Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Does Mike Huckabee Have To Do With the Apocalypse?

(696 words)
by Valerie Saturen

Recent polls show the previously little-known Mike Huckabee now running almost neck-and-neck with GOP front-runner Rudolph Giuliani. Huckabee, who now leads the polls in the key battleground state of Iowa, owes his rising star to a surge of support from evangelicals. Evangelicals, comprising about 25% of Americans, have formed the core Republican voting bloc since the 1970s. While most Americans are aware of the "family values" domestic concerns of this group, fewer understand its foreign policy agenda, which is tied to the powerful, yet little-understood phenomenon of Christian Zionism. Rooted in a literal interpretation of biblical "End Times" prophecy, this ideology carries profound implications for our role in the Middle East, and it is a crucial factor in the 2008 Republican race.
Christian Zionism stems from the belief that the catastrophic events depicted in the biblical Book of Revelation are humanity's literal destiny, and that two-thirds of the Earth's population will perish while the "saved" are "raptured up" to heaven. For Christian Zionists, this catastrophe is a necessary precedent to the Second Coming. This belief is a core part of evangelicalism, gaining unprecedented popularity after September 11 and increased Mideast violence within recent years. Aided by a surge in sales of books such as the best-selling Left Behind series, which portrays Revelation as a modern-day battle between good and evil, the view of Mideast violence as an apocalyptic "sign of the times" is rapidly gaining ground. It is significant that Huckabee recently received an endorsement from Left Behind author Tim LaHaye.
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Valerie Saturen is a freelance writer with an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona. Her thesis addressed Christian Zionism and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


(596 words)

By Larry and Lenna Mae Gara

On December 8, 1941, when President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, Montana Republican Jeannette Rankin cast the single negative vote.

“I want to stand by my country,” she said, “but I cannot vote for war."

Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, was also there in 1917 when she joined forty-nine others in the House and six senators to cast “no” votes against declaring war on Germany. The lifelong pacifist was vilified and hanged in effigy, but years later, President Kennedy included her in his book, Profiles in Courage. Jeannette Rankin was part of a pacifist tradition in American history extending from its beginnings, when Pennsylvania was founded as a haven for Quakers. ... (for exclusive consideration of the full text contact us).

Larry Gara, Emeritus Professor of History at Wilmington College, is the author or editor of six books and numerous scholarly articles. Lenna Mae Gara is a homemaker, writer and editor. They have lived in Wilmington since 1962.

Our Unknown Air War Over Iraq

(590 words)

by Ed Kinane

A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower.….The American air war inside Iraq is perhaps the most significant – and underreported – aspect of the fight against the insurgency.

Seymour M. Hersh, “Up in the Air,” Nov. 29, 2005, New Yorker

There’s an air war over Iraq. It’s invisible (here). It’s deadly (there).

The Iraq air war may be the longest such war in history. In one way or another it has been undermining Iraq’s sovereignty, destroying its infrastructure, and killing and maiming its people for over 16 years. And there’s no end in sight.

Despite global pressure to withdraw, Bush Inc. – and indeed the broader US power structure – has no intention of giving up Iraq. The potential oil bonanza is too huge. And Iran – with its oil bonanza – is next door.

That air war is intensifying. The US dropped five times as many bombs in Iraq during the first six months of 2007 as it did in the first half of 2006. As US troops withdraw, the air attacks will multiply.

Terror from the Sky

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In March 2003 Kinane was working in Baghdad with the human rights group, Voices in the Wilderness, when the US invaded Iraq. Reach him at

Monday, December 17, 2007

Celebrating A Victory for Freedom

(875 words)
William Loren Katz

This Christmas Eve, the freedom-loving Bush administration has a chance to mark the anniversary of a great victory for formerly oppressed people on U.S. soil. The President is unlikely, however, to notice or heed the meaning of this particular milestone, whose cast of characters and historical lessons he would undoubtedly regard as all wrong.
December 24th, 1837 marks the 170th anniversary of the U.S. government's first significant military defeat in its first foreign incursion. The place was Florida, then a Spanish colony. The foe was a united force of Africans, on the run from the south's slave plantations, and Seminoles, whose self-determination was endangered. The runaway Africans had been establishing prosperous, self-governing communities in the peninsula since 1738. During the American Revolution they merged with Seminole Indians into a multicultural nation that cultivated crops according to techniques learned in Senegambia and Sierra Leone. Out of this came an alliance that shaped effective diplomatic and military responses to invaders and slavecatchers.
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William Loren Katz is the author of BLACK INDIANS: A HIDDEN HERITAGE [Atheneum Publishers] from which this article is adapted. His website is:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tragifarce Month 12, Year Five

(375 words)
by David L. Meth

We are told that the surge is working in Iraq. (Until the next surge of suicide attacks and mass murder.) On behalf of the administration, Connecticut Fourth District Republican Congressman Christopher Shays says: "We are starting to establish credibility."

With whom? With the warring tribes in Iraq? With the Iraqi government that we installed in the "election"? With the American citizens and the rest of the world?

Shays then goes on to say that the Iraqis "have decided we were not there for their oil."


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David L. Meth ( is a playwright from Westport, CT who cannot wait for the final curtain on the Bush reign--truly a transnational tragedy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Letter from India

1,120 words
by Michael True
Driving along the shaded streets of New Delhi, I approached the center of the city with a sense of anticipation. And why not? Although I had arrived there from Boston and elsewhere in India several times before, this time our destination was the Presidential House (Rastrapati Bhavan). Turning into the Rajpath, our driver moved slowly through the traffic and crowds surrounding India Gate, then toward the palace: a 37-acre complex of gardens, fountains, Victorian archways, long corridors, and meeting rooms, designed by the British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, in 1929.

We came to a stop at the bottom of the wide steps approaching the massive front entrance. It was a scene recognizable to anyone familiar with Richard Attenborough’s great film Gandhi, 1983, after Gandhi’'s successful nonviolent protest against the British tax on salt in 1930, the Mahatma (Ben Kingsley) walked purposefully up those front steps for a meeting with the British viceroy. The event symbolized a major victory in the long effort to end British rule, with independence 17 years later.

From the parking lot, my friend and I entered a side entrance, through various security posts, to a handsome waiting room, where other guests awaited a meeting with Mrs. Patil, the first woman president of India. After tea and delicious treats, Professor Naresh Dadhich and I were escorted to the president'’s receiving room, where she greeted us cordially. ...
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Michael True is professor emeritus of English, Assumption College, and a world sojourner for peace. He is the author of several books on the literature and power of nonviolence.

The Revolution will not be televised

(550 words)
by David Hazen
The media is focused on the drama and fear of power struggles. The revolution of which I speak is not a power struggle, it has no single leader, and it’s occurring in small group conversations. The ship of fear and control is slowly being abandoned. We are about to witness a cultural leap into fearlessness, and the media will soon lose its influence.

We are no longer victims. We have been empowered to take responsibility for our role in shaping the culture in which we live. We have been gifted with the opportunity to subvert the domination system with the power of imagination. When we imagine ourselves being fearless in genuine relationships with other people, when we escape from the fantasies about how dangerous other people might be --how they need to be controlled, dominated, or even eliminated --there is no struggle, there is only surrender to a wonderful sense of belonging.

When we share our vision of peace in detail with others, we change history so that peace is no longer impossible, it becomes inevitable. In 1982 Milton Friedman said “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.” It is like building a birdhouse. When the space is ready, the dove of peace arrives.

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David Hazen ( is Oregon State Coordinator for The Peace Alliance Campaign for a Department of Peace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Water Boarding: Hiding the Evidence of a Sordid History

790 words
by William Loren Katz
A few days after
New York Times reported [front page December 7,, 2007] that in 2005 the CIA destroyed at least two videotapes that documented its use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, the Washington Post revealed the CIA in 2002 informed Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and other top legislators about waterboarding. Some politicians urged the CIA on -- and all kept the secret. Waterboarding, official denial that it constitutes torture, and concealment of its use, share a long history.
President George Bush has admitted the United States used “waterboarding” while denying that it's a form of torture, and has repeatedly stated, “America does not torture.” In an October 2006 radio interview on Fargo, North Dakota's WDAY, Vice President Dick Cheney told radio host Scott Hennen that waterboarding is “a very important tool that we've had,” insisted “We need to continue that,” and called it no more than “dunking” some one under water. He also added that the United States does not torture.
For five centuries, waterboarding has been a used as torture in several variations. The method that gives the torture its name involves strapping the captive to a board and repeatedly pushing his head into a tub of water until his lungs fill and he nearly drowns. ...(for exclusive 24-hour consideration of this full text and 24-hour first option for free first serial rights, contact us).

*William Loren Katz is the author of forty U.S. history books, has been affiliated with New York University since 1973, and his website is WILLIAMLKATZ.COM This essay draws from his book, "The Cruel Years: American Voices at the Dawn of the 20th Century" [Beacon Press, 2003] an even more heavily from Stuart Creighton Miller, "Benevolent Assimilation" [Yale University Press, 1982].

Monday, December 10, 2007

What Must Be Done?

520 words

by Michael True

Once again, a scheme lying us into war, this time against Iran, has been exposed. It’s the most recent evidence of duplicity and cruelty that has characterized the worst administration in my seventy-four years; and many other Americans are rightly outraged by its behavior.

The shenanigans of the Bush/Cheney administration have been compounded by the Republican Party, voting overwhelmingly for policies that have undermined democratic governance and America’s reputation among civilized people of the world. As several men and women in England said to me, during a recent discussion of U.S. foreign policy: “We’re mostly liberal and anti-American here.”

Although I understand foreigners criticizing our government, I was genuinely shocked by traditional allies openly expressing their disdain. In spite of our economic and military domination of much of the globe, the U.S. could usually count on the good will of most people—the English, as well as the Chinese. Today, colleagues in both countries remain in disbelief that Americans re-elected George Bush in 2004.

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Michael True, author of People Power: Fifty Peacemakers and Their Communities, 2007, lives in Worcester.

Friday, December 7, 2007


(790 words)
by Jane Franklin

As millions of us shuffle shoeless through airport security lines, few remember that the age of civilian airline terrorism began 31 years ago, on October 6, 1976, when two bombs exploded aboard a civilian passenger plane, killing all 73 people aboard. Cubana Airlines Flight 455 had just taken off from Barbados headed for Havana. Thanks to rapid work by police in Barbados and Trinidad, two bombers were arrested within 24 hours, and their capture led directly to the arrests in Venezuela of Cuban-born terrorists Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch, charged with masterminding the bombing.

Posada escaped while awaiting trial and continued his career of terrorism that began when he came to the United States from Havana after the Cuban revolution. At that time, Posada joined thousands of Cubans being trained by the CIA to bring down the government of Cuba. As he bragged to New York Times journalists in 1998, “`The CIA taught us everything--everything….They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage.’” After his escape from Venezuela, he operated from Central America with the impunity of a CIA asset. Posada knew he would always have the support of the CIA and plenty of money from the Cuban American National Foundation, the wealthy and influential group based in Florida and New Jersey.

In 2005, he entered Florida illegally and made the mistake of holding a press conference in Miami. This forced the FBI to arrest him, and he was held for trial. But what was he to be tried for? Not for overseeing the explosions that killed the passengers and crew aboard that civilian airliner. Not for orchestrating the fatal 1997 bombing campaign aimed at tourists in Havana hotels and restaurants about which he openly boasted. Not for his many attempts to assassinate the head of a foreign government, Fidel Castro. No, Posada was facing trial on seven minor charges of immigration fraud. ... (for exclusive consideration of this piece contact us)

Jane Franklin is the author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History (Ocean Press).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bush continues to spin the NIE report

(784 words)
by Goudarz Eghtedari
The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report regarding Iran’s Nuclear Intentions and capabilities was released on Monday. It states that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not pursued it since then. As we know now, that is about the same time frame during which Iran offered a great bargain to the Bush Administration via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. According to Flynt Leverett, the Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council (2002-3), and Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State (2001-2005), that proposal was ignored and rejected under pressure from the Vice President’s office.

The NIE report on Iran was held back for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear program. ...
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Dr. Goudarz Eghtedari is active with the American Iranian Friendship Council ( ) and produces "Voices of the Middle East" ( ) for KBOO Community Radio in Portland, Oregon.

U.S. Officials and Waterboarding in U.S. history

(1600 words)

by William Loren Katz

High U.S. officials past and present (including Alberto Gonzales) claim not to know--and Judge Michael Mukasey, the President's new attorney general, prefers to equivocate on the issue--but water boarding has long been a form of torture that causes excruciating pain and can lead to death. It forces water into a prisoner's lungs, usually over and over again. Anyone who ever tried to breathe under water for even a few seconds knows this terrifying experience as torture.
The Spanish Inquisition in the late 1400s used water torture to uncover and punish heretics, and then in the early 1500s Spain's clerics carried it overseas to root out heresy in the New World. It reappeared during colonial New England's witch hysteria. To determine if they were witches women accused of sorcery were “dunked” and held under water.
In World War II Japan and Germany routinely used water boarding on prisoners. In Viet Nam U.S. forces held bound Viet Cong captives and “sympathizers” upside down in barrels of water. Water boarding also has been associated with the Khmer Rouge.
Extensive documentation of its use by the United States Army forces can be found in the official records ...

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William Loren Katz is the author of 40 U.S. history books, has been affiliated with New York University since 1973, and his website is WILLIAMLKATZ.COM This essay is based on research for his latest book, "The Cruel Years: American Voices at the Dawn of the 20th Century" [Beacon Press, 2003] and also draws heavily on Stuart Creighton Miller, "Benevolent Assimilation" [Yale University Press, 1982].

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hang up on war

(522 words)

by Tom H Hastings

Darrell Anderson, a young Iraq War veteran, called someone at a local Portland, Oregon college to check out a program advertised to help veterans. Darrell was wounded by an insurgent bomb, has a Purple Heart, and refused a direct order to shoot at a vehicle approaching his checkpoint—a car with an unarmed mother and her three little children, as it turns out. Darrell was so disgusted and dismayed by his government’s war on Iraq that, after one tour, he refused another direct order—to return.

Darrell went to Canada for more than a year instead, ultimately coming back to face the music, but the pipes were silent. The Army decided to go low profile and give him a quiet out, no prosecution, no court case. Recruitment numbers are hard enough to attain—they didn’t want the publicity that comes with a soldier’s condemnation of a military occupation.

We continue to hear that we need to stay the course, finish the job, and generally continue to feed the elite war profiteers who have gulped our national treasure to the tune of $10 billion each month for years, all so Iraq can be amongst the poorest, most corrupt, and least law-abiding nations on Earth. One more season will finish the fifth year of U.S. occupation...

Tom H Hastings ( is director of PeaceVoice and a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community in Portland, Oregon.

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