Bulletin N°219


20 December 2005

Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

Studies of the Puritan Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution reveal the historic conjunctures that lead to the massive privatization of property and eventually unleashed the free market economy onto the world. The liberation of new capitalist interests gathered to effectively challenge the archaic structures of mercantilism which had become increasingly palpable obstacles inhibiting satisfaction of the economic needs of the nations which made these revolutions. [See Eric Hobsbawn's The Age of Revolution.] The trial and public execution of King Charles I in London, on January 30, 1649, for high crimes against the nation; the unequivocal declaration of independence from Great Britain in the name of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", in New York, on July 4, 1776; the beheading in Paris of King Louis XVI , on January 21, 1793, for treason against the French nation; the killing of the entire family of Tsar Nicholas II on July 16, 1917 --all of these acts of individual violence, in contrast to the greater forces of economic violence which had devastated the lives of millions of citizens before they were brought under the more democratic control of new state powers, have receive much attention.

The study of history teaches us that not all change is chaotic, and that those forces which prevail are not always the traditional  forces of order. The 17th-century Puritan Revolution in England lead to the military conquest of Ireland , under the direction of Olliver Cromwell in 1650. The American Revolution opened the gates to the unrestrained forces of American conquest of the Indian homelands in North America, after the 1780s. The French Revolution gave rise to the Napoleonic wars of "liberation" across the continent until 1815. And the October revolution brought to an abrupt halt the German military invasion of Russia in 1917, albeit leaving Russian serfs in much the same conditions of servitude as before.

All of the above revolutions occurred in the context of national wars --the English war with Scotland in the 1640s; the effects of the British the Seven-Years War with France; French aid to the American Revolution in 1778-87; and the Russian Empire's defeat by the Japanese in 1905, followed by its automatic entry into World War I in 1914 -- these historic national conflicts invariably gave impetus to national uprisings which lead, either directly or indirectly, to the global expansion of the free market economy.

We, today, are situated on the cusp of "globalization," and from this vantage point we can peer into the future.... What do our prophets foresee? And what can we believe?

Below, are five items recently received by CEIMSA-IN-EXILE (at the Unviersity of California).

Item A. is an article by Dr. Gabriel Kolko, sent to us by our research associate Professor Richard Du Boff, from the University of Pennsylvania. Is it really the beginning of the end, and what will follow. . . ?

Item B. is an investigation from Michael Albert into the death of West Point Professor Col. Ted Westhusing, which raises more questions than it can answer. . . .

Item C. is an essay on "The Revolt of the Generals," by investigative reporter Alexander Cockburn who seems to believe that the American warriors from the Vietnam War era carry a special moral authority in matters concerning the U.S. imperialist intervention in Iraq .

Item D. is an Internet emission from Radio Amsterdam, the December 18th interview with Noam Chomsky on "Terror and the War in Iraq".

Item E. is  a communication from Christophe DUPONT forwarded to us by Antoinette Loïodice who invites us to join the guardians of history in their efforts to defend academic knowledge from the political motivations of French legislators in Paris who have literally outlawed the scientific study of world history in French public schools. [You are invited to sign the Internet petition below.]

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble3



from Professor Richard Du Boff :

December 17, 2005



Defeated in Iraq , Bankrupt at Home, Despised Around the Globe (And That's Just the Good News)   The Decline of the American Empire


The dilemma the US has had for a half-century is that the priorities it must impose on its budget and its imperial plans have never guided its actual behavior and action. It has always believed, as well it should, that Europe and its control would determine the future of world power. But it has fought in Korea , Vietnam , and now Iraq --the so-called " Third World" in general--where the stakes of power were much smaller.

The American priorities were specific, focused on individual nations, but they also set the United States the task of guiding or controlling the entire world--which is a very big place and has proven time and again to be far beyond American resources and imperial power. In most of those places in the Third World where the US massively employed its power directly it has lost, and its military might has been ineffective. The US 's local proxies have been corrupt and venal in most nations where it has relied upon them. The cost, both in financial terms and in the eventual alienation of the American public, has been monumental.

The Pentagon developed strategic airpower and nuclear weapons with the USSR as its primary target, and equipped itself to fight a massive land war in Eastern Europe. Arms makers much preferred this expensive approach, [] and they remain very powerful voices in shaping US foreign and budgetary policy.

But the Soviet enemy no longer exists. The US dilemma, and it is a fundamental contradiction, is that its expensive military power is largely useless as an instrument of foreign policy. It lost the war in Vietnam, and while it managed to overthrow popular regimes in Brazil, Chile, and elsewhere in Latin America, its military power is useless in dealing with the effects of larger social and political problems--and Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia are more independent of American-control than ever.

Strategically, also, the US is far worse off in the oil-rich Middle East because it made every mistake possible. It supported Islamic fundamentalism against Communism but also against secular nationalism, Iraq against Iran in the 1980s, and it is not simply losing the war in Iraq militarily but also alienating most of its former friends in the region. And Iran is emerging as the decisive power in the area.

The basic problem the world today confronts is American ambition, an ambition based on the illusion that its great military power allows it to define political and social trends everywhere it chooses to do so. When the USSR existed it was somewhat more inhibited because Soviet military power neutralized American military might and there was a partial equilibrium-a deterring balance of terror-- in Europe. Moreover, the USSR always advised its friends and nations in its orbit to move carefully not to provoke the US , an inhibition that no longer exists.

On the other hand, just as the Warsaw Pact has disappeared, NATO is well along in the process of breaking up and going the way of SEATO, CENTO, etc. The 1999 war against Serbia made its demise much more likely but the US-led alliance disagreed profoundly over the Iraq War and now is likely to dissolve in fact, if not formally. The Bush Administration produced a crisis with its alliance and has created profound instability in Iraq , which was always an artificial state since the British created it after World War One resulted in the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Eight nations have nuclear weapons already, but the UN says another 30 or so have the skill and resources to become nuclear powers. The world is escaping the US , but it is also escaping the forms of control which were in place when the USSR existed and states were too poor to build nuclear weapons. The world is more dangerous now, in large part because the US refuses to recognize the limits of its power and retains the ambitions it had 50 years ago. But the spread of all kinds of weapons also has its own momentum-one that US arms exports aids immeasurably.

Iraq was not at the top of the Bush Administration's agenda when it came to power in 2001. Bush was committed, however, to a "forward-leaning" foreign policy, to use Rumsfeld's words, and greater military activism. Had September 11 not occurred, it is more likely that the Bush administration would have confronted China , which has nuclear weapons. This administration deems China a peer competitor in the vast East Asia region. It still may do so, although Iraq has been a total disaster for the administration--militarily and geopolitically--and greatly alienated the US public (faster than Vietnam did).

The US military is falling apart: its weapons have been ineffective, politically Iraq is likely to break up into regional fiefdoms (as Afghanistan has), and perhaps civil war--no one knows. From the Iraqi viewpoint the war was a disaster, but it also repeated the failures the Americans confronted in Korea , Vietnam , and elsewhere.

That the Iraq resistance is divided will not save the US from defeat. Few believe Iraq will be spared great trauma. In fact, many American officials predicted this before the war began and they were ignored--just as they were ignored when they predicted disaster in Vietnam in the 1960s.

We live in a tragic world and war is considered more virtuous than peace--and since arms-makers profit from wars and not peace, conventional wisdom is reinforced by their lobbies and by preaching the cult of weaponry.

The US may explore how to end its predicament in Iraq but only Iran can help it. Ironically, Iran has gained most geopolitically from Saddam Hussein's defeat and has no incentive to save the Bush Administration from the defeat now staring at it--both in Iraq and in future elections in the US .

The world is escaping American control, and Soviet prudence no longer inhibits many movements and nations. World opposition is becoming decentralized to a much greater extent and the US is less than ever able to control it--although it may go financially bankrupt and break up its alliances in the process of seeking to be hegemonic.

This is cause for a certain optimism, based on a realistic assessment of the balance-of-power in the world. I think we must avoid the pessimism-optimism trap but be realistic. Although the Americans are very destructive, they are also losing wars and wrecking themselves economically and politically. But for a century the world has fought wars, and while the US has been the leading power by far-in making wars since 1946, it has no monopoly on folly.

But it is crucial to remember that the US is only a reflection of the militarism and irrationality that has blinded many leaders of mankind for over a century.

The task is not only to prevent the US from inflicting more damage on the hapless world-- Iraq at this moment--but to root out the historic, global illusions that led to its aggression.


Gabriel Kolko is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914 and Another Century of War?. He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam , the US and the Modern Historical Experience. His latest book, The Age of War, will be published in March 2006.

He can be reached at: kolko@counterpunch.org



from Michael Albert :


December 13, 2005

Los Angeles Times

A Journey That Ended in Anguish

by T. Christian Miller

"War is the hardest place to make moral judgments."

-- Col. Ted Westhusing, Journal of Military Ethics

[Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.]

  WASHINGTON -- One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.

The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq .

The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.

Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq . A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.

In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.

His death stunned all who knew him. Colleagues and commanders wondered whether they had missed signs of depression. He had been losing weight and not sleeping well. But only a day before his death, Westhusing won praise from a senior officer for his progress in training Iraqi police.

His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.

On the Internet and in conversations with one another, Westhusing's family and friends have questioned the military investigation.

A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.

How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq ?

Even at Jenks High School in suburban Tulsa, one of the biggest in Oklahoma, Westhusing stood out. He was starting point guard for the Trojans, a team that made a strong run for the state basketball championship his senior year. He was a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He was an officer in a fellowship of Christian athletes.

Joe Holladay, who coached Westhusing before going on to become assistant coach of the University of North Carolina Tarheels, recalled Westhusing showing up at the gym at 7 a.m. to get in 100 extra practice shots.

"There was never a question of how hard he played or how much effort he put into something," Holladay said. "Whatever he did, he did well. He was the cream of the crop."

When Westhusing entered West Point in 1979, the tradition-bound institution was just emerging from a cheating scandal that had shamed the Army. Restoring honor to the nation's preeminent incubator for Army leadership was the focus of the day.

Cadets are taught to value duty, honor and country, and are drilled in West Point's strict moral code: A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal -- or tolerate those who do.

Westhusing embraced it. He was selected as honor captain for the entire academy his senior year. Col. Tim Trainor, a classmate and currently a West Point professor, said Westhusing was strict but sympathetic to cadets' problems. He remembered him as "introspective."

Westhusing graduated third in his class in 1983 and became an infantry platoon leader. He received special forces training, served in Italy , South Korea and Honduras , and eventually became division operations officer for the 82nd Airborne, based at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

He loved commanding soldiers. But he remained drawn to intellectual pursuits.

In 2000, Westhusing enrolled in Emory University's doctoral philosophy program. The idea was to return to West Point to teach future leaders.

He immediately stood out on the leafy Atlanta campus. Married with children, he was surrounded by young, single students. He was a deeply faithful Christian in a graduate program of professional skeptics.

Plunged into academia, Westhusing held fast to his military ties. Students and professors recalled him jogging up steep hills in combat boots and camouflage, his rucksack full, to stay in shape. He wrote a paper challenging an essay that questioned the morality of patriotism.

"He was as straight an arrow as you would possibly find," said Aaron Fichtelberg, a fellow student and now a professor at the University of Delaware. "He seemed unshakable."

In his 352-page dissertation, Westhusing discussed the ethics of war, focusing on examples of military honor from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Israeli army. It is a dense, searching and sometimes personal effort to define what, exactly, constitutes virtuous conduct in the context of the modern U.S. military.

"Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote in the opening pages.

As planned, Westhusing returned to teach philosophy and English at West Point as a full professor with a guaranteed lifetime assignment. He settled into life on campus with his wife, Michelle, and their three young children.

But amid the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq , he told friends that he felt experience in Iraq would help him in teaching cadets. In the fall of 2004, he volunteered for duty.

"He wanted to serve, he wanted to use his skills, maybe he wanted some glory," recalled Nick Fotion, his advisor at Emory. "He wanted to go."

In January, Westhusing began work on what the Pentagon considered the most important mission in Iraq : training Iraqi forces to take over security duties from U.S. troops.

Westhusing's task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations.

In March, Gen. David Petraeus, commanding officer of the Iraqi training mission, praised Westhusing's performance, saying he had exceeded "lofty expectations."

"Thanks much, sir, but we can do much better and will," Westhusing wrote back, according to a copy of the Army investigation of his death that was obtained by The Times.

In April, his mood seemed to have darkened. He worried over delays in training one of the police battalions.

Then, in May, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS.

The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis.

A USIS contractor accompanied Iraqi police trainees during the assault on Fallouja last November and later boasted about the number of insurgents he had killed, the letter says. Private security contractors are not allowed to conduct offensive operations.

In a second incident, the letter says, a USIS employee saw Iraqi police trainees kill two innocent Iraqi civilians, then covered it up. A USIS manager "did not want it reported because he thought it would put his contract at risk."

Westhusing reported the allegations to his superiors but told one of them, Gen. Joseph Fil, that he believed USIS was complying with the terms of its contract.

U.S. officials investigated and found "no contractual violations," an Army spokesman said. Bill Winter, a USIS spokesman, said the investigation "found these allegations to be unfounded."

However, several U.S. officials said inquiries on USIS were ongoing. One U.S. military official, who, like others, requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the inquiries had turned up problems, but nothing to support the more serious charges of human rights violations.

"As is typical, there may be a wisp of truth in each of the allegations," the official said.

The letter shook Westhusing, who felt personally implicated by accusations that he was too friendly with USIS management, according to an e-mail in the report.

"This is a mess ... dunno what I will do with this," he wrote home to his family May 18.

The colonel began to complain to colleagues about "his dislike of the contractors," who, he said, "were paid too much money by the government," according to one captain.

"The meetings [with contractors] were never easy and always contentious. The contracts were in dispute and always under discussion," an Army Corps of Engineers official told investigators.

By June, some of Westhusing's colleagues had begun to worry about his health. They later told investigators that he had lost weight and begun fidgeting, sometimes staring off into space. He seemed withdrawn, they said.

His family was also becoming worried. He described feeling alone and abandoned. He sent home brief, cryptic e-mails, including one that said, "[I] didn't think I'd make it last night." He talked of resigning his command.

Westhusing brushed aside entreaties for details, writing that he would say more when he returned home. The family responded with an outpouring of e-mails expressing love and support.

His wife recalled a phone conversation that chilled her two weeks before his death.

"I heard something in his voice," she told investigators, according to a transcript of the interview. "In Ted's voice, there was fear. He did not like the nighttime and being alone."

Westhusing's father, Keith, said the family did not want to comment for this article.

On June 4, Westhusing left his office in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone of Baghdad to view a demonstration of Iraqi police preparedness at Camp Dublin, the USIS headquarters at the airport. He gave a briefing that impressed Petraeus and a visiting scholar. He stayed overnight at the USIS camp.

That night in his office, a USIS secretary would later tell investigators, she watched Westhusing take out his 9-millimeter pistol and "play" with it, repeatedly unholstering the weapon.

At a meeting the next morning to discuss construction delays, he seemed agitated. He stewed over demands for tighter vetting of police candidates, worried that it would slow the mission. He seemed upset over funding shortfalls.

Uncharacteristically, he lashed out at the contractors in attendance, according to the Army Corps official. In three months, the official had never seen Westhusing upset.

"He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," the official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this."

The meeting broke up shortly before lunch. About 1 p.m., a USIS manager went looking for Westhusing because he was scheduled for a ride back to the Green Zone. After getting no answer, the manager returned about 15 minutes later. Another USIS employee peeked through a window. He saw Westhusing lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

The manager rushed into the trailer and tried to revive Westhusing. The manager told investigators that he picked up the pistol at Westhusing's feet and tossed it onto the bed.

"I knew people would show up," that manager said later in attempting to explain why he had handled the weapon. "With 30 years from military and law enforcement training, I did not want the weapon to get bumped and go off."

After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide. A test showed gunpowder residue on his hands. A shell casing in the room bore markings indicating it had been fired from his service revolver.

Then there was the note.

Investigators found it lying on Westhusing's bed. The handwriting matched his.

The first part of the four-page letter lashes out at Petraeus and Fil. Both men later told investigators that they had not criticized Westhusing or heard negative comments from him. An Army review undertaken after Westhusing's death was complimentary of the command climate under the two men, a U.S. military official said.

Most of the letter is a wrenching account of a struggle for honor in a strange land.

"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.

"Death before being dishonored any more."

A psychologist reviewed Westhusing's e-mails and interviewed colleagues. She concluded that the anonymous letter had been the "most difficult and probably most painful stressor."

She said that Westhusing had placed too much pressure on himself to succeed and that he was unusually rigid in his thinking. Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.

"Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited," wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. "He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses."

One military officer said he felt Westhusing had trouble reconciling his ideals with Iraq 's reality. Iraq "isn't a black-and-white place," the officer said. "There's a lot of gray."

Fil and Petraeus, Westhusing's commanding officers, declined to comment on the investigation, but they praised him. He was "an extremely bright, highly competent, completely professional and exceedingly hard-working officer. His death was truly tragic and was a tremendous blow," Petraeus said.

Westhusing's family and friends are troubled that he died at Camp Dublin, where he was without a bodyguard, surrounded by the same contractors he suspected of wrongdoing. They wonder why the manager who discovered Westhusing's body and picked up his weapon was not tested for gunpowder residue.

Mostly, they wonder how Col. Ted Westhusing -- father, husband, son and expert on doing right -- could have found himself in a place so dark that he saw no light.

"He's the last person who would commit suicide," said Fichtelberg, his graduate school colleague. "He couldn't have done it. He's just too damn stubborn."

Westhusing's body was flown back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Waiting to receive it were his family and a close friend from West Point, a lieutenant colonel.

In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.

She answered:

" Iraq ."



from Alexander Chckburn :

7 December 2005


The Revolt of the Generals

by Alexander Cockburn

The immense significance of Rep John Murtha's November 17 speech calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq is that it signals mutiny in the US senior officer corps, seeing the institution they lead as "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth", to use the biting words of their spokesman, John Murtha, as he reiterated on December his denunciation of Bush's destruction of the Army.

A CounterPuncher with nearly 40 years experience working in and around the Pentagon told me this week that "The Four Star Generals picked Murtha to make this speech because he has maximum credibility." It's true. Even in the US Senate there's no one with quite Murtha's standing to deliver the message, except maybe for Byrd, but the venerable senator from West Virginia was a vehement opponent of the war from the outset , whereas Murtha voted for it and only recently has turned around.

So the Four-Star Generals briefed Murtha and gave him the state-of-the-art data which made his speech so deadly, stinging the White House into panic-stricken and foolish denunciations of Murtha as a clone of Michael Moore.

It cannot have taken vice president Cheney, a former US Defense Secretary, more than a moment to scan Murtha's speech and realize the import of Murtha's speech as an announcement that the generals have had enough.

Listen once more to what the generals want the country to know:

"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and our families are stretched thin. Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota.

"Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared.

"The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls in our bases at home. I've been to three bases in the United States , and each one of them were short of things they need to train the people going to Iraq .

"Much of our ground equipment is worn out.

"Most importantly -- this is the most important point -- incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over a time when we had additional more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revolution at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled."

What happened on the heels of this speech is very instructive. The Democrats fell over themselves distancing themselves from Murtha, emboldening the White House to go one the attack.

From Bush's presidential plane, touring Asia, came the derisive comment that Murtha was  "endorsing the policies of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

It took the traveling White House about 48 hours to realize that this was a dumb thing to have said. Murtha's not the kind of guy you can slime, the way Bush and Co did the glass-jawed Kerry in 2004. The much decorated vet Murtha snapped back publicly that he hadn't much time for smears from people like Cheney who'd got five deferments from military service in Vietnam .

By the weekend Bush was speaking of Murtha respectfully. On Monday, gritting his teeth, Cheney told a Washington audience that though he disagreed with Murtha "he's a good man, a Marine, a patriot, and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion."

One day later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox News, "I do not think that American forces need to be there in the numbers that they are now because -- for very much longer -- because Iraqis are stepping up." A week later Bush was preparing a speech laying heavy emphasis on US withdrawals as the Iraqi armed forces take up the burden.

Are there US-trained Iraqi detachments ready in the wings? Not if you believe reports from Iraq , but they could be nonagenarians armed with bows and arrows and the Bush high command would still be invoking their superb training and readiness for the great mission.

Ten days after Murtha's speech commentators on the tv Sunday talk shows were clambering aboard the Bring 'em home bandwagon. Voices calling for America to "stay the course" in Iraq were few and far between. On December 1 Murtha returned to the attack in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, telling a civic group there that he was wrong to have voted for the war and that most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth".

The stench of panic in Washington that hangs like a winter fog over Capitol Hill intensified. The panic stems from the core concern of every politician in the nation's capital: survival. The people sweating are Republicans and the source of their terror is the deadly message spelled out in every current poll: Bush's war on Iraq spells disaster for the Republican Party in next year's midterm elections.

Take a mid-November poll by SurveyUSA: in only seven states did Bush's current approval rating exceed 50 per cent. These consisted of the thinly populated states of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi. In twelve states, including California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan, his rating was under 35.

You have to go back to the early 1970s, when a scandal-stained Nixon was on the verge of resignation, to find numbers lower than Bush's. Like Bush, Nixon had swept to triumphant reelection in 1972. Less than two years later he turned the White House over to vice president Ford and flew off into exile.

No one expects Bush to resign, or even to be impeached (though vice president Cheney's future is less assured) and his second term has more than three years to run.

But right now, to use a famous phrase from the Nixon era, a cancer is gnawing at his presidency and that cancer is the war in Iraq . The American people are now 60 per cent against it and 40 per cent think Bush lied to get them to back it.

Hence the panic. Even though the seats in the House of Representatives are now so gerrymandered that less than 50 out of 435 districts are reckoned as ever being likely to change hands, Republicans worry that few seats, however gerrymandered, can withstand a Force 5 political hurricane.

What they get from current polls is a simple message. If the US has not withdrawn substantial numbers of its troops from Iraq by the fall of next year, a Force 5 storm surge might very well wash them away.

Amid this potential debacle, the Republicans' only source of comfort is the truly incredible conduct of the Democrats. First came the Democrats' terrified reaction to Murtha, symbolized by Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi's cancellation of a press conference supporting Murtha. This prompted the Republicans to realize that the Democrats were ready to have their bluff called by the Republican-sponsored resolution calling for immediate withdrawal, for which only three Democrats voted, while so-called progressives like Kucinich and Sanders and Conyers ran for cover.

Listen to any prominent Democrat senator, like Kerry or Clinton or Feingold or Obama and you get the same adamant refusal to go beyond the savage characterization by Glenn Ford and Peter Gamble of the Black Commentator, of Obama's address to the Council on Foreign Relations:

"U.S. Senator Barack Obama has planted his feet deeply inside the Iraq war-prolongation camp of the Democratic Party, the great swamp that, if not drained, will swallow up any hope of victory over the GOP in next year's congressional elections. In a masterpiece of double-speak before the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, November 22, the Black Illinois lawmaker managed to out-mush-mouth Sen. John Kerry - a prodigious feat, indeed.

"In essence, all Obama wants from the Bush regime is that it fess up to having launched the war based on false information, and to henceforth come clean with the Senate on how it plans to proceed in the future. Those Democrats who want to dwell on the past - the actual genesis and rationale for the war, and the real reasons for its continuation - should be quiet.

" 'Withdrawal' and 'timetables' are bad words, and Obama will have nothing to do with them.

"Of course, the 'insurgents' are not a 'faction,' and must therefore be defeated. On this point, Obama and the Bush men agree: 'In sum, we have to focus, methodically and without partisanship, on those steps that will: one, stabilize Iraq, avoid all out civil war, and give the factions within Iraq the space they need to forge a political settlement; two, contain and ultimately extinguish the insurgency in Iraq; and three, bring our troops safely home.'

"Nobody in the White House would argue with any of these points. Point number two in Obama's 'pragmatic' baseline is, the containment and elimination of the 'insurgency.' Of course, one can only do that by continuing the war. Indeed, it appears that Obama and many of his colleagues are more intent on consulting the Bush men on the best ways to 'win' the war than in effecting an American withdrawal at any foreseeable time.

"They want 'victory' just as much as the White House; they just don't want the word shouted at every press conference."

The Black Commentator concludes its excoriation of Obama and his fellow Democrats with these words:

"By late summer of 2006, when voters are deciding what they want their Senate and House to look like, if the Democrats have not caught up to public opinion to offer a tangible and quick exit from Iraq , the Republicans will retain control of both chambers of congress.

"All that will be left in November is mush from Kerry, Hillary, Biden, Edwards - and Obama's - mouths."

Here at CounterPunch we heartily endorse this sentiment.



from Noam Chomsky :

Amsterdam, Holland

18 December 2005

Chomsky on Terror and Iraq

An interview by Andy Clark

Author and activist Noam Chomsky joined Amsterdam Forum this week and took questions from listeners from around the world on Iraq and the War on Terror.




from : Christophe Dupont :

Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005

Subject: abrogation de la loi sur le rôle positif de la colonisation.

Bonjour à tou-te-s,

 Vous êtes invité-e à découvrir le site abrogation.net en vous rendant à l'adresse suivante, et à signer la pétition en ligne.

A +,




Francis McCollum Feeley

Professor of American Studies/

Director of Research

Université de Grenoble-3

Grenoble, France