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Bush's pre-emptive war pre-empted Congress

"Bush had no authorization, not even a fig leaf. He was simply attacking another nation because he'd decided to do so. This pre-emptive war pre-empted our own Congress, as well as international law. "

Friday, June 24, 2005
Bush's pre-emptive war pre-empted Congress
Seattle Post Intelligencer

It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so little international support for the Iraqi war that their "coalition of the willing" meant the United States, Britain and the equivalent of a child's imaginary friends. It's even worse that, as the British Downing Street memo confirms, administration officials had so little evidence of real threats that they knew from the start that they were going to have to manufacture excuses to go to war. What's more damning still is that they effectively began this war even before the congressional vote.

With Rep. John Conyers holding hearings, the media are finally starting to cover the Downing Street memo. This transcript of a July 23, 2002, British prime minister's meeting, whose legitimacy the British government confirms, details their response to the Bush administration's intention to go to war against Iraq, no matter how Saddam Hussein responded, and even while claiming they were still seeking peaceful solutions.

"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," states the document. "But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." As the document states, "The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The document is damning, particularly coupled with the testimony of former Bush ghostwriter Mickey Herskowitz that Bush was talking about invading Iraq as early as 1999. But it's even more disturbing as we start learning that this administration began actively fighting the Iraq war well in advance of the March 2003 official attack -- before both the October 2002 congressional authorization and the November United Nations resolution requiring that Saddam open the country up to inspectors.

I follow Iraq pretty closely, but was taken aback when Charlie Clements, now head of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, described driving in Iraq months before the war "and a building would just explode, hit by a missile from 30,000 feet -- 'What is that building?' " Clements would ask. " 'Oh, that's a telephone exchange.' " Later, at a conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base, Clements heard a U.S. general boast "that he began taking out assets that could help in resisting an invasion at least six months before war was declared."

Earlier this month, Jeremy Scahill wrote a powerful piece on the Web site of The Nation, describing a huge air assault in September 2002. "Approximately 100 U.S. and British planes flew from Kuwait into Iraqi airspace," Scahill writes. "At least seven types of aircraft were part of this massive operation, including U.S. F-15 Strike Eagles and Royal Air Force Tornado ground-attack planes. They dropped precision-guided munitions on Saddam Hussein's major western air-defense facility, clearing the path for Special Forces helicopters that lay in wait in Jordan. Earlier attacks had been carried out against Iraqi command and control centers, radar detection systems, Republican Guard units, communication centers and mobile air-defense systems. The Pentagon's goal was clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist."

Why aren't we talking about this? As Scahill points out, this was a month before the congressional vote, and two months before the U.N. resolution. Supposedly part of enforcing "no-fly zones," the bombings were actually systematic assaults on Iraq's capacity to defend itself. The United States had never declared war. Bush had no authorization, not even a fig leaf. He was simply attacking another nation because he'd decided to do so. This pre-emptive war pre-empted our own Congress, as well as international law.

Most Americans don't know these prewar attacks ever happened. There was little coverage at the time, and there's been little since. The bombings that destroyed Iraq's air defenses were under the radar for both the U.S. media and U.S. residents.

If coverage of the Downing Street memo continues to increase, I suspect the administration will try to dismiss it as mere diplomatic talk, just inside baseball. But they weren't just manipulating intelligence so they could attack no matter how Saddam responded. They weren't only bribing would-be allies into participation. They were fighting a war they'd planned long before. They just didn't bother to tell the American public.

Paul Loeb of Seattle is the author of "The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear" (Basic Books),


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Everyone should read the article published in Newsday on Sunday March 16, 2003, (the Sunday before the Iraq invasion) entitled “Pushing US Towards War

Where can I access said Newsday article.

I just have to add a comment based on what I've learned about what's really going on with this administration: the more (vastly deserved) pressure we put on them, the more likely it may be that we will have to live through another 'terrorist' attack. And this one could be far more devastating than 9/11. After that there will be another call to arms, another cause for all patriots to rise up against the anti-American infidels, and another reason to reelect militaristic maniacs and corporate shills. If another attack should happen, please be prepared to respond immediately with appropriate skepticism!

I have long felt that, due to the connection between the Bush and Saudi Royal families, the 9/11 attack could easily have been a significant part of the right wing plan to de-democratize American government. Of course there is no proof! However the circumstances can easily be interpreted to make a case for such a conclusion.

Actually there is a huge amount of circumstantial evidence. Check out the three clips of WTC Building 7 coming down here, in an obvious controlled demolition, eight hours after after the planes hit the towers (it takes weeks to set up a controlled demolition):
Then there's the fact that no steel framed building has ever collapsed due to fire except on 9/11, when 3 did. Then there's the fact that Bush put off any investigation for well over a year, until all the evidence had been removed from the WTC. He finally gave in and alowed FEMA to do a half-baked investigation (Note: FEMA is not an investigative agancy!) And where was the Air Force that day? They never fail to intercept errant planes. The New York and DC areas have bases all over the place, and planes are always intercepted within 20 minutes. It goes on and on. The 9/11 coverup community is really just now getting into high gear. Here's their main central site:

Newsday (New York)

March 16, 2003 Sunday ALL EDITIONS
Correction Appended


LENGTH: 4717 words

HEADLINE: Pushing U.S. Toward War;
A more aggressive military stance, desire to help Israel among the factors

BYLINE: This story was written and reported by Anne Q. Hoy, Timothy Phelps and Ken Fireman of the Washington Bureau, and special correspondent Knut Royce.

Washington - In 1992, two civilian officials drafted a document called the "Defense Planning Guidance" for the Pentagon, a blueprint for the department's spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both the document and the authors were relatively obscure - but not for long.

The document argued that the United States should seek such a degree of military and strategic pre-eminence that potential rivals would be deterred from even trying to compete with it. America should be prepared to use military force unilaterally to further its interests and, when acting with others, it should expect to do so mainly through "ad hoc assemblies" rather than established international institutions like the United Nations. The draft specifically envisioned employing pre-emptive force to deny nuclear weapons to countries such as Iraq or North Korea.

The draft touched off a storm of controversy when it became public. One senior Democratic senator, Joseph Biden of Delaware, denounced it as advocating "literally a Pax Americana" that would be unsustainable and counterproductive. President George Bush apparently agreed, and the document was quickly disavowed.

Today, 11 years later, some critics of the current Bush administration point to that document as the genesis of a policy that is about to come to fruition in a pre-emptive war with Iraq. They note that the principal authors, Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, now occupy powerful positions in the administration. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, is the principal advocate of war with Saddam Hussein, and Libby is chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.

The aggressive projection of American power as the dominant ideology in Washington is one factor pushing the United States seemingly inexorably toward another war with Iraq. Other factors, according to those for or against attacking Iraq, include dreams of peace in the Middle East, securing vital oil supplies or protecting Israel. But the Bush administration is marching off to war now, officials and others say, because of Sept. 11.

Administration officials say President George W. Bush, haunted by the loss of some 3,000 people in the worst attack on American soil, is driven to confront Saddam Hussein now to foil the Iraqi leader's ambitions to acquire an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which he may eventually share with terrorists.

Few Americans doubt that by far the dominant reason for war with Iraq is the feeling of vulnerability and rage flowing from the Sept. 11 attacks and a desire to "drain the swamps" where terrorism breeds. But the war is freighted with other agendas, as is evident from interviews with dozens of administration officials, political leaders of both parties, academics and diplomats, and intelligence and other sources.

Supporters of the administration's aggressive international posture say the war will at once bring democracy to the Middle East, stabilize an unruly but strategically vital region and make peace at last possible between Israelis and Palestinians.

But for critics, the war appears designed in large part to gain control of Middle Eastern oil, astride which sits Iraq. Some also assert that it is a proxy war for Israel, aimed at toppling or weakening its more implacable foes. Yet others charge that Bush's personality encourages a dangerously absolutist worldview of good versus evil, and that he seeks to establish an American imperium by force of arms.

"This is meant to be a demonstration of this strategy of dominance and pre-emption in ways that will intimidate other countries like China," said Michael Klare, a professor at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. "These people really believe in the efficacy of military force. And military force is only efficacious if it's used."

The 1992 document, to some of these critics, represents a kind of Rosetta stone for discerning the administration's true intentions.

These critics say a tight network of neo-conservative thinkers now dominant in the administration provides the intellectual justification for the coming war with Iraq. They include Wolfowitz; Libby; Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy; National Security Council staffers Elliott Abrams and Zalmay Khalilzad; and Richard Perle, head of the advisory Defense Policy Board.

Iraq, in this view, is the perfect pilot project for their enterprise: a strategically invaluable nation led by a cruel despot in command of a relatively weak military.

"It is my opinion that all this plan for pre-emptive strikes was formed back at the end of the first Bush administration with that 1992 report," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.). "It's such a unilateralist approach to foreign policy - and what's also really alarming to me is that we have not had a public debate on it."

The Bush administration dismisses this view as a fable constructed by conspiracy theorists. "This is not just the result of a few individuals who are running loose, as some suggest, but it's a comprehensive policy developed over the years, over several administrations," Secretary of State Colin Powell told a House subcommittee last week. "It is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere that is telling President Bush or me or Vice President Cheney or Condi Rice or other members of our administration what our policies should be."

The Oil Factor

Those suspicious of Bush's agenda often cite one particular commodity: oil. They note that Iraq possesses the world's second-largest proven reserves of petroleum, about 112 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia's 261 billion. This represents a prize of enormous economic and strategic value; control of it would give the United States great leverage over the Saudis and other oil producers - and great profits to the companies allowed to develop it.

At present, American and British oil giants such as ExxonMobil and British Petroleum are largely frozen out of Iraq because of UN sanctions and the Hussein regime's hostility to the nations that defeated him in the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq has tentative deals with French, Russian and Italian firms to develop the oil reserves in the unlikely event sanctions are ever lifted; at present legal oil sales are restricted to a small amount offered through the United Nations' oil-for-food program.

"The companies have to get into the game down the road because of the sheer size of it," says James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, an anti-war think tank. "If they're able to ride in on the back of the U.S. military and sign agreements with a new government, those new reserves will cost them almost nothing. It's the biggest business coup in world history, comparable to the United States getting into Saudi Arabia in the '40s."

Paul notes that production costs in Iraq are extremely low compared with other oil-producing countries because Iraqi oil is in large fields that can be tapped by relatively shallow wells. As a result, he says, oil industry experts estimate that production costs in Iraq can run as low as $1 a barrel, compared with $6 in Russia and Mexico, $12 in offshore production areas and $20 in some parts of North America.

"All they have to do is drill a few holes," he said. "Exploration costs are basically zero, production costs are super low. So it's a huge prize. If you were the head of Exxon, you'd be drooling over it."

But even some staunch opponents of the Bush policy question whether oil is the real motivation, and people inside the oil industry scoff at it. They say the major multinational oil companies already have plenty of access to oil throughout the world and that their main desire is for stability in the Middle East, not the turmoil and destructiveness of a major war.

"They are run today mostly by technocrats and lawyers," says Fareed Mohamedi, chief economist for PFC Energy, a Washington consulting firm that advises the oil industry. "They just are not the old swashbucklers of a different era who had such close government ties."

Mohamedi also notes that the most likely result of opening Iraq's reserves to development would be a massive increase in the amount of oil available on the world market and a corresponding fall in prices, at least in the short run - hardly an attractive scenario for the industry. "If it was just about oil and we control Iraqi oil and flood the oil markets, what do we achieve? Lower oil prices," he said. "That sinks a lot of our friends, as well as the Saudis."

Lawrence Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, an industry-financed research center, said the war-for-oil argument is also belied by the history of the first Gulf War. "If it was all about oil, when we went into Kuwait, what did the United States take away? No contracts, no concessions," he said. "If we didn't take anything then, when would we?"

While administration officials have speculated how Iraqi oil might help pay to rebuild postwar Iraq, the Bush administration indignantly rejects the notion that it is about to launch a war for Iraqi oil. "If the United States had wanted access to Iraqi oil, we could have dropped our whole policy 12 years ago, lifted the sanctions and let Saddam Hussein have his weapons of mass destruction," says Wolfowitz.

Still, Goldstein says that while the war itself may not be about oil, "on the day after, it's all about oil." The reason, he said, is that oil revenues represent the only possible revenue stream to help finance the costs of postwar reconstruction, even if they won't cover it fully. "We could lose the bigger war if we can't stabilize the region in the aftermath," he said. "The biggest problem we're going to have is to see if the wells can produce."

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Many Americans appear to find the most persuasive justification for war in the Iraqi regime's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and Hussein's proven readiness to use them.

Few doubt that the Iraqi leader has produced large quantities of chemical and biological weapons, and many suspect he continues to hoard such banned weapons. The Iraqis have provided no credible evidence, as demanded by UN weapons inspectors, to support their claim that they destroyed the weapons.

But to date there has also been no hard evidence that Hussein has any of these weapons, though the United States says it has intelligence indicating that he is going to great lengths to hide something. Iraqi defectors also have said that Hussein continues to develop banned weapons and the means to deliver them.

But despite strong suspicions that Iraq cheats still, much of the information offered by the United States and Britain as proof of ongoing violations has been questioned by the UN's weapons inspectors and many independent experts.

Some of the intelligence has turned out to be outright bogus. The FBI has started an inquiry into the pedigree of forged documents, turned over to inspectors by the United States and Britain, that attempted to show that Iraq had purchased uranium ore from Niger. A much-ballyhooed official dossier on Iraq's sins released by British Prime Minister Tony Blair was revealed to have been plagiarized from three published articles and contained numerous factual errors.

The evidence that does exist is meager. Inspectors discovered 16 empty chemical warheads from the 1980s, a half-dozen or so more recently produced rocket warheads that appear to be designed to deliver chemical or biological agents, and 120 Al-Samoud 2 missiles that marginally exceed the 150-kilometer (93-mile) range permitted under UN resolutions. These are being destroyed.

Other U.S. intelligence is being challenged by the inspectors. Last fall the CIA - later echoed by Powell in a Feb. 5 speech before the Security Council - asserted that high-strength aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were intended for a centrifuge uranium enrichment program. But Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Security Council on March 7 that his team of experts had concluded that the tubes were for rocket production.

Similarly, high-strength magnets Powell said were purchased by Iraq for its alleged centrifuge enrichment program were dismissed by ElBaradei as unsuited for it.

The Bush administration's strongest argument, analysts say, is Iraq's failure to produce evidence of the destruction of past stocks. The CIA estimates that Iraq retains up to 500 tons of chemical agents, including VX, sarin and mustard gas.

In the 1980s, when Iraq was actually using chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds, the country was nevertheless embraced by the U.S. government because it was fighting Iran. In befriending Iraq, the administration was following one popular Arab maxim: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Friend of al-Qaida?

So to justify action now - and to emphasize the one issue guaranteed to rally public support for war - the administration has sought to tie Iraq to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. That conclusion is based largely on the presence in Baghdad of one man, Abu Musab Zarqawi, an al-Qaida associate.

Intelligence sources say that Zarqawi, a Jordanian, went to Baghdad last winter to have his leg amputated after he was injured during an American bombing raid in Afghanistan.

Powell told the UN that Zarqawi has been meeting with terrorists in Iraq. The sources agree that this, too, appears to be true. The sources say that Iraq's intelligence services, and by inference Hussein himself, must know that Zarqawi has been inside Iraq and probably have a good idea of at least some of the people he has been meeting with.

Zarqawi appears to have masterminded the October assassination of Lawrence Foley, an official of the U.S. Agency for International Development, in Amman, Jordan. But intelligence sources say this killing, too, is not directly linked to Hussein. They say that Hussein has been trying to dissuade America from invading Iraq, not encourage it.

The sources say that Hussein, a secular tyrant, and bin Laden, a theocratic zealot, dislike and distrust each other. When Saudi Arabia was contemplating America's proposal to dispatch troops to the kingdom after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, bin Laden offered to raise an army of jihadists to expel Iraq if the monarchy rejected the U.S. offer.

Finally, they say, al-Qaida terrorists have found shelter and have been operating in several countries considered friendly to the United States, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar and Yemen.

In numerous interviews last week, members of Congress, particularly Republicans, said that disarming Hussein was the reason for going to war, not anything else.

"I don't think the president's motives should be challenged," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a frequent critic of the administration who supports the war. "He is motivated by a perceived threat. There is a threat. It's a proven threat."

"If the president makes a decision to engage in military action, it will be because, based on the information that he has available and that our government has available, the American people are at risk in terms of their security and welfare," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

But Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) says the United States is about to wage war against another country that has not directly threatened it.

Americans "have been led to believe" that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were carried out by Iraqis, Byrd said, when no Iraqis were among the hijackers.

"I have to wonder," the senator said, "I have to wonder if this president is simply so driven to act that he cannot see that action itself is not the goal."

Support for Israel

Another important factor in the administration's push for "regime change" in Iraq is a desire to remove one of Israel's most powerful enemies and create an environment in the region that is potentially less hostile to the Jewish state, some say.

To a degree perhaps unprecedented since its founding, Israel now commands almost unquestioning support from the White House, starting with Bush, who personally likes hard-line Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and has called him "a man of peace." While governor of Texas, Bush visited Israel and was given a helicopter tour of the country by Sharon, then in the political wilderness. Sharon wanted to demonstrate the physical fragility of Israel, a tiny state wedged among hostile Arab neighbors.

In addition to the president, many powerful figures in his administration also have close ties to Israel, especially the Israeli right. Indeed, several current high-ranking Bush officials, including Feith, the No. 3 civilian in the Defense Department, and Perle, of the Pentagon advisory board, contributed to a 1996 policy paper for the new Israeli prime minister, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper called on Netanyahu to drop the concept of trading "land for peace" on which all previous negotiations had been based, and also proposed that Israel focus on removing Hussein from power. Removing Hussein, they argued, would not only eliminate that powerful enemy of Israel but also undermine its other, closer enemy, Syria.

"Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly," they argued.

Feith, a Washington lawyer whose firm represented numerous Israeli clients in the United States, including defense contractors, became sharply critical of Netanyahu when he failed to annul the Oslo peace accords.

Wolfowitz has been single-minded in calling for the overthrow of Hussein for more than two decades. Within 24 hours of the Sept. 11 attacks, he and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld already were advocating an attack on Iraq, even though there was no evidence tying Iraq to the attacks.

A sprinkling of others with close ties to the Israeli right occupy key positions in the vice president's office, the National Security Council and even the State Department, where more moderate voices on the Middle East traditionally predominate.

Such sympathies for the Israelis at high levels of the U.S. government are highly unusual, if not unique. While past presidents have often had advisers who were sympathetic to Israel or even connected to Israeli causes, they generally supported the Israeli Labor Party and negotiating the return of occupied Palestinian land for peace.

Asked about the administration's motives for attacking Iraq, Edward Walker, a retired diplomat who was in charge of Middle East policy under former President Bill Clinton, and briefly under Bush, replied that "there is more to it" than weapons of mass destruction. Walker, also a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt, said though it is not official administration policy, the neoconservatives' concerns regarding Iraq include "the long-term security of Israel."

The Bush administration as a whole has been heavily criticized in Europe and the Middle East for not only siding with Israel, but for embracing Sharon, who was tarnished for allowing Lebanese Christian militias allied with Israel to massacre Palestinian refugees in 1982, and who now, as prime minister, prefers hard tactics to put down violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Domino Effect

In addition to Israel's long-term security, some administration officials also have theorized that the removal of Hussein will create a domino effect, in which a democratic Iraq that they see rising from the ashes of the coming war will trigger a new democratic order throughout the region. In the Middle East, no Islamic country - including the closest U.S. allies - has a freely elected leader. Many do not even have the pretense of elections.

Last month, Bush publicly endorsed that vision of a positive outcome in a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He added that war could at last bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

"A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions," he said. "A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

The idea that overthrowing Hussein would bring democracy and peace to the Middle East is considered far-fetched, if not absurd, by many Middle East experts.

"I don't see that democracy is like a common cold. You can't catch it," said Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute in Washington. "It is something that each society has to come to on its own terms."

The likely result of democratic reform in many countries in the Middle East would be to eliminate the influence of pro-Western forces, such as the Saudi royal family, and sweep into power Islamic fundamentalists who are extremely hostile to the United States, he said.

Even some Bush administration officials share this less optimistic sentiment. A classified State Department report has concluded that "liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve" and "could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements," according to a report Friday in the Los Angeles Times.

A Matter of Faith

If he has any doubt that a war with Iraq will yield all these benefits, the president does not betray it in public. Both supporters and detractors agree on at least one thing about Bush: He tends to view the world in starkly counterposed terms, especially since the Sept. 11 attacks. The president himself has spoken repeatedly about how that day transformed his presidency.

Bush's rhetoric since the attacks has relied on a sharply drawn imagery of good against evil, and he is unafraid of public demonstration of personal faith.

His supporters see in his seeming absence of doubt the moral clarity of a decisive leader who understands the peril posed by a power-mad dictator and does not shrink from confronting it - even in the face of great global opposition. Critics look at the same trait and see a president oversimplifying complex questions and ignoring, in an obsessive desire to assert American power, the often perverse consequences of war.

Both these views of Bush may be missing something, according to Bruce Buchanan, a University of Texas political scientist who specializes in the American presidency and has studied Bush since his days as Texas governor.

Buchanan readily agrees that Bush tends to view the world in starkly defined terms. "He is someone who, when he reached a conclusion, tends to crystallize that conclusion into something that leaves few shades of gray," Buchanan said. "He likes to make up his mind and move. That encourages dispensing with gray, because once you decide to move there isn't much room for it."

Buchanan also notes that Bush's well-advertised faith pushes the president in this direction. "It leads him to consult his instincts, which are presumably informed by that religious instinct," he said. "I see all these things fitting into making a bold effort to do something and feeling assured, not of success, but of being on the side of right."

But Buchanan says Bush's other side craves international legitimacy. This quality comes directly from his father, who maneuvered skillfully and successfully to win UN approval for his war with Iraq in 1991, and is reinforced by former aides to the elder Bush, such as James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, who counseled working through the UN when that issue was being debated within the administration last summer.

As a result, Buchanan said, Bush sided with Powell against other advisers and sought UN support last fall - and is still maneuvering to win the world body's blessing for military action despite seemingly implacable opposition.

"You've got those two instincts," Buchanan said. "You've got the guy who likes to be perceived as bold and decisive. But he also has the instinct to seek legitimacy."


It has never been the policy of the United States to wage pre-emptive war. But life in a post-Sept. 11 world has caused the Bush administration to rethink that policy. A look at root causes for U.S. wars since the Spanish- American War in 1898:

Spanish-American War, 1898-1902: The underlying causes include U.S. interests in Cuba and concerns over Spanish rule there. After the war Spain loses its control over the remains of its overseas empire, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands, Guam and other islands.

World War I, 1917-1918: U.S. enters war on side of Britain, France and Russia two years after Germany sinks luxury liner Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. Key issue for United States was open use of Atlantic Ocean for trade.

World War II, 1941-1945: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, results in more than

2,400 U.S. casualties. U.S. allies with Britain and Soviet Union to counter Nazi aggression in Europe.

Korean War, 1950-1953: Stalinist North Korea invades democratic South in June 1950. U.S. heads international force against North Koreans, who are trained and armed by Soviet Union and communist China.

Vietnam War, 1959-1975: U.S. comes to aid of democratic South Vietnam against insurgency from communist North. Beginning with a small number of advisers, U.S. forces swell to more than 540,000 at height of the war.

Persian Gulf War, 1991: U.S. leads international coalition to drive Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

from Kuwait. Hussein had annexed the oil-rich emirate as Iraq's 19th province in August 1990.

AP FILE PHOTOS-The skies of Baghdad are lit with antiaircraft fire during a U.S. bombing raid in the Persian Gulf War of 1991. 2) Casualties are loaded onto a Marine helicopter at Con Thien, just below the demilitarized zone, in Vietnam in May 1967. 3) Three U.S. battleships are hit during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. 4) Photo- U.S. troops celebrate after battle of Santiago, Cuba, during Spanish-American War in 1898.

SOURCE: Staff reporting

Black Gold

Oil is the lifeblood of the Middle East and a treasured commodity in the United States. A look at leading sources of U.S. imports from 1983 to 2001 shows growing dependence on Persian Gulf sources.

1983 Percentage of total U.S. imports

Mexico 16.4

Canada 10.8

Venezuela 8.4

Britain 7.6

Indonesia 6.7

Saudi Arabia 6.7

Nigeria 6.0

Algeria 4.8

Total other sources: 32.6

2001 Percentage of total U.S. imports

Canada 15.4

Saudi Arabia 14.0

Venezuela 13.1

Mexico 12.1

Nigeria 7.5

Iraq 6.7

Norway 2.9

Angola 2.8

Britain 2.7

Colombia 2.5

Algeria 2.3

Kuwait 2.1

Total other sources 15.9


Persian Gulf Imports: A look at total U.S. oil imports from 1973 to 2001. Share in red represents percent of total imports from Persian Gulf nations. Total imports are in millions of barrel per day.

1973 13% 6.3 million

1983 8% 5 million

1993 21% 8.6 million

2001 24% 11.9 million

Where the Oil Is: Percentage of world oil reserves by region. Estimates place total world reserves at 1,028,000,000,000 barrels with Iraq possessing 112,500,000,000 barrels, or nearly 11 percent of the world's total.

Africa 7.3

Asia/Pacific 4.3

Central/South America 9.2

Eastern Europe/Russia 5.7

North America 5.3

Western Europe 1.7

Middle East 66.5

SOURCES: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Oil and Gas Journal

A More Democratic World

As the United States considers military action to democratize Iraq, statistics show that democratic forms of government have been on the rise worldwide while authoritarian governments have been declining sharply. A look at how the makeup of world governments has changed since 1985:

Authoritarian governments*

1985 2000

67 26

*Exchange include military rule, most or all political freedoms restricted.

Intermediate democracy

1985 2000

44 39

**Some civil and political freedoms restricted.

Full democracies***

1985 2000

13 82

***Guarantee full human rights, including free press and independent judiciary.


1985: 124

2000: 147

Percentage of World Governments

Full Intermediate Authoritarian

Democracies Democracies

1985 10.5% 35.5% 54%

2000 56% 26% 18%


CORRECTION-DATE: March 26, 2003

Unpublished Correction: Anne Q Hoy's name was missing from the byline in this story. (3/26/03

GRAPHIC: AP File Photo-Twelve years ago, Marines patrol the charred perimeter of Kuwait City as an oil well burns in the background. 2) Getty Images Photo-In Kuwait, Marines attend a recent dedication ceremony for three Marines, Major Mike Curtin, Sgt. Matt Garvey, and Sgt. Charlies Anaya, who were killed Sept. 11. 3) AP Photo-A UN weapons inspector with an Al-Samoud 2 missile at a site north of Baghdad. Iraq has agreed to destroy the missiles. 4) AP File Photo-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, center, and Ariel Sharon tour Israel and its environs by helicopter in 1998. 5) AP Photo-Abu Musab Zarqawi. 6) AP File Photo-Bush stands with firefighter Bob Beckwith on a burned fire truck at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001. Bush is said to be haunted by the loss of lives in Sept. 11 attacks. AP Photos-JUSTIFYING BUSH'S POLICY: 7) Elliot Abrams, National Security Council staffer. 8) Zalmay Khalilzad, National Security Council staffer. 9) Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. 10) Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary. 11) Richard Perie, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. 12) Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. 1) Newsday Chart/Gustavo Pabon-A More Democratic World Newsday Charts/Richard Cornett- 2) Black Gold. 3) A Changing Policy? (see end of text)

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September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

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