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Impeach Bush

Bush Cited Report That Doesn't Exist
Newsday.com
By James Toedtman
CHIEF ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT
February 23, 2003

Washington - There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist.

Bush and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer went out of their way Thursday to cite a new survey by "Blue-Chip economists" that the economy would grow 3.3 percent this year if the president's tax cut proposal becomes law.

That was news to the editor who assembles the economic forecast. "I don't know what he was citing," said Randell E. Moore, editor of the monthly Blue Chip Economic Forecast, a newsletter that surveys 53 of the nation's top economists each month.

"I was a little upset," said Moore, who said he complained to the White House. "It sounded like the Blue Chip Economic Forecast had endorsed the president's plan. That's simply not the case."

Deputy White House Press Secretary Claire Buchan insisted Friday that the survey, which mentioned "the likelihood that some version of the Bush administration's latest stimulus package will be enacted," justified the president's claim. Moore said that a survey taken in January before the president announced his plan forecast 3.3 percent annual growth between the last quarter of 2002 and the last quarter of 2003. A survey taken in February reached the same consensus.
Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

Commentary:
Pathological liars, the whole bunch. They lie about the easy stuff, get caught and do it again and again. What will stop this group of thugs. The media reports the Bush lies on the evening news but then fails to correct the lies when the truth comes out. A quick check at CBSNews and they're still running the lie.

CBS: "Despite objections from hundreds of leading economists, the president said his tax cut plan "makes sense," and pointed to a new "blue chip" economic forecast that sees 3.3 percent economic growth this year, but only if the Bush plan is enacted."

To be fair to CBS they also say; "By contrast, more than 400 economists, including 10 Nobel laureates, said last week that Mr. Bush's tax plan wouldn't help the ailing economy immediately. Instead, they predicted that it would create deeper deficits that could drive up long-term interests rates and jeopardize the economy down the road."

The Washington Post pulled the story but not the Washington Times

Washington Times: "A Blue Chip Forecast, a forecast by a group of private economists, has predicted the economy would grow by 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of this year if Bush's proposal were enacted into law -- a prediction the president pointed to Thursday."

A president can get away with these types of lies because journalists are lazy. Do they bother to see if something is true before they print it? Do they verify the facts before they print what Bush says? Nah! Too much like work. Shame on Bush for lying and shame on the press for letting him get away with it.


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Iraq ponders UN order to destroy missiles
Toronto Star
Sun Feb 23, 2003 | Updated at 02:13 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq is studying a UN order to destroy its Al Samoud 2 missile program, but has made no decision, the chief Iraqi liaison to the UN inspectors said today.

"We received the letter from (chief inspector Hans) Blix on the Al Samoud, and this issue is under study," Gen. Hossam Mohamed Amin said at a news conference.

"We are serious about solving this."

Amin expressed optimism that the United Nations and Iraq would be able to work out their differences over the Al Samoud 2. Blix told Iraq on Friday that a UN-supervised destruction of all Al Samoud 2 missiles, warheads, fuel, engines and other components must begin by March 1.

The missiles exceed the 150-kilometre range limit set by UN resolutions adopted at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"We hope this issue will be resolved without interference from the Americans or the British," Amin said. "I think we will be able to resolve this issue without the interference of people with bad intentions."

Amin, who insisted that Iraq has co-operated with all UN disarmament resolutions, highlighted Iraq's agreement to let American U-2 spy planes fly over its territory to support the work of the inspectors.

He said he expected French Mirage planes to begin flying as well over the next two days, and said Iraq was discussing with the United Nations the use of German drones as well.

The United States and Britain accuse Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, despite UN bans on both. Iraq denies holding such weapons and says its enemies have their eyes on Iraq's oil and on world domination.

The United States and Britain are trying to focus the world's attention on illegal Iraqi weapons activities while they prepare a new UN resolution that could pave the way for military action.

Iraq's decision on the Al Samoud 2 missile will likely be a factor in whether the council approves such a resolution, which is expected to be introduced early next week.

Diplomatic sources said Iraq declared 76 Al-Samouds in June 2002 and said some had been used for tests and component parts. But Iraq has continued to produce the missiles, and UN inspectors now estimate they have between 100 and 120, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Amin said if Iraq goes ahead with the destruction of the Al Samoud 2, it will be a blow to its defensive capabilities — but not a serious blow.

"The destruction of those missiles would affect our fighting capabilities, but it would not finish them or affect them greatly," he said.

CP 1043ES 23-02-03

Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.

Commentary:


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Bush tax cut lies
Washington Post
Editorial
Friday, February 21, 2003; Page A26

AT A HIGH SCHOOL in Kennesaw, Ga., yesterday to sell his tax cuts, President Bush repeated several of his favorite sound-bite statistics to argue that his plan would help ordinary Americans, small-business owners and senior citizens. But as any math teacher there could have attested, Mr. Bush's arguments rely on a misleading use of averages to make his foolhardy plan appear fair.

"Under this plan, 92 million Americans receive an average tax cut of $1,083," Mr. Bush said. "That's fair." No, it's deceptive. The vast majority of taxpayers -- 80 percent -- would receive less than that amount, according to data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. For the truly typical household -- filers in the middle fifth of the income spectrum -- the average tax cut would be $256. Almost half of all taxpayers would see their taxes drop by less than $100. At the top of the income pyramid, however, the tax savings would be huge; the top 1 percent of filers would receive an average tax cut of $24,100. The average tax cut touted by Mr. Bush is more than $1,000 only because the savings for the wealthiest Americans are so large.

"We estimate that 23 million small-business owners across America will receive an average income tax rate cut of $2,042," Mr. Bush said. "That matters." Again, misleading. As with the individual taxpayer statistics, the Tax Policy Center estimates that nearly four out of five tax filers with small-business income would receive less than that amount. More than half would receive $500 or less. Nearly a quarter would receive no tax cut at all -- a group that doesn't drag down Mr. Bush's average because it's simply not included in the calculation. But a small number of wealthy individuals with small-business income would receive huge tax cuts, once again inflating the average.

"It means that 10 million seniors, nearly one in four, who receive dividend income will get relief," Mr. Bush said of his plan to cut dividend taxes. "Now, that's important. . . . Getting rid of the double taxation of dividends is an incredibly positive thing for the quality of life of our seniors." Some seniors would see their quality of life improve a lot more than others, however. You can probably guess which ones. A big slice of the dividend tax cut -- 37 percent -- would indeed go to seniors. But the majority of elderly people -- the two-thirds with incomes below $50,000 -- would save on average $325 or less. Meanwhile, a small number of high-income elderly would reap most of the benefits. More than three-quarters of the part of the dividend tax break that would go to the elderly would flow to the 19 percent of senior citizens with incomes above $75,000; 43 percent of the benefits would go to the richest in that group, the 2.5 percent of senior citizens with incomes greater than $200,000. They would save an average of more than $5,000.

Mr. Bush must know how phony his "averages" are. Any time a salesman has to resort to such deceptive tactics, the customer ought to be wary about what is being sold.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Yet another set of lies from our pathological liar in chief. It's kinda sad that Americans are subjected this kind of crap on a daily basis. What is even more bothersome is the press seldom tells us the truth about what Bush is saying or doing. Most Americans still think they're getting a tax cut (this author is also under that illusion). In reality, deficits are unpaid taxes. If you support Bush or his tax cut, you support his $300 + billion deficits or his $300 + billion yearly tax increase. Stop being a neo-liberal and become a real liberal. Liberals tax and spend. Neo-liberals, like Bush and Reagan spend and borrow.


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Governors Association Rip Bush Budget
Washington Post
By ROBERT TANNER
The Associated Press
Saturday, February 22, 2003; 7:03 PM

Their states' economies in tatters, governors are hoping to win more federal aid to cover soaring costs for health care, homeland security and education.

State governments' dire finances and disagreements on what would help threatened to strain the traditionally bipartisan tone of the four-day National Governors Association meeting that began Saturday.

"We have serious issues," said the group's chairman, Democrat Paul Patton of Kentucky. "It may be more difficult to get consensus than it has in the past."

"We'll thrash it out," said the vice chairman, Republican Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho.

Governors met Saturday with Education Secretary Rod Paige, and planned to see Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and leading lawmakers later during the four-day weekend.

They are joining President Bush for a White House dinner Sunday and are meeting with him and other Cabinet members Monday to address state-federal budget issues.

Democrats sharply criticized Bush's budget proposals, and even fellow Republicans questioned the details.

There also was some dismay that the governors' association, seeking a unified position on behalf of the states, was too harsh in assessing Bush's spending plan.

Bush's successor as Texas governor, Republican Rick Perry, quit the organization, partly to save $160,000 in annual fees and partly because he was unhappy with what he felt was its criticism of the Bush administration, spokeswoman Kathy Walt said.

"Open criticism of the president is not an approach Gov. Perry favors," she said.

GOP Govs. John Rowland of Connecticut, Jeb Bush of Florida and Bill Owens of Colorado have all been pushing to counter what they see as partisan attacks from the group, Rowland said.

Among the issues on the governors' agenda:

-Bush's Medicaid overhaul, which would give more flexibility and increased federal funding in the short term to states that choose to participate.

-Reauthorization of the federal transportation act, which distributes federal funds for state and local transportation needs.

-Money to help states meet new obligations for homeland security.

Underlying the policy discussions is the financial crisis facing the states. New figures released Saturday predict a combined $30 billion shortfall for the current budget year.

Next year looks worse, with shortfalls estimated at $82 billion. Because all states except for Vermont are barred from running a deficit, governors and legislators must agree to cut spending or raise taxes. Three years of cuts are taking their toll.

"I didn't mind making cuts when the cuts inconvenienced people," said Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, one of several GOP governors who have stepped away from their party's usual anti-tax stance and proposed raising taxes.

"Telling an elderly woman that she's going to have to cut her blood pressure medication in half - that hurts her. I'm not willing to hurt her."

Huckabee said he particularly wants to hear more details about changes proposed for Medicaid, the fastest growing portion of most state budgets. "We don't have room to make mistakes in our budgets," he said.

Democratic governors, who won several seats in the past election but still are outnumbered 26-24 by Republicans, have stepped forward to focus their national party's stance on domestic issues.

"We hear from the White House about partnership. But when you get past the rhetoric of partnership, we see no money" - on homeland security, rising Medicaid costs or other pressing needs, said Democrat Bob Holden of Missouri.

Washington Gov. Gary Locke, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said Bush's staff had told governors there wouldn't be the usual dialogue with the president during their sitdown, and that they would hear presentations from Cabinet officials.

Kempthorne said there still would be an opportunity to ask questions of Bush, and that the changes were a constructive attempt to focus closely on top concerns.

Bush also closed Sunday's formal dinner to the press; in years past, it had been open.

After the Republican governors gathered to discuss politics and policy Saturday, Owens - the group's chairman - announced that they were pleased with Bush's budget proposals, from Medicaid to tax cuts.

Several Democrats said they were concerned that Washington's focus overseas was shortchanging domestic needs. Tennessee's Phil Bredesen recounted meeting with the president with other governors just before Christmas.

"It was great and I was honored to be there, but we spent the entire 45 minutes talking about Iraq," he said. "Myself, and many other governors, Republicans and Democrats, would like to have had some discussion about education, about how we're going to get the economy back on track."

Association meetings usually produce consensus statements on federal policy in hopes that by working together, all 50 governors can influence Congress and the White House.

"We'll have some real gut-wrenching discussions, but we've got some real gut-wrenching problems," said Patton. "We'll find consensus."

But a new GOP governor, Linda Lingle from Hawaii, was less convinced. "Republican governors won't agree to oppose a Republican president," she said.

On the Net:

National Governors Association: http://www.nga.org

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
It's good to see a former governor, who wallowed in federal dollars during the Clinton years deny them to current governors because of his short-sighted borrow and spend agenda. Seldom in US history has a president borrowed so much money and given it to the rich. Seldom has a president passed to another generation historic debt. We have three such presidents in recent memory. Ronald Reagan and the two George Bush's. Conservatives are not fit to hold public office.

If you still don't understand that deficits are really tax increase it's time you figure it out. Bush like Reagan is giving us huge tax increases for as far as the eye can see. He calls them a tax cuts, but don't be fooled. Deficits are taxes we haven't paid yet and Bush is their master.


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Nearly Two-Thirds of UN Against War with Iraq
Associated Press
BREAKING NEWS INTERNATIONAL
POSTED AT 11:06 AM EST Saturday, Feb. 22, 2003

Kuala Lumpur — Foreign ministers from more than half the world urged Iraq on Saturday to comply with UN resolutions but made clear their opposition to a U.S.-led war on Baghdad.

A declaration prepared for a Non-Aligned Movement summit also said that if Iraq continued to co-operate with UN inspectors in eliminating weapons of mass destruction, the debilitating sanctions imposed on Baghdad since the 1991 Gulf War should be lifted.

Although the draft declaration endorsed Saturday by foreign ministers addressed U.S. concerns by stressing that Baghdad must comply with Security Council Resolution 1441 — which established a tough inspections regime to disarm Iraq — its overall tone left no doubt that the Non-Aligned Movement does not want to see an attack.

Leaders of the movement's 114 nations were expected to approve the declaration at their summit starting Monday. The movement, comprising mostly developing nations, represents 55 per cent of the world's population and nearly two-thirds of UN members.

U.S. confrontations with Iraq and North Korea — nations allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction — dominated preparations for the summit.

"We reiterate our commitment to the fundamental principles of the non-use of force and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and security of all member states," the document on Iraq said.

There were two days of wrangling over the document's precise wording. The latest version dropped the characterization by some Arab countries of any conflict as "aggression."

"It is a balanced statement because it shows everyone is against unilateral action against Iraq or any other country," said Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran's deputy foreign minister. "At the same time, they have urged Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations."

"What we want is full compliance with Resolution 1441," said U.S. envoy Charles Twining, an observer at the conference. "It's really that simple." The United States is not a member of the movement.

Iraq is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which was set up in 1955 to pave a neutral path between the United States and the Soviet bloc.

The draft declaration paid a nod to massive anti-war protests around the world. It noted "the concerns expressed by millions in our countries, as well as in other parts of the world, who reject war and believe, like we do, that war against Iraq would be a destabilizing factor for the whole region."

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commentary:


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Turkey citizens: 94% against war
BBC
By Jonny Dymond
Last Updated: Friday, 21 February, 2003, 10:53 GMT
BBC correspondent in Istanbul

Turkey is caught. No one in the country is in favour of war. Few, if any, want to have the country used as a base for US troops.
But to turn down the United States entirely would leave Turkey so economically and politically exposed as to be almost unthinkable.

So Turkey has played for time over the weeks and months, trying to placate both a population that is overwhelmingly hostile to a war with Iraq and keep on-side its key ally, the United States.

Turkey's opposition to war runs very deep; the most recent opinion poll indicates as many as 94% of the population are hostile.

Most people have no time for Saddam Hussein, but dictators are not all that thin on the ground in the region.

The belief that this would be a war about oil, and about revenge, runs deep.

Broken promises

People are worried about the impact of war on the already fragile economy.

Turkey has been in a deep recession for more than two years.

Billions of dollars in tourism revenue are thought to be at risk if war comes to Turkey's doorstep.

As for American guarantees of compensation, whatever amount might be promised many Turkish people think they have heard it all before.

Turkey has deep suspicions of Kurdish ambitions
Turkey was told it would receive tens of billions of dollars in compensation for its losses during and after the 1991 Gulf War.

But much of the money never materialised.

Opposition to the war is more than just economic.

Turkey's political and military establishment is deeply concerned about the possibility that the Kurdish groups which currently control northern Iraq might use the war to try and establish an autonomous state.

Turkey has only recently finished a long and bloody struggle against separatist Kurds in the south east of the country.

An autonomous Kurdistan just across the border would cause enormous alarm in Ankara - so much that the government has already made it clear that Turkey would move militarily to stop it being created.

These concerns about war have driven Turkey's negotiations with the US.

It has sought guarantees about northern Iraq's final status, about a Turkish military role during any war, and of course about compensation.

US officials tend to roll their eyes when talking about the compensation that Turkey is looking for.

One recently suggested that Turkey thought it might use US compensation to get itself out of a newly created budget crisis.

But America has been forced to up its offer as Turkey has dug its heels in.

All or nothing

US Secretary of State Colin Powell's demand for a decision is driving the negotiating process to the endgame.

The US has never made the threat explicit but hanging over the negotiations is a scenario where Turkey loses on nearly all fronts.

That is that the US decides not to bother any more trying to bargain with Turkey, but instead abandons the northern front or somehow creates one without Turkish help.

Turkey would then suffer all the economic pain of war with no compensation from the US.

It would have instability on its border without military co-operation from the US in controlling Kurdish groups.

And Iraq would be reshaped after Saddam's fall with no input form Turkey.

Is the Turkish Government prepared to go so far as it chases the best deal possible or seeks to appease its electorate?

Colin Powell has asked for an answer. The clock is ticking.

© BBC 2003

Commentary:
Turkey is resisting the US because we promised them aid after the Gulf War and didn't deliver. The people oppose war and we demand the government ignore their will. So much for democracy, and governments of, by and for the people. In Bush's new order we have governments of, by and for the US. In the good old days, America respected the will of the people---today, our government scorns it. How far and fast we've fallen. Does the US have any values the rest of the world can admire? I doubt it.


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Turkey asks for $32 billion from US
Voice of America
Amberin Zaman Ankarabr
21 Feb 2003, 20:25 UTC

Turkey and the United States appeared closer on Friday to reaching agreement on a deal to allow the deployment of tens-of-thousands of U.S. forces on Turkish soil.

The Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul, told reporters in Ankara that talks between the two sides were continuing, as he put it, "in a positive way," and that a result would be reached "in the coming days." But he declined to elaborate.

His views were echoed by the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, Robert Pearson, who said progress had been achieved on a number of issues.

According to the private NTV news channel, hopes of a deal emerged after Washington reportedly agreed to Turkish demands to allow thousands of Turkish troops to enter Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in the event of a war.

The troops, which would be under Turkish command, a key Turkish condition, would be deployed in a broad area that is administered by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of two Kurdish factions that have been running the Western-protected Kurdish enclave since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Turkish military presence is aimed at discouraging the Iraqi Kurds from any moves toward independence.

Under the deal, some Turkish troops will also reportedly be allowed to position themselves close to oil fields in Iraq's main oil producing province of Kirkuk, to prevent the Iraqi Kurds from gaining control of those fields.

The Iraqi Kurds, however, continue to voice fierce opposition to the presence of Turkish troops. The Kurdistan Democratic Party, which controls the western slice of the enclave bordering Turkey, is particularly concerned about the possibility of Turkish intervention, saying it would destabilize the region and invite intervention from neighboring Iran as well.

Turkish officials, meanwhile, say differences remain between Washington and Ankara over the size of an economic aid package Turkey is demanding to cushion the effects of a war on its tottering economy.

The United States has offered $26 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees, but diplomats say Turkey has asked for a package totaling $32 billion.

As negotiations have continued between the two countries this week, each side has insisted that it would not alter its offer, and conceded that talks could break down altogether between the two longtime military allies.

Turkey, the NATO military alliance's only predominantly Muslim member, is set to play a key role in any conflict against Iraq, just as it did in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

The Pentagon has been pressing hard for a swift decision. If it comes, U.S. troops are expected to transit through Turkish territory to open a second front against Iraqi government forces in northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, thousands of American troops and tons of heavy equipment are loaded aboard Navy ships off Turkey's Mediterranean coast, waiting for the order to unload.

Turkey's powerful generals have made clear that the troops will have to remain aboard the ships for days longer, because the Turkish parliament, which must approve any deal, cannot formally take up the U.S. request until Tuesday, at the earliest.

Commentary:
I can't help but think how easy it must be to be president when you don't give a damn about our future (ie:the budget deficits). Bush will spend whatever it takes to buy allies. I'm beginning to think there isn't a single US ally left in the world. We buy our friends. The only question now is how much did we pay. Regardless of what you think of Turkey's request (I think it's reasonable), we have to know many more financial requests have been made and given without us knowing about it. Now we get to watch the deficit soar. Being a republican president must be the easiest job in the world.


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US goes to war in the Philippines *
An impeachable offense
Washington Post
By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 21, 2003; Page A01

The United States is sending about 3,000 troops to engage in a major combat offensive in the southern Philippines aimed at wiping out the militant Muslim group Abu Sayyaf, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

The move marks the second time in less than a year that the Bush administration has committed a significant number of U.S. forces to try to root out the extremist group, which has continued to unsettle the Philippines and target Americans in the islands. It opens another battlefront as U.S. forces already are stretched thin preparing for a possible war in Iraq, securing Afghanistan and pursuing al Qaeda around the world

Last year, nearly 1,300 U.S. advisers and support personnel participated in what was billed as a six-month training mission to bolster the counterterrorism capabilities of Philippine forces. That effort, which focused on the island of Basilan and concluded as scheduled on July 31, was credited with killing or capturing some Abu Sayyaf members, but it also ended up scattering scores of rebels to other islands.

This time, Pentagon officials are describing the mission not as a training exercise but a combat operation with no pre-set termination date. Although Philippine forces will have the lead, they will be accompanied in the field by American troops that will remain under U.S. command and be at some risk, defense officials said.

"The intent is for U.S. troops to actively participate," a Pentagon spokesman said. "At this point, we're going into it saying the mission will go on until both sides agree it is finished."

Plans call for U.S. military assessment teams to begin arriving on the island of Jolo in the southern Sulu Archipelago "within days," the spokesman said, with the rest of the American force likely to follow in about a month. The U.S. contingent will consist of about 350 Special Operations forces in the Sulu area and about 400 support personnel in Zamboanga on the island of Mindanao, where the Philippine military maintains a regional headquarters.

In addition, two U.S. amphibious assault ships with 1,300 sailors and 1,000 Marines armed with Cobra attack helicopters and Harrier AV-8B planes will sail from Japan to the waters around Jolo to provide aviation support, logistical assistance and medical help and also serve as a "quick reaction" back-up force. The American forces will be led by Maj. Gen. Joseph Weber, the commander of Marines in the Pacific.

Key members of Congress received notification of the operation yesterday from Pentagon officials. Several Defense Department spokesmen said that they knew of no plans to seek congressional approval for the operation, but added that such a decision rested with President Bush.

The Pentagon has used the Bush administration's global war on terrorism as a rationale for intensifying military ties with the Philippines, contending that the presence of rebel and criminal groups throughout Southeast Asia offers an inviting haven for international terrorists.

Abu Sayyaf has fought for a decade to establish an Islamic state in the southern Philippines, employing tactics that have included kidnappings, extortion and assassinations. The State Department designated the group a terrorist organization in 1997, and U.S. officials have alleged it is loosely linked to al Qaeda.

But those links have appeared somewhat dated and tenuous. More recently, the justifications offered by U.S. officials for going after Abu Sayyaf have centered on its threat to U.S. interests in the region and on a formal request for help from the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In one of their most publicized attacks, Abu Sayyaf rebels seized American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in 2001 and held them for more than a year. Gracia Burnham was freed by Philippine forces in June but her husband died in the rescue attempt. In October, a U.S. Special Forces soldier was killed along with two Filipinos when a bomb attributed to Abu Sayyaf exploded outside a food stand in Zamboanga near a Philippine military base housing a contingent of U.S. soldiers doing humanitarian work in the area.

Pentagon officials say last year's U.S. military effort, while failing to wipe out the group, did succeed in dislodging it from Basilan and restoring calm to the island. It also appeared to breathe new life into a military alliance with the Philippines that had been battered a decade earlier when U.S. forces were evicted from island bases.

But in wrapping up that operation, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed concern about tying U.S. military advisers to a long-term role in the Philippines at a time of competing demands for counterterrorism operations elsewhere in the world, not to mention the possibility of U.S. military action against Iraq. Other U.S. officials also noted then that the sustained involvement of American troops in the Philippines, particularly in combat operations, remained a sensitive political issue in the island nation.

A new security assistance plan worked out in July called for a smaller-scale U.S. military effort, training units on the islands of Luzon in the north, Mindanao in the south and the Visayas in the central Philippines.

But the island of Jolo, located about 70 miles southwest of Basilan, has emerged as another hotbed of Abu Sayyaf activity. Recent clashes between Philippine soldiers and the rebel group have left casualties on both sides. And earlier this month, the Philippine military's chief of staff, Gen. Dionisio Santiago, raised the official estimate of the number of rebels on Jolo from 250 to 500.

Many Filippinos have warned that ensuring security in the impoverished region will ultimately come not through military action but through addressing basic economic needs. Mindful of this, U.S. military authorities supplemented the training mission on Basilan last year with such development projects as digging wells and building roads.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Bush is going to war in another country without the consent of Congress. What is it with this man? Does he think he's a dictator? What's really going on here is simple--Bush desperately wants to be called a "war president," but there is no war for him to preside over. He's been fighting with the world for over a year to go to war with Iraq and still can't play war. The closest thing Bush gets to a war-time decision is picking cotton out of your navel. Go Navy.


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Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq
Washington Post
By Karen DeYoung and Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 21, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, is to maintain military control as long as U.S. troops are there. Once security was established and weapons of mass destruction were located and disabled, a U.S. administrator would run the civilian government and direct reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

In the early days of military action, U.S. forces following behind those in combat would distribute food and other relief items and begin needed reconstruction. The goal, officials said, would be to make sure the Iraqi people "immediately" consider themselves better off than they were the day before war, and attribute their improved circumstances directly to the United States.

The initial humanitarian effort, as previously announced, is to be directed by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner. But once he got to Baghdad, sources said, Garner would quickly be replaced as the supreme civil authority by an American "of stature," such as a former U.S. state governor or ambassador, officials said.

Officials said other governments are being recruited to participate in relief and reconstruction tasks under U.S. supervision at a time to be decided by Franks and officials in Washington. Although initial food supplies are to be provided by the United States, negotiations are underway with the U.N. World Food Program to administer a nationwide distribution network Opposition leaders were informed this week that the United States will not recognize an Iraqi provisional government being discussed by some expatriate groups. Some 20 to 25 Iraqis would assist U.S. authorities in a U.S.-appointed "consultative council," with no governing responsibility. Under a decision finalized last week, Iraqi government officials would be subjected to "de-Baathification," a reference to Hussein's ruling Baath Party, under a program that borrows from the "de-Nazification" program established in Germany after World War II.

Criteria by which officials would be designated as too tainted to keep their jobs are still being worked on, although they would likely be based more on complicity with the human rights and weapons abuses of the Hussein government than corruption, officials said. A large number of current officials would be retained.

Although some of the broad strokes of U.S. plans for a post-Hussein Iraq have previously been reported, newly finalized elements include the extent of U.S. control and the plan to appoint a nonmilitary civil administrator. Officials cautioned that developments in Iraq could lead them to revise the plan on the run. Yet to be decided is "at what point and for what purpose" a multinational administration, perhaps run by the United Nations, would be considered to replace the U.S. civil authority.

"We have a load of plans that could be carried out by an international group, a coalition group, or by us and a few others," one senior U.S. official. President Bush, the official said, doesn't want to close options until the participants in a military action are known and the actual postwar situation in Iraq becomes clear.

The administration has been under strong pressure to demonstrate that it has a detailed program to deal with what is expected to be a chaotic and dangerous situation if Hussein is removed. The White House plans to brief Congress and reporters on more details of the plan next week.

No definitive price tag or time limit has been put on the plan, and officials stressed that much remains unknown about the length of a potential conflict, how much destruction would result, and "how deep" the corruption of the Iraqi government goes. The administration has declined to estimate how long U.S. forces would remain in Iraq. Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman told Congress last week that it might be two years before the Iraqis regained administrative control of their country. But "they're terrified of being caught in a time frame," said retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, one of a number of senior military and civilian experts who have been briefed by the Pentagon on the plan. "My own view is that it will take five years, with substantial military power, to establish and exploit the peace" in Iraq.

Although more than 180,000 U.S. troops are on the ground in the Persian Gulf region, U.S. officials continued to emphasize that President Bush still has not made a final decision on whether to go to war. Negotiations at the United Nations, where Bush is seeking a new Security Council resolution declaring that Hussein has violated U.N. disarmament demands and authorizing that he be disarmed by a U.N. multinational force, are at a delicate stage.

A majority of the council's 15 members have said they believe a decision on war should be delayed while U.N. weapons inspections, launched in November, continue. Bush has said that, if necessary, the U.S. military and a "coalition of the willing" will disarm Iraq without U.N. approval.

The administration also is continuing discussions with Arab governments about the possibilities of exile for Hussein and several dozen of his family members and top officials. Sources said, however, that even if Hussein and a small group of others were to leave, uncertainties about who would remain in charge, the need to destroy weapons of mass destruction, and concerns about establishing long-term stability would likely lead to the insertion of U.S. troops there in any case.

Among the other parts of the post-Hussein plan:

Iraqi military forces would be gathered in prisoner-of-war camps, with opposition members now receiving U.S. training at an air base in Hungary serving as part of the guard force. The Iraqi troops would be vetted by U.S. forces under Franks's command, and those who were cleared, beginning with those who "stood down or switched sides" during a U.S. assault, would receive U.S. training to serve in what one official called a "post-stabilization" force.

U.S. forces would secure any weapons of mass destruction that were found, including biological and chemical weapons stores. "At an appropriate time," an official said, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are conducting U.N.-mandated weapons inspections in Iraq, might be brought in to examine weaponry, scientists and documentation.

In addition to the consultative council, an Iraqi commission would be formed to reestablish a judicial system. An additional commission would write a new constitution, although officials emphasized that they would not expect to "democratize" Iraq along the lines of the U.S. governing system. Instead, they speak of a "representative Iraqi government."

Officials said the decision to install U.S. military and civilian administrations for an indeterminate time stems from lessons learned in Afghanistan, where power has been diffused among U.S. military forces still waging war against the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda, a multinational security force of several thousand troops in which the United States does not participate, and the interim government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The administration is particularly keen on averting interference by other regional powers, and cites the "ability of people like the Iranians and others to go in with money and create warlords" sympathetic to their own interests, one official said. "We don't want a weak federal government that plays into the hands of regional powers" and allows Iraq to be divided into de facto spheres of influence. "We don't want the Iranians to be paying the Shiites, the Turks the Turkmen and the Saudis the Sunnis," the official, referring to some of the main groups among dozens of Iraqi tribes and ethnic and religious groups.

A similar anxiety led to the decision to prohibit the Iraqi opposition based outside the country from forming a provisional government. The chief proponent of that idea, Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, was informed this week that any move to declare a provisional Iraqi government "would result in a formal break in the U.S.-INC relationship," the official said.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Ok, you see a problem here right? Bush has been saying for months he's made no decision about war with Iraq. Does anyone still believe him?

This ball less wonder some call president is no better than the rest of the pro-war crowd. Those who favor war don't really favor war. I know this because they didn't quit their jobs, or schools, leave their families and join the military. They sit back, turn on the tube and wait for the next made for TV war to air. Slackers? Sure, we all are. Liberals oppose war and don't join the military, conservatives FAVOIO war and don't join the military. Both sides are cowards. One side tells us the truth, the other does not.

If you favor this war ask yourself this simple question; "Am I willing to die in this war? Is the cause great enough for ME to quit my job, leave school and family and friends and die? If the answer is no, how dare you ask another to die in your place? Coward.


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