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Journalists' Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan
by Edward Girardet
by The European
Centre for War,
The News Media
09/11 8:48AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy
AGENDA INTERRUPTED? HARDLY
used boxcutters and civilian airliners to attack the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon on 9/11, so George W. Bushs administration is pouring
billions into missile defense. The 19 men from Al Qaeda who carried out
the attacks did most of their preparation in Germany, so we attacked Afghanistan.
Americans may have been shocked by 9/11, but the event did little to slow
or alter Bushs agenda. TomPaine.com takes a look at how little has
really changed because of terrorism, and how much has changed because
TomPaine.com September 9, 2002
Bush was as affected by 9/11 as any other American. What makes him different,
observes Michael Hirsh in this months Foreign Affairs magazine,
is that he is in a position to actually do something about it.
Foreign Affairs, September-October, 2002
YEAR LATER: STILL UPSET, STILL ON EDGE
latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
indicates that New Yorkers and Washingtonians continue to suffer the aftershocks
from 9/11. While New Yorkers tend to be more upset, residents of Washington
are more on edge. A growing number of Americans are more concerned about
tightening security at home than launching new adventures over seas. On
the other hand, there is a growing reluctance to give up personal liberty
to fight terrorism. The percentage who believe that the War on Terrorism
going very well is less than half of what it was last October. The percentage
who think it is not going well at all has more than doubled.
By the Pew Center for People and the Press, September 5, 2002.
WE REALLY CHANGED THAT MUCH?
than we realize, suggests the latest Foreign Policy brief from the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace. Kenneth Lay and Bernie Ebbers may have
done more economic damage than Osama Bin Laden, but the vulnerability
that became apparent after September 11 has helped to strip away the insulation
that emotionally separated the U.S. from the rest of the world. Americans
can now identify a bit more meaningfully with the angst that they used
to feel was confined to places like Beirut or Sarajevo. Is the U.S. in
danger? You bet, but the most immediate economic threat could be from
a spasm of knee-jerk federal spending. Incredibly, no one really knows
how many billions of dollars have been appropriated for the "War
on Terror." At the same time, a number of actors from Russia's Putin
to Pakistan's Musharref have reaped political windfalls from the aftermath
of Bin Laden's attack.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, September 2002
TAKES A LOOK AT WHATS AHEAD FOR AN ALTERED HOMELAND
Wolfowitz kicks off a day-long discussion with the transcript available
on-line in pdf format. Under orders from Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz wont
discuss Iraq except to say that he agrees with his boss whose cryptic
assessment of Saddams regime is: It has not been playing tiddly
winks. On Afghanistan, no end appears in sight, but things are
better than they were a year ago. The most interesting intervention may
have been Andy Kohuts assessment of the Pew study on changing American
of a discussion with
Paul Wolfowitz,Strobe Talbott, Andrew Kohut, E.J. Dionne, Jr.,James B.
Steinberg,Lael Brainard, Martin S. Indyk, Michael E. O'Hanlon, Ivo H.
Daalder,Peter R. Orszag, Thomas E. Mann, Isabel V. Sawhill is available
in pdf format ).
September 5, 2002
CONTROVERSIAL FORMER U.N. ARMS INSPECTOR
SAYS IRAQ HAS NO REAL ARMS CAPABILITY AND IS NOT A THREAT TO NEIGHBORS
Ritter, one of the U.N.'s most aggressive and outspoken arms inspectors
during the period of UNSCOM insists that Iraq is not a threat. "The
truth," says Ritter," is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors
and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders.
Military action against Iraq cannot be justified."
By Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press, September 9, 2002
Scott Ritter's statement from Baghdad on BBC Television
(Requires free Real Audio viewer)
TO THE OLD U.N. INSPECTION REGIME IN IRAQ IS NOT AN OPTION
Duelfer should know. He effectively ran UNSCOM, the U.N. inspection commission
on Iraq before the team was stripped of its knowledgeable experts and
reconstituted in its current emascualted version known as UNMOVIC. Duelfer,
who is now a visiting scholar at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies in Washington, D.C., details why a heavy reliance on the divided
Security Council and a succession of U.N. resolutions laden with diplomatic
booby traps insured that the U.N. inspection teams would never fully complete
their missions or achieve a lating impact on Saddams military structure.
By Charles Duelfer, Arms Control Today, September 2002
ORDER OF BATTLE
to the Military Balance's figures, if you include reserves, Iraq can theoretically
field anywhere from 700,000 to more than a million men, 2,200 main battle
tanks, 3 armored divisions, and six divisions of the Republican Guard
with 8,000 to 10,000 men in each division.
(The Military Balance 2001-2002, reprinted by the Center for Defense Information)
CSIS's Anthony Cordesman, provides a more recent update on Iraq's capabilities,
but still concludes that Iraq has the most formidable fighting force in
the Gulf and cannot be taken lightly.
expanded version of Cordesman's report is available for $21.95 through
CSIS website (first chapter available on-line)
IISS PUBLISHES ITS OWN IRAQI WMD DOSSIER
International Institute of Strategic Studies, author of the Military Balance,
believes that Saddam is developing weapons of mass destruction, but the
IISS carefully avoids coming down for or against a pre-emptive attack.
It is a double edged dilemma, notes the IISS: Wait and the threat will
grow; strike and the threat may be used.
FEAR OF INVOLVEMENT
The London-based International
Institute for Strategic studies argues that Washington's fear of getting
bogged down in Afghanistan has led to a rigid approach that is gradually
sucking the U.S. into a quagmire. More tactical agility and flexible thinking
is needed to stave off a disastrous defeat for the U.S., and the IISS
provides some excellent insights into the specifics.
The IISS, September 2002
PENTAGON'S VIEW ON AFGHANISTAN
tried to kill the president, but Afghanistan is better off today than
it was a year ago. The U.S. has no intention of expanding its commitment
to the Afghan peacekeeping force, and despite the fact that the president
depends on U.S. bodyguards to stay alive, Washington is looking to the
Afghan government to take the lead in the future.
the Pentagon, September 5, 2002
TO THE END
Robinson had quietly let it be known that she was prepared to stay on
as the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2005. The U.S.
maneuvered energetically to see that that wouldn't happen. One of the
major career errors that offended Washington was Robinson's criticism
of the Bush administration's open-ended detention of prisoners at Guantanamo
Bay and the denial of anything resembling due process of law, but Robinson's
outspoken denunciations had angered plenty of other governments as well.
Undaunted, Robinson's farewell newsconference denounced the "T-word"
and added that the so-called "War on Terrorism" is now used
to justify a wide ranging assortment of human rights violations. Her advice
to her successor, Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello: "If
you are popular in this post, it probably means that you are not doing
By Clare Nullis, AP, September 8, 2002
ON FREE SPEECH OVER THE INTERNET
It is no secret that the governments obsessed with controlling their citizens
are deeply worried about the internet. Reporters Without Borders notes
in a just released study that many have used the "War on Terrorism"
as a pretext for instituting draconian controls that might have seemed
more unacceptable before 9/11. The FBI quickly joined the pack with its
Carnivore program which is designed to automate reading everyone's email.
To avoid a public outcry over invasion of privacy and Jurassic Park implications
of the name, the program has been given a blander, if less descriptive
nom de guerre. It is now called "DCS 1000" .
SEES KYOTO AS POTENTIAL CASH COW
Under the terms
of the Kyoto agreement, Russia had hoped to earn billions of dollars by
selling its rights to pollute to the U.S. The Bush administration's decision
to abandon Kyoto altogether canned that idea. A suggestion several days
ago that Russia might also abandon Kyoto was seen as an open ploy for
a cash inducement to get Moscow to stay on board. The irony is that Russia
does relatively little to control pollution, while the U.S. has relatively
tight air quality controls. The Russian windfall on the pollution scale
is due mostly to the fact that the country's industry collapsed in the
early 1990's when the Kyoto standards were set. It also gets credit for
the oxygen pumped back into the atmosphere by its vast forests in Siberia.
However, the sudden smog which hit the capital last week, reducing visibility
to less than 100 yards, has many Muscovites convinced that air quality
control may be an idea whose time has arrived.
Editorial in the Moscow Times, September 8, 2002
IS CONVINCED THAT LIBYA HAS ACCELERATED ITS EFFORTS TO BUILD AN ATOMIC
Ariel Sharon charges
that Libya is moving ahead with its efforts to obtain its own atomic bomb.
The Israelis suspect that Pakistan and North Korea could be helping.
Ha'aretz, September 8, 2002
ALREADY HAS THE BOMB
war breaks out with Iraq, Israel is likely to be the first target for
an Iraqi counterattack. In a final showdown in which there was nothing
left to lose, Israel has enough bombs and missiles to trigger Armageddon
not just in Iraq, but throughout the Middle east.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist provides a detailed breakdown of
what Israel is believed to possess and how it might use it.
Jonathan Schell, writing in
The Nation, observes that:
....a radically new conception of America's role in the world has
been advanced by the Bush Administration. It has claimed nothing less
than a right and a duty of the United States to assert military dominance--a
Pax Americana--over the entire earth. Discussion along the way has been
muted, but now a debate has begun. Its subject, however, has been not
so much whether the United States should wage war on Iraq as whether it
should wage the debate on the war, or--what is only a little bolder--whether
the United States should first meet certain conditions (find allies, explain
itself to Congress, win the support of the American public, make plans
for Iraq's political future) and only then wage the war... Schell
points out that something bigger is taking place: A debate about
the war, if the nation decides to have one, will be in vain if it does
not address the wider revolution in policy of which the war is an expression...Should
the United States aim at preserving military dominance over the earth
for the indefinite future? Is such dominance possible? If it is possible,
do the people of the United States want it? If the attempt is made, can
the United States remain a democracy? Can the United States act as military
guarantor of a world that rejects and hates its protector? George Bush
is thinking about it. Are we?
By Jonathan Schell in
The Nation, dated September 23, 2002
TAKE ON THE CURRENT DANGER
... I keep
hearing people say, 'Oh, Europe's unhappy with this'or 'Somebody doesn't
agree with that' or 'Some general said this'or 'Some civilian said that.'I
think what's important is the substance of this discussion. ' Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld observed with a sense of exasperation during
a news conference last Tuesday.
Rumsfeld presented to reporters reasoned that a nuclear or biological
attack could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. With that kind of
threat, it really doesn't matter if the United States has absolutely irrefutable
evidence that Saddam really does have weapons of mass destruction or that
he actually intends to use them. Just the possibility that he might have
them is reason enough for the United States to go to war. As Rumsfeld
put it in his news briefing: "... if you think about our circumstance,
when the penalty for not acting is September 11th, if you will, or a Pearl
Harbor, where hundreds and a few thousand people are killed, that is a
very serious thing. You've made a conscious decision not to act. And the
penalty with that, for those people, it's a hundred percent. It's not
one thousand or two thousand, it's that person is gone. If, on the other
hand, the penalty for not acting is not a conventional or a terrorist
attack of that magnitude, but one of many multiples of that, it forces
people to stop and have the kind of debate we're having. What ought we
to be thinking about? How ought we, if at all, to be changing our behavior?
How ought we to live in this new 21st century world? What does it mean
that tens of thousands of human beings can be killed in a biological attack
if we allow it to happen as a society? Are we comfortable with that? Is
that something that we've decided that it's so disadvantageous to take
an action without proof that you could go into a court of law and prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that something was going to happen, that the
capabilities existed for -- of absolute certain knowledge, and that the
intent to use those was imminent and clear, and you don't -- you may not
have the type of certain knowledge. You may want that kind of knowledge
in a law enforcement case, where we're interested in protecting the rights
of the accused. You may have a different conclusion if you're talking
about the death of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent
men, women and children..
Link, September 3, 2002
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