"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Sunday, August 22, 2004

25 Things To Keep America Free

Be a Democrat. Be Green. Be Republican. Heck, be Libertarian or Independent.

Whatever political party you belong to or not, whatever you think is right and wrong with this country or not, there are some very basic things that you can do to, some basic principles that you can follow, to keep America free.

Singing God Bless America won't do it. Waving the flag won't do it. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance won't do it. Shooting off fireworks on the 4th of July won't keep America free, either, but it will make your neighbors mad for sure.

The following are 25 simple, but not always easy, thoughts and deeds that will keep America free if Americans choose to pursue them. Sure, it's a lot harder to consider this list than to wear a red, white and blue baseball cap, but then, the most important freedoms are the most difficult to maintain.

1. Read the Constitution
2. Pursue as much education as you can afford, and maybe a little more
3. Get your news from at least 5 different sources
4. Turn off your TV. Read.
5. Talk about politics and religion at the dinner table
6. Join the ACLU
7. Learn to distinguish between symbols of freedom and freedom itself, and keep hold of the real thing
8. Reject all plans for security that require the sacrifice of freedom
9. Write, phone, fax, email and visit your representatives
10. Speak your mind, no matter how unpopular its thoughts
11. Listen when others speak their minds
12. Speak up for others whose freedoms are in jeopardy
13. Forgive the flaws of politicians, but measure their promises upon past performance
14. Presume innocence and entertain reasonable doubts
15. Beware leaders who say that you have evil enemies
16. Ask questions of authority
17. Protest and disobey unjust laws
18. Find and organize with people of like minds
19. Learn about all the candidates for elected office - even the local ones
20. Donate to your favorite candidates - don't let big business get all the influence
21. Find out which businesses donate to which kinds of candidates, and shop accordingly
22. Volunteer on your candidates' campaigns
23. Register to vote
24. Vote in every election - even the odd years
25. If you don't approve of the political parties, gather a large group of eligible friends, attend a local party meeting, and ask to be heard. If your concerns are not heeded, form a caucus, find out what the rules are and take over the local party apparatus! It's yours, if you want it.

A final note: You'll notice that waging war is not a part of that list. Self-identified patriots are always keen to lecture the rest of us that our freedoms were hard-won and defended by soldiers' bloodshed in wartime. Upon any consideration, that claim resembles like nothing so much as a wagonload of bullshit.

War does not create freedom, and it cannot defend freedom. War wins pieces of land and defends pieces of property. War kills freedom in the most powerful way possible: by killing the people who would live in freedom and forcing their surviving compatriots to do what they would not do if they were not under the gun of a foreign military.

Freedom is hard won and defended by courageous politicians, and the citizens who support them. Freedom is endangered by war. It is preserved through wise and just peace.

The Knights of the Socially Conscious (KSC).
Keith Michael Varady. Founder.
The Knights of the Socially Conscious goals are simple. To work towards peace and the end of human suffering for all the worlds people. We believe that PEACE is PATRIOTIC.
Website KSC: http://hometown.aol.com/earthforceunited/myhomepage/profile.html
Yahoo Focus Group KSC: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Knights_of_the_Socially_Conscious/
MSN Focus Group KSC: http://groups.msn.com/ManyShadesofGray-
AOL Focus Group KSC: http://groups.aol.com/peaceunderground?mmch_=0
Member Group of The Ann Arbor Coalition Against the War. http://www.aacaw.org/
Supporter of Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice. http://www.glnawi.org
Supporter of Michigan Emergency Committee Against War in Iraq. http://www.mecawi.org/

Don't give into the Fearmongers KMV.

Breaking The Da Vinci Code

So the divine Jesus and infallible Word emerged out of a fourth-century power-play? Get real.

Perhaps you've heard of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. This fictional thriller has captured the coveted number one sales ranking at Amazon.com, camped out for 32 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List, and inspired a one-hour ABC News special. Along the way, it has sparked debates about the legitimacy of Western and Christian history.

While the ABC News feature focused on Brown's fascination with an alleged marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, The Da Vinci Code contains many more (equally dubious) claims about Christianity's historic origins and theological development. The central claim Brown's novel makes about Christianity is that "almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." Why? Because of a single meeting of bishops in 325, at the city of Nicea in modern-day Turkey. There, argues Brown, church leaders who wanted to consolidate their power base (he calls this, anachronistically, "the Vatican" or "the Roman Catholic church") created a divine Christ and an infallible Scripture—both of them novelties that had never before existed among Christians.

Watershed at Nicea
Brown is right about one thing (and not much more). In the course of Christian history, few events loom larger than the Council of Nicea in 325. When the newly converted Roman Emperor Constantine called bishops from around the world to present-day Turkey, the church had reached a theological crossroads.

Led by an Alexandrian theologian named Arius, one school of thought argued that Jesus had undoubtedly been a remarkable leader, but he was not God in flesh. Arius proved an expert logician and master of extracting biblical proof texts that seemingly illustrated differences between Jesus and God, such as John 14:28: "the Father is greater than I." In essence, Arius argued that Jesus of Nazareth could not possibly share God the Father's unique divinity.

In The Da Vinci Code, Brown apparently adopts Arius as his representative for all pre-Nicene Christianity. Referring to the Council of Nicea, Brown claims that "until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless."

In reality, early Christians overwhelmingly worshipped Jesus Christ as their risen Savior and Lord. Before the church adopted comprehensive doctrinal creeds, early Christian leaders developed a set of instructional summaries of belief, termed the "Rule" or "Canon" of Faith, which affirmed this truth. To take one example, the canon of prominent second-century bishop Irenaeus took its cue from 1 Corinthians 8:6: "Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ."

The term used here—Lord, Kyrios—deserves a bit more attention. Kyrios was used by the Greeks to denote divinity (though sometimes also, it is true, as a simple honorific). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, pre-dating Christ), this term became the preferred substitution for "Jahweh," the holy name of God. The Romans also used it to denote the divinity of their emperor, and the first-century Jewish writer Josephus tells us that the Jews refused to use it of the emperor for precisely this reason: only God himself was kyrios.

The Christians took over this usage of kyrios and applied it to Jesus, from the earliest days of the church. They did so not only in Scripture itself (which Brown argues was doctored after Nicea), but in the earliest extra-canonical Christian book, the Didache, which scholars agree was written no later than the late 100s. In this book, the earliest Aramaic-speaking Christians refer to Jesus as Lord.

In addition, pre-Nicene Christians acknowledged Jesus's divinity by petitioning God the Father in Christ's name. Church leaders, including Justin Martyr, a second-century luminary and the first great church apologist, baptized in the name of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thereby acknowledging the equality of the one Lord's three distinct persons.

The Council of Nicea did not entirely end the controversy over Arius's teachings, nor did the gathering impose a foreign doctrine of Christ's divinity on the church. The participating bishops merely affirmed the historic and standard Christian beliefs, erecting a united front against future efforts to dilute Christ's gift of salvation.

"Fax from Heaven"?
With the Bible playing a central role in Christianity, the question of Scripture's historic validity bears tremendous implications. Brown claims that Constantine commissioned and bankrolled a staff to manipulate existing texts and thereby divinize the human Christ.

Yet for a number of reasons, Brown's speculations fall flat. Brown correctly points out that "the Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven." Indeed, the Bible's composition and consolidation may appear a bit too human for the comfort of some Christians. But Brown overlooks the fact that the human process of canonization had progressed for centuries before Nicea, resulting in a nearly complete canon of Scripture before Nicea or even Constantine's legalization of Christianity in 313.

Ironically, the process of collecting and consolidating Scripture was launched when a rival sect produced its own quasi-biblical canon. Around 140 a Gnostic leader named Marcion began spreading a theory that the New and Old Testaments didn't share the same God. Marcion argued that the Old Testament's God represented law and wrath while the New Testament's God, represented by Christ, exemplified love. As a result Marcion rejected the Old Testament and the most overtly Jewish New Testament writings, including Matthew, Mark, Acts, and Hebrews. He manipulated other books to downplay their Jewish tendencies. Though in 144 the church in Rome declared his views heretical, Marcion's teaching sparked a new cult. Challenged by Marcion's threat, church leaders began to consider earnestly their own views on a definitive list of Scriptural books including both the Old and New Testaments.

Another rival theology nudged the church toward consolidating the New Testament. During the mid- to late-second century, a man from Asia Minor named Montanus boasted of receiving a revelation from God about an impending apocalypse. The four Gospels and Paul's epistles achieved wide circulation and largely unquestioned authority within the early church but hadn't yet been collected in a single authoritative book. Montanus saw in this fact an opportunity to spread his message, by claiming authoritative status for his new revelation. Church leaders met the challenge around 190 and circulated a definitive list of apostolic writings that is today called the Muratorian Canon, after its modern discoverer. The Muratorian Canon bears striking resemblance to today's New Testament but includes two books, Revelation of Peter and Wisdom of Solomon, which were later excluded from the canon.

By the time of Nicea, church leaders debated the legitimacy of only a few books that we accept today, chief among them Hebrews and Revelation, because their authorship remained in doubt. In fact, authorship was the most important consideration for those who worked to solidify the canon. Early church leaders considered letters and eyewitness accounts authoritative and binding only if they were written by an apostle or close disciple of an apostle. This way they could be assured of the documents' reliability. As pastors and preachers, they also observed which books did in fact build up the church—a good sign, they felt, that such books were inspired Scripture. The results speak for themselves: the books of today's Bible have allowed Christianity to spread, flourish, and endure worldwide.

Though unoriginal in its allegations, The Da Vinci Code proves that some misguided theories never entirely fade away. They just reappear periodically in a different disguise. Brown's claims resemble those of Arius and his numerous heirs throughout history, who have contradicted the united testimony of the apostles and the early church they built. Those witnesses have always attested that Jesus Christ was and remains God himself. It didn't take an ancient council to make this true. And the pseudohistorical claims of a modern novel can't make it false.

For more on what the early church fathers can teach us about Jesus and the Bible, see our sequel to this article. To schedule an interview with Collin Hansen, please contact him contact him at cheditor@christianhistory.net.

Copyright © 2003 by the author or Christianity Today International/Christian History magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Christian History

Change of Heart

Most any surgeon out of medical school is taught a rule that must never be violated: When transplanting a heart, the heart must be compatible with the patient’s blood type. A mismatched heart leads to rapid death.

Every month, people die waiting for that magical matching heart. And precious donated hearts that aren’t matched to a patient are simply thrown away.

For one American pediatric cardiologist, the loss of life that flowed from this well-known rule was appalling. So she began to wonder: What would happen if you transplanted a mismatched heart into a dying child?

As Correspondent Scott Pelley reported last spring, this doctor took a chance, and her discovery is leading transplant medicine into an amazing change of heart.
Keanan White’s life will be tragically short if he doesn’t get a new heart soon. For most of his six months, Keanan and his mom, Angela, have lived at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

“They told us he had a severe deformity of the heart, and unless he had either a transplant or three stages of operation, that he would ultimately die,” says Angela White. “That was something -- it’s hard to swallow … It’s just an awful feeling just to see your baby laying there, completely, you know, helpless.”

Helpless because the left side of his heart is abnormally small. Keanan’s heart wouldn’t keep him alive for long, so Dr. Glen Van Arsdell started on what would’ve been a series of three surgeries to repair Keanan’s natural heart.

“He’d undergone what we call stage one palliative surgery and that had gone well,” says Dr. Van Arsdell. “However, several months later, his heart function deteriorated substantially, so he needed to be transplanted.”

But a heart to match Keanan is hard to find. They want the right size and a matching blood type, because the body’s immune system will reject a mismatched heart. Antibodies in the blood are always on the lookout to destroy foreign tissue.

Angela knows finding a suitable heart that’s just the right size for her son might take weeks or months -- or might not come at all.

“I see numerous kids be prepped for transplant, and each time, it hurts a little. You wonder why it can’t be you,” says Angela. “And rationally, you know, you’re seeing older children going in and you can rationalize that that heart’s not the right one, it’s not gonna fit. But, it still hurts.”
Dr. Lori West has explained the rarity of matching hearts to a lot of parents over the years. She’s an American cardiologist who took over the transplant program at the hospital for sick children back in 1994.

“It was a very difficult time. We lost most of the babies that were listed for transplant,” says Dr. West. “More than 50 percent of the babies that were listed for transplant perished on the waiting list because there were no organs that could be found that were of suitable size and a compatible blood type.”

Most often, it was the blood type mismatch that forced Dr. West to turn down rare infant hearts that otherwise would save the lives of her patients.

“In late 1995, there was an infant waiting and we were offered a heart, and then the blood type was wrong,” says West. “And turning down that organ, which I was compelled, really, to do, it became clear to me then, at that moment, that we needed to go back and really examine this whole issue.”

The child died, and that reminded West of some experiments she had done six years before. In transplanting organs into mice, she noticed something strange about infant mice. It turned out that baby mice were able to tolerate organs that weren’t an exact match.

West suspected that their immune systems were just so immature they didn’t recognize the mismatched organs as foreign tissue. It’s a long way from man to mouse, but as her patients died, she began to wonder.

That fall, West met Rita and Harry Schroeder. An ultrasound showed that the fetus Rita carried had a malformed heart.

“It was tough. Essentially what they were saying is that the left side of the heart hadn’t developed properly. So it wasn’t pumping,” recalls Harry Schroeder. “So the ultimate outcome of that of course, for that, would be if it didn’t work by the time he was born, without serious medical intervention, he would pass away shortly after he was born.”

Rita and Harry named their son Caleb. He was put on the waiting list for a new heart, but they couldn’t find one to match his “type O” blood.

“We weren’t sure how long we would have with him. I mean, they projected hours, they projected days,” recalls Rita. “So the hospital, the staff there counseled us. And they said, 'Take a lot of pictures. You don’t know how long you’re gonna have him for.'”

With time running out, West proposed something that would require the approval of the hospital ethics committee. She wanted to try a variation of her mouse experiment on Caleb.

“She says, ‘Caleb seems like a prime candidate. He’s still in pretty good shape. The heart is fantastic. We think this should work,’” recalls Harry.

The heart they found was the right size, but the wrong blood type. So they transplanted a type “AB” heart into Caleb’s type “O” body on the theory that, at less than a month old, his immune system was so immature, it hadn’t developed the antibodies to attack the foreign heart.

West says her colleagues advised her against the operation. “I said, ‘There’s no choice. There is no choice for Caleb. He will die. This is why I think it will work,'” says West. “There is no antibody. Caleb doesn’t have antibody. This will work, I believe. It will at least buy us time. And otherwise he’s going to die.”

That was seven years ago. Today, Caleb can do anything any normal 7-year-old boy can do. This second-grader is quick on his feet and a little better than he should be at this age with a chess piece.

Caleb has never missed a beat. The transplant was a complete success. His type “AB” heart is pumping in his type “O” body. And he still takes routine anti-rejection drugs that all transplant patients take.

But the blood type mismatch has not been a problem. In fact, doctors have discovered something unexpected. Now that Caleb’s immune system is mature, it appears to accept all blood types. In theory, for example, he could get a transfusion from anyone.

“It was an enormous leap of faith. And where was the faith? It is in the science,” says West. “I can only say this isn’t magic. It’s not voodoo. These are facts. There are scientific facts there.”
Armed with these facts, surgeons in Toronto transplanted 18 more infants using mismatched hearts.

Before, Keanan White would have had less than a 50/50 chance of getting a heart in time. But now, with mismatched hearts in use, 93 percent of the babies at the Hospital for Sick Children get the heart they need.

Angela White and her husband, Christopher, waited four months. But 60 Minutes was there the day they got the call they’d been waiting for. A heart came in from the United States. It’s the wrong type — an “AB” heart for Keanan’s type “A” blood.

Surgeon Glen Van Arsdell rushes the donor heart back and keeps it on ice until he’s ready to sew it into Keanan’s chest. But it turns out the blood type isn’t the only issue — the heart is larger than they would like and it might not fit.

The heart was big, but Van Arsdell managed to fit it in. “What we do is we try to do size mismatches and we try to do blood type mismatches. Keanan had both. He had size mismatch and he had a type mismatch,” says Van Arsdell. “But because we can do that, he has a heart whereas otherwise he wouldn’t have a heart today. We lucked out. No question. Keanan lucked out.”

It’s now routine in Toronto to offer mismatched hearts to any infant under the age of one year or so. Kids much older than that typically have immune systems that are too well developed to accept the blood type mismatch. Just seven days after his transplant, we looked in on Keanan.

“The function of the heart is fine. It’s just fine. It’s working normally,” says West. “He should do well over the years.”

And two months later, he was doing even better at home. Keanan is the 16th baby at the Hospital for Sick Children to live with a mismatched heart. The program has never had a blood type rejection.

Doctors have done approximately 38 mismatch transplants in Canada, Britain and a few in the United States. But in the United States, it still hasn’t caught on widely. That may soon change.

“It can be done. But overcoming that preconceived notion that it can’t be done will take years, probably,” says West.

©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Quick! Give This Man A War Medal

It wouldn't surprise me if any day now George W. Bush appeared in
public with a chest full of medals awarded by presidential proclamation. He
seems so distraught over the real medals that his war-honored opponent
has won that he's got to have some for himself. What's a war president
without medals?

It doesn't take a Freudian psychologist to diagnose the pathology. The
first sign of Bush's desire to be a war hero, without actually fighting
in a war, was when he swaggered about on the deck of the carrier
Abraham Lincoln in a flight suit, appearing about as uncomfortable as old
Michael Dukakis wearing a tank helmet that seemed to reduce his head to
the size of a plum.

It was some time later that Bush declared himself a war president and
taunted the armed dissidents in conquered, I mean liberated, Iraq to,
more or less, come and get us, which is what they've been doing.
Undaunted, he's still shaking his fist and glowering squinty-eyed into the
cameras, like John Wayne in a fighting-Marine movie, and promising America
that he will not be cowed by all the threats and the killings.

While I realize it probably doesn't take a lot of courage for a guy
living in a fortified mansion and being driven in a fortified car
surrounded by fortified body guards to talk that way, there's still got to be
some kind of medal he can award himself for speaking up, no matter how
inappropriate his words may be.

He may soon appear before the cameras so medal-heavy he'll resemble
Nikita Khrushchev with all those hero-of-the-revolution decorations he
used to wear every May Day as the Soviet Army paraded by.

Bush, after all, is commander in chief of our armed forces, and as
CINCUSA, he can award himself any danged medal he pleases.

One doesn't have to think about it much to realize that the president
is suffering from medal envy. The most recent effort on his behalf is a
60-second ad disparaging the combat record of Democratic presidential
candidate John F. Kerry, who won the Bronze Star and Purple Heart as a
Swift boat commander during the war in Vietnam. Bush's backers are
spending $500,000 to say he didn't.

That even rankles a lot of Republicans, including Arizona's Sen. John
McCain, a POW during the war, who called the ad "dishonest and
dishonorable." Bush, of course, blinked and said, in the tone of Little Bo Peep
caught butchering a lamb, that he didn't know anything about the ad. He
didn't say he didn't like it and he didn't say he deplored the kinds of
politics that lead to such trash, he just shrugged and blinked.

Other than appearing in public wearing a chest full of medals, the only
other thing Bush can do to prove he's not a girlie man, to use a
Schwarzeneggerian term, is to pop up in a firefight in Iraq, a cigar in his
teeth and an M-16 in his hands, blasting away at anyone in sight while
whistling "Hail to the Chief."

Well, maybe there is a better way. Instead of Kerry's running on his
record and Bush's trying to compensate for his own blurry military term
as a citizen soldier, how about not talking about war and uniforms and
combat heroism at all and just discussing how we're going to evolve
beyond that and work toward a peaceful world?

I realize that in the context of politics, war is a lot more exciting
than peace. War roars. Peace whispers. There's not a lot of high-pitched
drama in tranquillity or many opportunities to risk one's life in a
firefight, unless you're a cop. But we're talking world peace here, where
swords are beaten into plowshares and Doctors Without Borders are
allowed to help cure the planet's suffering without fear of being killed
themselves. Let these be among the goals of politicians seeking high
office, not new weapons or new excuses to wage war but a cure for AIDS,
better food sources to alleviate hunger and new opportunities for children
to grow and to dream.

Then a guy like Kerry wouldn't have to salute and report for duty to be
a civilian leader, and a guy like Bush could stop strutting around like
a cocky little Napoleon pretending that guns of horror are swords of

But, again, there's no drama in peace, no heart-pounding
confrontations, no reason for the clear, cool pain of taps played over the body bags
of the young, no marching music, no drums, no tears, no resonating
cannon fire. Until peace becomes popular, we'll just go on fighting wars, I
guess, and creating medals for the guys who were never there, and
mocking those who were.



Al Martinez's column appears Mondays and Fridays. He's at

Depleted Uranium: Dirty Bombs, Dirty Missiles, Dirty Bullets

A death sentence here and abroad
“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” - Henry Kissinger, quoted in “Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam”

Vietnam was a chemical war for oil, permanently contaminating large regions and countries downriver with Agent Orange, and environmentally the most devastating war in world history. But since 1991, the U.S. has staged four nuclear wars using depleted uranium weaponry, which, like Agent Orange, meets the U.S. government definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vast regions in the Middle East and Central Asia have been permanently contaminated with radiation.

And what about our soldiers? Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.

This week the American Free Press dropped a “dirty bomb” on the Pentagon by reporting that eight out of 20 men who served in one unit in the 2003 U.S. military offensive in Iraq now have malignancies. That means that 40 percent of the soldiers in that unit have developed malignancies in just 16 months.

Since these soldiers were exposed to vaccines and depleted uranium (DU) only, this is strong evidence for researchers and scientists working on this issue, that DU is the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Vaccines are not known to cause cancer. One of the first published researchers on Gulf War Syndrome, who also served in 1991 in Iraq, Dr. Andras Korényi-Both, is in agreement with Barbara Goodno from the Department of Defense’s Deployment Health Support Directorate, that in this war soldiers were not exposed to chemicals, pesticides, bioagents or other suspect causes this time to confuse the issue.

This powerful new evidence is blowing holes in the cover-up perpetrated by the Pentagon and three presidential administrations ever since DU was first used in 1991 in the Persian Gulf War. Fourteen years after the introduction of DU on the battlefield in 1991, the long-term effects have revealed that DU is a death sentence and very nasty stuff.

Scientists studying the biological effects of uranium in the 1960s reported that it targets the DNA. Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in soldiers from the 2003 war as “spectacular … and a matter of concern.”

This evidence shows that of the three effects which DU has on biological systems - radiation, chemical and particulate – the particulate effect from nano-size particles is the most dominant one immediately after exposure and targets the Master Code in the DNA. This is bad news, but it explains why DU causes a myriad of diseases which are difficult to define.

In simple words, DU “trashes the body.” When asked if the main purpose for using it was for destroying things and killing people, Fulk was more specific: “I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people.”

Soldiers developing malignancies so quickly since 2003 can be expected to develop multiple cancers from independent causes. This phenomenon has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991. Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.

Just 467 U.S. personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served now have medical problems.

The number of disabled vets reported up to 2000 has been increasing by 43,000 every year. Brad Flohr of the Department of Veterans Affairs told American Free Press that he believes there are more disabled vets now than even after World War II.

They brought it home
Not only were soldiers exposed to DU on and off the battlefields, but they brought it home. DU in the semen of soldiers internally contaminated their wives, partners and girlfriends. Tragically, some women in their 20s and 30s who were sexual partners of exposed soldiers developed endometriosis and were forced to have hysterectomies because of health problems.

In a group of 251 soldiers from a study group in Mississippi who had all had normal babies before the Gulf War, 67 percent of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects. They were born with missing legs, arms, organs or eyes or had immune system and blood diseases. In some veterans’ families now, the only normal or healthy members of the family are the children born before the war.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that they do not keep records of birth defects occurring in families of veterans.

How did they hide it?
Before a new weapons system can be used, it must be fully tested. The blueprint for depleted uranium weapons is a 1943 declassified document from the Manhattan Project.

Harvard President and physicist James B. Conant, who developed poison gas in World War I, was brought into the Manhattan Project by the father of presidential candidate John Kerry. Kerry’s father served at a high level in the Manhattan Project and was a CIA agent.

Conant was chair of the S-1 Poison Gas Committee, which recommended developing poison gas weapons from the radioactive trash of the atomic bomb project in World War II. At that time, it was known that radioactive materials dispersed in bombs from the air, from land vehicles or on the battlefield produced very fine radioactive dust which would penetrate all protective clothing, any gas mask or filter or the skin. By contaminating the lungs and blood, it could kill or cause illness very quickly.

They also recommended it as a permanent terrain contaminant, which could be used to destroy populations by contaminating water supplies and agricultural land with the radioactive dust.

The first DU weapons system was developed for the Navy in 1968, and DU weapons were given to and used by Israel in 1973 under U.S. supervision in the Yom Kippur war against the Arabs.

The Phalanx weapons system, using DU, was tested on the USS Bigelow out of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in 1977, and DU weapons have been sold by the U.S. to 29 countries.

Military research report summaries detail the testing of DU from 1974-1999 at military testing grounds, bombing and gunnery ranges and at civilian labs under contract. Today 42 states are contaminated with DU from manufacture, testing and deployment.

Women living around these facilities have reported increases in endometriosis, birth defects in babies, leukemia in children and cancers and other diseases in adults. Thousands of tons of DU weapons tested for decades by the Navy on four bombing and gunnery ranges around Fallon, Nevada, is no doubt the cause of the fastest growing leukemia cluster in the U.S. over the past decade. The military denies that DU is the cause.

The medical profession has been active in the cover-up - just as they were in hiding the effects from the American public - of low level radiation from atmospheric testing and nuclear power plants. A medical doctor in Northern California reported being trained by the Pentagon with other doctors, months before the 2003 war started, to diagnose and treat soldiers returning from the 2003 war for mental problems only.

Medical professionals in hospitals and facilities treating returning soldiers were threatened with $10,000 fines if they talked about the soldiers or their medical problems. They were also threatened with jail.

Reporters have also been prevented access to more than 14,000 medically evacuated soldiers flown nightly since the 2003 war in C-150s from Germany who are brought to Walter Reed Hospital near Washington, D.C.

Dr. Robert Gould, former president of the Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), has contacted three medical doctors since February 2004, after I had been invited to speak about DU. Dr. Katharine Thomasson, president of the Oregon chapter of the PSR, informed me that Dr. Gould had contacted her and tried to convince her to cancel her invitation for me to speak about DU at Portland State University on April 12. Although I was able to do a presentation, Dr. Thomasson told me I could only talk about DU in Oregon “and nothing overseas … nothing political.”

Dr. Gould also contacted and discouraged Dr. Ross Wilcox in Toronto, Canada, from inviting me to speak to Physicians for Global Survival (PGS), the Canadian equivalent of PSR, several months later. When that didn’t work, he contacted Dr. Allan Connoly, the Canadian national president of PGS, who was able to cancel my invitation and nearly succeeded in preventing Dr. Wilcox, his own member, from showing photos and presenting details on civilians suffering from DU exposure and cancer provided to him by doctors in southern Iraq.

Dr. Janette Sherman, a former and long-standing member of PSR, reported that she finally quit some time after being invited to lunch by a new PSR executive administrator. After the woman had pumped Dr. Sherman for information all through lunch about her position on key issues, the woman informed Dr. Sherman that her last job had been with the CIA.

How was the truth about DU hidden from military personnel serving in successive DU wars? Before his tragic death, Sen. Paul Wellstone informed Joyce Riley, R.N., B.S.N., executive director of the American Gulf War Veterans Association, that 95 percent of Gulf War veterans had been recycled out of the military by 1995. Any of those continuing in military service were isolated from each other, preventing critical information being transferred to new troops. The “next DU war” had already been planned, and those planning it wanted “no skunk at the garden party.”

The US has a dirty (DU) little (CIA) secret
A new book just published at the American Free Press by Michael Collins Piper, “The High Priests of War: The Secret History of How America’s Neo-Conservative Trotskyites Came to Power and Orchestrated the War Against Iraq as the First Step in Their Drive for Global Empire,” details the early plans for a war against the Arab world by Henry Kissinger and the neo-cons in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That just happens to coincide with getting the DU “show on the road” and the oil crisis in the Middle East, which caused concern not only to President Nixon. The British had been plotting and scheming for control of the oil in Iraq for decades since first using poison gas on the Iraqis and Kurds in 1912.

The book details the creation of the neo-cons by their “godfather” and Trotsky lover Irving Kristol, who pushed for a “war against terrorism” long before 9/11 and was lavishly funded for years by the CIA. His son, William Kristol, is one of the most influential men in the United States.

Both are public relations men for the Israeli lobby’s neo-conservative network, with strong ties to Rupert Murdoch. Kissinger also has ties to this network and the Carlyle Group, who, one could say, have facilitated these omnicidal wars beginning from the time former President Bush took office. It would be easy to say that we are recycling World Wars I and II, with the same faces.

When I asked Vietnam Special Ops Green Beret Capt. John McCarthy, who could have devised this omnicidal plan to use DU to destroy the genetic code and genetic future of large populations of Arabs and Moslems in the Middle East and Central Asia - just coincidentally the areas where most of the world’s oil deposits are located - he replied: “It has all the handprints of Henry Kissinger.”

In Zbignew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives,” the map of the Eurasian chessboard includes four regions strategic to U.S. foreign policy. The “South” region corresponds precisely to the regions now contaminated permanently with radiation from U.S. bombs, missiles and bullets made with thousands of tons of DU.

A Japanese professor, Dr. K. Yagasaki, has calculated that 800 tons of DU is the atomicity equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs. The U.S. has used more DU since 1991 than the atomicity equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. Four nuclear wars indeed, and 10 times the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from atmospheric testing!

No wonder our soldiers, their families and the people of the Middle East, Yugoslavia and Central Asia are sick. But as Henry Kissinger said after Vietnam when our soldiers came home ill from Agent Orange, “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used for foreign policy.”

Unfortunately, more and more of those soldiers are men and women with brown skin. And unfortunately, the DU radioactive dust will be carried around the world and deposited in our environments just as the “smog of war” from the 1991 Gulf War was found in deposits in South America, the Himalayas and Hawaii.

In June 2003, the World Health Organization announced in a press release that global cancer rates will increase 50 percent by 2020. What else do they know that they aren’t telling us? I know that depleted uranium is a death sentence … for all of us. We will all die in silent ways.

To learn more:
Sources used in this story that readers are encouraged to consult:

American Free Press four-part series on DU by Christopher Bollyn. Part I: “Depleted Uranium: U.S. Commits War Crime Against Iraq, Humanity,”; Part II: “Cancer Epidemic Caused by U.S. WMD: MD Says Depleted Uranium Definitively Linked,”

August 2004 World Affairs Journal. Leuren Moret: “Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War,”

August 2004 Coastal Post Online. Carol Sterrit: “Marin Depleted Uranium Resolution Heats Up – GI’s Will Come Home To A Slow Death,”

World Depleted Uranium Weapons Conference, Hamburg, Germany, October 16-19, 2004

International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan. Written opinion of Judge Niloufer Baghwat

“Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Nuclear War” by Akira Tashiro, foreword by Leuren Moret


Leuren Moret is a geoscientist who has worked around the world on radiation issues, educating citizens, the media, members of parliaments and Congress and other officials. She became a whistleblower in 1991 at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab after experiencing major science fraud on the Yucca Mountain Project. An environmental commissioner in the City of Berkeley, she can be reached at leurenmoret@yahoo.com.

Alternatives to Mindless Slaughter

If an assault is mounted against The Shrine of Ali, that assault will be conducted not by any "Iraqi army," but by US forces. The main reason for this is that no one born in Iraq would even dream of attacking The Shrine of Ali -- only Westerners could conceive of such a thing.

There is a human catastrophe looming at The Shrine of Ali in Najaf, Iraq.

First the facts: There is no Iraqi government. However -- entirely for US public relations purposes -- a semblance of an Iraqi government has been cobbled together, and is strategically positioned in front of news cameras at all times. They do not make decisions. All substantive decisions are made directly by the US White House, or when needed by the current US overseer "Ambassador" John Negroponte.

The armed force surrounding The Shrine of Ali in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf is largely a US military force. An Iraqi force -- again for public relations purposes -- has been assembled, and is being displayed for the benefit of the press in attendance. If an assault is mounted against The Shrine of Ali, that assault will be conducted not by any "Iraqi army," but by US forces. The main reason for this is that no one born in Iraq would even dream of attacking The Shrine of Ali -- only Westerners could conceive of such a thing.

Such an assault, should it take place, would be bloody -- far bloodier than what we have seen so far -- and it would have the very real potential to incite a region-wide uprising that would dwarf all that has occurred to date.

The US decision makers are driven, at least in part, by religious ideology. This was never more clearly on display than when Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a top-ranking US intelligence officer, referred to the war on terror as "a battle with Satan." That should not have come as any surprise -- George W. Bush last year actually referred to the US campaign as a "crusade." While the significance of that remark was lost on most Americans, it struck like a clarion call to every Muslim in the world.

There are two main arguments that are most often used to support a rationale for continued US military action in Iraq. The first is that if we pull out, there will be civil war. Normally that would be a valid concern. Unfortunately the Bush administration is doing more at this point to foment civil war in Iraq than prevent it. The creation of Iraqi "security forces" in fact pits Iraqis against Iraqis. The result is a bloody rendition of "divide and rule." Yes, if the Bush administration had an interest in preventing violence they might have a leg to stand on. But their interest is oil, and Iraqi unity does not serve that end.

The second argument most often used in support of the continued US military action in Iraq is, for lack of a better term, the installation of democracy. Again that won't work for Mr. Bush and the US oil industry. Democracy would lead to self rule, and that would be less profitable for us. Democracy, however does work quite well as a sales slogan, so look for it in use there.

Right now a full-out assault on The Shrine of Ali is imminent. Should that come to pass, international security will damaged beyond repair for decades to come.

Alternatives to Mindless Slaughter
Moqtada al-Sadr would be easy enough to deal with, he is open to a negotiation and has been from day one. The Bush administration will not deal with him, because that again would lead eventually to Iraqi self rule. Not profitable, not acceptable. The Bush administration chooses to paint Moqtada al-Sadr as a "radical," or a "firebrand," and always as a terrorist. This is intended to build a US public mandate for the current assault on The Shrine of Ali. Moqtada al-Sadr is doing nothing more than defending his homeland.

There has been much debate in recent months over whether Iraq would even adapt to democracy, if that were an option. The answer is, it's doubtful. But for the time being, some democratic action would be just the ticket to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

It is equally important for Americans to brace themselves to confront the Bush administration. There is a profit motive at play in Iraq. High ranking Bush Administration officials are profiting personally from the military actions they are inciting. That is not acceptable. In making your decision, do this: close your eyes and have a conversation with the parents of an 18 year old US soldier on patrol in Iraq. Explain to him the purpose of this war against Iraq. Then wait long enough hear his reply.

You can send comments to t r u t h o u t Executive Director Marc Ash at: director@truthout.org

Militia Found a Gap in U.S. Armor

A simple yet audacious attack by a guerrilla fighter in Najaf killed two American soldiers in their 69-ton Abrams tank.

NAJAF, Iraq — To his buddies, 2nd Lt. Mike Goins looked indestructible atop his Abrams tank as he maneuvered through Najaf's besieged cemetery.

His command of the 69-ton machine in the maze-like graveyard led a superior to dub the 6-foot-3-inch soldier his "killer tanker."

"He loved that tank and believed he was invincible in it," said Capt. Kevin Badger, commander of the "Mad Dogs" company of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. "He believed his training and his equipment could defeat the enemy."

But a week ago, Goins and his loader, Spc. Mark Zapata, fell victim to a surprise attack that stunned soldiers at the military base here for both its simplicity and audacity. A member of rebel cleric Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi militia quietly scaled the back of the tank in broad daylight with an AK-47, shot the men at point-blank range through the open hatch, and fled.

Both soldiers were killed.

The attack exposed one of the tank's few vulnerabilities and served as a reminder of the urban warfare risks U.S. soldiers face as they fight Sadr's followers in Najaf.

After a memorial service, Goins' grieving buddies couldn't help but ponder the circumstances of his death.

"We learned some hard lessons," Badger said. "I know he's up there now shaking his head saying, 'I can't believe that's the way I went.' "

Goins, 23, joined the Mad Dogs around Christmas, just before the unit shipped out to Kuwait. A muscular 230 pounds, he made an instant impression.

"He was a big boy," Badger said. "When he walked into the room, you knew it."

Soldiers nicknamed him "Big Country" for his fondness for wearing a tall Stetson. "He loved that hat," said Staff Sgt. Frank Fitzgerald.

Goins studied Arabic on the computer and asked his wife, Paula, in Copperas Cove, Texas, to send language tapes. He wanted to learn enough to chat with children he met in Baghdad, where the Mad Dogs were based before transferring to Najaf this month.

During the first battles in the cemetery, Goins proved an aggressive fighter.

"He never wanted to back down," said Pfc. Juan Roque, driver of the tank that Goins commanded.

During one clash, sniper fire hit the tank and knocked a small shard of metal into Goins' hand. "He was so mad. He couldn't believe they made him bleed," 1st Lt. Christopher Dunn said.

At Goins' side in the tank last week was Zapata, 27, of Edinburg, Texas.

Zapata's real passion was firefighting, his buddies said. He'd been a volunteer firefighter since he was 12. Back in Texas, he kept his firefighting gear — a jacket and walkie-talkie — alongside his Army uniform and had rigged the horn on his jeep to sound like a fire alarm.

He, too, was studying Arabic and was interested in learning more about Arab music. One of his hobbies was mixing Spanish music.

Just before leaving for Iraq, Zapata had the chance to join the military police. He chose to stick with his unit.

"He said he wanted to come out here and take care of his buddies," Roque said.

His friends said Zapata acted as a mentor to many of the younger soldiers.

"I used to talk about him to my parents," said Pfc. Jesus Ramirez. "They were just asking me about him the other day. But I couldn't tell them what happened. I don't know how I'm going to tell them."

On Aug. 15, Goins and Zapata were manning the tank on the west side of the cemetery, where members of Sadr's Al Mahdi militia had been storing weapons and launching attacks.

At a time of relative calm, the pair worked atop the tank, their upper bodies sticking out of the open hatch. Two other soldiers, including Roque, sat inside the tank.

Then, the tank crew saw a flash of gunfire straight ahead in the dense landscape of tombs and crypts. As the soldiers were looking forward, the Mahdi militiaman climbed up the back of the tank, Roque said.

Roque said he heard gunshots and then a scream from Zapata. He thought someone's gun had accidentally discharged. But then he saw a figure jump forward from the top of the tank and run through the graveyard.

"I don't know how you can get us out of here, but get us out of here," the tank gunner yelled at Roque.

Roque slammed the tank in reverse and crashed into a small mausoleum. Not sure what had happened, the two soldiers grabbed their guns and radioed for help.

Zapata died on the way to the base hospital. Goins was declared dead shortly after he was returned to the base.

Military officials say they have taken steps to reduce soldiers' vulnerability to similar attacks. Blind spots in tanks are now watched by soldiers on foot and in vehicles. In addition, tank hatches are closed in the cemetery.

"They found our vulnerability and took advantage of it," said Lt. Col. Myles Miyamasu, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment. "But we've fixed it. It won't happen again."

Times Headlines
Edmund Sanders, Times Staff Writer

The Games People Play Are Now Under Protest

U.S. Gymnast May Share Gold Won in Scoring Error

ATHENS — And the cry has gone up in the homeland of Apollo: Ohno, here we go again!

It's too hot to sustain any form of ice larger than the tiny cubes floating in a fan's life-saving paper cup of soda, but all of South Korea has short-track speedskating on its mind as it stares cross-eyed at this Gymgate controversy and sees, once more, the specter of Apollo Anton Ohno, taking away from Korea and giving to the United States.

Two years ago in Salt Lake City, Ohno was clerically awarded a gold medal in the men's 1,500-meter race when the skater who finished first on the ice, Korea's Kim Dong-sung, was disqualified.

Athens is a long way from Utah, except in the minds of angry Koreans, who believe it's right around the corner. In their view, it is happening again: Korean athlete rightly wins the Olympic gold medal, then loses it to the American because of a suspect judging decision.

This time, the victim is Yang Tae Young; the beneficiary Paul Hamm.

The scene: Wednesday's men's gymnastics all-around competition.

The controversy: Hamm edges Yang in the closest finish in Olympic history despite crashing into the judge's table with his vault landing. Korean officials believe Hamm's vault score of 9.137 was too high for such a blatant mistake. Then they learn Yang's start value for his parallel bars routine was under-scored by 0.1 — enough of a margin to win Yang the gold medal had his exercise been correctly graded 10.0 in degree of difficulty instead of 9.9

The fallout: Korea files a protest. The governing body of international gymnastics, also known as FIG, reviews the case and decides that Yang was indeed slighted, that his start value deserved a 10.0 grade.

The solution?

FIG decides to suspend the three judges on the parallel bars panel but allows Hamm to keep the gold medal.

Koreans don't give a FIG for this resolution. They want restitution. They want Hamm to give up his gold medal.

Failing that, they want the International Olympic Committee to award a second gold medal — and they have American gymnastics officials, who desperately want Hamm to keep his medal, on board with the idea.

The precedent: Do the names Sale and Pelletier ring a bell?

How about Pandora?

It all comes home here, where the ancient Greeks had a myth that Pandora, the first woman on earth, was given a box by Zeus with simple instructions: Do not open until the end of time. Pandora, an early role model for the IOC, couldn't help herself and opened the box, thus unleashing all the evils that have since afflicted mankind.

Pandora's box was opened again in Salt Lake City, where in order to quell a short-term problem — a judging scandal that helped deprive the Canadian figure skating pair of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier the gold medal — the IOC opted to award a second set of gold medals: one pair for the Russians, one pair for the Canadians — forget the long-term consequences. Well, the long term has come knocking on the door, barely two years later.

The IOC gave Korea a precedent to cite, and it is prepared to fight. And with the U.S. prepared to offer its support, is that Jacques Rogge we hear rummaging through his suitcase, scrounging for a spare gold medal?

One hundred and eight years after Athens rolled out the Modern Olympics, it bears awkward witness to the birth of the Post-Modern Olympics, where it's no longer over when the fat lady sings; she has to wait until the fat lawyer files his written appeal with the international federation.

Aaron Peirsol may or may not be the 2004 Olympic men's 200-meter backstroke champion, pending a potential appeal by Britain to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Germany was champion of the Olympic team equestrian event, until the Court of Arbitration for Sport took it away after upholding a joint protest filed by France, Britain and the U.S., which all stood to gain if the Germans were sanctioned.

And gain they did. New team equestrian medalists: Gold for France, silver for Britain, bronze for the U.S., nothing for Germany.

Through the first week of the Olympics, protests have been filed in more than a half-dozen sports. We have had Swimgate, Gymgate, Sailgate, Horses-out-of-the-gate. Where is it going to end?

Not here, not in Turin '06, not in Beijing '08. In the new Olympic order, the five rings will signify the jewelry on the hand of the attorney holding freshly written appeal papers. Each successful protest spawns another. Olympic athletes who'd rather not wait four years for a second chance now have another option:

If you can't beat 'em, adjudicate 'em.

Unless the mood shifts to taking an even easier way out — always a possibility — and the Olympics get called off altogether.

That would save a lot of hassle and a lot of money. Just tell 200 countries to keep their athletes at home, we'll mint a bunch of extra medals and send them off in the mail.

Gold medals for everyone! Everybody's happy.

Mike Penner
August 22, 2004

Sadr City Sings Its Praises of Cleric

A U.S. sweep of militia forces in the Baghdad slum has only boosted support for him.

BAGHDAD — The singing could be heard from more than a block away as the pickup truck careened along the unpaved streets of District 10 deep in the heart of Sadr City.

Crammed into the flatbed, 25 mostly young men hoisted their semiautomatic weapons, a few of them carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers.

Despite a five-day onslaught by U.S. troops intent on clearing the poor Baghdad neighborhood of supporters of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr, late Saturday they were still visible, they were still armed, and they were singing. "The Shiites will be victorious," they sang, smiling broadly with a campfire look of good cheer.

Residents waved at the men, pointing and saying, "Mahdi army" — referring to the militia loyal to Sadr, whose supporters are occupying the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, south of the capital.

Even as the takeover of the shrine has dwarfed all other news from Iraq, the U.S. military has launched what it calls one of its largest urban initiatives yet in the neighborhood where Sadr has his biggest base of support. Scores of Iraqis reportedly have been killed in the sweep.

The military estimated Friday that in the preceding 24 hours, 50 Al Mahdi fighters had been killed, but that number appeared high given the relative scarcity of the black banners usually posted to notify the neighborhood of a death.

And the jubilant singing of the young men told a story of continuing defiance.

Sadr City appeared more supportive of Sadr on Saturday than it did before the U.S. sweep and the Najaf standoff. Because much of the cleric's appeal to poor Shiites has been his willingness to stand up to the Americans, the U.S. operations here and in Najaf have only served to rally support for him. That is all the more true in Sadr City, where the Americans appeared to have received little or no help from Iraqi security forces or police.

"What he's doing in Najaf makes us stronger," said Khalid Jassim, a 39-year-old tailor who was talking with friends at a car repair shop as the sun set. "Everybody now is part of the Mahdi army."

That is far from true, but in Sadr City, with a population of about 2 million, widespread anti-American sentiment has hardened in recent days. On the walls of the houses, even the graffiti are committed to protest. "Yes, yes … to the IED that terrified Americans," reads one message, referring to what is known as an improvised explosive device. Another says, "Peace upon the IED." Some children carry toy rocket-propelled grenades, pretending to be Sadr's insurgents.

In the sprawling neighborhood, the stench of open sewers is pervasive; water merely trickles out of many taps, making it difficult to wash, and that water can cause typhoid and intestinal diseases. Electricity is off much of the time.

Only a small percentage of Sadr City residents belong to Sadr's militia, but there appeared to be wide community support for the fighters' activities even among people who are not followers of the cleric. The slum is named after the cleric's father, who was assassinated under the Saddam Hussein regime.

"When people buy food, they buy a bag for their families and a bag for the Mahdi," said Mohammed Sugheir, 35, who was at the car repair shop with Jassim.

Taha Saddoun, 37, who has a small storefront where he repairs refrigerators, described himself as a supporter of the moderate Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, but he said he also admired Sadr's fighters. "The Mahdi guys are really brave men," he said.

What happens next in Sadr City, Saddoun said, will depend on Najaf. "If there is fighting in Najaf, things will escalate again here," he said. "The Americans are trying to scare off the Mahdi army, but this is the Shiite resistance, and it is all over Iraq now."

Residents say Sadr is not about to go into politics, as sought by Iraqi officials who are trying to negotiate a peace deal with him. "He will not enter politics until the occupation has ended," said Jassim, the tailor, his tone confident.

As for a political program, Sugheir, like several Sadr City residents, noted only one tenet: "He wants the American troops to leave."

Saddoun said he believed that the Americans were so antagonistic toward Sadr's militant stance that they were willing to punish all of Sadr City to ensure the cleric was defeated. "The Americans don't want the Sadr [approach] to be effective. The evidence is all around you — look," Saddoun said. He pointed to the bare lightbulb in his shop, which was dark because there was no electricity, and gestured to the curb, where rotting food and debris lay heaped.

Underpinning this view, a number of Sadr City residents said, is the harsh reality that Americans have accomplished little to improve the living conditions despite repeated promises by U.S. officials of jobs and reconstruction.

From the American standpoint, the lack of security in Sadr City has made it all but impossible to do any major projects. "We've told them, we'll come and rebuild if their guys will stop shooting at us," a U.S. diplomat said in Baghdad.

For most residents, the reality is the unfulfilled promises.

"Electricity, sewers, road works — these are what the people need — and foodstuffs. Even if the Americans provided these things, we would be happy," taxi driver Saleh Haider Ajeel said from his bed at Ibn Nafees Hospital on the edge of Sadr City.

Ajeel was shot Wednesday morning. He said U.S. troops had fired on him as he was walking to his garage to start the day's driving. Because the bullet entered under his arm and exited through his chest, it was impossible to determine whether the bullet had come from the Americans.

Still, the phenomenon of Iraqis being shot simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time has been a recurring problem for the Americans. Each time such incidents happen, it deepens the anger and skepticism among Iraqis about the Americans' reasons for being in the country.

In the same hospital as Ajeel was a mentally disabled man who had been walking with his father and a push-cart operator, both of whom had been seeking work. As the cart operator moved from shop to shop, he said, the Americans opened fire. He said he crouched down and tried to run to safety but was hit. The other man was in the hospital with a shrapnel wound.

In theory, both men could have been Al Mahdi fighters, but their stories and their politics suggested otherwise. Both said they supported neither Sadr nor the Americans.

A major issue that the Iraqi interim government and the Americans have yet to grapple with is that even if Sadr was defeated, his followers would remain, most of them angry, poor and with little sense of hope.

"Look at all of us," Sugheir said, gesturing to the 12 men at the car repair shop. "Every one of us is unemployed, and every one of us has a family to care for."

Alissa J. Rubin, Times Staff Writer
L.A. Times

Tubes, Pump and Fragile Hope Keep a Baby's Heart Beating

In an Internet message to family and friends on July 12, Leigh Bills described her 3-month-old son, Miles Coulson: "He is very pale, almost gray and his extremities are cold. We sit and hold his little hands but as soon as we let go they get so cold."

"All the doctors agree there is no time to waste," she wrote.

Miles needed a heart transplant. Though he was born healthy to Ms. Bills and her husband, Adrian Coulson, his heart began to fail when he was only a few weeks old, possibly because of a viral illness. By late June, he was on the transplant list.

But donor hearts from infants are so scarce that doctors feared Miles would not live long enough to receive one. Older children and adults waiting for transplants can be kept alive by mechanical pumps implanted in the chest, but none of the pumps approved in the United States is small enough for an infant. There has been little incentive for companies to develop pumps for babies, experts say, because the market is not large enough.

In a desperate move to save Miles, his doctors sought a device they had never tried before: a miniaturized pump called the Berlin Heart, which has been widely used in Europe but not approved in this country.

"I don't think there was any other prospect for keeping him alive," said Dr. David Rosenthal, director of the pediatric heart failure program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, at Stanford University.

On July 8 and 9, Dr. Rosenthal asked Stanford's ethics panel and the Food and Drug Administration to let the hospital import the Berlin Heart for Miles. Both agreed, within hours. The device was flown to the United States from Germany on July 12, accompanied by Dr. Peter Göttel, a heart surgeon who works for the pump's manufacturer in the city for which the heart was named. Surgery to connect Miles to the device was scheduled for the next morning.

The history of Miles Coulson's illness is a reminder that the boundary between health and sickness is fragile, and a family's fortunes can turn swiftly from joy to sadness. It is also a story of parents pinning their hopes on a piece of medical technology, wondering whether it will save their child's life or merely prolong his suffering.

The number of infants who might be saved by pumps like the Berlin Heart is not known, but is probably in the hundreds, said Dr. Tracey Hoke, a pediatric cardiologist and medical officer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

"It's definitely an orphan product," Dr. Hoke said. "It's a tiny market, but high profile. These are people's babies. It won't help a lot of people, but it will help a few people a lot."

She said that the institute, hoping to fill the gap in the United States, awarded five contracts in April, with a total value of $22.4 million, to companies and universities to develop heart-assisting devices for infants. But it will take five years before any is ready even for testing in humans. And Dr. Hoke warned that even if more pumps did become available they would not solve the organ shortage and some infants might die anyway. In those cases the pump may just give families more time, she said, "to cope and lose their child."

Dr. Göttel said that the Berlin Heart was made in a range of sizes, and since 1989 had been used in more than 950 people, including about 50 babies in Europe. The longest an infant has survived on the pump is three months, he said.

Over all, Dr. Göttel said, about two-thirds of patients who receive the pump survive, going on either to recover or receive a transplant.

An F.D.A. Application

He said the company is preparing an application to the Food and Drug Administration for a "humanitarian device exemption," which is not a full approval, but a special arrangement for devices for which there is no alternative. The exemption would allow hospitals to keep the heart pump in stock - which they are not permitted to do now - and use it when needed without having to request special permission and import it every time.

Three other children in the United States have been treated with Berlin Hearts. Two received transplants and a third recovered, so the pump was removed.

Dr. Mark Turrentine, who treated two of the children at Indiana University's Riley Hospital for Children, said that in similar cases, he would definitely use the Berlin Heart again. He said that heart surgery for children was a decade behind that for adults and "this is something that helps bridge that gap."

Born on March 30, Miles was healthy at first, robust even, at 11 pounds 6 ounces and 221/2 inches in length. He came down with a viral illness in mid-April, a seemingly minor one that had also affected his mother and 2-year-old brother. Miles went on to develop heart failure. The reason is not known, though in rare cases viruses and other infections can attack the heart.

Initially, Miles was treated at a hospital in Sacramento. His heart was so weak that, to keep him alive, doctors connected him to a large device nearly identical to the heart-lung machines used in the operating room to take over the work of a patient's heart and lungs during heart surgery. He stayed on the machine, called ECMO, for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, for eight days.

Back home, he seemed stable for a while, but his heart continued to deteriorate. His lungs weakened as well, and he needed a respirator. On June 12, he was flown by helicopter to Stanford, where doctors soon concluded that his heart was unlikely to recover, and he would need a transplant - if he could survive long enough to receive one. They sought the Berlin Heart to keep him alive rather than turning to ECMO, because it cannot be used for more than a month or so; patients' rates of bleeding, clotting, infection and organ failure are too high.

Struggle Over Suffering

Ms. Bills, 33, who works with crime victims for the California Office of Emergency Services, and Mr. Coulson, 37, a public school music teacher and band director, said they had struggled to decide what would be best for Miles. At times, especially on the oxygenation machine, his suffering seemed unbearable. Sometimes, Mr. Coulson said, they saw his face contort as he cried silently, unable to make a sound because of the tube in his throat.

Ms. Bills said: "There were times when I thought the best thing would be for Miles to pass. Adrian said, 'Whatever's beyond this life has to be better than this.' "

"We said goodbye a few times," Ms. Bills said.

They swung between hope and despair, and did not always agree whether to continue treatment. They decided if one wanted to continue, they would, Ms. Bills said. Otherwise, she said, there would be regrets, and one might resent the other for having given up too soon.

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital provides a Web site that parents can use to post messages about their children's health for family and friends, and Mr. Coulson and Ms. Bills have in essence recorded Miles's life story on it.

July 11, Adrian: For a few weeks there has been talk of a device called the Berlin Heart. This was presented to us as a possible method of keeping Miles alive long enough to get a donor heart. The problem was this device is not F.D.A. approved and has only been used in the United States a handful of times, never here at Stanford. We received word Friday that F.D.A. has approved this one-time use on the basis of compassionate care. They have tentatively scheduled Miles for surgery on Tuesday.

The feeling is that although there is great risk with the implantation of this type of device they cannot wait for Miles to get any worse before getting him on it. We are both very nervous but hopeful this will keep Miles going until he gets a heart. In case you are wondering there is no way to know how long we'll have to wait.

In a 21/2 -hour operation on July 13, surgeons connected Miles to a Berlin Heart. Before the surgery, his limbs were cold and his skin a dreadful bluish gray, because his heart was pumping so little blood. He came out of the operating room pink, to his parents' delight.

Dr. Bruce Reitz, one of the surgeons, said, "It's exciting, to do it in a baby like this after not having this option before and seeing that it really could work; that was exciting for our team."

Best Feature of Device
The beauty of the Berlin Heart is that it does not have to be jammed into a baby's tiny chest. The bulk of it, including the pump itself, is outside the body. Only tubes are implanted. One collects blood from the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, which is not working properly. The blood flows into the pump, which pumps it through another tube into the aorta, the main vessel that feeds the rest of the circulatory system.

The two tubes emerge from small openings on the left side of the abdomen and enter the pump, a small, round chamber with a clear window. It rests quietly on the lower abdomen. It is driven by compressed air, and so the pumping chamber is connected by another tube to a compressor about the size of a small filing cabinet. The system is run by a laptop computer.

Miles's pump, which holds about two teaspoons of blood, is set to beat 100 times a minute.

All patients with mechanical heart pumps face risks; the greatest are linked to bleeding, clots and infection. Whenever blood flows through foreign materials and artificial valves and chambers like the ones in a heart pump, it tends to form clots, which can be disabling or fatal if they reach the brain. Drugs can prevent clots, but also increase the risk of bleeding, and so doses must be fine-tuned to keep a patient on the thin line between two potential disasters.

Miles has had bleeding, clots and an infection in his bloodstream. At times, his incisions kept bleeding long after they should have stopped, and he needed several transfusions a day. When clots occur, they form inside the heart pump and are visible in its clear chamber, especially with a flashlight. Doctors and nurses check for them regularly, hoping they will dissolve gradually rather than breaking off in clumps that can lodge in blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke.

Twice Miles has had neurological problems, possibly related to clots. Once, he became weak on one side, and another time his gaze seemed to be fixed to one side.

The symptoms went away, and CT scans showed no brain damage, but the episodes troubled his parents and doctors.

'A Sinking Feeling'

"It was awful," said Dr. Stephen Roth, director of the cardiovascular intensive care unit at the children's hospital. "We had a sinking feeling, to think we were causing more damage."

He went on, "All this would be for naught if we couldn't deliver him to transplant with good central nervous system and organ function."

July 16, Leigh: a family we know came in and told me the doctors just told them they think they have a liver for their son! So, it does happen. I am overwhelmed with emotion for them; I can only imagine how I will feel when we get that call.

July 18, Leigh: Maybe tomorrow will be the day a heart becomes available for Miles.

One thought that Miles's parents dread is that something could go wrong, making a transplant no longer possible, and leaving them no choice but to turn off the pump.

"We talked to the doctors about what his death would be like," Ms. Bills said.

They were relieved to hear that it would come almost instantaneously when the pump stopped, she said. They talked, too, about the possibility that Miles would die during a transplant operation. In that case, he would be sedated and would not suffer.

"They said they would clean him up and let us hold him," she said.

When Ms. Bills arranged an extended leave from her job to take care of Miles, she told colleagues she would return sooner if he died. Some tried to reassure her that would not happen. But, she said, she and her husband must face the possibility that their son will die.

"We're inundated with it," she said.

It is impossible to say when a heart might become available for Miles.

"It could happen in one day," Mr. Coulson said.

"Or never," said Ms. Bills.

The last three infants of Miles's size who received heart transplants at Stanford waited 10, 20 and 200 days, Dr. Rosenthal said.

"We've certainly had babies die waiting," he said.

One thing in Miles's favor, he added, is that in babies younger than 18 months, blood type does not matter. Any heart the right size will do, and Miles is at the top of the regional transplant list. But the area from which the transplant can come is limited by travel time: hearts are short-lived compared to livers and kidneys, and even on ice last only four to six hours after being removed from the donor.

Infant organ donors are few and far between. Many donors are babies who are brain dead as a result of child abuse, said Mary Burge, a social worker at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Leigh, Aug. 12: It is getting harder and harder to hope. I feel stranded in sadness and the only way out is the tragic gift of a stranger.

For now, Miles is stable. He no longer needs a respirator and is free to suck his fingers like normal babies. He is lively, bright-eyed and often smiling, and has begun to reach out and swat at the toys that hang over his bed. He is in perfect condition to receive a transplant, doctors say.

Ms. Bills said, "Right now we just need a heart."

ALO ALTO, Calif.
Published: August 22, 2004
New York Times

State of Grace

South Carolina Could Be Destination for Christian Exodus

Cory Burnell has given up on ever seeing the U.S. government adopt a conservative Christian agenda, so he and others who share his beliefs are trying to take matters into their own hands.
Burnell, 28, is one of the founders of ChristianExodus.org, a group that hopes to gather conservative Christians for a series of mass moves to South Carolina. The goal is to bring enough voters to the state to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments and conservative Christian values.

And if the federal government doesn't like it, Burnell said he and the other members of the board have not ruled out the possibility of the state seceding from the United States.

They are hoping to have people move to the state in groups of 12,000. Though the group currently has just about 600 members, Burnell said it has been only been in existence for a few months, and he is hoping to have 50,000 to 70,000 supporters in South Carolina by 2016.

But the transformation of South Carolina won't have to wait that long, he said.

"We'll be able to begin the debate with the first wave," Burnell said.

What put them over the top, Burnell said, was seeing what the Republicans have done since they gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress, even with a supportive majority on the Supreme Court.

He pointed out that abortion is still legal, No Child Left Behind has resulted in spending on public schools "exploding," a Ten Commandments monument was ordered removed from an Alabama courthouse and there has been no progress on getting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"About a year ago we were sitting down and we saw that the Republicans had no intention of fixing anything," he said. "They're not conservative, so we were at the end of our rope. We thought, 'We need to do something serious here.' "

It was around that time that a group of libertarians were announcing their Free State Project — a call for libertarians to move to New Hampshire, where they will work within the political system to reduce the size and scope of government.

• Read About the Free State Project.

Burnell liked the idea, and his first thought was to join them in their move to the state that decorates its license plates with the motto "Live Free or Die." But then he and the others had second thoughts.

"We can't agree with libertarians on everything — drugs, for instance," he said. "So we realized we needed to do something like that for Christians."

The group turned its attention on the Bible Belt, first narrowing the field to Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

"On the Christian issues, we know how those states vote," he said.

To help narrow the field to one, the board of ChristianExodus.org considered other issues, though, such as the geographic size of the states and the fact that of the three, only South Carolina has an ocean coastline.

Burnell and the others also looked at a University of North Carolina study of Southerners' attitudes that said 10 percent of Southerners replied they believed the South would be better off as an independent nation, and that support for that view was highest in South Carolina — roughly 20 percent.

Of the three, South Carolina is the only one that was among the 13 original states, and is listed in the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, as a sovereign nation.

"We could lay out that it has the right to independence if it asked for it," he said.

The current leaders of the state say South Carolina has plenty to attract anyone, including the members of ChristianExodus.org, but they would rather the group not bring ideas of splitting from the United States.

"We've got a very unique quality of life here in South Carolina, so it's not surprising that folks would want to come here," said Will Folks, spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford. "As for secession, we've tried that before and it didn't work out so well."

If anyone needs reminding of that, Folks said, they only have to look at the state capitol building in Columbia, where the scars from the shelling by Gen. Sherman's Union troops are still visible.

Though Burnell emphasized in an interview with ABCNEWS.com that he only sees secession as a last resort, in a posting on the Web site of the South Carolina League of the South he seems more focused on that goal.

"The only Southern nationalist organization I have found with an ETI [estimated time of independence] is the South Carolina League of the South, which, according to state director Robert Hayes, is determined to be free of the union within 20 years," the posting says. "I think we can move this date closer to the present with a managed emigration." According to an article in a recent issue of Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center's journal on hate groups, there are higher concentrations of "antigovernment extremists" in parts of South Carolina than anywhere else in the United States, other than parts of the Ozarks and northern Idaho.

In his interview with ABCNEWS.com, though, Burnell said the first option would be to remain within the United States, with a move to secede if Washington interferes with what the new majority of people in South Carolina want.

"Our end goal is we put people in power like Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, who really understand the Constitution," he said, referring to the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who repeatedly came into conflict with federal authorities over a Ten Commandments monument he placed in a court building. "We might be able to achieve that within the Union. I know we have plenty of supporters on the ground there and thousands of supporters in the League of the South."

That connection to the League of the South, a Killen, Ala.-based group trying to revive the values of the antebellum South, has raised questions about whether ChristianExodus.org has any racist intent — a charge Burnell flatly denies, both about his own group and about the League of the South, of which he is also a member.

"ChristianExodus.org is entirely colorblind," he said. "We have no position on race. One of the members of our research committee is of mixed race. There are members of the League of the South who are black."

The League of the South is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors extremist groups, but Burnell said that is based on a misunderstanding of what the heritage of the Confederacy is, and the identification of racism and slavery with the South alone.

"Racism and slavery are American problems," he said. "People want to defend the positive things as well. There are a lot of positive things about the South, like states' rights."

Lumping ChristianExodus.org with racist groups might be guilt by association, though, according to Jack Kay, a professor of communications at Wayne State University who has studied the radical right.

"If you really look at the rhetoric of Christian Exodus, it's not white separatist at all," he said. "On the contrary, the rhetoric is the very opposite of the white supremacist, and seems to be very inclusive."

He said, though, that he doesn't expect Burnell's group to be any more successful creating a conservative Christian state than white separatists have been trying to create an Aryan nation in parts of Idaho and Montana.

"For groups to be effective in getting their message out, they really have to be in control of the process and they have to have a clear message," he said. "This group has not developed a cohesive vision of what the future is going to be like."

But Burnell said the message has already gotten a positive response, and he believes the movement will only gain strength, especially because so much of the support ChristianExodus.org is receiving is coming from people in the Northeast and upper Midwest, he said, not the Bible Belt.

"What we found was that Southerners don't feel as persecuted for being Christians," he said. "They're not having homosexuals coming into their children's health classes and telling their kids that homosexuality is a reasonable life choice."

Burnell himself actually lives in northern California, having moved there recently from Texas. But because he believes that same-sex marriage will soon be made legal in every state, abortion will never be banned and God will not be brought back into the classroom, Burnell thinks Christians will realize that if they want to live in a state where their faith is upheld, they will have to do what ChristianExodus.org is proposing.

"We're ahead of the curve on this," he said. "There are so many changes occurring in this country so fast, that whereas it seems like an impossibility today, the political landscape we're going to see in five to 10 years is going to make it a possibility. We're not unreasonable nut cases. We're the good guys here."

Dean Schabner

How Much Do They Hate Us Abroad?

There are endless stories about the Bush Administration's desire for anyone but Hugo Chavez to be President of oil-rich Venezuela. Sample: Two years ago, a coup forced Chavez from office. The US quickly backed the new government.
How did Chavez defeat a recent referendum to remove him from office? He campaigned against George Bush, arguing that the vote was not about "whether ChaHow Much Do They Hate Us Abroad? vez stays or Chavez goes. [It] is whether Venezuela continues to be a sovereign state or turns into a Latin American colony." The result:

Chavez defeated the vote 58 percent to 42 percent, based on 94.5 percent of the ballots counted...The ballot....drew more than 60 percent of the nation's 14 million voters.
Shades of the Spanish election. Let's hope news doesn't travel fast.

Jesse Kornbluth
Swami Uptown

Iraq: Did You Think It Ended?

We completed the "handover," and now, with minor exceptions, Iraq's out of the news.
So it falls to the blogosphere to remind you that the killing continues. Swami can find no credible accounts of the Iraqi dead--but US casualties in Iraq are closely counted: 43 so far this month.

You can say: They volunteered. Or: They died for freedom. Or.....well, those who support this war can fill in whatever reason they need. But there's one way to look at the war we can all understand: money. Ready for this?

At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for...
Among the draft audit's findings were that payrolls in Iraqi ministries under Coalition Provisional Authority control were padded with thousands of ghost employees.

In one example, the audit said the CPA paid for 74,000 guards even though the actual number could not be validated. In another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 people doing the work could be counted.

"At least $8.8 billion"--that's almost enough money to notice. You may ask: How did this money go missing? Well, many of the American staffers on the CPA were young kids who had applied for jobs at conservative think tanks--but who found themselves being offered jobs of considerable importance in Iraq. Were they competent? Didn't matter. They believed in the conservative cause.
That belief can sure run up a tab, can't it?

Jesse Kornbluth
Swami Uptown