"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

Saturday, March 19, 2005

What Planet Do The Editors At the New York Daily (Rag) News Live In?

This stunningly obtuse editorial was in the New York Daily (Rag) News today:

World warms to W's war

Fascinating it's been to cock the ear and listen as the once-keening cry of the Bush-basher dims toward mufflement. You were hearing it as recently as weeks ago: Lied us into war, single-handedly cost us the world's respect, hurtled us all to the brink of annihilation. All at once, even European journals are wondering out loud, as are many home-grown scolds now hastening to reconsider their views: Good Lord, is it possible that American foreign policy is actually sane? You mean this Iraq thing looks like it might be working after all? You mean George W. Bush was - choke - right?
Granted, there remains the stray voice of distemper, forlornly refusing to concede that this warmongering cowboy who stole the presidency could possibly have done anything correctly. Those of a more sensible persuasion will today, two years after U.S. troops started whooping their way toward Baghdad, recognize how profoundly better a place the world is on its way to becoming. This at the very least being a corollary result of Washington's bold stroke to take matters into its own hands, regardless of what this and that faintheart thought about such rude unilateralism.

For the astonishing tilt toward a sort of democratization in assorted sectors of the Arab world is a planet-rattling phenomenon that was literally unthinkable practically yesterday. Not every one of these historic developments can be directly attributed to the Bush White House, but on the other hand it is mush-brained to imagine, for example, that Syria would today be swiftly retreating from Lebanon had not Washington demonstrated what becomes of tinhorn dictators who defy United Nations resolutions that the UN has not the viscera to enforce on its own. It is ludicrous to think that Libya would have abandoned its weapons programs had not Saddam Hussein's statues been toppled. It is improbable that Europe would today at last be talking tough with Iran's nuclear-happy mullahs were it not for Washington's own unflaggingly hard-line attitude.

"Bush may end up being just as right as Reagan was," mused Germany's Der Spiegel the other day, referring to Ronald Reagan's famously deranged idea that Soviet Communism might be dismantled. Many current notions in the arena of foreign affairs run toward the same kind of confident lunacy, and the President's critics will certainly continue their carping. But less noisily, we think.

You can e-mail the Daily News editors at voicers@edit.nydailynews.com. Please include your full name, address and phone number.

Originally published on March 19, 2005

But, here in the real world:

Europe-Wide Protests Mark Iraq Invasion Anniversary

LONDON, March 19: Tens of thousands of people marched through European cities on Saturday, banging drums, waving banners and posters denouncing the 'war on terror' on the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

In London, 45,000 protesters marched with pictures of US President George Bush under the title, "World's Number One Terrorist", according to police, while the organizers put the figure at up to 150,000.

There were also banners saying "No War in Iran" mingled with others warning British Prime Minister Tony Blair that people would not vote for him in a general election expected in May due to his support for the invasion.

"Hey! Ho! Bush and Blair have got to go!" the protesters chanted as they moved from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, where the main roads were cordoned off to traffic and hundreds of police stood guard.

"This shows that the British people are still very angry about the occupation of Iraq and determined that there should be no more wars in the Middle East with British support," Andrew Murray, who heads the Stop The War Coalition - the action group that organized the event - said.

In Rome several thousand people took to the streets, some of them demanding the immediate return of the 3,000 Italian troops in Iraq. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi this week said the troops would start heading home in September, only to backtrack following a phone call from the US president.

Around 1,000 demonstrators also marched from downtown Stockholm to the US embassy, after listening to speeches by anti-war lawmakers.

"Sweden, with its need to export arms, keeps quiet and collaborates," charged Green Party deputy Lotta Hedstroem.

Police in Athens said 2,000 demonstrators had marched in the city centre, where they attended a rock concert and heard an address by Sue Niederer, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq.

In Poland, where three out of four people oppose the deployment of Polish troops in Iraq, only 500 protesters marched in Warsaw past the US embassy and the offices of President Aleksander Kwasniewski.

In Turkey protests took place in Ankara, Istanbul and Adana, attracting crowds of several hundred. Turkey refused US access to the country to attack bordering Iraq ahead of the war.

London's peaceful protest was the biggest since an unprecedented rally in the British capital in Nov 2003, Mr Murray said, speaking at Nelson's Column, where a long line of prominent campaigners were delivering speeches.

Protesters of all ages and backgrounds said they wanted to send a message to Mr Blair to pull British troops out of Iraq and warn against any more "Bush wars".

"A war on poverty, a war on AIDS that would be worthwhile, we would give more taxes for that," said one of the speakers, Paul MacKney, the general secretary of the National Association of Teachers in Further Education (NAFTE). "But instead we see 100,000 dead in Iraq. The war has cost five billion (pounds), military spending is 10 per cent of taxes," he told the crowd assembled at the square to a volley of cheers, drumbeats and whistles.

"I think the war in Iraq is illegal, I think it is wrong, it is appalling and I will have no part of it," said Ray Hewitt, 34, a veteran of the first Gulf War and an army reservist who helped to carry the coffin through London.

"I will go to prison before I go to Iraq," said the soldier, who has refused to be sent back to the Middle East.

People poured into London from across the country, including 58-year-old theatre worker Eileen Murphy who travelled on a coach for five hours from Lancashire, northern England.

"I am here to protest that British troops are supporting the Americans in Iraq," she said, sitting among the campaigners in Trafalgar Square.

Iraq and the 'war on terror' are likely to hurt Mr Blair in the next general election, which is widely expected to be called for May 5, many protesters predicted.

"It was wrong to take the country to war without everyone's support. That makes me angry," said Adam Rowberry, just 15, who was handing out green stickers emblazoned with the words, 'Vote respect'.-AFP

New U.S. Policy Supports More Military Intervention

A new national defense strategy revealed yesterday by the Pentagon calls for greater U.S. military efforts to keep foreign nations from becoming havens for terrorism or being undermined internally by such additional threats as insurgency, drugs and organized crime.

While U.S. forces have long helped bolster foreign militaries through a variety of assistance programs, the new emphasis on using force against internal threats in other nations marks a significant departure from the traditional focus on guarding against potential cross-border aggression.

In addition, the wording of the National Defense Strategy document signed this month by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicates the United States might intervene without the approval of the nation involved.

"Active deterrence"

Defense Department officials said the United States will use "active deterrence" in concert with its allies "if we can," but could act unilaterally otherwise.

"The president has the obligation to protect the country," Douglas Feith, the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, said yesterday. "And I don't think that there's anything in our Constitution that says that the president should not protect the country unless he gets some non-American's participation or approval of that."

According to the document:

"The United States and its allies and partners have a strong interest in protecting the sovereignty of nation states. In the secure international order that we seek, states must be able to effectively govern themselves and order their affairs as their citizens see fit."

In contrast to the 20th century, the document adds, where security threats arose from aggressive action by powerful states, "great dangers" now "may arise in and emanate from relatively weak states and ungoverned areas."

"The U.S., its allies and partners must remain vigilant to those states that lack the capacity to govern activity within their borders."

The policy raises questions about the extent to which greater U.S. military involvement would be welcomed in foreign countries or seen as an infringement of national sovereignty.

"We're a bit on the horns of a dilemma," said a defense official involved in the review who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"On the one hand, we respect the sovereignty of nation states. On the other hand, 9/11 demonstrates that threats to our direct interests can emanate from nonstate actors within nation-states. We're trying to square this by working with nation-states that are cooperative so that they can govern themselves and nonstate actors cannot pose threats."

Defense officials made clear yesterday that the revised strategy reflects the Bush administration's priority since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on taking preventive action globally to block potential attacks or limit dangerous situations from mushrooming into worse crises that would require even greater U.S. military involvement.

"One of the key strategic messages that the secretary is giving the department through the National Defense Strategy is that people should be thinking not simply how to react to events — when those events have already become big problems or wars — but what kinds of actions do we want to take now to help shape an international environment so that problems are less likely to become crises," Feith said.

Much of the new strategy strikes themes previously stressed by the administration, including the unconventional and unpredictable nature of present-day threats, the need for an "active defense" and the "transformation" of the armed forces into more agile, deployable units.

Pentagon officials in the past also have underscored the need for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and expressed concern about the potential for "failed" states or "ungoverned" territories becoming havens for terrorist activity. But the new strategy makes this a central focus, officials said.

Global groups avoided

The policy appears to move the nation further from reliance on international coalitions such as NATO and more toward what Rumsfeld has called "coalitions of the willing" under clear U.S. leadership, analysts said.

In some cases, respected global organizations seem to be viewed with suspicion. In describing the vulnerabilities of the United States, the document uses strong language to list international bodies, such as the International Court of Justice, created under a treaty the United States has declined to sign, alongside terrorists.

The concern, Feith explained, is that some nations would try to "criminalize" American foreign policy by challenging it in international courts.

Feith, asked to identify specific regions warranting priority attention, appeared hard-pressed to come up with a list.

"I don't think that the world gives us the luxury of picking areas," he said. "We have interests all over the world."

Just how the Pentagon's plan will translate into new international missions — and what changes it will require in U.S. forces and weapons — will be a major subject of a broad defense review getting under way at the Pentagon, officials said. As a sign of the importance being given to international cooperation, Pentagon officials said, a number of foreign countries are being invited to participate in the defense review — a first in what historically has been a closed Pentagon process.

The Washington Post and Los Angles Times
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company