review most of the major opinion pieces that appear on this
website, and, as you might imagine, I read a lot of news stories
every day of the week. The process can become somewhat tedious,
and it takes a lot to get my attention. But my blood
ran cold as I read this jaw-dropper in the transcript of Senator
Robert Byrd's remarks at the opening of the Senate Appropriations
Committee hearings on Iraq's reconstruction:
Wednesday, I along with Representatives David Obey and Martin
Sabo offered an amendment to the homeland security appropriations
conference report that would have provided $125 million to
hire 1,300 customs inspectors on America's borders. That amendment
was rejected as too expensive. Yet, on the exact same day,
the President sent Congress this emergency request for $150
million for 5,350 border inspections personnel including 2,500
customs inspectors in Iraq."
chill went up my spine, as I wondered: How is this
day we hear this administration invoke the specter of another
9/11. That is the ultimate justification for invading and
occupying Iraq, for Patriot Acts I and II, for the immoral
and unprecedented doctrine of "preemption." It is the entire
basis of our post-9/11 Middle East policy: we're going to
"drain the swamp," they say, and establish democracy throughout
the Middle East. This will supposedly make Americans safer
as Senator Byrd makes all too clear, American security is
their last concern. It isn't America's borders they're
worried about: it's Iraq's. As Jonathan Weisman noted in the
Washington Post the other day, the President's $87
billion budget request for Iraq is more than double the homeland
that doubling the homeland security budget is the answer,
but the point is that we can see, in the details of the President's
$87 billion request, what the War Party really cares
about. To heck with the homeland. America last – Iraq first.
The Washington Post reports:
details include $100 million to build seven planned communities
with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school,
two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market
for each; $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts
for six months, at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at
$50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such
as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world's second-largest
oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course,
at $10,000 per
not talking sanity here," says Jim Dyer,
Republican staff director of the House Appropriations
Committee. "The world's second-largest oil country is importing
oil, and a country full of concrete is importing
haven't been talking sanity in Washington since the drive
to war began. All we've heard are lies, and more lies: about
the reasons for this
alleged "weapons of mass destruction," about Iraq's supposed links to Al Qaeda,
and also about the costs of this war,
and Wolfowitz adamantly refused to discuss in advance.
Maureen Dowd puts it in Sunday's New York Times:
"$100 million to hide the families of 100 Iraqis in the
witness protection program, $19 million for post office Wi-Fi,
$50 million for traffic cops and $9 million for ZIP codes.
At these prices, the Baghdad ZIP better be 90210."
billion for the defense of Iraq, the de facto fifty-first
American state, and a relative pittance for homeland defense.
There is something very wrong almost sinister
about these kinds of priorities.
that's what life is all about. So, what are your
priorities? Let me guess: Family, friends, financial security
– the personal values that make life worth living. But they're
threatened, now, by a clique of war-crazed zealots who clearly
don't care about your security, or the national security
of the United States.
only defense we have against this ruthless cabal is information:
before we can even think about stopping them, we have to know
what they're up to, who's pushing their agenda,
how they plan to accomplish their ends, and when
and where they intend to strike next.
where Antiwar.com comes into the equation.
1996, we've been fighting the War Party. Back when all the
liberals were cheering Clinton's war in Kosovo, we stood up
and exposed the lies, the propaganda methods, the insanity.
Long before 9/11, we warned that war was imminent in the Middle
East. Long before anyone knew who and what a "neocon" is,
we were pointing to their pernicious influence as the catalyst
30,000-plus unique visitors every day, over a third of them
from outside the U.S., we have grown into a major international
voice – but we're not growing fast enough to keep up with
the War Party. How could we? They have multi-millions in resources.
make that multi-billions, since they have access to
the U.S. Treasury.
was doing research for a column the other day, checking out the income streams of various pro-war
thinktanks, and the pattern was always the same: huge
contributions from a very small group of people. Lots
of investment bankers, many with foreign connections.
these enormous sums gave me a sinking feeling in the pit of
my stomach. Dear God, I thought, just look
at what we're up against!
isn't surprising that the pattern of contributions to Antiwar.com
is the complete opposite of the War Party's: we get large
numbers of modest contributions from a great many people.
Last time around, we garnered 1,030 contributions adding up
to some $32,000, just over the $30,000 per quarter we need
to cover our current operating costs.
biggest single donation was $1,200. It's a far cry from the
whopping $100,000 donated to one
of the most virulently pro-war thinktanks in Washington,
D.C., by a prominent
investment banker [PDF file], and owner
of a major Israeli bank, who made his fortune by cashing-in bigtime
on the savings-and-loan
that wasn't even their biggest single donation for fiscal
year 2002! This guy,
and this guy,
with $250,000 each, were tied for first place.
we're outgunned – but, you know what? We're going to win.
Not that it's foreordained, or anything like that, but, you
see, we don't need the multi-billion dollar budgets that grease
the wheels of the War Party's propaganda machine.
my more optimistic moments, I like to think that they are
the ones fighting an uphill battle, because we're defending
the traditional American values of peace, non-interventionism,
on the other hand, are pushing an alien agenda: alien to America,
and alien to ordinary human beings. They need multi-billions
to push their agenda of preemptive homicide because bloodlust
doesn't ordinarily motivate most of us outside prison, or
a loony bin.
can make do with less – but not, I thought, looking at the
numbers on the Form
990s of the big pro-war thinktanks, that much less!
is free to anyone who wants to use it. But nothing is free
in this life.
are entirely dependent on the generosity of our readers. Every
year about this time we throw ourselves on their mercy. Every
year, we remind them that they get real service, here, on
a daily basis. If it's happening, and it impacts on the question
of war and peace, Antiwar.com is the place to go not only
for the news, but for a complete analysis. Whether coming
from the right, or the left, or some other place, Antiwar.com
provides a forum for many different voices raised against
the rise of empire.
we have our own views, and these are regularly expressed right
here in this space. They are also frankly expressed in our
choice of news items and headlines, in the placement of stories,
and we don't make any bones about it. But we allow for a wide
variety of viewpoints within this context: we aren't pushing
a "party line." In his infamous screed against antiwar conservatives
and libertarians, the evil David Frum complained:
websites of the antiwar conservatives approvingly cite and
link to the writings of John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky,
Ted Rall, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other anti-Americans
of the far Left."
betcha! And we're proud of it. We're happy to leave the purges,
and the party-lining,
to Commissar Frum and his fellow
neocons. Antiwar.com is all about building a broad, all-inclusive
single issue movement against the U.S. occupation of Iraq
– and all the future wars of Norman
tiny staff manages to – somehow! – update the site constantly,
edit and post an array of regular columnists and keep Antiwar.com
in the top tier
of news-&-opinion websites, overtaking
and consistently outstripping
at every turn.
(Hey, and look
that money bought the War Party. What a laugh!)
hey, we're getting pretty low on cash, these days, and it's
way past time for a Pledge Week. Yes, that obnoxious intrusion
is going to be featured on our front page all week, and although
the other two thirds of our staff doesn't particularly look
forward to this annual event, I really don't mind. After all,
it gives me a chance to tout our accomplishments.
good example, and my own favorite, is that we were talking
about the neocons long
before anyone paid them much attention: the "neocon"
is our baby.
the cry goes up, asking "who lied us into war?",
the answer is becoming apparent
to large numbers of people outside the Washington Beltway.
The war is more unpopular
with each passing
and the neocons are desperately
trying to put the skids on by targeting the media: why don't
they report the "good news," they whine.
cause is sinking in the Iraq-mire, along with their dreams
of empire, and it's fun to watch them flail about, trying
to save themselves. Already the cry
resignation, also Wolfie's – and that
will mean cleansing the Augean
Stables of the government's foreign policy apparatus,
getting rid off the professional
liars, and dealers
in forgeries, who lured a nation and its hapless President
into the Iraqi quicksands.
is the crucial moment, the day the tide might well turn –
no time to hold our fire. Or go out of business.
that is exactly what will happen if you – our faithful,
informed, and very interactive readers, from all over the
world – don't respond to my plea. I don't mind pleading, because
the pride I feel in what we have accomplished more than makes
up for my beggarly status. I don't mind asking you to dig
deep in your pockets, and come up with some cash – because
I know that we have earned it.
our American readers:
it comes down to, in the end, is this: would you rather give
your money to Antiwar.com – or in the form of taxes to the
U.S. war machine? Do you want to subsidize the occupation
of Iraq – and, perhaps, more than just Iraq – or would you
rather help Antiwar.com cover its modest costs?
contribution to Antiwar.com is 100 percent tax-deductible.
send your hard-earned money to Washington, D.C., where they'll
spend it on who knows what new engine of mass destruction,
when you can send it, instead, to Antiwar.com, the cyber-center
of the peace movement?
here to donate online.
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