The Friends of California Libre...

08 March 2003

The Women's Screed

Greetings, many friends,
As I'm reminded by Miss Lorinda and my boss, this Saturday (8 March) is the Women's Global Strike, which means no working...and no shopping. If you're in LA, you can watch the ladies do Lysistrata for real at the Federal Building in Westwood that afternoon.

Some women are really going too far with their anti-war fervor:
Woman Offers Bush Crucifixion-For-Peace Deal

If you've got a broadband connection, you'll like this lovely Bush/Blair duet (Thanks, Miles):

Let me turn serious for a moment; some of you have sent me (, and I signed it) the emergency petition being submitted to the United Nations. Although the UN has actually asked not to receive petitions (unlike a representative legislature, the UN is essentially a bureaucracy, and so petitions are meaningless to them) this one, an all-out effort, can't hurt. But I think we are in agreement that "in our name" war is a certainty. I saw Bill Moyers do a sobering interview with Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent at the New York Times, who wrote a book with the literal title "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning". I naturally took a look at the Los Angeles Public Library's reference copy...this is a stunning book. Hedges starts out talking about the addictive nature of war, the "beauty of destruction" which had him completely hooked, the adrenaline rush etc. from El Salvador to Iraq, where he was held prisoner for a short time during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Then he lays out in very direct terms the nature of our situation; the vision of 11 September as a trigger for horrendous destruction inflicted on others by the US, the futility of fighting terrorism with more terror, the self-destruction all empires bring upon themselves in war, etc. It ruined my day, but it did give me a certain moral clarity to argue against an anti-war position that previously made me uncomfortable, i.e. that it would be OK to bomb Iraq if the UN agreed to it. Hedges supports the idea that the only way to end war is to eliminate any justification for it, but then wonders if it is humanly possible. Like I said, that book ruined my day.

To understand how the government and the media are twisting the statements regarding inspections in Iraq, you should read the report Mr. Hans Blix delivered today (7 March) which should be in tomorrow's newspaper. I heard it referred to several times as a document which supported both pro-war and anti-war arguments, but there is nothing in the document I could see that could be interpreted thus. I know bureaucratese, and in that tongue, Mr. Blix gave the Iraqis an A-. Not that it matters; they've not surprisingly stopped crushing their most valuable missiles, in anticipation of an attack that will undoubtedly come between 18 March and 1 April. Then it will be time for each of us to stake out the moral ground we choose.

And so from the sublime to the ridiculous; Mr. Blix won't find any Iraqi weapons via the Internet (thanks, Josh):

Of course, you can't get the truth on television either:
Report: Saddam Translator Had Fake Accent

As you may have heard, you can get into trouble just for the way you dress in New York (thanks Miles):
Lawyer Arrested for Wearing a 'Peace' T-Shirt

But your friends will take revenge:

And we've got plenty of other problems. Here's the RAVE Act...part two:
Congress is considering two pieces of legislation that could effectively ban live music and dancing, while throwing innocent people like you in jail. If enacted, either bill could prevent you from hearing your favorite band or DJ live. Every musical style would be affected, including rock and roll, Hip Hop, country, and electronic music. Both bills would allow overzealous prosecutors to send innocent people to jail for the crimes of others. The two bills are the RAVE Act (H.R. 718) and the CLEAN-UP Act (H.R. 834). Both could be passed this year without your help. (Links to the Acts text provided below.) The RAVE Act would make it easier for the federal government to punish property owners for any drug offense that their customers commit - even if they work hard to stop such offenses. If enacted, nightclub and stadium owners would likely stop holding events - such as rock or Hip Hop concerts - in which even one person might use drugs. Similarly, the CLEAN-UP Act contains provisions that would make it a federal crime - punishable by up to nine years in prison - to promote "any rave, dance, music or other entertainment event" that might attract some attendees that would use or sell drugs. In both cases, it doesn't matter if the concert promoter and property owner try to prevent people from using drugs. Nor does it matter if the vast majority of people attending the event are law-abiding citizens that want to listen to music, not do drugs. If either the CLEAN-UP Act or the RAVE Act becomes law, Congress could effectively ban live music and dancing, as well as any other event that might attract someone that would use drugs (essentially any event that draws a large crowd). Your help is needed to stop these bills from becoming law!!! Dancing, singing, and playing music should not be a federal crime!
*** Fax your Representative. Tell him or her to oppose the RAVE Act in its entirety and to oppose Section 305 in the CLEAN-UP Act. You can fax your Representative for free by going to .

Yet some people still have no idea what the hell is going on:
World's Longest Concert Under Way

If you haven't read this letter yet, enjoy; this is from a diplomat in the U.S. Embassy at Athens, and he lets them have it between the eyes (Thanks Jeannie). Pray for this guy, because in bureaucratic terms, he's finished.
February 27, 2003
U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation
The following is the text of John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kiesling is a career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan.

Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7.

I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal. It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies.

Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer. The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government.

September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo? We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has "oderint dum metuant" really become our motto? I urge you to listen to America's friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America's ability to defend its interests. I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.

Finally, if you need a quick laugh try running some recent web pages through Snoop Dogg's "Shizzolator":

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