"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

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Organization Says British Approved Human Cloning Violates Nuremburg Code

Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, the famed “creator” of Dolly the sheep, has been given permission to use and destroy human embryos in cloning experiments.

“The destruction of human embryos by scientists is a moral evil which should be equated with the Nazis’ experimentation on Jews in the Second World War,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada. “Human beings must be protected from those who would commodify them and destroy their lives, whether those lives are initiated in a petri dish or not,” he continued.

“Wilmut’s statement that ‘This is not reproductive cloning in any way’ is false. Nuclear transfer cloning, the technique that they intend to use, immediately produces a human embryo, therefore reproduction has already occurred. Some researchers, however, falsely maintain that an embryo is not ‘reproduced’ until it, the embryo, has successfully implanted in the lining of a uterus, six days after conception. The fact that a human being comes into existence immediately at fertilization, or as a result of cloning, is accepted by the science of human embryology today,” says Dr. John Shea, Campaign Life Coalition’s medical consultant.

He continues: “The British researchers are reported to have said that this stem cell technique will greatly enhance understanding of motor neuron disease and accelerate the discovery of new drugs. This opinion is at best a guess, and is in any case, morally irrelevant. One must not use evil means even for a good purpose.

“The report spoke of ‘therapeutic cloning, aimed at treating diseases by creating embryos to produce tissue that is a patient's perfect match.’ This is incorrect in two ways: 1) Since the technique kills a human being, it cannot be truly described as therapeutic. 2) This technique does not produce a perfect match for a patient. The mitochondrial DNA of the ovum used in the cloning process is foreign to the patient and tissue rejection of the cloned stem cells is possible. The Wilmut research group has falsified facts and tried to justify their research by using invalid moral arguments.”

Campaign Life Coalition’s media spokesperson, Gillian Long, points out “Wilmut’s proposed research is in direct contradiction of the Nuremberg Code, the first precept of which is ‘The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.’ Human embryos cannot give their consent, so they are not acceptable research subjects under internationally recognized research standards.”

Campaign Life Coalition is calling on the Canadian government and international bodies to decry the use of human beings for destructive research.


Nuclear Folly

For the Bush administration and its fans, this evasion of U.S. obligations under the NPT makes perfect sense. The United States, they believe, is a supremely virtuous nation, and nations with whom it has bad relations – such as Iran – are "evil." In line with this belief, the U.S. government has the right to build and use nuclear weapons, while nations it places on its "enemies" list do not.

According to recent news reports and as hinted in the president's State of the Union Address, the neocons who dominate the Bush administration are gearing up for another pre-emptive military attack, this time upon Iran. The ostensible reason for such an attack is that the Iranian government is developing nuclear weapons.

In fact, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which regularly inspects Iran's nuclear operations, has not found any signs of nuclear weapons. Although the IAEA has reported that Iran has produced enriched uranium – which can be used for either civilian or military purposes – such production has been halted thanks to a November 2004 Iranian agreement with France, Germany, and Britain. Thus, although it is possible that Iran might produce nuclear weapons some time in the future, this is hardly a certainty. Nor is it clear that the Iranian government has ever planned to produce them.

Ironically, in the midst of this delicate situation, the Bush administration is busy dismantling the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This treaty, signed in 1968 by officials of the United States and of almost all other countries, obligates non-nuclear nations to forgo development of nuclear weapons and nuclear nations to take steps toward nuclear disarmament. The Bush administration reveres the first obligation and wants to scrap the second.

In late December 2004, news accounts quoted an administration official as saying that the final agreement at the NPT review conference in 2000 – which commits the declared nuclear weapons states to an "unequivocal undertaking" to abolish nuclear weapons – is a "simply historical document," which does not reflect the drastic changes in the world since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Thus, he said, the Bush administration "no longer supports" all of the thirteen steps toward disarmament outlined in the 2000 agreement and does not view it as "being a road map or binding guideline or anything like that."

For those who have followed the Bush administration's nuclear policy, this position should come as no great surprise. The administration has not only abandoned efforts toward negotiating nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements with other nations, but has withdrawn the United States from the ABM treaty (signed by President Nixon) and refused to support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (signed by President Clinton).

It has also championed a program of building new U.S. nuclear weapons, including so-called "bunker busters" and "mini-nukes," and of facilitating the resumption of U.S. nuclear testing. Only an unexpected revolt in Congress – led by Representatives David Hobson and Pete Viclosky, the Republican chair and ranking Democrat of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee – blocked funding for the Bush administration's proposed new nuclear weapons in 2004. Political analysts expect the administration to make another effort to secure the funding this year.

For the Bush administration and its fans, this evasion of U.S. obligations under the NPT makes perfect sense. The United States, they believe, is a supremely virtuous nation, and nations with whom it has bad relations – such as Iran – are "evil." In line with this belief, the U.S. government has the right to build and use nuclear weapons, while nations it places on its "enemies" list do not.

As might be expected, this assumption does not play nearly as well among government officials in Iran, who seem unlikely to fulfill their part of the NPT agreement if U.S. officials flagrantly renege on theirs. At the very least, the Bush administration is offering them a convenient justification for a policy of building Iranian nuclear weapons.

Other nations have drawn this same conclusion. In the fall of 2004, Helen Clark, the prime minister of New Zealand, warned: "First and foremost we need to keep before us the essential bargain that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty represents. While we will willingly contribute to non-proliferation and counter-proliferation initiatives, those initiatives should be promoted alongside initiatives to secure binding commitments from those who have nuclear weapons which move us further towards the longer-term goal of nuclear disarmament."

Much the same point was made in early January 2005 by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the IAEA. Calling upon all countries to commit themselves to forgo building facilities for uranium enrichment and nuclear reprocessing for the next five years, ElBaradei added: "We should not forget the commitment by the weapons states to move toward nuclear disarmament."

In fact, ElBaradei's evenhanded approach to nuclear issues has angered the Bush administration, which is now working to deny him reappointment as IAEA director.

The responsibility of all nations under the NPT will undoubtedly receive a good deal of discussion at the NPT review conference that will convene at the United Nations this May. Certainly it will be interesting to see how the Bush administration explains the inconsistencies in its nuclear policy.

Unfortunately, by then we may well have another bloody military confrontation on our hands. Like the war in Iraq, it will be sold to us on the basis of the potential threat from a nation possessing weapons of mass destruction. And, also like the war in Iraq, it will be unnecessary – brought on by the arrogance and foolishness of the Bush administration.

February 8, 2005

Lawrence S. Wittner [send him mail] is Professor of History at the State University of New York/Albany. His latest book is Toward Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present (Stanford University Press). This article originally appeared on the History News Network. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2005 History News Network

A More Powerful President Is the Last Thing We Need

Vice President Richard Cheney recently credited George W. Bush with restoring the presidency to its proper station of authority and power. According to Cheney, the American presidency declined in its prestige and status in recent years, especially during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations, and has only been fully recovered with the current chief executive.

This is very unsettling, especially for those who believed Republicans had some understanding and respect for the constitutional structure of American government, as it was framed by the Founding Fathers.

Originally, the president was meant to be an executive officer with limited powers who was confined mostly to carrying out the legislative mandate of Congress, which was itself strictly limited to its enumerated functions in Article I, Section 8. Other than that, the president had the power to appoint ambassadors and other officials, veto legislation, and perform a few other tasks, most of which were subject to congressional ratification. Congress was to be superior to the president in legislative matters and yet inferior to the people, and the three branches of government were meant to constantly hold each other in check, limiting each other’s powers rather than enhancing them. Congress was also supposed to hold the power of overriding presidential veto by supermajority and, whenever the president seriously transgressed his authority or behaved criminally, to draw up articles of impeachment and expel him from office.

The Founders were perhaps most adamant about limiting the war-declaring powers to the legislative branch, with the president having the power to wage war only after war has been officially declared by Congress.

Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson expanded and exalted the presidency far beyond its intended limits, each time legislating and regulating from the Oval Office and subverting the Constitution and congressional checks and balances.

George W. Bush has also been particularly flagrant in respect to the constitutional limits on his power. He has signed and enforced unconstitutional legislation, violated the rule of law in the War on Terrorism, detained people without trial or due process, and subverted the Bill of Rights with the USA PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Bill, various executive orders, and his administration’s treatment of designated “enemy combatants.” In his recent inaugural speech he indicated that he intends an even more interventionist foreign policy than we already have, none of which is likely to be consistent with the procedural safeguards or purpose of the Constitution.

The lesson is clear: when a president is not limited in his power, the abuses of power and of our liberties will multiply without limit. How telling it is to have a glimpse into Cheney’s outlook on all this.

Most disconcerting is Cheney’s opinion that “there has been over time a restoration, if you will, of the power and authority of the president” as it relates to waging war and requiring congressional approval for military action.

Specifically, Cheney believes the Vietnam War unduly discredited the power of the president to wage war without a formal congressional declaration. He believes the 1973 War Powers Act is “unconstitutional” in the limits it places on the president, even though it was simply an attempt to reverse some of the damage done by the truly unconstitutional 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution that gave Lyndon Johnson a blank check to wage war. Cheney does not “think you should restrict the president’s authority to deploy military forces because of the Vietnam experience,” even though the president’s military authority was already sharply restricted by the Constitution itself, which was ignored by Harry Truman in the Korean War and Johnson in the Vietnam War, and which has not been respected at all by Congress or the presidents since World War II.

Cheney also laments the loss of respect for the presidency that came as a result of the Iran-Contra scandal, which Cheney amazingly characterizes as a congressional attempt to “criminalize a policy difference.” The cynicism here is breathtaking. The Reagan administration struck at the very foundations of constitutional checks and balances in the Iran-Contra affair, appropriating the power of the purse from Congress to secretly and illegally sell weapons to Iran and fund the Nicaraguan Contras, and contravening a direct refusal of Congress to participate in this military intervention. The Iran-Contra scandal was criminal, and probably supplied more serious grounds for impeachment than either Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up or Bill Clinton’s obstruction of justice in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

In discussing Watergate, Cheney also appears to forget the more serious crime of Richard Nixon, which was considered during his impeachment hearings as a possible article of impeachment: the illegal and secret carpet-bombing of Cambodia, without a semblance of congressional or constitutional legitimacy.

“I’m not sure that [Watergate] justified reducing or restricting presidential power and authority or making changes in the fundamental institutional balance between” Congress and the presidency, says Cheney, although even the Watergate scandal failed to restrain the presidency and limit it to the provisions of the Constitution.

Cheney resents some of the only occasions in recent history on which presidential power became questioned or curbed and when there seemed to be a chance that Congress and the people would begin to rein in the hyperinflated executive branch and bring it even a few steps closer to its constitutionally limited and proper functions.

What America really needs is a much smaller federal government, no larger or more powerful than authorized in the Constitution, no longer involved in health care, education, charity, corporate subsidies, gun control, drug policy, business regulation, retirement savings, trade protectionism, or foreign aid — let alone a global perpetual war to overturn every foreign regime the president doesn’t like. We need our liberty restored and a presidency returned to the limits of the Constitution, not the unlimited power of the most ambitious and authoritarian presidents of the past. What we do not need is an even more powerful and unaccountable chief executive than we already have.

A powerful president practicing unauthorized activities probably poses the greatest of all threats to American liberty. That the vice president is happy about the “restoration” of the unrestrained and unchecked presidency would imply, at least for the political skeptic, that he is not too concerned or saddened by the corresponding loss of freedom we can expect from this continuing erosion of America’s constitutional order.

Anthony Gregory is a research assistant at the Independent Institute and serves as policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation. He is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at UC Berkeley where he was president of the Cal Libertarians. He has written for RationalReview.com, the Libertarian Enterprise, and LewRockwell.com. See his webpage, AnthonyGregory.com, for more articles and personal information. Send him email.

Is Bush Misdiagnosing the Malady?

If a doctor, even a God-fearing, Bible-believing evangelical Christian, misdiagnoses a mortal malady, there is a probability the medicine he prescribes will do no good and the surgery he proposes may worsen the patient's condition.

Rereading the president's Inaugural and State of the Union, this seems an apt metaphor for U.S. war policy.

In his Inaugural, President Bush described Sept. 11 as "a day of fire ... when freedom came under attack." But was it really freedom that was under attack on 9-11? Was bin Laden really saying, "Give up your freedom!"? Or was he saying, "Get out of our world!"?

If Al Qaeda was attacking our freedom, which of the freedoms in the Bill of Rights does Bush believe bin Laden wishes to abolish?

No. Al Qaeda was no more attacking our "freedom" when it drove those planes into the World Trade Center than were Iroquois, Sioux and Apache attacking our freedom when they massacred settlers on the frontier. Like Islamists, the Indians saw us as defiling their sacred soil, dispossessing them, imposing a hated hegemony. They cared not about our Constitution – they wanted us off their land.

If we were truly being attacked for our beliefs, and not our behavior, the war would have no end. Yet, all the other guerrilla and terror wars against Western powers there have ended. How?

When the British left Palestine, Irgun terror ended. When the French left Algeria, FLN terror ended. When Israel left Lebanon, Hezbollah terror largely ended. These countries chose to resolve their terror problem by giving up their occupations and letting go. Their perceived imperial presence had been the cause of the terror war, and when they departed and went home, the wars faded away.

The president says we must fight them over there, so we do not have to fight them over here. But, before we invaded Iraq, not one American had been killed by an Iraqi in a dozen years. Since we invaded, 1,500 Americans have died and the number of insurgents has multiplied from 5,000 to 20,000. By Don Rumsfeld's own metric, our intervention is creating more terrorists than we are killing. We are fighting a guerrilla army that our own invasion called into being.

Do our Saudi friends whose necks are now on the line agree with us that terrorists attack America because of our democratic principles? Or do they believe Al Qaeda, when it says it is attacking us because of our Middle East policies and presence? It would appear to be the latter. For Riyadh has lately asked us to remove our planes from Prince Sultan Air Base and our troops from Saudi soil.

Even the Saudis believe they are safer without the provocative presence of U.S. troops?

Americans have often fought wars over lands we coveted or deemed to be ours: the French and Indian War, Jackson's invasion of Florida, the war of Texas independence, the Mexican-American War. Yet, never has an enemy attacked us because we were free. Who told the president this was what 9-11 was all about?

Consider the Bush panacea for peace: democracy, rule by the people and by governments that reflect the popular will.

But what makes Bush believe this would advance peace or U.S. vital interests? Does the Arab street share our love for Israel or Bush's admiration for Sharon as a "man of peace"? Do Arab masses revere Bush, or bin Laden?

When free elections were held in Algeria, the people voted for an Islamic republic. In Gaza, they just voted 70 percent for Hamas. Moderate Mahmoud Abbas was elected to succeed Arafat, but only because Marwan Barghouti, now serving a life sentence in Israel, declined to run. In Iraq, the Shia voted as an ayatollah told them to vote, so they could take over the country from the Sunni.

Democracy is America's panacea. But if the abdication of the kings, sheiks, sultans and autocrats in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Gulf states would be good for America, why is the fall of these royal houses and of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt also sought by bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood? What assurances are there, in the history of the region, that when the kings depart, democrats will arise?

President Bush's advisers were 100 percent wrong about what would happen in Iraq, but perhaps they are right now. If not, however, he and we may discover that the alternative to autocracy is not democracy, but Islamic fundamentalism or anarchy, and Bush may find himself with the epitaph penned a century ago by an old imperialist who knew the region well:

"A fool lies here/Who tried to hustle the East."

February 9, 2005

Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail], former presidential candidate and White House aide, is editor of The American Conservative and the author of eight books, including A Republic Not An Empire and the upcoming Where the Right Went Wrong.

Copyright © 2005 Creators Syndicate

Hogan's Heroes: Have Americans Become Like Nazis? Nah.

Our Senate ratified an Attorney General who supports the use of torture. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our Pentagon blitzkrieged Baghdad. 100,000 people are dead. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our hearts and minds are constantly brainwashed by pro-war propaganda machines. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our dissidents are hauled off to secret jails, free speech is in deep dog dookie, the Bill of Rights is a relic of the past, U.S. citizens are denied lawyers and held for years without being charged and PTECH and PROMIS invade people's computers and data-mine people's lives. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Election fraud is rampant, corporations own our country, labor unions are hounded and all our country's money is being siphoned off to feed the war machine. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Education is being de-funded, teachers are fired for expressing opinions, books are being burned, libraries are being closed and our leaders appear at Nuremberg-style rallies where the average citizen is banned. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Freedom of religion is being systematically eradicated, people are being persecuted solely on the basis of their religion, women's rights are being replaced with "Kirche, Kueche, Kinder" and racism is alive and well. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our leaders feed us outrageous lies like Iraq has WMDs, Social Security is in trouble, the voting machines weren't tampered with, Saudi Arabia is our friend, unemployment is at a new low, our treasury isn't bankrupt, Tom DeLay didn't commit ethics violations, Gulf War Syndrome doesn't exist, Bush actually won the 2000 and 2004 elections, Palestine isn't a reinactment of the Warsaw Ghetto, liberals are the enemy, outsourcing is a good thing, flipping burgers is a manufacturing job, the dollar hasn't dropped 40% in the last four years and SYRIA is the cause of all our grief. SYRIA? As Hitler used to say, "No one believes small lies but tell Big Lies and everyone will believe you because they simply can't grasp the fact that anyone would lie that outrageously." And we, the Queens of Denial, swallow all these Big Lies and beg for more. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our brave young troops are taught how to torture prisoners and our doctors perform "medical experiments" on them. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

Our government gets its way by using threats, intimidation, propaganda, bribes, secrets and lies. We as citizens live in constant fear of saying something that might get us in trouble -- rubber bullets if we protest, no-fly lists, website closures or getting fired for speaking out. The midnight knock on the door is an actual possibility. So is the mysterious plane crash. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

There are rumors everywhere that 9-11, like the burning of the Reichstag, was an inside job but nobody except the Jersey Girls mounts a serious investigation. Nobody except the Jersey Girls seems to care. Does that make us Nazis? Nah.

That makes us "Good Germans".

Sometimes I feel like I'm on the Hogan's Heroes show, utterly surrounded by a sea of Americans who think it's okay -- not even okay but ethical, moral and brilliant! -- to torture and lie and steal. I feel like Colonel Hogan, burrowing from within while the rest of America actually applauds and cheers torture, blitzkrieg and mass murder.


Am I the only one left in America who notices this kind of crap? Am I the only one left in America with ideals? Where is Kinch? Where is Newkirk? Where is Carter? Where is LeBeau? All of America should be out protesting these blatant outrages. At best we only have Sergeant Schultz muttering "I know nuthing!"

Everyone in America seems to be rushing to play the part of Helga or Hilda or Colonel Klink -- living their lives in fear of standing up. "But if I say anything, they will send me to the front!"

No fear of that here, America. If Bush keeps up his current policies, the same thing that happened to Germany will happen here -- the "front" will come to us.

Does anybody else out there want to become a Hogan's Hero? Then join the freedom and democracy underground! There are places you can go on the web (Shhhh... Don't tell General Burkhalter!) and here is a random sampling:

Barbara Boxer's PAC at http://www.changethecongress.com/about/ ;

alternate news sources like TruthOut at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/020405A.shtml and
CLG News at http://legitgov.org/index.html#breaking_news and Dennis Kucinich's grassroots organizing team at http://www.kucinich.us/VolunteerAction/index.php

Let's all stop being prisoners of war and band together to help send the Bush Gang to the Klink!

# posted by Jane Stillwater : 4:34 PM