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[casi] News, 29/11-6/12/02 (3)

News, 29/11-6/12/02 (3)


*  New body in bid to shift opinion on Iraq
*  Drop a note to Saddam Hussein
*  The UN Charter is outdated
*  The Iraq Ploy and Resemblances to the Start of the Cold War
*  Film captures peril journalists faced in Gulf War
*  State Department Makes Repairs to Iraqi Ambassador's Residence
*  A rising anti-American tide
*  Aim is off in our quest for security


*  Another Yugoslav in the making: Environmental disaster in Iraq
*  US troops lack gears to fight bio-war in Iraq
*  Iraq attack 'means third world war'
*  Bill for an Iraq war would far exceed 1991 Gulf conflict


Hoover's Online Business Week, 29th November

WASHINGTON: A team of US opinion leaders has joined forces in an effort to
sway public opinion over Saddam Hussein, shifting concern away from the
threat posed by his weapons, towards the threat posed by the man himself.

The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), spearheaded by Randy
Scheunemann - a former national security adviser to Senate Majority Leaders
Trent Lott and Bob Dole - boasts a number of influential members.

These include former Secretary of State George Shultz, Senator John McCain,
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and retired 'drug czar' General Barry

The CLI has received the White House's blessing, meeting with US National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Executive director Scheunemann, who also owns US government relations shop
Orion Strategies, said: 'We came together to get a unique perspective out to
the media. We want to get stories focused on what we see to be the real
problem: not Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam
Hussein's regime.'

Alongside an intense media relations campaign in Washington and across the
US, the CLI is encouraging members to hold country-wide lectures, creating
opportunities to penetrate local media markets.

It is no coincidence that the CLI has come together just as United Nations
weapons inspectors land on Iraqi soil for the first time since 1998.

'This story is now at the very top of the national debate, and every print,
radio, and broadcast outlet is working on some element of the Iraq
question,' said Scheunemann.

According to the CLI mission statement, the campaign will also look at
long-term solutions, such as the 'reconstruction of Iraq's economy, the
establishment of political pluralism, democratic institutions, and the rule
of law'.

by James Rubin
Financial Times, 1st December

Having won unanimous support for a United Nations resolution on Iraq, there
is still one important step left for President George W. Bush. He should
send a private message to Saddam Hussein promising that if the Iraqi regime
complies with the latest UN resolution, the US will not invade to oust him
from power.

Such a message would achieve two important objectives. First, it might
persuade Baghdad to comply actively with the new inspection regime. And
second, if the essence of the message was made public, it would help
convince the world and the American people that disarmament, not war, is the
administration's real objective.

Right now, many observers of Iraq believe that Saddam Hussein thinks the
United States is going to invade no matter what he does and that he
therefore has little incentive to comply with the UN weapons inspectors.
There is also deep suspicion among Washington's allies about its motives.
Many believe that regime change is not a last resort for the administration,
but its first option.

Whether that is true or not, this perception has had a corrosive effect on
its ability to obtain broad support for its Iraq policy. A direct message to
Mr Hussein would be an effective way to improve the prospects for a peaceful
resolution of the inspection issue and dispel the impression that Washington
has a hidden agenda.

For a dictator such as Mr Hussein a leader-to-leader communication has
crucial importance. Arab diplomats who have met him say he often asks what
it would take to head off a US attack. No UN or Arab official can answer
such a question. Any American who understands its democracy knows that it
would be virtually impossible for the administration to launch an attack if
the unlikely were to happen and Mr Hussein were to disarm voluntarily. But
he may not understand this.

President Bush's speech to the UN - which was the most comprehensive
statement of his Iraq policy - went far beyond disarmament to include goals
such as stopping the repression of Kurds in the north and Shia muslims in
the south of Iraq, and returning Kuwaiti prisoners and property. Moreover,
the administration rejected a congressional resolution that would have
limited the rationale for war to the disarmament issue, and not the other
outstanding matters between Iraq and the UN.

A private message should be sent before December 8, when Iraq is obliged by
UN resolution 1441 to declare all of its programmes linked with weapons of
mass destruction. At the moment, Baghdad insists - in contradiction of UN
reports and the work of the American and UK intelligence agencies - that
there are no such programmes in Iraq.

The message should spell out the requirements of the resolution, essentially
full disclosure of weapons programmes and full co-operation with inspectors
- as well as the consequences of non-compliance. But it should also say the
US will refrain from launching an invasion if Iraq does comply, there are no
other changes in the status quo, and no proof emerges of Iraqi involvement
in the September 11 attacks.

For those who may be taken aback by the idea of talking to Baghdad, there is
ample precedent. Such messages have been sent on several occasions over the
past decade, usually through Iraq's UN ambassador. The most famous such
message was delivered to Iraq by James Baker, then secretary of state, when
he told Tariq Aziz in January 1991 that only an unconditional withdrawal
from Kuwait would avert war with the US-led coalition. The administration
could arrange a meeting with an Iraqi official at the UN, or ask the British
to pass a message to Baghdad, without breaking new diplomatic ground.

That does not mean the US could not still favour regime change as a matter
of policy. It could still support the Iraqi opposition, through training,
possibly the supply of arms, and political support. And US officials could
still encourage other countries to avoid a rapprochement even with a
disarmed Iraq, given its human rights abuses and oppression of its own
people. But the use of US ground troops would be ruled out as a means of
achieving the goal.

If the president wants to make sure he has gone the extra mile
diplomatically, and to show the world that war really is a last resort,
there is little to be lost and a lot to be gained by sending such a message
to Mr Hussein himself.

The writer is a former assistant US secretary of state.

by Robert Hill
International Herald Tribune, 2nd December

ADELAIDE, AustraliaIn a world of spreading terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction, the international community should review the limits of
self-defense and the right of national governments to take preemptive

Long-established principles of international law need to be reinterpreted in
an age of over the-horizon weaponry, computer network attack and asymmetric
threats, when warning times are reduced virtually to zero and enemies can
strike almost anywhere.

The world in which the United Nations Charter was drafted was very
different. Then, the preoccupation was to prevent the massive conventional
wars between states that disfigured the first half of the 20th century.

It is clear that, when an armed attack against a country is imminent, the
government is not compelled to wait until the first blow has been struck.
But what action can a state legitimately take when the attack is to be
launched by a non-state actor, in a nonconventional manner, operating from a
variety of bases in different parts of the world? There are no tell-tale
warning indicators such as the mobilization and pre-deployment of
conventional forces.

Article 51 of the UN Charter permits the use of self-defense if a criminal
attack occurs. But this has not settled the debate between those who adopt a
literal interpretation and those who argue that contemporary reality demands
a more liberal interpretation.

The jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice does not include a
definitive statement on the scope of the law of anticipatory self-defense
under the Charter. States act according to their interpretation, no doubt
informed by the interpretations of others.

The clear view of the United States, set out in its National Security
Strategy statement in September, is that there is an "option of preemptive
actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security." The
document says the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively to
"forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries."

Such clear statements by America reflect the view that the concept of
"imminent threat" must be adapted to the "capabilities and objectives of
today's adversaries." In short, international law cannot sit still.

But the United States still couched this right as self-defense rather than
as a distinct new doctrine. The same was the case in 1986 when America
responded with bombing raids on Libya to an attack on a discotheque in
Berlin that killed a U.S. soldier. President Ronald Reagan said the purpose
of the mission was self-defense and the preemptive action would not only
diminish Libya's capacity to export terror but also provide it with reasons
and incentives to change its criminal behavior.

Other examples include the U.S. imposition of a maritime quarantine on Cuba
in 1962 to force the Soviet Union to remove its nuclear weapons from Cuba,
and the 1981 Israeli attack on a nuclear reactor in Iraq.

Continuing efforts by Iraq to acquire weapons of mass destruction have
rekindled this important debate.

For the moment, the issue has been avoided by a new UN Security Council
resolution ordering certain actions linked to weapons inspections in Iraq
and warning of "serious consequences" in the event of noncompliance. It is
to be hoped that Baghdad can be persuaded by the consensus of the
international community to disarm, and that the need for armed intervention
can thus be avoided.

But in the longer term, the issues and the uncertainty remain unresolved.
Some would argue that it is time for a new and distinct doctrine of
preemptive action to avert a threat. A better outcome might be for the
international community to seek an agreement on the ambit of the right to
self-defense better suited to contemporary realities.

International legal machinery is slow to adapt to rapidly changing
circumstances. It is important that international lawyers seek to catch up
and ensure that the world's legal framework remains relevant to its security

It would be useful if the United Nations contributed to the further
development of these principles. Advisory opinions from the International
Court of Justice might also be helpful.

Meanwhile, those responsible for governance will continue to interpret
self-defense as necessary to protect their peoples and their nations'

The writer is Australia's defense minister. This comment was adapted by the
International Herald Tribune from the John Bray Memorial Oration delivered
at the University of Adelaide on Nov. 28.

by Saul Landau
Counterpunch, 3rd December

"If you're going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go
to Baghdad. Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you will do with
it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one
that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime
or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Ba'athists, or one that
tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists. How much credibility is that
government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when
it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect
the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we

- Dick Cheney, April 13, 1991 New York Times interview (explaining why the
Bush administration did not pursue "regime change" during the Gulf War.)


In 1983, Reagan selected the perfect right wing Republican as his emissary
to Iraq to explain to Saddam that while the United States could not openly
condone Iraq's use of poison gas, it would look the other way because
Washington wanted to prevent an Iranian victory. So, Donald Rumsfeld
provided Iraq with military assistance in Reagan's name.

According to MSNBC, November 17, evidence of this agreement emerged from
depositions taken in a January, 1995, court case in which Howard Teicher, a
National Security Counsel official, who traveled with Rumsfeld to Iraq,
states that both Reagan and Vice President Bush "personally delivered
military advice to Saddam Hussein, both directly and through

In his affidavit, Teicher writes that "CIA Director [William] Casey
personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient
military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq
war." The United States supplied "the Iraqis with billions of dollars of
credits," claims Teicher, and offered "military intelligence and advice to
the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to
make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required."

Teicher says the military advice to the Iraqis was relayed "to Saddam from
the highest levels of the U.S. government, from President Reagan and
then-Vice President Bush." In 1986, according to Teicher, "President Reagan
sent a secret message to Saddam Hussein telling him that Iraq should step up
its air war and bombing of Iran. This message was delivered by Vice
President Bush." At this time, Reagan and Bush knew that Saddam had used
chemical weapons and cluster bombs and acquiesced "in order to stave off the
Iranian attacks." The U.S. also assisted in facilitating sales of such
weapons to Iraq, says Teicher.

Today, Rumsfeld's apparent amnesia about his 1980s mission as Reagan's
conciliator allows him to convert into appalling crimes the very acts that
he encouraged Saddam to commit. "Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and
gathering danger," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee on September
19, 2002. "It is a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the
Middle East and to international peace and stability. It is a danger we do
not have the option to ignore. The world has acquiesced in Saddam Hussein's
aggression, abuses and defiance for more than a decade."

What a change from Rumsfeld 15 years earlier, dealing with the same man and
the same regime. He more than acquiesced in Saddam's aggression. In 1984, he
delivered an encouraging message to Saddam that said: "The [United States
government] recognizes Iraq's current disadvantage in a war of attrition
since Iran has access to the Gulf while Iraq does not. We would regard any
major reversal of Iraq's fortunes as strategic defeat for the west." In
other words, the United States would support Iraq. Rumsfeld also discussed
lifting sanctions to allow Iraq to buy military equipment.

Rummy knew that Iraq had used poison gas against Iranian troops a few months
before and that Iraq had begun building a chemical weapons infrastructure.
He knew that Iraq planned to drop these chemical weapons on Iranian targets.
In the August 18, 2002, New York Times, Patrick Tyler reported that in the
1980s, Reagan, Bush (the elder) and their top advisers had indeed provided
logistical and intelligence information to Iraq. Tyler underlined that a
U.S. official had stated explicitly after touring the battlefield area in
1988 that "The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter
of deep strategic concern." But the Administration ignored the story and so
did the majority in the press corps.

Likewise, little has been done with Rumsfeld's letter to Secretary of State
George Shultz. "I said I thought we had areas of common interest,
particularly the security and stability in the Gulf, which had been
jeopardized as a result of the Iranian revolution," wrote Rummy in the
1980s. "I added that the U.S. had no interest in an Iranian victory; to the
contrary. We would not want Iran's influence expanded at the expense of

In his 1993 memoirs, Shultz affirmed that reports of Iraq using chemical
weapons began "drifting in" by December 1983. In March, 1984, the State
Department confirmed that Iraq had used "lethal chemical weapons" against
Iranian combatants. UPI cited a team of United Nations experts saying that
"mustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers in
the 43-month Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq".

Amnesia when used in diplomacy can get tricky. In 1990, after meeting with
US Ambassador April Glaspie, Saddam, not adroit in discerning nuance,
assumed he had a U.S. green light to invade Kuwait. Perhaps Ms. Glaspie
believed that Saddam intended to recapture only the northeastern tip of
Kuwait, which Iraq had historically claimed - and with good precedent. But
Saddam took the whole enchilada and so the modern demonization campaign
began. Saddam gained himself the "disobedient" label.


Remember what Senator Wayne Morse said after the Senate passed the Tonkin
Gulf Resolution in 1964, "We're going to become guilty, in my judgment, of
being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It's an ugly reality,
and we Americans don't like to face up to it. I hate to think of the chapter
of American history that's going to be written in the future in connection
with our outlawry in Southeast Asia."

Saul Landau's new film is IRAQ: VOICES FROM THE STREET (November 2002)
available from The Cinema Guild in New York City. He teaches at Cal Poly
Pomona and is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

by Charlie McCollum
Seattle Times, 3rd December

For the better part of 24 hours, beginning on the evening of Jan. 16, 1991,
the center of the television world was a room at the Al-Rasheed Hotel in the
Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

In Room 906 of the Al-Rasheed, CNN correspondents Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett
and John Holliman and a crew headed by producer Robert Wiener were providing
the only live words and pictures of the start of what would become known as
the Persian Gulf War. As U.S. Tomahawk missiles and smart bombs rained down
around them, the journalists held their ground, refusing to follow other
reporters into bomb shelters.

The exclusive reports ‹ still vividly remembered by many Americans ‹ began
CNN's transition from a guerrilla news operation trying to make its mark
into the essential news disseminating cable network. The CNN reporters even
received praise from rival journalists, notably the dean of TV news, Walter

Cronkite told Shaw, Arnett and Holliman during an on-air interview that "the
decision to stay in a place that is clearly a major danger zone, where one's
mortality has to be considered on the line, is probably the toughest
decision that any newspaperman or reporter ever had to make."

Now, as the United States faces another potential military conflict with the
regime of Saddam Hussein, the story of CNN's coverage is the subject of
"Live From Baghdad," a new HBO film based on a book written by Wiener
immediately after the Gulf War. The movie was originally supposed to air
early next year, but HBO decided to push it into December when it became
clear that world events could overtake "Live From Baghdad." It will air at 8
p.m. Saturday.

Veteran actor Michael Keaton, who plays Wiener in the film, notes that
usually filmmakers are concerned about beating a competing movie into the

But, says Keaton, "It's one thing to get a movie out the weekend before
'Harry Potter'; another to get it out the weekend before an invasion of
Iraq. That's the reality of it. ... Things are just getting more intense,
pressing and relevant by the hour."

Actually, says Wiener, "Live From Baghdad" almost didn't get made as a

Immediately after the book was published in 1992, Wiener's work was bought
by Universal Studios. Dustin Hoffman was going to play Wiener; Barry
Levinson was going to direct.

"Then," recalls Wiener, "Levinson dropped off the project, other directors
came in, more writers were brought in and the script went through a process
where, basically, our journalism and my life was unrecognizable."

The film then sat on the shelf at Universal for seven years before, shortly
after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, HBO expressed an interest in
picking up the rights.

"The draft that existed at the time was written by one of the other writers:
John Patrick Shanley, who had won the Academy Award for 'Moonstruck' and is
a terrific playwright," says Wiener. But "HBO wanted an accurate movie and
sent me the script and wanted me to point out inaccuracies ‹ and the entire
script was inaccurate."

HBO went back to the original script for the film, written by Wiener and
Richard Chapman, with Timothy J. Sexton ("Boycott") doing some work on the

The result is a gripping film that makes Wiener's decade-old story fresh and
relevant, even for viewers who may not care about the inner workings of
journalism. Director Mick Jackson ‹ who has done films such as "Tuesdays
With Morrie" but is best-known for his documentary work ‹ vividly re-creates
the streets of Baghdad and never lets the story slow down. The performances
by Keaton, Helena Bonham Carter, Lili Taylor, Joshua Leonard, Bruce McGill
and David Suchet all ring true to the time, the place and the nature of
reporting under fire.

"Journalists are not without their ego, let's face it," says Keaton of
playing Wiener. "I also played one in 'The Paper.' I understand this
adrenaline rush to excitement. If you've got any addictive gene in your
personality and you have the kind of nose that can sniff out where it's
going to happen next, it can be a very addicting job ‹ especially for war

As far as Wiener and others involved in CNN's original coverage, though, the
most important thing about the film is it is relatively faithful to what
actually took place.

"I was very impressed how compellingly the story was told and, in many ways,
it's true to the atmosphere, the tone and what unfolded over there," says
Shaw, who has retired from CNN.

Eason Jordan, still the head of CNN's news-gathering operations, thinks
"Live" is "a terrific film. It does take awhile for a news geek like me to
get used to seeing himself on a screen in a film that is based on a true
story but in and of itself is not an entirely true story.

"The movie does a terrific job of capturing the essence of what happened,
but it's not a documentary. If you want the documentary treatment, you need
to read Robert's book, which is absolutely, totally factual."

Wiener thinks, for example, that the film underplays Jordan's contributions.
"Eason Jordan's role is somewhat marginalized in the movie," he says. "In my
view, Eason was as responsible for our success in Baghdad as those of us who
were on the ground."

And Wiener is also concerned with the way fellow producer Ingrid Formanek,
played by Bonham Carter, comes off in the film.

Formanek, Wiener says, "is a terrific journalist in her own right. She is
not a gooey-eyed accessory. And the romantic aspect of the story is
Hollywood-ized, and I feel badly about that."

But Wiener, Shaw and Jordan all agree that the film gives viewers some
important insight into how journalism ‹ particularly television journalism ‹

"I think it's important for people to know what's going on behind the
scenes, the earnestness and the determination of journalists to get the
story and deliver it to the people at home so they can make their judgments
about what's going on in the world," says Jordan.

That being said, however, there is no doubt that should the conflict between
the U.S. and Iraq evolve into a new military conflict, things will be
different for CNN and other news organizations.

"It's a whole other era. It's a very different time. It's a different
competitive era. There's a whole lot of new technology. It's a different
landscape altogether," says Jordan.

"I think, without doubt, CNN will have the best coverage of any conflict in
Iraq. But I think it's a long shot at best and actually highly unlikely that
CNN will own the story the way it did, at least the way it did on that one
day on Jan. 16 and into Jan. 17, 1991."

Jordan's biggest concern is "the safety of our people in Baghdad. This
conflict is going to be far more dangerous for our people on the ground than
we saw in '91 ‹ and that was a dangerous situation.

"But this is going to be far more so, simply because the regime itself is
being targeted if the U.S. military goes forth with this effort. And that
means the people in Baghdad who are effectively our hosts at this time would
be targeted, and at a time like that, I fear you will see desperate people
doing desperate things. That puts journalists in grave jeopardy."

Even if the circumstances have changed for the worse, "Live From Baghdad"
makes it clear just how courageous Wiener's CNN crew was in 1991.

"I know this sounds self-serving ‹ and I suppose it is ‹ but what happened
on that evening and the work that John and Bernie and Peter did was a
seminal moment in journalism. There's no getting around that. It has had
enormous impact. ... It's a moment in history.",2933,72041,00.html

Fox News, 3rd December

WASHINGTON ‹ The State Department is making repairs to the residence of the
former Iraqi ambassador, but it played down talk Tuesday that the home
improvements are to prepare the place for a new occupant ‹ possibly one
under a new government.

 The brick mansion served as the ambassador's residence until the United
States severed diplomatic relations with Iraq in 1991 during the Persian
Gulf War. The building has remained empty, cared for by the State Department
as outlined in an international agreement, said a department spokesman,
Philip Reeker.

"The roof of that residence is leaking badly and we hired a contractor to
replace the roof and stop further water damage. Part of our responsibility
to see to the upkeep of that," he said.

Reeker said he didn't know how much the repairs will cost and the
construction is being paid for from long-frozen Iraqi bank accounts.

"I don't think anyone should read anything into or out of it, other than the
fact that we're living up to our responsibilities to protect the structural
soundness of this building which is under our care pursuant to international
agreements," Reeker said.

by Brian Knowlton
International Herald Tribune, 5th December

WASHINGTON: A U.S. war with Iraq would further fuel already considerable
anti American sentiment, which has grown pronounced in many Muslim countries
in recent years, and it would divide Americans from the publics of some
traditional allies, a global opinion survey has found. The poll of 38,000
people in 44 countries, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in
association with the International Herald Tribune, found strong public
opposition in Muslim countries for a war on Baghdad, though some of those
countries would be expected to play an important role on the U.S. side.

The Turks, skeptical of U.S. motives and divided on the threat Baghdad
represents, oppose ‹ by a majority of more than 80 percent ‹ any U.S. use of
Turkish military bases for the prosecution of a war. They believe the United
States seeks to punish a refractory Muslim state, not to bring stability and
security to the region. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States
drew widespread sympathy abroad. But as the survey shows, that sympathy has
dwindled in the publics of several countries, testing even the support of
traditional allies.

Huge majorities in France and Germany, as well as Russia, oppose the use of
force to depose President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The people of nearly every
Muslim country op posed the war on terrorism, including those out of the key
conflict areas, such as Indonesia and Senegal. More than half of Lebanese
expressed opposition to the U.S. war on terrorism, as did about 8 in 10
Egyptians and Jordanians.

Among the Muslim countries surveyed, only the people of Mali and Uzbekistan
supported it. (Official Uzbek support for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan
has brought improved U.S. ties and some economic benefits.) Even as
Washington has inaugurated a global campaign to improve its image in Muslim
countries in hopes of eroding support for terrorism, the poll found
substantial support in many Muslim countries for the notion that violence is
justifiable in defense of Islam. Madeleine Albright, the former U.S.
secretary of state, called that result "absolutely stunning" and "very
difficult to absorb." Albright, who chairs the Pew Global Attitudes Project,
said that "clearly, an awful lot of work needs to be done for us to
understand Islam, and for Muslim nations to understand what we're about."
More than 1 in 4 respondents in Ghana, Indonesia, Senegal and Uganda said
that suicide bombing was justifiable in defense of Islam; 1 in 3 in Pakistan
and Mali said so; more than 4 in 10 in Jordan, Bangladesh and Nigeria
agreed; and so did more than half in Ivory Coast; and 73 percent in Lebanon.

The notion of justifiable violence found the lowest level of support among
the Muslims of Tanzania, Tur key and Uzbekistan, all below 20 percent. (The
question was asked only of Muslim respondents; the Egyptian authorities did
not allow it to be asked.) While discontent with the United States has grown
globally, the Pew report notes, "true dislike, if not hatred, of America is
concentrated in the Muslim nations of the Middle East and in Central Asia."
This was strikingly so in Egypt, where only 6 percent of respondents said
they had a favorable view of the United States, compared with 69 percent
unfavorable; and in Pakistan, with 10 percent favorable to 69 percent
unfavorable. The survey, conducted in late summer and early fall, at a time
when debate on Iraq was reaching a crescendo in the United States and
abroad, found deep skepticism about U.S. motives, particularly in Muslim
countries. "Some of these countries think our war on terrorism is targeting
Muslim countries," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center.
While majorities in Britain, France and Germany agreed with Americans that
the best way to deal with Saddam Hussein was to remove him from power,
majorities want this to happen peacefully. In contrast, 6-in-10 Americans
back military action to depose Saddam. There were widespread fears that a
war with Iraq would lead to new terrorism. Two-thirds of Turks said that it
would, as did majorities in Russia, France, Britain and Germany. A
considerable 45 percent of Americans said the same. In many regards, the
survey showed that the Bush administration message on Iraq ‹ that Baghdad
threatens regional stability and world peace by backing terrorists and
seeking weapons of mass destruction ‹ has had a skeptical hearing.
Overwhelming numbers of people in allied nations did see Iraq as a threat to
regional stability and world peace, rating it above North Korea and Iran.

Even so, the French, Germans and Russians viewed the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict ‹ the subject of far less official U.S. attention ‹ as more
threatening to Middle East stability than Saddam's continued rule. And
"American motives for using force against Iraq are still suspect," Kohut
said. A belief that the real U.S. motive was control of Iraqi oil fields was
widespread, though less common in the United States. Seventy-five percent of
the French and a similar share of Russians subscribed to a war-for-oil view,
as did 54 percent of Germans, and 44 percent of the British.

Just one-fifth of Americans saw oil as the chief U.S. motivation, while
two-thirds cited an Iraqi threat to security. The U.S. image has suffered
seriously in much of the Muslim world from a sense that Middle East troubles
have been ignored and Muslim countries targeted in the war on terrorism.
This has been notably true in two countries central to the U.S. response to
terrorism and Iraq: Turkey and Pakistan. "The number of people giving the
United States a positive rating has dropped by 22 points in Turkey and 13
points in Pakistan in three years," the Pew report said. It has also fallen
in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, by 14 points. Some of the
biggest drops in favorable foreign views toward the United States appeared
linked either to the war on terror or the threats to Iraq. The U.S.
favorability figure in Germany, where the possibility of war on Iraq is
deeply unpopular, dropped to about 60 percent this year from nearly 80
percent two years ago; in Indonesia, a mainly Muslim country facing U.S.
pressure to crack down on terrorists, U.S. favorability dropped 14 points,
to 61 percent; in Turkey it fell to 30 percent from just over 50 percent;
and in Pakistan, to 10 percent from 23 percent. ion_d3fe2

by Jay Bookman
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 5th December

[Jay Bookman is the deputy editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal

The United States is bordered only by Mexico and Canada, neither of which is
particularly dangerous. And we will soon be spending more money on our
national defense than the rest of the world combined.

So do Americans feel safe?

And if the answer is no, why not?

In some ways, it may be a matter of perception. We seek the unattainable,
which is perfect security. We Americans have also developed a tendency to
magnify even slight threats into something far more dire. In fact, it's
dismaying to see the American people, once proud and brave, become so
frightened by their own government's rhetoric.

For example, we have somehow been deluded into believing that Saddam Hussein
poses a serious threat to our national safety. He does not. Iraq used to be
a third-rate power that was reduced by the Gulf War to a fifth-rate power;
it has no navy and no air force with which to reach beyond its borders. The
threat is so far-fetched that in one speech, President Bush was reduced to
warning that the Iraqis could attack us via unmanned aerial vehicles, which
is only slightly more likely than an attack by a spaceship from Mars.

Another explanation for our insecurity lies, paradoxically, in our own
dominance. We have tanks and jet fighters and smart bombs and nuclear
submarines. We have B-2 bombers and unmanned planes and spy satellites and
attack helicopters. We have aircraft carriers and bunker-busting bombs and
cruise missiles and enough nuclear weapons to blow up the planet several
times over.

But 19 civilians armed only with box cutters can wreak havoc on us.

The Middle East in many ways offers a miniature version of our situation. We
have rendered the entire world as helpless against American power as the
Palestinians are against Israeli tanks and helicopters. So our enemies
around the world react to us as the Palestinians have reacted to the
Israelis, by attacking where we are soft, and in ways that render our
military power useless.

The answer is not to weaken ourselves so we can be attacked by conventional
means. But it does seem wise to recognize the true nature of the threat we
face, and to respond accordingly. Attacking Iraq does nothing to protect us
from terror. It's just something we know how to do --- a target for all that
power we've accumulated.

A third explanation for our nation's insecurity lies in what we do with the
hundreds of billions of dollars we invest each year in our military. The
National Security Strategy released in September by the Bush administration
calls for permanent U.S. dominance not just globally, but within every
region of the globe. It also calls for U.S. pre-emptive attack of any nation
that might rise to threaten that dominance, either regionally or globally.

That is not a policy driven by national security; it has nothing to do with
protecting our borders, our people or our freedom. It can be described as
"defending the American way of life" only if that way of life depends on
being the dominant military power even in far-off places such as Central

It's interesting to note that to project U.S. military power into every nook
and cranny of the world, the Pentagon got a 12 percent increase in the 2003
budget, and will reportedly get another significant increase next year in
addition to a $10 billion "slush fund" it will be free to spend any way it

Yet the Bush administration is withholding $1.5 billion appropriated to
local and state law enforcement and other first responders to beef up
anti-terrorism efforts; it has underfunded true homeland-protection efforts
such as port security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
and it refuses to get serious about solving the Middle East crisis.

It's like buying a cannon to defend yourself against killer bees. When it
inevitably fails, when you get stung and hurt bad, you don't go out and buy
more cannons.

But if cannons is all you know, maybe you do.


by Stephen Coates
Dawn, from AFP, 30th November

PANCEVO (Yugoslavia): As the United States prepares for possible war in
Iraq, environmentalists have raised new concerns about the consequences of
precision bombing designed to cripple military-industrial infrastructure.

An independent study released earlier this month into the effect of NATO
bombing in Yugoslavia three years ago has concluded that the targeting of
industrial facilities can have unintended, long-term environmental impacts.

Experts from the US-based Institute of Energy and Environmental Research
(IEER) said the destruction of oil refineries and chemical plants used for
civilian purposes could also violate the international rules of war.

"This report does show that there is need for a sharp redefinition of how
target sets and collateral damage are evaluated," said Sriram Gopal, an IEER
scientist and the main author of a report on NATO's 1999 bombing of

"Currently collateral damage is measured in terms such as the number of
civilian casualties or the cost of replacing property. Long-term
environmental harms can be much more difficult to quantify and evaluate,
despite their very significant costs."

NATO's destruction of the oil refining and chemical complex in the small
Yugoslav town of Pancevo, some 20 kms northeast of Belgrade on the western
bank of the Danube river, caused thousands of tons of highly toxic chemicals
to spill into the environment in April, 1999.

Nenad Stojimirovic, an assistant technical director at the Petrohemija
chemical plant, was on duty during one of the bombing raids and recalls the
terrifying fires and toxic black cloud which hung over the town for days.

"There were flames hundreds of metres (feet) high which could be seen for
miles. It turned the night into day," he said.

"A lot of the oil just went straight into the canal which flows into the
Danube. Nobody knows how much was burned and how much went into the river,
but it was catastrophic."

A United Nations study released in the months after the 78-day NATO air
campaign identified the industrial complex at Pancevo as the worst of four
environmental "hot spots" in Yugoslavia.

It found that the air strikes caused some 80,000 tons of oil and oil
products to burn at the refinery, releasing a poisonous cloud including
sulphur dioxide which stretched for miles over the surrounding countryside.

At the petrochemical plant, it said 2,100 tons of toxic ethylene dichloride
and eight tons of metallic mercury leaked into the soil and wastewater canal
connected to the Danube, while 460 tons of vinyl chloride monomer was
incinerated, releasing more highly toxic dioxins.

Managers at the fertiliser plant deliberately released another 250 tons of
liquid ammonia into the open canal to prevent a deadly cloud which could
have killed thousands of nearby residents had those stocks ignited.

Despite the immediate impact, the report concluded that there was no
evidence of an "environmental catastrophe affecting the Balkans region as a

Both the UN report and the more recent IEER study found that pollution
identified at some sites was serious and posed a threat to human health, but
they said it was difficult to separate bombing-related damage from problems
arising from years of environmental neglect.

They also agreed on the urgent need to clean up the damage and linked this
to humanitarian assistance and general conflict management. IEER
specifically questioned the military targeting of "dual-use" facilities.

The UN appealed for $20 million from donors to help pay for the post-war
cleanup in Yugoslavia, but so far only some $12 million has been
forthcoming, raising more questions about post-conflict responsibilities to
repair damage which directly affects civilian populations.

NATO officials were dismissive of the environmental damage at Pancevo in the
days after the attacks, when the consequences for the Danube and the people
living around the complex were overshadowed by news of bombing errors.

"Of course we are aware of what's happening (at Pancevo) but conflicts have
never been healthy for anybody. It was a military target, it had a military
value, it has been struck," NATO Brigadier General Giuseppe Marani responded
when questioned by a Serbian journalist at the time of the war.

The Atlantic alliance's then spokesman, Jamie Shea, added: "I think there is
more smoke coming from burning villages in Kosovo ... how about the
environmental effects of that?"

While the aim of the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia was limited to forcing then
president Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo and end the
Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians, a war in Iraq could be far more complex.

Washington has made it clear that it wants to change the regime in Iraq,
something that NATO did not attempt in Yugoslavia. There is also the
prospect of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein unleashing his alleged stocks of
chemical and biological weapons.

Military analysts say US weapons technology is vastly more superior today
than it was three years ago, and special attention has been paid to the
development of bombs which limit the leakage of toxic chemicals.

According to the Center for Defence Information based in Washington, one
programme under development is a high-temperature incendiary
"thermo-corrosive" filling for 2,000 pound precision-guided bombs. The
filling burns at extremely high temperatures for a long time to destroy
chemical and biological agents.

British and US scientists are also developing a "radio frequency weapon" or
"E-bomb" which would disable electronic grids and electrical systems with
powerful bursts of microwave energy.

Such "bombs" would disable refrigeration and computer systems used in
chemical warfare and possibly "dual-use" civilian infrastructure.,0005.htm

Hindustani Times, 30th November

Press Trust of India Washington, November 30: The Pentagon is having
problems providing US troops with state-of-the-art protective gear against
possible chemical and biological attacks in Iraq, the Washington Post
reported on Saturday, quoting US lawmakers.

"I visited the troops in Europe, who I believe will be first responders in
Iraq, and they did not have the best equipment we have, and that is a
concern to me," Congressman Christopher Shays, chairman of the House of
Representatives subcommittee on national security subcommittee, told The

"We don't know where some of our best suits are -- they are God knows where.
And in some cases, we've mixed bad inventory with good," the Connecticut
Republican told the daily.

Shays said he is also concerned about the Defence Department's inability to
manage millions of protective suits so that units likely to deploy to the
Persian Gulf receive the highest quality gear, with 250,000 defective suits
throughout the Pentagon inventory.

Lawmakers' concerns have been buttressed by the General Accounting Office
(GAO) the US investigative agency, which recently reported "continuing
concerns" about equipment, training and research.

The GAO said for six years, "we have identified many problems in the Defence
Department's capabilities to defend against chemical and biological weapons
and sustain operations in the midst of their use."

Raymond Decker, the GAO's director of defence capabilities and management,
said he was not convinced that the Pentagon had enough new, highly
protective, lightweight suits to equip all forces likely to fight a war in

by Alex Kirby
BBC, 29th November

BBC News Online environment correspondent A US attack on Iraq would mean
"more Mombasas, more Balis," a former assistant secretary general of the
United Nations says.

The warning comes from Hans von Sponeck, the UN's humanitarian aid
co-ordinator in Iraq from 1998 to 2000.

Mr von Sponeck said the US was doing all it could to provoke war with
Baghdad, and was "brutally" pressurising other governments to support its

But most people in the Middle East saw no justification for any pre-emptive

Mr von Sponeck, a German citizen, was speaking to BBC News Online from his
home in Switzerland after spending five weeks in the Middle East.

"I've been in Lebanon, Iraq itself, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - and
if there's one common denominator, it's fear and rejection of the idea of
war," he said.

"I heard it from officials, and from people in the souks. They see it as a
war between Islam and Christianity, which of course it isn't - and they're
so angry.

"No one, not even the casual reader, can miss the almost desperate attempts
by the US authorities to destroy the arms inspection before it's properly
begun - to provoke a war, in fact.

"On Thursday the inspectors went to the al-Dawrah foot-and-mouth vaccine
production laboratory. Journalists said it showed no signs of use 'to the
untrained eye'.

"I went there with a German TV crew in July, and only the shell of the
building was still standing. Nothing could come out of there.

"There are more than 700 sites to be examined, and it needs to be done
professionally, with the inspectors left alone and put under no pressure.

"And nobody - media, individuals, or governments - should prejudge their

If, despite the arms inspections, the US were to attack Iraq, Mr von Sponeck
thought the consequences would be apocalyptic.

"The early stages will go pretty much according to the US plan", he said.
"The Iraqi military is in miserable straits, quite desperate.

"It's been reduced to buying hand-made spare parts for its equipment from
back-street workshops.

"So we'll see high-flying technology knocking Iraq to smithereens. But if
you want regime change, you'll have to have troops on the ground in the

"The real test will come in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, places like that
- with all the inevitable casualties on all sides.

"The US will win the battle fairly quickly, but it will lose the war. This
will be world war three, but it won't be like the first two - it'll be a
global terror war," he said.

"If it does come to war, I think we shall see many more Mombasas, more
Balis. I shiver when I hear the extreme views some people have in the

"But there is a public conscience in the US, there are many people with a
natural sense of human rights - there's a growing peace movement there.

"There and elsewhere, more people are realising that we have got to tackle
the causes of terrorism, not to practise it ourselves."

by Michael Dobbs
International Herald Tribune, from The Washington Post, 2nd December

WASHINGTON: Within a month of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990,
the first Bush administration launched what became known as Operation Tin
Cup, a frenzied round of diplomacy aimed at getting U.S. allies to help pay
for war with Iraq. As a result, the bill to American taxpayers for the Gulf
War was about $7 billion, a small fraction of its cost.

Although it is difficult to predict how much Americans will pay for a new
war with Iraq, one fact seems indisputable: It will be many times more than
the cost of the last war, if only because other countries are much more
reluctant to share the burden.

Informal estimates by congressional staff and Washington research
organizations of the costs of an invasion of Iraq and a postwar occupation
of the country have been in the range of $100 billion to $200 billion.

If the fighting is protracted, and President Saddam Hussein blows up Iraqi
oil fields, most economists believe the indirect costs of the war could be
much greater, reverberating through the U.S. economy for many years.

The 1991 Gulf War led to a brief spike in oil prices and a fall in consumer
confidence that helped tip the country into a recession that cost President
George Bush his chances of re election.

Despite the high economic and political stakes, there has been no equivalent
of Operation Tin Cup this time around. The current administration of his
son, President George W. Bush, has refused to engage in public debate about
the likely costs of a new war.

"If we can plan a war, we should also be planning a way to pay for the war,"
said Representative John Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, the ranking Democrat
on the House Budget Committee. "Last time, we were able to slough the costs
off on other countries. This time, we will have to absorb most of these
costs ourselves. Someone ought to be asking questions about the impact on
the budget."

A White House official, speaking on condition of not being identified, said
it would be premature to talk about the costs of a war with Iraq because
Bush has not decided on the use of military force. He added that unofficial
estimates of the cost of war had to be weighed against the "potentially
incalculable" political, diplomatic and economic costs of permitting Saddam
to develop and spread weapons of mass destruction.

Using different methodologies, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
and staff for the Democrat minority on the House Budget Committee have
concluded that a short, decisive war involving the deployment of 250,000
U.S. troops could cost $44 billion to $60 billion. This is significantly
less than the cost of the 1991 war, which came to nearly $80 billion in 2002
dollars, reflecting the fewer numbers of troops involved. A protracted war,
by contrast, could cost upward of $100 billion.

The direct military costs of a new war will probably be less than in 1991
under most scenarios, but the postwar occupation costs will be considerably
greater, most experts believe.

In Kuwait, most U.S. troops were able to pack up and go home in a few weeks.
In Iraq, a large international military presence will be required for many
years to provide security for a post-Saddam government and avert a civil war
between ethnic factions, which include Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the
center and Shiites in the south.

"It's a no-brainer that this is going to cost us more than the last time,"
said Michael O'Hanlon, a military economist at the Brookings Institution.
"In addition to the nominal price tag for the operation, you will need a
large stabilization force in there for a number of years. Anything else will
not be strategically viable."

Extrapolating from similar peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo,
O'Hanlon estimates that the United States is likely to initially spend $15
billion to $20 billion a year for its share of a multinational stabilization
force for Iraq. Depending on how long the stabilization force remains in
Iraq, the cost to the American taxpayer could be $50 billion to $100
billion. His calculations are based on an assumption that U.S. allies will
pick up two thirds of the cost of the stabilization force.

Adding the costs of a stabilization force to the costs of an invasion brings
the total to $100 billion to $200 billion.

This is in line with an upper bracket estimate by the White House economics
adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in
September. The White House subsequently distanced the administration from
Lindsey's comments, saying they were not based on any official study.

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