IT WAS...1987

Reactions to Reagan's First Speech on AIDS [pdf]
Celia Hooper, UPI

''This peril that confronts the nation is not comprised of words,'' said Sen. Lowell Weicker, ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees acquired immune deficiency syndrome research.

''It's comprised of very complex viruses and a medical mystery that nobody has been able to unlock, and it ain't going to be unlocked by the speech in Philadelphia by the president,'' Weicker said.

Speaking to reporters following the president's speech Wednesday, Weicker said, ''The most damaging piece of deception as far as the president is concerned is that he says, 'I'm asking for $100 million more in AIDS research.'

''That sounds very good until you hear that he is asking for a $600 million cut in the funds to go to the National Institutes of Health for basic biomedical research. The net of all that is he has cut $500 million for AIDS.''

The National Academy of Sciences, in a special report last October, urged expenditure of $1 billion for AIDS education and $1 billion for research annually by 1990. The report chastised the administration for a lackluster education effort.

Until last week, Reagan delegated visibility on AIDS policy to four physicians at the Department of Health and Human Services: Secretary Otis Bowen, Assistant Secretary Robert Windom, FDA Commissioner Frank Young and Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

Dr. June Osborn, epidemiologist and dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said she found no surprises in Reagan's comments Wednesday. ''I was sorely disappointed,'' Osborn said. ''The speech signals no change on Reagan's part -- that's the problem. People were looking forward to some federal leadership,'' Osborn said.

In his speech Wednesday, Reagan advocated a modest federal role in AIDS education: ''It must be to give educators accurate information about the disease. How that information is used must be up to schools and parents.''

Reagan stressed instruction in morality as a complement to AIDS education. He told reporters Tuesday that he favored AIDS education ''as long as they teach that one of the answers to it is abstinence-- if you say it's not how you do it, but that you don't do it.''

Stressing the key role of education in the fight against AIDS, Osborn said Reagan's approach to AIDS stood ''in shocking contrast to those of (other) industrialized nations that have frank educational campaigns that assume there are some people who don't practice monogamy and chastity. We owe all citizens-- including those who don't practice monogamy and chastity-- leadership and guidance on AIDS.''

Great Britain, for example, has begun mailing out brochures, posting AIDS warnings on billboards and has been broadcasting AIDS-related messages on television.

Osborn was most critical of a vow Reagan made in his speech: ''I am determined that we'll find a cure for AIDS. ... We'll find a way or make one.''

''He seemed to be saying if we just try hard enough we will get a cure for AIDS,'' Osborn said. ''That's the last thing on the list of promises we should be giving. ... We may never find a cure for the viral disease.''

Fitzwater said Friday that when Reagan referred to a ''cure'' in his speech he was speaking in general terms. ''I think 'cure' was used as a generic word to describe any number of medical solutions to the problem,'' Fitzwater said. ''It was not meant to be a medical term.''

Thomas Stoddard, executive director of the Lambda legal defense and education fund for homosexual issues, said that if Reagan's AIDS speech marked the beginning of a more forthright approach to the issue, ''It is not a promising beginning. His statements were naive and ignorant about AIDS and about the federal government's role in combating the disease.''

Stoddard said that to date only Koop had been ''forthright and frank'' in addressing the AIDS crisis.

''No other official has fully faced up to AIDS,'' Stoddard said. ''He is a hero standing alone.''

Koop has carried a frank anti-AIDS message to audiences across the country, promoting sex education in the early grade school years, and prevention of AIDS through abstinence, monogamy, and for those who practice neither, use of condoms.

His efforts prompted a public scolding in March from conservative Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly and a continuing public disagreement with Education Secretary William Bennett.

The disagreement over AIDS education between Bennett and Koop began in January during a Cabinet-level Domestic Policy Council meeting during which Bennett described the Public Health Service approach as ''morally empty.'' The dispute has since evolved into a gentlemen's agreement to disagree.

Bennett recently told school board officials he doubted the differences would ever be resolved because the issue ''is one where people feel very strongly.''

White House press spokesman Marlin Fitzwater denied that there were major divisions over AIDS within the administration: ''They're coming at it from different perspectives,'' in that Bennett is concerned with educating children and Koop with educating adults about methods.

Koop is approaching it from a public health standpoint, Fitzwater said, while ''Bennett's job is values, education, information, the emotional status'' of AIDS.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, head of the consumer health group Public Citizen Health Research Group, said, ''If Reagan personally would say the kinds of things that his surgeon general is saying, I would have confidence that (Reagan) is doing more than just deceiving the public.''

''I would rather educate (sexually active) kids while they are alive than pray for them after they're dead as Reagan seems to be doing.''

"a swelling freedom tide"

freedom fighters: now we call them terrorists

On Wednesday, my request to sustain the freedom fighters will be submitted which reflects our mutual desire for peace, freedom, and democracy in Nicaragua.

I ask Congress to pass this request- let us be for the people of Nicaragua what Lafayette, Pulaski, and Von Steuben were for our forefathers and the cause of American independence.


So, too, in Afghanistan, the freedom fighters are the key to peace. We support the Mujahadeen. There can be no settlement unless all Soviet troops are removed and the Afghan people are allowed genuine self-determination.


I have made my views on this matter known to Mr. Gorbachev. But not just Nicaragua or Afghanistan. Yes, everywhere we see a swelling freedom tide across the world- freedom fighters rising up... Their cause is our cause. Freedom.

Ronald Reagan - 1988 State of the Union

Planet Reagan

7 June 2004, William Rivers Pitt, truthout

Ronald Reagan is dead now, and everyone is being nice to him. In every aspect, this is appropriate. He was a husband and a father, a beloved member of a family, and he will be missed by those he was close to. His death was long, slow and agonizing because of the Alzheimer's Disease which ruined him, one drop of lucidity at a time. My grandmother died ten years ago almost to the day because of this disease, and this disease took ten years to do its dirty, filthy, wretched work on her.

The dignity and candor of Reagan's farewell letter to the American people was as magnificent a departure from public life as any that has been seen in our history, but the ugly truth of his illness was that he lived on, and on, and on. His family and friends watched as he faded from the world of the real, as the simple dignity afforded to all life collapsed like loose sand behind his ever more vacant eyes. Only those who have seen Alzheimer's Disease invade a mind can know the truth of this. It is a cursed way to die.

In this mourning space, however, there must be room made for the truth. Writer Edward Abbey once said, "The sneakiest form of literary subtlety, in a corrupt society, is to speak the plain truth. The critics will not understand you; the public will not believe you; your fellow writers will shake their heads."

The truth is straightforward: Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye.

How can this be? The television says Ronald Reagan was one of the most beloved Presidents of the 20th century. He won two national elections, the second by a margin so overwhelming that all future landslides will be judged by the high-water mark he achieved against Walter Mondale. How can a man so universally respected have played a hand in the evils which corrupt our days?

The answer lies in the reality of the corrupt society Abbey spoke of. Our corruption is the absolute triumph of image over reality, of flash over substance, of the pervasive need within most Americans to believe in a happy-face version of the nation they call home, and to spurn the reality of our estate as unpatriotic. Ronald Reagan was, and will always be, the undisputed heavyweight champion of salesmen in this regard.

Reagan was able, by virtue of his towering talents in this arena, to sell to the American people a flood of poisonous policies. He made Americans feel good about acting against their own best interests. He sold the American people a lemon, and they drive it to this day as if it was a Cadillac. It isn't the lies that kill us, but the myths, and Ronald Reagan was the greatest myth-maker we are ever likely to see.

Mainstream media journalism today is a shameful joke because of Reagan's deregulation policies. Once upon a time, the Fairness Doctrine ensured that the information we receive - information vital to the ability of the people to govern in the manner intended - came from a wide variety of sources and perspectives. Reagan's policies annihilated the Fairness Doctrine, opening the door for a few mega-corporations to gather journalism unto themselves. Today, Reagan's old bosses at General Electric own three of the most-watched news channels. This company profits from every war we fight, but somehow is trusted to tell the truths of war. Thus, the myths are sold to us.

The deregulation policies of Ronald Reagan did not just deliver journalism to these massive corporations, but handed virtually every facet of our lives into the hands of this privileged few. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are all tainted because Reagan battered down every environmental regulation he came across so corporations could improve their bottom line. Our leaders are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the corporations that were made all-powerful by Reagan's deregulation craze. The Savings and Loan scandal of Reagan's time, which cost the American people hundreds of billions of dollars, is but one example of Reagan's decision that the foxes would be fine guards in the henhouse.

Ronald Reagan believed in small government, despite the fact that he grew government massively during his time. Social programs which protected the weakest of our citizens were gutted by Reagan's policies, delivering millions into despair. Reagan was able to do this by caricaturing the "welfare queen," who punched out babies by the barnload, who drove the flashy car bought with your tax dollars, who refused to work because she didn't have to. This was a vicious, racist lie, one result of which was the decimation of a generation by crack cocaine. The urban poor were left to rot because Ronald Reagan believed in 'self-sufficiency.'

Because Ronald Reagan could not be bothered to fund research into 'gay cancer,' the AIDS virus was allowed to carve out a comfortable home in America. The aftershocks from this callous disregard for people whose homosexuality was deemed evil by religious conservatives cannot be overstated. Beyond the graves of those who died from a disease which was allowed to burn unchecked, there are generations of Americans today living with the subconscious idea that sex equals death.

The veneer of honor and respect painted across the legacy of Ronald Reagan is itself a myth of biblical proportions. The coverage proffered today of the Reagan legacy seldom mentions impropriety until the Iran/Contra scandal appears on the administration timeline. This sin of omission is vast. By the end of his term in office, some 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, indicted or investigated for misconduct and/or criminal activities.

Some of the names on this disgraceful roll-call: Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, Casper Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, Robert C. McFarlane, Michael Deaver, E. Bob Wallach, James Watt, Alan D. Fiers, Clair George, Duane R. Clarridge, Anne Gorscuh Burford, Rita Lavelle, Richard Allen, Richard Beggs, Guy Flake, Louis Glutfrida, Edwin Gray, Max Hugel, Carlos Campbell, John Fedders, Arthur Hayes, J. Lynn Helms, Marjory Mecklenburg, Robert Nimmo, J. William Petro, Thomas C. Reed, Emanuel Savas, Charles Wick. Many of these names are lost to history, but more than a few of them are still with us today, 'rehabilitated' by the administration of George W. Bush.

Ronald Reagan actively supported the regimes of the worst people ever to walk the earth. Names like Marcos, Duarte, Rios Mont and Duvalier reek of blood and corruption, yet were embraced by the Reagan administration with passionate intensity. The ground of many nations is salted with the bones of those murdered by brutal rulers who called Reagan a friend. Who can forget his support of those in South Africa who believed apartheid was the proper way to run a civilized society?

One dictator in particular looms large across our landscape. Saddam Hussein was a creation of Ronald Reagan. The Reagan administration supported the Hussein regime despite his incredible record of atrocity. The Reagan administration gave Hussein intelligence information which helped the Iraqi military use their chemical weapons on the battlefield against Iran to great effect. The deadly bacterial agents sent to Iraq during the Reagan administration are a laundry list of horrors.

The Reagan administration sent an emissary named Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq to shake Saddam Hussein's hand and assure him that, despite public American condemnation of the use of those chemical weapons, the Reagan administration still considered him a welcome friend and ally. This happened while the Reagan administration was selling weapons to Iran, a nation notorious for its support of international terrorism, in secret and in violation of scores of laws.

Another name on Ronald Reagan's roll call is that of Osama bin Laden. The Reagan administration believed it a bully idea to organize an army of Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. bin Laden became the spiritual leader of this action. Throughout the entirety of Reagan's term, bin Laden and his people were armed, funded and trained by the United States. Reagan helped teach Osama bin Laden the lesson he lives by today, that it is possible to bring a superpower to its knees. bin Laden believes this because he has done it once before, thanks to the dedicated help of Ronald Reagan.

In 1998, two American embassies in Africa were blasted into rubble by Osama bin Laden, who used the Semtex sent to Afghanistan by the Reagan administration to do the job. In 2001, Osama bin Laden thrust a dagger into the heart of the United States, using men who became skilled at the art of terrorism with the help of Ronald Reagan. Today, there are 827 American soldiers and over 10,000 civilians who have died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a war that came to be because Reagan helped manufacture both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

How much of this can be truthfully laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan? It depends on who you ask. Those who worship Reagan see him as the man in charge, the man who defeated Soviet communism, the man whose vision and charisma made Americans feel good about themselves after Vietnam and the malaise of the 1970s. Those who despise Reagan see him as nothing more than a pitch-man for corporate raiders, the man who allowed greed to become a virtue, the man who smiled vapidly while allowing his officials to run the government for him.

In the final analysis, however, the legacy of Ronald Reagan - whether he had an active hand in its formulation, or was merely along for the ride - is beyond dispute. His famous question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" is easy to answer. We are not better off than we were four years ago, or eight years ago, or twelve, or twenty. We are a badly damaged state, ruled today by a man who subsists off Reagan's most corrosive final gift to us all: It is the image that matters, and be damned to the truth.

too much consecration

We have had too much consecration,
too little affirmation,

too much: but this, this, this
has been proved heretical,

too little: I know, I feel
the meaning that words hide;

they are anagrams, cryptograms,
little boxes, conditioned

to hatch butterflies...

The Walls Do Not Fall: [39]
1944, H.D.

From the CJR Campain Desk

Remembering Reagan

...there is ample appreciation for Reagan in the blogosphere...but we've been so overwhelmed by the rose-colored television coverage we saw over the weekend we felt compelled to offer up a corrective.

Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

5 June 2004, Steve Gilliard's News Blog

The hagiography started as soon as they announced Reagan's death. How he ended the cold war, how he was a decisive leader, all this nonsense about Reagan which is just ridiculous.

The British have a tradition: when someone dies, their newspaper obituary tells the truth. Americans like to say something kind about the dead, no matter how scummy they were. Even Nixon got a halo in death, where only Hunter Thompson reminded people of who exactly he was and how the honors given him were, well, wrong.

This deification of Reagan began as soon as Clinton took office. There has been pressure to name everything but rest stop toilets after the man. Some right wing cranks wanted to add him to Mount Rushmore, as if FDR didn't exist. They forced his name on an unhappy Washington DC, by renaming the airport, still called by many, National.

So let's get past all the maudlin bullshit and discuss what Reagan really did.


Pakistan test-fires second ballistic missile within week

ISLAMABAD (AFP) Jun 04, 2004

Pakistan Friday conducted its second test of a nuclear-capable missile since India's new government took power a fortnight ago, but President Pervez Musharraf insisted it was meant to silence domestic critics rather than send signals abroad.

The ballistic missile Hatf V, which can can carry nuclear warheads deep inside Indian territory with its range of 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), was successfully test fired early Friday, the military said. It did not reveal the location or exact time of the test.

General Musharraf, who witnessed the test firing, said it was, "not intended to send any political signals outside the country but was necessary for the validation of technical parameters," according to the statement.

"However he did want some of the traditional domestic cynics to take note that under his stewardship, the nuclear program had gone from strength to strength and had been consolidated to a point where its forward direction was clearly defined and irreversible."

The Hatf V is part of a series of Ghauri missiles, which are believed to be based on North Korea's Nodong missile. They were developed by Pakistan's premier nuclear facility Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), which was founded and named after the disgraced architect of Pakistan's atomic bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Domestic critics had expressed fears that the government may be forced by international pressure to scale back its nuclear arsenal after Khan confessed publicy in February to selling nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

His revelations opened up what has been described as the world's worst ever nuclear proliferation scandal.

The intermediate Hatf V was also tested on May 29, just a week after New Delhi's new government was sworn in. The test triggered accusations from India's new Congress-led government that Pakistan was provoking a nuclear arms race.

Pakistan's military however suggested there were more tests to come, saying the latest test was "part of a series of tests planned for the Ghauri missile system."

"These tests dispel the impression being spread by the opposition that the strategic assets are at risk of "roll-back" as a result of investigations against Dr Khan," a senior government official told AFP.

But some analysts read a clear message to India in the past week's two tests.

"It is a general signal to India that we have the capability and we will continue to develop it," defence writer and analyst, retired army officer Ikram Sehgal, told AFP.

India and other neighbours had been notified of the test beforehand, the military statement said.

Pakistan and the new Indian government have vowed to carry forward a 14-month old peace process initiated by India's outgoing prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. They are scheduled to hold their first talks later in June.

Experts will meet in New Delhi on June 19-20 for talks on nuclear confidence building measures. Foreign secretaries will then meet on June 27-28, also in New Delhi, to discuss the Kashmir dispute and security issues.

Nuclear experts estimate Pakistan, which went public as a nuclear power when it conducted nuclear tests in May 1998 in response to tests by India the same month, has an arsenal of 30 to 60 nuclear warheads.

Islamabad says its nuclear program is deterrent-based.

US navy to launch 'show of force' off oil-rich west Africa

LAGOS (AFP) Jun 04, 2004

A US navy carrier battlegroup is to launch a "show of force" in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea off west Africa as part of an unprecedented global operation to demonstrate America's command of the high seas, a US diplomatic source told AFP on Friday.

The foray by a heavily armed battlegroup into the waters off Nigeria, Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea and other African oil producers, comes at a time when fuel prices are topping the US political agenda and security crises in the Gulf region are pushing demands for greater diversification in energy supplies.

The Abuja-based diplomat told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that the Gulf of Guinea was "a place where there is not normally an American presence" and described the operation as "a show of force."

"Operation Summer Pulse '04 aims to demonstrate the capabilities of the US navy; before we only had two or three operations involving aircraft carriers at any one time," he said, adding that now seven carrier groups are to be deployed in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Guinea.

"The navy wants, through this exercise, to demonstrate to the world that even with all its current responsibilities, it can still position half-a-dozen aircraft carriers withh all the neccessary support ships in the four corners of the world at the same time," he said.

In Washington, a statement on the Pentagon website, said: "Beginning this week and continuing through August, the Navy will exercise the full range of skills involved in simultaneously deploying and employing carrier strike groups around the world.

"Summer Pulse '04 will include scheduled deployments, surge operations, joint and international exercises, and other advanced training and port visits," it added, although the Nigerian military told AFP it had no knowledge of any upcoming joint programmes in the Gulf of Guinea.

The US diplomatic source said that future joint exercises were under consideration, but that the planned visit of a US navy admiral had been postponed until "August or September."

Australian ships head to multinational Pacific Rim war games

SYDNEY (AFP) Jun 07, 2004

Three Australian navy ships left Sydney harbor Monday to participate in seven-nation maritime war games near Hawaii.

The guided missile frigate HMAS Newcastle, supply ship HMAS Success and Anzac frigate HMAS Parramatta will make up Australia's contingent in the exercise, Rimpac 2004, to be held next month.

More than 35 ships, seven submarines, 90 aircraft and 17,000 sailors, airmen, marines, soldiers and coastguardsmen from Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Peru, Chile and Britain will participate, the defense ministry said.

"Rimpac will provide the opportunity to practice our warfighting skills in a combined forces situation," said Australian Commodore Davyd Thomas, who will act as deputy commander of the maneuvers.

"We aim to improve our readiness and efficiency in exercising with our allies and friends," he said.

"By enhancing interoperability, Rimpac helps promote stability in the Pacific Rim region," he said.

Next month's war games will be the 19th Rimpac exercise held since 1971.

Reagan's Passing

6 June 2004, Juan Cole, Informed Comment

I did not say anything yesterday about Ronald Reagan's death. The day a person dies he has a right to be left alone.

But yesterday is now history, and Reagan's legacy should not pass without comment.

Reagan had an ability to project a kindly image, and was well liked personally by virtually everyone who knew him, apparently. But it always struck me that he was a mean man. I remember learning, in the late 1960s, of the impact Michael Harrington's The Other America had had on Johnson's War on Poverty. Harrington demonstrated that in the early 1960s there was still hunger in places like Appalachia, deriving from poverty. It was hard for middle class Americans to believe, and Lyndon Johnson, who represented many poor people himself, was galvanized to take action.

I remember seeing a tape of Reagan speaking in California from that era. He said that he had heard that some asserted there was hunger in America. He said it sarcastically. He said, "Sure there is; they're dieting!" or words to that effect. This handsome Hollywood millionnaire making fun of people so poor they sometimes went to bed hungry seemed to me monstrous. I remember his wealthy audience of suburbanites going wild with laughter and applause. I am still not entirely sure what was going on there. Did they think Harrington's and similar studies were lies? Did they blame the poor for being poor, and resent demands on them in the form of a few tax dollars, to address their hunger?

Then when he was president, at one point Reagan tried to cut federal funding for school lunches for the poor. He tried to have ketchup reclassified as a vegetable to save money. Senator Heinz gave a speech against this move. He said that ketchup is a condiment, not a vegetable, and that he should know.

The meanness was reflected, as many readers have noted, in Reagan's "blame the victim" approach to the AIDS crisis. His inability to come to terms with the horrible human tragedy here, or with the emerging science on it, made his health policies ineffective and even destructive.

MORE . . .

I Remember Ronnie

I'm going to stop reading blog comments for a few days. But before I go, I want to say that I am getting the distinct impression that a GREAT NUMBER of people who comment on blogs were in grade school during Reagan's presidency.

I am older. I remember Reagan.

I regret that most of what was written about Reagan in the press- especially in the alternative press- is not available on the Internet today (& if it's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist!).

It was a disgraceful 12 years for America- the years of Reagan and Bush-1.

I can't even begin to express the gratitude, relief- even joy- that I felt when finally it was over and Clinton won the election in 92.

And likewise the horrible sense of dread that descended when the 2000 election was stolen. How many of us commented, in the early days of Bush's first year, "We'll be at war by the end of his first term in office." It was so predictable when the old cast of characters began to take their places in positions of power.

Please don't rely on your fuzzy memories of a grandfatherly Reagan- a smiling, Cronkite-like man with a twinkle in his eye... calmly reading the scripts prepared for him by propagandists. The man on the television speaking to you in your living rooms WAS AN ACTOR!

If you feel the need to mourn, then mourn for the loss of the Reagan character you wanted to believe in. BUT KNOW THAT THIS CHARACTER WAS NOT REAL!

The administrations assembled at the White House during the Reagan/Bush-1 years were every bit as harmful to America as the current administration- but this was a time before the Internet, before endless cable news reporting... it was a very different time... when secrets were more easily kept out of mainstream discourse.

Don't fall for the lies or the revisionism about the Reagan Presidency.

The Reagan/Bush-1 administrations were not that different from the type of Republican leadership we have now. They're all the same breed of Republican; the lyrics may change, but the tune remains the same.

It is our willingness to believe in the myth of their "personable leaders" that enables this wing of the Republican party to ascend to power; and whenever these Republicans gain power, there is more poverty, greater suffering, and usually war.


silence . . . death

Will any of the major networks mention Reagan's six-year silence on AIDS (while over 41,000 Americans were dying?)

1981: 422 US AIDS cases; 159 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1982: 1,614 US AIDS cases; 619 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1983: 4,749 US AIDS cases; 2,122 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1984: 11,055 US AIDS cases; 5,620 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1985: 22,996 US AIDS cases; 12,592 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1986: 42,255 US AIDS cases; 24,669 dead
(US President Ronald Reagan has not mentioned the word "AIDS" in public)

1987: 71,176 US AIDS cases; 41,027 dead
After a six year silence, US President Ronald Reagan uses the word "AIDS" in public for the first time.

1988: 106,994 US AIDS cases; 62,101 dead

1989: 149,902 US AIDS cases; 89,817 dead

1990: 198,466 US AIDS cases; 121,255 dead

Strong presidential leadership during the early years of the epidemic would have saved thousands of American lives.

The Reagan/Bush legacy:

According to the CDC, as of 2007, the total number of people living with HIV infection in the U.S. is estimated to be around 1.1 million. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 597,499 Americans with AIDS have died.

AIDS worldwide



The neo-anti-Semitism of the neoconservatives
5 June 2004, Bouthaina Shaaban, The Daily Star


Politicians and the media exchange statements and articles about what happened and what is happening in Iraq, and whether it was possible to avoid a war that has proved to be disastrous on all levels, as well as unjust for Iraqi people.

Perhaps most important in this regard was the US Secretary of State Colin Powell's declaration that the information he received about weapons of mass destruction and the alleged mobile chemical laboratories in Iraq - on which he based a detailed survey presented to the United Nations Security Council early in 2003 - was not accurate.

But the important question that should be pondered in such a case is who are the people who deliberately gave misleading information and what were their objectives? Is it not highly likely that they could give other misleading information about other issues and other countries, and thus lead the United States toward further disastrous ventures incurring more calamities on the world? It is not a phenomenon that can be bypassed. When misleading information is delivered to the decision-makers of the world's military and economic superpower - deliberately or not - and is adopted by that sole superpower's administration as a basis to wage wars against nations, occupy countries, consequently commit war crimes, violate people's rights and sovereignty and violate international legitimacy, such a phenomenon should be questioned and investigated. Otherwise the whole world will be in real chaos.


The Ugly American

2 June 2004, Charles A. Kupchan


President Bush heads to Europe this week, the beginning of a monthlong diplomatic whirlwind. He starts with a visit to Rome to see the pope and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, heads to France for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, returns to Sea Island, Ga., for the G-8 summit of major industrialized nations and then goes back to Europe for summits with the European Union in Ireland and with NATO in Turkey.

Ordinarily, a first-term incumbent in the homestretch of his bid for reelection would relish a month of high-profile summitry. Americans like their president to be presidential, and globe-trotting on Air Force One usually fits the bill.

But these events will be anything but an opportunity for Bush to revel in diplomatic achievements. The gathering in Normandy is meant to celebrate America's strategic bond with Europe, but holding a eulogy for the Atlantic alliance would be more fitting. The leaders of the G-8 nations will no doubt maintain a facade of unity and declare their shared commitment to bringing about political reform in the Middle East, but only by skirting around the immediate crises in Iraq and in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. At both the E.U. and NATO summits, Bush will be greeted by leaders and publics alike that are deeply skeptical and resentful of Washington's bravado and bluster.

Europe today is home to a rising tide of angry anti-American sentiment. Recent polling by the Pew Research Center indicates that almost two-thirds of the public in France and Germany hold an "unfavorable" opinion of the United States. America's standing in the world has plummeted under Bush's watch, and the Atlantic alliance has been stretched to the breaking point.

Although America and Europe were on a collision course before al-Qaida's attacks on New York and Washington, the angry vulnerability bred by 9/11 made matters much worse. Bush might have capitalized on the outpouring of sympathy in Europe. For the first time in its history, NATO invoked its collective defense clause, with America's European allies ready to participate in the war in Afghanistan. "Thanks, but no thanks" was the response from Washington.

The resulting pique in Europe only mounted as the Bush administration, satisfied-- erroneously-- that it had dealt a debilitating blow to the Taliban and al-Qaida, set its sights on Saddam Hussein. Led by France and Germany, the antiwar coalition in Europe contended that an invasion of Iraq would set back, not advance, the fight against terrorism and that it would flame rather than tame Islamic fervor across the Middle East. Although a few European governments-- the British, Spanish, Italian and Polish most prominent among them-- backed Bush's decision to invade Iraq, public opinion, even in the countries that supported the U.S., was decidedly opposed to the war.

Since the fall of Hussein, Europe's pro-war coalition has markedly weakened for a number of reasons. First, Washington's main justifications for the war quickly evaporated, and, instead, the region is in turmoil and al-Qaida recruitment has jumped. Second, the current violence and chaos in Iraq look much more like occupation than liberation. Finally, the prisoner abuse scandal has provoked outrage across Europe, drying up what little sympathy remained.

Thus far, Spain, deeply shaken by the Madrid bombings, is the only major member of the military coalition in Iraq to head for the exits. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair is fighting for his political life as a result of his relationship with Bush and his support for the war. And Italy's center-left opposition is now calling for the withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq, making Berlusconi's government increasingly unstable.

Poland's prime minister, a supporter of the war, has already stepped down, and President Alexander Kwasniewski is at pains to demonstrate the war's benefits to his electorate. Polish troops are dying in Iraq, Polish firms have yet to receive major reconstruction contracts and Bush has repeatedly rebuffed Kwasniewski's requests that Washington grant Polish tourists visa-free access to the United States.

Bush will arrive in Rome on Friday hoping to resuscitate the Atlantic alliance and get more European help in Iraq-- worthy objectives whose accomplishment would certainly shore up his bid for reelection in November. But he will have no such luck. Instead, he will find a Europe that has no intention whatsoever of bailing him out of the quagmire in Iraq.

At least as troubling, the president will find a Europe that has grown not just anti-Bush, but decidedly anti-American. During a recent visit to Europe, I met an anxious American father who has been living in Germany for over a decade. His children attend local public schools. They are now being taunted and isolated at school because they are Americans. Two weeks ago, a friend entered a dance club in Berlin wearing a pin showing the German and U.S. flags side by side. She was turned away by the bouncer, who announced that he was no fan of German-American friendship.

These are sad commentaries on the damage the Bush administration has done and could potentially still do to America's image abroad. If younger Europeans come of age with anti-American attitudes, the task of rescuing the Atlantic alliance-- to whomever it falls-- may well be out of reach.

Is this a "mission accomplished?"

Complete article: The Ugly American

Worst is yet to come as US pays price of failure

4 June 2004, David Hirst, The Guardian


So in Iraq and Palestine, more obviously than anywhere else, the US has directly or indirectly empowered the very forces - Islamist and nationalist, populist, violent and fanatical - it came to quell, because that is where western interference has gone further than anywhere else.

But such forces are also the progeny of the moral and political bankruptcy of Arab governments, which - in addition to their strictly domestic shortcomings - have collectively failed in what should be the basic duty of any state, the defence of land, people and sovereignty against foreign assault and domination.

From that standpoint, the Islamists, or "Islamo-nationalists", are simply non-state actors who have assumed that duty themselves, with jihad, terror and suicide as their means. A Palestinian scholar said: "They are profiting from a climate in which the Arab masses' greatest joy is to see the US invasion of Iraq becoming ever more painful."

Al-Qaida, the quintessential expression of pan-Arab, pan-Islamic outlook and action, is the most fearsome of those profiteers. America has turned Iraq into the perfect arena for conducting the pan-Islamic struggle against the western infidel and the "apostate" Arab order.

Lebanon's Hizbullah is strictly local in origin and membership, but it enjoys greater region-wide prestige than al-Qaida, because it confined itself to fighting - and besting - Israel in a classical guerrilla war which few but Israelis and America classified as terrorist. It now regards Iraqi resistance as accessory to its own.

Increasingly accused by the Israelis of aiding and abetting Palestinian Islamists, and of accumulating a vast new firepower, it is ready and waiting for a cross-border conflagration; but it wants Israel to start it, so that its re-entry into the jihadist arena is legitimate as well as spectacular.

Iraq cannot but hasten the day. Last week, breaking new ground, the Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced that the struggle against Israel and America was one; he only awaited the call from his Iraqi brethren to join the latter.

An American failure will give also free rein to a whole other category of non-state forces. Some are Islamist too, and hostile to the US, but their defining characteristic is that they are ethnic or sectarian, and hostile to each other. The danger is anarchy and civil war, Lebanese-style.

In 1990 Arab regimes finally put out the Lebanese fire that threatened to burn them all.

But Iraq will be a Lebanon writ large. So pivotal a country at inter-communal loggerheads with itself will infect a whole region replete with potential conflicts. Kurdish disturbances in Syria, stirrings among Shias of the Gulf, are premonitory tremors of convulsions to come.

The flow of oil and the security of Israel are fundamentals of US policy in the Middle East. As its soaring price portends, the spread of the Iraqi contagion to the Gulf will pose a real threat. As for Israel, an American debacle will be very disturbing indeed.

Complete article: Worst is yet to come as US pays price of failure

Active Denial System:

1 June 2004, Greg Gordon, The Sacramento Bee

WASHINGTON - Test subjects can't see the invisible beam from the Pentagon's new, Star Trek-like weapon, but no one has withstood the pain it produces for more than three seconds.

People who volunteered to stand in front of the directed energy beam say they felt as if they were on fire. When they stepped aside, the pain disappeared instantly.

The long-range column of millimeter-wave energy is known as the "Active Denial System" for its ability to prevent an aggressor from advancing. Senior military officials, who plan to deliver the device for troop evaluation this fall, say years of testing has produced no sign it will lead to health effects beyond perhaps causing skin to temporarily redden.

It is among the most potent of a new generation of futuristic, "less-than-lethal" weapons being developed by the Defense Department - tools that could dramatically alter the way police control riots and soldiers fight wars.

Other nonlethal devices undergoing tests include "superlubricants" that could make a road or runway too slippery for car or airplane tires to gain traction; directed sound waves to drive people away from an area; and nets able to stop cars.

Marine Col. David Karcher, who heads the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, says the energy beam is aimed at helping troops and police in confusing situations by offering options "between bullets and a bullhorn."

Marine Capt. Dan McSweeney, a spokesman for the Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, pointed to "instances in Iraq where crowd situations have unfortunately ended in violence" and death.

Karcher and other military officials are trying to alleviate fears that the device might be misused to harm civilians or converted into a torture machine that leaves no marks.

In an attempt to anticipate how the world would greet the new weapon, the Air Force this month asked social science graduate students at the University of Minnesota and other colleges for help.

Researchers were offered $12,000 to spend the summer reviewing literature and assessing how Americans and other cultures might react to its use.

In the solicitation, Maj. Jonathan Drummond of the Air Force's Directed Energy Bioeffects Division noted that the Active Denial System could provide U.S. forces "with a nonlethal capability in military operations other than war." Among possible uses, he listed peacekeeping, humanitarian operations and crowd control.

Introduction of such a device in either noncombat or wartime situations could raise thorny questions: Would it be acceptable to inflict so much pain on unruly protesters? How would such a weapon be viewed if used on crowds in Third World countries? Would it violate international humanitarian principles if used in battle? Might it be used secretly during interrogations to torture suspected terrorists into cooperating?

Karcher said the Active Denial System "is absolutely not designed or intended or built" to be a torture device.

"To use this as any sort of torture device would be in direct violation of" the Pentagon's definition of nonlethal weapons, he said. "Nor, as professionals, would any of us sign up for it."

But in an era of secret interrogations of al-Qaida suspects and revelations of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Executive Director Doug Johnson of the Minneapolis-based Center for Torture Victims is skeptical.

"It seems fundamentally a weapon that's designed to create a great deal of pain and fear," Johnson said. "The concern I would have is ... once this kind of technology is available and there's a perception that it's safe and nonlethal, it seems like a natural device to be used in interrogations.

"Is it torture if it only creates a sensation of pain, but leaves no marks and no long-term damage? I would say yes. Torture is primarily a psychological device, and finding different ways to use the body against the mind has been the struggle of torture technologies for thousands of years."

He said "human history would demonstrate" that once a potential torture technology is available, it usually is put into action.

Karcher and other military officials stressed that the device has received interim approvals from international treaty conventions, has twice passed Pentagon legal reviews and will be subject to clear rules of engagement.

Eleven years in the making at a cost of more than $50 million, the Active Denial System is still years from deployment. It weighs about 4 tons and consists largely of a big dish and antenna that are mounted on a Humvee multipurpose vehicle.

But researchers are hoping to miniaturize it, Karcher said. Air Force officials want to work with the prime contractor, the Raytheon Corp., to design a version that could be mounted on a military transport plane so its beam could cut a broader swath on a battlefield.

Once an operator has aimed the antenna using a scope, the press of a button sends out a column of millimeter-wave, electromagnetic energy at the speed of light. Pentagon officials say that the weapon's exact reach and its column size are classified, but that it can extend beyond the 550-meter effective range of bullets. Its intensity is the same at any distance.

Susan Levine, the Pentagon's project manager for the energy beam, said years of tests on humans and animals enabled researchers to establish a margin of safety. After several seconds, the device automatically shuts off to avoid burning its target, she said.

When the beam hits an individual, it penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin and heats water molecules to 130 degrees in less than a second.

"It tricks the pain sensors into thinking they're on fire," said Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M.

Garcia knows firsthand. He was among hundreds of test volunteers, standing in a doorway with his back facing the device.

"They did a full body back shot," he said. "It hit in the small of my back first. For the first millisecond, it just felt like the skin was warming up. Then it got warmer and warmer and you felt like it was on fire."

He said he lunged out of the doorway.

"As soon as you're away from that beam your skin returns to normal and there is no pain," Garcia said. "I thought to myself, 'Why you wimp. You know it's not causing any damage. You'll be able to override it.' Each of the next three times, I was on there a little bit longer.

"The fourth one was the longest. It was about two seconds. It felt like my hair was on fire."

The beam easily penetrates clothing, he said, because clothes are porous, though a thin suit of armor would block it.

Huge Navy deployment to test emergency plan

3 June 2004, James W. Crawley, San Diego Union-Tribune

Seven aircraft carriers – more than half the nation's flattops – along with several dozen escort ships and about 40,000 sailors will be at sea starting this week for the first demonstration of the Navy's emergency deployment plan. Known as Summer Pulse 04, the exercise includes two carrier strike groups with San Diego ties: the Stennis flotilla, which deployed from North Island Naval Air Station last week on a regular deployment, and the Navy's newest carrier, the Ronald Reagan, which is heading for its new home port in San Diego.

The seven carriers – virtually every aircraft carrier that can sail – will be at sea during all or part of the exercise, which ends in August. Besides the local warships, the George Washington, Kitty Hawk, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Enterprise strike groups will participate. Most of the carriers will be escorted by four to six smaller ships.

"It's pretty significant, but (the Navy) hasn't done a good job of explaining how significant it is," said John Pike, director of, an independent think tank in Alexandria. Va. It's the first time since Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 that so many of the Navy's carriers have been at sea at once.

The exercise's purpose is to demonstrate the Navy's post-Iraq deployment scheme, called the Fleet Response Plan. Central to the new operating plan is the Navy's ability to "pulse" or "surge" its aircraft carriers to one or more trouble areas simultaneously. The plan says the Navy will deploy up to six carrier strike groups within 30 days of receiving orders and, within 90 days, two more carrier groups. So, in three months, according to the plan, the Navy could have two-thirds of its carriers steaming near a war zone.

Not only will the Navy be coordinating the movement of several dozen ships around the world, but also keeping them supplied simultaneously with everything from aircraft spare parts to fuel to food. Only two of the seven carriers, the Kennedy and Enterprise, will be sent to sea on short notice. The other warships were already on routine deployments or had planned training exercises for this summer.

The Enterprise leaves today from its Norfolk, Va., base, while the Kennedy will depart from its Florida port in a few weeks. The Truman left Tuesday from Norfolk for previously scheduled training.

While the demonstration, which strings together several already-planned exercises, may not be overly realistic, Pike said it will be useful because it will show the world that the Navy can deploy on short notice. "They have to take it out for a spin," he said.

While the Navy has 12 giant carriers, each capable of launching upward of 75 aircraft including fighters and bombers, normally only two or three have been deployed at the same time during peacetime. The rest were training for cruises or in port for maintenance. Four carriers, including the San Diego-based Nimitz, are undergoing overhauls – lasting weeks, months and, in one case, three years – and are unavailable for a quick departure. The Nimitz, which returned from deployment in November, is being repaired and upgraded at North Island Naval Air Station and is expected to return to service in August.

Four Legs Good

Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals. It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called, though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty) was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour's sleep in order to hear what he had to say.

At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the other animals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their different fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselves on the window-sills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel, the white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark - for instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at. Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking.

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major's speech without listening to a word of what he was saying.

All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that they had all made themselves comfortable and were waiting attentively, he cleared his throat and began ...

Josh on Tenet

3 June 2004, Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

Word has been out for some time that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on intelligence failures is terrible for Tenet. So that could be a cause of his resignation.

For my part, Tenet strikes me as a sort of tragic figure. Under his tenure the CIA got many things wrong about Iraq -- though largely by making estimates in the direction his critics, who now want him sacked, embraced. (A person who's intimately knowledgeable about this intel stuff recently told me that their sense was that the CIA would have gotten a lot of the basic intel stuff wrong without any help from Chalabi.) Then, on top of these errors, the White House added further gross exaggerations, which in many instances Tenet tried to knock down.

Now he's the fall-guy for it all, in all likelihood made to take the fall by the true bad-actors.

Having said all that, beside the possibility that the White House's favored Iraqi exile was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country's own spies, I'd say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine.

more ...

The Source of the Trouble

Franklin Foer, New York Magazine [7 June 2004]

For critics of the Iraq war, the downfall of Ahmad Chalabi occasioned a hearty, unapologetic outpouring of Schadenfreude-- a loud cheer for a well-deserved knee to the administration's gut. In fact, it was possible to detect a bit of this spirit on the front page of the New York Times. On May 21, the editors arrayed contrasting images of the banker turned freedom fighter turned putative Iranian spy. Here he is smirking behind Laura Bush in the House of Representatives gallery as the president delivers his State of the Union address. There he is looking bleary and sweaty, after Iraqi police stormed his home and office in the middle of the night. An analysis by David Sanger went so far as to name names of individuals who had associated themselves with the discredited leader of the Iraqi National Congress. The list, he wrote, included "many of the men who came to dominate the top ranks of the Bush administration . . . Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Douglas J. Feith, Richard L. Armitage, Elliott Abrams and Zalmay M. Khalilzad, among others."

The phrase "among others" is a highly evocative one. Because that list of credulous Chalabi allies could include the New York Times' own reporter, Judith Miller. During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein's ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by Chalabi and his allies-- almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.


29 May 2004, Jane Mayer, The New Yorker