14 June 2006
‘The US-led "war on terror" is increasing the risk of terrorist attacks and distracting governments from greater threats to global security such as climate change, a think-tank warned in a report.
The Oxford Research Group urged countries, especially the United States and Britain, to rethink their security policies to counter future instability.
"The war on terror is a dangerous diversion and prevents the international community from responding effectively to the most likely causes of future conflict," a press statement about the report said.
The US and British governments insist there is no alternative, but "there is abundant evidence that the 'war on terror' is proving deeply counterproductive -- making the risk of future terrorist attacks on the scale of New York, Madrid or London more not less likely," it said.
The report, "Global Responses to Global Threats: Sustainable Security for the 21st Century", was referring to the September 11, 2001 suicide aircraft hijackings in the United States, the Spanish train bombings on March 11, 2004 and the London suicide attacks on July 7 last year.’US-Led War On Terror Increases Risk Of Terrorist Attacks
13 June 2006
‘Despite claims that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has regained the diplomatic initiative from Iran with a conditional offer to join multilateral talks with Tehran, the real story behind the policy shift is that the administration has suffered a decisive defeat of its effort to get international sanctions for possible military action against Iran.
U.S. officials and French and British diplomats have sought to obscure the failure to get the agreement of Russia and China to a hardline U.N. Security Council resolution making Iranian compliance mandatory if it refused to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. Nevertheless, details of the proposal finally given to Iran and Russia's subsequent statement both confirm that the administration has had to accept a package without the threat of Security Council action it had counted on.
The list of "possible measures in the event that Iran does not cooperate" in the proposal, as revealed by Reuters on Jun. 9 based on the earlier draft of the proposal released by ABC news and interviews with Western diplomats, includes 13 economic and diplomatic "disincentives" to be applied gradually, depending on Iran's behaviour. But the document makes no reference to the possibility of an enforceable Security Council decision that the Bush administration could use to justify a military attack on Iran.
Going into the crucial negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme between Washington and the other five powers -- France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany -- in early May, the Bush administration had regarded such an enforceable Security Council action as the key to its strategy for increasing the pressure on Iran.’
‘Gandhi once said if Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no Hindus left in India. He knew how powerful the fundamental tenets of Christianity - fighting poverty, caring for the least among us, loving your enemies, eschewing materialism and embracing humility - could be if everyone who called themselves a Christian truly followed them.
The new documentary, Jesus Camp, which chronicles a North Dakota summer camp where kids as young as 6 are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in "God's army," is an illustration of this sentiment in the extreme.
The film, by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the duo who also directed the critically-acclaimed The Boys of Baraka, opened to an appreciative and flabbergasted audience at the 2006 TriBeca Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Award. The directors skillfully captured the daily interactions of a world that would be foreign to most viewers: children speaking in tongues and talking of being "born again" at age 5.’
Meanwhile in the parallel universe of conservative bed-time history for right-wing raised kiddies...
From the New York Times
Bush Discusses Iraq With Top War Commanders …..
CAMP DAVID, Md. (AP) -- President Bush declared Monday to a nation weary of war that democracy in the Middle East is worth the high price to the United States. He also said Iraq's neighbours should be doing more to help.
Beginning a two-day strategy session on Iraq at Camp David, Bush said nations inside and outside the Middle East have pledged $13 billion for Iraq reconstruction and the United States expects them to back their financial commitments.
''We discussed that today, as to how to continue to rally not only the neighbourhood and Iraq's neighbours to the cause of the new democracy, but how to help others who have made a pledge to honor their pledge,'' Bush said.
Now in its fourth year, the war also was an issue on Capitol Hill.
The Senate opened debate on a military policy bill, and John Kerry, D-Mass., intended to offer a plan to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. The White House has long opposed setting deadlines in Iraq, and Kerry's amendment is expected to be defeated when voted on later this week.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said in a speech in Washington that Americans ''deserve a plan from the president, one that provides our troops with an exit strategy from this seemingly intractable conflict.'' He said, ''It is no longer sufficient to say 'we will stand down as the Iraqis stand up.'''
The Camp David meeting came as the Bush administration was trying to capitalize on momentum from last week's swearing-in of key Iraqi national security officials and from the U.S. airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq.
Al-Qaida named a successor Monday to al-Zarqawi and said he would stick to the slain leader's path - attacks on Shiites as well as on U.S. and Iraqi forces.
''I think the successor to Zarqawi is going to be on our list to bring to justice,'' Bush said, standing outside a cabin at the secluded, wooded presidential retreat with his national security team and members of his Cabinet.
''The best way to win this war against an insurgency is to stand up a unity government which is capable of defending itself but also providing tangible benefits to the people,'' he said.
The war is weighing down Bush's approval rating at home, and Republicans are worried about losing control of Congress in November's midterm elections. Only a third of respondents to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll in early June supported Bush's handling of the situation - an all-time low.
''I keep reminding the American people that the stakes are worth it,'' Bush said. ''It is worth it to help Iraq succeed. It is worth it to have a democracy in the Middle East. It is worth it to show other reformers and people who want to live in a free society what is possible.'
read more at the NYT
Sure, Gus agrees with Bonsai on having a bit more "democracy" in the middle-east but the way our Bushaiolo is going on about it is definitely not the way to go .… the gumboot diplomacy has sunk any hope of a gradual or of any improvement to this end. We have a mess that more big gun diplomacy won't fix...
Dubya soils the meaning of the word "justice" every time he uses it.
12 June 2006
‘The last few weeks have seen disastrous news breaking over the Bush administration, like Katrina come again. This time, though, it's not hurricane winds and surging seas, but waves of innocent blood overtopping the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates to turn the White House crimson. Report after report of horrific atrocities - long held back by a levee of lies, fear, obfuscation and the natural confusion of war - has broken through, flooding the imperial capital with the reeking, corpse-filled backwash of the vast criminal folly committed by its grubby little Caesar.
So great is the stench of moral corruption that even America's corporate media, for so long a simpering handmaiden to the ruling thugs, have been forced to take notice, just as they did, all too briefly, during the Bushist abandonment of New Orleans. New sites of shame have entered the American lexicon: Haditha, Ishaqi, Hamdaniyah, Samarra - places where horrors large and small, confirmed and alleged, comprehensible and unfathomable, have marked this beginning of the fourth year of occupation.
But "everybody knows the dice are loaded," as Leonard Cohen sings. "Everybody knows that the captain lied." Everybody knows there will be no accountability for those who authored this desecration: Bush and his dithering outrider, Tony Blair, two murderous mountebanks dripping with self-anointed piety. Bush will retire with his millions to putter about on his fake ranch, while Blair, robed in ermine, will ascend to the House of Lords - and no doubt to a plum post with the Carlyle Group or some other fine purveyor of backroom grease.
So it will be with the other perpetrators, like Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz: nothing but riches, honors, security and respect – until death drags them howling to the pit where they've sent so many innocent thousands.’