Impeach Bush

Another Resolution? Iraqi Drone?
Washington Post
By Karen DeYoung and Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 11, 2003; Page A01

British officials sought urgently yesterday to retool a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq after a majority of council members indicated they would not vote for it in its current form, diplomats and Bush administration officials said.

Britain hopes that additions to the resolution, which declares Iraq has failed in its final opportunity to fully and immediately surrender its weapons of mass destruction, will garner nine of the 15 council votes necessary for passage. Diplomats engaged in near round-the-clock negotiations at U.N. headquarters in New York, in visits to capitals and in lengthy telephone consultations. But it was not at all certain that the proposed changes, including an extension of the resolution's March 17 deadline and the addition of "benchmarks" to judge Iraqi disarmament, would win a council majority.

The resolution appeared doomed in any case, as France and Russia, permanent council members with veto power, said yesterday that no revision would satisfy them. "Whatever happens, France will vote no," President Jacques Chirac told reporters in a domestic television interview. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that the resolution contains "unfulfillable ultimatum-type demands," and that Russia would vote against it. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he believes that even a vetoed resolution, as long as it has a council majority, would help temper strong antiwar opposition in his country. The Bush administration, which has deployed more than 200,000 troops to the Persian Gulf region and is ready to move against Iraq, sees any delay as playing into the hands of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and further undermining flagging U.S. public and political support for an invasion. President Bush said last week that he does not need U.N. permission to go to war.

Yesterday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer continued a line of argument that the administration began to use publicly last week, equating the "coalition of the willing" that Bush has said would join in U.S. military action against Iraq to the United Nations itself.

"If the United Nations fails to act," he said, "that means the United Nations will not be the international body that disarms Saddam Hussein. Another international body will. . . . So this will remain an international action."

Even if the resolution ends up failing because of a permanent member veto, Fleischer said, "from a moral point of view," the world was likely to see U.N. refusal to sanction military intervention in Iraq as akin to U.N. "failures" to stop tribal genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan saw the situation differently, saying at a news conference in The Hague yesterday that the United States lacks the authority to launch a military attack on Iraq. "The [U.N.] charter is very clear on the circumstance under which force can be used," he said. "If the United States and others were to go outside the council to take military action it would not be in conformity with the charter."

Although the administration has gone along with Britain's diplomatic efforts out of recognition of the opposition Blair faces at home, and has agreed to put off a vote it had hoped would take place today, it has made clear there are firm limits on how far the concessions can go and how long discussions should continue. Officials said that Bush wants the resolution brought to a vote this week, and that there is no chance of extending the deadline for final Iraqi compliance more than a week after that, to March 21 at the latest.

As envisioned by the British, the proposed benchmarks would fall into four broad categories of specific actions required of Iraq: arranging a large number of unmonitored interviews of weapons scientists and technicians, preferably outside Iraq; providing substantive information on alleged stores of VX gas in the category of chemical weapons; accounting for all outstanding stores of anthrax in the biological category; and providing all information on prohibited ballistic missiles and remotely piloted aircraft.

"We are examining whether a list of defined tests for Iraqi compliance would be useful in helping the Security Council come to a judgment. What we're proposing is eminently reasonable. We are not expecting Saddam to have disarmed in a week or so," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. "But what we are expecting is that the Iraqi regime should demonstrate by that time the full, unconditional, immediate active cooperation demanded of it by successive U.N. Security Council resolutions."

France and Russia have said they want no deadline at all, charging that the United States and Britain are trying arbitrarily to cut off inspections that seem to be progressing, however slowly. Germany, China and Syria have joined the opposition. Bulgaria is the only other country supporting the resolution sponsors (Spain is the third).

Several of the six council members whose votes are being sought -- Guinea, Angola, Chile, Cameroon, Mexico and Pakistan -- had asked for the benchmarks and said yesterday that they don't object to a deadline. But they said that such a plan would be viable only if it included a post-deadline council meeting to judge whether Iraq had met the benchmark tests. "The normal process would be for [the inspectors] to continue, then come back to the council and say" whether the goals have been met, said a diplomat from one of the six. "Then the council decides."

A British official said, however, that no further collective judgment by the council would be needed, and that London would know Iraqi compliance if it saw it. "We can tell the difference between someone who is genuinely committed and someone who is hanging back," he said. In any case, a senior U.S. official said, the Bush administration would not accept what could amount to yet another council resolution. "I don't think that's going anywhere," the official said.

Meanwhile, the administration seized on a report by chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix that inspectors had discovered an undeclared unmanned aircraft in Iraq in order to build its case that Baghdad is flouting U.N. disarmament rules. John D. Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, suggested that the drone violated U.N. proscriptions on flying range, and that it "would be entirely capable of carrying chemical and biological weapons."

U.S. officials said that Blix had played down the discovery in his inspections update presented to the council last Friday, although the drone was mentioned in his written report. Negroponte raised the issue in a closed-door council meeting attended by Blix yesterday. U.N. officials said that Blix said inspectors were still examining the prototype aircraft and had not concluded that it violated U.N. limits.

As the council headed toward the climactic vote, there was widespread confusion amid the swirl of proposals. "This is a mess," said another diplomat from one of the six. "Nobody knows exactly what is going on. We have been talking, but have no idea what the Americans are thinking. We know that the British have been active, but don't know if their ideas will succeed. The French and others say they accept the benchmarks . . . but don't want 'automaticity.' We say, okay, let's reconvene" the council so that a war decision would not be automatic. "But the Americans would never accept that."

Bush continued his telephone diplomacy, calling Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and President Jiang Zemin of China, another permanent council member opposed to the resolution. Bush also called friendly heads of states, including Japan, Nigeria and Senegal, who are not council members but who senior administration officials said might be able to influence those who are.

Each of the three African members is being bombarded with high-level appeals from the United States and Britain on one side, and France on the other. Guinean Foreign Minister Francois Fall met with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell at the State Department yesterday and will see Bush at the White House on Wednesday.

On a tour of three African capitals, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin stopped first in the Angolan capital of Luanda yesterday. Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Bernardo de Miranda told reporters, "We are not giving into pressure. . . . Angola's position is closer to neither the U.S. nor to France. It is Angola's position. Angola is for peace but the disarmament of Iraq is a primary question."

Correspondent Sharon LaFraniere in Moscow contributed to this report. Lynch reported from the United Nations.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

This is our last resolution, or was that last time? The US is getting its butt kicked in the UN. Now all we have to do is wait to see if Blair goes along and joins this humiliating defeat. Blair is clearly in trouble at home. He needs a second resolution or many in his cabinet will resign.

Of all the peoples of the world, it's odd that only the American people want war. By huge majorities, people in almost every country oppose the US. Their governments may support us because we buy them, but their people don't. In time, those governments that oppose the 'will of the people' will face the wrath of their votes.


U.S. diplomat resigns over Iraq war plans
CNN News/Reuters
Monday, March 10, 2003 Posted: 7:09 PM EST (0009 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A U.S. diplomat resigned from government service Monday in protest at President Bush's preparations to attack Iraq, the second to do so in less than a month.

John H. Brown, who joined the U.S. diplomatic corps in 1981 and served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell made available to the media: "I cannot in good conscience support President Bush's war plans against Iraq.

"Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century," the diplomat added.

Brown has recently been attached to the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University in Washington. Immediately before that, he was cultural attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

A senior U.S. diplomat based in Athens, political counselor John Brady Kiesling, 45, resigned in protest at the Bush administration's policy on Iraq last month.

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

Great line: "...his neglect of public diplomacy is giving birth to an anti-American century."


Blix: US lied about mobile biological weapons labs
Washington Post
By Glenn Kessler and Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, March 8, 2003; Page A01

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 -- The chief U.N. weapons inspector today provided a cautiously upbeat assessment of Iraqi disarmament, deepening a split within the U.N. Security Council over the U.S. drive to win international support for a military strike.

Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, said Iraq had been slow to cooperate but that in the past month, it had taken numerous promising steps. "It would not take years, nor weeks, but months" to complete the inspections, he said, adding he would present a work plan for more inspections at the end of a month.

Blix's report, coupled with a report by the chief nuclear watchdog that there is no evidence Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programs, bolstered the determination of France, Russia and China -- permanent members with veto power -- to block a U.S.-British resolution authorizing force.

"The military agenda must not dictate the calendar of inspections," said French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. "We cannot accept an ultimatum as long as the inspectors are reporting cooperation."

Seeking to break the impasse, the United States, along with Britain and Spain, today modified their proposed resolution authorizing force so that it set a March 17 deadline for Iraq's compliance. A senior administration official told reporters in Washington that the United States would be "closing the diplomatic window" on that date.

During the public and sometimes emotional clash of Security Council members today, a number of smaller, undecided nations that the administration had wooed made it clear they were uncomfortable with the U.S. approach and pleaded for the council to unite around a broad plan that would set a series of deadlines. On the 15-member council, only Bulgaria signaled support for a new resolution, while eight nations, including Pakistan, Angola and Chile, appeared to be against it.

President Bush insisted Thursday that the United States would call for a vote, and U.S. officials yesterday pressed for it as early as Tuesday. Nine votes -- and no vetoes -- are necessary for passage. It is highly unusual for members to seek a vote for a Security Council resolution that appears doomed to fail, and it was clear the looming showdown concerned many of the foreign ministers attending today's session. Several suggested the rift could irrevocably damage the international body.

"What is at stake now is the unity of the international community," said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. "The Security Council -- in fact, we all -- face an important decision, probably a historic turning point."

France has not vetoed a U.S.-sponsored resolution since 1956, during the Suez Canal crisis, and no U.S.-sponsored resolution has been defeated since the end of the Cold War.

Administration officials had a lot at stake in the reports by Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general. But the reports fell far short of the clear demonstration of Iraqi noncompliance sought by the administration. In his news conference Thursday night, Bush said Blix's task was to "answer a single question: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed, as required by Resolution 1441, or has it not?"

Blix declined to give a clear answer, allowing both sides in the debate to draw their own conclusions, but his overall message was that the inspections regime was beginning to yield results. When Iraq began last Saturday to destroy missiles that had been found to exceed U.N. restrictions, he said, it was not "the breaking of toothpicks. Lethal weapons are being destroyed."

Blix took five sentences at one point to address the "yes or no" question Bush had raised, essentially saying that Iraq has become "proactive" in some areas, and that he held out hope this trend would continue.

ElBaradei's report was even more damning to the administration's position. In recent months, the administration and Britain have alleged Iraq illegally sought high-strength aluminum tubes for a centrifuge-based uranium enrichment program and had sought uranium from Niger. He said experts had concluded the tubes were for a rocket engine program, as Iraq had said, and that the documents used to allege the connection between Iraq and Niger were fabricated. Overall, he concluded, there is no evidence that Iraq has revived a nuclear weapons program.

While other foreign ministers hailed the reports as proving inspections could work, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said he was not persuaded. "I still find what I heard this morning a catalogue of non-cooperation," Powell said. The Iraqi actions cited by Blix were offered only grudgingly and under the threat of force, Powell said, and stopped far short of what was demanded by the Security Council. "Iraq is still refusing to do what is called for by Resolution 1441 -- immediate, active and unconditional cooperation."

Powell spoke forcefully, but he seemed tired and stoic during the session. "There are some people who simply, in my judgment, don't want to see the facts clearly," he told reporters afterward.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose government desperately needs a second resolution to shore up support at home, delivered the most impassioned address. "Let us be blunt about this," he told the other ministers: Iraq was beginning to cooperate because of "the presence of over 200,000 United States and United Kingdom young men and young women willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of this body, the United Nations."

At one point, Straw leaned forward over the horseshoe-shaped table and addressed "my good friend," Villepin, whose pronouncements against war have annoyed British and U.S. officials.

"Dominique said the choice before us was disarmament by peace or disarmament by war. Dominique, that's a false choice," Straw said, in a rare use of a first name in Security Council debate. "I wish that it were that easy, because we wouldn't be having to have this discussion. We could all put up our hands for disarmament by peace and go home."

Straw argued that "the paradox we face is that the only way we are going to achieve disarmament by peace . . . is by backing our diplomacy with the credible threat of force."

But Villepin was unmoved, telling reporters later, "You don't go to war because of a timetable."

In his address to the council, Villepin not only denounced the prospect of war, but also heaped scorn on the various rationales offered by the administration to attack Iraq. He said "regime change" through force "will encourage dangerous instability," that a war would not inhibit international terrorism but only increase it and that a war would not recast the Middle East but "run the risk of exacerbating tensions."

"In a few days, we must solemnly fulfill our responsibility through a vote. We will be facing an essential choice: disarming Iraq through war or through peace," Villepin said. "And this crucial choice implies others; it implies the international community's ability to resolve current or future crises; it implies a vision of the world, a concept of the role of the United Nations."

Speaking to reporters, Villepin archly said: "If we are going to believe that because of Iraq or through Iraq, we are going to solve, like magic, all the problems of the world, I believe there should be very soon a lot of disappointment."

The official purpose of the meeting was to hear an oral summary by Blix of the 167-page report on the inspection process that was completed last week, including outstanding areas and how to address them. The report included sobering information on outstanding questions -- such as the fate of anthrax -- but the tone did not differ much from his oral presentation.

The report, which focused on 29 unresolved disarmament matters, challenged Iraq's claim that it destroyed its entire stock of biological agents at the Al Hakam biological weapons facility in the summer of 1991. "Based on all evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 liters of anthrax was not destroyed and may still exist," according to a confidential draft of the report. The report also indicated that Iraq maintains the expertise to reconstitute anthrax, botulinum toxin and other deadly biological agents in short order. "Iraq currently possesses the technology and materials, including fermenters, bacterial growth media and seed stock, to enable it to produce anthrax," the report stated.

"There does not seem to be any choke points, which would prevent Iraq from producing anthrax on at least the scale of its pre-1991 level," the report said.

Still, the report said, in the chemical and biological area, "no proscribed activities, or the result of such activities from the period of 1998-2002 [when inspections were halted], have, so far, been detected through inspections."

Blix suggested to the council that U.S. intelligence leads have failed to yield hard proof that Iraq is transporting banned arms and mobile biological weapons labs around the country to evade detection by U.N. inspectors. "No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found," he said.

In a last-ditch effort to avoid a war, Pakistan distributed a proposal to Security Council members that would extend full amnesty to Iraqi officials who participated in Iraq's disarmament. The proposal, which was initiated by Saudi Arabia, is designed to encourage Iraqi officials to turn against their leadership, said Arab diplomats familiar with the plan. "It's intended to promote a revolt," said an Arab diplomat.

The paper, which was set out in the form of a Security Council resolution, "declares a full amnesty for all Iraqi officials who extend their full and unequivocal cooperation" to the U.N. in disarming Iraq. It also provides assurances to Iraqi officials who cooperate with the United Nations that they and their families would be protected.

Diplomats involved in the preparation of the paper conceded that the proposal had little hope of council approval. They noted that Pakistan has made it clear it will not formally introduce the proposal unless Saudi Arabia and other Arab initiative supporters could persuade the United States and other major Security Council powers to embrace it.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

"No proscribed activities, or the result of such activities from the period of 1998-2002, have, so far, been detected through inspections."

What part of "NO" doesn't Powell, Bush and Blair understand? 'When there isn't any proof, make it up,' seems to be the mantra of these nuts.


U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation
by John Brady Kiesling
February 28, 2003

[The following is the text of John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kiesling is a career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan.]

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.

It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has "oderint dum metuant" really become our motto?

I urge you to listen to America's friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America's ability to defend its interests.

I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.

'Oderint dum metuant' means "let them hate as long as they fear." For more on this resignation letter and the policies that made it necessary read the following link from Impeach 64 :
Let them hate as long as they fear


A crumbling alliance
Toronto Star
Mar. 9, 2003. 01:00 AM

Whatever futile, last-minute jockeying takes place at the United Nations this week, the war against Iraq has already counted its first casualty.

The transatlantic alliance that has bound America and Europe together for 50 years has been deeply fractured, perhaps terminally, by the Iraq debate.

Or more precisely, by the debate on whether the United States, as the world's only superpower, has the right to act on its own, bypassing the opinions of others in a supposedly international forum. Especially when some others — veto-wielding France chief among them — were once political powers and would like, intensely, to be so again.

The actual agendas at play in the corridors of the Security Council are multiple, say analysts, and not always what they seem. But neither, in most cases, are they well hidden.

While Germany's revulsion for war is viewed as being genuinely born out of two catastrophic world wars, France's objections are seen as both real and cynically self-serving.

It knows it might lose the Iraq debate but is betting on ultimately winning a far more precious prize, the leadership of Europe. It wants to become an alternative power to the United States, the "Uncola," in one commentator's phrase.

With a permanent seat on the Security Council putting it one-up on Germany, this is the moment to begin the campaign. Or so it thinks.

Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin staked out the French turf last month, declaring that, "in the temple of the U.N., we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of conscience." Whether it was calculated opportunism or folie de grandeur, as U.S. critics charged, France grabbed and held on to the international spotlight.

"Real and self-serving" is also how most analysts describe America's U.N. stance — its conviction, hardened by 9/11, that "evil" must be confronted, even at the risk of war or other nations' objections.

Whether it's helped by "a coalition of the willing" or of the sullenly acquiescent — or no one other than the British and a platoon of Australians — is a roll of the dice it's prepared, and militarily able, to take.

"The difference between the two is that the French are looking two or three steps beyond Iraq," says David Rudd, director of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. "Looking ahead doesn't seem part of the U.S. modus operandi."

Without substantial military might of its own, France "has the luxury of playing good cop to America's bad," he adds.

Either way, the impasse has forced to the surface long-festering resentments between the two. Which, in turn, means there's a lot more at stake for the world right now than just the disarming of Saddam Hussein.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw put it this way last week: "What I say to France and Germany, and all my other European Union colleagues, is: Take care. We will reap a whirlwind if we push the U.S. into a unilateralist position."

However the Iraq crisis plays out, the French-led challenge to the U.S., more so than the Russian or Chinese, signals a fundamental sea change for the West and possible death for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

At best, if the war is swiftly won, the rupture may be patched up, to be dealt with another day. But if, as many believe, it turns ugly and the aftermath becomes a debacle, the fissure will deepen, with the consequences felt the world over.

"The distrust the U.S. has sown is not going to evaporate, especially if there is massive destabilization after the war," argues Rick Halpern, acting director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto.

"It doesn't seem to realize the depth of feeling in Europe against U.S. unilateralism."

Unilateralism not just regarding Iraq, but on the Kyoto accord, the world criminal court, the international landmine and antiballistic missiles treaties — and all the other multilateral agreements from which America has walked away in recent years.

But it's the current Iraq debate that "gives us a quick flash of the future and it's a complicated picture," says former politician John English, director of the foreign policy and federalism program at the University of Waterloo.

It seems clear that there "is going to be a widening of the Atlantic with the U.S. and Europe moving further apart. That will be tough on Canada. We didn't contribute much to it, but psychologically for us, NATO was a counterweight to U.S. dominance."

Not that the Europeans cared about that, University of Toronto historian Robert Bothwell says dryly.

"They don't take Canada seriously. They don't see it as anything but a large blob on the top of the U.S., and on its way to becoming part of it."

Cynics might say that at least the United States and Europe still have that in common. Otherwise, their joint worldview ended with the Cold War when the Soviet Union crashed and burned, removing their mutual enemy. It was then that first death knell of the Atlantic alliance was sounded.

Experiencing two world wars on their continent had soured Europeans' taste for power politics, and a central tenet of the new European Union was that members not wage war on each other.

NATO managed to remain in place through the 1990s, with Washington ever more reluctantly footing the bill for military hardware, the 15 EU countries ever more reluctant to accept American domination of the members, and neither side being happy with its force's performance in the Balkans conflict.

Long before that, however, the two sides were on divergent political paths, differing on everything from the state provision of health care to the death penalty, with the United States becoming culturally less attuned to the other side of the Atlantic as its population grew more non-European in origin.

Today, says James Reed, Harvard University historian and president of the Boston branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, "Europe is a far more advanced society."

While there may be hypocritical self-interest in France's anti-war position, given its policies in Algeria and other parts of Africa, Reed says, "there is also sincerity. This generation of European leadership is ashamed of what their parents did.

"The EU has developed a different philosophy of politics, a pan-European consciousness that is multilateral. The U.S., since 9/11, has reverted to all the old traits Europe has outgrown."

The estrangement between the two is real, and will deepen in the next decade, Reed predicts, as Europe sets about converting its economic strength into political clout: "A new balance of power always emerges when one country gets too strong."

The new transatlantic order is unlikely to affect Canada, however, because location has already determined its place in the global scheme of things: "Canadians think of themselves as more European than we Americans do, but North America is moving in one direction, and Canada will be dragged along, even if kicking and screaming."

European desires to redefine the Atlantic alliance pre-date the Iraq debate but have been exacerbated by it. Despite its opposition to American use of force, analysts note that:

The EU has begun work on the creation of a security and defence policy that will have a 60,000-member, rapid-reaction military force autonomous from NATO.

A German official recently put Washington on unofficial notice that as Europe becomes an "independent actor," it intends to forge its own security relationship with Russia. He warned that "development of the union's defence identity is an accelerating process that it would be a mistake to oppose."

In a meeting in Brussels last month, former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, now head of the convention on the EU's future, called for a common foreign policy that "unreservedly obligates" all members to act in solidarity.

With Britain, Spain and Italy — and membership candidates such as Bulgaria and Slovakia — earning French wrath for backing the United States, de Villepin cautioned at the meeting, "Now more than ever, we have to reconfirm our common position."

They can try, says U of T's Bothwell, "but Europe doesn't yet have a coherent core. The different countries have divergent interests. Membership hasn't diminished individual sovereignty."

Analysts say there are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests and, with eastern European nations, survival dictates political expediency. Like everyone else in this dispute, they too, are rolling the dice by backing the U.S.

The smaller nations want Washington's economic support, says York University political scientist David Dewitt, "but in the long term, they have to get into bed with France and Germany, even though they know those countries are mercurial and will always act, as they are acting now, in their own interests."

They may, like Canada, have their fate almost solely determined by geography. If, that is, the current rupture between Europe and the United States leads to a permanent gulf.

Not everyone thinks that will happen. U of T historian Ronald Preussen, for one, discounts the prevailing notion that a profound shift is in play.

"Episodes and crises have existed all the way along between the U.S. and Europe," he says, citing the Suez crisis in the 1950s, president Charles de Gaulle pulling France out of NATO in the 1960s and West German chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik dealings with the Soviet Union in the 1970s — all of which infuriated the United States.

"This is a difficult moment between the two sides, but there have been many difficult moments," says Preussen. "They've worked themselves out."

In the long run, if not the short, the current crisis will also be resolved. The alliance between Europe and the United States is too important not to repair, say analysts, especially as the threat of terrorist attack hangs equally over both for the foreseeable future.

Eventually, Washington's aggressive, "with-us-or-against-us" foreign policy will be repudiated, they say, and the chasm will be narrowed.

"Not by the present U.S. administration, of course," says Halpern.

"But this administration isn't forever."

Additional articles by Lynda Hurst

This should be an interesting period of history. Will the rest of the world forgive and forget this president? the US congress and the US people? We can only hope civilized peoples around the globe understand this tyrant does not do the will of ALL the people, but instead is a crazed maniac. In time the people of the US will turn against Bush and he will fall. Surely, the world will praise us for bringing him down, right?


Europe and U.S. face growing split
San Francisco Chronicle
Associated Press
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, March 9, 2003

Despite efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to limit the damage, the bitter dispute over Iraq has split Europe between countries that support America and those who see it as a global menace.

The division shows Europe's inability to create a united, credible voice in world affairs and threatens the unity of the West and decades of close trans-Atlantic relations, politicians and experts say.

"If the Americans and the Europeans don't exercise great care in the next few weeks and months we're going to be left with an absolute shambles," said Francois Heilsbourg, an independent defense analyst based in London.

European governments also are worried about the damage the rift is causing to the institutions that have been the foundation of Western unity for decades -- NATO, the European alliance with the United States, the United Nations and the European Union. So far, analysts say, nobody is saying how it can be fixed.

Britain, Spain and Italy support the United States, which has said Iraq's time to give up its weapons of mass destruction is running out and is mobilizing for military action. The Bush administration has proposed a March 17 deadline for Saddam Hussein to disarm but said it could go to war without U.N. approval.

France, Russia and China -- which along with Britain and the United States have veto power as permanent U.N. Security Council members -- are leading opposition to the war.

"This is a very important episode ... The unhappiness on the European side with the unilateralist, militarist, pre-emptive inclinations of this (U.S.) administration is pretty deep," said analyst Michael Emerson of the Center for European Studies, a think tank in Brussels, Belgium.

The unease is reflected among many ordinary Europeans, millions of whom have rallied to protest U.S. policy on Iraq. A European Union poll in March reported a majority of Europeans see America as a threat to peace -- 46 percent to 32 percent in a survey of 16,074 people across the 15-nation bloc. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

If the United States chooses increasingly to go its own way internationally rather than seek Western consensus, trans-Atlantic cooperation, vital to political and economic stability, could be badly damaged, analysts say.

NATO, torn by wrangling over its possible role in a war with Iraq, might never fully recover, analysts say. To have real credibility, members and opponents of a defense alliance must believe it will act if faced with a threat -- something that is now in doubt, they say.

Many fear the United Nations also is looking weak with the United States, Britain and other allies determined to act without its approval if necessary.

Disagreement on how to disarm Iraq has torn the EU down the middle, exposing deep divisions over whether it should be primarily a trade bloc or a global power with effective political and military muscle.

"The time has come where we need a confrontation on what are our strategic needs" in Europe, said Ulrike Guerot, an analyst at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.

France, which has never accepted its loss of global power, has long wanted a united Europe that could present an equal front and be a counterweight to what it sees as an overly powerful United States.

Britain and others oppose what they see as a drive for a federal state in which national governments would answer to the EU as a whole, giving up control of their foreign and security policies.

Looking ahead, analysts say Washington's relations with those nations that have defied it over Iraq will be badly strained, possibly for years to come. Talk of massive U.S retaliation is played down, but trade and other areas, already under strain, could be badly hurt.

"The problem is spilling over into the economic field and the United States has adopted a negative attitude toward what it considers to be old Europe and vice versa," said Professor Pedro Videla of the University of Navarra in Spain.

The United States and the EU need each other and new ways to handle relations will have to be worked out, analysts say. But they add it may take years and the departure from office of some of the leaders who figure in the current dispute.

Needless to say there's a lot of political jockeying going around. France is clearly on its way to become a major player in the UN for a very long time regardless of what happens in Iraq. Should the US suffer a defeat in the UN, the rest of the world will consider France the country with a conscience (since most of them oppose this silly war also). The rift in NATO isn't as bad as the problem created at the UN. Long gone are the days when the US was respected because we put might behind right. Today the US is about to violate International Law. The big winner in this debacle is France, the biggest losers are the "rule of law," and the US.


France Wants Bush at UN When US Suffers Defeat
ABC News Wire/Reuters
March 8, 2003
— By Sophie Louet

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Saturday reinforced its call for President Bush to attend next week's United Nations vote on war against Iraq, insisting leaders take personal responsibility for a "life or death" decision.

The move came as Paris said it was sending Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on a whistle-stop tour of three African states from Sunday to urge them to reject a U.S.-backed draft resolution setting a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm.

"When you decree life or death, it should be done at the highest level of responsibility," a source close to President Jacques Chirac said of a vote on a new resolution expected next Tuesday or soon after.

"Given the importance of the decision, it seems legitimate that it is taken by heads of state and government," the Elysee Palace source said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said he did not see a need for Bush to attend, after Villepin floated the idea on Friday.

But French officials insisted the proposal was not aimed at isolating Bush and argued he stood to gain from attending the session, which with the presence of world leaders would effectively turn into a mini-summit on Iraq.

"This is in a spirit of conciliation rather than aggression. It's probably in his interest to accept; he won't necessarily feel isolated," one said, adding that France was already discussing the idea with other Security Council members.

Villepin declared France's opposition to any disarmament deadline on Friday, noting that chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix had said in his latest report that Iraq was offering greater cooperation.


The French officials said Paris was confident a majority of the 15-member Security Council was currently opposed to a U.S.-British-Spanish text revised to include the March 17 deadline, but could not rule out shifts in position.

While Bush has insisted he does not need U.N. approval, failure to get a majority in the Council behind the proposed deadline could strengthen anti-war movements around the world.

It could also weaken British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a key Washington ally whose government has sought international legitimacy for the use of force.

A French foreign ministry spokeswoman said Villepin would plead the case against war during a quick tour of U.N. Security Council members Angola, Cameroon and Guinea, starting on Sunday.

The three countries have yet to take sides on the planned resolution, which must secure at least nine votes and avoid a veto from any of the five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

The spokeswoman said Villepin was due to leave Paris late on Sunday for Angola before going on to Cameroon and finally current Security Council president Guinea. He will return to France on Tuesday.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article nails it. France isn't interested in just taking control of the EU from Britain, it wants superpower status at the UN. France knows it will win the UN resolution and the rest of the world is watching. On the day of Bush's defeat at the UN, France becomes a superpower, and France, China and Russia will forge new alliances to stop the US at every turn. This is just the beginning. Hundreds of years from now historians will pick this date as the beginning of the end of the US empire.


Schools face loss of federal funds if they bar praying *
An Impeachable Offense
USA Today/AP
Posted 2/7/2003 9:07 PM
Updated 2/7/2003 9:50 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Schools that don't allow students to pray outside the classroom or prohibit teachers from holding religious meetings among themselves could lose federal money, the Education Department said Friday.

The guidance reflects the Bush administration's push to ensure that schools give teachers and students as much freedom to pray as the courts have allowed.

The department makes clear that teachers cannot pray with students or attempt to shape their religious views.

"Public schools should not be hostile to the religious rights of their students and their families," Education Secretary Rod Paige said. "At the same time, school officials may not compel students to participate in prayer or other activities."

The instructions, released by the department late Friday, broadly follow the same direction given by the Clinton administration and the courts. Prayer is generally allowed provided it happens outside the class and is initiated by students, not by school officials.

The department, however, also offered some significant additions, including more details on such contentious matters as moments of silence and prayer in student assemblies. And for the first time, the burden is on schools to prove compliance through a yearly report.

"Public school districts that accept billions of dollars each year in federal education funds should be expected to respect students' constitutional rights," said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. "This is basic common sense."

Bush and Congress ordered the department to release the new guidelines as part of an education overhaul signed into law last year. But one leading critic said what emerged is a partisan push for more school prayer, not an attempt at clarification.

"They took the Clinton-era regulations, which just stated what the law was, and turned them into a wish list of what this administration wants them to be," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In one significant change, teachers are permitted to meet with each other for "prayer or Bible study" before school or after lunch — provided they make clear they are not acting in their "official capacities."

Also, students taking part in assemblies and graduation may not be restricted in expressing religion as long as they were chosen as speakers through "neutral, evenhanded criteria." To avoid controversy, schools may issue disclaimers clarifying that such speech does not represent the school.

Such school gatherings have been at the heart of recent court rulings. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that prayers led by students at high school football games are unconstitutional. Yet in 2001, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving protests over student-led graduation prayers.

"I'm very excited about the clarity, and very optimistic that these guidelines will go a long way in solving issues related to students' religious speech," said Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, which promotes religious expression. "We will use these actively in dealing with schools, and we'll use them in cases we're litigating as well."

Countered Lynn: "If some student decides to turn a school assembly into a church service, that school will be sued. This doesn't insulate schools from lawsuits. It stretches to the breaking point what the courts have said on the topic."

The guidelines say students may "read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour or other non-instructional time." Schools may impose some rules about those activities but cannot discriminate against prayer or religious speech in doing so.

If schools have planned moments of silence, students may pray or not pray, and teachers may not encourage or discourage praying, the guidelines say. Religion-themed homework or artwork must be graded on an academic basis, not favored or penalized because of its content.

The guidelines do a better job of spelling out what's allowed in many cases, but in others, they may just cause more confusion, said Reggie Felton, lobbyist for the National School Boards Association. Giving teachers discretion to openly pray during breaks may cause problems, especially if it is not clear they are doing it outside their official roles, he said.

"I'm not suggesting that these are horrible guidelines," Felton said. "I'm just saying there are areas that will require more discussions with attorneys."


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

I always get a kick out of these school prayer nuts. For some unknown reason they feel kids MUST pray during the six hours their kids are in school. Wanna bet these school prayer nuts don't pray with their kids during the other 18 hours of the day?

Most parent's don't pray with their kids so why should schools be forced to do it? Besides, our government has better things to do.


Federal Aid for Church Construction Violates Constitution *
An Impeachable Offense
Americans United For Separation of Church And State
Press Release
March 07, 2003

The Bush administration´s plan to use federal housing funds to help churches and other houses of worship construct or repair their facilities is constitutionally flawed and should not be implemented, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In a seven-page memorandum delivered today to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Americans United´s legal department said the plan, which was first made public in early January, fails “to comply with constitutional requirements.’

The public had until today to issue comments to the department before it is expected to approve the plan, which would allow religious groups to acquire federal aid to rehabilitate or build facilities used for both religious and social service activities. Richard A. Hauser, HUD´s general counsel, told The New York Times that the department´s traditional rule prohibiting religious entities from using tax dollars to build or refurbish houses of worship would be dumped for the administration´s new plan.

“The First Amendment clearly forbids government to build or repair houses of worship,’ said Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “I hope the Bush administration will scrap this egregiously unconstitutional proposal.’

Lynn noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that tax funds could not be used for the maintenance of religious buildings. In its Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist decision, the justices stated that “[i]f the State may not erect buildings in which religious activities are to take place, it may not maintain such buildings or renovate them when they fall into disrepair.’

AU´s memo to HUD noted that the Bush plan contains no explanation of how federal workers would ensure that public funds are not spent to advance religion or how they would ensure that the needy would not being subjected to religious indoctrination in publicly funded programs that provide shelter or housing.

“The new HUD policy is a reckless extension of Bush´s initiative to provide broad-based financial support to religious groups,’ Lynn said. “It will also undermine our country´s efforts to help our neediest.’

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

© Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 2002.
All rights reserved.

Besides the gross violation of the Constitution, why is it that those who say they want less government and fewer taxes always find new ways to spend YOUR money? Regardless of how you feel about the church and state stuff, at least understand this is not a necessary function of the government. No real conservative would support this nonsense. Only a neo-liberal like Bush could spend your money on someone else's Church repairs and say it's a necessary function of the Federal Government.


Dems Blame Bush For High Oil Prices
CBS News
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2003

(AP) President Bush's decision after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to aggressively boost the federal emergency oil stockpile contributed to a dramatic decline in commercial oil stocks and caused energy prices to soar, says a study by Senate Democrats.

The report released Wednesday said that the diversion during 2002 of 40 million barrels of crude into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve required refiners to dip into their commercial inventories at a time when markets already were tight and production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was being reduced.

"We're confident this had a significant impact on the price of oil in 2002," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who released the report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Government Affairs investigations subcommittee he chaired last year.

But Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham rejected the notion that the government's decision to continue filling the reserve during most of 2002 significantly affected energy prices. He said the amount was too small to have an impact.

"The principal issue here is national security and we believe and continue to believe that enlarging the amount of emergency reserves we have in the strategic reserve is very important to America's energy and national security," said Abraham when asked about the report.

The reserve has about 600 million barrels — equivalent to four months of oil imports from the Middle East — stored in salt caverns on the Gulf Coast with a goal of increasing that to 700 million by 2005. Abraham has said the administration is ready to move quickly to draw on the reserves, but only if there are severe supply disruptions.

The Levin report cited internal Energy Department documents showing that the Bush administration in early 2002 decided against deferring the deliveries despite warnings from career officials that syphoning oil away from the market could have adverse impact on commercial inventories and prices.

"Commercial petroleum inventories are low, retail product prices are high and economic growth is slow," wrote John Shages, a senior official at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve office in Louisiana, in one memorandum. "The government should avoid acquiring oil for the reserve under these circumstance."

Shages said the government purchases during a tight market "would be difficult to defend" and could be criticized as mismanagement.

While the government was buying the oil last year, commercial crude inventories declined by 10 percent from 310 million barrels to 280 million barrels. Energy economists have cited the tight inventories as a key reason for the sharp price increases of crude as well as gasoline and heating oil.

"Removing 40 million barrels from the marketplace ... increased oil prices which caused U.S. oil refiners to take oil from inventory instead of buying expensive new oil," the Levin report said.

Increasing emergency stocks has been a top priority since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Two months after the attack, President Bush directed that purchases be accelerated to fill the reserve to 700 million barrels by 2005.

As oil prices flirted with $30 a barrel in late 2002 and Venezuelan imports disappeared, the Energy Department decided to shift policy and begin postponing deliveries to its emergency stockpile. On Tuesday, the department announced it also would postpone April deliveries because of current tight market conditions.

Levin welcomed the latest decisions, but argued Wednesday that they should have been made a year ago. He maintained the government's aggressive oil purchases did nothing for national security.

"The overall inventory of oil in this country was no better in the end of 2002 than it was at the beginning of 2002. We had 40 million more barrels in the petroleum reserve, but we had 40 million fewer in commercial oil inventories," he said.

© MMIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.