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[casi] News, 15-22/01/03 (6)

News, 15-22/01/03 (6)


*  Local Professors Protest Against War In Iraq
*  Iraq War Protesters: Sanctions Have Been A Disaster
*  Thousands in U.S. Rally Against Iraq War
*  A King Day Plea for Peace: Antiwar Message Dominates Observances at Area
Churches, Rallies
*  Demonstrators wrap up a weekend of protests against possible war with
*   Volunteer 'Human Shields' to Head for Iraq


*  Questions about war that can't be ignored
*  Child fighters would pose ethical nightmare for allied troops in Gulf
*  Iraq Has Mined Its Oil Wells
*  Iraq warned against using human shields
*  The dangers of delaying an attack on Iraq
*  The Media Column: War journalists should not be cosying up to the
*  Averting another Gulf War syndrome


Yahoo, 16th January

As the military buildup continues in the Middle East, so do the peace
protests here at home, and northeast Ohio is no exception.

One of the largest peace vigils to date happened on the campus of Case
Western Reserve University on Wednesday.

NewsChannel5's Joe Pagonakis reported that more than 100 professors formed a
silent circle on campus against the possible war with Iraq.

"If there is a time that we have a chance to stop this, it (is) to join the
growing resistance to the buildup that's occurring right now," professor
Norman Robbins said.

Professors made their case for peace and encouraged the Bush administration
to be diligent in making U.N. weapons inspections effective.

"If we go to war with Iraq, we antagonize people around the world who view
the U.S. in a bad light, and in fact by killing people and (inciting)
hatred, and inevitably it results in terrorism," professor Lawrence Krauss

Some of the students at Case Western aren't quite sure if signing petitions
and passing out fliers will effectively promote peace and prevent terrorism.
Many said that a war with Iraq might be inevitable.

"I will commend the professors in taking a stand, but I choose to leave
everything in God's hands," student Nicole Carter said.

"They are trying to make a stand and raise awareness, but I'm not sure what
kind of difference it will make," student Peter Ritchie said.

"In conjunction with our friends and allies in the world, if, as a group,
they feel it's appropriate to go to war, then I would support it, yes,"
student Malcolm Wightman said.

by Sherna Noah
The Scotsman, 17th January

Anti-war protesters gathered on the 12th anniversary of the 1991 Gulf War
tonight to call for Britain and America to hold back from another attack on

The public meeting, held in central London, was organised by the direct
action group which campaigns to end sanctions against Iraq, Voices in the
Wilderness UK.

Goods illegally exported out of Iraq  such as dates, postcards, wallets and
clothes  were also being auctioned at the meeting to highlight the
"disastrous results sanctions have had in Iraq."

The meeting was attended by around 100 demonstrators and addressed by
Iraqi-born Haifa Zangana, of the group Act Together, Women Against Sanctions
on Iraq.

She said: "Iraqi people are torn between hatred of their regime and hatred
of the British and American governments.

"Democracy is freedom and choice. I can't understand how democracy can be
forced on people through war."

She said Iraqis had been living under the threat of another war for the last
12 years.

"War is going to be a big, big mistake on many levels. You start a war and
you don't know where it's going to lead.

"American soldiers are carrying the most developed weapons in the world but
they still look frightened.

"The majority of British people are against the war so the question is how
do we stop it?" she said.

Tomorrow Voices in the Wilderness is planning to protest outside the
Permanent Joint Headquarters of the British Armed Forces to voice their
opposition to war.

The group's joint co-ordinator Gabriel Carlyle said: "The bottom line is
that war on Iraq is illegal, immoral and counter productive.

"It is illegal because under current circumstances there is no UN mandate
for war.

"It is immoral because hundreds and thousands of innocent people will die
and it is not about human rights and democracy but replacing Saddam Hussein
with a more US-friendly dictator.

"It is counter productive because it's only going to make the problems of
terrorism worse."

by Calvin Woodward
Las Vegas Sun, 19th January

WASHINGTON (AP): Tens of thousands rallied in the capital Saturday in an
emphatic dissent against preparations for war in Iraq, voicing a cry - "No
blood for oil" - heard in demonstrations around the world.

A rally in the shadows of Washington's political and military institutions
anchored dozens of smaller protests throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East
and the United States. In Washington, police said 30,000 marched through the
streets, part of a much larger crowd that packed the east end of the
National Mall and spilled onto the Capitol grounds.

"We stand here today, a new generation of anti-war activists," Peta Lindsay
from International Answer, the main organizers, exhorted the spirited masses
in a biting cold. "This is just beginning. We will stop this war."

Police reported few arrests in the rally, which preceded the march past
Marine barracks to the Washington Navy Yard.

"We don't want this war and we don't want a government that wants this war,"
said Brenda Stokely, a New York City labor activist. A sign branded America,
not Iraq, a "Rogue Nation." Another said, "Disarm Bush."

Activists invoked the nonviolent legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on the
long weekend that marks the civil rights leader's birthday, and booed
President Bush, who was at Camp David, Md.

King's historic "I have a dream" speech rang out from the opposite end of
the mall, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, before a crowd of more than 200,000
in 1963.

"Mr. Bush hung Dr. King's picture up in the White House last year but he
need to hang up Dr. King's words," the Rev. Al Sharpton, a Democratic
presidential candidate, told the demonstration.

Added civil rights activist Jesse Jackson: "We march today to fight
militarism, and racism, and sexism, and anti-Semitism, and Arab-bashing."

Terrence Gainer, chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, said "about 30,000 people
moved out on the march route," a two-mile trek from the huge rally.

Bush believes that protesting "is a time-honored part of American tradition
and it's a strength of our democracy," White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo

Demonstrators hoped the protests and more ahead would win over an American
public unsettled by the prospect of an Iraq war yet supportive of Bush's
leadership. Some dared hope their activism would give his administration

"Our voices ought to matter." said Joyce Townsend, 69, who came from Detroit
on a bus with members of her church.

As with any big Washington rally, the main cause made room for other causes.

"Free Palestine" was one of them. Racism and genocide were others.

"The underlying motives for this government's actions have always been greed
and racism," said Moonanum James of United American Indians of New England.

"In the spirit of Dr. King, in the spirit of Crazy Horse," he said, "no
blood for oil."

In Portland, Ore., police said at least 20,000 people marched through
downtown. The eclectic crowd included elderly women in wheelchairs, families
with small children, couples with dogs and hooded protesters dressed in

Tens of thousands also demonstrated in San Francisco - a diverse collection
of teenagers, retirees, seasoned activists and first-time protesters. Aris
Cisneros, 38, brought his two young children.

"I want Bush to see that his people are against the war," he said. "I want
to show my children that they can stand up to stupidity."

In Lansing, Mich., several hundred people met at a church before marching 20
blocks to the state Capitol. "It's just great enthusiasm here, and a great
spirit of peacemaking," said the Rev. Fred Thelen from Cristo Rey Catholic

In Des Moines, Iowa, about 125 protesters marched two miles in a bitter wind
that made temperatures feel below zero. "Standing out in this kind of
temperature is nothing compared to innocent people losing their lives in
Iraq," said marcher Eric Kimmer, 32, a credit union worker.

About 400 people, many of them elderly, gathered in downtown Venice, Fla.,
to listen to anti-war speeches. "America cannot unsheathe the sword, and
tell the rest of the world to brandish plowshares," said Methodist minister
Charles McKenzie.

Demonstrators staged peace rallies worldwide, events that typically drew
hundreds or fewer.

But 5,000 people marched through downtown Tokyo, carrying toy guns filled
with flowers and wearing face masks that parodied Bush.

Larry Holmes, speaking for organizers of the Washington rally, said
protesters everywhere sense war is close.

"It seems like it has a momentum and a sense of inevitability, and so we're
rushing against the clock," he said. "So as they send the troops there and
surround Iraq, we're sending the troops into the streets of Washington,
D.C., so to speak."

Three dozen people stood by the Vietnam War Memorial to show support for
Bush's policy and offer a contrary voice to the blitz of demonstrations.

"The protesters don't understand the threat" of Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein, said Scott Johnson, 55, a Navy veteran from Minneapolis. "It's a
war of liberation for people."

Overseas, 60 protesters in Hong Kong shouted, "War, no," and in Pakistan,
the familiar refrain "No blood for oil" was heard - accusing America of
wanting to attack Iraq only to control its oil wealth.

Police in the Netherlands detained 90 activists who tried to enter Volkel
Air Force Base, where Dutch and U.S. forces are stationed, to conduct a
"citizens' inspection of American nuclear arms."

More than 400 New Zealanders demonstrated in Christchurch. In Moscow, a few
hundred people agitated outside the U.S. Embassy. Thousands of Canadian
activists made their voices heard in Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax, Nova

Bush says Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and no qualms about using
them on the United States, if he could. U.N. inspectors are in Iraq trying
to find them.

by Donna St. George and Manny Fernandez
Washington Post, 21st January

The Washington region celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday with
frequent reminders that the slain civil rights leader was dedicated to a
nation of not only equality but peace.

After a weekend marked by the fiery protest of antiwar demonstrations,
King's legacy was honored with service projects to help the needy, rallies
to rouse activists and religious programs to inspire the faithful. But much
of the time, King's words were recalled, and his life recounted, against the
backdrop of a possible war in Iraq and President Bush's recent stand against
affirmative action.

"I cannot recall a King holiday that loomed larger than this one, in terms
of the state of the world and the state of the nation today," said Damu
Smith, founder of Black Voices for Peace, which hosted a teach-in at
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington and
helped coordinate similar events across the country.

By late yesterday, a standing-room-only crowd packed the church for the
National Rally for Peace With Justice, a call by Black Voices for Peace to
unite the African American community against a U.S. military strike in Iraq.
So many pews inside the red-brick church were filled that latecomers had to
watch the speeches on TV monitors.

The group's rally was part peace demonstration, with spirited antiwar
speeches from consumer advocate Ralph Nader and others, and part church
service, with hand-clapping performances by the Plymouth Congregational
Church Senior Choir. Many in attendance said they had participated in this
weekend's antiwar demonstrations and saw yesterday's event as a way to
connect the King holiday with the pro-peace cause.

"The last part of King's life, he was speaking in direct opposition of this
country's involvement in Vietnam," said Kamau Johnson, 40, a psychologist
from Takoma Park who said he was "concerned that the country doesn't rush to
war and exhaust all peaceful means."

Earlier in the day, Bush paid tribute to the civil rights leader at services
in Prince George's County, sitting with his wife, Laura, in the front row of
First Baptist Church of Glenarden as grainy images of King filled large
screens in the sanctuary. Nearly 1,500 people were gathered in the vast

The holiday had many hoping that King's message would spread -- among both
local and national leaders.

Angela Hyatt braved the chilly 39-degree weather to stand with her daughter,
Trina, 3, along the route of the District's Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Parade. They were among hundreds gathered on a main thoroughfare in
Southeast Washington bearing King's name.

"If [local politicians] would come here more, then they will see this area
has needs," said Hyatt, 42, a housekeeper. "This area needs to be redone. We
need activities for the kids. We need a mall. We have to go out to Maryland
to shop."

As for war in Iraq, Hyatt said: "King wouldn't favor war. He wanted peace
and harmony for all of us."

D.C. Council member Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8), the parade sponsor, said one
goal she had for the event was to inspire action. "We need to write, march
and go back to some of the ways Dr. King did with nonviolence and protest,"
she said. " . . . If Dr. King were alive today, he'd be out protesting this
war because he was a peaceful man."

At Washington National Cathedral, the 90-minute King Day service was as much
an antiwar event as a religious observance. The audience of several thousand
broke into applause when the Rev. Jim Wallis, executive director and editor
of Sojourners magazine, called on Bush to create a "faith-based initiative"
to end the threat of war.

At the service, ministers representing several denominations took turns
reading from King's final sermon at the cathedral, shortly before he was
killed April 4, 1968.

The Rev. Alvin Jackson of the Disciples of Christ recited King's words:
"Anyone who feels . . . that war can solve the social problems facing
mankind is sleeping through a revolution."

After the service, some in the audience joined with leaders from about 20
churches in a candlelight march from the cathedral to the White House,
pausing for prayers at Vice President Cheney's home, the British Embassy and
the Islamic Center.

Elsewhere in the region, people such as Walter McGill honored King's memory
with public service. For the past 15 years, McGill has helped bring meals
and donated clothes to the homeless, as part of a committee called We Feed
Our People, which he helped found in King's memory.

Yesterday, the group served an estimated 400 people in front of the King
library in downtown Washington. McGill remembered the effort's beginnings,
when "a lot of shelters were closed on weekends and holidays. It was also
the first time that we'd had King Day as a paid holiday, so we wanted to be
able to take the money that we made and share it with the homeless."

What started out with three friends turned into an effort staffed by more
than 100 volunteers. As the temperatures dropped yesterday, men, women and
children lined up for gloves, thermal underwear and plates of fried fish.

"This has been a humbling experience," said Francisco Ortiz, who handed out
men's clothing. "A man came up to me and said how happy he was that we were
out here helping. It really touched my heart."

Army Maj. Aaron Combs, 41, said the work he has done every King holiday for
the past eight years has been so meaningful that he persuaded members of his
fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to donate money and other items to the group. "As
black people, we need to be here face to face with them. . . . It's us
taking care of us."

The African American community turned out in some of its largest numbers at
Plymouth Congregational, where an estimated 2,000 showed up. The sanctuary
was decorated in bold, colorful African kinte cloths, and a large photo was
displayed of a young child in Baghdad.

Here, the strain between the Bush presidency and the African American
community was unmistakable.

Smith, the leader of Black Voices for Peace, contended that the Bush
administration "is using its power to block affirmative action, to wage war
abroad and to deepen cuts in domestic spending" to the detriment of the
black community.

"They say that black people are not concerned about this war, but look at
y'all today," he said to the predominantly African American audience near
the start of the rally. "Give yourselves a round of applause."

Charles McGee, 66, an activist from San Jose who was in Washington for the
weekend's antiwar activities, said that if the United States invades Iraq,
large numbers of black soldiers will be on the front lines. "When it's all
said and done, the overwhelming number of people who will fill those body
bags will be us," he said.

James Hines, 57, of Columbia, who began volunteering four months ago with
Black Voices for Peace, said: "The dream is not fulfilled. . . . There's a
lot of work to be done. I think we've taken a shift in the wrong direction.
I personally don't understand why we need to invade Iraq right now."

Staff writers Hamil R. Harris, Linda Wheeler, Miya Wiseman, Yolanda Woodlee
contributed to this report.

Boston Herald, from Associated Press, 20th January

WASHINGTON - Sitting on a frigid street in view of the White House and
surrounded by chanting anti-war demonstrators, Sister Carole Bialock ate a
cookie and smiled.

"It is a privilege to protest," she said. The 73-year-old Roman Catholic nun
from Houston was in Washington for the weekend of demonstrations against a
possible war with Iraq.

"Anger has brought me here and sadness that our government has sunk so low
and is becoming an empire that is really devastating the world," she said.
"I strongly believe in nonviolent protest in the spirit of Gandhi and Martin
Luther King."

Many of the approximately 1,000 protesters who rallied Sunday near the White
House invoked King's legacy on a weekend of remembrance for the slain civil
rights leader.

Heather Williams, 30, of Alexandria, Va., held a sign that said: "We still
have a dream."

"We don't believe in war," she said. "We don't believe in death and

The demonstration capped a weekend that featured a huge and peaceful rally
Saturday and protests around the country and the world.

Although President Bush was at Camp David, Md., for the weekend, protesters
pressed as close to the White House grounds as they could on Sunday to
demand that he back off Iraq. Police swiftly arrested 16 who breached

Police forced them face down on snowy grass and bound their wrists with
plastic handcuffs. They were processed on misdemeanor charges and released.

At one point Sunday, protesters flooded into a street to block traffic;
police pushed and dragged them back. In the scuffle, an older woman who was
part of the demonstration was pushed over. Ambulance officials said she was
one of two people sent to hospitals with minor injuries. The hospital
treating the woman said it did not have her permission to release

Close to 500 protesters assembled first near the Justice Department and FBI
headquarters to denounce what they called "racist witch hunts" by U.S.
authorities following the Sept. 11 attacks.

During a mile-long march in the cold, that crowd met another of a similar
size, waiting by Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White

That set off a surge of enthusiasm and some began running toward, and over,
chest-high barricades blocking the park boundaries, triggering the arrests.

The mood, however, was largely festive with demonstrators banging drums and
singing "Give Peace a Chance." Scores formed a conga line for a street

Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, welcomed the protests as
an expression of American freedoms.

"It contrasts so greatly with the situation that people in Iraq find
themselves in, where your tongue can be ripped out for criticizing the
regime," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

On Saturday, a great throng stretched from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol
and along the National Mall back to the Smithsonian Institution for a rally
in bitter cold. U.S. Park Police no longer gives estimates of rally

In the past, crowds taking up similar space were thought to be 70,000 strong
or higher, but any parallels with other events were highly inexact. A much
smaller group from the rally, but still numbering over 30,000 by police
estimates, marched to the Washington Navy Yard.

Rally speakers offered varying estimates of the crowd size, with one telling
the crowd that 500,000 had come, but even some supporters of the event
thought that was wildly exaggerated.

by Andrew Cawthorne
Reuters, 21st January

LONDON: A first wave of mainly Western volunteers will leave London this
weekend on a convoy bound for Iraq to act as "human shields" at key sites
and populous areas in case of a U.S.-led war on Baghdad.

"The potential for white Western body parts flying around with the Iraqi
ones should make them think again about this imperialist oil war," organizer
Ken Nichols, a former U.S. marine in the 1991 Gulf War, told Reuters.

His "We the People" organization will be sending off a first group of 50
human shields from the London mayor's City Hall building Saturday, part of a
series of departures organizers say will involve hundreds, possibly
thousands, of volunteers.

Nichols' planned human shield convoys are one of several such efforts around
the world to mobilize activists in Iraq as a deterrent against military
strikes on Baghdad.

In Bucharest, more than 100 Romanian diehard communists said Tuesday they
would travel by bus to Iraq to act as human shields in case of a U.S.

Members of the tiny Romanian Workers Party, which took the mantle of ousted
dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's defunct Communist party in 1995, said they
would set off next month to support "the cause of the people."

The new human shield plans revive memories of the 1991 Gulf War when
President Saddam Hussein forcibly held thousands of Western hostages after
his invasion of Kuwait.

Many were put near sensitive sites in a bid to stop attacks that proved
futile, although there are not thought to have been any casualties among the
Western hostages.

Baghdad also used Iraqis, alongside some foreign volunteers, as shields in
1998 against U.S. British bombing.

Nichols' groups intend to drive through Europe and the Middle East en route
to Iraq. The first will travel in a pair of double-decker buses, led by a
car with a white peace flag on it.

"We are on the verge of something big," said volunteer Christiaan Briggs,
26, from New Zealand. He argued that the stream of human shield volunteers
was symptomatic of radicalizing anti-war opinion around the world.

"People know this is wrong. It is just so blatantly transparent how the U.S.
is trying to impose its hegemony."

"We the People" organizers said the self-financing human shield volunteers
had come forward from a range of Western nations including the United
States, Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain
and Denmark.

There were also some volunteers from Muslim nation Turkey.

The major rallying point for Muslims, however, is in Iraq's neighbor Jordan.
There, a campaign led by leftist parties and civic bodies is seeking 100,000
shield volunteers.

Baghdad has welcomed the plans, but volunteers smart at suggestions that
they are handing a propaganda gift to Saddam.

Washington and London are sending troops to the Gulf and threatening
military action against Saddam unless he admits to possessing weapons of
mass destruction and disarms.

"It's laughable to say that we are working for Saddam when it was the UK and
the U.S. who gave him his biological and other weapons in the first place,"
Nichols said.

"The hypocrisy is mind-blowing. The biggest threat to world security at this
moment is (U.S. President) George W. Bush."

Nichols said his involvement in the human shield program was in part
"penance" for his participation in the Gulf War when a U.S.-led force drove
Saddam's troops out of Kuwait.

But those forcibly used as human shields by Saddam in the past are stunned
others are volunteering to do it.

"Putting yourself in danger is not going to help at all," said John Nicol, a
British air force flyer shot down in 1991 and later paraded on Iraqi
television. He was moved around by the Iraqis to various potential targets
and experienced allied bombing nearby.

"I doubt it would be a deterrent to any attack," Nicol, a journalist and
military analyst since leaving the air force, told Reuters. "I am shocked
that anyone would want to put themselves in such a situation."


Seattle Times, 15th January

In antiwar circles, Philip Gold was the man of the week: the military
analyst, formerly of the Washington Times, splitting with conservatives over
war with Iraq. This month, Gold severed formal ties with Seattle's Discovery
Institute, where he had been a senior fellow in national-security affairs.

His allies on the Internet hailed him. One Web site called him "The Heroic
Phil Gold."

He does not look the part. With his short stature, dark beard and soft
voice, Gold looks more like a university professor than a U. S. Marine.
Actually, he has been both, with no apologies. He is no pacifist.

Gold comes to his arguments loaded with historical facts. He asks: What was
the last time U.S. forces took a major city that was seriously defended?

Manila, in 1944.

When was the last time the United States lost a major Navy ship?

World War II, 1945. "No American under the age of 60 has a memory of losing
a warship," he says.

Gold has no doubt that America can beat Iraq. His question is whether it can
do so with the minimal loss of U.S. lives (the only lives we count) that
Americans have come to expect.

Maybe. In the Gulf War, he says, "We got awfully lucky."

What if an American unit got cut off without air cover? U.S. forces are
technically sharp  but are they tough?

Is the home front tough enough to accept casualties? Gold recalls Beirut and
Mogadishu, and says, "Since Vietnam, whenever we've been hit, we run."

His next question is about purpose. America's debates have been about what
kind of world we want. "What matters is us," he says.

Call it the narcissism of the mighty. "We believe that deep down, the whole
world wants to be like us," says Gold. "We exaggerate our power to alter
hearts and minds."

The neoconservatives offer the most grandiose purposes for an Iraq war: a
crusade for democracy by a Christian power in the heart of Islam. Well,
imagine a democracy in Iraq. At the minimum, there would be a Shia Muslim
party and a Sunni Muslim party defined by religion, and a Kurd party defined
by ethnicity. None would be inclined to accept any of the other's
administrators, judges or legislators. The Kurds are armed, and if Saddam
Hussein's army melts away, all the factions will have guns.

We Americans are for free speech. We let American Nazis march through
Skokie, Ill. Imagine a Shia march through a Kurd village. Add guns.

Here is the difference: What happened in Skokie was symbolism. It was talk.
Nothing was going to come of it, because the question of ethnic and
religious persecution in the United States has been settled.

In Iraq, nothing is settled.

The modern-day imperialists who envision a MacArthur regency in Baghdad
think of how easy it was to steer the destinies of Germany and Japan. But
Germany and Japan were prostrate, hammered into pacifism.

A better parallel for Iraq, Gold says, is Weimar Germany after World War I.
The Germans of 1919 were bitter at the government that "betrayed" them,
suspicious of the nations that conquered them and seething with revanchism
and class war.

The victors of World War I insisted on reparations from Germany's most
valuable economic asset, its manufacturing plant. The effort backfired. The
French occupied the Ruhr in 1922 to collect the money, and were frustrated
by disobedience. It may be easier to pump Iraq's petroleum and commandeer
it, but the political price would be huge.

"Anything that smells like taking Iraqi oil to pay for the war will
backfire," says Gold.

Even if we don't steal their oil, our military occupation will be hated.
Iraq is not a country to be won over with candy bars and baseball. We will
not be there, as in South Korea or West Germany, to protect Iraqis from
foreign enemies.

The Iraqis are going to want us out  and a lot sooner than we will be
planning to get out.

War is being seen by some Americans as the solution to the problem of Saddam
Hussein. It may mean the end of him, but it is not an ending in any other
sense. It is a beginning  and of something, Gold reminds us, that we have
not thought much about.

by Andrew Buncombe in Washington
The Independent, 16th January

American and British forces sent to Iraq may have to fight units of child
soldiers trained to mount ambushes, sniper attacks and road blocks,
according to US military analysts.

The Pentagon has no official plans on how to deal with child soldiers 
leaving its troops vulnerable to deadly attacks from seemingly harmless
children as well as the psychological trauma of having to kill children.
Experts say the Pentagon's public relations operation is also not prepared
to deal with having such images broadcast in the Arab world.

Experts have said the Iraqi regime has been intensely training children aged
10 to 15. The training camps for these units, known as Ashbal Saddam or
Saddam Lion Cubs, involve up to 14 hours a day of weapons drill and
political indoctrination.

In a recent briefing document, Peter Singer, an analyst with the Brookings
Institution think tank, said there were up to 8,000 such child soldiers in
Baghdad alone. He said that as with the Hitler Youth, which fought in the
battle for Berlin, the Iraqi child soldiers could "operate with unexpected
and terrifying audacity".

He added: "If the record of other child-soldier conflicts holds true, Iraqi
child soldiers may become the most problematic in the closing stages of the
war or even when the war is seemingly over. [They] will also present a
considerable challenge for US public diplomacy, especially in the Arab world
where images of coalition forces fighting Iraqi children could have profound

Experts say troops who encounter child soldiers are usually unwilling to
return fire and suffer severe trauma if they have to shoot. In September
2000, British soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment were taken hostage in
Sierra Leone by child soldiers, largely because the commanding officer was
not prepared to "fire on children armed with AK-47s".

Rachel Stohl, an analyst with the Centre for Defence Information, said the
first American casualty in Afghanistan was shot by a 14-year-old.
"Ultimately, they have to be treated as soldiers," she said.

Despite such warnings, the Pentagon says it has provided no special training
to its troops on how to deal with child soldiers. Lieutenant-Colonel Martin
Compton, a spokesman for US Central Command, said: "I am sure if we
encounter them we will deal with them. But there is no special planning I am
aware of."

Analysts say the only element of the American armed forces that has studied
fighting child soldiers is the Marine Corps. A retired army colonel, Charles
Borchini, now attached to the corps's Centre for Emerging Threats and
Opportunities, said troops had to be ready to encounter child soldiers "in

He said training should lay out the rules of engagement, look at ways of
countering child soldiers and prepare to deal with the trauma suffered by
soldiers who have to kill children.

"Child soldiers are a problem all over the world but it is something we in
the West are not accustomed to," he said. "We raise our own children and
bring them up and having to fight children is not something we are ready

Major Jim Gray, a Royal Marine who served in Sierra Leone on attachment with
the UN, told a seminar organised by Col Borchini: "You combine the fact that
[the child soldiers] are on drugs, you give them a weapon, and they behave
as if they were on a playground, and it is terrifying."

Tehran Times, 16th January

To counter a possible U.S. attack, Iraq has mined its border with Jordan, a
Kuwaiti daily reported yesterday. Iraq has also mined its oil wells so that
it can destroy the wells if Americans enter such areas.

Some military analysts believe that one major route any attaching U.S.
forces will choose will involve the Iraq-Jordan border.

Gulf News, from Reuters, 16th January

The United States yesterday warned Iraq against using civilians as human
shields to try to ward off air strikes during any war.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff,
said that "Iraq announced in late December that it will recruit and receive
volunteers from Arab and Western countries to serve as human shields who
would be deployed to protect sensitive sites."

"This is a deliberate recruitment of innocent civilians for the purpose of
putting them in harm's way should a conflict occur," Myers said at a
Pentagon briefing.

"I'd like to note that it is illegal under the International Law of Armed
Conflict to use noncombatants as a means of shielding potential targets, and
Iraqi action to do so would not only violate this law, but be considered a
war crime in any conflict."

by Michael O'Hanlon
Financial Times, 19th January

Unless there is a last-minute change in circumstances, the US and its
coalition partners will soon need to go to war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi leader is well on the way to having sacrificed his last clear
chance to disarm himself. It was not just the current George W. Bush
administration but also the US Congress and the international community that
demanded he do so last autumn. Those demands were codified in numerous
United Nations Security Council resolutions, not just resolution 1441 in
November but in a decade of similar resolutions.

Some will say that deterrence can contain Mr Hussein even if he retains his
weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps. But there is a case against relying on
deterrence - Mr Hussein's attempted assassination of former US president
George Bush in 1993, his threats against Kuwait in 1994, his attacks on
Kurds in 1996, and most of all the uncertainty about what he would do if he
ever obtained a nuclear weapon. Moreover, whatever the case for containment,
the international community decided last autumn that containment 1990s-style
was insufficient and that a tougher strategy was needed. That debate is over
and the credibility of the entire UN system is also on the line. At this
point, Mr Hussein simply cannot be let off the hook.

Some will argue that inspections are working. But disarmament is the goal,
and it is not happening. Iraq has failed to account for large quantities of
precursor chemicals, biological growth media and other dangerous
technologies that we know it imported or produced at one time. This is not a
US conclusion; it is a UN conclusion based on inspections in the 1990s as
well as Iraq's seriously incomplete weapons declaration of last December 7.
The US has done a poor job of reminding the international community about
what we know, and how we know it, and must radically improve its diplomacy
to develop a strong coalition for war in the coming weeks.

For as long as inspections continue, they may prevent Mr Hussein from
developing nuclear weapons. Even a "basement bomb" programme - with
technologies such as large magnets or centrifuge complexes needed to enrich
uranium - is expensive, elaborate and hard to build or operate in secret.

But if we allow Mr Hussein to get away with the blatant dishonesty of his
December 7 declaration, he will surely grow bolder and thwart inspectors -
or simply kick them out of Iraq. At that point he will again be free to
pursue a nuclear programme. Even if Iraq does not produce a bomb in Mr
Hussein's lifetime, his sons Uday or Qusay might receive a nuclear
inheritance. With nuclear weapons, Iraq might again grow aggressive against
its minorities and its neighbours, convinced the world could not retaliate.

What about the preference of Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, and the UN's
Hans Blix to wait a little longer for inspectors to check more sites in
Iraq? If we really have intelligence that has a good chance of producing a
smoking gun - something more substantial than the dozen artillery shells
discovered recently - waiting does make sense. Yet if inspections continue
into March, for example, coalition troops could have to fight in chemical
gear during Iraq's hot summer months.

So why not wait until next winter? One reason is that it would force the US
to recall a large proportion of the troops it has sent to the Gulf and then
redeploy them later. Deployment arithmetic and troop rotation policies
cannot be allowed to determine national security decisions of fundamental
importance. But there are stronger reasons not to wait.

It is doubtful that inspectors will find any smoking gun even by next year.
That is especially true if Iraqi weapons scientists, surely coached and
coerced by Mr Hussein, continue not to allow themselves to be interviewed
outside Iraq. It is also doubtful that the international community will
strengthen its resolve to deal with Mr Hussein by waiting; more probably a
number of faint-hearted governments will have time to walk away.

Waiting would give western countries and Israel more time to improve
security measures against Iraqi reprisal attacks - but it would also give
Iraq more time to prepare plans for striking at the US or Europe.

For those who still wish to avoid war, including myself, the only remaining
hope is to make such a strong statement of the international community's
readiness to disarm Iraq forcefully that Mr Hussein changes course and comes
clean. But if that does not work, we need to have the courage of our
convictions and get the military job done soon.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC

by Robert Fisk
The Independent, 21st January

It looks like a rerun of the 1991 Gulf War. Already American journalists are
fighting like tigers to join "the pool", to be "embedded" in the US military
so that they can see the war at first hand  and, of course, be censored.
Eleven years ago, they turned up at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, already kitted
out with helmets, gas capes, chocolate rations and eyes that narrowed when
they looked into the sun, just like General Montgomery. Half the reporters
wanted to wear military costume and one young television man from the
American mid-west turned up, I recall well, with a pair of camouflaged
boots. Each boot was camouflaged with painted leaves. Those of us who had
been in a desert -- even those who had only seen a picture of a desert  did
wonder what this meant.

Well, of course, it symbolised fantasy, the very quality upon which most
viewers now rely when watching "live" war  or watching death "live" on TV.

Thus, over the past four weeks, the massed ranks of American television
networks have been pouring into Kuwait to cosy up to the US military, to
seek those coveted "pool" positions, to try on their army or marine costumes
and make sure that  if or when the day comes  they will have the kind of
coverage that every reporter and every general wants: a few facts, good
pictures and nothing dirty to make the viewers throw up on the breakfast
table. I remember how, back in 1991, only those Iraqi soldiers obliging
enough to die in romantic poses  arm thrown back to conceal the decomposing
features or face down and anonymous in the sand  made it on to live-time.
Those soldiers turned into a crematorium nightmare or whose corpses were
being torn to pieces by wild dogs  I actually saw an ITV crew film this
horrific scene  were not honoured on screen. ITV's film, of course,
couldn't be shown  lest it persuade the entire world that no one should go
to war, ever, again.

The Americans are actually using the word "embedded". Reporters must be
"embedded' in military units. The fears of Central Command at Tampa,
Florida, are that Saddam will commit some atrocity  a gas attack on
Shiites, an air bombardment of Iraqi civilians  and then blame it on the
Americans. Journalists in the "pool" can thus be rushed to the scene to
prove that the killings were the dastardly work of the Beast of Baghdad
rather than the "collateral damage"  the Distinguished Medal for
Gutlessness should be awarded to all journalists who even mention this
phrase  of the fine young men who are trying to destroy the triple pillar
of the "axis of evil".

Already, the "buddy-buddy" relationship  that's actually what the Ministry
of Defence boys called it 11 years ago -- has started. US troops in Kuwait
are offering courses in chemical and biological warfare for reporters who
might be accompanying soldiers to "the front", along with "training" on the
need to protect security during military operations. CNN is, of course,
enthusiastically backing these seemingly innocuous courses  forgetting how
they allowed Pentagon "trainees" to sit in their newsroom during the 1991
Gulf War.

So here's a thumbnail list of how to watch out for mendacity and propaganda
on your screen once Gulf War Two (or Three if you include the 1980-88
Iran-Iraq conflict) begins. You should suspect the following:

Reporters who wear items of American or British military costume  helmets,
camouflage jackets, weapons, etc.

Reporters who say "we" when they are referring to the US or British military
unit in which they are "embedded".

Those who use the words "collateral damage" instead of "dead civilians".

Those who commence answering questions with the words: "Well, of course,
because of military security I can't divulge..." Those who, reporting from
the Iraqi side, insist on referring to the Iraqi population as "his" (ie
Saddam's) people.

Journalists in Baghdad who refer to "what the Americans describe as Saddam
Hussein's human rights abuses"  rather than the plain and simple torture we
all know Saddam practices.

Journalists reporting from either side who use the god-awful and creepy
phrase "officials say" without naming, quite specifically, who these often
lying "officials" are.

Stay tuned.

by David Brown
San Francisco Chronicle. from Washington Post, 22nd January

As it lays the groundwork for another war with Iraq, the U.S military is
engaged in a major effort to prevent the reappearance of Gulf War syndrome.

Over the decade that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict, the chronic
illnesses that tens of thousands of veterans described ultimately marred the
U. S. victory. The agonizing investigation of what came to be known as Gulf
War syndrome eroded trust in the military, cost hundreds of millions of
dollars and consumed thousands of years of human labor.

As U.S. troops prepare to face the same enemy in the same place, military
planners hope that this time they can keep the perplexing phenomenon at bay.
Their weapons include health questionnaires, epidemiological studies, a
powerful computer system, soil-sampling kits, a new generation of detectors
for nerve gas and biological threats, and millions of tubes of human serum
stored at 25 degrees below zero.

"Is a replay a concern? The answer is definitely yes," said Col. Robert
DeFraites, an Army epidemiologist who investigated the first vague physical
complaints that Gulf War veterans reported 10 years ago this spring. "I
think we feel it could come back again."

It is not too much to say that the experience of Gulf War syndrome in a
small way is remaking the art of modern warfare. The damage and confusion it
wreaked has created a new world of things for commanders to worry about. No
longer is it enough to bring well trained fighters to a place where they can
engage the enemy.

Now, the military is determined to document each soldier's sense of his own
health, counsel him on what to fear beyond bullets and bombs, and test the
air he breathes and the soil below his billet.

"Our focus used to be only on winning the battle, and that still is the
focus," said Lt. Col. Karl Friedl, director of operational medical research
for the Army. "But now there's this greatly increased attention on post-
deployment health. We didn't use to think about that."

The sheer number of people complaining of illness after the Gulf War helped
change that view. Perhaps as many as 160,000 of the nearly 700,000 men and
women who served in Operation Desert Storm may have suffered lingering
physical symptoms in its aftermath. Over a decade, the government funded 224
research projects, costing $213 million, to try to uncover the cause, extent
and best treatment for the illness.

The investigation has taken so long partly because so many questions raised
by veterans could not be answered. The military's inability to give clear
answers fueled the belief that horrible events may have occurred during the
war, and might have been averted.

In the end, however, military health officials and most civilian researchers
who studied the subject do not believe anything unusual or undiscovered
occurred in the Gulf War to cause chronic illness. This time, the military
is determined to begin and conclude the conflict with much better

The preventive medicine machine that will roll into battle with U.S.
soldiers if war erupts serves two purposes. The first is to monitor and
mitigate actual threats to health. The second is to collect data that will
allow everyone from the secretary of defense to doctors to better answer the
questions from veterans after this or other deployments.

Perhaps the most widespread belief among those with Gulf War syndrome is
that they encountered toxic substances during the conflict that later made
them ill. While most scenarios were implausible, this did not keep the
military from coming under withering criticism by Congress, panels of
experts and the media for not knowing enough about the battlefield
environment, and who was in it.

Today, about 500 active-duty soldiers are trained to routinely monitor air,
water and soil wherever troops go. This new focus on environmental hazards
began right after the Gulf War. When U.S. peacekeeping troops went to
Bosnia, 2,500 samples were processed, and in Kosovo, 1,500. More than 1,000
have been taken so far in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

A profile of environmental hazards has been added to this information,
gleaned from decades of surveillance photography and other intelligence, for
many parts of the world where U.S. troops might be sent. This information,
along with the lab test results, routinely goes to commanders for use in
planning missions.

The surveillance technologies that have undergone the biggest change are
chemical and biological weapon detectors.

The military's main chemical sensor during the Gulf War, the M8A1, gave
frequent false alarms, which frayed nerves and forced soldiers repeatedly to
don protective suits. It has been replaced by devices that are much better
at distinguishing threats such as nerve gas and mustard agents from
innumerable other contaminants in the air.

Among the four new chemical detection systems is one that can detect vapors
and aerosols at a distance.

Sampling for biological agents -- a much more difficult task -- was not done
routinely during the Gulf War. Now, there are five types of biodetectors in
use that can detect bacterial or viral threats such as anthrax, botulinum
toxin or plague.

"We have learned our lessons," Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Reeves, head of
chemical and biological defense, said last week. "We have applied the
lessons of Desert Storm."

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