Bear Left! logo: a road sign with a left arrow

Bear Left!

Where else would you get your leftist bearings every week?

Volume III, Number 13: 7 April 2003

This Week's Articles:

Do the Right Thing

Paul Corrigan

Bear Left is honored today to publish an article written by Jim Ryan of the Veterans Call to Conscience. He is one of over 700 American veterans, from World War II veterans to current reservists and active duty troops, who have signed a statement of conscience that calls upon troops to "follow your conscience and do the right thing." The statement reads in part: "If the people of the world are ever to be free, there must come a time when being a citizen of the world takes precedence over being the soldier of a nation." Twenty percent of the signers are Gulf War veterans. Many prominent Americans, including Howard Zinn and Daniel Ellsberg, have also endorsed the statement. Many signers are on active duty; several are now locked up for filing for Conscientious Objector status. Signers include Gulf War veterans from England and Scotland and members of the Israeli Defense Forces. The statement has made its way onto many American bases and to troops in Germany and in Belgium. We at Bear Left honor these men and women for both their courage and commitment to humanity.

Speaking French

James Ryan

My dear fellow Americans:

How dare we speak of the French that way.

Just where do we think the ideas of liberty and justice and the rights of all people in the United States came from?

Just what do we think inspired Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson?

The answer is France, and its philosophes, in particular, Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau.

And just who gave the first and truest of American patriots aid and comfort during the Revolutionary War?

Who made commercial and political alliances with our embattled Colonies?

Who sent a fleet to engage the British navy at the mouth of Delaware Bay?

The answers are: France, France, and France.

[Click on a title to read a particular article.]

The International Century

Paul Corrigan

How will the twenty-first Century be defined? History tells us that it will not be defined by the way it began. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States was an isolationist country. World events and the American economy forced the United States to abandon its isolationism. Throughout the twentieth century, America expanded its influence into the greatest empire in the history of the world, initially through force but increasingly through persuasion. Admired or envied, America was the undisputed champion of the world. Looking back on "the American Century," one has to appreciate that American capitalism, democracy, and diplomacy had almost infinite abilities to evolve, to promote change, and to overcome dissent. George W. Bush does not have much faith in capitalism, democracy, or diplomacy. His faith is in God and force.

Three Lessons for America

Tim Francis-Wright

When Bush administration officials talk about extending regime change to Teheran and Damascus, they are not just celebrating prematurely about victory in Baghdad. They also are showing that they have learned little to nothing from fifty years of post-war relations with the Soviet Union. The Cold War has three lessons to teach Americans who are willing to learn.

[Click on a title to read a particular article.]

Older Articles:

Almost two hundred articles from previous weeks are in our archives. If you're not careful, you might learn something.

Our mailing list

If you like, sign up for our mailing list to get an update in your mailbox when we update this site, generally once per week. It's guaranteed to be more fun than spam.

Copyright issues

All of our original material—almost everything on the website— is now subject to a license from Creative Commons. It lets anyone copy or distribute our work for noncommercial purposes, with certain restrictions. In other words, copy but don't steal. Click on the Creative Commons logo on our of our pages for more information, including other types of licenses that are available.

Links of the Week

  • Crude Vision: For years, American governments overlooked Iraq's use of chemical weapons due to the prospect of cheap oil (Jim Vallette, Steve Ketzmann, and Daphne Wysham, Institute for Policy Studies).
  • The Saddest Story of All: The pain and suffering of civilians in wartime is easy to overlook from afar, but not up close (Anton Antonowicz, Daily Mirror).
  • The Reason Why: In Iraq, as in Vietnam, America is invading a country that had done us no harm and posed no threat to our security (George McGovern, The Nation).
  • The Twisted Language of War that is Used to Justify the Unjustifiable: Words like coalition or proved in this war often have meant nothing (Robert Fisk, The Independent).
  • Offense and Defense: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in undermanning American troops in Iraq (Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker).
  • Bringing Aid and the Bible, the Man Who Called Islam Wicked: The Bush administration's favorite clerical bigot, Franklin Graham, is poised to bring aid and religion to Iraq (Matthew Engel, The Guardian).
  • FOIA Audit: John Ashcroft's quest to gut the FOIA is more thunder than lightning, but most agencies have never taken the FOIA seriously (National Security Archive).
  • Blair Has One Chance to Break Free of His Tainted Fealty: Whereas Jack Kennedy disavowed a Pax Americana, George Bush promises one (Hugo Young, The Guardian).
  • Insurance Loophole Helps Rich: Rich American investors are forming their own "insurance" companies to rip off a clueless federal government (David Cay Johnston, New York Times).

Links of Previous Weeks are in our voluminous archives.

Check out our Link Library for news, opinion, and just plain interesting stuff!

Fact of the Week

When Americans talk about weapons of mass destruction, we often know what we are takking about. Take, for instance, the explosion on 28 March in a market in the Shu'ale district of Baghdad. Despite official denials that the United States had anything to do with the 62 dead Iraqi civilians, and despite claims that a faulty anti-aircraft missile caused the explosion, the truth has come out.

The serial number on part of the shrapnel found at the scene by British journalists indicates that the weapon involved was built by Raytheon, and sold to the United States Navy, and was either an anti-radar missile or a laser-guided bomb. Oh, brave new world that has such machines in it!

The Independent, 2 April 2003;
The Guardian, 1 April 2003;
Defense Logistics Agency database.


Elsewhere on the site

Please check out:

  • ... our link library, with hundreds of links to worthy organizations, newspapers, weblogs, and other websites. You'll certainly find something new there.
  • ... our home page, with our most recent articles, current links of the week, and honor roll of progressive and leftist weblogs.