September 18, 2002

Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #2: Bush's New Weapon of Mass Distraction


Hello everyone

With the swirl of new developments on the long-planned US-led War on Iraq (see #5 below), I found and/or received lots of very helpful material to better make sense of what is behind all this. One of the best take though belongs to a BBC news anchor woman who coined the catchy "Weapons of Mass Distraction" in a question refering to the war effort being a smokescreen to distract U.S. citizens from scandalous corporate corruption (including Bush's own -- see "How George W. Bush made his millions" at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/aug2002/bush-a01.shtml), world economic turmoil and lots more.

Pass it on and make a positive difference for Peace!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


The biggest difference between the Russians and Americans was that Russians recognized that "the Party Line" was propaganda from the ruling elite, and Americans who receive "the Mainstream Press" fail to recognize it as "propaganda from the ruling elite" and mistake it for "reality."

- Bill Moyer


"I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war. Never mind whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked, later on, whether he told the truth or not. In starting and waging a war, it is not Right that matters but Victory. Have no pity. Adopt a brutal attitude... Right is on the side of the strongest."

- Adolph Hitler, 09/22/39, Speech to high officers (Sent by "Judith Iam" <judeiam@cwnet.com>)


"What is needed most is an awakening in American minds that their various governments must abandon this stupid idea that they can play politics with other peoples' lives and start seeing others as equal human beings who have similar fears and desires. Power in the hands of the current Bush clan is extremely dangerous and it must be revealed for what it is: greed for control of oil and advancement of crazy religious ideologies."

- This is an excerpt from the Letter of the Week taken from http://www.yellowtimes.org/letterofweek.php


CONTENTS

1. Tell the President (imposter) what you think about his war plans
2. Will the U.S. Make War On Iraq?
3. New Anti-War on Iraq book
4. Bush Pulls a Grieving Nation Into War
5. Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President
6. Think the Days of the Draft are Gone? Think Again


See also:

Is Bush's War Illegal? (Sept 17)
http://www.counterpunch.org/boyle0917.html

Fortunes of War Await Bush's Circle After Attacks on Iraq
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.17B.fourtune.war.htm

Iraq's letter to UN: Full text
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2263455.stm

World reaction to Iraqi offer
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2263027.stm

US bribes and threatens “allies” over Iraq (Sept 17) A MUST READ!
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/iraq-s17.shtml

"It's Empire Versus Democracy"
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14082
"The Wall Street Journal gave the secret away in an October 2001 editorial declaring that September 11 created a unique political opportunity to advance the whole Republican-conservative platform. Worse, the real conservative agenda is to create an American empire, not simply rout out the al-Qaida organization. No sooner had the September 11 attacks occurred than the Wall Street Journal's editorial writer, Max Boot, published "The Case for American Empire" in the conservative organ, the Weekly Standard. Boot endorsed a return to nineteenth century British imperialism, this time under American hegemony. "Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets" (see NYT, Mar. 31, 2002). The orchestrated call for empire was "out of the closet," according to conservative columnist Charles Krauthamer."

NEWSWEEK: How the U.S. Helped Create Saddam Hussein
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.18A.neswk.us.iraq.htm

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Address on Iraq (on Israel and Afghanistan as well)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.14C.annan.iraq.htm




1.

Sent by ANONYMOUS BY REQUEST
Sent: September 15, 2002

Subject: Tell the President (imposter) what you think about his war plans

Hello Friends ... Here's a way to have your opinion heard on the issue of war with Iraq.

Phone the White House at 202-456-1111 between the hours of 9am to 5pm eastern time. A machine will detain you for only a moment and then a pleasant live operator will thank you for saying "I oppose" (or "I approve of") the proposed war against Iraq. The president wants to know. Tell him. Time is running out.

Then please forward this e-mail to at least five people right away.

--

"Prejudices are what fools use for reason. "

- Voltaire




2.

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002
Subject: Will the U.S. Make War On Iraq?
From: "AlterNet" <info@alternet.org>

The campaign to bomb Iraq has turned into a roller-coaster, as the main players switch sides and strategies from one day to the next. Just a week ago, the Bush administration's plan to attack Iraq seemed to be in disarray. Prominent members of the Republican establishment dominated the airwaves, loudly expressing doubts about the wisdom and legality of bombing Baghdad. Our allies -- with the exception of Britain -- were skeptical. But everything changed when the president addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. In a sudden about-face, Bush abandoned his dogged "go-it-alone" rhetoric and made an eloquent speech asking the U.N. Security Council to take action against Iraq. And in doing so, he gave U.S. allies the legal cover they needed to greenlight military action against Iraq.

Yesterday the Saudi government announced its willingness to allow the U.S. to use its military bases in a U.N.-backed war on Iraq. After Thursday, even Republicans closed ranks, with prominent critics like James Baker and Brent Scowcroft praising the White House's new-found multilateralism. An attack on Iraq seemed more likely than ever.

Yet, as we go to press, the international game of "Get Saddam" has changed once again. The Iraqi government has unexpectedly agreed to allow the unconditional return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq. It is too early to say whether this move will foil Bush's plans or merely vindicate his "get tough" approach.

AlterNet has assembled a series of articles analyzing the dramatic impact of Bush's speech to the UN, Iraq's response and the possible consequences of the impending attack on Baghdad:

The Economic Costs of an Unjust War (September 16, 2002)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14108
From massive budget deficits to skyrocketing oil prices, the proposed attack on Iraq will have a devastating effect on the lagging U.S. economy.

Costs of Imperial Adventurism (September 17, 2002)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14124
The Iraqis may have agreed to weapon inspections, but the campaign for "regime change" in Baghdad continues. And most other nations will go along -- for a price.

Bush Hectors U.N. Into Submission (September 16)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14121
Bush's speech has allies jumping on board the military juggernaut bearing down on Iraq. The president's fake conversion to multilateralism seems to have worked a little too well.

A Double-Faced Tirade On Iraq (September 16)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14106
Bush's much-anticipated UN address was a brazen act of hypocrisy that failed to present any credible evidence for an attack on Iraq.

How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them (September 16)
http://www.sundayherald.com/27572
Recent reports in the U.S. Senate reveal that the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992.

Scott Ritter Derides the Case against Iraq (September 16)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/14/MN81272.DTL
Life-long Republican and former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq rips apart Bush's argument for attacking Saddam.

A Case Built on Blindness, Hypocrisy and Lies (September 16)
http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0915-01.htm
George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are wilfully ignoring the realities of the Middle East. The result can only be catastrophic.

The Anniversary of a Neo-Imperial Moment (September 12)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14099
Bush's foreign policy -- including the plan to attack Iraq -- is not about fighting terrorism, but dreams of global dominance as revealed in a document leaked 10 years ago.

The Cost of War (September 12)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14097
As the debate over war on Iraq rages on, the facts on who it affects -- economically as well as socially -- are being overlooked.

Saving Iraq For 2004 (September 9)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14025
The Bush administration may not attack Baghdad now, but reserve the Saddam card for the next presidential elections.

What War Looks Like (September 9)
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14023
The debate over the war on Iraq is over geopolitics and strategy, not the truly important issue: human life. (...) What is missing is what an American war on Iraq will do to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of ordinary human beings who are not concerned with geopolitics and military strategy, and who just want their children to live, to grow up. They are not concerned with "national security" but with personal security, with food and shelter and medical care and peace. I am speaking of those Iraqis and those Americans who will, with absolute certainty, die in such a war, or lose arms or legs, or be blinded. Or they will be stricken with some strange and agonizing sickness that could lead to their bringing deformed children into the world (as happened to families in Vietnam, Iraq, and also the United States). (...) Surely, we must discuss the political issues. We note that an attack on Iraq would be a flagrant violation of international law. We note that the mere possession of dangerous weapons is not grounds for war--else we would have to make war on dozens of countries. We point out that the country that possesses by far the most "weapons of mass destruction" is our country, which has used them more often and with more deadly results than any nation on Earth. We can point to our national history of expansion and aggression. We have powerful evidence of deception and hypocrisy at the highest levels of our government. But, as we contemplate an American attack on Iraq, should we not go beyond the agendas of the politicians and the experts? (John le Carre has one of his characters say: "I despise experts more than anyone on earth.") Should we not ask everyone to stop the high-blown talk for a moment and imagine what war will do to human beings whose faces will not be known to us, whose names will not appear except on some future war memorial? CLIP

All these stories, plus discussions, action alerts and recommended sites, can be found on our War On Iraq page:

http://www.alternet.org/issues/index.html?IssueAreaID=40




IMPORTANT BOOK PROMOTED BY A LONG TIME ERN SUBSCRIBER

3.

Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002
Subject: New Anti-War on Iraq book
From: Margo Baldwin <mbaldwin@sover.net>

Jean, you should know about this book! We are rushing it out and it should be in stores in another week or so. We are hoping it will be used as an anti-war activist tool! It tells the truth. Hope you can post this info or refer readers to our web site http://www.war-on-iraq.com

Thanks!

Margo Baldwin
27 Star Mt. Rd.
South Strafford, VT 05070
Tel: 802-765-4869 Fax: 802-765-4376
e-mail: mbaldwin@sover.net

CONTEXT BOOKS ANNOUNCES:

WAR ON IRAQ: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You To Know

by William Rivers Pitt with Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector

"INSTANT BOOK" PUTS KIBOSH ON BUSH ADMIN’S WAR OF CONVENIENCE

In an "instant book" entitled War On Iraq, scheduled for release on September 23, author William Rivers Pitt talks to former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter (a self-described conservative Republican) and debunks the key arguments for war on Iraq. These are that Iraq has a viable stockpile of weapons of mass destruction and will soon have nuclear capabilities, that Saddam Hussein is an ally of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, and that any new Iraqi regime would be friendlier to the West than Hussein's. In the spirit of Tom Paine, this book is intended for citizen pamphleteering.

In War On Iraq Pitt argues that, unlike the televised in-and-out Persian Gulf War; the current conflict will cause heavy casualties on both sides, the destabilization of the Middle East, and a terrible backlash of terrorist attacks on the United States. Pitt argues that a war on Iraq will give rise "to exactly the kind of Islam vs. the West al Qaeda sought when it attacked the World Trade Center a year ago."

William Rivers Pitt offers a non-partisan analysis of the current situation, including a brief history, and conducts a pointed interview with former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter to dismantle the myths about Iraq’s present weapons program and to uncover the neo-conservative forces behind the White House’s fixation on Iraq.

William Rivers Pitt argues that the threatened conflict will be playing into the hand of Osama bin Laden (who would like to see Saddam Hussein deposed as much as the Bush administration) and that any attack at this moment in history would be both unprovoked and illegal. Pitt then lays down the framework for a reasonable, informed debate. The book closes with a stark forecast for American troops if a ground war ensues and urges the nation’s leaders to seek a diplomatic solution before it is too late. An appendix provides senator contact information.

o Weapons of mass destruction unlikely
o The problems with regime change
o No tie between Qaeda and Hussein
o The rise of terror attacks in U.S.
o 125,000-copy First Printing
o Grassroots Give-away In Major Cities
o Tool for Protest Rallies
o http://www.war-on-iraq.com

CLIP

ABOUT THE BOOK:
by William Rivers Pitt with Scott Ritter ISBN: 1-893956- 38-5 (Trade Paperback); Pub: Sept/Oct.. 2002 Pages: 96; Price: $8.95; Trim: 4.2" x 6.8". Nonfiction/Current Events/Politics

To order WAR ON IRAQ, go to http://www.war-on-iraq.com or contact the publisher below. Discounts for orders of ten or more copies are available at the following schedule:

25% discount for 10 to 24 copies
40% discount for 25 to 40 copies.
50% discount for 50 to 99 copies
55% discount for 100 to 999 copies
60% discount for 1000 or more copies.

Context Books
368 Broadway
Suite 314
NYC 1 0 0 1 3
212-233-4880

info@contextbooks.com
http://www.contextbooks.com




4.

From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.14B.vv.grief.2.war.htm

Originally from http://villagevoice.com/issues/0237/ridgeway.php

Bush Pulls a Grieving Nation Into War

I Hear America Sinking

By James Ridgeway

September 11 - 17, 2002

Behind the memorial candles and commercial remembrances lies one of the most astute marketing campaigns in American political history. This week, as the nation marks the first anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, the Bush administration will twist voters' outpouring of raw emotion and patriotic fervor into a launching pad for the inevitable invasion of Iraq.

In a September 12 speech to the United Nations, President Bush will further showcase his arguments for knocking off Saddam Hussein. Behind the scenes, his advisers have been torquing the arms of European leaders, who rightly have withheld approval. The White House is making a very bold gamble, one that has most of the world scared to death.

Last week the U.S. stepped up its air attacks, sending 100 warplanes to bomb Iraq, which has been under intermittent siege since the end of Desert Storm in 1991. The Pentagon has continued to move ships, planes, and troops into the region. As for any congressional debate, it's as much for display as the deliberations of the UN, orchestrated to end in a non-binding resolution backing Bush.

CLIP

Energy: The U.S. imports well over half its oil, with most of it coming from the Middle East. Iraq in particular sells half its oil exports to the U.S. Iraq provides about 10 percent of all American imports. As our intake of foreign fuel has grown, so has the demand for it, epitomized by gas-guzzling SUVs. To get more oil, we are trying to turn from the Middle East to the Russians and their pipelines into the Caspian basin. Even so, we are totally socked into the Middle East for the near future.

Economy: Even without threats from overseas, the economy remains dead in the water, with no new jobs, only a slight increase in wages, and unemployment near 6 percent. At the onset of the Bush presidency, we were looking at a budget surplus of $405 billion. Halfway through his term, the surplus had become a $157 billion deficit. Foreign investors are pulling back. The S&P 500 has fallen 37 percent from its peak in early 2000. As mutual funds tank, 401(k) pensions have disappeared.

Corporations: The functions of government have steadily been taken over by corporate robber barons. Over the last decade, we have re-created the business structures and atmosphere of J.P. Morgan. Each administration since Reagan's has cut away at regulation. The market, not the government, is left to sort out the mess.

NOTE FROM JEAN: On this aspect, I really recommend to your attention:
General Electric’s Jack Welch and the corporate plundering of America (Sept 17) at
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/wlch-s17.shtml

Personal Freedom: Civil liberties have been steadily reduced under the rubric of the war on terror. About 1200 people were taken into custody after 9-11, some 752 of them on immigration charges. Many of these people never had a hearing and never had a charge lodged against them. Some were subjected to secret trials. Eighty-five percent were deported. Some two dozen men are still being held as material witnesses, indefinitely, and in complete secrecy. If a prisoner were lucky enough to speak to an attorney, the government could routinely wiretap those conversations. For any reason at all the government can now designate people as "enemy combatants" and hold them in solitary, without the right to counsel.

Meanwhile the government has gained new powers. The FBI can demand your library records and school transcripts. Agents can meander through e-mail accounts at will. As always, the feds infiltrate public meetings; the mere taking of a pamphlet has led to arrest and months in prison.

Leadership: Foreigners don't know what to make of America. To an outsider, Bush looks like a puppet run by VP Dick Cheney, who last weekend single-handedly created a new foreign policy concept, the doctrine of the "preemptive strike," to rationalize an attack on Saddam Hussein. But what happens if China were to take up the preemptive strike doctrine and attack us?

And then there are always Bush's cuckoo utterances. "The world must understand . . . that its credibility is at stake," he said after a recent Cabinet Room meeting with 18 Democratic and Republican congressional leaders. Notwithstanding their guitar-playing cocker spaniel chief, Brits polled lately held Bush as the third greatest threat to peace, trailing only Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

American Ideals: These sorts of cracks in American society might be remedied by opening up debate and changing direction. Instead, politics has devolved into a nonstop talk show, paving the way for Bush to prosecute a war for oil in the name of God.

Muslims act as a "fifth column in this country," says William Lind in Why Islam Is a Threat to America and the West. Ann Coulter, the cold-blooded conservative columnist, has said of Muslims, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." The former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, Reverend Jerry Vines, also minced no words. For him, Muhammad was "a demon-obsessed pedophile."

The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the Reverend Billy Graham and an evangelist preacher in his own right, said: "The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."

The problem for America is that evil and wicked are exactly what the world thinks of us.




5.

From: http://www.sundayherald.com/27735

Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President

By Neil Mackay A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001.

The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

(NOTE FROM JEAN: This 90 page document was apparently available at http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqmiddleeast.htm for many more revealing documents.)

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: 'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'

The PNAC document supports a 'blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests'.

This 'American grand strategy' must be advanced for 'as far into the future as possible', the report says. It also calls for the US to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars' as a 'core mission'.

The report describes American armed forces abroad as 'the cavalry on the new American frontier'. The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that said the US must 'discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role'.

The PNAC report also:

- refers to key allies such as the UK as 'the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership';

- describes peace-keeping missions as 'demanding American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations';

- reveals worries in the administration that Europe could rival the USA;

- says 'even should Saddam pass from the scene' bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently -- despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops -- as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has';

- spotlights China for 'regime change' saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia'. This, it says, may lead to 'American and allied power providing the spur to the process of democratisation in China';

- calls for the creation of 'US Space Forces', to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US;

- hints that, despite threatening war against Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction, the US may consider developing biological weapons -- which the nation has banned -- in decades to come. It says: 'New methods of attack -- electronic, 'non-lethal', biological -- will be more widely available ... combat likely will take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes ... advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool';

- and pinpoints North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes and says their existence justifies the creation of a 'world-wide command-and-control system'.

Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP, father of the House of Commons and one of the leading rebel voices against war with Iraq, said: 'This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks -- men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war.

'This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.'

Web report: Iraq at http://www.sundayherald.com/iraq




6.

From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.12A.wrp.draft.htm

Think the Days of the Draft are Gone? Think Again

By William Rivers Pitt

September 11, 2002

2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam. 304,000 of them were wounded in action, and over 75,000 of those were disabled by their injuries. As of Memorial Day 1996, there were 58,202 names listing the dead on the long, black monument in Washington, D.C. Approximately 1,300 men are still listed as missing in action.

There are many reasons why people today believe a return of the draft is an absurd notion, and the names on that wall stand tall among them. The insanity loosed within this nation when the draft was violently resisted stands as another firebreak against a politician who would call for its reinstatement. Finally, most Americans believe that our armed forces are utterly invincible and fully capable of performing any task we require beyond our borders. We stomped the Iraqi army, then the largest mechanized military force in the Middle East, like a roach back in 1991. After 9/11, we rampaged through Afghanistan.

Perceptions of this nature are dangerous, for they depart in the extreme from reality. Though we have succeeded in shattering the Taliban and dispersing al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the threat posed by the latter terrorist organization remains quite real. The cultural and tribal rifts in that region will require a massive American military presence there for years. The recent car-bomb attack against Afghan president Karzai demonstrates that, though we may have won all the battles over there, we are far from obtaining victory.

The situation in Afghanistan will be a significant tax on our military resources, unless we walk away as we did once the Soviets disengaged in 1989, which would guarantee once again the rise of fundamentalist chaos there. We have reaped that whirlwind once already, and will hold this tiger by the tail until further notice. The fact that we have significant interest in the natural resources of that region only cements the permanence of our presence there.

Our military presence in the Middle East is already significant, and has begun to steadily increase since George W. Bush began to beat the war drum against Iraq. A great many officers ensconced in the Pentagon strongly believe our military will become far too stretched in a repeat engagement with Saddam Hussein's forces. Few will say openly that they fear defeat, and in fact the odds of losing a war in Iraq are extremely low, but the pressure placed upon our military resources will be extreme. The potential for explosive upheaval in the Middle East should we make war on Iraq further exacerbates this. Between Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States military is reaching mission capacity.

Still, the idea that forced military conscription of Americans could come again is a foolish one, right? Consider the following scenario. Consider it with particular care if you have loved ones of battle age.

In July of 2002, the Defense Policy Board - a powerful group at the ear of the Bush administration which is chaired by former Reagan Defense Department official Richard Perle - listened with great interest to a briefing delivered by emissaries from a Rand Corporation think tank. The thrust of the briefing was that Iraq should be considered only the beginning of a protracted campaign to bring "regime change" throughout the Middle East. The final Powerpoint slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot, (and) Egypt as the prize."

Though the administration publicly distanced itself from this briefing once it was exposed on the pages of the Washington Post, going so far as to have Bush abase himself before visiting Saudi royalty, the substance of that talk surely resonated within the men calling the shots in D.C. Richard Perle is a famously hawkish neo-conservative who springs from the same think-tank environment as those who gave the briefing. The same goes for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and his assistant Paul Wolfowitz. These three men, along with the like-minded Vice President Cheney, are fully in control of both American foreign policy and the War on Terror. A plan for region-wide regime change in the Middle East suits them right down to the ground.

Noted MIT professor Noam Chomsky, writing earlier this week in the Guardian, described the invitation for more terrorism on American shores should we attack Iraq. "No one," wrote Chomsky, "including Donald Rumsfeld, can realistically guess the possible costs and consequences. Radical Islamist extremists surely hope that an attack on Iraq will kill many people and destroy much of the country, providing recruits for terrorist actions." The inference is clear: Any war in that region will spawn a new and terrible wave of attacks against this country. Any war in that region is exactly what the terrorists are hoping for. Fresh recruits, soaked in rage, will flood into their open arms.

The unfolding scenario becomes all too clear. If Bush is pressed into a conflict with Iraq by the hawkish, neo-conservative platoon of Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Cheney, America will once again suffer a catastrophic terrorist attack. The result will be the complete militarization of America, complete with martial law and the suspension of all basic civil rights. Bush administration officials have already admitted as much when asked in the last year what the result of another attack would be. In the aftermath, the Bush administration will assuredly push for that region-wide regime change in the Middle East, but will be unable to do so without forced conscriptions, because the military is currently stretched too thin. Thus, the draft.

Farfetched? Hardly. In fact, there is presently in Congress a bill pending that would require military conscription. H.R. 3598, entitled "Universal Military and Training Act of 2001," was introduced into the House of Representatives on December 20th, 2001 by Republican Rep. Nick Smith of Michigan. It calls for the drafting of all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 22 for military service. Even those who would declare themselves conscientious objectors would be drafted and given military training, whereupon they would be peeled off to another Federal agency to serve out their term.

At present, H.R. 3598 languishes in the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, which is attached to the House Committee on Armed Services, because it has not enjoyed enough support in Congress. Should the very real scenario described above unfold, and specifically if this nation is attacked again, H.R. 3598 could well enjoy an incredible surge in popularity.

There is a high-stakes game of poker being played within the administration right now. The hawks are holding aces and betting them. Around them on the card table, the chips are piled high. Your sons, your brothers, your friends are in that pile. So are you, if you are of age. After September 11th, the only thing likely to happen is that which was previously inconceivable. Could war in Iraq bring terrorism back to our country? Could it lead to a regional conflagration in the Middle East? Could it lead to another draft?

I wouldn't bet against it.







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