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Few expect the G8 summit taking place in Heiligendamm, Germany from June 6-8 to yield positive results. The main question is how much damage Bush will do to US international standing during these three days.
Tension mounts between Britain and Iran over the 15 British sailors seized on March 23. While many US media outlets dutifully repeat the claims that: 1) the sailors were in Iraqi waters at the time they were taken captive, and 2) the incident came completely out of nowhere, a closer examination of the facts indicates otherwise.
Here's a quick overview of recent articles providing important context -
"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." Sun Tzu, Chinese author and military strategist, c. 544-496 BC
Bush and Cheney may be declaring "Mission Accomplished" now that the Iraqi Cabinet has approved the draft of an oil law granting foreign companies unprecedented access to the country's fields.
But Beijing is having the last laugh.
Just last week, Chinese oil company officials arrived in Baghdad to revive Hussein-era contracts for developing Iraq's oil, specifically, the Ahdab oil field in south-central Iraq. Hundreds of millions of dollars and a reduction in Iraq's Chinese debt are already on the table.
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005
Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons.
In a little-known 1974 document entitled "Rumsfeld's Rules," the Secretary of Defense offers his philosophy on life and work. But how well does Rumsfeld follow his own rules? Here's a sampler of quotes from the text, followed by Rumsfeld's actual performance.
1. "You and the White House staff must be seen to be above suspicion."
Rumsfeld made a series of odd statements right after 9/11. When asked why the government had not foreseen a terrorist attack on US soil, he responded "There were lots of warnings." In the next breath he tried to deflect guilt from the Pentagon with, "But the state and local law enforcement officials have the responsibility for dealing with those kinds of issues." Rumsfeld then added "... we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filed with our citizens and the missile to damage the building."
All eyes are on Iraq these days, but conventional wisdom holds it's just the first step of the Bush administration's larger push to gain hegemony over the international oil and gas industry. Two factors could stand in the way of the US grand plan though: Central Asia and Europe. A microcosm of this battle is quietly being fought now in Turkey, and in many ways the outcome could determine the future of the entire region.
Insisting that global terrorism can only be stopped by "destroying it where it grows," George W. Bush has conveniently forgotten the US military's own terrorist training facility: the infamous Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). Located in Fort Benning, Georgia, WHISC has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in the most heinous of counter-insurgency warfare techniques, and its graduates have gone on to comprise a bloody who's who of coups, chaos and destruction.
As the religious right gains ground in the US, accompanied by politicians evoking the god-fearing values of good and evil, a culture honoring diversity is replaced by calls for apocalyptic war.
As always, the schoolyard has become a major political battleground. Hysteria over removing "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance aside, the latest educational minefield lies in the origins of life: namely a return to the 1925 Scopes Trial debate of evolution vs. creationism. To promote Christianity, Cobb County, Georgia is putting disclaimers on its science textbooks saying that evolution is "a theory, not a fact," and school districts from Kansas to Ohio are enmeshed in battles royale over an issue that should be settled in a country separating church and state.
The folks who prepared the U.S. government's leaflets raining down with the bombs on Afghanistan can be forgiven for having left out a few key points. Here are excerpts from the leaflets, with some facts afterward.
"The Partnership of Nations Is Here to Help," Leaflet #2: "Since the time of the Soviet invasion, Afghanistan has been a country in conflict. War and strife have been a constant part of the daily life of its citizens. Yet time and again, it has not been the people of Afghanistan, but outsiders who have been the real cause of this pain and destruction."