'Just World News' by Helena Cobban
Info, analysis, discussion-- to build a more just world.

June 06, 2003  

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR READERS: If you came to JWN through the URL: www.justworld.blogspot.com, or through a bookmark or any other path that linked to that URL, then you need to know that I won't be sending JWN posts to that URL any longer. The best URL to use to keep reading JWN-- in a version that has a new design and new capabilities, but still all of the old content accessible as well-- is the following: www.justworldnews.org. So please make a note of that, and change your bookmarks as necessary. Thanks!

posted by helena at 6/06/2003 11:52:00 AM | link

June 05, 2003  

'JWN' UNDERGOING TECH WORK: Apologies to JWN readers who are experiencing changes and difficulties. We're doing some work on the blog. Should be good by the weekend?

posted by helena at 6/05/2003 08:45:00 AM | link

June 03, 2003  

THE 'CON' IN 'NEO-CON': I was just re-reading (and correcting a typo or two in) yesterday's post about Chalabi. And it came to me with the proverbial blinding flash! Now we know what the 'con' in 'neo-con' really stands for! And we thought it was "conservative." No, friends, these guys (Perle, Wolfie, BAD, and friends) are anything but conservative. They are rabid, wild-eyed radicals. And "con" just stands for itself.

posted by helena at 6/03/2003 01:07:00 PM | link

June 02, 2003  

CHALABI DOUBLY DISCREDITED: Ahmad Chalabi, the sleazemeister of Jordan's Petra Bank scandal, has now been completely discredited on two key claims he made when he successfully "sold" himself and his ambitions for Iraq to Bombs-Away Don in the months leading up to the US invasion. The first of these was that he had extensive networks of supporters inside Iraq who would rise joyfully to greet him and his US military pals as "liberators" when they entered Iraq. The second was that he could provide to the US and their British allies insider information (presumably, from members of those same "networks"?) extensive and reliable details of many aspects of Saddam Hussein's very advanced and dangerous WMD programs. Well, it didn't take many hours after the launching of the offensive against Iraq for the claim about Chalabi's "extensive networks of supporters" to become discredited. The invasion proved NOT to be the promised cakewalk. And-- as a matter of even greater continuing importance-- the claims Chalabi had made about being easily able to negotiate the installation of a pliant, pro-US (and even, pro-Israeli) governing structure inside post-Saddam Iraq, based on those elusive networks of supporters, have also proven quite unfounded. So the US is now mired inside Iraq for the long haul. No surprise there, to me. Sadly. Which brings me to the whole "WMD" issue. (Quite apart from the fact that 'WMD' itself is a highly misleading term, that has been deliberately introduced into this whole discourse by those who seek to gloss over the fact that there is a huge difference-- in actual effect, as in the structures of international arms-control agreements-- between nuclear weapons, on the one hand, and biological and chemical weapons, on the other... In the Middle East, there is only ONE state that has an existing nuclear-weapons capability. It ain't Iraq, and it ain't Iran... ) But here's the thing. Thus far, the total fallaciousness of all the overblown claims that Bombs-Away Don, the Prez, their pals, and even their hired hand Colin Powell made about Iraq's so-called 'existing WMD capabilities' has not become a huge issue within the US body politic. Nothing like the size of an issue it has already become, for example, for Tony Blair, inside the British body politic. But as Iraq turns into more and more of a Vietnam-like quagmire for the Bush administration (see Chalabi false claim #1 above), then the questioning inside the US as to "How on earth did our country get into this mess in Iraq?" will evidently become more pointed. (Think Gulf of Tonkin.) At which point, the character of the so-called "evidence" on Saddam's WMD programs will inevitably come under greater and greater scrutiny. Meanwhile, of course, the COST to the US taxpayer of sustaining the large-scale military occupation inside Iraq will become far, far higher than Wolfowitz and Co. had projected-- not just because of the size of the occupation force required and the length of its stay (reason for both of which being Chalabi false claim #1), but also because of the reluctance of other powers to join in an occupation venture which was launched on the basis of such inaccurate and deliberately manipulated "evidence" about the alleged WMD programs. I have seen numerous signs that there's a lot of anger out there, in the international community, about the increasingly evident deceptiveness of the grounds on which the Bushites first of all launched the war against Iraq, and then tried to strongarm as many weak governments as they could into joining the so-called "coalition". This feeling of having been deceived has probably only been further stoked by Wolfie's recent boasts to Vanity Fair about how the 'WMD issue' was used (manipulated?) primarily for bureaucratic reasons, rather than because it had any particular merit. It is a feeling that will certainly make other governments think twice or thrice about responding positively to the administration's pleas that they contribute either troops or treasure to Washington's continuing tasks regarding the administration of Iraq... Which will put the onus for staffing and paying for the lengthy occupation of Iraq firmly back where it belongs: on the shoulders of the US. But heck! That's you and me, US taxpayers!! This is going to cost us real dough!!! ... So who got us into this situation, then? The easy thing is to blame Ahmad Chalabi. However, contrary to what you might infer from reading the above, I don't put the primary responsibility on him. Hey, the guy's an operator! He was easily able to roll all those thousands of small investors who lost their savings in the Petra Bank-- and, for quite a while, the Jordanian bank regulators, too. So, do we blame him for trying to "roll" the US government when he got a chance? Possibly, yes. To some extent. But much more than Chalabi, I place the blame on the shoulders of those within this administration who were his willing dupes, who placed US foreign policy, billions of dollars of US taxpayer money, and the lives of scores of US soldiers (as well as untold thousands of Iraqis) totally and uncritically in hock to this proven conman. And they would be?? Well, I'm sure that you, my readers, are smart enough to figure this out.

posted by helena at 6/02/2003 07:52:00 AM | link