Sunday, May 11, 2003

We're sexy, we're cute, we're radical to boot!

Fear, it will not surprise you to hear, is big business. Terrorist-related fear, really big business. Here’s a story about Bush advisor and former incompetent CIA head James Woolsey, who is a director of an equity firm set up after 9/11 to make money off the $60 billion they expect the government to spend. Woolsey also spends his time lying for the administration, blaming the anthrax scare on Iraq, claiming there’s a link between Al Qaida and Iraq, etc etc. He played up the need for new equipment to protect against biological weapons, while his firm invested in that very technology.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Bucharest’s children’s hospital had stopped providing dialysis but had hired armed guards to keep out journalists there to report on the dying kids. Well, the response to the article in the Daily Telegraph was £15,000 in British donations which the hospital, naturally, refused. A week later they changed their minds.

Those of us who receive emails purporting to be from the relatives of its former leaders know that the civil wars in Congo-Kinshasa were highly profitable, especially for us if we provide those relatives with our bank account numbers (and profitable for all sides--Kevin and Chris have heard from Mobutu’s heirs, I from Kabila’s). Still, they produced a lot of orphans, as has AIDS. And when their relatives don’t feel like taking them in, evidently they accuse them of being witches and throw them out, almost 30,000 of them on the streets of Kinshasa, according to Save the Witches, I mean Save the Children. The fact of their parents dying of AIDS is of course proof that a spell was cast. Or, when their relatives don’t feed them, their emaciation is a sign of witchcraft. And I haven’t even talked about the exorcisms. Read the article here and keep away from knives and gas ovens for the next hour.

Evidently anti-war rallies now have their own cheerleaders. “We're sexy, we're cute, we're radical to boot!” I just looked up “radical cheerleaders” on Google, and evidently it’s a phenomenon.

The US (and Britain) have gone to the UN to be recognized as the legal rulers (“authority”) of Iraq. I can’t remember when the UN was last asked to give trusteeships over whole peoples. Can it even do that, abrogate the sovereignty of a nation? The US used to report (reluctantly) to the UN Trusteeship Council about the Philippines, but the Council dealt with existing colonies, it didn’t sanction the creation of new ones. I am suggesting here that this would be an important and dangerous innovation in international law. Hopefully, someone will veto it; much better if Bush does what he’s going to do anyway in violation of international law. An occupation regime represents force and force alone. Sometimes force and occupation may even be necessary, but let’s not kid ourselves about this being about anything more than who had the most expensive weaponry.

So what’s with the ritual humiliation of forcing Iraqis who want jobs and were members of the Baath Party to denounce both it and Saddam Hussein, and everyone else to declare that they are not now, nor have they ever been, members of the Baath Party? I’m not making up that wording--“denounce” or the McCarthyite stuff. Maybe we can teach them the Pledge of Allegiance. This is not the way to make people free, it is the way to make them keep their heads down, just like they did under Saddam, who also made them sign pledges.

Speaking of dangerous innovations, Congress is moving ahead with granting the Bushies the power to test baby nukes (5 kilotons, or 1/3 of a Hiroshima). Such devices could be used as bunker-busters or to incinerate bio/chem weapons sites, or possibly just because they’d look cool, like Bush landing on an aircraft carrier, and are therefore designed to be used, not to threaten with, eroding the line between conventional weapons and those which should never be used, making the case against nuclear proliferation that much harder for the US to make and, therefore the world an increasingly dangerous place as nukes spread to more and more nations, proliferating like the sub-clauses in this very sentence--stop the madness!

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