The Anti-Bush Campaign Kicks Off: Pro-Choicers Join Anti-War Activists to Protest the President
The Village Voice, by Sarah Ferguson
June 25 - July 1, 2003
In what looked like a mini dress rehearsal for the cacophony of dissent that's expected to hit the streets of New York City during next summer's GOP convention, nearly 3,000 demonstrators gathered on Seventh Avenue to protest President Bush as he presided over a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser inside midtown's Sheraton Hotel on Monday. Vowing to deliver Bush a hearty unwelcome, the demonstrators clamored inside the metal pens that police had strung up along the west side of Seventh Avenue between 49th and 54th streets, denouncing everything from the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich to the Bush administration's heavy-fisted assaults on abortion, immigrants, and civil rights.
"In the same way that this fundraiser is a kickoff for Bush's reelection campaign, this may be the kickoff for a wave of protest across the country against Bush," said Bill Dobbs, spokesperson for the antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice.
The size of the demo did not match the heft of Bush's campaign machine, which raked in a record-breaking $4 million at the event hosted by the titans of Wall Street and New York's real estate industry. But organizers felt they succeeded in voicing the concerns of many ordinary New Yorkers who feel the Bush administration has declared war against them.
"President Bush, you've come here to fill up your campaign cup," shouted Carla Goldstein of Planned Parenthood from a makeshift podium. "We've come to say enough is enough! Enough lies, enough hypocrisy, enough nominating right-wing judges to fulfill your conservative agendas, enough appointing those who would decide when woman can and cannot have a child. President Bush, we've had enough!"
Indeed, the fact that the protest was initiated by Planned Parenthood of New York City, which then invited United for Peace to help swell its ranks, may signal the potential for a new and broader coalition of anti-Bush forces to mobilize over the next year.
Planned Parenthood did not demonstrate at the last GOP convention and was not active in the antiwar marches over the last year. But activists say Bush's impending approval of the so-called "partial-birth" abortion ban, which effectively outlaws abortions beyond the second trimester regardless of the threat to a woman's health, has forced the pro-choice movement to take a more direct role in campaigning to unseat him. "We want to stop marginalizing issues of reproductive rights and bring them into the larger fold by uniting a larger coalition of groups who can speak to social-justice issues," says Planned Parenthood's Miriam Gerace.
Similarly, antiwar groups, many of which receded from public eye in the wake of Bush's hastily proclaimed "victory" in Iraq, say they are looking to extend their reach beyond foreign policy. "We're trying to connect the dots," says Leslie Cagan of United for Peace. "Bush and his administration are a multi-issue target, so we have to be a multi-issue movement."
But the effort to bring together a diverse array of people and issues was once again hampered by the NYPD's cumbersome protest pens, which balkanized the different groups into competing islands of dissent. Police sealed off the area directly in front of the Sheraton between 52nd and 53rd streets, forcing demonstrators to gather in pens to the north and south. At 50th Street, several dozen backers of the hard-left group International ANSWER chanted in support of Venezuela's besieged president Hugo Chavez and railed against the Bush Administration's imperialist adventures in Iraq. Meanwhile, at 54th Street a coalition of immigration-rights groups decried Bush's "terror campaign" against immigrants next to a small group of pro-Israel supporters angered by the Bush Administration's "roadmap" for peace in Palestine.
Many protesters complained they were unable to enter the pens or forced to detour to Broadway to join their protest groups. At one point several protesters toppled a metal barrier at 51st Street in an effort to merge with the other demonstrators. Police waded aggressively into the crowd to make arrests, prompting chants of "Shame!" and "Arrest Bush!" Seven people were arrested for disorderly conduct.
Investigative reporter and author Greg Palast, whose anti-Bush salvo, The Best Money Democracy Can Buy, has made him a lefty celebrity, found himself addressing a tiny crowd mobilized by the anti-Bush group Voter March in a pen near 54th Street. "They're trying to spread out the demonstration so that people inside paying two grand for their pudding won't puke when they see the reality of what's going on out here," Palast complained. "I just got in town from London, where my documentary exposing the Bush family fortunes is airing on primetime television, but here in the U.S. it's like I'm relegated to samizdat reporting. It's like there's an electronic Berlin Wall against covering this stuff," he said, gesturing to the satellite news trucks swarming around the Sheraton.
But the folks on the street seemed to have little trouble connecting the issues. Antiwar placards demanding "Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?" and "End King Geoge's Reign of Terror!" jostled freely with pro-choice banners and signs denouncing Bush's "War on Women." Many in the crowd said they were outraged that the Republican party continues to invoke the attacks of 9/11 as a rallying cry for Bush's presidency. "I feel like Bush coming to New York is especially hypocritical because he's done nothing for this city," said Sarah Beretczki, a 29-year-old illustrator from Brooklyn who sported a sign that read, "My Bush Sheds Its Own Blood."
And many demonstrators vowed to be out in force next August, regardless of the NYPD's expected clampdown. "I have never been this politically disturbed in my entire life," said Gloria Charny, 74, of Westchester. "Bush has got all the power in his hands, and the American public is lapping it up without even realizing what it means."
Coleman says Bush has done 'incredible job' on foreign policy
Minnesota Public Radio News
St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) Lumping Syria into a category of "destabilizing forces" in the Middle East, Sen. Norm Coleman said Tuesday that President Bush has properly demanded that the country stop harboring members of Saddam Hussein's regime or face sanctions.
"And that doesn't mean, by the way, that we go in there and invade militarily. I don't think that's on anybody's mind," the Republican freshman said. "But I think the international community understands that we're serious about dealing with terrorism."
He said the administration's saber rattling simply has put Syria on notice that if members of Saddam's regime are there, Syria should turn them over.
"I think you let them know there are consequences for being a rogue nation and for supporting terrorism. And in the end, I think they'll get the message. ... I don't think there's a grand plan to have the American armies roll across the Middle East," Coleman said.
Despite pressure from Washington, Syrian officials so far have denied that the country has weapons of mass destruction or that it is sheltering Iraqi leaders.
Coleman, however, strongly sided with the White House on the Syrian situation and other foreign policy issues during a swing through the Minnesota Capitol.
"All over the world, it's challenging out there," he said. "I'm not the expert on foreign policy. I have confidence in the president. I have confidence in Colin Powell. I have confidence in Donald Rumsfeld."
That extends to the administration's positions on North Korea and the Palestinian-Israeli situation.
It's crucial, for instance, that the administration has stood by its demand that North Korea accept multilateral discussions over its alleged nuclear weapons program, Coleman said in a wide-ranging interview with several reporters.
Negotiations in 1994 were just between North Korea and the United States. This time, Washington has insisted that Russia, China, Japan and South Korea also be involved.
Russia and China are allies of North Korea and their involvement could help pressure the country into concessions. Japan and South Korea are most at risk by a nuclear-armed North Korea and likely to pay for much of the aid that may be offered with a deal.
Until last weekend, North Korea had insisted on one-on-one talks with the United States, but the stance has softened.
"We tried that before - they lie," Coleman said. "They said in exchange for certain levels of support, they wouldn't develop a nuclear program. They lied. The way you deal with liars is you make you're not sitting around the table alone with them."
Meanwhile, Bush was trying to help broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
"I think what he's got to do now is put more focus, more attention on that issue and work with the international community," Coleman said.
He cited the two preconditions that Bush has outlined: An end to terrorism and the democratization of Palestinian authority.
"I think Yasser Arafat has to go," Coleman said. "And at the same time, Israel has to understand that what it is doing with settlements, there is going to have to be a stepping back."
U.S. officials have said Israel must stop building settlements on the West Bank and Gaza.
After 100 days in office, Coleman could think of no major foreign policy disagreements he had with the president, although he said he would like to see more focus on South America.
"And so I may urge the White House to put more effort into what are we doing in Colombia, what are we doing in Venezuela - we get a lot of our oil from Venezuela," Coleman said. "But foreign policy in the Constitution is the responsibility of the president and I think that's an area where we let him execute. And if we need to kind of urge some refocus on some other things, then we'll do that."
Demencia Imperial / Loja
Quito - Domingo, Abril 6, 2003
Artículos de opinión
por Giovanni Carrión Cevallos
Admitir que la invasión norteamericana a Iraq se explica por la necesidad de derrocar al régimen autoritario de Sadam Hussein y de eliminar, por otra parte, las células terroristas vinculadas con Osama Bin Laden, denotaría una candidez extrema en el análisis; pues, en ese caso, se soslayan los verdaderos motivos que han impulsado a los EE.UU a intervenir militarmente en esa región.
En efecto, la política exterior norteamericana tiene como prioridad principal la consolidación de su hegemonía en el planeta y, por lo mismo, desde esa óptica, sus relaciones internacionales se explican y ejecutan, en buena medida, por la teoría del realismo político en la que el interés se define en términos de poder. Es decir, los EE.UU no tiene países amigos ni enemigos sino simplemente intereses de por medio.
Solamente así podríamos explicar el hecho de que al finalizar la década de los setenta, la CIA haya capacitado a Bin Laden (hoy el mayor terrorista del globo) a fin de ofrecer resistencia a la invasión soviética a Afganistán. Igual criterio se aplica al hecho de que la potencia haya apoyado en su momento al propio Sadam Hussein en la guerra que Iraq libró con Irán en los años ochentas. Además, la supuesta defensa de la democracia ha sido el caballo de batalla empleado recurrentemente por los estadounidenses para justificar su tendencia expansionista. No olvidemos que en nombre de la democracia el Norte intervino en el derrocamiento y asesinato del Presidente Salvador Allende en Chile; en la invasión a Haití que promovió luego el ascenso del sátrapa de Douvalier; en República Dominicana que dio pasó a la dictadura temeraria de Leonidas Trujillo; en Nicaragua a la administración cruel de Somoza; en Venezuela, recientemente, apoyando subrepticiamente el golpe de Estado liderado por Pedro Carmona, entre muchos otros ejemplos que registra nuestra convulsionada Latinoamérica.
En el caso que nos ocupa, podemos señalar, por lo menos cuatro motivaciones que han empujado a que los EE.UU, sin respetar la legalidad internacional, haya asumido una actitud arrogante, temeraria y demencial:
Primero, está el control de la industria petrolera en la zona con lo cual no solamente asegura el abastecimiento energético que demanda el Imperio sino que influye también, en forma importante, en la fijación de los precios del crudo, factor este último altamente sensible en la economía norteamericana.
Segundo, la posibilidad de posicionarse geopolítica y estratégicamente en el área a fin de ejercer una fuerte presión sobre las potencias regionales, tales como Rusia, China, India, Irán, entre otras.
Tercero, al haber fracturado a la Unión Europea (UE), le ha restado, sin duda, peso político a su inmediato rival; pues, al confrontar, por un lado, a Francia y Alemania y, por otro, a Inglaterra y España, lo que se ha logrado es dejar en entredicho la tan labrada unión económica y política de la UE, así como de la propia OTAN.
Cuarto, el círculo macabro del negocio de la guerra no termina con la producción y venta de armas sino que éste se cierra con la reconstrucción de las ciudades devastadas. En el caso de Iraq, habrá que construir nuevos aeropuertos, carreteras, puentes, hospitales, centrales de comunicación, infraestructura urbana en general, tareas que, con seguridad, serán asumidas por las empresas transnacionales pertenecientes a los EE.UU y los países miembros de la coalición invasora quienes, luego de "liberar al pueblo iraquí" de sus verdugos, se entregarán al gran festín.
Wed Mar 19,10:13 PM ET Add Op/Ed - William F. Buckley to My Yahoo!
By William F. Buckley Jr.
The finality of the long -- seemingly endless -- period of indecision, fractured alliances, ambivalent allies and fruitless diplomacy had an unusual touch. The president flew two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic to meet with the leaders of the diminished ranks of our allies.
The trip doesn't take much more air time than a flight to Denver, but there was operatic grace in seeking out a remote island, one of an archipelago as beautiful as any on Earth, and touching down with the prime ministers of Great Britain, Spain and Portugal, where the language spoken is foreign, and where an Atlantic U.S. Air Force base serves as a promontory of U.S. vigilance for the world Columbus left, to discover the new world.
The mother country of the Azores endured a left-wing coup in 1974. A few years later, the governor of the islands disclosed, with not much discretion, that if the military continued in power in Portugal, the Azores would declare their loyalty to Lisbon ended and make out for themselves. The Azores had been a colony for about 500 years.
We learn that the leave-taking of President Bush (news - web sites) was especially moving. He treated the natives who came to see him off in his majestic carrier, an airplane with more bodies on board than Columbus brought on his ship, to a special show of fraternity, not visibly different from his intensive exchanges with the firefighters in New York. And we know what he was thinking as, after nightfall, he boarded the plane with the honor guard, because the next day he would express himself. In New York, three days after Sept. 11, a fresh chapter opened for America; at the air base in Terceira, it moved forward to the next stage. We would be going to war.
We learned that on Air Force One there were two speechwriters there to help him craft the address he would give 24 hours later. Mr. Bush spoke the language of going to war so very different from such as was spoken during the first centuries of the Azores' sentient life on Earth. When the islands were discovered, there was no human life there. Before the colonizers settled down to being a metropolitan district of Portugal, they were fought for, and dominated intermittently, by the Spanish. When they went to war in those days, the missions were outspoken. The rulers wished for glory, foreign possessions and wealth.
Nothing of the kind preoccupied Mr. Bush in the missions he described on Monday night. Lenin preached to faithful Marxist ears that colonialism was the chief and vital enterprise of the bourgeois world, motivating policy and life. Revisionists have carefully argued, in recent years, that the overhead of colonialism often exceeded its fruits, challenging a central postulate of Marx-Lenin. It is not widely held that we are moving against Iraq (news - web sites) for material reasons, and it is plain that our motives are hardly material, unless one classifies as a material motive the determination to safeguard one's freedom and security.
In his speech the president was airborne with confidence in his mission and in the reasons for it. His exposure to the Azores might have made him more cautious when he spoke of the prospects for Iraq after liberation. Portugal, climbing out from monarchy soon after the turn of the century, moved toward an autocracy that lasted for 35 years, after which was the military coup, reaching an institutionalized democracy only in the late '70s.
President Bush spoke directly, using the personal pronoun, to the people whose country he would invade. The military campaign "will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror."
And then? "We will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free." And at the close, "Unlike Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation."
Mr. Bush would have done better to speak more modestly about expectations. Sitting down on vast oil reserves does not bring prosperity or freedom, as we are quickly reminded merely by citing Venezuela, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. What Mr. Bush proposes to do is to unseat Saddam Hussein and to eliminate his investments in aggressive weaponry. We can devoutly hope that internecine tribal antagonisms will be subsumed in the fresh air of a despot removed, and that the restoration of freedom will be productive.
But these concomitant developments can't be either foreseen by the United States or implemented by us. What Mr. Bush can accomplish is the removal of a regime and its infrastructure. The Iraqi people will have to take it from there.
The real reasons America is invading Iraq
March 20 2003
George Bush planned "regime change" in Iraq before becoming United States President in January 2001. The events of September 11, 2001, were the pretext for invasion of Iraq, not the reason.
The blueprint for the creation of a "global Pax America", to which Bush subscribes and which is driving the invasion of Iraq, was drawn up in September 2000 for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush (George's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff).
The document, called Rebuilding America's Defences: strategies, forces and resources for a new century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think tank Project for the New American Century.
According to the document, written three months before Bush became president, "the US for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
The document outlines the global ambitions of the Bush Administration. It sets out a "blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests".
The question for John Howard must be: to what extent does his Government subscribe to the Bush strategy outlined in the think tank's document?
Howard says Australia's participation in this war is in Australia's national interests. How?
To answer that question we must know why the war is being fought in the first place. For all I know, Bush, Howard and Tony Blair may be absolutely sincere when they claim that getting rid of Saddam is a humanitarian act that will make the Iraqis better off, or that Saddam has the will, the motive and the weapons of mass destruction capable of threatening other countries. But these are not the real reasons for the invasion.
The real reasons can be summed up as deciding who controls Middle East oil and gets access to the water from the Tigris and Euphrates, and what currency will be used to pay for the development of the oil and water resources.
According to the think tank document, the US would have to increase its defence spending to 3.8 per cent of GDP (which it has just achieved) to finance an American military capability "to fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars" and to "perform constabulary duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions".
This is a massive task that can only be achieved if the US can continue to draw on the resources of the whole world, which in turn is only possible if the US can continue to run massive trading deficits with Western Europe, China and Japan. In other words, these regions must remain willing to exchange the product of their industries for American dollars.
It would be fatal to America's global strategic ambitions if countries in Europe began to ask for euros instead of US dollars for their exports, or if China demanded settlement of their accounts with the US in yuan instead of US dollars. The US would have to redirect domestic demand for imported goods paid for in dollar-denominated IOUs into exports to earn yuan and euros to pay for US imports.
It is difficult to see how the US could develop new, internationally competitive industries and run a military machine on the scale envisaged by the think tank without a massive increase in taxation and redistribution of wealth to the productive elements in the economy without precipitating a global recession.
In 2000, Saddam's regime had the temerity to demand payment in euros for the trickle of Iraqi oil the US has allowed onto the international market. Iran and Venezuela are following Iraq's example. This is the real threat to US hegemony.
If the US can control Middle East oil production, it can control the industrial development of Europe, China and Japan (and Australia), to prevent a rival to its hegemony emerging. But to do this it must retain the greenback as the world currency.
It is possible to make a weak case based on realpolitik why Blair is along for the ride with Bush in Iraq (BP and Shell), but it is impossible to see what Australia will get out of this adventure even if it "succeeds".
Bush personifies the American quest for absolute security. Americans don't yet understand or care that this status can only be achieved by making everybody else absolutely insecure.
This is why the most lasting thing to come out of the war with Iraq is likely to be the faster development of a unified Western Europe and an economically powerful China to challenge US hegemony.
Kenneth Davidson is a staff columnist.
This story was found at: www.theage.com.au