Saturday, August 27, 2005

Two “Green Zones”

August 27, 2005

Two “Green Zones”

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy. There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous “Green Zone” where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.

Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?

Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn’t for the puppeteers of Mr. Bush.

The coward sits behind his guards in Crawford, Texas, too afraid to deal with the reality of the grief he and his masters have caused to thousands of military families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. Meanwhile, fires are raging out of control not only in Iraq, but right here in the US. ...

A Long March Towards Justice - The Cuban Five in Atlanta

A Long March Towards Justice

The Cuban Five in Atlanta


"The sun of justice shall rise,
bearing salvation on its wings"

(Malaquías, 4, 2)

On 9th August last, 28 months after the defendants had filed their arguments, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta finally handed down its verdict reversing the unjust convictions imposed over four years ago by a Miami Court on five young Cuban anti-terrorism fighters. The decision of the Atlanta Court was in no way a precipitated one. The process enabling the defendants to exercise their right of appeal was long, complex and hazardous. They had to face a whole series of obstacles that breached principles and rules of both American and international law, which forced them to a defense in conditions that defy imagination. It seemed their case would never actually reach the superior court for its necessary review. Then, the judges in Atlanta in order to do justice dedicated to the case four times the period used by the shameful farce in Miami. (1).

The Atlanta decision has a truly historical significance. ...

The Perils of Empire - The Relevance of I.F. Stone

The Perils of Empire

The Relevance of I.F. Stone


Izzy Stone was a natural-born blogger. Except that he was born before the age of the pc and the web. But Stone (born Isador Feinstein, 1907-1989) left a pre-historic version of his 'blogging' in the form of the I.F. Stone's Weekly, a model that spawned copies in a later generation of crusading journalists.

I.F. Stone's Weekly (and Bi-Weekly) ran for 19 years from January 1953 to December 1971. Here are excerpts from three entries, relevant to our times.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.


by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Mark Twain in Iraq?

The Famous Writer Championed a Proud Tradition of American Anti-imperialism
by Mark Engler

It was autumn, electoral campaigns were in full swing, and U.S. intervention abroad represented a crucial issue separating the political candidates. Amidst the excitement, one of America's foremost literary personalities made a homecoming that was both celebrated and politically charged.

The writer was Mark Twain and the year was 1900. The nation was engaged in an intense debate over its military action in the Philippines, a country that it had recently bought for $20 million dollars at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. Twain, who had been living abroad for nearly ten years, brought a prescient analysis of the situation.

Initially, he had supported the war. "I said to myself, here are a people who have suffered," Twain explained, echoing the White House's rationale for action. "We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American constitution afloat... start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world."

"But I have thought some more, since then," he said. Upon reading the 1898 Treaty of Paris and questioning the official motives for war, Twain concluded: "We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem."

"And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."

By the turn of the century, Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens, had already established his place amongst America's most revered authors. He had never hesitated to weigh in about politics. ("Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress," he famously quipped. "But I repeat myself.") As Twain Scholar Jim Zwick has documented, anti-imperialism became a cause to which the writer would make one of the most serious political commitments of his life.

Twain's skepticism about US involvement in the Pacific grew throughout the first decade of the new century. President Theodore Roosevelt declared an official end to war in the Philippines on July 4, 1902, but the US would maintain controlling a military presence for decades, facing frequent skirmishes. As Twain had warned, "we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater."

The writer was offended that an ostensible fight for independence ended with a close American guard over Filipino assets, charging that "Uncle Sam paid that $20 million for his entrance fee into society -- the Society of Sceptred Thieves."

And when apologists for the White House, like General Frederick Funston, argued that anti-imperialist critics should be "hanged for treason," Twain retorted that he was "quite willing to be called a traitor -- quite willing to wear that honorable badge -- and not willing to be affronted with the title of Patriot and classed with the Funstons when so help me God I have not done anything to deserve it."

Needless to say, if Mark Twain were alive today, he would not be surprised to see that George W. Bush professes his admiration for "Theodore Rex," nor that the President recently pointed to the Philippines as a model for Iraqi "liberation."

While Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" with top gun bravado some six months ago, our military has only been drawn deeper into the occupation of Iraq. The official "Peace Toll" of US soldiers killed reached 100 in mid-October. And with the administration resisting European demands for timely elections, there is no exit in sight.

Few have been more enthusiastic about the US occupation than firms with close ties to the White House, such as Halliburton and Bechtel, which have received billions of dollars in well-publicized no-bid contracts.

Remarkably reminiscent, the administration has also cultivated a "with us or against us" culture that labels dissenters as unpatriotic, or worse. In one recent incident, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested that criticism of the war in Iraq helps terrorists.

In challenging US militarism, Twain was not acting alone. He was backed by the Anti-Imperialist League, an organization that said that Roosevelt's brand of expansionism violated the nation's core beliefs in freedom and liberty. Today more than ever, we do well to honor the tradition of Americans who oppose the creation of empires -- ours or anyone else's.

And as for Iraq, we should remember Mark Twain's sentiments regarding the people of the Philippines. "I thought it would be a great thing to give [them] a whole lot of freedom," he said, "but I guess now that it's better to let them give it to themselves."

-- Mark Engler, a writer based in New York City, is a commentator for Foreign Policy in Focus. He can be reached via the web site Research assistance for this article provided by Jason Rowe.

Published on Friday, October 31, 2003 by