Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2005, page 82

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Earthquake Victims Need Help.

The official death toll in Pakistan from the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck on Oct. 8 is more than 73,000, with about the same number listed as severely injured. Another 1,350 died in India's portion of Kashmir. More than 3 million people are now homeless. As we went to press nearly a month later, relief workers still had not reached an estimated 200,000 people cut off by the earthquake, so the toll will increase. With winter and donor fatigue setting in, U.N. officials say relief supplies are dwindling. Donors have pledged only $131 million of the $550 million needed to get earthquake victims through this winter.

Some 24 U.S. Military Helicopters.

Many diverted from Afghanistan, are helping relief efforts. Imagine if U.S. aid, both public and private, began to pour into this ravaged land. Imagine American aircraft stationed in Iraq delivering food and tents, instead of bombs, to Muslims. That could help change some of the negative perceptions our "War on Terror" has created in the Islamic world.

As the Death Toll in Iraq...

Continues to rise among occupiers and occupied alike, a report published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) revealed that, as of October 2005, $251 billion of Americans' tax dollars has been appropriated for the Iraq war. Imagine spending a fraction of that sum on victims of earthquakes and hurricanes. We've included in our annual listing of charitable organizations (see p. 77) information on which organizations have special disaster relief programs. Many of those that don't—such as the ones that provide aid to Palestinians—face not a one-time tragedy, but an unrelenting assault on human rights.

The Need Is Great.


Catapult or Boomerang?

The hawks in President George W. Bush's administration convinced the nation to invade Iraq by repeating faked claims of WMD and Iraqi ties to 9/11 until most voters believed them to be true. But there's a method to the president's madness. As he explained on May 24: "See, in my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." But given the growing list of administration failures—the Abu Ghraib humiliations, the Hurricane Katrina debacle, rising gas prices, the Valerie Plame scandal, and the worrisome nominations of Harriet Miers and then Samuel Alito, Jr. to fill the Supreme Court seat—it seems that...

The Big Lie Won’t Wash.

But Bush and the Israel-first cabal that surrounds him seem not to have gotten the message. Following the outing of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's indicted chief of staff, the vice president appointed David Addington to replace Libby and John Hannah as his national security adviser, a position Libby also had held. But both are just as mired in the mess as their predecessor. Addington helped stonewall the 9/11 commission and was the principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism subjects, according to Washington Post correspondent Dana Milbank. Hannah has the distinction, along with New York Times correspondent Judith Miller, of having been Ahmad Chalabi's contact, and thus pushing the falsified intelligence that got us into this war.

Iraqis and Americans Agree.

According to a secret British Ministry of Defense poll conducted in August and published in the Oct. 23 edition of U.K.'s The Sunday Telegraph, 82 percent of Iraqis are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops. A recent CBS News poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe U.S. troops should leave as soon as possible, with only 36 percent agreeing that the U.S. should stay in Iraq as long as it takes to achieve stability there. The gap, we predict, will...

Continue to Widen.


Iran’s New President...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused an international uproar when he told students at an annual anti-Israel demonstration on Oct. 26 that Israel must be "wiped off the map." But in the 57 years of Israel's existence, Iran has never initiated an attack on another sovereign nation. In that time, however, Israel has attacked more than one of its neighbors (we're partial to understatement). Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1982 described Israel's three "wars of choice": the Suez war in 1956, the 1967 Six-Day War, and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. We'd argue that European Zionists could have chosen not to ethnically cleanse Palestine as well. In the more than two decades since Begin's admission...

Israel Has Attacked Its Neighbors...

On numerous occasions, and had the U.S. serve as its proxy against others, including Libya and Iraq. Today Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons (100 to 200 of them) and a vast array of medium-range missiles with which to deliver them. In April of this year it purchased from the U.S. 100 "bunker buster" bombs, designed to penetrate hardened command centers located deep underground. Israeli government sources explained that the bombs could be used to attack Iran or Syria. We wonder...

Who’s Wiping Whom Off the Map?


If You Haven't Donated to...

Our Make a Difference Campaign, you'll soon have an opportunity to do so, as the second of our two annual fund-raising letters will be mailed this month. Please use the form provided—or call us today—to order gift subscriptions and books, calendars, cards, videos, or CDs for everyone on your shopping list (for inspiration, see the Book Club catalog beginning on p. 71 and our Palestinian handicrafts ad on p. 19).

You Can Help Us at the Same Time...

By adopting a library in Palestine or the Gulf Coast and filling it with books from the AET Book Club. Or order a subscription for your local library, school or doctor's office. We're always on the lookout for lists of addresses or e-mails we can use to introduce the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, to new readers—and for the financial help to make it happen. One Loyal Reader Who Prefers to Remain Anonymous donated money for an ad campaign in The Progressive and The Nation. We're open to all creative suggestions, because as much as we love our choir, we must do all we can to expand it so that, together, we can...

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