President Saddam Hussein issued an unprecedented general amnesty Oct. 20,
2002, to all political prisoners and exiles sentenced in absentia. In this Oct.
17 photograph, Saddam is seen showing a sword presented to him as a gift before
being sworn in as president for the next seven years. Photo by Iraqi News
The American Imperialism of little George is under attack by the intellectuals as well as the United Methodist Church
There is hope for America when the politically extreme right and left come together to hold little George accountable for his obsession with oil and war mongering in the name of American Imperialism. It appears that there is a growing backlash that just might affect the November elections.
Americans have been sitting back and evaluating the situation in Iraq but now they are also contemplating the possibility of snipers all over America killing randomly in response to an oil war that little George is intent on initiating. They are also considering the bombing in Bali and the suicide bombers in Israel.
There is nothing like self preservation to shift a political mindset. When everyone gets on the same bandwagon, you can usually bet that there is some basic human need being threatened. And there is nothing more threatening than the thought of going to gas station and being shot like some deer grazing in a open grove.
America is so open that a predator could go on randomly killing people for a very long time. And if you start killing children like Ariel Sharon does, then you can bet that things will change quickly.
One way or another, things are coming to a head. One way or another there is going to be a resolution to terrorism that is spreading like cancer all over the world. And one way or another Americans are going to have to come to grips with the fact that they are a big part of the problem.
America is going to have to move away from the little George Imperium and toward the application of the justice and democracy that exists within the United States to all the peoples of the world. America is going to have to lead the peace and not turn the entire world into a killing field where Muslims kill Christians like the Christians used to kill Native Americans.
War plans under fire as even Bush heartland talks peace
Dissent is coming from all quarters - even in Bush's own church. Ed Vulliamy reports from Washington
Sunday October 20, 2002
As the United States edges towards a possible war against Iraq, a sudden torrent of concern has begun to flow - a revolt by the intelligentsia spreading beyond the expected opposition political circles and penetrating the heart of the media and foreign policy establishment.
From New York to the plains of Kansas, local and provincial papers, glossy magazines, serious periodicals and heavyweight national dailies have carried a range of articles and essays that challenge not only the proposed war, but the notion and conduct of unilateral American power in the world.
But the most dramatic intervention comes from President George Bush's own United Methodist church which launched a scathing attack on his plans for war.
Jim Winkler, responsible for the application of the church's teachings to social policy, said war against Iraq was 'without any justification according to the teachings of Christ'.
After careful study of Christian doctrinal writings on Just War, Winkler said he was 'told flatly' by the church's scholars, 'that they simply did not apply to this situation'.
Winkler said 'we keep the lines of communication open' to the White House, but added: 'I regret that the lines have been one way. I hope and pray that the President has considered the church's teachings.'
Winkler's sentiments have an impact beyond the usual circles of dissent in a church-going society that, for the most part, supports Bush.
From the Bush heartland, from Kansas, where they teach the creation instead of evolution in schools, come surprising voices of objection. The Kansas City Star ran a long account of 'voices of opposition from people of faith', quoting Winkler at length, saying: 'United Methodists have a particular duty to speak out against an unprovoked attack. It is inconceivable that Jesus Christ would support this proposed attack.'
The latest salvo came on Friday from the unimpeachable New York Review of Books in an article by one of the country's leading commentators, Anthony Lewis, arguing that a regime change in Iraq could be 'the first step towards a new American imperium'. Meanwhile, wrote Lewis, 'the fear of looking unpatriotic inhibits dissent'.
The uprising of the intelligentsia has burst its banks. The essayist Susan Sontag sounded the first alarm across the opinion page of the New York Times on the poignant date of 10 September (the article was intended for the eleventh, but was shifted to make way for one signed by the President).
In it Sontag wrote: 'Real wars are not metaphors _ they have a beginning and an end_ But the war that has been declared by the Bush administration will never end. That is one sign that it is not a war, but, rather, a mandate for expanding the use of American power.'
Then the theme spread. Most unexpectedly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution - published in the capital of the conservative South - broadened the language of the debate with an article by its leading commentator headlined 'Invasion would mark the next step towards an American empire'.
The author rejected claimed links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. His article goes on to say that 'among the architects of this would-be American empire are a group of people who now hold key positions in the Bush administration: they envision the creation and enforcement of a Pax Americana'.
One of America's most illustrious historians of the Vietnam and Reagan eras, Frances Fitzgerald, then took the stage in the New York Review of Books to demand that Bush 'tell us about the risks' involved in entwining a war against Iraq around that against terror. 'The Bush administration has clearly broken with internationalist premises accepted by every other administration since World War II.'
Fareed Zakaria is a pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, an instinctive conservative, former confidante of the National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and previously editor of the journal Foreign Affairs .
In the current New Yorker , Zakaria warns of the perils of a unipolar world in which America is the sole power. He urges the US to 'gain the legitimacy that comes through an international consensus. Without this cloak of respectability America will face a growing hostility around the world.'
In the non-political Atlantic Monthly , James Fallows meticulously dissects the various stages of an invasion of Iraq, foreseeing dire consequences: 'If we can judge from past wars, the effects we can't imagine when the fighting begins will prove to be the ones that matter most.'
The editorial sages at the American Prospect magazine, Paul Starr, Robert Kuttner and Harold Meyerson, write what many others are thinking, that 'the suspicion will not die that the administration turned to Iraq for relief from a sharp decline in its domestic political prospects, corporate scandals, and the fall of the stock market'.
Looking forward, the authors add: 'If the fighting turns ugly and there are large numbers of civilian casualties - if we have to level the very cities we say we are liberating - American legitimacy in the eyes of the world and of the Iraqis will be shot. International law seems to count for nothing in this administration's view of the world.'
As well as the glossy magazines, last week some of America's weightiest newspaper columnists - conservatives and liberals alike - aligned themselves firmly against the upcoming war.
'Texas on the Tigris' mocked the New York Times ' Maureen Dowd, jibing at the oil interest that flows through every vein of the Bush administration.
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times , seen by many as one of the conservative apologists for any strategy that backs Israel, also joined the opposition fray. 'Iraq cannot prevent an American victory. But it might be able to extend a war over weeks and months, imposing significant costs and putting on a bloody show for the rest of the world.'
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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