begin with an overarching truth: every person harmed by U.S. actions
in the Iraqi theater of pre-emptive, unprovoked war represents a
crime by the United States against international law and the evolved
standards of civilized behavior. The very fact that we are compelled
to state such an obvious truth before beginning a communication
with a primarily American audience is testimony to just how beastly
the political dialogue has become in the "belly of the beast."
As the U.S. position in the world becomes more and more untenable,
freedom of straightforward speech within the boundaries of the international
offender grows more tenuous. So let us say what is true while effective
speech is still possible.
very fluidity of events in Iraq is the greatest evidence to the
Bush men's scuttling of the military aspects of Shock and Awe, dating
from the first, premature projectile ejaculation against Baghdad
on Wednesday, March 19. As detailed in our Cover
Story, the Bush men, believing in the supremacy of political
ultimatums over military preparedness, "jump started"
the attack "for the sake of the dynamic of the conversation
within the Bush crowd and their dialogue with white America."
The embedded media and a bloodthirsty white public wanted swift
and decisive action. It did not matter to the Pirates and their
constituency that the invasion force was not ready:
reported by UPI
on Tuesday, March 18, the northern U.S. invasion force, barred
from using Turkish territory, would require weeks to pass through
the Suez Canal, round the Arabian Peninsula, and steam up the
Persian Gulf to Kuwait. As of Ultimatum Day, Monday the 17th,
the crucial 101st Airborne Division's helicopters were still being
unloaded from ships. The unpacking was not yet finished on Wednesday,
March 19, when Bush tried to swat Saddam Hussein. Instead of the
meticulously calibrated, rolling advance under and through the
smoke and hellfire of Shock and Awe, the Americans and Brits lurched
into war, like a driver who can't handle a stick shift.
and Awe failed to roll forward according to super-blitzkrieg design.
In the buildup to war, U.S. officers threw around versions of the
scene they anticipated would occur within less than a week after
the start of the war: "All of a sudden, Saddam's gonna see
an American mechanized division outside his window." Instead,
U.S. forces are grappling with Iraqi units that range from Republican
Guards to farmers. The American war machine will undoubtedly grind
them down over time, but the character of the invasion is now utterly
different than the planned "race to Baghdad," to be followed
by a methodical and highly profitable "reconstruction"
of Iraqi society. It is the society that is screaming, in all its
wounded components. Embedded Americans cannot hear this, listening
as they always do to the sound of their own, inane voices.
the Bush men's core belief that even uncoordinated U.S. arms are
sufficient to smash Third Worlders like bugs, American combatants
and "embeds" will be forced to learn that there are many
Iraqs, and that they will eventually have to fight all of them.
When forced to confront the actuality of Kurds, Shi'ites, Sunnis,
Turkmen and the various human elements within Iraq's geographic
and political boundaries, the Administration will respond in the
only way it knows how: racist demonization of the population as
Iraqi Freedom" is a war of "liberation," say the
Bush men, a statement that only the insane believe, amplified by
massed, embedded media mimics. Like "no other nation in the
world," the U.S. is doing all that it is possible to avoid
civilian casualties. Observe our precision bombing, says Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Note "the humanity that goes into
the U.S. has no mechanism even to count the deaths it is
inflicting on Iraqi civilians. Former Clinton administration defense
official Sarah Sewell writes that the Pentagon has never integrated
civilian "collateral damage" assessments into its "lessons
learned" process. "We can't claim good intentions and
leave it at that," said Sewell in a New
York Times op-ed piece:
these reassuring statements, and the fact that the United States
has the technology and the sensibility to fight the cleanest war
in town, the Pentagon does not study how military force actually
affects civilians. For all of its computer simulations and painstaking
planning, the Department of Defense has never undertaken a systemic
evaluation to determine whether its efforts to spare lives succeed
or fail - or what might be done to improve them.
counts of whatever accuracy beg the question of who the United
States is killing, a low priority consideration for Americans in
and out of uniform. CNN's Paula Zahn, dimly aware that chaos, thirst
and death stalk the besieged, mostly Shia Muslim city of Basra,
roughly three times the size of Cleveland, thinks only of possible
U.S. advantage. "Is this the popular revolt that the U.S. has
been hoping for?" Zahn wonders.
bombs are falling on Basra as
goes to press. UK commandos range through the city, targeting Saddam's
allies - who are not necessarily friends of Britain or the United
States, or even allies of Saddam. Cartoonish war propaganda fails
to serve the soldier in such circumstances, as the Associated
Press reported on March 26:
Gen. Peter Wall, second in command of British troops, said
Basra's civilians were out in the streets "in significant
and were "essentially being less compliant with the regime
than they are normally."
don't know what has spurred them, we don't know the scale, we
don't know the scope of it," he said. "We don't know
where it will take us."
least the Brits admit it when they "don't know." Americans
simply make up stories that fit the benign national self-image,
elaborate fictions that lead inevitably to deadly conflict. So shall
it be in the south of Iraq, an area shaded in red on CNN's maps,
inhabited by Shi'ites whom the Americans believe hate Saddam Hussein
more than they cherish their own dignity. It is an easy idea to
assimilate - if one is a racist. The Bush men have built an entire
political-military strategy around the notion that Saddam-hate translates
as America-love. That's why they bypassed Basra, leaving the city
to the Brits, who have resorted to bombing formations of unknown
antagonists among the inhabitants.
Tim Mintier may have unwittingly reached into his Vietnam paradigm
book to justify the pounding of Iraq's second largest city. "Basra
is a key humanitarian distribution point," said the embed.
"This is why it has been made a strategic target." (See
Cover Story, "Onward
Embedded Soldiers: The corporate media's deputized war coverage.")
the massed embeds of the American corporate media are even less
than the sum of their ignorant parts.
The American Disease
selective memory fails to sufficiently blot out reality, Americans
retreat into mass amnesia. Avoiding recollection of past defeat,
they have forgotten the Iranian revolution to oust the U.S.-backed
Shah, led by Shi'ite mullahs. They refuse to remember that it was
the United States that encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran
in 1980, starting a war that may have killed one million people,
an eight-year-long, poison gas-filled inferno the Iranians call
"the American War." They have no sense of the political,
family and commercial ties that accompany religious connections
between southern Iraq's Shi'ites and Iran's overwhelmingly Shi'ite
population of 60 million. Yet the Americans plant their armies on
the Iraqi side of the Shatt al-Arab, and declare themselves "liberators"
of a grateful population. In the face of the most hostile political
conditions imaginable, the U.S. public is encouraged to expect a
smooth and profitable occupation... while the Pirates plot to seize
Iran's adjacent oil fields.
will try to avoid confrontation with the U.S. Tehran professes a
firm neutrality, and has so far downplayed alleged American over
flights of Iranian territory. But In the longer term, official Iranian
intentions do not matter. The momentum of U.S. involvement in Iraq
will inexorably bring war with Iran.
corporate media embeds join Bush's Pirates to rewrite the history
of the Persian Gulf for comfortable American consumption - in anticipation
of soon redrawing the region's political map, as well - we turn
to the excellent journal, Aspects
of India's Economy, December 2000. In "The Iran-Iraq War:
Serving American Interests," the journal reminds us that the
U.S. has treated Iran as an enemy ever since that nation liberated
itself from the Shah. Saddam Hussein served as an American proxy:
1982, the US State Department removed Iraq from its list of "state
sponsors of terrorism", and fought off efforts by the US
Congress to put it back on the list in 1985. Most crucially, the
US blocked condemnation of Iraq's chemical attacks in the UN Security
Council. The US was the sole country to vote against a 1986 Security
Council statement condemning Iraq's use of mustard gas against
Iranian troops - an atrocity in which it now emerges the US was
US arranged massive loans for Iraq's burgeoning war expenditure
from American client states such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The
US administration provided "crop-spraying" helicopters
(to be used for chemical attacks in 1988), let Dow Chemicals ship
it chemicals for use on humans, seconded its air force officers
to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological
exports to Iraq's missile procurement agency to extend the missiles'
range (1988). In October 1987 and April 1988 US forces themselves
attacked Iranian ships and oil platforms.
the US not only provided to Iraq satellite data and information
about Iranian military movements, but, as former US Defence Intelligence
Agency (DIA) officers have recently revealed to the New York Times
(18/8/02), prepared detailed battle planning for Iraqi forces
in this period - even as Iraq drew worldwide public condemnation
for its repeated use of chemical weapons against Iran.
as we might, it is difficult to conceive of an American occupation
of Iraq that does not lead directly to war with Iran, this time
involving Russia and China. If armed resistance to the U.S. drags
on for months, the countdown to war with Iran will shorten dramatically.
of welfare states
the exception of the hefty British force and 2,000 Australians,
the international "coalition" supporting the U.S. invasion
remains a paper alliance - with some names written in invisible
ink. Derrick Z. Jackson, who along with the New York Times' Paul
Krugman is among the corporate media's best political columnists
- the best, from 's
perspective - wrote a hilariously biting piece for the March 21
Boston Globe, titled "What
world's got our back as we try to ''decapitate,'' ''take out,''
excuse me, assassinate Saddam. ''The United States is prepared
to lead a coalition of the willing,'' Secretary of State Colin
Powell said. ''We now have a coalition of the willing that includes
some 30 nations.'' By wartime, Bush said the list had grown to
35 nations who ''are giving crucial support, from the use of naval
and air bases to help with intelligence and logistics, to the
deployment of combat units.''
how the Unilateral States of America just flushed the United Nations
into the East River, it is interesting to see just who has ''got
our back.'' When you look at the list, you realize that the actual
thing that most of the ''coalition of the willing'' actually said
to Bush was, ''You want to assassinate Saddam? Cool, I'm down
with that. You got it. Now, I can't exactly be there with you
right now, you know what I mean bro, right? You know how it is.
My treasury is bankrupt, my people are starving, and I got some
rebels to repress. But, hey, you go ahead and take out Saddam.
And remember bro, no matter what happens, I got yo' back. Peace."
failed to "convince the UN to become the coalition of the willing,"
wrote Jackson, Bush "settled for a coalition of welfare states."
in Alternet, Ian Williams sees a "precarious
coalition" that, "upon closer scrutiny... collapses
like a deflated freedom soufflé."
Secretary of State Colin Powell announced last week that there
were 30 countries in the "coalition of the willing,"
he also referred to "15 other nations, for one reason or
another, who do not wish to be publicly named, but will be supporting
the coalition." That's just what you need in time of war
- 15 allies who are so convinced of your cause that they want
to hide their faces!
weekend we learned who some of these mysterious others are: Costa
Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kuwait, Marshall
Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Rwanda,
Singapore, Solomon Islands, Uganda and Bulgaria.
refresh your memory, the original State Department roster of the
30 states included the following: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia,
Azerbaijan, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador,
Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy,
Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua,
the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain,
Turkey, Britain and Uzbekistan. And that brings the total number
of nations supporting the U.S. up to a grand total of 46.
even these latest additions do little to promote the administration's
claims about international diplomatic support.
John Conyers, dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, is methodically
examining the case for a bill of impeachment against George Bush
- a monumental task so long as the nation's media remain deputized
in the commander-in-chief's wartime service. However, Conyers thinks
he has a bead on one of the President's senior Pirates, Richard
Perle, a conspirator in the cabal that devised the grand plan for
American world hegemony, of which the Iraq invasion is a mere prelude.
is a pure Pirate. A long-time member of the Bush-Cheney inner circle,
Perle participates in planning for global, Permanent War, then hawks
his expertise on ways to profit from the conflict to the highest
bidder. As Reuters
reported, March 25, Rep. Conyers
asked the Pentagon's inspector general to probe Perle's work as
a paid adviser to bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing
Ltd. and his guidance on investment opportunities resulting from
the Iraq conflict.
am aware of several potential conflicts that warrant your immediate
review," Conyers said on Monday in a letter to the Defense
Department's inspector general, Joseph Schmitz. The letter was
made available on Tuesday.
Perle is considered a 'special government employee' and is subject
to government ethics prohibition - both regulatory and criminal
- on using public office for private gain," Conyers' letter
Perle reflects the morals and political thinking of the Bush cabal,
who view international order as an obstacle in the way of the New
American Century. The Perle crew has been trying to kill off the
United Nations for decades. With a like-minded shipmate in the White
House, the Pirates may yet succeed in scuttling the world body.
shared his ghastly worldview with readers of the British weekly,
The Spectator, later picked up by The
Guardian's online service:
Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly,
but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with
him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will
survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain,
the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will
die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world
order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve,
the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal
conceit of safety through international law administered by international
is fiends like these, who prosper from human suffering while holding
high titles in government, that are the permanent enemies
of social justice. His soul mate Dick Cheney is just an irregular
heartbeat from the Presidency - and still pulling down $600,000
a year in "deferred earnings" from his previous job as
CEO of Halliburton, the nation's premiere Pirate Corporation.
made off with 20 percent of the billions spent on providing "infrastructure"
for NATO's Kosovo operations. Iraqi "reconstruction" is
the mother lode of all of all war profiteering. Halliburton has
already been awarded a huge contract to fight fires in the Iraqi
oil fields. Since the destruction has only just begun, "reconstruction"
should yield many more benefits for the worldwide military-energy-construction
company. For more information on the financial structures of the
Pirate class, we recommend "Halliburton
Makes a Killing on Iraq War" in the current issue of CorpWatch.
Carolina activist Ken Gray stepped back from the torrent of words
and images of war, to ask the question, "But
what about peace?"
if the war is a success by its authors' standards, the question
of winning the peace in a pursuit that is so very wrong from the
beginning is hard to fathom. What this moment in history does,
in a sense, is sharpen what should have been the task for the
black movement, the labor movement, the progressive movement,
all along. Martin Luther King defined the real "axis of evil"
36 years ago. He warned, "that the problem of racism, the
problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all
tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated."
As for America, King said, "A nation that will exploit economically
will have foreign investments and everything else, and will have
to use its military to protect them. All of these problems are
Gray's article appeared in Counterpunch.
for affirmative action
are expected to pack the ranks of the Civil Rights March to the
Supreme Court, April 1. Organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action & Integration And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary
and United for Equality and Affirmative Action. Civil Rights attorney
Victor Goode was director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers
back when the organization filed a friend-of-the-court brief in
the Bakke affirmative action case. Goode describe the "Crisis
on the Campus" in the Spring Issue of ColorLines:
the opponents of affirmative action prevail, the gains of the
past won't disappear, but they will be significantly eroded. While
it's not unusual for the Solicitor General to speak on behalf
of the administration on important Supreme Court cases, President
Bush has not only weighed in as expected, but he has mislabeled
the Michigan system as "quota-based." This, of course,
is merely playing to his right-wing audience, because none of
the courts in either of the Michigan cases held that the program
used quotas. But he has also pitched to moderates. He argued that
schools should use race-neutral criteria like the one in Texas
that offers admission to the top 10 percent of all high school
graduates. But, according to a recently released study by a team
of sociologists, this plan has failed to bring minority enrollments
to the levels they were when affirmative action was permitted.
Skeeza? Not our Condoleezza!
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claims to favor some form of affirmative
action. We know she's down with wars under all circumstances.
However, in a recent speech at Baltimore's Coppin State College,
poet Amiri Baraka brought students to their feet by intimating that
Condoleezza does some dabbling as a "skeeza," too.
Baltimore Sun columnist Gregory Kane, a very "conservative"
gentleman , became incensed - nay, scandalized! - and leaped to
the defense of the athletic, single Black woman who has hung around
the Bush household for the last two decades and has never even been
rumored to have had a romantic affair with anybody in the entire
world. Skeeza? Kane took umbrage - and then took
those of you not in the know, a "skeeza" is a derogatory
street term used in reference to a woman and as offensive as calling
her a prostitute. It's a noxious, bilious, disgustingly sexist
term and one of the worst things you could call a woman.
is something Rice certainly is not. Baraka knows she's not. Those
blacks who laughed, giggled, tittered and applauded when Baraka
said it know she's not. But what was the reaction of these black
folks when Baraka finished his invective masquerading as poetry
that he called "Somebody Blew Up America"?
gave him thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
Baraka know that Condoleezza is not a skeeza? Does columnist
Kane know? If so, how did he obtain this knowledge?
Arsenio Hall used to put it: makes ya wanna say, Hmmmm...
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Issue Number 35
March 27, 2003
Other commentaries in this issue:
Onward Embedded Soldiers - The corporate medias deputized
War and the Great White Disinformation Machine by Dr. Kweli Nzito
Are Black People Pulling Their Anti-War Weight by Donna J. Warren
Operation Putrid Smell By Rodney D. Coates, Ph.D.
Commentaries in Issue 34 March 20,
They have reached too far
Bushs road leads to ruin - for himself and his Pirates
3 Faces of Shock, Awe and Death
1 - Jimmy Mack, When Are You Comin' Back? - The real price of
war - By Jorge Mariscal
2 - Colin Powell: A hawk with smooth talons - By Paul Rockwell
3 - Nos Morituri Te Salutamus: Salute of Iraqi Citizens to the
Coalition of the Willing - Submitted by Roldan Tomasz Suárez
Cynthia McKinney on patriotism... Conyers studying impeachment...
Marching for action, affirmatively
Frederick Douglass denounces Bush... Dream Black ticket for '04...
Phony, funny Black "fronts"... BC a hit in UK, Greece
can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety
by going to the Past Issues