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Impeach Bush

Cheney says Iraq has nuclear program
Washington Post
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration presented the world with a nonnegotiable demand yesterday regarding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein: It is time for him to go.

In the Azores and on Washington talk shows, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made clear that it was too late for Iraq to disarm, too late for further weapons inspections and too late for more diplomacy to get the world to support the U.S. casus belli. Although they are giving the United Nations another day to agree with the American position, Bush and his lieutenants made clear that was mere symbolism. The only means to avoid war, they said, was Hussein's exile.

"Saddam can leave the country, if he's interested in peace," the president said. "He got to decide whether he was going to disarm, and he didn't. He can decide whether he wants to leave the country."

The vice president, previewing Bush's hastily arranged appearance in the eastern Atlantic, also delivered Hussein the flight-or-fight choice. Cheney said Hussein's exile "would be the only acceptable outcome I can think of at this point." Affirming that an offer to disarm was no longer an option to avoid war, he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "I'm hard-put to specify what it is he could do with credibility at this stage that would alter the outcome."

In delivering Hussein an ultimatum -- essentially, leave now or face war within days -- the Bush administration has come full circle in stating its goal in Iraq. It began almost a year ago by talking of "the removal of Saddam" or the more polite "regime change." But administration officials realized that to win U.N. and international support, they would do better if they spoke of their goal as "disarmament." Dropping "regime change" for a while, they said that a disarmed Hussein could remain in power, because, in one artful phrase, it would mean "the regime will have effectively changed."

The administration's return to its original goal -- ousting Hussein -- is a reflection that it no longer has hope of winning international support for its effort by describing its principal goal as disarmament. The objective, Cheney said plainly yesterday, "clearly is to get rid of his government and to put a new one in its place. And that's what we think is required in order to achieve the objectives of eliminating his WMD," or weapons of mass destruction.

Although Bush offered to give U.N. diplomats another day to support the U.S. resolution blessing a confrontation with Hussein, he and his aides made clear that this was mostly for show and that they had no hope of victory today before the Security Council. Even Powell, the most dovish among the administration's major players, warned non-Iraqis in Baghdad to flee. "My personal advice is they ought to take a hard look at the situation they are in, and it would be probably better for them to start leaving or making plans to leave," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Far from envisioning a peaceful solution, Cheney leveled a serious new allegation that implied Hussein already has nuclear weapons. "We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons," Cheney said.

In the Azores, after a meeting of Britain, Spain, Portugal and the United States that lasted only an hour, the leaders did not present as anything more than pro forma their granting the United Nations an additional 24 hours to vote on a resolution. "Even if it's one in one million, it's always worthwhile fighting for a political solution," said Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.

In formally abandoning inspections -- Bush did not even use the word yesterday -- and all but abandoning diplomacy, the president and his top lieutenants vented their anger at the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, France and other powers for thwarting the United States.

The United Nations, Cheney said, "has proven incapable of dealing with the threat that Saddam Hussein represents, incapable of enforcing its own resolutions, incapable of meeting the challenge we face in the 21st century of rogue states armed with deadly weapons." Tracing French opposition to actions against Iraq since 1995, Cheney argued: "They have consistently opposed efforts to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for his actions."

Cheney dismissed IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei as "wrong" about Iraq's nuclear program. Of ElBaradei's agency, he said: "They have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing."

With most of the world opposed to the administration's plans to invade Iraq, Cheney said nations that had not experienced the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had not "come to grips" with the threat. "They're still, I think, thinking very much in terms of the last century, if you will, in terms of policies and strategies and institutions," the vice president said. He added that when it comes to "rogue states and terrorists equipped with deadly weapons in the future, the only nation that really has the capability to deal effectively with those threats is the United States."

Bush, after his Azores meeting, was no more flattering of the French ("they said they were going to veto anything that held Saddam to account") and of the United Nations, which he offered a role in "post-Saddam" Iraq. "And that way, it can begin to get its legs of responsibility back," he said.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
It all comes down to whom do you trust? Bush, Powell, Cheney and Rice have lied to the UN, the American people and the world about Saddam's nukes. The UN has proved they have no nukes, or nuclear program, yet they continue their baseless cliams.

Let history record for all time that the UN has proven Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rice are liars. And let history record 'they don't care.'



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Concerns About War, Deficit May Curb Tax Cuts
Washington Post
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2003; Page A04

Confronting an open revolt from congressional Republican moderates, House and Senate GOP leaders appear to have no choice this week but to scale back President Bush's proposed tax cuts or abandon many of the spending cuts they hoped would fund them.

The House and the Senate are scheduled this week to take up budget blueprints that would establish the size of any tax cut and limits on federal spending for 2004 and beyond. Once House and Senate negotiators can establish a joint budget resolution, the tax-writing committees would begin crafting tax cuts, and the spending committees would have to accommodate the budget cuts forced on them by the budget resolution's limits.

But the prospects of war and its unknown costs have bolstered opposition from Democrats and some Republicans, who say such weighty decisions should wait until the shape of a conflict with Iraq becomes clearer. For now, it is uncertain whether either body can pass the plans that were approved last week by their respective budget committees.

Both budget blueprints would fund nearly all the $1.6 trillion in tax cuts proposed in the president's budget, while giving special parliamentary treatment to the White House's $726 billion "economic growth" plan to ease its passage through the Senate. But forced to address Republican anxiety over growing budget deficits, Senate and House budget writers also decided to balance the budget. The House plan would bring the budget back into the black in 2010. The Senate plan would achieve balance in 2013.

That was a departure from Bush's budget, which the Congressional Budget Office calculated would leave the government in the red through 2013. Administration officials have said deficits of the magnitude foreseen in the president's budget are of little consequence.

"If nothing else, this should have told people, Capitol Hill believes deficits do matter," a senior GOP Senate leadership aide said. "We may have put the numbers through some real torture to get to balance, but it tells me that saying, 'Deficits don't matter,' will not work."

And because neither plan would pay for a new war in the Persian Gulf, said another Republican Senate aide, the coming week's budget battles have "a degree of unreality" to them. "There's a real Disneyland quality to debating the fiscal future of the country before we incur fiscal costs of such unknown magnitude," the aide said. "There's an inexplicable inertia that's driving these bills to the floor of Congress now. This is a case not for Alan Greenspan but for Dr. Phil."

Even without accounting for the war costs, the House Budget Committee highlighted the pain involved in trying to simultaneously cut taxes, fund Bush's military spending increases and balance the budget. To do that, the House budget would cut government programs next year that fund science, environmental protection, agriculture, education and training, and poverty alleviation. Lawmakers also would have to draft legislation by July to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits and student loans.

On Friday, 11 House Republican moderates sent a pointed letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) saying, "We cannot support a budget resolution that reflects funding levels below the Bush administration's request and that fails to meet the needs of our domestic priorities, while reducing taxes by $1.4 trillion." Given the Republicans' narrow House majority, 11 defections are one shy of the total needed to bring down the budget resolution, if Democrats remain united in their opposition. Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), one of the letter's authors, said there are more Republicans who "have serious concerns."

Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-Pa.) said he declined to sign the letter at the request of House Budget Committee Vice Chairman Christopher Shays (R-Conn.). But he made his concerns clear, especially for the provision that would simultaneously provide $400 billion for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare and ask for $214 billion in Medicare cuts.

"We've had a lot of difficulty with arbitrary numbers governing what to cut from doctors and hospitals in the past," Greenwood said. "I think it's very tough work to try to simultaneously pass an economic stimulus plan, head toward a balanced budget and make cuts in Medicare that we would just have to unmake in future dates." The House letter surfaced a day after an even more explicit letter from four Senate moderates -- two Republicans and two Democrats -- which stated they would accept no more and no less than $350 billion in tax cuts over the next decade. That number would effectively cut the president's growth package by more than half, all but forcing congressional tax writers to jettison Bush's proposal to slash taxes on corporate dividends.

Hastert spokesman John Feehery said the GOP leadership is still trying to round up the votes to pass the House budget resolution largely intact. But Republican leaders huddled Friday afternoon to come up with an alternate plan, while budget committee aides struggled to rewrite portions of the budget resolution, especially the Medicare cuts.

One alternative might be to allow the House plan to be defeated on a procedural vote, then order the Senate's version to be brought to the House floor as a substitute, a senior Senate Republican aide said. That way, House Republicans will not have to go on record as voting for Medicare cuts sure to be fodder for Democratic opponents in the 2004 campaign.

In the Senate, where the budget is scheduled for consideration today, GOP leaders are considering an immediate amendment to bring down the tax cut's size to $350 billion, a Senate GOP aide said. Republicans fear that Democrats will offer a barrage of amendments chipping away at the size of the tax cut by shifting revenue toward popular programs. That move would put Republican senators in the position of having to explicitly place the tax cuts over funding for any number of popular programs, from prescription drug coverage for seniors to AIDS relief for Africa to highway construction.

Already, bipartisan groups of senators have begun circulating letters protesting proposed cuts to foreign development aid and transportation funding, as well as a provision to raise revenue by auctioning leases to energy companies that would drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

By bringing the tax cut down to the level agreed upon by the moderates, at least some Democrats would join Republicans in opposing efforts to trim the package even more, the aide said.

Last year, the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House were unable to pass a budget resolution, leaving it to their respective appropriations committees to draft spending bills of conflicting size. That led to a meltdown in the budget process that was only cleared up in January, nearly a third of the way through the fiscal year. The experience has left Republican budget writers determined to reach a consensus document that would cap spending levels for the next two years, while setting the parameters of tax cuts for the next decade.

The same unease infecting the country in the run-up to war has cast a pall over the budget debate, the Senate GOP aide said. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have suggested that any vote to lock in the size of a tax cut should be deferred until the administration can give Congress some sense of the conflict's cost. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) has said he will not vote for any tax cut this year.

But Republican budget writers say the need for economic growth and job creation justifies the tax cut, regardless of the war's costs.

And the proposals to trim federal spending and force reforms in entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid are remedies badly needed now to prepare for the impending retirement of the baby boom generation.

"At some point you have to stop and ask, 'Do you want to govern for the next election or do you want to govern for the next generation?' " said House Budget Committee spokesman Sean Spicer. "We think the voters will reward us for our leadership."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
If you read this article and it didn't turn your stomach you need help. Where do we begin? First, there is no such thing as a tax cut when we have deficits, since deficits are really future taxes, so the title is incorrect. Second, any plan to balance the budget by 2010 or 2013 is as reliable as Bush's 10-year plan to give us a tax cut based on projections of surpluses. In other words, there's a 99.9999% chance their plan is based on crap.

If you're a real conservative, or a liberal, or a libertarian, you can't support what this party is doing to our fiscal future. If you're a businessman, a youngster, an elderly person, a man or woman in the miltary, you can't support this president and his party.

How is the next generation going to defend itself when there's no more money left? Where will the money come from when every penny of taxes they pay, will be going to pay for what this geneation was too cowardly and immoral to pay? Bush and his party are destroying the future of America. Period. If you have a brain and even if you don't, you know this already. However, if you've been indoctrinated by right-wing nuts you think Bush is a decent man. He's not.



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Congress Questions Cost of War-Related Aid
Washington Post
By Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2003; Page A02

As country after country demands money and military aid from the Bush administration in return for cooperation in the struggle against Iraq and terrorism, the price tag is growing and some in Congress have begun questioning the strategy.

In the run-up to a possible war with Iraq, the United States has been secretly negotiating with Israel, Jordan and Turkey over the terms of their support for U.S. military action. In addition, Egypt is now seeking $4.4 billion in war-related aid, congressional sources said Friday.

"It appears to me that the U.S. is the cow -- the cash cow in this case," Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said in a recent Senate speech. "We are the ones being milked. Where will this all end? How many nations will be promised American economic assistance just for their tacit support?"

In an unusual show of unity, Congress's top Democratic and Republican leaders have urged President Bush to include a multibillion-dollar package of "urgent" military and economic aid for Israel in a war-related emergency spending request being prepared by the White House. Israel, already the top U.S. aid recipient, is seeking $8 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and at least $1 billion to $2 billion in new military aid.

Jordan is seeking more than $1 billion, to compensate for losses resulting from a war-related stoppage of imported Iraqi oil, which it has been receiving at below-market prices.

Least certain are aid packages for Egypt and Turkey. Egypt has asked for as much as $2.2 billion in grants, $1 billion in loan guarantees, and an additional $1.2 billion in debt relief and advanced funding from 2004. The administration has offered Turkey $6 billion in military and economic aid as an incentive to allow U.S. troops to use the country to launch an invasion of northern Iraq. But Turkey's refusal to grant the U.S. request now makes those payments unlikely.

Whether Congress will support these initiatives at a time when fiscal pressures are forcing a freeze -- or possible cuts -- in domestic spending is unclear. The Egyptian request alone is equal to 25 percent of this year's $16.3 billion U.S. foreign aid budget. Even without these war-connected "emergency" requests for cooperating countries, Bush has proposed a 15 percent increase in the regular, non-emergency foreign aid program for 2004, to pay for increases to fight AIDS and poverty abroad.

In a sharp exchange last week, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) cautioned Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that the administration should "make sure the votes are there" in Congress for the Turkish aid package, which would require lawmakers' approval.

"So far we have not been told where that money is going to come from or how it's going to come," said Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid.

Meanwhile, pro-Armenian House members, who previously backed a resolution that would have blamed Turkey for "genocide" against Armenians in 1915, have been critical of the U.S. offer to Turkey.

Economic and military aid has been a tool of U.S. foreign policy since World War II. This year the United States is providing $2.5 billion to dozens of countries through an "economic support" fund reserved for nations important to U.S. strategic and political interests.

But Leahy warned in a recent speech that the war on terrorism was pushing U.S. foreign policy back to its Cold War model, when billions of dollars in cash and military equipment were channeled to corrupt or undemocratic governments in exchange for their support against the Soviet Union. Citing Pakistan and Uzbekistan, he accused the administration of making "payoffs to governments -- including repressive, corrupt governments -- that agree to go along with us in Iraq and in combating terrorism." Uzbekistan, Leahy said, was an autocratic government that was "showered with a large increase in U.S. foreign aid" after Sept. 11, 2001, to persuade it to assist the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.

Leahy complained that Pakistan, which received $200 million from the economic support fund in the recently enacted 2003 foreign aid bill, is ruled by a general "who seized power in a military coup and that is accused of supporting North Korea's nuclear program."

In a vivid example of terrorism's impact on U.S. policy, Bush soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks waived a ban on direct U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan resulting from its 1991-93 war with Armenia. Azerbaijan is strategically located near Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

The high-level plea to Bush for the Israel aid package was contained in a letter signed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). It cited Israel's "severe economic recession, caused in large part by the campaign of violence and terror being waged against it." The United States "cannot allow" Israel to lose its military edge, Frist and Daschle wrote.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent similar letters to Bush.

Congressional support for Israel is broad and deep. The 2003 foreign aid budget gives Israel $2.1 billion in military equipment financing and $600 million in economic support. Congressional sources said any deal with Israel will follow the pattern of 1991, when the United States provided loan guarantees on condition the funds not be used for new settlements in the West Bank.

"I don't think you have an alternative" to the aid, said Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), top Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee. "Israel has been the democratic bulwark in the Middle East, and our policy has been leaning toward them" since the 1950s.

"Israel is in the eye of the Iraq storm," said Rep. Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.), ranking Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid. She called it a "top target" of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's "biological and chemical weapons and a key partner in the war on terrorism."

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied actively for the high-level congressional support, and the aid package has the backing of Christian evangelicals. Gary Bauer, a prominent conservative who has been organizing a pro-Israel coalition of Jewish and Christian groups, said Israel should be "at the top of the list" for aid.

Some officials who asked not to be identified expressed concern that a new aid package for Israel could increase Arab resentment toward the United States unless it is linked to progress on the stalled Middle East peace process.

"Support for the Israel aid package in the Senate will depend on how it is justified and how it will be paid for. The administration should use this opportunity to fashion our aid in ways that help move the Middle East peace process forward," said a Democratic Senate aide.

Although it is now in limbo, the Turkish aid offer has come under more attack. Supporters of Armenia have questioned the need for such a sizable package. In a letter last month to Powell, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), co-chairman of the House's Armenian Caucus, said Turkey should not require incentives to support a U.S.-led war aimed at ridding Turkey of a dangerous neighbor.

But pro-Turkish lawmakers have formed their own caucus, made up of members who support that country's democracy, close ties to Israel and military purchases from contractors in a number of congressional districts. Two influential former senior House members, Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.) and Bob Livingston (R-La.), have been representing Turkish interests in Washington. And Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.) headed for Turkey last weekend for meetings with senior Turkish officials in the wake of parliament's rejection of the U.S. request to station troops.

"It would be a great loss if the Turkish-American relationship was destabilized," Wexler said.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
It was your money. Now it's there's.

Wouldn't it be nice if we took the $100 billion for war and the untold billions in buying our friends and simply gave it away to lowest incomed Americans. Think of what the poor could do with hundreds of billions. We could make a good chunck of them millionaires.

This war is also an excuse to bankrupt our Treasury by giving aid to despots, dictators and tyrants all around the world while at the same time telling Americans there's not enough money for our needed programs.

Adding insult to injury, these morons then borrow hundreds of billions and give it awway in tax cut to the richest of the rich. Bush is expected to create more debt than any president in US history. Debt is future taxes plus lots of interest. So if you're still one of those morons who thinks you're getting a tax cut from Bush, guess again. Bush is postponing when you get the bill for what he's spending.



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U.S. Risks Isolation and Breakdown Of Alliances
Washington Post
By Robert G. Kaiser
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 16, 2003; Page A12

Whatever its outcome, a preemptive war against Iraq launched without sanction from the United Nations would transform the world and the United States' place in it.

With a quick, successful war in Iraq, the Bush administration just might establish the United States as a kind of 21st-century Rome, dominating the globe while isolating, frustrating and ultimately eliminating its enemies.

But this is far from the only possibility. A bloody and untidy war, a hostile reception from Iraqi citizens, failure to uncover hidden biological and chemical weapons, failure to sustain a working Iraqi democracy or unexpected events in other nations or regions could all undermine the U.S. cause. An angry world could turn against Washington, and the effects could be felt in every multilateral forum, from the United Nations to the World Trade Organization.

From the outset of his administration, Bush made clear his belief that the treaties, alliances and institutions that grew up in the Cold War era had to be altered to adapt to new threats and conditions. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration has sharpened that point, arguing that new terrorist threats require aggressive vigilance, including preemptive military action, and that the United States will pursue a muscular new policy with whatever allies it can attract.

"The international order as we've come to know it is not adequate for the defense of the United States in a new century of threats quite unlike any we've experienced in the past," said Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. He defined the new threat as "existential terrorism" intended to kill large numbers of people.

"We are going to have to take the war against them [terrorists] often to other peoples' territory, and all of the norms of international order make it difficult to do that," Perle said. "So the president has to reshape fundamental attitudes toward those norms, or we are going to have our hands tied by an antiquated institution [the traditional international system] that is not capable of defending us."

More traditionalist students of international politics dismiss such views as nonsensical. "We don't know what we're doing," said Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. The United States has never been so isolated in the modern era, Brzezinski said in an interview. "We cannot handle the world entirely on our own. We are stronger than anyone else, but we are not capable of simply dictating to the entire world, and I think that's where the administration has really fallen down badly."

From Carter's Middle East negotiations at Camp David to George H.W. Bush's Persian Gulf War to Bill Clinton's campaigns against Serbian nationalism in Bosnia and Kosovo, the United States "had enormous international support on controversial issues," Brzezinski said. "Now we don't. And I think the best proof of that is that already on North Korea, we are totally stymied. We cannot antagonize the international community on one issue and then expect it to work with us in an accommodating fashion on another."

Working with others in a post-Iraq war environment could be a new experience. Sir Michael Quinlan, former permanent undersecretary of the British Ministry of Defense, predicted that "huge resentments" brought on by a U.S.-led preemptive war will poison international relations, not just between the United States and others, but among Europeans and other countries that are taking differing positions on the war. "It's going to open up big fissures in almost every direction," Quinlan said, "a hugely depressing episode."

"This war will produce a poison in the United States' closest alliances," said retired Army Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency and a professor of political science at Yale. "It comes close to risking exchanging Europe for Iraq."

Joseph Joffe, editor of the liberal German political weekly Die Zeit, also sees a breakdown of traditional alliances, but blames the French, Germans and Russians. March 5, the day those three countries' leaders met in Paris and formed a united front opposed to the U.S. push for war, will be remembered as the day the Atlantic alliance was reversed, Joffe said.

"The new 'axis' of Paris-Berlin-Moscow must be seen as an instance of classical balance-of-power politics," Joffe said. Its organizers were less interested in Saddam Hussein than in inhibiting the United States: "This is about . . . [controlling] American power."

The resistance of the six "undecided" Security Council members to a new U.N. resolution on Iraq in recent weeks may be another example of countries, including close U.S. allies, trying to control American power, said Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Other countries see "a United States that seems to want to decide for the world . . . how countries should govern themselves and by whom. They don't want that, and don't accept it."

Bush has praised other nations for joining a "vast network of freedom-loving countries" to fight terrorism, as he put it last month, and he has often cited the "principle" that binds this coalition: "Either you're with us, or you're with the enemy," as he put it in January. That stark choice -- a formula made famous early in the 20th century by Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state -- may be a harder sell after an unpopular U.S. war against Iraq. "It sounds like [Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev and the Warsaw Pact," Brzezinski said.

Bad consequences could be avoided or minimized, said Dieter Buhl, a German journalist, if the war were quickly won with minimal civilian casualties. Buhl predicted a rush to patch things up with the United States by now-critical allies if the war went well: "Nothing really is as successful as success."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Regardless of how this turns out the end of the American Century is upon us. New alliances have been created between France, China, Germany and Russia and it's highly unlikely they'll go away soon. France will dominate the new alliance. Developing countries around the world will be looking to this new alliance as the protectors of the "rule of law." No one can stop the US but in the UN the US will continue to become isolated. Isolation, in itself destroys superpower status.

The peoplies of the world are against the US by huge majorities. There's is no calculating the damage done to our natianal reputation or if it can ever be repaired. One thing for sure. This president MUST NOT be reelected.



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U.S. Missteps Led to Failed Diplomacy
Washington Post
By Glenn Kessler and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 16, 2003; Page A15

Six months after President Bush first appeared before the United Nations and urged a confrontation with Iraq, the United States appears to have lost diplomatic ground, not gained it, leaving it in a precarious international position as it prepares to launch a war.

A resolution authorizing military action has been blocked at the United Nations not only by permanent members with veto power such as France and Russia but also by close U.S. neighbors such as Chile and Mexico. Some of the president's closest allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair foremost among them, are in desperate political straits over their support of Bush's Iraq policy, a key reason why Bush will hold a summit today with Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

The groundwork for the diplomatic impasse confronting the United States was laid from the moment Bush took office, according to diplomats, analysts and some administration officials. They point to Bush's conviction in the primacy of U.S. power and his administration's early skepticism of international organizations and commitments.

But these officials add that the problem was exacerbated by a series of missteps that occurred after the president decided in September to seek U.N. approval for his Iraqi policy, including what some acknowledge was a lackluster diplomatic effort by the president and some of his senior foreign policy advisers. The administration did not help itself, some Security Council members say, by signaling early on that it would not be deterred from what many governments viewed as a preset timetable for war.

"Could we have done the diplomacy better? Absolutely," an administration official said. "We were perceived as heavy-handed."

Indeed, Bush has been unrelenting in his rhetorical and military buildup for a possible war, but his diplomatic efforts have appeared half-hearted. Last weekend, while Blair was working the phones -- he spoke to 30 heads of state in six days -- and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was traveling to the capitals of uncommitted Security Council members, Bush made no visits or phone calls.

By the time Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 12, the administration had angered its allies by its dismissal of the global warming treaty, the international criminal court and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. Even so, diplomats said, the administration likely would have won a second U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military action if it had shown a little more patience and more willingness to address the concerns of other member nations.

"The bottom line is the U.S. will not move," a Security Council diplomat said. "Even the French might move if there was something to move to."

A senior official from the administration of Bush's father, who led allies against Iraq in 1991, said, "They've used unilateral tactics with a multilateral strategy. If your strategy is to go for U.N. support, you need to use U.N. tactics."

In fact, the current administration proceeded down a military track at virtually the same time it proceeded with diplomacy, creating an inevitable clash of interests and leaving many foreign diplomats believing the administration's appeal for U.N. backing was a fig leaf to cover a preordained decision to use military force against Iraq. In the view of other countries, the administration short-circuited the U.N. weapons inspections by arguing that the inspections could not be allowed to drag on because the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf region had proceeded too far to turn back from war.

"Back in August, wittingly or unwittingly, the president accepted two totally incompatible strategies," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The administration achieved a 15-to-0 vote in the U.N. Security Council in November for a resolution that restarted the weapons inspections in Iraq and gave Iraq a final chance to reveal whether it possessed weapons of mass destruction. But that resolution papered over strong differences within the council, laying the seeds for the current impasse.

U.S. officials had won support for the resolution by arguing that the best way to avoid war was to support it. French officials date their break with the administration to mid-January, when U.S. officials signaled they were prepared to end the inspections only weeks after they had started. "There was shock and surprise," a French official said. "It was a signal that for Washington the time of inspections had almost ended."

U.S. officials argue that it is clear that France -- which has led the U.N. opposition to U.S. policy -- always intended to block a war, and that no amount of diplomacy would have bridged the gap. A senior official said the administration could be faulted for not grabbing at opportunities and for not showing a greater commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a bow to European public opinion. But he said it would not have made a difference.

"If we were diplomatically perfect, I'm not sure it would have fundamentally changed the outcome," he said. "The goal is not to reach consensus at any price." Foreign diplomats dismiss this as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The French official insisted that France would have supported the use of force and even participated in a military coalition if the United States had shown more patience with the inspection process. "What could have been claimed as victories were always denounced as deceptions," because the United States refused to budge from its timetable for war, the official said.

Bush's diplomatic efforts are particularly striking in contrast to those of his father, who assembled a worldwide coalition to attack Iraq 12 years ago. Bush's father had a much easier case to make, since Iraq had invaded Kuwait and was threatening Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally. By contrast, the current President Bush is trying to win support for a preventive war, arguing the Iraqi government is a potential danger to the world.

Yet, the first Bush administration appeared to work with greater skill and sophistication to ensure worldwide support for its policy, diplomats, analysts and former U.S. government officials say. Secretary of State James A. Baker III crisscrossed the globe, and President George H.W. Bush spent hours on the phones with foreign leaders in the months leading to the war. In the process, the administration won victories in the Security Council endorsing the confrontation with Iraq.

The president and senior officials in the current Bush administration spend less time on the phone or on the road, They appear more comfortable issuing demands than asking for help or bridging differences, diplomats and U.S. officials said. The summit will be Bush's first overseas trip in four months. He has not spoken to French President Jacques Chirac in more than five weeks.

Baker, in contrast to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, was almost constantly on the road before the Gulf War, flying at one point from the Middle East to Colombia to make the U.S. case to a Security Council member. "It was a very different level of activity, much more face-to-face than long-distance," said Dennis Ross, who was director of policy planning for Baker. "It was a way of demonstrating to those publics and those leaders that we were interested in their concerns."

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the two Iraq buildups cannot be fairly compared. "It's easier to see an invasion of Kuwait. It's harder to see an attack coming," he said. "September 11th may not have changed much for France. It's changed everything for President Bush."

The decision by Turkey's parliament to reject a U.S. request to station troops in the country is another example in which the current administration has asked for more and expended less effort.

In 1990, Baker made three trips to Turkey in five months. Bush's father called the Turkish leader 55 to 60 times after Turkey agreed to shut down an oil pipeline to Iraq before the Persian Gulf War began, said Morton Abramowitz, then U.S. ambassador to Turkey. The Turkish parliament was asked to open its bases to the United States after the bombs began to fall.

This time, not only did the United States want to insert 62,000 troops in Turkey, but also it demanded a vote when the United States insisted it was trying to disarm Iraq peacefully; Turkish officials said administration officials demanded a vote as quickly as possible. Turkish officials made one trip to Washington, but Powell didn't visit Turkey once during this period. Bush had three calls or meetings with Turkish leaders, according to White House records.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
It's reasonable to assume Bush has no successes to run for reelection on and he needs war. The economy is in shamble, the deficits are soaring, the markets have lost over $7 trillion and all he has left is fighting a war with a nearly defenseless tiny country half way around the world.

In the process of creating his legacy, he's destroyed the alliances previous presidents created since our revolution. Today, this president is one of the most hated men in the world and in many countries is condered a threat to world peace. How fast the mighty US has fallen because of the short-sighted, condecending arrogance of this tiny man some still call president.



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Senator Wants Fake Iraq Documents Probed
Washington Post/AP
By KEN GUGGENHEIM
The Associated Press
Saturday, March 15, 2003; 10:13 AM

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI on Friday to investigate forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his military ambitions in Iraq.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he was uneasy about a possible campaign to deceive the public about the status of Iraq's nuclear program.

An investigation should "at a minimum help to allay any concerns" that the government was involved in the creation of the documents to build support for administration policies, Rockefeller wrote in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has denied the U.S. government had any hand in creating the false documents.

"It came from other sources," Powell told a House committee Thursday. "We were aware of this piece of evidence, and it was provided in good faith to the inspectors."

Rockefeller asked the FBI to determine the source of the documents, the sophistication of the forgeries, the motivation of those responsible, why intelligence agencies didn't recognize them as forgeries and whether they are part of a larger disinformation campaign.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Ross, a spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts, said the committee will look into the forgery, but Roberts believes it is inappropriate for the FBI to investigate at this point.

The documents indicated that Iraq tried to by uranium from Niger, the West African nation that is the third-largest producer of mined uranium, Niger's largest export. The documents had been provided to U.S. officials by a third country, which has not been identified.

A U.S. government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was unclear who first created the documents. The official said American suspicions remain about an Iraq-Niger uranium connection because of other, still-credible evidence that the official refused to specify.

In December, the State Department used the information to support its case that Iraq was lying about its weapons programs. But on March 7, Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents were forgeries.

Rockefeller said U.S. worries about Iraqi nuclear weapons were not based primarily on the documents, but "there is a possibility that the fabrication of these documents may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq."

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, Powell said the State Department had not participated "any way in any falsification."

Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the committee's top Democrat, noted a Washington Post report that said a foreign government might have been conducting a deception campaign to win support for military action against Iraq. When Obey asked Powell if he could say which country that was, Powell replied, "I can't with confidence."

The Niger documents marked the second time that ElBaradei has challenged evidence presented by the United States meant to illustrate Iraq's nuclear weapons program. He also rejected the U.S. position that aluminum tubes imported by Iraq were intended to make nuclear bombs.

ElBaradei has said his inspectors have found no evidence that Saddam has revived its nuclear weapons program.

Associated Press writer John J. Lumpkin contributed to this story.

On the Net: State Department's Niger page: http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/ng/

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
Piece by piece the credibility of the US has been destoyed as Powell's and Bush's lies to the UN have been exposed. We have to wonder how long it will be before the nations of the world believe us again. The US has provided false, misleading and fake evidence to the UN, then asked them to accept it blindly? Now we wait to see if the US will ever be able to lead again. To be the leader of the free world, they have to believe what we say. Those days are over.



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FBI Spy Planes Helping in Terror War
Washington Post
By CURT ANDERSON
The Associated Press
Saturday, March 15, 2003; 4:57 PM

The FBI has a fleet of aircraft, some equipped with night surveillance and eavesdropping equipment, flying America's skies to track and collect intelligence on suspected terrorists and other criminals.

The FBI will not provide exact figures on the planes and helicopters, but more than 80 are in the skies. There are several planes, known as "Nightstalkers," equipped with infrared devices that allow agents to track people and vehicles in the dark.

Other aircraft are outfitted with electronic surveillance equipment so agents can pursue listening devices placed in cars, in buildings and even along streets, or listen to cell phone calls. Still others fly photography missions, although officials would not describe precise capabilities.

The FBI, which has made counterterror its top priority since Sept. 11, 2001, has sharply increased its use of aircraft.

"You want to watch activity, and you want to do it discreetly. You don't want to be sitting around in cars," said Weldon Kennedy, a former FBI deputy director who retired in 1997 after 33 years with the bureau. "Aviation is one way to do that. You don't need to get close to that person at all."

Some critics say the surveillance technology further blurs the boundaries on domestic spying. They point to a 2001 case in which the Supreme Court found police had engaged in an unreasonable search by using thermal imaging equipment to detect heat lamps used to grow marijuana plants indoors.

"The cop on the beat now has Superman's X-ray eyes," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union. "We need to fundamentally rethink what is a reasonable expectation of privacy."

All 56 FBI field offices have access to aircraft, piloted by FBI agents who have other investigative duties as well. Most aircraft are propeller-driven civilian models, favored for their relatively slow speed and unobtrusive appearance.

Legally, no warrants are necessary for the FBI to track cars or people from the air. Law enforcement officials need warrants to search homes or to plant listening devices or monitor cell phone calls - and that includes when the listener is flying in an airplane.

A senior FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FBI does not do flyovers to listen to telephone calls and gather electronic data from random citizens in hopes the data will provide leads. Rather, the planes are used to follow specific individuals, some of whom may already have been bugged or for whom the FBI has a warrant to listen to cell phone calls.

Still, the idea of an FBI air force gives at least some people pause.

The FBI will not disclose where the planes are being used. This month, however, in the college town of Bloomington, Ind., residents spotted a Cessna aircraft flying overhead at roughly the same times every day for more than a week. After first issuing denials, local FBI agents admitted it was their plane, involved in a terrorism investigation.

FBI officials also were quick to say it was not doing electronic eavesdropping.

"There should be no concern that the aircraft is doing anything other than assisting with physical surveillance," said FBI agent James Davis.

The FBI has been using airplanes since 1938, when an agent in a Stinson monoplane helped stop an extortion attempt that involved a payoff package thrown from a moving passenger train. The first major deployment happened in 1975 during the investigation of the killings of two FBI agents at the sprawling Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The program has been particularly useful in investigations of organized crime and drug trafficking. Mobsters who suspected their homes and telephones were bugged frequently held meetings in moving cars, not realizing that bugs also were placed there and were being monitored from the air.

Aircraft are now seen as ideal in the FBI's domestic war on terror. FBI Director Robert Mueller said last year there was a 60 percent increase in field office requests for airplanes in the year after the Sept. 11 attacks, with almost 90 percent of air missions now dedicated to surveillance.

"You don't have a criminal case. You don't necessarily have a terrorism case. You want to know what they are doing, who their associates are, who they are meeting with," retired agent Kennedy said. "Surveillance is going to have a pretty big role in that."

Congress approved this year a $20 million increase in the FBI's aviation budget but denied a request for two new Black Hawk helicopters. It also ordered the bureau to develop a master plan for its aviation program.

The FBI also can request aviation help from the Defense Department. That can involve a great deal of bureaucracy and care, however, to ensure the military does not violate laws preventing them from doing law enforcement work within the United States.

On the Net: FBI: http://www.fbi.gov

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
More crap from the government we love to hate. The FBI wants two new Black Hawk helicopters? What's that all about? Let's face it, the moron's running anti-terrorism haven't got one right yet. They put out alert after alert, get every one wrong and some people still think it's worth listening to them. Terrorism is what our government uses to terrorize us. It doesn't work for me, but I suppose some people are afraid of boggyman.



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Iraqi WMD program came from US and France
New York Times
By PHILIP SHENON
March 16, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 15 — Iraq has identified a Virginia-based biological supply house and a French scientific institute as the sources of all the foreign germ samples that it used to create the biological weapons that are still believed to be in Iraq's arsenal, according to American officials and foreign diplomats who have reviewed Iraq's latest weapons declaration to the United Nations.

The American supply house, the American Type Culture Collection of Manassas, Va., had previously been identified as an important supplier of anthrax and other germ samples to Iraq.

But the full extent of the sales by the Virginia supply house and the Pasteur Institute in Paris has never been made public by the United Nations, which received the latest weapons declaration from Iraq in December.

Nor was there any public suggestion before now that Iraq had — apart from a small amount of home-grown germ samples — depended exclusively on supplies from the United States and France in the 1980's in developing the biological weapons that American officials say are now believed to threaten troops massing around Iraq. The shipments were approved by the United States government in the 1980's, when the transfer of such pathogens for research was legal and easily arranged.

A copy of the pages of the Iraqi declaration dealing with biological weapons was provided to The New York Times, and it reveals the full variety of germs that Iraq says it obtained from abroad for its biological weapons program.

The document shows that the American and French supply houses shipped 17 types of biological agents to Iraq in the 1980's that were used in the weapons programs. Those included anthrax and the bacteria needed to make botulinum toxin, among the most deadly poisons known. It also discloses that Iraq had tried unsuccessfully to obtain biological agents in the late 1980's from other biological supply houses around the world.

The quantities of the agents were described in terms of ampuls, which are sealed glass or plastic containers about the size of test tubes.

Iraq has acknowledged that it used the American and French germ samples to produce tons of biological weapons in the 1980's. It has repeatedly insisted in recent years that the program was shut down, and all of the biological material destroyed, in the 1990's, an assertion that the United States and many other nations have said is demonstrably untrue.

The United States, France and other Western countries placed severe restrictions on the shipment of biological materials in the early 1990's, after the extent of Iraq's biological weapons program became clear in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Spokesmen for the American Type Culture Collection and the Pasteur Institute said that they were not surprised that Iraq had identified them as the exclusive foreign suppliers of germ samples to its weapons programs. They said that all of their shipments had been legal and that they were made with the understanding that the agents would be used for research and medical purposes.

"A.T.C.C. could never have shipped these samples to Iraq without the Department of Commerce's approval for all requests," said Nancy J. Wysocki, vice president for human resources and public relations at the American Type Culture Collection, a nonprofit organization that is one of the world's leading biological supply houses. "They were sent for legitimate research purposes."

Michele Mock, a microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said in a telephone interview: "In the 1980's, the rules were entirely different. If there was an official letter, there was no reason to avoid providing this material. One good thing now is that the rules have changed."

The Iraqi statement on its bioweapons was prepared by the Iraqis in 1997 and was incorporated in its entirety into the full weapons declaration provided to the United Nations last year, officials said.

The bioweapons declaration was obtained by Gary B. Pitts, a Houston lawyer who is representing ailing gulf war veterans in a lawsuit claiming that their illnesses were explained by exposure to chemical or biological weapons that were known to be in Iraq's arsenal in the war. United Nations officials confirmed the authenticity of the document.

Mr. Pitts said that American Type Culture Collection, which is a defendant in the lawsuit, and the Pasteur Institute should have known in the 1980's that "it was unreasonable to turn over something like this to Saddam, especially after he had used weapons of mass destruction in the past."

"It's ironic that we're now talking about going into Iraq to clean up these weapons," Mr. Pitts added.

He had previously made public a copy of Iraq's chemical weapons declaration. In it, the Baghdad government identified several major suppliers for its production of nerve gas and other chemical weapons. Apart from two small suppliers in the United States that are now defunct, most of the chemical suppliers identified in the report were European.

Jonathan Tucker, a former United Nations weapons inspector who is a visiting fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, said that the 1980's "were a more innocent time, and the default in those days was to supply these cultures to academic research labs without asking many questions."

"At the time, the U.S. government was tilting toward Iraq, was trying to improve relations with Iraq, and the tendency was not to scrutinize these requests," Mr. Tucker said.

But Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project, an arms control research group, said that the biological supply houses should have realized that Iraq might use the germ samples to make weapons, especially since it was known then that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iranian troops in the Iran-Iraq war.

"If you know that the buying country is involved in a chemical weapons program, you have an obligation to ask some questions rather than just send it out," Mr. Milhollin said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company



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Investors See Weak Economy
Money.CNN
March 16, 2003: 9:42 AM EST
By Mark Gongloff, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Federal Reserve wants to wait out a possible war in Iraq before it decides whether or not it needs to cut interest rates to help the economy -- but some analysts worry that the economy needs help now.

The central bank's policy-makers are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss short-term interest rates, which they can move lower to pump money into the economy in a bid to fend off recession and deflation.

Few economists expect the Fed to cut rates that day, but a small group of them changed their minds on March 7, when the Labor Department said U.S. employers cut 308,000 jobs from their payrolls in February, the worst job purge since the months immediately following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Merrill Lynch and four other firms, of the 21 polled by Reuters shortly after the jobs report, said they expected a rate cut on Tuesday, while 14 of the 21 said they thought the Fed would at least shift its stated view of the economy away from balance and towards concern about growing weakness.

"It may be that low rates are not the only help the economy needs," David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch's chief North American economist, said in a conference call that day. "But we could be in even rougher shape without monetary ease, and 80 percent of what the Fed's already given us is behind us. We could use another dose."

Red flags for the Fed>

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and other central bankers have been saying for weeks that they think the economy will be fine once the "geopolitical uncertainties" and higher oil prices arising from concerns about a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq are gone.

But some economists worry that the Fed is at risk of ignoring the damage already being done by pre-war conditions, including:

  • skyrocketing oil prices, which cut discretionary consumer spending and weigh on corporate profits;
  • plunging consumer confidence, which by two key measures is at the lowest level in about a decade;
  • a labor market that's bad and only been getting worse;
  • a manufacturing sector that's slowing down again, including the recent decision by automakers to cut production; and
  • stock prices struggling to escape from a bear market that's lasted three years and counting.

You don't have to be John Maynard Keynes to realize that, under the weight of all these burdens, the economy's not exactly on a tear during the first quarter.

"Whenever you have a situation where inflation is not a material risk and the economy is underperforming, you should be thinking about a rate cut," said CIBC World Markets senior economist Avery Shenfeld. "There's a potential reward and not much risk."

In fact, U.S. financial markets might already be starting a drum-beat for a rate cut. The yield on the two-year Treasury bond was just above 1.5 percent on Friday -- higher than the record lows set earlier in the week, but still awfully close to the Fed's 1.25 percent target for the federal funds rate, the Fed's key short-term rate.

The spread between 10-year bond yield and the Fed funds rate has also shrunk, another sign that traders are betting that future economic weakness might need to be addressed by lower interest rates.

"There are a lot of crosscurrents now, but falling yields might indicate that demand for credit is slowing down and that the Fed, by holding the fed funds rate where it is, is actually keeping rates all along the curve from falling to their equilibrium level, or to the level where would they would more naturally go," said Northern Trust economist Paul Kasriel.

So far, the fed funds futures contract, a key indicator of market expectations about future Fed policy, thinks the chances of a March 18 rate cut are less than 20 percent. But those odds increase throughout the summer, hitting their highest point in July and August.

If the Fed is just going to cut rates anyway, why not do it now instead of later?

For one thing, money supply seems to be holding up pretty well so far, despite the Fed's inaction. And when short- and long-term rates fall on their own as they've been doing, they're pretty much helping the Fed do its job without making another big rate cut that would take the fed funds rate ever closer to zero, at which point the Fed will have to start getting creative.

And with rates already at historic lows, how much more easy credit do we really need at this point?

"The easing the Fed has already done has had a focused and limited effect, mainly on sales of homes and automobiles," said Goldman Sachs senior economist Edward McKelvey. "It's not clear another rate cut will have much effect. I think fiscal easing is more effective at this point; it more directly puts money in people's pocketbooks."

President Bush has proposed a $1.3 trillion plan of tax cuts and spending designed, in part, to help the economy. Democrats have proposed their own, much smaller, fiscal stimulus package designed to pump money directly into the economy.

Greenspan has suggested that both proposals wait until after the Iraq situation is resolved.   

© 2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. An AOL Time Warner Company ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Commentary:
Greenspan is doing what Greenspan has always done. He uses interest ratest to help the republican party. GW wouldn't be in power today if Greenspan hadn't slowed the economy with two years of interest rate increases. Today, he's keeping rates at historic lows to help Bush and the republican party.

So what would a "REAL" Fed Chairman be doing? First, he'd be raising interest rates and doing it fast. Recall how during the latter part of the 70's, another political crisis in the Middle East caused oil prices to hit $40 a barrel? This was followed by record inflation. Does Greenspan or Bush give a damn? Not a chance...all they want is power and they'll do anything to keep it. Greenspan should have retired 10 years ago, before he helped republicans gain control of the congress by raising rates when Bill Clinton became president.

Greenspan is a power-hunger republican who helped Bush get his tax cut (record deficits) passed. With a record like that he should hang his head in shame.



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Bush Clears Way for Aid to Pakistan
Washington Post
The Associated Press
Friday, March 14, 2003; 5:11 PM

President Bush on Friday extended a waiver of sanctions against Pakistan, clearing the way for that country to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. economic aid.

Pakistan had been under sanctions that barred economic and military assistance because of the 1999 military coup that brought President Pervez Musharraf to power.

But after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as Musharraf sided with the United States in the war on terror and in ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan, Bush lifted the sanctions that had been imposed against Pakistan and India after the two countries tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Congress then removed the last remaining sanctions, which barred all foreign aid to Pakistan.

On Friday, Bush renewed that waiver, saying in a memo to Secretary of State Colin Powell that doing so "would facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan" and would be important to the United States' global war on terror.

Pakistan is one of six countries undecided about the U.S.-backed effort to get U.N. backing for the use of force to disarm Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Washington had been counting on Pakistan's support, but it wasn't clear whether it would be forthcoming if a vote were called.

Also Friday, the White House announced that Bush would meet in Washington with Pakistan's prime minister on March 28 to discuss the war on terrorism and other issues affecting the two nations. Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said he wants Saddam to be given more time to disarm before any military action is taken.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
So how do you feel about your money being spent on a country that has no political stability, leaders who come to power by using force not elections, and are armed with nukes? The current military leader of Pakistan is not fit to meet with any US president. Won't stop Bush.



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