Category Archives: international

Russia Backs UN Sanctions

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Russia has announced that they might support further sanctions against Iran if the Arab nation does not cease it’s use of uranium enrichment centrifuges and water reactors used to create plutonium. As you ninjas know, I hope, Iran is being accused of pursuing these nuclear weapons. Naturally, the international community will go to great lengths to ensure that does not happen.  They have no reason to gain the required materials to build a nuclear weapon for civil(ian) electric purposes.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations institution, has said that Iran has recently been more cooperative in providing transparency regarding it’s nuclear program, but they still refuse to cooperate fully. Iran claims they have no nuclear weapons program and there nuclear ambitions are purely civil, meant for electricity. But, I’m thinking, if this is the case there is no need for them to be enriching uruanium and trying to gain plutonium.

Last year, there was a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released. This report sad that Tehran halted it’s nuclear weapons program in 2003, but this does not mean they don’t have aspirations to get nukes someday.

Fear-Mongering

Earlier today I posted about a great Op-Ed piece in the Post this morning about the fact that the PAA has expired. Well, this group, “Defense of Democracies” has taken it upon themselves to spread the message that we’d just better reconsider!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUXIKA38xHQ[/youtube]

Great article here about just who these people are.

What a Surprise

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Old news by now, but just in case you missed it. Raul Castro was unanimously elected as Cuba’s new preisdent yesterday. Raul has been acting as President since Fidel’s intestinal surgery in 2006 sidelined him from official duties. The vote yesterday just made his title official. Many hope that Raul with at least begin to open Cuba up to state-run capitalism (oh-so different from socialism?) and help create a connection with the international community that was not allowed to exist because they didn’t want to deal with Fidel.

[pictuerd above: Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, Raul Castro, Fidel Castro]

al-Sadr’s Militia to Continue Ceasefire

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A very powerful Shia cleric in Iraq, Maqtada al-Sadr, with a very powerful following has proclaimed that his militia’s ceasefire against rivals and the US will be extended for another six months. He will be a crucial figure in the future of Iraq.

Moqtada’s father was a very powerful and respected Shia cleric throughout the Muslim world. He was murdered along with Moqtada’s two brothers, supposedly on the orders of Saddam Hussein. In 2003 Sadr’s creation of the Mahdi army gained much support in Sadr City, a neighborhood of Baghdad, and beyond. It has a reported following of thousands of Iraqis. This is the force that recognizes the ceasefire.

Since the new Irarqi governmnet has been formed al-Sadr has not lent to its credibility, denouncing it’s legitimacy and refusing to get involved. He invisions a cleric run state (a la Iran). He says the purpose of this new ceasefire is so that his group might further an ideological stance within the Iraqi system. 

One thing that both candidates left out of the debate last night when talking about the sucess of teh US military surge in Iraq is that it has coincided with this ceasefire. This has been a huge reason why there has been such successful surge results. al-Sadr knows that the longer he holds out of taking his own action, the more he can contribute to temporary stability and, hopefully, the withdrawl of foreign troops. 

Iran, what?

Remember Iran? That country next to Iraq that is enriching uranium and is supposed to be the “Pest to the West” (term hereby copyrighted by MNP)?  It seems that the last major news we’ve seen concerning the clericly run state was back when an NIE (an intelligence report) was released siting that Iran had halted their nuclear weapons development as far back as 2003. Well, they’re back this month, making the front page of the Economist, and American Conservatives are shaking. Stanley Kurtz’s piece from the National Review claims:

Yet, as the truth about the NIE report emerges from decidedly non-neocon sources like The Economist, it’s increasingly clear that the real NIE story is actually a Republican warning come true. Dovish intelligence analysts eager to discredit the administration and tie its hands have not only distorted and betrayed the truth about Iran, they have undercut and infuriated the very European diplomats America’s doves look to for approval and assistance. The NIE lied. Europe’s peacemakers cried. Seizing on this story could bring national security back into the heart of this election campaign — and for all the right reasons.

First and foremost: “the truth” about the report isn’t coming from souces like the Economist being able to analyze it. Now, I’m not going to say that Iran definitely isn’t trying to build nukes-I mean, as recent as yesterday Iran was making international news after the launch of a rocket/long range missle apparatus which would greatly assist their efforts to drop a nuke if they should ever procure one-however, do I think that even if Iran did, somehow, get their hands on a nuke they would turn around and blow us up immediately because they’re just those type of people? My ninjas, please! Of course not. They may be a proud people, but not so much that they’d ensure their destruction to stick it to us. Would it be a security threat, yeah. Would the proper way to deal with that situation be to antagonize them and push them closer to a forging a strong relationship with someone like China (I say this because in the future they might benefit from one another’s relationship with the US)? My ninjas please! Of course not.

So, why is Kurtz arguing for Iran’s importance as an election issue? He doesn’t look like a tough-guy…:

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Because he believes that Iran can get their hands on a nuke in the next four years, and if the military option to engage Iran is off the table for now than he fears the international community has given Iran the green light to take this initiative.  Listen, just becuase we are not eagerly awaiting a time when we can strike Iran for being a punk doesn’t mean we’re playing nice. It’s their move now, and you bet your bottom dollar they understand the international community will not at all tolerate their being a nuclear power. And should that even come to fruition, it won’t be a secret, we’ll know. Right? Neither Obama nor Hillary is willing to comprimise American security for a shot at diplomacy with Iran.

ALBA

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ALBA, an Economic Alternative for Latin America

by Medea Benjamin

The sixth conference of the Latin American alternative trade alliance known as ALBA-which stands for the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas and means “Dawn” in Spanish-was held in Caracas on January 25-26. The brainchild of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, ALBA was founded by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004 as a fair trade alternative to US-backed free trade policies and is made possible thanks to Venezuela’s oil money.

When Evo Morales was elected in Bolivia and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, they too joined ALBA, which Chavez has nicknamed the Club of “Chicos Malos”, or bad boys, because of its opposition to U.S. domination. At this weekend’s meeting, the Caribbean island of Dominica also joined, and representatives attended from Ecuador, Honduras, Uruguay, Haiti and several other Caribbean nations.

Chavez opened the session talking about the need for a trade system that addresses people’s needs, not corporate profits. His railed against the “dictatorship of global capitalism”, and encouraged Latin American countries to withdraw their international reserves from United States banks, warning of a looming US economic crisis. “Why does that money have to be in the north?”, he asked. “We should start to bring our reserves back home.”

His thoughts were echoed by Daniel Ortega, who blamed the capitalist system for the environmental crisis. “The capitalist model of development is simply unsustainable,” Ortega declared. “If your economy is controlled by speculative capital that only cares about profits, you can’t solve the huge problems affecting humanity. Once we renounce the free trade model, we can begin to address the massive problems of unemployment, poverty and global warming.”

Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who is facing fierce opposition in part because of his efforts to nationalize natural gas and oil, insisted that key public resources such as land, water and energy should not be for private profit but for the common good. He also insisted that Latin America should not look to the United States for solutions, since U.S. aid always comes with strings designed to increase its hegemony.

“In 1990s, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund imposed their disastrous policies, and then the U.S. tried to impose the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas-which should really be called the Free Profits Agreement of the Americas because it is meant to increase the profits of US corporations,” said Morales. “But people of the hemisphere rejected that agreement, so now the U.S. is trying-country-by-country-to get bilateral trade agreements. They are always trying to divide us, but we salute the great resistance to empire that we see throughout the hemisphere.”

The leaders noted that it was no coincidence that just at the time of the ALBA summit, Condoleezza Rice was visiting neighboring Colombia to promote a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade pact. Chavez, who recently called Colombia’s President Urribe a “sad peon of the empire”, laughed at U.S. accusations that he, Chavez, was facilitating the flow of Colombian cocaine through Venezuela.

The talk of drug-smuggling turned into comic relief, however, when Chavez launched into a discourse on the benefits of the coca leaf, which, he insisted, was very different from cocaine. U.S. officials have long tried to eradicate coca cultivation, which has been grown and chewed by Andean Indians for centuries.

“Speaking of drugs,” Chavez turned to Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is himself a former coca farmer and is a strong defender of the coca leaf, “where are the coca leaves you used to bring me?”

A Bolivian Indian sitting behind Morales got up and offered up his personal stash of coca leaves. Delighted, Chavez took a leaf and put it in his mouth. “The sacred leaf of the Inca, the Aymara Indians,” he declared. “Thank you, brother.” Emphasizing the great qualities of coca, Chavez said that he had become used to chewing the leaves every morning and invited the other heads of states to try some.

Read the Rest

David Broder is the man.

David Broder

Note: from now on I am going to try and post after every David Broder opinion column from the Washington Post. You should all read it anyways because the man is good.

Case and point: Today’s article (12/5) highlights the most important events of the international community according to how they might affect the U.S. Broder tells us that things are different than they were two weeks ago. Now, his near perky article must have been a result from this weeks BIG STORY: the NIE report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Anywho, he got me thinking about how much I want a Democrat in the White House, AND a Democrat controlled Congress. This would be the ill na na, ninjas. Actually … f*ck that, I just don’t want Giulliani or Romney-Bushified chuckle heads. If the Reps cared about themselves they would rally around McCain with Huckabee as the VP. Huckabee is ill because he’s the Republican I could see stabbing the neo-cons right in the heart and letting the blood drip all over him. Interesting guy.

The point is, ninjas, change is on the horizon. If you live in a swing-State, I plead with you: don’t vote for an asshole. Take the time to listen to how these candidates talk, what they talk about, their demeanor, their grace or lack their off … In all sincerity, I think Hillary Clinton should get the nod.

Ninjas, the war on terror needs to end. Because it’s not really a war on terror, this government seems to be all too pleased to feed this fire.

Getting harder and harder

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Times are tough, my ninjas … at least for GDubz, who just can’t get anything to come together for him. Yesterday came a release, the National Intelligence Estimate, which is a report from all of intelligence from all 16 of the departments of intelligence we have: the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, etc. etc. etc.

Now, this report claims that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development in 2003. President Bush has said that he did not know about this information prior to last week. Whaaaaaaaaat? My Ninja, Please. Bush is trying to claim that though there was new information which surfaced as early as July, he wasn’t told what this new information was until he was briefed on this report last week. I can probably say that he isn’t smart enough to know that he’s insulting our intelligence.

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Now us hopeful bleeding hearts (or just practical folk) upon hearing this thought that this might just be reason enough for the Bush team to take the possibility of an air strike on Iran off the table. However, according to Bush’s response the the report, nothing has changed.

For those of you silly enough to think Giulliani is a solid choice in 2008, this is the statement from his Middle East policy man, Norman Podhoretz, essentially claiming the intelligence community is purposefully doing Iran a favor. [Ed: Podhoretz, a known idiot]

Happy Ethiopian Millennium!

To all our Ethiopian readers and to the rest of our readers across the world, for in these days and times we are all connected, myninjaplease on behalf of the entire mnp group would like to wish you a Happy Millennium._44110867_ethiopia_millenium416afp.jpg
For those of you who don’t know, the Ethiopian Calendar is based on the Coptic Calendar which is based on the Alexandrian Calendar which is based on the Egyptian calendar. In this time frame, September 11th represents the last day of the second millennium. Celebrations began at midnight today, Ethiopian time.

Consequently, the BBC has a short slideshow about the millennium from which the above picture was linked.

Though many are celebrating, some have called for a boycott of the activities due to what they see as government mismanagement. The author of this article calls the celebration a diversion to shield the government from criticism, if only for a moment.

The Ethiopian Millennium to be marked in September 2007 has more of metaphorical meaning than the farce the Ethiopian government is planning to make off of it. - Fekade Shewakena

Still, the festivities continue. Many people see it as a chance to revitalize a country that seems to trail behind in many important indexes.

With just under a year left on the Ethiopic calendar before the turn of the millennium, we believe that there is a dire need to mobilize all towards effective and progressive awareness as well as tangible change. To this end, we challenge you to actively engage yourself, by participating in upcoming relevant and Ethiopia-related events and projects within Ethiopia as well as other countries worldwide. – Ethiopia2000

(tree planting in Ethiopia – link)

Regardless of what you think about the issues at hand, check out the trailer for the Ethiopian Millennium film about Haile Selassie I.

[googlevideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6104967379829937363[/googlevideo]

DRUG EXTRAVAGANZA: 1969

So, as we stated before, previous-like, back in the day, the month of August is our official Drug Extravaganza. Welcome!

In more or less 30 days we hope to at least peripherally cover more or less 30 years of the War on Drugs. It’s interesting to note that the term “war on drugs” wasn’t coined until pretty late in the game. We’ll get to that in a week or two.

Link

While there’s an aspect of history lesson in this whole presentation, we’re going to keep it light and fun. As you can see, the year up in the subject line of this post is 1969. We know that the drug war didn’t really start then so we’ll sum it up for you. This is bitten from Wikipedia but in my own words.

Regulation of illegal drugs, or psychoactive substances (basically) began in the United States in the early 1880′s when the US and China agreed to stop the shipments of opium between the two countries. This all happened after the opium wars between China and England. You can obviously go check out the wiki about the opium wars if you want to, but what happened was that China tried to enforce the laws against trading opium with Britain. Britain reacted by beating the piss out of them in a heroin-induced frenzy. Here’s a quote:

By the 1830′s, the English had become the major drug-trafficking criminal organization in the world; very few drug cartels of the twentieth century can even touch the England of the early nineteenth century in sheer size of criminality. Growing opium in India, the East India Company shipped tons of opium into Canton which it traded for Chinese manufactured goods and for tea. This trade had produced, quite literally, a country filled with drug addicts, as opium parlors proliferated all throughout China in the early part of the nineteenth century. This trafficking, it should be stressed, was a criminal activity after 1836, but the British traders generously bribed Canton officials in order to keep the opium traffic flowing. The effects on Chinese society were devestating. In fact, there are few periods in Chinese history that approach the early nineteenth century in terms of pure human misery and tragedy. In an effort to stem the tragedy, the imperial government made opium illegal in 1836 and began to aggressively close down the opium dens.

Link

So while most people think it was the British fighting a war against Chinese importation of opium, it was actually the British themselves who were importing the opium to China, and then balling out financially from said trade.

So, fast forward 50 some odd years and America has agreed with China to stop any opium trade, because by this time it has become popular enough in China that they’re growing it (I guess). Another 50 years would see Americans dealing with prohibition.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqid7KvEKi0[/youtube]

And so that’s that… Just before prohibition, the United States had convened an organization which would sign the first international drug treaty, the International Opium Convention. That convention would be responsible for the first regulation of marijuana as a drug. That brings us to about 1969, the year in our subject line. You should be just about all caught up. If you’re not go read all these joints.

Now fortunately for us, a Google search revealed a very necessary timeline from PBS Frontline. Therefore, we will be using this timeline as a guide for the rest of the month.

Late 1960s Recreational drug use rises in U.S. In late 1960s recreational drug use becomes fashionable among young, white, middle class Americans. The social stigmatization previously associated with drugs lessens as their use becomes more mainstream. Drug use becomes representative of protest and social rebellion in the era’s atmosphere of political unrest.

Link

It’s ’69, baby! A time when pills were a-popping, and titties were a-swinging. Hendrix is at Woodstock and everybody is having a totally groovy time, or about to be anyway.

A drug subculture involving the use of marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs began to emerge in mainstream American society in the late ’60s and was loosely associated with an overall atmosphere of political protest concerning the Vietnam War and civil rights.

Link

[googlevideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3981364972665945187&q=jimi+hendrix+woodstock+duration%3Along&total=10&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1[/googlevideo]

As far as protest and drug use goes, well there are a few interesting links out there that point to how it was in the late 60′s. Here is a list of 60′s protest songs. Here’s a good article about the Berkeley in the 60′s. And here’s a good link to the Hate-Ashbury gallery that mnp published on months ago.

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Yeah, so, everybody was having a good time right? Well things were about to get hairy. Stay tuned.

The Cost of the War in Iraq

The cost of war during a time of war is always a point of high contention. In America, we seemed to have entered into and nationally accepted a perpetual state of war. The so-called ‘war on terror’ has no foreseeable end, as does not any war declared on a thing or a concept. Terrorism, being a military tactic, cannot be conquered. The terrorist groups are not making threats directly to the American people, but rather we are relying on what the government says is the truth. Since we have already accepted this state of perpetual war, we will be kept in fear until the government says it’s OK to come outside again. This functions much in the same way that the cold war did, except the collapse of the USSR changed the social dynamic unexpectedly.

That being said, there is no exact quantifier or tag that you could put on the human cost of the Iraq war. Whether the war is a just one or not, it is probably still important to at least attempt to examine what the nation has spent.

The Human Cost

The Department of Defense puts out a daily release of American casualties in the Iraq war in the form of a pdf file (which can be downloaded by clicking the link).

The Iraq Body Count organization has a website which estimates the amount of Iraqi deaths as of the writing of this post to be at minimum 67,325. That’s a toll of reported deaths alone.

Link

The Iraq Coalition Casualties Count website has a detailed list of all the civilian casualties that have been reported by coalition forces (remember when we used to refer to them as ‘coalition forces’?). The same group has a weekly column called Casualty Trends which puts the entire American death toll at 3,607 dead and 26,695 wounded.

Nobody, however, agrees on the actual Iraqi body count.

In 2000, a team led by Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health used random sampling to calculate the death toll in the Congolese civil war at 1.7 million. This figure prompted immediate action by the U.N. Security Council. No one questioned the methodology.

In September 2004, Roberts led a similar team that researched death rates in Iraq before and after the 2003 invasion. Making “conservative assumptions,” the team concluded that “about 100,000 excess deaths” among men, women and children had occurred in 18 months. Most were directly attributable to the breakdown of the healthcare system prompted by the invasion. Violent deaths had soared twentyfold.

Unlike the respectful applause granted the Congolese study, this one, published in the prestigious British medical journal the Lancet, generated a firestorm of criticism. The outrage may have been prompted by the unsettling possibility that Iraq’s liberation had already caused a third as many Iraqi deaths as the reported 300,000 murdered by Saddam Hussein in his decades of tyranny. So shocking was this concept that liberals joined hawks in denouncing the study.

Some of the attacks were selfevidently absurd. British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, for example, questioned the survey because it “appeared to be based on an extrapolation technique rather than a detailed body count,” as if Blair had never made a political decision based on a poll.

Some questioned whether the sample was distorted by unrepresentative hot spots such as Fallouja. In fact, the amazingly dedicated and courageous Iraqi doctors who actually gathered the data visited 33 “clusters” selected on an entirely random basis. In each of these clusters, the teams conducted interviews in 30 households, again selected on a rigorously random basis. As it happened, Fallouja was one of the clusters that came up in this process. Erring on the side of caution, they eliminated Fallouja from their sample. Strictly speaking, the team should have included the data from that embattled city in their final result — random is random after all — which would have given an overall post-invasion excess death figure of no less than 268,000.

From Refiguring the Iraq Body Count, a 2005 essay by Andrew Cockburn

In any case, it’s harder to find real facts about the human cost than anything else. And once you get past the human cost there is the emotional cost: tens upon thousands of scarred soldiers; emotional ties forever strained between America, Iraq and the rest of the middle east; a broken country in shambles.

Link

The Economics

This is the part that nobody wants to talk about, the pure economic side of the war. Of course there is division over this issue as well, so it’s probably best to look at several figures. It is also important to remember, as one New York Times article points out, that before the war the Pentagon had estimated the cost to be approximately $50 billion.

Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.

The article also speculates on what else could have been accomplished with $1.2 trillion, the eventual price tag that the author (through research) has placed on the war.

For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

What 1.2 Trillion Can Buy by David Leonhardt

I encourage all readers to check that out.

zFacts has a counter on the cost of the war, as does the National Priorities Project which both put the estimated cost at more than $400 billion and climbing steadily.  I’m not going to go as far as to say that I can suggest what should have been done with the money instead, but I will give you a realistic evaluation.

In a country of less than 30 million people, $400 billion is equal to $13,793 per man woman and child that we have spent on waging war against the country.  It might be a bit facetious considering those numbers alone for anyone to suggest that there existed no better and more diplomatic way to coax Saddam out of power.

Link

The World Bank & Wolfowitz

Before you start reading, let me reiterate that none of the links in our articles are ads. All of the links bring you somewhere relevant. Click freely and frequently.

Steve Bell's cartoon

With all the recent scandal surrounding Wolfowitz and the World Bank, the mainstream media is still so far away from having an actual discussion about the organization and its counterpart, the IMF.

In a nutshell, what happened is Wolfowitz gave his girlfriend a few financial perks, in the form of pay raise. This was unethical given that he is the president of the organization. The World Bank deals exclusively with funds, and there has been major criticism since its inception that its accounting practices are not clear. For the president of the organization to do this reflects, in my opinion, horribly on the institution in general.

One Fox News blogger makes the point that there is a certain level of hypocrisy in the members of the World Bank (which includes 184 countries/members) all of a sudden turning around and pointing the finger at Paul Wolfowitz:

I don’t know whether his efforts to secure a job for a girlfriend meet the resignation test. I do know that it’s more than a little amusing who’s judging him: an organization that’s been playing financial shell games for years and whose members have some curious conflicts of their own.

Cavuto

Point taken; there is an amount of hypocrisy. However, Wolfowitz was a controversial pick in the first place given his total financial inexperience and moreover the controversial Wolfowitz doctrine. Take into account the fact that he was vowing to fix these problems in the first place (here’s a link for you conspiracy theorists) and that makes for a big mess.

chapatte

So now that Wolfowitz is resigning, the White House is going to appoint a new head of the organization again, instead of installing a transparent and democratic process. Not that the members of the World Bank board are to be trusted anyway, but we’ve been appointing the president of the organization for half a century since its inception and it hasn’t really worked out yet.

My whole thing is that while this scandal “spotlights” the problems behind U.S. control of the bank, we can’t just let Wolfowitz resign and let the issue die. The problem, obviously goes deeper than Wolfowitz.

The World Bank was started in the aftermath of World War II with the goal of helping these war-ravaged nations (namely France) rebuild. Like I said before, the U.S. has always appointed the president informally. The conference where the World Bank was established was called Bretton Woods, which went down in NH.

World Bank Group

So countries like France were devastated and the basic idea became “let’s lend them some dough so they can get together.” Inclusive in this was the idea of ridding the world of all the problems that hindered markets previously. To accomplish this they had to outlaw many of the economic practices of Europe which included unfair devaluation of currency and excessive fining. What would happen was say France was stealing your business with a cheap import, they would devalue French currency so as to give them less buying power, etc.

The idea also carried an idea of free market capitalism, in essence the idea that businesses would be able to flow freely over borders and that there would be so-called “equal access to natural resources.” That really means that anybody with the capitalistic power can enter your country and suck you dry. This kind of happy-go-lucky capitalism would be all well and dandy if some of the poorer nations were able to stack as much green as the richer nations and therefore actually have free access to these resources. Unfortunately, they are not able to do so, and furthermore have no access to the higher up positions in the bank. In this article, Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank Aide speaks out.

Another criticism is that many nations were forced into compliance with the World Bank because of their ties to colonial powers or their capitalist domination by these selfsame powers, against their wills.

For critical views on the World bank, check out the Bretton Woods Project.
These are the Wikipedia lists of criticisms for the World Bank & IMF

Images from: Steve Bell, Chapatte, Soapbox,

The Lessons of Iraq

Former Senator and Presidential Candidate Gary Hart has published a great piece on the Huffington Post:

Very soon a new industry called “The Lessons of Iraq” will be born, even as the search for the end-game continues against the back-drop of the theme “who lost Iraq.” Partisan strategists will be allocating blame while more thoughtful citizens will try to draw lessons for future generations.

Some lessons are apparent. Do not manufacture justification for invasions. Plan for all eventualities, including the most unpleasant. Do not pay exiles to tell you what you want to hear. Deal honestly with Congress and the American people. Be candid about possible costs in lives and money. And an endless list of common sense, and Constitutional, dos and don’ts.

The second kind of lessons are less obvious and have to do with the new realities of the 21st century:

First, treat jihadist terrorism more like organized crime than traditional warfare. By declaring “war on terrorism” we made the fatal mistake that it could be crushed using conventional warfare and massed armies…

Second, liberate the U.S. from dependence on Persian Gulf oil. We can then sharply reduce the U.S. military presence in the region and remove the single most important incentive for jihadism…

Third, restore principle to American foreign policy. Neoconservatives who dominate the Bush administration have used the Wilsonian rhetoric of “democratic idealism” even as they pursue the most cynical and dishonest policies…

Fourth, engage the nations of the world in achieving security for the global commons. Security in the 21st century now means much more than it did in the Cold War 20th century.

Read the full article at the link below:

[HuffingtonPost]

‘Children used’ in Iraq bombing

And you thought suicide bombings couldn’t become any more abhorrent:

A US military official has said children have been used in a bomb attack in Iraq, raising fears that insurgents are using a new tactic.

Gen Michael Barbero said a vehicle stopped at a checkpoint was waved through because two children were seen in the back, but was then detonated.  Militants were changing tactics in response to tighter security, he said.

Gen Barbero said there had been also two adults in the car. They parked it near a market, abandoned it with the children inside and apparently detonated it.

The two children died, along with three civilians in the vicinity, officials said.

[BBC News]