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Impeach Bush

Allies Slow U.S. War Plans

GOP Forces Bush to Repeal Corp. Protections

Law Professor Ready To Draft Articles Of Impeachment

Record $350 Deficit Expected

Poll: Fix The Economy First

War's Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect

Lid Put on Domestic Spending

Analysis Finds Little Gain in Tax-Cut Plan

First Strike Doctrine Dies

You Call That Evidence?
Allies Slow U.S. War Plans
Washington Post
By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 11, 2003; Page A01

Over the past week, key U.S. allies have sent an unambiguous message to the Bush administration to give United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq time to complete their work, even if it means delaying the onset of hostilities.

The allied opposition to an early war with Iraq has strengthened the hand of moderates in the administration who have been arguing against setting a firm deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to comply with demands for giving up his weapons of mass destruction, according to U.S. officials and allied diplomats. According to these sources, the odds of a February war appear to be receding, barring a major Iraqi misstep that would galvanize Western governments and public opinion.

"The odds have gone down for war," said a well-placed U.S. official. "We don't have a good war plan; the inspectors have unprecedented access to Iraq; we have just started giving them intelligence; we have to give them more time to see how this works. There is no reason to stop the process until it can't proceed any further."

The apparent relaxation in administration rhetoric contrasts with statements by President Bush late last year advocating a "zero tolerance" policy toward Hussein. After weeks of insisting that U.S. forces were poised to intervene in Iraq if Hussein failed to properly account for his weapons of mass destruction, administration spokesmen are now echoing their European counterparts, and saying the inspectors should be given time to do their work.

Before this week, it appeared that the administration was intent on orchestrating a final confrontation with Baghdad soon after Jan. 27, when chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is due to report back to the Security Council on Iraqi compliance with international demands for the nation's disarmament. This coincided with a major U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf region -- putting maximum pressure on Hussein and providing Bush with a credible military option to back up his threats of "regime change."

All of a sudden, this timetable seems in doubt. Not only are key allies such as Britain and France publicly calling for the United Nations to come up with clear-cut evidence of Iraqi wrongdoing, the military preparations for an attack on Iraq have encountered a hitch because of delays by Turkey in agreeing to the two-front North-South war plan developed by the Pentagon.

Although many administration officials believe that Turkey will eventually go along with "urgent" U.S. requests to station as many as 80,000 troops in the country in preparation for an attack on northern Iraq, it could take weeks to conclude the negotiations and move the troops into position. The lack of a definite response from Ankara has confronted the Bush administration with the difficult choice of delaying the war or abandoning plans for a northern front, which could mean higher U.S. casualties.

On the diplomatic front, some of the strongest words of caution have come from Britain, which until now has played the role of Washington's staunchest ally in the gathering showdown with Baghdad. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is coming under increasing pressure from his own Labor Party to distance himself from Bush, told the British cabinet on Thursday that the weapons inspectors should be given "time and space" to finish their work.

Blair said that the Jan. 27 date for Blix's report to the Security Council was "an important staging post," but "shouldn't be regarded in any sense as a deadline," according to British officials.

Both Britain and France want the United States to return to the Security Council for another resolution to endorse the use of military force against Hussein and to formally declare Iraq to be in "material breach" of its disarmament obligations. In order to get such a resolution through the Security Council, allied diplomats say it will probably be necessary for Blix to submit an unambiguous report accusing Baghdad of continuing its weapons of mass destruction programs.

In an interim report to the Security Council on Thursday, Blix criticized Iraq for failing to provide full information on its weapons programs, but said inspectors needed more time to compile an accurate picture. He added that his inspectors had so far failed to find "a smoking gun" demonstrating Iraqi noncompliance.

French President Jacques Chirac underlined his insistence on the need for explicit U.N. endorsement of the use of force against Iraq at a meeting with foreign ambassadors earlier this week. He told the diplomats that any decision on military action could only be taken by the Security Council "on a basis of a report from the inspectors." As a permanent member of the council -- along with the United States, Britain, China and Russia -- France is in a position to veto Security Council decisions.

Both U.S. officials and allied diplomats said the public signals from London and Paris urging Washington to give the inspectors more time have been reinforced in private conversations at all levels. In an interview this week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said he was well aware of the domestic pressures on Blair, who has been accused by left-wing British newspaper commentators of being "Bush's poodle."

"My job as secretary of state . . . is to listen to our friends and see if we can find a way to accommodate the positions they bring to us," Powell said. "Prime Minister Blair and [British Foreign Secretary Jack] Straw are never shrinking violets when it comes to laying forth the position of her majesty's government. And we're trying to listen. To characterize Prime Minister Blair as a poodle is an absolutely absurd and silly charge."

As for the problem posed by the Turkish government's delay in approving the stationing of U.S. ground troops along the northern border of Iraq, Powell said, "The Turks are receptive to all the requests we've put before them in the sense that they have not yet said no to anything." He noted that a new Turkish parliament is dominated by a moderate Islamic party that has yet to fully sort out its policies toward the United States. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Turks are opposed to joining a U.S.-led war against Iraq.

The Turkish leaders "are dealing with public opinion; they are dealing with a new government; they are dealing with a new parliament and a gentleman who is not yet quite prime minister," Powell said. "And so they have to move at their own pace."

Powell said that Turkish leaders had indicated to him that it would be easier to respond to the U.S. requests if there were an "international consensus" on dealing with Iraq, in the form of a second Security Council resolution. As the only NATO country bordering Iraq, Turkey is key to U.S. plans to a two-front war.

Turkish officials said they have agreed in principle to U.S. requests for overflight rights, and the use of Turkish seaports and air bases. But opening the country to tens of thousands of U.S. troops poses a more delicate problem, as the Turkish constitution requires parliamentary approval for the stationing of foreign troops.

Staff writer Glenn Kessler contributed to this report.

Commentary:
Poor Bush, can't have a war just like daddy. Bush said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Where are they? Why didn't the inspectors find them on day one? Can you imagine Kennedy taking us to the brink of war based on a "GUESS" or a "LIE." Not in a million years. Our allies believed Bush, so did the press and the American people. Why were people so willing to believe this man without any proof? As the world walks away from him, so should we.


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GOP Forces Bush to Repeal Corp. Protections
Washington Post
By Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 11, 2003; Page A04

Senate Republican leaders agreed yesterday to repeal controversial language approved last year to help shield pharmaceutical giants such as Eli Lilly and Co. from multibillion-dollar lawsuits in which parents allege that a vaccine preservative caused autism in their children.

The agreement covers two other hotly contested proposals that had been tucked into legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. It was crafted by three GOP moderates in negotiation with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and other party leaders.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who led the effort among Democrats to overturn the vaccine provision, called the agreement a "great victory" over special interests.

The three GOP moderates -- Sens. Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) -- had agreed to vote for the homeland security bill only if Republican leaders would satisfy their concerns over the three provisions. The bill would have failed without their votes.

The provisions are to be included in a "must-pass" omnibus spending bill for domestic programs that Senate leaders hope to bring to the floor next week. The three senators said they expect the House to go along.

Repeal of the vaccine language will allow most if not all of the lawsuits that would have been terminated by the earlier bill to continue, Republican aides said. The agreement also would commit the Senate to vote within six months on a broader bill to ensure development and production of vaccines while providing redress for those who have suffered vaccine-related injuries, according to the three senators.

A second provision of the agreement would repeal language relaxing a proposed ban on issuance of homeland security contracts to companies that create foreign tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The earlier language would have allowed federal contracts to be awarded to such companies to cut costs or save jobs. Under yesterday's agreement, only national security concerns could be considered.

The third provision would broaden criteria under which a university could compete for funding to carry out research for the Homeland Security Department. Critics had charged that the original language was so narrowly drawn that it would stack the deck for Texas A&M University, which has had powerful patrons in Congress.

The new provision provides that all eligible schools can compete for research contracts, with the secretary of the new department setting criteria for the research.

Commentary:
Bush campaigned against democrats on the issue of protecting vaccine companies. That campaign crap was all lies. Deals had been made within his own party to do as the democrats demanded. Bush had to know, but didn't care. Bush lost another big one. Nothing new here.


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Law Professor Ready To Draft Articles Of Impeachment
Online Journal
.By Kéllia Ramares
Online Journal Contributing Editor

While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country . . .

—The National Security Strategy of the United States of America

January 4, 2002—"We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression," says International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By contrast, Prof. Boyle wants merely to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in America.

Boyle is offering his services as counsel, free of charge, to any member of the House of Representatives willing to sponsor articles of impeachment. He is experienced in this work, having undertaken it in 1991 for the late Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-TX), in an effort to stop the first Persian Gulf War. It takes only one member to introduce articles of impeachment. Of course, it will take many more than that to vote for impeachment, which will culminate in a trial in the Senate. Boyle is confident that, once the articles are introduced, others, including Republicans, will co-sponsor them. But we have to convince our Representatives that impeachment is necessary for the country and politically safe for them. This non-violent, constitutional process may be our best way of stopping World War III and saving our civil rights.

Grounds for Impeachment

Article II Sec. 4 of the Constitution states that: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Boyle says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime."

The United States is a party to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, and thus is constitutionally bound to obey them. "The Constitution, in Article 6, says that international treaties are the supreme law of the land here in the United States of America. So all we would be doing here, in this impeachment campaign," Boyle says, "is impeaching them for violating international treaties, as incorporated into the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution itself."

Bush Cabal Repudiates Nuremberg Principles

We don't have to wait for the devastation of Baghdad to impeach the Bush cabal because they have already repudiated the Nuremberg Charter via the so-called Bush Doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive attack. "This doctrine of pre-emptive warfare or pre-emptive attack was rejected soundly in the Nuremberg Judgment, " Boyle says. "The Nuremberg Judgment . . . rejected this Nazi doctrine of international law of alleged self-defense." The Bush Doctrine, embodied in the National Security Strategy document, published on the White House web site, is appalling, Boyle says. "It reads like a Nazi planning document prior to the Second World War."

The Fruit Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

As Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez explained on the floor of the House in 1991, his articles charged the elder Bush with:

  • 1) Violating the Equal Protection Clause by having minorities and poor whites, who were the majority of the soldiers in the Middle East, "fight a war for oil to preserve the lifestyles of the wealthy."
  • 2) Violating "the Constitution, Federal law, and the UN Charter by bribing, intimidating, and threatening others, including the members of the UN Security Council, to support belligerent acts against Iraq."
  • 3) Violating the Nuremberg principles by conspiring to engage in a massive war against Iraq that would cause tens of thousands of civilian deaths.
  • 4) Committing "the United States to acts of war without congressional consent and contrary to the UN Charter and international law." (This refers to the lack of a formal declaration of war, as required by the Constitution).
  • 5) Committing crimes against the peace by leading the United States into aggressive war against Iraq, in violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, other international instruments and treaties, and the Constitution of the United States.

Boyle believes that the articles he drafted for Gonzalez' effort to impeach George H. W. Bush, the father, could still serve as a basis for impeaching George W. Bush, the son.

Are the People Ready for Another Impeachment?

Impeachment has the advantage of bypassing the U.S. Supreme Court, which illegally installed Bush in the Oval Office. The same "Justices" would have the final word on legal challenges to constitutional abominations, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Homeland Security Act, both of which the White House rammed through a Congress frightened by the September 11th attacks and the as yet unsolved anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill.

But no matter how blatant the violations of constitutional, statutory and international law are, impeachment is still a political process. Republicans control the Congress and many Democrats, fearful of being labeled "soft on terrorism" might be unwilling to challenge the Bush cabal. It would take tremendous public pressure to get a reluctant Congress to impeach. Still, Boyle thinks he can garner public support by adding an article of impeachment against John Ashcroft.

"We know for a fact that there are Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Greens, even very conservative Republicans, such as Dick Armey and [Bob] Barr, who are very worried about a police state." Boyle says that an article against Ashcroft would make clear "that we don't want a police state in the name of an oil empire."

It's Up to Us

Unfortunately for the impeachment campaign, Armey has retired and Barr, who spoke out against some of the most draconian proposals for what eventually became the USA PATRIOT Act, was defeated in the Republican primary. Boyle is still waiting for the one member of Congress willing to introduce articles of impeachment when the 108th Congress convenes on January 7.

Since Bush has indicated that he is not likely to go to war before the end of January or early February, Boyle thinks we have a month to stop the war by impeaching the chain of command: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with police state enforcer Ashcroft. Time and the Internet are advantages Rep. Gonzalez did not have in 1991, when the Persian Gulf War was launched the day after he introduced his articles.

Boyle is asking the public to push for impeachment in two ways. First, contact your own member of Congress to urge him or her to introduce articles of impeachment, and tell the member that he or she may contact Prof. Boyle for assistance in drafting the articles. Second, demand impeachment by engaging in non-violent direct action, in exercise of your First Amendment rights to free speech, peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievances. Boyle was pleased that 100,000 people marched around the White House last October 26 to protest the impending war on Iraq. But he says one million people need to peaceable take to the streets with signs, banners and voices shouting, "Impeach Bush!"

"The bottom line: it's really up to you and to me to enforce the law and the Constitution against our own government," he says. "We are citizens of the United States of America. We have to act to preserve the republic that we have, to preserve our Constitution, to preserve a rule of law. This is our responsibility as citizens. We simply can't pass the buck and say 'Oh, some judge is going to do it somewhere.' It's up to us to keep this republic."

Commentary:
It won't happen as long as the press is made up of millionaires who benefit from Bush's raid on middle class social programs. Why would they bite the hand that feeds them? Still, it's nice to think that some day Americans may rise to the occasion and be on the right side of history.


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Record $350 Deficit Expected
Washington Post
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 10, 2003; Page A01

President Bush's 10-year, $674 billion economic growth package -- coupled with a war with Iraq -- would push the federal budget deficit well into record territory next year, and possibly as high as $350 billion, private-sector budget forecasters said yesterday.

Measured against the size of the economy, a $350 billion deficit would still be smaller than the deficits of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But in sheer dollar terms, it would easily eclipse the $290 billion record set in 1992, the last year of George H.W. Bush's administration. It also would be a steep fall from the record $236 billion surplus of 2000.

Moreover, the deficit's rapid rise is coming just a few years before the baby-boom generation begins to make itself felt on federal spending, said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's DRI.

"I don't think it's a near-term concern," Wyss said. "But people are starting to think about it as a real long-term issue."

"The collision course is pretty easy to see," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Bank One Corp. in Chicago.

The impact on the long-term budget picture is likely to be the central issue in the debate in Congress over the president's proposal, which was presented in Chicago on Tuesday.

"Tax cuts are not free," said Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), a key Bush ally in the battle over his 2001 tax cut.

That year, when Bush proposed a 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax cut, lawmakers believed the cost would be easily covered by the $5.6 trillion budget surplus that forecasters were anticipating through the end of this decade.

But those rosy predictions have evaporated. This time, the president's proposal is being offered in the teeth of rising deficits.

Democrats -- and a few Republicans -- argue that any economic stimulus package should be a one-time cash injection into the economy that does not have a long-term impact on the federal budget deficit.

But Bush has said that sustained economic growth will take fundamental changes in the tax system and a package large enough to get the notice of a $10.5 trillion economy.

"The mule needs a kick, not a love tap," said Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The centerpiece of the Bush plan -- a provision to exempt dividends from "double taxation," first at the corporate level, then at the individual level -- could lead to significant changes in corporate finance and governance.

But those changes, while relatively inexpensive upfront, would have significant long-term costs to the Treasury. Bush said yesterday that his plan would inject $59 billion in cash into the economy this year, considerably less than the $102 billion initially stated this week. That larger figure includes money that taxpayers will see in the form of rebate checks after they file their income-tax returns next year, said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan. But the plan grows considerably in 2004.

"There's no question that the growth plan will have an impact on the deficit," Duffy said, "but we have other deficits, a deficit of jobs, a deficit of paychecks. The president is very concerned about the deficit, but we need to put in place long-term growth to get the revenues back in place."

Assuming a relatively quick and inexpensive war and full implementation of the Bush tax cut, Wyss said the deficit should reach $275 billion in 2003, compared with the $109 billion deficit projected by the White House in August. By 2004, that number would reach $350 billion.

Those numbers are identical to estimates released yesterday by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter chief economist Richard Berner. Bank One and Economy.com, an economic research firm in Pennsylvania, have developed deficit forecasts that are slightly lower but still more than $300 billion. Merrill Lynch economists met with congressional forecasters yesterday to present a range of numbers that were roughly in line with the other Wall Street projections, a congressional aide said.

The Congressional Budget Office and the White House hope to release their forecasts late this month and in early February. Both predicted in August that the deficit would fall in both 2003 and 2004, to as little as $48 billion. But an administration official said the deficit in 2003 would grow larger than the $157 billion mark posted in 2002.

On Wall Street, the mood of forecasters has been bleak for some time. Wyss called his projections "very conservative" because they use an "everything goes right" war. He also said he believes the White House has understated its dividend tax proposal by as much as 50 percent, because administration forecasters have not sufficiently accounted for the cost of one obscure provision that effectively grants a capital gains tax cut when investors sell stock in companies that elect not to pay dividends.

Treasury officials said their estimates are accurate.

Mark Zandi, Economy.com's chief economist, said the president's proposal to end taxation on corporate dividends, coupled with tax cuts already enacted, would "significantly overwhelm the fiscal situation" within six years.

"The next president will have some very difficult decisions to make," Zandi said. "We're heading in the wrong direction."

Many economists say the swelling deficit should have little negative effect on economic growth this year or next. Federal budget deficits do tend to raise long-term interest rates, making it more expensive for businesses to borrow and invest, Berner said. But, he added, as long as economic growth is slow, the private sector's demand for investment money will stay low. Only when the economy significantly heats up would the competition between the federal government and private companies for lenders significantly boost interest rates.

Bush administration economists say the economic growth that could create that competition would also lead to a surge in tax dollars that will bring the federal budget back into balance.

That view does not take into account the demands that baby boomers will place on the Social Security and Medicare systems, private forecasters say.

"We're looking at deficits forever," Wyss said

Commentary:
The last line says it all; "We're looking at deficits forever." It's time for decent people to demand this president be removed from office before he destroys our future. When Bill Clinton proposed a very small stimulus package in 1993, the republicans would have nothing of it. Today, they're willing to spend whatever it takes to keep power including spending the next generations money. The next election will determine if Americans care more about themselves than the future.


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Poll: Fix The Economy First
CBSNews/
January 7, 2002

(CBS) With the new Congress ready to go to work, most Americans think its first task should be to help the ailing economy and create jobs - not necessarily to pass a tax cut. And even while most Americans believe that war in Iraq is inevitable, just about as many would like to continue attempts at a diplomatic solution there, something many don't think this Administration is working hard enough to secure.

SOLUTIONS FOR A TROUBLED ECONOMY
Opinions about the state of the U.S. economy continue to decline. Just 41% think the U.S. economy is in good shape, while 57%, more than at any time since 1993, the first year of the Clinton Administration, think it is in bad shape. When George W. Bush took office in January 2001, more than twice as many as now believed the economy was in good shape.

Most Americans also think the economy is not improving. Just 15% think the economy is improving, while 36% say it is getting worse. 48% think it is staying the same.

So when asked what the first priority of Congress should be in 2003, the economy and jobs are the public's most volunteered answers. They are cited by 26%, almost as many as name war (9%), the Iraq threat (5%), terrorism (6%) and homeland security (10%) combined.

Asked specifically to choose among the economy, the situation with Iraq, or the war on terror, 46% want Congress to concentrate first on the economy, nearly as many as the combined number citing the Iraq situation and the war on terror.

CONGRESS' FIRST PRIORITY: WAR ON TERROR, IRAQ OR ECONOMY?
Economy 46%
Iraq situation 25
War on terror 25

Moreover, while most believe that this Republican-controlled legislature is poised to accomplish more than most Congresses, Americans are skeptical about whether they will personally feel many benefits: they are doubtful that their taxes will decrease, that the economy and health care will improve, or that the country will be more secure from terrorist attack with the GOP at the helm.

EXPECTATIONS FOR REPUBLICAN CONTROL OF CONGRESS
Congress will accomplish more than usual 48%
Economy will get better 32%
Taxes will go down 14%
Health care will improve 25%
Country will be more secure from terrorism 26%

Many Americans expect things to remain pretty much the same on all these items (although 38% actually expect their taxes to go up with Republicans in control). There are expected partisan differences - a majority of Republicans expect an improved economy from this Congress, for example, but even Republicans are skeptical about tax cutting - just 22% of them expect their taxes to go down.

For Americans, taxes are a lower priority than other domestic issues. Asked to choose among three specific domestic issues that the new Congress could take up - helping the unemployed, reforming health care or cutting taxes - Americans overwhelmingly say that of these, helping the unemployed should be lawmakers' first order of business.

CONGRESS' FIRST DOMESTIC PRIORITY SHOULD BE:
Helping unemployed & creating jobs 54%
Reforming health care 28
Passing a tax cut 14

The Administration continues to face the public perception that its policies - and perhaps especially its economic and tax policies -- favor the rich, not the middle class or all groups equally. In fact, those who earn under $30,000 are more likely to foresee an increase in their taxes than those who earn over $30,000. Overall, nearly six in ten see this Administration as favoring the rich.

DO BUSH ADMINISTRATION POLICIES FAVOR...?
The rich 59% The middle class 11 The poor 2 Treat all the same 23 Yet despite their skepticism about the agenda of the new Congress, a majority of Americans view the Republicans favorably. 54% have a favorable view of the Republican Party, a figure much like that last November, after the election but before the controversy surrounding Republican Senator Trent Lott. Meanwhile, the Democrats appear to be on the rebound a bit from their post-election favorable rating of 45%. Now, a majority views them favorably once again.

VIEWS OF THE PARTIES
Now Favorable view of Republicans 54% Favorable view of Democrats 51% 11/02 Favorable view of Republicans 51% Favorable view of Democrats 45% IRAQ Just under two-thirds of Americans (64%) continue to support the United States taking military action to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, a figure that has remained consistent for the past six months. However, that is not the course of action most Americans would prefer the U.S. take now. By more than two to one, they would rather the U.S. try to find a diplomatic solution instead of taking military action.

WHAT SHOULD U.S. DO NOW ABOUT IRAQ?
Take military action 29% Find diplomatic solution 63 Women and Democrats are most in favor of using diplomacy instead of force in Iraq, although majorities of men and Republicans also support that option over a military response. But nearly three quarters of the public are resigned to a future war with Iraq. 74% expect the U.S. to end up fighting in Iraq, while 20% think the situation will be resolved without fighting. Expectations for war have grown slightly since late last fall.

EXPECT U.S. WILL FIGHT AGAINST IRAQ
Now
Yes 74%
No 20

11/02
Yes 69%
No 24%

There is widespread skepticism that Hussein has allowed U.N. weapons inspectors full access to look for weapons of mass destruction; nearly seven in ten say he has not.

DO U.N. INSPECTORS HAVE FULL ACCESS?
Yes 21%
No 68

Most Americans think Iraq has something to hide; 89% believe Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction that weapons inspectors have not yet found.

OTHER INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES
North Korea's announcement roughly two weeks ago that it intends to resume production of nuclear weapons presents another potential threat to global stability. In this instance, Americans are even more firmly convinced of the need for a diplomatic solution. 89% think the U.S. should pursue diplomatic options, while less than one in ten prefers a military response.

WHAT SHOULD U.S. DO NOW ABOUT NORTH KOREA?
Take military action 6%
Find diplomatic solution 89

And most see North Korea as less of a threat to peace and stability than Iraq: when asked to choose between the two, 58% say Iraq is a bigger threat, and 24% choose North Korea. However, terrorists such as Al Qaeda surpass both countries; when asked to choose among all three, 59% name terrorists as the greater threat to peace and stability, 15% name Iraq, and 12% choose North Korea.

WHICH IS THE GREATER THREAT?
Iraq or No. Korea?
Iraq 58%
North Korea 24

Iraq, No. Korea or Al Qaeda
Iraq 15%
No. Korea 12
Al Qaeda 59

Many view the war against Al Qaeda and terrorism as a stalemate. 44% think neither side is winning that war; 32% think the U.S. is winning, and 17% think the terrorists are winning.

WHO IS WINNING THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM?
U.S. and Allies 32%
Terrorists 17
Neither side 44

PRESIDENT BUSH
President Bush continues to enjoy high overall and foreign policy job approval ratings. While his handling of foreign policy is rated lower than his overall approval, a majority views it favorably. However, less than half approve of his handling of the economy.

Commentary:
The economy us topic number one. The democrats lead in this topic by huge numbers. The press, following Bush's lead, played the war card during the last election cycle. Keeping people distracted with his "wag the dog." Now that the election is over, it's time to deal with real issues--democrat issues.

The press will give Bush credit for taking action on the economy. Watch! The same press could have destroyed the republican party in the last election for failing to act on the economy. Bush and Co knew this. Instead the press gave Bush a pass and pushed his endless war around the clock. (IE: "Wag the Dog" went into full production.) The press chose to close their collective mouths and eyes. Democrats have the issues, republicans control the press.

A reasonable person has to wonder how it is that Bush is seen as not winning the war, not doing a good job running the economy, destroying fiscal sanity and still having high popularity polls. The answer is two-fold. First, Bush controls the media. Second, Bush is a liar and the press loves liars because he's one of them.


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War's Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect
Washington Post
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Mindful of his pending reelection bid and his father's political mistakes, President Bush is plowing ahead with an ambitious 10-year, $674 billion economic stimulus plan even as U.S troops pour into the Persian Gulf region preparing for war.

The president's determination to push more tax cuts as the nation prepares for war has struck some economists as folly, since the economic shock of war would likely dwarf the impact of Bush's stimulus plan. Moreover, no tax policy at the moment could actually address what many economists believe to be the greatest drag on the nation's economy: the uncertainty of war.

"Clearing away the clouds over Iraq would open the paths for expansion, regardless of what the Bush administration is proposing," said Robert DiClemente, a managing director at Salomon Smith Barney who has studied the potential impact of an Iraq war on the U.S. economy. "That is undoubtedly the biggest obstacle to expansion right now."

Bush was explicit about his two-track policymaking yesterday, beginning his speech in Chicago by addressing the threats of terrorism, Iraq and North Korea. He then added, "Even as we confront these dangers, you need to know I know we have needs here at home, especially the need for a vigorous and growing economy."

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to address those domestic needs without first confronting the problems abroad, economists said. The goal of the president's plan is to inject $102 billion into the economy this year, by accelerating planned income tax cuts, excluding investment dividends from taxation, boosting the child tax credit and speeding tax relief to married couples. The elimination of dividend taxes alone could boost the stock market by 10 percent, according to White House allies.

But all of that could be undone by a war in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, especially if the war were protracted and led to terrorist attacks and the use of weapons of mass destruction. Last month, Yale University economist William D. Nordhaus published an analysis that dramatized the uncertainties the United States faces. The cost to the Treasury of a war with Iraq could be as low as $100 billion over the next decade or as high as $1.6 trillion, he concluded. Most likely, the economy would take a $391 billion hit in the next two years, Nordhaus predicted, which would dwarf the cash infusion the president is offering.

"If energy prices spike up, it wouldn't take much to offset all of this stimulus," said William G. Gale, a tax economist at the Brookings Institution.

A recent analysis by experts convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies predicted that any war would knock down stock prices by as much as 25 percent, more than undoing the anticipated benefit of the dividend tax elimination.

Recovery would depend on how a war with Iraq unfolded. If the war ended swiftly, stocks and the economy as a whole would recover quickly and grow at a rate faster than they would if there were no war, thanks to the lifting of uncertainty, falling oil prices, higher government spending and rising consumer confidence. In that event, the Bush plan could end up harming the economy by fueling inflation or pushing interest rates higher, said Laurence Meyer, a former Federal Reserve Board governor who convened the CSIS conference.

But if the war lasted even six to 12 weeks, stock prices would continue to fall, interest rates would rise and economic growth would slow by 1 3/4 percent, the CSIS analysis said. A worst-case scenario -- in which the war dragged on for 90 to 180 days, oil supplies were significantly disrupted, and serious terrorist attacks ensued -- would push the economy back into recession, regardless of economic policymaking.

In that case, the economic response would probably be far different from the one Bush is proposing now, Meyer said. That range of potential outcomes makes policymaking at this point "treacherous," he said.

"The best policy right now is to wait, to see what happens ahead, and to plan in the background some contingency plans, just in case we have an adverse outcome," Meyer said.

Not everyone is so cautious. DiClemente said the Bush proposal could provide a buffer for the shocks that would come from a war. Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, noted that a war with Iraq could be long over by the time Congress passed a stimulus plan. In that case, he said, Bush might as well get the ball rolling now.

But, for the president's critics, the timing and boldness of the Bush plan present an irresistible target.

"Whenever the president talks about war, he talks about a spirit of shared sacrifice," Gale said. "But for rich people, shared sacrifice appears to be accepting tax cuts, and for the poor, it seems to be accepting cuts in social spending. There seems to be a disconnect bordering on the dishonest."

Fumed Rep. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, "Never in a time of war have we reduced the tax burden on the most privileged."

Even some of Bush's allies in past tax fights expressed exasperation yesterday, given the gathering clouds of war.

"I understand you can't just put everything on the back burner and ignore it," said Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), a key ally in the battle over the president's 2001 tax cut. "But what you can do is take modest steps, and $670 billion is more than modest."

Commentary:
Bush's deficit for this fiscal year is expected to be $250 billion. It appears Bush thinks there are enough people to believe taxes will actually be cut. Deficits are future taxes, not a tax cut. All Bush is doing is asking another generation to make the sacrifices needed to pay for what he didn't. Typical conservatism--making the next generation pay.

Conservatives continue to play class warfare with little or no condemnation from the press. Borrowing money from middle class social program and giving it to those who don't need it, is the worst kind of class warfare and the worst kind of politics. It is the politics of division. Divide the country into half and have-nots, then take from the half-nots and give to the haves. Shame on Bush, his Party and the Press.

Where are the cries for a balance the budget? There are none, just as there were none when Reagan was racking up his debt. Conservatives only believe in a balanced budget when Democrats control the Presidency. We can only hope a democrat is elected soon. Then the cries begin again.


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Lid Put on Domestic Spending
Washington Post
By Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 6, 2003

After several years of hefty increases in spending for popular domestic programs, the Bush administration is attempting to put the government on a new, wartime fiscal path that could sharply restrain the growth of such initiatives for the foreseeable future.

Under a White House budget plan that the Republican-controlled Congress will take up in the next few days, spending for domestic programs other than homeland security would be held at $316 billion in the current fiscal year -- the same as last year, according to figures provided by the House Appropriations Committee. Congressional aides expect this frugal approach to continue in the 2004 budget that President Bush will propose next month.

The policy marks a major adjustment of federal priorities in the face of soaring defense outlays, new demands for funds to protect the nation against terrorism, and stagnant tax revenue. Spending on domestic programs funded in annual appropriations bills rose by about 40 percent in President Bill Clinton's second term, with generous increases for education, natural resources, job programs, transportation and health research.

Administration officials defend the shift as essential in light of new security threats abroad and the economic downturn at home. "We've been saying for a year that the country has three big priorities: fighting terrorism abroad, protecting our homeland and ensuring economic growth. That's where you'll see money spent, and other functions of government will have to grow more slowly than in previous years. We can't make the mistakes of trying to have guns and butter," said Amy Call, a spokeswoman for the White House budget office.

But Democratic leaders have been charging for months that the administration's main motives for squeezing domestic programs are to offset the revenue lost through the president's 2001 tax cut and make room in the budget for further cuts and new priorities such as a Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors.

Some outside analysts agree. "They're saying we can't have guns and butter, but in fact the butter side is the tax cut," said Victor Miller, a senior fellow at Federal Funds Information for States, which tracks the federal budget for the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The budget battle comes as some governors are pleading for federal fiscal help for their financially strapped states, and many GOP lawmakers want more federal dollars to combat western forest fires, provide drought relief for farmers, and improve sewer and drinking water systems of cities and Indian reservations.

Bipartisan support remains strong for programs such as Amtrak and rural education, both of which are targeted for cuts in the administration's fiscal 2003 budget.

The first indication of whether the White House can push through its plan will come this week when the new Congress belatedly takes up 10 spending bills that fund domestic departments and agencies through September. The president has told GOP leaders they must limit spending on all "discretionary" programs to $750.5 billion. But defense bills enacted last fall have gobbled up $365 billion of that, and foreign aid, homeland security and other defense spending will require at least another $69.5 billion.

Under the Bush plan, dozens of federal departments and agencies would have to make do with the same as or less than they had in previous years.

In education, the president supports a $1 billion increase in basic aid to schools serving concentrations of low-income students, a key component of his "No Child Left Behind" education reform plan. White House officials stress the president is still committed to the signature initiative, but it would be funded at levels sharply below what Congress authorized.

Overall education spending would remain frozen at about $50 billion, the same as in 2002, after doubling over the previous six years. Fifty-seven education programs would be cut or eliminated, in line with the administration's view that federal efforts to improve schools have become too fragmented.

The president even proposes doing away with a school-based physical education initiative named for a former aide to Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

At the same time, the administration has proposed cutting $300 million from the program that helps low-income families with home heating and air-conditioning bills. The move has drawn fire from anti-poverty groups, which charge that the poor are bearing the brunt of the new austerity.

According to a study by Richard Kogan and Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal lobby for the poor, about $3 billion would be cut from programs that directly benefit low-income people. Kogan called the cuts in the home heating program "particularly egregious because of the effect on people." He said as many as 500,000 people could lose the assistance if Congress goes along with the administration proposal to take money from the $2 billion program.

Bush has not made reducing the size of the federal government an ideological crusade, as President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) did in their days. Administration officials say that once the economy recovers fully and the war on terrorism is won, there will be room for growth in key areas, such as health research and education.

But White House budget projections make clear that will not happen soon. Spending on the Federal Aviation Administration, air safety, Amtrak subsidies, the Coast Guard and other annually funded transportation programs grew by more than 50 percent between 1997 and today, for example. But it would grow by only 7.3 percent between now and 2007.

Domestic programs funded in the annual appropriations bills make up only about 17 percent of the $2.1 trillion federal budget. Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and farm income supports, which pay benefits according to an automatic formula set by law, are far more costly.

But as the president plans for a possible war in the Middle East and pushes his own tax and spending priorities, the "discretionary" programs are one of the few areas where spending can be controlled.

"Nobody in the current environment wants to put defense on the table, and entitlement programs seem to be sacrosanct," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the fiscal watchdog group Concord Coalition. "All you're left with is transportation, education, national parks, community policing, clean water, environmental cleanup and most of what people think of as government. But it's difficult to squeeze all the savings they want out of that. I don't think you can get there from here."

The virtual freeze on domestic spending comes as many governors are lobbying for federal assistance to help them weather one of the worst fiscal crises in years. Federal grants and payments to public schools, local law enforcement agencies, universities, research laboratories and state highway departments are crucial to state budgets.

States have asked the White House for a reduction in payroll taxes to spur local spending, and for temporary increases in the federal share of the Medicaid low-income health program, and the administration is considering making some relief part of a broad stimulus plan that would include tax cuts.

But Frank Shafroth, director of state-federal affairs at the National Governors Association, complained that Congress and the Bush administration have added to states' fiscal problems by providing insufficient money for states to meet new federal education standards, carry out election reforms and protect local infrastructure from terrorists.

Shafroth said the administration has not offered to help states carry out a nationwide smallpox vaccination program, and has left open the possibility that federal highway construction payments could be reduced by $4 billion in 2004.

"They're saying they have an overall spending limit and they're doing the best they can, but the threat of Iraq and al Qaeda overseas are the big items," he said.

Commentary:
Republicans have been lying about tax cuts doubling revenue for so long, they actually started to believe their own lies. Needless to say, it's time to backtrack. The National Review ran a nice story about how tax cuts were never meant to increase revenue (another attempt to rewrite history). A good read if you like seeing how the Party makes things up and gets away with it.

For the record, Reagan said his tax cut would balance the budget in four years. Reagan also said his tax cut would give us more revenue. Both were lies. After a recession hit, that lie died and another was created. The blame game switched to President Carter and/or the Congress. The Reagan debt is now his legacy. Personal responsibility is a foreign concept to modern day conservatism.

Now the Party has absolute power and there's no place to hide. Where oh where do they find someone to blame? Saddam, where are you? Bin Laden, we need you? North Korea, please drop a nuke someplace and Al Qaeda, please come out and play again. Bush needs you guys.


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Analysis Finds Little Gain in Tax-Cut Plan
Washington Post
By John M. Berry
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 6, 2003

Eliminating taxes on dividends paid to individuals, the centerpiece of President Bush's stimulus package, would do little to spur economic growth or reduce the nation's jobless rate, according to an analysis this weekend by two prominent economists.

Bush is to provide details of his plan in a speech tomorrow.

Allen Sinai of Decision Economics and Andrew F. Brimmer, a former Federal Reserve Board member who heads a consulting firm, said that even a much broader combination of additional spending measures and tax cuts worth nearly $500 billion over the next five years would raise growth by only about a half-percentage point and reduce the unemployment rate by only one-tenth or two-tenths of a percentage point this year and next.

The impact of a stimulus package much larger than the one the administration is expected to propose is so small, Sinai told a panel session at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association here, because "the economy is so large" relative to the amount of stimulus.

Other economists on the panel did not challenge the conclusions of Sinai and Brimmer, but several criticized the stimulus packages analyzed because they would lead to rising federal budget deficits.

Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor defended the administration's intention to propose a stimulus program, saying that it would improve the economy's ability to grow in both the short and long run.

"Our pro-growth policies will act as much on potential gross domestic product as on actual GDP," Taylor said.

Administration officials have indicated that the economic package would include spending and tax cut proposals totaling about $600 billion over the next 10 years. In addition to eliminating the tax on dividends, Bush plans to call for allowing businesses a faster tax write-off of the cost of investment in new equipment to spur such spending.

According to the Sinai and Brimmer analysis, an alternative stimulus measure favored by many Democrats, a one-year reduction in Social Security payroll taxes paid by workers and employers, would also give the economy only a minor boost.

Despite the relatively small impact on economic growth and unemployment, Brimmer and Sinai said they favor implementation of a large stimulus package because they fear the U.S. economic growth would not accelerate enough to regain the ground lost in the 2001 recession.

"The need for additional stimulus seems apparent from the sub-par performance of the U.S. and global economies now in evidence," they said in the paper presented at the American Economics Association session. The large reduction in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, "while necessary, has not been sufficient to bring the economy back to [an] adequate performance."

According to many forecasters, the U.S. economy grew by about 2.8 percent last year, but at only about a 1 percent annual pace in the final three months of the year. Last year's growth was not strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate, which reached 6 percent early last year, dipped slightly, and then returned to 6 percent in November. However, if the conflict with Iraq is settled either without a war or with a fight that is over quickly, many forecasters expect growth to approach an annual rate of 4 percent in the second half of the year.

Sinai and Brimmer said they do not think growth will improve that much without additional fiscal stimulus.

Among the panel members expressing concern about future budget deficits was Alice Rivlin of the Brookings Institution, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton.

"You need to be very careful that you do not create an unfixable problem in the long run" by reducing federal revenue, Rivlin said. In particular, she criticized another part of the Bush package -- speeding up cuts in personal income tax rates now due in 2004 and 2006 and making them permanent.

"Making the tax cuts permanent doesn't do much to help the economy in the short run and leaves policymakers a hell of a hole to climb out of in 2012," she said.

Economist George Von Furstenburg of Indiana University sharply criticized the plan to cut taxes when the country has been hit with what he called "a permanent spending shock" from the terrorist attacks in September 2001. With federal spending going up to improve homeland security and probably to cover the cost of a war with Iraq, the Bush administration should take immediate steps "to stabilize tax rates to cover that spending," he said.

Fed Gov. Edward M. Gramlich, also a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told the session that monetary and fiscal policies should have "anchors" in the long run. For monetary policy, the anchor is keeping prices stable. "Fiscal policy should be anchored in the long run by the need to preserve overall national saving rates and prevent explosive growth in government debt," he said.

"Over this long term, it is desirable to have budgets roughly in balance; or, to say it another way, the long-term budget constraint of the government should be satisfied without requiring unacceptable increases in future tax rates or cuts in future spending," Gramlich continued. That does not mean, he added, that you can have short-term actions to stimulate a lagging economy, but they should occur only while keeping that long-term goal in mind.

Sinai is chief economist at Decision Economics in New York. Brimmer's consulting firm, Brimmer & Co., is based in Washington.

Commentary:
The 1990's proved to us that republicans like to spend. The 21st century is showing us they will bankrupt us with their tax cuts too. If you believe in America and believe we have a duty to make a better tomorrow for the next generation, vote against every republican in the next election. They must never hold positions of power again until they grow up.

Economists are already projecting a deficit of around $250 billion this year, one of the highest in US history. In 2001 they blamed 9/11, in 2002 they blamed a recession, in 2003, they'll find another excuse. Vote them out of office, force them to grow up.


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First Stike Doctrine Dies
Washington Post By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 6, 2003

Soon after rolling out a new post-Cold War foreign policy doctrine, the Bush administration is scrambling to explain why "preemption" may be appropriate for dealing with Iraq, but not such a good idea in defusing the threat from fellow "axis of evil" member North Korea.

A spate of nuclear brinkmanship from North Korea, which is threatening to push ahead with the production of fissile material for a series of nuclear bombs, has created an unexpected opening for Democrats and opponents of a looming war with Iraq. The critics have seized on the North Korea crisis as an opportunity to attack the administration for apparent inconsistencies in a foreign policy strategy that stresses the need to move beyond the Cold War practices of containment and deterrence.

"What North Korea shows is that deterrence is working," said Joseph S. Nye Jr., dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who served as a senior Pentagon official during the Clinton administration. "The only problem is that we are the ones who are being deterred."

To blunt the criticism, administration officials from President Bush down are subtly distancing themselves from elements of the new doctrine of strategic preemption announced last summer. They are insisting that the preemption doctrine -- an assertion by the United States that it is willing to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to confront potentially hostile states bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction -- was an option of last resort never intended to apply in all cases.

Last June, in a speech to West Point graduates, Bush declared that containment was "not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies." Those words would appear to apply to North Korea, whose missile and nuclear programs are much more advanced than those of Iraq, and which has an active program of selling its weapons technology to others.

Over the past two weeks, the administration has been forced back on what looks very much like a policy of containment toward North Korea, which has the ability to respond to a preemptive U.S. attack by inflicting massive damage on South Korea and even Japan, two key U.S. allies in Asia. There is widespread recognition, both inside and outside the government, that it is too risky to launch a preemptive military attack on a country that may have one or two nuclear weapons and can deliver a rain of devastating artillery fire on the South Korean capital of Seoul.

On Friday, Bush drew a distinction between North Korea and Iraq at a ceremony for U.S. troops heading for the Persian Gulf for the escalating military confrontation with Baghdad. He said that his administration was "confronting the threat of outlaw regimes who seek weapons of mass destruction," but that "different circumstances require different strategies, from the pressure of diplomacy to the prospect of force."

"What the cases of North Korea and Iraq show is that if the threat is genuinely serious, the preemption doctrine is not pursued," said Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. "If the threat is not immediate but, as the president said, grave and gathering, then you rely on preemption. It is less risky and more satisfying to beat up someone who is less threatening than more threatening."

Put another way, the paradox of preemption is that it can be applied only to a country that is too weak to retaliate effectively. Of the three countries that Bush placed in the "axis of evil" category in his State of the Union address a year ago, Iraq is generally viewed as the weakest and most vulnerable. Administration officials are ruling out preemption as a tactic for dealing with North Korea or the third "axis of evil" member, Iran.

A senior administration official said in an interview that the administration "never said that it was going to go around preempting in every circumstance. . . . When we discussed the policy, we talked about the fact that it would be rare as an option. There are many other options at one's disposal. In the case of North Korea, we have a diplomatic option, which we don't have in other cases."

The official added that one important lesson to be drawn from the confrontation with North Korea is that "the longer a situation like this goes on, the more limited one's options become. The North Korean problem started a long time ago. It is true that our options are more limited now, because of 20 years of policies that have not managed to deal with the Korean problem."

In the administration's view, the difficulties in finding a satisfactory means of dealing with North Korea are an additional argument for preparing to go to war with Iraq, even in the absence of an immediate, overwhelming threat. "The point is not whether you are more or less threatened by a particular power, but whether you acted early enough," said the senior official. "You should not wait until you don't have very good options."

Although the preemption doctrine was articulated in its most authoritative form in Bush's West Point speech and in a new national security strategy released in September, its intellectual origins go back to the administration of George H.W. Bush.

In 1992, after the Persian Gulf War, Pentagon planners such as Paul D. Wolfowitz, who has since become deputy secretary of defense, drafted a policy statement asserting that the United States reserved the right to use preemptive strikes to stop rogue states from developing weapons of mass destruction.

Known as the Defense Planning Guidance, the draft document also called for the United States to act to prevent the emergence of any rival superpower in the post-Cold War era. The draft sparked great controversy after it was leaked to the New York Times and was substantially rewritten, but many of its key points have reemerged as part of the foreign policy strategy of the younger Bush. Even today, enthusiasm for the ideas embraced in the Wolfowitz draft are much more pronounced in the Defense Department than in the State Department.

"National strategy documents are revealing snapshots of an administration," said an official involved in devising strategy toward Iraq and North Korea. "They tell you something about people's thinking and orientation. But they are not the American equivalent of Mao's little red book. It's not as if we show up in the office each day, reread the text, and see how we can apply it."

Although U.S. officials may not take their own foreign policy guidance literally, other countries' leaders tend to place great stock in formal American pronouncements, administration critics argue. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has drawn on the new administration doctrine and repeated expressions of "hatred" for his regime from Bush to accuse the United States of threatening a preemptive nuclear strike. U.S. officials insist that his fears lack foundation.

Brzezinski says he believes that Kim is not as crazy as he may seem, and that his actions are logical for a megalomaniac Third World dictator who feels threatened by the United States. "He is rationally crazy," Brzezinski said. "The lesson of North Korea for other Third World dictators is to go nuclear as rapidly as possible, and as secretly as possible, and then act crazy so as to deter us."

It is a lesson that does not appear to have been lost on Iraq, which last week urged other Arab countries to follow the North Korean example. "We Arabs need to revise our behavior towards the United States, as North Korea has done, to be respected," said the Iraqi daily newspaper Babel, which is owned by President Saddam Hussein's older son, Uday.

After weeks of going along with Bush's Iraq policy, leading Democrats last week raised their voices to criticize the seeming imbalance between the administration's handling of Baghdad and Pyongyang. Outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) was one of several who described the North Korea crisis as much more threatening to U.S. interests. "There is no urgency in Iraq," Biden told NBC. "As long as the inspectors and the international community is there, there is little or no prospect of them being able to do much mischief."

Some administration critics argue that the White House has blurred a traditional distinction between preemption and prevention. States have often asserted a right to act in self-defense to preempt an imminent attack by a rival power. Acting to prevent such attacks in the more distant future, as the Bush administration is doing in Iraq, is much more controversial because it provides a justification for states to go to war even when the threat is not imminent.

"My own feeling is that prevention makes sense against terrorists but is unwise as a doctrine against states," said Nye, of Harvard. He noted that President John F. Kennedy rejected a military strike against Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis because he thought that it would smack too much of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Instead, Kennedy adopted a compromise course of blockading Cuba, which was of questionable legality under international law but avoided an immediate military confrontation with the Soviet Union.

A senior administration official argued that Kennedy's blockade of Cuba was tantamount to "an act of war" and provides a good analogy for what Bush is trying to achieve in his policy toward Iraq. "The blockade was an important intermediate step, but no one should doubt that Kennedy was prepared to take those missiles out, if the blockade had failed," the official said. "He was ready to act preemptively."

Commentary:
With each passing day Bush acts and sounds childish. Insanity reigns throughout his administration. On one day, the "first strike" doctrine is news, News, NEWS. The next day it's oops, Oops, OOPS! Can the adults come out and play now?


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You Call That Evidence?
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Linda Rothstein, Editor
Posted: September 12, 2002

The Bush administration has begun to produce what it calls evidence to support its claim that Iraq is moving very near a nuclear weapon capability. But a story in Sunday’s New York Times (September 8, 2002), especially as elaborated by administration officials on Sunday talk shows, actually suggests just the opposite—that Iraq is not as close as it was before the Gulf War.

In a front-page story, Times reporters Michael Gordon and Judith Miller write that they were told by administration officials that Iraq has been trying to buy specially designed aluminum tubes to be used to fabricate gas centrifuges in which to produce weapon-grade uranium.

How does that compare to what we know about the state of Iraq’s nuclear program in 1991?

After the Gulf War, U.N. Special Commission inspectors discovered that although Iraq had spent billions of dollars over nearly two decades, its efforts to produce weapon-grade uranium had basically come up empty.

Iraq had been using two methods: One program involved building giant “calutrons,” a clumsy technology the United States had abandoned in the 1940s. For decades that technology had been considered so primitive and inefficient that it was unlikely ever to be copied; everything anyone could want to know about it was available in the open literature. It’s hard to say what an Iraqi success with this method would have meant, but in any case, the calutrons were destroyed.

The second method—and certainly the modern method of choice—was to build a “cascade” of centrifuges to separate the fissile constituents of uranium from the non-fissile. A cascade consists of thousands of centrifuges, all of which must be able to withstand spinning at extraordinarily high speed.

Inspectors discovered that although the Iraqis had brought in centrifuge experts from Germany and purchased specialty steel from German and Swiss companies, they had spoiled most of the material—failing to shape it properly or otherwise maltreating it. Essentially, the Iraqi centrifuge program was a failure. And if the Iraqis were to depend on producing weapon material through the centrifuge process—rather than trying to obtain it on the black market—experts say it would probably take five or six years.

Now we are expected to believe that Iraq is closer to a nuclear weapon capability because it is starting all over again! Admittedly, this time Iraq is trying to get different materials with which to construct the centrifuges—and perhaps they hope to save time by getting it preformed as tubes.

Mysteriously, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Meet the Press that he could not comment on what the administration knows, only on what had appeared in the Times—in other words, he would discuss only a selective, agreed-upon leak. He then asserted that the administration knew of only one attempted purchase of aluminum tubes because, he said, “we intercepted” that shipment. And if, he said, one shipment had been intercepted, how many others might have gotten through?

These comments, of course, raise more questions than they answer. First, just who is the “we” Cheney refers to? The U.S. government? An ally? In any case, it is someone who has no name. This story certainly leaves the rest of us wondering if anyone has made an effort to find out anything about the possible supplier or suppliers, because of their potential violation of treaties forbidding the export of weapons-usable industrial items.

Things got murkier after Condoleezza Rice’s appearance on CNN’s Late Edition. Although her discussion of the issue was more general, her remarks were more in line with the Times story; she said “we” knew about a series of shipments of tubes.

How strange is a story in which one official argues the case of a single shipment while others say there have been a number of shipments, yet no one expresses any interest in the source? Are the same unnamed but all-knowing “we” not at all interested in asking alleged suppliers what they think they’re doing, or bringing any pressure on them to cut it out? And why hasn’t anyone in the media been able to tease out a single bit of independent, corroborating information?

And just a little tip for those assigned to leak additional new “evidence” of a stepped-up Iraqi nuclear threat: The tubing in centrifuges is not nearly as hard to acquire or assemble as the mechanisms that allow them to spin at rapid speeds; getting that stuff right, and getting thousands of centrifuges working in concert, is really hard.

[edited due to error by original author]

The aluminum tubing story—and others to come—may be taken at face value by an insufficiently skeptical press, but the decision to go to war is simply too important to let the administration “wing it” in presenting its rationale. As Jon Stewart of the Daily Show asked recently about the administration’s attitude toward the American public, “Do they think we’re retarded?”

© 2002 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Commentary:
Excellent!


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