Website contents © by Ray Sherman
Pledge of Allegiance
War With Iraq
Freezing Out the United Nations
Message to G. W. Bush
Arnold Behaving Badly
Statements That Will Never Be Made
Political Slogans Youíll Never Hear
Oceania at War (sound familiar?)
A Direct Line to God
Take That, David Brooks!
Of course the Pledge of Allegiance in its present form promotes religion; but that's what the American people want. So be it. When the Pledge is recited in school, the little girl, if she is indeed an atheist, will have to learn to remain silent during the "under God" part, and if anybody says anything, to politely say, "I'm an atheist, and proud of it."
War With IraqConditions are fundamentally sound....Herbert Hoover - December, 1929
The fundamentals for economic vitality and growth are there....George W. Bush - July, 2002
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Sunday the economy is fundamentally sound....The Associated Press - July 29, 2002
Bush needs to talk more optimistically about the economy's fundamentals....Donald Lambro (Washington investigative reporter)
- August 4, 2002
On [Tuesday], President Bush hosts a forum in Waco, Texas, that aides say is designed to highlight the economy's fundamental soundness....The Los Angeles Times - August 4, 2002
The fundamentals of our economy, I continue to believe, are sound....Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill - August 12, 2002
Freezing Out the United NationsPacifism is nice, but so is law enforcement. United Nations resolutions have to be enforced, and since there is no United Nations police force, it looks like we're it.
In going into Iraq, President Bush did the right thing for the wrong reasons, and now those reasons are coming back to haunt him.
Class WarfareThe United States admitted a mistake last week and installed an Iraqi council as the public face for the occupation government. That was a good political move, but weeks late. Now Washington needs to admit another error: freezing out the United Nations.
It's past time to get that organization's experienced peacekeepers and nation-builders into Iraq in substantial numbers. A large U.N. presence does not guarantee success -- the formation of a broadly representative, independent Iraqi government within a few years. But without major help from the U.N. and from other nations, the U.S. could end up stationing more than 100,000 vulnerable troops in a hostile land for years longer than planned and at enormous cost, in blood and treasure.
On April 8, the day before U.S. troops pulled down Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that "the United Nations has a vital role to play in the reconstruction of Iraq." The next day, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, "The U.N. is very important to the process."
But three months later, the U.N. is largely invisible in a land where it is sorely needed. Powell said last week that he was talking with other countries about winning "more of a mandate from the United Nations." Bush administration concessions are overdue to get help from a body that opposed the war.
India demonstrated the stakes last week when it declined to send 17,000 troops to Iraq without U.N. authorization. Other countries also have demurred.
Thousands of 3rd Infantry Division soldiers who were expecting to be back home at Ft. Stewart in Georgia by September were told their Iraq stay would be extended indefinitely.
Greater security isn't the only requirement in the land where U.S. troops are attacked daily and more than 30 have been killed since May 1. Iraqis need power, water and functioning oil fields to generate revenue to rebuild a nation crippled by decades of war and dictatorship. There's no U.S. monopoly on the talent to get those jobs done.
Minxin Pei, a Carnegie Endowment scholar, said that of 16 U.S. attempts at nation-building in the 20th century, only four resulted in a democratic country 10 years later. Washington knows how to win wars, not build free countries.
Richard Haass, who left a top State Department job last month to head the Council on Foreign Relations, says Iraq needs "muscular policing," not by combat troops but by police and peacekeepers adept at dealing with civilians -- and all the better, for perception's sake, if they are Muslims.
Getting others' help makes not just military but economic sense. The Pentagon's recent admission that military operations in Iraq are costing $3.9 billion a month -- nearly double the previous estimate -- shocked Congress. The news should push lawmakers to demand that the administration go to the U.N. and big allies like France and Germany for assistance.
Before the war, several think tanks offered postwar plans. The administration ignored the advice. Last week, five experts at those think tanks who toured Iraq for 11 days -- the Pentagon sensibly asked them to visit -- concluded that improving security was the top priority.
Also needed: international recruitment of civilians to help restart the economy; more money to get factories back up and give people jobs; and a much expanded coalition with countries uninvolved in the war.
These are the realities that many warned about for months; these are the realities that led this page and others to oppose a U.S.-led war. There is no going back. That's why the Bush administration can't continue to substitute wishful thinking for facts. It must stop resisting the obvious: In Iraq, the United States needs all the help it can get....The Los Angeles Times -7/20/03
Message to G. W. BushThe upper classes have been waging war on the lower classes since the dawn of history. So why is it only when the lower classes fight back that it's called "class warfare"?
Arnold Behaving BadlyOh, what a tangled web we weave,/ When first we practice to deceive!
Universalizing DemocracyArnold Schwarzenegger has apologized for his previous bad behavior towards women. Why is it that politicians' apologies never include the words "and I promise never to do it again"?
Statements That Will Never Be MadeSome people think the United States is under-engaged abroad. For example, the presidents of Oxfam America and Refugees International, writing in support of intervention in Liberia, urged the Bush administration to confront "head-on" many crises: "Central Asia, the Balkans and Western Africa are areas of the world that provide too many examples of what happens when U.S. power is not used proactively."
Such incitements to foreign-policy hyperkinesis can draw upon the messianic triumphalism voiced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Congress:
"There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that Milosevic was Serbia's savior
"Ours are not Western values, they are the universal values of the human spirit. And anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police."
Neoconservatives seem more susceptible than plain conservatives are to such dodgy rhetoric and false assertions.
Disregard Blair's straw men: No one says Afghan women were "content," Saddam Hussein was "beloved" and Milosevic was a "savior." But Blair suggests that unless you believe such preposterous things, you surely believe that "freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law" are not exclusively Western values. But what does that mean?
Certainly not only Westerners value, or can come to value, those things. But certainly not everyone everywhere shares "our attachment to freedom." Freedom is not even understood the same way everywhere, let alone valued the same way relative to other political goods.
When Blair says freedom as we understand it and democracy and the rule of law as we administer them are "the universal values of the human spirit," he is not speaking as the founders spoke of "self-evident" truths. They meant truths obvious to all minds unclouded by superstition and other ignorance.
Blair seems to think: Boston, Baghdad, Manchester, Monrovia ó what's the difference? Such thinking is dangerous. Blair's argument is true only if it is trivial: "Ordinary" people choose freedom, democracy and the rule of law because those who do not so choose prove they are not ordinary. But there are a lot of them in the world. Some of them are waging guerrilla war against American forces in Iraq.
Blair's thinking is Bush's too. "There is a value system that cannot be compromised," President Bush says. "And if the values are good enough for our people, they ought to be good enough for others."
But one must compromise in the face of facts. It is a fact that not everyone is inclined to praise "the values we praise." And not every society has the prerequisites ó of institutions and manners ó of a free society.
Bush and Blair and many people called neoconservatives believe that moral objectives in politics are universally applicable imperatives. If so, then either national cultures do not significantly differ; or they do not matter; or they are infinitely malleable under the touch of enlightened reformers. But all three propositions are false, and antithetical to all that conservatism teaches about the importance of cultural inertia and historical circumstances.
Blair followed the passage quoted above with these words of Lincoln's: "Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." Lincoln's subject was Americans' complicity in American slavery. But Blair's muddled implication is that a nation that refuses to use force on behalf of all unfree people is denying them freedom.
The premise that terrorism thrives where democracy doesn't may seem to generate a duty to universalize democracy. But it is axiomatic that one cannot have a duty to do something that cannot be done....George F. Will - 8/17/03
My job is to protect the American people, and thatís what Iím doing. If you donít like the way Iím doing it, get somebody else....George W. Bush
The West Bank belongs to us. It says so in the Bible....Arial Sheron
Iím supposed to enforce the countryís laws, but Godís laws come first. What do you think ďone nation under GodĒ means?...John Ashcroft
Political Slogans Youíll Never Hear
Oceania at War (sound familiar?)
SOAK THE RICH!
TURN THE RASCALS OUT!
BRING THE BOYS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
NO FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS!
BRING ĎEM ON!
BRING BACK THE DRAFT!
"I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end."
WAR IS PEACE
Since about that time, war had been literally continuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war.
The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.
"That was before the war, of course."
"Which war was that?"
It was true that she regarded the whole war as a sham: but apparently she had not even noticed that the name of the enemy had changed.
But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at.
To understand the nature of the present war...one must realize in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive.
In so far as the war has a direct economic purpose, it is a war for labour power.
All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals....But above all they contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour.
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour.
It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.
It is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of doublethink.
No Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania the undisputed master of the entire world.
The search for new weapons continues unceasingly, and is one of the very few remaining activities in which the inventive or speculative type of mind can find any outlet.
The teams of experts are indefatigably at work. Some are concerned simply with planning the logistics of future wars; others search for new and deadlier gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being produced in such quantities as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents, or for breeds of disease germs immunized against all possible antibodies.
Although no formal agreement was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later.
Their lives are dedicated to world conquest, but they also know that it is necessary that the war should continue everlastingly and without victory.
By becoming continuous, war has fundamentally changed its character.
Researches that could be called scientific are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results is not important. Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed. Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police.
Imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.
The problem of overproduction, which has been latent in our society since the development of machine technique, is solved by the device of continuous warfare, which is also useful in keying up public morale to the necessary pitch.
War hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale.
It is in the ranks of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found. World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to be impossible.
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power."
The consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival....George Orwell -1984