[JFP Classic] 13 Myths About War in Iraq | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[JFP Classic] 13 Myths About War in Iraq

13myths.org

The Internet has played a major role in the current debate over war in Iraq. Recently, a group of online "mythbusters" involved in the 13myths.org project went one step further. They posted a summary of key claims made by the proponents of war and then invited hundreds of people to offer suggestions on how to respond. The following is the result of this exchange. The complete document, with more than 120 footnotes from mainstream and primary sources, is online at 13myths.org.

MYTH #1: Removing Saddam Hussein from power would eliminate a key backer of the al-Qaeda terrorist network responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

RESPONSE: Just four days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported doubts that any Iraqi involvement in an article titled "U.S. Officials Discount Any Role by Iraq in Terrorist Attacks: Secularist Saddam Hussein and Suspect bin Laden Have Divergent Goals." The CIA and the FBI remain skeptical of a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, despite continued political pressure to find one, according to a front-page article in the New York Times on Feb. 2, 2003. None of the hijackers came from Iraq; 15 of the hijackers came from the same country as Osama bin Laden: Saudi Arabia.

MYTH #2: In his presentation at the UN, Secretary of State Colin Powell provided a "careful and powerful presentation of the facts. The information in the Secretary's briefing ... was obtained through great skill, and often at personal risk. Uncovering secret information in a totalitarian society is one of the most difficult intelligence challenges. The Iraqi regime's violations [are] in direct defiance of Security Council 1441." – President Bush, Press Briefing, Feb. 6, 2003.

RESPONSE: Many of Powell's assertions were quickly refuted. For example, Powell said, "By 1998, UN experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programs." Actually, the UN's Jan. 1999 report on this matter said only that Iraq had performed drying experiments prior to the Gulf War, in 1989 – not that it had perfected them.
A journalist for The Observer toured Ansar al-Islam's alleged chemical weapons factory and found it to be a bakery with outhouses. Powell's claims that ricin found in Britain came from Iraq were rejected by European intelligence agencies, who said it was crude and "homemade" in Europe.
Even more disconcerring was the revelation in the British press about the one of the key documents Powell used in his UN speech, the "dossier" on terrorism prepared by the staff of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Powell praised the document as a "fine paper." However, much of it was taken from source material written before the current round of inspections, primarily from a published article written by Ibrahim al-Marashi, a graduate student in California. The al-Marashi article, published nearly a year ago, focused largely on the evidence of Iraq's weapons programs as they existed in 1990, prior to the first Gulf War.

MYTH #3: Saddam Hussein cannot be contained. To prevent a repeat of the situation with Nazi Germany, we must act immediately and preemptively before he acquires weapons with which to threaten us.

RESPONSE: The comparison to Nazi Germany is a stretch. Germany, by 1938, was No. 1 in military spending, and had recovered from the Great Depression well before the other leading nations. It formed a real military alliance–the Axis powers—with two other powerful industrial nations, Italy and Japan.
By contrast, Iraq's military capability was largely destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War, and the "Axis of Evil" that Iraq is supposedly part of (Iran-Iraq-N. Korea) does not really exist as an alliance. In fact, Iran and Iraq fought each other in a nine-year war from 1980-1989.
The $399 billion US military budget proposed at the end of January 2003 is almost 300 times the size of Iraq's.

MYTH #4: A discovery on Feb. 12 by UN weapons inspectors revealed, for the first time, that Iraq possessed missiles, the Al-Samoud and Al-Fatah, with a range exceeding the limits imposed by the 1991 UN Resolution 687.

RESPONSE: Though the Feb. 12 UN finding made the headlines, it was not really new; it was based on information volunteered by Iraq months prior. According to the Feb. 13 New York Times and numerous other sources, "The inspectors learned of the range of the missiles from test results that were provided in the 12,000-page arms declaration Iraq delivered at the start of the inspections." The missiles in question are short-range models that, all sides agree, can travel less than half of the distance from the western tip of Iraq to the eastern tip of Israel. (By comparison, the CIA reported on the same day that North Korea's Taepo Dong 2 missile is designed to travel 50 to 100 times as far.)
Iraq has since commenced destroying those weapons under UN observation. This agreement came after UN Weapons Inspection head Hans Blix reported the results of Al Samoud missile tests on Feb. 27, 2003. He reported that in a test firing of 40 missiles, 27 of the missiles landed within the legal limit of 150 km. About one-third of the missiles exceeded the limit.

MYTH #5: Bin Laden's tape released on Feb. 11 proves that Bush's accusations of an Osama bin Laden/Saddam Hussein collusion have been right all along.

RESPONSE: According to the transcript of the 16-minute Al Jazeera tape, bin Laden called Hussein a "Muslim apostate," i.e., a turncoat against Islam. Bin Laden has long called for the secular Baathist Party in Baghdad to be replaced with an Islamic fundamentalist, cleric-led government. The new words were intended to rally support for radical Islam in the Muslim world, including factions within Iraq that are more anti-US than Saddam Hussein.
According to Gen. Hamid Gul, the former chief of Pakistan's spy agency InterServices Intelligence, bin Laden and Saddam cannot work closely together because "Bin Laden and his men considered Saddam the killer of hundreds of Islamic militants" within Iraq.
It is true that Saddam Hussein has expressed support for suicide bombings against Israel, and that the bin Laden tape refers to the suicide operations "that cause so much harm" in the U.S. and Israel. However, the existence of such terrorism is quite independent of Hussein.

MYTH #6: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahedeen' – his nuclear holy warriors." – George Bush, televised speech, Oct. 7, 2002 in Cincinnati.
Dr. Khidhir Hamza, from 1987 to 1994, served as "the head of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program" and has said that "Iraq runs its nuclear program under the very nose of the international community." – Quotes by Larry Elder, Worldnetdaily.com, and Hamza

RESPONSE: Saddam did refer to a nuclear-energy program in a speech he made on 9/10/00. According to the British expert Glen Rangwala, Bush is taking advantage of a mistranslation of this speech that left out the word "energy," among other problems.
Although it would make sense to also forbid nuclear energy programs in Iraq, the U.S. and the U.N. have not called for that. There is no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein's scientists are now working on nuclear weapons, even though Hussein has wanted them in the past.
In his Jan. 27 report to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed ElBaradei concluded, "we have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the elimination of the programme in the 1990s."
In an article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Dr. Khidhir A. A. Hamza states that he was "for a brief period in 1987 director of weaponization" of Iraq's nuclear weapons program." Hamza also states, in his book "Saddam's Bombmaker" and in his curriculum vitae that he was not employed in the Iraqi nuclear weapons program after 1989. He left Iraq in 1994. So it is clear that he has no personal knowledge of the status of the Iraqi nuclear program after 1994, and the extent of his personal knowledge after 1989 is open to question. Other Iraqi defectors with more inside knowledge than Hamza have disputed his claims.

MYTH #7: "If the United States marches 200,000 troops into the region and then marches them back out . . . the credibility of American power . . . will be gravely, perhaps irreparably impaired." – Henry Kissinger, quoted in NY Times, Feb. 15, 2003.

RESPONSE: Top US officials have repeatedly stated they want to avoid war:
"I will tell my friend Silvio [president of Italy] that the use of military troops is my last choice, not my first." – President Bush, quoted in White House News Release, January 30, 2003.
"We still hope that force may not be necessary to disarm Saddam Hussein... Let me be clear: no one wants war." - Donald Rumsfeld, in Munich, Germany, Feb. 8, 2003.

The U.S. position is that "Force should always be a last resort." – Colin Powell, response to weapons inspection head Mohamed El Baradei, February 14, 2003.
If the U.S. can disarm Saddam without war–the administration's stated objective – how is our credibility hurt? Even French President Chirac, a critic of war, has credited the presence of U.S. troops with increasing Iraqi compliance.
Kissinger and top Bush administration officials are not satisfied with this progress. However these individuals have conflicts of interest. They have strong ties with companies that produce weapons, drill oil and build military bases.
The president's father, and his 2000 recount adviser James Baker, are, respectively, "Asian Advisor" and partner of Carlyle Group. According to Fortune magazine, Carlyle makes much of its profits by buying smaller "defense" companies, assisting them in winning huge taxpayer-funded contracts, and then selling them at a large profit.
Dick Cheney's wife, until January 2001, was on the board of Lockheed, the largest U.S. military contractor. Eight other administration officials had Lockheed ties before they were appointed. Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz were involved in a think-tank advocating for "global military dominance" that is funded by family foundations whose fortunes came from military contracting and whose founders included a Lockheed executive. These ties must be taken into account when evaluating the legitimacy of 'fears'

about a peaceful outcome of the Iraq crisis.

MYTH #8: War in Iraq will involve 150,000-200,000 troops and only cost $50 billion – less than it did in 1991.

RESPONSE: Bush's former economic adviser Laurence Lindsey estimated to the Wall Street Journal last summer that the war would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. A veteran ABC news reporter revealed on Jan. 13, 2003, that the actual deployment planned was 350,000 troops.
One reason the proposed war would cost so much more than the Gulf War is that the administration plans to occupy Baghdad, a city of 5 million people. Another is that other countries have declined to pay the costs of the war as they did in 1991; instead, the U.S. has offered to pay Turkey $30 billion in grants and loans, an offer Turkey has thus far refused.
As Colin Powell wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1992, "The Gulf War was a limited-objective war. If it had not been, we would be ruling Baghdad today at unpardonable expense in terms of money, lives lost and ruined regional relationships."
Credible estimates of cost of a "short" Iraq war start at $120 billion. This is on top of a 2003 military budget that is already expanded dramatically. The numbers tell the story: The military budget in 2001 was $304 billion after 9/11 expenses were added. The military budget in 2003 is already $407 including homeland security and military construction. Adding the cost of the war, it could reach $527 billion or more. The cost of the increase from 2001 to 2003 comes out to $2,000 for every family in the U.S.
The Bush administration's own budget projections two years ago anticipated a surplus of over $262 billion in 2004, but their projections now anticipate a 2004 deficit of over $307 billion, before the costs of an Iraq war are factored in.

MYTH #9: Freedom of the Press in the U.S. exists even in times of war. The U.S. news media has been extremely skeptical of the official stories put out by the government, in order to uphold the truth.

RESPONSE: The last 20 years have seen a trend toward "management" of the press by the government: restricted access press pools, fabricated stories, fake letters to the editor, and even violence against U.S. war reporters.
According to the Winter 2002 Navy War College Review, citing the book "America's Team: Media and the Military," the military had assigned reporters to a pool to cover the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, but the Defense Secretary at the time, Dick Cheney, "delayed calling out the pool."
During the 1991 Gulf War, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Patrick J. Sloyan, "The Associated Press ... sent photographer Scott Applewhite to cover victims of a Scud missile attack near Dahran. The warhead had hit an American tent, killing 25 army reservists and wounding 70. ... Applewhite, an accredited pool member, was stopped by U.S. Army military police. When he objected, they punched and handcuffed him while ripping the film from his cameras."
Dick Cheney, quoted in "America's Team," was honest after the Gulf War about his treatment of the media. "Frankly, I looked on it as a problem to be managed," he said after the war. "The information function was extraordinarily important. I did not have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the press."
The most famous Gulf War media fiasco occurred right here at home. Employees of the large PR firm Hill & Knowlton arranged for a speech to be made by a 15-year-old girl, "Nayirah," to an unofficial "Congressional Human Rights" group in October 1999. Her so-called eyewitness story about Iraqi soldiers removing babies from hospital incubators was publicized by the entire news media and even by Amnesty International. But Nayirah was actually the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States; the other eyewitness recanted his story, and other eyewitnesses have said that the story was fabricated. Amnesty was forced to issue a rare retraction.

MYTH #10: "We can give the Iraqi people their chance to live in freedom and choose their own government." – President Bush, Feb. 6, 2003 press statement.
"Iraq's oil and other natural resources belong to all the Iraqi people–and the United States will respect this fact." – Stephen Hadley, US Deputy National Security Advisor, Feb. 11, 2003.

RESPONSE: The U.S. government has made statements elsewhere asserting that we will control both Iraq's government and its oil, for quite some time.
Excerpt from the Oil and Gas International, an industry trade publication, Feb. 27, 2003: "France and Russia have been warned they must support the US military invasion and occupation of Iraq if they want access to Iraqi oilfields in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq."
Excerpt from the Globe and Mail, quoting U.S. congressional testimony on Feb. 12, 2003: "The United States intends to rule postwar Iraq through an American military governor, supported by an Iraqi consultative council appointed by Washington, Iraqi opposition leaders gathered in this northern Kurdish city said yesterday. 'While we are listening to what the Iraqis are telling us, the United States government will make its decisions based on what is in the national interest of the United States,' said Mark Grossman." Grossman, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, was testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

MYTH #11: War will reduce energy prices and make the U.S. more independent, because oil from Iraq would reduce the current U.S. dependence on Saudi Arabian oil (and prevent the Saudis from pushing us around).

RESPONSE: It is true if someone handed us unfettered control of all Iraq's oil, Saudi Arabia would have less influence than it does now as the lead oil exporter in the world. But acquiring that control through war has enormous costs, and these costs have to be factored in to assess the true cost of energy.
The Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent research organization in Colorado, points out: "Since 1970, oil imports have been responsible for nearly 75 percent of the U.S. trade deficit and have resulted in a net outflow of $1 trillion to the OPEC nations–much of which is respent on armaments ... the peacetime readiness cost of U.S. military forces earmarked for Persian Gulf intervention is around $50 billion a year, raising the effective cost of Gulf oil to around $100 per barrel." This was before the post-9/11 buildup (see myth #8).
If the government charged the oil companies a larger portion of the taxpayer cost of obtaining the oil, and used this money to subsidize use of renewable energy, it would be possible within 5-10 years to completely eliminate the need for U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf.
RMI calculated that raising average automobile fuel economy from 20mpg to 33 mpg would accomplish this goal. Or, this goal could be accomplished with a smaller fuel economy increase, combined with other wind, solar, and energy efficiency initiatives that can be implemented with today's technology.

MYTH #12: "The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others" – George Bush, State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003.
"[UN Resolution] 1441 gives us the authority to move without any second resolution." – George Bush, press conference with Tony Blair, Jan. 31, 2003.

RESPONSE: When the U.S. was achieving independence from Britain, we did not do it alone. France helped!
In the wake of World War II, the US took a leading role in establishing the UN to prevent future world wars. The recent unilateral position of the Bush administration runs counters to decades of US policy, the language in resolution 1441, and international law. To ignore the usefulness of the United Nations at this time would strengthen the hand of those who want global war, including anti-U.S. terrorist groups.
As President Bush himself said during one of the 2000 presidential debates, "If we are an arrogant nation, they will resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us." He went on to add, "It's important to be friends with people when you don't need each other so that when you do, there's a strong bond of friendship. And that's going to be particularly important in dealing not only with situations such as now occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein."
The text of 1441 concludes, "[The Security Council] decides to remain seized of the matter," meaning that it retains jurisdiction, and has not given anyone else the power to act. The US Senate ratified US agreement to the UN Charter by a vote 89 to 2 on July 28, 1945. Under Article 2 of the Charter, the use of military force is prohibited without explicit authorization (under Article 42).

MYTH #13: "'Antiwar' protesters ... are giving, at the very least, comfort to Saddam Hussein." Therefore they can be accused of committing treason according to the Constitution. – NY Sun Editorial, Feb. 7, 2003

RESPONSE: Since the American Revolution, democracies have steadily replaced dictatorships, in part because open debate produces a more responsive and accountable government. Punishing dissenters is the hallmark of totalitarianism; it throws away one of democracy's greatest strengths.
After John McCain – the Senator from Arizona – was released from captivity as a POW in Vietnam, he was asked, "How did it feel when you heard Americans were protesting the war?" He said, "I thought that's what we were fighting for – the right to protest."
It is true that courts have not always fully supported the rights to dissent. But in 1964, thanks to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on the matter. They ruled that the New York Times could not be sued for an ad critical of the actions of Montgomery, Alabama police against civil rights protesters. According to one account, the court "made explicit the principle that seditious libel – criticism of government – cannot be made a crime in America and spoke in this connection of 'the central meaning of the First Amendment.'"

This piece was created by the entire 13myths.org team, using an online collaborative process. E-mail: [e-email unavailable]

Previous Comments

ID
76739
Comment
I'm all for this war. all the pansy ass protesters who are screaming' about the plight of the Iraqi people .... this campaign is nothing but good for the Iraqi people! Sadam gets removed, sanctions get lifted... - Remember - Sadam was the one sitting on all the countries riches - NOT giving it to the people.... have we forget that? (not to mention the LACK of female rights in the middle east in general.) but you never hear the protesters protesting about that, wonder why? and the rebuilding of Iraq - good for our economy, - good for the Iraqis! win / win. France, Russia, & Germany? - only against the war because they have huge economic ties to Sadam and his regime! - yes? and of course - China (the biggest human right violator in the history of humanity) as well as North Korea & Iran - can get a good look at the newest of our laser guided toys - and think long and hard about it.... I think allot of people protest - just to protest. bitch for the sake of bitching. they should be glad they don't live in Iraq, China, or North Korea - where they'd be shot. there are times where you have to have a spine & just do what has to be done. ok, I'm going back to flipping between CNN, MSNBC & FOX! philip scarborough
Author
philip h. scarborough
Date
2003-03-22T20:36:52-06:00
ID
76740
Comment
oh, & al-Qaida links? http://www.msnbc.com/news/889223.asp?0cv=CB10 GERDIGO, Iraq, March 22 ó An apparent car bomb killed at least five people, including a Western journalist, on Saturday at a checkpoint near a camp of a militant group linked to al-Qaida.
Author
philip scarborough
Date
2003-03-22T21:13:43-06:00
ID
76741
Comment
Maybe you need to put down your remote control and go and search other places for your information. Don't be a tool to The Rupert Murdoch Empire.
Author
Bryan Grundon
Date
2003-03-23T16:33:19-06:00
ID
76742
Comment
There is an informative article in The New York Times Magazine this week about Sayyid Qutb, called the "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror" by Paul Berman, it's an interesting article and an compelling arguement of why installing Western style democracy maybe more of a challenge then the Richard Perle & Wolfowitz group have lead us to believe.
Author
Bryan Grundon
Date
2003-03-23T16:42:26-06:00
ID
76743
Comment
Just a couple comments on Philip's postings: It didn't get much media or political attention, but women's groups were protesting the treatment of women in the Middle East, especially in Afghanistan, long, long before September 11, including at street marches for women's rights. Second, with what's going on along Iraq's northern border--the complexity of the Kurds, the warring factions of Islam and now Turkey's possible desire to follow the U.S.' lead and unilaterally attack Iraq--it's probably a good idea to read up on that section of the country, which is quite unique from much of Iraq, from what I understand. To that end, I certainly wouldn't suggest watching MSNBC, CNN or FOX -- I haven't learned a useful thing from any of them yet in this conflict. ABC has been pretty decent and BBC has been pretty good as well, at least admitting that all of the networks, including itself and the aforementioned, airing the footage of Iraqi POWs this weekend was perhaps a violation of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the footage from Iraq of our poor soldiers (praying hard here). The other networks seem to be ignoring that seemingly glaring contradiction, although I see now that AP is reporting that both sides showed pictures of POWs. http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2003/03/23/pow_tv/index.html Anyhow, I suspect many Americans (due to abysmal media coverage here) wrongly believe that all of Iraq is controlled by and loyal to Saddam Hussein, and once he's gone, peace and happiness and democracy will easily come to the Iraqi people. The fact is: It's a rat's nest over there that's going to be hard to control once his folks are out of power, and Northern Iraq is a good example. Here are some links regarding the Ansar group and the Kurd region that may be helpful as we all try to understand the complexity of all this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2149499.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2877319.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2588623.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2597943.stm
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-23T16:57:52-06:00
ID
76744
Comment
Here's the link to the NY Times magazine story that Bryan suggests: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/23/magazine/23GURU.html The New York Times is free online, although you do have to register. I urge all Jacksonians to get beyond network TV and the Clarion-Ledger for news and analysis in these difficult times. We'll try to point you to as much as possible; we urge y'all to post URLs to informative material as well that get beyond rhetoric and make us think.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-23T17:34:45-06:00
ID
76745
Comment
Here's another piece I just found about the potential difficulties of democratizing Iraq, written in October: http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2002/10/10/regime/index.html An excerpt: "Judging by the public remarks of influential neoconservative defense intellectuals, the operative theory in the Pentagon assumes that such democratization will be easy, starting with a simple and direct military overthrow. In an interview with liberal journalist David Corn, Richard Perle, the prominent hawk who chairs the advisory Defense Policy Board, estimated it will take a mere 40,000 troops. On the pro-war left, Kenneth M. Pollack, a former Iraq analyst at the CIA under Clinton, claims in his new book 'The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq' that 'it would probably be closer to 300,000 (and might even exceed that number).' " "The neocon theory also assumes that the Arab masses will welcome the 'liberation' of their neighbor. Speaking along with Chalabi at conference at the American Enterprise Institute on Oct. 3, Perle said, 'When it becomes clear that the end result of military action against the regime of Saddam Hussein will produce the opportunity, ... the Arab world or most of it, and certainly most of the Muslim world, will consider that their honor and dignity has been restored by removing from among them a regime that they have every reason to despise along with the rest of us.' "
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-23T18:23:57-06:00
ID
76746
Comment
I urge all the people of the Metro area (not just Jacksonians) to move beyond the rhetoric of the Jackson Free Press, or the MagnoliaReport for that matter, and go buy a book or two or three if you want to learn anything about the Middle East. You won't learn anything reading Salon or Alternet.org or watching ABC-TV or the BBC. All you'll get is a bunch of surface interpretations of current events by non-expert talking heads and/or journalism/poly sci majors who have an "opinion". You certainly won't get any serious analysis. One place to start with is "A History of the Modern Middle East" by William L. Cleveland. I don't know if it is available at Lemuria. If you don't subscribe to this 'Think Global, Buy Local' BS, God forbid, then I know the book is at Barnes and Noble or you can save yourself some buck$ and get it from Amazon. Another book to build your knowledge is "Wahhabism: A Critical Essay" by Hamid Algar. Or you can try "The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'Ud from Tradition to Terror" by Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz was recently interviewed on C-Span. You may be able to catch a repeat. An author who has already been impugned on this website, Dr. Khidhir Hamza, has written a book "Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda" that provides you some insights into Hussein's efforts to create a nuclear weapon and what life was like in Iraq since Hussein's rise to power. Do yourself a favor and do some serious reading. There are many more books than just the four I noted above, many more. The history of the Middle East is far too complex, and our role as citizens of the United States is far too important. Don't trust your education to agendized web sites. Invest the time and you'll find the return to be a more critical eye (your own) and a more enlightened world.
Author
Jag Reece
Date
2003-03-24T12:47:50-06:00
ID
76747
Comment
Good advice, Jag. And I do appreciate that you read the Jackson Free Press, even if you hate us so much. ;-) And we appreciate you sharing your book suggestions; I couldn't agree with you more that Americans need to do more serious study of this issue, and all suggestions are welcome. We were talking about media coverage above, of course. I certainly am guilty of pointing people toward as much independent (meaning of corporate interests) media as I can, agenda or no agenda (that includes conservative agendas). I believe media should be honest about its agenda, being that every outlet has one. Obviously, when you get there, you need to make your own decisions, but it's certainly good to have more info to consider than the rah-rah networks and corporate dailies offer us. You can't assume ANYONE is giving us all the facts; we must seek out truth for ourselves, which I'm certainly trying to do right now. For those who don't know Salon.com, it is doing some intelligent coverage of the war and criticism of both the left and the right. There is an interview on there right now with Paul Berman, that I linked to the Newsblog yesterday, that takes both the Bush administration and leftist war protesters to task over the Iraqi situation. It is giving me serious pause, and I plan to read his books. On a different topic that you brought up, I haven't seen much savings from buying books at Amazon.com, although it's a great research tool (I found the "Shock and Awe" book online by starting there for author info, etc.) By the time you pay shipping and wait for the book, you could go to Lemuria, use your art museum membership card for a discount, and get it for the same price. And your sales tax stays at home. Maybe we should change the slogan to read: "Read Global, Shop Local," thus incorporating your book advice from above and keeping our local businesses afloat.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-24T14:19:23-06:00
ID
76748
Comment
Here's the link to the Berman piece I mentioned: http://www.salon.com/books/int/2003/03/22/berman/index_np.html One other thing: We printed the "13 Myths" story to provoke discussion and thought, not because we necessarily believe that it tells the whole story or that nothing in it can be refuted. We know this war is much more complex than simply "right" or "wrong." We believed this piece would take the discussion beyond much of the simplistic war rhetoric we've been hearing; please feel free to weigh in with your comments and thoughts, agreements and disagreements. That is the point of the Free Press: to encourage our readers to have opinions and express them.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-24T14:25:16-06:00
ID
76749
Comment
Very interesting debate. I just read this piece on Salon about the history of the poltical left and how it has changed significantly since the 30s. Certainly a thought-provoking article.
Author
Amy Haimerl
Date
2003-03-25T16:21:53-06:00
ID
76750
Comment
URL: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/03/19/left/index.html
Author
Amy Haimerl
Date
2003-03-25T16:23:09-06:00
ID
76751
Comment
URL: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/03/19/left/index.html
Author
Amy Haimerl
Date
2003-03-25T16:23:13-06:00
ID
76752
Comment
As long as we're talking about books . . . A new release by MSNBC correspondant, Eric Alterman, called "What Liberal Media?" is a great place to start (www.whatliberalmedia.com). Look for a review of this book in the next issue of JFP. It'll give you good reason to, as my grandfather said, "trust nothing you read and half of what you see."
Author
Bingo
Date
2003-03-25T19:42:05-06:00
ID
76753
Comment
Amy, thanks for mentioning that piece. We linked it elsewhere on the site -- twice, I think. We get called "liberal" a lot, but the JFP does believe in questioning all ideologies, even those you identify with the most (especially those!). I don't have time to go into it deep here, but I do think the left is facing a quandary on the Saddam issue, among others. How do we stop a Stalin-esque figure from killing more people? (Did everyone see the "Frontline" piece re-aired last night? It wasn't perfect, but it put a lot of facts out there the mainstream media usually don't bother to believe mainstream America cares about.) On the other hand, I do reject arguments that say that just because anyone -- liberal or not -- opposes the way this war is being waged and the precedents it's setting and the people and countries it's angering that we do not want Saddam out of power. I'd prefer that we hadn't helped him into power in the first place -- to fight and kill Communists -- but I don't want him terrorizing more people now. But there must be a way to remove him without turning most of the world, potentially including Muslims who hate Saddam, against us. In order to spread democracy, we have to act as if we believe more in individual freedom than in imperialism or oil or corporate freedom. We must do more to lead by example. The Islamic world isn't going to rise up and overthrow totalitarian regimes, and people of their own faith, if they believe we are simply a different type of evil, whether it's true or not. The Iraqi people already believe we betrayed them at the end of the first Gulf War, which we did; we probably could have built more trust by working with the world community before going in. (And now we need to get that humanitarian relief in there at Roadrunner speed.) Perhaps most importantly, we simply cannot demand "democracy" in the rest of the world, while we're chipping away at freedoms at home. The world will just consider us hypocrites, and not trust our motives. Meantime, my heart is breaking for the troops over there. I just pray that Baghdad isn't a nightmare waiting to happen for us. And I do hope that we really get a chance to help the Iraqi people, rather than leave them subject to another dictator. OK, I went into it ... ;-)
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-25T21:44:40-06:00
ID
76754
Comment
Re Philip's posting way above, it's important to know that the Ansar militants, believed to be al Qaeda-linked, are in Kurdish-controlled parts of Iraq. Doesn't make them any less of scoundrels, but it certainly affects the overall debate of whether Saddam Hussein's regime is linked to al Qaeda, which the administration has charged. And it shows the complexity of what we're taking on in Iraq without the aid of our strongest allies. http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15457 Excerpt: "Ansar was damaged by the American-led attack, but as with the wider war on terrorism, the threat they pose may only have increased for the short term. Most Kurds practice a moderate form of Islam and were perplexed and horrified by the Ansar's brand of fanaticism. But with a few flicks of a razor even the Arab immigrants among Ansar's forces could easily blend into the Kurdish population."
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-26T13:58:04-06:00
ID
76755
Comment
If anyone reading these comments went to the pro-war/support troops rally at the Capital last week is interested in being interviewed for an article for our next issue please contact me.
Author
bingo
Date
2003-03-27T14:54:38-06:00
ID
76756
Comment
If you missed the "Frontline" doc I mentioned above, here's the URL for it and others about the U.S. history of dealing with Iraq: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/
Author
ladd
Date
2003-03-29T16:18:04-06:00
ID
76757
Comment
This is grotesque. (edited for length) Iraq Rewards Family of Suicide Bomber By HAMZA HENDAWI Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq gave $34,000 to the family of an Iraqi army officer who killed four U.S. soldiers in a suicide attack, and the leader of the militant group Islamic Jihad said Sunday its volunteers had gone to Baghdad for similar bombing missions against the "American invasion." Ali Jaafar al-Noamani, a noncommissioned officer with several children, was posthumously promoted to colonel and awarded two medals for the attack in Najaf that killed the unidentified Americans, Iraqi state television reported. His family reportedly was given a fortune by Iraqi standards: 100 million dinars, the equivalent of $34,000. Baghdad warns that more such attacks will follow. The top commander of the war, U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks, told reporters in Qatar that two brothers surrendered to coalition troops in the southern Iraqi city of Umm Qasr on Saturday and admitted they had been sent by the Iraqi government to carry out a suicide attack. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan indicated Saturday's attack in Najaf was "just the beginning" and even raised the specter of terrorism on U.S. or British soil. "We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land." The bomber who killed the Americans had posed as a taxi driver, pulled up close to a roadblock north of Najaf, and waved to the troops for help. He blew up his vehicle when they approached. The names of the four Americans were not released, although they were from the Army's 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Coalition officials said it would not change the way the U.S.-led forces proceed - except that they would be more cautious in vulnerable locations like checkpoints. Iraqi TV praised the Najaf attacker and said he wanted "to teach the enemy a lesson in the manner used by our Palestinian brothers." Saddam is admired by Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in part because he has doled out more than $35 million to the families of civilians, gunmen and suicide attackers killed since fighting began in Israel some 30 months ago. Iraqi dissidents and Arab media have claimed that Saddam has opened a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out similar bombings.
Author
JW
Date
2003-03-30T22:26:23-06:00
ID
76758
Comment
ABCNEWS.com : Raid Finds al-Qaida Tie to Iraq Militants http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20030331_1922.html
Author
dang ol' philip
Date
2003-03-31T23:56:28-06:00
ID
76759
Comment
Yes, Philip, that article talks exactly about one of the points I'm trying to impart. The Ansar base is in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, not in Saddam/Baath-controlled territory. That doesn't mean it's not in Iraq or doesn't need to be dealt with -- but it seems disengenous to say it links al Quaida to the Iraqi regime and therefore not quite a legitimate reason for war. They seem more tied to Iran than the current Iraqi regime. It's important to clearly make such distinctions if we're going to understand what's up over there.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-04-01T15:06:15-06:00
ID
76760
Comment
The bottom line is folks, that no matter what the reasons why we're changing the regime in Iraq... - the whole middle east is nothing but a un-educated barbarous cesspool of human rights violations, - especially regarding woman & children. Violence & ruthlessness of a level that makes the most violent (American) play station 2 game look like Frogger.... - the bigger the western presence in that region - THE BETTER. we're there for oil? - GREAT! - I'm sure we'll cut the Iraqis a much better deal than Sadam did, - yes? As I've said, there is nothing bad about this war for the Iraqis. Unless of course you don't stop your van when the Marine tells you to. Just ask your nearest Iraqi American. But, who are WE to take it upon ourselves of changing the regime you say?? How arrogant of us? ... Well, who are we to save the whales & the ozone, eh? Save the Whales & the Red Oaks, but not the Iraqis? ? p
Author
dang ol' philip
Date
2003-04-02T18:59:38-06:00
ID
76761
Comment
What a perfect seg-way to the next cover story about voting. Sometimes "Liberals" forget (or minimize the importance of) the angry, conservative voter (usually male, except in the South where they also come in the female variety & usually white). To often we look at comments like Philips and find humor in someone so small minded and bigoted, but this is no laughing matter! There are legions of these folks out there and they are mobilized. They vote, they contribute, and they run for office. It's time to stop being complacent "LIBERALS" and be proud of who you are, no more euphemisms like progressive. We let conservatives turn the word liberal into a something shameful. It's time we took back our name and turned the moniker "Conservative" into meaning "fascist, pig f**cker", which it does. It's time to stop politely making your argument, when someone says something like "the Confederate flag is about Southern Heritage", when we really know it's about the South's racist legacy. Get out there vote, contribute, run for office, write a letter to the editor, make your voice heard because if we don't someday there may be a President who is fraudently elected, trapples on every International Agreement and Organization of the past 50 years, sells our environment to the highest bidder, rolls back civil liberties, panders to the ...Oh wait... that day is NOW!
Author
Bryan Grundon
Date
2003-04-04T00:56:48-06:00
ID
76762
Comment
Bryan, you are exactly right. The question is "Are you ready to do something about it?" Let's band together and create the most forceful, fear-inducing "liberal" run for the the polls. Let's show 'em who's boss, because the powers that be have forgotten.
Author
bingo
Date
2003-04-04T12:47:27-06:00
ID
76763
Comment
The problem Bryan is you'll need to find 200 non-complacent Liberals to cough up $5 each to match my one $1000 contribution. That's per cycle per candidate. 64.39% of Mississippi voters voted in favor the current flag. I know its hard losing an election by that large of a margin but it might be time to "move on" because the voters of Mississippi have definitively stated their preference. The other challenge you face is that the number of voters who categorize themselves as "Liberals" each year is shrinking, not growing. Your ranks are thinning every year. Why? Liberals keep aborting their babies and we don't. 30 plus years of abortions has taken a serious toll. You have the choice and you fight hard every day to keep it. Good for you, really ... and good for us. =) You'll disagree and that is okay because while you are wrapping yourself around the emotional axle, we're doing the legwork and raising the dinero necessary to increase our share of the Hispanic vote, increase our majorities in Congress, win the leadership jobs in Mississippi and increase our ranks in the Mississippi State legislature. That's the American way! The sooner you get past the fraudulent election soundbites and get back to the tasks at hand, the better off you will be. Seriously. Your Fascist Avalon Neighbor
Author
Bryan's Neighbor
Date
2003-04-04T15:01:11-06:00
ID
76764
Comment
Whoa, all y'all got a little excited, eh? Gotta love free speech at work. I will say that I don't quite buy, Bryan, that all "conservatives" are what you called them. And, "Fascist," I think it's a little naive to say that only liberals get abortions. You might get out and about more. The only thing I will add to it all is that just because "voters" in Mississippi (or wherever) voted a certain way in a certain election doesn't mean diddley in the long run (see some elections results before the 1960s in the state, for instance). I'm more concerned about how to get all the non-voters, the silent majority, to turn out to the polls, how to convince them that their voice matters. And there are some hints in "Fascist"'s postings that progressives everywhere should take seriously. Nothing wrong with emotion, but money, legwork, the Hispanic vote and congressional majorities are all vital, among other factors, even though I prefer that those things are achieved fairly and honestly, which I'd like to think is the American way. I'd argue that you're building a House of Cards that's sure to tumble when you rely on blatant gerrymandering and a conservative activist judiciary to rubberstamp it, soft corporate money, purging voting rolls of certain people, squelching free speech and dissent, and doing everything you can to keep *more* people from voting. You can spin it however you want, but a party that relies on fewer, rather than more, American voters is standing on shaky ground--if other parties/candidates ever figure out how to rise above the nasty, but well-funded strategies and motivate voters. It really is a quandary in the U.S. today for candidates and activists who want to play fair (and want to reject candidates, even on the left, who try to use similar strategies to win.) But I believe good, compassion and empathy will always win out in the long run. I'm sure not giving up on it anytime soon.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-04-04T20:17:18-06:00
ID
76765
Comment
Facist Neighbor, you make my point exactly. There is no doubt that conservatives have done a far better job organizing, mobilizing and growing it's core voters (eventhough, often this has involved fraudulent election soundbites... COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVISM) then the left has and the left needs to change this. My other point, was voting isn't enough, you have to contribute to candidates if you want to make a difference (Obviously, this is something you take seriously) as should everyone. And whether it's $5 or $1000, every dime counts. (Of course, big shots, like you ;-) have the BIG BUCKS?!!..now you did say you live in Avalon didn't you) As far as the flag goes... If you (and 64.39%) refuse to see it for the racist symbol that it is... then you need to realize that others (outside Mississippi) do see it as a symbol of racism and hate and this may contribute to the fact that Mississippi ranks last in so many economic & quality of life statistics. Of course, your white, and these issues really don't affect you & your family because being white in Mississippi makes it a whole different ballgame for you. And if it doesn't affect you and yours why should you care. Personally, I would rather see to it that we build a better Mississippi for all of us then one that privileges only the few.
Author
Bryan Grundon
Date
2003-04-05T04:58:31-06:00
ID
76766
Comment
Strong support. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/vault/stories/data040703.htm
Author
Reader
Date
2003-04-08T09:49:18-06:00
ID
76767
Comment
Put the Jackson Free Press squarely in this category. "What's keeping the pack from tearing Hayes' story to shreds, from building on it or at least exploiting the secret document from which Hayes quotes? One possible explanation is that the mainstream press is too invested in its consensus finding that Saddam and Osama never teamed up and its almost theological view that Saddam and Osama couldn't possibly have ever hooked up because of secular/sacred differences. Holders of such rigid views tend to reject any new information that may disturb their cognitive equilibrium." http://politics.slate.msn.com/id/2091381/
Author
VBell
Date
2003-11-19T12:22:30-06:00
ID
76768
Comment
No thanks, VBell, I don't think we will do that. Thanks for the suggestion, though. One of my first comments the day the twin towers fell was wondering aloud whether bin Laden and Hussein could possibly have overcome their (yes, vast) differences to work together on such an egregious act of terrorism. Of course, it's possible that disparate factions in the Islamic world could come together, united in their hatred of the U.S. (I think it's much, much more likely now than in September 2001, in fact.) The question has always been, though: Have they? You don't wage an expensive war based on "well, maybe." The administration exploited the imsupported belief that they had joined forces, with no evidence to support it, to help justify this virtually unsupported war in Iraq. This is no secret now, although when we published this story the week the war started, it was a bit less understood. The question here has always been over our own leadership, the lengths it was willing to go to in order to justify an ill-conceived war with little world support, and what the hell we're going to do once we got there without decent backup to help keep the peace. The old "careful what you wish for" adage comes to mind. None of that has changed.
Author
ladd
Date
2003-11-19T12:43:44-06:00
ID
76769
Comment
A piece posted on Alternet from June 2003 about lies we were told about Iraq is an interesting then-now follow-up to this piece about the myths behind the Iraqi war that we ran as the war began in March 2003. Looking back at what we were led to believe then is very telling, as war apologists try to pretend that certain things weren't said and such. Strikes me as a healthy reminder in these last few weeks before the election. In June 2003, Christopher Scheer wrote: Today, more than three months after Bush's stirring declaration of war and nearly two months since he declared victory, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their existence, nor any sign they were deployed in the field. The mainstream press, after an astonishing two years of cowardice, is belatedly drawing attention to the unconscionable level of administrative deception. They seem surprised to find that when it comes to Iraq, the Bush administration isn't prone to the occasional lie of expediency but, in fact, almost never told the truth. What follows are just the most outrageous and significant of the dozens of outright lies uttered by Bush and his top officials over the past year in what amounts to a systematic campaign to scare the bejeezus out of everybody.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-09-13T13:21:13-06:00
ID
76770
Comment
The Former Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) to be deported from the US!! Somebody tell me HOW Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens is a terrorist or otherwisehreat to US security????? THIS IS going OUTRAGEOUSLY too far!!! http://olympics.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=6306593
Author
Philip
Date
2004-09-22T11:40:16-06:00

Comments

donnaladd 5 years, 6 months ago

The JFP published the above story 10 years ago this week—as the Iraq War started. (We later made it a "classic," and the system changed the date until a year later.) Also, be sure to click above on "previous comments" to read comments that the piece drew then, back when the Iraq War was popular among many.

0

Blog entries

comments powered by Disqus