Bush’s first-strike policy

George W. Bush let the cat out of the bag last week. In a garbled commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Bush openly proclaimed that his war on terrorism is a unilateral war of aggression and first-strike.

“The war on terrorism will not be won on the defensive,” he said. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they materialize.”

Rejecting tactics of deterrence and diplomacy on the world scene, and throwing civil liberties and rights out the window, he proclaimed an iron-fist domestic and foreign policy “ready to strike at a moment’s notice in any dark corner of the world.”

Americans must be “ready for preemptive action when necessary,” Bush said.

His speech, like other recent administration pronouncements, sought to build a new cold war hysteria with generalized talk of “danger” and “threats.” He trumpeted Star Wars “missile defense,” widely seen here and abroad as dangerous nuclear escalation. Taking advantage of the American people’s legitimate concerns about safety and security, he called for beefing up domestic and foreign spying, saying the FBI must be “prepared to act and act quickly against danger.” What is this if not a first-strike policy that can and will be used to crush dissent and progressive movements both at home and abroad?

The West Point speech shows clearly that this ultra-right administration is hell-bent on using an undefined and unlimited fake war on terrorism to enforce the rule of its tiny grouping of ultra-right corporate backers.

Although Bush did not specifically mention Iraq, The New York Times said the speech “seemed aimed at preparing Americans for a potential war on Iraq.”

Unfortunately, three days later, House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt volunteered his support for such a war.

All the more reason why we the people must speak out, mobilize and act to defeat the Bush administration war drive.

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Save the planet

In a report sent to the United Nations on May 31, the Bush administration’s Environmental Protection Agency has grudgingly admitted that global warming is a serious problem caused by “human activity.” It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels and that unless steps are taken, the planet will be substantially – and irreversibly – changed.

“Some of the goods and services lost through the disappearance … of natural ecosystems are likely to be … impossible to replace,” the report says, adding that the United States will be substantially changed by the end of the century: disruption of snow-fed water supplies, stifling heat waves and the permanent disappearance of mountain meadows and coastal marshes, as ocean levels rise 19 inches.

We welcome the EPA’s hesitant emergence from the dark ages. But that’s the best we can say. Despite the scenario laid out in the report, Bush dismissed it as a product of government “bureaucracy” and reiterated his determination to reject the Kyoto accord on climate change that has been signed by every other industrial nation. Bush said we should adapt to inevitable change. Inevitable change? Should we adapt to the change that another United Nations report said could leave the earth looking like a “desert-strewn wasteland”?

Corporate-driven “human activity” runs counter to environmentally sustainable development. News reports noted the EPA’s report is at odds with major monopoly corporations like car manufacturers and fossil fuel producers.

Do we rely on old technologies that condemn us to the future outlined by the U.N., because they are profitable or redesign our energy system to deal with known hazards?

The U.N. reports that “fundamental changes” are required and are possible. A step to that change is to build a movement to force Congress to override the White House. Another reason to vote out the ultra-right this November.

The planet we save could be our own.

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