What's it all about?

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We have been bombarded with so much information concerning the possibility of war in the Middle East! Our president appears to remain on track with his "Warhawk Mentality"...even if it means further isolating us from the world! What is the real issue? I read the paper and see that employment is slowly creeping up, and the local economy is going down! We are sending aid abroad, when we fail to support social programs for those on the homefront! What's it all about? We are focusing on an area with the possibility of having weapons of destruction (oil), and keep ignoring an area admitting to have nuclear capability and willing to break all peace treaties and pacts (North Norea, no oil). They have even violated terms of the peace treaty by moving in weapons into the DMZ, as well as offered to ship parts needed in the Mideast. What's it all about? Remember, Osama Bin Laden still goes unaccounted! Well, I had an interesting conversation with my financial planner and she stated that nothing helps a sluggish economy like talk of war. She further pointed out how financial investment improved in 1991 during Desert Storm! Prior to that, investments were low...what's it all about? This time the stakes will be higher! I have family in the military and they will probably have to go...but for what? I am not sure. The real issue should be trying to figure out how to ease umemployment, provide affordable healthcare for the elderly, and work on the economy! In my opinion, that is what it is about! Let's clean up our own house before we try to clean up outside!

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2003


My brother Ray I hear what you are saying and many people across America feel the same way and we are protesting. In my small town 750 people marched down main street saying NO! to war in Iraq. And I was aske to be the kick off speaker. I read from Dr. King's 1967 speech he gave at Riverside Church. In that speech Dr. King spoke of the madness of going to war in vietnam. He urged americans not to be silent and that the real war was the war on poverty that needed to be addressed in this country. We as a.m.e's cannot be silent! We must speak out against this war. I told our marchers that every town, and city united would have a powerful voice. Our congressman and women take notice of these protests for we are the ones that voted them into office. Bishop Bryant and Rev. Cee asked all the churches in the fifth district to email President Bush on new year's eve with this scripture "Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called children of God." On Jan. 18, 25 countries around the world protested this potential war, 200,000 in d.c protested in frigid weather, in san francisco the voices of americans are starting to be heard. In the words of Dr. King we cannot be silent.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2003

Parson Ray from 'round the Way: What's it all about.......Alphie!! Didn't Dionne Warwick sing this song in the 60s? Fret not my brother ALL US Presidents engage in international mischief. You should consider replacing your financial planner with some one who really knows about the best climate for economic recovery. Now who, pray tell, might fit that description? Over the last twenty years the two longest economic expansions (Reagan-recovery of 1982-88 and Clinton-recovery of 1992-2000) occurred without any massive military campaign and that includes the liberation of Kosovo in 1999. If war is such a stimuus for a sluggish economy why didn't the Desert Storm Campaign of 1991 revitalize the American economy? Foreign policy interventionism, ergo, war planning, is less about disguided economic stimulus and more about protecting essential foregin policy interests. Freedom is not free and liberty is not liberal. QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2003

I recently completed reading several op-ed columns from today's NY Times. This thread is the appropriate place to illuminate Parson Ray's understandable jitters about the "drums of war". The contribution by the President's National Security Advisor, Condelezza Rice, merits a careful reading by anyone interested in understanding the current crisis with Iraq. You can find it on http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/23/opinion/23RICE.html I don't think you will be disappointed or mis-informed after reading Dr. Rice's thought-provoking commentary. QED

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2003

It's about:

1. Finishing a job we should've finished the first time.

2. Removing our dependence on Saudi Arabia and their murderous wahabi islam. Once we have our man in power in Iraq we have oil, bases, anything we need. From there we can tell the Saudis farewell forever, and more vigorously pursue the terrorists they produce, harbor, and finance.

3. We can also remove the troublesome regimes in Syria and Iran more easily, and better secure Israel's future.

4. We prevent an unsatisfactory situation such as we face in North Korea: An implacable foe armed with nuclear weapons. Not many good options there, and we're trying to figure out what to do now. North Korea should stand as the primary lesson on what happens when we let dangerous regimes acquire nuclear weapons. We should've taken them out in 1994. We won't make the same mistake with Iraq...or Iran...or Syria...

Worthy goals all. Let's get on with it.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2003


You are right.

When shall we practice what we preach? I am appalled at Bible toting Christians who heed not the word of God. I am repulsed by any statement which says let's take them out. I never cease to be amazed by some who call themselves by the Name of Christ.

Jesus has said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

PresidentClinton's firt military initiative was cruise missiles fired at Iraqi Headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for an assassination attempt against President George Bush, by Saddam Hussein. One might even ask now as it has been asked before, "Who is in the White House, the father or the son?"

In my opinion, the only one in this present Administration who has the guts to stand and say what is right is Colin Powell. The rest seem to be about their own private agendas of money and power and greed.

Saddam has said he is ready to fight. We have only to remember Vietnam to understand what that means. If you think we won the war in Vietnam, then think again.

The old cliché says, "No Christ, No Peace, Know Christ, Know Peace." We shall never know peace without the "Prince of Peace." In Romans 12:19 Saint Paul says, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. "

America is being deceived and God is not pleased.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2003

I heard a joke that illustrates the mentalities of this discussion well, and Lord knows this board could use more humor.

Question: You're walking down a dark street with your family when a mugger armed with a knife attacks. You have a revolver and are a trained marksman. What do you do?

Liberal answer: "Does he come from an oppressed people group? Have I done anything to provoke this? Did my ancestors do anything to his ancestors to justify this attack? Could I use my gun like a club in hopes of "containing" him? Is defending my family worth risking my relationship with this mugger or his friends? Let me consult with an international panel university professors before deciding.

Conservative answer: BANG!


Texas family's response: "Nice group Dad, except for that one flier. Remember your technique and press the trigger, don't jerk it.":-)

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003


What's it all about?

New World Order! Globalization! An attack on all Muslims countries to implement the so-called democratic regimes. If this war of terrorism was really about terrorism, why are all Muslims countries being attacked and bombed, sanctioned? Why aren't the N. Korea being attacked or rumored of war? Since 1991, Iraq has been under heavy sanctions to where over 100,000,000 childrens has died from just the sanctions alone. Thousands of babies are born deformed because of the United States Military weapons, napalms, cluster bombs, uranium missles that the U.S military has launched in 1991. The chemical agents spreads in the air and breath in by millions of citizens in iraq. See, the media won't publized this type of information. If America is to reprimand countries with weapons of mass destructions, well, like the man Martin Lurther King Jr. said it best, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." "I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government." This was a Christian man who believed in non- voilence and who was murdered by this same government that gave him a street named after him and a holiday after him. He condemned this country and called this country the greatest purveyor of violence.

People really should read between the lines about what's it really about. To me it's a war against Islam and Muslims countries. But I'm other people have their opinions as well.


-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003

It's not a war against all Islam, but certainly it is war against violent fundamentalists, especially wahabists. These are the ones who feel they must murder all non-Muslims. They've been killing "infidels" for a long time, but on 9/11 they attacked the wrong bunch.

Now we're hunting them down and removing them one by one. They'll be on the run the rest of their lives. It has to be this way because there's no reaching an accord with people like this. If we don't hunt them they'll only kill more of us, so the mighty US Military goes about its grim business.

As for North Korea, hey! Give us a minute. We'll get to them. We need to implement a plan, but be assured it's being worked. Different players, different factors, but we're looking at it. We don't restrict our defensive attacks to Muslims. We've dealt with nazis, communists, drug lords...

As for Colin Powell, he's one of the reasons we're in this mess. In the closing days of the Gulf War he saw the images of the "highway of death", and worried about world opinion. Big mistake. He exerted his influence to end the war before the Republican Guard was completely bagged. Gen Schwartzkopf wasn't completely aware of the situation on the ground, and agreed. Had he known the true disposition of the armies he'd have insisted on 24 more hours, which would have eliminated the Republican Guard, and given the Shiite and Kurdish rebellions a better chance to succeed. We sold those poor people out big time.

Powell has always been the weak link. Even today he thinks we should've stayed with sanctions rather than liberating Kuwait. If it were done his way, Kuwait would STILL be ruled by Iraq.

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003


I lived in DC and worked at the Pentagon during General Powell's tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The reluctance Powell expressed to using military force against Iraqi intransigence is proto-typical of military leaders. Men with combat experience, like Powell, know first hand the horrors of war. Even though war is the ultimate political expression (as articulated by the 18th century Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz) it should be used after all diplomatic options have been completely exhausted. To suggest that Powell was and remains the 'weak link' is nothing more than rhetorical excess and resonates well with the jingoistic wing of the Administration. However, the irony is that many of the 'hawks' and Powell critics NEVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY! A President should be provided with all credible foreign policy options, including those which promote restraint. The State Department by definition prefers diplomacy. Powelll is indeed a reluctant warrior but once the decision is made to proceed with war, like Desert Storm, differences are put aside and the plan is executed without dissent. Powell is no Cyrus Vance and his accumulation of military credentials was not an act of serendipity. QED

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003

John R. Stott has written a thesis on The Sermon on the Mount. It is called "Christian Counter Culture." What Our Lord has taught us often runs counter to what men say or do. This often includes governmental systems and what they propose. It may also include "religious" groups and churches as well. Christianity is not simply a religion but it is rather a "Way" of life.

Proverbs 16:25 reminds us that "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." And Psalm 146:3 plainly states "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help."

Jesus preached love for all mankind. For, "he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." If we say we are Christian we are compeled to preach Christ and live as He taught. The question then arises whether to serve God or man.

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003


It's a war against Islam, against non-whites, oil, natural resources. Do any one believe that Operation September 11, 2001 was orchestrated by Muslims. Do anyone believe in the 60's there was a real "War on Drugs"? See, The U.S. brought the drugs in the country, in the inner cities and proliferated the drugs, guns and then locked up the king pins but forgot to lock up the ones bringing the drugs in the country. Do anyone believe that airplanes brought down the two towers in New York and not explosives, Do anyone believe that there were suicide pilots who hijacked planes with box cutters razors and not airplanes that were flown by remote control? Check out website: Operation 911: No suicide pilots.

America is losing the war going on in Afghanistan that the news are not telling us about. You said that the mighty U.S. dealt with communist, drug lords but all the weapons no matter how high advance they are can never defeat a idealogy that deals completely with Tauhid. Tauhid is understanding the Oneness of God. And after understanding that no one can defeat a nation, a individual, a group of people who's whole life centered around it. Open your minds and really ask yourself, "What's it all about?"

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2003

I believe that the radical fringe element of Islam (Bin Laden, Al Queida, Hamas, Hezboolah, etc) were the masterminds of 9-11 simply because available direct (confessional) and circumstantial evidence point in this direction. To reject such evidence is nothing more than contiuned denial and deflecting blame in the wrong direction. No reputable scholar of international affairs puts much credence in conspiratorial theories. Such paradigms attempt to indict the West and the US in particular, as the primary reason for global inequality and insecurity. While such chatter goes over well on college campus debates, internet discussions and private Chardonnay and brie receptions sponsored by the noveau riche', the unimpeachable facts thankfully trump revisionist rhetoric. QED

-- Anonymous, January 27, 2003


Mr.Dickens no offense to you but you probably believe Christopher Columbus discovered America and thankgiving was a day when pilgrims and Indians had a feast. There was no evidence that Usama bin laden masterminded or orchestrated a plan that higly advanced. Mr.Dicken do you know about the U.S.S Liberty ship. If you don't just type in your computer U.S.S.Liberty and I'm sure you'll be informed about this conspiracies after reading what true U.S. soldiers had to say in 1967 when Israel attacked the U.S.S. Liberty ship for over two hours after realizing that it was an U.S. Ship. Once the U.S.Government found out who was attacking the U.S. Liberty Ship President Johnson didn't send any aid to help them. He just let them die. Then the U.S. covered up the whole conspiracy. Read it for yourself. I believe from facts and history alone the U.S. was and is capable of allowing September 11, 2001 to happen. Again, read about Operation Northwoods. Type in Operation Northwoods, it happened in 1962 when the U.S.Government was going to create terrorist attacks on American soil, blow up airplanes, John Glenn's space shuttle, hijack airplanes and then blame Cuba so the U.S. could use the attacks they created themselves as a pretext to invade Cuba like they did in Afghanistan. If you don't believe me, again type Operation Northwoods, it was in the Sun newspaper. I not taking up for Usama bin laden if he was behind 9/11 he should be dealt with for killing innocent people but he said he wasn't involve and actually the U.S. was planning to go to war against the Taliban back as early as June of 2000 but the U.S. needed a pretext or an excuse to go to war against the Taliban because again what the U.S.wanted was the Caspian Sea, untapped with oilpipelines dreams being built so they can be in a strategically position. Now it's Iraq's oil the U.S. wants.

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2003

Brother Abdul-Halim:

The following are a few statements which summarize my "unbeliefs". I do not believe in the purity of Eurocentric values, traditons or interpretations of history. I also do not believe in certain folklore and myths about American hegemony. Neither do I believe that American foreign policy is always evil incarnate. Lastly, I do not believe that Israel is a rougue or illegitimate country whose interests are adversarial to mine. The case of the USS Liberty was indeed as you point out a tragic event. This event, which occured on June 8, 1967 in the midst of the Six Day War, has personal significance for me. The men who lost their lives are not forgotten by students of history. Yes, relations between Israel and the US were obviously strained but the conflicting reports about the friendly fire will never be resolved on a forum such as this. My last comment on this topic is simply this. Feel free to exercise your right of dissent about the US Government's complicity in nefarious international affairs. If you deny Al Qeida's involvement and Bin Laden's orchestration of 9-11 despite unimpeachable evidence to the contrary, go right ahead. Many put faith in conspiracy theory to illuminate their understanding of global affairs. I am not a member of this group. Based on my experience I have "discovered" that such eccentric ideas always fail the litmus test of logic, evidence and corroboration. QED

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2003


Veterans Call Troops To Conscience Feb 01, 2003 Source: Veterans Call To Conscience

What's its all about?

We are veterans of the United States armed forces. We stand with the majority of humanity, including millions in our own country, in opposition to the United States' all out war on Iraq. We span many wars and eras, have many political views and we all agree that this war is wrong. Many of us believed serving in the military was our duty, and our job was to defend this country. Our experiences in the military caused us to question much of what we were taught. Now we see our REAL duty is to encourage you as members of the U.S. armed forces to find out what you are being sent to fight and die for and what the consequences of your actions will be for humanity. We call upon you, the active duty and reservists, to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

In the last Gulf War, as troops, we were ordered to murder from a safe distance. We destroyed much of Iraq from the air, killing hundreds of thousands, including civilians. We remember the road to Basra -- the Highway of Death -- where we were ordered to kill fleeing Iraqis. We bulldozed trenches, burying people alive. The use of depleted uranium weapons left the battlefields radioactive. Massive use of pesticides, experimental drugs, burning chemical weapons depots and oil fires combined to create a toxic cocktail affecting both the Iraqi people and Gulf War veterans today. One in four Gulf War veterans is disabled.

During the Vietnam War we were ordered to destroy Vietnam from the air and on the ground. At My Lai we massacred over 500 women, children and old men. This was not an aberration, it's how we fought the war. We used Agent Orange on the enemy and then experienced first hand its effects. We know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder looks, feels and tastes like because the ghosts of over two million men, women and children still haunt our dreams. More of us took our own lives after returning home than died in battle.

If you choose to participate in the invasion of Iraq you will be part of an occupying army. Do you know what it is like to look into the eyes of a people that hate you to your core? You should think about what your "mission" really is. You are being sent to invade and occupy a people who, like you and me, are only trying to live their lives and raise their kids. They pose no threat to the United States even though they have a brutal dictator as their leader. Who is the U.S. to tell the Iraqi people how to run their country when many in the U.S. don't even believe their own President was legally elected?

Saddam is being vilified for gassing his own people and trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. However, when Saddam committed his worst crimes the U.S. was supporting him. This support included providing the means to produce chemical and biological weapons. Contrast this with the horrendous results of the U.S. led economic sanctions. More than a million Iraqis, mainly children and infants, have died because of these sanctions. After having destroyed the entire infrastructure of their country including hospitals, electricity generators, and water treatment plants, the U.S. then, with the sanctions, stopped the import of goods, medicines, parts, and chemicals necessary to restore even the most basic necessities of life.

There is no honor in murder. This war is murder by another name. When, in an unjust war, an errant bomb dropped kills a mother and her child it is not "collateral damage," it is murder. When, in an unjust war, a child dies of dysentery because a bomb damaged a sewage treatment plant, it is not "destroying enemy infrastructure," it is murder. When, in an unjust war, a father dies of a heart attack because a bomb disrupted the phone lines so he could not call an ambulance, it is not "neutralizing command and control facilities," it is murder. When, in an unjust war, a thousand poor farmer conscripts die in a trench defending a town they have lived in their whole lives, it is not victory, it is murder.

There will be veterans leading protests against this war on Iraq and your participation in it. During the Vietnam War thousands in Vietnam and in the U.S. refused to follow orders. Many resisted and rebelled. Many became conscientious objectors and others went to prison rather than bear arms against the so-called enemy. During the last Gulf War many GIs resisted in various ways and for many different reasons. Many of us came out of these wars and joined with the anti-war movement.

If the people of the world are ever to be free, there must come a time when being a citizen of the world takes precedence over being the soldier of a nation. Now is that time. When orders come to ship out, your response will profoundly impact the lives of millions of people in the Middle East and here at home. Your response will help set the course of our future. You will have choices all along the way. Your commanders want you to obey. We urge you to think. We urge you to make your choices based on your conscience. If you choose to resist, we will support you and stand with you because we have come to understand that our REAL duty is to the people of the world and to our common future.

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2003


What's it all about?

Beating Around The Iraqi Bush Feb 01, 2003 Source: Media Review Net Via Islamic Community Net

A couple of years ago my blood pressure shot through the roof when I read that America had allegedly refused to extend aid relief to Mozambique unless the country allowed them to explore their oil reserves. Since then, the blood pressure has risen in the hearts of many - most notably, according to a recent report in a SA daily, in those of the Brits when they see US president George Bush's face on TV. Well, mine goes up right with theirs.

So you've guessed it: I'm finally lashing out at the impending war on Iraq. I can be held back no longer. What I find particularly infuriating is Bush's belief that international law - the Geneva Conventions and protocols, the US charter and the declaration of human rights - doesn't apply to his great democracy. Despite most of the world's opinion and an UN arms inspection that didn't reveal any reason to go to war with Iraq, he's going to do it.

And there's no bigger opponent to Bush's regime than Irishman Denis Halliday, the former head of the UN humanitarian programme in Iraq (who resigned four years ago in protest over what he called the West's 'genocidal' sanctions on Iraq). In an interview with salon.com Halliday vehemently opposes the West's continued sanctions against Iraq as well as the hopelessly inadequate Oil-for-Food programme which just isn't delivering enough food. He says these factors, together with the bombing of water sanitation projects and other civilian infrastructure during the Gulf War, have brought mortality rates of children under five to 5 000 per month - and that's not even counting the adults and teenagers. Basically, the people are dying due to bad water, inadequate diets, broken down hospital care and collapsed systems that the Americans and their allies have caused.

Anupama Rao Singh, Unicef's senior representative in Iraq, agrees: "The change in 10 years is unparalleled, in my experience. In 1989, the literacy rate was 95%; and 93% of the population had free access to modern health facilities. Parents were fined for failing to send their children to school. The phenomenon of street children or children begging was unheard of. Iraq had reached a stage where the basic indicators we use to measure the overall well-being of human beings, including children, were some of the best in the world. Now it is among the bottom 20%. In 10 years, child mortality has gone from one of the lowest in the world, to the highest."

Halliday maintains that, despite Saddam Hussein's biochemical assaults on Iranian troops and his own Kurdish population in the 1980s, his invasion of neigbouring Kuwait in 1990, his repeated threats against Israel and the US, and his decades-long commitment to building a secret doomsday arsenal, he now poses little threat to the world. And by all accounts, UN weapons inspector Blix's report says the same

Halliday continues: 'Saddam Hussein is not a threat to the US, although the US, which continues its illegal bombing campaign in the no-fly zone, is a threat to Iraq. The experts say that Saddam doesn't have the capacity to manufacture weapons of mass destruction - and even if he could somehow acquire that capacity, he certainly doesn't have the capacity to deliver them'.

So why does Bush - like a gramophone stuck - insist he has? Well, for starters, more than a decade ago America supplied weapons of all kinds to Iraq, so they know what they could/should have. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein launched a barrage of long-range Scud missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia, dozens of people were wounded or killed - including 28 US soldiers who were asleep in their bunks. While the incident was widely reported in the press, it was rarely mentioned that the technology used to increase the range of the missile that hit Israel, and to create the nerve gas that was apparently carried inside, was supplied to Iraq by US and other western corporations.

Likewise, when US-led allied forces bombed more than 30 chemical and biological weapons facilities during the 1991 war with Iraq, much of the deadly toxins that were released into the upper atmosphere - only to fall back down on the heads of US forces - were created with the generous support of US firms and America's leading politicians. And the man who paved the way for Iraq to purchase millions of dollars worth of weapons and technology from US corporations was, none other than the architect of Gulf War I, Former president and junior's daddy, George Bush. So even today the chemical, biological and possibly even nuclear weapons US and UK troops could face in Gulf War II might as well be stamped "Made in the USA".

Also then, the inevitable oil thing. In an article from the Guardian, military buildup in the Gulf has nothing to do with making the world a safer and more humane place, but more with the fact that the US has long ceased to be self-sufficient in oil and if there are supplies elsewhere in the world, Bush wants to cornered them for his country. 'The seizure intact of Iraqi oil fields is a prime war aim of the US in any conflict," says Larry Elliot of the Guardian "and it's likely that once Saddam has been toppled and an army of occupation has control of the country, the big oil companies (hallo Texas) will be called in to modernise the country's decrepit oil infrastructure.'

He continues to point out that it would be a bitter irony if the US found itself in possession of 11% of the world's known reserves only to find that the 25% in Saudi Arabia had been seized by a regime with no love for America. Hallo oil price wars.

Bush also cries 'crimes against humanity' as a reason to kill. Please. There are plenty of small, repressive states in the world, like Zimbabwe, where the regime is allowed to quietly kill and torture their people. And there are plenty of small, repressive states with weapons of mass destruction - like North Korea and Pakistan - which appear to pose a larger and more immediate threat to the world's security. But, and this is again from the Guardian, "Only in Iraq do you get a small, repressive country with weapons of mass destruction that also happens to be floating in oil." And until now the US had turned a blind eye to the pleas of help from the Iraqi people.

And all this while the abovementioned North Korea has stood up and waved at Bush saying 'We've got weapons of mass destruction and we're going to make more'. To this Bush says 'Not now, North Korea, you don't have anything I want, so just keep quiet until I'm finished with Iraq. And don't bother me more because if we don't bomb Iraq's people and resources before the sweltering heat arrives in March, we'll have to wait until autumn, by which time it'll be too late. Yes, the heat is also a logistical problem for the yanks and rain- loving Brits who'll be unlikely to maintain their killer drive in 44 degrees celsius. Also, the States is concerned the troops will lose their edge if they have to wait for war in the region for much longer - if this happens, they'll have to be sent home for retraining. Ha!

I'll not even comment on the War on Terror and Al Qaeda - this has nothing to do with terrorism (although, if anything, the US is terrorising the Middle East and the rest of the world), and there is no sufficient link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

I close my argument - adequately supported above by reputable sources in case you think I sucked this out of my getting-leaner thumb - with Salmon Rushdie's words: "It should be said loudly that the primary justification for regime change in Iraq is the dreadful and prolonged suffering of the Iraqi people, and that the remote possibility of a future attack on America by Iraqi weapons is of secondary importance. A war of liberation might just be one worth fighting. The war that America is currently trying to justify is not."

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2003


What's it all about?

The threat posed by US terrorism to the security of nations and individuals was outlined in prophetic detail in a document written more than two years ago and disclosed only recently. What was needed for America to dominate much of humanity and the world's resources, it said, was "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the "new Pearl Harbor", described as "the opportunity of ages". The extremists who have since exploited 11 September come from the era of Ronald Reagan, when far-right groups and "think-tanks" were established to avenge the American "defeat" in Vietnam. In the 1990s, there was an added agenda: to justify the denial of a "peace dividend" following the cold war. The Project for the New American Century was formed, along with the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute and others that have since merged the ambitions of the Reagan administration with those of the current Bush regime.

One of George W Bush's "thinkers" is Richard Perle. I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about "total war", I mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in describing America's "war on terror". "No stages," he said. "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

Perle is one of the founders of the Project for the New American Century, the PNAC. Other founders include Dick Cheney, now vice- president, Donald Rumsfeld, defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary, I Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J Bennett, Reagan's education secretary, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan. These are the modern chartists of American terrorism. The PNAC's seminal report, Rebuilding America's Defenses: strategy, forces and resources for a new century, was a blueprint of American aims in all but name. Two years ago it recommended an increase in arms-spending by $48bn so that Washington could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars". This has happened. It said the United States should develop "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons and make "star wars" a national priority. This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush taking power, Iraq should be a target. And so it is.

As for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", these were dismissed, in so many words, as a convenient excuse, which it is. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification," it says, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." How has this grand strategy been implemented? A series of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob Woodward of Watergate fame and based on long interviews with senior members of the Bush administration, reveals how 11 September was manipulated.

On the morning of 12 September 2001, without any evidence of who the hijackers were, Rumsfeld demanded that the US attack Iraq. According to Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting that Iraq should be "a principal target of the first round in the war against terrorism". Iraq was temporarily spared only because Colin Powell, the secretary of state, persuaded Bush that "public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible". Afghanistan was chosen as the softer option. If Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct, some 20,000 people in Afghanistan paid the price of this debate with their lives. borrowd, not my words

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2003

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