"Why Isn't There Effective Opposition to the War In Iraq?"
Why Would Anyone Expect There to Be? - Shining a Light on Some Fundamental Issues Facing America Today

January, 2003


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By Jeff Golden

A recent editorial in the New York Times by George Packer1 attempts to explore an issue that is very troubling to a great many people -- and should be to many more -- namely, why the antiwar movement in the United States seems so ineffective in the face of the march to war in Iraq. It's an extremely valuable article, though not for the reasons the author intended.

The limited cultural lens through which Packer addresses the topic offers clues to the true answer to his question and the lack of depth in the article hints at issues that run much deeper, and fouler, in American society today.

Consider Packer's lead-in: "On October 26, tens of thousands of people turned out in San Francisco, Washington and other cities to protest against a war." The New York Times reported on October 30 that the DC protest alone "drew 100,000 by police estimates and 200,000 by organizers." Does Packer not know his subject? Or did he choose to mislead his readers?2

Mere sentences later Packer denounces the "unnuanced slogans" from the peace rallies, like "No blood for oil" and "No sanctions, no bombing." Yet in the preceding sentence he writes that "this movement has a serious liability… it's controlled by the furthest reaches of the American left." Controlled? Packer's lack of nuance here leaves one unsure what to do with his criticism of the slogans.

Packer's language certainly tugs at the emotions -- I confess they fill me with disdain for the totalitarian American left -- but why does he resort to this? Why won't he engage our intellect?

Packer's article is a shining example of the cultural blinders through which most of us perceive the world and of how difficult it is to get outside the mainstream perspective in which most of us have been raised and educated. A truly meaningful analysis of why there is no effective opposition to the war in Iraq demands exploring a spectrum of issues relating to the state of media and politics, wealth and culture in the United States today. And this, in the end, is what makes Packer's article so valuable. The question he asks is critical not only for its bearing on this grave matter of war but as a window onto some of the more profound and fundamental issues facing the United States -- and thus the world -- today.

And for those who are used to receiving their information about the world from the nightly news or the local daily, it may require challenging deeply held perceptions about democracy in America and probing some of its less flattering but urgent truths. To do so can be overwhelming (for which I offer an antidote of abundant footnotes), but ultimately, addressing these issues is critical not only for the future of Iraq but of America and the world in general.


 



SECTIONS

I. Americans Think They Lack Political Efficacy
II. Americans DO Lack Political Efficacy
III. Money Buys Speech as Well as Politicians
IV. Lots of Money Buys 35-50% of Speech (and Counting)
V. When Billions Are At Stake, You'd Best Keep That Watchdog On a Short Leash
VI. Journalists and Their Stories Flow From and Feed Into the Mainstream
VII. Conservative White Males Have Greater Power In Society At Large, and It's No Different in Media
VIII. Focused Big Interests (the Military-Industrial Complex) Trump Broad Small Interests (the Average Citizen)
IX. Disinterest Can Be More Harmful Than Self-Interest
X. Invigorating American Democracy


 


 
 
I. Americans Think They Lack Political Efficacy

Let's start with We the People. A fundamental part of why Americans are not rallying to prevent a war in Iraq in any proportion to the percentage that reportedly oppose it is that we have lost our sense of political efficacy. Most Americans don't need to be told this, most of us are living it, with less than 50% of us having voted in 2002. 59% of Americans think elections are "for sale" while 37% believe elections are won "on the basis of who is the best candidate." 77% believe that contributions have the greatest influence on politicians' decisions while only 19% think "the best interests of the country" are more influential.3

II. Americans DO Lack Political Efficacy

This perceived lack of efficacy would be a matter of concern if it didn't so accurately reflect the truth. The average American -- not to mention the more than 32 million who live in poverty earning less than $8500 annually -- has vastly less influence over our government than those in the upper class, and even they have far less power than our extremely wealthy.

It's the reason the nation collectively rolls its eyes when we hear about the energy companies like Enron (the top contributor to the Bush campaign in 2000) that helped Vice President Cheney write the Administration's energy policies and got some of their requests inserted verbatim. Or when President Clinton passed out evenings in the Lincoln bedroom to big donors. Or when Congress bailed out the savings and loans to the tune of $157 billion in bonds that will be paid back by taxpayers over thirty years with interest.

Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton, in referring to this "growing tendency of policy and policy makers to cater to the interests of the wealthy," cited comments made by Senator Phil Gramm and Daniel Mitchell of the Heritage Foundation. When the Senate debated a proposed measure that would impose a one-time capital gains tax on Americans who renounce their citizenship in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes, Gramm declared that the proposal was ''right out of Nazi Germany.'' Meanwhile, Mitchell wrote in The Washington Times that a bill designed to prevent corporations from rechartering abroad for tax purposes was akin to the ''Dred Scott tax bill.''

"Twenty years ago, would a prominent senator have likened those who want wealthy people to pay taxes to Nazis? Would a member of a think tank with close ties to the administration have drawn a parallel between corporate taxation and slavery? I don't think so."4

It's telling that the problem of money in politics has grown so significant that we have both liberal and conservative groups battling for campaign finance reform as well as railing against corporate welfare, one of the most obvious symptoms of the influence of money in politics. The conservative Cato Institute has condemned the $250 billion to $300 billion a year spent on corporate welfare.5 Among the many examples they cited was that of the U.S. Forest Service spending $140 million building roads for logging companies in 1994. "Over the last 20 years, the Forest Service has built 340,000 miles of roads -- more than eight times the length of the federal interstate highway system -- all for the benefit of logging companies."

The progressive organization Common Cause, not to be outdone, has called attention to countless other examples of corporate welfare including the $250 million that went to Getty Oil, Pacific Power, and other private oil companies over a five year period through below-market fees for using public lands.6

Unfortunately it seems the problem of money-drenched politics is going to get worse before it gets better. The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics reported that in the 2002 elections less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the U.S. population gave 83 percent of all itemized campaign contributions.7

III. Money Buys Speech as Well as Politicians

While Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and TV's The West Wing may seem to portray an idealism in politics that exists only in Hollywood, let's be clear that politicians don't make all their decisions based on who pays to get them elected. To assert such would not only be ungracious to those who take principled stands in service of society, but would tend to promote responses that are misguided and may even reinforce the real underlying problems.

One of those underlying problems is that money buys more than politicians, it buys speech, which is far from free if you want to do more than carry a sign in the street. Again, hats off to Paul Krugman who articulated this problem succinctly in the New York Times:

"It is no accident that strongly conservative views, views that militate against taxes on the rich, have spread even as the rich get richer compared with the rest of us: in addition to directly buying influence, money can be used to shape public perceptions. The liberal group People for the American Way's report on how conservative foundations have deployed vast sums to support think tanks, friendly media and other institutions that promote right-wing causes is titled ''Buying a Movement.''

"Not to put too fine a point on it: as the rich get richer, they can buy a lot of things besides goods and services. Money buys political influence; used cleverly, it also buys intellectual influence..."8

It is troubling to see monied people significantly impacting the debate on critical national issues, regardless of their political persuasion. And while we can assume that liberal groups are just as eager to influence politics as conservative ones, conservative groups seem to be the ones effectively throwing their wealth around. The report Krugman refers to, "Buying a Movement," is important because it articulates two significant distinctions that mark the millions of dollars conservative foundations channel into national think tanks, universities, journals, television and radio networks and programs every year. The first is that "large grants, often in excess of $1 million, are commonplace in conservative circles, while comparatively rare among liberal political groups." The second is that conservative foundations have "overt political and ideological agendas and invest comprehensively to promote a given issue on every front. In the words of the director of one foundation, the right understands that government policies are based on information from "a conveyer belt of thinkers, academics and activists," and provides funding accordingly.

"A glance at a single program area makes the point. A recent article written by In These Times associate publisher Beth Schulman, published in EXTRA! magazine, revealed that right-wing foundations had poured some $2.7 million into four conservative publications (The New Criterion, National Interest, Public Interest, and American Spectator), while their progressive counterparts (The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, and In These Times) received less than ten percent of that amount in foundation grants."9

It's difficult to measure how the ripples from such efforts affect each of us and our perceptions, and thus the collective political culture of the United States. However, people of all political bents should be greatly concerned at how uneven the playing field is in the US when it comes to political discourse.

IV. Lots of Money Buys 35-50% of Speech (and Counting)

If the power of money to buy speech and inordinately shape public opinion seems somehow undemocratic, then it is downright anti-apple pie that a small number of large corporations have used their money to buy huge numbers of media outlets across the country, giving them tremendous power to select and shape the information that reaches most Americans.

Salon.com captures the situation very well.

"Some days it seems we're living in a Lewis Carroll world, where nothing is as it seems. In the new media era, there are more and more information channels, but less and less knowledge. You can hop from your drive-time station to your eyewitness news channel to your favorite news portal to your morning paper, without significantly expanding your grasp of the world. Curiouser and curiouser indeed.

"Part of this comes from the fact that our media outlets are increasingly owned by the same five or six media colossi -- AOL Time Warner [CNN], Microsoft/MSNBC/MSN, Disney/ABC, Viacom/CBS/MTV, [Rupert Murdoch/FOX] etc. In the interests of amassing the greatest numbers of consumers at the lowest cost, these info-giants have learned to stamp out their content products with mind-numbing uniformity and a relentless aversion to controversy. Just as McDonald's fries taste the same in Bakersfield as they do in Bangor, so do these corporate news products, whether it's a Gannett paper in Phoenix or a CBS affiliate in Buffalo."10 [Bracketed comments inserted]

To help round out a sense of what this media consolidation looks like, consider that:

  • In 2000 ten companies owned newspapers that distributed more than 51 percent of the nation's weekday circulation.11 34 of the country's top 100 newspapers were owned by Gannett, Knight-Ridder, and the Tribune.12
  • Two-thirds of all newspaper markets and one-seventh of TV markets are monopolies.13
  • Two companies, Clear Channel and Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting, together control one-third of all radio advertising revenue; in some individual markets their stations command nearly 90 percent of the ad dollars.14
As with the influence of money in politics, it appears the influence of money in media is going to get worse before it gets better. There is a 60-year old Federal Communications Commission rule that limits the number of broadcast TV stations a single company can own. The cap is currently set so that a single company cannot reach more than 35 percent of the national TV audience. It has been proposed that this be raised to 50%, something the head of the FCC, Michael Powell (son of Secretary of State Colin Powell) seems to support. The FCC is also considering a rule change that would allow joint ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets."15

V. When Billions Are At Stake, You'd Best Keep That Watchdog On a Short Leash

When a small number of conglomerates provide most of our information, we should not be surprised when the news we receive is pretty homogeneous. And when those media conglomerates have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in hundreds of thousands of different products and services, we should not be surprised if the news they deliver is rather toothless.

Toothless, first, because there is the obvious conflict of interest in trying to investigate and report news relating to those products and services or the activities of the subsidiary companies. We're not talking about the media being in bed with companies with specific profit motives, we're talking about them being one and the same. And in many cases those profit motives are related directly to military matters. General Electric, which owns NBC, received nearly $2 billion in U.S. military contracts for systems employed in the Gulf War effort.16

But just as important, if not more so, the news is toothless because of the conflict of interest in trying to investigate and report news about the government while the government is daily making decisions that affect these conglomerates' bottom line -- to the tune of billions of dollars. How important is it for them to get along with the government? Consider how much money they give to politicians to curry favor. For the two year cycle leading up to the 2002 elections they gave:17

AOL Time Warner (CNN) - $400,000
Disney (ABC) - $550,000
Viacom (CBS) - $1,000,000
GE (NBC) - $470,000
News Corporation (FOX) - $700,000

A couple specific examples of the symbiotic relationship between politicians and the media conglomerates are are too good to pass up. In 1997 when Disney was seeking to extend its exclusive control over characters like Mickey Mouse by extending the copyright term from 75 to 95 years, it gave $150,000 to political campaigns. The Copyright Term Extension Act was introduced that year. Of the twelve sponsors of the Senate bill, nine received contributions from Disney, of the thirteen sponsors of the House bill, ten received contributions from Disney. Ranking Judiciary Democrat Patrick Leahy received $17,650 in personal contributions from Disney CEO Michael Eisner and 23 other Disney employees. Eisner took his lobbying directly to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and one week after they met, the Disney PAC gave $1000 to Lott, the same day he signed on as a co-sponsor.18

In February 2000, prior to a senate hearing to decide whether the AOL Time Warner merger was legal, a senior vice president at Time Warner gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee. The next month, another Time Warner executive gave $50,000 to the same organization, and in June, the president of Time Warner gave $50,000 to the Republican National Committee.19 In case you hadn't heard, the merger was approved.

Just how large and exposed are these corporations? Here's an abbreviated list of the companies owned by some of the major media conglomerates.20

AOL/Time Warner

TV
CNN
WB Television
TBS
HBO
TNT

Film
Warner Brothers
Castle Rock
New Line

Publishing
Time
Life
Fortune
Sports Illustrated
Money
People

Internet
AOL
Netscape
Mapquest

Recreation
Goodwill Games
Atlanta Braves

Music
Atlantic Records

Walt Disney Co.

 
TV
ABC
Disney Channel
ESPN (80%)

Film
Walt Disney
Touchstone
Miramax
Caravan

Publishing
Hyperion Books

Internet
Go Network
Disney Internet Grp

Recreation
Disneyland/World
Anaheim Ducks

Music
Buena Vista
Mammoth

Viacom

 
TV/Radio
CBS
MTV
BET
Nickelodeon
VH1
Showtime
Infinity B'dcasting

Film
United Cinemas
Blockbuster Video

Publishing
Simon & Schuster
Scribner

Recreation
Paramount Parks

GE

 
TV
NBC
MSNBC
History Channel
Bravo

Other
GE Capital Services
GE Industrial Services
GE Satellite/
Communications

News Corporation

TV
Fox

Film
20th Century Fox

Publishing
Harper Collins
NY Post
TV Guide (partial)
Major holdings world wide

Internet
New Internet Services

Recreation
LA Dodgers

VI. Journalists and Their Stories Flow From and Feed Into the Mainstream

Just as politicians don't make all their decisions based on who's paying them, journalists don't select and shape all of their articles according to what's going to make their company the most money. The US should be proud of its muckraking history. Indeed, it's that very history that inspires so many journalists to join and stick with the profession -- and it's thanks to them that we have most of the information in this article.

Yet even when journalists are not limited by conflicts of interest in covering a parent company or the government, there is still a powerful stifling of political discourse within major media, both intentional and not. The intentional aspect gets talked about quite a lot -- the vast majority of media is for-profit and the bottom line drives what gets covered and what kind of profile it's given. This leads to an oft criticized sensationalism and "shoot first (page A1), correct later (page D8)" syndrome that affects all media, though some strive to fight it and others to perfect it.

But just as important is the limited political and cultural perspective journalists themselves bring to the job. The topics on which they choose to focus, the sources they use to inform their reports, and the way they shape their information is all a direct result of their own values and perspectives, which tend to be pretty homogeneous in the grand scheme of things.

Consider, first, the reliance on government sources both for story topics and for information. Steven Rosenfeld refers to this as "reporting by stenography."

"A top legislator makes some pronouncement. The fact the president or a senator or congressman speaks out needs to be reported, the journalist will say, to establish 'the record.' That's the top half of a typical wire service story… The quoted politician has just dictated the topic of the article."21

And as for how the stories are shaped, politicians and government officials again play by far the greatest role in providing source information. A study by the non-partisan media analysis firm, Media Tenor22 , showed that for all reports in 2001 on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News:

  • Top politicians were "the dominant sources of opinion on the network evening news, making up one in three Americans (and more than one in four of all sources) who were quoted on all topics throughout the year."
  • ""Unclassified citizens"-- a category that can be used as a proxy for ordinary Americans-- were the most common individual type of source, providing 20 percent of all quotes. While it's valuable to hear the voices of ordinary citizens on the nightly news, the context in which most of their soundbites appeared makes it unlikely that their viewpoints did much to shape the nation's political debate: They were more often presented in human interest stories, crime reports and entertainment news than in all "hard" news topics combined."
  • "The next largest categories of sources on the nightly news were various professional or expert voices of industry, science and government. The most common among these were corporate representatives, providing 7 percent of all sources, along with economists and academics, also at 7 percent; the visibility of these categories reflects the networks' heavy coverage of business and financial stories."
  • "Non-partisan government employees and officials-- such as Environmental Protection Agency representatives, National Security Council spokespersons and mail carriers (especially in the midst of the Anthrax attacks)-- were the next most quoted sources (6 percent)."
  • "Representatives of non-governmental organizations, which might have provided an alternative perspective to the U.S. government, business community or establishment experts, made up only 3 percent of the sources. Not all of these were from organizations that were likely to challenge the status quo, however; groups represented ranged from the United Nations and Human Rights Watch to the Christian Coalition and the National Rifle Association."

A particularly timely, though decades-old, example of the impact this reliance on government information can have is provided by Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

"On Aug. 5, 1964, American news media reported that North Vietnamese forces -- for the second time in three days -- had launched unprovoked attacks on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf.

"Across the United States, front pages presented fabrications as facts. The New York Times proclaimed that the U.S. government was retaliating "after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin." The Washington Post's headline typified the national spin: "American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression."

"Two days later, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution -- the closest thing there ever was to a declaration of war against North Vietnam -- gained nearly unanimous approval from Congress. The resolution authorized the president "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

"But the attack by North Vietnam on Aug. 2 wasn't "unprovoked." And the "second attack" never occurred."23

Lest the similarities between these pre-Vietnam reports and current pre-Iraq reports be lost, consider two of the top motivations for Americans who support a war in Iraq -- Iraq's support for al Qaeda and its development of chemical and biological weapons, both matters that have been in the headlines for months now and about which most Americans could probably opine. Trouble is they don't exist. Or at least there's no evidence they do. Why would reporters not make this clear? Better question: why would they actively downplay it? In October, 2002, CNN's Connie Chung took a U.S. congress-member to task for doubting President Bush's claims on exactly these points.

"After Rep. Mike Thompson (D.-Calif.) told Chung that there seemed to be no evidence that Iraq posed an immediate danger to the people of the United States or its allies, the anchor responded, "Well, let's listen to something that President Bush said tonight, and you tell me if this doesn't provide you with the evidence that you want."

"She then aired a clip from the speech that Bush made in Cincinnati:

""Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attack. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making, in poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America."

"After this soundbite, Chung continued: "Congressman, doesn't that tell you that an invasion of Iraq is justified?"

"Thompson began to respond: "Connie, we haven't seen any proof that any of this has happened. I have sat through all the classified briefings on the Armed Services...."

"But this questioning of what Bush said appeared to be too much for Chung. She interrupted Thompson's answer, saying, "You mean you don't believe what President Bush just said? With all due respect....you know... I mean, what..."

"Faced with Chung's obvious alarm that someone might not take Bush's word as definitive proof, Thompson tried to reassure her: "No, no, that's not what I said.... I said that there has been nothing in the committee hearing briefings that have substantiated this. If there is substantiation, we need to see that in Congress, not hear it over the television monitor."

"Later in the broadcast, Chung returned to the question of whether Thompson trusted Bush, suggesting that skepticism toward Bush was equivalent to an endorsement of Saddam Hussein:

""Congressman Thompson, there are those who believe that you and your two colleagues who went to Iraq came back with the basic position of President Bush may be trying to tell you something that in his effort to get approval for an invasion in Iraq, that you shouldn't believe. So it sounds almost as if you're asking the American public, 'Believe Saddam Hussein, don't believe President Bush.' "24

As the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting article on this matter goes on to point out, Chung might have better served her audience by looking into whether Bush's statement was trustworthy, as two reporters for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain did. They interviewed more than a dozen military, intelligence and diplomatic officials and reported back the very day after Chung's interview.

"These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses-- including distorting his links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network-- have overstated the amount of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East. They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary…"

"The officials said there's no ironclad evidence that the Iraqi regime and the terrorist network are working together or that Saddam has ever contemplated giving chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda, with whom he has deep ideological differences…"

"No one who was interviewed disagreed…"25

At least the Bush quote did not have him repeating his claim from a month earlier citing an International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iraq was "six months away from developing a weapon." ("I don't know what more evidence we need.") The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, "there's never been a report" asserting such.26

The critical point here is not that there may not be reasons for the US to go to war against Iraq or that Saddam might not eventually be found to possess chemical or biological weapons. But the fact that we do not know one way or the other and yet the media has largely jumped on board with the government line is absolutely detrimental to a healthy democratic society. The government's veracity should absolutely be questioned, most of all by the media. Not only is that a fair role for the media -- and for the average citizen -- to play, our government has given us plenty of evidence of its bias and willingness to deceive, whether Democratic or Republican. Our last war in Iraq is fertile ground for examples of both.

In the summer of 1990 the first Bush administration asserted that Iraq had sent more than 360,000 troops into Kuwait and that they were massing at the Saudi Arabian border in preparation for an invasion. This and subsequent statements indicating that the number had risen to 545,000 were crucial in creating a political climate in the US that would support the war. Unfortunately, it turns out these were false reports.

Even if one uses the highest estimates available for the number of Iraqi soliders that were killed (100,000), that were captured (85,000), and that deserted (75,000), it still only adds up to 260,000 Iraqis, 80,000 less than the administration stated in 1990 and 285,000 less than it stated in 1991 just days before commencing military action. Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg Times reported that "Even at the Defense Department, officials acknowledge that in counting Iraqi noses, they haven't been able to make one and one equal two. 'That's pointed out to us in discussions around here almost every day,' a department spokesman said."27

The St. Petersburg Times, which brought these numbers to the public, also published satellite photographs eleven days before the war began that not only raised serious doubts of a significant Iraqi presence in Kuwait, but that also contradicted the report of their massing on the Saudi border. A Newsday article from the same time cited a US "senior commander" who admitted that reports of a major Iraqi troop mobilization were exaggerated, saying, "There was a great disinformation campaign surrounding this war."28 The Defense Department has never released any evidence rebutting these findings.

This is just one of innumerable examples of the US government misleading the public that go back as far as its founding. So how to account for Connie Chung's reaction in the face of an informed Congressman challenging the Bush administration's story? How to account for George Packer, the catalyst for this article, citing the number of protestors against a war in Iraq as tens of thousands when his own paper cited over 100,000 in DC alone? Indeed, how to account for the countless examples of journalists seeming to actively support the government line and disregard or even attack valid information that contradicts the government line?

It doesn't take such a grand conspiracy theory to account for something that is all too natural, yet very dangerous for a democracy. On these, as in other matters, journalists shape coverage of an issue according to their own perspectives and values, which means that all-too-often they take the government line and run with it.

VII. Conservative White Males Have Greater Power In Society At Large, and It's No Different in Media

That the perspectives and values of journalists and their sources shape their coverage means not only that the government line gets a whole lot of play, but that the perspectives and values of the most powerful sector of our society, conservative white men, get a whole lot of play as well. The Media Tenor report that documented sources on the three major nightly news programs also revealed the following:

  • Of sources who had an identifiable partisan affiliation, 75 percent were Republican and 24 percent Democrats. A mere 1 percent were third-party representatives or independents.
  • Women made up only 15 percent of total sources, and only 9 percent of the professional and political voices that were presented, while more than half the women featured were presented as average Americans.
  • Even in coverage of gender-related policies (which made up 0.2 percent of coverage), women made up only 43 percent of the sources. On such issues as equal opportunity, gender equality and discrimination, partisan sources, all of whom were men, made up 24 percent of the total; 71 percent of these were Republicans and 29 percent Democrats. Women were presented as non-expert citizens 77 percent of the time in gender stories whereas men spoke as experts in their fields 100 percent of the time in such stories.
  • Among U.S. sources for whom race was determinable, whites made up 92 percent of the total, blacks 7 percent, Latinos and Arab-Americans 0.6 percent each, and Asian-Americans 0.2 percent. (According to the 2000 census, the U.S. population is 69 percent non-Hispanic white, 13 percent Hispanic, 12 percent black and 4 percent Asian.) A single source who appeared once was the only Native American identified as appearing on the nightly news in 2001-- 0.008 percent of total sources. The racial minorities presented were disproportionately ordinary citizens rather than authorities or experts.
  • Even on racial issues like affirmative action, racism and asylum policy (which made up 0.9 percent of overall coverage), the majority group was still afforded far greater opportunity to televise their opinions than the populations most directly affected by those issues. White Americans made up 68 percent of sources on such stories, followed by residents of Latin America (14 percent), African-Americans (7 percent), U.S. Latinos and people of the Middle East (3 percent each).29
According to a 2001 report released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), minorities own 4% of the commercial radio stations in the US, over half of which are lower-powered AM stations, and 2% of the commercial television stations. Minority ownership in cable television has traditionally been all but nonexistent.30

Such homogeneous representation has significant repercussions for how political discourse evolves in the US in general, and this is no less true with regards to Iraq. To cite just one example, "While a majority of both men and women support military action, generally, 61 percent of men favor it even if it results in substantial U.S. casualties, while just 37 percent of women still support it in such a case. A majority of men still back action if it resulted in substantial Iraqi civilian casualties, while only 40 percent of women still do in that case."31

More starkly yet, only 19.2 percent of Blacks support a U.S. war with Iraq32, while a poll of latinos in New York and California showed support for the war at 32%.33 How might the national debate on the war on Iraq be different if more women or people of color were covering it?

VIII. Focused Big Interests (the Military-Industrial Complex) Trump Broad Small Interests (the Average Citizen)

"…We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex… We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

- Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 196134

At more than $270 billion per year, the U.S. military budget is higher today than it was when Eisenhower gave this speech (adjusted for inflation).35 In 2002, the United States spent as much on the military as the next 20 countries combined.36 Together with its allies, the US accounts for nearly 80 percent of the world's military expenditures.37

What could justify such extreme levels of spending?

The line goes that the US needs to be ready to fight two simultaneous wars at any time, that to be ready to engage in one war but not a second would leave us exposed to the threats and manipulations of other potential adversaries should we ever find ourselves drawn into a first war. And to be ready for two wars demands massive expenditures. Yet consider that:

  • Pentagon budget analyst Franklin Spinney has argued publicly that "The two-war strategy is just a marketing device to justify a high budget."38
  • The former Air Force Chief of Staff (active during the Persian Gulf War), Merrill McPeak, has asserted, "We should walk away from the two war strategy" and opt for a smaller military able to prevail in a single, major conflict while deterring would-be foes from starting a second. "Neither our historical experience nor our common sense leads us to think we need to do this [follow the two-war strategy]."39
  • Lawrence Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration, has argued that even if one accepts the two-war argument, there is still room to cut at least $40 billion from the Pentagon budget.40
  • The nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments adds that the approved military budget ran about $20 billion more than what the Pentagon itself requested based on the two-war strategy during Fiscal Years 1996-1998.41
So if the US doesn't really need to spend all that money on the military, two-war strategy or not, what's going on?

There is a principle in political science (it probably has a great name but I don't know what it is) that when you have a group of people with a very strong interest in a matter, even if there is a vastly greater number that has a contrary opinion but their interest in the matter is not strong, the interested group will exert significant effort to influence the course of events and they will generally be successful.

$270 billion per year constitutes a pretty strong interest for the Pentagon and the private defense sector that works with it, and the "Big Three" weapons makers, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon, alone received over $30 billion per year in Pentagon contracts in the late 90's.42

Defense contractors don't leave these kinds of allocations to chance. Besides extensive lobbying efforts -- the six biggest defense contractors spent $51 million in lobbying in a sample two year period43 -- there are three big carrots that keep politicians invested in this extreme military spending.

Carrot One: Personal and Collegial Profit - Consider an example. President Bush's father, the former President Bush, and his former Secretary of State James Baker both work for the Carlyle Group, an equity investment firm with billions of dollars in military and aerospace assets. The Group is headed by Frank Carlucci, the Secretary of Defense for the Reagan administration and a close friend of the current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.44 There are many examples like this, but the most notorious is certainly Vice President Cheney's relationship with Halliburton. After a career in politics leading up to his service as the Secretary of Defense under the first President Bush, Cheney went on to become the CEO of Halliburton, an oil-field supply corporation from. He was joined in his five years at Halliburton by his former Chief of Staff at the Defense Department who served on as Halliburton's VP of Government Relations. During their tenure:

  • Halliburton won $2.3 billion in US government contracts, almost double what it made in the five years prior and received $2 billion in taxpayer-insured loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp., compared with $100 million in government loans in the five years prior.45
  • Halliburton signed contracts worth $73 million with Iraq and did business with such countries as Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.46
  • Cheney accrued salary and stock options worth an estimated $45 million and, upon resigning from Halliburton to run with Bush, he "received what amounted to a $20 million parting gift. Halliburton's board waived a requirement that Cheney would lose many of his stock options if he left before age 62."47
  • (Halliburton has also been in the news for allegedly misreporting hundreds of millions of dollars during Cheney's tenure and is being investigated by the SEC.)48
Halliburton has continued to benefit from government largess since Cheney became Vice President, much of it related to the war in Afghanistan:
  • In December, 2001, the Department of Defense awarded Halliburton a "no-cap, cost-plus-award contract" to build forward operating bases to support troop deployments for the next nine years. The Pentagon has declined to disclose the estimated value of the contract, but a spokesperson for Halliburton has acknowledged it could exceed the $2.5 billion the company made in the 90's, depending on the scope of future military actions.51
  • In July, 2002, Halliburton was awarded a $9.7 million contract to build an additional detention camp at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay where hundreds of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners are being held. The Pentagon suggested the contract could grow to total as much as $300 million if additional options are exercised over the next four years.50
Carrot Two: Campaign Contributions - From 1991 to 1997, defense companies made more political donations than the tobacco lobby.51 The Defense sector gave $11,776,620 to political campaigns during the two-year 2002 cycle alone. Lockheed Martin, the industry leader, gave over $1,700,000. Not to be left out, Halliburton donated $1,212,000 in soft and hard money during Cheney's five years at the helm.52

Sometimes the actions of the politicians receiving these contributions are even more transparent than one might expect. In 1997 aerospace lobbyists generated letters to the Clinton Administration from 38 Senators and 78 Representatives urging it to support lifting a ban on advance combat aircraft to Latin America. Time magazine described the lobbying letters as the "more million dollar letters," because the members of the House and Senate who signed onto the appeal received a total of more than $1 million in Political Action Committee contributions from major weapons exporting companies.53

Carrot Three: Jobs and Dollars for Constituents - Military spending is a prime way for politicians to bring high-profile projects that bring money and jobs to their districts.

"In June 1998, Senator McCain released a list of $2.5 billion in unrequested projects that members of the Senate had added to the Pentagon's FY 1999 budget; McCain described the add-ons as the "worst pork" that he had witnessed in the Pentagon budget process in years. Finally, to add insult to injury, in the last-minute maneuvering between the White House and Capitol Hill on the FY 1999 federal budget, the congressional leadership added an astounding $9 billion to the Pentagon's funding, including an extra $1 billion for Star Wars research. Then, to add insult to injury, in May of 1999 Congress more than doubled President Clinton's already generous $6 billion supplemental budget request to pay for the war in Kosovo, adding billions in unrequested military funds that had nothing to do with sustaining NATO's bombing campaign and everything to do with opening up room in the budget for more military pork targeted to the states and districts of key members of Congress.

"Take the C-130 transport plane, which is built by Lockheed Martin just outside of Newt Gingrich's Marietta, Georgia, district. Since 1978, the U.S. Air Force has requested a total of just five C-130s, but Congress has purchased 256 C-130s. This ratio of 50 planes purchased for every one requested by the Pentagon may well be a record in the annals of pork barrel politics. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has remarked that Congress has purchased so many surplus C-130s that "we could use them to house the homeless."… Congress has been buying them at such a rapid clip that since 1991 the Air Force has been forced to retire 13 perfectly usable C-130Es with more than a dozen years of useful life left…"54

IX. Disinterest Can Be More Harmful Than Self-Interest

Profiting from military expenditures is nothing new either in war or peacetime. It's almost a household axiom today that military spending helps the economy. And the $120-200 billion the war in Iraq and subsequent occupation may cost will certainly have its benefits for a great many people. But the final direction we must look to understand why there isn't an effective opposition to the war in Iraq has much less to do with self-interest than it does disinterest. After all, the flip side of the principle of special interest is that the smaller focused interest only prevails if the interest of the much broader population is slight. And, broadly speaking, American interest in preventing a war in Iraq is certainly lukewarm, or at least ambivalent.

American power extends to the far reaches of the planet and even international relations experts don't pretend to fathom all that the US government and US-based corporations are doing. It's impossible to expect that Americans can keep up with even a fraction of it all. And there is little need for us to do so on a certain level. Because we are such a large country and American power in the world is so vast, it is quite simple for most Americans to be active and successful in their lives without being very aware of what is going on around them internationally.

It's telling that the war in Afghanistan and the proposed war in Iraq are hands down the two topics that concern most Americans today when it comes to foreign policy. Yet even on these topics our understanding is desperately limited.

What most Americans know about Iraq is that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons, has ties with al Qaeda, and is a sadistic dictator who repeatedly violates human rights. While there is no evidence that Hussein has such ties or has stockpiled or produced such weapons since he was compelled to destroy his previous supply, there is no doubt that Hussein is sadistic. Amnesty International has documented significant numbers of "disappearances, extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings including mass killings of civilians using chemical weapons, systematic torture including… flogging, ear amputation and branding of the forehead, extensive use of the death penalty, and recruitment of children in the armed forces," and more.

What most Americans do not know, many of the reasons already cited in this article, is that much the same can be said of the human rights abuses of many countries around the world such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, countries the US government nonetheless considers key allies and/or has provided with significant support.

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy where "its citizens have neither the right nor the legal means to change their government," torture and abuse of detainees is widespread,55 and it is one of the world's destination countries for trafficked persons for domestic service and sexual exploitation.56 Critical funding for al Qaeda comes from Saudi princes and businessmen57 and Saudi Arabia continues to resist cutting off such funding.58 Fifteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Many al Qaeda fighters are from Saudi Arabia, as is Osama bin Laden himself. The US is the leading supplier of defense equipment and services to the kingdom, with military exports in 2000 totaling almost $2 billion.59 Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil to the US and in 2001 alone five US-based corporations were selected for major natural gas projects with initial foreign investment estimated at $20 billion. (Halliburton received a $140 million contract to develop a Saudi oil field.60)

Pakistan is one of several Asian countries that possess nuclear weapons. It was the principal supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to September 11, one of only three countries that recognized it. Its state police are guilty of abuse, rape, and extrajudicial killings. Citizens are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, while opposition politicians are subject to harassment and jailing, and several live in exile. After September 11 Pakistan became the cornerstone of the US war on the Taliban, allowing the US to use four of its air bases. Subsequently, President Bush announced more than $1 billion in U.S. support to Pakistan and Washington agreed to reschedule $379 million of Pakistan's $3 billion debt obligation to the U.S.61

Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan in the northwest and is the most populous country in Central Asia, has been a vital staging area for U.S. military operations against Taliban and al Qaeda forces. It has been one of the United States' most loyal international partners, voting the same as the United States an average of 80 percent of the time in the United Nations -- third closest among all nations.62 It is infamous for its routine use of torture, including electric shock, beatings, rape, and asphyxiation, and the police practice of taking relatives of suspects into custody as hostages. Thousands of religious Muslim prisoners have been jailed for their beliefs and thousands more have been forcibly resettled. The government persecutes human rights organizations and controls the media through censorship and criminal libel.63 In 2002 Uzbekistan received $160 million in US aid64, with much of it reportedly going to the Uzbek military.65

When it comes to appreciating the powerful motives certain sectors of American society have for going to war, most Americans aren't aware of the economic and political value to the US of having a friendly regime in Iraq, which has the largest reserves of untapped petroleum after Saudi Arabia. Or of imposing greater stability in the Gulf in general which has 70% of the world's oil reserves. Or of undermining Saudi Arabia's influence on oil policies and delivering a fatal blow to OPEC which has attempted rather feebly to control world oil prices and production.

Nor do most Americans know that:66

  • Imported supplies accounted for half of US oil consumption in 2000 and according to our Vice President will jump to two-thirds in 2020.
  • Hussein has begun to parcel out concessions to the most promising fields to oil firms in Europe, Russia and China and has already awarded such contracts for fields with a potential of 44 billion barrels of oil -- equal to the total reserves of the United States, Canada and Norway (the number-one European producer) combined, worth an estimated $1.1 trillion.
  • The Iraqi dissidents chosen by Washington to lead the new regime in Baghdad have threatened to cancel all contracts awarded to firms in countries that fail to assist in the overthrow of Hussein.
  • US oil firms are expected to be awarded most of the Hussein-era contracts voided by the successor regime.

And what most Americans desperately need to know about the very real human consequences of war in Iraq are that:

  • According to the US Census Bureau, over 100,000 civilians died in the first Persian Gulf War.67
  • According to the UN, 1.25 million Iraqi civilians have died in the aftermath of the war as a result of the economic sanctions.68
  • The United Nations has projected there will be as many as 500,000 Iraqi casualties in a war in Iraq
  • Between 4.5 million and 9.5 million of Iraq's 26.5 million people could quickly need outside food to survive once an attack began
  • 900,000 Iraqis may be driven into neighboring countries as refugees
  • Another 2,000,000 may be driven from their homes but remain inside Iraq69
The ideals of democracy and human rights are powerful inspirations for most Americans and it would be impossible to explain the history of US foreign policy without appreciating this fact. At the same time, the shockingly inconsistent way in which these ideals are applied in different parts of the world and the way even the most selflessly-initiated of US foreign policies end up being undermined or misdirected has everything to do with power politics, economics, and the general disinterest and lack of information among Americans. With so much going on in the world that could inspire Americans to help, the interests of politicians and their key supporters usually determine which countries and issues are brought to the attention of the American people and eventually receive the broad backing necessary for action.

The CIA toppling of the democratically-elected government in Guatemala in 1954 is one of thousands of examples. President Arbenz went up against the powerful United Fruit Company (today Chiquita) in an attempt to spread some of the company's fortune to the general population which was largely destitute. "Just 2.2 percent of the population owned over 70 percent of the country's land. Only 10 percent of the land was available for 90 percent of the population, most of whom were Indians."70 With his Agrarian Reform Act, Arbenz declared that 209,842 acres of uncultivated lands of United Fruit would be expropriated and distributed to landless peasants. And he indicated the company would be compensated according to the value of the land as declared by the company in its tax returns (which had dramatically undervalued the land so as to avoid paying taxes).

Unfortunately (from the Guatemalan peasant's perspective), Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his former New York law firm had long represented United Fruit. His brother, Allen Dulles, headed the CIA and was a former member of United Fruit's board of directors. Ed Whitman, the company's top public relations officer and producer of the film "Why the Kremlin Hates Bananas," was the husband of President Eisenhower's private secretary.71

It should be clear how this matter found its way onto the Eisenhower Administration's radar screen. But how it won the hearts as well as minds of the broader government, the media, and the general American public has everything to do with the public's perception that the people of Guatemala were being subverted and manipulated by the Soviet Union. The free people of Guatemala, and of the world in general, depended on American fortitude. As misguided as this American "benevolence" may have been (at least in the case of Guatemala), it would be impossible to explain the broad consensus United Fruit and the Eisenhower Administration were able to forge without it.

Examples such as this and the dramatic imbalance in wealth and power in the United States today raise serious questions about how effectively the US can lead any humanitarian effort, indeed whether any but the most clear-cut crisis can be taken on by the US without being perverted in an cruel reflection of these imbalances.

The principles of fear, revenge, xenophobia and nationalism are also powerful motivators for Americans, as they are for people worldwide. It is far easier to viscerally support a backlash against perceived threats and perpetrators of "evil" in the world than to appreciate the subtleties of potential "blowback." Blowback was the CIA-coined term for the unintended negative consequences of often covert US actions. It's ironic the US is rushing into a war against Iraq that could further fan the flames of hatred among radical muslims and nationalists given that the war is largely stimulated by the attacks on 9/11, which are themselves textbook cases of blowback, having gained momentum with the support of the US in Afghanistan where the term blowback was born.

The Carter and Reagan administrations pushed the CIA to extensively arm the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, without regard for their politics, in the hopes of miring the USSR in its own Vietnam. These soldiers were later involved in the attempted bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the murder of several CIA employees in Virginia and American businessmen in Pakistan, and they gave support to Osama bin Laden.72

Hussein's grip on power is itself an example of blowback, with the US having provided him with extensive military support (primarily intelligence, though we did allow or support his receiving biological agents, including anthrax, vital ingredients for chemical weapons, and cluster bombs) even as the our Middle East envoy at the time, our current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, and the Reagan Administration knew that he was extensively using chemical warfare against Iran and his own Kurdish citizens.73

As Chalmers Johnson of the LA Times wisely wrote a year before the 9/11 hijackings:
"Perhaps the term "blowback" can help us to re-link certain violent acts against Americans to the policies from which they secretly--as far as most Americans are concerned--sprang. From refugee flows across our southern borders from countries where U.S.-supported repression has created hopeless conditions, to U.S.-supported economic policies that have led to unimaginable misery, blowback reintroduces us to a world of cause and effect.

"We also might consider widening the word's application to take in the unintended consequences U.S. policies may have for others. For example, even if the policies that our government fostered and that produced the economic collapse of Indonesia in 1997 never blow back to the U.S., the unintended consequences for Indonesians have been staggering. They include poverty, serious ethnic violence and perhaps political disintegration. Similarly, our "dirty hands" in overthrowing President Salvador Allende in Chile and installing Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who subsequently killed thousands of his own citizens, are just now coming fully into the open. Even when blowback from our policies mainly strikes other peoples, it has a corrosive effect on us, debasing political discourse and making us feel duped when the news finally emerges."74

X. Invigorating American Democracy

A well-informed and active citizenry is the absolute bedrock of a vibrant democracy. The shadow of a democracy that the United States is fast becoming is largely a result of the distortions and limitations of information that leave Americans and our government acting in service of the immediate interests of the few rather than the transcendent interests of society and the world at large.

The question of whether the US will go to war against Iraq is a grave matter that will impact hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and people around the world for decades to come. Given the astounding power of the United States and American corporations today, the question of invigorating democracy in the US will have repercussions for people -- and the environment -- the world over for centuries and perhaps millennia to come.

Americans must stay informed. They must reach beyond the corporate media of their nightly news and daily paper to enrich their understanding through alternative media. The following are just a few of the many free web-based and radio options available, most of which have free list-servs to help you stay up-to-date. Take advantage of their services and please find a small way to support them and any exisiting or planned local non-commercial radio stations.

Web
Common Dreams, has its own extensive list of alternative new sources
Alternet
TomPaine.com
openDemocracy
One World
The Nation
The Independent Media Center

Radio
Democracy Now!
Pacifica Radio

Democracy is not something that is achieved and then we get on with our lives. Or, in the words of Abbie Hoffman, it is not "something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles." An educated citizenry must commit itself to investing something of itself each and every day to nurture our society and body politic.

We should not be satisfied with the distortions and limitations of the mega-media on which so many Americans rely. We must constantly challenge corporate media to push its own boundaries and hold it accountable for the way it limits the range of discourse on critical issues. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, is just one organization that monitors the media for extremes of bias and misreporting. It shares reports with members on its free list-serv and tells them how they can contact the respective editor or reporter to prod them to correct and broaden their reporting.

To the degree the major media outlets are toothless as a result of their conflicts of interest we must compel our politicians to oppose further consolidation of the media and seek opportunities to roll it back. The following organizations keep people abreast of and involved in these matters.

The Center for Digital Democracy
Media Channel
Alternet's Media Culture

Americans must dedicate themselves to a more just distribution of power both structurally and culturally so that on matters ranging from the environment to education to economic policy to election reform -- to war in Iraq -- the informed interests of all Americans can be brought to bear. Campaign finance reform is a cornerstone of diminishing the power of money in elections and governing. The following organizations can help you stay on top of the issues and get your weight behind reform initiatives.

The Center for Responsive Politics
Common Cause

And, as the build-up to war in Iraq demonstrates, nurturing society and the world is as much about what you don't do as what you do do. The population of the United States represents 5 percent of the population of the world, yet we use 40 percent of the world's oil.75 The individual decisions Americans make about which cars they purchase have been said to have the greatest environmental impact of any decision they could make. The same could possibly be said regarding its impact on the lives of people in Iraq as well. In choosing highly consumptive cars we are sending a strong economic message to the oil industry that there are massive profits to be had in getting better access to Iraq's oil. Meanwhile, we are filling the coffers of some of the worlds' most offensive human rights violators. (Arianna Huffington of Salon.com reported that at an OPEC meeting in October, 2002, the secretary general cited the US's consistent demand for oil as one of the few pieces of good news he could offer. She added, "How nice it must feel for SUV owners, knowing that their swaggering imprudence is helping the world's anti-democratic oil sheiks sleep just a little better at night."76)

And we are sending a clear political message to the Bush Administration that if it wants to avoid a 70's-style "malaise" it better get a better foothold in the Middle East and better leverage with OPEC. "Gas consumption has increased by almost a million barrels a day, greatly increasing America's dependence on foreign oil. Today, due largely to America's love affair with the SUV, we're more dependent on foreign oil than we were at the height of the 1973 energy crisis… If we stopped driving SUVs we'd "save millions of barrels of oil each day - enough to tell Iraq to go to hell forever."77

Last but but least, we need to vote. The less we vote, the more power we are handing to monied interests and the less leverage we have when we demand responsible and fair representation. We're almost compelling politicians to serve monied interests by not giving them a thoughtful, educated VOTING constituent block to which they can point and say they have to be responsive.

Americans as a whole have greater power economically, culturally, and militarily than any other group that has lived on earth. With that power comes a reciprocal responsibility to wield it sensitively and intelligently. The only chance we have of controlling such power is for it to be grounded in a vibrant democracy of educated and active citizens. There is far too much at stake for us to not all find our own way of invigorating and sustaining American democracy.
 
 



 
And by the way, for all the talk of a lack of an effective opposition to the war in Iraq, remember that the October, 2002 rally in DC was larger than any anti-Vietnam War rally until 1967, three years after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution had been passed and by which time 500,000 soldiers were in Vietnam and over 14,000 US soldiers had been killed. Rallies and other political pressure in 2002 played a critical role in the Bush Administration deciding to secure official authorization from Congress and to work through the UN, both of which have reduced the Administration's unilateral power and helped to increase general awareness about the true nature of the Iraqi "threat." Informal reports indicate that support for the war is down both in the US and Europe.

And there are more rallies on the way.

United for Peace
Move On

 
Jeff Golden is the Founder and former Executive Director of The Odyssey: Internet Treks for Service and Education and is a Millenium International Volunteer Award Recipient from the US State Department. He encourages correspondence at jeff@ustrek.org
 
 



 
FOOTNOTES

1 - George Packer, "The Liberal Quandry Over Iraq," The New York Times Magazine, December 8, 2002

2 - Packer was not alone in his misrepresentation of the numbers of protestors. Both the New York Times and NPR were taken to task by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (www.fair.org/activism/npr-nyt-update.html) as well as Editor and Publisher (10/30/02) for the estimates they ran the day after the protests. All Things Considered even reported the crowd size as less than 10,000. Both NPR and the NYT corrected themselves within days. However, this does little to excuse Packer who wrote his article more than a month after the corrections were run.

3 - Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll, October, 1997

4 - Paul Krugman, "For Richer," The New York Times, October 22, 2002

5 - Stephen Moore and Dean Stansel, "Ending Corporate Welfare as We Know It; Draft Report," (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, March 6, 1995)

6 - Charles Derber, Corporation Nation, St. Martin's Griffin, p. 156

7 - "Big-Time Donors Small In Number," Center for Responsive Politics, Dec. 11, 2002

8 - Paul Krugman, "For Richer," The New York Times, October 22, 2002

9 - "Buying a Movement," People for the American Way

10 - "The Media Borg Wants You," Salon.com, June 26, 2001

11 - David Asher, "Who Owns What?," Newspaper Association of America, 2000

12 - "Jobspage," The Detroit Free Press

13 - Lakshmi Chaudhry, "Mega Media Merger Mania," AlterNet, February 20, 2002

14 - Eric Boehlert, "One Big Happy Channel?" Salon.com, June 28, 2001

15 - Lakshmi Chaudhry, "Mega Media Merger Mania," AlterNet, February 20, 2002

16 - "Gulf War Coverage: The Worst Censorship Was at Home," Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

17 - "Soft Money Donor Database," The Center for Responsive Politics

18 - Phyllis Schlafly, "Why Disney Has Clout With the Republican Congress," Eagle Forum

19 - Bill Allison, "Media Firms Buy Their Way to Political Access," Center for Public Integrity, Sept. 27, 2000

20 - "Who Owns What?" Columbia Journalism Review

21 - Steven Rosenfeld, "The GOP Sweep And The Fourth Estate: Will Dissenting Voices Be Heard?", TomPaine.com, Nov, 6, 2002

22 - The full study is available on the Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting website

23 - Norman Soloman, "Retractions Of Reporting Are Quite Selective," Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, July, 1996

24 - "Connie Chung: Skeptical of Skepticism," Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Oct 10, 02

25 - Warren P. Stroebel and Jonathan S. Landay, "Some Administration Officials Expressing Misgivings on Iraq", Oct. 8, 2002, Knight-Ridder

26 - John R. MacArthur, "Sounds Fishy, Mr. President," Toronto Globe & Mail, October 28, 2002

27 - Jean Heller, "Numbers on Iraqi Side Don't Add Up," St. Petersburg Times, Mar 15, 1991 (Click on "Search")

28 - Susan Sachs, "End of the War: Allies Faced Ghost Army," Newsday, Mar 1, 1991

29 - The full study is available on the Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting website

30 - Dana Rawls, "Minorities and the Media: Little Ownership and Even Less Control," AlterNet, December 12, 2002

31 - "Americans Worry About Iraq," CBS News, Nov. 2, 2002

32 - "Joint Center 2002 National Opinion Poll Shows War With Iraq a Low Priority for Black Voters," Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, October 29, 2002

33 - The Thomas Rivera Policy Institute, Oct. 29, 2002

34 - The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

35 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

36 - Brad Knickerbocker, "Return of the 'military-industrial complex'?", Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 13, 2002

37 - Lawrence Korb et al, "Money for Nothing: A Penny Saved, Not a Penny Earned, in the U.S. Military," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2000

38 - Mark Thompson, "Why the Pentagon Gets a Free Ride," Time, June 5, 1995

39 - Mark Thompson, "Why the Pentagon Gets a Free Ride," Time, June 5, 1995

40 - Lawrence J. Korb, "Our Overstuffed Armed Forces," Foreign Affairs, November/December 1995, pp. 22-34.

41 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

42 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

43 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

44 - Brad Knickerbocker, "Return of the 'military-industrial complex'?", Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 13, 2002

45 - Molly Ivins, "Cheney's Mess Worth a Close Look," The Baltimore Sun, June 10, 2002, 9A

46 - Sam Perry, "The Bush Family Oligarchy," The Consortium for Independent Journalism

47 - NYT, Aug. 12, 2000, thanks to Sam Perry, "The Bush Family Oligarchy," The Consortium for Independent Journalism

48 - Alex Berenson, "Halliburton And Inquiry By the S.E.C.," New York Times, C1, May 30, 2002

49 - Jordan Green, "Halliburton: To the Victors Go the Markets," Facing South, The Institute for Southern Studies

50 - Charles Aldinger, "Halliburton to Build New Cells at Guantanamo Base," Reuters

51 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

52 - "Soft Money Donor Database," Center for Responsive Politics

53 - Douglas Waller, "How Washington Works: Arms Deals-The Inside Story of How the Pentagon and Big Defense Contractors Got the President to Open the Way for Weapons Sales to Latin America," Time, April 14, 1997, thanks to William D. Hurting, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited"

54 - William D. Hartung, "The Military Industrial Complex Revisited - How Weapons Makers Are Shaping US Foreign and Military Policies," Foreign Policy in Focus

55 - "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," US Dept. of State

56 - "2002 Saudi Arabia Report," Human Rights Watch

57 - "Questioning Saudi Arabia - Investigations Into Whether Saudi Money Continues to Flow to Al Qaeda," ABC News, Nov. 25, 2001
"The Money: Drying Up the Funds for Terror," Council on Foreign Relations
James Sandrolini, "All Eyes on the Prize," Chicago Media Watch

58 - "Saudis Fail to Curb al-Qaeda Funding," BBC News, Oct. 17, 2002

59 - "2002 Saudi Arabia Report," Human Rights Watch

60 - Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers and Maggie Mulvihill, "Bush Advisers Cashed in on Saudi Gravy Train, Boston Herald, December 11, 2001

61 - "2002 Pakistan Report," Human Rights Watch &
Kathy Gannon, "Pakistan's Role in the Anti-terrorist Coalition Turns Former Allies Against Musharraf," Boston Globe

62 - Priscilla Patton,"Uzbekistan: US Ally Hopes War Will Lead to Oil Investment," Globalvision News Network, November 26, 2001

63 - U.S. State Department Rights Reports Critique," Human Rights Watch

64 - Frank T. Csongos, "Uzbekistan: U.S. Boosting Aid To Tashkent," Radio Free Europe, Jan. 31, 2002

65 - Tom Malinowski and Acacia Shields, "Uzbekistan's Empty Promises," March 12, 2002, The Washington Times

66 - Michael T. Klare, "Oiling the Wheels of War," The Nation, October 1, 2002

67 - Thomas Ginsberg, "War's Toll: 158,000 Iraqis and a Researcher's Position," Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 5, 2003

68 - "Iraq Sanctions Kill Over 1.25 Mln People," Reuters, Dec. 29, 1999

69 - "UN Prepares for Huge Iraqi Casualties," BBC News, Jan. 7, 2003

70 - "Banana Republic: The United Fruit Company, Maya Paradise - The Río Dulce, Guatemala Information Web Site

71 - Inevitable Revolutions - The United States in Central America, Walter La Feber, 2nd ed. 1993, pp. 120-121, thanks to "Banana Republic: The United Fruit Company, Maya Paradise - The Río Dulce, Guatemala Information Web Site

72 - Michael Moran, "Bin Laden Comes Home to Roost," MSNBC,Aug. 24, 1998 &
Chalmers Johnson, "The Consequences Of Our Actions Abroad - Americans Feeling the Effects of 'Blowback'," LATimes, May 4, 2000

73 - Julian Borger, "Rumsfeld 'Offered Help to Saddam'," The Guardian, December 31, 2002

74 - Chalmers Johnson, "The Consequences Of Our Actions Abroad - Americans Feeling the Effects of 'Blowback'," LATimes, May 4, 2000

75 - Richard Butler (Former U.N. Weapons Inspector), "American Morning With Paula Zahn," January 9, 2002

76 - Arianna Huffington, "The Coming SUV Wars," Salon.com, Nov. 25, 2002

77 - Craig Williams, "SUVs: "Be Careful, You May Run Out of Planet," AlterNet, August 15, 2002