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The Pentagon has a disturbing pattern of withholding information on the impact of chemical/biological weapons and other toxins on US service members. As a result, veterans are often told that their debilitating symptoms are "in their head" and can go decades without receiving medical help.That's not supporting our troops.
The US Defense Department quietly announced on Monday that mandatory anthrax vaccinations would resume for military personnel and civilians deploying to 28 countries across the globe and even for some based in the US. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs said, "Time and again (this vaccine) has been looked at by experts, ... and each time the conclusion is the vaccine is safe and it is effective."
Three years after 911, we still have no real clarity about "whodunit" let alone "whatdunit" - and if history is any indication, it could be decades before the truth is finally revealed.
But the Armageddon dreams of our nation's leaders mandate a more urgent timeframe.
Were 19 hijackers armed with box cutters really responsible for the WTC/Pentagon carnage? Seems increasingly implausible, as does the administration's claim of no prior knowledge. Remember Bush's comment about watching the first airplane hit the WTC before the second airplane even made impact? What video feed does he have anyway? The rest of us sure didn't see that live on our TVs.
Canadian Prime Minister Martin is due to meet George Bush today at the "Summit of the Americas" in Mexico. While missile defense, terrorism and trade issues will no doubt top their agenda, an equally crucial matter will be hidden from the headlines: the raging Franco-US battle and its troubling implications for Canada.
Spare me congratulations on the Terminator's rise to govern my home state of California. This election's Hollywood circus atmosphere masks an ugly reality: American democracy is for sale, and the going price has suddenly become dangerously cheap.
Consider how the recall of California's Governor Gray Davis came about in the first place. Democratically re-elected in November 2002, Davis had been in office a mere three months before the recall effort was begun. Despite the dot-com bust, an energy shortage and a budget crunch there was no groundswell of public support to blame it all on Davis.
The Pentagon's online "terror" futures market may have gone down in flames, but questions surrounding 9/11 insider trading and market rigging before the Iraq invasion still linger.
In a much-aligned plan the Pentagon described as "engaging and ... profitable," anonymous traders were invited to bet on the likelihood of Middle Eastern death and destruction; public outcry forced the "Policy Analysis Market" (PAM) plan to be yanked days before its scheduled launch.
In these days of doublespeak war hysteria, it seems oddly appropriate that a parallel universe has suddenly been discovered, a world of energy and annihilation hiding behind hydrogen's confrontation with its evil twin, antihydrogen...
The impending war belies a mirror world of a different sort - one of destruction and annihilation concealed behind lies and omissions masquerading as truth.
While the Bush administration has promised to "leave no child behind," reality on the ground looks a little different.
The facts are staggering. Over 11 million American children live in poverty, 9.2 million have no health insurance, and 3.6 million suffer "worst-case" housing needs. While the US is the world leader in defense expenditures, it ranks only 17th in efforts to lift children out of poverty; while it is number one in health technology, it ranks 23rd in infant mortality.
A pumped-up corporate definition of intelligence is making headway in US society. CEOs are regarded as experts on political and sociological change, and excellence in public education is defined in terms of its service to the private sector. Equating intelligence with conformity to corporate values is not a new concept, but the extent to which wisdom is being confused with business savvy is an increasingly insidious trend.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Mike Moore, recently said, "When governments adhere to WTO rules that prescribe transparency and predictability, there is less scope for corruption." These are interesting words coming from a man whose own organization is so rife with secrecy and favoritism. Moore was speaking at the May 2001 United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, where he pushed the idea of creating sweeping multilateral trade agreements at next November's WTO round. He finished his speech by asking, "Ministers ... in your heart, do you think you can get more out of the present system, bit by bit, or will more be delivered from a wider negotiation?" Exactly who gets what from these agreements, and who pays the ultimate cost, is worth looking at.