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Chickenhawk's War * DU-Afghan * Terror Hill * Forsberg

12 November 2002

1) War Veterans Gather To Stop A New War
2) More DU Weapons in Afghanistan Than in Gulf War
3) Terror On the Hill
4) Behind the Smile - the slick (oiled) G.O.P.
5) MA Election Update Randall Forsberg for US Senate

Editor's Notes:

The first item is hopeful. Mainstream Americans, War Veterans, are standing together against a potentially provocative war which would result in many innocent people killed and environments destroyed. Item 2 is an article stating that more depleted uranium weapons were used in Afghanistan than in the Gulf War. From this item, or from FlybyNews.com, you can link to an updated DU page for background and resources. DU is nasty stuff, and just what they plan to use against life in Iraq, including the soldiers used to preemptively attack, and control another country's oil resources. Item 3 describes reasons for fear on Capital Hill. At the end of the Marc Ash from TruthOut.org , are links to related articles, including a piece by Bertrand Russell on JFK's assassination. Item 4 is an article by Bob Herbert of the NY Times on the slick G.O.P. Item 5 is an update by Randall Forsberg, who gives the results of her meaningful campaign to send a message to Senator Kerry and anyone serving the interests of a party that is destroying our entire world.

This following excerpted poem, by Cortland E. Richmond, a retired soldier, was published in a "Dear Abby:"

Currency

Do not give medals for our death;
Where we are, we cannot know.
Do not raise flags and hold parades;
Where we are, flags don't go.

We ask but one thing of our land,
Of you who had us fight:
"Please be WORTH the blood we shed,
Be worth the eternal night."

We are the currency you spend
For freedom, fear or oil;
Our blood, the coin you pay,
Dark on some foreign soil.





1) War Veterans Gather To Stop A New War

Intervention Magazine
http://www.interventionmag.com

Angry military veterans attack "an administration of chickenhawks" who demand the blood of another generation of US soldiers and marines -- blood these macho-posturing, drum-beating hyper-"patriotic" middle age warriors refused to risk in their youth.

By Stewart Nusbaumer

An enthusiastic crowd of approximately 350 military veterans jammed the hall of the Martin Luther King Labor Center in New York City yesterday to oppose a war with Iraq. The largest meeting of antiwar veterans in many years, the "Protest Meeting & Speakout Against War with Iraq and In Defense of Constitutional Rights" attracted a diverse group of veterans and their spouses. All, however, agreed an invasion of Iraq is wrong; all appeared to express a determination that the Bush Administration must be stopped.

"This is crazy," said Ed a Navy veteran of World War II, "I really think the Bush people don't care about the guys in the military. They only care about the oil and the money."

Most of the military veterans had white hair or little hair, many with no hair -- they had fought their wars long ago. These are the wars that some non-veterans hardly remember or are barely aware of, yet wars that are intensely remembered by the men who fought them. Seldom have antiwar movements attracted young veterans, the exception being the Vietnam War because of its long duration and the obvious failure of the war. An active duty soldier did give a brief speech expressing his refusal to participate in a war with Iraq, but he sounded like the product of older handlers, handlers with an agenda more than stopping a war against Iraq.

On the wall hung banners, dusted off and taped up with the same determination the veterans mustered in their resistance to earlier wars: Veterans for Peace, Philadelphia Chapter; Vietnam -- Never Again! Stop The War In Central America. On the wall behind the podium, The Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and The Veterans for Peace, New York City Chapter. And of course the recognizable logo of helmet over rifle, The Vietnam Veterans Against The War.

For nearly three hours, eight speakers addressed a range of issues, opposition to a war with Iraq always the unifying theme. A retired Army major spoke about biological, chemical and radioactive contamination in the Gulf War, and promised similar exposure to our troops in a second war against Iraq. "One-third of Desert Storm forces now have disability compensation from the Veterans Administration." Although few were actually wounded in that war, many in the last decade have because seriously ill.

A representative of the Center for Constitutional Rights talked about how Americans' rights are under assault and how pervasive surveillance is diminishing our privacy. Several screams of "Ashcroft" echoed in the hall.

David Cline of Vietnam Veterans Against The War said: "When going into the military, we did not swear alliance to protect the flag and the reputation of the President. We swore to protect the Constitution."

A speaker opposed the racial profiling of Arabs; another honed-in on war for oil is not a just war. Every speaker pleaded that going to war in Iraq is not the answer, and every one received strong approval from the audience.

The strongest emotional trigger was a single word, chickenhawks! Referring to the men in the White House and the media who chose not to express their patriotism by fighting in Vietnam -- a war they strongly supported -- they chose instead educational and phony health deferments. Today these men are the hawks pressing to send another generation to another war while their children remain safe and secure, as they were safe and secure during the Vietnam War.

On several occasions, chickenhawks was shouted from the audience and a strong sense of contempt washed over the crowd of military veterans, followed by laughter laced with bitterness.

Conservative academics and politicians preach that class is not an issue in America, it's irrelevant in our modern society. When in the company of combat veterans, especially when the current Commander In Chief skirted his military duty and even went AWOL, you understand that war is still an intense class issue.

A few speakers displayed a certain bias against America -- "this is America, what do you expect" scuffed Ellen Barfield. But this was not the prevalent attitude. What distinguished this meeting from a typical non-veteran peace gathering was addressed eloquently by Marine combat veteran Jaime Vazquez when he answered his own question: what is patriotism? "I love my country. And the love of country is expressed as a willingness to stand up to and to resist your government. Patriotism is not blindly following the men of war, but resisting them."

It is the love of country -- which motivated most of these veterans to sacrifice for their country -- merged with the warrior spirit to resist, which inspires these men and women to resist the current plan for war. Having once fought in a war, now they fight against a war. And this seems natural to them.

"Once a patriot, always a patriot" I heard someone in a row behind me say. For this man, resisting his government bent on war is American patriotism.

The oldest speaker was Moe Fishman, a veteran who served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. For over half a century, Moe has fought domestic battles against an opposition that inevitably waved the flag of patriotism to silence dissenters, even military veterans that dissented. "It's not my country right or wrong," he screamed with unshakable conviction, "but to make my country right when it is wrong."

Igor Bobobsky, a Vietnam veteran that served in the Marine Corps, told me that "if there is no draft, then there should be no war. What could be more patriotic than insisting everyone fight a war?"

Igor is very aware that if the draft was reinstated and exemptions from military service denied, then an entire class of Americans would quickly lose their enthusiasm to invade Iraq.

The neoconservatives and chichenhawks whose children are currently protected from military service and battlefield danger would suddenly discover viable alternatives to sending the U.S. military into Iraq. That is, sending their children into Iraq.

A speaker during the Speakout noted that the warriors in the Pentagon are significantly less keen about fighting Iraq than the chickenhawks in the White House. Combat experience makes options other than war very attractive. Surely, there are millions of veterans who reject a war against Iraq. Retired Generals are writing op-ed articles and even appearing on cable news channels to advise caution, some are demanding no war. Enlisted men are seldom heard, because they are never asked. Yesterday on the eve of Veterans Day, in New York City they spoke and they listened, some 350 strong. This, the organizers of the meeting believe, is the tip of an approaching ground swell of veterans' resisting a war against Iraq. The backbone of a movement than will soon spill into the streets of America.

# # #

Stewart Nusbaumer is editor of Intervention Magazine. Stewart is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Posted Monday, Nov. 11, 2002
Copyright 2002 Intervention Magazine
http://www.interventionmag.com/cms/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=238

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For a related article: Dissent Grows Within the Military

When former Secretary of the Navy James Webb slammed the war on Iraq last Thursday at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., he received a "respectful, admiring" response from his audience -- the students and faculty of one of the best military schools in the country.

As it turns out, most of them agree with Webb's position: attacking Iraq is dangerous, expensive, and a waste of time. If such expressions of dissent are surprising, one of the staff members reminds us, "Overall, military officers have a great openness of mind. There's a great capacity for innovative thinking. They've seen a lot, they've done a lot, they come here at mid-career. Now, we're getting many who are rotating out of Afghanistan. This isn't like four-star generals who are just thinking how to protect their conventional force structures." Or like chicken hawks within the Bush administration who are enamored with dreams of global domination.
Posted on November 11, 2002 @ 1038AM.
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/



2) More DU Weapons in Afghanistan Than in Gulf War

U.S. Used More DU Weapons in Afghanistan Than in Persian Gulf War: Dracovic
TEHRAN TIMES POLITICAL DESK
November 9, 2002
http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=11/9/02&Cat=2&Num=026


TEHRAN -- "U.S. forces must refrain from using depleted uranium weapons like the ones they used in Afghanistan in their possible attack on Iraq," said the discoverer of Gulf War syndrome, Dr. Asef Dracovic, in an interview with Al-Jazeera television. He warned against the syndrome and said that if U.S. forces use depleted uranium (DU) in the threatened attack on Iraq, as they did in Afghanistan, it would have very serious implications.

Dracovic said that U.S. forces used more DU weapons in Afghanistan than they used in the Persian Gulf War and the Balkans wars, adding that if the same amounts were used in Iraq, it would have terrible consequences.

He stated that thousands of DU bombs were used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

About 80,000 U.S., 15,000 Canadian, and a large number of British soldiers are suffering from Gulf War syndrome, but unfortunately the media has covered up the whole issue under pressure from the U.S. administration.

Meanwhile, in recent days there have been numerous reports about the birth of many disabled and deformed children in Afghanistan. A large number of health specialists in Afghanistan as well as international observers, including one of the officials of a local hospital, regard the increased number of birth defects in Afghanistan to be the direct result of the U.S dropping DU bombs on Afghanistan.

The use of DU weapons has not only harmed children but also has contaminated plant and animal life in the war-ravaged and impoverished country.

If U.S. forces use DU weapons in their threatened war against Iraq, two important Muslim countries of the region will suffer for years.

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For a Flyby News updated page with links and resources on Depleted Uranium, see:
(Item 4)
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid991363232,2156,m




3) Terror On the Hill


Terror On the Hill
By Marc Ash
Tr u t h o u t | Commentary

Sunday, 10 November, 2002

A Republican reader of ours called in yesterday and asked, "You don't really believe that Paul Wellstone was murdered, do you?"

What could I say to him? He asks what I ask, what you ask -- what every one of Wellstone's colleagues has asked themselves.

Terror is funny that way, it eats at the heart, intimidates the soul. Officially the crash that killed Wellstone, his wife, his daughter is viewed as an accident, but every member of Congress, their staffs and families, can do the math.

They know full well that Wellstone had crossed over the line. Wellstone had done what each one of them knows they dare not do - challenge the power brokers. They know that this man was willing to step right up in the face of the most powerful and ruthless people in the world and say, "No, you will not run roughshod over the community."

They know he's dead. They know his political opponent, Norm Coleman, a man hand-picked by those who Wellstone threatened, has conveniently risen to power in his place. Filibuster, anyone?

The crash itself has slipped quietly away. Not a single report of the circumstances surrounding the crash has come. We have no NTSB reports, no expert analysis no hard questions inconveniently raised prior to the election that would sweep the right to control of the entire federal government. Instead, the story has been pushed aside by news of glorious victories by those who oblige the powerful.

There were warnings, of course. Tom Daschle, that pesky obstructionist. managed to outflank the Republican leadership for a time and seize control of the Leader's office. He got a gift of deadly anthrax. Patrick Leahy, that radical from Vermont, made the unwise choice of opposing right-wing judges. His anthrax warning was likewise delivered.

Then there's the Mel Carnahan story. The former Missouri Governor opposed John Ashcroft for a US Senate seat, and subsequently died in small plane crash. Don't worry about widow Carnahan; she's out of the way now.

Wellstone was different, though. He was a wrestler; he let it be known that he would challenge the status quo head on. He would stand by his beliefs. While others seemed to heed the warnings, Paul Wellstone did not.

There is some historical precedent on which to draw; the death of Robert Kennedy in 1968 led to the ascension of Richard Nixon. Kennedy had campaigned, in part, on a platform to end the Vietnam War. To understand the ramifications of his death and Nixon's rise, go to the Vietnam memorial and look at all the names added after 1968.

The assassination of moderate Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 led to the rise of the Israeli right-wing. To understand the ramifications of that, see your morning paper.

The precedent set by the death of Wellstone and the subsequent ascension of his opponent Coleman has the gravest of implications. The two men espoused diametrically opposed ideologies. The shift from Wellstone to Coleman is as dramatic as any the US Senate has ever seen. It is a stark and immediate reversal of fortune ushered in by the grim reaper.

The classic horror film, "The Shining" opens with a child haunted by premonitions of violent death. He sees blood in rivers washing down hallways and faces of those long since dead. He keeps repeating over and over a word that no one understands: R-E-D-R-U-M. Only when the ax comes crashing through the bathroom door does the meaning of this word become all to clear, as it is viewed scrawled on the wall, reversed in the mirror.

# # #

You can send comments to t r u t h o u t Editor Marc Ash at ma@truthout.com

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For a related article at TruthOut:
The Desert of the Real by William Rivers Pitt, see:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/11.12A.wrp.desert.htm

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Also see this article in The Observer (UK)

"A dark week for democracy" by Will Hutton
The stranglehold the far Right has now taken on America will make it a more divided, reactionary and illiberal country
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,837130,00.html

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For another related article:
"16 Questions on the Assassination" [of John F. Kennedy]
By Bertrand Russell
From "The Minority of One," 6 September 1964, pp. 6-8, see:
http://karws.gso.uri.edu/JFK/the_critics/russell/Sixteen_questions_Russell.html




4) Behind the Smile - the slick (oiled) G.O.P.

Behind the Smile
by Bob Hebert
NY Times
November 11, 2002


One of the definitions of slick is "deftly executed; adroit." Synonyms include "sly, shrewd, slippery, wily." These words came to mind as I watched the Republican Party's remarkable off-year election triumph last week. Give credit where it's due. Bill Clinton at his most devious was never as sly or as cunning (or as politically effective) as the Republican Party has become.

I think of the G.O.P. as the costume party. It wears a sunny mask, which conceals a reality that is far more ideological, far more extreme, than most Americans realize.

Among the less meaningful questions being asked in Washington is whether the Republicans, having won control of the Senate and strengthened their hold on the House, will now go too far and outpace their mandate. My question is: Where have you been? In a nation that is divided almost 50-50 politically, the Republicans flew past their mandate a long time ago.

Driven by its right wing and aided immeasurably by George W. Bush's genial smile, the G.O.P. is putting in place profoundly conservative policies that will hamper progressive efforts for decades to come, no matter what happens in upcoming elections.

With the help of Democrats who should have known better, the Republicans have already enacted a huge and potentially hazardous round of tax cuts. In an environment in which budget deficits have returned and war appears to be imminent, common sense would seem to suggest that the government tread softly on tax cuts for the time being. But a key element of the G.O.P. agenda in the immediate aftermath of last week's stunning victories was a plan to make the current tax cuts permanent and enact a new package of cuts.

There is a method to the G.O.P.'s tax cut madness, beyond the obvious benefits to the very rich. Conservatives have long reasoned that the only way to destroy popular programs that actually help ordinary Americans (Social Security, Medicare and so on) is to starve the government of the money needed to pay for them.

The intensity of the conservative opposition to such programs can be startling. To Ronald Reagan, for example, Medicare was an affront to the very idea of America. The historian Robert Dallek noted that Mr. Reagan "saw Medicare as the advance wave of socialism, which would 'invade every area of freedom in this country.' "

During a budget fight in the mid-90's, Newt Gingrich, apparently referring to the original fee-for-service version of Medicare, which had become cherished by the elderly, wisecracked: "We don't get rid of it in Round One because we don't think it's politically smart."

The way to cripple such programs without openly opposing them is to bleed the government of the money to pay for them. With the prospect of budget deficits stretching far into the future, and with the first wave of baby boomers already well into their 50's, the day of reckoning for Social Security and Medicare is not far off.

The right wing of the G.O.P. has also proved itself hostile to environmental protection, and to the myriad health and safety regulations that protect Americans against poisonous foods and other dangerous products and practices.

One of its most important leaders in those fights, Representative Tom DeLay, will now ascend to the post of House majority leader.

How extreme is Mr. DeLay? When the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the discoverers of the link between chlorofluorocarbons and ozone depletion, Mr. DeLay mocked the award as the "Nobel Appeasement Prize."

And then there are the federal courts, which are being packed by conservatives from coast to coast, with the big prize - appointments to the Supreme Court - still to come.

Over the next couple of years as many as three (or more) Supreme Court vacancies could open, which could determine the direction of the court for the next 30 years. President Bush has made it clear that he favors justices in the mode of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. With two more justices like that, progressive government would be caught in the devastating trap of a right-wing assault from all sides - the White House, the Congress and the courts - with the Treasury drained of all money for new initiatives.

Slick? Adroit? Any number of adjectives will do. How about dangerous?

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/11/opinion/11HERB.html?ex=1038050948&ei=1&en=77




5) MA Election Update Randall Forsberg for US Senate

The following is an update by Randall Forsberg, who ran as a write-in candidate, opposed to John Kerry (who was unopposed by any Republican candidate) for US Senate. Forsberg ran to defeat Kerry and discourage him from Presidential ambitions, because of his vote ignoring his constituents to authorize President Bush to unilaterally and preemptively attack Iraq.

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From Randall Forsberg to volunteers, supporters, and voters
Re: Election Update

PF Soto, our terrific webmaster, has just finished putting up the most recently compiled election results at http://www.rforsberg.com/results.htm .

As of this weekend, we have compiled results from 270 out of 351 towns. The Forsberg vote total (it will probably be close to 25,000 when counting is done) is lower than I had hoped. If we had been able to recruit poll volunteers in every town, my hope was to get 100,000 votes and thereby get national attention.

But the good news is that if we had had volunteers in every town, it seems likely that we would have gotten closer to 200,000 than 100,000 votes!

..My conclusion from this is that if we had a month or more to organize polling place volunteers, instead of less than two weeks, and if we had done door-to-door leaf-letting where polling place coverage is ineffective, we might have come close to that 10,000 hours (3,000 people averaging 3 hours each, and willing to drive to uncovered polling places). In that case, I think we might well have gotten not just 100,000 votes, but possibly as much as 200,000.

..So I conclude from our experiment in direct democracy and our attempt to send Kerry (if not the nation) a message is that this practice run -- with no money for direct mail or staff telephoning, no experience or practice, very little time to organize, almost no publicity in statewide mass media, and great difficulty voting at places with levers -- demonstrates the enormous potential impact of grassroots organizing on electoral politics. Upward and Onward!

Request

I have taken a month off from work, unpaid, to conduct this campaign. Tomorrow I will be returning to my paid work, conducting research and writing for the IDDS monthly reference journal, the Arms Control Reporter - see: http://www.idds.org .

..I still have close to $5000 in campaign expenses (mainly lawn signs and flyer printing, but also telephone, office rent, etc) not paid off on my credit card. It would be a big help to me personally (in a tight spot financially) if all of you who have not already contributed could make whatever contribution you can afford to help pay off this debt -- $10, $25, $50, or $100 -- and/or pass on this email to friends who voted for me. I believe that responses in that range will cover the whole amount. Checks should be made to Committee to Write-in Randall Forsberg and mailed to me at: Randall Forsberg, 950 Mass. Ave, Apt 512, Cambridge MA 02139.

Future Plans
Many people encouraged me to run for U.S. Senate in future; and if the seat held by Kerry or Kennedy opens up, I will do so. It was a wonderful experience to have such terrific support and encouragement out there; and I think that I am qualified to be a Senator, and could offer some national leadership on the issues of foreign and military policy in that position.

In the meantime: The results of the 2002 election nationwide have made me more determined than ever to continue with a project I launched last June, in cooperation with David Cortright (former long-time head of Sane, and now, as president of Fourth Freedom Forum, http://www.fourthfreedom.org, a leader of national efforts to prevent war in Iraq), and Jonathan Schell, author of the Fate of the Earth, the Gift of Time, the Abolition, and many other important books on nuclear weapons and matters of war and peace (new one next spring). This is UrgentCall.org, a web-based, coalition-based project, which I am now directing, to recruit 1-10 million participants nationwide, who contribute $10/year to support a national education/outreach/advertising campaign that will make US nuclear weapon policy, and military and foreign policy more generally, a major issue in the 2004 elections and beyond. We are looking for participants who will stick with this issue, and this coalition-based effort!

If you are interested in participating in this campaign to change America, please go to the UrgentCall.org web site,

http://www.UrgentCall.org

Invitation
Because UrgentCall.org effort is headquartered at IDDS in Cambridge, we are looking for volunteers to help launch this national campaign. The first meeting of volunteers (planned before I decided on the write-in campaign) will take place at the IDDS 8th floor conference room, 675 Mass. Ave (corner of Mass Ave and Prospect, in Central Square), Cambridge, this coming Thursday, Nov 14, 7-9 pm.
You are welcome to participate in this start-up meeting. Please email me with subject line UrgentCall Nov 14 if you plan to come, so we have some idea of the number of people to expect.

If you would like a volunteer assignment, but cannot make this meeting (or prefer not to come to any meetings!), please email me with the subject line UrgentCall volunteer.
In either case, please be sure to go to the UrgentCall.org web site, and sign the Urgent Call, so that you know what it is about before you volunteer! An draft agenda for the meeting, showing the kinds of volunteer help we need, will be sent out to those who reply.

A Huge Thank You
I am immensely grateful to the many people who spent a great deal of time and effort to produce the amazing results we achieved in the towns with volunteer efforts.

http://www.rforsberg.com/



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