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Re: [casi] Critics of US policy are racist, says Rice

If you are not labelled a racist, then you are a

This is the kind of democracy the US is bringing to
Iraq.. How different is this from Saddam's Iraq?



Published on Saturday, August 9, 2003 by the Toronto
GW Bush's America
Americans Pay Price for Speaking Out
Dissenters Face Job Loss, Arrest, Threats But
Activists not Stopped by Backlash

by Kathleen Kenna

He's a Vietnam War hero from a proud lineage of
warriors who served the United States, so he never
expected to be called a traitor.

After 39 years in the Marines, including commands in
Somalia and Iraq, Gen. Anthony Zinni never imagined he
would be tagged "turncoat."

The epithets are not from the uniforms but the suits
—"senior officers at the Pentagon," the now-retired
general says from his home in Williamsburg, Va.

"They want to question my patriotism?" he demands

To question the Iraq war in the U.S. — and individuals
from Main St. merchants to Hollywood stars do — is to
be branded un-American.

Dissent, once an ideal cherished in the U.S.
Constitution's First Amendment, now invites media
attacks, hate Web sites, threats and job loss.

After Zinni challenged the administration's rationale
for the Iraq war last fall, he lost his job as
President George W. Bush's Middle East peace envoy
after 18 months.

"I've been told I will never be used by the White
House again."

Across the United States, hundreds of Americans have
been arrested for protesting the war. The American
Civil Liberties Union has documented more than 300
allegations of wrongful arrest and police brutality
from demonstrators at anti-war rallies in Washington
and New York.

Even the silent, peaceful vigils of Women in Black —
held regularly in almost every state — have prompted
threats of arrest by American police.

Actors and spouses Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon have
publicly denounced the backlash against them for their
anti-war activism.

Robbins said they were called "traitors" and
"supporters of Saddam" and their public appearances at
a United Way luncheon in Florida and the Baseball Hall
of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., this spring were
cancelled in reaction to their anti-war stance.

Actor/comedian Janeane Garofalo was stalked and
received death threats for opposing the war in
high-profile media appearances.

MSNBC hosts asked viewers to urge MCI to fire actor
and anti-war activist Danny Glover as a spokesperson
—the long-distance telephone giant refused to fire him
despite the ensuing hate-mail campaign — and one host,
former politician Joe Scarborough, urged that anti-war
protesters be arrested and charged with sedition.

"There's no official blacklisting," says Kate McArdle,
executive director of Artists United, a new group of
120 actors devoted to progressive causes.

"This is Hollywood, so there are always rumours
starting up. Mostly it was producers saying, `We know
your position — do you have to be so vocal?'"

Internet chat rooms have spouted "tons and tons of
vitriol aimed at us," says McArdle, a former network
TV executive.

"Things like, `Tell me where Tim Robbins lives and
I'll go bash out his brains,'" she says.

"Or, `If you don't like America, why don't you move to
Iraq? Why don't you move to Canada?'

"The real backlash comes from the right wing, from
America's talk radio guys — when their ratings are
down — not from the industry," McArdle says. "We get
the `You're either with us or agin' us.'"

Comes with the territory, she adds.

"We're a nation of dissenters."

The Dixie Chicks country pop group won worldwide
attention for their anti-Bush comments, which were met
with widespread radio station bans against playing
their music. Their fans have responded by circulating
petitions on the Internet objecting to the "chill"
that has tried to silence free speech in the U.S.

And opposition to the war has spawned many new songs
—some remixes of old Vietnam protest songs — and Web
sites devoted to anti-war lyrics.

Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert in
Denver, Colo., last spring when lead singer Eddie
Vedder hoisted a Bush mask on a microphone stand and
sang, "He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer."

But musician Carlos Santana was cheered in Australia
—a key U.S. ally in the Iraq war and recent proponent
of the "Bush doctrine" of intervention in smaller
states' affairs — when he spoke against the war and
American foreign policy.

Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited

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