Stop Bush’s nightmare Christmas war

The world sighed with relief when Iraq agreed to let UN inspectors search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They breathed easier, still, when George W. Bush seemed grudgingly to accept a role for the UN. Yet there is much evidence that Bush is going through the motions and plans a preemptive war even if the UN Chief Inspector, Hans Blix, certifies that Iraq has no WMD.

The Mirror, a British newspaper, reports that Pentagon hawk Richard Perle told members of the British Parliament Nov. 20, “I cannot see how Hans Blix can state more than he can know. All he can know is the results of his own investigations. And that does not prove Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction.”

Yes indeed, Mr. Perle, a defendant is guilty only if the evidence finds him so. But Perle – and Bush – live in a world where evidence matters little. As the Queen of Hearts shouted at Alice, “Words mean exactly what I want them to mean.”

Another British newspaper, The Sun, warns that the Pentagon sees a six-week “window of opportunity” for a war on Iraq. It begins on Dec. 16. The long, chill winter nights are ideal cover for aerial bombardment as well as a land invasion with 250,000 troops.

We argue that this war can be stopped. But only if we succeed in making war so politically costly that Bush and his fellow warmongers are forced to retreat. A rising tide in the U.S. and an overwhelming majority of people around the world are opposed to Bush’s preemptive war on a sovereign state that has not attacked the U.S. first. It would put the U.S. in a position analogous to the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Now is the time to redouble our struggle with rallies, marches, lobbying and messages to Congress. We urge our readers to support the Iraq Pledge for Peace actions in your area on Dec. 10-14. No War on Iraq!

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Bush ignores public on environment

Despite a CBS/New York Times poll showing that two-thirds of all Americans favor stronger federal regulation to protect the environment and promote safety, the Bush administration is rushing pell-mell to allow corporate polluters to continue their polluting ways and, even, to allow them to dump more pollutants into the biosphere.

The administration’s decision to weaken the New Source Review (NSR) provision of the Clean Air Act all but guarantees that we will be subjected to millions of tons more pollutants with increasing health risks for millions.

NSR requires older factories to install modern pollution control technology whenever they make changes that increase production. The Sierra Club says the program has been instrumental in controlling pollution from older refineries, power plants and factories that often release four to ten times more pollution, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury, than modern plants.

Studies have linked these emissions to increased rates of asthma, heart disease and premature death. A study last year found that the power plants that are being sued for violating NSR are linked to at least 5,500 premature deaths a year, many of which could be prevented if these plants installed the modern pollution control technology required by the NSR program.

The same poll showed that 55 percent disapprove of the White House effort to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. By a ratio of two to one, respondents thought that protecting the environment was more important than producing energy. Seven of every eight of those polled say Bush favors producing energy over protecting the environment. Bush & Co. may believe they won a mandate in the Nov. 5 election but this poll reveals that the people are fed up with administration coddling of corporate scofflaws. Clean air and clean water is a human right that we must fight to protect from Bush and his petrochemical patrons.

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