Bush preparing for War???
There is no question that the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Towers in New York was a horrific act and 911-2001 will be a day that along with the attack on Pearl Harbor will live in infamy. Yet, the real question is what should be our response.
We are not at open war with any nation. No nation has stated or even suggested that they have declared war on us. Yet President Bush is apparently preparing to strike militarily all over the world. I think we need to take a hard look at what is happening in Israel before we launch off on a unilateral military campaign against the world.
First, I would like to point out that all the nations of the world except the United States signed the Kyoto global warming treaty. President Bush refused to allow the US to sign it. A week ago the whole world, except the US and Israel endorsed a document regarding racism. Does anyone see a pattern of US arrogance that it is the King of the world and that we are not going to listen even when the entire world is lined up against us.
We have refused to acknowledge the fact that slavery is an abomination; not to mention 300 years of it in America. In the states that were members of the Confederacy, there is still strong ties to the Rebel cause as demonstrated by many of the citizens of those states refusal to take down the Rebel Battle Flag which is being flown in public places. The United States has refused to acknowledge that we conducted a war of genocide against the Indian nations who have resided in the Americas for tens of thousands of years. And now we are refusing to consider that just maybe the Israeli's attacks against the Palestinians are excessive and unjustified.
In 1948, Israel was carved out of Palestine and over a million Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes. This is no different from the Jews being uprooted from Europe during World War II. Every since 1948, there has been a demand for justice by the Palestinians and there has been a never ending cycle of violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Jews who have made certain that the world is constantly reminded of the Jewish Holocaust refuse to even consider the plight of the Palestinians refugees as being in any way equivalent to the plight of the Jews in the 1930's and 1940's in Europe. It is a double standard that is being applied.
In 1995, a young Israeli extremist killed Yitzhak Rabin who was trying to champion peace. Then on September 28, 2000, when Prime Minister Ehud Barak was trying to work out a peace agreement iwth the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon intentionally visited the Wailing Wall and knowingly inflamed the Palestinians. Prior to that day, the killing and attacks had stopped on both sides in anticipation of some kind of peace agreement being worked out. After that day, the killing started again. Subsequently, Sharon was elected as Prime Minister of Israel and the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians began again.
Now almost a year later, after many suicide attacks on Israel, after the reality that you cannot stop suicide bombers with any amount of military retaliation, that all retaliation does is create more suicide bombers, the USA has been targeted and shown that it too is vulnerable to attack. No matter what we do, we cannot use conventional military force to stop committed suicide bombers from attacking us.
The only way we can stop these people is by police action. We have to work with other nations and bring these mass murderers and their leaders to justice. We cannot retaliate against innocent civilians. We cannot destabilize governments with military action. We must work with the world to bring an end to terrorism because we cannot unilaterally end it any more than Israel has been able to end it. The raw truth is that all Israel has accomplished in the last twelve months is the escalation of terrorism to our detriment.
We have to consider that we must address the cause of the problem. We must address the Palestinian problem. Until that is done, until we look at the real source of friction, until we acknowledge that the repercussions of ignoring the truth is too devastating to ignore (as we have ignored global warming and racism), we have no hope of ending terrorism. All we can do is what Israel has done and that is to make the problem worse.
Everyone agrees that since the attacks against the World Trade Towers everything is different; everything has changed. And that means that the old responses must be reevaluated. Ariel Sharon's visit to the Wailing Wall can be pointed to as the first misstep on a slippery slope that has led to increased violence and unrest in Israel. In the end, Israel will have to succumb to the Palestinian demands for justice just as the United States had to finally admit it could not win in Vietnam.
I pray to God that President Bush moves forward with great caution in this matter; with advice from the rest of the world. If he does not, then the people of the United States may well find themselves the constant targets of terrorism which cannot be stopped. When people feel strong enough about a cause to give their lives, no amount of conventional military action is going to stop them from carrying out their murderous acts.
The only way to end the violence is going to be to address the real problem. The United States must work with the rest of the world and not proceed unilaterally. We cannot create death and destruction on a world wide scale. Five people can hijack an airplane and blow up a building. One person can release deadly toxins and viruses anywhere. We must wake up and deal with the cause of the problem and the injustice that we are fostering around the world. Otherwise, we will never end the premeditated acts of violence that can and will be foisted on us.
Without justice, there can be no peace and the legacy of war is more war. President Bush needs to deal with the root causes of terrorism or there will be nothing but increasing tension, death and destruction foisted on the citizens of the United States and the rest of the world. It is time for truth first.
September 14, 2001
U.S. gets some Arab support
But allegiances can complicate efforts to unite against terrorism
CAIRO, Egypt – President Bush won quick public support from key Arab governments Thursday for his declaration of an international campaign against terrorism. But moving beyond support to participation in any military response may prove difficult in a region where organizations classified as terrorist in Washington are viewed by many people as armies fighting for a just cause.
Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: TUE 07/24/01
Edition: 3 STAR
U.S. left alone as 178 nations sign Kyoto pact / Pressure now put on Bush to offer an alternative plan
By KAREN MASTERSON, Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The world's major nations agreed Monday to comply with a wide-ranging treaty to fight global warming, leaving the United States as the lone holdout and putting pressure on President Bush to come up with an alternative plan.
After days of intense talks, 178 nations signed the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming, the 1997 accord designed to cut greenhouse gases. But in weekend negotiations, deadlines for compliance were relaxed, and at Japan's insistence, decisions on how to enforce the agreement were delayed.
While environmentalists considered the signing a major step forward, Bush had declared the treaty dead in March, citing international opposition and claiming it was "fatally flawed."
At a United Nations meeting on climate change in Bonn, Germany, over the weekend, U.S. allies led the effort to salvage the pact. Despite the signing, the agreement still is in danger of falling apart.
Japan signaled it might not ratify the agreement unless the United States - which emits about one-fourth of the world's greenhouse gases - comes aboard.
"It is important that all countries act under one single rule," Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Monday.
He helped break a deadlock in the negotiations, but he also insisted that U.S. participation was key to persuading the Japanese Diet, the nation's legislature, to ratify the treaty.
Bush officials reacted coolly to the pressure.
"I don't think that it's a surprise to anyone that the United States believes that this particular protocol is not in its interest, nor do we believe that it really addresses the problem of global warming," said Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, in defense of the president.
But the president's attempts to distance the country from the Kyoto accord have generated criticism in Congress.
Sen. James Jeffords, who left the GOP last month to become an independent, said he was deeply disappointed with Bush's opposition to international attempts at curbing greenhouse gases.
"I urge the Bush administration to commit to the Kyoto treaty," the Vermont lawmaker said last week in his first news conference since becoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a post Democrats gave him in exchange for leaving the Republican Party.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said Bush was turning the United States into a "renegade" nation.
He and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, of Alaska, are pushing a bill that would create an office in the White House, similar to that of the drug czar, to promote emission reductions.
And the House last week dropped longstanding language that had prohibited money from being spent to implement provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The move took place during the drafting of a spending bill that the full House is expected to vote on this week.
The Kyoto accord - named for the Japanese city in which it was initially signed by international representatives including then-Vice President Al Gore - establishes for the first time rules that would require industrialized countries to reduce emissions linked to global warming.
If ratified by enough countries, it would create an emissions credit system that would buy heavily industrialized countries extra time to meet their targets. The credits could be obtained by helping Third World countries develop clean technologies or by purchasing emission rights from countries that have already met their targets.
And the protocol, in a concession to Japan and Canada, allows forests and farmland to count as credits, giving industrialized nations with vast swaths of forest leeway in meeting strict emission standards.
Without elaborating on how the problem of global warming should be addressed, Rice said the administration soon would have a plan of its own.
"I think that you will see that many of the ideas that we have will draw a lot of support because the technological possibilities to deal with greenhouse gas emissions are really quite dramatic if we can mobilize on those issues," she said.
Those remarks frustrated environmentalists, who have been waiting for months for Bush to clarify his position on global warming and offer ways to prevent the hazards of climate change.
"The Kyoto Protocol isn't perfect, but it's a good beginning," said Carroll Muffett, spokeswoman for Defenders of Wildlife. "Nearly every world leader except George Bush has recognized that."
Since Bush took office, environmentalists have been highly critical of his positions on the environment, from his refusal to recognize carbon dioxide as a pollutant, to an energy policy that focuses more on oil and gas production than conservation.
But manufacturing, petrochemical and other industries oppose the treaty.
And conservative organizations applauded Bush for standing up against international pressure and refusing to sign a treaty they say would hurt the U.S. economy and force up the price of energy for consumers.
"The only way to reduce greenhouse gases is to reduce energy consumption," said Jerry Taylor, director of natural resource studies at the Cato Institute. "And the only way to do that is increase energy prices."
He and many anti-regulation advocates say global warming is not as dramatic as the international community suggests. And they caution that attempts by governments to force tough emission standards on industries will hurt the global economy.
"The Bush administration is doing the right thing by saying no," Taylor said. "The American manufacturing sector is the one benefiting most because their competitors are going to be faced with increased costs and U.S. industries will not."
Possible impact as world warms
It's not known what will happen as Earth's atmosphere slowly warms during the coming century, but these changes are considered likely:
1. NORTH AMERICA: Coastal floods%3B more tropical disease%3B wetland damage%3B loss of northern hardwood forests%3B crops grow farther north
2. LATIN AMERICA: Longer dry season%3B water shortages in some areas%3B floods in low-lying areas, islands*
3 . EUROPE: Cool-weather plants and wildlife disappear from southern areas%3B flooding of low areas
4. AFRICA: Growth of deserts%3B water shortages%3B crop failures%3B increase in tropical diseases%3B damage to fragile ecosystems*
5. CENTRAL ASIA: Spread of desert areas%3B water shortages in some regions%3B weather more hospitable for humans in Siberia, other northern regions*
6. EAST ASIA: Flooding of densely populated coastal areas%3B widespread poverty will make it hard for nations to respond to changes in food, water supply*
7. SOUTH ASIA: Water shortages%3B crop failures%3B worse floods caused by monsoon rains%3B increase in tropical diseases*
8. AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND: Damage to delicate ecosystems%3B more severe storms
*Regions poorly equipped to respond to climate changes
Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: SUN 09/09/01
Edition: 4 STAR
Racism meeting reaches accord on slavery, Palestinian plight
New York Times
DURBAN, South Africa - After nine days of tumultuous negotiations, nations from around the world agreed Saturday to condemn the slave trade that wrenched millions of Africans from this continent to the Americas and to voice concern for the "plight of the Palestinians under foreign occupation."
The declaration was almost undone at the last minute by the renewed insistence of Arab states and their supporters to single out Israel by name as a racist state. But the final document did not do so, and it was toned down from language that had prompted the United States and Israel to walk out last Monday.
The United Nations meeting, the World Conference Against Racism , was intended to celebrate tolerance and diversity, but by week's end, it risked becoming an international symbol of divisiveness and intolerance as Arabs and Jews clashed repeatedly over whether to criticize Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Even Saturday, as delegates labored to complete the conference documents, renewed mudslinging threatened to further derail a meeting that was already a day behind schedule.
Negotiators had worked through Friday night to come up with the document, which also condemns discrimination against minorities, refugees, women, Gypsies and others. The final language was brokered by European diplomats, who shouldered the guilt of their grandfathers to find language that may restore dignity to descendants of slaves.
The declaration states that slavery and the slave trade "are a crime against humanity and should always have been so." According to the accord, states now have a moral obligation to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of slavery, apartheid and genocide and notes that some governments have "taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation where appropriate."
The wording fell short of what had been hoped for by some Africans, who demanded an explicit apology and specific promises of compensation from Europe to make up for past wrongs. Europeans refused to apologize explicitly, fearing they may open up themselves to lawsuits. They also refused to endorse unconditional debt cancellation and foreign aid.
Still, diplomats from Africa and Latin America and black delegates from the United States described the document as an important, if imperfect, atonement for an ugly and neglected chapter of history.
"It is not important to know if we are expressing regret, remorse or apology," said Louis Michel, foreign minister of Belgium and the leader of the European delegation. "What is important is the recognition of an injustice that we cannot accept."
Amina Mohamed, Kenya's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, admitted that African nations had not gotten all they had hoped.
"We have an agreement on a document that is far from satisfactory, that is terribly imperfect, but provides a basis to build on," she said.
"I think that we owe it to the memory of all those who perished to have the international community declare slavery and the slave trade a crime against humanity. It is a crime against humanity."
But even after the declaration and the plan of action were adopted Saturday afternoon, many delegates left the convention center as divided as ever.
In the middle of Saturday's meeting, Arab delegates and their supporters renewed their insistence on condemning Israel as a racist state. And European and Canadian officials warned that they too might abandon the process if such language is included in the conference declaration.
From Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres called the final document a "bitter failure" for the Arab League.
"The language that was approved in Durban in our absence," the Foreign Ministry said, "is not the best and we opposed it, but it is completely different from the venomous decisions the extremist countries wanted passed."
A State Department spokeswoman said the Bush administration was "looking forward to receiving the final text when it becomes available."
As the conference drew to a close, the administration "appreciated the efforts of others who participated in the conference and who sought to remove the offensive language," the spokeswoman said, reading a formal statement.
"We are disappointed that the conference which could have been an opportunity to address the issues of race became so politicized," she said. "We remain confident our withdrawal from the conference was the correct measure and we hope the decision had some effect on a better but still flawed result."
Earlier in the day, Arab and Muslim officials had agreed to abandon their criticisms of Israel and to accept a declaration that recognized "the plight of the Palestinians under foreign occupation" as well as "the right to security for all states in the region, including Israel."
But on Saturday morning, delegates from Pakistan and Syria insisted on adding new language that assailed Israel as a racist, occupying power.