Matching Grant Challenge
BruceMatch
We’re slowly making headway in our annual fund drive, but not nearly fast enough to meet our make-or-break goal.  On the bright side, a generous CounterPuncher has stepped forward with a pledge to match every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, he will give CounterPunch a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate.
 unnamed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Bush is Acting Like a Judicially-Selected Dictator Pre--emptive War on a Defenseless Country

Pre–emptive War on a Defenseless Country

by RALPH NADER

As this is written, the campaign known as "shock and awe" has begun over Iraq and the five million civilian inhabitants of Baghdad. Bombs indeed shock, but why the word "awe"? This is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s way of turning the Iraq bombardment against what he knows is a defenseless country, run by a brutal dictator, into a metaphor for the rest of the world. He wants the whole world in "awe" of the mighty military superpower in preparation for the next move against another country in or outside the "axis of evil".

This is truly an extraordinary time in American history. A dozen men and one woman are making very risky consequential decisions sealed off from much muted dissent inside the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and other agencies that have warned the President and his small band of ideological cohorts to think more deeply before they leap. They are launching our nation into winning a war which generates later battles that may not be winnable — at least not without great economic and human costs to our country.

But let’s back up a moment. Our founding fathers most emphatically placed the warmaking power in the hands of Congress. They did not want some arrogant or brooding successor to King George III to plunge the country into war. They wanted a collegial body of many elected representatives to decide openly (Article I, section 8).

Last year, Congress, with leaders of both Parties, surrendered their warmaking power to George W. Bush. This itself is unlawful. But unfortunately, there is no judicial remedy for any citizen to challenge assigning the warmaking power to the President. Senator Robert Byrd (D–West Virginia) eloquently and repeatedly objected to this constitutional abdication. The large majority of Congress just shrugged. They knew that there was no punishment for this institutional crime.
Mr. Bush, on the other hand, was only too eager to strip the Congress of such authority, just as the Attorney General, both by action and by demanding and receiving such crushers of civil liberties as the so–called U.S. Patriot Act, was eager to diminish the role of the judiciary. Having turned our federal system of separation of powers between three branches into a one–branch hegemony, Mr. Bush proceeded to flout the U.N. Charter, which the U.S. mostly drafted and signed on to in 1945.

His preemptive war — the first in U.S. history — against a nation that has neither attacked nor threatened our country cannot be construed as self–defense and therefore violates international law. Washington would certainly make exactly this point were another nation in the world to attack a country it finds noxious.
Then how do the arguments for going to war that Bush has made endlessly on the mass media for a year, without a steady rebuttal by the cowering Democratic Party, stand up? Bush’s assertion that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program is based on evidence that Congressman Henry Waxman called a "hoax." In a blistering letter to the President on March 17th, Congressman Waxman all but called Bush’s assertion that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger a lie, citing both the CIA and the International Atomic Energy Agency as his authorities. Neither agency has evidence of a rebuilding nuclear weapons program.
President Bush has repeatedly tried to tie Iraq with Al–Qaeda. There is no evidence to support these allegations. The two are mortal enemies — one secular and the other fundamentalist. The CIA informed Congress that confronting a U.S. overthrow attack, our former, supplied ally, Saddam Hussein "probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." Even then, analysts have published articles casting doubt on the efficacy of whatever mass destruction weapons he may have against a modern air and missile attack followed by spread–out armored vehicles racing toward a surrendering army.

The UN inspectors found nothing in their forays inside Iraq before Bush stopped their increasing penetration of that regime.

On March 18th, the Washington Post, which avidly favors the war, felt obliged to publish a story by two of its leading reporters titled, "Bush Clings to Dubious Allegations About Iraq." The article questioned a "number of allegations" that the Bush administration is making against Iraq that "have been challenged — and in some cases disproved — by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports."

Now that the short war has begun, it is hoped that there will be minimum casualties on both sides. But after the U.S. military prevails, the longer battles during occupation begin. They are fires, disease, hunger, plunder and looting by desperate people and roving gangs, and bloodletting between major religious and ethnic factions.

U.S. intelligence agencies say the Iraq war will likely increase global terrorism including inside this country. Respected retired military generals and admirals, such as Marine General Anthony Zinni, believe it will destabilize the Middle East region, undermine the war on terrorism and distract from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. "King George" is not listening to them or to other prominent former leaders in the State Department, Pentagon or the major intelligence agencies, including his father’s own National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft.

This must be the only war in our history promoted by chickenhawks — former belligerent draft dodgers — and opposed by so many of those inside and outside of government who served in the armed forces.

Still the Messianic militarist in the White House refuses to even listen — either to opposing viewpoints held by tens of millions of Americans or to viewpoints counseling other non–war ways to achieve the objectives in Iraq. Indeed, he has refused to meet with any domestic antiwar delegation. Groups representing veterans, labor, business, elected city officials, women, clergy, physicians and academics with intelligence experience have written requesting an audience (see www.essentialaction.org).

Michael Kinsley is a sober, bright columnist who said that "in terms of the power he now claims, George W. Bush is now the closest thing in a long time to dictator of the world." One might also use a Canadian phrase — an elected dictator. Correction — a judicially–selected dictator.

Yesterday’s Features

David Lindorff
Peacekeepers at Ground Zero

Diane Christian
Blood Sacrifice

Kathy Kelly
The Morning After Shock and Awe

John Stanton
US Bombs Iran

Wayne Madsen
How to Live with a Rogue Superpower

Anthony Gancarski
Iraq and the Death of the West

David Vest
Earth vs. Bush

Ahmad Faruqui
The Liberation of Iraq in Perspective

Robert Fisk
We Bomb, They Suffer

Website of the War
Iraq Body Count

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax–Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /