Time to speak out for peace, international law

As a former CEO, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill is used to getting his way. So is Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general, schooled in issuing orders.

For them, the Bush administration is the self-appointed “top cop” of the world. So it was no surprise that they delivered highhanded speeches at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York.

Powell told the 3,000 WEF delegates the U.S. will “go after terrorism wherever it threatens,” a reaffirmation of Bush’s “Axis of Evil” in his State of the Union address proclaiming the right to send military forces anywhere in the world anytime.

O’Neill defended the Bush administration decision to cut off assistance to Argentina, blaming the Argentines for the nation’s bankruptcy. “They just didn’t reform,” O’Neill said, even though the crisis was brought on by policies imposed on Argentina by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Nor is the Bush family without blame: An article in Nacion, a Buenos Aires newspaper, says that George Bush I leaned on his crony, Argentine President Carlos Menem, to allow Enron to set up its notorious fleecing operations in Argentina.

A State Department official told a WEF panel that the peacekeeping force must stay in Afghanistan for two years or longer, and must be expanded to 25,000 so it can patrol the entire country – and this despite the fact the U.S. refuses to contribute to these peace forces.

The New York Times reported this arrogance was met with widespread “disagreement and apprehension.” It is well that it did.

We would go one step further and tell the Bush administration to look in the mirror when it speaks of “rogue regimes.”

Now is the time to demand that Congress curb these war policies. We must win the battle to defend peace and respect for international law or face the rising peril of endless war.

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Bush favors unborn over born

When the Bush administration approved an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover fetuses as unborn children it sent a multi-tiered and dangerous message to the public. Tommy Thompson, Bush’s head of Health and Human Services, paid lip-service to guaranteeing health care for low-income pregnant women. However, the extension could have been written to include pregnant women and not “unborn children.”

Reproductive and women’s rights groups have been warning the public that the extreme right-wing forces who oppose abortion have taken another tact in their drive to undermine a woman’s right to choose. They are concentrating on giving legal status to the unborn.

Last year Congress passed a federal law criminalizing anyone who harms a developing fetus (abortion was exempted). Although there were other ways to protect pregnant women from violence, the right-wing chose to focus on giving legal status to an embryo.

At the same time, the already-born have immense health care needs that cry for immediate government attention. Why couldn’t Thompson, with the flick of the pen, guarantee a comprehensive prescription drug plan for seniors? Or couldn’t the Bush administration move as quickly to cover the 40 million, 10 million of whom are children, who don’t have health care? This is a number which is expected to grow with the recent economic crisis, lay-offs and down-sizing from the welfare rolls those most in need.

No – the message is clear. Because of their political agenda to undermine a woman’s right to choose when she will bear children, the Bush administration cares more about that undemocratic agenda then the lives of the millions suffering without sufficient health care.

The Bush administration’s extreme agenda – from the war on terrorism to their attacks on civil rights and liberties to their huge tax give aways to corporations and the super-rich – presents a clear and present danger to humanity’s well being. The public can send a clear message back to them by voting the worst out of office this November.

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