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Political and social commentary with a liberal bias
For more columns and other liberal views, see Jackson's Liberty and Justice For All Site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/.

Email Jackson at jacksonthor@justice.com

 

Monday, April 07, 2003

 
Remember Rachel by calling on Israel to stop inhumane bulldozing of people's homes


Here are some good Web sites on Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American peace activist who was killed on March 16 when she was run over by an Israeli bulldozer, which was made by a U.S. company. Rachel was trying to stop the bulldozer from demolishing the home of a Palestinian doctor in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses said she was in full sight of the driver, wearing a bright, easily-seen jacket, and was deliberately run over - twice. Israeli military even disturbed Rachel's memorial service two days after her death, firing tear gas at mourners and threatening them with another bulldozer.

http://www.distanceeddesign.com/rachel/
http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Statement_Rachel_Corrie_031703.htm

The Israeli military has destroyed more than 7,000 Palestinian homes since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, leaving 30,000 people homeless. Most home demolitions target civilians who have not been charged with any crime.
The Caterpillar bulldozers that destroyed homes and Rachel are partly financed by U.S. tax dollars. Israel is the world's largest beneficiary of American military and economic aid. It receives more than $5 billion a year from the U.S., and 75 percent of those funds are spent on arms and equipment from U.S. corporations. That's another way that U.s. weapon manufacturers make a killing. They sell so much to foreign governments that obtain U.S. aid, as well as the multi-billions they directly receive from the U.s. government.
As an American, I am tired of seeing my tax dollars used to purchase bulldozers and other weapons that are used to kill Rachel and many more people. Many people seem to care more about the drug trade and drug dealers than we do about weapons dealers, who kill far more people.
Write your representatives to demand that they pressure Israel to stop the inhumane bulldozing of people's homes. Write them to stop the U.S. from giving so much money to Israel, which turns around and spends it on more weapons they use to kill Americans like Rachel and many more Palestinians.
Jackson Thoreau
Texas


 
Responses to 'By the Numbers' Column on Operation Iraqi Invasion

I teach English at a small college. I'm often impressed by these articles on Democratic Underground. Not only are they usually more well researched than syndicated columnists making big bucks in the national media, they are more passionate and just plain well written.
In future centuries, it won't be the essays by the David Broder's and Charles Krauthammer's that will be studied and emulated (certainly not the Thomas Sowell's or Cal Thomas's)-it will be the Jackson Thoreau's and Bernard Weiner's of the world who write for the love of it.
Thanks again,
B.B.

I would like to use some of your statistics from "Iraq Invasion by Numbers" in a small free anti-war newsletter here in the UK. An online version of the newsletter will be available at www.seditioustimes.org
Full acknowledgement will be given, and no profit is derived from the articles use. I feel is only courteous and proper to request your consent, and also to commend you on a clever article.
Thank you
P.R.
NO WAR ON IRAQ!
DEMONSTRATE, ORGANISE, STOP THE WAR.
http://stopwar.org.uk/

Congratulations - In a few words you have identified the real AXIS OF
EVIL. And does it not qualify to the description - SATANIC? M.S.

Some people have asked about sources for the statistics I list. I didn't list those because they often get cumbersome on a list of stats, but I understand why some want to know. If you want those, you can add this to the bottom of the page:

SOURCES: Center for Defense Information, Fellowship of Reconciliation, United Nations, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Education for Peace in Iraq, National Network to End the War in Iraq, Peace Action, Voices in the Wilderness, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Amnesty International, Red Cross, IndyMedia, numerous newspapers and other media in the Middle East, Europe and even U.S., including the London Observer, Guardian, BBC, New York Times, and Arab Times.
- Jackson

More Iraqi Numbers

Around New Years I made a list of numbers like yours. There
were
only four numbers, but they were all biggies. Your list includes one of
my
four, so here are the rest of mine:

Taxpayer dollars the Pentagon announced it's lost track of last year:
$2,300,000,000,000.

Decibel level of taxpayer hollering about overtaxation in certain other
contexts: 2,300,000,000,000.

Half-life of the "depleted" uranium with which we're coating the
birthplace
of civilization for the second time: 4,500,000,000 years.

Actually, that last figure is misleading, since the longer the
half-life,
the *lower* the radioactivity. As I understand it (I don't have special
training in biophysics), the real problem with depleted uranium is the
"heavy metal" toxicity, like lead, only worse. But chemical toxins can
have
the same scary health effects as radiation sickness. Think tobacco and
Thalidomide.

The figure of mine that you do already list is the latest estimate for
the
Iraqi civilian death toll from the sanctions. How about if you add to
your
list the calculation 1,500,000 / 3,000 = 500? The Master Race
implications
in all this are frightening the natives with good reason. We're now
making
unprovoked war on an Arab state whose only connection to al-Qaeda-like
groups is race/religion. If we call this a part of the war on
terrorists,
then we're implicitly defining the term in accordance with that one
connection, right?

And this is hardly the only ugly signal to that effect we've been
sending.
Nothing like calling the Arabs "towel heads" in a leaked State
Department
document, or the Vice-President speaking at a gathering that hands out
NO
MUSLIMS, NO TERROR bumper stickers, or the flannel-mouthed PNAC crowd
jabbering publicly about "modernizing" Islam, or justifying the
sanctions on
the basis of *preventing* mass destruction, or the code name Operation
Desert Fox for a blasting operation on a Semitic people, etc.

As a sidelong suggestion, perhaps someone more comfortable with public
communication than I am should try putting it all together in an
attempt to
(instant overworked cliché) shock and awe the American public into a
better
sense of what we're getting ourselves into. The mainstream Muslim world
is
now radicalizing (by our definition), and the corporate media are
showing
themselves at their brainless worst by playing down the danger. Which
reminds me of a recent Washington Post daily online update:

-----------------------
Mubarak: War Could Lead to Increased Islamic Militancy
Monday, Mar 31, 2003; 7:47 AM

CAIRO, Egypt -- President Hosni Mubarak warned Monday that a drawn-out
war
in Iraq will lead to an increase in Islamic militancy throughout the
world.

"If there is one (Osama) bin Laden now, there will be 100 bin Ladens
afterward," Mubarak said, referring to the al-Qaida terror network
leader
during a speech to army commanders in the city of Suez, 80 miles east
of the
capital, Cairo.
-------------------------

What is that stupid "could" doing in the headline, when it's
*immediately*
followed by Mubarak's dogmatic predictions? That's what I mean by
brainless,
this utterly reflexive cover for an out-of-control GOP administration,
no
matter how grave the potential consequences.

Anyway, another calculation you might make for your list is the ratio
between your percentages of global military spending for the U.S. and
Iraq:
50% / .0015% = cc. 33,000. Yeecks. But this assumes only $13.5 million
annually for Iraq, which sounds a bit low. Might the figure be a
straight
ratio rather than a percentage, so that it's actually one hundred times
greater?

In any case, we've leveled the playing field somewhat by going in with
inadequate forces. It's that world-renowned American sense of fair
play, no
doubt.

Oh, stop it. This of all subjects has me ironizing compulsively, but
I'm
trying to behave myself.

I notice that you give a middle-range estimate of 5,000 for the victims
of
the 1988 gassing of Kurds in Halabja, and you properly label it as an
estimate. I've just been noticing the wild range of numbers we're
getting
from respectable (as well as "respectable") sources, usually presented
with
dogmatic certainty, and with little if any correlation with ideology.
Many
say 100,000, while others question whether it even happened at all.
Round
numbers are always suspicious, and perhaps some are confusing Halabja
with
the whole campaign of chemical attacks on the Kurds that may have gone
on
for a period of years.

My real point is that it's almost as if Halabja has morphed into a kind
of
vaporous "marketing image," Saddam Brand Evil(tm) or something, such
that no
one really gives much of a damn what actually happened. I'm resisting
the
urge to come up with a suitable Madison Avenue-style tag line.

Finally, you might want to add the number of WMD inspections we've
allowed
to the equal number you give for Israel.

Best,

D.K.

P.S. I'm now listening to an NPR discussion of the reasons for American
public support for the war. No one is mentioning the just plain false
beliefs after a year of relentlessly dishonest propaganda. How about
adding
poll figures for the percentage of Americans who believe that some or
all of
the 9/11 participants were Iraqi, and that Saddam was the mastermind
behind
9/11? For the first, I keep hearing around 50%, while the second varies
between half and two-thirds.

And then there was the Time Magazine poll of Europeans last year,
eventually
reporting that 84% regard the U.S. as the greatest danger to world
peace,
vs. 8% for Iraq. Since the country they really fear is the one they're
standing up to, this rigorously discredits the White House rhetoric
about
those spineless Europeans.

I'm now envisaging facetious stats to address certain pro-war rhetoric
of
even less legitimacy, to wit:

Sanity level in accusing the anti-war movement of "political
motivation"
considering that it's a political issue, so OF COURSE they're
politically
motivated: 0

One-time level of support for Saddam at his worst by the same White
House
hypocrites who now accuse the anti-war people of being "Saddam lovers":
100

That first first bit of pre-human verbiage is reminiscent of Bush
attacking
Gore, and the Congressional GOPs attacking Tom Daschle, for
"partisanship,"
i.e., for doing what they're getting paid to do.

And then there's this grand dot-connect in your Harper's Index format:

Number of times Saddam has failed to do our bidding, considering our
secret
support at the time together with our deliberate provocations to set up
a
pretext for our own aggressive moves: 0

Given this, then not only didn't the sanctions-racked Iraqi people
elect
their leader, but we don't even have a real beef against him. It just
gets
worse and worse the closer we look. But there's no excuse for not doing
that
looking, since that's what lets it continue. As I say, spelling it all
out
may be our best shot at changing public attitudes, since it's the
hardest
stuff to shrug off.





 
Operation Iraqi Invasion, By the Numbers

By Jackson Thoreau

NOTE: This is a variation of a question-and-answer piece on the relationship between Iraq, the U.S., Europe, and military campaigns circulating through cyberspace. I set it up as an easier-to-read numerical column and added a few items of my own. The numbers speak for themselves.

Percentage of the world's population living in the U.S.: 6.
Percentage of the world’s energy resources used in the U.S.: 30.
Rank of Iraq among countries in the world for the largest oil reserves: 2 [behind Saudi Arabia].

Military spending, worldwide: $900 billion.
Percentage of worldwide military spending by U.S.: 50.
Percentage of worldwide military spending by Iraq: 0.0015.

Percentage of Iraq's military capacity U.S. claimed it destroyed in 1991 Persian Gulf War: 80.
Percentage of Iraq's post-1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction the UN claimed to have discovered and dismantled by 1998: 90.
Percentage of U.S. military spending that would ensure basic necessities to everyone in the world: 10.

Number of Americans who have died in wars since World War II: 92,212.
Number of people living outside U.S. who have died in wars since World War II: 25 million.

Years that Iraq has had chemical and biological weapons: 20.
Number of U.S. and European corporations that supplied Iraq with materials and knowledge to make chemical and biological weapons since the early 1980s: 150.
Number of Western nations that condemned Saddam Hussein in 1988 immediately after he used gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988 to kill an estimated 5,000 people: 0.
Number of pounds of Agent Orange and other herbicides U.S. dropped in the Vietnam War: 100 million.

Value of worldwide weapons trade: $800 billion.
Percentage of weapons dealt by U.S. companies worldwide: 50.

Estimated number of Iraqi civilian deaths in the 1991 Persian Gulf War: 35,000.
Estimated number of retreating Iraqi soldiers buried alive by U.S. tanks in 1991 war: 6,000.
Estimated number of Iraqi civilian deaths Pentagon predicted in the 2003 war: 10,000.
Estimated number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the 2003 war so far: 800.
Percentage of Iraqi civilian deaths that are children: 50.

Tons of depleted uranium left in Iraq and Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War: 40.
Percentage increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994: 700.

Number of years the U.S. has engaged in air strikes on Iraq: 26.
Pounds of explosives U.S.-led coalition dropped on Iraq in 1991 Persian Gulf War: 177 million.
Pounds of explosives U.S.-British pilots dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999: 20 million.
Estimated pounds of explosives U.S.-British pilots have dropped on Iraq since the start of Operation Iraqi Invasion in March 2003: 200 million.

Years Iraq has lived under economic sanctions imposed by the UN: 12.
Iraqi child death rate in 1989 [per 1,000 births]: 30.
Iraqi child death rate in 1999 [per 1,000 births]: 131.
Number of Iraqis estimated to have died through 1999 due to UN sanctions: 1.5 million.
Percentage of them children: 50.

Number of UN weapons inspections conducted in Iraq in November-December 1998: 300.
Number of those inspections with problems: 5.
Number of UN weapons inspections conducted in Iraq in 2003: 500.
Number of UN resolutions Israel violated through 1992: More than 65.
Number of UN resolutions on Israel that U.S. vetoed between 1972 and 1990: More than 30.
Number of UN weapons inspections Israel has ever allowed: 0.

Number of nuclear warheads U.S. has: More than 10,000.
Number of nuclear warheads Israel has: More than 400.
Number of nuclear warheads Iraq has: 0.

Number of countries known to have nuclear weapons: 8.
Number of countries that have used nuclear weapons on another country: One [ the U.S.].

Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com.

Why the Iraq War Should Be Halted

By Bob Connors


I WANT THIS WAR TO STOP BECAUSE I LOVE OUR SOLDIERS. THE INNOCENT IRAQIS, WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ARE HUMAN BEING AS WELL .

All of us who either themselves, or had friends, who fought in Vietnam, know the horror of guerilla warfare. Every teenager behind a bush might be concealing a weapon. Soon, the combat becomes a living hell! Soon, our dear, innocent, boys who went to war with the highest intentions, have seen too many of their friends killed by a native who was considered to be a friendly. Soon, every native gets frisked briskly, maybe rougher than needs to be, because the American youth is justifiably scared out of his mind.

That is what 43 is subjecting our boys and girls to now!

I WANT THIS WAR TO STOP BECAUSE I LOVE OUR COUNTRY, AND I WANT IT TO BE THE SAME FOR MY CHILD, AS IT WAS FOR ME!

I have a 13 year old boy. His grade school, just 10 minutes outside of Washington D.C., recently required each child to bring provisions for use in case of a terrorist attack. What caused this new requirement for my child? The war with Iraq and its resultant raising of HERR Ridges’s Terrorist Threat Level.

Just recently, every subway rider in the Metropolitan D.C. area hears messages about dogs sniffing out explosives, and being on the alert about untended packages. What caused this new requirement for the subway riders? The war with Iraq and its resultant raising of HERR Ridges’s Terrorist Threat Level. I have a friend, who turns off his hearing aid when he gets on the subway because the alerts get him too upset. Everyone in the D.C. area is scared. It must be the same in New York.

What 43’s team is doing to our civil liberties, under the guise of protecting us from terrorist attacks, is evil! We are approaching the totalitarian state described in ‘1984’ through the Patriots Act 1 and 2! Having Poindexter, a convicted Iran Contra scandal thug , in control of the ‘Total Information Awareness’ is like having THE NAZI HERR HIMLER back and in the game!

THE REAL U.S. PATRIOTS NOW ARE THE ONES WHO ARE BEGGING FOR THIS WAR TO STOP.

For those of us who don’t know, the GOP models that this administration are imitating, are replete with bullies who lie to the press and obstruct the free flow of accurate information to the citizens. Remember that the N.Y. Times had to sue the U.S. in 1971, in the case called, New York Times vs. U.S. (1971).

Daniel Ellsberg, must be considered a model for all peace activist of today.

He knew that the war had been wrong and that the U.S. populace was being duped. Believing that the Pentagon Papers strongly supported his views, Ellsberg delivered a copy of the them to Senator William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Even that failed, as neither party made the papers public. Somehow copies of the documents were obtained by the New York Times, and in June 1971 they began publishing a series of articles based on the study. Nearly immediately a telegram was issued to the Times by the Attorney General

John Mitchell ordering that it halt publication. The Times refused, and the government brought suit against them. Thus began a remarkably swift journey of justice ending at the Supreme Court. The first court

decision, issued by NY federal district court Judge Gurfein, was in favor of the Times. However, the federal appellate court reversed this decision and ordered the newspaper to halt publication. Meanwhile, the

Washington Post had obtained copies and had begun to print them, and the government brought suit against them as well. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided not halt publication. The

case was picked up by the Supreme Court in late June, just 11 days after the first suit.

The case of New York Times Co. vs. United States was a landmark case in the American judicial system. It was the first attempt by the federal government to restrain the publication of a newspaper. It a major test of the interpretation of the First Amendment.

In terms of suppressing free flow of information, now, what about 43’s recent press conference in which he joked about it being the first scripted press conference in U.S. history? It was used to call us all to war and any ethical leader would have felt duty bound to answer all questions. The dunce had his script, the lap dog journalists read their prepared questions, and he threw them a bone, by granting them the grandeur of his presence.

That is not much different than the work of the imbedded journalists in the Iraq theatre of war.



43 NEEDS THIS WAR TO PROP UP HIS POPULARITY AND PUSH THROUGH EVIL POLICIES AS THE INNOCENT U.S. POPULATION IS NUMBED BY OUR INCURSION INTO NOT ONLY IRAQ, BUT THE MIDDLE EAST!

We know the horror of GOP war-time propaganda, all of us who either themselves, or had friends, who lived through the Vietnam era. We know how Kissinger and Nixon spread the war illegally into Cambodia and Laos.

43 has his blanket, ‘war against terrorism’ or ‘those who support terrorism’, or ‘those who might have weapons of mass destruction (WMD)’. This is a more powerful warmongering tool than Nixon’s puny ‘domino effect’.

It should be, as the GOP strategists have been testing global statements, such as Ronnie’s ‘Evil Empire’, 41’s ‘can’t let naked aggression stand’ among others to see how to best terrorize the U.S. populace. Their goal of course is only to win elections, and fill their buddies’ pockets with money in the process.

43’s ‘never ending war against terrorism’ ensures that any derogatory statement, about any GOP policy, war related or not, such as Kerry’s of April 3rd, 2003 statements, gets a full attack by every GOP hatchet-man. They are the masters of ‘negative campaigning’ as symbolized by HERR ROVE’S attack against McCain in the 2000 presidential primaries.

These thugs will do what it takes to stay in power, and the future of ongoing wars is what they see as their ticket for perennial supremacy.






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