Thursday, October 31, 2002

I was at the big antiwar rally in San Francisco last weekend (Oct. 26).

Some commentators are painting the rally participants as being only “left-wing wacko extremists” or “communists.” But I was there, and the participants did reflect a broad cross-section of the population. There were many middle class people with their children, doctors, professionals, veterans, students, Libertarians, Christian groups, business owners and I even saw one sign that said “Republicans for Peace.”

On the way to the rally we stopped our van at a rest stop in Oregon. A young woman approached us carrying a baby. She asked where she could get one of the “Attack Iraq? NO!” bumper stickers that we had on our van. We gave her one of the extra stickers we had. She was on her way to San Diego to meet her husband who is in the Navy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Washington Post has an article about how the current White House administration has a habit of distorting the truth, especially when it come to the war with Iraq. Specifically the article mentions that Bush has lied about:

- unmanned aircraft that could be used "for missions targeting the United States."
- a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency saying the Iraqis were "six months away from developing a weapon."

The article doesn't mention some of the other lies about Iraq that the President has uttered including:
- the weapons inspectors were kicked out in 1998 (they actually chose to leave before an escalation of US bombing)
- the close link between Saddam and Al Qieda

The LA Times has an interesting article on the failure of US attempts at “preemptive strikes.” It also offers a model of how we could contain and reduce the threat of Saddam Hussien. The article points out that Kadafi was once America's number one enemy and unlike Saddam was directly connected to terrorist attacks against the West. However, the threat of Kadafi has been greatly reduced by a combination of containment and limited sanctions – not a massive bombing campaign.

Anther model that has been suggested is supporting the reformers in Iran. Although Islamic extremists still have some power in Iran, it seems that the reformers are firmly in control. The large young population has little attachment to the Islamic revolutionaries that seized power 20 years ago. We should be supporting the reformers and using Iran as an example of to export Islamic moderation to the rest of the Middle East.

Yet another model for reducing the threat of Saddam has been proposed by Sojourners Magazine. Massive nonviolent civil disobedience by the Iraqi population may seem a bit naive to some but it's worked before (the Phillipines, most of Eastern Europe, Serbia).

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

How come we aren't hearing more about the fact that the story about enriched uranium on it way to Iraq via Turkey was a hoax (also here)?

And it appears that the report Bush was using to claim that Iraq was six months away from nuclear weapons does not exist.

In fact, anytime we hear some story about Iraq being a threat to the US maybe we should just think of three words: Gulf of Tonkin.
This is a letter to the editor that I wrote and that appeared in the local paper yesterday. My post for 9/26 contains links to some of the sources I used for this letter.

Do you get the feeling that President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are grasping at straws in an attempt to win support for their war?

They have made the claim that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons that threaten the United States. However, experts including Scott Ritter, former head weapons inspector in Iraq, have systematically discounted this claim. Bush tried to claim that Iraq was a nuclear threat. But the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, one of the most respected groups that monitors nuclear weapons, pointed out in a recent editorial that Iraq is actually farther away from developing such weapons than it was 10 years ago.

Blair presented a "dossier" against Saddam trying to win support from his government. But experts quickly pointed out that there was really nothing new in this document. In fact just one hour and 10 minutes after it was released, British journalists in Iraq were taken to one of the facilities mentioned in the dossier. They found nothing. The Daily Mirror newspaper said the report was full of "marshmallow facts."

Now some in the Bush administration are again trying to link Iraq with al-Qaida. Peter Struck, Germany's defense minister, has said there is nothing new in the CIA report, and added he had no information of links between al-Qaida and Iraq.

Let's hope that members of Congress understand the difference between propaganda and evidence. We need weapons inspectors in Iraq. We don't need a bloody bombing campaign that will kill thousands of innocent civilians.