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Impeach Bush

Veterans Know Why This War Is Wrong - Speak Out Now!
Michael O'McCarthy
March 22, 2003

[Private E-Mail, used with permission]

Dear Citizen - Congressperson and Senator:

I write to you at a time of war --- when the citizens of this nation, anti-war protesters and war supporters alike, are being called upon to "support our troops," those men and women who are now veterans of war.

Bluntly, from my experience with the US Government and its care of veterans of war, the most effective way of "supporting our troops" is to bring them home immediately. I say that because of the following:

In 1982 I was a special advisor to the Los Angeles based Veteran's Center. My primary responsibility was to veterans of both the Vietnam and Korean wars afflicted with illnesses linked to dioxin contaminated defoliants, i.e., Agent Orange as used in South East Asia, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as it was reflected in veterans of both wars.

The US Government and the private sector manufacturer of the dioxin contaminants, (Dow Chemical), ruthlessly refused to acknowledge either affect or cause. Claims by tens of thousands of veterans of those wars so afflicted were rejected by the US Government's Veteran's Administration. This was under direct order from the Reagan Administration, the Defense Department, and by the US Congress.

When the hostages were freed from Iran and given a "heroes" welcome in 1982 while veterans languished in inhuman conditions in VA hospitals and suffered wholesale negligence of the veterans the situation led to protests. Then in an incident at the Wadsworth VA Hospital, in Los Angeles, James Hopkins, a Vietnam veteran, drove his WWII Jeep through the plate glass windows and loosened a volley of automatic weapons fire. He was dragged out of the facility by law enforcement screaming that his brain had been destroyed by Agent Orange.

Video images of this event were broadcast worldwide. His sad and violent, armed protest at the Wadsworth VA facility became a lightning rod for the outcry of Vietnam veterans.

Upon his suicide protests became a combination sit-in and hunger strike This was a non violent sit-in protest begun at the VA hospital in Los Angeles which , developed into a hunger strike led by highly decorated, Viet Nam combat veterans. It was then that I was elected the Chief Advisor and Negotiator for the hunger strike.

After weeks of attempting to negotiate a fair settlement we moved the Hunger Strike to Washington, DC and to the halls of the US Congress. I led the negotiations and the end of the 53 day long Hunger Strike with the Veteran's Caucus of Congress.

The Hunger Strike was a direct rebuff of President Ronald Reagan's attempt to end congressionally budgeted, veteran's benefits and his design to destroy the essential outreach help to Vietnam veterans. It was further a design to block studies into the causal relationship between the use of the dioxin-based, chemical weapons, i.e., Agent Orange, (and its kindred weapons), and the numerous symptoms evidenced in countless Vietnam veterans and their children.

The Vietnam War was a war conceived in its breadth and scope for the political purposes of both Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon and those Democratic and Republican party politicians whose interests were vested with their corporate contributors, rather than that of their constituency.

As proven in the Pentagon Papers, it was a war based on a series of Presidential lies.

The end result of the war in South East Asia was predictable from the outset: there was no moral justification for its intervention, and short of the use of "weapons of mass destruction,"(in this case the use of nuclear weapons), it did not have to capacity to destroy the opposition forces. At the direction of Nixon, Kissinger threatened to the First Use of nuclear weapons if North Vietnam would not return to the peace talks.

As we now know, the end result was exactly what the opposition desired: a united Vietnam free of outside rule at the price of over 60,000 American lives, (the official count is 58K +), and that of countless millions of South East Asians.

It is important to note that not one US politician left office and went to that war, as is the case of the current war.

While the symptomatic issues of the Hunger Strike were the use of the chemical warfare agent, dioxin based, Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders the message of the Veterans Coalition Hunger Strike was a wholesale condemnation of the nature of that war.

During the Hunger Strike I communicated with myriad veteran's organizations that represented thousands of veterans of South East Asia and many from the so-called Korean "conflict" that we now know was manipulated through the United Nations by the US.

The message from these vets was all the same: No more wars unless the US is in clear and present danger! No more wars without the clear support of the US population and Senate and Congress of the US. No more wars outside the covenants of International law.

Short of being proved a "clear and present danger" to the US, or, an attack on an allied nation, our actions must be based through the UN.

The Johnson and Nixon's lies and the self-interest of those who supported him cost us over 60,000 young women and men. These were young men and women who could not afford to avoid the draft or were not rich enough to become members of Congress. Nor rich enough and of powerful enough influence to fake a membership in the National Guard as did the current President George W. Bush.

There is little happenstance to the fact that many of the principles in the Reagan-Bush administration who sought to make heroes of the Iranian hostages and at the same time to deny aid to war veterans, the nation's true heroes, were principles in operations of Bush I and now Bush II's administration: Dick Cheney, Howard Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and lastly and most ashamedly, Colin Powell. Karl Rove was a consultant to Bush I from 1980 through the Reagan years.

Nor is this the first time when the federal government has treated returning war veterans as used, to-be-discarded cannon fodder.

In 1932, in the depths of the Depression, thousands of hungry and disgruntled veterans of WWI marched on Washington, DC. demanding that Congress pay them the bonus for their military service that had been promised years before. Banding together, unemployed Oregon cannery workers marched with Pennsylvania coal miners and Alabama cotton pickers, as more than 20 thousand "bonus marchers" participated in the biggest rally to date in the nation's capital.

President Herbert Hoover ordered his Secretary of War Patrick J Hurley follows: "You will have United States troops proceed immediately to the scene of the disorder." Secretary Patrick J. Hurley told Gen. Douglas MacArthur in a memo dated 2:55 p.m. July 28, 1932. "Surround the affected area and clear it without delay."

The Press at the White House were told that the Secret Service had learned that those resisting eviction were "entirely of the Communist element."

MacArthur, the commander, was there with Maj. Dwight D. Eisenhower and one of his officers, George S. Patton Jr. Shortly thereafter, with hundreds of mounted troops, they routed the veterans with a combination of tear gas and fire without their bonuses. It would take years of Congressional wrangling to finally pay the vets their due.

According to the latest White House response to Veteran's needs as indicated in the articles below, there is no reason to believe that our veterans of this war will be treated any the better than those of that other manufactured wars.

Bush Threatens Veto of Defense Bill
President Wants Costly New Disabled Military Pension Benefits Eliminated
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 7, 2002; Page A02

Alarmed by the cost of expanding military entitlement programs, President Bush has threatened to veto the $355 billion defense authorization bill for the new fiscal year if House and Senate conferees do not eliminate new pension benefits for disabled military retirees that could cost from $18.5 billion to $58 billion over the next decade.

"We simply cannot continue to add ever-expansive obligations to the defense budget," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a letter to the conferees, who could decide the issue this week. "This would divert critical resources away from the war on terrorism, the transformation of our military capabilities and important personnel programs such as pay raises and facilities improvements."

"From Veterans Against the Iraq War:
March 20, 2003

With our military poised to attack Iraq, the Republican Party is poised to devastate the budget of American veterans.

By Kate McLaughlin

Today the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution that if passed will devastate the Veterans Administration's budget and severely reduce its medical, disability, and benefit programs.

The Republican majority of the House Budget Committee is reducing President Bush's proposed budget by about $844 million in health care and an additional $463 million in benefit programs including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education survivor's benefits, and pension programs from next year's budget. In addition to these cuts, the GOP is planning to cut $15 billion from the veteran programs over the next 10 years. The soldiers and sailors that are currently in harms way in the Middle East, are about to have their future veterans' benefits and health care slashed...

According to the Veterans Administration, 28 million veterans are currently using VA benefits and another 70 million Americans are potentially eligible for such programs, a quarter of the county's population. With the economy in a downward spiral and unemployment rising quickly, an increased number of veterans will be turning to the Veterans Administration for assistance. Yet, the VA budget is about to shrink.

"As the nation expresses support for our soldiers and sailors on the verge of war in the Middle East, even from us who are deeply opposed to this unnecessary war," says Stewart Nusbaumer of Veterans Against Iraq War" (www.vaiw.org), the Republicans are expressing contempt by cutting the veterans budget."

Nearly a third of the Gulf War veterans have submitted claims to the Veterans Administration for disability, this is about 209,000 veterans. Gulf War II may have as many or more requesting VA assistance, but with a Veterans Administration that will be smaller and with less resources.

"This could mean the loss of 19,000 nurses, equating to the loss of 6.6 million outpatient visits or more than three-quarters of a million hospital bed days," says Edward Heath, National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.

"But that is not all of the devastation that will be caused by the proposed cuts. Congress will be reaching into the pockets of our nation's service-connected veterans, including combat disabled veterans, and robbing them and their survivors of a portion of their compensation. Ninety percent of VA's mandatory spending is from cash payments to service-connected disabled veterans, low-income wartime veterans, and their survivors."

"Is there no shame?" Commander Heath asked.

According to Congressman Lane Evens (D-IL), the ranking Democratic Member of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee, these cuts are picking up the slack for the controversial tax cuts, he stated.

"These cuts must be made, so that our government can afford to provide a tax cut which will benefit only the wealthiest Americans, many of who never served in the military."

"This is utterly humiliating to every veteran and every active duty service person. On the verge of war, the Republicans are stabbing veterans of earlier wars in the back."

Let us not forget. Stop this war. End the occupation. Bring our troops home.

Yours,
March 22, 2003

Michael O'McCarthy

3620 Pelham Road
(pmb 151)
Greenville SC 29615

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National Security Costing States Plenty
An Impeachable Offense
By Dale Russakoff and Rene Sanchez
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 1, 2003; Page A01

In the port of Philadelphia yesterday, President Bush touted his quest for homeland security as part of a grand struggle for freedom, alongside the war in Iraq. But in financially strapped states and cities where much of the battle is being waged, mayors and governors are resorting to begging and borrowing to pull it off.

Responding to the recently elevated national terror threat level, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn deployed scores of police officers to secure Los Angeles International Airport, target of a foiled millennium terrorist bomb plot. But with heightened citywide security costing $1 million a week and a budget deficit expected to exceed $200 million, Hahn couldn't do it alone. He asked the state to send in the National Guard.

The state, however, was staggering under a deficit topping $30 billion. Already, Gov. Gray Davis was moving to raise taxes, lay off thousands of schoolteachers and cut half a million adults off Medicaid. Still, Davis sent 50 National Guardsmen to LAX. Chalk up $100,000 a week more to cut elsewhere.

"Things had to be done for safety," said Bill Fujioka, Los Angeles' chief administrative officer. "But we don't have many options left."

The effort to secure the homeland is being carried out and financed increasingly by levels of government least able to pay for it: states, now facing their worst fiscal crises since World War II, and cities, which rely heavily on states for aid.

Governors and mayors said they are not skimping on public safety, but as a result, they are skimping on much else. "These responsibilities are unprecedented, and it's an extra cost burden when none of us can absorb it," said Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). "If you put extra personnel on bridges, you're taking money from public schools or telling scholarship students they can't go to college or taking medicine from elderly people. We're beyond the point of inconveniencing people. We're close to hurting them."

Last week, when President Bush unveiled a supplemental budget for the war in Iraq, including $2 billion for states and cities to step up security, governors and mayors of both parties declared it inadequate. Those funds, intended to cover costs for increased security during wartime, would come in addition to money other federal agencies are distributing to states and cities for health, transportation and other security needs.

New York Gov. George Pataki (R), who rarely challenges Bush publicly, released a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and held news conferences saying the allocation formula "doesn't properly recognize New York and other places that are symbols of American freedom."

The Bush proposal set aside $500 million for enhanced wartime security costs in all states through June, of which $50 million was reserved for major metropolitan areas. But Pataki released data showing that $50 million would cover exactly four weeks of stepped-up security costs in New York state and New York City alone.

The state, which faces a budget deficit of more than $11 billion, is spending $7.5 million a week for extra security at subways, international airports, the Canadian border, the port of New York and New York City's many symbolic targets. And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city, struggling to close a $3.4 billion deficit, is spending $5 million a week to post heavily armed units at potential targets such as Times Square, conduct bioterrorism detection and prepare police in all five boroughs to operate as independent departments in the event the Manhattan headquarters is disabled.

Asked about the burden on states and cities, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the Bush administration "believes this is a shared responsibility, and we're going to help do much of it." However, he acknowledged that the administration has not figured out what share of the responsibility the federal government is paying -- or should pay.

Determining the appropriate federal share is "one of the thorniest questions we are going to face," said House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.).

Just how thorny was clear in the initial round of Homeland Security grants released this year -- about $600 million nationally. Despite a concentration of likely terror targets in population centers, smaller states received much more money per capita than large ones, with California and New York running last. California received $1.33 per person and New York $1.38, while Wyoming got $9.78, Vermont, $8.15 and Alaska, $7.97. The national average was $3.29. (The study was done by New York City and compared the largest states with the smallest; it did not include Maryland or Virginia.)

Pataki and New York Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, are calling for a funding system based on the threat to each jurisdiction.

"Any other formula defies logic and makes a mockery of the country's counterterrorism efforts," Bloomberg yesterday told a commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

But Johndroe said the $2 billion supplemental budget will be distributed mostly on the original formula, which comes from the USA Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Among the formula's authors was then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), whose state gets more than six times as much money per capita as California under the formula. A spokesman for Leahy said smaller states need more money because their communities do not have large standing police forces to respond to emergencies. "Small states have security concerns, too," the spokesman said. "Protection of Vermont's northern border benefits the whole country. What if a terrorist got across and went to New York?"

The remark underlines another thorny issue: federal versus state responsibility. The federal government -- not states and cities -- is responsible for protecting the nation's borders, although state and local governments regularly have provided reinforcements. Under the Constitution, it is unclear whether homeland security -- a concept unheard of until 18 months ago -- is a federal or state responsibility.

Pietro Nivola, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a scholar of federalism, said it appears to fall "under the national government's responsibility to see to the common defense. It just happens to be on the homeland."

Governors agree. At the National Governors Association winter meeting in February, they voted unanimously to include homeland security -- along with Medicaid, special education and Bush's No Child Left Behind schools initiative -- as an "unfunded mandate" on states with which they need more federal help.

The elevated threat level, and resulting costs to states, has thrown added uncertainty into chaotic budget negotiations in state legislatures struggling to close widening deficits. Even before the latest terror alert, each month has brought additional states announcing that revenue was running lower than expected, resulting in higher deficits and requiring deeper budget cuts. Surging homeland security costs exacerbate the pressures.

"Some state revenue projectors are beginning to throw up their hands and say they can't predict revenues in this environment," said Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. "They're holding their breath, hoping they won't get blindsided."

The budget crises have strained state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Homeland Security grants that were supposed to help them have been held up by red tape and reached state capitals only last month.

A survey by the Boston Globe found that the 10 largest police departments in Massachusetts have 424 fewer officers than they did a year ago and will lose at least 50 more by July 1 as a result of state budget cuts in local aid. The state has received its allotted $11.7 million in homeland security grants, but Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and other state officials estimate their costs at almost five times that amount.

Montgomery County also has received one-fifth of what it calculates as its homeland security needs. "The economy is in a downturn, our revenues are slipping, and it's much more difficult to provide the normal services people expect from us. And now we have this additional homeland security responsibility," said County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. "Our partners in the federal government need to help us much more than they have been."

Los Angeles has grown so desperate waiting for federal money that last week it reluctantly raided a municipal trust fund for $4.5 million and bought 1,000 chemical protection suits for firefighters and police. The city also just cut staffing at its 24-hour emergency operations center partly because money for security is so tight.

New Haven, Conn., Mayor John DeStefano Jr. who is president of the National League of Cities, said his city has yet to receive any money and has been able to outfit only about 10 percent of his 300 firefighters with protective equipment for responding to a chemical or biological attack.

The Homeland Security funds are intended to help states prepare to respond to an emergency and also help them pay overtime and other costs associated with higher threat levels. But it is left to the states how they will prepare for and respond to threats.

One difficulty in gauging the federal contribution is that there is no uniform measuring system for state and local costs. After Ridge raised the national terror threat level to "orange," or high risk, and asked states to protect sensitive sites in what he called Operation Liberty Shield, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) instructed all state and local law enforcement agencies to log their related overtime and other costs so he can submit them to Ridge if help becomes available. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) did the same.

In West Virginia, state homeland security spokesman Randy Coleman said the costs were not as extensive because no sites in his state rank as likely terror targets. "Terrorists would be more likely to hide in our mountainous terrain than to attack us," he said.

But one never knows. And if terror strikes there, he said, West Virginia would be in dire straits, because it has no communications system linking its first-responders.

"It's a monstrosity of a cost, and we can't even begin to imagine getting the help we need," he said.

Russakoff reported from New York and Sanchez from Los Angeles. Staff writers Christopher Lee and Jo Becker and correspondent Pamela Ferdinand in Boston contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
There are two obvious problems with Homeland Security. First, it's really national defense with a different name and because it's really national defense, the federal government is REQUIRED to fund it 100% under the Constitution. Second, unfunded mandates are against the law. The republican congress in the 1990's required all federal mandates be paid for by the federal government. Since Bush is violating two laws (one being the Constitution) why not impeach him and get on with things?


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Bush Undercuts 9/11 Inquiry
New York Times
March 31, 2003

It's hard to believe that everything related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will not get the most thorough public scrutiny possible. But the federal investigative committee so reluctantly supported by the White House now seems in danger of being undermined. As the first hearings open in Manhattan today, committee members are chagrined to be going hat in hand to Congress for adequate financing. White House assurances led them to believe needed funds would be included in the supplemental war budget sent to the Capitol last week. But the commission's $11 million request was not there.

Reasonable people might wonder if the White House, having failed in its initial attempt to have Henry Kissinger steer the investigation, may be resorting to budgetary starvation as a tactic to hobble any politically fearless inquiry. The committee's mandate includes scrutiny of intelligence failures and eight other government areas.

The White House vows that in coming budget initiatives there will be no shortchanging of the nation's duty to face the facts of the tragedy. As things now stand, $3 million budgeted as start-up funding could run out this summer. An estimated $14 million is needed for the task of finding out precisely how the attackers were able to pull off their plot in which nearly 3,000 people died. This seems a bargain given the importance of the mission. By comparison, the inquiry into the shuttle disaster's loss of seven lives may cost an estimated $40 million, and the inquiry into the Whitewater controversy ate up more than $30 million.

The nation demands an unflinching 9/11 search. A forthright Congress could easily shake the money loose from the Capitol leadership. Everyone claims to have homeland security as a top priority, but anything less than a robust inquiry will amount to a fresh assault on domestic safety. Tim Roemer, a former congressman and a commission member now buttonholing old colleagues for the missing money, makes the case best: "Facing the facts won't kill us. Not getting them might."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
Once again we need to do a little history lesson for your new friends joining the website for the first time. Bush has done everything in his power to stop a 9/11 investigation. After Bush was forced to endorse the commission he's done everything in his power to make sure it's not funded as he demanded cuts in funding in one bill after another.

Bush promised to put the money in the 'supplemental war budget.' He lied. Now we hope the funding will be in the "National Foreign Intelligence Program budget" but why in gods name it's in a foreign intelligence budget is beyond anyone with half a brain.

From Time Online: "Stephen Push, a leader of the 9/11 victims' families, who are closely monitoring the commission, said the White House decision was another in a long line of efforts to water down or shrink the panel's role. "I think the fact that they didn't include it—didn't warn Gov. Kean that they weren't going to include it, didn't return my phone call—suggests to me that they see this as a convenient way for allowing the commission to fail," said Push. "They've never wanted the commission and I feel the White House has always been looking for a way to kill it without having their finger on the murder weapon." Push said the White House has ignored his phone calls and emails for weeks."

"Roemer has gone so far as to draw comparisons with the $50 million provided to investigate the recent Columbia tragedy in which seven people died. "If we're looking at well over $11 million for that, we certainly should be looking for at least the same vicinity of money for how 3,000 people died and how to strengthen our homeland security," he said."

From the Montana Forum: (Thursday, November 14, 2002) "WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle criticized the Bush administration Thursday for thwarting creation of a commission to investigate last year's terrorist attacks, saying an independent probe would help the country deal with future threats."

"Daschle, D-S.D., made the remarks as the Senate prepared to resume debating legislation establishing a Homeland Security Department. The Senate voted 90-8 in September to include an independent commission in an earlier version of the bill, but it was dropped from the final measure written largely by the White House and GOP lawmakers."

From Fox: (where opinion is news and spin is fact) we get this nice rewrite of history. "An independent commission created by President Bush heard from the mayor and a survivor Monday as it opened a two-day hearing to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks."

The "Law" which created the investigation was forced down Bush's throat. It was finally signed on Nov. 27, 2002, over one year after 9/11. By far the longest time of any investigation to begin. By contrast an investigation into the Columbia accident began almost instantly.


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A hundred men fighting a fifteen-year-old shoeless boy
Pravda (RU)
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY
01:58 2003-03-29

George W. Bush and Tony Blair are confident men. Their lightning plan to defeat the "Saddam' regime has failed, the advance on Baghdad is going ahead at a snail's pace, hundreds of civilians have been murdered by their joint forces and the growing climate of horror at their actions around the world reaches a deafening clamour for them to stop. Blinded by their arrogance, they continue as if nothing was happening.

Bush and Blair present an array of reasons why they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. They will try to say that there is an international coalition numbering thirty-odd countries which backs their illegal attack on a sovereign nation. Pay a prostitute what she wants and she will do everything…and a bit more.

They started by saying that Iraq had flouted the United Nations resolutions by not allowing the weapons inspectors into the country to search for what they claimed were massive amounts of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Iraq promptly allowed the inspectors in and they found nothing. Much of the biological material that Iraq had was of a short life-span and if Iraq had chemical weaponry, the USA, especially, would never have attacked.

After all, here is a country whose number one rule is never engage in military action unless you have massive superiority. The analogy would be a hundred men armed to the teeth fighting a fifteen-year-old shoeless boy armed with a home-made catapult. Rule number two is to get the Limies (British) to fly the low-altitude, high-risk sorties.

The UNMOVIC and IAEA teams were progressing perfectly well with good cooperation by the Iraqis. They found nothing. The coalition has found nothing.

The Iraqi people were supposed to be held down by a tyrant. They were supposed to rise up and welcome their American liberators, who were freeing the people. This is good material for domestic consumption in the USA but democracy is based upon dialogue and discussion and debate. Unfortunately these are concepts which the Bush administration is unable to grasp.

The attitude in the UNO building in New York has long been one of bullying and blackmail. When members of the UN Security Council are invited to a working breakfast, it is not to offer them a coffee or a crit.

The geographical region does not use the western model of democratic government. The Saudi regime, Washington's friends, was not democratically elected, neither was that in Kuwait, despite the promises of George S. Bush that the USA would work towards democracy in that country (who remembers?)

If Saddam Hussein was the tyrant, the demon he is painted as being, how can Bush and Blair explain the fact that there are not hundreds, but thousands, of Iraqis trying to enter the country to defend their President? How do Bush and Blair explain the fact that the Shi'ite south has not risen up against the regime? The camera does not lie. The people of Iraq are wholeheartedly behind their President.

Bush and Blair blame "Saddam' for this war. The use of the term "Saddam' is derogatory, adding fuel for the psyops attack on a demonised regime whose natural resource it defends against foreign companies. This is the crime that "Saddam' committed. Either one refers to him as His Excellency President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, or one refers to George W. Bush as "George' and the Prime Minister of the UK as "Tone'.

Let's see how they like it…George and Tone blame His Excellency President Saddam Hussein of Iraq for this war because he could have disarmed. He claims he did not have the weapons and to date, none have been found. George and Tone claim that His Excellency President Saddam Hussein of Iraq could have abandoned the country. The sheer arrogance of this declaration is risible. However, the Bush administration was sufficiently stupid to claim that even if His Excellency President Saddam Hussein of Iraq left the country, they would still invade, therefore shooting their argument in the foot.

Bush and Blair claim that they are going to help the impoverished Iraqi people who suffered so much under the Ba'ath regime. They suffered so much because of the 12 years of sanctions maintained by the UNO caught in Washington's strangle-hold. Bush and Blair claim they will rebuild Iraq. After they have destroyed it.

Bush and Blair speak of violations of the UNO and war crimes. If CNN and the BBC can show pictures of Iraqi p.o.w.s, why can't Iraqi State TV show American and British p.o.w.s? If CNN and BBC can show dead Iraqi soldiers, why does Tony Blair almost burst into tears, melodramatically, when he remembers that two of his soldiers, who were killed in action, were shown on Iraqi TV? How Bush and Blair can speak of violations of the UNO when these two misguided men were the ones who committed the most monumental mistake in diplomatic history, destroying the organization as a forum of debate and as the world's only binding legal organism, defies logic.

War crimes are attacking a sovereign state outside the authority of the ONU and killing hundreds of its civilians, thousands of soldiers and injuring countless thousands of others. War crimes are the wanton destruction of property. War crimes are attacking non-military targets. War crimes are cutting the water and electricity supply to a whole city (Basra in this case). Messrs. Bush and Blair, since when was water a military target?

Bush and Blair miscalculated, they made a monumental mistake, they got it wrong. Arrogantly and defiantly, they continue to claim they are right "It will take as long as it takes' At what cost, Messrs. Bush and Blair?

This dynamic duo has all the attributes of a Batman film. The characters are all there in the Washington administration. Condy as Catwoman, Rumsfeld as the Riddler, we even have Portugal's José Barroso as the Joker. However, Baghdad is not Gotham City. It is real.

Bush and Blair are not real. They are living in a parallel world, wholly removed from the reality of the planet on which everyone else lives. All that remains to be seen is which of them, in their world, is Batman and which is the Boy Wonder.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY
PRAVDA.Ru

Copyright ©1999 by "Pravda.RU". When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, reference to Pravda.RU should be made. The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's editors.

Commentary:
Excellent. As I've said before Bush is doing his best to become the "butcher of Bagdad." How many people has Bush killed today? Have the two Bush's killed more Iraqi's than Saddam yet? If not, what is he waiting for? Saddam won't give up his title easily so Bush has some major killing to do if he wants to win.

Long live the Butcher of Bagdad, liberator of Iraq, George W. Bush.


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Rooney: It's Just My Opinion
CBS News
Andy Rooney
March 30, 2003

We all find war more interesting than peace. Any time death is imminent, life is exciting and we're watching this war as though it was a video game.

On television, it's hard to know where to look to find what you want to know. There are pictures on top of pictures, moving print on top of those. There's more than the eye can see or the brain comprehend.

The generals are giving us the play-by-play action from their Hollywood studio in Qatar. They're telling us everything, but we don't feel we know anything.

Some reporters are attached to military units and we're getting stunning coverage from them. We're seeing war first hand.

We're all asking each other what we think, too. Strangers ask me what I think as if I was smart because I'm on television. I have opinions - no information.

Experts talk about precision bombing but on the ground, where bombs hit, it is not precise. People are killed, history destroyed. We didn't shock them and we didn't awe them in Baghdad. The phrase makes us look like foolish braggarts. The president ought to fire whoever wrote that for him. Just an opinion.

We haven't caught bin Laden so we're transferring the blame for 9/11 to Saddam Hussein. There are soldiers who think that's why they're fighting. Hussein is a bad man who didn't have anything to do with 9/11. Just an opinion.

When I see President Bush with soldiers, I wish he had been one at war himself. He'd know more about where he was sending those soldiers. Just an opinion.

It bothers me that America is hated. I don't like to be hated personally - which happens - and I don't like my country to be hated - which has happened.

I have one opinion I don't like having. We have stores of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in this country. If we were losing this war, would we, as a last resort, use them? I'm afraid we might.

Hussein has chemical and biological weapons. If he is about to lose this war, will he use them? I'm afraid he might.

I wish my America had never gotten into this war, but now that we're in it, I want us to win it.

Written By Andy Rooney © MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Commentary:
Andy is lucky he doesn't work for NBC. If he did, he'd have been fired by now.


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US violates Geneva Convention: depleted uranium weapons
An Impeachable Offense
Sunday Herald (UK)
By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor
March 2003

BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.

Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards are repellent.'

The latest use of DU in the current conflict came on Friday when an American A10 tankbuster plane fired a DU shell, killing one British soldier and injuring three others in a 'friendly fire' incident.

According to a August 2002 report by the UN subcommission, laws which are breached by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; the Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'. All of these laws are designed to spare civilians from unwarranted suffering in armed conflicts.

DU has been blamed for the effects of Gulf war syndrome -- typified by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and memory loss -- among 200,000 US soldiers after the 1991 conflict.

It is also cited as the most likely cause of the 'increased number of birth deformities and cancer in Iraq' following the first Gulf war.

'Cancer appears to have increased between seven and 10 times and deformities between four and six times,' according to the UN subcommission.

The Pentagon has admitted that 320 metric tons of DU were left on the battlefield after the first Gulf war, although Russian military experts say 1000 metric tons is a more accurate figure.

In 1991, the Allies fired 944,000 DU rounds or some 2700 tons of DU tipped bombs. A UK Atomic Energy Authority report said that some 500,000 people would die before the end of this century, due to radioactive debris left in the desert.

The use of DU has also led to birth defects in the children of Allied veterans and is believed to be the cause of the 'worrying number of anophthalmos cases -- babies born without eyes' in Iraq. Only one in 50 million births should be anophthalmic, yet one Baghdad hospital had eight cases in just two years. Seven of the fathers had been exposed to American DU anti-tank rounds in 1991. There have also been cases of Iraqi babies born without the crowns of their skulls, a deformity also linked to DU shelling.

A study of Gulf war veterans showed that 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.

Rokke told the Sunday Herald: 'A nation's military personnel cannot wilfully contaminate any other nation, cause harm to persons and the environment and then ignore the consequences of their actions.

'To do so is a crime against humanity.

'We must do what is right for the citizens of the world -- ban DU.'

He called on the US and UK to 'recognise the immoral consequences of their actions and assume responsibility for medical care and thorough environmental remediation'.

He added: 'We can't just use munitions which leave a toxic wasteland behind them and kill indiscriminately.

'It is equivalent to a war crime.'

Rokke said that coalition troops were currently fighting in the Gulf without adequate respiratory protection against DU contamination.

The Sunday Herald has previously revealed how the Ministry of Defence had test-fired some 6350 DU rounds into the Solway Firth over more than a decade, from 1989 to 1999.

©2002 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088. all rights reserved. contact website

Commentary:
Lucky for us only the US and Britain can break UN resolutions and International Law. Can you imagine the fit Bush or Blair would have if Saddam used WMD's? Then imagine how the press would react if Saddam used the same weapons as Bush and Blair. They'd have a field-day with such a report. But, do you hear about US violations of the Geneva Convention in the US press? Not a chance. There's a reason of course. The War Networks do everything in their power to misinform us so we support their made for TV war.


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Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index Declined in February
Quicken/Dow Jones Newswires
Monday, March 31, 2003 10:40 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The Purchasing Management Association of Chicago said its index of area business activity fell to 48.4 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis from 54.9 in February.

In February, the index fell to 54.9 from a revised 56.0 in January.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector and a reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

The Chicago survey is watched closely for clues to the index of the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM February survey will be released Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST.

Chicago purchasers said the decline in the March production index to 49.1 from 62.4 a month earlier was the largest drop since May 1980.

The prices-paid index rose to 62.8 in March from 54.9 in February. The supplier-deliveries index rose to 51.8 from 51.7. The employment index fell to 45.1 from 46.6. The new-orders index fell to 52.5 from 59.0 a month earlier.

The Chicago index is based on a survey of purchasing managers in northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, one of the largest industrial areas in the U.S

Copyright 2003 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Commentary:
Manufacturing is once again in a recession. Bush needs massive government spending to keep the economy going. Just another reason for more big government, more deficits, more tax cuts and more debt.


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NBC Fires Peter Arnett for saying War Plan Failed
ABC News/AP
March 31, 2003

NBC fired journalist Peter Arnett on Monday, saying it was wrong for him to give an interview with state-run Iraqi TV saying that the American-led coalition's first war plan had failed because of Iraq's resistance. Arnett himself called the interview a "misjudgment."

Arnett, on NBC's "Today" show on Monday, said he was sorry for his statement but added, "I said over the weekend what we all know about the war."

"I want to apologize to the American people for clearly making a misjudgment," Arnett said.

NBC had defended him on Sunday, saying he had given the interview as a professional courtesy and that his remarks were analytical in nature. But by Monday morning the network switched course and, after Arnett spoke with NBC News President Neal Shapiro, said it would no longer work with Arnett.

"It was wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV, especially at a time of war," NBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust said. "And it was wrong for him to discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview."

Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize reporting in Vietnam for The Associated Press, garnered much of his prominence from covering the 1991 Gulf War for CNN. One of the few American television reporters left in Baghdad, his reports were frequently aired on NBC and its cable sisters, MSNBC and CNBC.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:
Let me see if I get this right. US generals past and present are saying the war plan Rumsfeld put together failed, but if someone from one of the War Networks says it, then he needs to be fired.

Ok reporters, this is how it works. The war is going well, the war is going well. That is your script. Do not deviate from it. Good Grief. NBC is hopeless.

Here are the word that brought him down: "America is re-appraising the battlefield, delaying the war, maybe a week, and re-writing the war plan," Arnett said in the interview. "The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance now they are trying to write another war plan."

I suppose Iraqi television will have to find out how the war is going the old fashioned way. Listen to CNN.


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Initial Plan predicted 47 days to Bagdad--lie
By Rick Atkinson and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page A01

KIFL, Iraq, March 29 -- Ten days into the invasion of Iraq, the political imperative of waging a short and decisive campaign is increasingly at odds with the military necessity of preparing for a protracted, more violent and costly war, according to senior military officials.

Top Army officers in Iraq say they now believe that they effectively need to restart the war. Before launching a major ground attack on Iraq's Republican Guard, they want to secure their supply lines and build up their own combat power. Some timelines for the likely duration of the war now extend well into the summer, they say.

This revised view of the war plan, a major departure from the blitzkrieg approach developed over the past year, threatens to undercut early Bush administration hopes for a quick triumph over the government of President Saddam Hussein.

Wars often divide political and military leaders. But in the U.S. campaign in Iraq, that point of tension came surprisingly soon, after just a week of fighting, perhaps because an unusually lean launch helped the U.S. force advance so quickly.

Carrying out the original aim of a quick war with minimal civilian casualties would require taking chances that officers here now deem imprudent. In the past week, they found the Iraqi resistance tougher and more widespread than expected, and the planned charge to Baghdad stopped short of the city, with Hussein still in place.

The Army, which has little more than two divisions here, soon will have three brigades -- the rough equivalent of one division -- devoted just to the protection of the vulnerable supply lines from Kuwait to Najaf.

And Iraq's best troops -- the Republican Guard and the elite Special Republican Guard -- haven't yet been engaged in large numbers on the ground.

To some commanders in the field, that adds up to a need for longer timelines for the war. They are discussing a more conventional approach that would resemble the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It would mean several weeks of airstrikes aimed at Republican Guard units ringing Baghdad, and resuming major ground attacks after that.

At the same time, commanders say the first 10 days of fighting reaped many successes. An initial plan last year predicted that it would take 47 days for U.S. troops to get within 50 miles of the outskirts of Baghdad, noted a senior Army commander. Instead, the 3rd Infantry Division got that far in less than a week. By invading from the south and putting in smaller troop contingents in the west and north, U.S. forces reduced a military problem the size of California to one closer to the size of Connecticut.

In the process, Iraq's oil fields were not destroyed, and no missiles laden with chemical or biological weapons were fired. U.S. casualties, while painful, were light by the standards of modern military conquest.

"Look at the big picture," said Paul Van Riper, a retired Marine lieutenant general who helped review the war plan. "Three hundred miles, relatively few casualties, and almost no armored vehicles lost."

There also remains hope for a "silver bullet" outcome that could bring an abrupt change in fortunes. The possibilities are a coup, a bomb that kills Hussein or any one of several other scenarios that "tip the regime," as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has put it in White House meetings. "This could all turn around in a couple of weeks," said one retired U.S. general who served in the northern Iraq relief operation in 1991.

But when the U.S. ground attack resumes, it will probably look very different from the first week of fighting. "You adjust the plan," said an Army general in Iraq. "The initial strategy was to get to Baghdad as rapidly as you can, change the regime, bring in humanitarian aid and declare victory. Now it's going to take longer."

The next phase of the war is likely to have scaled-back ambitions, not in the eventual goal of removing Hussein, but in how that is achieved. Retired Army Col. Benjamin W. Covington said the administration's initial approach was unrealistic. "No country and no military force in recorded history has ever attempted to simultaneously fight and win a war, preserve the resources and infrastructure of the country, reduce noncombatant deaths to the absolute minimum within their capability and conduct a major humanitarian effort," he said.

The first tactical change is likely to be that ground forces will wait for airstrikes to pound their opponents. This phase was skipped this month in Iraq but was carried out for five weeks during the Gulf War, as many commanders here recall. "My concern is that we're trying to rush things," the Army source said. "If people would revise their thinking and say, 'Okay, we're going to spend a couple weeks' time getting positioned and letting the air campaign play out,' then the initiative can be recaptured."

Rumsfeld, in comments Friday, seemed to reject the notion of broadening the air campaign in a way that would cause more civilian deaths. "We do not need to kill thousands of innocent civilians to remove Saddam Hussein from power," he said at a Pentagon news conference. "At least, that's our belief."

At a meeting on the war at Camp David today, administration officials said Bush supported Rumsfeld's desire to press ahead with preparations for a ground offensive while reinforcements are still arriving.

Other officials in Washington were discussing reinterpreting the rules of engagement to place less emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties and more on destroying the enemy, even if Iraqi tanks and other heavy weapons are interspersed with civilians.

The tactics used by the U.S. forces are likely to be tougher, both on the ground and in the air. With siege warfare looming at Najaf and other cities, the U.S. military may soon find itself seeking to use tactics that carry political risks for the administration.

"We're not going to catapult diseased cattle into the city or anything like that," said one planner. "But there's a question of what you can do and what you should do."

He cited the example of knocking out electrical power, which the military can do. But, he added, "Do you want to see pictures on CNN of the baby who died because power to the incubator was cut off?"

When large-scale ground fighting does intensify, the geographical goals will change. Instead of a rush to Baghdad, several other tasks now face the U.S. military. First, Najaf will have to be taken, because commanders don't want to attack the Republican Guard south of Baghdad with a hostile force potentially at their rear. Capturing that town, where a suicide bombing killed four U.S. servicemen today, could take weeks, commanders say.

Then would come the attack on the Republican Guard, and finally, if the Iraqi government hasn't collapsed by then, a fighting entry into Baghdad. So, an Army source concluded, the war may last into summer or later.

Asked whether he feels pressure from his superiors to accelerate the fight, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, the V Corps commander and the senior Army officer in Iraq, said in an interview that he speaks frequently with the American ground commander in the theater, Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan. "We're both products of the same institution, which says that the really cool plan we made isn't going to survive once we cross the LD," or "line of departure," into hostile territory, he said. Changed circumstances, particularly in terms of logistics and enemy resistance, will lead to modifications in the U.S. approach, he added.

One Army general in Iraq drew an analogy to the Union's initial "on to Richmond" strategy in the Civil War, which evolved into a strategy of "kill the enemy army first." The Civil War lasted four years -- during which President Abraham Lincoln searched among his commanders for one who would take the fight to the enemy.

"Transportation is the Achilles' heel of this operation right now," the Army source said. "We can't transport dismounted soldiers right now. When do we get to the point where we can easily move soldiers and supplies around? We can do it with helicopters, but you want to minimize landings in this dust." Additional trucks and other vehicles will not arrive in large numbers for several weeks.

But as time goes by, other factors could force the U.S. military to act sooner. In four to six weeks, "there could be real problems" with food supplies in major Iraqi cities, said Ken Bacon, the former Pentagon spokesman who is president of Refugees International.

A war that lasts months may also leave a vacuum that could encourage trouble elsewhere around the globe, some generals and strategists worry. If the Pentagon does deploy into Iraq all the troops currently scheduled to go, about half the combat power of both the Army and the Marine Corps will be in Iraq. One senior general at the Pentagon said he is especially concerned that North Korea, which has been locked in a confrontation with the United States over its nuclear program, will attempt to capitalize on the situation.

"Tote up the ground forces, naval forces and air assets in or en route to the war zone," said retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, now a professor of international relations at Boston University. "Could the U.S. respond to a second major contingency -- like Korea, for example?" His answer: The Pentagon may say it can, but he disagrees.

Getting bogged down for months could also cause trouble for the United States elsewhere in the Middle East, especially if the image of invincible U.S. military might diminishes. "It's one thing to reach a relatively quick, antiseptic victory," said retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich, an expert on global military strategy. "But the longer this goes on . . . then the more willing states in the region will be to challenge us." He worried especially that a long, drawn-out fight "winds up being a kind of heroic defeat for the Iraqis."

Finally, the longer the fighting lasts, the more difficult and expensive the postwar peacekeeping and rebuilding may be. The Bush administration has never disclosed how many troops it expects to have to assign to Iraq for peacekeeping duties, but at one point before the war the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that 45,000 to 60,000 U.S. and coalition troops would be needed.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, estimated in congressional testimony earlier this month that "several hundred thousand" troops would be required. Shinseki was publicly contradicted by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who has played a central role in shaping the administration's Iraq policy. In his own congressional appearance, Wolfowitz rejected Shinseki's estimate as much too high.

The fighting in Iraq so far, and the talk by field commanders of a war of months, now makes Shinseki's view of a burdensome occupation appear more likely, some say. "This could wind up looking like Israel's foray into Lebanon," said Michael C. Desch, a political scientist at the University of Kentucky. "We will win this war militarily, no question about it," he said. "But we can lose it politically."

"There's no doubt in my mind," said retired Lt. Gen. Theodore G. Stroup Jr., a former chief of Army personnel. "If it is a more hostile environment, you may very well find a requirement for a much larger force" than the Bush administration had hoped to field. The size of the force, he said would depend on whether the Kurds wind up fighting the Turks in the north, and also on how much infrastructure is destroyed. Deploying two or three divisions to keep the peace for six months or a year would strain the Army, which has only 10 active-duty divisions.

Commanders in the field aren't yet worried about postwar scenarios or civil-military relations. "We're in a long war here, as I think you realize," one commander in Iraq told his subordinate officers a few days ago. "I want you to keep our guys from getting killed in large numbers. That's the bottom line."

Ricks reported from Washington.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
These guys rewrite history faster than we can keep up. If it was supposed to take 47 days to get within 50 miles of Bagdad, why are all the generals "surprise" by how fierce Iraqi's are fighting even though it took them only days? That alone proves the claim to be false. Do I need to go further?

I can't help but wonder how Israel was able to defeat all the Arab nations during their "six day war" but it looks like it'll take us months to defeat just one. Someone screwed-up big time.


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Special Search Operations Yield No Banned Weapons
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page A19

Shortly before the first bombs fell on Baghdad earlier this month, special operations teams from the United States, Britain and Australia swept low over Iraq's western desert to seize four targets of highest priority to the U.S. Central Command. The teams set down at camouflaged structures believed to house chemical warheads, Scud missiles and eight-wheeled transporter-erector launchers, known as TELs.

After short firefights, the teams secured the sites, according to sources briefed on the after-action reports. But the mission turned up nothing. There were "no missiles, no TELs and no chemicals" where blueprints and scale-model terrain tables had directed the teams to look, one knowledgeable official said.

Ten days into a war fought under the flag of disarmament, U.S.-led troops have found no substantial sign of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. In some ways, that is unsurprising. The war is far from won, and most of Iraq's covert arms production and storage historically have taken place within a 60-mile radius of Baghdad. That is roughly the forward line of U.S. armored columns in their thrust to the Iraqi capital.

At the same time, U.S. forces have tested 10 of their best intelligence leads, four that first day and another half-dozen since, without result. There are nearly 300 sites in the top tier of a much larger list that the Defense Intelligence Agency updated in the run-up to war, officials said. The 10 sites reached by Friday were among the most urgent. If equipped as suspected, they would have posed an immediate threat to U.S. forces. "All the searches have turned up negative," said a Joint Staff officer who is following field reports. "The munitions that have been found have all been conventional."

Two disarmament planners said the Bush administration is determined to conduct the weapons hunt without the U.N. agencies that hold Security Council mandates for the job. Administration officials distrust the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Administration officials are negotiating contracts with private companies for some of the work. They have also begun to recruit inspectors -- the cohort, one official said, will grow to as many as two dozen -- to break any remaining contracts with UNMOVIC and join a parallel effort under U.S. command.

The White House will consider "a role for an international entity" to verify U.S. discoveries after the fact, two officials said, but that augurs another clash in the Security Council. Hans Blix, UNMOVIC's executive chairman, said in an interview Wednesday that the commission would not accept "being led, as a dog" to sites that allied forces choose to display.

Planners now predict the "near term" of the weapons hunt could last eight months or more. They are counting on help from Iraqi scientists and facility managers who will no longer fear President Saddam Hussein, or who can be made to fear the consequences of failure to cooperate after his fall.

But U.S. analysts have also said that layers of secrecy may have left the Iraqi scientists unaware of how much was produced, to whose custody it was transferred, where it was hidden, how it was transported and dispersed in subsequent moves, and where it may be now.

Some U.S. officials also caution that Iraqi weaponeers could have competing motives for what they say. Desperate for leniency, they may invent details to inflate their importance. Others may try to conceal technology the can be sold for private gain. And even a friendly successor government in Iraq may try secretly to preserve the means to reconstitute nonconventional weapons, as a counterweight to regional rivals.

"The same conditions that led Saddam to proliferate are going to apply to whoever's in power, in terms of Iran holding [similar] weapons, and Israel," said a State Department official.

Bush administration officials are acutely aware that their declared war aims call for an early display of evidence. John S. Wolf, assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, recently said that the seventh floor of the State Department -- where Secretary Colin L. Powell and other top political appointees work -- was keen on swift discovery of a "smoking gun," according to someone present.

"The president has made very clear that the reason why we are in Iraq is to find weapons of mass destruction," Wolf said in a telephone interview yesterday. He added, "The fact that we haven't found them in seven or eight days doesn't faze me one little bit. Very clearly, we need to find this stuff or people are going to be asking questions."

In the fighting thus far, U.S. forces have taken custody of one potentially significant informant, a brigadier general who commanded an ammunition depot at Najaf. "That's the first site that showed any kind of promise," one senior official said, but "it was not anywhere close to the top of the list." The general has not led U.S. forces to forbidden weapons, and "whether he was knowledgeable or a caretaker it's hard to tell" from early debriefings, the official said.

Searchers from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division "haven't seen anything there that would tell us there are chemical or biological weapons," said a military officer who consulted yesterday's updated reports. Asked about Iraqi chemical protection gear found at Najaf and elsewhere, the officer and other officials said there was no sign suggesting they were freshly issued, actually worn by Iraqi troops or linked to orders to fire chemical munitions.

Some planners said they foresaw laborious site surveys to update the nearly 1,000 conducted since 1991 by U.N. inspectors. The broadest U.S. intelligence list of suspect facilities, officials said, numbers about 1,400. Najaf is one such site, and after a week the search is not yet complete.

"If they're working from a list of 1,400 sites, they are really suffering," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former U.N. inspector. Albright said he still believed there was a hidden nuclear weapons program to be found. "Even 200 or 300 is a lot. I think they are struggling."

Increasingly aware of their limited manpower and expertise, White House officials have backed Defense Department efforts to create a substitute organization for UNMOVIC and the Vienna-based IAEA.

"We're trying to do something here that's never been done, and we're just trying to get the mechanisms in place," said a senior Bush administration official.

Officials at the two U.N. agencies said in interviews that the United States would not have access to more than 1 million pages in their archives on Iraq, although they acknowledged that the U.S. government had obtained some of the data informally.

State Department officials are warning that the Security Council will resist U.S. efforts to conduct inspections on its own. This week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged President Bush privately to let U.N. inspectors back in as soon as possible.

The Security Council debate is important because the United States wants to lift economic sanctions on Iraq as soon as the current government falls. But the council must vote to do that, and some members are warning already that they will not support such a vote until U.N. weapons inspectors -- not U.S. military forces -- certify Iraq's disarmament.

Bush's top advisers, those at the cabinet level and their immediate deputies, have not yet met to resolve interagency disputes over who will pay for the disarmament mission and what to do about U.N. inspectors. But two people familiar with the working group now guiding U.S. policy said they foresaw "a role for an international entity" that was limited to validating U.S. discoveries after the fact.

To locate and identify the forbidden weapons, the Pentagon has recruited four or five of the most experienced U.N. inspectors to resign from UNMOVIC. They will take unspecified roles in Kuwait at the Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence Exploitation Base under Army Maj. Gen. James A. Marks.

The recruits must sign waivers acknowledging the perils of a war zone and must hold or obtain a security clearance recognized under U.S. intelligence-sharing agreements. In practice that will limit the inspectors to those from closely allied governments including Britain, Australia and perhaps Canada.

Charles Duelfer, the first and most senior of the recruits, told a former colleague by e-mail last week that he had joined the weapons search, and hoped others would too, because the government had few experts with personal knowledge of Iraqi weaponeers and their records. He did not reply to a request for comment.

Some associates in New York describe Blix as dispirited and angry about the talent raids. In an interview Wednesday, Blix said three of his UNMOVIC inspectors had come to him for advice about the recruitment effort, but "we have not heard one word from Washington" directly. Blix said that he was attempting to "maintain operational readiness" by keeping inspectors "available on the roster," but in general he maintained a careful neutrality.

"They are free individuals," Blix said. "If they want to terminate their contracts, anyone can do that, including myself. . . . But they would not be allowed to reveal anything that they have done here, because that is part of their contract. They cannot take with them their files." Blix has previously said he did not intend to renew his contract when it expired in June.

At the IAEA, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei is described by two associates as determined to regain primacy in verifying Iraq's nuclear disarmament. "It is clear that [the IAEA] mandate still exists, and the credibility of the findings and the assessment will rely on that," one of them said. ElBaradei believes he has "full responsibility" under compulsory U.N. Security Council resolutions dating from April 1991, and has "a unanimous international community, minus one" to take the lead as soon as fighting stops.

"We have a lot of rights vis-a-vis the Iraqi government," Blix said. "We can go into any government office, we can ask for any document, we can interview any person. . . . If we were to go in now, could we go into the allied headquarters and ask for their files? If they had got hold of some interesting Iraqi ammunition, could we ask General [Tommy R.] Franks or somebody else for an interview? I can see important questions coming up there, and they lead me to caution and to go to the Security Council."

An interagency and international team of scientists and engineers known as XTF 75, for exploitation task force, intended as a mobile detective unit, is still in Kuwait and has yet to deploy into Iraq. Each large Army and Marine combat unit has a small "site survey team," expected to summon the mobile task force if fighting brings U.S. forces to a suspicious site. But XTF 75, organized around an artillery headquarters company from Fort Sill, Okla., needs transport helicopters to carry a heavy burden of delicate equipment. Officials said these helicopters can operate only in "a permissive environment."

Presuming that U.S. forces will find banned weapons stocks, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA, is negotiating potentially costly contracts with multinational companies to destroy them. One of the companies is KBR, formerly Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which Richard B. Cheney chaired until his selection as George W. Bush's running mate in July 2000.

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company "currently has two task orders" from the defense agency, but "due to the sensitivity of the details KBR is not in a position to elaborate at this time." A DTRA spokesman declined to comment.

Blix, in a 90-minute conversation, reiterated his disappointment with the outbreak of war but acknowledged that an occupying power will have advantages in the weapons hunt -- above all the removal of a feared police state that may have inhibited scientists from telling all they knew. He also said the Americans will need every advantage they can get. Gaps in the known Iraqi record -- for instance, 10,000 liters of unaccounted-for growth media that could have been used to manufacture anthrax -- are far from positive proof that the weapons exist, he said.

The United States and Britain have said "they should deliver the anthrax, while we would say they should present any anthrax," Blix said. "Now that's a very basic difference in the attitude to the evidence."

He added, speaking of the U.S.-led search teams: "Good luck to them. We are also damned interested in learning if they find something."

Staff researchers Robert Thomason and Mary Lou White contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
This article is ripe with hypocrisy. The UN inspectors were supposed to find WMD's in about 3 1/2 months, but now these nuts are saying it may take eight months for them to find them. Should the 3 1/2 month come and go and there are no WMD, then we know for sure this war is a farce.

Btw, it seems Bush has given up the moral high ground again. He said Iraq was violating UN resolutions, but Bush plans on violating everyone of them too. What makes Bush better than Saddam? Perhaps the only thing is Bush has a better PR Department.

In a few months both Bush's will probably kill more Iraqi's than Saddam has. When will we give Bush his new title: "The Butcher of Bagdad?"


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