Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

'BUSH IS AN IDIOT, BUT HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT SADDAM.' Salon has been running a pretty consistent anti-war line. So it's all the more surprising to see this interview with Paul Berman which sums up exactly my thinking on the war:

'...it's just tragic that the United States is led by such an inarticulate and intellectually confused and unattractive figure who personally makes me cringe -- other people should be standing up and trying to fight for issues of humanitarianism and social solidarity, of women's rights and liberal freedoms.

One of the scandals is that we've had millions of people marching through the streets calling for no war in Iraq, but we haven't had millions of people marching in the streets calling for freedom in Iraq. Nobody's marching in the streets on behalf of Kurdish liberties. The interests of the liberal dissidents of Iraq and the Kurdish democrats are in fact also our interests. The more those people prosper, the safer we are. This is a moment in which what should be our ideals -- the ideals of liberal democracy and social solidarity -- are also materially in our interest. Bush has failed to articulate this, and a large part of the left has failed to see this entirely...

This has simply been catastrophic for people in the Middle East and ultimately for ourselves. What we need is a politics as I describe in my book, a new radicalism which is going to be against the cynical so-called realism of American conservatism and traditional American policy, in which liberal ideas are considered irrelevant to foreign policy...

I can certainly imagine how the whole thing can be done better. Bush is probably the most inept president we've ever had in regard to maintaining foreign alliances and presenting the American case and convincing the world. He's failed in every possible way. The defeat and overthrow of Saddam Hussein is in the interest of nearly the entire world and although it is in the interest of nearly the entire world, nearly the entire world is against Bush. That situation is the consequence of Bush's ineptness.

Monday, March 24, 2003

EMAILS, WE GET EMAILS. One I got recently was a series of Q&As. I've added a few of my own:

Subject: FW: in case you're interested... Q & A on Iraq

very interesting

this is taken from a Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, Conrado de

I'LL leave the following intact and without commentary as it summarizes best what George Bush's war in Iraq is all about. It comes from Charles Sheketoff, the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. It's called "Take the War-on-Iraq IQ Test," and goes:

Q: What percentage of the world's population does the United States have?
A: Six percent
Q: What percentage of the world's wealth does the United States have?
A: 50 percent

Q. Why?
A. Because it has economic, legal and political systems conducive to the creation of wealth.
Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
A: Saudi Arabia
Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
A: Iraq
Q. Who now controls these reserves?
A. Saddam Hussein
Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
A: 900+ billion dollars
Q: How much of this is spent by the United States?
A: 50 percent
Q. Why?
A. Partly because of all those people who want to attack the US, and partly because of all those people who want the US's help when someone attacks them.
Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according to the United Nations?
A: 10 percent (that's about 40 billion dollars, the amount of funding initially requested to fund the US retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).

Q. Why might very little of this money reach the people who needed it?
A. Diversion by corrupt governments (e.g. Iraq and the Oil-for-Food Program).
Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
A: 86 million
Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
A: Since the early 1980s.
Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical and biological weapons on its own?
A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government, along with Britain and private corporations.
Q. Which country helped Iraq with its nuclear program?
A. France.
Q. Which country recently invaded the Ivory Coast?
A. France.
Q. Which country has the most alienated Muslim population in Western Europe?
A. France.
Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against Iran?
A. No.
Q. What had the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's spiritual leader, called America several years before?
A. 'The Great Satan.' Iran then proceeded to take US embassy staff in Teheran hostage for more than a year. US-Iran relations became a bit frosty after that.
Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?
A: 5,000
Q: How many Western countries condemned this action at the time?
A: 0
Q: How many gallons of Agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
A: 17 million.
Q. How many Vietnamese now live in the US?
A. 1.1 million.
Q. How many Vietnamese now live in Australia?
A. 150,000.
Q. What proportion of these were escaping the regime which 'liberated' South Vietnam in 1975?
A. 100%.
Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and Sept. 11 terrorist attack?
A: No
Q. Why would post-Sept. 11 links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda make sense?
A. On the principle that 'My enemy's enemy is my friend' (or 'They're using us but we're using them'). Weapons of mass destruction could be developed in Iraq and delivered to Western targets by Al-Qaeda.
Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?
A: 35,000

Q. Who started this war?
A. Saddam Hussein.
Q : How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the Western
forces during the Gulf War?
A: 0
Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by US tanks with
ploughs mounted on the front? A: 6,000
Q. How many surrendered without firing a shot and were well treated?
A. 87,000
Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?
A: 40 tons
Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
A: 700 percent
Q: How much of Iraq's military capacity did America claim it had destroyed in 1991?
A: 80 percent
Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything other than deterrence and self-defense?
A: No
Q. Was there any proof (i.e. a signed order) that Hitler planned the Holocaust?
A. No.
Q. Did he do it?
A. Yes.
Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago?
A: No
Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?
A: 10,000
Q: What percentage of these will be children?
A: Over 50 percent
Q. What is the origin of the expression 'human shields'?
A. Foreigners forcibly kept in Iraq during Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait as insurance.
Q: How many years has the US engaged in air strikes on Iraq?
A: 11 years

Q. Why?
A. It was enforcing UN Security Council resolutions calling on the Iraqis to cease persecution of the Kurdish minority in the north and the marsh Arabs in the south.
Q: Were the United States and the United Kingdom at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: No
Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: 20 million
Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing strict sanctions on Iraq's imports and exports?
A: 12 years
Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 38
Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 131 (that's an increase of 345 percent)
Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a result of UN sanctions?
A: 1.5 million

Q. If there is no war, and no imposition of sanctions, what else can be used to enforce UN resolutions?
A. Nothing.
Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions since 1997?
A: 750,000

Q. Have mass baby funerals been faked for the Western media?
A. Yes.
Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?
A: No

Q. Did he co-operate fully with them?
A. No.
Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?
A: 300
Q: How many of these inspections had problems?
A: 5
Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba'ath Party HQ?
A: Yes
Q: Who said that by December 1998, "Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history."
A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief

Q. What else is Scott Ritter now known for?
A. This.
Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq's post-1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have discovered and dismantled?
A: 90 percent
Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in?
A: Yes
Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
A: Over 65
Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
A: 30+

Q. Which country now chairs the UN's Human Rights Commission?
A. Libya.
Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?
A: 8
Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?
A: 0

Q. Is Iraq still capable of building them?
A. Yes.
Q: How many nuclear warheads has the United States got?
A: Over 10,000
Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?
A: The United States

Q. Why?
A. Because Japan attempted an invasion of the US. The attack on Pearl Harbor (1941) was the first step in this, to knock out the US Pacific Fleet. By then, Japan had already been invading China for 4 years. Total Chinese dead in the war against Japan (1937-45): 16,000,000. Total Filipino dead (1941-45): 1,000,000 (in case 'Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, Conrado de Quiros' is interested). When the war was clearly lost, Japan's leadership nevertheless insisted on suicidal, kamikaze-style defence of the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, convincing the US leadership that the battle for Japan's home islands would be equally bitter. Only after the second atomic bomb did Japan finally surrender.
Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
A: Over 400

Q. Why?
A. Surrounding Arab states who wanted to 'drive the Jews into the sea.'
Q. How many Arab members does the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) have?
A. 8.
Q. What are the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'?
A. An anti-semitic forgery originating in 19th-century tsarist Russia that invented a secret cabal of Jews plotting to take over the world.
Q. Where are they quoted?
A. In much official Arab propaganda, and the Charter of the Palestinian organisation Hamas.
Q: Who said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?
A: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Q. Who said, 'If the anti-war movement dissuades the US and its allies from going to war with Iraq, it will have contributed to the peace of the dead. Saddam Hussein will emerge victorious and ever more defiant.'
A. Jose Ramos Horta, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Q. Who said, 'If we should fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and care for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age'?
A. Winston Churchill in 1940.
Q. Who was he talking to?
A. Defeatists in Britain and isolationists in America who thought 'Hitler's not our enemy.'