War College

67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop

One of the disturbing facts both Secretary Powell and President Bush have stressed in their case against Iraq is that Hussein's regime has yet to account for some 100 to 400 tons of chemical agents it was known to possess. They have not stressed that many of these chemical agents degrade or become inert from age. It would be a simple matter to determine the likely potency of much of this material—the United States sold it to Iraq during the 1980s and therefore knows what it is, its shelf life and how long Iraq has had it. But so far, the administration has shown no interest in making public any of this information. Anyone interested in the United States' role in supplying Iraq with chemical and other weapons should consult Alan Friedman's 1993 book, Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq. The philosopher/sociologist/moralist who famously proposed that the combination of self-interest and ignorance will produce a just society. If people don't know whether they'll end up rich or poor in a society, Rawls argues, they'll tend to advocate a social order that maximizes the situation of the poor. Americans might now reasonably ask a similar question about global citizenship: While we're the only remaining superpower, what sort of international order should we construct to protect us if the Wheel of Fortune spins, and we find ourselves No. 2? One based on courts and law? Or one based on military power? Results of a Christian Coalition national online survey on Islam conducted in January: Do you believe that Islam is a divine religion? Yes: 4 percent; No: 91.5; Don't know: 4.5. Is Islam a religion of peace?No: 88 percent; Yes: 5; Don't know: 5. How much do you know about Islam? I know a lot: 22 percent; I am not very knowledgeable about the Koran: 38; I know very little: 36; I don't know anything: 3. Do you support war with Iraq?Yes: 75 percent; No: 7; I don't know: 16.5. Last year's enemy. Your constitutional right and moral imperative. In the past few weeks, millions of people around the world—in some 600 cities—have taken their mission to stop a U.S. invasion of Iraq to the streets.

Here is a partial list of local groups protesting the war and where to find them: Coalition Against Unnecessary Wars and Racism, South Coast Plaza, Bristol and Anton, Costa Mesa, (949) 644-5956."Stop the War Against Afghanistan, Iraq & Palestine" peace vigils every Friday, 6 p.m.; Laguna Beach Vigil for Peace in the Middle East, Main Beach, Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6349.Bring your own sign—and a friend. Every Saturday, 11 a.m.; Long Beach Peace Network, 5200 block of Second St., Belmont Shore, Long Beach, (562) 433-7052. Peace vigils every Friday, 6 p.m.; No War in Iraq, corner of Imperial Highway and Brea Boulevard, Brea, (714) 931-4264.Anti-war rally every Saturday and Sunday, noon; War in Iraq, Surf City-Style, corner of Edinger Road and Springdale Avenue, Huntington Beach.Protest every Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Long before he was U.S. Secretary of State or even boss of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Persian Gulf War, Powell was a senior operations officer in the Americal Division during the Vietnam War. In June 1968, then-Major Powell received an unusual assignment: investigate rumors that Americal Division soldiers had committed atrocities three months earlier. Powell dug around, then concluded the stories were baseless. A year later, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh uncovered the "My Lai Massacre," in which an entire company of Americal Division troops killed roughly 200 civilians in the My Lai hamlet during the period Powell supposedly researched.

The Pledge of Allegiance was authored by Francis Bellamy of Boston in 1892, when he was more famous for delivering controversial sermons that portrayed Jesus as a socialist. The Pledge was part of a magazine campaign to promote the use of U.S. flags in public schools in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. But the Pledge was also a defiant document, asserting the country's core moral values—"one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"—during an era when capitalism's individualism begat the greed of the robber barons and the exploitation of the working class. Shortly after the start of the Persian Gulf War, General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in chief of Allied forces, declared that the Patriot's success rate in destroying incoming Iraqi Scuds—particularly those raining down on Israel—was "100 percent." In 1992, a General Accounting Office (GAO) study found that the Patriot's success rate was closer to 9 percent. Still in draft stages, this legislation should take care of whatever remains of the Bill of Rights. Under this so-called "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," virtually all information on alleged terrorist prisoners will be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act; the Justice Department would create a DNA database of "suspected terrorists"; state law-enforcement agencies would be allowed to conduct "racial profiling"; and American citizens could be exiled if found to be a member of a terrorist organization as defined by the federal government. Should the invasion of Iraq provoke a new round of terrorism, watch for Patriot Acts III, IV and V. See also CLAREMONT. Sandy Berger, the outgoing Clinton administration National Security Council chief, briefed his replacement, Condoleezza Rice, specifically on al-Qaida; Rice says she doesn't remember the briefing. The Bush administration brushed off the al-Qaida warning because they didn't want any distractions from their planning an invasion of Iraq. The Bush plan was simple: the Middle East must be taken under American military control so we could control the world's oil. The use of oil is expected to rise to something like 60 percent in the coming decade, thanks in large part to the economies of China and India ramping up.The United States says a war with Iraq is justified because Iraq stands in violation of 16 United Nations Security Council resolutions. At last count, Turkey is in violation of 23 such Security Council resolutions. Israel is in violation of 31. No war plans have been announced. See also ISRAEL. National Security Presidential Directive 17 states that the U.S. may retaliate with nuclear weapons if attacked by chemical weapons in Iraq. Anti-war movement supported by numerous intellectuals, now referred to as Anti-Americans, including Mos Def, Edward Asner, Ossie Davis, Sandy Duncan, Noam Chomsky and more than 50,000 other Americans. The NION Statement of Conscience, which Le Monde called the "sacred text of the anti-war movement" and has been published in more than 40 journals and newspapers across the U.S. and seven countries internationally, reads in part, "Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression." For more, go to www.nion.us/nion.htm.

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