international too. In

1893, white

American

planters backed by

American guns

USS

overthrew the sovereign kingdom of Hawafi. The supplied the guns, and after

Queen

Lili’uokalani was led

chains and the American tlag was raised atop her palace,

began training exercises

in

Boston

away

US

in

troops

Honolulu, rapelling off the walls of

Kawaiaha’o Church, preparing for their next mission.

The USS

Boston

would go on

mysterious explosion to

set that

to

Manila Bay. But

war

who

took another

in motion.

As with the Haymarket bomb, to precisely

it

this

day

we do

not

know

was responsible for the explosion that led to the

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

USS Maine

Spanish- American War, sinking the

seamen

in

Havana harbor

in

293

and with

268

it

February 1898.

Terror! Outrage! screamed the yellow press.

Meanwhile, the journal

ot the International Association of

Machinists pointed out that on America’s

own

soil ‘a carnival

of

carnage takes place every day, month and year in the realm of industry; the thousands of useful lives that are annually sacrificed

Moloch of greed,

to the

ism, brings forth

the blood tribute paid by labor to capital-

no shout

for

vengeance and reparation.’

spark flew - a year before

— Teddy Roosevelt,

then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, wrote to

a friend: ‘in strictest

Before the

confidence,

first

should welcome almost any war, for

I

I

think the

country needs one.’ Like George Bush today, he had

of

‘the country,’ for in fact

opposed the gunboat drive

a particularly

much of

the organized

it,

working

class

for markets early on.

They opposed America’s coup against They opposed annexation of Hawai’i.

And

narrow definition

the Hawaiian sovereign.

before war was declared on Spain, most of them opposed

not believing President McKinley’s high-sounding

democracy and under Spanish

liberty for the

talk

of

Cubans, the Filipinos and the others

rule.

named Bolton

Hall,

American Longshore Union, wrote what he

called

After the sinking of the Maine treasurer of the

,

a

fellow

‘A Peace Appeal to Labor.’ ‘If

taxes,

there

is

war,’

and others

out of

it

-

that

it

declared, ‘you will furnish the corpses and the

will get the glory. Speculators will is,

out of you. You will have to pay the

the only satisfaction

you

Spanish fellow-workmen,

have had

as little to

make money

will get

who

is

and

bill,

the privilege of hating your

are really

your brothers, and

do with the wrongs of Cuba

as

you

who

have.’

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

294

Replace ‘Spanish’ and ‘Cuba’ in that declaration with ‘Iraq,’

and

it is

as apt

today

as

was more than

it

century ago.

a

Gompers and

war began, Samuel

Before

and

‘Iraqi’

the

American

Federation of Labor cautiously opposed intervention. But once

began, Gompers, infected by

false patriotism, shifted

it

course and

declared America’s cause against the Spanish ‘glorious and righteous.’

As

it

people of

happened, that righteous cause was

Cuba and

the Philippines,

also against the

who’d been fighting

for their

independence.

John Sweeney’s turnaround

this year

on

Iraq

opposing unilateral intervention but then,

— was not

falling in line politics

They

was

as

as

first

soon

as

cautiously it

was on,

dramatic, but a similar politics of no

work.

at

didn’t chant ‘Support

our troops’

Others gestured approvingly

The mineworkers hoped

at

Rather, tens of

in 1898.

thousands of working men, caught up by war

in their



fever,

rushed to

enlist.

the booty.

the spike in coal prices

would

reflect

wages.

The typographers cheered

the establishment of English

that

schools in Spain’s former territories

Glassmakers looked forward to

a

would help

surge in

the printing trade.

demand

for bottles

and

so for their craft.

Railroad unions said more goods moving meant more work for

them.

‘Where

shall

we

turn for consumers of our surplus?’ Albert

Beveridge thundered on the Senate door. ‘Geography answers the question.’

Remarkably, or maybe not, some unions parroted the same opinion. Thus was American labor imperialism, as a

whole

a

made

complicit in American

complicity that bedevils unions and the working

to this day.

class

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

men

McKinley’s splendid it

would

over

a

little

war.’

days.

last live

It

295

Spanish-American encounter

called the

Admiral

WAR

Dewey

‘a

out in the Pacific had predicted

lasted three

months. This, remember, was

hundred years ago.

More

than

a

quarter-million American soldiers were mustered

for the fight in the

Caribbean and the Pacific combined. Today,

with respect to

we

a

Iraq,

hear of

US overwhelming

force,

of war

low-casualty or even, for Americans, a no-casualty enterprise.

worth contemplating

American it

also

such

that in the

to

be remembered, died of diseases or other causes,

Armour Company of Chicago

for a nice profit.

of war and the injuries of

In the ‘pacification’

and

combat. Five thousand more,

contaminated meat, sold to the government by the

as rotten,

injuries

It’s

Spanish-American War, only 379

soldiers died as a result of

ought

as

lasted until 1904,

capital

Thus were

the

twinned.

of the Philippines that took place afterwards

hundreds of thousands of Filipinos -

or ‘terrorists’ in the argot of the day

- were exterminated.

‘rebels’

In 1899,

before the worst of the slaughter, in debate on the Senate floor

(something

we

have not seen

in the

current period) one Senator

Tillman of South Carolina asked whether

happened

that a

colony

ever been sold in the that ‘I

was

think,’ said

meantime

people

its

freedom with one nation had

to another nation (here the

US)

in reply, ‘the situation

whom we

liberated

down

is

unique

there have

us.’ is

one

two points of view.’ He couldn’t know the

half

To which Tillman of

for

Henry Cabot Lodge

in the fact that the

which

war

had ever previously

war with the colonizer.

also at

turned against

at

it

will present

replied: ‘Well, the question ofliberation

it.

That

Dewey

era’s ‘smart

bombs’ were 500-pound

shot into Filipino trenches. In

shells,

some

which Admiral

places, the Filipinos

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

296

bow and

fought back with Filipinos

were piled up

arrow.

Along the

like sandbags.

Pasig River dead

Americans used

their bodies

for fortifications.

One US

from Washington State wrote home: ‘Our

soldier

we

fighting blood was up, and

human beings Back home in these

shooting

though

called

stopping

it

upon

to kill “niggers”. This

beats rabbit hunting

was

years, there

to intervene,

a

to pieces.’

all

frenzy of lynching, and

McKinley cared no more about

than stopping the ‘nigger-killing’ that his white troops

abroad boasted

of.

And

involved in the fight

One famous major

wanted

all

battles in

yet,

African-American soldiers were deeply

as well.

regiment was responsible for winning

Cuba

that

Teddy Roosevelt, with

his

all

of the

own embed-

ded reporters and photographers, made sure to be credited with.

When spit

those black soldiers returned

upon, despised and sometimes

home, they were shunned and

killed.

This particular regiment had been Buffalo Soldiers before they

went

to

after

Cuba was

Cuba, mustered against the Indians. Their next deployment

Colorado —

to

to put

down

strikes

and

radical

rebellion by the Western Federation of Miners; to terrorize the

militant

working

mining towns and guard the infamous bullpens. For the classes, these

When

were wars of

liberation struggles in

finally suppressed,

American

all

against

Cuba and

capitalists

all.

the Philippines were

ravaged the land and the

The dupes of the working class saw their benefit as well. During the war, employment in the US did rise. Wages did rise too, albeit meagerly. But prices rose more. Over the course of the resources.

power of workers’ wages dropped 20 per cent. Worse than that, labor was divided and compromised. A vast

war, the purchasing

segment made

its

peace with barbarism.

expansionism, colonialism,

It

made

capitalist exploitation

its

pact with

of the worst

sort.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

Throughout the land who’d joined fight

on

297

there were rebellious workers.

One. Their children and

children’s children,

up

those

League would

their voices to the Anti-Imperialist

against foreign adventures and brutality

And

into

World War

and children’s children’s

children fight on to this day.

But

war

‘the

home’ —

at

abroad — struck equally

and those

letting

war

will save

praised the blood-

it.

for

American workers from the blows of

home. That war began

at

who

no cowed or cowardly support

years later,

George Bush’s war

complement of every war

those workers

who damned

One hundred the

at

the essential

moment Bush

precisely at the

declared ‘You’re with us or against

us,’

and

it

part of the administration’s strategy of endless

will

continue on

war - or what,

as

in a

McKinleyite formulation, the National Security Council described mission: to impose ‘democracy, development, free markets

as its

and

free trade to every

It

continue on unless

will

Do

corner of the world.’

we

stop

it.

it.

my advertings to the nineteenth century of my own quirky historical interests. They

product

are that,

of course. But

working

class are also

in the councils

of power, the enemies of the

reviewing history for

Grover Norquist, part of the Bush team’s redoubt

what

stop

not imagine that

are simply the

his

And we must

is

at

Americans

nourishing lessons.

activist light artillery

from

Tax Reform, was recently asked

at

era,’

he replied, ‘absent the protectionism. You’re

the history of the country for the

first

1

20

years,

up

Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income the death tax, regulation - all that’ presumably must go. That

is

where the enemies of labor would have

Day of 2003: peering backward century.

just

the fundamental goal of the right in the current period.

‘The McKinley looking

for

its

at

us

on

this

until tax,

May

the abyss of the nineteenth

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

298

History, as

America’s

I

first

have

said,

is

no

frozen, finished thing.

The

legacy of

form

overseas imperial adventure takes a very live

in the Filipino laborers lining

up

for jobs

with Bechtel, Brown

&

Root, the union-busting Stevedore Services of America and others in the reconstruction

Their

of

Iraq.

own economy

Philippines’ chief export,

country’s

pillaged over

and the remittances they send

number one source of income. Before

New

were awarded, the

‘liberated’ Iraqis

is

and

above

our shame, and

to the

first

the

contracts

are likely to use Filipino labor,

skilled, plentiful, reliable and,

Their desperation

the

home

reported that whichever

York Times

companies were named, they is

100 years, they are the

all,

a

which

cheap.

warning both

American working

class.

to the

There

newly are

no

winners on our side in the war program: workers of the world are being pitted in ferocious competition to see For workers, there it is

not enough -

it

is

always

will

a

war

at

who comes

home and

a

out

last.

war abroad,„and

never be enough - to oppose one without

the other.

JoAnn Wypijewski

May

17,

can be reached at [email protected] .com

2003

THE DIXIE CHICKS CROSS THE ROAD by Dave Marsh and Lee Ballinger

Last year, Natalie

Maines of the Dixie Chicks contemptuously

dismissed Toby Keith’s popular pro-war song ‘Courtesy of the

Red, White, and

Blue,’ saying

it

was ‘ignorant and

it

makes country

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR music sound ignorant.’

was

No

299

boycott was called. In

fact,

not

a

word

said.

So

no reason

there’s

Maines’s antiwar

to interpret the hostile response that followed

comments

raged country audience. In a political

maneuver no

According

the spontaneous reaction of an out-

as

fact,

less

the attack

on the Dixie Chicks was

calculated than the Watergate break-111.

from americannewsreel.com sent to Rock

to a story

and Rap Confidential by former Reprise president Howie Klein,

‘Phone

originating from Republican Party headquarters in

calls

Washington went out Chicks from their

to

country

The

playlists.

Chicks’ tour opener]

is

received a

call

work of

officials are

the South Carolina

helping promote the concert.

from ‘Gallagher’s Army,’ urging us to support the

alternative concert. Caller

GOP

urging them to remove the

“alternative concert’’ [to the Dixie

actually the

Republican Party and party

We

stations,

ID backtraced the

call to

South Carolina

headquarters.’

Chain radio

stations

were quick

to

dump

the Chicks because

companies (Clear Channel, Viacom,

their parent

et al.)

have pressing

business in the nation’s capital and they want help from the

Republican

Party.

The Dixie Chicks’ Top of Greenville, South Carolina, a

condemning

resolution

it’s

World tour was

May .The state legislature 1

its

endorsement

dogs searched the Bi-Lo Center

Lon Helton, country music country fans are

people

who

live in

and they have

had passed

deal with the Chicks,

‘wrong’ to be for peace. In the wake of the

death threats against the three young

that

begin in

set to

the group. Lipton Tea, their corporate tour

sponsor, scrapped most of

saying that

on

the

all

women

in the

group,

in Greenville before the

editor of Radio

&

many

bomb

show.

Records,

claimed

right-wing, saying: ‘Country music

is

between the Hudson and the Hollywood

a different view.’ If all

for

sign

country fans opposed Natalie

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

300

Would anyone

Maines’s plea for peace, that raised the question:

show up from

its

the Dixie Chicks’ shows?

at

Would

attempt to save

beliefs in a desperate

the group back away its

career?

Before the concert in Greenville, the arena sound system played

‘Everybody Wants

to Save the World,’

‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ by the

Go-Gos, ‘Band on the Run’ by Wings, and ‘Your seats

Good

Girl’s

Gonna Go

Tammy

There were only

Bad.’

Wynette’s

few empty

a

and the crowd was doing the wave even before the show began.

As soon

as

described

did, there

it

as ‘a landslide

Cd

was what the of fan

Geoff Boucher

Times' s

love.’

After the third song, Natalie Maines, clad in a tank-top embla-

zoned with ‘Dare

Be

to

Free,’ offered the

crowd

a

chance to boo.

there were any boos, they couldn't be heard over the

reported the Greenville News.

performance of Patty

Griffin’s ‘Truth

of the truth coming out of onstage that highlighted the

X, and women’s

Nor was

rights,

my

went on the

mouth')

Dixon

The

first

Southern leg of

roots in the South.

change the

video was shown

movement, Gandhi, Malcolm

their tour. a

Sometimes there would

pro-Bush

sign,

may turn out

Rock and Rap

in

reality that there

a

is

sometimes

America, one that has

Even more than

their

its

that there

of

all.

Confidential, edited by Dave Marsh and Lee

and

politics.

strongest

music and their

to be their greatest gift

the nation’s best newsletter on music

Mason-

powerful and

But the Dixie Chicks have proven

sides to that story.

courage, that

is

a

reception given the Dixie Chicks below the

line doesn’t

two

when

got the same enthusiastic response everywhere they

dangerous streak of jingoism

are

(‘You don’t like the sound

O’Connor, and the Dixie Chicks.

be one protester standing outside with none.

2’

along with footage of people stomping on

records by the Beatles, Sinead

The Chicks

applause,’

there any booing during the

No.

civil rights

huge

‘If

Ballinger,

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

May

301

2003

29,

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: WHO SAID WHAT WHEN by Jeffrey

St.

Clair

‘Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the

day of danger for September

4,

development of nuclear weapons is a the United States.’ - Scti. Joseph Lieberman, D-CT,

2002

no doubt that Saddam Hussein now weapons of mass destruction.’ - Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002 “Simply stated, there

‘If

-

we

wait for the danger to

become

it

could be too

late.’

expanding and improving

facilities that

were

clear,

2002

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., September 4,

‘Right now, Iraq

is

has

is

used for the production of biological weapons.’ - George W. Bush, September 12,

‘If he is

2002

declares he has none, then

we

will

know

once again misleading the world.’ - Ari

that

Saddam Hussein

Fleischer,

December

2,

2002 ‘We know January

9,

for a fact that there are

weapons

there.’

- Ari

Fleischer,

2003

‘Our intelligence

officials

materials to produce as

nerve agent.’ - George

much

W

Saddam Hussein had

the

500 tons of sarin, mustard and

VX

estimate that as

Bush, January 28,

2003

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

302

‘We know

Saddam Hussein

that

of mass destruction, February

‘Iraq

5,

States

a

and international peace and security

and develop

capability, actively

in material

February 5,

‘We have sources ized Iraqi field

weapons the 8,

Powell,

among

a

other things, continuing to

chemical and biological weapons

a significant

seeking

in the Persian

and unacceptable breach of its

nuclear weapons capability, and support-

ing and harboring terrorist organizations.’ - Sen.

February

weapons

continuing threat to the national security ot the

international obligations by,

D-NY,

his

determined to make more.' - Colin

is

Gulf region and remains

possess

determined to keep

2003

both poses

United

is

Hillary Clinton,

2003 that

commanders

dictator

Saddam Hussein

us that

tell

tells

to use

recently author-

chemical weapons — the very

us he does not have.’

- George

W

Bush,

2003

‘So has the strategic decision been

made

to

disarm Iraq of

its

weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? think our judgment has to be clearly not.’ - Colin Powell, March 8, 2003 I

‘Intelligence gathered by this

‘We I

lethal

weapons ever

are asked to accept

say that such a claim

‘Well, there

Iraq has

no doubt

is

devised.’

- George W. Bush, March

18,

2003

Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. palpably absurd.’ — Tony Blair, March 18, 2003

no question

that

we

have evidence and information that

weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical

particularly for

is

leaves

regime continues to possess and conceal some of the

that the Iraq

most

and other governments

.

.

.

all

this will

whatever duration

it

be made clear takes.’



Ari

in the

Fleischer,

course of the operation, March 21, 2003

i

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR “There

no doubt

is

weapons weapons

that the

303

regime of Saddam Hussein possesses

of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those will

who

be identified, found, along with the people

produced them and

who

guard them.’ — Gen.

Tommy

Franks,

have

March 22,

2003

‘I

have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass

destruction.’

— Kenneth Adelman

“One of our top are a

22,

objectives

number of sites.’ —

is

,

Defense Policy Board, March 23,

to find

and destroy the

WMD. There

Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clark, March

2003

‘We know where they are. They are in the area around Baghdad.’ - Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003 ‘Saddam’s removal

weapons of mass

destruction.’ -Jack Straw, 2 April,

of mass destruction

Tikrit and

necessary to eradicate the threat from his

is

2003

‘Obviously the administration intends to publicize

US

forces find

Neocoti scholar Robert Kagan, April 9, ’



‘I

2003

- and

all

the

weapons

there will be plenty.’

-

2003

think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from

officials, a

measure of high confidence be found.’ - Ari

mass destruction

will

“We

more

are learning

Iraqi scientists

as

we

that,

indeed, the weapons of

Fleischer,

April 10,

2003

interrogate or have discussions with

and people within the

Iraqi structure, that

he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. them.’ - George W. Bush, April 24, 2003

And

so

we

perhaps will find

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

304

‘Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction,

I

suggest they wait a

who

‘There are people

need

‘I

May

am

in large

Blair,

measure have information

It’ll

be

matter of time to do

a

confident that

we

we

destruction

- George W.

makes

will find evidence that Powell,

May

it

clear

he

2003

4,

never believed that we’d just tumble over weapons of mass

destruction in that country.’

- Donald Rumsfeld, May

‘I’m not surprised if we begin to uncover the

Saddam Hussein - because he had Bush,

May

officials

find

weapons of mass

just don’t

there’s

never expected that

know whether

no question

still

Airborne,

2003

weapons program of

weapons program.’ — George W.

a

hidden.’

May

13,

we were going

destruction.’

that

to

- Condoleezza

open garages and

Rice,

May —

12,

2003

mean, there were chemical weapons years ago it

whether they were destroyed they’re

4,

2003

6,

‘US

‘I

so.’

that

2003

3,

had weapons of mass destruction.’ — Colin

‘I

28 April, 2003

we can track down the weapons of mass country.’ — Donald Rumsfeld, April 25, 2003

‘We’ll find them.

Bush,

— Tony

so that

...

in that

bit.’

was

all

destroyed years ago

right before the war, [or]

— Maj. Gen. David

Petraeus,

I

whether

Commander

101st

2003

‘Before the war, there’s no doubt in

my mind

that

Saddam Hussein

had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical.

I

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR expected them to be found.

still

I

305

expect them to be found.’ - Gen.

Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps,

May

‘Given time, given the number of prisoners interrogating. I’m confident that

were going

2003

21,

now

to find

that

were

weapons of

mass destruction. - Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff May 26, 2003’

‘They may have had time to destroy them, and answer.' - Donald Rumsfeld, May 27, 2003 ‘For bureaucratic reasons,

destruction

[as

we

settled

1,

issue,

don’t

on.’

the

,

was the 28,

2003

2003

St.

The war on

AND

Clair

Iraq couldn’t have

beleaguered farmers. Spring fields

it

- Paul Wolfowitz May

THE RAT IN THE GRAIN: DAN AMSTUTZ THE LOOTING OF IRAQI AGRICULTURE by Jeffrey

know

weapons of mass

justification for invading Iraq], because

one reason everyone could agree

June

on one

I

is

come

at a

more

dire time for Iraq’s

harvest time in the barley and wheat

of theTigris river valley and planting time

in the vast vegetable

plantations of southern Iraq.

The war

is

over, but the situation in the fields of Iraq continues

to rapidly deteriorate.

The

banks, which provide credit and cash,

have been looted, irrigation systems destroyed, road

markets closed, warehouses and grain

travel restricted,

silos pillaged.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

306

To harvest the grain before

more than

it

8 million gallons of diesel fuel to

armada of combines and

harvesters.

US bombing

were incinerated by

do

Even

if

US

so by the

power

strikes.

who need

to

most and no

it

no

clear

way

for the

hungry

Iraqi

the Hussein regime, the crops were bought by the

Baghdad government a

way

forces of occupation.

the crops can be harvested, there’s

Under

fuel depots

There’s no easy

grain to get stored, marketed, sold and distributed to families.

corroding

Iraq’s

But most of the

get the fuel that remains to the farmers desire to

farmers need

rots in the fields Iraqi

at a

fixed price

and then distributed through

rationing system. This system, inefficient

nothing has taken

its

for this year’s crop,

as

little

sign that the

was,

is

gone. But

owed $75 million money will ever arrive.

place. Iraqi farmers are

with

it

still

There’s speculation throughout the country that one intent of the current policy

to force

is

cities so that their lands

US

many

farmers off their farms and into the

can be taken over by favorites of Ahmed

The post-Saddam

Iraq will almost

certainly witness a land redistribution program:

more farmland

Chalabi and

his

protectors.

going into fewer and fewer hands. Grain farmers aren’t alone. As in the

first

US bombing

Gulf War,

raids targeted cattle feed lots, poultry farms, fertilizer

pumping

stations, irrigation systems

closest thing the

US

has

come

to

and pesticide

warehouses,

factories (the

Weapons of Mass

finding

Destruction in the country) — the very infrastructure of Iraqi agriculture.

Many

It

will take years to restore these operations.

fields in

been unable

southern Iraq he fallow,

to secure seeds to

onions, cucumbers and beans

‘We expect

failures,’ said

Mosul,

in a dispatch

before.

There

is



grow all

as

vegetable farmers have

the usual melons, tomatoes,

mainstays of the Iraqi

Abdul Aziz Nejefi,

a

barley farmer from

from the Guardian. ‘We never had

no government.’

diet.

this situation

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR Meanwhile, millions of Iraqis stall

May

report from late

307

face starvation this

paints a bleak portrait.

It

summer.

A

UN

notes that Iraq’s

poultry industry has effectively been decimated. Millions of chickens perished during the war. Millions ol others face starvation, since nearly

of the chicken feed stored

all

in

government ware-

houses has been looted. Chicken and eggs are staples of the diet,

accounting for more than

hall ol the

Iraqi

animal protein consumed

by the population.

Many

other farm animals, including sheep and goats, could be

ravaged by disease, since the nation’s stockpiles of veterinary

medicines and vaccines have been almost

Some 60 their

per cent of Iraq’s 24 million people depend totally for

food on the food ration system that was established

Gulf War. Each week, these

first

basket’ consisting of

milk, sugar and

by

totally destroyed or looted.

US

salt.

wheat

could count on

a

‘food

flour, rice, vegetable oil, lentils, beans,

That system

policymakers.

Iraqis

after the

is

now

And promised

in

shambles and

is

scorned

grain imports have yet to

materialize.

‘Before there ism,

Tim

let

is

unwarranted military technological triumphal-

those setting out to

manage

Land, professor of food policy

‘Grumbling stomachs

are

bad

public health. There has to be

the peace think mouths,’ says at

City University in London.

politics as well as disastrous for the a

food democracy

after

decades of

food totalitarianism.’ Into this dire circumstance strides Daniel Amstutz, the Bush

administration’s choice to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq’s agricultural system. a fat roster

at Cargill,

in grain.

went on

of big ag

Now an international trade lobbyist in DC with clients,

the food giant

Amstutz once served

top executive

which controls much of the world

During Amstutz’s tenure a torrid

as a

at Cargill,

expansion campaign.

It is

now

the grain

trade

company

the largest privately

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

308

held corporation in the

US

and controls about 94 per cent of the

soybean market and more than 50 per cent of the corn market in

Upper Midwest.

the

It

also has

controlling 40 per cent of all

exports and

A1 Krebs,

on

at least

who

US

hands on the export market,

corn exports,

a third

of all soybean

20 per cent of wheat exports.

edits the Agribusiness

US farm policy, unearthed a

and morality

its

Examiner

,

a vital

publication

1982 questionnaire on food,

politics

that vividly illustrates the Cargill philosophy.

Joseph Project,

a

The

public policy research group sponsored by the

Senate of Catholic Priests of the Archdiocese of MinneapolisSt.

company’s attitude

Paul, asked Cargill executives to explain the

toward hunger and famine

issues.

The

executives responded

as

follows:

The assumption

that there are

moral priorities that are offended

serving world or domestic markets possible rests

on

a

as

economically and efficiently

confusion about economic

objectionable characterization of business’s

facts.

role.

It is

in as

also a highly

Before one makes

moral judgments and advocates economic actions, one should understand the economic T

issues that are involved.

he business ot making moral judgments

potentially irresponsible unless

and



causal relationships have

is

both hazardous and

fully satisfied that

been explored

.

.

.

defenses

we

all

the facts

all

We are not in

given time and other constraints - to provide

background. Nor are

In

one

is

a

position

the relevant

anxious to make moral judgments - or moral

— of our own.

2000, the biggest food companies in the world, Cargill, Archer

Daniels Midland,

Cenex Harvest

States

Co-op, DuPont and Louis

Dreyfus, got together to form Pradium Inc., grain market that offered real-time, cash

a

kind of secret, internal

commodity exchanges

for

WAR

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

309

and agricultural by-products

grains, oilseeds

information services.

also offered

It

ways to

well as global

as

on

fix grain prices

a

global scale. Amstutz served as Pradium’s chairman.

Amstutz

is

no stranger

government,

to

Bush administration he served

of

US

He was

programs.

talks,

which

there to push the

is

agribusiness agenda, not a democratic agenda,’ says

Farm

president of the National Family telling the

world that

the environment

his policy

when

is

good

for farmers, is

small farmers of the grain belt of the

During

-

all

which eliminated in

tariffs

consumers and

true.’

Midwest have

his stint in the first

administration, Amstutz devised the notorious Bill,

George Naylor,

Coalition. ‘He will excel in

just the opposite

particular loathing for Amstutz.

Round

WTO.

led to the

‘Daniel Amstutz, an ex-Cargill executive,

The

also the

negotiator on agricultural issues for the Uruguay

GATT

first

Undersecretary of Agriculture for

Commodity

International Affairs and chief

as

During the

either.

Freedom

to

a

Bush

Farm

and slashed federal farm price supports

an effort to lower grain prices for the benefit of Amstutz’s

cronies in the big agricultural conglomerates. As

of American farmers

lost their

a result,

farms and monopolists

thousands

like Cargill

reaped the benefits.

The contours of Amstutz’s

plan for Iraq are familiar: a combi-

nation of free-market shock therapy and predation by multinational corporations. Gliding over

a

decade of

UN sanctions that have starved

the nation and a war that ravaged the nation’s infrastructure, Amstutz

announced

that the real

government

problem facing

Iraqi agriculture

subsidies. ‘Iraqi farmers have

had

little

is,

naturally,

incentive to

increase production because of price controls that have kept food

very inexpensive, Amstutz announced. ‘With

economy, we can to

a transition to a

see health returning to agriculture

employ good farming

practices

market

and incentives

and modern techniques.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

310

The more

likely scenario

condition of

Iraq’s

that

is

farmlands

Amstutz

as a lucrative

cheap grain from American companies

by

Iraqi oil. If this scenario plays out,

will use the destitute

opportunity to

like Cargill, all

it

of it paid

1

for

will spell disaster for Iraq’s

struggling farmers. Prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq imported

than

dump

more

million metric tonnes per year of American wheat. Since then,

however, no direct occurred. Amstutz

is

sales

of American agricultural products have

anxious to begin flooding Iraq with Cargill grain.

US Department

Moreover, Iraq owes the

Commodity

of Agriculture’s

Credit Corp. $2 billion on loans that facilitated pre-

1991 ag sales and nearly $2 billion in interest on the loans. Amstutz will certainly

demand

‘Someone needs

to

that those loans

warn the

Iraqi

be recouped through

oil sales.

people that other Third World

countries can already attest that the dependence Amstutz will create surely says

means

Naylor.

that Iraq’s sovereignty will

And Naylor

be greatly compromised,’

argues that cash-strapped American

farmers won’t see any benefits, either. ‘Amstutz perpetuates* the

more exports

lie

overproduction

because all

his agribusiness cronies are

encouraging

over the world, thus being able to

sell

more

genetically modified seeds and chemicals and buying ever cheaper

farm commodities.’

Even

as

their food

millions of Iraqis face starvation under the stern

hand of

proconsul, Amstutz ’s appointment has excited

commentary

in the

US. His most virulent

critic has

little

been Kevin

Watkins, Oxfam’s policy director in London. Watkins warns that

more than

Amstutz

is

interests

of the same food

little

represents: Cargill,

‘This guy ol

is

a

carpetbagger seeking to advance the

titans that his

lobbying outfit in

DC

DuPont, Cenex and Archer Daniels Midland.

uniquely well-placed to advance the commercial

American grain companies and bust open the

interests

Iraqi market, but

singularly ill-equipped to lead a reconstruction effort in a war-torn

1

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

31

country,’ Watkins warns. ‘Putting

Dan Amstutz

cultural reconstruction in Iraq

like

the chair ot

human

a

is

putting

of agri-

Saddam Hussein

in Iowa, pitching his agricultural

reconstruction plan to Iowa feedlot owners. that they stood to profit

handsomely from

He

told the farmers

his plan to

bring to Iraq

feedlots, those foul-smelling operations that pack thousands

of cattle and hogs into tightly confined pens. ‘They are meat he brayed.

‘Iraq

not

is

a

people in

his

won’t be

1

a

2,

cattle

or sheep operations. Most of the

And unless Amstutz Graham to Christianize

audience raised hogs.

with Franklin

in a partnership

eaters,’

vegetarian society.’

Iowa doesn't have many

June

in

rights commission.’

Amstutz was recently spotted

modern

in charge

has joined Iraq, there

big market for pork products in Baghdad.

2003

WAR

DECEIVED INTO

by Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst

When FOX TV ongoing quest

asked

for

me

I

fault

my

views Sunday on the

weapons of mass destruction

thing the anchor asked was

WMDs

to present

why

I

should care about the phantom

the vast majority of Americans don’t.

when

responded, somewhat indecorously, that

of

FOX News

and other media

malnourished on small emptive’ war.

in Iraq, the first

I

issues like

Rice and Colin Powell blow

still

was largely the

that have kept

why our

was dyspeptic on Sunday

this

Americans

country launched

after

a

pre-

watching Condoleezza

more smoke

at

these key issues

and disparage those with altogether legitimate questions.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

312

Powell said

adduced

it

was ‘nonsense’

making war on

to justify

the correct

word

brand

to

as

‘bogus’ the intelligence

Iraq. But, sadly, ‘bogus’

precisely

is

key piece of ‘evidence’ used to

to apply to the

deceive our representatives and senators into voting to give President Bush permission to launch an unprovoked war on Iraq.

However seven-letter

strong a word, ‘bogus’ pales in comparison with the

F-word

which Powell and Rice showed themselves

to

F for forgery. Yes, forgery.

allergic:

Had

FOX and other news outlets

adequately reported on what both Powell had already conceded was a forgery,

to

why I

the

American people might have

refer to the

bogus story that Iraq was attempting to acquire

that story

at

was based on

a

the

UN

have

crude forgery.

Bush administration knew

who

who

develop nuclear weapons. Those

to

followed developments

(Those

better appreciation as

they should care.

uranium from Niger

the

a

find themselves

it

known since February What is little known is

was bogus

a

full

that that

year earlier.

wondering why Powell and Rice have

conceded the point need only

to

remember

that the

UN

now

has

the forged documents.)

To Niger

his credit, early last year a

former

The

latter

But

this

them

US

Vice-President Dick

ambassador

Cheney

sent to

in Africa to investigate the story.

brought back word that the documents were not authentic.

did not prevent senior administration officials from using

in the critical

the authority to

run-up

make

to Congress’s vote to give the president

war.

Indeed, President Bush included the forged ‘evidence’ in his state-of-the-union address on January 28 - something

when

asked about

a loss to

it

Rice,

by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, was

explain satisfactorily.

Now ‘senior

are telling gullible reporters that

outcome of the

Dr

administration

at

officials’

Cheney was never informed of the

investigation he ordered. I’m not

making

this up.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

Recent

press reports of a

2002

Sept.

that

found “no

313

Detense Intelligence Agency study of

definitive, reliable information’ that Iraq

was producing or stockpiling chemical or biological weapons has helped me connect the dots, so to speak. Last

fall s

lull-court press to get Congress to vote for

proof that Iraq posed

a clear

reviewed the bidding, a

it

war required

and present danger. As Bush’s

became

strategists

painfully clear that allegations of

confirmed chemical and biological threat would run too great

risk ot

At

being undermined by uncooperative analysts

White House decided

that point the

the specter of nuclear play

weapons

up the danger of

in the

‘mushroom

a

in the

a

DIA.

to present evidence raising

hands of Saddam Hussein and cloud.’

Former

UN

nuclear

inspector David Albright said on Sunday that he was ‘deeply troubled

by the

of information to basically scare people. People

selective use

are scared

by nuclear weapons. And

But where was the evidence? available at that time

tubes.

it’s

It is

now

White House

Dr Rice on September

8,

2002

told

actively pursuing a nuclear

there have been shipments into Iraq of are only suited to nuclear

offered instant

consulted, their virtually

Wolf

weapon.

We

aluminum

scientists at

weak

‘Saddam

do know

that

tubes that really

US

nuclear labs were

unanimous conclusion was

suitable for a nuclear application. as

Blitzer that

weapons programs.’

But when the engineers and

turned out to be

them from

tubes were for Iraq’s ‘nuclear program.’ Thus,

‘analysis’ that the

were not

clear that the only thing

Iraq trying to procure

abroad, and those eager to please the

is

button.’

was the so-called argument from aluminum

There had been reports of

Hussein

a

as

So

that the tubes

that line of

the chemical and biological

argument

weapons

DIA analysts were so suspicious. Someone remembered the forged correspon-

evidence about which

What was

left?

dence between

Iraq

and Niger, decided

that

it

could be used to win

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

314

the vote in Congress, to

win the war

in Iraq,

and

in the afterglow

of victory, no one would care that the evidence was bogus. It

worked.

Waxman

Small wonder that Rep. Henry letter to the president,

expressed outrage

(D,

at

CA),

in a

March

17

having been deceived

into voting for war, since ‘the evidence cited regarding Iraq’s efforts

weapons

to obtain nuclear

Ray McGovern,

to

hoax.’

1964

analyst from

to

and senior policy-makers on

the vice-president

from 1981

CIA

a

a

is

He

1985.

is

now on

the Steering

Pro fessionals for Sanity. His day job

is

1990, regularly reported

to

the President’s

Daily Brief

Group of Veteran

Intelligence

co-director

of the Servant Leadership

School, an inner-city outreach ministry in Washington

DC.

June 27, 2003

CHENEY, FORGERY

AND THE

CIA

by Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst

As though

President Dick

The

visits

were normal!

this

Cheney made

were, in

fact,

I

mean

to the

the repeated

CIA

visits

Vice-

before the war in Iraq.

unprecedented. During

my

twenty-seven-

year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, no vice-president ever

came

to us for a

During the

working

Eighties,

it

was

visit.

my

privilege to brief Vice-President

George H. W. Bush and other very senior policy-makers every other morning.

weekends) to

CIA

to his

I

went home.

headquarters.

either to the vice-president’s office or (on I

am

sure

it

never occurred to him to

come

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

The morning was uppermost our

refine

need

tasks

WAR

315

briefings gave us an excellent

minds of those senior

in the

of collection and

analysis.

tor policy-makers to visit us.

And

window on what

officials

Thus, there was never any

the very thought of a vice-

president dropping by to help us with our analysis

We

preferred to do that

work without

comes from policy-makers

Cheney got Reports

Niger

in late

stirred

at

US

to call

it

after the

into the operational side of intelligence as well.

2001

that Iraq

had tried to acquire uranium from

such intense interest that

He found

into question.

his office let

CIA

in a

At the time, CIA with the Pentagon on the

CIA, and

be

as facilitator, a

February 2002

There the matter

rested



until last

for

war

lots

summer, in Iraq.

his effort to acquire nuclear

analysts this

virtually

were involved

weapons.’

in a fierce

argument

very point. Most of the nuclear engineers

all

scientists at

US

government laboratories

and the International Atomic Energy Agency, found no evidence that Iraq had restarted

its

reliable

nuclear weapons program. But

the vice-president had spoken. Sad to draft

known

speech on August 26, 2002, claimed that Saddam

Hussein had ‘resumed

at

in

it

nothing to substantiate the report and

Bush administration made the decision

Cheney,

extraordinary.

the table.

ambassador was dispatched to Niger

to investigate.

is

the pressure that inevitably

he wanted them checked out. So, with the retired

and helped us

say,

those in charge of the

National Intelligence Estimate took their cue and stated,

falsely, that

‘most analysts

assess

Iraq

is

reconstituting

its

nuclear

weapons program.'

Smoke was blown about aluminum

tubes sought by Iraq that,

turns out, were intended for conventional rest

amounted

to

it

weapons programs. The

things like Hussein’s frequent meetings with

nuclear scientists and Iraq’s foot-dragging in providing information to

UN

inspectors.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

316

Not much heed was

who

paid to the fact that Hussein’s son-in-law,

supervised Iraq’s nuclear program before he defected in 1995,

had told interrogators that blueprints

— had been

destroyed in 1991

given to the United States

who

scientists

provided them added

would have given

head

Iraq a

at his

order.

week confirm

this



nuclear capability

Iraq’s

that,

start,

save the

(Documents

The

that.

even though the blueprints

no order was given

to restart

would

the program; and even had such an order been given, Iraq still

have been years away from producing

In

sum, the evidence presented

estimate

short of

far

fell

scarier

had

a

what was required a

persuaded to authorize war.

And

Cheney’s

to support

nuclear weapon. Something

be produced, and quickly,

to

nuclear weapon.)

September’s intelligence

in last

claim that Iraq was on the road to

Iraqi

if

Congress was

be

made

to dust

that before

anyone

so the decision was

uranium-from-Niger canard. The White House calculated - correctly —

to

off the

would make an was based on

issue

of the

a lorgery,

fact that this

key piece of ‘intelligence’

Congress would vote Yes. The war could

then be waged and won. In recent weeks, administration

have begun spreading the word that

Iraq-Niger story was based on

who

recently served

that

was

call for a

added

possible.

at

He

a forgery.

1

asked

a

all

procedures

vice-presidential questions

and

Cheney’s office had originally asked that

the Iraq— Niger report be checked out

makes

inconceivable that

it

would not have been informed of the

Did the president himself know

results.’

that the information used to

secure congressional approval for war was based on

didn’t?

senior official

NSC

pointed out that rigorous

that ‘the fact that

don’t know. But

told the

the National Security Council if he thought

very specific response to

his office

Cheney was never

officials

which would be worse -

that

he

a

forgery?

knew

We

or that he

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR

August

2003

1,

A CONFIDENCE GAME ON by Jeffrey

317

St.

IRAQ:

WAR

PIMPS

Clair

The war on Iraq won’t be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases such

as

mass destruction’ and ‘rogue

like

weapons

state’

were hurled

‘weapons of precision

the target audience: us.

at

To understand the

Iraq

but reformed spin doctors

war you don’t need or,

to consult generals,

even better, two of the most seasoned

investigators into the dark arts of political propaganda, John Stauber

and Sheldon Rampton. Stauber and

Rampton run PR Watch,

the Madison, Wisconsin-

based group that keeps tabs on the nefarious schemes of the global

PR

industry to sugarcoat useless, costly and dangerous products.

They have

also written three

books of the

last

decade. In

1

of the most important non-fiction

995, they published Toxic Sludge

ForYou,a detailed expose of how the

PR industry plots and

Is

Good

executes

campaigns to greenwash corporate malfeasance. This was followed by the prescient and disturbing

produced the

way

Trust

Us We’re Experts

,

Mad Cow USA. a

Last year they

grim and exacting account of

scientists-for-hire are deployed to rationalize the risks

dangerous products and smear opponents

as

of

know-nothings and

worry warts.

Now

comes

their exquisitely

Vie Uses of Propaganda

Rampton

in

Bush’s

timed Weapons of Mass Deception:

War on

Iraq.

Here Stauber and

give us an immediate history, a real-time deconstruction

of the mechanics of the Bush war machine. This lushly documented book is a chilling catalog of lies and deceptions, which shows the

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

318

press

contretemps over the Niger yellowcake forgeries to be but

minor the

distraction given the outlandish frauds pullulating daily

White House and

Stauber recounts

H erman’s

is

the Pentagon.

every bit

The

history

ground-breaking

as

as

a

from

Rampton and Chomsky and

Manufacturing Consent and War Without Mercy John ,

Dower's riveting account of the

of propaganda against Japan

vile uses

during World War Two. Weapons of Mass Deception shreds the

and the motives behind them,

as

lies,

they were being told and describes

the techniques of the cover-up as they were being spun. Stauber and

Rampton

cut through the accumulated media fog to reveal

war on Saddam was conceived and how the media

how

battle

the

plan

developed and deployed. They identify the key players behind the scenes

paper

who trails

politics,

stage-managed the countdown to war and follow their back through the murky corridors of Washington where

corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Most of

this

Yet the story

it

book was written relates

is

well before the invasion of Iraq.

only .now being nibbled

stream press, which had done so

much

to

who

Perle,

Rampton expose

war brief and shine an

unforgiving light on the neocon ministers, such

Douglas Feith and Richard

by the main-

promote the vaporous

deceptions of the Bush administration. Stauber and the gaping holes in the administration’s

at

as

Paul Wolfowitz,

concocted the war

in the

sebaceous quadrants of the White House and the Pentagon, over the objections of the senior analysts

The two

at

the

journalists also trace in

journey of Tony

CIA and comic

Blair’s plagiarized dossier

State

detail the picaresque

on

verbose, paid

whole

a

Commons.

from

Iraq,

student’s website to a cut-and-paste job in the

bombastic speech to the House of

Department.

prime

Blair,

grad

minister’s

stubborn and

price for his grandiose puffery. Bush,

who

looted

own clumsy presentations, Why?

passages from Blair’s speech tor his

has skated freely through the tempest.

a

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR Stauber and

They had no hold up to

interest in

tor

The

allegations about Iraq

real effort

was aimed

war by using the psychology of

were never important

Facts

to present a legal case for war.

making any of their

a standard of proof.

mood

Unlike

offer the best explanation to date.

Bush team never wanted

Blair, the

up the

Rampton

319

to the

at

amping

fear.

Bush team. They were

disposable nuggets that could be discarded

at will

and replaced by

new rationale played favorably with their polls and focus The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week,

whatever groups.

A1

Qaeda

When

the next.

on the ground, the

neither allegation could be substantiated

fall-back position

became

the mass graves

from the Iran/Iraq war supported by the US) proving

that

(many

Saddam

who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don’t explain. Say anything to conceal

was an

evil

thug

the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse

questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was

mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to

The Bush

like a

new

pair

of Nikes,

it

as

a

required a roll-out

up the consumers. Stauber and Rampton convincing and step-by-step detail how the same

to soften

demonstrate

in

techniques (and often the same

SUVs and

hawk

cigarettes,

retail

the Iraq war.

To peddle the

company

it.

claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war

product and, just

campaign

justify

made

invasion,

PR

gurus) that have been used to

nuclear waste

dumps were deployed

to

Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and

recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs

at

the

Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. didn’t

fit

the script,

it

If

the intelligence

was either shaded, retooled or junked.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

320

Take Charlotte Beers,

who

Powell tapped

Undersecretary of

as

She wasn’t

State in the post-9/ 11 world. Beers wasn’t a diplomat.

even

a politician.

She was the grand diva of

business and gossip pages as ‘the

known on

the

On

the

queen of Madison Avenue.'

two advertising campaigns, one

strength of

spin,

Uncle Ben’s Rice

for

and another for Head and Shoulders’ dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the

PR

houses, Ogilvy

&

Department, Beers,

PR

world, heading two giant

Mather and J. Walter Thompson. At the

who

had met Powell in 1995

served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked ‘the

branding of

US

at,

when

they both

in Powell’s

foreign policy.’ She extracted

much of it

US propaganda

on beaming

directed

is

a vital

ism over time,’ said Beers.

Note the

new arm

‘All

who America

outside world.’

into the

which

Muslim world,

at teens.

‘Public diplomacy

of redefining

words,

more than $500

million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, largely focused

State

is,

of

a

in

what

sudden we

will

combat

terror-

are in this position

not only for ourselves, but for the

rapt attention Beers pays to the

pulation of perception, as opposed,

say,

to alterations of

US

manipolicy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give

and

take, often

fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange none-

Public diplomacy,

theless. entirely.

It’s

a

one-way

propaganda directly

as

defined by Beers,

street, a unilateral

to the public,

is

something

else

broadcast of American

domestic and international -

a

kind of informational carpet bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were Bush press conference. The American and Iraq were

all

and flimsy

as a

incursions into Afghanistan

about bringing the balm of ‘freedom’ to oppressed

peoples. Hence, the

where

as simplistic

title

cruise missiles

of the

US

war: Operation Iraqi Freedom,

were depicted

as

instruments of liberation.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

Bush himself war

is

distilled the

Beers equation to

Tomahawk war

the

were

itself

bizarre essence: ‘This

its

Over

missiles battered

few weeks before the

a

first

volley

Baghdad. From her point of view,

was already won, the fireworks of Shock and

Awe

after-play.

all

Clarke

321

about peace.’

Beers quietly resigned her post of

WAR

at

the Pentagon,

as his director

of public

the Beltway. Prior to

DC

affairs.

Clarke

knew

‘Torie’

the ropes inside

becoming Rumsfeld’s mouthpiece she had

commanded one of the and Knowlton’s

Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria

world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill

office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington’s top private specialists

and lobbyists to develop

a

marketing plan for the Pentagon’s

forthcoming terror wars. The group was in

Group and

PR

it

included

filled

with heavy

composition. She called

was strikingly bipartisan

PR

it

hitters

the

and

Rumsfeld

executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich

Galen, and Republican political consultant Charlie Black.

The

Democratic

braintrust also boasted top

brother of

NPR’s Cokie Roberts and

fixer

son of the

Tommy

late

Boggs,

Congressman

Hale Boggs of Arkansas. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on also

working

how

frame the war on

interests in

PR

needed

may

2002

Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage

all

to have gotten their

peddling

he was

firm $20.2 million to protect

following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/1 royal family

terror,

feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In

alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis its

to

the well-placed help

it

money’s worth. Boggs’s

help to explain

why

the

1

hijackers, the

could buy. They seem felicitous influence-

damning

references to Saudi

funding of A1 Qaeda were edited out of the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

322

According

to the trade publication

PR Week

sent ‘messaging advice’ to the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld

that in order to get the

war on terrorism they needed just

nebulous groups such

,

the

The group

American public

told Clarke to

and

buy into the

to suggest a link to nation states, not

A1 Qaeda. In other words, there needed

as

to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, to

Rumsfeld Group

some

distant place

drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion

(already

embedded

of so-called rogue

Rumsfeld’s mind) of playing up the notion

in

masters of terrorism.

states as the real

born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an

two of the anything

states, Iran

at all to

and

Iraq,

do with the

relations

third,

North Korea.

and media firms working to

diktat that

Saddam had

since

‘axis’ at all,

hated each other, and neither had

money were poured

Tens of millions in federal

Thus was

craft

into private public

and broadcast the Bush

to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator

blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones.

Many

of these

PR

executives and image

consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner

sanctum. Indeed they were veterans,

like

Cheney and

Powell, of the

previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was

more

spin

DC

firm

than combat.

At the top of the the

was John Rendon, head of the

Rendon Croup. Rendon

hitters, a

the

list

Beltway

fixer

who

one of Washington’s heaviest

is

never

let political affiliation

way of an assignment. Rendon served

both Michael Dukakis and

Jimmy

as a

media consultant

Carter, as well as

George H. W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted he offered

his services at a price.

pulled in $100,000

followed

this

a

up with

Reagan and to

go

to war,

the Kuwaiti royal family.

$23 million contract from the

produce anti-Saddam propaganda

for

During Desert Storm Rendon

month from a

stand in

in the region.

CIA

He to

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR As part

of this

CIA

project,

National Congress and tapped financier, to

Rendon

323

created and

Ahmad

his friend

head the organization. Shortly

after

named

the Iraqi

Chalabi, the shady

9/11, the Pentagon

handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public

US bombing

for the

of Afghanistan.

Rendon was

relations

also

deeply

involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive

war on

Iraq,

though both Rendon and the Pentagon

disclose the details of the group’s

But

it’s

work

refuse to

there.

not hard to detect the manipulative hand of

Rendon

behind many of the Iraq War's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by

US

troops and Chalabi associates)

waving American

and videotape of jubilant

Iraqis

Infantry rolled by them.

Rendon had

the

first

flags as the

Third

pulled off the same stunt in

Gulf War, handing out American

flags to

Kuwaitis and

herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. ‘Where do

you think they got those American ‘That was

my

flags?'

clucked

Rendon

in 1991.

assignment.’

The Rendon Group may also have played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle

of the Bush White House preferred the

intel-

coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA. So Rendon and his circle ligence

new kind of off-the-shelf psy-ops, the privatization of official propaganda. ‘I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician,’ said Rendon. ‘I am a politician, and a person represented

who

uses

a

communication

objectives. In fact,

I

am

to

meet public policy or corporate policy

an information warrior and

a

perception

manager.’

What

exactly, pray

Pentagon defines

it

this

tell,

is

perception management? Well, the

way: ‘actions to convey and/ or deny selected

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

324

information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning.’ In other words, lying

US

about the intentions of the

government. In

public frankness, the Pentagon actually

by Rendon) to establish

a

a rare display

let slip its

high-level den inside the

Defense for perception management. They called

and among

Strategic Influence,

many

its

of

plan (developed

Department it

ot

the Office of

missions was to plant talse

stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media like is

an

official

government

manipulated for

memo

Influence, the Pentagon shut

gloated with satisfaction on press corps that

fits

down its

how the media New York limes and

bragging about

political objectives.

Washington Post threw indignant

Pentagon

into outbursts of pious outrage

So the

about the Office of Strategic the operation and the press

Yet Rumsfeld told the

victory.

while he was killing the

office, the

same

devious work would continue. ‘You can have the corpse,’ said

Rumsfeld. ‘You can have the name. But I’m going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done.

At

a

diplomatic

stories, this

level, despite

image war was

most fervent

allies

of a

failed to

a

threat.

It

I

have.’

the hired guns and the planted

lost. It failed to

and dependent

win

And

convince even America’s

client states that Iraq

the blessing of the

posed

UN and even

much

NATO,

wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the

day,

the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy,

Australia,

and

a

cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so

the citizens of the nations that threw in their lot with the

US

over-

whelmingly opposed the war. Domestically,

it

was

by terror threats and

a different story.

its

shattered

A

population traumatized

economy became

the saturation

bombing of the Bush message

state linked to

A1

Qaeda

that

that Iraq

easy prey for

was

a terrorist

was only minutes away from launching

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR attacks

325

on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily

barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and

lies.

Not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at Saddam’s regime, but at the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/1 and 79 per cent thought 1

he was close to having

Of course,

a

the closest

nuclear weapon.

Saddam came

nuke was

to possessing a

a

rusting gas centrifuge buried for thirteen years in the garden of

Mahdi Obeidi,a

retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn’t have

lzed chemical or biological weapons. In fact,

any Scud

missiles, despite

flacks alleging that

it

had

it

fired

reports, put

PR

Scuds into Kuwait.

plied press corps. Victoria Clarke,

embedded

didn’t even possess

erroneous reports fed by Pentagon

This charade wouldn’t have worked without

plan for

any weapon-

it

who

a gullible

or a

com-

developed the Pentagon

succinctly a few

weeks before the

war began: ‘Media coverage of any future operation

will to a large

extent shape public perception.’

During the Vietnam War, napalmed

villages

hasten the

US

US

into a

What where

The Bush gang meant

withdrawal.

war

images of maimed GIs and

suburbanized opposition to the war and helped

Vietnam phenomenon on the

TV

that

its

head by using TV

no one

really

the Pentagon sought was a

instead of photos of

turn the

force to propel

as a

wanted.

new

mangled

to

kind of living-room war,

soldiers

and dead

Iraqi kids,

they could control the images Americans viewed and to extent the content of the stories.

By embedding

a large

reporters inside

selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on

the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel

dependent on them

for their

own

safety.

It

worked,

naturally.

One

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

326

reporter for

army functioned

NBC

‘our protectors.’

as

confessed on the

Jessica

late

David Bloom of

us.’

the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged.

Lynch became the war’s

neo-Gothic battle,

The

he was willing to do ‘anything and

air that

everything they can ask of

When

US

national network quavered on camera that the

a

of

tale

steely

a

instant celebrity.

first

Here was

young woman wounded

a

in a fierce

captured and tortured by ruthless enemies and dramatically

saved from certain death by

a

team of

Kevlar and nightvision goggles.

Of

her heroic adventure proved to be

selfless rescuers,

knights in

course, nearly every detail of Active and maudlin as any

as

made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news distract attention

look

a lot riskier

for

from

more than

a stalled

a

week, served

campaign

that

its

purpose: to

was beginning

to

than the American public had been hoodwinked

into believing.

The Lynch

story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon

Combat Camera,

operation called

the

army network of photo-

graphers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25

video

clips a

day to the media.

The

editors at

Combat Camera

carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon’s

montage of

the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster

bombs, dead children and

US

soldiers,

napalm

strikes

and

disgruntled troops.

‘A lot of our imagery will have

a

big impact on world opinion,'

predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat

was

right.

But

as

the hot

Camera

in Iraq.

She

war turned into an even hotter occupation,

the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation

supremo Paul

Bremer about

as a free press,

installing

moved

to tighten

First,

tried to shut

it

its

democratic institutions such

monopoly on

down

the flow of images out of Iraq.

A1 Jazeera, the Arab news channel.

Then

THE THIRTEEN YEARS' WAR the Pentagon intimated that

would

it

327

TV

like to see all foreign

news

crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned

the hysteria about the threat posed by

Saddam’s weapons ot mass destruction

sedulously as did the

as

Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the

war op-eds outnumbered the antiwar columns by Back in 1988, the

weapons

Post felt

much

of mass destruction.

differently

When

a

3 to

Post's 1

pro-

margin.

about Saddam and

his

reports trickled out about the

gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings

The Bush team

‘a

quirk of war.’

When Iraq used US government not

displayed a similar amnesia.

chemical weapons

in grisly attacks

only didn’t object,

it

on

Iran, the

encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran

was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent

Baghdad

to

as

President Ronald Reagan’s personal envoy to

convey the bold message

that an Iraqi defeat

would be

setback for the United States.’ This sleazy

viewed

as a ‘strategic

alliance

was sealed with

a

handshake caught on videotape.

When

CNN

reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld

in the

spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped: ‘Where’d

you get

The

that? Iraqi television?’

current crop of Iraq hawks also saw

then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie,

NewYork Times's Judy

Miller,

who

Saddam much

sometime colleague of the

persists in

conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993

Trade Center.

How

peddling the ludicrous

bombing

times have changed. In

Republic titled ‘Back Iraq:

arguing that the

US

Time

for a

ot the

World

1987, Mylroie

downright cuddly toward Saddam. She penned an

New

differently

US Tilt

felt

article tor the

in the Mideast,’

should publicly embrace Saddam’s secular

bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. Fhe co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other

regime

as a

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

328

than the minor

demon

himself, Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation’s

most bellicose Islamophobe. ‘The American weapons

Iraq

that

could make good use of include remotely scatterable and antipersonnel mines and counterartillery

‘The United

Pipes.

ligence

it is

States

might

radar,’

this feat?

She had help

same

in the

day.

who

Benador parlayed her

skills as a linguist

also oversees the mill.

Her

whiz

to be

everywhere

How

did the reporter

form of Eleana Benador, the

media placement guru

relations

seemed

She would often appear on two or

Iraq.

three different networks in the

paper

intel-

supplying Baghdad.’

hawking the invasion of

media

upgrading

also consider

In the roll-out for the war, Mylroie

manage

wrote Mylroie and

runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru,

for the

into a lucrative career as

Washington foreign policy

Middle East Forum, a clients include

elite.

fanatically pro-Zionist

some of

She

white

the nation’s most fervid

hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, A1 Haig,

Max

Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle and Judy Miller. During the

Iraq War, Benador’s assignment

war

was to embed

zealots into the national media,

Benador not only got them the and made sure they things,

you

all

stayed

just have to state

on

talk

this

squadron of pro-

shows and op-ed pages.

gigs, she also crafted the

on the same theme. ‘There

them

message

are

in a different way, in a slightly

different way,’ said Benador. ‘If not people get scared.’ Scared

intentions of their It

administration’s gossamer case for

in

the

Bush

war detailed by Stauber and

(and other independent journalists) were right there for

the mainstream press to unearth and expose. Instead, the just like the oil

Iraq

of the

own government.

could have been different. All of the holes

Rampton

some

War and

US

press,

companies, cravenly sought to commercialize the

profit

with uncomfortable

from the invasions. They didn’t want to deal facts

or present voices of dissent.

THE THIRTEEN YEARS'

Nothing sums up

329

unctuous approach more brazenly than

this

MSNBC's

firing ot liberal talk

ot the war.

The network

segment

WAR

show

replaced the

Donahue on the eve Donahue show with a running host Phil

called Countdown: Iraq featuring the usual nightly coterie ,

and other cheerleaders

ot retired generals, security flacks

for invasion.

The network’s

executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings.

In fact, during

its

run Donahue’s show attracted more viewers than

any other program on the network. The

emptive

strike

on Donahue was

real

reason for the pre-

spelled out in an internal

memo

NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered ‘a difficult face for MSNBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are antiwar, anti-Bush and skeptical of from anxious executives

at

the administration's motives.’

The memo warned

that

an unpatriotic network,

NBC

as

agenda

at

Donahue’s show risked tarring

‘a

home

for a liberal antiwar

the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every

opportunity.’ So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos

MSNBC It’s

Donahue

gave

war

There’s

that a

the boot and hoisted the battle

at

flag.

sells.

helluva caveat, of course.

Once you buy

it,

the mer-

chants of war accept no returns.

August

1

8,

2003

JUDY MILLER'S WAR by Alexander Cockburn

Lay

all

Judith Miller’s

New York

2001 to June 2003, and you get

Times stories end to end, from a

late

desolate picture of a reporter with

IMPERIAL CRUSADES

330

an agenda, both manipulating and being manipulated by

government

officials, Iraqi exiles

Ark of scam

artists.

And while

Miller, either

US

and defectors, an entire Noah’s

under her

own single byline

or with

N YT

book Germs co-

colleagues, was touting the bioterror threat, her

,

authored with Times-men Steven Engelberg and William Broad, was in the bookstores

Miller

and