2005/01/28

Follow-up to comment made by Bush at Inaugural

I attended the Inaugural Parade and later quoted the following statement from Bush:

In my meetings with Chinese leadership in the future, I will constantly remind them of the benefits of a society that honors their people and respects human rights and human dignity.

I thought: "Wow..how does one respond to such an incredibly non-self-aware statement? How would I even begin to inform a Bush supporter that these words are completely meaningless?" Then, I saw this article:


Bush to China: "Do as I say, not as I do."

By Mary Shaw, Amnesty International

    The Bush administration has lost the moral high ground for taking others to task for human rights violations.



hinese pro-democracy activist Yang Jianli has been incarcerated in a Chinese prison since April of 2002. Jianli, a permanent U.S. resident, is the founder of the Foundation for China in the 21st Century. While on a return visit to China in 2002, he was arrested on charges of using a false passport. He was then placed in solitary confinement, held incommunicado, and tortured.

The Chinese government violated their own law when they failed to release Jianli after 37 days, which is required if no warrant is filed. They eventually convicted him of illegal entry and espionage and sentenced him to five years in prison. He suffered a stroke last summer while in custody.

The U.S. Congress has unanimously passed several resolutions condemning Jianli's prolonged imprisonment and demanding his release. In addition, Condoleezza Rice, while National Security Advisor, told Jianli's wife that American officials had pressed high-level Chinese authorities on the matter.

Jianli is now up for parole. As a human rights activist, I pray that the Chinese government will finally see fit to release him. At the same time, I can't help but note the irony in the Bush administration's support for the release of this Chinese dissident.

Let's look at the situation: The Chinese have essentially labeled a dissident as an enemy combatant, put him in jail, incommunicado, with stalled due process, and tortured him. The trial was conducted secretly. His family was not informed of his whereabouts. It sounds very much like how the Bush administration has been dealing with those suspected of terrorist ties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and even right here on the mainland.

I originally hoped to present a point-by-point comparison of Jianli's situation with those of Bush's "enemy combatants"; however, it seems that the Chinese have released much more information about Jianli than the Bush administration has given us about any of the people it is holding in their own legal limbo. But we do know that the U.S. is holding thousands of suspects in detention, incommunicado, under cruel and inhumane conditions, and not even offering the minimal level of legal recourse that the Chinese afforded to Jianli. Just earlier this month, a federal judge in Washington threw out challenges to their detentions by inmates at Guantanamo Bay. Ironically, some information does leak out from Guantanamo and elsewhere as detainees in Bush's "war on terror" are occasionally released, one by one, when evidence leaks to the press and the public that their arrests were groundless.

The Bush administration has the nerve to complain about how awful the Chinese are. Somebody needs to send them a mirror. But, of course, we're the great and powerful United States of America, and Bush keeps reminding us that he's doing God's work and spreading "democracy", so it must be OK. Apparently, it's God's will that you can violate your own laws if Bush says so. If anyone else does, though, it's evil.

The Bush administration has lost the moral high ground for taking others to task for human rights violations. But I hope that the citizens of the U.S., despite their misguided leadership, will continue to stand up for what is right - in China, at Guantanamo, and right here in the U.S. We cannot let the Bush administration get away with its gross human rights violations, just as we cannot let the Chinese government do the same.

We must not forget the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, who wrote the following from Berlin in 1939:

"First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade-unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."

-----
Mary Shaw
Philadelphia Area Coordinator
Amnesty International USA
Email: mshaw@amnestyphilly.org
Web: http://www.amnestyphilly.org


As Amnesty International points out, the self-blindness and hypocrisy and sheer unmitigated gall of Bush's statement is just absolutely staggering. I can just imagine the Chinese leadership receiving his statements on human rights with polite smiles and gracious words and erupting into horse-laughs and guffaws and chortling afterwards. As other commentators have pointed out, yeah, the Inaugural Address was a great speech with really wonderful words and ideas all strung together like pretty beads on a string, but it's obviously a PR statement, not meant for serious people to take seriously.
It's like when Bush wears a cowboy outfit. He had a rich grandfather, a rich father and he himself went to Yale. It's pure PR. Bush clearly doesn't mean any of it.




2005/01/25

So nice to see allies pitching in...

Saudi clerics urge militants to fight "infidels" in Iraq instead of at home
By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) -- Fundamentalist Islamic leaders in Saudi Arabia are telling militants intent on fighting "infidels" to join the insurgency in Iraq instead of taking up Osama bin Laden's call to oust the Saudi royal family at home, say Saudi dissidents who monitor theological edicts coming out of the kingdom.

Iraq as a battleground offers the solution to a quandary facing the Saudi clerics who have to both placate the kingdom's rulers and keep their radical base happy.

"If they preach that there ought to be absolutely no jihad, they would lose credibility and support among their followers. So what they do is preach jihad -- not in Saudi Arabia, but in Iraq," said Abdul-Aziz Khamis, a Saudi human rights activist in London.

"To them, Iraq is the answer to their dilemma."


So I see that not everyone's gotten the memo that terrorists and the states that shelter them are the enemy. What was that statement again?

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. (Italics mine)


Y'see, in order to have the kind of government we want in place, our allies must choose to join us. If the Saudis don't choose the American way, what then? How can we invade Iran if we're busy disciplining Saudi Arabia?


2005/01/23

Bush's 2nd Inaugural speech

Before I look at anything Bush said in his Second Inaugural Address, I agree with DailyKos.com that this, from Vice-President Cheney, is vastly more important, by several orders of magnitude:


Cheney, interviewed hours before he was to take the oath of office for his second term, also said that Iran now tops the list of "the world's potential trouble spots." Iran is pursuing "a fairly robust nuclear program" and has a history of sponsoring terrorism, he said. "That combination is of great concern." Cheney said the Bush administration might seek U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program if necessary. The administration prefers to address the problem with diplomacy and doesn't want more war in the Middle East, he said. (emphasis mine)


On the bus, as I was getting passengers to fill out the muster sheet that we'd check off returnees with and that ANSWER could also use for mailing list purposes, I half-jokingly asked if Iran or Syria would be next on the Bush Administration's hit list. Sadly, it appears like they guessed correctly that Iran would be next.


As to Bush's speech, it was a very nice speech. Very stirring and dramatic words. It reminded me a great deal of being back in the Navy. A few years before I joined the Navy, I read a book where John Stockwell, a fellow who struck me as a good and competent administrator, attempted to direct CIA assets in Angola (The whole operation fell apart when the Soviets and Cubans intervened in force and the US, still smarting from the loss of Vietnam, dropped out of the struggle). Stockwell's idea of how to run the US effort in Angola was to sit down and answer lengthy telegrams from the field that were requesting specific answers or guidance.


On my first ship, I had an officer who ran my workgroup with lots of vague, general words about ultimate goals. I once overheard him talking about his “vision” for the office where he talked to some sailors from the Repair Department (who were going to work to design our office to his specifications). He essentially wanted our at-sea office to look like a dry-land (or shore-command) office, with equipment stacked up just so. In the meantime, the workgroup had severe disciplinary problems with young Seamen and junior Petty Officers not obeying orders and not cooperating with their seniors.

In the first instance, the Angola operation failed because of decisions and events wholly outside of the Stockwell's control and I felt after reading the book that Stockwell handled it about as well as it could have been handled. In the second, the officer who ran my workgroup ended up disgusting his superiors with his incompetence, losing his projected next assignment to a prestigious staff position and was assigned to another, smaller ship.


Bush's speech falls into the category of my officer's approach to running my workgroup. It was very vague and general and ignored numerous real-world, real-life problems.

A conservative points that the neoconservatives who have been running Bush's policies over the last four years


are not entirely conservative and confuse the public about the virtues of the hallowed native reluctance to spend blood and treasure abroad for dubiously idealistic purposes.


The conservative then attempts to distance Bush from the neoconservatives by commenting on “conspiracy thoeries” in which


...clever abolitionists from their New England pulpits and snooty colleges saw Lincoln as a suitable and naïve emissary of their radical agenda.


I'm not so sure that the picture is entirely wrong here as Lincoln did indeed end up endorsing the radical abolitionist agenda pretty wholeheartedly. I would quibble with the picture of Lincoln as being naïve and frankly, having been raised in New England, I of course don't see the radical abolitionist agenda as having been a bad thing.


In this case of course, Bush is pushing a radical, but stupid, agenda which has produced nothing but disaster and promises nothing but more of the same.


Peggy Noonan delivers a reasonably good piece in which she begins by engaging in her usual chirpy, good-news, golly-gee-isn't-everything-just-so-wonderful? tone that's made a reliable laugh line out of “Deep Thoughts: by Peggy Noonan”. But she also makes the good point that:


The inaugural address itself was startling. It left me with a bad feeling, and reluctant dislike. Rhetorically, it veered from high-class boilerplate to strong and simple sentences, but it was not pedestrian. George W. Bush's second inaugural will no doubt prove historic because it carried a punch, asserting an agenda so sweeping that an observer quipped that by the end he would not have been surprised if the president had announced we were going to colonize Mars.


Peggy then defines the conflict over foreign policy as being between “moralists and realists”, but as my group doesn't recognize Bush as either moral or realistic, we don't regard this as a real debating point. The following, however, is an extremely good point, that Bush spoke


...in a way that left this Bush supporter yearning for something she does not normally yearn for, and that is: nuance.


The administration's approach to history is at odds with what has been described by a communications adviser to the president as the "reality-based community." A dumb phrase, but not a dumb thought: He meant that the administration sees history as dynamic and changeable, not static and impervious to redirection or improvement. That is the Bush administration way, and it happens to be realistic: History is dynamic and changeable. On the other hand, some things are constant, such as human imperfection, injustice, misery and bad government.

This world is not heaven.

The president's speech seemed rather heavenish. It was a God-drenched speech. This president, who has been accused of giving too much attention to religious imagery and religious thought, has not let the criticism enter him.

God was invoked relentlessly. "The Author of Liberty." "God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind . . . the longing of the soul."

...


Ending tyranny in the world? Well that's an ambition, and if you're going to have an ambition it might as well be a big one. But this declaration, which is not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn't expect we're going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it's earth.


In short, Bush needs to reconnect to Earth and get has feet back on the ground.

UPDATE (28Jan05): To recap, Peggy Noonan says "George W. Bush's second inaugural will no doubt prove historic..." Well, guess not. Less than a week later comes the headline to an editorial: "After Bold Speech Comes Furious Backpedaling". In other words "Oh...um...never mind."

2005/01/13

Further thoughts on torture's usefulness

How to Interrogate Terrorists
First off, let's look at what's obviously a PR problem.

Nevertheless, Bush-administration critics seized on the [Abu Ghraib] scandal as proof that prisoner “torture” had become routine. A master narrative—call it the “torture narrative”—sprang up: the government’s 2002 decision to deny Geneva-convention status to al-Qaida fighters

It's quite impossible for a competing narrative to spring up if the official narrative is believable and widely known. If the government offers the public a credible explanation that accounts for all of the known facts, I find it quite difficult to believe that a competing narrative can spring up.
Of course, the Whitewater case from the Clinton years is an instance where a false narrative, a collection of unsubstantiated accusations, ultimately proved completely groundless. The distinction in this case is that the Whitewater accusations were driven by the Republican Party and a whole network of radio talk show hosts, the Washington Times, sympathetic newscasters and other media sources. Today, the Republican Party also counts Fox News as a close media ally. The Democrats and other liberals in today's media have Air America, the Internet (With political commentary dominated by blogs) and well...that's pretty much it. The rest of the media consists of news sources that are dedicated to serving as delivery vehicles for advertisements, much the same way that a cigarette serves as a delivery vehicle for tobacco smoke. Their objective is not to push a particular political agenda, but to provide reasonably credible (or at least credible-sounding) news that entice people to check out the advertisements while they're catching up on the latest developments.

No matter. The Pentagon’s reaction to the scandal was swift and sweeping. It stripped interrogators not just of stress options but of traditional techniques long regarded as uncontroversial as well. Red tape now entangles the interrogation process, and detainees know that their adversaries’ hands are tied.

Sounds very comforting, but how are we to verify this? Do we have sources among the Iraqi people that can vouch for these developments? Obviously Iyad Allawi will vouch for the Americans as he was appointed by Americans, but how about an authority Iraqis might trust? Has the Ayatollah Sistani or Moqtada al-Sadr appointed anyone to check on how detainees are being treated?
Had the military undertaken the abuses of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo openly, letting the American People in on their plans, their assurances today that the abuses have ended might be credible. Again, this is an obvious PR problem. If the Bush Administration were seriously interested in providing credible assurances, we would not still be hearing about "ghost" detainees, the CIA would have opened its files and would make its personnel available for interviews, etc.
Now, why would detainees need to be questioned? The article says:

The interrogation debate first broke out on the frigid plains of Afghanistan. Marines and other special forces would dump planeloads of al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners into a ramshackle detention facility outside the Kandahar airport; waiting interrogators were then supposed to extract information to be fed immediately back into the battlefield—whether a particular mountain pass was booby-trapped, say, or where an arms cache lay.

Thinking back to my readings on the American Civil War, I don't remember anyone depending on prisoner interrogations to determine what lay ahead. Reconnaissance was carried out by fast-moving cavalry or lightly-armed infantry. In World War II, the light tanks and jeeps did that. In Vietnam, someone "took point" and walked well ahead of the main unit so that the point man would hit the booby-trap first and thereby warn those who were following behind. Getting recon info by interrogating prisoners strikes me as a "nice thing to have" as opposed to a "critical necessity".

The article complains that the detainees from Afghanistan and later Iraq were "not playing by the army rule book." They were trained to resist interrogation and knew that the Americans were limited in how roughly they could treat their detainees. My problem with using force in response to that is that information voluntarily given is by far the best and most reliable and most comprehensive you're ever going to get. I'm told that conservative bloggers like to bring up cases like, say, "suppose there was a bomb inside a safe, you knew the bomb was about to go off, you knew that you had a prisoner who knew the combination to the safe, wouldn't you torture the prisoner for the information so that the bomb wouldn't take out half the city block?" People have noticed, however, that these cases are always hypothetical. None of the people who ask this sort of question ever bring up a real case. That's because there's never been a real case to use as an example of how torture has to be allowed. So the questions then become: "Why do we need to torture these people?" "Do these people have worthwhile information that they're hiding from us?" "If we torture them, will the loss to America in terms of moral stature be gainfully balanced by the information we obtain?" The article presents no evidence that such questions were ever asked, let alone answered.

Battlefield commanders in Afghanistan and intelligence officials in Washington kept pressing for information, however.

It's not clear from this statement what, exactly, these officials were looking for. Yes, you need information in order to fight a guerrilla or Fourth Generation conflict, but such information is best gained by seeing to it that the civilian population is well-disposed towards the occupation. This favorable disposition is best obtained through ordinary politics, being honest and upfront with the civilians (as opposed to the people actually carrying guns and setting mines), providing public works programs, providing basic law & order, fixing up infrastructure like power plants, roads, railways, water supplies, etc.

President Bush had declared in February 2002 that al-Qaida members fell wholly outside the [Geneva] [C]onventions and that Taliban prisoners would not receive prisoner-of-war status—without which they, too, would not be covered by the Geneva rules.

For any nation to arbitrarily and unilaterally declare where the law does and does not apply means that the law is a dead letter. You might as well have a group of teenagers declare a section of their school to be a smoking zone, where they can light up whenever they please. You might as well have a group of people decide that the local bank has too much money and that they don't have enough. Where does the President get the authority to discard the Geneva Conventions? As was pointed out by LiberalOasis, he doesn't. The questioning of Alberto Gonzales makes it clear that he and Bush think Bush has the power to discard the Geneva Conventions like a used tissue paper.

The author says that treating enemy soldiers with humanity and decency depends on reciprocity. Do unto others as they do unto you. As "Terrorists flout every civilized norm animating the conventions.", there of course can be no thought of reciprocating by treating captured enemies with any semblance of humanity. The theory on this in economic terms is known as the "race to the bottom".
My Irish history professor back in college described this race in the following way: "Someone might bid to work a certain parcel of land and promise to deliver 20 bushels of potatoes for the privilege. Say the parcel is enough to produce 100 bushels in all and the person needs 20 to survive and sells the rest. Well, the land is getting scarce and there's plenty of competition. So when that person loses the land for whatever reason and someone else bids for the land, the next person faces those who will pay 25 bushels for the privilege. Eventually, people are offering 80 bushels for the privilege of working the land and now they have to start cutting into their own subsistence to compete. When the number of bushels nationwide got down to about 10 per person, in other words, when everyone was on a starvation diet, that's when rebellions began to break out."
For the United States to demand reciprocity, for it to take the view that "we'll only treat them as well as they treat us" is to put the whole world on a race to the bottom, where the way we all treat captured enemies will just continue to slide downwards.

The original reference to this story read that this article was the best torture-defense article that the blogger had seen. Color me deeply unimpressed.

2005/01/07

Torture and Alberto Gonzales

First Jonah Golberg runs the following:

TORTURE [Jonah Goldberg]

So many readers have made variations of this point, many, many from personal experience:

After I was captured, my hands were tied behind my back and I was struck repeatedly in the face with an open hand. After enduring the beating I was thrown on the water board, where under questioning the enemy would drown you till the verge of losing consciousness, only to revive you and start all over again. Then a black bag was secured around my head and throat which made it difficult to breathe. I was confined to a three by four foot tiger cage with a coffee can for a toilet. Loud music blared from speakers in the compound and I was repeatedly dragged from my cage for more beatings and interrogation. At night when it was freezing the guards would pour cold water on me. I was deprived of any food for five straight days.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well that is only part of what EVERY U.S. Navy and Air Force pilot and flight crew goes through in survival school. The Army does it for their special forces guys as well. We do this to our own people for training but we can't do it to terrorists?
Incredible.

Of course the obvious answer to this point is that at the end of these "tortures", the person being brutalized can look forward to being commissioned as an officer in the Navy or the Air Force or as an Army Special Forces person. If you're a captured Iraqi being brutalized, you have no way of knowing what the endgame is, where you'll end up, if your tormentor is going to go crazy on you and start cutting off limbs or nailing your hands to the floor or whatever. There is no certainty that the torture will ever stop under any circumstances. In his next comment, Jonah sort of, kind of appears to maybe understand this:

SIMULATED TORTURE VS. REAL [Jonah Goldberg]

I'm getting a lot of flack for my point in my syndicated column that Air Force Academy cadets get water-boarded in their training and that therefore it might fall somewhere short of actual torture. Here's a typical email:

dont you think its a bit preposterous to cite torture simulation as a reason that torture is acceptible? "Our soldiers experience torture simulation as part of their training. Thus it's okay to torture prisoners." Do you actually see no difference between a simulation and the real thing? This is not just a ridiculously bad argument as a simple matter of rhetoric, it's a morally despicable argument that reveals some seriously warped thinking.

Me: Of course I see the difference between the two: it's a psychological difference. And while I don't want to be categorical about this and say "as long as it's only psychological, it's not torture" I do think this is an important distinction.

But then Jonah goes on to describe simulations of torture vs the real thing and making the reasonable point that cutting off a finger and preteding to cut off a finger are two different things.

Which means no, I don't think he gets it.

Torture is not properly defined as a certain intolerable level of pain. Torture is defined as inflicting pain for the purpose of getting information out of people. If you're puttiing someone's fingers in a vise in order to demonstrate "This is what can happen to you if you're captured by the enemy", that's one thing. If you're putting someone's fingers in a vise because you're under the impression he has information you want, that's torture and that's morally wrong.

If someone's undergoing beatings because he is knowingly keeping valuable information from the people doing the beatings, it won't be difficult for him to undergo still more beatings. If you're being beaten because you were getting a soda from a convenience store just as the cops made a sweep and you get tossed into jail along with the anti-government protesters, then having someone put bamboo slats under your fingernails in an attempt to find out why the protesters were arguing with the government then the torture is going to take on a very different meaning for you.

Are the people tormenting you going to give you medical care? Will someone see to your bleeding fingertips? Not if they're trying to extract information. Being nice and getting information out of people are two entirely different things. That's why torture is unacceptable. Not merely because it's bad to stick bamboo slats under people's fingernails, but because it's morally unacceptable to try to get information via torturing people in any event.

For anyone to make the attempt to define torture as a certain level of physical pain is first of all, completely beyond the interrogator's ability to measure, as it not only depends on the physical pain being endured, but how painful it is very heavily depends on the prior experiences and current physical condition of the person being brutalized. If you're a frail old lady in her 80s, your level of intolerable pain is going to be very different from a physically-fit man in his 20s.

Ah, but what about the practical argument? What about all of the valuable information we get via torture? To which my answer is: "What valuable information?" The abuses of Iraqi prisoners began shortly after the US occupied Iraq. At first, Iraqi saboteurs were confined to the outlying areas. By the time the photos from Abu Ghraib was discovered, the Iraqi resistance had a real foothold in the country and could move around pretty much as they pleased. In other words, US forces didn't learn much that was of any real value. The resistance continued to grow stronger and more capable while US personnel were torturing Iraqis.

Has the Bush Administration learned anything? Have they sworn off torture? Will they refrain from doing it in the future? The signs are not hopeful. From LiberalOasis:

Does Gonzales think the president has the power to authorize torture by immunizing American personnel from prosecution for it?

During the hearing, [Sen. Pat] Leahy called this idea, which comes from the August 2002 document dubbed the "Bybee memo," "the commander-in-chief override."

And by hearing's end it was clear that Gonzales believed in it.

That refers to this extremely telling and disturbing exchange:

LEAHY: The Bybee memo concludes that a president has authority as commander in chief to override domestic and international law as prohibiting torture and can immunize from prosecution anyone -- anyone -- who commits torture under his act.

Whether legal or not, he can immunize them.

Now, as attorney general, would you believe the president has the authority to exercise a commander-in-chief override and immunize acts of torture?

GONZALES: First of all, sir, the president has said we're not going to engage in torture under any circumstances.

And so you're asking me to answer a hypothetical that is never going to occur.

This president has said we're not going to engage in torture under any circumstances.

And therefore, that portion of the opinion was unnecessary and was the reason that we asked that that portion be withdrawn.

LEAHY: But I'm trying to think what type of opinions you might give as attorney general. Do you agree with that conclusion?

GONZALES: Sir, again --

LEAHY: You're a lawyer, and you've held a position as a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, you've been the president's counsel, you've studied this issue deeply.

Do you agree with that conclusion?

GONZALES: Senator, I do believe there may come an occasion when the Congress might pass a statute that the president may view as unconstitutional.

And that is a position and a view not just of this president, but many, many presidents from both sides of the aisle.

Obviously, a decision as to whether or not to ignore a statute passed by Congress is a very, very serious one.

And it would be one that I would spend a great deal of time and attention before arriving at a conclusion that in fact a president had the authority under the Constitution to --

LEAHY: Mr. Gonzales, I'd almost think that you'd served in the Senate, you've learned how to filibuster so well, because I asked a specific question:

Does the president have the authority, in your judgment, to exercise a commander-in-chief override and immunize acts of torture?

GONZALES: With all due respect, Senator, the president has said we're not going to engage in torture.

That is a hypothetical question that would involve an analysis of a great number of factors.


I agree with LiberalOasis that this answer is completely unacceptable. Gonzales is deliberately evading and fuzzing over and obscuring a very simple and important question. Does the President have the authority to override the Geneva Conventions at any time, under any circumstances, for any reason? Being a progressive of course, my answer is NO, the President does not, never did and (God willing) never will have any such authority and anyone who says he does, did or will is, by definistion, in favor of torture.

2005/01/05

New estimate on size of Iraqi Resistance

The head of the American-sponsored Iraqi intelligence service estimates that the resistance numbers over 200,000 personnel, 40,000 of whom are full-time front-line fighters, the rest of whom perform service functions, lookouts, supplies, reconnaissance, etc.
The one and only superiority US forces have is in technology. US aircraft provide tactical support, but a guerrilla war is fought on a close-up basis and is heavily dependent on infantry. With morale less than superb, it's a mystery how US forces are still in command anywhere.

2005/01/03

Tsunami relief - where one can contribute

DONATIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE TSUNAMI DISASTER MAY BE GIVEN TO

AFSC is mounting a full-scale response to the disaster. Grants from the AFSC Crisis Fund are being wired immediately to the Society for Health, Education and Environment for Peace (SHEEP) a local Indonesian organization and to the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for relief work that has already begun in Indonesia with staff on the ground.

A delegation of medical personnel sponsored by AFSC & the Society for Health, Education & Environment for Peace (SHEEP) is traveling to Indonesia's remote Aceh Province. This group of Indonesian medical professionals will be relieving a team that left for the region on the 27th.

An AFSC assessment team, in partnership with MCC, is preparing to leave for Indonesia where work will build on AFSC's more than 30 years of experience in that country.

Go to AFSC.ORG for more information. You can give online using a credit card. You can give by phone also using a credit card; call toll-free:1-888-588-2372. And, you can give by mail by sending a contribution to: AFSC Development , 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102.

[To give Material Donations and find Volunteer Opportunities contact: Center for International Disaster Information Website: www.cidi.org. Hotline number: 703-276-1914.]

Oxfam's Asia Earthquake Fund today.
https://secure.ga3.org/02/asia_earthquake04/nJ71MMGE1hXq-

-- American Jewish World Service
45 W. 36th St., 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018
(800) 889-7146
www.ajws.org

-- Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090
(800) 736-3467
www.catholicrelief.org

-- Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres
P.O. Box 2247
New York, NY 10116-2247
(888) 392-0392
www.doctorswithoutborders.org <>

-- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
P.O. Box 372
CH-1211 Geneva 19
Switzerland
41-22-730-4222
www.bayarea-redcross.org <>

This overwhelming crisis of need once again shows us that we must direct our world towards life and away from the enormous waste of human energy and resources on war and national divisions."

.......Mary Day Kent, WILPF, Executive Director