IS BACK IN STYLE
University professors Margaret and Melvin DeFleur have updated their study
of attitudes about America in different countries of the world. Click
here to see the an interactive guide.
here for the full report as a pdf file
Isenberg's critique of Homeland Security and recommendations for improvements
[click on image to go to the executive summary]
AND AWE" VS SURGICAL STRIKES
Administration promised an aerial bombardment so devastating that Saddam
Hussein's forces would surrender immediately. At the same time it wanted
a minimum of civilian casualties. The result was a visual spectacle that
emotionally repulsed much of the Arab world, but left the Baathist power
structure dangerously cohesive. On NBC's Meet the Press, Rumsfeld tried
to explain that the target of this "precision bombing" was the
Iraqi regime. When Russert pointed out that Iraq's defense minister gave
a briefing throughout the bombing, Rumsfeld admitted sheepishly that some
targets had been missed.
Do You Run A Charm Offensive and Engage in Shock And Awe?"(The
Times of London, March 24, 2003)
on Meet The Press
on CBS News Face the Nation: The
Secretary of Defense was
surprised by video footage of American prisoners of War that had just
been shown on Al Jazeera TV. CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer showed Rumsfeld
the footage and said: "Well, there you have it. Those, apparently,
are American prisoners. As I said, we just received that. Can you tell
us anything or what do you make of that? " Rumsfeld answered:"
I have no idea. There are some journalists that are missing -- not journalists
that were embedded with our forces, but some freelance people who were
moving around on their own -- some have been killed and some are missing
and whether they were journalists or coalition forces, I simply don't
know. " (Face the Nation, March 23, 2003)click
here for full transcript
Washington Post's Howard Kurtz on Rumsfeld's damage control
Tommy Franks briefing, Monday, March 24, 2003(CENTCOM, March24)
Abizaid's briefing in Qatar on Sunday, March 23(CENTCOM)
FIGHTING AND AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR
By Monday, U.S. troops
were running into heavy fighting, and losing helicopters. Pilots said
they were forced to abandon their targets by an intense curtain of fire
that rose from streets, rooftops and backyards, hitting near all their
aircraft. (The Washington Post, March 24, 2003)
THE REST OF THE WORLD SAW
Prisoners of War shown on Al Jazeera
Jazeera Television broadcast the first footage of captured American soldiers
and sparked a firestorm of protest from U.S. military authorities. Although
CBS confronted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with scenes from the
report, CBS and the other U.S. TV networks quickly decided not to show
the film. Both French TV channels eventually ran sanitized versions of
the Al Jazeera broadcast. The captured G.I.s appeared frightened, but
in reasonably good condition. "We did not feel that there was anything
humiliating or degrading," explained a French reporter.
(To see France-2's 8 p.m. newscast on 3/23 click here).
see today's 8 PM News on France-2, Click here
on-line runs the excised Al Jazeera pictures of dead American G.I.'s as
well as a photograph of a 2-year old child killed by U.S. bombs in Basra.
Warning: these are difficult to look at.
ROOTS OF AL JAZEERA
it has incurred Pentagon wrath for showing aspects of the war that
we would rather not see, Al Jazeera's roots extend back to a joint effort
between the BBC and Saudi Arabian television. That venture quickly collapsed
after the Saudi government protested vetoed a hard hitting documentary
about beheadings in the Kingdom. To the dismay of the Saudis, and ultimately
of Washington most of the journalists drifted over to a new channel being
set up in Qatar. To Washington's dismay, the Arab journalists began emulating
the kind of hard hitting reporting that American journalists used to be
known for. All that happened at a time when the U.S. press was becoming
increasingly neutered by corporate ownership and Washington spin-doctors.
Michael Moran, who previously worked for the BBC and is now a senior producer
at MSNBC, details the history. (Mike Moran, MSNBC).
Guardian newspaper reports that a major diplomatic row is about to break
concerning U.S. treatment of POWs at Guantanamo, and Human Rights Watch
criticizes the Justice Department's efforts to deny due process of law
to prisoners on the grounds that Guantanamo is sovereign Cuban territory--even
though the base where prisoners are being subjected to "stressful"interrogations
is under U.S. administration.
ANYONE STILL REMEMBER THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM?
Bin laden was inspired, in part, by Islamic fundamentalist thinking which
holds that the West will never give the Arab world an even break. One
of Bin Laden's recruiting pitches held that Desert Storm had defiled Islam
by allowing infidels, a.k.a. the U.S. Army to more or less permanently
base itself on the Holy sands of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. had effectively
turned the Custodian of the Holy Places, Mecca and Medina, into a neocolonialist
puppet. The argument was powerful enough to move young Saudis into giving
up their lives in an attack against the World Trade Center. How will radical
groups look on the destruction of one of Islam's great cities, the home
of the first Caliphate? The New York Times Magazine provides a primer
on the thinking of one of the most influential philosophers of the Muslim
Brotherhood, the spiritual antecedent of Bin laden and the others likely
to follow him.
(Paul Berman, New York Times Magazine, March 23, 2003)
BLOG FROM BAGHDAD:Dear Raed, Where and Who are You?
running diary of what it is like to be in Baghdad at the moment has drawn
so many readers that it threatens to melt down a number of Internet servers.
Dear Raed has an almost whimsical, if edgy approach to the war:"...The
most disturbing news today has come from Al-Jazeera, they said that nine
B52 bombers have left the airfield in Britain and flying "presumably"
towards Iraq, as if they would be doing a spin around the block. Anyway
they have 6 hours to get here. Last night was very quiet in Baghdad. Today
in the morning I went out to get bread and groceries. There were no Baath
party people stopping us from leaving the area where we live..."
Makiya keeps a running diary in the New Republic on the frustrations of
the Iraqi opposition. Makiya's conclusion: it's time for a newer generation
to try its hand.
Thayer: what it feels like in Baghdad
The City is definitely getting scarier.
(Nate Thayer, Slate, March 19, 22, 23, 2003)
THE HEIGHT OF THE ATTACK ON BAGHDAD, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION QUIETLY SLIPS
THROUGH ITS $7.5 BILLION TAX BREAK ON CORPORATE INTEREST PAYMENTS
Staying up well past midnight as the bombs were falling
on b Baghdad, Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives
managed to put the necessary pieces together. The Pentagon had skillfully
evaded answering questions about the cost of the Iraq war until after
the tax break, which will primarily benefit corporations and the high
end of the investment pecking order, had passed. A dissenting voice, Senator
George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) warned, "We're on the edge of a fiscal
crisis in this country if we keep going the way we are, particularly with
this war that's hanging over us today." (Helen dewar, Washington
Post, March 22, 2003)
IT IS TIME TO COST THE WAR
His $750 billion tax break safe in hand, Bush now confirms
that he'll need an extra $75 billion to cover initial costs of the war
in Iraq. (Dana Millbank and Mike Allen, Washington Post, March 22, 2003)
PERLE AND DANIEL COHN-BENDIT SLUG IT OUT IN FOREIGN POLICY
line: Sure Syria helps bankroll the terrorists in Hamas, but after we
take out Saddam, Syria will be much more willing to listen to the U.S.
point of view on Israel. Daniel Cohn-Bendit's response: You've got to
be kidding. (Foreign Policy, May-June 2003)
recent efforts to turn war into profit are detailed with links to relevant
documents by Disinfopedia.org
Mustapha Barzani, father
TO EXPECT FROM THE KURDS
were initially in this war to bring democracy
to the Middle East, right? Well, that was until Turkey informed us that
anything resembling a nation-state is definitely out for the Kurds. The
only problem is that the Kurds have had their own functioning, largely
democratic government for the last ten years--thanks in large part to
U.S. air protection and the inability of Saddam's government to extend
its influence into Kurdish areas. With Saddam soon to be ousted, and given.
Turkey's strategic importance, not to mention the importance of oil fields
in Kurdish territory, the administration will be tempted to end a regional
democracy rather than promote it. No problem there, the Kurds are used
to being betrayed by Washington going back to the breakup of the Ottoman
Empire. The International Crisis Group sketches out Kurdistan's recent
history and analyzes the policy considerations that make Iraq's northern
territories hard to govern.
(ICG, March 21, 2003)
OF WHAT HAPPENS IN IRAQ, THE LAST FEW WEEKS HAVE BEEN A DIPLOMATIC TRAIN
Bronson,the Council on Foreign Relations' Director of Middle East Studies,
notes in an email exchange with Bernard Gwertzman that France and Germany
deserve part of the blame, but the major responsibility belongs to the
administration. Says Bronson:The Bush administration came to power with
a notion that "if we say it, they will follow." Many in this
administration believed that President Clinton did not show resolve and
commitment and therefore did not lead the international community. This
administration decided to pursue an alternative course. They alienated
many around the world, but even worse, they did not build a strategy for
bringing along ambivalent partners.
The second problem is that this lack of strategy led them to make policy
decisions that have been contrary to alliance building. The doctrine of
preemption alienated many around the world who we would have liked to
have been helpful to us.
The third problem is that they never got "on message." They
kept changing what this was about--disarmament, regime change, terrorism,
or democracy. You can weave a story together about how all of this fits,
but they never did.
Fourth, they never put together a compelling vision about post-conflict
Iraq. Many around the world believe we have no idea what we are getting
ourselves into, and will leave a mess on Iraq's neighbors' doorsteps when
we decide things are too hard, or other problems are more compelling.
Only very, very recently did the administration begin talking about post-conflict
Iraq, and unfortunately it has been too little too late..." (to
read full text, click here)
New York Times' Bill Keller suggests that it may be time for Powell to
contends that Powell spent so much time trying to protect his right flank
from neo-Reaganite hawks in Washington that he failed to do the kind of
diplomacy that was needed to build a genuine coalition in support of the
war. As a result, Muslim liberals who normally speak out in defense of
American interests abroad have come under intense fire and may leave the
U.S. facing a Pyrrhic victory in Iraq. All well and good as a provocative
analysis, but would the administration really be better off without Powell?
(Bill Keller, The New York Times, Saturday, March 22, 2003)
COMMAND WARNS AGAINST FLOODING BAGHDAD
the dams on iraq's major rivers could flood the capital and everything
around it, including U.S. troops laying siege.
(U.S. Defense Dept. Briefing, March 21, 2003)
CONVINCES JORDAN AND OTHER COUNTRIES TO EXPEL IRAQI DIPLOMATS
Australia and Jordan agree to a U.S. request to expel Iraq's diplomats,
France, Germany, the Vatican, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and Sweden
refuse. Egypt says the suggestion is not under consideration, and Iran
also refuses to sever relations at this point in time. (Islam on-line.net)
SURPRISINGLY , THE ARMS MARKET IS BOOMING IN THE GULF
United States has launched its long-anticipated invasion of Iraq at the
same time that the biennial International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) 2003,
the Middle East's largest military show, is taking place in Abu Dhabi,
one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Ironically, the
five-day event was due to end on Thursday, the day that the US began its
attack on Iraq.
Some 850 companies and around 45,000 visitors including heads of state,
defense ministers, military delegates, diplomats and industry officials
were present for the sixth holding of IDEX. While 37 countries have national
pavilions, four countries - Malaysia, Romania, South Korea and Thailand
- make their debut. This year's exhibition has seen an almost 35 percent
increase in participation..."
Isenberg, in Asia Times, March 21, 2003)
COVERAGE THAT CAUGHT THE EXCITEMENT OF WAR, BUT LITTLE OF THE BLOOD AND
explosions also had an eerie prettiness to them and the shelling often
had the appearance of a spectacular light show -- especially when shot
after dark and turned a glowing green by night scope photography. In
this sense, though the pictures were dramatic and often live,they didn't
bring the horror or ugliness of war into sharp focus, or any kind of focus
Shales in the Washington Post, March 22, 2003
B. KIESLING'S LETTER OF RESIGNATION
Kiesling was a political officer at the U.S.
Embassy in Athens. his letter of resignation has circulated through various
web chat groups for the last month, and it is now published by the new
York Review of Books. Here is an excerpt:
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of
the United States and from my position as political counselor in US Embassy
The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible
not only with American values but also with American interests. ... We
have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international
relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring
instability and danger, not security.
The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic
self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American
problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence,
such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam.
The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around
us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a
systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit
for those successes and build on them, this administration has chosen
to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and
largely defeated al-Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate
terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated
problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is
to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military
and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy
hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric
of American society as we seem determined to do to ourselves. Is the Russia
of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire
thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?
To read John Kiesling's
complete letter, click here...
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