February 17, 2003

  • This one is delicious, by Bernard Weiner in Counterpunch: "These Bush&Co. leaders are so arrogant, so rude, so greedy and power-hungry, so taken with themselves as God's mesengers and as the world's only Superpower, so convinced they are right in the tunnel-vision black-and-white world they inhabit, that it's clear their days are numbered. It may take a bit longer to build to critical mass -- and there is going to be death and destruction and persecution while that momentum is being built up -- but when the time for their fall arrives, it's going to be quick and nasty. And we'll finally all wake up from this nightmare that has crushed our economy, diminished our moral light in the world, disgraced our beloved Constitution and country."
  • Germany and Belgium have caved on the NATO move to deploy weapons to defend Turkey in case of attack by Iraq. Only France remained standing against the measure. See The Independent.
  • Betraying a little too much of the White House's priorities, a White House source was quoted by Capitol Hill Blue as saying after being embarassed by its duct tape alerts over a fabricated threat, "We've wondering just how much egg we have on our face. Right now, the worst thing that could occur for the administration's credibility is that nothing happens this weekend. I know that sounds terrible but we've got a lot riding on this." The worst thing for the White House, this source says, is that there are no terrorist attacks. We knew that, but it's interesting to hear them admit it.
  • Snubbed Poets Speak Out. Poets whose literary symposium at the White House was canceled when Mrs. George W. Bush found out their poems would reflect antiwar sentiments spoke their minds at "A Poetry Reading In Honor of the Right of Protest as a Patriotic and Historical Tradition." (See Earthlink News) Jay Parini, one of the poets said, "For poets to remain silent at a time of national crisis is unconscionable. Poets from the time of ancient Athens have raised voices in protest." Another, Julia Alvarez said, "Why be afraid of us, Mrs. Bush?. You're married to a scarier fellow."
  • Alan Bisbort, writing in The Hartford Advocate, said, Republican fat cats say "make them accountable" as a way to break the back of the public education system, how about making them accountable? As Carolyn Kaye has been saying for a while at her site, accountability is an essential principle of the constitutional design of the United States. These guys think it applies to everyone but them and their rich corporate donors. After giving them an F in all major subjects, Bisbort suggests we Vote to Impeach. And while you're at it, why not go to Vote No to War.
  • Check Bushwatch for a visual representation of the fiscal disaster known as Bush, and for a breakdown of where the money went.
  • John Nichols of The Nation on the global antiwar demonstrations: "More than 600 demonstrations are expected to take place in communities around the world -- from San Francisco to New York to London to Seoul, and from Antarctica to Iceland -- by the end of the weekend mobilization. Demonstrations are expected to take place in at least 60 countries."
  • Jimmy Breslin called the demonstrators in New York "the nicest people I've ever been with." He said, "Looking down Third Avenue and Second Avenue, as the crowds came up to try to get to the rear of the great crowd on First Avenue, and then peering as far down First Avenue as you could see, the size of throngs caused you to tell yourself, 'maybe a million.' Whatever it was, out on the street it felt like a million, and it was glorious."
  • San Francisco had its peace rally on Sunday. CBS News said there were 100,000 attending.
  • The World Socialist Web Site said, "The events of the past weekend constituted the largest single political protest and the first truly global demonstration against war. More than ten million people marched and rallied in over 60 countries and 300 cities, with demonstrations taking place on every continent—including Antarctica, where scientists and others at the US McMurdo Base held a rally—in an historically unprecedented international movement against the Bush administration’s planned war against Iraq."
  • Texas A & M's paper The Battalion listed a number of reactions of its students, one poor, misguided marketing major, obviously sheltered from the events of the real world, had this to say: "I don't like the idea of going to war, but I feel that the Bush administration should be trusted in making the right decisions. We've elected them as our representatives, and we need to stand behind them on these issues." Maybe down there they didn't get the news about the Supreme Court's nullification of the election result after Bush lost, even with his brother Jeb using the power of the Florida government to wipe hundreds of thousands of Black voters off the voter rolls.
  • Bob Herbert on the New York rally for peace: "on Saturday, democracy got a desperately needed boost. With temperatures in the 20's and icy winds skimming off the rivers that frame Manhattan, a frosty assemblage of demonstrators for peace and sanity materialized. The protesters kept arriving until their numbers reached 100,000, 200,000, and still they came, chanting, singing, and linking arms symbolically with a huge and remarkable wave of fellow demonstrators across the U.S. and around the globe." And on men with no war experience pushing the world to war: "President Bush and his hawkish advisers speak blithely about a U.S.-led invasion leading to a garden of democracy blooming in the desert soil of Iraq. I wouldn't reach for my gardening tools too quickly. What the administration has been unwilling to tell the public is the truth about some of the implications of war with Iraq — first and foremost, the bloody horror of men, women and children being blown to smithereens in the interest of peace, and then the myriad costs and dangers associated with a long-term U.S. military occupation."
  • Malaysian publication Malaysiakini didn't go the "Tens of thousands" route in referring to the New York protest, but just said, "More than 500,000 people took to the streets here Saturday protesting US plans to invade Iraq." Old New Yorkers, the article said, "say they have never experienced such a massive rally, including during protests against the Vietnam War in the 1970s. 'This is amazing,' said 60-year-old Jack Speyer, shivering with cold. 'Look at these men and women. It's unbelievable.'"
  • The Green Left of Australia estimates that 12 million participated worldwide in more than 700 cities on every continent including Antarctica.
  • Two years of bullying are catching up to the Bush administration, as seen in the Security Council's sound rejection of US policy last week, says The Washington Post. The article quotes "a diplomat from a country that publicly supports the U.S. position on Iraq" saying, "There have been really aggressive battles that have got people's backs up. The U.S. team often acts like thugs. People feel bullied, and that can affect the way you respond when someone makes a request."
  • The Toronto Star says the case for war against Iraq has been "eroded by absurd U.S. arguments." Writer Haroon Siddiqui says, "When punch-drunk with power, you get blinded to reality and become deaf to even friendly advice. One suspects that's what's happening to America." When Powell responded Wto Hans Blix and Mohammed elBaradei at the Security Council session Friday, "it was as though he had not heard what they, along with the French foreign minister, had said in challenging some key aspects of Washington's relentless propaganda."
  • Michelle Landsberg, also writing in The Toronto Star, says "For much of the last half of the 20th century, American presidents and their chief advisers and military leaders were directly involved in elaborate schemes of drug-running, manipulating public opinion through planted editorials and news stories, and illicit campaigns of what they themselves called 'White propaganda,' like the now-notorious episode of the hoked-up Iraqi atrocities against incubator babies in Kuwait, a crime invented by a powerful public relations firm and used to sway Congress to support the Gulf War."