August 29, 2006

Bringing on "World War III"

From the Inter Press Service News Agency:

Bringing On "World War III"

Analysis by Bill Berkowitz*

OAKLAND, California, Jul 20 (IPS) - If you thought that a global conflagration on the order of a World War was more the stuff of Biblical prophecy, science fiction and apocalyptic end-times novels, think again.

For years, U.S. neoconservatives have been ratcheting up the rhetoric--mostly in small gatherings and on partisan web sites--claiming that terrorist activities around the world constituted the initial stages of a new world war.

But during the past week or so, with the Israeli/Hezbollah crisis in full swing, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is using any platform available to him to convince the public that the U.S. is engaged in World War III. [continued]

*Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative Watch" documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the U.S. Right.

August 22, 2006

From Joshua Frank Democrats Stifle Antiwar Voices, Again

A Pakistani perspective

From & WHYY:

Kureishi on Changes in British Immigrant Life

Morning Edition, August 22, 2006 · Renee Montagne speaks with award-winning author Hanif Kureishi [author of Intimacy and My Son the Fanatic]. Kureishi became popular in the 1980s for his depiction of life in London as a Muslim, and the divided loyalties of leading a modern life within an immigrant community. We ask him how relations in London have changed over the years since he first began writing about the issue.

August 21, 2006

Letter to the Editor of the Intelligencer

To the Editor:

In the first campaign debate with Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy, Michael Fitzpatrick "said he would support Israel in a pre-emptive strike against Iran, [while] Murphy criticized the freshman congressman for trying to 'spread war' in the Middle East."

This administration's barely suppressed urge for war against Iran, possibly with Israel acting as proxy, was the most alarming threat described by former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter and CIA veteran Ray McGovern at a Middle East war forum on July 22. Ritter denied that Iran's nuclear program poses an imminent danger that needs to be addressed militarily and warned that if Iran is attacked the price of oil will triple and our economy will be destroyed. Yet so far it is the military—not Congress—that is holding Bush back, while 21 former generals, diplomats, and national security officials charge in an open letter that "the administration's 'hard line' has actually undermined U.S. security." (LA Times, 8/16)

Beltway hawks like Fitzpatrick must be replaced in November. This administration's foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster. Believing you can win the war on terror primarily by military means is the surest way to lose it and much, much more. A veteran like Patrick Murphy understands that.

August 20, 2006

James Fallows: "Declaring Victory"


Declaring Victory against Al-Qaeda

Weekend Edition Sunday, August 20, 2006 · Weekend Edition's Liane Hansen talks with journalist James Fallows about his article in the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Fallows' article "Declaring Victory" calls for the U.S. to change the way the it responds to terrorist acts.

From Atlantic Unbound:

Follow-up: "Can we still declare victory?" (August 11, 2006) [Accessible to nonsubscribers]
Yes. James Fallows explains why the foiled airline bombing plot actually strengthens the argument for declaring victory in the war on terror.

August 18, 2006

Robert F. Kennedy's words still resonate

From Robert F. Kennedy's extemporaneous speech in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 4, 1968, revealing the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.:

"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world."

Group Says Iran Is 'Not a Crisis'

Former generals and officials seek to prevent an attack on suspected nuclear sites and to overhaul policies toward Tehran and Baghdad.

By Peter Spiegel, Los Angles Times Staff Writer
August 16, 2006

WASHINGTON — Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security.

The letter comes as President Bush has made a series of appearances and statements, including a visit Tuesday to the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va., seeking to promote the administration's record on security issues in advance of November's midterm congressional elections.

The rhetoric has increased since last week's Democratic primary in Connecticut, in which antiwar political newcomer Ned Lamont defeated three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman to become the party's Senate candidate — a victory that senior administration officials are describing as a sign that Democrats are embracing their party's extreme left.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, one of the letter's signers and a former military assistant to Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in the 1960s, said the group was particularly concerned about administration policies toward Iran, believing them to be a possible prelude to a military attack on suspected nuclear sites in that country.

Gard said the signatories — who included retired Marine Corps Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, head of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994, and Morton H. Halperin, a senior State Department and National Security Council official during the Clinton administration — did not believe that Iran had the wherewithal to build a nuclear weapon in the immediate future and would push the administration to open negotiations with Tehran on the issue.

"It's not a crisis," Gard said in a telephone interview. "To call the Iranian situation a 'crisis' connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them."

He noted that Iran had sought to open negotiations with the U.S. through Swiss intermediaries, efforts that the letter-signers said were worth exploring as a means of defusing tensions in the region.

But Gard said the administration appeared to be going in the opposite direction, adding that he was particularly concerned by recent warnings from former Israeli military officials that a strike against Iran may be needed to disable that country's nuclear program.

He noted that the Bush administration's unabashedly pro-Israel stance during the recent conflict with Hezbollah was an indication that the White House may accede to such assessments.

"This administration is clearly so beholden to Israel that it raises the concern we might go along" with a military strike, Gard said.

Organizers of the letter said the White House's recent efforts to belittle Democrats for seeking a timetable for withdrawing troops in Iraq may lead the signers to include criticism of the administration's Iraq policy.

The letter is expected to call for a complete overhaul of U.S. policy toward both Iran and Iraq.

August 02, 2006

CARE Act needs to be passed

From the letter to the editor of the Intelligencer, 8/2/06, from the director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape on behalf of the CARE Coalition:

Now is the time for Pennsylvania's General Assembly to pass the CARE Act--Senate Bill 990 and House Bill 2159--introduced by Sen. Joe Conti, Sen. Connie Williams and Rep. Bill DeWeese.

The CARE Act is critical legislation that would protect the rights of rape victims by ensuring that they receive comprehensive medical care, including emergency contraception, when they go to the emergency room. A recent poll indicated that 84 percent of Pennsylvanians support rape victims having access to emergency contraception in the emergency room.

EC is a time-sensitive, FDA-approved medication that works just like birth control. It is proven to be at least 89 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when taken up to 120 hours following a rape. EC prevents pregnancy and is not abortion (it is not the French abortion pill RU-486); it will not disrupt or harm an existing pregnancy.

According to a survey, more than 50 percent of Pennsylvania's hospitals do not inform or provide emergency contraception when a rape victim goes to the emergency room.

It is estimated that one in 10 Pennsylvania women has been the victim of forcible rape in her lifetime. Please support the CARE Act and help assure that these women receive the support and CARE they need to begin the road to recovery.

War Crimes Act of 1996

"Will Bush and Gonzales get away with it?" asks Michael Scherer in Salon, 8/2/06. Mike Cronin, retired Navy "pilot and Vietnam POW--a staunch Republican--who pushed through the War Crimes Act of 1996 is appalled that the Bush administration, facing possible prosecution for war crimes, is devising a legal escape hatch."