Politics: February 2003 Archives

Go read James's posting of Nicolás Dumit Estévez being arrested while doing a public art project on Valentines Day -- giving people flowers in the subway.

Not directly related:

Has anyone else noticed that the NYC media basically never mentions the fact that there are National Guardsmen with automatic weapons in the subways? Are we supposed to just expect things like that now, without comment?

Very cool project, info from MattS originally:


You are invited to join BRIDGE TO BAGHDAD: A Youth Dialogue.

This Saturday, March 1, from 11:30am to 2pm, DCTV will be hosting a live, satellite conversation between students in Iraq and students in America to include the voice of a younger generation in the current public discourse.

The live conversation will feature a panel of American students representing diverse ethnicities, religions, and political viewpoints; a panel of students in
Baghdad; and a live studio audience that may participate or simply listen. The session will be turned into a program for television.

The program is free and open. Please reserve by writing to justin@dctvny.org or calling 212-925-3429 x243. You must arrive by 11:15am on Saturday to ensure your reservation.

The program will take place at the Cyberstudio at DCTV at 87 Lafayette Street, between Walker and White Streets, near the A, C, E, N, R, Q, W, 6 trains to Canal Street.

More info here.

Busy with work, so I'll let Atrios explain it for me: why I don't link to Josh Marshall's web site anymore. Arguing that it will diminish our standing to not bomb Iraq, even if it's a bad idea, is outrageous, stupid, and immoral.

U.S. Warns France in Struggle Over Iraq

The United States fired a warning shot Tuesday across the bows of France, the leading critic of its Iraq policy, saying it would view any French veto of a new U.N. resolution authorizing force as "very unfriendly."

What an idiot. There is no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, but here is Peter Vallone, Jr. on why he won't support and anti-war resolution in the NYC Council, from Newsday:

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said the council may have been reluctant to take action on the original resolution because of the attack on the World Trade Center.

"No one felt a greater loss than New York City," he said. "No one needs retribution more than New York City.

"I will not support any anti-war resolution, no matter what the wording, and neither will the large majority of my constituents," Vallone said.

Daily Kos has a great summary of the Carnegie Endowment's critique of Kenneth Pollack's op-ed piece in the Times on why we have to invade Iraq. They describe it as "a house of cards".

I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home from the INS Demo, but James went and wrote about it.

Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq

The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, is to maintain military control as long as U.S. troops are there. Once security was established and weapons of mass destruction were located and disabled, a U.S. administrator would run the civilian government and direct reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

In the early days of military action, U.S. forces following behind those in combat would distribute food and other relief items and begin needed reconstruction. The goal, officials said, would be to make sure the Iraqi people "immediately" consider themselves better off than they were the day before war, and attribute their improved circumstances directly to the United States.


I think the logic of all of the people who say anti-war protesters are coddling (or appeasing) a dictator boils down to this: "If those Iraqis knew what was good for them, they would let us bomb them to rescue them from Saddam Hussein and bring them democracy."

If anyone has a better link for this, let me know. I'm going to protest the INS special registrations downtown at Federal Plaza on Friday.

More info on this topic may be found here.

From No More Mister Nice Blog, an excerpt from an interview with Chirac. Do you think any of our "leaders" have worked in menial jobs in Europe, even really know anything about it?

Courtesy of Travelers Diagram:

"If all the barbarian conquerors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have restored the empire of the West: and if Rome still survived, she survived the loss of freedom, of virtue, and of honour."

–Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 35

I can't find this anywhere else.

But there's more to it than that. The Bush administration - which is in the midst of trying to sell the war to the public - filed a brief urging the judges to uphold denial of the permit. And the Bloomberg administration has no intention of forcing a St. Patrick's Day standstill instead of a parade - even though it's bigger and likely more raucous.

Thanks to Atrios for the link.


Update: The Village Voice wrote about it in this week's issue.

Even though I think the 250,000 number is low for NYC, look at the numbers in this Reuters story:

NYC: 250,000
London: 500,000
Berlin: 500,000
France: 300,000 (For the whole country? Maybe because their government is on the right side?)

Barcelona: 1.3 million
Rome: 1 million

The weather was cold, the dissent was hot. I got back a little while ago from the anti-war rally. Unlike Tom Moody, who was part of the crowds that the police kept away, I made it to First Avenue. I was marching with the truly fabulous GLAMericans, including Justin Bond, Cathay Che, Mike Albo, and Florent Morillet.

GLAMericans are a non-partisan group of funky Americans committed to non-violence and its promotion through glamorous, media-savvy, cultural events. We believe in America’s potential to be a peaceful and powerful force in the world. We believe that war is bad for our country, bad for our environment and bad for our travel plans.

Among the GLAMerican chants and signs:

  • Glamour not War

  • Dior not War

  • Makeup not War -- sounds like "Make Love not War"

  • Foreplay not Warplay

  • Peace is not a Fringe Movement

  • War is so last century

  • Resistance is fertile

  • Money for shopping, not for bomb dropping

  • Fake Fur Real Peace

  • Peace the Ultimate Luxury

  • Couture not War

  • Peace is Pretty

Other non-GLAMerican signs:

  • Tony Blair / Yankee Poodle

  • God Bless Hysteria

  • The last time we listened to a Bush, we wandered in the desert for 40 years

I heard some of the speakers, including Desmond Tutu, Danny Glover, and Angela Davis. Poet Saul Williams read an awesome poem -- my favorite line was "Your prayers between rounds".

As Tom Moody indicated earlier, the crowd control was pretty ridiculous. There could have been more people around First Avenue, but the police were really trying to prevent huge crowds from getting there. There were also no portable toilets -- the police claimed they would be a "security hazard". Of course terrorists would hide bombs in those rather than cars and trucks. I heard stuff about arrests and police using horses to charge crowds on the radio, but I didn't see any of that where I was. Go read James on this topic.

I put some photos in the gallery area. My favorite thing I saw was a group of junior high or high school kids carrying images from Picasso's Guernica.

There is an AP story that was quoted at the rally by the moderator that talks about the U.S. and Great Britain maybe backing down a bit:

Rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that doesn't explicitly call for war.

P.S. Last night I saw National Guardsmen with automatic rifles and camouflage (in Manhattan?!) at two subway stations.


The world is a hornet's nest and we now have the profound bad luck to be living in it under a child armed with a big stick while a bunch of his friends "double-dog dare" him to just do it and see what happens.

The United States Congress has stepped in to find nearly $300 million in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in the latest budget.

Why don't people trust the U.S. when we tell them we're bombing them for their own good, and to promote democracy?

Thanks to Atrios for the link.

The Mirror (UK):


New York Post:



I'll be starting here.

If you're interested in getting a Blue Button, we just updated the web site with more information on how to get one, including a list of galleries that have them.

Here is a map of all of the feeder marches planned to join the anti-war rally around 1st Avenue/49th Street this Saturday, Feb. 15.

The city has not approved any marches, only the stationary rally.

The same web site provides legal info regarding your rights as a demonstrator in NYC.

After my experience with the Matthew Shepard march in 1998, I don't trust the police to follow the law. Their approach has often been to break it anyway and let people sue.

A federal judge has denied a permit allowing the anti-war march on February 15 to march to the U.N., saying that heightened security concerns posed by up to 100,000 protesters would threaten the public safety and security of the U.N. Instead a stationary rally will be allowed five blocks away. The judge says it is constitutional to ban all marching in Mahattan.

NY Newsday also reports that the NYPD has approved no permits for demonstrations since the fall of 2002.

Apparently things like the St. Patrick's Day Parade don't have the same kinds of security concerns that political speech does.

A reminder: I'll be joining this group, assembling at the NYPL on Fifth Avenue. If you're going to be there, send me an email if you don't have already have my cell phone number, so we can meet up.


Update: Jim Henley has good ongoing coverage of this.

The Economist has an interesting article on a recent paper by Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern. The article has a link to the full paper for my hardcore economics readers. As someone who travels there regularly, I have always been uncomfortable with standard economic analyses that show that Europe is much poorer than us, because I just don't see it, even ignoring the median vs. mean issues involved in comparing countries with radically different wealth distribution profiles.

A significant part of his argument is that GDP is so bad at measuring things like quality of life. Our spending on air conditioning and heat, because our climate is harsher, counts towards our higher GDP. So does our inefficient transportation system -- we spend more on cars and roads rather than on public transit -- and the fact that we spend much more on home and business security plus prisons, since we have a much higher crime rate.

Not content with harassing the children of WTC victims for being unpatriotic, Bill O'Reilly refers to Mexicans as wetbacks, or coyotes.

Carpeicthus supplies us with a transcript from Bill O'Reilly, where he attacks the son of a WTC victim for being unpatriotic, for bringing up the fact that we trained the mujahadeens in Afghanistan, who trained al Quaeda.


O'REILLY: You are mouthing a far left position that is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.
GLICK: It's marginal -- right.
O'REILLY: You're entitled to it, all right, but you're -- you see, even -- I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this.
GLICK: Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's presidency was illegitimate.
O'REILLY: Maybe he did, but...
GLICK: I also didn't think that Bush...
O'REILLY: ... I don't think he'd be equating this country as a terrorist nation as you are.
GLICK: Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that.
O'REILLY: Yes, you are. You signed...
GLICK: What I'm saying is...
O'REILLY: ... this, and that absolutely said that.
GLICK: ... is that in -- six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahadeens to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.
O'REILLY: All right. I don't want to...
GLICK: Maybe...
O'REILLY: I don't want to debate world politics with you.
GLICK: Well, why not? This is about world politics.
O'REILLY: Because, No. 1, I don't really care what you think.
GLICK: Well, OK.
O'REILLY: You're -- I want to...
GLICK: But you do care because you...
O'REILLY: No, no. Look...
GLICK: The reason why you care is because you evoke 9/11...
O'REILLY: Here's why I care.
GLICK: ... to rationalize...
O'REILLY: Here's why I care...
GLICK: Let me finish. You evoke 9/11 to rationalize everything from domestic plunder to imperialistic aggression worldwide.
O'REILLY: OK. That's a bunch...
GLICK: You evoke sympathy with the 9/11 families.
O'REILLY: That's a bunch of crap. I've done more for the 9/11 families by their own admission -- I've done more for them than you will ever hope to do.
O'REILLY: So you keep your mouth shut when you sit here exploiting those people.
GLICK: Well, you're not representing me. You're not representing me.
O'REILLY: And I'd never represent you. You know why?
O'REILLY: Because you have a warped view of this world and a warped view of this country.


Go read the whole thing. O'Reilly eventually has his mic cut rather than debate him, and apologizes to his listeners that he put such a person on his how.


Update: Tom Tomorrow seems to have a more "official" transcript.

Peter Turnley is a photographer who refused to join the pool covering the first Gulf War, because he knew that it was designed to be "a major impediment for photojournalists in their quest to communicate the realities of war". He has now published his photos of that war online.

They appeared to have changed the caption to this picture in the online version of the story about the raid on a London Mosque.


My print edition had this:

Lost your chewing gum?

I was shocked when I saw this. What's next? Asking Jews at the Wailing Wall whether that's a nervous tic?

Here is where I'll be for the anti-war demo on February 15.

Note that there is still no march permit. NYC has refused to grant one so far.

Sunday's NY Times had a column by Thomas Friedman on Iraq/American/Europe that was laughably bad. I can't believe it even ran. I wanted to write something about it, but Tom Coates at plasticbag.org has done a much better job.

William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune (emphasis mine):

American commentators like to think that the "Jacksonian" frontier spirit equips America to dominate, reform and democratize other civilizations. They do not appreciate that America's indefatigable confidence comes largely from never having had anything very bad happen to it.

The worst American war was the Civil War, in which the nation, North and South, suffered 498,000 wartime deaths from all causes, or slightly more than 1.5 percent of a total population of 31.5 million.

The single battle of the Somme in World War I produced twice as many European casualties as the United States suffered, wounded included, during that entire war.

There were 407,000 American war deaths in World War II, out of a population of 132 million - less than a third of 1 percent. Considering this, Washington does not really possess the authority to explain, in condescending terms, that Europe's reluctance to go to war is caused by a pusillanimous reluctance to confront the realities of a Hobbesian universe.


It cannot be emphasized too often that not one of the principal figures associated with the Bush White House's foreign policy, with the exception of Colin Powell, has any actual experience of war, most of them having actively sought to avoid military service in Vietnam. Their inexperience and ignorance could not be better displayed than by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent comment that draftees have added "no value, no advantage really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time." Who does he think fought World War II - the 174,000-man prewar regular army?

The American regular army has never been truly effective until large numbers of flexible, brainy and nonconformist wartime civilian soldiers were integrated into its command, staffs and ranks.


Germany's current resistance to President George W. Bush's war coincides with the re-emergence in Germany of articulated memories of exterminatory bombardment, pillage, population expulsions and mass rape, suffered in the final months of World War II. That devastating experience has for years been deliberately repressed in the German consciousness, in acknowledgment of Germany's responsibility for the war and the crimes committed by German forces.

In recent months a series of books and articles have at last recalled what the Germans themselves call taboo subjects, at a time when the youngest generations of those who experienced these events are mostly still alive.

This has not been to argue the merits, justification and (minor) actual effect on the German war effort of allied saturation and firestorm bombing of German cities, but in order to establish a moral and aesthetic coming-to-terms with events that, together with the firebombing of Japan's wooden cities, rank among the worst things ever done in or by Western civilization.

Go read James's post about John Pilger's column on our likely attack on Iraq. We are becoming a rogue nation, and it is laughable to pretend we are doing this in the interest of "democracy".

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from February 2003.

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