Subject: ON COGNITIVE DISSONANCE : FROM THE CENTER FOR THE
STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS.
20 September 2003
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Our research associate Professor Bertell Ollman has published a new
book, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx's Method (University of
Illinois Press, 2003), which is another theoretical work of the
highest caliber to explain the most useful method available to derive
an authentic understanding of the current world capitalist crisis.
Ollman quotes psychologist, Bill Livant, who observed, "When a
liberal sees a beggar, he says the system isn't working. When a
Marxist does, he says it is". The same insight, writes Professor
Ollman of NYU, "could be applied today to the entire area of
education. The learned journals as well as the popular media are full
of studies documenting how little most students know and how fragile
are their basic skills." (For more on a Marxist analysis of
education, please visit
http://www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/whyexams.html, and for a serious
discussion of the pedagogical value of play, please read CEIMSA's
September Newsletter, "THE PHILOSOPHY OF BASKETBALL" at :
Don't let your janitor be the first to understand how the system
works, be sure to read Professor Ollman's most recent works about
common sense, play, and genius.
American popular culture, like a weather vane, has picked up on the
current climatic changes in American society since 9/11 (please see
Madonna's interpretation of American life in item A).
The current U.S. military adventure in Iraq has apparently created
environment in the U.S. where speaking about America's military
defeat in Vietnam is all but taboo. Calculated disinformation over
the past decades has lead an entire generation of Americans to
believe that the U.S. won the war in Vietnam. Item B. is a simple
reminder from the witnesses of that war.
Item C. is a contemporary account of Bad Days in Iraq, predicting
what most officials in the Bush Administration don't want to hear,
that America has embarked on a long, costly war against the Iraqi
nation, which, along with other liabilities, is perceived as a
criminal act by the vast majority of the world's population .
Meanwhile, on the home front, war resistance is growing and is
predictably evolving into a multi-issue social movement. In item D.
our center shares with readers some of the bumber stickers now seen
on the American freeways in preparation for the 2004 elections.
And finally, in item E. we have an article sent to us by ZNet on the
tactics of fear mongering --the new terrorist scare replacing the old
red scare to again rescue U.S. capitalism by increasing corporate
profits and paralyzing the U.S. population into submission before the
growing economic inequalities and financial insecurities.
As usual, we invite readers to respond to the essays which our
research center mails out.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Prevent the Crime of Silence : Reports from the sessions of the
International War Crimes Tribunal, founded by Bertrand Russell.
© Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation Ltd., 1971
"If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are
crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does
them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct
against others which we would not be willing to have
invoked against us."
-- US Supreme Court Judge Robert Jackson, speaking
at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal
Noam Chomsky Foreword (21 pages)
Noam Chomsky After Pinkville (28 pages)
Bertrand Russell Speech to the First Meeting of Members of the War
Crimes Tribunal (3 pages)
Aims of the Tribunal agreed at the Constituting Session (1 page)
PART I · THE FIRST SESSION OF THE TRIBUNAL WAS HELD AT
1 Jean-Paul Sartre Inaugural Statement (6 pages)
2 Leon Matarasso Outline of the General Introductory Report (9 pages)
3 Gabriel Kolko The United States in Vietnam, 1944-66: Origins and
Objectives of an Intervention (43 pages)
4 Jean-Pierre Vigier Technical Aspects of Fragmentation Bombs (4 pages)
5 Malcolm Caldwell Report from North Vietnam (9 pages)
6 Lawrence Daly American Bombing in North Vietnam (6 pages)
7 Tariq Ali Report from Cambodia and North Vietnam (5 pages)
8 Martin Birnstingl Report from North Vietnam (4 pages)
9 Henrick Forss Examinations of Victims of US Bombs (4 pages)
10 Do Van Ngoc Testimony (2 pages)
11 Ngo Thi Nga Testimony (2 pages)
12 Hoang Tan Hung Testimony (3 pages)
13 Nguyen Van Dong Testimony for the NLF of South Vietnam (5 pages)
14 John Takman and Axel Höjer Bombardment of Civilians in North Vietnam (5
15 Abraham Behar Summary Report on the Bombing of the Civil Population of
the North (14 pages)
16 Fujio Yamazaki Significance of the Destruction of Dikes in North Vietnam
17 Makato Kandachi Some Facts on Bombing of Dikes (3 pages)
18 Kim-Eng Khouroudeth Report from Cambodia (5 pages)
19 Jean-Paul Sartre Summary and Verdict of the Stockholm Session (10 pages)
20 Bertrand Russell Closing Address to the Stockholm Session (3 pages)
PART II · THE SECOND SESSION OF THE TRIBUNAL WAS HELD AT
20 NOVEMBER - 1 DECEMBER 1967.
1 Gilbert Dreyfus Napalm and its Effects on Human Beings (9 pages)
2 Masahiro Hashimoto The Napalm Bomb (5 pages)
3 Edgar Lederer Report on Chemical Warfare in Vietnam (23 pages)
4 Thai Binh Danh Testimony (2 pages)
5 Pham Thi Yen Imprisonment and Torture of a Political Prisoner (4 pages)
6 Nguyen Thi Tho Conditions in Diem's Prisons (3 pages)
7 Pham Ngoc Thach Testimony from North Vietnam (6 pages)
8 David Kenneth Tuck Testimony and Questioning (14 pages)
9 Peter Martinsen Testimony and Questioning (23 pages)
10 Donald Duncan Testimony and Questioning (31 pages)
11 Wilfred Burchett The United States and Laos (6 pages)
12 Erich Wulff Testimony from South Vietnam (9 pages)
13 Charles Fourniau Summary Report on the Complicity of Thailand and the
Philippines (4 pages)
14 Japanese Commission Report on the Complicity of Japan (8 pages)
15 Lelio Basso Summing-up of the Second Session (21 pages)
16 Summary of the Second Session (6 pages)
17 Jean-Paul Sartre On Genocide (16 pages)
18 Verdict of the Second Session (2 pages)
19 An Appeal to American and World Opinion read by Dave Dellinger (4 pages)
-The International War Crimes Tribunal (5 pages)
-Afterword from the Editors of the Swedish edition ......and of the
English edition (4 pages)
-Postscript (8 pages)
For more on Vietnam war crimes visit Grover Furr's highly informative Vietnam War Page :
Bad Days in Iraq
Revolutionary Worker #1212, September 14, 2003, <http://rwor.org>
"Day after day, there is something terrible in our lives."
--Raed Ramadani, shoe salesman in central
Baghdad market, Washington Post
"U.S. troops say they're not feeling the love in Iraq"
--L.A. Times headline, August 31, 2003
Five months after the U.S. and Britain invaded their country, the
people of Iraq face desperate and even worsening conditions, with no
end in sight. Across this once prosperous country, there are still
only a few pockets where water and sewage systems work. There is a
constant and growing danger from epidemic diseases--including cholera
and dysentery--that are especially lethal for small children. The
lack of electrical power means that ordinary life is at a standstill:
The vast majority of urban Iraqis have no work. In the countryside,
the farmers' irrigation pumps don't work; their fields stay brown and
dry. People have no money for food or gas or other necessities--and
after long summer months many are increasingly desperate. In the
markets, the price of food has now doubled since the invasion. Former
utility worker Hadji Rassul: "I am retired and I have received one
pension payment from them on June 8. Since then, nothing. No one has
any money to afford the normal daily costs." The only parts of the
economy that work are often tied to the degradation and domination of
the people: The black market is still booming as people steal and
resell anything of value they can find. So much basic cabling has
been ripped out of Iraq's infrastructure that the price of copper in
surrounding countries has been cut in half. Prostitution grows around
U.S. bases. And of course, the more political forms of corruption are
also booming: The U.S. is waving paychecks to recruit anyone
demoralized, opportunistic or hungry enough to sign up--as police
enforcers, informants, puppet soldiers, government hacks, translators
and whatever other service the occupiers need.
And towering over it all is the military occupation itself. This
country remains, essentially, under conditions of war. The occupying
troops are pinned down, holding a few strategic strongpoints--base
facilities, major government offices, bridges, some borders and
pipelines. They emerge from their bunkered bases mainly for brutal
sorties to frisk and threaten whole towns. Lt. Col. Michael Mahoney,
commander of Task Force Thunder, pointed to U.S. soldiers inside his
base camp: "They are very safe in here. When they leave, it's full
battle rattle and game on, and they know it. When they go out of the
gate, it's very, very serious."
At strategic roadblocks and random patrols, these soldiers poke
machine guns into people's faces, shout in English, kick in doors,
round up the men and boys, shoot at the rooftops and all-too-often
simply kill anyone who protests or makes a sudden move.
Meanwhile, in the neighborhoods, under the darkness of night, people
have only whatever protection they can provide for themselves. They
are trapped indoors, and constantly must guard against rape, theft
and murder. Unknown thousands of Iraqi men remain prisoners in U.S.
military camps--under horrible conditions of heat and hopelessness.
At the national level, Iraqis can see the U.S. government is digging
in for direct rule. The attempt to create a pro-U.S. Iraqi government
gathers wannabe collaborators--bitterly squabbling, isolated, deeply
In many ways, the clergy and religious politicians of the Shia
religious communities have emerged as the only visible home-grown
political apparatus in much of the country--and the U.S. pursues two
options: on the one hand they toy with forces who want an Islamic
state, while on the other hand, they try to reenlist former Baathist
officers to form a secular puppet army as a balance.
What kind of a future do any of these schemes hold for Iraq's
A conservative religious state with intense new restrictions on women
and social life? A reunion of Saddam Hussein's old army and police?
And years of U.S. direct control over everything, including the
Iraq's people fight for daily survival in this madness of foreign
conquest. Is it any wonder that more and more of them have picked up
stones and weapons, and see their only hope in driving the occupiers
Problems of a Conqueror
"Facing resistance by forces they have yet to identify with any
conviction, the U.S.-led occupation authorities are unable to control
the roads or the borders, the water or the electricity supply. It is
now increasingly clear
they are also unable to defend the allies and institutions they need
to rebuild Iraq."
British Financial Times , Sept. 2, 2003
One after another, four major explosions have vividly shown how
little the U.S. military controls events in Iraq--and how difficult
it will be to impose a stable new political or economic order on
Iraq. On August 19, the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad blew
up. Among the dead was the leading UN operative Sergio Vieira de
Mello, who had been working day and night trying to convince Iraqi
figures to collaborate with
the U.S. occupation authorities.
On August 29, a massive explosion hit Imam Ali Mosque, one of
holiest shrines. It killed the leading Shi'ite cleric, Grand
Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim, and over 100 other people. Al-Hakim
had been the most prominent Iraqi political figure to consider
collaborating with the U.S. occupation. Massive protests and
anti-U.S. resistance have spread through southern Iraqi Shi'ite
regions that had been considered relatively quiet.
The next day, on August 30, the pipeline carrying oil from the
northern Kirkuk fields to Turkey burst into flames for the fourth
time since the U.S. announced it was "operational."
Then on Sept. 2, a massive explosion blasted the Baghdad
of the pro-U.S. Iraqi police. The top Iraqi police commander barely
escaped alive. In these same days, a series of announcements in
Washington revealed the gruesome calculus of an invasion turning into
a quagmire: On August 26, the number of U.S. and British soldiers
killed reached 318--and for the first time, more of them had died
enforcing the occupation
than died during the invasion itself. The Washington Post reported
that an average of 10 U.S. soldiers a day are "wounded in action,"
many losing limbs in grenade and rocket attacks. The U.S. government
does not report how many Iraqi people they kill, but those casualties
too are clearly growing as the war continues on the ground.
The first week in September, the U.S. government finally "did the
math" in public about the cost of this occupation in both dollars and
military forces. On September 4, the White House told Congress that
the war would require a staggering $60 to $70 billion more than
previously given the military in the new budget--twice what anyone
expected. At the same time, a Congressional Budget Office report
documented that the Pentagon could only maintain its current troop
strength in Iraq by doubling the tours of duty to a full year
and calling up even more National Guard and reserve units. And all
that assumed the same troop levels of 150,000 in Iraq (which the
White House insists is their policy). A "senior official" in Bush's
government anonymously told the Washington Post that it is now clear
that it will take 500,000 troops for U.S. imperialism to "secure"
Iraq--a force equal to the Vietnam War at its height.
At the same time, the U.S. has failed to bring other countries to
prop up its occupation. A World To Win New Service documented (August
25) that Poland, which had offered more troops than any other
European country,freaked out after the UN building was bombed, and
announced that its contingent will be withdrawn from the "high risk
area" south of Baghdad, demanding that they be sent to "low risk"
areas further south. Japan announced an indefinite postponement in
sending its promised troops, because "conditions have become what
The Debate over Getting "More Boots on the Ground"
"It is going to be hard. It is going to be long and sometimes bloody,
but we just have to stick with it."
--Centcom Commander Gen. John Abizaid, Wall
"I think that Iraq, we have to be clear about this, is now shaping
as the worst foreign policy problem that the United States has faced
since the end of the Vietnam War."
--Richard Holbrooke, major architect of U.S.
foreign policy, Fox News
The unraveling of the U.S. war plans led to a debate within the
ruling class over how to succeed in this occupation. Universally, in
both political parties, the debate assumes that the U.S. must now
"tough it out"--and the only question is how to win, over the
resistance growing in Iraq. With this in mind it is especially useful
to look at Howard Dean, the
Vermont governor running for president as an "antiwar democrat." His
campaign is filled with criticism of how this war was launched and
conducted. Dean discusses the lies of the Bush administration in launching
the wars. But his criticism is focused on "with inadequate planning and
without maximum support." He supports the U.S. removing foreign regimes when
it wants. And the solution he has offered for the crisis on the ground in
Iraq is more troops. He adds: "General Shinseki's professional military
advice that 200,000 troops would be needed was rejected. I would add at
least 50,000 foreign troops to the force in Iraq."
Meanwhile, the Bush administration has announced that they will
launch new efforts to get foreign troops into Iraq, and will move
faster to build a puppet Iraqi army.
All sides in the ruling class debate say that there should be "more
boots on the ground." (And "boots" is how the ruling class
dismissively calls the troops who kill and die for them.) All urge
action now to save the
occupation, and prevent the rise of antiwar sentiment.
For example, a USA Today editorial argued (August 27): "The American
people will not accept ever-more casualties and an ever-steeper bill
to pay for vain efforts to make Iraq into a western democracy. Our
credibility will suffer much less if we recalibrate now rather than
The argument being sold to the public is: the war might be wrong, it
might have been poorly planned, but the U.S. can't leave now, it must
stand tough, because its position as a global power would be
weakened. And these in-house imperialist "critics" of Bush are
arguing for rescuing the U.S. conquest of Iraq.
In other words, they claim that somehow a war that is unjust and
illegitimate has spawned an occupation that must now be carried
through and strengthened at all costs.
The Bush administration will now launch a huge offensive both to get
UN support for their occupation and to build up a new Iraqi puppet
army. This means that virtually the only remaining, visible
difference between the
administration and its Democratic critics over Iraq is that the main
Democratic presidential candidates insist on sending more U.S. troops
to the Middle East, while Rumsfeld insists (for the moment) that no
more are needed! What an Orwellian moment, where Democrats who call
for escalating this
vicious U.S. occupation mascarade as "antiwar" candidates!!
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
Subject: Bush/Cheney 2004 Campaign Bumperstickers and Fiore Ah-nuhld
Bush/Cheney 2004 Campaign Bumperstickers :
Bush/Cheney '04: Four More Wars!
Bush/Cheney '04: Because the truth just isn't good enough!
Bush/Cheney '04: Compassionate Colonialism!
Bush/Cheney '04: Deja-voodoo All Over Again!
Bush/Cheney '04: Leave no billionaire behind!
Bush/Cheney '04: Lies and videotape but no sex!
Bush/Cheney '04: Making the world a better place, one country at a time!
Bush/Cheney '04: Over a billion Whoppers served!
Bush/Cheney '04: Putting the "con" in conservatism!
Bush/Cheney '04: Thanks for not paying attention.
Bush/Cheney '04: The last vote you'll ever have to cast!
Bush/Cheney '04: This time, elect us!
Bush/Cheney '04: We're gooder!
Bush/Cheney '04: Asses of Evil.
George W. Bush: It Takes a Village Idiot.
Bush '04: "With a Bush, a Dick and a Colin, everyone gets screwed."
Bush '04: "My daughters like me when they're drunk."
Reselect Bush/Cheney in '04
Bush '04: "Because I'm President, that's why!"
Bush/Cheney '04: "The check's in the mail!
"Vote for Bush & You Get Dick!"
"Who would Jesus Bomb?"
Bush in '04: "I has incumbentory advantitude!"
MARK FIORE AH-NUHLD FLASH ANIMATION : CLICK HERE
from ZNet (www.zmag.org) :
After Two Years : Real Dangers and False Solutions in the Age of
by Stephen R. Shalom
Kenneth Adelman, a former Reagan administration official and
close associate of the ruling neoconservatives, has offered his
advice to the Bush administration for securing its re-election. "We
should not try to convince people that things are getting better," he
said. "Rather, we should convince people that ours is the age of
terrorism." The fact that upgradings of the color-coded terror
alert frequently seem
to coincide with some scandal or bad news that the Bush
administration would like to keep off the front page, makes us all
cynical about the terrorism threat. But manipulation of terror
warnings should not obscure
the very real dangers that terrorism poses.
So now, two years after the horrors of 9-11, given the fact
that this administration has staked its future on making its citizens
safe from terrorism, it's reasonable to ask what it has actually done
to reduce the threat of anti-U.S. terrorism.
In March 2003, Bush's special adviser for counter-terrorism,
Rand Beers, resigned. In June he charged that the "war on terrorism"
was "making us less secure, not more secure." The Bush
administration, he said, put too much emphasis on attacking
terrorists overseas: "There's not enough focus on defense and dealing
with the basic sources of humiliation and despair that exist in large
segments of the Islamic population."
Beers is no starry-eyed liberal. He was a 20-year veteran of
the National Security Council, where he had loyally carried out
atrocious policies under Reagan and Bush Senior, as well as Clinton.
Just last year, to help get a judge to dismiss a lawsuit opposing
Plan Colombia -- the multi-billion dollar U.S. aid program -- he
submitted a deposition stating that Colombian guerrillas had received
training in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, a claim he was later
forced to retract as baseless. Nevertheless, in his limited way
Beers points to the real problem. The key to reducing terrorism
against the United States is to eliminate as much as possible those
"basic sources of humiliation and despair." So how successful has the
Bush administration been when it comes to those "large segments of
the Islamic population"?
Consider the findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Project,
which interviewed some 16,000 respondents around the world: "[T]the
bottom has fallen out of support for America in most of the Muslim
world. Negative views of the U.S. among Muslims, which had been
largely limited to countries in the Middle East, have spread to
Muslim populations in Indonesia and Nigeria. Since last summer,
favorable ratings for the U.S. have fallen from 61% to 15% in
Indonesia and from 71% to 38% among Muslims in Nigeria.... In the
wake of the war, a growing percentage of Muslims see serious threats
to Islam. Specifically, majorities in seven of eight Muslim
populations surveyed express worries that the U.S. might become a
military threat to their countries.... Support for the U.S.-led war
on terrorism also has fallen in most Muslim publics. Equally
significant, solid majorities in the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia
and Jordan and nearly half of those in Morocco and Pakistan say they
have at least some confidence in Osama bin Laden to 'do the right
thing regarding world affairs.'"
In Pakistan, virulently anti-American Islamicists won local
elections in two out of four of the country's provinces and are now
the third largest party in the national parliament, their best
showing ever. For the first time, their support comes not just from
the areas bordering Afghanistan, but even from urban areas. In
Kuwait, elections in July returned Islamic traditionalists and
supporters of the royal family, while liberals suffered a severe
defeat. And in Indonesia, the New York Times' Jane Perlez reports,
"Jemaah Islamiyah was only the most extreme of a number of groups
that were galvanized by the events of 9/11 and the American response
What is the impact of this growing anti-Americanism in the
Islamic world? The London-based World Markets Research Center, which
assesses terrorism threats for top corporate clients, now ranks
Colombia, Israel, and Pakistan as the only countries with a greater
terror risk than the United States. "Another Sept. 11-style terrorist
attack in the United States is highly likely," they warned in August
2003. "U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has
exacerbated anti-U.S. sentiment."
Many al Qaeda members have been killed or captured, but the
expert consensus is not sanguine. The conservative but often canny
International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in May 2003
al Qaeda was "more insidious and just as dangerous" as it was before
September 11, 2001. Jason Burke, author of a forthcoming book on al
Qaeda, has written "That the conflict in Iraq led to a rise in
recruitment for radical groups is now so clear that even U.S.
officials admit it. This is a huge setback in the 'war on terror.'"
Rohan Gunaratna, a Southeast Asian expert on al Qaeda, reports that
the organization has had no trouble in recruiting fresh members among
Muslims whose anti-Western passions have been fueled by the war in
"For every three to five members, they have five to ten more recruits.
As a result, active terrorist groups will be able to grow and
become more powerful and influential." Gunaratna told the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States that outside
of Palestine less than 20% of the population of any Muslim country
actively supports terrorism. But, he continued, "This may change with
time. This may change, especially after 9/11, especially after U.S.
intervention in Iraq." "America has taken a country that was not a
terrorist threat" -- Iraq -- "and turned it into one," notes Jessica
Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants
The Bush administration, which warned so vociferously that
Saddam Hussein might pass weapons of mass destruction on to al Qaeda
or other terrorists, has now created a situation where such fantasies
could become realities. After all, the terrorists now collecting in
Iraq potentially have access to the looted radioactive material and
nuclear waste from Iraqi facilities at Tuwaitha and elsewhere, left
U.S. forces in the postwar weeks. These were not weapons facilities,
but some of the missing materials could be used to make a "dirty
Bush always exaggerated the danger that would ensue if
Saddam's Iraq had acquired weapons of mass destruction. There is no
reason to think that deterrence wouldn't have applied to his regime
as much as it did to Stalin's or Mao's. But there is no doubt that
the more countries that have such weapons, the more dangerous a place
the world becomes. So it is reasonable to ask what the impact has
been of Bush foreign policy on the dangers of proliferation. The
consequence of the Iraq war in this regard is not likely to be
As Joseph Cirincione, author of Deadly Arsenals: Tracking
Weapons of Mass Destruction and a senior associate at the Carnegie
Endowment, has written: "U.S. officials report that North Korea is
accelerating its nuclear program, not abandoning it. Iran, too, has
consciously raised the public profile of its ostensibly civilian
nuclear program and insisted that it would acquire full nuclear
fuel-cycle capability, thus enabling it to enrich uranium to
weapon-grade levels and reprocess plutonium from reactor fuel. Like
India's army chief of staff after the first Iraq war, officials in
Pyongyang and Tehran may believe that if one day you find yourself
opposed by the United States, you'd better have a nuclear weapon."
Convincing countries opposed by the United States to submit
to UN weapons inspections will no doubt become more difficult than
ever, given that when Iraq grudgingly accepted inspectors, allowed
them to destroy some of its missiles, and subjected itself to U.S.
spying, it was attacked anyway. More generally in terms of our safety
two years after September 11, the United States has worked hard to
create a more dangerous globe. It has blocked efforts to improve
compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and has
insisted on a reservation to the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing
the President the right to refuse an inspection of U.S. facilities on
national security grounds. With regard to nuclear weapons, the
Bush administration has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty and has stated that it can't rule out a resumption of nuclear
testing. It has declared that it might use nuclear weapons in
response to chemical or biological threats and that new nuclear
weapons are needed to target chemical and biological weapons sites in
potential enemy countries, as well as deeply buried and hardened
command posts. It has begun research on modifications of two types of
existing nuclear bombs and has proposed the repeal of a ten-year old
ban on low-yield nuclear weapons research and development. As the
mainstream Arms Control Association has noted, "Coming from the
United States, the world's pre-eminent military and
political power, such policies undermine nonproliferation efforts by
suggesting to other states that nuclear weapons are legitimate and
necessary tools that can achieve military or political objectives.
Such an approach, if implemented, only increases the odds that
another country or group will race to acquire -- and perhaps someday
use -- the destructive power of these terrible weapons."
If the Bush administration's foreign policy destabilizes the
world at every level, what of its domestic policies? Under the
Patriot Act and prior legislation, the Justice Department has
certainly arrested or simply incarcerated in one way or another large
numbers of people, actions that have endangered civil liberties,
while doing little to address the actual threat of terrorism. It is
conceivable, in fact, that, Attorney General Ashcroft's boasts aside,
it is even increasing the menace of terrorism at home.
The danger to basic freedoms is so clear that one doesn't
have to go to the ACLU or other left-liberal sources for
substantiation. A survey of corporate chief security officers by
their professional magazine found
31 percent believing that the United States is in jeopardy of
becoming a police state. Leading conservative ideologue and former
House majority leader Dick Armey warned that the Justice Department
was "out of
control" and "the most dangerous agency of government." Three U.S.
states, including Republican-controlled Alaska, and 157 cities,
towns, and counties have passed resolutions challenging the Patriot
In return for this loss of civil liberties, there has been at
best a negligible gain in security. In the weeks following 9-11,
hundreds of people were secretly arrested. Virtually all arrested
were cleared of
any connection to terrorism, yet the average clearance took 80 days,
during which time they were confined under harsh, sometimes abusive
conditions, according to the Justice Department's own Inspector
As law professor David Cole has noted, "Ashcroft greatly exaggerates
his 'successes.' He claims to have brought 255 criminal charges in
terror investigations, but the vast majority of those charges were
pretextual criminal charges (like credit card fraud or lying to an
FBI agent) used to justify holding people who turned out
to have no connection with terrorism. Similarly, he claims to have
deported 515 people in the investigation but fails to mention Justice
Department policy that authorized deportation only after the FBI
immigrants of involvement in terrorism."
In some of the few cases where individuals were convicted of
charges relating to terrorism, there is reason to believe that guilty
pleas were obtained not by any real involvement in violent acts, but
by the outrageous threat to treat the defendants as "enemy
combatants," and hence beyond the protection of basic rights.
Dealing appropriately with terrorism does not require the
added powers of the Patriot Act, let alone the even more extensive
powers of the proposed Patriot Act II. But this legislation is of
obvious value to officials intent on gathering unlimited information
on our citizenry. (Well, not quite unlimited. Ashcroft wants records
on gun sales in a federal data base to be destroyed after 24 hours
and to bar their use in terrorism investigations.)
Police-state practices are not merely ineffective and unjust:
they may also be counterproductive. A crucial requirement for
uncovering any hidden terrorist cells in the United States is having
the support of immigrant communities. But this support is undermined
by the Justice Department's ethnic profiling, high-pressure
interviewing, secret arrests, and general mistreatment of the
country's Muslim communities.
There are in fact a great many measures that can and should
be undertaken domestically to reduce the threat of terrorism, many of
which measures are actively opposed by the Bush administration
require regulating private corporations or call for the kinds of
government spending that might preclude tax cuts for the rich.
Consider chemical plants. According to the Environmental
Protection Agency, there are 123 U.S. chemical facilities where a
release of chemicals could threaten at least one million people;
another 700 that could threaten more than 100,000 people; and 3,000
at least 10,000 people. Since October 2001, legislation has been
proposed setting minimal security standards for these plants, but the
industry and the White House have insisted on only "voluntary
compliance." To take just a single example of the problems of
depending on corporate voluntarism, in July 2003, the New York Daily
News found there to be no security at all at the Matheson Tri-Gas
facility in East Rutherford, NJ, a release from which could put up to
7.3 million people in the metropolitan New York area at risk.
Or consider nuclear power plants. Perhaps even more
vulnerable than a plant's reactor core are its waste pools where
spent fuel is stored. A terrorist-caused rupture in these tanks could
start a fire leading to
the release of a radiation plume that, according to a study by
physicist Frank N. Von Hippel, "would contaminate eight to 70 times
more land than the area affected by the 1986 accident in Chernobyl."
A study by Brookhaven National Laboratory showed that a pool fire in
a metropolitan area could lead to 140,000 cancer deaths and cause
over half a trillion dollars in off-site property damage alone.
These waste pools are currently extremely insecure. There is
a fairly inexpensive technological solution to the problem: for about
$45 million a year per plant, the pools can be converted to dry
storage areas, making them much less vulnerable target for
terrorists. Yet the Bush administration has not pursued this or any
other solution that might cost the industry any money.
In May Secretary of Transportation Mineta identified maritime
ports as the most vulnerable part of the nation's transportation
system. "With the number of containers coming into this country, we
really don't have
a good handle on what's in those containers. And to me that is one
that we still haven't really been able to put our hands on." Just
recently a Newsweek reporter was able to drive "straight into the
truck lanes of the Port of Baltimore -- which U.S. Customs officials
say is one of the nation's best protected -- without being stopped,
[and] then spent two hours wandering, unnoticed, among stacked
shipping containers. 'You just happened to pick a day when a lot of
our normal people were out,' port spokeswoman Darlene Frank
When it comes to planning for responding to a terrorist act
-- no less crucial to our safety -- the record is no better. The Rand
Corporation conducted a survey for the Centers for Disease Control of
workers in 40 cities and towns, and found a majority feeling
underprepared and underprotected. And a July report from the staid
Council on Foreign Relations concluded that "Although in some
respects the American public is now better prepared to address
aspects of the terrorist threat than it was two years ago, the United
States remains dangerously ill prepared to handle a catastrophic
attack on American soil."
Of course, Americans are hardly the only victims of terrorism
and if the U.S. government were genuinely concerned with reducing the
global problem of terrorism it would cease its support for states
out terror against their own populations -- such as Indonesia,
Colombia, and Turkey. It would cease as well its own long-time
policies of terrorism -- whether against Cuba over many decades or
Nicaragua in the
1980s, or the economic sanctions that took such a horrific toll on
Iraqi civilians, or the dropping of cluster bombs in civilian areas
of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The hypocrisy of the U.S. "war on terrorism" is quite
shameless -- though this doesn't mean that anti-U.S. terrorism is a
myth. It's a deadly serious matter that requires a serious response.
The Bush administration has indeed responded -- with foreign
invasions, high profile arrests that lead nowhere in particular, the
black hole of Guantanamo Bay, endless hyped alerts, and the Patriot
acts -- that is, with publicity and fear. But looked at practically,
its "war on terrorism" is a fraud. It has only increased the dangers
of terrorism abroad without protecting us from terrorism at home. It
has used the issue of terrorism and the "war on terrorism" to further
concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the few. Ashcroft has
those who criticize the Patriot Act are aiding terrorism. Bush
says we are either with him or against him in his "war on terrorism."
If we care about our safety, not to mention justice and liberty, we'd
better be against him.
 Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, Washington Post (WP), 8/22/03, p.
 Laura Blumenfeld, WP, 6/16/03, p. A01.
 Thomas Frank, Newsday, 6/25/03, p. A35
 P. Mitchell Prothero, "Claim of FARC-Al Qaida link rescinded,"
United Press International, 8/9/02.
 The Pew Global Attitudes Project, Views Of A Changing World, June
2003, p. 3, http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/185.pdf.
 David Rohde, New York Times (NYT), 10/11/02, p. A13; 10/13/02, p.
I:8; 1/17/03, p. A8; John Kifner, NYT, 7/7/03, p. A6; Perlez, NYT,
9/3/03, p. A6.
 Don Van Natta Jr., NYT, 8/17/03, p. I:9.
 Michael Evans, The Times (London), 5/14/03, p. 16; Burke,
Observer, 5/18/03, p. 17.
 Robin Gedye, Daily Telegraph, 5/22/03, p. 4; Hearing of the
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,
"Terrorism, Al Qaeda, And The Muslim World," 7/9/03, p. 13,
http://www.911commission.gov/; Stern, NYT, 8/20/03,
 Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times, 6/6/03, p. I:10.
 Foreign Policy, July-Aug. 2003, p. 68.
 Jonathan Tucker, "The Fifth Review Conference of the Biological
and Toxin Weapons Convention," Feb. 2002,
http://www.nti.org/e--research/e3--7b.html; Amy E. Smithson, "U.S.
Implementation of the CWC," in Jonathan B. Tucker, The Chemical
Weapons Convention: Implementation Challenges and Solutions, Monterey
Institute, April 2001, pp. 23-29,
 Christine Kucia, "For Second Year Running, U.S. a No-Show at
CTBT Conference," Arms Control Today, Sept. 2003; Arms Control
Association, "New Nuclear Policies, New Weapons, New Dangers," April
 CSO press release, "Chief Security Officers Reveal Concerns
About U.S. Government Security Measures," 5/12/03,
quoted in Nat Hentoff, Village Voice, 4/25/03,
 U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, The
September 11 Detainees: A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on
Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the
September 11 Attacks, April 2003, released June 2003; Cole, The
Nation, 9/22/03, p. 26.
 See Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, "LCHR Rebuts Attorney
General's Speech on USA PATRIOT ACT," 8/25/03,
 Eric Lichtblau with Adam Liptak, NYT, 3/15/03, p. A1.
 See GAO, Justice Department's Project to Interview Aliens after
September 11, 2001, GAO-03-459, April 2003, p. 16.
 GAO, Voluntary Initiatives Are Under Way at Chemical Facilities
but the Extent of Security Preparedness Is Unknown, GAO-03-439, March
2003, p. 4; "Fact Sheet on Senator Corzine's Chemical Security
 Stanley A. Goff, Predeployed Radiological Weapon: Reducing the
Targetability of Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant and the Risk to the
North Carolina Public, Durham, NC: North Carolina Waste Awareness and
Reduction Network, 5/1/03, http://www.ncwarn.org.
 Hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the
United States, Civil Aviation Security, 5/23/03, p. 10; Michael
Hirsh, Newsweek, 9/15/03, p. 46.
 Philip Shenon, NYT, 8/21/03, p. A14; "Emergency Responders:
Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared," Report of an
Independent Task Force, Sponsored by the Council on Foreign
Relations, Warren B. Rudman, Chair, July 2003,
 Neil A. Lewis, NYT, 12/7/01, p. A1.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3