More inside the Beltway spinning at work: Libya's coming clean on WMD is solely the product of Bush's war in Iraq. That's what the Bush Administration wants us to believe. And the Beltway paper of record seems awfully accepting of the Administration's spin. In Sunday's Post, Dana Milbank writes, "It has been a week of sweet vindication for those who promulgated what they call the Bush Doctrine."
Richard Perle scurried to tell Milbank, "It's always been at the heart of the Bush doctrine that a more robust policy would permit us to elicit greater cooperation from adversaries than we'd had in the past when we acquiesced. With the capture of Saddam, the sense that momentum may be with us is very important."
In the Beltway narrative, there's no room for how Libya's decision to permit UN weapons inspectors in confirms that the US can achieve its strategic international goals using tools other than military force--for example, diplomatic, political and economic pressure. Nor is there room for all the work and time numerous European nations have invested in engaging Libya over the last five years. Or of the hard work of the UN Security Council in negotiating a settlement of the Lockerbie case, a resolution which may have had more to do with Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi's desire to reenter the international mainstream than any other single factor.
Nor is there any discussion of why the Administration supports the role of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors in disarming Libya whereas it was so dismissive of the IAEA's work in Iraq. And, how many understand that--as Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Adminstration National Security Council staff member reveals--"Within months after September 11th, we had the Libyans, the Syrians and the Iranians all coming to us saying what can we do [to better relations]? We didn't really engage any of them because we decided to do Iraq. We really squandered two years of capital that will make it harder to apply this model to the hard cases like Iran and Syria."
Libya's agreement to disarm under the watch of international inspectors is a welcome development but it is not as dramatic a turnaround as Bush & Co want us to believe. According to Joseph Cirincone, an arms specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "It's part of a trend that has been underway for ten years--of reforms and trying to reintegrate with Europe, mainly for business reasons."
Let's not allow the Administration to neocon us into believing that Libya's decision is the sole result of Bush's war in Iraq. Instead, let's use Libya's example to call for inspections and reductions of WMD in all countries around the world, including here in the US.
It will long be the fate of fans of Joe Strummer's brilliant music -- and his equally brilliant politics -- to experience a touch of melancholy as the Christmastide swells.
The heart and soul of The Clash, the pioneering punk group that became the greatest rock-and-roll band of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Strummer died from a heart attack last December 22 at age 50. Strummer's death came as a shock. But it was not just the shock of losing a radical artist who, as his last albums with his group the Mescaleros illustrated, still contained much creative juice. It was also the shock of recognition. Though Strummer always resisted the "voice of a generation" label, his death confirmed him as that voice.
When it was silenced, the sense of loss was dramatic. And it has not lessened much with the passing of a year. Indeed, as this Christmas approaches, Strummer's voice is coming at us from many new directions. And it sounds as good as ever.
Thirteen beautiful women versus one hideous president.
Babes Against Bush is taking protest politics in an unlikely direction. A new group from southeastern Michigan, B.A.B. is looking to attract attention to a cause--unseating George W. Bush in 2004--and hoping to spur more people to take notice of some basic facts about the Bush Administration by using the venerable, politically incorrect vehicle of the "pinup girl" as the medium for its message.
Why? "Because hot chicks hate him too."
"What could be more un-American than that election-hijacking, economy-wrecking, war-mongering chimp George W. Bush?" the group asks on its website. "What could be more All-American than thirteen beautiful young women, exercising their first amendment right to thumb their nose at our bozo president?"
The result is the Official Babes Against Bush Regime Change Calendar, which counts off the number of days remaining until "the moving vans pull up to the White House." Lavishly produced in glossy color, each of the thirteen months' pages feature one anti-Bush babe as well as well-informed facts and figures detailing the failures and lies of the Bush Administration.
It's only $11.00! Click here to buy a copy.
There are also numerous good Bush books out there currently, even beyond the deservedly best-selling troika of Michael Moore, Molly Ivins and Al Franken.
Nation Books' new release The Bush Hater's Handbook: A Guide to the Most Appalling Presidency of the Past 100 Years is a great gift for anyone looking to arm themselves with useful talking points on the Bush Administration as we head into the presidential season. It's also a concise, entertaining read arranged alphabetically by topic.
Nation Washington editor David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, recently released by Crown Publishers, offers a full account of the falsehoods, fibs and fabrications of the Bush presidency to date. This fact-driven journalistic account is a scorching indictment of a man who claimed he would "restore" honesty to the Oval Office.
The Bush Administration did more than lie in the rush to war with Iraq: the pattern of obfuscation, misstatement and half-retraction amounted to a calculated entrapment of the American people.
A new book co-written by Nation contributing editor Robert Scheer, his son and Alternet editor Christopher Scheer, and Alternet senior editor Lakshmi Chaudhry offers the first analysis of this pattern of deception, underscoring that the move to war was a highly managed marketing campaign conducted by a small group of influential extremists inside the Bush Administration.
The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq is an insightful primer exposing the mendacious misinformation campaign George Bush's White House used to secure the support of Congress, the media and a majority of Americans for a preemptive invasion and occupation of Iraq.
A new documentary film offers far more proof, if any were still necessary, that the Bush Administration's extremism is severely compromising America's national security interests. Featuringnever-before-seen interviews with more than twenty national security experts--including former Ambassador Joe Wilson; ex-CIA chief Stansfield Turner; weapons inspector David Albright; CIA operative Robert Baer and The Nation's own David Corn--Uncovered is a compelling call to action.
Click here to purchase a DVD. It's only $14.95, including shipping and handling. Putting this film on America's radar is a strong step toward fostering regime change in the United States in 2004.
Finally, make sure to check out The Nation's New Online Shop. Given the rush on our antiwar buttons and anti-Bush apparel this past year, we've developed a full catalogue of new Nation merchandise. All clothing is union-made, ideal for gifts, and can be purchased online in just a few minutes.
This essay, from the October 31, 1953, issue of The Nation, is a special selection from The Nation Digital Archive. If you want to read everything The Nation has ever published on marriage, click here for information on how to acquire individual access to the Archive--an electronic database of every Nation article since 1865.
Howard Dean is making the message of the media reform movement part of his campaign--not just calling for overturning the FCC rules but also calling for breaking up existing media conglomerates.
Listen to the front-running candidate on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on December 1:
Matthews: There are so many things that have been deregulated. Is that a wrong trend and would you reverse it?
Dean: I would reverse it in some areas. First of all, eleven companies in this country control ninety percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That's wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don't have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do the FCC.
Matthews: As a public policy, would you bring industrial policy to bear and break up these conglomerations of power?...How about large media enterprises?
Dean: The answer to that is yes. I would say there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country. We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.
Matthews: So what are you going to do about it? You're going to be President of the United States, what are you going to do?
Dean: What I'm going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.
Matthews: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?
Dean: Yes, we're going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn't mean we're going to break up all of GE. What we're going to say is that media enterprises can't be as big as they are today...To the extent of even having two or three or four outlets in a single community, that kind of information control is not compatible with democracy.
Breaking up media conglomerates is a campaign that millions of Americans--of all political stripes--are embracing. Perhaps the most hopeful example of this is a growing media democracy movement--working to reclaim the airwaves for citizens. Even mainstream media is waking up to the issue. Recently, Lou Dobbs of CNN announced the results of his online poll about media conglomerates. According to his survey, ninety-six percent of those polled said that big media conglomerates should be broken up. Only four percent were happy with them. Maybe this democratic revolution will be televised after all.
The last time I saw pictures of a man in need of a haircut being displayed as a trophy of the American Empire it was Che Guevara, stretched out dead on a table in Vallegrande, a village in the Bo