|Bush Drive on Iraq Has Personal Overtones |
By TOM RAUM
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON March 8, 2003 (AP) - President Bush, who came to power by a slim electoral margin and with little experience in foreign policy, suddenly finds himself in one of the deepest diplomatic crises of any recent American president.
Despite rising international opposition and without U.N. support, he is preparing to use U.S. force to disarm and depose Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein. Bush is staking his credibility perhaps his presidency on success in Iraq.
Bush insists his pursuit of Saddam is not personal. But throughout much of the world, Bush is being held personally accountable for the march to war.
"This is a war that has Bush's name on it, for better or worse," said pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center.
Antiwar protesters have carried anti-Bush placards and burned effigies of him in demonstrations drawing millions in world capitals. The rift between the United States and traditional Western allies is greater than at any time since World War II.
Leaders who have openly supported Bush British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Australian Prime Minister John Howard have found their positions increasingly at odds with public sentiment at home.
A showdown comes this week in the U.N. Security Council as members weigh the consequences of opposing the United States.
Bush indicated in a prime-time television news conference last week that he would seek a U.N. war vote, even lacking the support to prevail.
In a late effort to make the resolution more palatable, the United States and Britain proposed giving Saddam until March 17 to comply with U.N. inspections or face war. Other Security Council members balked, with France threatening to use its veto.
Polls overseas show little support for military action now to disarm Iraq. Even Israel is deeply divided on the subject.
U.S. polls show that most Americans support Bush but would like the administration to win international backing before using force.
"For those who urge more diplomacy, I would simply say that diplomacy hasn't worked," Bush counters.
Many hawks want Bush to finish the job that his father began with the Persian Gulf War in 1991. But Bush insists there is nothing personal about his effort, even saying he did not feel any personal anger about an alleged Iraqi plot to kill members of his family with a car bomb during a 1993 visit to Kuwait.
"The fact that he tried to kill my father and my wife shows the nature of the man. He's cold-blooded," Bush said last week. "The decision I'm making and have made to disarm Saddam Hussein is based on the security of the American people."
Even so, Bush has gone to great lengths to personalize and demonize his enemies, especially alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and Saddam.
"I think he's in a personal contest of wills with Saddam Hussein. And he's determined not to blink first. And to that sense, it is personal," said David Albright, a former nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq. Despite Bush's rhetoric, "most people in the world want the inspection process to continue," Albright said.
James Steinberg, deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration, said Bush had "made this more confrontational with the international community than he needed to." Forcing Security Council members to publicly take sides "puts the other countries in a terrible position," Steinberg said.
Some of Bush's certitude and self-confidence is seen in Europe and other parts of the world as American arrogance.
But European nations also have their own agendas and were becoming restive about growing U.S. power before Bush took office, said Andrew Kuchins of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"My view is that we've handled this diplomatically in a very clumsy way, and we've really painted ourselves in a box. And I think we've needlessly alienated a lot of key allies and partners," Kuchins said.
Bush supporters say some way must be found around U.N. procrastination, and trans-Atlantic wounds will heal once Saddam is gone from power.
"The U.N. is a very noble institution. It's been here over 50 years. And it will continue to serve a purpose in the future," said Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Tom Raum has covered Washington for The Associated Press since 1973, including five presidencies.
Anti-war Movement Amazes Neighbors
BY KERMIT PATTISON
Minneapolis March 10, 2003 (Pioneer Press) - Rachel Goligoski and Anne Benson weren't quite sure what to expect when they invited some of their St. Paul neighbors to talk about war and peace.
They figured 15 people might respond when they advertised the first meeting of Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace. Then 60 people showed up.
"I was so happy I could have cried," recalled Goligoski. "The neighbors just kept pouring into this little meeting room in the basement of the Merriam Park Library. The librarian came down and said, 'You're way over the fire code and will have to wrap up this meeting.' "
Such neighborhood groups have emerged as the building blocks of the movement opposing war against Iraq, establishing a block-by-block presence in some areas with lawn signs, house meetings and petitions. There are roughly 25 Neighbors for Peace chapters in the Twin Cities, many of which formed within the past few weeks, said Kathleen Schuler, a member of the Neighbors for Peace coordinating committee.
"Usually organizing is like pulling teeth, but this basically was completely organic," said Schuler. "People just took it and ran with it. It's really a perfect example of democracy, because we have every right to speak to our elected officials about how we feel about this war.''
The Merriam Park group is one of the more dramatic examples. After getting kicked out of the library, organizers moved to a nearby church and got to work. Within five days they blanketed the neighborhood with 5,000 fliers and drew 200 people to their first public event, a speech by peace activist Phil Steger.
"We're hoping to educate our neighbors about what's really going on," said Benson. "What's really going on isn't what the Bush administration is telling us. Saddam Hussein isn't a direct threat to our country. The inspections, although slow and frustrating, are working and there's really no need to race toward war."
The neighborhood groups are one facet of a grass-roots peace movement that has no single leader, headquarters or hierarchy. Rather, it exemplifies the sort of decentralized network that social theorists call "heterarchies," said Linda Jean Kensicki, an assistant professor in the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota.
"It's diffuse and spread out among all types of different groups," said Kensicki. "It's enabled mobilization efforts to reach places it just couldn't before. It's pulling from different parts of the community, and not just angry college students that protested back during Vietnam. I went to the protest here a couple weeks ago where you saw grandparents with children."
Kensicki said the anti-war movement had gained momentum with unprecedented speed due to the Internet and rapid communications.
"In Vietnam and the civil rights movement, it was years and years before it got to the level of consciousness that it appears this has already," she said. "And the thing is, we're not even at war yet. It's pretty profound. To think this sort of outpouring would happen before a declaration of war or a shot has been fired."
One night last week, leaders of four Neighbors for Peace groups gathered around the dining room table of a Minneapolis duplex. They included a pharmacist, a social worker, an environmental health specialist and a worker from a natural foods co-op who had never met until the threat of war prompted them to form peace groups in their respective neighborhoods.
"One of the new things that's exciting about this groundswell is that it feels like it's door-to-door," said Paris Dunning, who helped form a peace group in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. "It's my neighborhood. There's something for each of us to do in terms of gigantic actions and rallies, small meetings and working face-to-face."
Another committee member, Christoper DeAngelis, said the movement has brought together organizers from labor, environmental and peace groups as well as those who had never been politically active.
"All this infrastructure and experience was there," he said. "It's incensed everybody and touched everybody's nerves. They don't feel they are being represented and saw something wrong being done in their names. They see their issues direly affected by the march toward war."
The committee worked late into the night assembling anti-war petitions from peace groups across the Twin Cities. Members stuffed copies into envelopes and addressed them to their senators, governor and President Bush.
By the end of the evening, they had tallied resolutions from 22 different neighborhood groups and more than 800 signatures. It was, they hoped, a small effort that would resonate with something much larger.
"This is probably the hugest public outcry or mobilization I've seen in my lifetime," said Joel Albers, who helped form a Neighbors for Peace chapter in the Marcy-Holmes area of Minneapolis.
"It's certainly the biggest since Vietnam, I would say. This movement gets stronger with each successive threat of war."
BBC Will Edit Anti-War Slogans from Show
LOS ANGELES March 7, 2003 (Zap2it.com) - George Michael sang a protest song at a taping of the BBC's music show "Top of the Pops." That was apparently OK, but the T-shirts with anti-war slogans worn by his backing band weren't.
The British broadcaster says it will likely edit out shots of the band, several of whom wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan "No war, Blair out," referring to Prime Minister Tony Blair. "Top of the Pops" taped Thursday (March 6) and is scheduled to air Friday.
A BBC official, who asked not to be identified, says showing the shirts would violate the network's policy of remaining neutral on political issues.
"We have to conform to BBC policy guidelines and if people are wearing T-shirts that say 'Sack the prime minister,' that doesn't look exactly like the BBC's being impartial," the official tells the AP.
Michael performed a cover of the Don McLean protest song "The Grave" on the show.
Casualties of War
By Ed O'Loughlin
Gaza Strip March 6 2003 (Sydney Morning Herald) - A 75-year-old man is the latest in a growing number of Palestinian civilians to fall victim to Israel's crackdown in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.
Relatives said the man was shot while riding a donkey near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. His death came a day after an Israeli tank and helicopter raid on a Gaza refugee camp which killed eight people, including a pregnant woman and two youths.
Nuha Maqadma, 38, a mother of 10, was crushed when her house collapsed as Israeli troops blew up a nearby building belonging to a political leader of the Hamas resistance movement.
The Israeli Defence Force said it had no information about either death, but that all killings by its troops were fully investigated. The Government said its raids were "surgically" designed to root out terrorists and their infrastructure.
Responsibility for innocent deaths therefore lay with the Palestinian Authority for allowing and encouraging attacks on Israeli targets, the Government said. However, the apparent upsurge in civilian casualties is attracting criticism within Israel itself.
On Tuesday the Ha'aretz newspaper reported that 25 of the 72 Palestinians killed by Israel in February were civilians, including three children under 10.
A separate report suggested Israeli commanders were unwilling to authorize investigations into killings by their troops. This week the mounting wave of civilian casualties attracted rare criticism from the United States.
Congress Slow to Act on Anti-France Bill
WASHINGTON March 10, 2003 (AP) - Despite plenty of criticism of France's resistance to U.S. military action in Iraq, Congress so far has done little to move legislation punishing the country for its anti-war stance.
Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has led the way, introducing bills to discourage American citizens and bar the Pentagon from participating in the Paris Air Show this year.
Another Saxton measure would block French companies from participating in or receiving U.S. government financing in any postwar reconstruction of Iraq.
But there's no immediate prospect for action on Saxton's bills, and few other signs that Congress plans punitive measures against France.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., said last month that irritation against France will not lead to legislative sanctions.
"The primary reaction is kind of sadness and disappointment," he said. "There are folks who make rash statements. Those won't be translated into policy."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is considering a bill that would require labeling on French wine using bovine blood to make murky wine clearer.
The European Union banned bovine blood in wine a half-dozen years ago, but older vintages might still contain the material.
Hastert's spokesman, John Feehery, said the measure, if introduced, would be aimed more at the trade policies of France and other European countries restricting imports of American agriculture products than at France's role in leading the coalition of U.N. members opposing immediate military action against Saddam Hussein's government.
The reluctance to punish a longtime ally has not stopped the rhetoric. "France and Germany are losing credibility by the day, and they are losing, I think, status in the world," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said last month. "They are walking a fine line that is very dangerous."
Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., also an Armed Services Committee member, on Friday sent letters to the French and German embassies in Washington: "Your constant opposition to America's efforts to remove a regime that has continually violated several, if not all of the human rights provisions within the United Nations charter and presents an increasing threat to democracies all over the world is nothing short of appalling," he wrote.
He concluded that Americans and Congress "will not soon forget the rank hypocrisy and blatant disloyalty displayed by your country today."
Fifth-Graders Sound Off About Iraq
By MARTHA IRVINE
AP National Writer
Tuscaloosa, Ala March 9, 2003 (AP) - We've heard a lot of opinions from adults about a potential U.S.-led attack on Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. But what do kids think?
To find out, The Associated Press posed questions to fifth-graders in Tommy Flowers' class at University Place Montessori School, a public school in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Flowers' students some whose parents are faculty members at the nearby University of Alabama come from many backgrounds. They are black, white, Asian and Hispanic, from relatively well-off families and from those that have less. One of Flowers' students, Guk Hee Youn, is from South Korea. Another, Michael Nichelle, is from Venezuela.
"The kids really liked this activity," Flowers said. "Most felt good about it because they were allowed to express their opinions on a topic most adults don't include them in."
He noted, however, that his students had difficulty answering a question about whether America and Britain should go to war without approval from the United Nations perhaps showing the same ambivalence many adults have expressed about the idea.
As with adults, Flowers said talk of war has been weighing heavily on the students' minds.
"It concerns them, and they worry about it," Flowers said. "I have an 11-year-old son who attends another school. And he is always asking questions about Iraq and when the war will start."
Here's what Flowers' students had to say:
Q: What do you think of Saddam Hussein? And why?
Tia Wells, age 11: He is a mean man who is trying to ruin the world.
Guk Hee Youn, age 11: Saddam is horrible because he is making bombs that will kill people.
Savannah Morton, age 10: Saddam Hussein is inconsiderate of his people because he is going to kill them. He wants to rule other people of the world, too.
Meagan Fields, age 10: I think he is a copycat of Osama bin Laden. He wants to start a war with the United States.
Tyler Nelson, age 11: I think he wants to be the king of the world! He wants to rule over more land.
Q: What do you think the world should do about Saddam?
Jordan Collier, age 10: We should capture him and put him in jail for the rest of his life. He is trying to make nuclear bombs.
Guk Hee Youn: The United Nations should stand together and fight for freedom. The rules in Iraq need to be changed.
Savannah Morton: The United States should capture Saddam Hussein, find his bombs and destroy them.
Casey Brinyark, age 12: The United States should get him before he destroys our planet.
Q: Should the United States and Great Britain attack Iraq, even if most countries in the United Nations don't them want to?
Guk Hee Youn: Yes, every country will soon have trouble with Iraq because Saddam has bombs.
Jordan Collier: No, because we might lose too many soldiers and not have enough help to fight the war.
Michael Nichelle, age 11: The United States and Great Britain don't have armies big enough to attack Iraq without help.
Shane Hinton, age 10: Yes, because he keeps building bombs!
Meagan Fields: The United States should not care if other countries won't help us. We are the country that lost the World Trade Center!
Q: How does all the talk about going to war make you feel?
Jocelyn Washington, age 10: It makes me scared. My dad might have to go.
Dallas Thomas, age 11: War makes me feel worried and scared because many people will die.
Michael Nichelle: It makes me scared. Iraq might use nuclear weapons on us.
Q: Is there anything kids could do to help the situation?
Meagan Fields: Kids can write letters to our soldiers and cheer them up.
Savannah Morton: Kids can help by being good to their parents. Grown-ups have enough to worry about without us being bad.
Michael Nichelle: No, because kids in Iraq are just as scared as we are.
Jordan Collier: Maybe we could send letters to the kids in Iraq and make them feel better about things going on.
Q: Is war with Iraq the most important issue for our country right now?
Jocelyn Washington: War is the most important issue because Iraq might have nuclear weapons that could destroy part of the world our part of the world.
Germiria Fulford, age 10: I don't think the war is the most important issue. We need to focus on Osama bin Laden and Sept. 11.
Jasalyn Wheeler, age 10: I think violence is the No. 1 issue in our country. We need to do more about the drug problems in our country.
Q: Are there any other problems in the world, in our country, in your city that you wish adults paid more attention to?
James DePappa, age 11: I think adults should pay more attention to the number of people dying because of crime. There seems to be more criminals now.
Jordan Collier: I think adults should pay more attention to the homeless and the hungry.
Corderrius Mason, age 11: And the elderly.
Phillip James, age 11: And the poor.
German Official Reprimanded for Bush 'Dictatorship' Remark
BERLIN March 10, 2003 (AP) - Germany's defense minister reprimanded his deputy Monday for describing U.S. behavior at the United Nations as "dictatorship," but accepted his denial of a report that he labeled President George W. Bush a dictator.
Opposition conservatives called for Walter Kolbow's removal after a local newspaper reported he told a political rally last Wednesday: "Bush is positioning himself in an absolutely one-sided way economically and politically, without consideration for anyone. He's not a partner, he's a dictator."
The report recalled last year's damaging spat over Germany's then justice minister, who was quoted as likening Bush to Adolf Hitler for threatening war against Iraq to distract from domestic problems.
Kolbow denied the Kitzinger Zeitung's version of events.
"In my remarks, I talked about the discussion process at the United Nations and the U.S. position," he said in a statement. "In that context, I spoke of a dictatorship of one-sided decisions on the Americans' part."
Defense Minister Peter Struck criticized those comments as "exaggerated and inappropriate" in a meeting with Kolbow Monday, but sees no need for further action, spokesman Norbert Bicher said.
Kolbow called U.S. Ambassador to Germany Dan Coats to clarify the reports, the spokesman said.
"It's clear that such formulations can always be misunderstood, and that they shouldn't be used in the first place," said Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's spokesman, Bela Anda.
Last year's furor over Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, who was left out of Schroeder's new Cabinet after September elections, soured German-U.S. relations already strained by Schroeder's vehement opposition to a war on Iraq.
Germany, along with France and Russia, is now leading resistance to a new U.S.-backed resolution at the United Nations that would authorize war if Iraq fails to prove by March 17 that it has disarmed.
Human Shields Urge Global Action Against Iraq War
BAGHDAD March 10, 2003 (Reuters) - Western human shields in Baghdad called on Monday for a global wave of civil disobedience and a boycott of U.S. goods if President Bush goes to war with Iraq.
They said Bush and his British ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair, should face trial if they unleash military force on a country where nearly half the population of 25 million people is aged 16 or under.
Around 120 human shields are still in Iraq, scattered around nine sites near Baghdad including an oil refinery, food silo, water treatment plant and power stations.
Five of the volunteers, including former U.S. marine Ken O'Keefe who helped bring dozens of people from Britain, were expelled from Iraq after clashing with authorities over the sites where the activists should be deployed.
The remainder said numbers were fluctuating as some returned home and others were still arriving to replace them.
"Only an immoral government would wage war on another country for oil, greed and strategic control of the Middle East," British human shield Judith Empson said.
"We appeal to people across the world to boycott U.S. goods, all of them," she told a news conference. "If war does come to Iraq we also appeal to people worldwide to stage a general strike, coupled with civil disobedience.
"Should Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair stage a pre-emptive strike on Iraq -- against the wishes of the majority of the world's population -- they would be contravening international law and they would be guilty of war crimes," Empson added.
The United States is struggling to win support at the United Nations Security Council for a resolution setting a March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war.
Empson said if it came to military action, she was ready to risk death in Iraq. "I would wish to stay. If they kill the Iraqi people, I would rather die with them," she said. In another protest at the U.S.-British plans, four Buddhist monks said they would walk from the town of Samarra, 85 miles north of Baghdad, to the Iraqi capital over the next week.
They are due to arrive in Baghdad on March 17, the ultimatum for Iraq to show it was disarming.
"The future of the children of Iraq is held hostage," said Junsei Terasawa, a Japanese Buddhist monk. "We appeal to President George Bush and President Saddam Hussein to make an extraordinary effort to avert war."
Marchers in East LA Oppose War
By Daniel Hernandez
Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles March 10, 2003 (LA Times) - Led by a troupe of Aztec dancers in feathered headdresses, several hundred antiwar marchers gathered Sunday morning in East Los Angeles to protest the prospect of war with Iraq.
Chanting "recruit us for college, not for war!" the demonstrators included hundreds of college and high school students, senior citizens and families, and they elicited honks from passing cars as they marched two miles from Atlantic Boulevard to Salazar Park.
Organizers said the demonstration, the second antiwar rally in East L.A. this year, was intended to echo the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, the historic mass rally at Salazar Park of Latino student activists against the Vietnam War that ended in arrests and bloodshed. But the numbers Sunday were far fewer than the thousands who turned out for the August 1970 rally.
And though the protesters Sunday shouted antiwar messages in English and Spanish, their gathering was peaceful with an almost festive air, attracting some men and women who had marched in 1970 as students.
"Symbolically, this is a very important march for us," said Jorge Mariscal, an East L.A. native and Chicano studies instructor at UC San Diego. "It exposes our young people to what we did during the Vietnam period, and it exposes our history of opposition to unfair wars."
The event was organized by activists who formed an East Los Angeles-based group called "Latinos Against a War in Iraq" and several small labor unions.
Demonstrators said a U.S.-led war against Iraq would divert resources from education, and social services needed by the Latino population and other minority groups. Innocent Iraqi civilians would be killed unjustly, they said.
"We're here to see if this war could in any way be prevented, if it's possible," said Felipa Ruiz, a 49-year-old who attended the rally with her 14-year-old son. The sign she carried read: "Education Yes, War No," in Spanish.
Nine Charged In Airbase 'Break-in'
London March 10, 2003 (BBC) - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says it has charged nine people with aggravated trespass after a hole was cut in the perimeter fence of RAF Fairford.
Nineteen anti-war protesters from all over the UK were arrested at the Gloucestershire base on Sunday. It follows a week of demonstrations against the arrival of US B-52 bombers.
The MoD says they will now appear in the civil courts.
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon gave permission for the bombers, which are expected to be at the forefront of any initial attack against Iraq, to be sited at Fairford.
Gloucestershire Police said the nine women and 10 men arrested were aged between 19 and 37 and came from all over the UK - including Oxfordshire, Cardiff, London, Tyne and Wear, Manchester and Surrey. One of those charged with aggravated trespass will appear before Cirencester magistrate's court on Tuesday, and eight are due before Cheltenham magistrate's court on 26 March.
Police have stepped up patrols at the base and invoked special stop and search powers to detain anyone regarded as suspicious within a mile of the perimeter fence. A spokesperson confirmed the fence had been cut but added: "At no stage was the security of the base compromised."
Two people arrested on Sunday for breach of the peace were not charged, and three were released without charge. Three others were bailed to report back to Stroud police station on 21 March and two were given official police cautions.
Earlier in the week police and the US Air Force issued a warning to members of the public about the dangers of trespassing on the grounds. They said: "RAF Fairford is an active military base where aircraft maneuvers are now taking place. We would like to highlight the inherent dangers which any trespass presents. Anyone who unlawfully gets into the base property could place their own lives and those of others in danger whilst aircraft movements and other associated activity is taking place."
The base has been the focus of many anti-war protests, and a peace camp has been set up in the grounds of a nearby pub. Last week two women were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass after breaking through the security fence.
Lindis Percy, 61, from Hull, was charged and is due to appear before Cheltenham Magistrates on March 19. The other woman was released without charge.
Pentagon Plans New Nuke
Washington March 10, 2003 (Washington Post) - The Pentagon is about to take the first public step to produce an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon that could be aimed at North Korea's underground nuclear and missile production facilities, Bush Administration officials say.
Within a week, an air force report is to be delivered to the House of Representative and the Senate, stating the military requirements for the "robust nuclear earth penetrator," a device designed to dig into the ground before it explodes and crushes any facility buried beneath it.
David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and an expert on North Korea, said, "It is a bad idea to develop these things, which probably would never be used, and do so openly. It develops a lot of paranoia among proliferating states who believe the US is planning to attack them."
Saudis Won't Allow Churches on Its Land
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia March 10, 2003 (AP) - Saudi Arabia, as the birthplace of Islam, will not allow churches to be built on its land, according to Defense Minister Prince Sultan.
Islam is the only accepted religion in Saudi Arabia, home to the faith's holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina.
"This country was the launch pad for the prophecy and the message, and nothing can contradict this, even if we lose our necks," Sultan told reporters Saturday. His comments were published by Saudi newspapers and confirmed by several journalists who attended the press conference.
Sultan said that foreigners have been allowed to worship freely in their homes since they began arriving in Saudi Arabia in 1951 but permitting a church in the country "would affect Islam and all Muslims."
On Thursday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent federal agency, complained that a new State Department list of countries that severely limit religious freedom omits several that deserve censure, including U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. The commission's annual reports say that religious freedom "does not exist" in the Gulf Kingdom.
"Those who talked (about churches in Saudi Arabia) are church people and they are, unfortunately, fanatics," Sultan said, according to Monday's Okaz daily newspaper. "We are not against religions at all ... but there are no churches not in the past, the present or future."
Young Scots Reject War
By Steve Smith
Scotland March 10, 2003 (Daily Record UK) - More than half of young Scots are opposed to a war on Iraq. A Daily Record poll found that with no UN resolution backing the case for war, 63 per cent of 16-21-year-olds don't agree with military action to disarm Saddam.
Only 18 per cent were in favour, with 19 per cent undecided.
With a UN resolution, the balance shifted but still only 40 per cent thought war is the answer, with 34 per cent disagreeing and 26 per cent unsure.
Our poll of 380 young people came just days after Tony Blair failed to win the support of Britain's youth during a special appearance on MTV. Our survey also found that, despite the high-profile political debate, young voters remain unsure which party best represents their views on war.
Twenty per cent said Labour come closest, followed by the SNP on 13, the Lib Dems on 11, the Tories on four and the Scottish Socialists on three per cent.
However, 49 per cent were unsure which political party shares their views. More than half of those of voting age also agreed that the war debate has made them more likely to vote in the future.
Twenty-four per cent are much more likely to vote and express their views, with a further 29 per cent a little more likely. Forty per cent remained unchanged.
Scottish National Party Opposes War with Iraq
March 8, 2003 (BBC) - Delegates at the Scottish National Party conference have voted unanimously to oppose war against Iraq. Senior figures said they were unconvinced by the latest British and American efforts to set a deadline for Saddam Hussein to disarm. Party leader John Swinney accused the two countries of trying to "bribe and bully" the United Nations into backing military action. His predecessor, Banff and Buchan MP Alex Salmond, argued that war was "most certainly not in our name".
Delegates backed an emergency motion brought on the second and final day of the party's conference at Balloch on Loch Lomondside. Mr Swinney insists that he has been consistent on the issue. He said there should be no war without compelling evidence - and a UN resolution which specifies military action.
Following the latest report from chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix, Britain and the US want the United Nations to give Saddam Hussein until 17 March to fully cooperate. However, Mr Swinney told delegates that a deadline did not make a wrong decision right.
"To any right and fair thinking person, if the inspectors are forcing Saddam to disarm we should give them the time they need to finish the job that we have asked them to do," he said. "There can be no justification for a rush to war when the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqi civilians are at stake. For months the US and UK have been trying to bribe and bully the Security Council into approving a mandate for military action."
He also restated his belief that the second resolution tabled by the US and the UK did not give a mandate for war. Mr Salmond attacked Prime Minister Tony Blair for his support of the US president.
And he said: "A conflict now is not moral, it's not just, it's not right and it's most certainly not in our name."
The conference also backed an emergency resolution by culture spokesman Michael Russell. He is calling on the Scottish Executive to make sure that his Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill is passed before the Scottish Parliament elections. MSPs backed the general principles of the bill on Thursday when they gave it their unanimous support. It is unlikely to be able to complete its passage through parliament before the 1 May poll.
The Scottish Executive said it would bring forward a similar bill in the next parliamentary session if it was re-elected. However, Mr Russell said he would not oppose any executive amendments to his bill to ensure that it could be passed before the election.
Thousands Protest in UK Demonstrations
By Helen Carter
London March 10, 2003 (Guardian UK) - Thousands of people across Britain took to the streets in heavy rain at the weekend in protest at the impending war with Iraq.
The largest march took place in Manchester, where 10,000 gathered in the city centre. Other smaller marches took place in Nottingham, Sheffield, Berkhamsted, Chichester, and Bridgend in south Wales. The anti-war protests had been organized as an opportunity for those who missed out on the 1.5 million strong march in London last month.
Organizers of the Stop the War Coalition estimated that more than 10,000 people had gathered in Albert Square, central Manchester, to listen to a series of speakers including members of peace groups, trade unions and political and religious organizations. It was around half the number expected.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it was important that Christian and Muslim communities united in opposition to the war against Iraq.
"There is no moral justification for any unilateral action by the US or the UK," he said. "The only action must be done through the United Nations. There is no moral case whatsoever for us going to war alone with the US." He said it was important that all communities in Britain joined together so the issue did not become any kind of religious conflict.
There were 5,000 people in Sheffield and 2,000 protesters at a demonstration in Nottingham.
In Edinburgh more than 1,000 people rallied outside the Scottish parliament building, and police in Essex arrested 24 demonstrators during a protest outside an army barracks in Colchester.
Those arrested outside the Goojerat barracks refused repeated police requests to move after a sit-down protest.
Earlier more than 250 people had taken part in a march through the town. Essex police said only a small minority had taken part in the sit-down protest.
· Tony Blair has failed to convince almost two-thirds of British women of the case for war against Iraq, according to a new poll. The YouGov survey found that 66% of woman are against a military strike, with 25% voicing support.
Men are divided almost equally on the issue - 49% opposing war and 46% backing it - but as things stand 57% of Britons oppose war and 36% approve. However, if the UN endorses a strike 71% said British troops should be involved.
Security Council "Veto" History
By Tarik Kafala
BBC News Online
New York March 10, 2003 (BBC) - Since 1945, when the United Nations was founded, the Soviet Union and Russia have used their veto at the Security Council 120 times, the United States 76 times, Britain 32, France 18 and China only five.
The word "veto" is actually never used in the United Nation's charter.
For a resolution to be passed, it needs nine votes in favor from the 15 members of the council, five permanent and 10 non-permanent. These nine votes in favor must include the "concurring votes of the permanent members", the charter says. The veto power of the permanent members has been widely criticized.
The heavy use of the veto by the Soviet Union and the United States have gone a long way to discrediting the veto system. During the Cold War the Soviet Union used to veto UN resolutions almost as a matter of course. More recently, the US has used its veto regularly to shield the Israeli Government from international criticism or attempts to restrain the behavior of its military.
Critics of the system also point out that among those resolutions that do actually make it onto the books, not all are enforced.
The other main criticism of the veto system is that the permanent five, in effect the victors of World War II, do not reflect the geopolitical realities of today. Specifically, the UK and France, are no longer among the leading five military or economic powers.
Were the veto to be abolished, the majority view at the council would prevail and we might expect more resolutions passed, more situations identified as threats to world security, more cases of states being reprimanded and sanctions being imposed.
This assumes that a new, reformed Security Council would have widely respected powers of enforcement and the funds to carry out its will - the current permanent five council members supply a little under half of the UN's overall budget.
None of the existing permanent council members have indicated that want to surrender their veto. Changes to the UN's charter have to be approved by all five permanent members.
So familiar was a Soviet veto in the early days of the UN that Andrei Gromyko, foreign minister between 1957 and 1985, became known as "Mr Nyet", Mr No.
During the first 10 years of the UN the Soviet Union used its veto 79 times. In the same period China used the veto once, France twice and the others not at all.
The Soviet Union came to use its veto less and less, however.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the veto has been used by Russia only twice - once to block a resolution criticizing Bosnian Serb forces for denying the UNHCR access to Bihac in Bosnia and once to block a resolution on the finances of UN operations on Cyprus.
Seven of the last nine vetoes at the Security Council have been by the United States, and six of these have been of draft resolutions criticizing the Israeli Government in some way.
The most recent, in December 2002, was a draft resolution criticizing the killing by Israeli forces of several United Nations employees and the destruction of the World Food Programme warehouse in the West Bank.
In total, the US has blocked 35 draft resolutions on Israel.
Washington first used its veto in March 1970.
Along with the UK it blocked a draft resolution on what was to become Zimbabwe.
The US has vetoed 10 resolutions criticizing South Africa, eight on Namibia, seven on Nicaragua and five on Vietnam.
It has been the lone voice in blocking a resolution 53 times.
Of Britain's 32 vetoes, 23 have been on draft resolutions also vetoed by the United States, and 14 also vetoed by France.
The most recent UK veto was in 1989, when the US, France and Britain vetoed a resolution deploring the US military intervention in Panama.
The UK has gone out on a limb, by vetoing a resolution alone, only seven times. The most recent solo veto was in 1972 and all seven were on the situation in South Rhodesia, later to become Zimbabwe.
Thirteen of France's 18 vetoes have been on resolutions also vetoed by the US and UK.
France has vetoed two resolutions alongside the UK - both on the Suez crisis in 1956.
Only two resolutions have been vetoed by France on its own - one on 1976 on a dispute between France and the Comoros and the other on Indonesia in 1947.
In 1946, France and the USSR vetoed a resolution on the Spanish Civil War.
Between 1946 and 1971, the Chinese seat at the Security Council was occupied by the Republic of China (Taiwan), which used its veto once to block Mongolia's application for UN membership.
China vetoed resolutions twice in 1972: once to block Bangladeshi membership and once, with Russia, on the situation in the Middle East.
Other vetoes were in 1999 blocking the extension of the mandate of United Nations Preventive Deployment Force in Macedonia and in 1997 blocking the sending of 155 UN observers to Guatemala to verify a ceasefire.