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The first week of life for these two twins began in seperate incubaters. One infant was not expected to live. A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules and placed the babies in one incubator.

When They were placed together, the healthier of the two threw an arm over hir sistHir in an endearing embrace. The smaller baby's heart rate stabilized and Hir temperature rose to normal.

compassionate support

If war comes even despite the historic, tenacious, and comprehensive opposition now raging across the planet, the U.S. government will proclaim triumphantly that everyone who isn't a traitor needs to rally around Washington to "support our troops." Opponents of the war could opt for many possible replies.

We could point out that our troops in Iraq are barely in danger at all because they are assaulting a tenth-rate opponent that has no serious means to defend Iraq much less to attack the world's sole superpower.

We could point out that while perhaps a few hundred U.S. troops will die in this war, way over 50,000 U.S. citizens will die in the next 12 months due to workplace accidents and death by industry-caused diseases and automobile accidents (not to mention the impact of pollution and unsafe products). We could then query why this massive yearly blight on our population, roughly 15 times as devastating as 9/11, doesn't provoke a war on corporations' profit-seeking violations of their employees' and consumers' health and safety.

Or we could point out that the lives of American troops are no more worthy of compassionate support than the lives of Iraqis, and that we didn't kill Hussein a million times over with our decade-long sanctions but we instead killed a million Iraqis once each -- with Hussein getting stronger as each new corpse was added to the carnage.

And of course we could explain how unleashing a campaign to "shock and awe" a country is unjust and immoral, how it is an archetype example of the terrorism we say we are against.

But for myself, I think that perhaps a different approach might work better, and so if war does come, I intend to reply to the demand to support our troops by saying that yes, I too "support our troops."

I will reply that I support our troops not having to kill people in Iraq.

I support our troops not being ordered to assault defenseless populations, towns, farms, and the infrastructural sinews of life that sustain a whole country's citizenry.

I support our troops not having to carry out orders from Commander in Chief George Bush and then having to live the rest of their lives wondering why they obeyed such a barbaric buffoon rather than resisting his illegitimate, immoral authority.

And for the same reason, I support the Pope and the Dalai Lama going to Iraq in the place of our troops, as human shields and also to aid those Iraqis who have already suffered under our sanctions and bombs as well as under the violence of Hussein who was, of course, previously the recipient of U.S. military aid and even U.S. guidance in his horrible undertakings.

In fact, I support all rabbis and priests and other moral leaders going to Iraq as human shields - and all past Noble Peace Prize winners -- and all past winners of any big peace or humanitarian prize at all, anywhere -- and heads of state, for that matter.

I support our troops not dying in Iraq figuratively or literally, physically or psychologically. I support our troops coming home with their hearts not broken, retaining humanity and compassion essential to feeling true solidarity with those who confront tyrannical behavior abroad, or right here in the U.S. with its 30 million tyrannized poor.

I support our troops coming home with their minds ravenous to comprehend what is wrong with war for empire, what is wrong with war to obliterate international law, what is wrong with war to control oil and use it as a bludgeon against allies and enemies alike, what is wrong with war for profit, what is wrong with war to intimidate whole nations and continents, what is wrong with war to subordinate a planet and even to test and trumpet the tools of war.

What must it do to one's mind and soul to engage as a soldier in a war in which the enemy is defenseless, in which the motives of one's leaders are vile, and in which one's own say over the events is nil?

I support our troops refusing to kill on behalf of politicians and profiteers. I support our troops rebelling against orders, not obeying them. I support our troops rejecting reasons of state. And I support our troops coming home to where their real battle is.

We must battle to reinvest our society with aspirations for justice and equality and with respect for diversity, solidarity, and self-management.

We must battle to eliminate the scourge of private ownership that makes a few people as rich as whole populations and that leaves many people less rich than the pets of profiteers.

We must battle to totally eradicate the racism and sexism that denigrate whole sectors of the population, to free sexuality and culture, to free creativity, and to sustain the environment.

Bush tells us to bomb Iraq on grounds Iraq may have bombs. He tells us to bomb Iraq on grounds Iraq curtails freedoms. He tells us to bomb Iraq on grounds Iraq may be abetting terrorism.

What then should we do about a country that has by far the most bombs in the world and that uses them most widely-and that brags about it shamelessly?

What should we do about a country that is currently curtailing freedoms abroad and moving to do so at home with a dangerously escalating vigor-and that brags about it shamelessly?

And what should we do about a country that is producing terrorism most aggressively - both terrorism directed at others and also terrorism which will be unleashed against us in reply-and that brags about it shamelessly.

What should we do about the U.S.? We should curtail its belligerency, change its regime, and fundamentally revolutionize its centers of wealth and power.

Support our troops, bring them home.

Support our troops, provide them housing.

Support our troops, provide them health care.

Support our troops, provide them socially valuable jobs.

Turn military bases into industrial centers for the production of low cost housing, schools, hospitals, daycare centers, rail lines, inner city parks, and other social and public goods that can enrich rather than snuff out life.

Support our troops and one day they will join the fight for unlimited justice for all.

Support our troops.

The Emperor Has Spoken. Let The World Take Heed
By Rahul Mahajan

Mark the date: March 16, 2003. It will go down in history as the day our new Caesar crossed his personal Rubicon. Bush's twin ultimata, to Iraq and to the United Nations, constituted the final and ultimate declaration of the new New World Order.

The first formal declaration was in his speech to Congress on September 20, 2001. "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." The open implication was that the rule of law, already honored mostly in the breach, was to be replaced by the rule of force; that force, naturally, to emanate from Washington.

Over the 1.5 years since then, there have been numerous reaffirmations -- the launching of the pre-emption doctrine, the warning to the UN that if it didn't do America's bidding it would make itself "irrelevant" -- but it was always possible to imagine that even this reckless administration might be turned back, might at least at least generate an illusion of a velvet glove in which to cloak its iron fist.

No more. Bush's declaration was crafted to lock in the insane and potentially suicidal course that the administration has taken ever since the attacks of 9/11.

What was really shocking and terrifying was not simply the effective declaration of war against Iraq; it has been a foregone conclusion for at least six months that, in the absence of overwhelming opposition, the war would happen. Rather, it was the way the ultimatum was delivered. To give Iraq 24 hours to "disarm" (even while Dick Cheney and Colin Powell make the rounds of talk TV saying there is no longer a way for Iraq to comply) is openly farcical. An administration that took a year after 9/11 before it instituted widespread X-raying of checked bags might be expected to understand this. To give the Security Council 24 hours to pass a resolution is a naked imperial imposition.

It is an ultimatum designed not to elicit any response, but rather to humiliate.

It is also perhaps worth commenting on the stunningly open mendacity of the Bush administration, continued with Bush's ultimatum yesterday. To make this declaration on the 15th anniversary of the gassing of Halabja, to mention it specifically, is a profound insult not just to the Iraqi people but to all of us; where is the mention that the United States supported Iraq fully at the time, with biological and chemical materials, loan guarantees, and diplomatic cover? That it went so far as to issue organized disinformation (http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0117-01.htm) suggesting that Iran was the culprit? To mention Rwanda as an example of the "failure" of the UN was possibly even worse. Again, where was the mention that the UN "failed" because the United States kept UN peacekeepers from being reinforced, cut off their supplies, and pushed ceaselessly to have them removed? Or the mention that the State Department deliberately covered up http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/press.html) its clear knowledge that what was happening was genocide?

Indeed, it is again as if these references were added simply to display flagrant contempt for the rest of the world, which may know the truth but consistently feels unable to express it because of the weight of U.S. coercion.

And perhaps the most important lie was the reference to France. France has "shown its cards" and "said they were going to veto anything that held Saddam to account" -- this right on the heels of Chirac's effective surrender by agreeing to a 30-day deadline for disarmament.

This was is much bigger than a war on Iraq. It is a gauntlet hurled in the face of France and the rest of "old Europe." It is a frontal assault on the concept of democracy worldwide. It is, if you look at the planning documents (http://www.newamericancentury.org) of the neoconservatives who now run our foreign policy, the first stage in a long campaign against China.

Yesterday, Bush drew the battle lines through the entire globe and through the middle of each country. In order even to begin to understand how to oppose this new imperialism, we must understand this: weapons of mass destruction have nothing to do with this war, and even Iraq itself has to do with this war only in the sense that it is a strategic prize. This war is a small part of an ongoing attempt to reshape the world.

The target of this war is not Iraq. The target is the entire world order, and Iraq is simply collateral damage.

Rahul Mahajan is a founding member of the Nowar Collective (http://www.nowarcollective.com) and serves on the National Board of Peace Action. His first book, "The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism," (http://www.monthlyreview.org/newcrusade.htm) came out in April 2002, and his next book, "The U.S. War Against Iraq" (http://www.sevenstories.com/Book/index.cfm?GCOI=58322100353810) will be out in April 2003. His articles can be found at http://www.rahulmahajan.com. He can be contacted at rahul@tao.ca



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