is the wanton criminality of our rulers that they do not even
bother to deny the monstrousness of their crimes. Without
shame or regret, but with implacable indifference to human
life, they have wreaked their vengeance on the Iraqi people
with special attention paid to the children of Iraq.
These little ones have borne the brunt of the Draconian sanctions
imposed on Iraq: the San Jose Mercury News recently
reported that the embargo on basic food items and medical
supplies kills 4,000 children every week. If the Serbs
were doing this to the Bosnians, or the Kosovars, we would
have Christiane Amanpour on the spot, weeping and wailing
and lecturing us with all her might. As it is, the silence
is deafening: oh, there have been a few voices raised, on
the editorial pages of a few newspapers, notably the Orange
County Register, some members of Congress have raised
their voices, including Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Ron Paul
(R-TX). But both parties, as well as our brain-dead party-lining
media, are implicated in the ongoing genocide being carried
out against the Iraqi people.
AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, REVISITED
pause, here, to reflect on a word choice: genocide.
A very strong word, very much overused, and so far from its
original meaning that it now seems to include the 4,500 total
dead uncovered in Kosovo's alleged "mass graves"
(and that number includes both Albanians and
Serbs). I deliberately avoid using certain words, on these
grounds alone, and genocide is among them but what
else can we call a policy that seeks to starve an entire
generation to death?
far, according to the UN the initiators and enforcers
of this barbaric policy over a million Iraqis, mostly
children and the elderly, have perished as a result of the
sanctions. The moral posturing at the heart of the so-called
Clinton Doctrine, declared a US "right" to intervene anywhere
in the world, if and when people were being killed on account
of their ethnicity. Well, then, it is time for the US to intervene,
once again, on humanitarian grounds against itself.
For why else are 4,000 children dying a week if they
were not Iraqis, they would be alive today.
December 7 air attacks were supposedly in "retaliation"
for an earlier incident in which Iraqi antiaircraft opened
fire on US and British planes patrolling "no fly zone."
When state department official Strobe Talbott declares that
the concept of national sovereignty is "obsolescent,"
this is pooh-poohed on the grounds that it is just hifalutin'
talk. But is it? Just look at the former Yugoslavia
and at the unilateral annexation of a third of Iraqi airspace
under the "legal" authority of the United Nations.
The low-level military campaign
has been quietly ratcheted up, and the administration is busy
organizing those few and fractious Iraqi opposition groups
that will cooperate with the hated Americans. This is happening
as the storm clouds of yet another crisis loom on the horizon,
and the UN Security Council once again take up the debate
over Iraqi sanctions. The US and Britain, using the compliant
Dutch as their attorneys, are pressing the issue of renewed
weapons inspections. A resolution written by Western diplomats
and pushed by the US and Britain stipulates that the Iraqis
undergo yet another long series of trials and delays before
sanctions are lifted and, even then, only on the condition
that Iraq allow in yet another team of "observers"
in the endless hunt for alleged "weapons of mass destruction."
OF MASS DESTRUCTION" AND OTHER MYTHS
After years of rooting
around in Iraq, inspecting presidential palaces and poking
their noses into the offices of the ruling Batth Party, you
would have thought they would have found something.
But these much-touted inspectors have come up with little
more than rumor and innuendo. After examining every square
inch of Iraqi territory by satellite and other means, what
are they really hoping to find?
One imagines a brace of nuclear
missiles, hidden somewhere amid the the bombed-out rubble,
and no doubt aimed directly at the offices of the New York
Post. With John
Podhoretz kicked out on his neocon butt, however, perhaps
Baghdad will consider other targets: God knows there are plenty
of other candidates.
AN APT ACRONYM
Russia, China, and France all
agree that the sanctions must be lifted, but Yeltsin has taken
the standout position, demanding a total lifting of the sanctions
prior to Iraq agreeing to arms inspections. But the US, Britain,
the Netherlands, and Canada have been putting tremendous pressure
on the recalcitrant Security Council members to get with the
program or get ready for unilateral "Allied"
action. The resolution now before the Council would create
a new Iraqi arms control bureaucracy to be called the United
Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission
: UNMOVIC Now here is an acronym that perfectly describes
the response of Western governments to widespread condemnation
of their genocidal policies, from the Vatican and the US Council
of Catholic Bishops, and pundits and political leaders spanning
the spectrum. Unmoved by appeals to either mercy or justice,
our remorselessly amoral leaders have embarked on a policy
that will one day rank as among the most horrific war crimes
demonic cruelty of our policymakers is underscored by the
text of the proposed UN resolution, which is designed to delay
the lifting of sanctions as long as possible. The new bureaucracy
will take its sweet time to get up and running, with a chairman
appointed 30 days after passage of the resolution. The commission
then has 60 more days to draw up a "work plan"
that is, set up the hoops the Iraqis are expected to jump
through before we agree to stop starving their children to
death. A draft version of the UN resolution gives the commission
180 days to make a decision after its report is issued, and
there will be more delay in actually reopening trade routes
and getting Iraqi oil to market. Meanwhile, how many more
children will have died? With at least six months before the
commission will even consider lifting the sanctions, and at
4,000 dead babies a week well, you do the math.
DECAPITATION OF A NATION
to this, what Slobodan Milosevic did in Kosovo was a pinprick:
this is a beheading. If what is happening in Iraq is not genocide,
then the word had best be retired from the English language,
since it no longer serves any useful purpose.
WAR PARTY MOBILIZES
US, Britain, and their allies on the Security Council are
demanding a vote on a resolution Iraq is certain to reject.
This would open up Iraq to another wave of assaults
perhaps a concerted and overwhelming attempt to solve the
Iraqi Question once and for all. The two major Republican
candidates for President have already weighed in on this question,
with Dubya strongly hinting that military action would be
in the offing if only he were the commander-in-chief,
while McCain energetically outdoes him in the warmongering
department by openly declaring that we ought to take Baghdad
to the fervent applause of his media coterie.
coalition of Russia, China, and France have lobbied for a
relaxation of the sanctions, with Russia championing the Iraqis
and demanding the lifting of all sanctions. The Iraqis, for
their part, have declared that they will not endure one more
day of this criminal barbarity, and have several times stopped
the limited sales of their oil in protest, driving up prices
of crude on the world market just enough to remind everyone
who profits from the absence of Iraqi oil on the market
why, the oil companies, naturally enough. The same oil companies
who are slavering over the Caucasus and backing the Republican
heir presumptive. What a coincidence.
cited in the Washington Post put it this way: "We
are finishing the chess game and beginning the poker game.
And everybody thinks everybody else is bluffing." While
the Allies are almost certainly not bluffing, the Russians
almost certainly are just ask the Serbians,
who were sold down the river for considerably more than thirty
pieces of silver, as the Swiss bank accounts of the Russian
gangster regime filled up with Western "aid." But
this time, it seems, the Russians are being paid in a different
coin . . .
OF THE DIPLOMATS
kind of maneuvering that is now going on was summarized rather
succinctly by the headline of a
New York Times article: "Russia Offers to
Bargain on Chechnya, Using Iraq as Its Bait," by Judith
Miller [November 19, 1999]. While in Istanbul, at the big
OSCE summit, Yeltsin did everything short of pulling a Khruschev
and pounding his shoe on the table. But away from the cameras,
an in vivid contrast to this very public tantrum, the real
story was Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov making kissy-poo
with Maddy Albright. The sordid details of the romance were
recorded in a Russian official document, submitted to Albright,
which suggests that in return for not bringing up Chechnya
at the Security Council "which is unacceptable
to us" Moscow promised to be "ready to instruct
the Russian representative to the Security Council to be flexible
would have thought that this administration having
just announced the Clinton Doctrine pledging protection of
racial minorities against "ethnic cleansing"
would have gotten up on its high horse at the first signs
of a Russian invasion of Chechnya. Even if the prospect of
direct Western intervention on behalf of the Chechens is highly
unlikely, the Clintonian denunciations of the invasion have
been soddly restrained i.e. just not like them at all.
What gives? A free hand for the Russians in Chechnya in exchange
for the Allied dismemberment of Iraq it is not hard
to see such a bargain being struck between two old crooks
like Clinton and Yeltsin.
Russia's veto, the UN resolution would provide a "legal"
pretext for renewed US -British military intervention. By
refusing to let in a new "inspection" team, and
declaring that the materials requested by the commission have
long since been destroyed, the Iraqis are saying: better to
die in battle, than to watch your children and elderly parents
slowly waste away.
SIGNS AND PORTENTS
the threat of a Russian veto effectively neutralized, such
a battle seems imminent, as the US and Britain push for passage
and implementation of yet another warmaking UN resolution.
The Iraqi newspaper Babil, whose publisher is Saddam's
eldest son, predicted
that hostilities would begin sometime before the start of
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which begins between
the 7th and the 9th of December. Whether Saddam Jr. may have
merely consulted Babil's resident astrologer, or heard
something at the dinner table, is up for speculation. But
nothing would surprise me as far as US policy toward
Iraq goes. The sheer savagery of that policy, which has to
mean the death of so many thousands of innocents, shows that
the ruling elites mean business and will stop at nothing
to achieve their goals.
INTERRUPT THIS COLUMN FOR AN URGENT NEWS BULLETIN WE'VE
of stopping at nothing we interrupt this column to
bring you an alarming news report: there has been an attempted
hacking of this website, involving a cybernetic assault on
our server. The hacking attempt was ultimately unsuccessful,
but the criminal creeps responsible did succeed in breaking
into and damaging our email system. To add mystery to mayhem,
my own personal email system was shut down, and rendered
inaccessible an amazing coincidence, or something a
little more sinister? I'll leave that to your imagination,
because right now I just don't want to go there.
CASE OF THE INCOMPETENT CYBER-VANDALS
this point, we are still accessing the damage, and tracking
the electronic traces left by the hackers. Whoever the perpetrators
were, they weren't very good at what they were doing: just
barely competent enough to mess with the email. While the
apparent incompetence of our cyber-burglars is enough suggest
that they might be government employees, this is hardly enough
on which to build a conspiracy theory.
TRICKS: A SHORT HISTORY
it does make one think. I mean, after all, just look
at what the infamous "Cointelpro" program did during
the Vietnam war to destabilize antiwar groups, such as the
Socialist Workers Party, SDS, and others: infiltration, setups,
break-ins, they employed every dirty trick in the book
and then some. In the end, of course, they were exposed, and,
in testimony before congressional committees, officials of
the agencies responsible pledged to never again spy
on and intimidate American citizens. Did anybody with even
a vague sense of history believe them?
that I mean to imply that this is all an Oliver Stone movie,
a murky conspiracy involving guys in dark glasses and secret
cyber "hit squads." There are all kinds of
wackos out there, and you can take your pick. I have often
written about the War Party, in capitalized letters, as a
kind of symbolic entity subsuming all the different groups,
official and unofficial, public and private, that lobby for
US military intervention around the globe. I think we have
had our first experience with the cybernetic wing of the War
Party and it hasn't been pretty.
is frankly frightening, and sobering, to realize the possible
implications of this vicious cyber-attack on Antiwar.com.
Frightening, because it makes me realize how much I have made
myself a target. I mean, there is my picture right
up there on the World Wide Web. Not only that, but I have
mentioned the city I happily inhabit and even blabbered on
about the street I live on good God, what was I thinking,
how could I have been so stupid? I find myself thinking:
How could I have made myself such a target? Why oh why did
I ever get involved in any of this stuff to begin with
I mean, there's somebody out there breaking into my personal
email, for godssake. What is the world coming to?
SNAP OUT OF IT!
then I think to myself: oh, snap out of it! Get a grip
on yourself. It's probably a bunch of goofy teenagers with
nothing better to do you hope! But whoever it is, they
won't succeed in demoralizing me: this kind of stuff just
makes me more determined than ever that Antiwar.com must continue,
no matter what.
coven of cybernetic vandals can attack the new media with
impunity yet imagine if this happened to a print journal,
say, The Nation: say a bunch of vandals broke into
their offices and trashed the place. What an outcry there
CASE FOR OPTIMISM
have been optimistic about the future of Antiwar.com. Every
week the number of individual visitors rises. We have been
getting unprecedented exposure: Yahoo now regularly features
original material generated by us on its various news pages,
and our pieces have been reprinted and linked everywhere from
the London Times to the Buchanan for President website,
effectively doubling our "circulation" (to use the
armchair terminology of the print media for a moment) inside
of a few months. But this vicious attack means that we will
have to invest a lot more time, resources, and money into
building an effective defense. We had feared that this would
happen, sooner or later, and I was not at all surprised when
I heard the news yet I felt a sinking feeling in the
pit of my stomach, and, for the first time, a twinge of .
. . fear. Fear that we would become a target of God know who
or what; fear that this would mean the diversion of very scarce
resources and fear that this is just the beginning.
CYBERNETIC PEARL HARBOR
are working now to track down the person or persons responsible
for this cowardly attack a sneak attack carried out,
ironically enough, on the anniversary of the Japanese attack
on Pearl Harbor. Now, that is good for a laugh but,
also, good for a lesson. We are taking defensive measures,
investing time, resources, and assets in making our site impregnable
to attack. In fighting for peace, we must prepare for war
cyberwar, that is.
APPEAL TO YOU
are appealing to you, our readers and supporters, to help
us through this emergency. We need your help now, more
than ever before. This is going to cost us bucks, and frankly
we don't have it. Indeed, we have barely enough money to pay
up our obligations for another month or so, and that is it.
So I am making my pitch in the only way I know how
directly to you, through this column. I've done it before,
but this time, you'll note, there's a real note of urgency
and, yes, a note of fear. To the omnipresent fear that
my fund appeals will fall on deaf ears is added a new one
the fear that we will be shut down by the cost of defending
ourselves from whatever creeps are messing with our site.
WAR ON THE PEACEMAKERS
antiwar movement of any consequence has been harassed by groups
of vigilantes, as well as government agencies indeed,
during World War I there was virtually no distinction to be
made between official and unofficial agencies of repression.
The opposition to US entry into World War II was demonized,
and then indicted, unceremoniously driven out of public life.
Private spy agencies, such as the one operated by the pro-interventionist
"Friends of Democracy," operating in conjunction
with the British intelligence operation in the US, smeared
and actively sought to infiltrate and disrupt the antiwar
America First Committee. (See Thomas E. Mahl's Desperate
Deception : British Covert Operations in the United States,
1939-44. During the cold war, the national security
state evolved an entire apparatus to deal with domestic opposition
to US foreign policy, with a network of spies, moles, snitches,
and provocateurs that rivaled in scope and expense that of
any ostensibly "totalitarian" nation. That some
of these people were "freelancers" did not make
any difference: they acted as if they were government
agents, and often in coordination with them, in some cases
for money, in others out of ideological fervor, and very often
OF THE CYBER-BARBARIANS
antiwar movement of the new millennium is facing a new kind
of attack: instead of throwing a rock through the plate-glass
window of a bookstore, or trashing an office, they're hacking
our site, breaking into our email, and proving that there
is such a creature as a cyber-barbarian.
I DON'T THINK SO
that 15-year-old "hacker" who wrote "peace
now" or something to that effect on the White House website?
Well, that poor kid is going to do time! Does a similar
fate await the cyber-vandals who invaded our server?
Stay tuned and keep reading because we need
your help more than ever. And I mean your financial
help, as well as your moral support. Not only is the War Party
on the offensive, but the bill collector is at the door. We're
fighting a two-front war and we can't win it without
your contributions. Faced with a campaign of harassment, and
mounting bills, we are asking for you, our loyal readers and
supporters, to come through for us one more time. I know you
won't let us down.
THAT FLAG FLYING
here to contribute over the Internet or you can
send in your contribution by mail.
However and in whatever amount you plan to make your contribution,
remember that old typing drill: "Now is the time for
all good men to come to the aid of their party." Of course,
today, any typing drill taught this way would soon be revised
to read "all good men and women" but
never mind. The point is that now is the time to come
to the aid of your party the Peace Party, whose standard
we have raised cyberspace. With your help, we can keep the