Hello, Another ZNet Update...and of course as always you can remove your address or change it on ZNet's Top Page... www.zmag.org/weluser.htm
--- Reports Report One: Thank you. Our efforts to get Update recipients to become Sustainers the last few weeks have yielded good results. The new support will help us greatly. We thank you. On the other hand, we have to admit that while good, the sign-ups have not been overwhleming. So, did you yourself sign up? If not, please consider doing so via http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm Once at that page you can read more about the program, and, if you are interested, you can sign up by choosing your donation level and method using an easy form. Why do it? Well, it isn't just that you get daily email commentaries from an internationally unparalleled list of writers, and that you get access to the online commentary zine of years of their past commentaries and all their future ones, and that you get access to the sustainer forums -- it is that by signing up you materially and psychologically and organizationally support ZNet and Z in all our endeavors. That's something we hope you will agree that the quality and value of our efforts warrants. Others have been doing it, making ZNet possible over the years. Now, how about you too? Now is a very good time to join -- if you haven't already, that is. Report Two: Disinformation and Denial of Service Attacks We and others are still under considerable sporadic internet attack. The approach is: (a) The culprits send targeted individuals and organizations huge numbers of emails, to try to clog their operations and overtax their systems. For example, a few nights ago our servers received about 35,000 illegitimate emails -- a few messages are sent to us many many times each. (b) T culprits send out degrading or otherwise misleading messages with false return addresses, trying to reduce the credibility of the people falsely implicated in sending the offending messages. Currently there are many graphics being sent around under false pretenses, for example. There have been some articles about what is going on -- and part of their content has been accurate, though there have also been mistakes. What we believe we know is that it is being done from inside Israel, probably by four or five people, if not more, that those involved are quite persistent even against significant disruption of their efforts, and that the motive is clearly to discourage, interrupt, or discredit people supporting Palestinian rights. There is no evidence that the Israeli government is directly involved in the actual cyberattacks, nor the U.S. -- but it is blatently obvious that neither the Israeli nor the U.S. government is making any effort to curtail the illegalities. For those not directly assaulted, the key things about this situation to remember are first, to realize that there are very widespread disinformation campaigns underway to discredit advocates of Palestinian rights, and, to a lesser but still considerable extent, to also discredit opponents of the war on terrorism and the proposed invasion of Iraq. Please do not jump to conclusions when you receive offensive or just plain odd email with content you simply would not have expected from the named source. It is disinformation. And second, please realize that the services of excellent outfits that utilize the internet may be temporarily slowed or disrupted at any time. Please have patience and do not make such violations more effective by becoming distraught with your sources of valuable information. ---- Updates Naturally, there is a mass of new material online on ZNet since our last message. There are interviews, essays, audio files (try the Arundhati Roy and Chomsky audios, in particular), updates to subsites and watch areas, accounts of demos in DC and elsewhere, calls to action...and much more. So, please, come to the site, take a look around...and in particular read what will help you equip yourself to compellingly address your neighbors, workmates, fellow students, friends, and family members -- about preventing and opposing war, about seeking peace, and even about seeking a better world domestically and internationally. ---- Commentaries As a substantive contribution within this free update, here are two ZNet commentaries, one from Barbara Garson, the other from Jeremy Brecher. 9/11 and Iraq Barbara Garson I didn't want to be alone on the 9/11 anniversary but I feared that all the formal memorials would turn into war-in-Iraq rallies. So I headed out for a peace demonstration in the park. But I never got there. Right on my own corner I saw a group of some two or three dozen people looking downtown toward the spot where we used to see the twin towers. They were the workers from a small factory on the block. I passed in time to hear a man in shirtsleeves, a manager I guess, expressing the hope that ".maybe it will bring the country together and the world." But I kept going, still intent on joining that peace demonstration. Then I came to a block that was closed to cars. There the men and women of the 6th precinct stood at attention and listened to very personal eulogies for the two police officers from their station house who'd been killed. This time I stayed for the rest of the ceremony. What was my rush to find the peace vigil? The entire city was a peace vigil that day. Oh yes, New Yorkers still hate and also fear terrorists. But I didn't hear anyone try to link terrorism with Iraq or protection with war--at least not until later in the day when George Bush came to town. What's with this guy and war? Right after the attacks, before he knew who did it, Bush insisted that he had been handed a declaration of war. But Al Qaeda isn't a nation or an army, it's a gang of faith based criminals. They don't deserve to be elevated into warriors, they deserve to be apprehended and punished. That's the way you deal with criminals. And the way you deal with crime (and in this case the crime is murder) has to be through prevention or interdiction. Recently a couple was arrested in Germany with bomb making material. According to the police they were free lance terrorists meaning to blow up US installations there. Because it happened in a country without a Patriot Act, there may be a trial where we'll learn more. If they're guilty, we'll have the relief of knowing two genuine terrorists are in jail. Meanwhile, they're off the street. But that was achieved by police work, not military action. And it involved a Turk and an American not an Iraqi. So why is Bush talking about war and Iraq? And why is he talking about them now? I guess that's the question everyone else is asking too. Let me firsts discard a few of the conventional explanations. The most obvious is oil? At anti-war demonstrations (I made it to several, though not on 9/11) you can still occasionally hear that good old chant "No Blood for Oil." Frankly I almost wish this Iraq thing were as simple as one of those old fashioned interventions where a government is overthrown (regime change) and an American oil company gets a more favorable concession. That might have been what we tried recently in Venezuela. But, except for Dick Cheney, none of the usual suspects among oil profiteers seemed that keen on immediate war in Iraq. Another explanation comes from Psychiatry. Bush is going to do daddy's war bigger and better. The Oedipus Tex theory, you might call it. Make what you will of that one. >From the Democrats we hear that Bush is trying to turn attention away from the economy and corporate scandals. Well that explains the timing, but I'm inclined to be a little less cynical. After all, George W. Bush would try to avoid the economy at any time. Being the economy president is simply no fun. And that, I think, is the key to all this-fun. Bush told us himself how he came alive after the attacks on the World Trade Center, how he realized that terrorism--fighting terrorism that is--would become "the focus of my presidency." We all know how good it feels to have a focus to our lives. Imagine how great it felt to George Bush. The very next day, even before he knew the perpetrators, he accepted their crime as a declaration of war. That's when he learned how much fun it was to be a wartime president. For the first year or so his war on terror involved airplanes and bombs and manhunts, "dead or alive." But with Bin Laden neither dead nor alive, with no obvious targets to bomb next, a war on terror stops being so much fun. In fact, it goes back to being the police operation that it should always have been. Crime fighting, as we learn from cop shows, involves legwork, stakeouts and tedious cross-checking of data. It may also offer the diversion of an occasional high-speed chase or even a shoot out, but a cop who killed a building full of innocent bystanders, not to mention a country full, would be grounded. That's no fun. Besides, police chiefs take a lot of blame. No one criticizes a wartime president for anything. Back when he first became the terrorism president, Bush warned that we would lose our war on terrorism if we lost interest by the next World Series. But once it no longer involved Commander-in-Chief type decisions, he seems to have lost interest himself. The problem is that America wins its shooting wars too quickly. To regain the rush, the focus, the exhilaration of being a wartime president, Goerge Bush will have to lead us from one new crusade to another. Afghanistan has been bombed, but Al Qaeda and Taliban forces are filtering back in we're told. If we win quickly in Iraq, as I assume we will, Saddam's army will crumble and some nutty, angry people (though not religious this time) will be dispersed around the world. So much for all that careful containment. But those problems will be left to the cops. To remain the wartime president Bush will have to move on. On a purely partisan level this "Operation Enduring War" might appear to be a crass calculation that if you float a real but arbitrarily selected security risk every election time, those wimpy Democrats won't dare to say boo. But who can doubt that at the same time that he calculates, George Bush also enjoys the moral certainty that he's doing everything he knows how to protect his people. He probably is doing everything he knows how. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Bush has an army and he knows how to wage war--or at least how to declare war. There are countless sharp problems sticking up around the world. It's much easier to hammer them down then to ease them out. So if he succeeds quickly in Iraq (or if those spoil sports throw the doors open to inspectors) the pundits will be seriously analyzing the next security risk and then the next each election year of his presidencies. And he has applauding friends around him, all civilians, with a long list of targets whose destruction will make the map more to their liking. Having a morally confident president leaping joyfully from adventure to adventure (there were nine disastrous crusades in medieval Europe) is bound to change this country. To speak personally, if Bush succeeds in linking each new war to terrorism, then those who oppose any of them will be abetting terrorists. That means that I could disappear into one of those lawyerless black holes that the Patriot Act has created. Even if you loyally support preemptive action wherever possible, your life will change too under a full time war regime. Eventually Americans of all parties may actually come to prefer the way the previous president chose to have fun in the oval office. Barbara Garson is the author of "Money Makes the World Go Around: One Investor Tracks Her Cash Through the Global Economy. Barbara Garson 212 741-1254 ----- Collective Security is Working By Jeremy Brecher As an American, I would like to thank all those people and countries around the world who are helping to pull my country back from the brink of war. And I want to assure you that your efforts are having a big impact in the United States. Unfortunately, the claim that the Bush Administration is determined to make a pre-emptive attack on Iraq has been validated over and over - most recently by Colin Powell's assertion on the BBC that Washington might pursue "regime change" in Iraq even if the Iraqi leader complies fully with weapons inspections. Softening up bombing, the classic first phase of an invasion, has already begun. So has the transport of war personnel and materiel to the Persian Gulf region. The war marketing campaign is in full gear. To paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, "When the leaders speak of peace, the mobilization orders have already been given." The Bush team's meticulous planning had presumed UN and Congressional votes authorizing US attacks on Iraq by now, laying the groundwork for permission to use Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, and other countries as bases for attack. After President Bush's address to the UN, the US Congress was poised to overwhelmingly pass a bi-partisan resolution giving the President a blank check for war. But a funny thing happened on the way to the battlefield. For months people around the world have been expressing their outrage. Overwhelming majorities in almost every country except Britain and Israel opposed US plans. Politicians and national elites, while loathe to court the wrath of their patrons and protectors in Washington, have been even more terrified of the forces likely to be unleashed by the Bush Administration's irrational obsession. The effects of this global opposition on the US have been greatly underestimated. There is broad support here for international efforts to deal with Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. But there is virtually no sector of American society that supports a unilateral preemptive attack against Iraq without international support except the President's immediate clique, a few members of Congress in both parties, and the Air Force. The top uniformed military, except for the Air Force, have been widely reported to be extremely skeptical of such an effort. This summer they aroused the wrath of the pro-war clique by submitting estimates of troop requirements and casualties so high as to make the war seem too costly to pursue. While the military brass haven't spoken against a unilateral attack on the record, their retired colleagues have done so forcefully. Top Republican military experts like Brent Scowcroft, many of them cronies of former President George Bush and formerly high officials in his Administration, spoke out against a unilateral attack. This summer, popular and Congressional support for the Bush war plans seemed overwhelming. But as members of Congress visited their districts in August they were met both by organized delegations opposing the war and by profound worry among their ordinary constituents. Democratic leaders announced hearings and no "rush to judgment" on war policy. As the Administration launched its war marketing campaign in September, floods of phone calls and e-mails to members of Congress led former Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore and the leadership of the Democratic Party in Congress to end silence or reverse explicit support for Bush's policies. Most of the popular and elite opposition is not opposition to any attack on Iraq, but rather to an attack on Iraq without allies. Little of this opposition would have arisen had the rest of the world caved in to Bush Administration demands for support. But the global united front against a US war is transforming the balance of forces within this country. While panicky Democrats in Congress may pass a watered-down resolution authorizing war, US opinion is now clearly divided, and policy elite, especially the Vietnam-burned military, is strongly averse to going to war without broad popular support. If the international front holds, there is a real chance that a US attack can be averted. If the Security Council refuses to authorize US military action and the UN inspectors go to Iraq, Bush Administration war promoters will have at least two big problems. Neither public nor elite opinion in the US is likely to support a unilateral, unprovoked attack. Neighboring states are more likely to be firm in their resolve not to let their countries be used as bases for US attacks on Iraq. (Bush's friend Ariel Sharon is also making it easier for them to just say no to US demands.) If a full-scale attack on Iraq becomes untenable, the Bush Administration will probably follow three tactics. First, it will try its best to undermine and discredit the UN inspection process; the faintest hint of Iraqi non-cooperation will be met with fresh attempts to initiate war. Second, it will expand the bombing it is conducting already. Third, it will look for new openings to bully or bribe other countries back into line. This indicates the probable next steps needed to contain US aggression. The tacit coalition of people and states opposing the US war on Iraq, acting through the UN, should demand that the US stop bombing Iraq while the inspection process goes forward. Of course the US will veto such a resolution, but the demonstrated international opposition will strengthen both popular and elite opposition in the US. "State-supported nonviolence" -- for example placement of foreign volunteers in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities with the support of their national governments -- might also provide a deterrent to US bombing. It is also essential that the inspection process go forward successfully. While it is impossible to know exactly what led Iraq to readmit inspectors, there was clearly at least a tacit quid pro quo that other countries would attempt to stave off an American attack. Iraq must be made to feel that it is safest if the inspection process proceeds successfully. After all, Iraq can reasonably feel that, by allowing inspection of its real or imagined weapons of mass destruction, it is giving up a significant deterrent to US attack. The containment coalition needs to indicate that it will try to protect Iraq from US attack as long as the inspection process goes forward, but that it will be much less able to do so if Iraq's cooperation is less than complete. Finally, it is necessary to block US efforts to bribe or bully other countries back into line. The Bush Administration's snub of German Prime Minister Schroeder in the aftermath of his reelection is only the publicly visible tip of the iceberg of Bush Administration bullying. There have been many journalistic references to other countries being offered a share of the spoils of war -- Iraq's oil, for example, or the contracts for post-war reconstruction - as a quid pro quo for joining the US in the kill. Russia has indicated an interest in US acquiescence in a Russian attack on Georgia, justified as a means to root out Chechen rebels. Apparently this is a price the Bush Administration is not yet willing to pay. No doubt they would see it as giving the green light to restoration of the Russian empire - establishing Russia's right to ignore the new national boundaries that divide its once-and-future empire. But there is no telling what bribes they will be willing to offer if they find their way to war successfully blocked. The Bush people tend to think of the world as a football game, and their strategy is to knock off those who get in their way one at a time. In the long run, containing them will require not just opposition by individual nations, but rather some more conscious form of collective security. There needs to be a global understanding that containing US power is a collective responsibility. This might be expressed, for example, in providing financial and other support for countries like Jordan that are being threatened with US reprisals if they refuse to serve as bases for war against Iraq. Another step could be to forcefully stigmatize any country selling out to the Bush Administration for such a "mess of pottage" as a share of the spoils of war, some supposed geopolitical concession, or (for poorer countries) cold cash. For a historical analogy, we might recall that the Western powers tried to keep Russia in World War I by means of scandalous secret treaties offering them other country's territory when the war was won. The exposure of those secret treaties may have done more than any other single act to destroy the legitimacy of the Russian regime. Most important of all is to continue the popular pressure on governments around the world. Movement pressure in Britain has already forced Tony Blair to publicly split with Bush over "regime change" and if it continues to grow will make British participation in a unilateral attack untenable; withdrawal of British support might well be the final nail in the coffin for US war plans. German popular opposition swung the election; it is leading American policy elites to fear that Bush policies are undermining European acquiescence in US global dominance. The fact that not one country in the world beside Britain has offered to help the US attack Iraq has a major impact on US opinion. Please, keep up the good work! One of the central tasks for the tacit coalition of people and states opposing the US war on Iraq is to win the hearts and minds of the American people. Americans are still hurt and terrified by the 9/11 attacks and easily led to support absurd policies sold as "anti-terrorism." Nonetheless their views are volatile and conflicted. In a September 24 CBS News poll, 57 percent wanted the US to give the UN more time to get inspectors back into Iraq and 52 percent thought the US should follow the recommendations of the UN when it comes to taking action against Iraq, instead of taking action on its own. National leaders and ordinary people around the world need to reach out to Americans and help them bring their government to its senses. An example: A delegation of British anti-war religious leaders is coming to the US to share with American religious communities their concerns about US threats against Iraq. Containment of Bush Administration aggression is - and should present itself - as pro-, not anti-, American. Ultimately, the issue here is far larger than the conflict between the US and Iraq. Bush's new policy document, "The National Security Strategy of the United States," which codifies previous pronouncements, indicates the megalomaniacal scope of the Administration's ambitions. The document notes, "The United States possesses unprecedented - and unequaled - strength." It proclaims that "we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively." The US will use its power for "convincing or compelling states" to accept what it calls "their sovereign responsibilities." This strategy for global domination is not limited to military matters, but proposes to shape the whole of global society and political economy. Indeed, the document goes so far as to declare that there is only "a single sustainable model for national success." Blocking the US attack on Iraq is a crucial step but only the first step in the containment of these awesome aspirations for global domination. It represents the emergence of a tacit but nonetheless real policy of collective security to contain US aggressiveness. If such collective security can be maintained, it bodes well for the containment of "pre-emptive aggression" in the future. And perhaps it will lay a foundation for addressing such other threats to collective security as global warming, poverty, economic crisis, AIDS, and weapons of mass destruction. Nothing could be more in the genuine interest of the American people. Jeremy Brecher is a historian and the author of twelve books including STRIKE! And GLOBALIZATION FROM BELOW. ==================================== This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.