Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wednesday-The News and How I See It

Wednesday-The News and How I See It

Israel wants Powell to stay at home.
He's straying from that Road Map.
Is he straying because there may be a more direct and less dangerous route?
The reviews are mixed.
I enjoyed reading (League of Liberals member) Speedkill blog's take on the situation.



Dishonorable Discharge
Bush administration slashes veteran’s benefits
By Dave Lindorff | 11.26.03

"...In 2000, candidate Bush campaigned hard for the votes of soldiers and military families, promising “Help is on the way.” It was, but in reverse..."

This article makes some clear and concise points about the way Bush "saves us money"...which is virtually a series of
non-supportive and deliberate actions toward the men and women who've laid it all on the line for our nation's security.

From the article:

"...Even more than his father, and Ronald Reagan before him, Bush is cutting budgets for myriad programs intended to protect or improve the lives of veterans and active-duty soldiers. Bush’s handlers have worked hard, through the use of snappy salutes and fly-boy stunts, to present the service-ducking former National Guardsman as the soldiers’ friend. But though Republicans enjoy widespread military support, Bill Clinton was the only president of the last four to cut weapons programs instead of veteran benefits..."


The Quiet Revolution
All eyes are on Iraq, but the most breathtaking democratic reforms in the Muslim world are happening in Turkey—with Islamists leading the way.

By Stephen Kinzer, American Prospect, Issue Date: 12.1.03

Kinzer writes about the powerful and non-violent move toward Islamic democracy in Turkey.
I particularly like the words of political scientist Soli Ozel, who reminds us that the most unexpected people deliver what is most unexpected of them. Can a thirst for democracy be pushed at the point of a gun and under the threat of the bomb? I think back to our own American history. Was James Madison threatened and coerced into penning his inspired writings?
Did someone hold a gun to Thomas Paine's head? Left to chance in Iraq, would the best ideas of the people (for their people) ever have found a way to flourish without spilling so much blood? We seem to want a government of the people in Iraq, but for WHOSE people?
Our 'people' (that is, People's Republic of Halliburton) or the actual people who live in Iraq?

From the article:

"..A Muslim party leading the charge toward European-style democracy—this is a deliciously subversive contradiction. Turkish intellectuals have consumed much raki while musing about how it came to happen. One of them, the political scientist Soli Ozel, calls it "another example of a historical irony or dialectic, that the most unexpected people deliver what is most unexpected of them"....."


'We're air force pilots, not mafia. We don't take revenge'
Israel's F-16 and Black Hawk refuseniks say why they could not obey illegal orders and kill innocent Palestinians
Chris McGreal in Tel Aviv,Wednesday December 3, 2003
The Guardian

"...Now, having been thrown out of the air force, they are talking publicly about what brought members of the most revered branch of the Israeli military to make an unprecedented challenge to the handling of the conflict with the Palestinians..."

Since soldiers are the ones asked to kill in order to protect their countrymen, and since soldiers have to be able to sleep at night and live with their conscience, one should not be surprised to read that they would speak out when
they believe their government has "crossed the line".
Would dropping a one-ton bomb on the home of an enemy militant leader..knowing that you killed 14 members of his family along with him (the 14 being mostly children), cause YOU to lose sleep?


Phase three: civil war
The post-occupation power struggle in Iraq may yet be the bloodiest chapter in the conflict
Simon Tisdall, Wednesday December 3, 2003, The Guardian

"Continuing, escalating civil strife, scattering the seeds of a possible civil war, could yet turn out to be the Bush-Blair legacy in Iraq"

I want to know what actually happened in Samarra.
Who were the people we killed?
Was it a great victory or an act of needless violence and/or despearate fear?

Today, Juan Cole contrasted The American Enterprise Institute's conference findings on Iraq with that of the more recent Brookings Institute postmortem and it's stated that "The US army's search and destroy mission in the Sunni Arab heartland is alienating the population needlessly."

If thousands of hearts and minds were lost to our "cause" because of Samarra,
where is the gain?
Will we ever know the true story?

When we ease our grip on Iraq and began to pull away, what will we have accomplished....what will we be leaving behind? We never have had world cooperation in this war and Bush is worried about re-election.
How will this affect the people of Iraq, to whom he is "bringing freedom and democracy"?
Prior to the war, there was much speculation that if Saddam was removed from power, the Shiite majority would massacre the Sunnis. Have we opened the door to a civil war in Iraq that will violently take the innocent lives of
far more than Saddam Hussein ever could have taken himself?

From the article:

"...One shopkeeper said that once under attack, American soldiers began shooting wildly and in all directions. After seeing two civilians shot down, he said he was so incensed that "if I had a gun, I would have attacked the Americans myself". Another eyewitness, a Samarra policeman, gave a similar account. As of Monday, only eight bodies of the official total of 54 had been accounted for and most were reportedly civilians.
So what was Samarra? Was it a great feat of American arms? Was it a massacre of the innocent? Or was it just another familiar yet confused and bloody incident about which the real truth will probably never be known?...."

" ...Through ineptitude and fear, the fight for "hearts and minds" is being lost, in Samarra as elsewhere. Last month's surprise decision to fast-forward the political transition, far from reflecting Washington's concern for Iraqi self-determination or any great confidence that it will work, is actually a panicky political act driven by George Bush's re-election calculations.."

"....The question therefore is no longer one of invasion and war, or even of occupation and withdrawal. It is a question, fundamentally, of which Iraqis will take control of their country as the coalition's grip eases, how they will do so, and with what degree of legitimacy. This next phase offers a choice: self-rule ---or self-destruction....."


Beloved American Toy Company Cannot compete with the WalMarts and Targets-
FAO SCHWARZ files for bankruptcy





"It is particularly fitting to honor the Freedom President on this particular piece of coinage because, as has been pointed out, President Reagan was wounded under the left arm by a bullet that had ricocheted and flattened to the size of a dime," Souder wrote to colleagues in the House of Representatives.

"FDR believed the federal government should spend your dimes."

Souder spokesman Martin Green said this bill was fueled by Republican outrage in the wake of the CBS miniseries "The Reagans," which the network eventually canceled. The program aired on the Showtime cable network on Sunday.

Souder says he is willing to compromise with Democrats who might not want to dump FDR completely from the coin. An arrangement could be set up to rotate the two presidents' images on the dime.


Church doesn't think like Jesus
Survey shows only 9% of Christians have biblical worldview


From the Article:

"... 9 percent of born-again Christians hold a biblical worldview.
Barna, who surveyed 2,033 adults in his study, found only 4 percent of the general population have a biblical worldview and suggests many of the nation's moral and spiritual challenges are directly attributable to this fact..."




I'm glad she's writing a book. Wish it could come out before the 2004 election.



Scientists Say Government Was Overzealous in Pursuit of Plague Researcher

Who's to say what progress this man could have made in stamping out the potential dangers posed by the plague and terrorists who would love to use it against us?

From the Article:

"...Thomas C. Butler was convicted Monday on 47 of the 69 charges stemming from a federal investigation into his work with the deadly bacteria. He was acquitted on charges of lying to the FBI, smuggling plague samples into the United States and illegally transporting samples..."


Poll: 7 in 10 Do Not Think Iraq War Reduced Threat of Terrorism

I'm not surprised.


There is a great article at today about MoveOn.Org.

From the article:

"...MoveOn has been tagged in mainstream media as a liberal activist group, when in fact the positions they've articulated have tended to fall more in the center," says Jonah Seiger, a visiting fellow with the Institute for
Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "Their birth was a moderate position on the Clinton impeachment -- censure the president and move on. It wasn't 'This is all bullshit and we shouldn't do anything,' and it wasn't 'Let's tar and feather him.' Their position on the war was also a middle-of-the-road position --
give inspectors time. It wasn't 'Let's not be there,' and it wasn't 'Let's go right to war.'"

"....Boyd says that if it hadn't been for the impeachment, "..we wouldn't have gotten involved in politics. But at a certain point, you can't look away. You wonder about what was lost and what we could lose if we
don't step forward."
"...Their sense that American politics had run off the rails began during the impeachment, but was driven home after the 2000 election. During the recount, the right mustered mobs, but Democrats were oddly quiescent.
"We now know that the system, to be fair, has to be people screaming on both sides."

"....the group has defined itself by opposition to Republican Party initiatives like the Clinton impeachment and the war, but its ideology is arguably closer to the mainstream than Bush's is...
That center has been obscured by television, which thrives on rancor and outrage. But Boyd believes the Internet is beginning to counteract some of television's distortions. "The American people are smart, talented,
resourceful, all of those good things," he says. "Right now with technology, we can tap into that resourcefulness; we can help play a catalytic role in helping to get these people to step forward. That's what you're seeing with
MoveOn. That's what you're seeing with the Dean campaign and other campaigns...."


"...Bush has done far more than anyone else could to make MoveOn's base indivisible. Wes Boyd says: "I wouldn't give too much credit to the process," Boyd says. "I think it's easier to have a clear opponent that unifies all progressives. There's much less nattering going on among progressives right now than I think has historically been the case."