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A Naomi Klein thread

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by SlipperyPete, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. SlipperyPete

    SlipperyPete TRIBE Member

    She writes some interesting stuff now and again in the Globe -- from this mornings paper:

    The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003

    The U.S. President has created a tool kit for any mini-empire looking to get rid of the opposition

    The Marriot Hotel in Jakarta was still burning when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, explained the implications of the day's attack.

    "Those who criticize about human rights being breached must understand that all the bombing victims are more important than any human-rights issue."

    In a sentence, we got the best summary yet of the philosophy underlying President George W. Bush's so-called war on terrorism. Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism, real and exaggerated, has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human-rights abuses.

    Many have argued that the WoTtm is the U.S. government's thinly veiled excuse for constructing a classic empire, in the model of Rome or Britain. Two years into the crusade, it's clear that this is a mistake: The Bush gang doesn't have the stick-to-it-ness to successfully occupy one country, let alone a dozen.

    Mr. Bush and the gang do, however, have the hustle of good marketers, and they know how to contract out. What Mr. Bush has created in the war on terrorism is less a doctrine for world domination than an easy-to-assemble tool kit for any mini-empire looking to get rid of the opposition and expand its power.

    The war on terrorism was never a war in the traditional sense, it lacked a clear target or a fixed location. It is, instead, a kind of brand, an idea that can be easily franchised by any government in the market for an all-purpose opposition cleanser.

    We already know that the WoTtm works on domestic groups that use terrorist tactics, such as Hamas or the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). That's only its most basic application. WoTtm can be used on any liberation or opposition movement. It can be applied liberally to unwanted immigrants, pesky human-rights activists and even on hard-to-get-out investigative journalists.

    It was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was the first to adopt Mr. Bush's franchise, parroting the White House's pledges to "pull up these wild plants by the root, smash their infrastructure" as he sent bulldozers into the occupied territories to uproot olive trees, and tanks to raze civilian homes.

    Soon enough, Mr. Sharon's wild plants included human-rights observers who were bearing witness to the attacks, as well as aid workers and journalists.

    Another franchise soon opened in Spain with Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar extending his WoTtm from the Basque guerrilla group ETA to the Basque separatist movement as a whole, the vast majority of which is peaceful. Mr. Aznar has resisted calls to negotiate with the Basque Autonomous Government and banned the political party Batasuna (even though, as The New York Times noted in June, "no direct link has been established between Batasuna and terrorist acts"). He has also shut down Basque human-rights groups, magazines and the only entirely Basque-language newspaper. In February, the Spanish police raided the Association of Basque Middle Schools, accusing it of having terrorist ties.

    This appears to be the true message of Mr. Bush's war franchise: Why negotiate with your political opponents when you can annihilate them? In the era of WoTtm, little concerns like war crimes and human rights just don't register.

    Among those who have taken careful note of the new rules is Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze. In October, while extraditing five Chechens to Russia (without due process) for its WoTtm, he stated that "international human-rights commitments might become pale in comparison with the importance of the anti-terrorist campaign."

    Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri got the same memo. She came to power pledging to clean up the notoriously corrupt and brutal military and to bring peace to the fractious country. Instead she has called off talks with the Free Aceh Movement and in May, invaded the province, the largest military offensive since the 1975 invasion of East Timor. The Indonesian human-rights organization Tapol describes the situation in the oil-rich province as "a living hell, a daily roundup of trauma and extreme fear, of sweeping villages, of the seizure of people at random and, hours later, their bodies left lying by the roadside."

    Why did the Indonesian government think it could get away with the invasion after the international outrage that forced it out of East Timor? Easy: Post-Sept. 11, the government cast Aceh's movement for national liberation as "terrorist," which means human-rights concerns no longer apply. Rizal Mallarangeng, a senior adviser to Megawati, called it the "blessing of Sept. 11."

    Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appears to feel similarly blessed. Quick to cast her battle against Islamic separatists in the southern Moro region as part of WoTtm, Ms. Arroyo -- like Mr. Sharon, Mr. Aznar and Megawati -- abandoned peace negotiations and waged brutal civil war instead, displacing 90,000 people last year.

    She didn't stop there. Last August, speaking to soldiers at a military academy, Ms. Arroyo extended the war beyond terrorists and armed separatists to include "those who terrorize factories that provide jobs," code for trade unions. Labour groups in Philippine free-trade zones report that union organizers are facing increased threats, and strikes are being broken up with extreme police violence.

    In Colombia, the government's war against leftist guerrillas has long been used as cover to murder anyone with leftist ties, whether union activists or indigenous farmers. But even in Colombia, things have gotten worse since President Alvaro Uribe took office in August, 2002, on a WoTtm platform.

    Last year, 150 union activists were murdered. Like Mr. Sharon, Mr. Uribe quickly moved to get rid of the witnesses, expelling foreign observers and playing down the importance of human rights. Only after "terrorist networks are dismantled . . . will we see full compliance with human rights," Mr. Uribe said in March.

    Sometimes WoTtm is not an excuse to wage a war, but to keep one going. Mexican President Vicente Fox came to power in 2000 pledging to settle the Zapatista conflict "in 15 minutes" and to tackle rampant human-rights abuses committed by the military and police. Now, post-Sept. 11, Mr. Fox has abandoned both projects. The Mexican government has made no moves to reinitiate the Zapatista peace process and last week, Mr. Fox closed down the high-profile office of the Undersecretary of Human Rights.

    This is the era ushered in by Sept. 11, war and repression unleashed not by a single empire, but a global franchise of them. In Indonesia, Israel, Spain, Colombia, the Philippines and China, governments have latched onto to Mr. Bush's deadly WoTtm and are using it to erase their opponents and tighten their grip on power.

    Last week, another war was in the news. In Argentina, the senate voted to repeal two laws that granted immunity to the sadistic criminals of the 1976-1983 dictatorship. At the time, the generals called their campaign of extermination a "war on terror," using a series of kidnappings and violent attacks by leftist groups as an excuse to seize power.

    The vast majority of the 30,000 people who were disappeared during the dictatorship weren't terrorists; they were union leaders, artists, teachers, psychiatrists. As with all wars on terrorism, terrorism wasn't the target -- it was the excuse to wage the real war on people who dared to dissent.
  2. SlipperyPete

    SlipperyPete TRIBE Member

    Fuck, didn't notice the formatting got goofed -- WoTtm should read WoT (tm) (lil' trademark symbol).....

    I thought this was interesting -- our shortened attention spans need everything to be branded, packaged, parcelled and delivered in 10 second hits, and most certainly not drawn out. The "War on Terrorism" has grown to mean that just about anything that anyone in a position of power wants to do is justified. Period. Now governments can kill, deport, attack and plunder whomever they please under the guise of 'fighting terrorism' and the international community won't get overly upset about it.
  3. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    Exactly. 15 minute rants on "the problem in country X" as though 15 minutes can possibly cover 50 years of complicated history, or insight into the problem whatsoever. And the facts interjected in the rants are half-composed of cliches and memes, such as you indicated, like WOT.

    That's why the internet has saved my soul. I can LEARN about shit, without watching 15 minutes of television and making a relatively uninformed decision.
  4. Adam

    Adam TRIBE Member

    I did a quick search of this thread, but didn't find anything on this subject (the Phillipine government faking terrorist attacks on it's own people to illicit aid from the US) My apologies if it's already been posted..if it looks familiar, it's because it was reprinted in the Globe the other day.

    Mutiny in Manila

    What does it take to become a major news story in the summer of Arnold and Kobe, Ben and Jen?

    A lot, as a group of young Philippine soldiers discovered recently. On July 27, 300 soldiers rigged a giant Manila shopping mall with C-4 explosives, accused one of Washington's closest allies of staging terrorist attacks to attract US military dollars--and still barely managed to make the international news.

    That's our loss, because in the wake of the Marriott bombing in Jakarta and newly leaked intelligence reports claiming that the September 11 attacks were hatched in Manila, it looks like Southeast Asia is about to become the next major front in Washington's War on Terror™.

    The Philippines and Indonesia may have missed the cut for the Axis of Evil, but the two countries do offer Washington something Iran and North Korea do not: US-friendly governments willing to help the Pentagon secure an easy win. Both Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri have embraced Bush's crusade as the perfect cover for their brutal cleansing of separatist movements from resource-rich regions--Mindanao in the Philippines, Aceh in Indonesia.

    The Philippine government has already reaped a bonanza from its status as Washington's favored terror-fighting ally in Asia. US military aid increased from $2 million in 2001 to $80 million a year while US soldiers and Special Forces flooded into Mindanao to launch offensives against Abu Sayyaf, a group the White House claims has links to Al Qaeda.

    This went on until mid-February, when the US-Philippine alliance suffered a major setback. On the eve of a new joint military operation involving more than 3,000 US soldiers, a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters that US troops in the Philippines would "actively participate" in combat--a deviation from the Arroyo administration's line that the soldiers were only conducting "trainings."

    The difference is significant: A clause in the Philippine constitution bans combat by foreign soldiers on its soil, a safeguard against a return of the sprawling US military bases that were banished from the Philippines in 1992. The public outcry was so strong that the entire operation had to be called off, and future joint operations suspended.

    In the six months since, while all eyes have been on Iraq, there has been a spike in terrorist bombings in Mindanao. Now, post-mutiny, the question is: Who did it? The government blames the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The mutinous soldiers point the finger back at the military and the government, claiming that by inflating the terrorist threat, they are rebuilding the justification for more US aid and intervention.

    Among the soldiers' claims:

    § that senior military officials, in collusion with the Arroyo regime, carried out last March's bombing of the airport of the southern city of Davao, as well as several other attacks. Thirty-eight people were killed in the bombings. The leader of the mutiny, Lieut. Antonio Trillanes, claims to have "hundreds" of witnesses who can testify to the plot.

    § that the army has fueled terrorism in Mindanao by selling weapons and ammunition to the very rebel forces the young soldiers were sent to fight.

    § that members of the military and police helped prisoners convicted of terrorist crimes escape from jail. The "final validation," according to Trillanes, was Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi's July 14 escape from a heavily guarded Manila prison. Al-Ghozi is a notorious bomb-maker with Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been linked to both the Bali and Marriott attacks.

    § that the government was on the verge of staging a new string of bombings to justify declaring martial law.

    Arroyo denies the allegations and accuses the soldiers of being pawns of her unscrupulous opponents. The mutineers insist they were not trying to seize power but only wanted to expose a top-level conspiracy. When Arroyo promised to launch a full investigation into the allegations, the mutiny ended without violence.

    Though the soldiers' tactics were widely condemned in the Philippines, there was widespread recognition in the press, and even inside the military, that their claims were "valid and legitimate," as retired Navy Capt. Danilo Vizmanos put it to me.

    Local newspaper reports described the army's selling of weapons to rebels as "an open secret" and "common knowledge." The army's chief of staff, Gen. Narciso Abaya, conceded that there is "graft and corruption at all levels." And police have admitted that al-Ghozi couldn't have escaped from his cell without help from someone on the inside. Most significant, Victor Corpus, chief of army intelligence, resigned, though he denies any role in the Davao bombings.

    Besides, the soldiers were not the first to accuse the Philippine government of bombing its own people. Days before the mutiny, a coalition of church groups, lawyers and NGOs launched a "fact-finding mission" to investigate persistent rumors that the state was involved in the Davao explosions. It is also investigating the possible involvement of US intelligence agencies.

    These suspicions stem from a bizarre incident on May 16, 2002, in Davao. Michael Meiring, a US citizen, allegedly detonated explosives in his hotel room, injuring himself badly. While recovering in the hospital, Meiring was whisked away by two men, who witnesses say identified themselves as FBI agents, and flown to the United States. Local officials have demanded that Meiring return to face charges, to little effect. BusinessWorld, a leading Philippine newspaper, has published articles openly accusing Meiring of being a CIA agent involved in covert operations "to justify the stationing of American troops and bases in Mindanao."

    Yet the Meiring affair has never been reported in the US press. And the mutinous soldiers' amazing allegations were no more than a one-day story. Maybe it just seemed too outlandish: an out-of-control government fanning the flames of terrorism to pump up its military budget, hold on to power and violate civil liberties.

    Why would Americans be interested in something like that?

  5. SlipperyPete

    SlipperyPete TRIBE Member

  6. Klubmasta Will

    Klubmasta Will TRIBE Member

    naomi klein on raves

    How to radicalize a generation

    NAOMI KLEIN, The Globe and Mail

    Wednesday, May 10, 2000

    Toronto ravers are trying to be so reasonable.

    They have worked with City Council to draft the Protocol for the Operation of Safe Dance Events. The Toronto Dance Safety Committee has tried to make sure paramedic teams are at all the big parties.

    And this week, at the inquiry into the death of 20-year-old Allan Ho, ravers are explaining that the primary cause of ecstasy-related death is dehydration. Therefore, they say, most of the risk from the drug can be eliminated at raves simply by making sure there is unlimited access to water and proper ventilation.

    What the ravers are only just beginning to understand is that none of this matters. The rave uproar, like all drug wars, isn't about safety, it's about politics. It's about the fact that a lot of parents don't understand their own kids: the way they dress, the music they listen to, the thing with the pacifier lollipops.

    Which provides a great political opportunity for Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino to step up for National Daddy Duty -- to claim he knows exactly what those sinister lollipops and teddy-bear backpacks are all about. Drugs and violence, that's what. The only solution is to shut them down.

    The Toronto Dance Safety Committee has tried to counter this fear-mongering with reasoned statistics: Of Ontario's nine ecstasy-related deaths last year, only three were clearly associated with raves. Others point out that there were 6,503 alcohol-related deaths in Canada in 1995 (a stat overlooked by Heritage Minister Sheila Copps when she held up a Molson commercial as an example of our proud national identity).

    Although Chief Fantino has done his best to toss shootings at after-hours clubs into his anti-rave crusade, the TDSC and others have countered that these incidents did not take place at raves, but at private clubs. Ecstasy, as anyone who has seen its effects in action can attest, is a love drug. Its users are more likely to be guilty of cloying hugging than handgun offences.

    The ravers have also patiently explained that, if you ban a scene of 50,000 people, it won't go away, it will go underground, back to the bad old days of no running water and suffocating ventilation. Since none of these arguments have had any effect, perhaps it's time for a new tactic. A similar scenario unfolded in Britain when the Tory government passed the Criminal Justice Act in 1994. The act became known as the anti-rave law because, by giving police new powers to break up parties and arrest those in attendance, it effectively made raves illegal.

    But it also did something else: It took an apolitical party scene and turned it into a political movement.

    When the Criminal Justice Act was introduced, British ravers got organized. They formed key alliances with other political constituencies who were facing fierce crackdowns by the state: anarchists getting thrown out of their squats, homeless people barred from panhandling, the radical eco-warriors who were trying to prevent forests from being paved over by new highways.

    Together, they began to develop an overarching analysis about the loss of non-commercial, public space -- to live, plant gardens, go to school, have parties. Out of this oddball coalition of hedonists, artists, environmentalists and students, a vibrant new political movement emerged: Reclaim the Streets.

    Since 1995, RTS has been throwing impromptu street parties in the middle of busy intersections all over London, some of them 20,000 strong. The more traditional activists brought an analysis about the need for public space for purely public purposes; the ravers brought club-quality sound systems and a sense of abandon.

    The RTS phenomenon has spread around the world, including to several cities in Canada, most recently on May Day. The parties have been enormously controversial in Europe because they often turn into full-scale anti-capitalism riots, a fact that might be of interest to Chief Fantino and his get-tough plans.

    Already, you can see it happening in Ontario. Just to defend itself from attacks, the ad-hoc, splintered rave scene has been forced to organize itself into a unified political lobby. Suddenly, the event promoters, independent record labels and trendy clothing companies that make up the scene aren't just party hedonists: They are employers of Canada's youth, part of Ontario's tourism industry, world-class artists.

    Sometimes, it takes an organized attack to find out who you really are -- and who your allies are. As in Britain, Toronto's ravers are quickly discovering that they have lots of company of the wrong side of the law-and-order divide. There are squeegee kids, homeless people and, most recently, high-school students with no allegiance to the Queen.

    Is Chief Fantino inadvertently running a recruitment drive for the young anarchists of Toronto? Maybe. After all, the reason Reclaim the Streets hasn't taken off in Canada like it has in Britain is that Canada's youth didn't wake up one morning to learn they had been reclassified as dangerous criminals. Until now, that is.
  7. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    Good article. She's right. The morons who are trying to "crack down" never learn though, so it's unlikely this kind of advice will be heeded with any level of sincerity.
  8. SlipperyPete

    SlipperyPete TRIBE Member

    Not neo-con, just plain greed

    The Globe and Mail, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2003

    The U.S. campaign to have Iraq's debts forgiven shows how the Bush administration backs any market distortion that enriches its friends

    Contrary to all predictions, the heavy doors of Old Europe weren't slammed in James Baker's face as he asked forgiveness for Iraq's foreign debt. France and Germany appear to have signed on, and Russia is softening its line.

    Just last week, there was virtual consensus that Mr. Baker's Drop the Debt Tour had been maliciously sabotaged by deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose move to shut out non-coalition partners from $18.6-billion (U.S.) in Iraq reconstruction contracts seemed designed to make Mr. Baker look like a hypocrite.

    Only now it turns out that Mr. Wolfowitz may not have been undermining Mr. Baker at all, but rather acting as his enforcer. He showed up with a big stick -- the threat of economic exclusion from Iraq's potential $500-billion reconstruction -- just when Mr. Baker was about to speak softly.

    Mr. Baker hardly needed Mr. Wolfowitz to make his mission look hypocritical; one can scarcely imagine an act more rife with historical ironies than James Baker impersonating Bono on Iraq's debt. The Iraqi people "should not be saddled with the debt of a brutal regime that was more interested in using funds to build palaces and build torture chambers and brutalize the Iraqi people," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

    No argument here. But when I heard about Mr. Baker's "noble mission," as George W. Bush described it, I couldn't help thinking about an underreported story from earlier this month. On Dec. 4, The Miami Herald published excerpts from a declassified State Department document. It is the transcript of a meeting held on Oct. 7, 1976, between Henry Kissinger, then-secretary of state under president Gerald Ford, and Argentina's foreign minister under the military dictatorship, navy admiral Cesar Augusto Guzzetti.

    It was the height of Argentina's dirty war, a campaign to destroy the so-called Marxist threat in Argentina by systematically torturing and killing not only armed guerrillas, but also union organizers, student activists and their families and sympathizers. By the end of the dictatorship, about 30,000 people had been "disappeared."

    At the time of the Kissinger-Guzzetti meeting at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, much of Argentina's left had been erased, and news of bodies washing up on the banks of the Rio de la Plata was drawing urgent calls for economic sanctions against the junta. The Kissinger-Guzzetti transcript reveals that Washington not only knew about the disappearances, it approved of them.

    Mr. Guzzetti reports to Mr. Kissinger on "the very good results in the last four months. The terrorist organizations have been dismantled." After discussing the international outcry, Mr. Kissinger states, "Look, our basic attitude is that we would like you to succeed. I have an old-fashioned view that friends ought to be supported. What is not understood in the United States is that you have a civil war. We read about human-rights problems but not the context. The quicker you succeed, the better."

    Here is where Mr. Baker's present-day mission becomes relevant.

    Mr. Kissinger quickly moves on to the topic of loans, encouraging Mr. Guzzetti to apply for as much foreign assistance as possible -- and fast, before Argentina's "human-rights problem" ties the hands of the U.S. administration. Mr. Kissinger instructs the minister, "Proceed with your Export-Import Bank requests. We would like your economic program to succeed and will do our best to help you."

    The World Bank estimates that roughly $10-billion of the money borrowed by the generals went to military purchases, used to build the prison camps from which thousands never re-emerged, and to buy hardware for the Falklands War. It also went into numbered Swiss bank accounts, a sum impossible to track because the generals destroyed all records relating to the loans on their way out the door.

    We do know this: Under the dictatorship, Argentina's external debt ballooned from $7.7-billion in 1975 to $46-billion in 1982. Ever since, the country has been caught in an escalating crisis, borrowing billions to pay interest on that original, illegitimate debt, which today is only slightly higher than that held by Iraq's foreign creditors: $141-billion.

    The Kissinger transcript proves that the U.S. knowingly gave both money and high-level political encouragement to the generals' murderous campaign. Yet despite its irrefutable complicity in Argentina's tragedy, the United States has consistently opposed all attempts to cancel the country's debt.

    Argentina's case is not exceptional. For decades, the U.S. government has used its power in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to block campaigns to cancel debts accumulated under apartheid in South Africa, the Ferdinand Marcos kleptocracy in the Philippines, the brutally corrupt Duvalier regime in Haiti, the long military dictatorship that sent Brazil's debt spiralling from $5.7-billion in 1964 to $104-billion in 1985. The list goes on.

    The U.S. position has been that wiping out the debts would lead to dangerous precedents (and, of course, would rob Washington of the leverage it needs to push for investor-friendly economic reforms). So why now is Mr. Bush so concerned that "The future of the Iraqi people should not be mortgaged to the enormous burden of debt?" Because it is taking money away from "reconstruction," money that could be going to Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon and Boeing.

    It has become popular to claim that the White House has been hijacked by neo-conservatives, men so in love with free-market dogma that they cannot see reason or pragmatism. I'm not convinced. If there's one thing last week's diplomatic dustups make clear, it's that the underlying ideology of the Bush White House isn't neo-conservatism, it's old-fashioned greed.

    While neo-cons worship abstract free-market rules, there is really only one rule that appears to matter to the Bush clan: If it helps our friends get even richer, do it.

    Seen through this lens, the seemingly erratic behaviour coming out of Washington makes a lot more sense. Sure, Mr. Wolfowitz's contract-hogging openly flouts the free-market principles of competition and government non-intervention. But like Mr. Baker's jubilee, it does have a direct benefit for the firms closest to the Bush administration. Not only are they buying a debt-free Iraq, but they won't have to compete for the deals with European corporate rivals.

    The entire reconstruction project defies neo-con tenets. It has sent this year's U.S. deficit to a cartoonish $500-billion, much of it handed out in no-bid contracts, creating the kind of monopoly in which Halliburton may have been able to overcharge an estimated $61-million for imported gasoline in Iraq.

    Those looking for ideology in the White House should consider this: For the men who rule our world, rules are for other people. The truly powerful feed ideology to the masses like fast food while they dine on the most rarified delicacy of all: impunity.

  9. Deep_Groove

    Deep_Groove TRIBE Member

    Or how about the idea that the US wants Iraq to become a country of happy, peaceful, democratic, prosperous, pro-American Arab Muslims, and that forgiving their debt will get them one step closer to that more quickly, and so breaking the precedent this one time would be useful.

    We know that much is true.

    But is there any evidene that restricting the contracts to "Coalition of the Willing" firms will definitely: "have a direct benefit for the firms closest to the Bush administration".

    Of course not. Exactly what firms would those be? Exactly which administration officials are "close" to them, or at least closer than other firms who don't get contracts? And why?

    Don't expect the answers to these necessary questions from Naomi Klein. No hard evidence is ever necessary for Naomi Klein, as long as the "ruling class" always benefits! Mere innuendo rules the day again!

    - Deep_Groove
  10. derek

    derek TRIBE Member


    "...breaking the precedent this one time."


    how about breaking the precedent all the time, as it suits their needs.

    that much we know is true.


  11. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    Just another readily available example of how our world is rooked. what happened to idealism?
  12. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    I have no idea, frankly, who the hell can really tell how cozy the Bush administration is with big business.. we'll never know.. ever never bo-better, banana-fanna fo-fetter... in other news, I'm still stoked over the winning hand I aced a card game with tonight.
  13. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    nice deck!
  14. Deep_Groove

    Deep_Groove TRIBE Member

    Ah, "big business"...the all-purpose bogeyman of hardcore lefties...

    It seems that as long you can invoke the mantra "cozy with big business", no actual evidence will ever be needed. I love arguing with you guys!

    <Klein>So why now is Mr. Bush so concerned that "The future of the Iraqi people should not be mortgaged to the enormous burden of debt?" Because it is taking money away from "reconstruction," money that could be going to Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon and Boeing.<Klein>

    Observe the non-sequiter: Money that the eventual Iraqi government will have to use to pay back debts incurred by the Hussein regime is TAKING MONEY AWAY from the reconstruction. Is there any explanation of the details of the supposed movement of this money? No, of course not. As I've said, merely to invoke the specter of "big business" is to make the hardcore lefty argument.

    Perhaps someone can explain to me how US taxpayer money, funnelled through the US government to a large number of private (American AND non-American) firms doing the reconstruction in Iraq (which is the same thing the US government often does when building highways, military equipment, public schools, etc. IN AMERICA) is going to somehow be transferred from these firms to end up in the coffers of the eventual Iraqi government and have to be used in paying back Iraq's debt, if that debt is not reduced?

    - Deep_Groove
  15. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Typical response from you when presented with what you asked for. Do yourself a favour and stop asking rhetorical questions you never want answered. You're always a waste of time.

    Instead of getting free schooling, why don't you prove to us that the current Bush administration operates only in the interests of the Iraqi people, and disprove the substantial evidence that links them and their policy with the industrial/military complex, and regional hegemony.

    Most people on the right/hawkish mindset would consider it blatantly foolish to totally deny the existence of such obvious ideological motivations of the Bush Administration & the current industry influences which reside in it. Rather, they would see it more fit to embrace & justify the actions from a geo-political standpoint, and the industrial influence in the admin from a party history, ideological, and practicality standpoint. Your rhetoric, blinded by faithful idealism, obviously falls into the first category, and it's inherent foolishness really provides no basis for debate.
  16. SlipperyPete

    SlipperyPete TRIBE Member

    Missing in action in Iraq

    Americans hear about their 500 dead soldiers. What about the 10,000 dead Iraqi civilians?

    Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - Page A19

    It was Mary Vargas, a 44-year-old engineer in Renton, Wash., who carried U.S. therapy culture to its new zenith. Explaining why the war in Iraq was no longer her top election issue, she told the Internet magazine Salon that, "when they didn't find the weapons of mass destruction, I felt I could also focus on other things. I got validated."

    Yes, that's right: war opposition as self-help. The end goal is not to seek justice for the victims, or punishment for the aggressors, but rather "validation" for the war's critics. Once validated, it is of course time to reach for the talisman of self-help: "closure." In this mindscape, Howard Dean's wild scream was not so much a gaffe as the second of the five stages of grieving: anger. The scream was a moment of uncontrolled release, a catharsis, allowing U.S. liberals to externalize their rage and then move on, transferring their affections to more appropriate candidates.

    All of the front-runners in the Democratic race borrow the language of pop therapy to discuss the war and the toll it has taken not on Iraq, a country so absent from their campaigns it may as well be on another planet, but on the American people themselves. To hear John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean tell it, the invasion was less a war of aggression against a sovereign nation than a civil war within the United States, a traumatic event that severed Americans from their faith in politicians, from their rightful place in the world and from their tax dollars.

    "The price of unilateralism is too high and Americans are paying it -- in resources that could be used for health care, education and our security here at home," Mr. Kerry said on Dec. 16. "We are paying that price in respect lost around the world. And most importantly, that price is paid in the lives of young Americans forced to shoulder the burden of the mission alone."

    Conspicuously absent from Mr. Kerry's tally are the lives of Iraqi civilians lost as a direct result of the invasion. Even Mr. Dean, the "anti-war candidate," regularly suffers from the same myopic math. "There are now almost 400 people dead who wouldn't be dead if we hadn't gone to war," he said in November. On Jan. 22, he put the total number of losses at "500 soldiers and 2,200 wounded."

    But on Feb. 8, while Mr. Kerry was in Virginia and Mr. Dean was in Maine, both of them assuring voters that they were the aggrieved and deceived victims of President George W. Bush's war, the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion reached as high as 10,000. That number is the most authoritative estimate available, since the occupying authorities in Iraq refuse to keep statistics on civilian deaths. It comes from Iraq Body Count, a group of respected British and U.S. academics who base their figures on cross-referenced reports from journalists and human-rights groups in the field.

    John Sloboda, co-founder of Iraq Body Count, told me that while the passing of the grim 10,000 mark made the British papers and the BBC, it received "scandalously little attention in the United States," including from the leading Democratic candidates, even as they hammer Mr. Bush on his faulty intelligence. "If the war was fought on false pretences," Mr. Sloboda says, "that means that every death caused by the war is a death on false pretences."

    If that's the case, the most urgent question is not, "Who knew what when?" but "Who owes what to whom?" In international law, countries that wage wars of aggression must pay reparations as a penalty for their crimes.

    Yet in Iraq, this logic has been turned on its head. Not only are there no penalties for an illegal war, there are prizes, with the United States actively and openly rewarding itself with huge reconstruction contracts. "Our people risked their lives. Coalition, friendly coalition folks risked their lives and therefore, the contracting is going to reflect that," Mr. Bush said.

    When the reconstruction spending has attracted scrutiny, it has not been over what is owed to Iraqis for their tremendous losses, but over what is owed to American taxpayers. "This war profiteering is poison to America, poison to Americans' faith in government and poison to our allies' perception of our motives in Iraq," John Edwards said. True, but he somehow failed to mention that it also poisons Iraqis -- not their faith, or their perceptions, but their bodies.

    Every dollar wasted on an overcharging, underperforming U.S. contractor is a dinar not spent rebuilding Iraq's bombed-out water-treatment and electricity plants. It is Iraqis, not U.S. taxpayers, who are forced to drink typhoid- and cholera- infested water, and then to seek treatment in hospitals still flooded with raw sewage, where the drug supply is even more depleted than during the sanctions era.

    There is currently no plan to compensate Iraqi civilians for deaths caused by the willful destruction of their basic infrastructure, or as a result of combat during the invasion. The occupying forces will only pay compensation for "instances where soldiers have acted negligently or wrongfully."

    According to the latest estimates, U.S. troops have distributed roughly $2-million in compensation for deaths, injuries and property damage.That's less than the price of two of the 800 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched during the war, and a third of what Halliburton admits two of its employees accepted in bribes from a Kuwaiti contractor.

    To talk about the price of the Iraq war strictly in terms of U.S. casualties and tax dollars is an obscenity. Yes, Americans were lied to by their politicians. Yes, they are owed answers. But the people of Iraq are owed a great deal more, and that enormous debt belongs at the very centre of any civilized debate about the war.

    In the United States, a good start would be for the Democratic candidates to acknowledge some collective responsibility. Mr. Bush may have been the war's initiator, but in the language of self-help, he had plenty of enablers.

    They include Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards, among the 27 other Democratic senators and 81 members of the House of Representatives who voted for the resolution authorizing Mr. Bush to go to war. They also include Howard Dean, who believed and repeated Mr. Bush's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They include, too, a credulous and cheerleading press, which sold those false claims to an overly trusting U.S. public, 76 per cent of whom supported the war, according to a CBS poll released two days after the invasion began.

    Why does this ancient history matter? Because so long as Mr. Bush's opponents continue to cast themselves as the primary victims of his war, the real victims will remain invisible, unable to make their claims for justice. The focus will be on uncovering Mr. Bush's lies, a process geared toward absolving those who believed them, not on compensating those who died because of them.

    If the war was wrong, then the United States, as the main aggressor, must devote itself to making things right. Part of grief is guilt, when the grieving party starts to wonder whether they did enough, if the loss was somehow their fault, how they can make amends. Closure is supposed to come only after that reckoning.

  17. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Good article^^

    Her speeches are floating around the net more frequently these days.. she does alot of good unique research around the propigandic elements of the invasion.
  18. DaPhatConductor

    DaPhatConductor TRIBE Promoter

    Too bad she charges $10 000 to make a public appearance. She's branded herself pretty nicely hasn't she?
  19. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    It's not like people sit and watch her twirl.. she puts alot of research into her speeches, and I assume it's part of her living. I don't see the difference between that and getting paid for the publishing of the columns & articles she writes, except that she's required to be there and speak.

    I don't want to sound too apologetic for her, but I don't think your tone is fair either. Take Chomsky for instance, I don't know if he gets paid at all for his talks, but he turns down literally 200 invitations per day. If she's charging 10,000 per talk, then I assume that she is quite in demand. I also heard a lecture from her recently where she was speaking for free. So I don't know entirely what to make of it.
  20. DaPhatConductor

    DaPhatConductor TRIBE Promoter

    I'm just being a cunt :) Don't lose any sleep over it.
  21. kerouacdude

    kerouacdude TRIBE Member

    this is the embodiment of what annoys me about her - the mix of naivete, condesenscion, and anti-Americanism.

    Last I checked, they were campaigning in Wisconsin and Ohio, not Sumeria. Neither Kerry nor Edwards strike me as insensitive to the Iraqi casualties; I'm sure their speeches have been combed over by writers and campaign strategists for maximize effect and to avoid alienating any particular groups (i.e. those who've served).

    Does she actually ever talk to living, breathing Americans? (not counting "intellectuals")
  22. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    But you can also argue that many of the issues involving criticism towards the current administration currently in the mainstream American press are BECAUSE of the attention they've received by the candidates in the democratic race. The American media will NEVER follow a story without an "official" source to quote. Since election time is where most competing politicians are expected to be hyper critical, it's a good time to bring up issues of importance that are heavily marginalized the rest of the time -regardless of whether they are already on the citizens' minds. Klein merely points out lost opportunities to mention real numbers of Iraqi casualties, and naturally pontificates the motives of the candidates for systematically ignoring them.. are they afraid to quote "unofficial" numbers? ...are they even conscious of the numbers existing? It's an important question to direct towards what is supposed to be the more liberal, and only body of opposition official enough to get any press.
  23. kerouacdude

    kerouacdude TRIBE Member

    pontificating's the operative part there.
    This is from the NOW magazine school of journalism. Start with a pre-defined rant and select the quotes that fit your rant.
    It's selective quoting, plus she's either being very cunning dropping this story now, as opposed to a couple months ago...or or very naive.
    Having watched just two of the nine-candidate debates pre-capture in the fall, I can assure you I saw several candidates mention the perils of the reconstruction for both U.S. soldiers and Iraqis (I don't remember if speficic numbers were mentioned).If I saw that in my limited exposure, I'm pretty confident that this subject came up again in other venues. I don't see any of those quotes in her piece.
    She should know full well that once we get into primary season, stump speeches aren't characterized by such detailed analysis.

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