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Impeach Bush

Poll: Americans Divided On Iraq
CBS News
NEW YORK, March 6, 2003
(CBS) Americans continue to express patience with the pace of U.N. weapons inspections and want United Nations backing for any military action against Iraq. But that is not the approach they believe the Bush Administration is taking.

Americans would approve of U.S. military action to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power, but by 48% to 27%, they say their concern is making sure that Iraq is disarmed. They are willing to give the U.N. more time to build a consensus around how to do that.

MAIN GOAL IN IRAQ

Removing Iraqi Weapons:

Your view
blue_dot48%
Bush's view
blue_dot54%

Removing Saddam:

Your view
blue_dot27%
Bush's view
blue_dot54%

But most believe that President Bush sees things very differently -- 54% say he is more interested in ousting Saddam Hussein, and just 20% think his goal is to disarm Hussein. Even though less than half think enough evidence has been presented to justify an attack now, most believe the President has already decided to launch a military strike.

The public is divided on whether the Bush Administration has yet presented enough evidence against Iraq to justify military action right now. 47% say they have, 44% say they still have not.

HAS BUSH ADMINISTRATION MADE THE CASE FOR WAR NOW?

Yes
blue.gif47%

No
blue.gif44%

Almost all Americans are following the crisis. 50% say they are monitoring it very closely, with another 41% saying they are watching it somewhat closely -- and in both groups only about half say the Administration has put forth enough evidence.

But while U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix prepares to deliver another report on Iraq this week and the Security Council discusses a new resolution, most Americans think none of that may matter with regard to the question of war. Most believe the Administration has already decided to launch a military strike.

HAS BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALREADY DECIDED TO TAKE MILITARY ACTION?

Yes
blue_dot68%

No, still considering options
blue_dot26%

Americans remain split on whether Iraq poses an immediate threat. 43% say that while they believe Iraq is indeed a threat to U.S. interests, it is one that can be contained for now. Roughly the same number, 45%, say it is a threat that requires immediate military action.

IRAQ IS…

A threat requiring immediate military action
blue_dot45%

A threat that can be contained for now
blue_dot43%

Not a threat
blue_dot8%


U.N. APPROVAL AND WEAPONS INSPECTIONS

Americans are willing to wait for the support of the international community before taking military action. The public's desire to secure U.N. approval for action remains strong, and has slipped only slightly in the last few days.

SHOULD U.S. WAIT FOR UNITED NATIONS APPROVAL?

Yes, wait:

Now
blue_dot59%
Last week
blue_dot64%

No, take action without U.N. approval:

Now
blue_dot36%
Last week
blue_dot31%

The public also urges patience with the inspections process, as it has for months: 60% say give the inspectors more time right now. However, this appears to have more to do with building international support than a belief in the efficacy of weapons inspections. Americans do not believe those inspections have induced any real cooperation yet from Saddam Hussein: 78% think that the Iraqi leader is not cooperating with the U.N. inspectors, and just 10% say he is.

IS SADDAM COOPERATING WITH INSPECTORS?

No
blue_dot78%

Yes
blue_dot10%


THE U.S. AND ITS ALLIES

Not only do most Americans want to wait for U.N. authorization, most also continue to believe the U.S. should take its allies' views into account on the Iraq question.

There are, however, signs of increasing frustration. Just last week, 70% of Americans said that the U.S. should take allies' views into account before taking action, rather than simply doing whatever it thinks is right with regard to Iraq. This week, after several public statements of disagreement by allies opposed to the U.S. position, a majority of Americans still supports this viewpoint -- but that percentage has slipped to 56%.

WHEN IT COMES TO IRAQ ACTION, THE U.S. SHOULD…

Take allies' views into account:

Now
blue_dot56%
Last week
blue_dot70%

Do whatever it thinks is right:

Now
blue_dot38%
Last week
blue_dot27%


Not all the allies may join a possible war. When Americans are asked if they would approve of military action if the U.S. were joined by Great Britain but not -- as may be the case -- by France and Russia, 53% say they would approve of action under such circumstances, and 42% say they would not.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF A POSSIBLE WAR

While they have some misgivings about the timing, Americans continue to support the general idea of using military action to remove Saddam Hussein: 69% approve, a figure that has largely held steady throughout the standoff.

MILITARY ACTION TO REMOVE SADDAM?

Approve
blue_dot69%

Disapprove
blue_dot26%

But the public's desire to have international support and more inspections come first may stem, in part, from concerns about the consequences of war. When asked whether a possible war with Iraq would be fairly quick or result in a lengthy involvement, half of Americans say they think the U.S. could end up fighting for quite a while.

WAR WITH IRAQ WOULD BE…

Fairly quick and successful
blue_dot43%

A long and costly involvement
blue_dot50%

Of those who think involvement will be long, over three-quarters want to wait for the U.N. before entering into a conflict. A majority of those who expect a war would be quick and successful thinks the U.S. should act immediately, even without international backing.

Support for military action drops when Americans are asked if removing the dictator is worth the potential costs in American life. 52% say it is; 38% say it is not.

60% also think that a conflict with Iraq is likely to lead to a wider war in the region, involving other Arab nations and Israel. One-third do not believe it is a likely outcome.

WOULD U.S.–IRAQ CONFLICT LEAD TO WIDER MIDEAST WAR?

Yes, likely
blue_dot60%

No, not likely
blue_dot33%

THE WAR ON TERROR

Despite the recent capture of suspected top Al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Americans' views on the progress of the war on terror have changed only slightly from mid-February.

WHO IS WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR?

The U.S. and allies:

Now
blue_dot41%
2/10-12
blue_dot28%

The terrorists:

Now
blue_dot16%
2/10-12
blue_dot18%

Neither side:

Now
blue_dot33%
2/10-12
blue_dot39%

Many remain concerned over the possible ramifications of a U.S.-Iraq war. A majority -- 55% -- believes that if the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, the threat of terrorism against Americans will increase.

In generally assessing the terror threat, 75% of the public thinks that it is at least somewhat likely that there will be another attack in the U.S. within in the next few months. While still a high figure, this is lower than its level of 80% in mid-February, just after the threat level was raised to orange.

IS ANOTHER TERROR ATTACK LIKELY SOON?

Very likely:

Now
blue_dot27%
2/10-12
blue_dot45%

Somewhat likely:

Now
blue_dot48%
2/10-12
blue_dot45%

Not very likely:

Now
blue_dot17%
2/10-12
blue_dot14%

Not at all likely:

Now
blue_dot4%
2/10-12
blue_dot4%


Just prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf war, 73% thought a terrorist attack against the United States was at least somewhat likely.


PRESIDENT BUSH'S APPROVAL RATIINGS

Overall, the public's view of President Bush's handling of the Iraq standoff remains steady, with a majority -- 54% -- approving and 39% disapproving.

The President's approval rating for the Iraq crisis is slightly higher than the 51% who approve of his general handling of foreign policy. Both ratings are far higher than for his handling of the economy, where just 41% approve.

BUSH APPROVAL RATINGS
Percent who approve

Overall:

Now
blue_dot58%
Last week
blue_dot56%

Handling situation with Iraq:

Now
blue_dot54%
Last week
blue_dot52%

Handling foreign policy:

Now
blue_dot51%
Last week
blue_dot51%

Handling economy:

Now
blue_dot41%
Last week
blue_dot40%

Overall, the President's job approval stands at 58%. It had been as low as 54% in mid-February, but was 56% last week and now is continuing to inch higher.




This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 723 adults, interviewed by telephone March 4-5, 2003. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commentary:
Here are the questions I'd ask in a survey. These are not part of the CBS poll.

Are you personally willing to die so Saddam can be removed from power?
Yes, I'm willing to give up my life.
blue_dot 2%
Not a chance.
blue_dot 98%

If you were drafted into service would you support this war?
Not a chance
blue_dot 98%
Yes, I want my family to to have plenty of cheap oil and my life is worthless anyway.
blue_dot 2%

If war with Iraq led to long-term oil shortages and laws banning SUV's would you support the war?
Not a chance.
blue_dot 98%
Sure, I always thought SUV were for sissies.
blue_dot 2%

Are you willing to pay higher taxes for the foreseeable future to pay for this war?
Not a chance.
blue_dot 98%
Yes, increase my taxes and give the money to the rich. It's called shared sacrifice.
blue_dot 2%

Which of the following fits your beliefs the closest;
  1. Increase my taxes but lower my gas prices.
  blue_dot 2%
  2. Give me war, but make someone else die in my place. I'm a coward.
  blue_dot 2%
  2. Give me peace, prosperity and record surpluses--hell, give me Bill Clinton again.
  blue_dot 80%
  3. I'm a conservative republican, give me war, a tax cut, cheap oil, record deficits and make someone else make all the sacrifices. God Bless America, I'm a real American.
  blue_dot 16%


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Last US Resolution?
Fox News/AP
Friday, March 07, 2003 Associated Press

The following is text of a draft resolution on Iraq presented Friday to the Security Council by Spain, Britain and the United States:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999 and 1441 (2002) of 8 November 2002, and all the relevant statements of its President,

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations of Iraq contained therein,

Recalling that its resolution 1441 (2002), while deciding that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations, afforded Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions,

Recalling that in its resolution 1441 (2002) the Council decided that false statements or omissions in the declaration submitted by Iraq pursuant to that resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution, would constitute a further material breach,

Noting, in that context, that in its resolution 1441 (2002), the Council recalled that it has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations,

Noting that Iraq has submitted a declaration pursuant to its resolution 1441 (2002) containing false statements and omissions and has failed to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, that resolution.

Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait, and the neighboring States,

Mindful of its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Recognizing the threat Iraq's non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missile poses to international and national peace and security,

Determined to secure full compliance with is decisions and to restore international peace and security in the area,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Reaffirms the need for full implementation of resolution 1441 (2002);

2. Calls on Iraq immediately to take the decisions necessary in the interests of its people and the region;

3. Decides that Iraq will have failed to take the final opportunity afforded by resolution 1441 (2002) unless, on or before 17 March 2003, the Council concludes that Iraq has demonstrated full, unconditional, immediate and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under resolution 1441 (2002) and previous relevant resolutions, and is yielding possession to UNMOVIC and the IAEA of all weapons, weapon delivery and support systems and structures, prohibited by resolution 687 (1991) and all subsequent resolutions, and all information regarding prior destruction of such items;

4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Commentary:
This is the so-called last resolution the US is putting forward. That's what they said months ago. Actually Bush first said he didn't have to get a resolution at all, that the 1991 resolution gave him the power to go to war. What a pile of crap. No matter, the UN is set to hand the US a major foreign policy defeat for Bush. The only question left is will the US continue to have superpower status after this debacle?


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CBO projects $1.82 trillion debt
Washington Post
By ALAN FRAM
The Associated Press
Saturday, March 8, 2003; 8:56 AM

A forecast that President Bush's budget would yield $1.82 trillion in deficits over the next decade is fueling a partisan fight over the wisdom of his plan to cut taxes again this year.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released the projection Friday, less than a week before the Republican-controlled House and Senate Budget committees write their own, separate spending blueprints for 2004. The leaders of those panels are struggling to balance two goals: shrinking deficits and cutting taxes.

"There is no question this continued slowdown will make our job more difficult," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla. "And it further emphasizes the need to grow the economy, create jobs and generate revenue if we have any hope of meeting our long-term budget goals."

The report underlined the continued, abrupt turnabout in the government's books, which analysts said just two years ago were on track to produce $5.6 trillion in surpluses over 10 years.

Democrats said the bad budget numbers demonstrated how harmful new, large tax cuts would be. Bush has proposed $1.57 trillion in tax cuts over the coming decade, highlighted by a $726 billion package aimed at sparking the economy by eliminating levies on corporate dividends and speeding up income-tax rate reductions.

"The administration promised two years ago that there was more than enough surplus for huge tax cuts, but in their wake, chronic deficits have emerged," said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C. "Now, despite the deteriorating budget outlook and a stagnant economy, the administration proposes more of the same."

Democrats say almost unanimously Bush's tax cut plan is far too big. Many moderate Republicans agree, especially in the Senate, where a group of moderates from both parties are starting to coalesce around an economic package about half the size Bush wants.

Neither Nickles nor House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, has said how large their tax cuts will be. Both have said their top priority will be the economic growth portion of Bush's plan.

Since January alone, the budget office's cumulative projections for the next 10 years have worsened by nearly $450 billion. That mostly reflects higher government-wide spending that lawmakers approved last month, and a continued drop in revenue caused by the weak economy.

The report projected that Bush's budget would produce a deficit this year of $287 billion, rising to $338 billion in 2004. From there, the shortfalls would shrink gradually to $102 billion in 2013.

Bush had estimated that his budget would result in deficits of $304 billion this year and $307 billion in 2004. Congressional analysts envision slightly higher tax collections than the president does this year, and lower revenue and higher spending than he does next year.

The near-term figures could well end up worse because like Bush's budget, they omit the costs of a possible war with Iraq and its aftermath, which analysts and government officials have said might exceed $100 billion.

When Bush released his $2.23 trillion budget for 2004 in February, he projected ahead only five years. He estimated that over that period, deficits would total $1.08 trillion.

Administration officials said their numbers only extended five years because longer projections tend to be wildly inaccurate, while Democrats said the White House was trying to avoid showing how bad the red ink would be in later years.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
By law, CBO can make projections based on current law. They can not make projections based on Bush's new tax cut proposal, or the cost of war. OMB, the president's budget office is saying we'll have deficits in excess of $300 billion this year and next and that's without war costs. With war, the deficit this year is expected to be around $400 billion. The largest deficit prior to this year was $290 billion in 1992, under the previous Bush. Bush will clearly create more debt (and debt is future taxes plus interest) than any president in history. The Bush debt comes after promising us to pay down all US debt in ten years using revenue created from his tax cut.

After destroying our super-power status (that is our ability to lead the world), and now destroying our future by bankrupting the future, Bush will clearly go down as the most failed president since Reagan.


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US Image Around the World Damaged by Bush
Washington Post
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 8, 2003; Page A16

President Bush's failure to build a broader international coalition for his Iraq policy has emboldened Democrats to challenge his leadership style on foreign policy, foreshadowing a sharp debate that could become a central argument of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Leading Democrats remain at odds over whether the United States should go to war against Iraq without the United Nations' approval. But Democrats on both sides of that divide have found consensus by arguing in increasingly vigorous terms that Bush's approach to foreign policy has damaged U.S. prestige in the world and alienated other countries in a way that could leave the United States more vulnerable in the war against terrorism.

"I think we are headed toward a big debate in the presidential election of 2004 over a go-it-alone foreign policy versus a more multilateral approach in an era of global terrorism," said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.

From Iraq doves such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) to Iraq hawks such as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), prominent Democrats have escalated their criticism of the president. That is particularly true since the Turkish parliament unexpectedly blocked the deployment of U.S. troops in its country and allies such as France, Germany and Russia banded together to oppose the administration's Iraq policy.

"On both sides of this divide, Democrats believe the president has botched the job of rallying the world behind U.S. policy toward Iraq," said Will Marshall of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute.

Democratic strategists said criticism of Bush will diminish if and when hostilities in Iraq begin, as the country rallies behind U.S. forces, but they predicted that the argument about Bush's foreign policy leadership style will reemerge as an issue in next year's campaign, even if there is a quick and successful war in Iraq.

That assumes Democrats bridge their differences enough to offer voters a clear and consistent message on foreign policy, something that has been markedly absent in recent months. The presidential candidates have sparred over the issue, and the emergence of an antiwar constituency at the grass roots has underscored the sharp split within the party over Iraq. Congressional Democrats have struggled to square their attacks on Bush with their votes in the fall for the resolution authorizing him to go to war.

Still, the rising criticism of Bush on foreign policy signals a potentially significant shift in emphasis among Democrats, who had largely avoided attacking the president on his handling of the global war on terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001. As the focus of Bush policy has shifted toward Iraq and as international support for the United States has eroded, Democrats say it is both legitimate and politically safe to challenge Bush on what has been perceived as one of his greatest strengths.

Democrats have long criticized the way Bush has dealt with other countries, beginning with the administration's decision to quit the Kyoto global warming accord. But in the past week, as the administration has suffered diplomatic setbacks, Democrats have used some of their toughest language yet to attack the president.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), who voted for the congressional resolution authorizing war, said on Thursday that Bush's "failed" diplomacy has left the United States in "a more isolated position than I ever anticipated." And Kennedy has accused Bush of ignoring the dangers of North Korea's nuclear ambitions because of his "fixation" with Hussein.

Daschle, Kennedy and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) find themselves at odds with many of their party's presidential candidates over the immediate issue of going to war with Iraq. Lieberman, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) all say that although a second U.N. resolution would be helpful, its absence should not serve as a deterrent to the administration in disarming Iraq by force, if necessary.

But while former Vermont governor Howard Dean has been the most vociferous antiwar voice among the presidential candidates, many of the others who support military action against Iraq have joined in the condemnation of the way Bush has handled the crisis.

Lieberman told an audience in New Hampshire recently: "Let's be clear. When more people around the world see the current American president as a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein, then you know something is really wrong with his foreign policy."

Kerry, in a statement Thursday, urged Bush to continue to work for a second U.N. resolution, not because it is necessary but because it would strengthen the U.S. hand in whatever follows. "Energetic global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries," Kerry said. "Leading the world's most advanced democracies isn't mushy multilateralism; it extends our reach."

One Democratic strategist said: "I think the party is torn between dealing with a post-9/11 world and its fundamental distrust of this president. Even those that believe Iraq could pose a future threat to the U.S. through the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, even those who support that view are fundamentally uncomfortable about the way this White House has gone about prosecuting that effort."

Republicans argue that disarming Iraq will vindicate Bush's approach and that criticism about the administration's diplomacy will fade if the United States drives Hussein from power. Twelve years ago, on the eve of the Persian Gulf War, many Democrats were calling on President George H.W. Bush to give diplomacy more time to work, just as they are doing now, but they quickly lost their voice on foreign policy once the war ended.

But Democrats say broader questions about Bush's approach to the world will continue beyond Iraq. "The time horizon here is not the war itself but what happens afterwards," said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin. "The politics of Iraq will be about the consequences of the war, rather than the war itself; and if one of the consequences is that we not only have to go it alone in fighting the war but in paying the bill in the aftermath of the war, that becomes a problem for the president."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Good grief. Bush and Powell lied to the United Nations. How long will it take before the world trusts us again?

We're getting very close to the point of no return...a place that ends our ability to lead the world on any issue. A place where the US ceases to be a superpower. Will France, of all countries take our place? Clearly France has grabbed power away from the US and Britain. She will lead the EU now, not Britain. But what of Bush and the US? No matter how we cut it we've already lost and our reputation has been harmed for the foreseeable future.


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UN Inspectors Say Bush Evidence is Fake
Washington Post
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 8, 2003; Page A01

A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions.

Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council.

ElBaradei also rejected a key Bush administration claim -- made twice by the president in major speeches and repeated by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday -- that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors.

"There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities," ElBaradei said.

Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away -- including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said.

"We fell for it," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.

A spokesman for the IAEA said the agency did not blame either Britain or the United States for the forgery. The documents "were shared with us in good faith," he said.

The discovery was a further setback to U.S. and British efforts to convince reluctant U.N. Security Council members of the urgency of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Powell, in his statement to the Security Council Friday, acknowledged ElBaradei's findings but also cited "new information" suggesting that Iraq continues to try to get nuclear weapons components.

"It is not time to close the book on these tubes," a senior State Department official said, adding that Iraq was prohibited from importing sensitive parts, such as tubes, regardless of their planned use.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein pursued an ambitious nuclear agenda throughout the 1970s and 1980s and launched a crash program to build a bomb in 1990 following his invasion of neighboring Kuwait. But Iraq's nuclear infrastructure was heavily damaged by allied bombing in 1991, and the country's known stocks of nuclear fuel and equipment were removed or destroyed during the U.N. inspections after the war.

However, Iraq never surrendered the blueprints for nuclear weapons, and kept key teams of nuclear scientists intact after U.N. inspectors were forced to leave in 1998. Despite international sanctions intended to block Iraq from obtaining weapons components, Western intelligence agencies and former weapons inspectors were convinced the Iraqi president had resumed his quest for the bomb in the late 1990s, citing defectors' stories and satellite images that showed new construction at facilities that were once part of Iraq's nuclear machinery.

Last September, the United States and Britain issued reports accusing Iraq of renewing its quest for nuclear weapons. In Britain's assessment, Iraq reportedly had "sought significant amounts of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear program that could require it."

Separately, President Bush, in his speech to the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 12, said Iraq had made "several attempts to buy-high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."

Doubts about both claims began to emerge shortly after U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq last November. In early December, the IAEA began an intensive investigation of the aluminum tubes, which Iraq had tried for two years to purchase by the tens of thousands from China and at least one other country. Certain types of high-strength aluminum tubes can be used to build centrifuges, which enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial power plants.

By early January, the IAEA had reached a preliminary conclusion: The 81mm tubes sought by Iraq were "not directly suitable" for centrifuges, but appeared intended for use as conventional artillery rockets, as Iraq had claimed. The Bush administration, meanwhile, stuck to its original position while acknowledging disagreement among U.S. officials who had reviewed the evidence.

In his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Bush said Iraq had "attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Last month, Powell likewise dismissed the IAEA's conclusions, telling U.N. leaders that Iraq would not have ordered tubes at such high prices and with such exacting performance ratings if intended for use as ordinary rockets. Powell specifically noted that Iraq had sought tubes that had been "anodized," or coated with a thin outer film -- a procedure that Powell said was required if the tubes were to be used in centrifuges.

ElBaradei's report yesterday all but ruled out the use of the tubes in a nuclear program. The IAEA chief said investigators had unearthed extensive records that backed up Iraq's explanation. The documents, which included blueprints, invoices and notes from meetings, detailed a 14-year struggle by Iraq to make 81mm conventional rockets that would perform well and resist corrosion. Successive failures led Iraqi officials to revise their standards and request increasingly higher and more expensive metals, ElBaradei said.

Moreover, further work by the IAEA's team of centrifuge experts -- two Americans, two Britons and a French citizen -- has reinforced the IAEA's conclusion that the tubes were ill suited for centrifuges. "It was highly unlikely that Iraq could have achieved the considerable redesign needed to use them in a revived centrifuge program," ElBaradei said.

A number of independent experts on uranium enrichment have sided with IAEA's conclusion that the tubes were at best ill suited for centrifuges. Several have said that the "anodized" features mentioned by Powell are actually a strong argument for use in rockets, not centrifuges, contrary to the administration's statement.

The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based research organization that specializes in nuclear issues, reported yesterday that Powell's staff had been briefed about the implications of the anodized coatings before Powell's address to the Security Council last month. "Despite being presented with the falseness of this claim, the administration persists in making misleading arguments about the significance of the tubes," the institute's president, David Albright, wrote in the report.

Powell's spokesman said the secretary of state had consulted numerous experts and stood by his U.N. statement.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Powell and Bush have known for a very long time that their so-called evidence is fabricated and they don't care. Americans who listen to the war networks and conservative talk radio support this president because they're clueless. The war networks will do everything in their power to keep this war nonsense going. It's too damn good for ratings to care if it's based on truth or lies.

Who would have thought a US president would take us into war based on lies---and worse yet that a majority of Americans have no clue they're lies, or that the press remains almost 100% quiet about the lies?

A quick look at the war networks website shows ABC, Fox, CNN and CBS and MSNBC running the same top story---Bush trying to get more support for war from our allies. ABC, Fox, CNN and MSNBC even use the same White House picture in their headline. Only CBS had a different picture. MSNBC also includes the Washington Post article above, but with a question mark behind it. So, if you think you can learn anything factual from the war networks, guess again. They're run by and for the White House, down to the headline story and pictures they use. Yes, it's really that bad.


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Democrats Win Estrada Showdown
Washington Post/AP
By JESSE J. HOLLAND
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 6, 2003; 11:18 PM

Senate Democrats won a showdown vote Thursday blocking Miguel Estrada's nomination for a federal appeals court, dealing President Bush a major loss in the battle over the nation's courts.

Bush called the Senate filibuster of Estrada a disgrace, and Senate Republicans pledged not to give up.

"This is just the beginning," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. "We will not be satisfied until we get what the American people want, what this nominee deserves and what I believe our Constitution intended" - a vote by the full Senate.

Democrats said sustaining the filibuster strengthens their call for Bush to consider their views when nominating conservatives for the federal bench, and sends a message to future nominees to be completely forthcoming in answering questions about their judicial philosophies.

"This issue transcends any one person," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., one of Estrada's most outspoken opponents. "It goes to the heart of the Constitution, and that is whether the Senate is going to play any meaningful role whatsoever in the selection of judges."

Republicans fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to end the Democratic filibuster on Estrada, who was nominated by Bush two years ago to become the first Hispanic on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Only four Democrats broke ranks in the 55-44 vote - Sens. Zell Miller of Georgia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida and John Breaux of Louisiana - while Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, a Democratic presidential nominee, was the only senator to miss the vote.

"The decision today by 44 Senators to continue to filibuster and block a vote on this nomination is a disgrace," Bush said. "I will stand by Miguel Estrada's side until he is sworn in as a judge."

Democrats say they fear that Estrada would be an extreme right-wing judge if placed on the court, and want more information about him. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said Estrada did not answer questions completely from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the White House has refused to release memos Estrada wrote while working for the Justice Department.

Republicans say Estrada has answered enough questions but have offered to let Democrats meet with Estrada privately or to question his past employers.

"We have asked for two things: that he answer the questions, preferably before the Judiciary Committee; and that he turn over the documents," Daschle said. "Anything short of that simply does not suffice."

But the president said requiring anything more of Estrada would be a double standard. "Their tactics are an injustice and unfair to the good man I have nominated," Bush said.

Republicans hope Thursday's vote will bring a groundswell of opposition to Democrats from Hispanics in their home states and win new votes for Republicans. In New York, the state Republican chairman even urged Estrada - a 41-year-old Honduran immigrant who graduated from Harvard Law School, served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration and practices law - to challenge Schumer for his Senate seat next year.

Hispanics are the nation's largest minority, at 37 million, and make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, Census Bureau estimates showed in January.

"For those who are opposed, they can explain to their constituents," said Sen. George Allen of Virginia, chairman of the GOP senatorial committee. "And they will have to explain to their people back home, whether that's in Little Rock, ... in Baton Rouge, Sacramento or Orlando."

Many Democrats reject claims that the Estrada battle would cost them votes, saying they support policies on education, immigration and other issues that Hispanics favor.

Frist said the Senate will turn to other business, but promised to try again to break the filibuster. Other votes are likely in the next two weeks, Republicans said.

Daschle said Democrats would be able to beat back future challenges as well.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
This is how we defeat this tyrant. Democrats have to filibuster everything Bush wants. With both Houses controlled by the republicans, republicans will be blamed. Bush too promised to work with democrats, but never did. Instead he raised over a hundred million for republicans and spent far more time campaigning than running his so-called war. Besides, it's beyond contempt that a president would spend so much time raising money and campaigning during a time of war. So much for character and integrity.

Democrats owe this man nothing. Those who broke and voted for this nomination are not "real democrats." Of those who voted for Estrada only Bill Nelson voted against the Bush tax give-away that's creating trillion in new debt. Zell Miller, Bob Nelson, and John Breaux should be disregarded on ALL issues.


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Let them hate as long as they fear
New York Times
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Mar 07, 2003

Why does our president condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials? Has 'oderint dum metuant' really become our motto?" So reads the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat who recently left the Foreign Service in protest against Bush administration policy.

"Oderint dum metuant" translates, roughly, as "let them hate as long as they fear." It was a favorite saying of the emperor Caligula, and may seem over the top as a description of current U.S. policy. But this week's crisis in U.S.-Mexican relations — a crisis that has been almost ignored north of the border — suggests that it is a perfect description of George Bush's attitude toward the world.

Mexico is an enormously important ally, not just because of our common border, but also because of its special role as a showcase for American ideals. For a century and a half Mexico has — often with good reason — seen its powerful neighbor as an exploiter, if not an outright enemy. Since the first Bush administration, however, the United States has made great efforts to treat Mexico as a partner, and Mexico's recent track record of economic stability and democracy is, and should be, a source of pride on both sides of the border.

But Mexico's seat on the U.N. Security Council gives it a vote on the question of Iraq — and the threats the Bush administration has made to get that vote are quickly destroying any semblance of good will.

Last week The Economist quoted an American diplomat who warned that if Mexico didn't vote for a U.S. resolution it could "stir up feelings" against Mexicans in the United States. He compared the situation to that of Japanese-Americans who were interned after 1941, and wondered whether Mexico "wants to stir the fires of jingoism during a war."

Incredible stuff, but easy to dismiss as long as the diplomat was unidentified. Then came President Bush's Monday interview with Copley News Service. He alluded to the possibility of reprisals if Mexico didn't vote America's way, saying, "I don't expect there to be significant retribution from the government" — emphasizing the word "government." He then went on to suggest that there might, however, be a reaction from other quarters, citing "an interesting phenomena taking place here in America about the French . . . a backlash against the French, not stirred up by anybody except the people."

And Mr. Bush then said that if Mexico or other countries oppose the United States, "there will be a certain sense of discipline."

These remarks went virtually unreported by the ever-protective U.S. media, but they created a political firestorm in Mexico. The White House has been frantically backpedaling, claiming that when Mr. Bush talked of "discipline" he wasn't making a threat. But in the context of the rest of the interview, it's clear that he was.

Moreover, Mr. Bush was disingenuous when he described the backlash against the French as "not stirred up by anybody except the people." On the same day that the report of his interview appeared, The Financial Times carried the headline, "Hastert Orchestrates Tirade Against the French." That's Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives. In fact, anti-French feeling has been carefully fomented by Republican officials, Rupert Murdoch's media empire and other administration allies. Can you blame Mexicans for interpreting Mr. Bush's remarks as a threat to do the same to them?

So oderint dum metuant it is. I could talk about the foolishness of such blatant bullying — or about the incredible risks, in a multiethnic, multiracial society, of even hinting that one might encourage a backlash against Hispanics. And yes, I mean Hispanics, not Mexicans: once feelings are running high, do you really think people will politely ask a brown-skinned guy with an accent whether he is a citizen or, if not, which country he comes from?

But my most intense reaction to this story isn't anger over the administration's stupidity and irresponsibility, or even dismay over the casual destruction of hard-won friendships. No, when I read an interview in which the U.S. president sounds for all the world like a B-movie villain — "You have relatives in Texas, yes?" — what I feel, above all, is shame.

Commentary:
While I agree with a good chunk of this article it's a bit simplistic for me. I think Iraq is so small a threat that no one really takes Bush seriously.

Bush is using France, Germany, China and Russia as the big bad bullies out to get the good ol' US. He wants you get all emotional about what the rest of the world is doing to us so you don't blame Bush for being a jack-ass. For more on how Bush tries to piss off our allies read the commentary that follows US Iraq Mission Riskier Without Turkey. There's only one flaw in my theory. Bush has been pissing off our allies from day one. Maybe he thinks it makes him look like a man if he acts like a dick.

Btw, do you recall how Bush refused to congratulate German's Gerhard Schroeder White House still upset Germany's Schroeder won reelection? We need an adult for president, not a prissy little prissy who goes crying home to mamma when he doesn't get his way.


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Frist: Veterans May Have to Sacrifice
New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 4:31 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist pledged Tuesday to support veterans concerned about President Bush's health care proposals, but also said veterans and others will have to make sacrifices should the nation go to war with Iraq.

The Tennessee Republican told the American Legion that as a physician who served in veterans' hospitals, he had a richer understanding of the importance of their health care issues.

But he later told reporters that the costs of the Iraq war would mean ``we all have to sacrifice in various ways as we likely engage in military conflict, which we could not have anticipated a year ago, which is not fully budgeted and which ultimately will have to compete with what many of us want.

``It applies to me in terms of domestic priorities and it applies to groups like the veterans today as they lobby,'' Frist said.

Frist was among a line of congressional members that spoke at the American Legion's annual legislative conference in Washington. This year the veterans' top priority is to defeat proposals in Bush's 2004 budget request for Veterans Affairs.

Bush proposed a 7.7 percent increase, to $27.5 billion, for veterans' medical care in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. But the budget request also proposed fee increases and limits on access, which are unpopular with veterans and have been rejected by the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Bush's budget also proposed charging veterans who earn about $24,000 a year or more an annual enrollment fee of $250. And it proposed increasing copayments for higher-income patients, from $15 to $20 for outpatient primary care and $7 to $15 for prescription drugs.

Korean War veteran John Curran of Plymouth, Mass., told reporters that veterans should not be asked to make more sacrifices.

``They already did, when they gave up their families and left their families and went overseas whether they were in support or behind the lines,'' Curran said.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., suggested Bush's proposed tax cuts were the reason for the curtailments in veterans' health care.

``Most of us support certain tax cuts, but not if they come at the expense of everyone and everything else that matters. Not if they bury our children and grandchildren in debt and not if they force us to break our promise to the men and women who served this nation in uniform,'' Daschle said.

He said the amount of money spent on veterans care should be tied to the size of enrollment.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee last month rejected the Bush budget proposals and recommended Congress spend $29.7 billion for veterans' medical care. The measures also were heavily criticized in a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said an increase in the veterans health care budget in the amount proposed by the House committee would help meet costs that would have been covered with the fee increases and enrollment fee.

``Congress has to make some decisions. If they don't care for my policy changes then the choices are clear, either appropriate additional funding or I will have to cut back further on who I provide care to,'' Principi said.

On the Net: American Legion: http://www.legion.org/

Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
Have you guys noticed the republicans can always find money for their rich friends, always find tax cuts, always find more spending for those who give them big bucks, but they have the damnest time finding money for vets. We have to wonder why vets continue to vote for these clowns.


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Russia, Germany, France to block Iraq resolution
The Russian Journal
Associated Press
March 05, 2003 Posted: 18:16 Moscow time (14:16 GMT)

PARIS - Taking a diplomatic hard-line against U.S. war plans in Iraq, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia said Wednesday they would block passage of a U.N. resolution authorizing force against Baghdad.

The three ministers met in Paris as U.S.-led preparations for war accelerate and the U.N. Security Council prepares to consider a resolution backed by Washington that could open the door for military action.

"We will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes resorting to force," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said at a press conference alongside his Russian and French counterparts.

"Russia and France, as permanent members of the Security Council, will assume their full responsibilities on this point," he said.

When asked whether France would use its veto, as Russia has suggested it might do, de Villepin said: "We will take all our responsibilities. We are in total agreement with the Russians."

He added there would not be a second resolution to justify the use of force against Iraq. "I think that's clear," he said. It was not immediately clear whether France intended to propose a compromise resolution that would omit any reference to using force, however.

In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the outcome of any U.N. debate on a second resolution on Iraq.

"You will continue to hear various statements by various people around the world," Fleischer said, adding that U.S. President George W. Bush was "confident in the end of the ultimate outcome" of the resolution debate.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov suggested Russia could veto the U.S.-backed resolution. Ivanov also said his country was unlikely to abstain in any vote on Iraq by the 15-member Security Council, which includes the five veto-wielding members: the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France.

Britain, the United States and Spain have proposed a draft resolution that says Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has missed his final opportunity to disarm.

The United States and Britain claim Iraq has refused to destroy its chemical and biological weapons, as ordered by the United Nations, and military action will probably be necessary to disarm Saddam.

Other Security Council members, led by France, say the U.N. inspections are working and want the inspectors to be given more time to hunt for banned chemical and biological arms.

The three ministers said inspections were producing results and that weapons experts should be given more time to search for arms that Iraq is not supposed to have, as set out in U.N. resolution 1441.

"We see there is progress," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said. "I do not see personally how we can stop the process of resolution 1441 and resort to war."

De Villepin said that he believes the results of inspections "are more and more encouraging," citing the destruction of Iraqi missiles, information about biological and chemical agents and interviews with scientists.

But de Villepin also said Iraq needs to cooperate "more actively" with inspectors.

"The inspections cannot go on forever," he said.

The French foreign minister also set out a framework for giving inspectors more muscle, including detailed measures to determine whether the inspection process is making progress.

De Villepin added that he believes a war in Iraq would increase tensions in the Middle East, create instability and boost the risk of terrorism. He also voiced France's objection to any unilateral U.S. war on Iraq.

"The United Nations is indispensable," de Villepin said. "The United Nations is the authority of legitimacy for the international community."

"We can only achieve peace together. And to do it, we would need the United Nations - to organize, to bring their legitimacy to the action of the international community in Iraq."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told Russia's state-controlled Channel One television in an interview aired late Tuesday that the United States was prepared to lead a war against Iraq with or without the consent of the United Nations.

©The Associated Press

Commentary:


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DOD inspector general: Franks wife saw classified info
Washington Post
Associated Press
Wednesday, March 5, 2003; Page A02

An investigation of several allegations against Gen. Tommy R. Franks has cleared him except for a charge that he allowed his wife to attend classified briefings, defense officials said yesterday.

A probe by the Defense Department inspector general did not substantiate allegations that Franks gave his wife, Cathy, a military bodyguard she was not entitled to; allowed military personnel to run errands for her; and may not have properly reimbursed the government for her travel when she accompanied him on official trips.

On the remaining issue, the probe found Mrs. Franks was present when the general was given highly classified information in his military aircraft, one official said on condition of anonymity. He said her security clearance was not high enough.

The inspector general's report must go to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Observers have said the probe was not expected to be a setback for Franks because of his stature as head of the U.S. Central Command, which would prosecute any war against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

While the investigation was still only three-fourths finished, Rumsfeld said last month that Franks had his "complete confidence and the complete confidence" of President Bush.

"There isn't a chance in the world that it will have any possible interference with his role as the combatant commander in the Central Command," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference. "Tom Franks is doing a superb job for this country, and we are lucky to have him there. He is a man of great talent and skill."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
The man should resign. The likelihood of the other charges being correct is very high. Of course proving them is the hard part...the guy is a general after all. Would you say anything against one of your generals if you were in the military. The general has questionable character and integrity.


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