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Volume III, Number 14: 21 April 2003

This Week's Articles:

Obedient Servants

Paul Corrigan

When President Bush justified pre-emptive war on Saddam Hussein and his regime, he spoke of Saddam's refusal to respond to Bush's personal ultimatum —get out of Baghdad in 48 hours or the United States military would come in after him. Dominance and submission are not often played out so frankly. Knowing one's place is usually an unspoken ritual. The weak usually submit to the strong. The lesson for all of us is that the nature of servitude requires obedience.

A Neo-Conservative Abecedary

Tim Francis-Wright

George Bush and his administration have proclaimed for the world to hear that the United States is fully committed to a free and democratic Iraq. Forgive me if I harbor just an iota of doubt. The track record of the United States in fostering democracy is, sadly, a lousy one. When the enemy of the day was some bogeyman, usually a Communist one but sometimes an Islamic one, democracy was often low of the list of American desiderata.

In compiling this abecedary for the edification of those still under the illusion that the United States is always on the side of sunshine and apple pie, the biggest problem is picking from among the panoply of candidates for some letters.

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

Last 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.]

Older Articles:

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

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Links of the Week

  • Stevens Enquiry 3: Police and British Army personnel in Northern Ireland colluded with Protestant terrorists to commit several acts of murder (Metropolitan Police Service, via The Guardian).
  • Cheering Crowds Don't Make an Unjust War Right: The world must not forget that in 1970, Ugandans celebrated when Idi Amin came to power (Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent).
  • Privatization in Disguise: The United States is making sure that the new Iraqi economy will be just what the neoliberal free traders ordered (Naomi Klein, The Nation).
  • Art Gangs "Looted Iraqi Museums": International art traffickers may have been behind the thefts of the most important objects in Iraq's national museum (BBC News).
  • Palestine: The World Looks Away: With the world's attention on Iraq, the Israeli army has redoubled its operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Benjamin Barthe, Le Monde Diplomatique).
  • The Silencing of Gideon's Trumpet: The Bush administration wants us to forget that the right to counsel is vitally important to justice (Anthony Lewis, New York Times Magazine).
  • Carving Up the New Iraq: In America and Iraq, neo-conservatism and big business and government all go together (Neil Mackay, Glasgow Sunday Herald).
  • Certain Words Can Trip Up AIDS Grants, Scientists Say: Politics is affecting what scientists write in grant proposals, and perhaps what they dare to research (Erica Goode, New York Times).
  • Dyncorp Rent-a-Cops May Head to Post-Saddam Iraq: When America needs dirty deeds done, it often turns to private police and "security" services (Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch).
  • Ballots Can Keep Bullets From Flying: Don't just march for a better world, but vote as well, and bring your friends (Elizabeth Ready and John Moyers,
  • Sugar Industry Threatens to Scupper WHO: The American sugar industry is trying to force the WHO into accepting that sugar can be more than 10% of a healthy diet (Sarah Boseley, The Guardian).
  • GOP Hypocrisy: Could it be? It is! Actual Democrats actually remembering that criticizing a president during war has ample precedent (Democratic National Committee).

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

The ties between the United States and Iraq in the early 1980s are extensive and sobering. But in one case, the ties were at once absurd and grotesque. In 1984, Richard Nixon sent a personally inscribed note to Nicolai Ceaucescu, the brutal leader of Romania, asking for aid for a venture by two of Nixon's former top aides to sell Romanian army uniforms to Iraq. Nixon went so far as to send "warm personal regards" to the dictator and his family. Who knew that the Ceaucescu regime and Saddam Hussein were so closely linked, thanks to Republican family values?

National Security Archive document.


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