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[casi] News, 5-11/10/02 (2)

News, 5-11/10/02 (2)


*  Pearl Harbor vs. Baghdad
*  Sen. Byrd Plans Iraq Vote Delay
*  Religious Lobby Congress on Iraq War
*  Bush aimed speech at Americans skeptical of war with Iraq
*  All the President's men: Interview with Eliot Cohen
*  Congress Must Resist the Rush to War
*  Conservative Christians Biggest Backers of Iraq War
*  War on Iraq is now inevitable
*  Congress Authorizes Bush to Use Force Against Iraq, Creating a Broad
*  U.S. Has a Plan to Occupy Iraq, Officials Report


Boston Herald (Editorial), 8th October

Sen. Edward Kennedy followed his Sunday TV talk show blather on Iraq with
what can only be described as a nearly hysterical exercise in hyperbole
yesterday on the floor of the Senate. The state's senior senator suggested a
pre-emptive U.S. attack on Iraq would be "Pearl Harbor in reverse" and
"impossible to justify."

"Might does not make right," Kennedy added. "It is unilateralism run amok."

The fact that far from being the innocent victim the United States was on
that earlier date which will live in infamy, Iraq has been a combatant for
more than a decade. U.S. and British planes assigned to enforce two no-fly
zones over Iraq have been repeatedly fired upon during that time. Last week
retaliatory action by U.S. jets brought to 46 the number of "strike days"
launched to protect our own planes enforcing prohibitions set up to carry
out a U.N. resolution. This fact seems to have eluded Kennedy.

And has Kennedy forgotten why those no-fly zones are patrolled by U.S.
airpower? It's to protect the Kurds in the north and the Shiite Muslims in
the south from the madman who still rules from Baghdad. Or is he saying
Saddam Hussein is the moral equivalent of FDR?

Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 9th October

WASHINGTON- A jealous guardian of congressional powers, Democratic Sen.
Robert Byrd of West Virginia is making sure the Senate takes time - too
much, detractors say - to debate war with Iraq and creation of a Homeland
Security Department.

Byrd is fighting an uphill battle to delay consideration of an Iraq
use-of-force resolution until after the Nov. 5 election. He argues that the
campaign season is causing lawmakers to rush ahead rather than carefully
consider President Bush's proposals.

Beyond that, the silver-haired, 84-year-old Senate president pro tempore,
and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, sees Iraq as yet
another example of Congress ceding its constitutional authority to the
executive branch.

"Congress might as well just close the doors, put a sign over the doors and
say, 'going fishing,'" Byrd said on the Senate floor. "Congress is being
stampeded, pressured, adjured, importuned into acting on this blank check."

Byrd had planned to force a series of votes on the individual clauses of the
Iraq resolution, which would have taken days. But he was thwarted when Sen.
Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., made a small change in the language that
eliminated the need for multiple votes.

Byrd was still defiant in speech Wednesday before the Senate, arguing for a
delay in Thursday's vote to limit debate to 30 hours on Iraq. "This is a
fateful decision. It involves the blood of our fighting men and women," Byrd
said. "It is too momentous a decision."

Byrd also spoke fiercely against the proposed Homeland Security Department,
now stalemated in the Senate. He was able to force the Senate to put off
that measure in August.

Byrd spent the better part of three weeks in September arguing against quick
action. That gave labor unions and Democrats time to mobilize opposition to
the president's insistent on greater management authority over department

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said in a recent letter urging
the Senate to break its labor rights impasse on homeland security that "the
most senior Democrat senator" - Byrd, that is - recently spent hours on the
Senate floor talking about his dog, favorite movies, television shows,
Charles I of England and the invention of the telegraph.

Few are willing to take on Byrd directly, partly because of his seniority,
partly because his committee controls the government's purse strings and
partly because of his vast knowledge of Senate rules. Byrd is the author of
a four-volume history of the Senate and acknowledged as its great protector.

"Nobody has ever used the rules of the Senate more than I have," Byrd said

Asked Wednesday if Bush believes Byrd is being an obstructionist on Iraq,
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer gave a measured, respectful response.

"Congress serves our democracy well when they ask tough questions, when they
hold a debate, when there's an informed debate," Fleischer said.

by Siobhan McDonough
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 9th October

WASHINGTON- Religious leaders began another phase of an anti-war lobbying
effort on Capitol Hill Wednesday, urging Congress to explore peaceful
alternatives in its dealings with Iraq.

"I'm appalled by it all," said Frances Kane, 64, of Washington. "I can't
believe our country is seriously considering a pre-emptive strike without
international support."

Congress is preparing to vote on a resolution giving the president broad
authority to use military force to dismantle Saddam Hussein's weapons of
mass destruction. On Capital Hill, about 100 nuns, lay people and other
Catholics dropped off packets and held meetings with congressional staff,
outlining their anti-war stance.

Others held silent vigils outside Senate and House buildings.

"Violence isn't the answer to anything," said Sister Mary Ann Smith, of
Ossining, N.Y, on her way to the office of Rep. Sue Kelly, R-N.Y. "War is
morally and ethically wrong."

While Wednesday's events were sponsored by various Catholic groups,
including the lobbying group, NETWORK, Leadership Conference of Women
Religious and Pax Christi, the National Council of Churches - made up of
36-member denominations - also planned events for this week.

The groups oppose resolutions to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces
against Iraq. Instead, they're urging the United States to cooperate with
the United Nations Security Council in returning weapons inspectors to Iraq.

"What kind of a democracy do we have when people are saying 'no war,' but
representatives are about to vote for a war resolution?" said Andrea Buffa,
community organizer for Global Exchange, a human rights group in San
Francisco. "Congress isn't listening so people are coming to Washington to
make sure they're heard."

Global Exchange, along with Peace Action in Washington, D.C. and American
Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia, held a protest Wednesday evening.

Chanting, "War on Iraq, we say no!" about 200 protesters held banners with
anti-war slogans and sounded off bells, drums and whistles outside Senate
office buildings.

"We don't need a war, we need the U.N. to take the lead, not the U.S.," said
Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. "We are
not better than the rest of the world. We don't have the right to say we're
above international law."

"I'm horrified our president would consider a pre-emptive strike as a way to
peace," said Sister Anne Marie Gardiner, 59, of Silver Spring, Md. "That's
outrageous. It's a corruption of what the U.S. has tried to stand for."

by Dana Milbank
International Herald Tribune, from The Washington Post, 9th October

WASHINGTON: The White House billed the latest Iraq speech by President
George W. Bush as a chance for him to explain to average Americans why it is
necessary to disarm and replace President Saddam Hussein. The speech did not
come a moment too soon. Even as Bush in recent days has become assured of
lopsided votes in Congress that would authorize military action, a series of
opinion polls have indicated that the public's enthusiasm for such action is
tepid and declining.

Americans remain unsure of the threat Saddam poses and unconvinced about the
best method to deal with that threat. On Monday night, Bush acknowledged the
many doubts Americans have about a confrontation with Iraq, and he offered a
lawyerly refutation of those doubts. "Many Americans have raised legitimate
questions," Bush said. "About the nature of the threat. About the urgency of
action - and why be concerned now?"

As expected, Bush offered little new information Monday night, other than to
disclose that Iraq has a growing number of aircraft that could deliver
chemical and biological weapons, possibly even to target the United States.

Rather, his address had elements that ranged from frightening ("it could
have a nuclear weapon in less than a year") to reassuring ("we will act with
allies at our side") to belligerent ("Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator
who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction") to sobering ("military
conflict could be difficult"). Its effect was to amass evidence - much of it
inconclusive in the eyes of security experts - that painted Iraq as a clear
and present danger to the United States and a firm ally of Al Qaeda.

Just as Bush did at the United Nations a month ago, when he presented
himself as the champion of multilateral action and not its foe, he sought
Monday night to turn arguments against him upside down. To those suggesting
that Bush might be leading the nation on a dangerous and ill-conceived
military adventure, he argued that he was the one pursuing the safest
approach. "There is no easy or risk-free course of action," he said. "Some
have argued that we should wait, and that is an option. In my view, it is
the riskiest of all options."

White House officials had grown concerned that public support for using
force against Saddam has softened despite Bush's growing support in
Congress. A Gallup poll released Monday found that a bare majority of
Americans - 53 percent - favored a ground invasion of Iraq, down from 61
percent in June and 74 percent last November.

An ABC News poll, also released Monday, found that 50 percent of Americans
agreed with the proposition that diplomacy does not work with Iraq and the
time for military action is near; 44 percent favored holding off on military
action and pursuing diplomacy.

The divergence in views between ordinary Americans and their elected
representatives indicates that the administration has done an uneven sales
job - and one that Bush aides said Monday night's address was meant to

"They really haven't made an attempt yet to explain to the American people
in real terms the necessity of the action," said John Weaver, an adviser to
several Democratic congressional candidates.

Bush aides interpret the soft poll numbers to mean that Americans are giving
Bush the benefit of the doubt but are not convinced about the merits of his

In the short term, such ambivalence is not a problem. History has shown that
as soon as the United States launches a military action, a surge in public
support is a virtual certainty.

But the soft support presents a potential problem for the long term. If
Americans have doubts about the rationale for the action in the first place,
their support could fade if the conflict in Iraq becomes bloody and

With such concerns in mind, the administration set out Monday night to
convey more comprehensively and methodically its rationales for war. The
arguments were not new, but the packaging was. Bush eschewed most of the
Iraq applause lines he shouts from the campaign stump. Instead, he spoke
soberly in front of a world map in the Cincinnati Museum Center, the United
States behind his right shoulder and the Gulf behind his left.

The White House selected the location for the speech - Ohio - because there
were no competitive races in the area that would make Bush appear to be
playing politics with the war. And, to make the threat more vivid, Bush
aides decided to declassify for the speech a series of before-and-after
photos of Saddam's weapons facilities.,,7-441256,00.html

by Giles Whittell
The Times, 10th October

WHEN THE HISTORY of the Second Gulf War comes to be written, its authors
will have to look hard at a slim, scholarly volume about four dead white
men, none of whom ever heard of Scud missiles or Saddam Hussein.

The book is called Supreme Command, and the most obvious reason why it is
relevant to the storm gathering over Baghdad is that President Bush says he
has been reading it.

"Here's what I know," says Dr Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University, who
wrote it. "When it first came out in the US in June, the White House asked
for three copies, one autographed to the President, one to Karl Rove, his
political adviser, and one blank. And then in August, while I was on
vacation up in the mountains of New Hampshire, (Bush) told the journalists
that he was reading it. That's all."

It was enough. The book has since been falling out of briefcases all over
Washington, even though, on the face of it, it has little to do with Iraq.
It's about Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill and David
Ben-Gurion  one long chapter each  and it sets out to show how they
prevailed as civilian leaders of democratic nations caught up in wars of
national survival. The answer has a lot to do with their individual
greatnesses (there is a passage on Churchill's mastery of rhetoric in which
you can practically hear Cohen's throat tightening in admiration). But at
its core there is one simple assertion: these men triumphed not by leaving
wars to their generals but by making them their own. They set the goals,
moulded the strategy, meddled constantly with tactics and hounded their men
in uniform to distraction and, in many cases, to early retirement.

The argument has powerful detractors. An entire cadre of Churchill
biographers believes, for example, that he was a winner despite his
meddling, not because of it. But these are not the biographies by Bush's
bedside. He will have devoured the Cohen view because it is America's
uniformed military that has come closest over the past year to derailing his
plan to reinvade Iraq. Ever since the focus of the War on Terror shifted
from Kabul to Baghdad, serving and retired generals have warned against a
new Desert Storm on the grounds that the US Armed Forces are already
overstretched, that they see no clear exit strategy once in Iraq, and that
they are ill-suited to the delicate task of nation-building in the heart of
the Middle East should they be asked to stay there. What Cohen's book tells
Bush about these voices is: you should listen to them but you can ignore
them if you like. You are the boss.

Less flatteringly, Supreme Command also tells Bush that his father erred
disastrously by leaving the ending of the first Gulf War to Generals Powell
and Schwarzkopf. Left to handle the timing, Powell ended it too soon. Left
to negotiate the terms of the armistice, Schwarzkopf let Saddam's Republican
Guard escape to fight another day.

The implicit conclusion is that, yes, Saddam represents unfinished American
business that a new US President with energy and backbone should not be
scared of taking on, whatever his risk-averse commanders say. "I think it
was Lord Salisbury," Cohen muses, "who said: 'If you ask the generals,
nothing is safe'."

For those inclined to see the book as a goad to war, however, there is a
problem. "Bush is not Churchill. No. Of course not." Cohen cuts in to get
this out of the way before it has a chance to dominate the interview,
because his book has a way of highlighting Bush's shortcomings simply by
itemising its subjects' strengths. It rhapsodises about the "probing
searchlight" of Churchill's incessant memoranda to subordinates; about his
"massive common sense", wide reading, masterful oratory and deep experience
of war. If Bush lacks most of these, as even his strongest supporters
concede, is he the right man to second-guess his generals? Or is he heading
for a berth in later editions of Cohen's book in the cautionary chapter
entitled: "Leadership without genius"  a chapter largely about Lyndon
Johnson and the humiliations of Vietnam?

Cohen's answer is long, careful and fascinating. It gives a glimpse of an
extraordinary, vaunting optimism that is driving White House policy on Iraq
as much as fear of weapons of mass destruction, yet dare not speak its name.

Bush may not have a Churchillian grasp of the "big picture", he begins, but
"bear in mind he's surrounded by an awful lot of others who are big-picture
people  Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfovitz (deputy
defence secretary)  and I think there is an overall picture these folks
have that if you overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein, in addition to
averting some potentially disastrous things  an Iraqi nuclear weapon, Iraqi
biologicals  there are a load of second and third-order consequences which
will be beneficial."

Such as? "First, it allows us to get out of Saudi Arabia, and it's not good
to have a military presence there because if you look at some of bin Laden's
writings, the first thing that drives him nuts is the presence of the
infidels in Saudi Arabia. The second thing that drives him crazy is the
suffering of the Iraqi people. Saddam imposed it but frankly we were part of
that too. You then take a step back and say that Jordan is much better off
if it has a friendly, relatively modern, relatively pro-American state to
its east, rather than (Saddam's) Iraq. Syria becomes a lot more manageable,
life may get easier for the Turks and finally the hope would be for some
helpful effect on what goes on in Iran."

Cohen pauses. "No one has said it but I think that is the view in the White
House. To the extent that there is a larger picture, that's the larger

Why has no one said it? "I think it would be viewed by our allies as utopian
or megalomaniacal or imperialistic."

Cohen is intensely wary of being seen as a warmonger. When a BBC interviewer
introduced him as such in almost as many words, he told her: "Ma'am, I don't
think you've read the dust jacket, let alone the book." And yet Cohen is
more parti pris than his geniality  and fondness for bow ties and
circumlocution  might suggest. He is wary of the American military's
dabbling in geopolitics without sufficient expertise, one result of which,
he says, is its possibly naive assumption that the "Arab street" would erupt
in protest if America ousted Saddam. He is angry with Clinton for having
ceded to the military so much control over their own affairs in the 1990s.
And he is very close to the current administration: on first-name terms with
Rice, the President's national security adviser; friends with her deputy,
Stephen Hadley; and a not-infrequent sounding-board for Wolfovitz,
Washington's chief hawk. No wonder he will be giving a speech at the White
House next month.

The speech will be about the book, he says, not policy, yet the difference
between the two may well be academic.

Supreme Command, by Dr Eliot Cohen, is published by Simon and Schuster at
17.99. Available from Times Books Direct (0870 1608080) for 14.39 plus
1.95 p&p

by Robert C. Byrd
New York Times, 10th October

WASHINGTON - A sudden appetite for war with Iraq seems to have consumed the
Bush administration and Congress. The debate that began in the Senate last
week is centered not on the fundamental and monumental questions of whether
and why the United States should go to war with Iraq, but rather on the
mechanics of how best to wordsmith the president's use-of-force resolution
in order to give him virtually unchecked authority to commit the nation's
military to an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.

How have we gotten to this low point in the history of Congress? Are we too
feeble to resist the demands of a president who is determined to bend the
collective will of Congress to his will - a president who is changing the
conventional understanding of the term "self-defense"? And why are we
allowing the executive to rush our decision-making right before an election?
Congress, under pressure from the executive branch, should not hand away its
Constitutional powers. We should not hamstring future Congresses by casting
such a shortsighted vote. We owe our country a due deliberation.

I have listened closely to the president. I have questioned the members of
his war cabinet. I have searched for that single piece of evidence that
would convince me that the president must have in his hands, before the
month is out, open-ended Congressional authorization to deliver an
unprovoked attack on Iraq. I remain unconvinced. The president's case for an
unprovoked attack is circumstantial at best. Saddam Hussein is a threat, but
the threat is not so great that we must be stampeded to provide such
authority to this president just weeks before an election.

Why are we being hounded into action on a resolution that turns over to
President Bush the Congress's Constitutional power to declare war? This
resolution would authorize the president to use the military forces of this
nation wherever, whenever and however he determines, and for as long as he
determines, if he can somehow make a connection to Iraq. It is a blank check
for the president to take whatever action he feels "is necessary and
appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." This broad resolution
underwrites, promotes and endorses the unprecedented Bush doctrine of
preventive war and pre-emptive strikes - detailed in a recent publication,
"National Security Strategy of the United States" - against any nation that
the president, and the president alone, determines to be a threat.

We are at the gravest of moments. Members of Congress must not simply walk
away from their Constitutional responsibilities. We are the directly elected
representatives of the American people, and the American people expect us to
carry out our duty, not simply hand it off to this or any other president.
To do so would be to fail the people we represent and to fall woefully short
of our sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution.

We may not always be able to avoid war, particularly if it is thrust upon
us, but Congress must not attempt to give away the authority to determine
when war is to be declared. We must not allow any president to unleash the
dogs of war at his own discretion and for an unlimited period of time.

Yet that is what we are being asked to do. The judgment of history will not
be kind to us if we take this step.

Members of Congress should take time out and go home to listen to their
constituents. We must not yield to this absurd pressure to act now, 27 days
before an election that will determine the entire membership of the House of
Representatives and that of a third of the Senate. Congress should take the
time to hear from the American people, to answer their remaining questions
and to put the frenzy of ballot-box politics behind us before we vote. We
should hear them well, because while it is Congress that casts the vote, it
is the American people who will pay for a war with the lives of their sons
and daughters.

Robert C. Byrd is a Democratic senator for West Virginia.

by Jim Lobe
Yahoo, 10th October

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (IPS) - Of the major religious groups in the United
States, evangelical Christians are the biggest backers of Israel and
Washington's planned war against Iraq, says a new survey released here
Wednesday by a politically potent group of fundamentalist Christians and

Some 69 percent of conservative Christians favour military action against
Baghdad; 10 percentage points more than the U.S. adult population as a

And almost two-thirds of evangelical Christians say they support Israeli
actions towards "Palestinian terrorism", compared with 54 percent of the
general population, according to the survey, which was released by Stand For
Israel, a six-month-old spin-off of the International Fellowship of
Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

"The single strongest group for Israel in the United States, apart from
Jews, is conservative Christians," declared Ralph Reed, co-chairman of Stand
for Israel and former executive director of the Christian Coalition. He also
noted that 80 percent of self-identified Republicans also favour military
action against Baghdad.

Reed, who was widely regarded as the wunderkind of the Christian Right
during the 1990s, said the poll results might have important political
implications in upcoming U.S. elections, particularly for the Jewish vote,
which has traditionally gone overwhelmingly to Democrats. In 2000, for
example, only 18 percent of Jewish voters cast ballots for President George
W. Bush.

"There is a new openness among Jewish voters to support this president and
other Republicans who strongly support Israel," Reed said, adding that he
believes Bush in 2004 may reap close to the 38 percent of the Jewish vote
harvested by Ronald Reagan in 1984, the highest percentage ever received by
a Republican presidential candidate.

Some 81 percent of Jewish respondents said they see Bush as a strong
supporter of Israel, and 46 percent said they were more likely to vote for
him based on his handling of the "war on terrorism". The poll also found
that two-thirds of Republicans said they supported Israel in the current
conflict, compared to 46 percent of Democrats.

"The bottom line is that Bush appears to be making some significant inroads
with this heavily Democratic group, something that could have an impact on
the next two election cycles," said Ed Goeas, head of the Tarrance Group,
which carried out the poll.

The survey, which included 1,200 respondents contacted last week, tends to
confirm the findings of similar polls over the last several years that have
shown strong support for Israel on the part of evangelical Christians, who
together make up about one third of the U.S. adult population.

Historically apolitical, the group first came to the attention of the
political elite in 1976 when large numbers of them helped elect Jimmy
Carter, a "born-again" Christian. Disillusioned by Carter's liberal politics
and social attitudes, they became a major recruiting ground for the "New
Right" that in turn paved the way for the election in 1980 of former
president Ronald Reagan.

At the same time, Christian fundamentalists were also avidly courted by the
right-wing Likud government in Israel, which saw in them a promising new
constituency that, for theological reasons, could be persuaded to oppose the
return of Jerusalem and the West Bank to Arab rule.

In 1979, the government of Israel reportedly gave Jerry Falwell, head of the
"Moral Majority" and the leading Christian Right figure of the time, his
first private jet.

The Israeli government has also arranged special tours for evangelical
Christian groups that have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Jewish
and Israeli agencies involved in resettling Jews to Israel and in building
Israeli settlements on the occupied territories.

With offices in Chicago and Jerusalem, the IFCJ has acted as a key forum for
promoting the relationship between conservative U.S. Jews and evangelical
Christians since 1983. As violence between Israelis and Palestinians
intensified last spring, the group created "Stand for Israel", which it
called "an effort to strategically mobilise leadership and grassroots
support in the Christian community for the State of Israel".

"Jews are only now beginning to understand the depth of support they have
among conservative Christians," said IFCJ's founder-director and Stand for
Israel co-chairman, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, at the time.

"Once the potential of this immense reservoir of good will is fully
comprehended by the Jewish people and strategically tapped by the Stand for
Israel campaign, you will see support for Israel in the United States swell

The new survey's results appear to bear out that prediction, at least in
part. Two thirds of conservative Christians queried in the poll said that
they believed they shared the same or similar perspective as Jews when it
comes to the issue of "Israel and its current struggle against Palestine".

Reed and Eckstein also claimed that the survey effectively debunked the
notion that evangelical Christian support for Israel was based on New
Testament prophecy that the reconstruction of the ancient Jewish kingdom of
David would usher in the "end times" and the second coming of Christ.

Asked which was the most important of four possible reasons why they
supported Israel, 56 percent of fundamentalist Christian respondents chose
political reasons, particularly Israel's democratic values, its alliance
with the United States in the war against terrorism, and its role as a safe
haven for persecuted Jews elsewhere. Thirty-five percent opted for the
"end-times" option.

But when given a choice of four religious alternatives, only 28 percent
cited the end-times alternative. Almost two thirds said that God had given
the Jews the land of Israel as the main theological reason for backing the
Jewish state.

"This survey bears out my view that Christians are trustworthy and vital
allies," said Eckstein. "I've seen more positive changes (in Jewish and
conservative Christian relations) in the past six months than I have for the
past 25 years," he added.

Along with announcing the survey results, Eckstein, who co-chairs Stand for
Israel with Reed, unveiled a one-minute video which will be run in "tens of
thousands" of churches with combined memberships of 3.2 million people on
Sunday, Oct. 20, exhorting Christians to pray for Israel whose enemies, it
says, "are on the attack again".

"God has promised that those who bless Israel will themselves be blessed,"
says the video, which is filled with recent images of violence in Israel and
the West Bank.

Reed conceded that not all conservative Christians were as supportive of
Israel as those involved in the "Stand for Israel" campaign.

Indeed, some 50 evangelical ministers recently issued a statement opposing
unilateral military action against Iraq, and at least one national
evangelical group has urged a more balanced policy toward Israel and the
Palestinians. But Reed insisted that his views represented those of a "very,
very large majority" of evangelical Christians.

by Patrick Seale
Daily Star, Lebanon, 11th October

The Bush administration has decided to overthrow the Iraqi regime of Saddam
Hussein by force. Reliable sources in Washington and London confirm that a
decision to go to war was taken months ago, and has now been confirmed in
confidential exchanges between allied governments. Only the timing and
tactics remain fluid and are the subject of intense debate inside the
Pentagon, and between the US and its allies. Some Americans are said to be
pressing for an attack as early as November-December, whereas British troops
and armor - perhaps 10 percent of the attacking force - are unlikely to be
ready until early 2003.

The United States has already lined up a coalition comprising Britain,
Australia, Spain, Italy and Turkey. It also includes a number of US client
states in the Arab world, such as Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates,
Qatar, Oman and Jordan, who have agreed, in some cases reluctantly, to let
US forces use their bases and pre-positioned equipment.

Only an incurable optimist, or someone blind to the present realities of the
international scene, can still believe the US is not going to attack. In
recent days, hopes of a reprieve have been placed on the negotiations in New
York between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. But the
truth is that these talks are only intended to give an appearance of
international legality to an American assault which all parties now
recognize is in an advanced stage of preparation.

President George W. Bush's speech this week, in which he called Saddam
Hussein a "murderous tyrant," a "homicidal dictator" and a "student of
Stalin," leaves no doubt about his aggressive intentions. The US is
determined to wage a "pre-emptive war" against Iraq, claiming as its main
reason Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. "Facing
clear evidence of peril," Bush said, "we cannot wait for the final proof -
the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." In the
Security Council, the main argument has been between the US and Britain on
one side and France and Russia on the other. China, the fifth permanent
member, has kept a low profile. The US and Britain wanted a single UN
resolution that set very tough conditions for weapons inspections but also
authorized the automatic use of force if Iraq failed, in any manner
whatsoever, to throw itself wide open to inspection and disarm completely -
thus setting aside its sovereign status.

The French argued that two resolutions were needed, since the resort to war
could not be automatic but would need Security Council authorization. The US
and Britain have now conceded this point but, as part of the compromise, the
French and the Russians have agreed to accept most, if not all, of the very
stringent terms for the inspection regime which the US has insisted upon.
Russia has been bought off by a US pledge that, once Saddam is overthrown,
it will be given a share of Iraqi oil concessions and will recover the $8
billion which Iraq owes it. France, in turn, does not want to be excluded
from any future share-out of Iraqi oil. Any hope of a French veto to
restrain the US has now faded away.

The American message was: Join us or get left out! Once the United States
made clear it was going to war anyway, France and Russia had no choice but
to climb on board.

Whichever way you look at it, Iraq is the loser. If it rejects the tough
terms of the new UN resolution, it will be hit. If it accepts the terms,
they will spell such complete surrender that Saddam's regime might not
survive anyway. As a Washington source put it to me this week: "The only way
the Iraqis can save themselves is if Saddam gives up everything -
everything!" By which he meant power itself.

As is now clear to most observers, US foreign policy is today driven by a
group of right-wing neo-imperialists and hard-line Zionists - often the same
people. They are to be found in key posts in and around the administration
and draw support from a wide and influential network of officials, think
tanks, journalists and lobbyists. The widespread alarm caused in the US by
the Sept. 11 attacks have given these men a unique chance to impose their
views on mainstream American opinion, a chance they have been seeking for 20
years. They now drive the dominant discourse on the world's affairs.

The neo-imperialists want to destroy all threats to the United States,
whether imagined, real or potential, and affirm America's worldwide
supremacy. The hard-line Zionists - many of them close to Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon's Likud - have a slightly more limited agenda. They are
concerned to protect Israel by destroying its enemies and guaranteeing its
regional supremacy over the Arabs.

There is reason to believe these pro-Israeli activists - like Richard Perle,
chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense
secretary - have been instrumental in "selling' a vainglorious vision of a
"post-Saddam Arab world" to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
Vice-President Dick Cheney, and to Bush himself, none of whom know much
about the Middle East apart from oil, or what Israel and its friends tell

According to this "vision," once Saddam is overthrown, Iraq under American
control would become a Western-oriented, secular, modern, democratic model
for the whole Arab region. It would be made into the "natural" focus of the
area, relegating other troublesome centers such as Cairo, Damascus and
Riyadh, now seen only as seedbeds of terrorism, to relative insignificance.

As a powerful client state of the United States, Iraq could soon become the
most advanced Arab country, reshaping the culture of the entire region,
leading it away from Islamic militancy and from the more extreme forms of
anti-Western and anti-Israeli Arab nationalism. And once Iraq's oil
production had been boosted by American technology, Iraq could become the
"swing producer," displacing Saudi Arabia from that key position.

With its fabulous untapped oil reserves, Iraq would become the central
strongpoint of an American "protectorate" stretching from Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan and Afghanistan to Kuwait and the lower Gulf. On the flank of
this new concentration of US power, Iran would have to adjust to such an
imposed regional reality, either with or without the compulsion of US
military force. It was no accident that, in his speech this week, Bush
emphasized America's commitment to rebuilding Iraq (at Iraq's expense, of
course) and to safeguarding its territorial integrity, prerequisites for its
future role under America's aegis.

Needless to say, hard-line American Zionists, in collusion with Sharon, see
America's war against Iraq as a great opportunity to reshape Israel's
immediate environment. Sharon will no doubt try to defeat the Palestinians
comprehensively before imposing terms. Even forced population "transfer" out
of the Occupied Territories cannot be excluded. His temptation will be to
destroy Hizbullah, marginalize Syria, and bring Lebanon under Israel's
umbrella, as once before he sought to do in his disastrous 1982 invasion.
Syria, thus stripped of any regional role, will be fortunate if it too
escapes being hit.

Such is the vision of the men now ruling Washington. No one should
underestimate their lunatic determination. But is their vision a
geopolitical fantasy or might it succeed? What price will America have to
pay for this ambitious neo-colonial adventure? Will American citizens,
soldiers and interests be at risk from attack throughout the region, or will
the Arabs eventually accept to live quietly under American rule? Will
American rule be direct or indirect? Who can administer such an empire?
Little thought appears to have been given in Washington to the post-Saddam
era, or the likely opposition to these American-Israeli plans. The American
tendency (now being mouthed by an alarming variety of Arab intellectuals in
this very paper) is to dismiss the "Arab street" as all noise and no action
and to conclude that Arab opponents, whether states or individuals, can
either be bought off or intimidated.

Meanwhile, America's worldwide "war on terror" - a euphemism for war against
militant Islam and perhaps Islam as a whole - continues without respite.
Networks will be disrupted, activists arrested and sanctuaries denied.
Thousands of innocent Muslims will become victims. America's real fear is
mass-casualty terrorism like Sept. 11, which it feels must be prevented at
all cost. The sort of low-level, hit-and-run attacks, such as the killing of
an American Marine in Kuwait this week, will not be enough to deter the
hawks in Washington from their total war mentality.

But what future is there in all this for Islamic values, Arab pride, Arab
identity, and Arab nationalism itself? Are the Arabs and Muslims to fall
once more under foreign control as happened after World War I? Indeed, one
must ask, given the supine position of most Arab leaders, is the new
imperialism already in place?

(Patrick Seale, a veteran Middle East analyst, wrote this commentary for The
Daily Star)

by Alison Mitchell and Carl Hulse
New York Times, 11th October

WASHINGTON, Friday, Oct. 11 - The Senate voted overwhelmingly early this
morning to authorize President Bush to use force against Iraq, joining with
the House in giving him a broad mandate to act against Saddam Hussein.

The hard-won victory for Mr. Bush came little more than a month after many
lawmakers of both parties returned to Washington from summer recess
expressing grave doubts about a rush to war. It reflected weeks of lobbying
and briefings by the administration that culminated with a speech by the
president on Monday night.

The Republican-controlled House voted 296 to 133 Thursday afternoon to allow
the president to use the military "against the continuing threat" posed by
the Iraqi regime. The Democratic-run Senate followed at 1:15 a.m. today with
a vote of 77 to 23 for the measure.

After the House voted, President Bush said the support showed that "the
gathering threat of Iraq must be confronted fully and finally." He added,
"The days of Iraq acting as an outlaw state are coming to an end."

While the votes in favor of the resolutions were large and bipartisan, they
highlighted a sharp split in the Democratic party over how and when to use
force. This was particularly true in the House. Even though Representative
Richard A. Gephardt, the House minority leader, put his weight behind the
force authorization, more House Democrats voted against the resolution
sought by the president than for it, splitting 126 to 81. Only 6 Republicans
opposed it.

The opponents cited a host of reasons for their vote, including doubts that
Iraq would imminently develop nuclear potential, fears that military action
would take away from the war on terrorism, and sentiment against war among

In the Senate, as the debate stretched on, some prominent Democrats
announced they would support the president, including Senator Joseph R.
Biden Jr. of Delaware, who had proposed a more restrictive resolution and
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who called the vote "probably
the hardest decision I've ever had to make."

Mrs. Clinton said she had concluded that bipartisan support would make the
president's success at the United Nations "more likely and, therefore, war
less likely."

Other Democrats, like Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, were
determined to vote against the measure, saying there were still many
questions about how a war would be waged, what its costs would be and how
long it would last.

"We have very little understanding about the full implications in terms of
an exit strategy," Mr. Kennedy told reporters.

In the end, the Senate Democrats split, with 29 for and 21 against the
measure. One Republican and one independent opposed it.

Most Republicans stood behind the president, including Representative Dick
Armey of Texas, the majority leader, who had been one of the Republicans
skeptical about the president's Iraq policy. Despite his differences with
Mr. Bush on the issue, Mr. Armey closed the House debate with a plea for
authorizing force. Mr. Armey, 62, who is retiring at the end of this
session, cried as he spoke of the troops who might be sent to war.

"Mr. President," he said, "we trust to you the best we have to give. Use
them well so they can come home and say to our grandchildren, `Sleep
soundly, my baby."' He choked up and walked out of the House chamber.

The Senate was also on track to approve the use of force. It voted 75 to 25
to cut off the delaying tactics of Democratic dissidents who had been trying
to force the chamber to hold a far lengthier and more deliberative debate.
With that vote, final passage was assured. It was just a matter of when, as
the Senate defeated a handful of Democratic amendments.

Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, gave Mr. Bush his backing, saying,
"I believe it is important for America to speak with one voice at this
critical moment."

He alone among the four senior Congressional leaders had not signed off on
the final wording when a compromise on using force was struck at the White
House a week ago.

The actions came after long days of debate in the House and Senate over Mr.
Bush's decision to confront Iraq. The president argued that in the
post-Sept. 11 world, Mr. Hussein could provide terrorist groups with
chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or use them himself.

The resolution authorizes Mr. Bush to use the armed forces "as he determines
to be necessary and appropriate" to defend the nation against "the
continuing threat posed by Iraq," and to enforce "all relevant" United
Nations Security Council resolutions on Iraq. It requires him to report to
Congress within 48 hours of any military action.

The resolution was far less broad than the initial resolution put forward by
the White House, which members of both parties said was too open-ended and
could conceivably allow military action throughout the Middle East. In a
concession to Democrats, the resolution encourages the president to try to
work through the United Nations before acting alone. Still, it leaves him
with broad latitude.

Mr. Bush has said his powers as commander in chief already permit him to act
in defense of the nation. Without seeking a formal declaration of war,
however, he wanted Congress to be involved in the issue, he said, so he
could argue to the United Nations that he was expressing not only his own
view but that of the American electorate.

Most Republicans stood solidly with the president and many echoed the call
to oust Mr. Hussein.

"The question we face today is not whether to go to war, for war was thrust
upon us," said Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the majority whip. "Our
only choice is between victory and defeat. Let's be clear: In the war on
terror, victory cannot be secured at the bargaining table."

Still, the fight fractured the Democratic Party. In the Senate, an array of
Democratic presidential hopefuls stood behind the president. Mr. Gephardt,
who is a likely presidential contender in 2004, joined Republican leaders in
making the case for the president instead of standing in opposition to Mr.

As one of the last speakers in the House, Mr. Gephardt, who opposed the last
gulf war, argued that Sept. 11 had "made all the difference" and that Mr.
Hussein had to be stopped from developing weapons of mass destruction.

"The events of that tragic day jolted us to the enduring reality that
terrorists not only seek to attack our interests abroad, but to strike us
here at home," he said.

But only a minority in his caucus followed his lead and his
second-in-command, Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority whip, took the
other side. Ms. Pelosi, a senior member of the intelligence committee,
pointed to a C.I.A. letter declassified this week that judged that Mr.
Hussein was not likely to use his weapons against the United States but
could lose his restraint if faced with an American-led force.

She said attacking Mr. Hussein would turn the country away from what should
be its true national security focus - the terrorist threat. "There are many
costs involved in this war, and one of them is the cost of the war on
terrorism," she said.

Many Democrats said they agreed that Mr. Hussein was a dangerous tyrant. But
they expressed fear of giving Mr. Bush so much power, or argued that by
striking a nation that has not struck first, America could lose its moral
standing. They also said Mr. Bush had not presented a definitive case that
Iraq was an imminent threat.

In the end the vote was not all that different from the House vote on the
gulf war. At that time, 86 Democrats voted to grant Mr. Bush's father,
President George Bush, the right to use force, and 179 opposed him.

On Thursday, the opposition was particularly strong among House Democrats
from the urban Northeast, the West Coast and among minority members.

House Democrats rallied around an alternative by Representative John M.
Spratt Jr., Democrat of South Carolina, that would have authorized force in
conjunction with the United Nations. The president would have had to return
to Congress for a second approval to act unilaterally.

If Americans do not act in concert with allies, Mr. Spratt said, "This will
be the United States versus Iraq, and in some quarters the U.S. versus the
Arab and the Muslim world." The measure was defeated by a vote of 270-155,
but attracted 147 Democratic votes.

Senate opponents were thwarted in several attempts to alter the resolution.
One alternative was written by Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and
chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who proposed a two-step process
similar to what was defeated in the House.

Mr. Levin said pushing the president to build an international coalition
would mean that Mr. Hussein "will be looking down the barrel of a gun, with
the world at the other end rather than just the United States."\

by David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt
New York Times, 11th October

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10  The White House is developing a detailed plan, modeled
on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military
government in Iraq if the United States topples Saddam Hussein, senior
administration officials said today.

The plan also calls for war-crime trials of Iraqi leaders and a transition
to an elected civilian government that could take months or years.

In the initial phase, Iraq would be governed by an American military
commander  perhaps Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of United States forces
in the Persian Gulf, or one of his subordinates  who would assume the role
that Gen. Douglas MacArthur served in Japan after its surrender in 1945.

One senior official said the administration was "coalescing around" the
concept after discussions of options with President Bush and his top aides.
But this official and others cautioned that there had not yet been any
formal approval of the plan and that it was not clear whether allies had
been consulted on it.

The detailed thinking about an American occupation emerges as the
administration negotiates a compromise at the United Nations that officials
say may fall short of an explicit authorization to use force but still allow
the United States to claim it has all the authority it needs to force Iraq
to disarm.

In contemplating an occupation, the administration is scaling back the
initial role for Iraqi opposition forces in a post-Hussein government. Until
now it had been assumed that Iraqi dissidents both inside and outside the
country would form a government, but it was never clear when they would take
full control.

Today marked the first time the administration has discussed what could be a
lengthy occupation by coalition forces, led by the United States.

Officials say they want to avoid the chaos and in-fighting that have plagued
Afghanistan since the defeat of the Taliban. Mr. Bush's aides say they also
want full control over Iraq while American-led forces carry out their
principal mission: finding and destroying weapons of mass destruction.

The description of the emerging American plan and the possibility of
war-crime trials of Iraqi leaders could be part of an administration effort
to warn Iraq's generals of an unpleasant future if they continue to support
Mr. Hussein.

Asked what would happen if American pressure prompted a coup against Mr.
Hussein, a senior official said, "That would be nice." But the official
suggested that the American military might enter and secure the country
anyway, not only to eliminate weapons of mass destruction but also to ensure
against anarchy.

Under the compromise now under discussion with France, Russia and China,
according to officials familiar with the talks, the United Nations Security
Council would approve a resolution requiring the disarmament of Iraq and
specifying "consequences" that Iraq would suffer for defiance.

It would stop well short of the explicit authorization to enforce the
resolution that Mr. Bush has sought. But the diplomatic strategy, now being
discussed in Washington, Paris and Moscow, would allow Mr. Bush to claim
that the resolution gives the United States all the authority he believes he
needs to force Baghdad to disarm.

Other Security Council members could offer their own, less muscular
interpretations, and they would be free to draft a second resolution,
authorizing the use of force, if Iraq frustrated the inspection process. The
United States would regard that second resolution as unnecessary, senior
officials say.

"Everyone would read this resolution their own way," one senior official

The revelation of the occupation plan marks the first time the
administration has described in detail how it would administer Iraq in the
days and weeks after an invasion, and how it would keep the country unified
while searching for weapons.

It would put an American officer in charge of Iraq for a year or more while
the United States and its allies searched for weapons and maintained Iraq's
oil fields.

For as long as the coalition partners administered Iraq, they would
essentially control the second largest proven reserves of oil in the world,
nearly 11 percent of the total. A senior administration official said the
United Nations oil-for-food program would be expanded to help finance
stabilization and reconstruction.

Administration officials said they were moving away from the model used in
Afghanistan: establishing a provisional government right away that would be
run by Iraqis. Some top Pentagon officials support this approach, but the
State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and, ultimately, the White
House, were cool to it.

"We're just not sure what influence groups on the outside would have on the
inside," an administration official said. "There would also be differences
among Iraqis, and we don't want chaos and anarchy in the early process."

Instead, officials said, the administration is studying the military
occupations of Japan and Germany. But they stressed a commitment to keeping
Iraq unified, as Japan was, and avoiding the kind partition that Germany
underwent when Soviet troops stayed in the eastern sector, which set the
stage for the cold war. The military government in Germany stayed in power
for four years; in Japan it lasted six and a half years.

In a speech on Saturday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the special assistant to the
president for Near East, Southwest Asian and North African affairs, said,
"The coalition will assume  and the preferred option  responsibility for
the territorial defense and security of Iraq after liberation."

"Our intent is not conquest and occupation of Iraq," Mr. Khalilzad said.
"But we do what needs to be done to achieve the disarmament mission and to
get Iraq ready for a democratic transition and then through democracy over

Iraqis, perhaps through a consultative council, would assist an American-led
military and, later, a civilian administration, a senior official said
today. Only after this transition would the American-led government hand
power to Iraqis.

He said that the Iraqi armed forces would be "downsized," and that senior
Baath Party officials who control government ministries would be removed.
"Much of the bureaucracy would carry on under new management," he added.

Some experts warned during Senate hearings last month that a prolonged
American military occupation of Iraq could inflame tensions in the Mideast
and the Muslim world.

"I am viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at
the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to
re-educate that country," said the former secetary of state, Henry A.
Kissinger, who as a young man served as a district administrator in the
military government of occupied Germany.

While the White House considers its long-term plans for Iraq, Britain's
prime minister, Tony Blair, arrived in Moscow this evening for a day and a
half of talks with President Vladimir V. Putin. Aides said talks were
focused on resolving the dispute at the United Nations. Mr. Blair and Mr.
Putin are to hold formal discussions on Friday, followed by a news

Mr. Blair has been a steadfast supporter of the administration's tough line
on a new resolution. But he has also indicated that Britain would consider
France's proposal to have a two-tiered approach, with the Security Council
first adopting a resolution to compel Iraq to cooperate with international
weapons inspectors, and then, if Iraq failed to comply, adopting a second
resolution on military force. Earlier this week, Russia indicated that it,
too, was prepared to consider the French position.

But the administration is now saying that if there is a two-resolution
approach, it will insist that the first resolution provide Mr. Bush all the
authority he needs.

"The timing of all this is impossible to anticipate," one administration
official involved in the talks said. "The president doesn't want to have to
wait around for a second resolution if it is clear that the Iraqis are not

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