Profound tensions and contradictions in Iraq's new constitution

From the NY Times Op-Ed section, by Kanan Makiya, professor at Brandeis University and author of "Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World":

WASHINGTON and Baghdad will be tempted, with the adoption of a new Constitution and the election on Thursday for a four-year government, to declare victory in Iraq. In one sense, they are right to do so. The emerging Iraqi polity undoubtedly represents a radical break not only with the country's past but also with the whole Arab state system established by Britain and France after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

But in the larger sense, such optimism is misguided, for none of the problems associated with Iraq's monumental change have been sorted out. Worse, profound tensions and contradictions have been enshrined in the Constitution of the new Iraq, and they threaten the very existence of the state.

Labour and Peace

London, Day 3: Workers of the World
By David Swanson

Tomorrow is the international peace conference in London, and today we spent some time at the Stop the War Coalition office, where they were preparing. The office space is in the building of, and is provided by, NATFHE, the University and College Lecturers' union.

Cindy Sheehan Goes to Downing Street

By David Swanson

Today Cindy Sheehan, Brian Haw, and a crowd of other peace activists paid a visit to #10 Downing Street, the home of British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- and birthplace of the Downing Street Minutes. Sheehan is known around the world as the mother whose campaign has demanded an explanation from George Bush for her son's death in Iraq. Haw is known to all of Britain as the man who has lived in Parliament Square for the past four years, demanding an end to the war, and even running for Parliament from an address of the sidewalk across from Parliament.

An Open Letter to Wealthy Patriots, from a Gold Star Mother

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/10/232831/45

George Bush will be speaking about the war at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia on Monday. Tickets for the event are sold out, however, the luncheon tickets that are closest to Mr Bush were sold for $10,000. I would like to be at a table close enough to Mr Bush so that he could meet with me.

Iraq, religious conservatives, and the "crusade theory of warfare"

By pastor Anthony B. Robinson in SeattlePi.com:

You might not expect a West Point graduate, Vietnam vet and career soldier to come out with a book titled "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Addicted to War." But that's what Andrew Bacevich, who now directs the program in International Relations at Boston University, has done.

Bird Dogging Hillary Clinton: The Antiwar Movement Steps Up

ORIGINAL

by Joshua Frank
www.dissidentvoice.org
December 10, 2005

One has to be pleased that the antiwar movement is taking shape. Finally the target isn’t just George. W. Bush and gang. Last Monday night at a chic Manhattan fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, antiwar activists staked out the Senator and vowed to do so until she changes her position on the war.

BBC: BBC: Tony Benn opens peace conference

ORIGINAL

Mr Benn said this peace movement was the biggest in his lifetime

Veteran Labour politician Tony Benn has shared the stage with east London Respect MP George Galloway at an international peace conference.

Scotland Sunday Herald: Cindy's War

ORIGINAL

Sunday Herald - 11 December 2005

CINDY’S WAR

Many voices have opposed the war in Iraq, but few cries have been louder than that of grieving mother Cindy Sheehan. Her campaign against George Bush brought her to Scotland last week. Neil Mackay joined her on the road

Pentagon Covering Up Tens of Thousands of U.S. Casualties In Official Reports

ORIGINAL

Seven Members of Congress issued a letter this week charging that the Pentagon is systematically “under-reporting casualties in Iraq by only reporting non-fatal casualties incurred in combat.” They asked for a full accounting of the accurate numbers.

Media continues to ignore impeachment polling

http://mediamatters.org/items/200512100004

On November 7, Dan Froomkin wrote in a column for The Washington Post's website:

Back in June, Zogby asked Americans if they agreed or disagreed with the following question:

The Torture Administration

ORIGINAL

By Anthony Lewis
The Nation

26 December 2005 Issue

When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933 and proceeded to carry out their savagery, many in the outside world asked how this could have happened in the land of Goethe and Beethoven. Would the people of other societies as readily accept tyranny? Sinclair Lewis, in 1935, imagined Americans turning to dictatorship under the pressures of economic distress in the Depression. He called his novel, ironically, It Can't Happen Here.

Probe into Iraq coverage widens

ORIGINAL

By Rick Jervis and Zaid Sabah, USA TODAY
BAGHDAD — A U.S. investigation into allegations that the American military is buying positive coverage in the Iraqi media has expanded to examine a press club founded and financed by the U.S. Army.

An American Nightmare

Pseudofiction by Amy Branham of Gold Star Families for Peace

PART I – THE WOMAN

George climbed into bed beside Laura, tired from the long day of work. Running a nation isn’t easy. It’s really hard work. The war in Iraq wasn’t going well and disapproval by the American people was growing by the day. His economic policies were awash. You have to make hard decisions when you are President of a country, he told himself. I’m the President and I can do what I want. The people elected me, and that gave me the freedom to do what needs to be done.

Al-Qa'ida operative 'lied about links with Iraq to avoid torture'

ORIGINAL

By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Published: 10 December 2005

The rationale behind Washington's "rendition" of terror suspects has been called into question by a senior al-Qa'ida operative, who says he made false claims to Egyptian interrogators about the group's links with Iraq in order to escape being tortured.

Helping the Romans to Oppose the Empire

Remarks for International Peace Conference in London, England, December 10
By David Swanson

When the Downing Street Minutes (which documented Bush and Blair's plans to lie about the reasons for war) were made into a major news story in England in early May, a bunch of us got together and formed a large coalition in the United States (and with key partners in the UK, including the Stop the War Coalition and Military Families Against the War). Our goal was to pressure both the media corporations operating in the US and the congress members who usually obey them to report on and investigate the story. After all, if Tony Blair was going to feel heat for having caved in to the plans of the gangsters who occupy the White House, then – we thought – the gang leaders should bear a little responsibility as well. We called our coalition and our website After Downing Street. I want to talk a little about the media right now, and save Congress for another time.

More Evidence David Broder is Right! Right! Right!

ORIGINAL

Last week I wrote a letter to David Broder about this exchange between him and Tim Russert on Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: David Broder, is it possible for official Washington--the president, Democratic leaders, Republican leaders--to arrive at common ground, a consensus position on Iraq?

MR. DAVID BRODER: It's possible, Tim, but they won't get there by arguing about who did what three years ago. And this whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant. The public's moved past that.

In my letter I inquired what the evidence was for Mr. Broder's assertion. Mr. Broder hasn't seen fit to respond, but I think that's only fair, since it was such a stupid question. Every passing day brings more evidence no one cares about this dumb issue—for instance, this NY Times/CBS poll released yesterday (pdf):

Peace Action Calls for International Support of Peace Movement

Proposal for International Groups to Affect U.S. Foreign Policy

Unfortunately the Bush administration is driving horrible U.S. foreign policy including the occupation of Iraq. For those working on peace issues—especially on ending the occupation of Iraq—a change of U.S. policy is the top priority.

Unknown to many in the U.S. and my guess to our colleagues internationally is that the peace movement in the U.S. is woefully under-funded and under-resourced. Peace Action—the largest U.S. grassroots peace organization—has a combined budget of it’s various entities (100 Affiliates and Chapters across the country) of less than $5 million USD annually.
There are many reasons for this:

Cindy Sheehan to Meet with Brian Haw of UK

IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
Friday 9 December 2005
FROM: Parliament Square Peace Campaign [A]

CINDY SHEEHAN TO VISIT UK PEACE PROTESTOR BRIAN HAW
The first meeting of two of the most iconic figures of the US and UK anti-war movements

A Very Shia Christmas?

ORIGINAL

By Larry Johnson

If you've paid attention to the right wing flapping about the so called "war on Christmas" (i.e., the apparent plot of politicians and merchants to substitute the phrase "Happy Holidays" for "Christmas") you are getting an inkling of the future of Iraq. With the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity railing against those who don't want to bow the knee to Jesus, we are getting a taste of what life in the new Iraq will be like. The religious extremists in our country, who insist that there is no compromise when it comes to Jesus, capture perfectly the mentality of the folks who are poised to take the reins of power in Baghdad. Note, even some of the President's most stalwart supporters among evangelical Christians have made quite a show of throwing away the "Holiday" card sent by the White House. Welcome to the American Taliban.

House Panel Keeps Alive Hinchey Measure To Obtain All White House Drafts Of 2003 State of the Union

ORIGINAL

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2005

House Panel Keeps Alive Hinchey Measure To Obtain All White House Drafts Of 2003 State of the Union Address That Contained False Iraq Uranium Claims

Wolfowitz Says Iraq War Might Not Have Occurred if United States Knew Hussein Had No WMD

ORIGINAL

Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said yesterday that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq might not have occurred if the United States had known there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Dec. 5).

If America Left Iraq

The Atlantic Monthly | December 2005

If America Left Iraq

by Nir Rosen

Nir Rosen, a fellow at the New America Foundation, spent sixteen months reporting from Iraq after the American invasion.

Roll Call: Iraq Tests Dem Unity

"Iraq Tests Party Unity"

By Erin P. Billings,Roll Call Staff
Roll Call -December 8, 2005

House Democrats on Wednesday worked to hit the restart button on their Iraq war message, talking up their unity and trying to downplay suggestions that their policy disagreements are damaging them politically.

Open Letter to Congress

Dear Members of Congress:

Fifty eight thousand of your fellow citizens died during the Vietnam War in an attempt by the United States Government to impose its political will on the people of Vietnam. The lesson that the 58,000 paid for with their lives is that the United States can not, and should not, hope to impose its political will by military force in foreign lands when neither the people of the foreign country nor the people of the United States wants it. The parallels between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq should be well-known to you, and the lesson of Vietnam should be one that you are loath to repeat, both for its effects on your fellow citizens and for its effects on the people of Iraq.

Cheney in Last Throes

ORIGINAL

Rice with Indefensible Brief; Cheney in Last Throes
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 09 December 2005

Scotland Today: Scottish First Minister Refuses to Meet with Sheehan

ORIGINAL

First Minister criticised for refusing to meet US peace campaigner

The mother of the dead Scottish Soldier Gordon Gentle has branded First Minister Jack McConnell a disgrace to Scotland. Mr McConnell refused to meet the American peace campaigner, Cindy Sheehan, when she flew into Scotland today for a series of anti-war engagements.

The Herald of Scotland Covers Sheehan Visit

ORIGINAL

In the land of her grandmothers

RAYMOND DUNCAN and CAMERON SIMPSON
December 09 2005

It was a whistle-stop appearance, but there was time enough for the tall figure, all in black save for the white peace poppy on her lapel, to create a stir.

The Guardian Covers Cindy Sheehan's UK Visit

'I feel I'm carrying the world on my shoulders'

After Cindy Sheehan's son died in Iraq, her protest outside Bush's Texas ranch became a symbol of opposition to the war. Duncan Campbell joins her as she brings her campaign to Britain

Friday December 9, 2005
The Guardian

When Casey Sheehan joined the army in May 2000, he was assured that he would never see combat. Four years later, he was killed in Iraq. Over the summer, his mother, Cindy, pitched a tent in front of George Bush's Texas ranch. Others joined what was to become known as Camp Casey. Soon, Cindy Sheehan, a housewife and mature student, was the face of the opposition to the president's Iraq policy - and a target of virulent abuse from right-wing commentators. Now she is in Britain for the first time, joining the anti-war movement here.

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