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[casi] News, 15-19/03/03 (5)



News, 15-19/03/03 (5)

PREVARICATING TURKS

*  All signs point to Turkey entering the fray


LAMENTATIONS OF THE PROPHETS

*  The war of misinformation has begun
*  Is Tony Blair crazy, or just plain stupid?
*  200,000 protesters head for White House
*  The Idiot Prince Will Have His War
*  Into the Darkness


PREVARICATING TURKS

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/17_03_03_d.htm

*  All signs point to Turkey entering the fray
by Mohammad Noureddine
Lebanon Daily Star, 17th March

Under almost any other circumstances, the fresh election to Parliament of
Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan as MP for
the province of Siirt would have been seen as an extremely significant
event.

The relatively young (he is 49) Erdogan was - in the 1990s - the epitome of
the successful, clean-living and incorruptible public official when he was
mayor of Istanbul. Since he was deposed from office in 1998, Erdogan became
a symbol of oppression by the Turkish regime. He was jailed and banned from
public life.

Nevertheless, and with extraordinary determination, Erdogan led the new
party he had formed in August 2001 to power after last November's historic
general election.

Soon afterward, the new AKP-dominated Turkish Parliament abrogated all the
legal and constitutional measures that stood in the way of Erdogan's
assumption of a parliamentary seat.

As luck would have it, a by-election was called in Siirt, affording Erdogan
with a golden opportunity to run for Parliament for the first time ever.

There is no doubt that Erdogan's election was an extraordinary event both
for him personally and for Turkey generally. As s legislator and leader of
the ruling party, he can exercise his right to form a government.

Since the last election, he has been exercising the authorities that come
with the premiership without being constitutionally empowered to do so. That
is why almost everyone in Turkey wanted him to assume the premiership
officially, if only to do away with the "duality" that has characterized the
AKP government of Abdullah Gul. All decisions made by the Gul Cabinet had to
be approved by Erdogan, a situation that fostered mistrust in government
performance.

Erdogan's success in Siirt provided an opportunity to correct that
situation. By gaining a seat in Parliament, Erdogan, as leader of the ruling
party and prime minister, would be directly accountable before the Turkish
legislature, and would occupy a seat on the country's powerful National
Security Council.

Because of the close relationship between Gul and Erdogan, and thanks to the
competence demonstrated by the former during his tenure as premier, Erdogan
appointed Gul foreign minister and deputy premier - although there are
voices within the AKP who prefer that he take on the portfolios of finance
and the economy in order to oversee talks with the IMF, and supervise the
privatization program scheduled for later this year.

In the coming phase, Erdogan will try to assert more control on the
government and the AKP; the fact that 99 AKP lawmakers rebelled against him
by rejecting a government bill calling for stationing US forces on Turkish
soil and allowing Turkish forces to be deployed abroad would not have
escaped Erdogan. He will most likely take steps to keep his party's MPs on a
shorter leash from now on.

But Turkey's main preoccupation remains Iraq, despite the fact that it is
embarking on a new era domestically.

After the surprise and resounding rejection by Parliament of the government
bill authorizing the deployment of US forces, and the dispatch of Turkish
forces to northern Iraq, contacts accelerated considerably between Ankara
and Washington with both sides insisting that the vote would not damage
relations between the two allies.

Four days later, however, Turkey's powerful chief of staff, General Hilmi
Ozkok, detonated a bombshell by saying the Turkish Army must cross over into
northern Iraq to minimize the damage Turkey would sustain if war breaks out.
Turkey, Ozkok said, must not enter into a confrontation with the Americans.

Ozkok's position came as a great surprise. After all, the Turkish military
had indicated (before the government bill was presented to Parliament) that
the measure proposed by the government was inappropriate for Turkey's
interests. So what has changed in the meantime?

According to Turkish sources, a number of developments have taken place
since the parliamentary vote of March 1:

 Ankara has become convinced that the Iraqi Kurds - with American support -
are preparing to declare independence - or at least a federation - in
northern Iraq after the war is over. The fact Washington has not been
forthcoming on a number of issues Turkey sees as crucial (such as disarming
the Kurds) has increased Turkish concerns that the Kurds are being groomed
for a central role in the coming war - something Ankara is against.

 Washington's readiness to back the Kurds to the hilt if Turkey balks at
helping the American war effort. The Turks are suspicious that the Americans
were behind the large anti-Turkey demonstrations that took to the streets of
northern Iraq two days before Ozkok made his statement in order to force
them to change their minds.

 American threats that unless Turkey backs the US, then what the Turks fear
(i.e. the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq) will come to
pass.

US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman reiterated his country's
opposition to a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq.

These factors convinced the Turks they would be committing an error if they
chose to remain outside the Iraqi equation. The American threats, they
figured, were serious. Hence Ozkok's statement, and Erdogan's assertion that
Turkey will find itself in an extremely precarious position economically,
politically and militarily if it continued to refuse American requests for
help.

And sure enough, the Americans did not wait for a new resolution. Their
ships, already moored off the Turkish Mediterranean port of Iskenderun,
began to disgorge their cargoes of vehicles and soldiers who were soon on
their way to northern Iraq.

The question now is not how and when the government will present a new bill
to Parliament, but how it is going to convince MPs to back such a bill.
According to one Turkish minister, the mere act of presenting a new bill
will ensure Parliament's approval; otherwise the government would not take
such a step.

Speaker Bulent Arinc, one of the most vehement opponents of the first bill,
meanwhile described Ozkok's statement as "marvelous."

The generals have spoken, and a second bill will be presented to Parliament.

There is no doubt that Turkey will take part in the coming war on Iraq.


LAMENTATIONS OF THE PROPHETS

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=387592

*  THE WAR OF MISINFORMATION HAS BEGUN
by Robert Fisk
The Independent, 16th March

All across the Middle East, they are deploying by the thousand. In the
deserts of Kuwait, in Amman, in northern Iraq, in Turkey, in Israel and in
Baghdad itself. There must be 7,000 journalists and crews "in theatre", as
the more jingoistic of them like to say. In Qatar, a massive press centre
has been erected for journalists who will not see the war. How many times
General Tommy Franks will spin his story to the press at the nine o'clock
follies, no one knows. He doesn't even like talking to journalists.

But the journalistic resources being laid down in the region are enormous.
The BBC alone has 35 reporters in the Middle East, 17 of them "embedded" 
along with hundreds of reporters from the American networks and other
channels  in military units. Once the invasion starts, they will lose their
freedom to write what they want. There will be censorship. And, I'll hazard
a guess right now, we shall see many of the British and American journalists
back to their old trick of playing toy soldiers, dressing themselves up in
military costumes for their nightly theatrical performances on television.
Incredibly, several of the American networks have set up shop in the Kurdish
north of Iraq with orders not to file a single story until war begins  in
case this provokes the Iraqis to expel their network reporters from Baghdad.

The orchestration will be everything, the pictures often posed, the angles
chosen by "minders", much as the Iraqis will try to do the same thing in
Baghdad. Take yesterday's front-page pictures of massed British troops in
Kuwait, complete with arranged tanks and perfectly formatted helicopters.
This was the perfectly planned photo-op. Of course, it won't last.

Here's a few guesses about our coverage of the war to come. American and
British forces use thousands of depleted uranium (DU) shells  widely
regarded by 1991 veterans as the cause of Gulf War syndrome as well as
thousands of child cancers in present day Iraq  to batter their way across
the Kuwaiti-Iraqi frontier. Within hours, they will enter the city of Basra,
to be greeted by its Shia Muslim inhabitants as liberators. US and British
troops will be given roses and pelted with rice  a traditional Arab
greeting  as they drive "victoriously" through the streets. The first news
pictures of the war will warm the hearts of Messrs Bush and Blair. There
will be virtually no mention by reporters of the use of DU munitions.

But in Baghdad, reporters will be covering the bombing raids that are
killing civilians by the score and then by the hundred. These journalists,
as usual, will be accused of giving "comfort to the enemy while British
troops are fighting for their lives". By now, in Basra and other "liberated"
cities south of the capital, Iraqis are taking their fearful revenge on
Saddam Hussein's Baath party officials. Men are hanged from lamp-posts. Much
television footage of these scenes will have to be cut to sanitise the
extent of the violence.

Far better for the US and British governments will be the macabre discovery
of torture chambers and "rape-rooms" and prisoners with personal accounts of
the most terrible suffering at the hands of Saddam's secret police. This
will "prove" how right "we" are to liberate these poor people. Then the US
will have to find the "weapons of mass destruction" that supposedly provoked
this bloody war. In the journalistic hunt for these weapons, any old rocket
will do for the moment.

Bunkers allegedly containing chemical weapons will be cordoned off  too
dangerous for any journalist to approach, of course. Perhaps they actually
do contain VX or anthrax. But for the moment, the all-important thing for
Washington and London is to convince the world that the casus belli was true
 and reporters, in or out of military costume, will be on hand to say just
that.

Baghdad is surrounded and its defenders ordered to surrender. There will be
fighting between Shias and Sunnis around the slums of the city, the
beginning of a ferocious civil conflict for which the invading armies are
totally unprepared. US forces will sweep past Baghdad to his home city of
Tikrit in their hunt for Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair will appear on
television to speak of their great "victories". But as they are boasting,
the real story will begin to be told: the break-up of Iraqi society, the
return of thousands of Basra refugees from Iran, many of them with guns, all
refusing to live under western occupation.

In the north, Kurdish guerrillas will try to enter Kirkuk, where they will
kill or "ethnically cleanse" many of the city's Arab inhabitants. Across
Iraq, the invading armies will witness terrible scenes of revenge which can
no longer be kept off television screens. The collapse of the Iraqi nation
is now under way ...

Of course, the Americans and British just might get into Baghdad in three
days for their roses and rice water. That's what the British did in 1917.
And from there, it was all downhill.

Weasel words to watch for

'Inevitable revenge'  for the executions of Saddam's Baath party officials
which no one actually said were inevitable.

'Stubborn' or 'suicidal'  to be used when Iraqi forces fight rather than
retreat.

'Allegedly'  for all carnage caused by Western forces.

'At last, the damning evidence'  used when reporters enter old torture
chambers.

'Officials here are not giving us much access'  a clear sign that reporters
in Baghdad are confined to their hotels.

'Life goes on'  for any pictures of Iraq's poor making tea.

'Remnants'  allegedly 'diehard' Iraqi troops still shooting at the
Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement dedicated to
the 'liberation' of Iraq from its new western occupiers.

'Newly liberated'  for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans
or British.

'What went wrong?'  to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy
in Iraq as if it were not predicted.


http://www.canoe.ca/Columnists/margolis_mar16.html

*  IS TONY BLAIR CRAZY, OR JUST PLAIN STUPID?
by Eric Margolis
The Toronto Sun, 16th March

Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, proposed a "compromise" last week to
the deadlocked UN Security Council: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq should
go on TV and admit he had weapons of mass destruction and had committed
other transgressions.

Blair's offer, reeking of mock sincerity, was clearly crafted to dampen down
a storm of Labour party criticism over his sycophantic support of President
George Bush's impending crusade against the Saracens of Iraq. But it was an
offer Iraq was certain to reject, thus ending diplomacy and opening the way
to war.

Small wonder the French call Britain "perfidious Albion." Blair's demarche
was high hypocrisy, even by Downing Street's usual standard. Why doesn't the
insufferably sanctimonious Blair go on TV and explain why Britain still
retains nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in sizable quantities? Are
they to stop a cross-channel invasion by France or the Vikings?

Perhaps Blair could discuss Winston Churchill's plan to use poison gas
against any German landing in World War II. More to the point, Blair should
explain why Britain and the U.S. supplied Iraq with germ warfare agents and
many of its chemical arms during the 1980s (confirmed in U.S. Senate
hearings). Or why British government technicians, discovered by this writer
in Baghdad in 1990, were producing anthrax and Q-fever germ weapons for
Iraq?

Instead of harping on Iraq's brutality, Blair might discuss Britain's
savaging of Ireland, brutal colonial conquest of almost half the known
world, the addiction of millions of Chinese to British-grown opium, and
crimes in India, Africa and Burma. And admit that some of today's worst
political problems - Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, India vs. Pakistan - are due
to British imperialism.

Blair may well owe a political debt to the financiers and press barons who
launched his meteoric political career and badly want this war.

But plunging Britons into an unjust, unnecessary war to please these
neo-imperialists is intolerable.

The only other explanation - that Blair is doing all this out of conviction
- is even more frightening.

Bad enough born-again George Bush apparently believes he is commanded by God
to go to war.

That his chief advisers on the Mideast seem to want to recreate biblical
Israel.

That many of Bush's core fundamentalist supporters believe this war will
hasten the conversion of Jews to Christianity and bring the world's end
through Armageddon.

Blair is too intelligent to swallow such claptrap.

Every Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction site" claimed by British and U.S.
intelligence has thus far turned out, when inspected by the UN, to be clean.

If Blair still believes these clearly debunked claims, he needs help. The
CIA and MI-6 still claim they know Iraq is still hiding stores of nerve gas.
So then, why not give the locations to UN inspectors?

Iraq's feeble, 150-km range al-Samoud missiles might have exceeded their
permitted range by an inconsequential 10-15 km. Big deal. They are being
destroyed. Worry instead about North Korea's new Taepodong-II missile, which
the CIA says can deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States.

Unbelievably, Iraq-obsessed Bush dismisses menacing North Korea as only a
"regional problem."

Saddam's notorious "Winnebagos of death" - germ-making trucks - turned out,
on inspection, to be mobile food testing labs. Last week's U.S. and
British-promoted canard, Iraq's "drones of death," were three rickety model
airplanes unworthy of World War I, rather than dispensers of germs, as the
Pentagon claimed. Only one had managed to fly - all of two miles.

Iraq's only true potential weapon of mass destruction, VX nerve gas, remains
an open question. But Iraq lacks any offensive capability to deliver VX.

Its sole use is as a defensive battlefield weapon, CIA Director George Tenet
noted.

Iraq's most important defector, Gen Hussein Kamel, who headed its biowarfare
projects, stated he personally supervised destruction of all of Iraq's nerve
gas in 1991, a fact not mentioned by the White House.

Other experts say any germ or gas weapons held by Iraq have by now
deteriorated through age into inertness. As for Bush's charge Saddam might
give such weapons to anti-American groups, why didn't he do so from 1990 to
2003, when the U.S. was daily bombing Iraq and trying to overthrow his
regime? Because he's not suicidal.

Unable to locate Iraq's U.S./British-supplied weapons, unable to link Iraq
to Osama bin Laden, Bush and Blair shifted gears. They now claim Iraq's
suffering people must be "liberated." But why weren't they liberated when
Saddam committed his worst rights violations during the 1980s, when Iraq was
a U.S./British ally? And what about the startling revelation by the former
CIA Iraq desk chief that the gassing death of 5,000 Kurds at Halabja; an
event endlessly reiterated by Bush - may have been accidentally caused by
Iran, not Iraq?

As fast as one lie is exposed, more pop up. The U.S./British propaganda
machine is relentless. For Bush, the war against Iraq will conveniently be
both his re-election campaign and culmination of biblical prophesy. For the
far more worldly British leader, all we can say is Blair, your pants are on
fire.

What next in this laughable, pre-war propaganda circus? Will Iraqis be
accused of smoking indoors or hiding lethal nail clippers?


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=387598

*  200,000 PROTESTERS HEAD FOR WHITE HOUSE
by Severin Carrell, Alyssa Cohen and Emma Stroud
The Independent, 16th March

Tens of thousands of US anti-war protesters converged on the White House in
Washington yesterday as campaigners around the globe staged scores of
marches, rallies and peace vigils against an attack on Iraq.

The White House protest was expected to draw more than 200,000 people from
about 100 cities across the United States. The largest protests outside the
US were held in Paris, Athens and Tokyo. There were smaller demonstrations
in other capitals, such as Moscow, Cairo and Christchurch, New Zealand, and
low key protests in the UK as well.

In Paris, more than 50,000 protesters, underlining popular support for
President Chirac's threat to veto a UN-backed war, converged on the Place de
la Nation and held up a vast US flag daubed with a Nazi swastika and the
words "killers and criminals".

Smaller demonstrations were staged in Marseilles, Lyon and Toulouse, while
in Athens, about 20,000 marched on the American embassy, carrying banners
which read "No to the barbarism of the war".

In Britain, about 3,500 people demonstrated in York, thought to be the
city's largest ever protest, with another 10,000 in Leeds, 3,500 in Exeter
and 2,000 in Newcastle. In Bournemouth, about 1,000 demonstrators rallied in
a town centre park, while in Portsmouth, about 500 people blockaded the
naval base.

A sell-out benefit concert in London last night was due to feature Paul
Weller, Faithless, Ronan Keating and Beth Orton. As speculation intensifies
that the war will begin this week, a mass protest in London is already been
arranged for next Saturday, with a wave of strikes and protests on the day
the war breaks out.

The Washington demonstration, which overshadowed dozens of smaller events in
cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, was the largest of the
weekend's protests around the world.

College students, church activists, Jewish and Muslim peace activists,
trades unionists and human rights protesters met at the Washington Monument
before marching to surround the White House and nearby Justice Department in
a "sea of humanity".

President George Bush had already left the White House for Camp David before
his crisis meeting with Tony Blair in the Azores. Ramsay Clark, the former
US Attorney General under President Johnson, suggested the war could still
be halted. "Saturday may be the last chance for the American people to stand
up and say no," he said.

Candlelight vigils were also planned by US religious leaders for this
evening at the Washington Lincoln Memorial, to coincide with thousands of
other vigils expected to take place across the world.

"My hope is that on Monday morning the [Bush] administration will realise
there are two superpowers in the world: the United States and world
opinion," said the Rev Bob Edgar, general secretary of the US National
Council of Churches. "They haven't convinced the world there is a smoking
gun."

In London, several hundred demonstrators gathered in Kilburn, Crawley and
Tower Hamlets, as 500 supporters of the radical Islamist party Hizb
ut-Tahrir handed in protest letters to several Middle Eastern embassies,
claiming their "slavish rulers" were complicit in the US attack on Iraq.

There was, however, one counter-demonstration in London by Iraqi Kurds
supporting war. Furious at the French decision to block the attack on Iraq,
they delivered a petition to the French embassy. Citing years of oppression
and torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime, Azos Rashid, a 20-year
old student and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said war was
justified: "Saddam is not complying with the United Nations and has not
complied with previous resolutions."

In Japan around 10,000 protesters, some wearing traditional Japanese robes
and others carrying placards bearing messages such as "Stop the foolish
attack", marched through central Tokyo to applause from passers-by. "I am 74
years old: I have experienced war," said Ryoko Muneyama. "I hate the idea of
my children or grandchildren going through it and I don't want to kill
children on the other side either."

In Seoul, 2,000 South Koreans threw paper doves into the evening sky, while
some of the 300 protesters in Hong Kong wore mock oil barrels. In Bangkok,
about 3,000 protesters outside a UN office heard speeches and karaoke
singing. In Australia and New Zealand, more than 10,000 people staged small
protests in Christchurch, Dunedin and Melbourne.

In north Africa and the Middle East, protesters in Yemen, goaded into action
by the country's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, left-wing groups in Turkey,
protesters in Tunisia and 300 students in the Egyptian capital Cairo
attacked US and British motives for staging the war.

In the Yemeni capital Sanaa, crowds brought traffic to a halt and carried
placards reading "America, Britain, Israel are an axis of evil" and "Do not
cede, Do not cede, No to the Anglo American war drums."


http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0303/S00150.htm

*  THE IDIOT PRINCE WILL HAVE HIS WAR
by Stan Goff
>From The Wilderness
(http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/031703_rolling_start.html), 17th
March 2003

[FTW asked retired U.S. Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff to
re-examine what we can expect on the battlefield when the United States
begins its invasion. The former instructor of military science at West Point
describes a scenario that is vastly different from what was expected last
September before the Bush administration encountered effective economic and
political opposition. Now denied the luxuries of a multi-front invasion from
Turkey and Saudi Arabia the U.S. war strategy has changed. The bottom line
is that a great many more innocent civilians are going to be killed. And the
first and possibly crippling breakdown of U.S. plans will happen in
Kurdestan.  Michael Ruppert, Editor From The Wilderness]

March 17, 2003, 1500 hrs PST (FTW) -- The full-scale, unilateral US invasion
of Iraq appears  to many  to be imminent as this is written. In just hours
President Bush is expected to give Saddam Hussein a 72-hour ultimatum to
leave the country or else the bombs start falling. I have a reservation or
two left about that, based partly on hope, but partly on the even riskier
assumption that this administration realizes that it has miscalculated and
that the consequences of invasion may now outweigh the risks  from their
standpoint  of no invasion.

The Bush regime seems to have a clear understanding of what desperate
straits they were in well before 9-11. The empire is in decline, and this
means Americans will have to reconcile themselves to a new world in which
their profligate lifestyle becomes a thing of the past. Americans do not
understand that this is an irremediable situation. That is why we are
witnessing the beginning of what is possibly the most dangerous period in
human history.

If the administration decides miraculously in the next few days not to
invade, the most unthinkable risks will recede significantly. But this Junta
has repeatedly displayed a reckless adventurist streak that alarms even
their own political allies, and it appears that the hotter heads will
prevail.

The actual tactical situation, never terribly auspicious because of the
Kurdish wild card that receives far too little attention (and which I will
address later), has deteriorated for the US. The denial of a ground front
from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey has completely reshuffled the tactical
deck, and caused many a sleepless night for harried commanders from Task
Force Headquarters all the way down to lonely infantry platoon leaders.

The ground attack will now go through Kuwait, a single front across which an
unbelievable series of heavy, expensive, high-maintenance convoys will pass,
many on long journeys to 18 provincial capitals, 19 military bases, 8 major
oil fields, over 1,000 miles of pipeline, key terrain along minority Shia
and Kurdish regions, as well as Baghdad. But attacking forces are not the
only mechanized ground forces.

The huge logistical trains that must consolidate objectives, set up
long-term lines of communication, and deliver daily support, will also be
held up until airheads are seized within Iraq to augment ground
transportation with airlifts of people and equipment. This shifts a higher
emphasis onto airhead seizures (and therefore Ranger units), and forces the
security of the airheads themselves before they can become fully functional.

Baghdad may require a siege, which has already been planned, but now that
siege doesn't begin without a much lengthier invasion timeline that depends
much more heavily on airborne and airmobile forces that can be dropped onto
key facilities to hold them until mechanized reinforcement can arrive. At
this writing, the 101st Airborne (which is actually a helicopter division)
has not even completed its deployment into the region. Sections of the 82nd
Airborne (a genuine paratroop division) are still occupying Afghanistan.

The increased dependence on airlift is further complicated by weather. While
extreme summer heat doesn't reach Iraq until May, the pre-summer sand storms
have already begun. US commanders have pooh-poohed the effect of these
storms, but they are simply putting on a brave face for the public. Sand can
be a terrible enemy. It clogs engine intakes, just as it clogs eyes and
noses, gathers in the folds of skin, falls in food, works its way into every
conceivable piece of equipment, and takes a miserable toll on materiel,
machinery and troops. When air operations become more critical to overall
mission accomplishment, and when light forces (like airmobile and airborne
divisions) are operating independent of heavier mechanized logistics,
weather like sand storms matters...a lot.

The order of battle is widely available on the web, and there's no reason to
recount it here. The reason is, even with all these debilities and setbacks,
the results of the invasion are certain. Iraq will be militarily defeated
and occupied. There will be no sustained Iraqi guerrilla resistance. There
will be no Stalingrad in Baghdad. We should not buy into the US bluster
about theirinvincibility, but neither should we buy into Iraqi bluster.

Last September retired Marine General Paul Van Riper was selected to play
the Opposing Forces (OPFOR) Commander named Saddam Hussein for a
3-week-long, computer simulated invasion of Iraq, called Operation
Millennium Challenge.

He defeated the entire multi-billion-dollar US electronic warfare
intelligence apparatus by sending messages via motorcycle-mounted couriers
to organize the preemptive destruction of sixteen US ships, using pleasure
vessels. At that point, the exercise controllers repeatedly intervened and
told him what to do; move these defenders off the beach. Stop giving out
commands from mosque loudspeakers. Turn on your radar so our planes can see
you. Because every time Van Riper was left to his own devices, he was
defeating the US.

While all this is surely amusing, does it really mean the Iraqis will defeat
the US during an invasion?

Certainly not. It will, however, make it far more expensive, slow,
difficult, and deadly for Iraqis.

The Iraqi military won't prevail because they can't. They are weak,
under-resourced, poorly led, and demoralized. What the delays mean is that
the US will depend on sustaining the initiative and momentum through brutal,
incessant bombing designed to destroy every soldier, every installation,
every vehicle, every field kitchen in the Iraqi military.

War will inflict terrifying casualties on the Iraqi military. There will be
collateral damage to civilians, even with attempts to attenuate that damage,
and in case we fail to remember, soldiers are like everyone else. They have
families and loved ones.

What is uncertain is the aftermath.

This is the variable that is never factored into the thinking of our native
political lumpen bourgeoisie; their deeds plant the seeds of future and
furious resistance.

If half million Iraqi soldiers die, and 100,000 civilians are killed in
collateral damage, we have to remember that there are at least (for the sake
of argument) five people who intensely love each of the dead. And if we
think of the grief of millions after this slaughter, and of the conversion
of that grief into rage, and combine that with the organization of the
internecine struggles based on historical ethnic fault lines (that the
Ba'ath Party has repressed), we begin to appreciate the explosive complexity
of post-invasion Iraq.

This invasion will also ignite the fires of Arab and Muslim humiliation and
anger throughout the region.

Most importantly, in my view, there are the Kurds.

[.....]

We begin to see how the Bush Junta is the equivalent of a mad bee keeper,
that no longer leaves the hive stable and merely smokes it into a stupor to
harvest the honey. It now proposes to simply start swatting all the bees and
taking the honey by brute force.

We cannot see the war as an extricable, external phenomenon. We have to see
it as it is embedded in the larger complexities of the whole period. When
the cruise missiles fly at 400 per day, that is 400 times $1.3 million in
self-destructing technology. 30 days of this is $15.6 billion in Cruise
missiles alone. This is great news for Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin, but it
is bad news for public schools. At the antiwar demonstration in Washington
DC, March 15th, I met many more teachers, now wearing buttons that said
"money for education not war." This is a reflection of the deepening
consciousness of the American people, but one that has not yet grasped the
depth of the crisis that drives the war. Nor does it measure how every
missile's impact increases the rage of the Southwestern Asian masses and the
justifiable anxieties of Africa and East Asia.

The real bet that Bush & Co. make on this war is that it can secure oil at
$15 a barrel, rescue dollar hegemony, gain the ability to wage its economic
war on China and Europe, and inaugurate a fresh upwave of real profit. That
will not happen.

When the invasion goes, we will certainly see plenty of images of cheering
"liberated" Iraqis. This is common after any successful military incursion,
a combination of real relief in some cases, as we saw in the first stage of
the 1994 Haiti invasion, but also of self-defense and opportunism.

The costs incurred by the war, combined with the insane Bush tax cuts for
the rich, will deepen the Bush regime's economic conundrums. The coming
social crisis in the US will emerge against a backdrop of elevated public
expectations. The hyperbole employed by this administration to justify this
war, against rapidly strengthening resistance and a corresponding loss of
credibility outside the indoctrinated and gullible United States, led them
to warn the public about perpetual "war on terror," but with the sugar
coating that there would be no domestic economic sacrifice. The mountain of
personal and institutional debt in the US, the threat of deflation, the
trade deficit, the overcapacity, the rising unemployment and insecurity, all
these factors will be worsened by the Bush doctrines. And Bush, like his
father before him, will go down. Along with him, Tony Blair and Jose Maria
Aznar will go down in political flames, and it will be a long time indeed
before anyone can align themselves with the US as an ally. As in the last
elections for the Republic of Korea, candidates will find that election
victory depends on now independent one can prove oneself of the United
States.

We have had our course charted now, and the military option is all the US
ruling class really has to maintain its dominance. After Iraq, there will
certainly be increased asymmetric warfare, "terrorism," if you will,
directed at Americans, American institutions, American targets. And when the
rest of the world recognizes how thinly spread the US military is, thinly
spread physically, but also economically because it is not a sustainable
institution in its current incarnation, rebellions will occur. They have
already started. Then the response of the weakening US will be to lash out,
often with totally unforeseeable consequences, just as the consequences of
this impending invasion are unforeseeable.

Our military might is no longer a sign of strength, and the US military is
not invincible. Its use as both first and last resort is a sign of profound
systemicweakness. That its employment could destabilize the world, and cause
us to stumble into a Third World War is a real possibility.

We in the antiwar movement have struggled to protect the Iraqi people. We
may fail in that. But as resistance fighters in WWII or national liberation
fighters in the post-colonial era, we must differentiate setbacks from
defeat, when we suffer those setbacks we can not be demoralized and
demobilized. We will keep our eyes on the fact that the system itself is
failing and this adventure is a symptom of that failure, and continue to
work for the political destruction of our current regime as a tactical
necessity. The perfect storm is coming. It's in the genetic code of the
system right now and inevitable. And while we don't know how it will look,
we have to keep our eyes on the prize - emancipation from the whole system,
and let that be our lodestar. Never quit. Never. We are in the stream of
history, and we have been given a grave and momentous responsibility. Every
day we delayed them was a victory.

There is a long struggle ahead, and it will become more terrible. But just
as those before us fought slavery, apartheid, fascism, and colonialism, we
will take up our historical task with confidence and determination, and
assert our humanity against these gangsters.

Freedom is the recognition of necessity.


http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0303/S00156.htm

*  INTO THE DARKNESS
by William Rivers Pitt
Scoop, 19th March
Source: http://truthout.org/docs_03/031903A.shtml, 18th March

An associate of mine, a former political appointee, recently spoke to a
Republican friend of his who serves in a senior position in what has become
the Office of Homeland Security. He reports that this official, along with
many of his colleagues across the political spectrum within the apparatus of
government, are absolutely terrified of George W. Bush. According to this
official, the consensus is that Bush has completely lost touch with reality,
and is bringing us to a place where politics will no longer matter.

A London newspaper, the Guardian, has quoted a source close to the
administration as saying, "This has been the worst diplomatic debacle of our
lifetime." A senior White House official is also quoted as saying, in a
voice reportedly awash with sarcasm, "There's a recognition that this has
not been our finest diplomatic hour."

There is no calculating the understatement here. There was never any
diplomacy involved here to begin with. This has been a disaster, and it is
about to get worse by orders of magnitude.

The weapons inspectors, empowered by UN resolution 1441 to ferret out the
weapons everyone is so concerned about, have packed their bags and fled
Iraq. They have been betrayed by the Bush administration, by Tony Blair and
by Spain, as they worked to protect us from both these weapons and from the
dreadful effects of a war in the Middle East.

The inspections were working  weapons were being dismantled, Hussein was
under control, and no mass destruction materials were found. The fact that
the hammer has come down before these inspectors were even half done with
their work means, simply, that those pushing for war never wanted the
inspections to work in the first place.

Welcome to the timeline.

Very soon now, perhaps within the next 72 hours, the Pentagon's "Shock and
Awe" battle plan will be put into effect. 3,000 munitions, including some
800 cruise missiles, will rain down on Baghdad, a city inhabited by some 5
million civilians. This will be done in the hope that the Iraqi army will
surrender, thus avoiding the need to send U.S. troops in to fight a ruinous
house-to-house battle.

The Arab news service Al Jazeera, operating out of Qatar, will capture
images of thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians sprawled and shattered
and bloody in the Baghdad streets, in a manner quite like the bodies we saw
in New York on September 11. The resulting explosion of rage within the
moderate and extremist Muslim world will be immediate and ferocious.

The terrorism alert status in America will rise to red. Troops will appear
in the streets.

Saddam Hussein will not flee, and his forces will stand in Baghdad. American
troops will be forced to fight downtown.

The oilheads in Iraq will be fired, and the pipeheads will be opened.

Israel will be attacked, much to the dismay of Bush administration officials
who have pushed this war in the erroneous assumption that such action will
serve to protect that nation. Unlike the first Gulf War, this time Israel
will strike back.

American homeland security forces  police, fire fighters and emergency
rescue personnel  will watch their radios nervously, waiting for the
inevitable call. They know, better than anyone, that this country is not
ready to defend itself against an attack. Their budgets have been gutted,
the promised funding to augment their preparedness has not come. They are
not ready, but they stand and wait regardless, because that is what they
have pledged to do.

Somewhere in America  perhaps in New York, perhaps in Washington DC,
Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami,
Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Detroit, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta, perhaps
in all of them simultaneously  there will be an explosion. A group that
cares nothing for the well being of Saddam Hussein will take responsibility,
in the name of those thousands of Iraqi Muslims slaughtered in the initial
aerial bombardment of Baghdad.

The body bags will come out, here at home and across the sea in Iraq, as
Americans begin to die in terrible numbers.

Martial law will be declared, habeas corpus will be suspended, posse
comitatus will be left aside, and the strictures outlined by both Patriot
Acts will come to full bloom. 227 years of constitutional law in America
will draw to a close.

An oil shock will roll across the global community, ripping through an
alreadyprecarious economic situation. Here at home, the financial cost of
this war will hurl us further into deficit.

More explosions will echo across the streets of America. They could be
nuclear or biological or chemical in nature, because in the effort to
overthrow Hussein we have ignored completely the fact that al Qaeda
certainly possesses the capabilities to attack us with these weapons, having
needed no help whatsoever from Hussein. These explosions could come from
simple fertilizer, as well. Remember that two men with a sniper rifle and a
car held Maryland hostage for a month. It does not take much, considering
the shoddy state of affairs in the homeland security realm.

In all likelihood, America will score a decisive military victory. U.S.
forces will invest Iraq. The Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root will begin
construction on any number of permanent military bases. Administration
officials will begin to formulate plans for the removal of other governments
in the Middle East, both friendly and unfriendly, by any means necessary.

Civil war will break out in Iraq as the Shia majority, the Kurdish and Sunni
minorities, go for each other's throats. American constabulary work there
will become infinitely complicated.

The United States of America has concluded an incredible, perhaps
unstoppable, race to the bottom since January of 2001. The disputed election
brought to power a mob of men  Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton 
who have been planning this war since at least 1997. The attacks of
September 11, allowed in no small part by purposeful blinders placed over
the eyes of our intelligence services lest they offend petroleum
principalities like Saudi Arabia with their prickly questions, gave these
men the excuse they needed for war.

The Bush administration's reaction to 9/11  placing blame on "evildoers"
instead of starting an honest dialogue, blocking an independent
investigation of the attack for over a year, nominating master secret-keeper
Henry Kissinger to chair that investigative panel in what was perhaps the
most disgusting insult possible to the families of the lost, ignoring the
real terrorist threats in order to focus on the politically expedient
annihilation of Iraq, instituting the most ham-fisted diplomatic push ever
seen in the history of this nation by utterly ignoring the eleven Security
Council members who said no to this war, disrupting international relations
vital to the pursuit of true terrorist threats, and all the while
underfunding the homeland defenses necessary to protect the American people
 has led us to this dismal place.

The destruction of Saddam Hussein will do nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada,
to protect America. It will place America and her citizens in further peril.
We stand alone and naked today. We will reap the whirlwind.

Take to the streets. Scream until your throat bleeds. Call whatever
congressional leaders you know, full in the knowledge that you will be
contacting a mob of failures, appeasers and political cowards. Make sure you
can look at yourself in the mirror as this darkness falls. Above all else,
do not succumb to despair.

You owe that much to yourself, your children and your nation as we fade
toblack.

Author's Note: I have prayed on a daily basis that I would not be forced to
write this article. For the sake of history, I have listed below some of the
data, warnings and analysis that I and truthout have been delivering since
this process began unfolding in the summer of 2002.

The Coming October War in Iraq - 7/24/02
http://truthout.com/docs_02/07.25A.wrp.iraq.htm

The Other American Dream - 9/1/02
http://truthout.com/docs_02/09.01A.wrp.am.drm.htm

For the Congressional Record - 10/10/02
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.11B.wrp.record.htm

I See Four Lights - 10/16/02
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/10.17A.wrp.4.lights.htm

The Dead Remember - 1/1/03
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/010103A.wrp.dead.htm

The Stand - 1/9/03
http://truthout.com/docs_02/011003A.wrp.stand.htm

America, Are You Ready for This War? - 2/4/03
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/020503A.htm

Blair-Powell UN Report Written by Student - 2/7/03
http://truthout.org/docs_02/020803A.htm

Osama Rallies Muslims, Condemns Hussein - 2/12/03
http://truthout.org/docs_02/021303A.htm

Of Gods and Mortals and Empire - 2/21/03
http://truthout.org/docs_02/022203A.htm

Blood Money - 2/27/03
http://truthout.org/docs_03/022803A.shtml

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - -
"War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The
Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He
teaches high school in Boston, MA. Scott Lowery contributed research to this
report.




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