Wednesday, December 08, 2004

From Nabil --Truth about MESA

Please accept my apologies for disappearing the last

two weeks. There were finals, and Thanksgiving, and
other busy work. Let's hope this long a disappearance
is always due to such innocent reasons (not that any
one of you asked...). As one of the postings below
shows, that may not always be true.

Nabil AlTikriti

1) This article was posted by a certain Lee Kaplan, a
freelance reporter claiming to be from "Indymedia"
while at the MESA convention in San Francisco a couple
of weeks ago. He misquoted me and a couple of
colleagues, and tried to paint MESA as a bunch of
extremists, full of Arabs. I'm not sure how or
whether to respond -- most colleagues say silence is
the best option. Instead of complete silence, I post
his article and the current comments posted on his
site here. [My comments in brackets]

Scholars For Terror
By Lee Kaplan | December 7, 2004

Academic conferences used to be meeting grounds where
scholars discussed their latest research and work,
taking home new knowledge that would enhance their
teaching. [before partisan hacks tried to eliminate
entire disciplines, that is]

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference
at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency, which I attended
on Sunday, November 21, however, was anything but such
a scholarly exchange.

When I arrived at the conference, I looked over the
information tables. One table offered what can only be
described as anti-Israel, anti-U.S. propaganda in the
guise of scholarly and professional research society
materials. On the bulletin board was a business card
for Alison Weir’s, an anti-Israel
Web site claiming that America’s support of Israel
should be terminated, and that a Palestinian state
should replace Israel. The site uses misleading
statistics to push its hateful message. For instance,
the chart depicting American aid to Israel and the
Arab world ignores the fact that, while Palestinians
receive less U.S. aid than Israel does, the Arab world
as a whole gets much more; [Well, I would hope that
the 275 million strong Arab world would get an
equivalent amount of interest as the 5 million or so
strong Israel. However, aid to Israel actually does
run about equal to the entire Arab world's amount. It
also dwarfs African aid, Latin American aid, Central
Asian aid, etc. In a sense that's OK, though -- US
economic assistance is a social disease anyway, and
should be cut off for everyone's mutual interest]; in
addition, aid to Israel
is reciprocated through new technology. Also, the Web
site’s statistics on Palestinian casualties include
suicide bombers and armed combatants as “civilian

Weir has also distorted history in the past. She once
called a massacre of 60 yeshiva students in Hebron in
1929 by Arabs an “Arab uprising” against Jewish
oppression – even before Israel existed. Manipulation
of statistics to advance political goals for foreign
dictatorships should not be welcome at an academic

At the same table, free copies of a glossy
newsmagazine called the Washington Report on Middle
East Affairs were being distributed to the academics
in attendance. Most people, upon seeing the
publication, might assume it was similar to Newsweek
or Time; the inside cover claims the report has been
“telling the Truth for more than 20 years. …
Interpreting the Middle East for North Americans.”
What most people don’t know is that the Washington
Report on Middle East Affairs magazine and Web site –
indeed, the entire organization behind it – are funded
by Saudi Arabia, a despotic regime that has been
quietly buying its way onto every campus in America,
particularly through Middle East Studies centers in
the U.S. [I don't know about this magazine's funding,
but their editorial policy and article selection is a
straightforward left of center Middle East analysis]

Articles in the magazine included anti-U.S. and
anti-Israel diatribes by the likes of the 83-year-old
dyed-in-the-wool leftist radical Rachelle Marshall
from Stanford, who condemns as evil both Israelis
fighting Palestinian terrorists and U.S. forces in
Iraq dealing with similar terror attacks. An article
by Alison Weir claimed that Israelis beat American
activists for walking Arab children to school in Gaza
(with no proof that the thugs were Israelis, since the
assailants were hooded and robbed the victims). The
message throughout was that Israel and the United
States are “colonialist” warmongers, and titles such
as “Israel’s Day of Penitence: Drown Gaza in a Sea of
Blood” were typical.

That was just some of the free reading material being
distributed. I could find nothing presenting an
opposing point of view. [there were probably 70 booths
there, ranging from publishers to NGO's to US
government agencies to ethnic activists. Such booths
included representatives of Kurdish, Iranian,
Fulbright, Oxford Press, California Press, Near East
Institute (a pro-Zionist think tank), AUB, AUC, etc
interests. There was at least one pro-Israeli booth,
and may have been a couple of more. I'm not sure what
"opposing point of view" Kaplan expects, however,
especially since the rest of the world simply doesn't
revolve around his Israeli agenda. Instead of there
being one "opposing" point of view, there was a
plethora of diverse points of views, including

I next attended what was to be the highlight of the
evening: a speech by outgoing MESA president Laurie
Brand from USC. Brand’s speech, rather than being a
scholarly discussion of the state of Middle East
Studies, particularly during the War on Terror, was an
anti-U.S., anti-Israel harangue. Titled “Scholarship
in the Shadow of Empire,” Brand’s speech echoed the
theme on the tables outside, presenting not the truth,
but an agenda to portray America as being imperialist
and our allies, whenever they support the U.S., as
being “colonialist.”

Brand had an audience of slightly more than 300
people, and I found myself sitting next to Alison
Weir, who passed out business cards and lobbied
against Israel. Weir isn’t an academic, but she
apparently had the academics’ ear at the conference.
Barbara Lubin, an activist for the PLO from Berkeley,
was also featured at a conference session titled
“Gender and Conflicts in the Middle East.” Like Weir,
Lubin is not a college professor but a propagandist
against the United States and Israel. She raises funds
for a Palestinian “charity” whose leader in the West
Bank refused to sign a U.S. State Department directive
against using U.S. aid for terrorism (because, she
claimed, many of her patients are terrorists).

Brand first identified the United States as the
“Empire” and then used that term exclusively for the
U.S. throughout her speech. Brand asked if Middle East
Studies should remain just an academic field of study
or if it should be used for what she termed other
problems and challenges of “inequality” and
“exploitation” of the Near East.

Just as she used the pejorative term “Empire” for the
United States, she declared all scholars, especially
those in the Middle East Studies Association, the
“academy,” which she defined as those open to ideas
and scientific study, a definition contrasting sharply
with the propaganda outside. She called the U.S.
government an imperialist entity, while academics who
fight it from within (“embedded patriots,” she termed
them) were portrayed as true seekers of knowledge, a
commentary that lacked any intelligent objectivity.
Brand used catchphrases often found in systematic
propaganda in the most totalitarian countries of the
world: She claimed our government constantly acted
“against international law” or engaged in “lies” and

Gradually, the speech degenerated into a polemic
against the U.S. government and, more importantly, the
Bush administration.

Brand spoke contemptuously about federal grants to
create Homeland Security centers in areas where Middle
East Study centers exist. She discussed NSEP (National
Security Education Program) and NLFI (National
Flagship Language Initiative), both programs designed
to create more Arabic-speaking scholars to aid the war

She then seethed about the failure of a part of HR
Bill 1337, a House bill to create an International
Education Advisory Board to examine “all points of
view” during the war, which was effectively killed in
Congress. She said she hoped it would succeed in the
future as a necessary part of the “academy” and
“scientific inquiry” (This from a woman who marched in
the streets of Beirut against the U.S. going to war in
Iraq. She also has suggested that American students
studying abroad need to avoid their own embassies in
order to pursue scholarly study without that pesky
American democratic perspective over their heads).

She basically accused the “Empire” of interfering with
the “academy” and the free pursuit of ideas simply by
dint of our national security taking precedence in
time of war. Three thousand people killed in New York
on 9/11, suicide bombings in Israel, and beheadings in
Iraq never made the play list that night for Laurie
Brand. She accused the “Empire” of creating a
“coercive apparatus” against those in the “academy”
who expose the administration’s “lies,” harassing the
opposition in order to silence it.

She then lit into the Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR)
introduced by Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and
David Horowitz. Describing Horowitz as “a far
left-wing turned right-wing commentator,” she
explained how the bill was set up to prevent
indoctrination in the classroom by requiring a
plurality of methodologies and a diversity of
approaches – an accurate description. She went on,
however, to declare it an abuse of academic rights
that would make teaching creationism in the schools
mandatory (the key foundation of the Academic Bill of
Rights centers on the humanities, not the sciences,
unless unfair political indoctrination is also
occurring within the sciences), a complete
misinterpretation of the bill, which she then
fervently rejected.

She clamed the ABOR would curb academic freedom and
play into the hands of the “Empire” to stifle
“scientific inquiry.” She lamented the lack of a
plurality of views about whether Iraq was making
nuclear weapons before the war and about Iraq being
portrayed as democratic and free afterward. She
accused the Bush administration of not exploring any
option other than a military intervention in Iraq. She
also did not bother to condemn Saddam Hussein.

Her comments did not reflect a plurality of views to
help all Americans and provide them security, but
rather to ease the burden of an enemy in a new kind of
war. She made accusations of illegitimate uses of
torture by the administration without substantiating
any of them. Where government policies have succeeded
or are in process, she called them failures. She
accused the Bush administration as seeing scientists
as only useful for manipulating findings to the
administration’s own political ends.

Quoting Homeland Security’s objective of funding
Middle East Studies programs to promote the “best and
brightest” scholars in order to combat the ongoing
conflict in the Middle East, she claimed that
professorial integrity was being compromised by a
“coercive Empire” supported by “mainstream media.” She
then lauded MESA as being at the forefront of
“academic research and educational issues.”

She urged members of MESA to “rethink” cooperating
with the U.S. State Department or the CIA, despite the
fact that Middle East Studies is funded principally by
our government. She concluded her speech by condemning
the detention of terrorist combatants in Guantanamo
Bay, describing Israeli attacks against Hamas
terrorists as Apache helicopter attacks on “refugee
camps,” and accusing U.S. soldiers fighting to create
a stable democratic Iraq of launching an unnecessary
attack on the people of Fallujah.

Brand’s biography in the MESA program directory
reveals that she found her niche in academia at the
Institute for Palestine Studies, where she apprenticed
under the likes of Edward Said. Said was once a member
of the Palestine National Council, which helped
dispatch terrorists to kill people. Brand made her way
to the new Middle East Studies department at USC that
was set up probably by Saudi funding. Her bio notes
that other faculty members sought to have her removed
from USC because of her open support of the enemy in
the War on Terror, but they failed. That failure is
easier to understand after one experiences the
standing ovation she received by those attending the
MESA Conference. [Brand's speech was a truly
impressive and courageous attempt to speak out against
US policy as it currently stands, and the trend
against academic freedom. Whether or not one agrees
with her (and I did, 100%), it's her right to speak
out -- or at least it used to be.]

Brand’s speech was an embarrassment to anyone with
real academic objectivity in Middle East Studies,
especially anyone who is a citizen of the Untied
States in time of war after 9/11. A quick review of
those in attendance revealed a large number of
professors of Arab descent or from Arab countries, and
the standing ovation was proof positive of a receptive
audience to such an openly seditious speech. [Is
there something wrong, surprising, or suspicious about
a large number of professors from the region which is
the object of study for this discipline? I would be
worried if there WEREN'T a large number of regional
representatives at a meeting such as this. Perhaps
Kaplan would prefer that surrogates speak on behalf of
the "natives" of the Middle East, but I'm afraid
that's something that the "natives" are no longer
prepared to accept.]

During the awards ceremony that followed, it thus came
as no surprise that Rashid Khalidi, the new Middle
East Studies chair at Columbia, was given an award for
his newest book attacking Israel and the United
States. In the past, Khalidi has approved of killing
Israeli soldiers during the peace process. [If Khalidi
did this -- and I don't trust Kaplan on this at all --
I'm quite sure Khalidi was defending the legality of
attacking soldiers enforcing an illegal occupation.
Such resistance is completely legal under
international law.] His book was described as “a
courageous and strongly stated essay on war in the
Middle East and especially on the war against Iraq.”
(The emphasis is mine [Kaplan's], the implication
being that removing Saddam Hussein was not a war of
liberation.) [and it wasn't]

A brief speech was also given about how the U.S.
imperialist reach “had seriously deteriorated” the
university system in Iraq, with libraries having been
looted and “democratic ideas” being compromised. The
absurdity that universities in Iraq under Saddam
Hussein, who modeled his dictatorship after Joseph
Stalin, were more open to the “free exchange of ideas”
than they are under U.S. “occupation” could only be
heard in the halls of the propaganda ministries of the
dictatorships of the Arab world; the exception, of
course, might also be in the classrooms of these
professors at the MESA Conference here in the United
States. [see my upcoming article on the state of Iraqi
universities under US occupation.]

I moved on to the film screenings. Every film being
promoted that night dealt with anti-Israel themes
[unlikely, but I'd have to check the schedule. There
were Turkish, Iranian, Palestinian, Israeli, Egyptian,
Moroccan, etc. films at that festival -- most of which
have no position whatsoever on Israel]. A large film
poster touted a film titled “Peace,
Propaganda and the Promised Land.” It featured such
luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Hanan
Ashwari, Michael Lerner and Hussein Ibish, all known
Israel bashers, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine the
film’s content. While most mainstream films have
quotes from reviews by reputable journals on their
posters, this one had reviews such as “the definitive
document on the conflict” and “ a superlative film,”
quoted not by mainstream journals but by organizations
that advocate the dismantling of Israel.

The film shown that night was “Divine Intervention,”
which began with a scene of an Arab in the West Bank
loading hundreds of bottles onto his roof. The guy
next to me wondered out loud, “What the heck is he
doing?” I replied, “What else? Storing bottles to
throw at Jews,” which is exactly what occurred next in
the film. The film was billed as a comedy. [haven't
seen it]

In a later fantasy scene, Israeli undercover police
officers are shown being killed by a Palestinian woman
wearing an Arafat-style kefiyyah who hits them in the
forehead with darts that have an Islamic star and
crescent attached to the ends of them. In one
fabricated scene at a checkpoint, an Israeli soldier
stops an Arab driver and comments on what a nice
imported leather jacket he has – then steals it from
him. An Israeli soldier would be court-martialed for
that. Checkpoints are a theme in the film, but the
filmmaker never shows them being blown up, with
Israeli soldiers dying, being maimed and burned.
Instead, the Arabs are shown pranking them or
attacking them with a balloon that has Arafat’s face
on it.

At the conclusion of the film, questionnaires were
passed out asking if viewers thought the film was
suitable for the classroom.

I decided to interview some faculty attendees and
gravitated to the upstairs bar, where I met Nabil
Al-Tikriti, a professor from the University of
Chicago [I gave him a card. I work at the University
of Mary Washington, and he should know that]; Albrecht
Fuess, a Middle East Studies
professor from the University of Erfurt in the former
East Germany; and a Ph.D. candidate named John Curry,
attending from Ohio State. All three condemned the
U.S. presence in Iraq and blamed the U.S. invasion for
the “collapse” of the Iraqi government. [Uh, was that
not neutral enough for him?] When I asked
if the majority of the Iraqi people weren’t better off
since the removal of Saddam Hussein, they all said no.
[He kept repeating that question over and over and
over, and we refused to be drawn in -- although
perhaps it's time to start pointing out that an
estimated 100,000 Iraqis no longer alive who were
alive in March 2003 might have an opinion on this
point, if they were alive to express that point]
Curry cited an Arab proverb that “a bad government is
better than no government at all.” They complained
that Iraq wasn’t a democracy under U.S. presence
there. [Uh, is he saying that it is a democracy?]

I asked, “But the U.S. government is now setting up
elections. Hussein was murdering 5,000 Iraqis a month.
How can you say they were better off?” Al-Tikriti
stated: “That’s a myth that Hussein killed more than
5,000 a month. It was more like 20 per month and that
was only during the last seven years of his rule.” [He
kept repeating over and over that "Saddam had killed
5,000 a month" throughout his rule. We kept demanding
that he state his source, and he just mumbled that
he'd gotten it from somewhere and that he could find
it if he wanted. We carefully pointed out that there
were indeed rounds of extreme violence in Iraq, and
tens of thousands of Iraqis died during the previous
government's rule, but the idea of 5,000 a month being
murdered throughout the previous government's rule is
simply untrue -- especially in the past several years.
The last round of violence was in 1996. The
overwhelmingly percentage of Iraqi deaths since 1996
were caused by UN sanctions rather than Iraqi
government actions] Fuess interjected, “If you do the
math, you can see it is impossible.” Fuess put Iraq’s
population at 22 million and declared that at the rate
of 5,000 per month over 35 years of Saddam’s rule over
Iraq, he would have to have killed 2.1 million
people. (Actually, the number is more than plausible,
because compared to Hussein’s idols, Hitler and
Stalin, both of whom he modeled his regime after
intentionally, Hussein was a piker. The Kurdish
village of Halabja alone netted over 5,000 dead when
it was gassed by Hussein. [Kaplan])

Basically, the idea was that the U.S. is doing wrong
in Iraq and no good will come of it, not even the
liberation of the Iraqi people from a Hitler wannabe
[his phrasing, not our's]. They claimed there was
absolutely no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al
Qaeda, yet anyone who reads a newspaper knows that
Ansar Al-Islam was founded in Northern Iraq with
Hussein’s permission and is now leading the insurgency
against U.S. soldiers. They still insisted it wasn’t
true. [We did discuss this, and we informed him that
it was in the public domain that Ansar al-Islam was a
Kurdish Islamist militia that was based on the
Iranian-Iraqi border beyond the control of the Iraqi
Government. There remains absolutely no connection
between al-Qaida and the previous Iraqi government.]

These are the same people who our government is
funding as “experts” on the Middle East.

I finally asked about indoctrination in the classroom
and expressed that I’d seen how it occurs, based on
what scholars attending the MESA Conference were
discussing. Al-Tikriti commented that he felt
professors had a right to teach their personal
opinions in the classroom and asked what I had against
it. I answered that opinions backed up by verifiable
academic research should be taught, but that I’d seen
blatant propaganda throughout that evening’s
conference. He asked me what I would change.

I replied, “I’d invite those academic Middle East
scholars who actually support America’s war effort
overseas and security needs here at home. People like
Daniel Pipes or Martin Kramer.” I continued, “Why
aren’t they here at the MESA Conference?”

“They’d be shouted down,” replied Al-Tikriti.
[Actually, they should be sued for libel, defamation
of character, and trying to destroy an entire field of
study. The same applies to Mr. Kaplan].

2) If you want to see why these people are really
quite scary, check out these comments posted on their
message board concerning the previous article:

3) This link is why people like Kaplan must not be
caved into. Take a look at that and tell me Iraq is
better off now than 18 months ago:

4) Naomi Klein Article:,2763,1366349,00.html

You asked for my evidence, Mr Ambassador. Here it is
In Iraq, the US does eliminate those who dare to count
the dead
Naomi Klein
Saturday December 04 2004
The Guardian

David T Johnson, Acting ambassador, US Embassy,

Dear Mr Johnson, On November 26, your press counsellor
sent a letter to the Guardian taking strong exception
to a sentence in my column of the
same day. The sentence read: "In Iraq, US forces and
their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to
conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly
eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists -
who dares to count the bodies." Of particular concern
was the word "eliminating".

The letter suggested that my charge was "baseless" and
asked the Guardian either to withdraw it, or provide
"evidence of this extremely grave accusation". It is
quite rare for US embassy officials to openly involve
themselves in the free press of a foreign country, so
I took the letter extremely seriously. But while I
agree that the accusation is grave, I have no
intention of withdrawing it. Here, instead, is the
you requested.

In April, US forces laid siege to Falluja in
retaliation for the gruesome killings of four
Blackwater employees. The operation was a failure,
with US troops eventually handing the city back to
resistance forces. The reason for the withdrawal was
that the siege had sparked uprisings across the
country, triggered by reports that hundreds of
civilians had been killed. This information came from
three main sources: 1) Doctors. USA Today reported on
April 11 that "Statistics and names of the dead were
gathered from four main clinics around the city and
from Falluja general hospital". 2) Arab TV
journalists. While doctors reported the numbers of
dead, it was al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya that put a
human face on those statistics. With unembedded camera
crews in Falluja, both networks beamed footage of
mutilated women and children throughout Iraq and
the Arab-speaking world. 3) Clerics. The reports of
high civilian casualties coming from journalists and
doctors were seized upon by prominent clerics in Iraq.
Many delivered fiery sermons condemning the attack,
turning their congregants against US forces and
igniting the uprising that forced US troops to

US authorities have denied that hundreds of civilians
were killed during last April's siege, and have lashed
out at the sources of these reports. For instance, an
unnamed "senior American officer", speaking to the New
York Times last month, labelled Falluja general
hospital "a centre of propaganda". But the strongest
words were reserved for Arab TV
networks. When asked about al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya's
reports that hundreds of civilians had been killed in
Falluja, Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence,
replied that "what al-Jazeera is doing is vicious,
inaccurate and inexcusable ... " Last month, US troops
once again laid siege to Falluja - but this time the
attack included a new tactic: eliminating the doctors,
journalists and clerics who focused public attention
on civilian casualties last time around.

Eliminating doctors
The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi
soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital,
arresting doctors and placing the facility under
military control. The New York Times reported that
"the hospital was selected as an early target because
the American military believed that it was the source
of rumours about heavy casual ties", noting that "this
time around, the American military
intends to fight its own information war, countering
or squelching what has been one of the insurgents'
most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a
doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile
phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from
communicating with the outside world.

But this was not the worst of the attacks on health
workers. Two days earlier, a crucial emergency health
clinic was bombed to rubble, as well as a medical
supplies dispensary next door. Dr Sami al-Jumaili, who
was working in the clinic, says the bombs took the
lives of 15 medics, four nurses and 35 patients. The
Los Angeles Times reported that the manager of Falluja
general hospital "had told a US general the location
of the downtown makeshift medical centre" before it
was hit.

Whether the clinic was targeted or destroyed
accidentally, the effect was the same: to eliminate
many of Falluja's doctors from the war zone. As Dr
Jumaili told the Independent on November 14: "There is
not a single surgeon in Falluja." When fighting moved
to Mosul, a similar tactic was used: on entering the
city, US and Iraqi forces immediately seized control
of the al-Zaharawi hospital.

Eliminating journalists:
The images from last month's siege on Falluja came
almost exclusively from reporters embedded with US
troops. This is because Arab journalists who had
covered April's siege from the civilian perspective
had effectively been eliminated. Al-Jazeera had no
cameras on the ground because it has been banned from
reporting in Iraq indefinitely. Al-Arabiya did have an
unembedded reporter, Abdel Kader Al-Saadi, in Falluja,
but on November 11 US forces arrested him and held him
for the length of the siege. Al-Saadi's detention has
been condemned by Reporters Without Borders and the
International Federation of Journalists. "We cannot
ignore the possibility that he is being intimidated
for just trying to do his job," the IFJ stated.

It's not the first time journalists in Iraq have faced
this kind of intimidation. When US forces invaded
Baghdad in April 2003, US Central Command urged all
unembedded journalists to leave the city. Some
insisted on staying and at least three paid with their
lives. On April 8, a US aircraft bombed al-Jazeera's
Baghdad offices, killing reporter Tareq
Ayyoub. Al-Jazeera has documentation proving it gave
the coordinates of its location to US forces.

On the same day, a US tank fired on the Palestine
hotel, killing José Couso, of the Spanish network
Telecinco, and Taras Protsiuk, of Reuters. Three US
soldiers are facing a criminal lawsuit from Couso's
family, which alleges that US forces were well aware
that journalists were in the Palestine hotel and that
they committed a war crime.

Eliminating clerics:
Just as doctors and journalists have been targeted, so
too have many of the clerics who have spoken out
forcefully against the killings in Falluja. On
November 11, Sheik Mahdi al-Sumaidaei, the head of the
Supreme Association for Guidance and Daawa, was
arrested. According to Associated Press, "Al-Sumaidaei
has called on the country's Sunni minority to launch a
civil disobedience campaign if the
Iraqi government does not halt the attack on Falluja".
On November 19, AP reported that US and Iraqi forces
stormed a prominent Sunni mosque,
the Abu Hanifa, in Aadhamiya, killing three people and
arresting 40, including the chief cleric - another
opponent of the Falluja siege. On the same day, Fox
News reported that "US troops also raided a Sunni
mosque in Qaim, near the Syrian border". The report
described the arrests as "retaliation for opposing the
Falluja offensive". Two Shia clerics
associated with Moqtada al-Sadr have also been
arrested in recent weeks; according to AP, "both had
spoken out against the Falluja attack".

"We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks
of US Central Command. The question is: what happens
to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the
doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the
journalists who document these losses, the clerics who
denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that
these voices are being systematically silenced through
a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on
hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained
physical attacks.

Mr Ambassador, I believe that your government and its
Iraqi surrogates are waging two wars in Iraq. One war
is against the Iraqi people, and it has claimed an
estimated 100,000 lives. The other is a war on

· Additional research by Aaron Maté

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

5) A little Texas poetry, demonstrating a sentiment
widely evident in the US today:

Pretty good one.

Thought this was a nice way to remember France and how
they "supported" us.

Eleven thousand soldiers
lay beneath the dirt and stone,
all buried on a distant land
so far away from home.

For just a strip of dismal beach
they paid a hero's price,
to save a foreign nation
They all made the sacrifice.

And now the shores of Normandy
Are lined with blocks of white:
Americans who didn't turn
from someone else's plight.

Eleven thousand reasons
for the French to take our side,
but in the moment of our need,
they chose to run and hide.

Chirac said every war means loss,
perhaps for France that's true,
for they've lost every battle
since the days of Waterloo.

Without a soldier worth a damn
to be found within the region,
the French became the only land
to need a Foreign Legion.

You French all say we're arrogant.
Well hell, we've earned the right--
We saved your sorry nation
when you lacked the guts to fight.

But now you've made a big mistake,
and one that you'll regret;
you took sides with our enemies,
and that we won't forget.

It wasn't just our citizens
you spit on when you turned,
but every one of yours
who fell the day the towers burned.

You spit upon our soldiers,
on our pilots and Marines,
and now you'll get a little sense
of just what payback means.

So keep your Paris fashions
and your wine and your champagne,
and find some other market
that will buy your airplanes.

And try to find somebody else
to wear your French cologne,
for you're about to find out
what it means to stand alone.

You see, you need us far more
than we ever needed you.
America has better friends
who know how to be true.

I'd rather stand with warriors
who have the will and might,
than huddle in the dark
with those whose only flag is white.

I'll take the Brits, the Aussies,
the Israelis and the rest,
for when it comes to valor
we have seen that they're the best.

We'll count on one another
as we face a moment dire,
while you sit on the sideline
with a sign, "friendship for hire."

We'll win this war without you
and we'll total up the cost,
and take it from your foreign aid,
and then you'll feel the loss.

And when your nation starts to fall,
well Frenchie, you can spare us,
just call the Germans for a hand,
they know the way to Paris.

Please forward to all Americans, so they will not


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