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    A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

    January 31st, 2003

    A group called MoveOn (“Democracy in Action”) is encouraging citizens to write letters to the editors of their local paper advocating continued U.N. inspections in Iraq. They are collecting the letters on their website. Unlike conservative push groups, they are not providing boilerplate text, they merely ask that the letters address these key points:

    • A war with Iraq will make America less safe and less secure.
    • The inspections are working.
    • The President simply has not made the case for war.

    I think it’s a great movement and I encourage everyone to participate. Here is the letter I am sending to my local papers:

    Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution requires that: “The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”I watched this year’s State of the Union address with an open mind and mixed emotions. I want to give this president every chance, I want my country to regain the moral leadership that it evinced after WWII, and I want to raise my children in a land that is safe and secure. The message I drew from the speech, however, is the same message that we have been hearing from this administration for months: we are going to war with Iraq, and no force on earth will stop us.

    From the beginning, this administration has been clear about it’s true intention: “regime change”. Unfortunately for them, that has not been a strong enough incentive to convince our allies, so the publicly stated goal has become disarmament, and the means to accomplish that is the U.N. inspections.

    It is clear to any one paying attention, however, that the inspections are a mere shell game to this administration, providing simply a pretext for invasion, a distraction to be played out while we build up our forces in preparation.

    Ironically, magnificently, the very presence of U.N. inspectors in Iraq is curtailing any efforts the Iraqis might otherwise be making toward further developing the president’s feared “weapons of mass destruction”. This administration’s efforts to argue that Iraq is developing a nuclear capability – thereby significantly altering the balance of power in the Gulf region and threatening the United States – have since been challenged by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mohamed ElBaradei reported to the United Nations Security Council that his agency “has found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapon program since the elimination of the program in the 1990’s”.

    The safest course for this country, indeed, for all countries, is to let the inspections continue.

    An additional argument that this administration strives to use to justify war with Iraq is its attempt to link that ‘Axis of Evil�’ nation with the 911 terrorists. “Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans,” said the president in his speech, “this time armed by Saddam Hussein.” That is a frightening picture, to be sure, but to use Bush’s own words, it is also imaginary.

    Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, we get that, but he is not an Osama bin Laden whose goal is to combat Western culture through terrorist acts. He is a tyrannical despot, a cruel dictator who sees it as his own destiny to control the world’s vital energy supplies. Sadly, this view cuts perilously close to what the United States has experienced since the Bush administration took over the White House through judicial fiat. It also explains George Bush’s manic obsession with Saddam Hussein: they are business rivals, vying for the same goal, and this country will not be truly secure until we bring about our own “regime change” through honest democratic elections.


    WHAT THEY SEE OVERSEAS

    January 29th, 2003

    Another UK Observer story, an almost infuriatingly fair and balanced look at GB Jr. from a European perspective. It’s worth the time to read:

    The President rides out

    George Bush’s foes see him as an inarticulate bully. Friends say that evangelical faith underpins his every action. Ed Vulliamy goes back to Bush’s dusty Texan roots to find out what really drives the man who now stands on the brink of war.


    CARTOONISTS TRIBUTE TO BILL MAULDIN

    January 29th, 2003

    SLATE.COM has put together a very nice tribute page to Bill Mauldin, featuring works by other cartoonists honoring his work, his life, and his characters. See the site at Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonist’s Index here:

    TRIBUTES TO BILL MAULDIN


    AXIS OF EMAIL

    January 28th, 2003

    —–Original Message—–
    From: ‘Junior@WhiteHouse.gov’
    To: ‘41@Kennebunkport.net’
    Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003
    Subject: My Big Speech

    Poppy –

    You know I’ve got that big speech coming up tonight. I’m a little nervous, but nothing a few shots from that bottle you left in the desk won’t fix. Ha ha.

    Anyways, I’m trying out a few real dandy phrases to kinda get everyone’s attention. You know, like last year with that “Axis of Evil”. Everybody’s still talkin about it, and it sure made me look pretty smart cause two of those countries have turned out to be really really evil since then. (I don’t
    know *what’s* going on in that third country though.)

    Here’s some of the phrases I’m thinking of using, and I want you to tell me what you think of them:

    “AXIS OF EVILER” (see above)
    “AXIS OF WEASELS” (Democrats)
    “EXCESS OF EVIL” (Liberals)
    “AXIS OF AFL” (Labor Unions)
    “AXIS OF AWFUL” (Rap music)
    “AXIS OF EVEL” (Kneivel)
    “AXIS OF FEEBLE” (those pantywaist Euros, like France and Germany)

    [“Poppy”] Yeah, what do they know about war?

    “ACCENTS OF EVIL” (France and Germany again)

    [“Poppy”] Especially the Germans. Brrrr!!!

    “AXIS OF EIFFEL” (France)
    “AXIS OF WAFFLE” (Belgium. That’s in France, right?)

    [“Poppy”] Check with Laura.

    “EX-SPOUSE OF EVIL”

    [“Poppy”] Better check with Laura on that one, too.

    “EXHAUST OF EVIL” (Pollution from fossil fuels. Ha ha, just kidding!)

    [“Poppy”] You little stinker!

    “AXES OF EVIL” (Loggers. Just kidding again!)

    [“Poppy”] Okay Junior, get serious.

    “NO NEW AXIS!”

    [“Poppy”] I like the sound of that!

    “FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON … SHAME ON ME, CAN’T GET FOOLED AGAIN!”

    [“Poppy”] No no, I keep telling you. It’s “Fooling with me once is no fooling around again“. No wait … “You can fool me once, but twice is a shame!” No wait…

    Ah hell, Georgie, just say what you want and remember to pause every 30 seconds so everyone can clap.

    Knock ‘em dead, son!

    —41