Politics: March 2003 Archives

While Americans were watching footage of missiles and files on CNN, the House passed (215-212) the Bush budget which includes a $726 billion tax cut and an estimated deficit of at least $350 billion. Note that the deficit number does not include any estimate of the costs of the Iraq war. The White House is expected to submit a request next week for "emergency spending" of about $80 billion.

This is nice. We've started an unprovoked war that looks to much of the world like a crusade against Muslims. The House of Representatives responds by passing this resolution:

The nonbinding resolution, passed 400 to 7 with 15 members voting "present," states that the phrase "one nation under God" in the pledge reflects the religious faith central to the founding of the nation and that its recitation is a patriotic act, not a statement of religious faith.

Does this sound particularly religious to those of you that believe in such things? As Slacktivist points out:

In other words, the phrase "one nation under God" an affirmation of America's goodness and piety, not -- as it would seem -- a statement of humility before a sovereign God. The House resolution elevates patriotism above religious faith, and thus elevates America above God. This is more frighteningly imperial than anything even Richard Perle or John Bolton has said.

Belief in a sovereign God places rather severe limits on the kind of patriotism the House seems to favor. If religious faith -- freedom of conscience -- is made subordinate to a loyalty oath of patriotism, then the First Amendment is meaningless.

No wonder we have almost no allies left. So the 48 hours to leave thing was just a joke?

From the BBC:

President George W Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer said that allied troops would go into the country "no matter what", but warned the Iraqi leader that if he did not leave it would be his "final mistake".
Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.

I thought this was supposed to be about disarming Iraq.

I don't think another country has ever given an ultimatum like that: change your government or we invade. Also, what's with the "his sons" part?

I'll be at Union Square around 7pm for the Global Candlelight Vigil for Peace.

Also, the March 22 protest march in NYC has been approved. More info here.

After seeing an article in Wired, I added Back to Iraq 2.0 to my blog links.

Sporting a cameraman's vest and lugging a satellite phone, Christopher Allbritton may be no match for heavy artillery. But he's apparently got enough guts to be the Web's first independent war correspondent.

Allbritton, a former New York Daily News reporter living in the East Village, plans to file stories directly to his weblog, Back to Iraq 2.0, next month as part of an independent news-gathering expedition to Iraq.

Allbritton says he wants to cover the humanitarian effects the likely U.S.-Iraq war will have on civilians in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is protected by a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

While "embedded" reporters with backing from major news outlets bump along on prearranged Hummer rides and report what they see in the mainstream media, Allbritton will hitchhike and bribe his way through an area that could become the most dangerous place in Iraq outside Baghdad.


Here's another, mentioned by Boing Boing: Kevin Sites, a CNN correspondent.

They certainly seem to be better with the new editors/owners. People such as David Ehrenstein and Atrios/Eschaton are contributing to their Daily Billboard.


A carnival float shows paper mache figure of German conservative opposition leader Angela Merkel emerging from the buttocks of Uncle Sam during the traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in Duesseldorf, March 3, 2003. Merkel has strongly criticized the German government's anti-Iraq war stance and recently visited Washington. The Rose Monday parades in Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf are the highlight of the German street carnival season.

[via Boing Boing]

ACT UP has photos and a statement from its protest of Roche's new drug Fuzeon's cost: $25,000 per year.

A few more photos may be found here.

From the French Embassy:

The French Embassy in Washington said French fries actually come from Belgium.

"We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes," said Nathalie Loisau, an embassy spokeswoman.

Buried in a NY Times article, I found this (Abdullah is King of Jordan):

Jordanian officials say that Abdullah, told by President Bush at the White House last summer that he would not be dissuaded from military action to topple Mr. Hussein, chose to limit Jordan's losses. "The king asked the president, 'Can I change your mind?' and the president told him bluntly, 'No,' " one Jordanian official said. "From that point on, we began preparing for war, and trying to minimize the political and economic costs."

Do you see the word "disarmament" in there?

This is one of my favorite artists' anti-war things I've heard about -- Drawn In -- which happened on March 5.

We invite artists and others around the world to gather on Moratorium Day, March 5, in their local museums which exhibit ancient near eastern art. In New York, this action will take place from 9:30 to 5:30 in the Assyrian gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We will respectfully draw with pencil on paper the art around us, which was created as early as five thousand years ago in the land now known as Iraq, where urban life and the written word originated.Our goal is to call attention to all of the civilizations which have flourished in Mesopotamia under so many names and cultures: Sumer, Babylonia, Assyria, the Arab/Muslim Abbasid Empire and contemporary Iraq.

This is a peaceful vigil, made in protest against US foreign policy under George W. Bush. If someone asks what we are doing, we will speak quietly with them and explain our position, then continue to draw. We will keep in mind the intention: to pay homage to this land, culture and people, which our government is planning to destroy. We are deeply concerned about an imminent threat to human life, and to the memory and history embedded in all of Mesopotamia, modern Iraq.

The web site has pictures of the action.

Go sign up to get his regular emails, so you don't miss things like this:

I get this a lot: Hey Mark, you know what you should do, you pathetic piece of liberal S.F. scum? You should kneel down right now and thank our angry God there's a hard-ass non-pussified non-wimpy U.S. military out there protecting your pathetic little butt, baby. Isn't that thoughtful?


Let us now speak blasphemy. Let us point up something no one seems to be mentioning, as Shrub sends in 300,000 of our youth to blast a cheap thug who is, by every account, no serious threat to the U.S., and never has been, and who had nothing to do with 9/11, and whose ties to terrorism are tenuous at best, all while rabid North Korea happily buys more nuke technology from desperate Pakistan and sells the finished product to the highest bidder.

Here it is: The military does not protect my freedom. Our soldiers are not out there right now safeguarding me, or you, or us, from some sort of total, '50s-era, Red Scare-esque dictatorial overthrow of our nation; nor is the military guaranteeing I have the right to write this column any more than it is protecting your right to read it, or to protest the war and speak freely and smoke imported French cigarettes and watch porn and drive really fast. Not anymore, they're not. Not this time.

More than ever before in recent history, the otherwise worthy U.S. military is right now in service not of the people, not of the national security, but of the current government regime and its corporate interests. Has it always been this way? Of course. But this time, with our smirky Enron president and cash-hungry CEO administration, it's never been so flagrant, or insulting, or invidious.


Is the military protecting us from terrorism? Doubtful. By most every estimate, Shrub's war will only ignite more anti-U.S. hatred, spark more countries to fuel up and prepare for America's random attack. We are not pouring water on the dying embers of U.S. revulsion -- we are kicking them. As hard as we can.

I understand and value the need for a strong military. I appreciate the necessity. But the war in Iraq does nothing but denigrate the value and integrity of our military. Note to conservatives: Those soldiers aren't out there dying for you, they're dying for strategic political power, for some oil exec's portfolio. They're protecting the American oligarchy. Does that make you feel proud?


From the Guardian:

A chemical plant which the US says is a key component in Iraq's chemical warfare arsenal was secretly built by Britain in 1985 behind the backs of the Americans, the Guardian can disclose.

Documents show British ministers knew at the time that the £14m plant, called Falluja 2, was likely to be used for mustard and nerve gas production.

Senior officials recorded in writing that Saddam Hussein was actively gassing his opponents and that there was a "strong possibility" that the chlorine plant was intended by the Iraqis to make mustard gas. At the time, Saddam was known to be gassing Iranian troops in their thousands in the Iran-Iraq war.

But ministers in the then Thatcher government none the less secretly gave financial backing to the British company involved, Uhde Ltd, through insurance guarantees.

Our SCLM (so-called liberal media) sucks. I just heard about this.

February 22, 2003

Carol Gilbert, 55, Jackie Hudson, 68, and Ardeth Platte, 66, have been held since shortly after their Oct. 6 arrests at the tiny Clear Creek County Jail in Georgetown. The sisters have cooled their heels there since the Federal Detention Center in Englewood can't accommodate women.And, although they could have been free months ago on personal recognizance bonds, they have stayed put because they decline to sign a promise they will stay clear of further legal trouble.

But they appeared no worse for wear after nearly five months of confinement and were met Friday by several dozen fellow pacifists who crowded the court benches to show their support.


The nuns, operating under the umbrella of Sacred Earth & Space Plowshares II, a national movement for nuclear disarmament, trespassed early the morning of Oct. 6 on to the site of a Minuteman III nuclear missile site in northeastern Weld County.

There, as they chanted and prayed, they allegedly poured what is believed to have been their blood on the silo missile lid, in the shape of crosses.

They are slated for trial March 31 on charges of damaging of federal property, and of injuring, interfering with or attempting to injure national defense material.

Their defenses largely are linked to a theory this was a crime of necessity. They say America, by arming itself with hundreds of first-strike capability nuclear missiles, is in violation of the United Nations charter, numerous treaties and long-established, internationally accepted rules of war.

More than once, a defendant or her lawyer pointed to America's nuclear arsenal and the fact that recent reports indicate the Bush administration has considered scenarios where a nuclear response could apply to Iraq.

No War Blog has links to two good refutations of Kenneth Pollack's arguments for attacking Iraq.

I now feel completely justified in my opinion of Thomas Friedman.

Go read Digby on Sunday's column:

This wishful thinking is running amuck among people who are even less dazzled by the President’s manufactured machismo than Tom Friedman. They cling to the idea that even though this administration has fouled up every single foreign policy initiative, that they wasted all of the U.S. moral authority emanating from 9/11, that they have been proven over and over again to be the boldest and most shameless liars to ever occupy the White House, that somehow they “Just Have To” do this one right. The long bomb “Just Has To” connect.

I think it’s time for everybody to start considering just what we are going to do in the event this thing, like every single other thing this administration has done, goes wrong? What are we going to do when the "It Just Has To Work" theory of geopolitics fails?

Also, go read David E.

This is the result of our "liberation" of Afghanistan. Malnutrition rates have doubled since 2001. We bombed the country from 30,000 feet, killed thousands, and now we're abandoning it.


Suffering from severe malnutrition and a distended stomach, Ahqel Khan, 2, of Khost, smiles as his grandmother, Khatou, helps him stand, at the Indira Ghandi Children's Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2003. Khan's development skills have been severely stunted due to his malnutrition, and he is still unable to crawl or walk. Dr. Assef Ghecy of the French non-governmental organization Action Contre de la Faim, says that the percentage of children in Kabul suffering from severe malnutrition has increased from 6 percent in 2001 to 11 percent in 2002. This is largely due to inadequate living conditions for recent refugees returning to Afghanistan.

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

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