Progressive Calendar 08.14.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 01:14:39 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.14.07

1. Youth farm mkt  8.15-17 5pm

2. Turkey          8.16 11:30pm
3. I-35W bridge    8.16 4:30pm
4. NWN4P NewHope   8.16 4:30pm
5. Eagan vigil     8.16 4:30pm
6. Northtown vigil 8.16 5pm
7. Amnesty Intl    8.16 7:15pm

8. Palestine vigil 8.17 4:30pm
9. YAWR camp       8.17-19 Whitewater State Park

10. Peace yd sale  8.18 8am
11. Cmty gardens   8.18 10am
12. Impeach/picnic 8.18 5pm

13. Winslow Wheeler     - Congress's busted September
14. Fran Shor           - A culture of collapse
15. Paul de Rooij       - The useful fools of empire
16. Chris Floyd         - The bipartisan guarantee of more war in Iraq
17. Alice Dunbar-Nelson - The Proletariat Speaks  (poem)

-------1 of 17--------

From: Julia Eagles <julia.eagles [at]>
Subject: Youth Farm Mkt 8.15-17 5pm

invites you to one (or more) of our Annual Harvest Festivals!

Please come and celebrate the accomplishments of the Youth Farmers at our
Annual Neighborhood Harvest Festivals.

Take a garden tour, sample and purchase Youth Farm products and produce,
view progress on our various mural projects, and eat a FREE MEAL prepared
by our Youth Farmers!

Each Youth Farm neighborhood has a different festival, so you have 3 dates
to choose from! Don't miss out!


Lyndale Youth Farm:
Wednesday, August 15th from 5:00-7:30pm
At the Zion Lutheran Church
33rd St and Pillsbury Avenue, Minneapolis
Please contact Rina with questions: 612.990.9261
rina [at]

Powderhorn Youth Farm:
Thursday, August 16th from 5:00-8:00pm
Powderhorn Park Recreation Center
3400 15th Ave S Minneapolis
Please contact Zoe with questions: 612.990.0074
zoe [at]

Westside St. Paul Youth Farm:
Friday, August 17th from 5:00 pm-7:30 pm
West Side Youth Farm Robert Street Garden
On Robert Street between Morton Avenue and Page Street
Please contact Amanda Stoelb with questions 952.220.0953
amanda [at]

--------2 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Turkey 8.16 11:30pm

Thursday, 8/16, 11:30 am, U of M prof Martin Sampson speaks on "Turkey: A
Troubled Ally Spanning Europe and the Middle East," Town & Country Club,
300 Mississippi River Blvd N, St Paul.  $25 for luncheon, made out to
AFSA, sent to Malcolm McLean, 111 E Kellogg Blvd (2702), St Paul 55102..
Info 651-291-8057.

--------3 of 17--------

From: x
Subject: I-35W bridge 8.16 4:30pm

Public Open House to discuss plans for rebuilding I-35W bridge over the
The Roseville Area High School gymnasium
Thursday, Aug. 16, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
1240 West County Road B-2
Roseville, Minnesota 55113

--------4 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P NewHope 8.16 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our

--------5 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.16 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------6 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.16 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------7 of 17--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 8.16 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, August 16th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------8 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 8.17 4:30pm

Friday, 8/17, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.

--------9 of 17--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: YAWR camp 8.17-19 Whitewater State Park

YAWR Anti War Youth Camp
8/17-19, Whitewater State Park, Winona County, MN

Calling all antiwar youth!  We're happy to announce that Youth Against War
& Racism is putting on an Antiwar Youth Training Camp the weekend of
August 17-19, at Whitewater State Park in SE Minnesota (less than two
hours outside the Twin Cities).

This camp is designed to build a broad leadership team of local youth and
students organizing against the war and against military recruitment in
schools. Youth Against War & Racism has an ambitious set of fall actions
planned, including a major national student walkout. Our camp will prepare
us to hit the ground running when classes start in September.

We'll be teaching each other how to:
* Organize your classmates for mass actions against the war
* End military recruitment in your school
* Educate other youth on hidden realities of U.S. foreign policy
* Start a chapter of Youth Against War & Racism at your school
* Develop the organizing skills to challenge injustices in our own

Space is limited (we have a reservation for just 30 people at present) so
sign-up now to secure your place. To get signed-up, call or e-mail Tyrus
Thompson at 651-210-5342 or tyrusathompson [at]  Please send Tyrus
your name, school, grade, e-mail address, and phone number. Also let us
know if you have access to a car and can give rides to others who don't.
We are asking people to pay a sliding scale of $20 - $50 towards the cost
of the camp, but no youth will be turned away for lack of funds.For more
information:  Contact Tyrus Thompson, our new YAWR full-time organizer, at
651-210-5342 or Ty Moore at 612-760-1980.  Organized by Youth Against War
& Racism (

--------10 of 17--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Peace yard sale 8.18 8am

Upcoming events:

Yard Sale: Recycle for Peace!
Saturday 8/18, 8 am to 3pm @ Bethany Lutheran Church, 2511 E Franklin Ave,

Come buy cool used stuff for a good cause. All proceeds go to support our
organizing. Come and check it out! Want to drop off your items to donate?
Stop by the church with your items between 6-8pm on Friday night. We will
appreciate your donation. Organized by the Anti-War Committee (
612.379.3899or info [at]

--------11 of 17--------

From: Stephanie Hankerson <hank [at]>
Subject: Community gardens 8.18 10am

Check out which tour sites are in your neighborhood!

Grab a friend!  The 2nd Annual Parade of Community Gardens!

Celebrate the wealth and diversity of community gardens in the Twin Cities
during the 2nd annual Parade of Community Gardens! On Saturday, August
18th from 10AM-2PM. 

Free event, all welcome! Visit one garden in your neighborhood or many
around the Twin Cities.  

Gardens will feature a variety of attractions including tasty veggies,
massage, ice-cream, music, art in the garden and more!  

This event is coordinated by GardenWorks, a program of The Green
Institute. More information, maps and garden descriptions available at or (612) 278-7123.

--------12 of 17--------

From: Impeach Picnic <lists [at]>
Subject: NLG/impeach/picnic 8.18 5pm

Impeach for Peace needs people to attend & and to work a picnic on August
18th, from 5-8 pm


On Saturday August 18, 2007, the Minnesota Chapter of the NLG will convene
its Mid-Summer Salute to Local Defenders of Freedom from 5 - 8 pm at the
Minnehaha Park Bandstand. This annual gathering recognizes many important
progressive struggles that Guild members have had the honor to work with
in the past year.

1. People to sell IfP merchandise
2. People to circulate and handout literature
3. A band or a singer

This will be a progressive picnic and an easy sell. The National Lawyer's
Guild endorsed impeachment over a year ago. The people who will be
picnicking will be a receptive audience - and it's outside at the
Minnehaha Falls. As an impeacher, what more could you ask for?

Contact: Dan Fearn at danielifearn [at]
<mailto:danielifearn [at]>
 for details.

--------13 of 17--------

Disingenuous Gestures Amid Catastrophe
Congress's Busted September
August 14, 2007

Having lectured the Iraqi parliament for its adjournment despite piles of
undone work, the American Congress has skulked out of town with at least
as much unaccomplished. One difference between the two national
legislatures is the supposition that when the American Congress returns in
September the undone work will be attended to. In any fundamental sense,
that's baloney.

Two core issues were left unresolved by our Congress when it traipsed out
of town earlier this month, runaway federal spending and Iraq.

Like so many before it, the 110th Congress is on course to fail to pass
all twelve appropriations bills needed to fund the government before the
new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. Failing to do so makes it easier to
ignore the fundamental, long-term spending problems Congress has helped to

Political posturing by Democratic and Republican members has already
begun. President George W. Bush affronted the Democrats by lecturing them
on getting their work done on time - without a single word about trying to
work together in any meaningful sense to find constructive middle ground.
No slouches for disingenuous gestures, the Democrats are already cuing up
the appropriations bills in a manner to maneuver Bush into supporting
their big-spending agenda.

The outcome is painfully clear - just like it is every year. Democrats
will give Bush the spending increases he wants in the parts of the already
bloated defense budget, which have nothing to do with the war. In return
Democrats will receive spending on their politically favored goodies:
children's health care and a litany of other domestic spending - all to be
supplemented with a bout of bridge repair and infrastructure
reconstruction. It all adds up to an uncoordinated spending spasm about to
hit the public's pocketbook with a vengeance.

The result will be a continued mismatch of rapidly growing spending and
not so rapidly growing revenues, layered on top of continued unwillingness
to reduce, let alone kill off, over-bloated baseline defense spending and
money for ineffective, but expensive, domestic programs.

The other problem is, of course, the war. Having failed to confront
President Bush with any real obstruction to his mangled and mangling wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Democrats, who it will be recalled were
elected on a platform to do something about it, would like us to think
there will be some sort of titanic confrontation in September when
President Bush's latest "last hope" in the form of General Petraeus gives
his much ballyhooed report. The politically attuned general will clearly
report to his approving boss and the nation that he and the president's
surge have made oh so much progress and now - rather, then - will be no
time for Congress to pull out the funding rug. The vast majority of
Congress will then be frozen in the headlights of General Petraeus'
implied promise that just a few more months of war will mean something new
in Iraq.

The Democrats will cave to the requirement for more war funding without
limiting conditions; they have to. They have failed and will fail (by not
trying) to put together a winning anti-war coalition by embracing enough
Republicans to override a Bush veto. Triumphant in their defeat, the
Democrats will blame Bush and the Republicans for refusing to join then,
and then they will adjourn Congress. They'll say they wish they could have
done more, but George W. Bush just wouldn't give way.

The continuation of the war and the continued federal deficit will be all
Bush's and the Republicans' fault. The Democrats will know a lot of voters
won't buy it, but they will also expect that at least enough voters will
buy it to give the Democrats the White House (and Congress) in the
November elections.

That, after all, is their plan. It's not fiscal responsibility or an end
to the war the Democrats seek; it's power. Their behavior is clearly fixed
around that design: Don't resolve the issues, but draw them, and do so in
a way so that the finger is plausibly pointed at the other side.

Of course, the Republicans will try to do the same, but objective
conditions are not in their favor. The feeble claim that the surge in Iraq
is working is beginning to self-destruct: both U.S. and Iraqi deaths are
up, not down, and it is becoming clear that the recent "progress" in Al
Anbar province has absolutely nothing to do with the surge. The pain of
the misadventure in Iraq will elevate, and there will be a penalty in the
elections for those politicians associated with it. All but a few
Republicans will be toast in any properly contested election.

Who is to blame for the unattended mismatch between revenues and spending
in the federal budget will be less clear cut, but if there is a draw on
that subject, the Democrats will be delighted.

The Iraqi parliament at least has the virtue of a reason for its
self-induced chaos and un-productivity: the country is wracked by a civil
war provoked by a hostile, alien occupation. What's our excuse?

Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project
of the Center for Defense Information and author of The Wastrels of
Defense. Over 31 years, he worked for US Senators from both political
parties and the Government Accountability Office on national security

--------14 of 17--------

All Fall Down
A Culture of Collapse
August 13, 2007

Collapsing structures, from superhighway bridges in Minnesota to coal
mines in Utah, are not just indictments of corporate engineering and
government malfeasance or inaction. Such structures are part of a culture
of collapse that undermines environmental and economic sustainability.
With politicians now swarming to acknowledge an infrastructural crisis in
the US, the question must be raised: "Infrastructure for what?"

Certainly, concerns over the viability of public works in a country that
continues to squander its resources on imperial adventures, while
providing massive tax breaks to corporations and the super-rich, are
valid. It's not surprising that a September 2003 report by the American
Society of Civil Engineers concluded by noting that the "condition of our
nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works
have shown little improvement since they were graded an overall D+ in
2001, with some areas sliding toward a failing grade."

On the other hand, what is the environmental impact of improving the
conditions of our nation's roads if that means that more and more private
polluting transportation gets conveyed over greater distances by far-flung
individual commuters? Shouldn't the logic of providing additional travel
opportunities for gas-guzzling and CO2 spewing automobiles, SUV's, and
trucks be questioned? Unfortunately, we have become so habituated to our
pathological built environment that we seem to be in denial of its minor
and major flaws.

Such flaws are compounded by fetishizing festivals celebrating the
automobile such as the one about to take place in the metro Detroit area
on August 18. Now in its 12th year, the Woodward Dream Cruise jams cars
and their jockeys onto the main drag running from Detroit to Pontiac for
more than just the one day event. Irrespective of global warming, this
crazy celebration of one of the planet's greatest enemies draws hundreds
of thousands of auto enthusiasts. Can you imagine what people might say if
they exist two centuries from now? Wouldn't it be similar to how
incredulous we would be if someone discovered that during the Bubonic
Plague in medieval Europe some enterprising burghers decided to round up
the city's rats for a rat parade!

So, building and repairing more roads in the face of real environmental
devastation should be open to debate, instead of mindlessly promoting
privatized travel. It's interesting to see the contrast in Caracas,
Venezuela where improvement of the roads has taken a back seat to
improving the lives of the poor through extensive health care, food, and
educational opportunities. But don't hold your breath that such an agenda
will be adopted here.

In fact, given the degree to which commodification of basic necessities
has embedded itself in our culture, it will take a lot more than the
documentaries of Michael Moore to wake up the citizenry and change both
political and everyday customs. So many of us have uncritically become
guzzlers of bottled water that it's hard to foresee any major effort to
provide free and safe water to all of the citizens of the US. Certainly,
we are far from the courageous and ultimately successful struggle by
citizens of Bolivia to stop the privatization of water in their country.
Perhaps, we have lost touch with the primordial relationship to our
natural environment that is evident in such water wars.

If we now live in a culture of collapse, it is essential that we
critically address not only our relationship to our natural and built
environment but also to our intellectual imagination for another kind of
world. Among the many compelling case studies cited by Jared Diamond in
his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, is the story
of the Vikings in Greenland. Diamond makes clear that their insistence on
grazing animals for the consumption of meat, even while climatic changes
were further eroding the overgrazed grasslands, doomed them to extinction.
Of course, they could have changed their long-standing patterns of meat
consumption and sought out alternatives, but that custom was too ingrained
and their imaginations too constrained.

So, if we are to address our survival as a county, let alone as a species,
we need to consider the serious consequences of the kind of culture we
inhabit. While repairing infrastructure may save lives in the short run,
what does it mean for our environmental and economic sustainability to
pour money and human resources into the very built environment that is a
threat to our existence? If we want to avoid total collapse, we need to
spend some time and energy in thinking about the implications of our built
environment and the culture that surrounds it.

Fran Shor, a peace and justice activist, teaches at Wayne State
University. He is the author of Bush-League Spectacles: Empire, Politics,
and Culture in a Bushwhacked America.

--------15 of 17--------

The Useful Fools of Empire
Humanitarian Wars and Associated Delusions
August 14, 2007

Most inhabitants of Western countries are afflicted by nefarious delusions
about the nature of their societies and government policy; the public at
large is led to believe that their societies are superior, and their
governments' policies are noble and generous. The illusions have to do
with the dissonance between the fabricated image and the reality of state
power, especially when it entails wars waged against third world
countries. Awful wars are waged for crass motives, yet they are sold on
the basis that they are driven by benevolent intent. Promotion of
democracy, freedoms, human rights, women's rights, and even religious
tolerance are some of the purported motives for current interventions,
subversion or wars. Since the 1990s, in the lead-up to the wars against
former Yugoslavia, the primary justification offered to wage war was that
it was necessary to safeguard human rights or to improve the humanitarian
conditions of the target population. If the blatant hypocrisy wasn't bad
enough, the Left's delusions regarding the stated humanitarian rationale
for wars has had a distinctly deleterious effect on the Left as a movement
and the organized opposition to the depredations of their states. Jean
Bricmont's Humanitarian Imperialism is an extensive analysis of the
"humanitarian war" rationale, and how its twisted arguments should be
countered and its rationale for war rejected. One of the defining aspects
of the Left of yesteryear was an opposition to imperialism and its
consequent wars; Bricmont's important contribution aims to resurrect the
principled opposition to the new imperial wars waged primarily by the
United States and Britain.

Subversion of International Law

Perhaps the most important point addressed in this book is that the
"humanitarian intervention" rationale served as a cynical means to
sideline international law; it is usually presented as one requiring
utmost speed to avert further disaster and therefore there is no time for
formalities such as observing the UN Charter or international law in
general. For at least two decades, the US has been itching to emasculate
the UN even further and to undermine the basis of international law; the
means to obtain this objective has been to promote "humanitarian wars" or
even "humanitarian bombing" (it is difficult to concoct a nicer oxymoron)
[1]. What is disconcerting is that this Trojan horse wasn't repelled by
the principal human rights organizations, the so-called public
intellectuals, or groups on the Left. The acceptance of the justification
for wars has undermined the anti-war movement and it seems that few are
aware of the stark implications of a debilitated international legal
framework, i.e., a world afflicted with incessant wars and ruled by the
law of the jungle. Those seeking to resist imperial wars or obtain a
modicum of justice ought to defend the principle of international law, and
certainly not allow it to be undermined by disingenuous appeals for war.

Kissing your SUV goodbye

If the US and its allies wage wars on the basis of false justifications,
then the question arises what their real motives are. Another important
section of Bricmont's book analyzes the nature of state power and the real
reasons for wars or interventions. His analysis suggests that one of the
reasons wars are waged is to guarantee access to raw materials and markets
[2]. It is also fair to say that most western societies owe their economic
development very much to the access to cheap resources, and most
interventions seek to continue to guarantee such access. Even the
tiniest/poorest third world countries are whipped into compliance - no
deviation is tolerated. If one rejects the notion of wars to guarantee
cheap resources then there are serious implications for our societies; our
economies will have to be weaned from such cheap supplies entailing costly
restructuring. To change our societies so that they are less destructive
to others requires rejecting delusions about our states, it demands
rejecting interventionist wars, and certainly confronting specious
justifications for such wars.

Clearing up arguments

Bricmont provides a lengthy analysis of the pro-war humanitarian
arguments, and, in order to do so, also addresses the ineffective anti-war
arguments used by some on the Left. Maybe it is fair to suggest that the
Left in western countries has sometimes engaged in less-than-clear
thinking. In the past Leftist groups opposed wars against third world
countries as a matter of principle, but beginning in the late 1990s some
succumbed to the humanitarian interventionist ideology; what is surprising
is how effective this ploy has been. Others reject wars, but do so using
weak, confusing or even contradictory arguments. In countering the pro-war
arguments, Bricmont provides analysis suggesting the strongest
counter-arguments, and how the twisted historical analogies used to sell
wars are best dealt with (e.g., appeasement, or confronting Hitler early
on). Bricmont's analysis of the Second World War analogies - a favorite
with the human rights crusaders - should certainly be studied by anyone
opposing wars.

What is missing

While the book deals with pro-war humanitarian arguments, it doesn't
mention that some humanitarian disasters haven't elicited the same
reaction. For human rights crusaders some cases deserve the intervention
imperative, yet others are neglected. While they demand intervention in
Darfur they are mysteriously silent about Congo; Palestine is perhaps the
most neglected issue. Since part of the book deals with exposing the
hypocrisy in the way wars are sold, maybe the book could have highlighted
the cases where the vocal advocates for war apply a double standard.

The book is perhaps best read in conjunction with Diana Johnstone's Fools'
Crusade (Johnstone is also the translator of Bricmont's book). While
Humanitarian Imperialism deals with the humanitarian war topic in general,
Fools' Crusade deals with a case history of this issue, i.e., the war
against Yugoslavia, a particularly important chapter for the humanitarian
war rationale and the origins of this ideology. Her book provides a
historical background of the way the wars against Yugoslavia were
deliberately and cynically planned. Kirsten Sellars' The Rise and Rise of
Human Rights is another important book providing additional context.
Sellars presents a history of how human rights have been exploited by the
United States and Britain, and it also provides an unflattering history of
the principal human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch in particular
has been a key organization pushing for humanitarian wars, and a proper
appreciation of such organizations is necessary to counter their
influence. Finally, while Bricmont refers to a few of the principal
proponents of humanitarian wars, the so-called public intellectuals or
Liberals, more of these human rights crusaders need to be taken to task
about their positions [3]. Edward S. Herman and David Peterson have
compiled a list of these operators and it is also worth reading in
conjunction with Bricmont's book [4]. One of the listed crusaders is
Bernard Kouchner, the recently appointed French Foreign Minister, and his
interventionist proclivities may well explain the changing French policy
aligning itself closer to US policy.

Applying the lessons to Darfur

Bricmont's book doesn't deal with Darfur in any great detail, but one
should apply its lessons to this case in rejecting calls for intervention.
There are several reasons for this, and the primary one is that it has
been a stated objective of the neocons to "take out" Sudan [5], and if
this rotten gang bays for intervention, it behooves one to reconsider
joining the chorus. The US has stepped up its presence in the region by
organizing an invasion of Somalia, establishing a military presence in
Chad, arming some Sudanese rebel groups, etc. The US seeks to undermine
Sudan for reasons unrelated to the humanitarian situation, e.g., denying
oil resources to its competitors. The US has also used the Darfur issue to
deflect attention from its own depredations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Furthermore, several US-based zionist groups have taken up the Darfur
issue for equally cynical ends. Pushing the Darfur issue is viewed among
some of these groups as a means of deflecting attention from Israel,
suggesting that the situation in Darfur is worse and therefore "why single
out Israel". Divestment from companies doing business in Sudan serves the
similar purpose of undermining efforts in the US to launch a divestment
from Israel or boycott campaign. The situation in Darfur was also
exploited after the Israeli war of aggression against Lebanon in 2006; as
soon as the war ended, the media focus shifted immediately and
preponderantly to cover the Darfur situation in order to deflect attention
from a criminal war by US/Israel. There is also the question of focus as a
humanitarian catastrophe of a much higher magnitude in Congo has barely
elicited a peep. Finally, it is also clear that much of the conflict has
to do with population dislocations due to environmental change, and it is
likely that armed interventions aren't the best solution.

If we reject intervention as Bricmont urges us to do, there is an issue
about what must be done. According to Jonathan Steele, negotiations among
local groups will likely result in accommodation and conflict resolution
[6]. Armed intervention on the other hand could only make matters worse.

Just like the chickenhawks, but more likely useful fools

The neocon chickenhawks are best known for urging the US military to go to
war while they remained safely ensconced in their think tanks. The
leftists or Liberals who have jumped on the humanitarian war bandwagon
engage in very much the same hypocrisy. When anyone today prescribes
"intervention", they are really only urging the military of their state to
attack other countries, while they themselves are sitting pretty. Someone
else will die for the positions they propound, and it is certainly a very
different attitude compared to those who joined the International Brigades
in Spain - no chickens then. What makes matters worse is that the
military was really not established to further humanitarian aims, but is
meant to impose the interests of state power. Recently, the British
military was concerned that "increasing emotional attachment to the
outside world" had led the British public to expect humanitarian
interventions [7]. The UK military sought to shape public attitudes so
that military activities wouldn't be constrained or, let alone, face
demands to have the military be used in legitimate peacekeeping! When the
military are actually used for "humanitarian intervention" this means that
the rationale has been exploited by state power to sell its wars and they
have even managed to get some Lefty or Liberal dupes on board.

Alternatively, if a state doesn't care to intervene in a given country, it
will simply ignore the humanitarian appeals. When the British government's
hypocrisy is exposed, e.g., with the "genocide" in Darfur, it simply
states that it will "consider joining multilateral action" and, of course,
it has been wringing its hands about what to do [8]. The first indication
that a state doesn't want to use its military for humanitarian ends is
when there are references to "multilateral action"; translation: do
nothing or simply provide token forces subject to stringent "rules of
engagement". Anyone opposed to the imperialist trends of the US and its
faithful poodles should reject calls for direct military intervention in
the third world; there already have been too many interventions.

Tony Judt wrote: "In today's America, neoconservatives generate brutish
policies for which liberals provide the ethical fig leaf. There is no
other difference between them" [9]. His article's apt title is "Bush's
Useful Idiots". When jumping on the same bandwagon as the neocons, human
rights crusaders might consider whether they are being jerked around.


The adoption of the humanitarian war rationale has had a particularly
damaging effect on what remains of the Left in Western countries; one of
the basic tenets for Leftists should have been to oppose imperial wars,
and it has been disconcerting to witness the adoption of the human rights
lingo to either co-cheerlead wars, accept portions of the rationale for
war or simply to demonstrate unreflective muddled thinking. Jean
Bricmont's book, Humanitarian Imperialism, is a clearly written guide
through this moral maze, an unmasking of tendentious interpretation of
history, and an antidote to the principal malaise afflicting our times:
hypocrisy. It is an important contribution to help the Left to assess
critically history, and to break through an intellectual logjam
surrounding the so-called humanitarian wars.

Paul de Rooij is a writer living in London. He can be reached at
proox [at] (NB: all emails with attachments will be automatically

Paul de Rooij  2007


[1] See Alexander Cockburn, How the US State Dept. Recruited Human Rights
Groups to Cheer On the Bombing Raids: Those Incubator Babies, Once More?,
CounterPunch Newsletter, April 1999.

[2] Of course, there are other reasons too - some of them irrational,
others to favor Israel, etc. For further discussion see: Jean Bricmont,
The De-Zionization of the American Mind, 12 August 2006.

[3] Public intellectuals are only public or "celebrity" in so far as they
present a serviceable rationale for state power. As soon as their message
deviates from the interests of the state, they are quickly demoted to the
ranks of relegated intellectuals.

[4] Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Morality's Avenging Angels: The
New Humanitarian Crusaders , Znet, 30 August 2005.

[5] Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander stated on DemocracyNow: " And
he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven
countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon,
Libya, Somalia, *Sudan* and, finishing off, Iran.'" Amy Goodman
interviewed Wesley Clark, Gen. Wesley Clark Weighs Presidential Bid: "I
Think About It Everyday" , 2 March 2007.

[6] Jonathan Steele, Unseen by western hysteria, Darfur edges closer to
peace, 10 August 2007.

[7] Mark Curtis quoted in David Miller (ed.), Tell me lies: Propaganda and
Media distortion in the Attack on Iraq, Pluto Press 2004.

[8] Statement by Mike Gapes MP, member of the Foreign Affairs Select
Committee, Compass Conference, London, 2006.

[9] Tony Judt, "Bush's Useful Idiots", London Review of Books, 21 Sept.

--------16 of 17--------

The Bipartisan Guarantee of More War in Iraq
No Light, Just Tunnel
August 13, 2007

Our text for today is from the New York Times:

"Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops
home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions
that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years. John
Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the
region to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military
action if violence spills into other countries. Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to
stabilize the Kurdish region in the north. And Senator Barack Obama of
Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in
Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train

My word, this is certainly a surprise! Who ever would have thought that
the most "serious" Democratic candidates would take such a position? Why,
I suppose this means that if a "serious" Democrat gets elected president,
the war crime in Iraq (which is what the old-timers used to call it when
you aggressively invaded a country that hadn't attacked you and occupied
their land with your troops) will go on - just the same as if a "serious"
Republican gets elected!

And they say there is no unity in our politics, no bipartisan consensus in

The NYT article is a hoot and a half - or it would be, if the farce was
not spattered with so much blood. Dig, if you will, this serious knitting
of analytical brows:

"Among the challenges the next president could face in Iraq, three seem to
be resonating the most: What to do if there is a genocide? What to do if
chaos in Iraq threatens to engulf the region in a wider war? And what to
do if Iraq descends into further lawlessness and becomes the staging
ground for terrorist attacks elsewhere, including in the United States?"

Grave challenges, indeed. But why do they await the next president, when
they are happening right now - when, in fact, they were guaranteed to
happen as soon as the criminal action was launched?

The very serious John Edwards says, seriously, that he would keep an
unspecified number of troops on hand because "we have to be prepared for
the worst possibility that you never hear anyone talking about, which is
the possibility that genocide breaks out and the Shi'a try to
systematically eliminate the Sunni." But of course, Mr. Edwards himself is
noticeably reticent on the subject of the genocide that's going on over
there right now: the genocide against the Iraqi people. The number of
deaths caused by the war that Bush launched is nearing or has surpassed
one million. At least 4 million have fled their homes (an equivalent
number in the US would be around 50 million), with most of them living in
great hardship in places where they are not wanted. (But not in the United
States, of course, which has allowed in the barest trickle of Iraqis since
we destroyed their country.)

The nation is nearing a state of collapse as a direct result of the war
that was launched by Bush, approved by Congress, countenanced by the
American people and set to continue under every "serious" Democratic
candidate running for president. Oxfam's recent study of the humanitarian
catastrophe put in plainly:

"While horrific violence dominates the lives of millions of ordinary
people inside Iraq, another kind of crisis, also due to the impact of war,
has been slowly unfolding. Up to eight million people are now in need of
emergency assistance. This figure includes:

o four million people who are 'food-insecure and in dire need of different
types of humanitarian assistance'

o more than two million displaced people inside Iraq

o over two million Iraqis in neighbouring countries, mainly Syria and
Jordan, making this the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world....

"Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and
sanitation, health care, education, and employment. Of the four million
Iraqis who are dependent on food assistance, only 60 per cent currently
have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution
System (PDS), down from 96 per cent in 2004.

"Forty-three per cent of Iraqis suffer from 'absolute poverty'. According
to some estimates, over half the population are now without work. Children
are hit the hardest by the decline in living standards. Child malnutrition
rates have risen from 19 per cent before the US-led invasion in 2003 to 28
per cent now.

"The situation is particularly hard for families driven from their homes
by violence. The two million internally displaced people (IDPs) have no
incomes to rely on and are running out of coping mechanisms. In 2006, 32
per cent of IDPs had no access to PDS food rations, while 51 per cent
reported receiving food rations only sometimes.

"The number of Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies has risen
from 50 per cent to 70 per cent since 2003, while 80 per cent lack
effective sanitation. The 'brain drain' that Iraq is experiencing is
further stretching already inadequate public services, as thousands of
medical staff, teachers, water engineers, and other professionals are
forced to leave the country. At the end of 2006, perhaps 40 per cent had
left already."

What's more, the national power grid is breaking down - in the midst of
summer temperatures that make the US heat wave look like a wintry chill,
as the BBC reports:

"Iraq's national power grid is on the brink of collapse, the country's
electricity ministry has warned. Water supplies to Baghdad have also been
cut off for days at a time, with summertime pressures on key systems said
to be more intense than ever. The ministry blamed poor maintenance, fuel
shortages, sabotage by insurgents and rising demand for the problems, and
said some provinces hold onto supplies."

And what is the answer of the occupying power to this crisis? Not
surprisingly, it is an echo of Vice President Cheney's famous remarks to
Senator Pat Leahy on the floor of the Senate: GFY.

"The US Army told the BBC that Iraq must now take charge of fixing the
problems. The general in charge of helping Iraq rebuild its
infrastructure, Michael Walsh, said that although Iraqi authorities only
have one-quarter of the money needed for reconstruction, solving the
problem was now up to them."

So the Iraqis don't have the money to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed
by the war launched by the Americans - doubtless because billions upon
billions of reconstruction dollars have been looted by the crony
conquistadors and their local bagmen. The Pentagon knows the Iraqis don't
have the money to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the war launched
by the Americans; but they don't care. Bush doesn't care. The Democratic
leaders in Congress don't care. The "serious" Democratic candidates don't
care. Thousands of innocent Iraqis - the young, the sick, the injured,
the poor, the abandoned - will be added to the death count this summer
from this collapse of basic services. But none of this is an American
responsibility. Not the collapse of the state, not the collapse of the
society, not the plunge into wholesale sectarian violence by forces being
armed on all sides by the Americans. No, it's all the Iraqis'
responsibility now.

This unspeakably hideous attitude is not just the stance of the Pentagon,
of course; it's also the credo the most serious Democratic candidate of
all, the breakaway leader for the nomination, Hillary Clinton. As the
Times tells us:
"In February, [Clinton] said her message to the Iraqi government would be
simple: 'I would say 'I'm sorry, it's over. We are not going to baby-sit a
civil war.'"

We invaded your country. We occupied your country. We wrote your
constitution, in which the arbitrary decrees of our colonial viceroy were
imposed as fundamental law. We looted your money. We armed your
sectarians. And we are going to keep a large number of troops in your
country, come what may. But we aren't going to baby-sit you anymore. No,
if you don't get your act together - and sign the goddamned Oil Law
already - we are just going to withdraw to our permanent bases and watch
you kill each other. - That is the sum total of the leading Democratic
candidate's position on Iraq.

It is of course an incoherent mish-mash, because it is just a smokescreen
to obscure Clinton's true policy: to continue the war, largely as it is
being fought now. Such a course is absolutely inevitable if you leave
American forces in Iraq, to "fight terrorism," to "keep the civil war from
spilling across the border," to "protect American personnel" (including,
er, the troops you have left in the country), and so on. How will you
"fight terrorism" in Iraq without raiding residential areas where
"terrorist units" are located and launching airstrikes on "terrorist
targets" and rounding up "suspected terrorists" and subjecting them to
"strenuous interrogation" without charges in mass prisons and mounting
checkpoints to check for terrorists and wreaking the usual "collateral
damage" from "force protection" incidents? In other words, how you will
operate any differently than the Bush-led operation in Iraq right now? The
only difference under Clinton and her "serious" rivals is that there will
be fewer troops - which will actually mean an increased reliance on
airstrikes, and hair-trigger "force protection," and even more mercenaries
to fill the gaps.

And if the mission of your "residual force" is to "prevent genocide" (that
is, a different genocide from the one going on now), how will you do that
without intervening - with airstrikes, troops, checkpoints, arrests,
interrogations, "force protection," the whole schmeer - on behalf of one
side or the other? Or both sides? And again, how will this be different
from what's going on now?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: anyone who advocates leaving
even a "residual force" of American troops is Iraq is actually supporting
the continuation of the war, on largely the same terms as it is being
waged now. There is no "middle way," there is no magic, bipartisan
compromise. There is only no war, or more war.

American troops were sent into Iraq on a criminal mission, an act of
aggression that was the moral and legal equivalent of the Nazi invasion of
Poland or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Their continued presence in
Iraq only exacerbates all the evils that the "serious" people say will
happen if America withdraws. (As if these things weren't happening in Iraq
right now.) The Iraqis will never hammer out any kind of political
accommodation as long as American troops are in the country, dividing the
nation into "collaborators" and "insurgents" just by their very presence
(much less by their alliance with one faction or another). The Iraqis will
never come to any kind of fair agreement on the distribution of the
nation's oil wealth as long as American troop are in the country, emblems
of the nearly universal (and certainly correct) belief among Iraqis that
the West is out to steal their oil.

It may be too late for any kind of accommodation or agreement now. The
ruination that Bush and his willing executioners in Congress have brought
to Iraq may be irreparable. As for "destabilizing the region," the war
crime has already done that. (Indeed, it was one of the aims of the
invasion, as its architects and champions once boasted. "Creative
destruction" was the phrase used by the very serious Michael Leeden, I
believe.) There will be an inevitable escalation of the proxy war between
Iran and Saudi Arabia that is now going on the country; but that will
happen no matter what. Sectarian violence will also continue to spiral no
matter what, with one possible exception: if the Americans leave the
country and are no longer there arming the factions, stirring them up,
setting one against the other, and killing and imprisoning civilians,
thereby radicalizing more and more Iraqis every day. The only possible
chance Iraq has to see a lessening of sectarian violence lies in the
complete withdrawal of American troops.

What would happen next? Well, I think a windfall profits tax on the oil
companies and the weapons peddlers - and the private equity sharks like
Carlyle and Wall Street firms and investment banks who have gorged
themselves with blood money like big ole ticks on a hand - would produce
a very sizable fund for the massive reparations the United States should
pay to the Iraqis for destroying their country and murdering their people.
Special prosecutors investigating the origins and conduct of the war would
also be in order: a Homeland Nuremberg, on national TV - bigger and
better than the Watergate hearings!

But we all know that none of that is going to happen. Certainly not the
reparations, the investigations and prosecutions - not in a million
years, not in the "shining city on a hill." Nor will an American
withdrawal - which, as I said, is the only hope Iraq has of lessening the
hell that now rages there. The sainted General Petraeus - who has been
one of the most egregiously mendacious blowhards touting the war's
"success" for years - is now telling U.S. lawmakers that his "surge"
strategy will take 9-10 years to work, as The Hill reports. So anyone
relying on Petraeus - as Bush and all the "serious" Republicans are doing
- is buying into at least 10 more years of the present situation. And as
we outlined above, anyone touting a "residual force" is essentially doing
the same thing.

Moreover, the same strategic and economic concerns that motivated the
invasion in the first place will still obtain for the next president. In
order to "preserve America's sacred way of life," the United States must
have privileged access to the world's oil heartlands. The latter will not
only allow America to continue using a vastly disproportionate share of
the world's energy resources but also be a vital asset in containing the
growth of any potential rivals and putting the squeeze on recalcitrant
client states (or allies) who get out of line. No president dedicated to
maintaining America's global dominance - via a worldwide empire of
military bases and a gargantuan war machine far surpassing that of any
other nation - can afford to willingly give up control of Iraq to a
Shiite majority closely allied with Iran. (Unless of course there is a
favorable "regime change" in Tehran.) This is part of the evil genius
behind the Bush Regime's invasion of Iraq: it essentially commits any
Establishment candidate - one pledged to the aforesaid military-based
global dominance (as all of the "serious" candidates of both parties are)
- to continuing the Bushists' policies. Now that the Rubicon of invading
Iraq has been crossed, there is no going back. Saddam Hussein was a
neutral in the war for energy supremacy: he could be counted on to sell
his oil to anyone - indeed, the United States was his best customer, even
during the sanctions regime, even as Bush was building up his invasion
force. But a sectarian-based Iraqi government allied with Iran - or some
other unknown quantity seizing power in the vacuum created by the invasion
- could very well curtail or cut off the flow to America for ideological
reasons. If you are committed to American hegemony, American empire, then
you will have to stay militarily involved in Iraq, now that Bush has led
America into it. What's more, the logic of imperial geopolitics will lead
inexorably to an attack on Iran as well, to secure the now-necessary
dominion over Iraq.

Most people persist in believing that the Bush Administration has
"mishandled" or "bungled" the war in Iraq, when in fact they have achieved
almost all of their goals. They have vastly enriched their cronies. They
have installed a U.S. military presence in Iraq. They have expanded the
size, power and scope of the armed forces and the intelligence services
(which now have their own secret armies) beyond the wildest dreams of the
most hawkish Cold War militarist. They have not only gutted the
Constitution but proved that you can get away with it - an invaluable
lesson for dictators to come. And, as noted, they have committed the
American Establishment to continuing the radical course they have set in
motion - because the Establishment will never allow the election of any
candidate who would seek to institute the rollback of the empire and the
restoration of genuine constitutional government. Especially as the latter
would entail bringing justice to the war makers and the war profiteers,
all of them honored stalwarts of the Establishment.

Thus turning over ostensible authority to a "sovereign" Iraqi government
was another masterstroke by the Bushists, a truly audacious scam. While
still occupying the country and controlling its affairs, the United States
has divested itself of the legal responsibilities of an occupying power.
The leaders of both parties in Washington are now busy washing their hands
of the blood they have shed, putting the onus on the occupied, co-opted
and controlled nation to "put its own house in order." But of course, the
Iraqis don't own their house anymore; the largest and most powerful armed
force in the world is squatting there, and will keep squatting there for
years to come, if the "serious" leaders of both parties have their way.

And they will.

Chris Floyd is an American journalist based in the UK. He is the author of
Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium. He
writes the Empire Burlesque blog.

--------17 of 17--------

 Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson      (1875-1935)

 The Proletariat Speaks

 I love beautiful things:
 Great trees, bending green winged branches to a velvet lawn,
 Fountains sparkling in white marble basins,
 Cool fragrance of lilacs and roses and honeysuckle.
 Or exotic blooms, filling the air with heart-contracting odors;
 Spacious rooms, cool and gracious with statues and books,
 Carven seats and tapestries, and old masters
 Whose patina shows the wealth of centuries.

 And so I work
 In a dusty office, whose grim-ed windows
 Look out in an alley of unbelievable squalor,
 Where mangy cats, in their degradation, spurn
 Swarming bits of meat and bread;
 Where odors, vile and breathtaking, rise in fetid waves
 Filling my nostrils, scorching my humid, bitter cheeks.

 I love beautiful things:
 Carven tables laid with lily-hued linen
 And fragile china and sparkling irridescent glass;
 Pale silver, etched with heraldries,
 Where tender bits of regal dainties tempt,
 And soft-stepped service anticipates the unspoken wish.

 And so I eat
 In the food-laden air of a grimy kitchen,
 At an oil-clothed table;
 Plate piled high with food that turns my head away,
 Lest a squeamish stomach reject too soon
 The lumpy gobs it never needed.
 Or in a smoky cafeteria, balancing a slippery tray
 To a table crowded with elbows
 Which lately the bus boy wiped with a grimy rag.

 I love beautiful things:
 Soft linen sheets and silken coverlet,
 Sweet coolth of chamber opened wide to fragrant breeze;
 Rose-shaded lamps and golden atomizers,
 Spraying Parisian fragrance over my relaxed limbs,
 Fresh from a white marble bath, and sweet cool spray.

 And so I sleep
 In a hot hall-room whose half-opened window,
 Unscreened, refuses to budge another inch;
 Admits no air, only insects, and hot choking gasps,
 That make me writhe, nun-like, in sack-cloth sheets and lumps of straw.

 And then I rise
 To fight my way to a dubious tub,
 Whose tiny, tepid stream threatens to make me late;
 And hurrying out, dab my unrefreshed face
 With bits of toiletry from the ten cent store.              [1929]

 [From No More Masks - An Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Women
  Poets, pp 16-18, Harper, 1993]


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg
 --------8 of x--------
 do a find on
                            impeach bush & cheney
                            impeach bush & cheney
                            impeach bush & cheney
                            impeach bush & cheney


  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.