"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, September 05, 2004

To Whom it May Concern

Sgt. Campbell requested that, if something happened to him, his family place this photo on his coffin.

To Whom it May Concern,

I found out that my brother, Sergeant Ryan M. Campbell, was dead during a graduate seminar at Emory University on April 29, 2004. Immediately after a uniformed officer knocked at my mother's door to deliver the message that broke her heart, she called me on my cell phone. She could say nothing but "He's gone." I could say nothing but "No." Over and over again we chanted this refrain to each other over the phone as I made my way across the country to hold her as she wept.

I had made the very same trip in February, cutting classes to spend my brother's two weeks' leave from Baghdad with him. Little did I know then that the next time I saw him would be at Arlington National Cemetery. During those days in February, my brother shared with me his fear, his disillusionment, and his anger. "We had all been led to believe that Iraq posed a serious threat to America as well as its surrounding nations," he said. "We invaded expecting to find weapons of mass destruction and a much more prepared and well-trained Republican Guard waiting for us. It is now a year later, and alas, no weapons of mass destruction or any other real threat, for that matter."

Ryan was scheduled to complete his one-year assignment to Iraq on April 25. But on April 11, he emailed me to let me know not to expect him in Atlanta for a May visit, because his tour of duty had been involuntarily extended. "Just do me one big favor, ok?" he wrote. "Don't vote for Bush. No. Just don't do it. I would not be happy with you."

Last night, I listened to George W. Bush's live, televised speech at the Republican National Convention. He spoke to me and my family when he announced, "I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers and to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong."

This is my reply: Mr. President, I know that you probably still "don't do body counts," so you may not know that almost one thousand U.S. troops have died doing what you told them they had to do to protect America. Ryan was Number 832. Liberty was, indeed, precious to the one I lost-- so precious that he would rather have gone to prison than back to Iraq in February. Like you, I don't know where the strength for "such pride" on the part of people "so burdened with sorrow" comes from; maybe I spent it all holding my mother as she wept. I last saw my loved one at the Kansas City airport, staring after me as I walked away. I could see April 29 written on his sad, sand-chapped and sunburned face. I could see that he desperately wanted to believe that if he died, it would be while "doing good," as you put it. He wanted us to be able to be proud of him. Mr. President, you gave me and my mother a folded flag instead of the beautiful boy who called us "Moms" and "Brookster." But worse than that, you sold my little brother a bill of goods. Not only did you cheat him of a long meaningful life, but you cheated him of a meaningful death. You are in my prayers, Mr. President, because I think that you need them more than anyone on the face of the planet. But you will never get my vote.

So to whom it may concern: Don't vote for Bush. No. Just don't do it. I would not be happy with you.

Brooke M. Campbell
Atlanta, GA

Kirksville, Missouri - A soldier from northeast Missouri was among eight killed April 29, 2004, in a car bombing in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday.

Sergeant Ryan M. Campbell, 25, of Kirksville, was a member of the Army's 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division.

The soldiers were removing roadside bombs from a highway south of Baghdad. Campbell's mother, Mary Ann MacCombie of Kirksville, said the unit intercepted a station wagon crammed with 500 pounds of ammunition, and the driver detonated an explosive.

Campbell was stationed in Germany before he was sent to Iraq. He originally had been expected to return to the United States in April, but his duty in Iraq was extended three months.

"He's supposed to be home now," said MacCombie, recalling that her son called twice Wednesday, a day before he died. "His last words were, 'I'll be back in July.'"

Campbell joined the National Guard along with his best friend, Brendan McEvoy, several years ago. The pair enlisted in the Army in February 2002.

MacCombie said Campbell was an avid outdoorsman and a talented drummer who tried to assemble a band during his time in Germany. He graduated from Truman State University in Kirksville and planned to attend graduate school after completing his military service.

A memorial service will be Friday at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Kirksville. A specific time has not been set. Campbell will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Other soldiers killed in the attack were Staff Sergeant Esau G. Patterson Jr., 25, of Ridgeland, South Carolina; Staff Sergeant Jeffrey F. Dayton, 27, of Caledonia, Mississippi; Specialist James L. Beckstrand, 27, of Escondido, California; Specialist Justin B. Schmidt, 23, of Bradenton, Florida; Private First Class Ryan E. Reed, 20, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Private First Class Norman Darling, 29, of Middleboro, Massachusetts; and Private First Class Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, 22, of Miami, Florida.

Campbell, Ryan Montgomery
Veteran Service Dates: February
2002 - April 2004
Date of Birth: 11/07/1978
Date of Death: 04/29/2004
Date of Internment: 05/11/2004
Buried at: Section 60 Site 7979 - Arlington National Cemetery


Brooke M. Campbell
t r u t h o u t | Letter

Nepal Sounds an Alarm for South Asia

On September 2, angry mobs stormed into Jama Masjid, the main mosque of Katmandu, the picturesque capital of the Himalayan state of Nepal. Shouting "Down with Islam", they set furniture and carpets on fire and tore the enshrined Quran to shreds before leaving the place to the police. Not many of them might have heard the applause from certain quarters in neighboring India.

The assault on the mosque climaxed two and a half days of anti-Islamic violence in the tourist paradise that had known nothing like this before. And it came a day after the release of three Indian hostages in Iraq, leading to contrasting scenes of relief and rejoicing in their country.

The anger and agony in Nepal added to the rejoicing in the quarters mentioned before. Exulted Praveen Togadia, the ebullient leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the VHP (World Hindu Council): "The abductors were forced to release the Indian hostages after the violent protests in Nepal over the killing of the subjects of the Hindu kingdom."

The VHP has been in the forefront of the fascist pogrom against the Muslim minority in the State of Gujarat, which shocked India and the world in the early months of 2002. Togadia, it may be added, has been the strident voice of the VHP, along with his mentor Ashok Singhal, on Gujarat and its grim message for the country's minorities.

Singhal was no silent onlooker either as protests rocked Katmandu. He called upon the Hindus of India and Nepal to unite against the common enemy, "jihadi Islam". Clear, if unstated, was the corollary that they had a common ally in the crusaders in illegal occupation of Iraq.

Singhal also hastened to pen an epistle to King Gyanendra of Nepal, who was making a pathetic plea to his people against minority-bashing. "The world must clearly understand the morbid language of the Islamic jihadis", wrote the VHP ideologue, who had upheld the Gujarat massacre as a golden example for the Hindus everywhere to emulate. A little more, in a moment, about the Indian's loyalty to the Nepalese king.

To revert to Katmandu, meanwhile, the crowds had started pouring into the city's winding streets soon after an Iraqi group announced on August 31 that it had killed 12 Nepalese hostages. A chilling videotape the group sent television channels showed its hooded men beheading one of the hostages and shooting others in the neck or the head. It was poor comfort that the pictures, showing only the victims' backs, provided no immediate confirmation. There was no escaping the terrible truth.

The recruiters in job rackets had told the doomed dozen - cooks and cleaners - that they were going to Jordan. The three Indian truck-drivers thought they were going to work in Kuwait. All of them ended up in strife-torn Iraq - and in abductors' hideouts. They were similar as victims of poverty and of a savagely unjust war. The VHP and its far-Right political camp, however, prefer to stress their religious identity.

The crowds in Katmandu had started by attacking the offices of the employment agencies, the Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Qatar Airways. At some unidentified point, however, the local minority became the quarry. The Christians, a smaller minority than the four per cent Muslim population, found itself attacked, too. Father Justin Lapcha, the Nepalese priest of the Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Katmandu, told a news agency on September 1 that the Christians could not leave their parishes surrounded by mobs.

There is no reliable news about how they are faring now. For the Muslims, certainly, normalcy has not returned. For the first ever time, perhaps, Katmandu's mosques went without their Friday prayers, the highlight of their weekly activities, on September 3.

Nepal's simmering tensions are great news to India's far Right that has not spared its Christian minority, either. It might have been happier, if the trouble in Katmandu had spilled over the border. Conditions, however, now exist for it to build a broader campaign of hate. Years of work to forge an India-Nepal platform for 'Hindu-nationalist' fascism may yield some results at last.

An important part of this work has consisted in promotion of the idea of a 'Hindu kingdom' and a 'Hindu king' beyond nation-state boundaries. VHP leaders, including Singhal, have called upon all Hindus to own allegiance to the King of Nepal and upon the latter to lead them. These are the same staunch patriots who have always been accusing the Indian Muslims, Christians and Communists of "extra-territorial loyalty"!

Prospects of peace in South Asia can only recede further if a 'Hindu' fascism in India and Nepal emerges as a counter to 'Islamic fundamentalism' in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A freelance journalist and a peace activist of India, J. Sri Raman is the author of Flashpoint (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributor to t r u t h o u t.

One by One, Iraqi Cities Become No-Go Zones

At a recent meeting with a group of tribal sheiks, an American general spoke with evident frustration about the latest Iraqi city to fall into the hands of insurgents.

"Not one dime of American taxpayers' money will come into your city until you help us drive out the terrorists," Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in his base in Tikrit, tapping the table to make sure he was understood.

The sheiks nodded, smiled and withdrew, back to the city that neither they, nor the American military, any longer control.

The city under discussion was Samarra, a small metropolis north of Baghdad known for a dazzling ninth-century minaret that winds 164 feet into the air. In the heart of the area called the Sunni Triangle, Samarra is the most recent place where the American military has decided that pulling out and standing back may be the better part of valor, even if insurgents take over.

In Iraq, the list of places from which American soldiers have either withdrawn or decided to visit only rarely is growing: Falluja, where a Taliban-like regime has imposed a rigid theocracy; Ramadi, where the Sunni insurgents appear to have the run of the city; and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf to the south, where the Americans agreed last month to keep their distance from the sacred shrines of Ali and Hussein.

The calls are rising for the Americans to pull out of even more areas, notably Sadr City, the sprawling neighborhood in eastern Baghdad that is the main base for the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr. There, leaders of his Mahdi Army are demanding that American soldiers, except those sent in to do reconstruction work, get out.

Negotiations with rebel leaders foundered last week on precisely the issue of the freedom of American soldiers to enter the area; the Iraqi government, possibly with American backing, refused to accept the militia's demand. Even so, the point seemed clear enough: where Iraqis once tolerated American soldiers as a source of stability in their neighborhoods, they increasingly see them as a cause of the violence. Take out the Americans, the Iraqis say, and you take out the problem. Leave us alone, and we will sort our own problems.

"All we want is for the Americans to stay out," said Yusef al-Nasiri, a top aide to Mr. Sadr. "When the Americans come into the city, they insult our people. That's when the people get nervous. It makes them uncomfortable."

That certain Iraqis believe their cities and neighborhoods would be better off without American soldiers is neither new nor surprising; that is what the guerrillas' insurgency, now in its 17th month, is all about. What is new, however, is that the Americans, in certain cases, appear to agree or have decided that the cost to prove otherwise would be too high.

The pullback began in the west, in Falluja, which the Marines surrounded and attacked in April, after the killing and mutilation of four American contract employees. The Marines moved to within sight of the city center, but called off their attack after a public outcry spurred by reports that as many as 600 Iraqis had been killed.

Since then, American plans to have a group of former Baathist officers take control have collapsed, and the city is now run by a group of Islamic fundamentalists called the "Islamic council of holy warriors." The Americans do not go inside.

In recent months, much of the rest of the surrounding area, Anbar Province, has slipped away from American control. Insurgents roam freely in the provincial capital, Ramadi, and the Americans appear to have abandoned a permanent presence inside the city.

Even in the once-friendly Shiite areas, the Americans are giving way to local demands that they stay away. When American fighters expelled the Mahdi Army from the shrines in Karbala and Najaf, a condition for each of the peace agreements was that the Americans pull back.

There is a huge difference, of course, between the pullbacks in Falluja and Samarra and the ones in the Shiite cities. In Karbala and Najaf, the Americans cleared the way for Iraqi police officers. The struggle over Sadr City is over just that - who would take control, the Iraqi police or the Mahdi Army. The Americans, who have watched repeatedly as the Iraqi police have retreated before Mr. Sadr's militia and as the Mahdi Army has broken its promises, clearly fear the worst.

In places like Falluja, Samarra and Ramadi, on the other hand, the Americans and the Iraqi government appear to have forfeited their influence. Residents of all three places say insurgents are in charge.

Falluja, for instance, has become a haven for insurgents and terrorists, including, the Americans believe, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian thought to be responsible for a number of car bombings that have killed hundreds of civilians. In Falluja, the insurgents are free to carry out their own brand of justice, like the public lashings of people suspected of theft and rape, and the videotaped beheading last month of Suleiman Mar'awi, one of the city's National Guard commanders.

Most significant of all, the withdrawal from these cities calls into question the practicality of nationwide elections scheduled to take place before the end of January. At the moment, the Americans appear to be prepared to hold elections without cities like Falluja and Ramadi. But excluding the largely Sunni Arab areas from the elections would raise serious doubts about their legitimacy. Already, one of the country's leading Sunni groups, the Sunni Clerics Association, boycotted the selection of the National Council, which serves as a de facto Parliament here.

"We think the elections will be fake," said Abdul Salam al-Qubesi, a leading Sunni cleric and a member of the association.

There are indications that American commanders would like to reassert their control over some of these no-go zones before the January elections; in purely military terms, they have little doubt that they could. In Falluja, a Marine commander said that at the time he ordered his men to halt their offensive in April, they were just two or three days from capturing the middle of the city.

But the question now, as it was then, is at what cost, not just in American lives, but in American credibility, if Iraqi casualties begin to mount. "We could go into Samarra tomorrow if we wanted to," said Maj. Neal O'Brien, a spokesman for the First Infantry Division. "But we want to arrive at an Iraqi solution."

The problem facing the American leadership here is whether, in places like Falluja and Samarra, there are Iraqi solutions they cannot accept.

John F. Burns contributed reporting for this article.

The Retreat of Empire

When U.S. Marines were ordered to withdraw from Fallujah last April, I titled my column “Fallujah: High Tide of American Empire.” For the pullback meant that America was either unwilling to take the casualties to crush the Sunni resistance in Fallujah or unwilling to pay the price of Arab rage if they won a bloody battle.

Whatever the motive of the generals in ceding Fallujah, it was a retreat. The Islamic world saw it as such. Since then, fighting in the Sunni Triangle, Sadr City, Najaf, and the Shia cities of the south has escalated.

When Baghdad fell, Gen. John Abizaid estimated the number of enemy insurgents at about 5,000. After a year in which thousands of the enemy have been killed or captured, estimates of the number of insurgents have been raised to 20,000. Rumsfeld’s query has been answered: we are creating more enemies than we are killing.

Without more American troops and more years of fighting, we will not win this war. We can only stave off defeat.

Now President Bush has announced he is pulling 70,000 troops out of Europe and Asia over ten years and bringing most of them home, though some may be reassigned to Eastern Europe or Central Asia.

Why the redeployment? Because of grumbling in the ranks and on the home front over too many tours of duty too far from home.

As has been written here before, we are not an imperial people. We do not have the will or perseverance for empire. We have no desire to rule other nations. Now the “white man’s burden” is beginning to weigh on our military and imperil the re-election of a president who, at the instigation of the neocons, has foolishly committed American power and wealth to some enterprise called “the world democratic revolution.”

Reality has begun to intrude on the reveries of America’s elite. With the United States now dependent on imports for over half our oil consumption, the price has shot up to $45 and $46 a barrel. Putin’s smashing of the Yukos oil cartel, guerrilla attacks on Iraqi pipelines, turmoil in Venezuela, and tensions with Iran seem certain to keep it in that vicinity.

The $55.8 billion June trade deficit points to a deficit for 2004 of $670 billion, with a deficit in traded goods of over $700 billion. No nation can sustain trade deficits of 6 percent or 7 percent of GDP.

Who is financing them? China, Japan, and the nations of East Asia who are lending America the dollars to buy their goods, so Asia can steadily enlarge its share of U.S. markets it is stealing from U.S. producers. Even a falling dollar has failed to rein in these soaring deficits. We are consuming more than ever. But less and less are the goods we consume produced in the USA.

Not only are we borrowing 6 percent of GDP to finance our trade deficit, we are borrowing another 4 percent to finance a budget deficit estimated at $440 billion. You cannot run an empire on borrowed money. Just ask the cousins who bankrupted themselves fighting world wars and maintaining the world’s largest empire until it came crashing down after 1945. We, their creditors, inherited the estate.

But there are reasons other than economic that it makes sense to roll up the American empire and bring the troops home. North Korea now has nuclear weapons. U.S. forces on the DMZ are now less a deterrent to war or a spear point to liberate North Korea than hostages against U.S. pre-emptive strikes on Pyongyang’s nuclear facilities. And with Kim Jong Il brandishing nukes, the day cannot be too far off when South Korea and Japan realize that their security and immunity to nuclear blackmail require that they, too, join the club. In a world of proliferating nuclear weapons, invading armies are less instruments to intimidate than inviting targets. No nuclear nation ever had its homeland invaded. If Iran, too, becomes a nuclear nation, Bush Doctrine threats of U.S. pre-emptive strikes will ring hollow, and the mullahs know it.

The only objection to Bush’s redeployment is that he did not order all the divisions back home now. There is nothing in Eastern Europe vital to U.S. security. As for Central Asia and the Gulf, there is only oil and, at $45 a barrel, everybody over there from mullahs to monarchs is happy to sell it to us. All we need over there is a navy over the horizon to enable us to open up the Gulf to shipping should some regime seek to shut it down.

Looking at America’s vital interests—defense of the homeland, freedom of navigation to Europe and Asia, keeping the Gulf open, being able to retaliate by air or sea to attacks upon us—what is the need for all these bases on foreign soil that serve as magnets to terrorists and incitements to anti-Americans?

Pat Buchanan

September 13, 2004 issue
Copyright © 2004 The American Conservative

The Holy Empire

Who We Are and What We Do

It is now nearly three years since nineteen young men from Saudi Arabia and Egypt opened the Pandora's Box by attacking the World Trade Center and Pentagon with hijacked planes. But the answer to "why did they do it?" still remains unsettled. "They did it because of what we do," some say. Others contend, "they did it because of who we are." Alternatively, the answers appear as "they hate us for what we do," or "they hate us for who we are."

Those who give the first answer often discuss various US policies in the Middle East in the 20th century. These policies could include such things as:

1) the establishment of the state of Israel on the Palestinian land and the nourishment and protection of this American-European settler state at the cost of the brutalized, outraged, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized, homeless indigenous population of the land;

2) maintaining corrupt, dictatorial, brutal, oppressive, and, at times, medieval regimes who are friendly to the US and, at the very least, tolerant of Israel, such as the Shah of Iran, Sadat and Mubarak of Egypt, Hussein and Abdullah of Jordan, the Emir of Kuwait, the Saudi family;

3) having military ties with many of these regimes and even establishing bases in their countries, an establishment that is often viewed by the indigenous people of the region as an insult not only to their independence but to their religious belief and code of ethics and conduct;

4) allying with some brutal regimes, such as that of Saddam Hussein, or helping to create these regimes, such as the Taliban.

In addition to tallying these kinds of policies, the advocates of "they hate us because of what we do" also point out that if you pose the same question to the natives of the Middle of East, you would get basically the same kinds of answers. The devoutly religious people, however, might add to the answer a thing or two about Islam and how the US-Israeli policies resemble those of the crusaders. Indeed, if one listens to the likes of Osama bin Laden, one hears much of the above complaints wrapped often in a religious cloak.

In sum, the first answer that one gets to "why do they hate us?" is straightforward, nonchalant, and somewhat behaviorist or empiricist in the sense that it relies on what the patient, the native of the Middle East, reveals to be the causes of his or her ailment. This answer, however, is quite rare. It is found mostly in some independent journals and online magazines.

The second answer, "they hate us for who we are," is the predominant one. It appears in the mainstream, corporate media. It is heard in the radio talk shows. It is found in numerous online magazines and websites. It is written by some academics, who have found fame and fortune by writing about "who we are." It is spoken by the US government officials. It can even be found in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Given the large size and heterogeneity of those who advocate "they hate us for who we are," the issue of exactly "who we are" remains mostly unclear. But by putting together bits and pieces of some unintelligible and disparate arguments, we can come up with some basic characteristics of "us." "We" are: people with values and culture, civilized, capitalist minded, democratic and free. In other words, "they" hate us, because "they" are without values or culture, uncivilized, anti-capitalist, and despise democracy and freedom. Another version of this same answer argues that they are envious of our values, culture, civilization, capitalism, freedom, etc.

This widespread answer is not as straightforward and nonchalant as the first. It is somewhat Freudian in the sense that the patient would never divulge these as the causes of his or her ailment. Thus the analysis tries to go beyond what appears on the surface, locating beneath appearances deep-rooted causes, such as envy. These invisible causes, it is believed, will manifest themselves as the patient's symptoms.

The above explanation is, of course, risky and ironic. It is ironic because most of those who advocate this answer, particularly the academicians, usually have no love for Freud and Freudian analysis. It is risky because, as any good Popperian knows, one can never falsify such explanations and, therefore, they are, at the very best, pseudo-scientific explanations alongside astrology and parapsychology.

The answer is also vague and, by academic standards, nonsensical. For example, any first year college student who takes cultural anthropology would realize that it is virtually impossible to define unambiguously "values" and "culture." Even defining "capitalism" or "democracy" is not easy in a course dealing with economic history or development. Such difficulties, however, do not seem to concern the proponents of "they hate us for who we are," and, as a result, they often fall into numerous contradictions.

For example, "capitalism" is often used by these individuals in the sense of "consumerism." Or, at times, it is understood by them to mean an economic system based on trade or private ownership of means of production. But none of these understandings would explain why Muslims should hate capitalism. After all, Islam originated from the teachings of a traveling merchant who, by profession, could not oppose private ownership of anything, including the means of production. His modern day followers have also nothing against contemporary consumerism. If anything, a look at the Islamic societies shows the same symptoms of commodity fetishism as anywhere else in the world.

Or, take "democracy." From its inception, the term was vague, since the "rule of the people" only meant the rule of a small number of "people" and excluded such "people" as women, slaves and metics. The term is still ambiguous if one engages in a serious analysis of the electoral process in the modern, Western countries, particularly the US. But, again, the advocates of "who we are" are usually not interested in such analyses and understand democracy to simply mean "one man, one vote" or a consensual and representative government. If that is the case, then it is never explained by these individuals why the US is hated most in those countries that are highly dictatorial and, at the same time, closely allied with the US. After all, the 9/11 hijackers originated from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two brutal dictatorships, whose citizens rightly view their lack of consensual and representative government to be at least partially related to the support of the US for their rulers. Indeed, the biggest quandary that the US has faced since it claimed that invading Iraq was for the sake of making it democratic, is that the edict of "one man, one vote," or a consensual government, will most likely result in an Islamic government in Iraq, a prospect that, even though highly "democratic," is unacceptable to the US and Israel.

In sum, it is relatively easy to show that the semi-Freudian arguments of the advocates of "who we are" can't hold much water. It is vague and full of hard-to-define concepts; and once the concepts are defined in a popular manner, as is often the case, the arguments usually become internally incoherent and even contradictory. So why do the "they hate us for who we are" crowd stick to such a lame explanation? The answer, once again, goes back to the US and Israeli policies, their aims and objectives, and the architects and propagandists of these policies.

As an empire the US is bound to exercise control over the Middle East and its natural resources. This was accomplished throughout the 20th century by means of indirect control, i.e., through close ties with surrogate regimes, such as the Saudi family and the Shah of Iran. But the 1979 Revolution in Iran, continued Palestinian resistance to occupation and subsequently a former ally, Saddam Hussein going solo, shattered this policy of indirect control and required dealing with the rebels in the region head on. Hence, we got the old fashioned colonial invasion and direct occupation of Iraq, the brutal and unrestrained attack against the Palestinians by the Israelis, and the continuous attempt to isolate Iran or scare it with military threat.

Israel, on the other hand, is first and foremost interested in the real estate itself, which could potentially stretch, if one goes by the Biblical prophecy, from the "the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates." This aim, Israel has figured, can best be achieved by riding on the back of the giant empire. The result of this alignment of aims is the creation of a modern Holy Empire, an alliance between US and Israel that requires architects and propagandists who would form public opinion and prepare the masses for wars. Such a role in the US has been assigned to numerous think tanks, institutions and groups, such as the American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington Institute for Near East Policies, Hoover Institution, and many others. The task of these spin masters and public opinion makers is an old fashioned one: demonize those who resist your aims and objectives.

We see this act of demonizing throughout the history. Indeed, the act is as old as history itself. Herodotus, presumably the first historian, divided the world into the Greeks and the "barbarians." As opposed to the Greek race, the "barbarians," or the "strangers," he argued, are in every respect inferior people. When it comes to thinking, Herodotus writes, the "Greeks have been from very ancient times distinguished from the barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom from foolish simple-ness." Even when it comes to warfare, the "barbarians" are inferior, he contends, since the Spartan king is told by the ruler of Ionia that "the barbarians are an unwarlike people; and you are the best and bravest warriors in the whole world. Their mode of fighting is the following: they use bows and arrows and a short spear; they wear trousers in the field, and cover their heads with turbans. So easy are they to vanquish!"

Similarly, Aristotle, that "giant thinker" of the "Western civilization" who believed "that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right" opens his Politics by stating that "among barbarians no distinction is made between women and slaves, because there is no natural ruler among them: they are a community of slaves, male and female." He then goes on to recount a whole host of inferior traits of the "barbarians," such as the fact that they-as opposed to the Greeks who own private property-have "common property," or are "tyrannical," "despotic," "servile," "have a custom of plunging their children at birth into a cold stream," or "are ready enough to kill and eat men."

Are the above descriptions of the "barbarians" not familiar in the context of the present time? Are they not, almost word for word-except, perhaps, for such things as cannibalism!-the kind of demonizing that the advocate of "they hate us for who we are" use? It is unnecessary to quote other propagandists of the "Western civilization," such as those of the Roman Empire, the British Empire, etc. to prove the point? Suffice it to say that even the most famous, enlightened and respected thinkers of the "Western civilization" could not escape the prevalent and grotesque images of the victims of the empire and glorified pictures of themselves. In the first few chapters of Adam Smith's famous The Wealth of Nations there are, at least, 7 references to the "savages," i.e., the North American Indians, and 15 references to the "civilized" society, i.e., the "Great" Britain.

In the final analysis, the architects and the propagandists of the Holy Empire are doing precisely what has been done for 2500 years by all empires: calling the victims of their aggression "barbarians," "savages," "uncivilized," "undemocratic," etc. to make conquering them easier. But this act of demonizing has certain drawbacks.

First, an empire whose citizens are fed fantasy, and not facts, might be in for a very long and costly war which could destroy the fabric of its society, both economically and socially. The length of the war and its cost could become so intolerable to the citizens of the empire that they might ultimately prefer capitulation to a state of permanent war. What the modern Holy Empire faces is not a few "terrorists" that can be eradicated, but numerous brutalized "barbarians" living on the periphery that are now adopting a unifying ideology. The ideology is cloaked mainly in religion. But this is not unusual; the ideology of the masses often takes a religious form. As Karl Marx once observed, "Religious suffering is at the same time the expression of real suffering and the protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation."

Ironically, for many oppressed people in the twentieth century it was "Marxism" itself which became a powerful, unifying religion. This was not the esoteric economic and philosophical theories of Karl Marx, but simple ideas that every liberation movement weaved uniquely for itself under the rubric of some unclear "Marxism" to fight colonial aggression and oppression. Now, with the passing away of "Marxism," it is under the rubric of some even less clear "Islam" that the masses of the Middle East are congregating. These masses, these new "barbarians," have very little technology to combat the "civilized" empire. But they are patient, and have time on their side. They can lie in wait and slowly, very slowly, chip away at the empire. In the long run they might even succeed in bringing the empire down to its knees as the Germanic "barbarians," led by Odoacer, made Emperor Romulus Augustulus kneel down before them or as, in modern times, the "Gooks," led by Ho Chi Minh, made the giant empire take flight from the roof of its embassy. Are the citizens of the Holy Empire willing to put up with such prolonged warfare? Are the economic and social costs of such a war acceptable or tolerable? Is the outcome certain?

Second, as time passes, the effectiveness of repeated propaganda diminishes. It becomes increasingly apparent to everyone, including the citizens of the empire, that no one has a monopoly over "barbarism" and "savagery." The Greek, Roman, and British empires, for example, all showed that they could act more savagely and barbarically than their victims. This has already become apparent in the case of the Holy Empire. We all witness on a daily basis what Coetzee vividly describes as the ruthless empire that sends its bloodhounds everywhere and feeds on "images of sacked cities, rape of the population, pyramid of bones, and acres of desolation." Some of these images have already made their way into the US corporate news by default: the pyramid of naked prisoners at Abu Ghraib; the torture, sadism, rape, sodomy, and hooding of prisoners; the smiling faces of the "civilized" soldiers who get satisfaction from acts of perversion; the torture and humiliation of the prisoners; the terror in the faces of the "savages" facing the bloodhounds of the "civilized"; the grins on the faces of military personnel giving thumbs up next to the rotting corpse of a prisoner, etc.

Other images are hardly ever shown on the US daily news: the invasion of houses in Baghdad or Ramallah in the early morning hours; the shattering of doors; the terrifying men with headgear and assault rifles breaking into private residences; fear in the faces of the occupants; the demolition of houses in Fallujah and Gaza; planes and helicopters attacking civilians; craters left by bombs; blood stained streets; bodies of Iraqis and Palestinians laying in waste in the streets of Najaf and Rafah; the siege of cities; lines of detainees; the cages in the sun designed for unruly prisoners; the dead animals in the zoos of Baghdad and Rafah; the tanks and bulldozers waiting to attack defenseless Palestinian refugee camps before dawn; the bullet ridden walls; giant holes in the bedroom walls; dwellings turned into rubble; Palestinian women and children sitting with dazed faces on piles of concrete, where their houses used to be; the terrified Iraqis and Palestinians carrying their belongings before the assault begins; the uprooted olive trees with grieving Palestinian women standing in front of the bulldozer, trying to save their livelihood; overflowing morgues; dead bodies wrapped in shrouds; funerals, etc. Indeed, the world has seen, in just the past few months alone, what "civilization" can do. The more time passes, the longer the war, the more we see the real face of this "civilization."

Ironically, one has to say that the answer, "they hate us for who we are," is correct, but there is a catch: "we" are everything that we say "they" are! This solves the puzzle of "why do they hate us?" It resolves the dichotomy and produces a single answer: They hate us for what we do and who we are, since "what we do" cannot be separated from "who we are."

We are the Holy Empire, and we do as we are.

Sasan Fayazmanesh is a professor of economics at Fresno State University.

Mole Hunt

An expert on U.S.–Israeli relations reveals details from his recent visit with the FBI.

09/03/04 "American Prospect" In May, Stephen Green was hard at work campaigning for a seat in Vermont's House of Representatives when he got a phone call. The last person the 64-year-old former United Nations official, then preoccupied with health-care policy issues, expected to hear from was an FBI agent, who asked if he could come to Washington to chat with him about the history of Israeli espionage efforts against the United States.

As the author of two books on U.S.-Israeli relations, Green knew something about the subject. Still, the phone call seemed to come out of the blue. Green quickly discovered, however, that the FBI had a keen interest in the subject. Federal agents were involved in an investigation into an alleged Israeli "mole" in the office of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy.

Early reports suggested that the FBI had wiretap evidence that a veteran Iran analyst working in Feith's office at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Larry Franklin, may have passed a classified draft of a National Security Presidential Directive on Iran to an official working for the pro-Israel lobbying organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Members of the organization, in turn, were said to have passed the document on to Israel. (AIPAC officials strongly deny the accusations.)

But as Green spoke with investigators, he realized the agents were investigating far more than Franklin.

"Larry Franklin's name never came up, but several others did," he said.

Green, as the FBI agents knew, had a special expertise in the field of Israeli espionage in the United States. In the 1980s, he had taken time off from his job at the UN to look into the U.S.–Israeli "special relationship." He spent years combing through public records, filing and litigating Freedom of Information Act requests, and tracking down current and retired government officials. He eventually wrote two books, Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations With Israel and Living By The Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East. The Times of London and Foreign Affairs commended his work, describing it as "praised by those who believe the United States has damaged its own security, and Israel's too, by uncritical and often secret support of Israel's actions, no matter how extreme." Yet, as Foreign Affairs reported, Green's work also caused "sputter[ing] with indignation" among "those who believe… that American and Israeli interests are identical."

Green returned to the UN in 1990 and followed the subject from there. Earlier this year, he published a piece in the newsletter CounterPunch, recapping previously reported -- though long-forgotten -- government investigations of prominent neoconservatives for their suspected espionage or improper information-sharing with Israel. And that's where the FBI comes in.

According to the FBI agents who contacted Green, as he recounts, the article had come to their attention when one of Green’s sources -- a retired national security official they were interviewing -- shared it with them.

And so on June 22, Green found himself sitting across an oval-shaped conference table from two FBI agents at an undisclosed northern Virginia venue. The meeting lasted nearly four hours.

"They were extraordinarily well-informed; it was apparent they've been at this for awhile," Green says. "I asked them if there was a current reason for them asking questions about things that go back over 30 years, and they sort of looked at each other and said, 'Yes, it's a present issue,' but wouldn't say specifically what. Though they did ask very specific questions about one individual in particular."

Green said the agents asked about several current or former Pentagon officials such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, and Stephen Bryen.

"The tenor of their questions was such that it defined where these people were in terms of the nature of their focus," Green says. "They also asked about a couple other Office of Special Plans people, including Harold Rhode. Ironically, about the only name that didn't come up was Larry Franklin."

Regardless of the status of the investigation, something seemed a bit fishy. After all, Israel -- one of the United States’ closest allies, with deep support in the Bush Administration and especially at the Defense Department -- hardly needs a Pentagon-embedded spy to get access to interagency debates about U.S. policy to Iran, as observers have pointed out. And compared with the information on arms shipments that former US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard passed on to Israel in the 1980s, a draft of a document about U.S. policy toward Iran would hardly seem like the crown jewels.

Yet, as Newsweek has reported, Franklin had come to the FBI’s attention a year and a half ago, when he walked in on a lunch with an Israeli diplomat and an AIPAC lobbyist, both of whom were under FBI surveillance for a year. In addition, Newsweek reported that when news of the investigation surfaced, Franklin had already been cooperating with the FBI for several weeks and had reportedly led FBI agents to those who may have received information from him.

The previous FBI investigation came into focus only on September 1, when The Washington Post reported that for two years, the FBI has conducted a counterintelligence investigation into whether AIPAC has forwarded “highly classified materials from the National Security Agency . . . to Israel.” The Post piece describes Franklin’s alleged role as merely “coincidental” to the larger FBI probe of alleged intelligence-passing through AIPAC to Israel.

Both AIPAC and Tel Aviv vehemently deny any wrongdoing. And indeed, the Israeli diplomat who acknowledges meeting with Franklin and AIPAC -- Naor Gilon, the Israeli embassy’s No. 3 official and a specialist on Iran’s nuclear program -- returned to Washington on August 29 from a summer vacation in Israel. He admits that he met with Franklin, but insists he’s done nothing wrong.

A source familiar with the investigation told The American Prospect that when news of the investigation broke, the Justice Department had been preparing a request to the State Department to have an Israeli diplomat -- by implication Gilon -- declared persona non grata for allegedly having received classified U.S. intelligence from AIPAC sources.

Furthermore, a September 1 report by NBC speculated that the reason the Israelis may have broken their declared post-Pollard policy of not spying on the United States is because of Israel’s preeminent concern about Iran’s nuclear program, and its view that the United States may not be prepared to act assertively enough to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The Post piece seems to imply that Franklin is more of an anti-Tehran zealot than anything else and wasn’t engaging in espionage per se. But as the Post article and the June meeting between Green and the FBI seem to indicate, the FBI is looking into the possibility there's been communication between Israeli elements and U.S. officials, including several who work for Feith and have access to sensitive intelligence on Iran and its nuclear program.

Jason Vest is Prospect senior correspondent. Laura Rozen reports on national security issues from Washington, D.C. and for her weblog, War and Piece.

Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc

Leaks Derail FBI's Pentagon Spy Probe

Press leaks describing an FBI investigation into questions of whether a Pentagon analyst handed over classified Defense Department documents on Iran that were passed to Israel may have derailed the bureau probe, law enforcement authorities said yesterday.

"The investigation sort of evaporated when the leaks started," said one source familiar with the inquiry. "Investigators were watching the activities of a few people and now they know they're being watched. It has become a nightmare."

The FBI surveillance is believed to have focused on Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin, who specialized in Iranian affairs within the policy branch of the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israeli lobby.
Mr. Rosen is AIPAC's foreign policy director and Mr. Weissman serves as an analyst specializing in Iran.

The surveillance also is believed to have targeted Naor Gilon, a political adviser at the Israeli Embassy here. On one occasion, the authorities said, Mr. Gilon was observed having lunch with an AIPAC official when they were joined by Mr. Franklin.
Mr. Franklin is suspected of passing classified information about U.S. policy on Iran to AIPAC, which reportedly passed the information to Israeli officials, the authorities said.
AIPAC, which said it is cooperating in the FBI probe, and the Israeli Embassy have denied any wrongdoing. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman have not been available for comment. Mr. Franklin also has been unavailable.

The authorities yesterday also questioned published reports saying the FBI probe had widened to include questions on whether Pentagon officials also passed classified information to former Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmed Chalabi, who fell out of favor with the U.S. government.
The Washington Post said yesterday that the suspected transfer of Pentagon information to Mr. Chalabi was a part of the investigation, although the authorities said they were skeptical of the report.

In May, Iraqi officials raided Mr. Chalabi's Baghdad compound, finding U.S. intelligence material. U.S. officials confirmed a month later that the FBI was investigating whether a government employee provided Mr. Chalabi with intelligence data that he later gave to Iran. A U.S. intelligence official said at the time that the unauthorized disclosure probe was focusing on officials in Baghdad.

Several news organizations, quoting anonymous U.S. officials, said Mr. Chalabi told the Iranian intelligence chief in Baghdad that the United States had cracked Iran's communication codes and was intercepting its messages. The Iranian supposedly transmitted the information to Tehran by electronic communication that was intercepted and decoded by U.S. intelligence.

The message said Mr. Chalabi learned of the code-breaking from an intoxicated American official. The intercepted message, which was closely held by the White House National Security Council, was viewed with suspicion at the time at the Pentagon. Mr. Chalabi has dismissed the reports as false.

The FBI began the Franklin probe more than two years ago, authorities said. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made. Among those interviewed is Douglas J. Feith, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty in Northern Virginia, whose office is overseeing the investigation, will decide whether charges are to be brought, authorities said. He reportedly told the FBI this week that because of the leaks it needed to put its case together by next week or move on.
The information released to Iranian officials, according to the authorities, included a memo written for Mr. Feith in which some Pentagon officials urged the Bush administration to overthrow the Iranian regime and to consider military strikes on that country's emerging nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said this week that the United States would press the U.N. Security Council on Monday for sanctions against Iran in response to concerted effort by that country to develop nuclear weapons.

Jerry Seper

Israel's Role in China's New Warplane

The recent unveiling (sort of) of China's first domestically designed (sort of) fighter jet was the culmination of a long saga of international military-hardware wheeling and dealing that has seen US-designed or -funded high-tech weaponry fall into the hands of potential military rivals.

The showpiece of many years' work, dating back to the late 1980s, recently happened - albeit unobserved - when China confirmed the existence of, but did not unveil, the Jian-10 fighter jet. It had been reported that the J-10 (F-10 being the export version, using North Atlantic Treaty Organization designation) would be shown in public for the first time during the fourth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2002) held in Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province from November 4-10, but the plane did not appear.

The J-10 is a multi-role single-engine and single-seat tactical fighter, with a combat radius of 1,000 kilometers. Although billed as a domestically produced fighter, in truth the J-10 could not have happened without the help of other countries, especially Israel.

The program began in the late 1980s and is thought to be based on an Israeli design. It contains Israeli and Russian avionics, and is powered by Russian engines.

Chinese engineers developed the J-10 from a single F-16 provided by Pakistan, and with assistance from Israeli engineers associated with Israel's US-financed Lavi fighter program, which was canceled in 1987, according to the Federation of American Scientists website. The Lavi was based on the US F-16 and built with US$1.3 billion in aid from Washington.

In 1983, when US support for the Lavi commenced, the program was opposed vigorously by the Defense Department, partly because of re-export concerns. An early supporter of the Lavi was George Shultz, then secretary of state in the administration of US president Ronald Reagan. Shultz would later label his advocacy of the program a "costly mistake".

Only in early 1995 did the US government make public its concerns about Israel's Lavi-related technology re-exports to China. David Lari, director general of Israel's Ministry of Defense, acknowledged in an Associated Press interview that "some technology on aircraft" had been sold to China and that some Israeli companies may not have "clean hands".

Yet China's acquisition of the Russian Su-27, after China had attempted for years to develop the J-10 aircraft with equivalent technology to perform similar functions, is seen by some experts as a sign that China lacks confidence in its domestic industrial capabilities.

Though it has never been certain precisely what specific technologies and systems Israel provided, it was reported that the Jian-10's radar and fire-control system is the Israeli-made ELM-2021 system, which can simultaneously track six air targets and lock on to the four most threatening targets for destruction.

In December 1991, US intelligence officials announced that Israel planned to open a government-coordinated and -sponsored "arms office" in China. Given what the Israelis had to offer, and what the Chinese needed, it was most likely that a transfer of avionics and other technologies developed in the Lavi program would ensue, since there was a void in the Chinese avionics and fire-control system capability due to the 1989 termination of a US-Chinese program in response to Tiananmen Square.

China and Israel started collaboration in the early 1980s and full-scale cooperation was under way officially by 1984. As neither China nor Israel was capable of developing the propulsion system required by the J-10, in 1991 China acquired the AI31F turbofan engine from Russia for incorporation into the J-10 fighter. This engine is also used in the Su-27 air-superiority fighter that Chinese acquired from Russia. As the performance of the AL31F engine is significantly better than that of the American PW1120 originally slated for the Lavi, it may be anticipated that the performance of the J-10 will be accordingly enhanced. Built by the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Corp, the J-10 attempts to rival current fourth-generation Western fighters. China has inked a 10-year deal with the Russian engine maker SRPC Salut for 300 Al-31F engines for its J-10 program and will begin production of the jets next year.

The plane is said to have capabilities similar to the Su-27, the Russian MiG-29 and the US F-16 fighter jets, but with an estimated cost of less than $10 million, it could rival other jet makers on the international market.

In March 1997, despite official denials from Israeli officials, the US Office of Naval Intelligence in its unclassified "Worldwide Challenges to Naval Strike Warfare" restated more strongly than it had the previous year its belief that US-derived technology from the canceled Israeli Lavi fighter was being used on China's new F-10 fighter. It said, "The design has been undertaken with substantial direct external assistance, primarily from Israel and Russia, with indirect assistance through access to US technologies." In fact, according to the annual intelligence report, "the F-10 is a single-seat, light multi-role fighter based heavily on the canceled Israeli Lavi program".

Until it was canceled in 1987, much of Lavi technological development was paid for by the United States. Ironically, the potential capability of F-10 fighters was cited by both the US Navy and Air Force as one of the future threats justifying the expenditure of billions on new tactical aircraft, such as the F-22, F/A-18F, and Joint Strike Fighter. The fact that possibly US-derived technology provided by an ally might be contributing to that potential threat is a delicate subject.

However, this is not the first time accusations of illegal technology have been made. A March 1992 report by State Department inspector general Sherman Funk, "Report of Audit: Department of State Defense Trade Controls", states that alleged Israeli violations of US laws and regulations "cited and supported by reliable intelligence information show a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorized transfers ... dating back to about 1983".

In the summer of 2000, the Washington Times reported that a memo circulating inside the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency told analysts they no longer had to gain input from the Defense Intelligence Agency before deciding whether controlled technology should be transferred to Israel. The DIA had compiled evidence that Israel had violated US export regulations by transferring missile, laser and aircraft technology to China.

Subsequently, when Israel tried to sell the Phalcon to India, the US government demanded that Israel limit arms exports. Israel was told that it must inform the US of all weapons transfers to 27 nations regarded as "countries of concern" such as China, India and Yugoslavia.

"Israel ranks second only to Russia as a weapons-system provider to China and as a conduit for sophisticated military technology, followed by France and Germany," stated a report this year by the US-China Security Review Commission, a panel established by Congress to examine security and economic relations between the two countries. "Recent upgrades in target acquisition and fire control, probably provided by Israeli weapons specialists, have enhanced the capabilities of the older guided missile destroyers and frigates" in the Chinese navy's inventory, it said.

The commission cited Israel as a supplier to Beijing of radar systems, optical and telecommunications equipment, drones and flight simulators.

Arms exports have not only played a crucial role in offsetting Israel's trade imbalance but have also performed a key role in furthering its diplomatic efforts. The sale of arms and technology has become one of the most effective techniques to furthering Israeli goals overseas. The quiet ties with China and India and the growing alliance with Turkey in the 1980s and the 1990s are good examples of strong links based on such cooperation.

The J-10 is hardly the only result of Israeli-Chinese military cooperation. For example, the Chinese F-8, the same type of plane that collided with the US reconnaissance plane last year, is armed with Israeli Python-3 missiles. The Python, adapted from the US ALM-9L Sidewinder missile, has a high degree of US technology. Ironically for Israel, China apparently sold its version of Python-3, called the PL-8, to Iraq.

And, as was widely publicized, Israel was set to sell China the Phalcon, an airborne early-warning radar system, until it was forced by the United States to cancel the deal. The US Central Intelligence Agency also believed Israel was marketing its STAR cruise missile in China. The STAR incorporates sensitive US technology.

And former US officials report that both Israel and the Dutch company Delft made unauthorized sales of US thermal-imaging tank sights to, among others, China. The sights were installed on China's 69 MOD-2 tanks, some of which were sold to Iraq. The United States acquired physical evidence of this transfer after these tanks were used against US marines in the 1991 Gulf War.

David Isenberg

(©2002 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact content@atimes.com for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

Four More Years - How Many More Wars?

Four more years - how many more wars?

09/05/04 -- Buoyed by the triumphalist Republican convention that nominated him for re-election last week, President George Bush is looking for the real electoral mandate that eluded him four years ago. Watch out. If he wins legitimately in November, rather than by virtue of dubious Florida ballots and Supreme Court fiat, he and his entourage of businessmen-warrior-politicians will claim public endorsement for invading countries that have not attacked the United States, rescinding treaties that protected the world from nuclear and environmental holocausts, granting billion-dollar government contracts without competitive bidding to firms in which administration officials have vested interests, expanding a global prison system in which detainees are held without trial or access to legal counsel, dismantling the social security pensions system, eroding what few protections workers have from industrial accidents and taking exclusive possession of space for the US military to engage in what the USAF Space Command calls "instant engagement anywhere in the world".

If you thought the past four years were tricky, you ain't seen nothin' yet. With the approval of the nation's voters, George Bush will be free to move to the next phase of the preventive war doctrine that he justified on Thursday in Madison Square Garden: "Do I forget the lessons of September 11th, and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time." Every time? Bush can face that choice every day - or, at least, every day he chooses to. There is almost no country or organisation on Earth that cannot threaten the US. Most states have stores of chemical and biological weapons, and all can pay dedicated fanatics to hand-carry them to New York. Quite a few have nuclear weapons, and more are trying to get them to stave off US threats and attacks. Public backing for Bush gives him licence under his stated doctrine of preventive war, itself a dubious concept condemned in international law and at the Nuremberg trials, to attack anyone he chooses - Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Sierra Leone or France.

Bush is, after all, the self-declared "war president" in a war against terror that he admits may never end and may never be won. It is like the war on drugs and just as useful for locking people up. Perpetual war? With all that that entails for the countries bombed and the people taken from their homes to Guantanamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram air base or any of the hundreds of CIA secret interrogation houses around the world? With all that means for the US economy, which will pay for it by cutting help to the poorest?

In 2000, most of those who voted for George Bush did not do so in order to invade Iraq, to turn the US armed forces into a hated army of occupation, to commit torture and other war crimes, to invite terrorist responses to US violence overseas, to impose a puppet government on Afghanistan and to seek the overthrow of the elected president of Venezuela. They did not know Bush would give them a war to deliver billions to Dick Cheney's Halliburton and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's old firm, CACI, to help out as private contractors torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. They could not have anticipated a return to the evils of the Vietnam years - the assassination programmes, the torture centres, the destruction of homes and villages harbouring suspected "terrorists" - in which many of Bush's colleagues participated while serving President Nixon. Now, they know that America is "imposing democracy" on the Arabs and making America "safer". Americans voting for Bush this time are choosing more war. The media have not exposed the meaning of Bush's policies, preferring to increase public fear to attract viewers and justify the limitation on dissent. With their embedded journalists and tales of military bravado, they encourage America to imagine itself as more noble in battle than in peace. Indeed, for Bush and the media magnates he has enriched there is no peace agenda. There is no programme to relieve poverty, provide medical care and protect the environment. All that is for wimps. We're warriors now.

"The only version of national pride encouraged by American popular culture," the American philosopher Richard Rorty has written, "is simple-minded military chauvinism." Gone are the Walt Whitmans and John Deweys, of whom Rorty says, "They wanted the struggle for social justice to be the country's animating principle, the nation's soul." There would be no airtime for Whitman today amid the "experts" pontificating on terror.

If the Democrats offer an alternative vision, they are not making it clear what it is. It was a Democratic secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who told The New Republic in 1998, "If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation." Kerry voted for Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he has not promised to dismantle Bush's illegal world prisons. Without drawing a clear line between himself and Bush, he is doomed to defeat. Samuel I Rosenman, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech writer, recalls in his memoir Working with Roosevelt a declaration Roosevelt wrote himself to deliver to the Democratic Convention in 1940 if its delegates rejected his vice-presidential choice, the progressive agriculture secretary Henry Wallace. "In this century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal principles of government... The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values." The party selected Wallace, and Roosevelt won another landslide as a progressive.

John Kerry offers Americans no reason to choose him instead of Bush. He says he would be a war leader who had fought a war. He does not say he would curb corporate monopolies. He does not say he will interfere with the corporate agribusinesses that are replacing America's farmers. He does not say Americans will no longer go broke paying their doctors' bills. For Kerry, it may be too late to abandon the financiers who have funded his campaign and embrace the people whose hopes their money is destroying.

Charles Glass

Their Dog-Eat-Dog World

Their dog-eat-dog world
The cabal that four years ago took over the White House brought with them a philosophy of power which ought to be consigned to the dustbin of history, writes Mazin Qumsiyeh*

George Kennan, former head of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff, once observed: "We have about 60 per cent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 per cent of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about such vague and unreal objectives as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." (Document PPS23, 24 February 1948)

But of course this was not to be. Talk of democratisation is still the best weapon in maintaining disparity and injustice. Thus we toppled the democratic regime of Moussadeq in Iran in the 1950s and reinstalled the Shah not because Moussaddeq wanted to nationalise oil and serve his people but because the US was advancing freedom and democracy against "socialism". Similar arguments were used in Korea, Chile, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Haiti and dozens of other "interventions". People-based resistance limited the success of this strategy of dominance. The epitome of this was the Vietnam War, which was portrayed as stemming the falling domino effect of communism spreading. The US retreat from Vietnam was due to the success of the Vietnamese guerrilla war against the best-equipped army in the world buttressed by people of conscience in America who said: "Enough is enough." Its ramifications were numerous and included a renewed vigour of Third World countries intent on resisting the removal of their natural resources to serve Western vested interests. The war architects were not deterred despite the obvious PR loss as the domino theory proved a fabrication.

These individuals were determined to do imperialism better. They recruited disgruntled liberals. They looked for ways to build a stronger and cohesive message. They found it in a modification of social Darwinism based on early principles advocated by Machiavelli. Their godfather was Machiavelli's intellectual disciple Leo Strauss, a German Zionist who immigrated to the US in the 1930s and mentored people like Paul Wolfowitz while advocating his philosophy of a dog-eat-dog world. His ideas were instrumental in the formation of the current neo-conservative cabal pulling the strings in the White House. According to Strauss, the world is divided into distinct nations with competing interests and will always be thus structured. Under such conditions nations cannot consider collective action and multilateralism unless it is 100 per cent in line with their own selfish interests. Strong leadership is axiomatic, as is the need for military power. Leadership ought not be encumbered by human rights discourse or a moral conscience but nonetheless must "appear" to advocate such ideas. Rulers need not observe the laws they impose on the ruled. As such, a ruler can cheat and lie and do all sorts of things but should at all time maintain the outside appearance of adherence to human rights and caring for people. Further, leaders can use religion as one of many tools to ensure the nation keeps on course as formulated. Outside threats help ensure social cohesion under domestic leadership. Altruism, environmental protection, justice etc, are not the concern of governments and ruling elites. They have no part to play in the equation of power.

Such principles when put into practice in America were obviously controversial but gained ground among a well-positioned group later to be identified as "neo-conservatives", or "neocons" for short. In March 1992, the US Defense Policy Guidance as formulated by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby (two neocons with strong Israeli ties) was leaked to The New York Times and caused a stir (including a rebuke from Senator Biden). Its Machiavellian/Straussian tone of world domination, preventing the rise of any potential competitor to US power etc, was shocking. The document as revised by its release on 16 April 1992 was far milder, or at least careful in its language. By way of a price, the revised document included for the first time support for Zionism as a key to defence policy: "In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect US nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and US-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel." (p14)

The revision was to give neocons renewed energy to implement their plans, but this time more carefully. Neocons were out of the White House between 1992 and 2000 giving them time to consolidate power in other areas (media, think tanks, Congress) and to plan a more careful agenda both to get power and exercise it. It is not a coincidence that as Clinton was dealing with his scandals conservative talk shows were burgeoning, media empires consolidating and, with the creation of such PR machines as Fox TV, agendas shifting. The years 1996-1998 were pivotal in developing the strategies and ideas that would come to shape our world today. As an example, neocons wrote a letter -- which can be found now on the internet -- to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in 1996 entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." The realm under discussion was the Israeli one in the Middle East. They called for regime change in Iraq, led by the US, followed by acts directed at Iran and Syria to secure US (read US-Israeli) dominance over this critical region; critical especially for the economies of US competitors like China and Europe. Chaired by Richard Perle, chief architect of the latest US war on Iraq, this group included James Colbert from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Jonathan Torop from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee offshoot the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, David Wurmser and Douglas Feith.

The next year, the neocons launched the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC called for US world hegemony ˆ la the Pax Romana. It proclaimed ominously: "The American peace has proven itself peaceful, stable, and durable. Yet no moment in international politics can be frozen in time: even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself ... [the new world order] must have a secure foundation on unquestioned US military preeminence ... The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Leaders of PNAC, including Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Libby, Elliot Abrams and others, later acquired positions of power when Bush Jr took the White House. They had earlier written a letter to Clinton and Congressional leaders in 1998 arguing for the removal of Saddam Hussain from power and the assertion of US dominance in the Middle East. They would have to wait two years for the ascension of George W Bush to the presidency in January 2001 and got their windfall (the "new Pearl Harbor") in the form of 11 September 2001. The rest, as they say, is history. They now thought they had all the pieces in place for fulfilling their dreams on an even grander scale than conceived in 1992-1998. The result of their dreams is our nightmare: the bringing of the US into sharp conflict with the rest of the world, the proliferation of terrorism and, some argue, the beginning of the end of US empire. Meanwhile, the heart of global collective action, the UN, is stalled with sometimes 150 countries voting one way on resolutions and the US and Israel voting another (occasionally joined by Australia, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands).

The net result is increased terrorism, increased violence and misery in places like Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, increasing US trade and budget deficits, huge debts incurred by Third World countries and by the US (individual, corporate and government), the decimation of environmental treaties and obligations and, as the US military is spread thin around the world, overall global destabilisation. These are but the price of power as a select groups of Straussians sell books, demand hefty lecture fees and get cozy governmental positions in the game of musical chairs in Washington DC.

These special interests will celebrate their "win" regardless of which president occupies the White House in December. If Kerry wins, watch as another team of neocons take up office. Dennis Ross, a lobbyist for Israel who was US envoy to the Middle East under both Bush Sr and Clinton, may be appointed Secretary of State or to a similarly high- level position. Martin Indyk, another lobbyist for Israel, appointed by Clinton as US ambassador to Israel, might become the new US envoy to the Middle East. It goes on and on. Both Kerry and Bush display classic Straussian characteristics, most clearly in their similar positions on Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and the International Court of Justice, among a host of other critical issues. Further, and perhaps most critical to our survival as a species, neither is willing to tackle the global environmental threats for which the US bears special responsibility (as indicated, US citizens consume over half of the world's resources though they constitute but 1/20th of the world's population). Cosmetically talking about reducing our dependence on foreign oil is not an alternative to adopting the Kyoto accords or seriously looking at the effects of "globalisation"; a term which Democratic and Republican administrations use to mean the "free flow" of wealth (of course, to the United States) while preventing anything equivalent for the workers who create it. Basic rights, as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (including access to food, water and healthcare) become the privilege of the rich.

Only by awakening the US public and linking it to resistance movements from within the world community (including the Iraqi resistance), will this pathway to destruction be avoided. As someone said, those who are not outraged are simply not paying attention. But more people are now paying attention and getting their information from alternative sources (besides the PR of FOX and MSNBC). Our collective and increasingly intertwined future is at stake.

At a deeper psychological level, the choice we have is between believing and acting based on the worst elements of human history (i.e. a Straussian model) or knowledge of the history of the accomplishments of the best of humanity; even daring to imagine and plan for a better future -- in other words, humanism.

What is at stake here is nothing less than a choice between a power politics that sacrifices morality and justice and a path based on human rights for all which also happens to be the only path by which this planet will survive.

* The writer is associate professor of genetics and director of clinical cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine.

Chechen Separatists Say “Third Force” Behind Terrorist Attacks

Akhmed Zakayev, a special envoy to Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov has said that “a third force that brought Russian President Vladimir Putin to power” is behind all the terrorist attacks committed in Russia over the past two weeks. London-based Zakayev said this in an exclusive interview with the Caucasus Times newspaper, printed in Prague, Czech Republic.

Zakayev said that “Chechen resistance forces led by Ichkeria President Aslan Maskhadov have nothing to do with the hostage crisis in North Ossetia”. He called the events a sad fact and condemned actions against Russian children and civilians.

Zakayev believes that the twin aircraft crash last week, the blast near Rizhskaya metro station on 31 August and today’s events in North Ossetia are links in the same chain and that “the same power that wants to destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus region” is behind them.

A militant Muslim group called the Islambouli Brigades earlier claimed responsibility for downing two passenger plains and for the bomb blast in Moscow. The legitimacy of the group and the authenticity of such statements have not been verified.


Nuclear Insecurity

Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, security is inadequate at some of the facilities that house America's nuclear weapons.

(CBS) Of all the places in the United States that you'd think would be prepared to defend against a terrorist attack, the nine nuclear weapons factories and research labs operated by the Department of Energy would be at the top of the list.

But recent federal investigations have found that the department may not be up to the task.

Just last month, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham essentially shut down all nuclear weapons research, after two classified computer discs were reported missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

It is the latest in a string of serious lapses that Correspondent Ed Bradley first told you about last February -- lapses that have led government investigators to conclude that security at nuclear weapons facilities may be inadequate.
As a senior Department of Energy nuclear security specialist, Richard Levernier's job was to test how well-prepared America's nuclear weapons sites were to defend against a terrorist attack. He says security is not only inadequate, but some facilities are at high risk.

“And when you're dealing with nuclear -- assets in terms of weapons and materials, operating at high risk is unacceptable,” says Levernier, who ran annual performance tests in the years leading up to Sept. 11.

These were tests in which U.S. Special Forces, playing the role of terrorists, armed with simulated weapons, would try to penetrate the facilities, steal imitation nuclear material, and then escape. The security guards there were expected to stop the attackers.

“Overall, the test results that I was responsible for showed a 50 percent failure rate,” says Levernier. “If you understand the consequences associated with the loss of that kind of material, it would make the World Trade Center event of Sept. 11 pale in comparison.”

Linton Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), oversees the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons facilities -- where some 10,000 nuclear warheads and the tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium used to manufacture them are stored.

He calls the state of security at those facilities “perfectly acceptable,” and says that he’s comfortable that these nuclear weapons facilities are safe.

Is there a problem defending against terrorists? “'Safe' and 'no problem' are not the same thing,” says Brooks. “I am convinced that these facilities are secure and that nuclear material is not at risk. That's not the same thing as saying the there aren't a lot of things that we're working on, because this is a very difficult and demanding business.”
But to Levernier, "difficult and demanding" is no excuse for the fact that the mock terrorists were able to penetrate nuclear weapons sites half the time -- even though the security guards knew exactly what day and virtually what time to expect the attacks.

When Levernier conducted an unannounced inspection of security guards one January weekend at a nuclear weapons plant in Colorado, he says he was stunned by what he found.

“We found that the patrols that should be patrolling and moving around the facility were not observed,” says Levernier. “Upon further investigation, we found that the vast majority of the patrols were in a facility watching the Super Bowl game.”

The Department of Energy has admitted that security guards at other nuclear facilities have recently left front gates wide open, and failed repeatedly to respond to emergency alarms in top-security areas. Some have actually been caught sleeping on the job.

“People should know that the Department of Energy facilities cannot withstand a full terrorist attack,” says Levernier. “I mean, a realistic attack. Serious, state-sponsored, for business.”

What does Brooks think of this? “These are training exercises, so we don’t think that simplistic measures of won or lost are correct,” he says. “I don’t want to suggest that we're entirely happy with the results of all of these things. If you never do a test that shows a problem, you are not doing a rigorous enough test.”
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, 60 Minutes has learned that terrorists have penetrated multiple layers of security on at least three occasions at the Y-12 nuclear complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the country's primary facility for processing weapons-grade uranium; and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was developed.

The Department of Energy says it is now taking steps to bolster security, including more performance testing, installing more razor wire, better lighting, motion detection sensors and other new technologies, as well as the hiring of more guards.

But Matthew Zipoli, who's a member of a SWAT team of security guards at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory just outside San Francisco, and vice president of the Guards Union, says that's not enough.

“It’s all window dressing. There's really no substance to the security. It's what looks good from the outside,” says Zipoli.

He adds that guards are required to participate in annual counterterrorism drills with neighboring police departments, but said it never happened on his watch.

“1996 was the last time local law enforcement agencies participated in exercises with Livermore Laboratories,” says Zipoli, who adds that he doesn’t think he’s been adequately trained to perform his job.

“We haven't been trained on the proper skills to get past an enemy. We don't have the proper equipment, so no, we don't have the proper training. And that degrades the effectiveness of our force.”
What's more, terrorists who might want to get into a nuclear facility may not even have to fight their way in. Hundreds of master keys and electronic key cards - some of which provide access to classified areas - have disappeared.

The Energy Department's inspector general found that officials at Lawrence Livermore lab, which holds top-secret information about the country's nuclear arsenal, failed to immediately report their missing keys.

And at Sandia National Laboratories, near Albuquerque, N.M., the locks have just been changed -- three years after keys there were reported missing. But this is something that Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who's been leading the charge in Congress to improve nuclear security, finds hard to believe.

“If you were going to have your house keys stolen, you would change your locks right away, wouldn't you? It's unconscionable that after three years, locks had not been changed,” says Grassley. “In that three-year period of time, how many times were those doors entered, and our classified information compromised?”

“I am concerned that bad guys could have had those keys. We don't know for sure if they did. But, the fact that they were lost, and there wasn't the proper concern about it, is a bigger problem,” adds Grassley. “Because it -- once again, is evidence of people at these labs not taking their job at security seriously.”

“I find it inexplicable and unacceptable that people don't take them seriously,” says Brooks. “All I can tell you is they do now.”
As the Department of Energy's senior safety official at Los Alamos, Chris Steele has seen his share of problems. He's responsible for making sure that the lab's operations do not put workers or the public at undue risk from an accident at a nuclear weapons plant.

What kind of grade would he give them?

“I'm giving -- in the process of giving them an F -- because they've had systematic and systemic nuclear safety violations,” says Steele.

In 2003, Steele says he cited Los Alamos for an unprecedented 45 major nuclear safety violations: “Forty-five shows that their normal mode of operation is to have violations. That they view these as glitches, that there's no sense of urgency in fixing them. And they could be precursors to disaster.”

For example, Steele says Los Alamos came up with a flawed set of safety guidelines that said that in the event of a large explosion at its radioactive liquid waste facility, the subsequent fire in thousands of gallons of nuclear waste would be extinguished by the sprinkler system. The sprinkler system there would extinguish the estimated hundreds of thousands of gallons of nuclear waste, which would catch fire.

“Under the tons of rubble, the sprinkler head would rise up somehow and put out the fire. Of course, this is impossible, for a sprinkler to work under tons of rubble,” says Steele.

After pointing out this and other safety hazards to his bosses, Steele was suspended, allegedly for breaching security in an e-mail exchange with his co-workers at Los Alamos.

Matthew Zipoli, the Lawrence Livermore security guard, was fired after he allegedly organized a walkout of his fellow guards.

And as for Richard Levernier, who ran the mock terrorist drills, he was demoted after giving unclassified information about his security concerns to a newspaper.

All of them claim it was retaliation, which the Department of Energy denies. But it turns out many of the allegations they told us have been substantiated by various federal government agencies.

Zipoli has since been reinstated, and Steele was cleared and is back on the job. Over at the Department of Energy, Linton Brooks says they take all incidents and allegations of lax security seriously.

All of these concerns have been outlined in reports since 1997. And they continue to occur as recently as just in the last few months. Why? "Because this is a complex system. Because there are always going to be problems, and you have to continue to deal with those problems,” says Brooks.

“And what we're trying to do is to make sure that when you're sitting here with my successor, that you don't have repetitions of these problems. Because we've got a long-term system to fix it.”

Just last week, the Department of Energy's inspector general found that security guards at the Y-12 weapons plant have been cheating on mock terrorist drills for the past 20 years, claiming they were successful in defending their facility when in fact, in some cases, they were not.

In response to continuing security problems, Brooks and the Department of Energy are conducting special inspections of all nine nuclear weapons sites.
In the last several months, the Department of Energy says it has undertaken new steps to enhance security, including the creation of an elite paramilitary unit, and new technology to assist security officers.

As for the nuclear research that was shut down at the nation's nine nuclear weapons facilities, nearly 75 percent of that research was restarted recently -- after Energy Secretary Abraham said he was able to verify that adequate security measures were put into effect.

© MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Suffering Effects of 50's A-Bomb Tests

In the 1950's and early 1960's, at the height of the cold war, people in this southwestern Idaho town thought what they occasionally saw dusting their fruit orchards and cow pastures was frost - only it was not cold to the touch, several longtime residents said. Others described it as a gray-white powder that seemed to come out of nowhere.

The residents of this town of dairy and cattle farmers did not know it then, but half a century ago, northern winds blew radioactive fallout into southeastern Idaho when the federal government set off about 90 nuclear bombs at its Nevada test site near Las Vegas.

There is not any doubt that Emmett, population 5,500, and other towns in four Idaho counties were exposed to high levels of radiation from the open-air atomic bomb blasts, receiving among the highest doses of a radioactive chemical that has been linked to increased risk for thyroid cancer. The National Cancer Institute in 1997 released a detailed study and a map plotting the locations of the fallout across the country, ranking concentrations of Radioactive Iodine-131, an isotope released when a nuclear bomb is detonated, from Nevada to upstate New York. The study put the four Idaho counties - Gem County, which includes Emmett; Lemhi; Blaine; and Custer - and one in Montana at the top of that list.

But few Emmett residents heard about that study, dozens said in recent interviews. Even as sick residents of other Western states received compensation from the government, the question of how Idahoans may have been affected by the nuclear tests received little attention. But now a furor has erupted here and elsewhere in Idaho, set off by one Emmett native, who survived thyroid cancer but is dying of breast cancer that has spread to her liver and her bones.

The native, Sheri Garman, 52, who now lives in Vancouver, Wash., wrote a long letter to an Idaho state legislator - a high school classmate - after learning that the National Academy of Sciences, at the request of the federal government, is currently re-evaluating the extent of the fallout from the Nevada test site and its connection to other cancers and diseases besides thyroid cancer.

The academy's Board on Radiation Effects Research has held three hearings on the matter over the last year, two in Utah, including one on July 29, and one in Arizona.

"I think Idahoans were severely misled on the seriousness of the situation," Ms. Garman wrote on July 14 to Kathy Skippen, a state representative from Gem County. "It's not just thyroid cancer. It's not insignificant. It's deadly, expensive and it is known."

Like many Emmett residents, Ms. Garman grew up on a dairy farm, drinking fresh milk. Children of her generation living in places like Emmett, where the 1997 cancer institute study showed residents had received large doses of Radioactive Iodine-131, are at greater risk for developing thyroid cancer because the cows ingested contaminated grass.

The study, of 3,071 counties, concluded the fallout caused or would eventually cause tens of thousands of cases of thyroid cancer. Radiation from fallout is measured in rads; one rad is equivalent to the amount of radiation absorbed by the thyroid of a person who has 10 X-rays in the neck area. Residents of the four Idaho counties, the study said, received average thyroid doses of 12 to 16 rads, but the dose to some children may have been as high as 100 rads.

Idaho officials, including Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, then a United States senator, responded to the study by calling the situation an "outrage" and demanding further investigation. At the time Mr. Kempthorne also asked that Idaho be included in a government compensation program that now provides $50,000 each to residents of 21 counties in Utah, Nevada and Arizona whose illnesses have been diagnosed with any of 19 cancers. But Idaho residents were not included in the compensation program, which has thus far paid $780 million to other "down winders" exposed to radiation during the bomb tests as well as employees at the weapons testing sites and uranium mine and mill workers.

"What we need now," Ms. Garman said in a telephone interview, "is to get public hearings in Idaho. We need our politicians to be our watchdogs. We're too sick, and we're not all going to be there when this happens."

Critics say that Governor Kempthorne and other officials, after initially expressing concern, have ignored the public health threat to Idaho residents. Nuclear watchdog groups have also questioned whether the officials' reluctance to press the issue was intended to protect Idaho's nuclear power industry, a major employer in the state, or because they supported the idea of resuming nuclear testing, as was proposed in a Pentagon report in 2002. State officials denied such motivations.

The controversy prompted Mr. Kempthorne and Senator Larry E. Craig, both Republicans, to take the unusual step of defending themselves two weeks ago on the editorial pages of the state's largest newspaper, The Idaho Statesman.

The governor, in an article published on Aug. 18, said, "I urge anyone with a story to tell to come forward."

But he also cited a 1998 study by the Cancer Data Registry of Idaho that found an increasing rate of thyroid cancer in Blaine and Custer Counties, but was unable to attribute the rising rates to a specific cause.

Asked why the governor had waited until now to urge Idaho residents to come forward if they suspected fallout had made them sick, a spokesman for Mr. Kempthorne, Mike Journee, said that the governor was waiting for concrete proof. He said the governor would support compensation for Idahoans if there were evidence "comparable to the evidence that was used to compensate folks in Utah."

Yet when the compensation program was amended in 2000 at the urging of Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah to include more counties in his state and in Arizona, Utah officials had the same scientific information- the 1997 Cancer Institute study - available to them as Idaho officials did. Utah officials cited testimony of residents from Utah and Arizona that was made available to Mr. Hatch's office as a rationale for including five more counties in those two states.

Senator Hatch, a Republican, wrote the original 1990 law that mandated compensation, known as the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act; the payments are administered by the Justice Department.

Mr. Journee said that Utah residents had been more vocal about their illnesses than Idahoans had.

"They were engaged," he said. "The reason folks down in Utah got compensation is that they told their stories. That's what the governor wants the people of Idaho to do."

[On Friday, Mr. Kempthorne wrote in a letter to the National Academy of Sciences board studying the issue, "I call upon the board to compare exposure information for Idaho with the areas currently included" in the compensation program. "Fairness," he wrote, "must recognize the human faces behind cold, and often inconclusive studies and statistics."]

Here in Emmett, residents have spent the last several days making lists of relatives and neighbors - living and dead - with cancer. They have rushed to a local bakery, aptly named the Rumor Mill, where the owner, Tona Henderson, has produced a form letter of her own that residents can fill out and send to the National Academy of Sciences.

A committee of the academy is taking public comment for a study on nuclear fallout and public health to be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services, said Bill Kearney, a spokesman for the academy. While many scientists and medical experts have said there is a connection between exposure to Iodine-131 and greater risk of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, a link between the fallout and other diseases has not been established.

Still, in Emmett, dozens of residents have gathered in coffee shops and farmhouses to talk about cancer. Many furiously said they suspected their radiation exposure was connected to their cancers.

"This whole thing is wrong," said Richard Rynearson, 62, who is dying of colon and liver cancer, and who ran a heating and air-conditioning business until he became too sick to work. "Somebody needs to own up to the fact that they messed up."

Mr. Rynearson, who recalled seeing that strange gray dust on the dairy farm where he grew up, said he first learned of the nuclear fallout last week.

"I always thought maybe there was something wrong in this valley," he said. "But I would have liked to have known 10 years ago if we had this problem. Maybe I could have gotten checked out."

Published: September 5, 2004