Sunday, October 31, 2004

In Aftermath of Electoral Campaign, "Even the GOP fears Bush"

Great article by John Nichols in The Nation (Oct 31, 2004):

The most divisive election campaign in recent American history has not merely split the nation along party lines, it has split the Grand Old Party itself. Unfortunately, most Americans are wholly unaware of the loud dissents against Bush that has begun to be heard in Republican circles.

If the United States had major media that covered politics, as opposed to the political spin generated by the Bush White House and the official campaigns of both the Republican president and his Democratic challenger, one of the most fascinating, and significant, stories of the 2004 election season would be the abandonment of the Bush reelection effort by senior Republicans. But this is a story that, for the most part, has gone untold. Scant attention was paid to the revelation that one Republican member of the U.S. Senate, Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee, will refrain from voting for his party's president -- despite the fact that Chafee offered a far more thoughtful critique of George W. Bush's presidency than "Zig-Zag" Zell Miller, the frothing, Democrat-hating Democrat did when he condemned his party's nominee. Beyond the minimal attention to Chafee, most media has neglected the powerful, and often poignant, condemnations of Bush by prominent Republicans.

Former Republican members of the U.S. Senate and House, governors, ambassadors, aides to GOP Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush have explicitly endorsed the campaign of Democrat John Kerry. For many of these lifelong Republicans, their vote for Kerry will be a first Democratic vote. But, in most cases, it will not be a hesitant one.

Angered by the Bush administration's mismanagement of the war in Iraq, record deficits, assaults on the environment and secrecy, the renegade partisans tend to echo the words of former Minnesota Governor Elmer Andersen, who says that, "Although I am a longtime Republican, it is time to make a statement, and it is this: Vote for Kerry-Edwards, I implore you, on November 2."

Many of the Republicans who are abandoning Bush express sorrow at what the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies in Congress have done to their party: "The fact is that today's 'Republican' Party is one that I am totally unfamiliar with," writes John Eisenhower. But the deeper motivation is summed up by former U.S. Senator Marlow Cook, a Kentucky Republican, who explained in a recent article for the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper that, "For me, as a Republican, I feel that when my party gives me a dangerous leader who flouts the truth, takes the country into an undeclared war and then adds a war on terrorism to it without debate by the Congress, we have a duty to rid ourselves of those who are taking our country on a perilous ride in the wrong direction. If we are indeed the party of Lincoln (I paraphrase his words), a president who deems to have the right to declare war at will without the consent of the Congress is a president who far exceeds his power under our Constitution. I will take John Kerry for four years to put our country on the right path."

In the end, of course, the vast majority of Republicans will cast their ballots for George w. Bush on Tuesday, just as the vast majority of Democrats will vote for John Kerry. But the Republicans who plan to cross the partisan divide and vote for Kerry have articulated a unique and politically potent indictment of the Bush administration.

Here are a dozen examples of what Republicans are saying about George W. Bush -- and John Kerry -- as the November 2 election approaches:

"As son of a Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration's decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry."
-- Ambassador John Eisenhower, endorsing Kerry in an opinion piece published in The Manchester Union Leader, September 28, 2004.

"The two 'Say No to Bush' signs in my yard say it all. The present Republican president has led us into an unjustified war -- based on misguided and blatantly false misrepresentations of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The terror seat was Afghanistan. Iraq had no connection to these acts of terror and was not a serious threat to the United States, as this president claimed, and there was no relation, it's now obvious, to any serious weaponry. Although Saddam Hussein is a frightful tyrant, he posed no threat to the United States when we entered the war. George W. Bush's arrogant actions to jump into Iraq when he had no plan how to get out have alienated the United States from our most trusted allies and weakened us immeasurably around the world... This imperialistic, stubborn adherence to wrongful policies and known untruths by the Cheney-Bush administration -- and that's the accurate order -- has simply become more than I can stand."
-- Former Minnesota Governor Elmer Andersen, a Republican, endorsing Kerry in an opinion piece published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, October 13, 2004. Andersen argued in the piece that, "I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I have ever been -- because this country is in the hands of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear that it is he who is running the country, not George W. Bush."

"George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naive belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American enemies -- a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft."
-- Scott McConnell, executive editor, The American Conservative, endorsing Kerry in the November 8, 2004 issue.

"I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep the secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court."
-- Former U.S. Senator Marlow Cook, Republican from Kentucky, endorsing Kerry in an opinion piece that appeared in The Louisville Courier-Journal, October 20, 2004.

"My Republican Party is the party of Theodore Roosevelt, who fought to preserve our natural resources and environment. This president has pursued policies that will cause irreparable damage to our environmental laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the public lands we share with future generations."
-- Former Michigan Governor William Milliken, from a statement published in the Traverse City Record Eagle, October 17, 2004.

"As an environmentalist who served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I know that this administration has turned environmental policy over to lobbyists for the oil, gas and mining interests. On the other hand, I know first-hand of your commitment to a more balanced approach to environmental policy -- one where we can have both jobs and profit for industry as well as clean air and water. There is no stronger evidence of this than your outstanding leadership and support in the restoration of the Florida Everglades. John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you."
-- Former U.S. Senator Bob Smith, Republican from New Hampshire, from an endorsement letter sent to John Kerry, October 28, 2004.

"Nixon was a prince compared to these guys."
-- Former U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey, R-California, from an article in the Palo Alto Weekly, September 8, 2004. McCloskey, who is active with Republicans for Kerry, says of members of the Bush administration, "These people believe God has told them what to do. They've high jacked the Republican Party we once knew."

"The war is just a misbegotten thing that's spiraling down. It's a matter of conscience for me. After 9/11, the whole world was behind us. That's all gone now. That's been squandered. Now we've made the entire Muslim world hate us. And for what? For what?"
-- Former State Senator Al Meiklejohn, Republican from Colorado and World War II combat veteran, explaining his decision to support John Kerry in an interview with The Denver Post, September 19, 2004.

"We need a leader who is really dedicated to creating millions of high-paying jobs all across the country."
-- Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, who campaigned for George W. Bush in 2000 and appeared in television advertisements for the Republican Party of Michigan that year. Iacocca, who complains that under Bush deficit spending is "getting out of hand," endorsing Kerry on June 24, 2004.

"In a dangerous epoch -- made more so by a president who sees the world in stark black and white because simplicity polls better and fits into sound bites -- John Kerry may seem out of place. He is, in fact, in exactly the right place at the right time to lead our country."
-- Tim Ashby, who served during the Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush administrations as director of the Office of Mexico and the Caribbean for the U.S. Commerce Department and acting deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Western Hemisphere, endorsing Kerry in a Seattle Times, October 14, 2004.

" I have always been, and I still am, a registered Republican, but I shall enthusiastically vote for John Kerry for president on November 2... If the Bush administration stays in power four more years, it will pack the Supreme Court with neocons who reject the idea that the Constitution is a living document designed to protect the freedom of the citizens."
-- Anne Morton Kimberly, widow of former Republican National Committee chair Rogers C.B. Morton, Secretary of the Interior during the Nixon administration and Secretary of Commerce during the Ford administration, endorsing Kerry in a an opinion piece that appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal, October 14, 2004.

"Mainstream Republicans believe in fiscal responsibility, internationalism, environmental protection, the rights of women, and putting middle-class families ahead of big business lobbyists. Moderate Republicans should not be asked to swallow the right-wing policies of George W. Bush."
-- Clay Myers, who was Oregon's Republican Secretary of State for 10 years and the state's Treasure, endorsing Kerry at a press conference for Oregon Republicans for Kerry, September 1, 2004.

"The current administration has run the largest deficits in U.S. history, incurring massive debts that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. Two and a half million people have lost their jobs; trillions have been wiped out of savings and retirement accounts. The income of Americans has declined two years in a row, the first time since the IRS began keeping records. George W. Bush will be the first president since Hoover to have a net job loss under his watch... President Bush wanted to be judged as the CEO president, it is time to say, 'you have failed, and you're fired."
-- William Rutherford, former State Treasurer of Oregon, endorsing Kerry as a press conference for Oregon Republicans for Kerry, September 1, 2004.

"I served 20 years in the Ohio General Assembly as Republican. People have asked me why I oppose George w. Bush for president. My first response is, 'He is incompetent.' His behavior, his bad judgment, his record, all demonstrate a failure as president. He certainly misled the country into a no-win war in Iraq. Following his preemptive invasion, he totally misjudged the consequences of his action. He made a bad situation worse, fomenting widespread terrorism, all done with a frightful loss of lives and money."
-- Former Ohio State Representative John Galbraith, a Republican legislator for 20 years, endorsing Kerry in a letter to The Toledo Blade, September 28, 2004.

" Before the current campaign, it might have been argued that at least in affirming the importance of faith and respecting those who profess it the administration had embraced traditional conservative views. But in the wake of the Swift Boat ads attacking John Kerry, even this argument can no longer be maintained. As an elder of the Presbyterian Church, I found that those ads were not at all in the Christian tradition. John McCain rightly condemned them as dishonest and dishonorable. The president should have, too. That he did not undermines his credibility on questions of faith.

Some say it's just politics. But that's the whole point. More is expected of people of faith than "just politics."

The fact is that the Bush administration might better be called radical or romantic or adventurist than conservative. And that's why real conservatives are leaning toward Kerry."

-- Clyde Prestowitz, counselor to the secretary of commerce in the Reagan administration and an elder of the Presbyterian Church, from "The Conservative Case for Kerry," published in the Providence Journal and other newspapers, October 15, 2004.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bushies' plan to cynically manipulate new bin Laden tape to their electoral advantage

Apparently, this recently released Bin Laden tape* is getting gets conservative backers of Bush's "War on Terrorism" a little too hot and bothered . . .

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

*The link to the original article — from the New York Daily News, is currently dead. Here's another link from the progressive group-blog MyDD also links to these comments.

Friday, October 29, 2004

War and the military-industrial complex

Analysis by: Henry C K Liu
Asia Times Online, Jan 31, 2003

The evolving arguments for or against a renewed war by the United States against Iraq have been well presented by now, especially after the State of the Union speech by President George W Bush on Tuesday evening. The purpose of this article is not to repeat these arguments, but to focus on the geopolitical and economic impact of the key official pretext for the pending invasion, which is to facilitate disarmament of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on a defenseless sovereign nation by the world’s sole superpower.

It is immaterial whether a nation actually possesses WMD to warrant attack; it is enough that the sole superpower insists that it does and deems the targeted nation hostile. As US Secretary of State Colin Powel, whom many regard as the sole voice of reason in the Bush administration, said on January 24, The issue is not inspection; the issue is Iraq.

It is increasingly clear that the real issue on whether a nation faces attack from the world’s sole remaining superpower rests not on its possession of WMD, but on whether it possesses a creditable counterstrike force as a deterrence to preemptive attack from a nation which itself has steadfastly refused to adopt a no-first-use doctrine on WMD.

The shift from deterrence to preemption was incorporated into US national security strategy in September 2002, a year after the September 11 terrorist attacks. After the war on Afghanistan, which left its main objective of eliminating Osama bin Laden unfulfilled, coercive disarmament of Iraq has become the centerpiece of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. But Afghanistan and Iraq are merely the opening shots of a broad general shift from deterrence to preemption. Arms control itself now encompasses the unilateral abrogation of the stabilizing Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM treaty) and the deployment of the destabilizing theater missile defense (TMD) and national missile defense (NMD) systems.

The 1991 war on Iraq has never ended. For over a decade, US and British war planes have enforced a no-fly zone over Iraqi air space. When UN arms inspectors left Iraq in 1998, the US and Britain launched Operation Desert Fox, bombing suspected weapons sites and anti-aircraft installations. Such bombings have continued. Economic sanctions, generally recognized as acts of war, have caused the death of an estimated 2 million Iraqi civilians, including women and children, which Madeleine Albright, as US secretary of state, declared publicly on television as being worth it. The pending invasion is merely a new phase in a continuous war. Yet the pretext for the original 1991 war was to reverse the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq, while the pretext of the pending renewed war is WMD disarmament.

It is predictable that superpower military action to effect a regime change in Iraq will have the opposite result from the proclaimed objectives of the US war on terrorism. Iraq is a country that has not attacked the US, that has no plans to attack the US and that has no capabilities of attacking the US. Iraq’s current force projection range is about 150 kilometers via missiles, posing no intercontinental threat to the US. These are obvious facts. Iraq is led by a leader who has emerged as a living symbol of secular Arab nationalism which, with US backing, fought a protracted war against Iran, a neighboring Islamic fundamentalist theocracy.

In February 1982, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the State Department’s list of countries supportive of terrorism. In December 1983 and March 1984, the administration sent Donald Rumsfeld, who had served as US defense secretary in the 1970s, and who is again holding that office now, to Baghdad as a special envoy seeking restoration of diplomatic relations. Thus the direct link of Iraq to extremist Islamic terrorism is far from definitive.

Yet the pending US invasion of Iraq will be a rallying point for terrorist cells everywhere to attract newly radicalized recruits willing to die to kill US citizens and others on US soil, whatever their nationalities. The lesson of Iraq is that if a nation plans to acquire WMD, it needs to achieve its aim quickly with counterforce capacity, or be allied with another power with such capability. Thus the net effect of the Iraq crisis is to accelerate the proliferation of WMD, not to retard it.

By the growing size of recent protest rallies and the findings of recent opinion polls, anti-war sentiment appears to be rising both within the US and globally. There is also considerable speculation among economists in the US on the potential adverse economic impact of an uncertain war without an end game in a strategically significant region, such as anticipated increases in terrorist attacks for indefinite periods, further instability of a precarious Middle East, uncertainty over the future of oil prices, and the political fallout of a prolonged US occupation, and the worsening budget deficit from war costs, particularly at this time of global economic stagnation.

In Ernst Cassirer’s The Myth of the State there is a sentence in the chapter on Hegel: Hegelianism has had to pay the penalty of its triumph, which is very applicable to superpower statism. In the US, the state apparatus of the New Deal, as constructed under President Franklin D Roosevelt in the 1930s, evolved seamlessly into the post-war military-industrial complex. Hans J Morgenthau of the University of Chicago (Politics Among Nations) developed the theme that post-war US foreign policy was imperialistic in the non-pejorative sense of the word, because it was expansionist and empire-building for the post-war Pax Americana.

Of course, both an interventionist government and a military-industrial complex were necessary for an imperialistic foreign policy. The hawks or doves and the guns or butter debates touched on another key issue in US foreign policy: arms control and its scholastics, within the Cold War framework of a bipolar ideological struggle and superpower confrontation. Since the end of the Cold War, the US, as the triumphant superpower, has embarked on empire building in earnest through globalized free trade, and since September 11 has imposed WMD disarmament on arbitrarily identified foes through overwhelming force, with little fear of direct counterattack retribution.

Comments justifying the need for a benign superpower empire as a desirable and sensible post-Cold War world order are heard with increasing frequency in the US mass media. It is a trend not easily ignored by all other nations. France, Germany, Russia and China, through different perspectives, to different degrees, with different diplomatic styles and for different geopolitical reasons, all oppose US preemptive military plans on Iraq. There is a danger that Afghanistan, Iraq or North Korea, or any future flash points, may turn into the kindling for a World War III inferno, just as Sarajevo did for World War I and Czechoslovakia did for World War II. Unilateral preemption inevitably solicits multilateral counterresponses in global politics.

Arms control is a fall-back regime from peaceful disarmament which by definition must be universal. Unilateral disarmament can only by imposed by war. The post-World War II arms control regime was an exclusive game between the two superpowers that focused mainly on nuclear arms, leaving conventional arms largely unregulated though not unaffected as balance of forces factors in nuclear arms control negotiations. This is because the separate logic governing conventional arms and nuclear arms are as different as those governing Newtonian mechanics and Einstein relativity.

To the nuclear category of WMD are now added chemical and biological weapons, which have a long history of international convention but which have taken on a new technological imperative in recent times. All three WMD types, nuclear, chemical and biological, have been used both on the battlefield and on civilians in previous wars.

Between 1754 and 1767, the British distributed smallpox-infested blankets to unsuspecting native Americans during the French and Indian wars. In 1932, the Japanese began a series of horrific experiments on human beings at Unit 731 outside Harbin in Manchuria, China. Some 11 Chinese cities were attacked with the agents of anthrax, cholera, shigellosis, salmonella and plague, and at least 10,000 people died during the gruesome experiments.

Declassified US government documentation on the controlled use of biological warfare by US forces in the Korean War has been found by researchers, and the indiscriminate use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War is well documented. On nuclear weapons, the US still enjoys the dubious distinction of being the sole deployer, not once but twice, although it is controversial whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki constituted one or two events, much like the controversy on whether the September 11 attacks on the two World Trade Center towers constituted one or two events, a dispute with serious implications for insurance claims.

Until the Age of Manifest Destiny, marked by the Mexican War in 1845, which combined massive land grabbing (annexing Texas and California, depriving Mexico of half of its territory), with self-serving idealism of extending the benefits of US values and institutions beyond its borders, the US had been a relatively peaceful nation, with the exception of continuous wars on native Americans and the failed war of 1812 to annex Canada from Britain. It is historically inaccurate to think that a military-industrial complex always existed in the US, or that it is inseparable from capitalism. Captains of US industry like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford were consistently vocal in their anti-armament and anti-war sentiments. The military was relatively small for the size of the nation or the economy up to the eve of World War I, and defense contracts were negligible and less than prestigious. Respectable businesses were not particularly interested in government defense contracts. Even navy shipbuilding was mostly done only in government yards, not by private contractors.

Nevertheless, Jane Addam (1860-1935), woman suffrage leader and peace activist, recipient of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize, led the Woman’s International League for Peace to protest at the Hague in 1915, asserting private profit from armament to be a hindrance to the abolition of war, but US entrance into World War I stopped further protests and the post-war rapid and extensive demobilization in the US made disarmament a non-issue until the mid-1930s. The peace movement has been robust throughout much of US history.

The Washington Conference of 1912-22 sanctioned parity for the US and British navies. The lack of popular resistance on the navy buildup was partly due to the navy, unlike the army (excepting the National Guards), having a more defensive role, given the long US coastlines on two oceans, and partly because the navy had always been more professional and less dependent on conscription than the army, thus insulating it from general demobilization pressures and effects.

War planning in World War I caused a radical restructuring of the US economy. Yet the aggregate profits of US industry were lower in the war years of 1917-18 than in pre-war 1916. While wages increased generally, lower wages increased more than the cost of living, thus raising the living standard of the working poor. Labor benefited from wartime full employment and from government regulations on minimum wages, working hours and working conditions in defense contracts. Farmers became better off financially during the war, but agriculture fell further behind industry on the macro developmental level. The railroads gained spectacular efficiency from centralized government control. Shipping became a super efficient industry through transport and logistics support for a large US armed forces in Europe. Air transportation received a boost from war support for aviation. Transportation in general was rescued by the war from the disastrous pre-war effects of market failure.

The most significant factor was that about 10 million men, 25 percent of the workforce, were taken out of productive work and had to be supported at a high level of military consumption. The lesson was that by a deliberate collective effort, an enormous expansion of production was effected through a planned war economy of full employment. The return to normalcy after the war abruptly dismantled the US war production machine and prevented it from making any contribution to sustainable economic expansion in peace time. This contributed to an excessively speculative boom and bust cycle the ended with the Great Depression, which led to another world war.

In the spring of 1934, Fortune magazine ran an article entitled Arms and Man, a cheap expose unworthy of its lofty title. Among other things, it claimed that while it cost $25,000 to kill an enemy soldier, Chicago gangsters were doing it for $100 a head. Senator Gerald Nye (Republican, North Dakota), chairman of a special committee to investigate illegal links between business and armament, entered the article into the Congressional Records, remarking that there has not been published in ages anything so enlightening. The Nye investigation exposed a few well-known surprises about the international arms trade: that bribery occurred in Latin America and Asia —without linking the observation to the fact that most arms purchasers were located in those two regions, that home governments were enlisted to secure foreign sales, that arms manufacturers always sold to any customer paying cash or with good credit regardless of morals or politics, and often to both sides of the same conflict, and that arms embargoes were universally opposed by the arms industry as ineffective and only resulting in smuggling. The investigation did reveal that DuPont’s plant near Nashville had grossed a profit of 40,000 percent on its capital, soliciting a response from Pierre DuPont that since his company was selling explosive technology rather than a commodity (gunpowder) to the government, looking at return on capital was misleading. Microsoft uses essentially the same rationalization on spectacular profits derived from intellectual property a century later.

War planning by the War Production Board (WPB) in World War II learned from the dismal experience of the War Industries Board of World War I in its inability to quickly marshal the economy for war. Immediately on its establishment, the WPB conducted a complete national inventory of material and capacity for setting priorities and allocations. Its advantage over its predecessor was its final authority not only over industries but also over all production, including consumer goods. As such, it had the power to halt civilian automobiles in favor of munition production. A second and more important advantage was that war planning could immediately be executed by existing institutions already manned by in-place trained personnel of the New Deal.

The economic benefits of war were substantial: full employment, price stability through control and rationing, insatiable war demand that translated into guaranteed markets for the private sector, priority allocation of resources to support the spectacular miracle of war production. The US economy quickly became addicted to these euphoric vitamins from war, at least until market fundamentalism started to take over Washington, beginning in the 1970s. Since then, high-tech warfare can happily coexist with high unemployment and stagnant demand, as its demand on labor and production is narrowly concentrated. Following the Gulf War, the US economy contracted by 0.5 percent in 1991, its only shrinkage in two decades. The only visible economic spin-off from the 1991 Gulf War to civilian consumption was the introduction of the Hummer as a luxury special utility vehicle.

At the end of World War II, the New Dealers, now operationally powerful and ideologically unapologetic, were determined to extend war planning into peace time. The economic tools developed in war by the War Production Board, such as data on national income and production, were readily applicable to peace time management of the economy. The National Bureau of Economic Research had made significant advances in understanding the phenomenon of business cycles in industrial capitalism, monetary and fiscal policy implications on growth and the credit economics of the regulated banking system. Employment and unemployment data were readily available through national registration of worker insurance and social security, and payroll tax withholding. The lessons of the post World War I demobilization and the abrupt return to business as usual of the New Era which led to the calamitous depression in 1929 were fresh in the minds of the public leaders and government officials after World War II. The need for a planned mixed economy that was neither pure market capitalism nor command socialism became mainstream conventional wisdom until the 1970s, when supply-side emphasis began to overshadow demand management in a religious revival of market worship.

Post-World War II demobilization affected the economy differently than that of post-World War I, due to the availability of a host of social programs: unemployment insurance; a system of public employment agencies; government guaranteed bank loans for low and middle income home buyers, farmers and small entrepreneurs; federal assistance in urban renewal, an interstate highway system and federal aid to higher education, a GI bill for education; veteran medical benefits and hospitals, and housing subsidies, etc. Even price control continued until the fall of 1946 for fighting inflation and speculation. War-time saving by the public fueled a pent-up demand for big ticket consumer items: homes and furnishings, automobiles, major appliances, etc. Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946 which required an annual economic report to Congress and a formal administration program for implementing the policy aims of the act. It also created the Council of Economic Advisors.

Post-war economists devised the infamous concept of structural unemployment which for the US economy was then defined at 4 percent of the work force. Three scientific factors behind structural unemployment were identified by the economic advisors to the president: 1) Post war baby boomers causing a population jump; 2) Racial discrimination, and 3) The existence of severely depressed areas.

The solution for these structural factors was considered to require a different time frame than conventional business cycles, as they were really social problems with economic dimensions. The baby boom problem was to be solved by a lengthening of the period of education and by enlarging enrollment, thus reducing the number of first time job seekers and delaying their entrance into the job market. The racial issue would have to wait decades (until Kennedy and Johnson and in large measure still unresolved today despite widespread tokenism which is now being misused as a twisted argument against affirmative action). And the Area Development Act tackled the third issue with rural development programs. This scientific truth condemns 4 percent of the American workforce, mostly minorities facing institutional discrimination, into permanent exile from the economy and allows the economic establishment and policymakers to close their eyes to this man-made natural evil without feeling guilty of derelict of duty. As the economy expands in size, the natural rate now is considered to be over 6 percent, adding up to 8.5 million unemployed workers.

If even cancer is expected to be conquerable, and a man was placed on the moon three decades ago, it is unbelievable that the problem of structural unemployment cannot be solved. The real reason it has not been solved is because mainstream economics has accepted this condition in a man-made economy as scientifically natural and necessary, thus depriving vital financial oxygen to all necessary research into seeking a solution. There is no greater institutional terrorism than policy-induced unemployment and poverty as foundations of an economic system.

Even then, two alternative economic scenarios for post-World War II were generally accepted as unavoidable. One expected a return to high unemployment and depression and deflation, while the other anticipated high inflation as a natural price for keeping unemployment low. International geopolitical developments soon provided a third scenario which was quickly seized on by a convenient coalition of diverse domestic interests: the ideological anti-communist right; academia and think tanks which thirsted after war-related research funds, big business which wanted to continue the security of war contracts in peace time over the uncertainty of market forces, demobilized military officers who joined the private sector and who sought to maximize the value of their war time experience in the private sector, government planners who saw a way to militarize the peace for economic purposes. The Cold War was not only good politics, it was good economics, and even good social and physical science. And it was infinitely more preferable to any hot war.

But the nature of armament was fundamentally changed with the arrival of the age of nuclear weapons. Initial calculations concluded that the cost effectiveness of nuclear destruction was geometrically superior to conventional bombs in terms of TNT per dollar. The problem was that only the US had the bomb, thus there was no need for a large stockpile and also no need for even conventional arms under conditions of absolute nuclear monopoly. It is reasonable to surmise that of the various interests that helped the Soviets to quickly develop a nuclear capability, ideology was not the only consideration.

Arms control scholars in US strategic think tanks actively promoted the need to let the Soviets have the bomb and an effective delivery system, being confident at the same time that the US could stay technologically and quantitatively ahead enough of the Soviets to not compromise national security. By 1971, total offensive force loading (nuclear warheads) stood at: US 4,600 and the USSR 2,000. MIRV (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) technology and SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) were urged on the Soviets by US arms control experts to maintain stability. Moreover, the US system of relying on private defense contractors was in a better position to reap economic benefits from nuclear armament than the Soviet system of state enterprises. This strategy to bankrupt the USSR with arms spending was essentially the one which Ronald Reagan employed to win the Cold War.

The military on both sides soon embraced arms control with religious fervor, having understood that arms control is the deadly enemy of disarmament, which all military leaders detest like the plague. Within the verity of arms control was the need to make it easy for the opponent to reach a normative state of parity to play the game but not any overwhelming advantage to win it. That state of parity is known as stability. If either side achieves destabilizing advantage, the incentive for surprise attack is enhanced. So giving the Soviets nuclear secrets up to a point was to enhance the protection of US security. This fact created a Byzantine complexity in the game of Cold War espionage.

The problem with a single superpower world order is the disappearance of a military parity state, thus reducing incentives for political solutions on the part of an unrestrained superpower. Afghanistan and Iraq are the early victims of this new world order. Overwhelming military power on one side transforms terrorism into a viable option as resistance of last resort.

President Dwight D Eisenhower, a conventional war warrior who had an old soldier’s distaste for the unheroic new kill technology and the perversity of the new scholastics, who built his entire career on his inability to complete a whole sentence, had Malcolm C Moos, his speechwriter, come up with the eloquent and catchy term military-industrial complex for his farewell speech from the White House. Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower was confronted with a new and dangerous phase of the arms race that significantly curbed the policy options available to the highest office of the land, and that quietly eroded the traditional independent authority of the president on foreign policy.

Technological imperative pushed weaponry toward intercontinental missiles that had been openly demonstrated by Sputnik in 1957, and the prospect of missile-launching nuclear submarines was becoming real. Not being able to tell the US public about military secrets that US enemies already knew —that there was really no missile gap —and not being able to overcome a soldier’s adversity to giving an enemy military secrets, Eisenhower naively thought that by alerting the public to the unsavory link between business and the military he would slow down the arms buildup. There is truth to the saying that generals always re-fight the previous war in the current one. Eisenhower, too old to fight the next war, was trying to frame its rules by slowing the development of its armament technology. Eisenhower knew that Sputnik was a stunt rather than a real feat. It was a showcase for big booster rockets at the time when the US was achieving radical size and weight reduction of her hydrogen bombs, making big booster missiles irrelevant as a delivery system, just as US President George W Bush knows that terrorist attacks are the handiwork of groups outside of government, never the result of direct government action, thus there is no more logic in attacking a nation to effect a regime change in a war on terrorism than in bombing a school to prevent radicalism in the young.

As it turned out, big booster rockets provided the technological imperative for the development of MIRV technology more than a decade later. Yet public and press hysteria forced both Eisenhower and Kennedy to lose control of their defense budgets to include large amounts of waste and redundancy to remove the nonexistent missile gap. So Sputnik actually did more to hurt the less developed Soviet economy down the road than any other factor. It was a fact that the hawkish advisors to Reagan understood and they urged on him a strategy of a heightened level of conventional arms race in the name of nuclear arms control progress that eventually bankrupted the Soviet economy, and thereafter the Soviet political system as well. The Cold War was not won by US democratic ideals. It was won by a US arms control strategy that was sustainable only by a capitalistic system that depended on the private sector to produce weapons systems for profit.

The US now is seeking a replacement of the economic role of the Cold War. The attacks on Iraq and Yugoslavia were part of that search —it is a convenient way to burn off fast technical obsolescence to make room for the next generation of smart bombs and cruise missiles. The economies of Massachusetts, California, Texas and North Carolina are closely tied to smart-bomb production, at a cost of $2 million a pop. The Pentagon announced that in the pending invasion of Iraq, up to 400 cruise missiles a day would be launched, more than all fired in the 1991 war. With 4-6 percent unemployment being now accepted as a scientific necessity for long-term economic growth, and the prospect of total mobilization for a massive troop confrontation with another superpower being unrealistic in the foreseeable future, the economic impact of regional wars needed for empire building is expected to concentrate on high-tech innovation and tele-application, to maximize kill-ratio advantage, and on superior long-distance command and control of battlefield tactics via satellites, and not on the general economy.

With the public acceptance of the missile gap after Sputnik in 1957, internecine warfare within the Department of Defense —known respectably as inter-service rivalry —broke out in earnest and in public. The newly independent air force proposed to rename itself as the Aerospace Force to close the irrelevant and basically non-existent missile gap. The navy harked back to science fiction to point out that spaceships were the province of the navy because ships had always been naval vehicles, whether they sailed on a sea of water or in the air. The army, having lost control of the Army Air Corps, fearful of becoming obsolete in a strategic nuclear age, promoted the concept of limited nuclear wars with tactical nuclear weapons where the foot soldier remained key. The term wish list became Pentagon budget parlance to denote serious fantasy. This mentality eventually led to Star Wars during the Reagan administration and the current national missile defense and theater missile defense anti-ballistic missile defense systems.

Response time became a major factor in strategic nuclear defense. Response time to enemy attack by long-range bombers carrying nuclear bombs had been shortened to hours, as compared to weeks by the airlift movement of conventional troops and tanks. With the on-coming missile age, response time was further reduced to minutes. Kennedy was the first president who had the button. Kennedy’s political deal with the US right was that while he would be liberal in domestic economic policy and civil rights politics, he would be a fervent Cold War warrior in foreign relations. That inverse relationship between domestic and foreign policies, as engineered by Kennedy, is still visible today. Bill Clinton, on entering the White House, served notice to all that his first term was going to be devoted entirely to domestic issues, with foreign policy taking a back seat, meaning no change from the Reagan/Bush foreign policy. Starting with Kennedy and notwithstanding the Eisenhower warning, defense expenditure rose. The defense budget of eight years of Kennedy/Johnson exceeded the pervious 15 post-war years, even not counting Apollo, which was disguised as a civilian project to reach the moon for scientific purposes instead of the heavy payload missile research program that it really was.

Richard Barnet in his The Economy of Death published in 1969 detailed the rise of the new super-rich like David Packard, who parlayed an electronic hobby in his garage into a $300 million personal fortune by the mid 1960s; Simon Ramo and Dean E Wooldridge of TRW, which catapulted from a $6,000 operation in auto parts into a $120 million defense contractor by 1967. Since these companies were involved in selling threat reducers, it was necessary for them to first sell threats. James Ling, the founder of LTV, who with a $3,000 investment built a $3.2 billion business, declared to the press, One must believe in the long term threat.

Believing in security threats, unlike believing in God, has secular rewards. The two-way revolving door for business executives and military officers between the Pentagon and the private sector nurtures a common culture in which fundamental assumptions are accepted as givens. Robert McNamara and the whiz kids, fresh from turning the Ford Motor Company back into profit by making cars cheap in both price and quality, not to mention safety, brought the same systems analysis approach they borrowed from war planning to apply to Ford back to the Pentagon where it had begun, but where it had since been largely forgotten by the postwar generals. With mission-oriented cost/effectiveness analysis, concepts of kill-ratio; flexible response etc, McNamara de-politicized the military, and in the process militarized politics. Foreign relations became exceedingly complex and dominated by nuclear strategic scholastics. It fell mostly beyond the grasp of non-specialists because of the special logic of arms control scholastics, and its unique parlance defies common sense.

The post-Cold War, post-Vietnam anti-war movement of the new century is different. Increasingly, the radical left and the extreme right are becoming uneasy allies against war, with the liberal middle assuming an unprecedented hawkish posture of moral imperialism and humanitarian intervention.

The logic of nuclear arms control evolved into a modern scholasticism that gave new meaning to the language of war. Deterrence, rather than victory, became the sacred aim. Since political accommodation was ruled unrealistic with an opponent possessing the power of instant massive destruction, peace could no longer be achieved through diplomacy until nuclear war was eliminated as a possibility. The doctrine of deterrence was based on a balance of terror, to make war so mutually destructive that the very thought of it was enough to terrorize potential opponents into maintaining peace. The doctrine of massive mutual assured destruction became enshrined in every think tank engaged in nuclear strategy.

The originator of this type of theory was Herman Kahn in his famous Thinking About The Unthinkable, which defines stages of escalation of terror so that the final stage of nuclear war will never come. These stages are to be so well understood by both opponents that the first sign of escalation was enough to induce de-escalation back to normal. DECON1 and DECON2 became common strategic terms that spilled over to the movies. Under this theory, stability is achieved only by parity of military nuclear capability. Nuclear weapons that kill people are stabilizing (good, because they reinforce terror as a deterrent to nuclear war), weapons that destroy nuclear weapons are destabilizing (bad, because they reduce terror by providing protection against incoming destruction). This is the context in which the proposed Star Wars, ABM, NMD and TMD were debated originally. Civil defense is bad because it implies a preparation to neutralize an enemy counterattack after mounting a first attack, in order to launch a second attack.

It is ironic that the post-Cold War, near-universal opposition to terrorism on a localized scale is promoted by the same government that had employed massive global nuclear terrorism as the basic tool for constructing an arms control regime that enabled it to win the Cold War. Clausewitz’s concept of total war, the aim of which is not merely to rob the enemy of military capability but to destroy the enemy’s will to resist, was revived as gospel by nuclear war scholars. War, according to Clausewitz, was merely a continuation of diplomacy by other means. Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), in his influential book: On War, insightfully identified war as merely an extension of diplomacy, which is a tailor-made dogma that the modern nuclear war regime needs.

Prior to the onset of the Clausewitzian view, traditional military doctrine always considered diplomacy as an instrument of peace, while war was the result of failed diplomacy. Clausewitz, being a realist of the age of Napoleonic wars, viewed war as a natural condition in human affairs. His ideas enjoyed renewed attention in the post-World War II era of superpower Cold War military doctrine in which, due to technological imperative and ideological irreconcilability, war by nuclear weapons, though unthinkable, let alone desirable, is considered as an inherent and imminent possibility and its deterrence achievable only by making its projected outcome utterly unbearable, even to the surviving winner. It is a war prevention theory based on the politics of terror and fear.

Should the US now invade Iraq, preceded by massive bombing or, as reported in the US press, even tactical nuclear attack, it would dilute deterrence of war or terrorism by fear. It would be a message to terrorists that their handiwork will elicit blind punitive attacks on whomever happens to be on the US’s enemy list at the moment. It would also be a message to all governments that counter-terrorism punitive attacks lack focus, or worse, that the war on terrorism is merely a pretext for unrelated geopolitical objectives on the part of the sole superpower. Under such circumstances, terrorist attacks would not cease. Far from it, such attacks would escalate from being threats of potential mayhem to address particular grievances, to realities of pandemonium to bring down the whole system, as counter-measures would degenerate into state actions of arbitrary self interest. When two hijacked civilian airliners can cause the sudden death and casualty of more than 3,000 civilians and the sudden collapse of a nation’s tallest skyscrapers, it is proof that potential WMD are commonplace and everywhere, not just within the organized military. It is a problem that cannot be solved by attacking one or two rogue states that happen to fall outside the US code of acceptable conduct at the moment. When the police are intoxicated with unlimited power without accountability, law enforcement effectiveness suffers.

Under the Cold War doctrine of deterrence by fear, prevention of nuclear war rested on the unacceptability of the horror of mass destruction threatening both opponents, an end-state terror that would justify a permanent militarization of peace as the price for survival. Diplomatic options in Cold War superpower relations escalated from a relatively fluid scenario of if-then (if you transgress with action —then we will attack), to the impasse of either-or (either you desist in intention or we will escalate) and finally to the locked position of neither-nor (neither you start —nor will we start), all based on the doctrine of Massive Mutually Assured Destruction, known among nuclear warfare scholars by its perceptive acronym: MAD. The war on terror has yet to reach such levels of sophistication.

This was the point when the terms hawks and doves appeared in Cold War politics. Doves wanted weapons that killed populations, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM); hawks wanted weapons that destroyed other weapons, such as anti-ballistic missiles (ABM —a bullet to shoot an incoming bullet, known also to skeptics as a solution in search of a problem since stability preempts first attacks.) Doves wanted to expose the population of both sides to defenseless attack, as hostage to peace. Hawks wanted civil defense to protect populations. Doves wanted unprotected missiles for both sides, exposed to enemy attack, to remove the possibility of a second strike by either side. Hawks wanted mobile missiles that were hard to target and deep protective silos for missiles that would survive a first attack. Doves wanted B-52 bombers (470 bombers) that were slow enough for a recall; Hawks wanted missile-launching nuclear submarines (600 Polaris missiles and 64 Poseidon SLBMs each with 10 50-kiloton warheads) under the North Pole that could still launch after Washington had been obliterated, a doomsday machine. Technological imperative gives the world MIRVs, named Minuteman III, each carrying three 20-kiloton warheads (100 Minuteman III, plus 900 Minuteman I&II). Doves wanted to deny the defense system (54 Titan IIs with 10 megatons, 10 times Minuteman’s kill power) of any second-strike capability. Yet the characteristics between stabilizing and destabilizing weapons often overlapped, depending on the scenario of escalation, with some weapons systems claimed by both hawks and doves as contributing to maintaining the peace.

The agreement with the Russians not to aim ICBM warheads on US cities was in fact a victory for the hawks. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) negotiations between the US and the USSR resulted in two treaties and several less formal agreements. SALT I, begun in 1969 and ended in 1972, with agreement on the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The ABM Treaty limited the number of weapons and radar equipment allowed each country and regulated their type and location, while allowing for continued development of weapons. The treaty also established commissions for monitoring violations and considering further arms-control proposals. Under the interim agreement, the parties agreed to limit their supply of strategic missile launchers to the numbers and types then existing or under construction, but they allowed for the improvement of those existing types. Installation of both NMD and TMD systems required the abrogation of the ABM Treaty.

SALT II began in 1972 and was signed in 1979 and set precise limits on the numbers of each type of strategic launcher. SALT II permitted the testing and development of certain kinds of launchers. Although SALT II never entered into force, both the US and the USSR did pledge to abide by its limits. In 1982, Ronald Reagan advanced his proposal for a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Direct talks between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led to the signing of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. In 1991, President George H Bush and Gorbachev signed the START I Treaty, by which the two countries agreed to reduce the number of nuclear warheads by about 25 percent. After the breakup of the USSR in 1991, negotiations on START I began between the US, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. All five countries eventually ratified START I, which became effective in November 1994. The START II Treaty, which called for the elimination of almost three quarters of the nuclear warheads held by the five countries, was signed in 1993. START III limits the number of deployed strategic warheads to about 2,000 on each side, still enough to wipe out civilization many times over with a single first strike.

Donald Rumsfeld, while out of office during the Clinton administration, spelled out his hawkish views in the Report of the Rumsfeld Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, dated July 15, 1998, with the following conclusion: Concerted efforts by a number of overtly or potentially hostile nations to acquire ballistic missiles with biological or nuclear payloads pose a growing threat to the United States, its deployed forces and its friends and allies. These newer, developing threats in North Korea, Iran and Iraq are in addition to those still posed by the existing ballistic missile arsenals of Russia and China, nations with which we are not now in conflict but which remain in uncertain transitions. The newer ballistic missile-equipped nations’ capabilities will not match those of US systems for accuracy or reliability. However, they would be able to inflict major destruction on the US within about five years of a decision to acquire such a capability (10 years in the case of Iraq). During several of those years, the US might not be aware that such a decision had been made.

Iraq has maintained the skills and industrial capabilities needed to reconstitute its long range ballistic missile program. Its plant and equipment are less developed than those of North Korea or Iran as a result of actions forced by UN resolutions and monitoring. However, Iraq has actively continued work on the short range (under 150 kilometers) liquid and solid-fueled missile programs that are allowed by the resolutions. Once UN-imposed controls are lifted, Iraq could mount a determined effort to acquire needed plant and equipment, whether directly or indirectly. Such an effort would allow Iraq to pose an ICBM threat to the United States within 10 years. Iraq could develop a shorter range, covert, ship-launched missile threat that could threaten the United States in a very short time.

Iraq had a large, intense ballistic missile development and production program prior to the Gulf War. The Iraqis produced Scuds, and then modified Scud missiles to produce the 600 kilometer range Al Hussein and 900 kilometer range Al Abbas missiles. The expertise, as well as some of the equipment and materials from this program remain in Iraq and provide a strong foundation for a revived ballistic missile program.

Prior to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Iraq could have had nuclear weapons in the 1993-1995 time frame, although it still had technical hurdles to overcome. After the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq began a crash program to produce a nuclear device in six to nine months based on highly enriched uranium removed from the safeguarded reactor at Tuwaitha. Iraq has the capability to reconstitute its nuclear weapon program; the speed at which it can do so depends on the availability of fissile material. It would take several years to build the required production facilities from scratch. It is possible that Iraq has hidden some material from UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspection, or that it could acquire fissile material abroad (eg from another rogue state.) Iraq also had large chemical and biological weapons programs prior to the war, and produced chemical and biological warheads for its missiles. Knowledge, personnel and equipment related to WMD remain in Iraq, so that it could reconstitute these programs rapidly following the end of sanctions.

Not a single word on terrorism was found in the entire report dated 1998, three years before the September 11 attacks. Largely on the basis of this report, the US under Bush abrogated unilaterally the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM).

By the ABM Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed that each might have only two ABM deployment areas, so restricted and so located that they could not provide a nationwide ABM defense or become the basis for developing one. Each country, thus, through the ABM Treaty, left unchallenged the penetration capability of the other’s retaliatory missile forces. Precise quantitative and qualitative limits were imposed on the ABM systems that might be deployed. Both parties agreed to limit qualitative improvement of their ABM technology. The ABM Treaty was signed in Moscow on May 26, 1972, and ratified by the US Senate on August 3, 1972. It entered into force on October 3, 1972. The US and the USSR signed a protocol to the treaty which entered into force in 1976 and which reduced the number of ABM deployment areas from two to one, deployed either around each parties’ national capital area or, alternatively, at a single ICBM deployment area. The USSR deployed an ABM system around Moscow, but the US elected not to deploy an ABM system and in 1976 de-activated its site at Grand Forks, North Dakota, around a Minuteman ICBM launch area. The treaty had subsequently been extensively modified by amendment, with various common understandings and protocols. Five-year review meetings were held in Geneva. The ABM Treaty thus had enshrined as strategic doctrine the principle of deterrence through threat of counter strike retaliation.

Post-Cold War developments have resulted in the emergence of substantial bipartisan support in the US for the development and deployment of active defenses against ballistic missiles of less than strategic range (theater ballistic missiles) in the form of theater missile defense systems, which would defend US military forces and allies overseas, where issues of MAD deterrence do not apply. Although much more controversial, there is also considerable backing for the development of a national missile defense (NMD) system, which would defend US territory and population against a limited missile attack, directly refuting MAD deterrence principles.

The ABM Treaty has come to play a critical role in the debate over both TMD and NMD. But this role is very different for the two types of systems. The ABM Treaty did not limit theater missile defense systems per se. The treaty limits ABM systems that are defined as systems to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory. Since TMD systems are aimed not at countering strategic ballistic missiles but at shorter-range theater ballistic missiles, they are outside the scope of the ABM Treaty.

The problem is that the term strategic ballistic missiles is not defined in the ABM Treaty, leaving open the question of what constitutes a strategic ballistic missile as opposed to a theater ballistic missile. The situation is complicated further by article VI of the treaty, in which the parties agreed to two things: not to give non-ABM systems capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory and not to test non-ABM systems in an ABM mode. Again, the treaty nowhere defines the phrase capabilities to counter or what constitutes testing in an ABM mode. While the United States made a unilateral statement at the time of the negotiations as to what it considered testing in an ABM mode, this statement was directed toward the testing of air defense systems and sheds little light on the testing of TMD systems.

This has meant that development of US TMD systems has, almost from its inception, occurred under a cloud of possible non-compliance with the ABM Treaty. The secretary of defense was given responsibility for US compliance with the treaty shortly after it was ratified. The secretary has been assisted in this role by the Compliance Review Group (CRG), established within the Department of Defense. In trying to decide whether a TMD system in development has capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles, the CRG has based its assessment on the inherent capabilities of a TMD system against a strategic ballistic missile. In making this judgment, the CRG has relied on computer-based calculations and simulations of a one-on-one engagement between a TMD interceptor and a single strategic ballistic missile, rather than on more realistic scenarios involving projected performance in real-world combat situations (force-on-force engagements). This has tended to overstate the capabilities of TMD systems.

Further, this approach is inherently one-sided. The ABM Treaty is verified only by national technical means (NTM). This means that the US can object to Soviet (now Russian) compliance based only on observable activities (via satellite) such as actual testing of TMD systems. The US has little insight into the theoretical computer-based capabilities of Russian TMD systems, and therefore cannot raise compliance objections based on them. Yet the US is constraining its own development of TMD systems based on just this kind of analysis.

The upshot has been significant limitations on the technical capability of US TMD systems under development. For example, the army’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system has been certified by the US as ABM Treaty compliant only through the demonstration and validation phase of development. It is uncertain as to whether the system will be certified for deployment. To the extent that it will, certification is likely to be conditioned on the system being rendered incapable of receiving sensor data from sources other than its own radar. Thus, the system will be unable to acquire targeting data from satellite-based sensors (such as the former Brilliant Eyes satellite constellation). If THAAD were permitted to receive data from such sources, the potential area that it could defend against attack from a ballistic missile fired from 1,000 kilometers away would nearly double in size.

Similarly, the Navy’s Theater Wide Defense (NTWD) system (formerly the Navy Upper Tier system) has been certified by the United States as ABM Treaty compliant, but it is based on a concept of operations that restrict the NTWD to making interceptions while the target is within the range of the SPY radar aboard AEGIS cruisers or destroyers that will carry the NTWD. This effectively restricts the potential for interception to the ascent phase of a theater ballistic missile’s flight (from initial launch to burnout of the missile’s rocket motor). The AEGIS ship must be close enough to the launch point of the theater ballistic missile that its radar can track the flight and guide the interceptor to the target before that target either attains a velocity that the interceptor cannot overcome or flies out of the radar’s range. If the interceptor could rely on data about the target’s flight provided from other sensors —such as satellites —then the NTWD system could engage theater ballistic missiles or their warheads in mid-course flight (after the missile has burned out or a warhead has separated from the missile). Bush approved for sale to Taiwan four Kidd-class destroyers and advanced missiles for Taiwanese fighter jets, but Taiwan will not be allowed to buy AEGIS systems.

In terms of national missile defense, the essence of the ABM Treaty was that each side forswore the deployment of a defense of its territory against the strategic ballistic missiles of the other. The treaty did permit the deployment of ABM defenses initially at two sites on each side, designed originally for the national capitals and one ballistic missile field each. Only the Soviet Union took advantage of this freedom, and Russia still maintains an ABM system to defend Moscow.

What both nations eventually would benefit from, however, is not limited defenses of specific sites, but a thin layer of protection for their entire countries —to defend not against each other’s ballistic missiles, but against ballistic missiles from third countries that could threaten them both, or from accidental or unauthorized launches. By its terms, the ABM Treaty makes this difficult. Sea-based ABM systems (such as might be achieved by an upgraded navy NTWD system), or air or space-based systems (such as Brilliant Pebbles pursued by the Reagan and Bush administrations), are proscribed. A single site centrally located in the continental United States for deployment of a fixed land-based ABM system would, with today’s technology, have a difficult task in providing an effective defense of Alaska and Hawaii.

The Bush Sr administration sought to enlist first the Soviet Union and then Russia, along with US allies, such as Japan and Taiwan, in building a global protection system that would provide a limited ballistic missile defense to all nations committed to nonproliferation norms. It sought Moscow’s agreement to relax the ABM Treaty constraints to permit the development and deployment of such a system. However, Soviet consent was never achieved, and Russian officials had increasingly indicated their commitment to the strictest possible continuation of the ABM Treaty.

The Bush Sr administration had been pursuing negotiations with the Russians to define the demarcation line between an ABM system (limited by the ABM Treaty) and a TMD system (unlimited by the treaty). This was consistent with the administration’s view that theater ballistic missiles constitute the only near or medium-term danger and that the US’s most important priority is to ensure that it can develop and deploy those TMD systems needed to defend against that threat. Negotiators for the two sides had apparently agreed that testing in an ABM mode means testing a TMD system against a ballistic missile target that anywhere in its target flight has a velocity in excess of 5 kilometers per second or flies to a range of over 3,500 kilometers. TMD systems tested against such a target would presumably be deemed to be tested in an ABM mode and subject to ABM Treaty limitations.

As to giving TMD systems capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles, the parties were apparently nearing agreement that systems having an interceptor with an intercept velocity of three kilometers per second or less (it is unclear whether this was a theoretical capability or is to be determined by what has actually been demonstrated in test flights) would not be considered to have capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles and would not qualify as NMD systems as long as they were not tested in an ABM mode. Those systems having an interceptor with an intercept velocity of greater than three kilometers per second, however, would be subject to the compliance judgment of the side deploying that system as to whether it possessed capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles. Additionally, the parties might agree on a number of joint TMD activities, including joint exercises, joint development contracts, and possible sharing of early-warning data. Confidence-building measures would also be discussed.

The Bush Sr and Clinton administrations had believed that this approach would ensure that its near-term TMD systems (upgraded Patriot missiles, THAAD and the Navy Lower Tier missile defense system) could be deployed without ABM Treaty problems. It was less clear whether this approach would protect planned follow-on systems (such as NTWD and a possible boost-phase intercept system launched from aircraft) or future generations of systems required to deal with more sophisticated theater ballistic missile threats.

The abrogation of the ABM Treaty has a profound negative impact on US efforts to reduce Russian and Chinese strategic nuclear arsenals and to build a stronger nuclear nonproliferation regime.

On December 13, 2001, President Bush officially announced that the US would withdraw unilaterally from the 1972 ABM Treaty with Russia. I have concluded the ABM treaty hinders our government’s ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue-state missile attacks, Bush announced following a meeting with his National Security Council. Defending the American people is my highest priority as commander in chief and I cannot and will not allow the United States to remain in a treaty that prevents us from developing effective defenses, Bush said at the White House Rose Garden, in a definitively hawkish statement by the standards of arms control lexicon.

A statement by the press secretary on the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty read, The circumstances affecting US national security have changed fundamentally since the signing of the ABM Treaty in 1972. The attacks against the US homeland on September 11 vividly demonstrate that the threats we face today are far different from those of the Cold War. During that era, now fortunately in the past, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in an implacably hostile relationship. Each side deployed thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at the other. Our ultimate security rested largely on the grim premise that neither side would launch a nuclear attack because doing so would result in a counter-attack ensuring the total destruction of both nations.

Today, our security environment is profoundly different. The Cold War is over. Today the United States and Russia face new threats to their security. Principal among these threats are weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means wielded by terrorists and rogue states. A number of such states are acquiring increasingly longer-range ballistic missiles as instruments of blackmail and coercion against the United States and its friends and allies. The United States must defend its homeland, its forces and its friends and allies against these threats. We must develop and deploy the means to deter and protect against them, including through limited missile defense of our territory.

Under the terms of the ABM Treaty, the United States is prohibited from defending its homeland against ballistic missile attack. We are also prohibited from cooperating in developing missile defenses against long-range threats with our friends and allies. Given the emergence of these new threats to our national security and the imperative of defending against them, the United States is today providing formal notification of its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. As provided in Article XV of that Treaty, the effective date of withdrawal will be six months from today.

It is true that defense peaked as a share of US GDP (6.2 percent) in 1986. Before that, it had not been as high unless one goes back to 1972, the height of the Vietnam War. In 1998, the defense/GDP ratio was 3.2 percent. The Clinton budgets caused the defense/GDP ratio to continue to decline. Localized conflicts on the scale of the Gulf War did not alter the basic trend of stagnation in military spending. Defense/GDP ratio continued to decline from 1989 to the 2000. The Bush administration is on record to want to reverse that trend. In February 2002, the president proposed a total of $379.3 billion for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2003 (including $10 billion to fight terrorism.) with a defense/GDP ratio of 3.8 percent. This is a $45.3 billion increase from FY2002. Added to this must be $15.6 billion for the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy.

The Council for a Livable World, a Washington-based public policy think tank, states that the US increase of $48 billion is larger than the annual military budget of any other country in the world. By FY2007, the defense budget is to increase to $451.4 billion (plus $16.9 billion for the nuclear weapons program). Development of layered missile defenses will take $7.8 billion. The Navy Area Theater Wide program has been canceled. An additional $815 million will go into space-based sensors, while the Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Low Component Program slips by two years from its initial 2004 deployment. Over $27 billion of the budget is reserved to fight the war against terrorism. In this context, the president plans an additional $37.7 billion budget for homeland defense. One cannot resist the temptation of speculating how much terrorist hostility can be neutralized by an aid and friendship program of that dimension.

The real grease in military spending for lubricating the economy comes from hardware and research and development, not from soldiers’ pay. By supporting anti-missile defense development during the last eight years, Clinton and the Democrats already gave the contractors all that they could have asked for. There is also the lead time factor. Military spending requires first the depletion of inventory before the replacement phase can come later. Armed conflicts, even localized ones, accelerates this cycle.

The last thing a military hardware vendor wants is a battlefield test of his product. To maximize sales, both buyer and seller have an interest in controlled tests that make them look good, not real tests which could be embarrassing. The technical and budgetary fallouts are more R&D and upgrades. One B2 bomber now costs over $3 billion due to upgrades, up one third from its original cost. The construction cost of the World Trade Center towers was $1.5 billion at its completion in 1972, and its replacement cost today would be about the same as the cost of a B2. The Stealth fighter will cost 30 percent more to make it more stealthy and less vulnerable. The new price will be around $65 million each. Yet military spending meant more back in 1962 when the defense budget was near 10 percent of GDP. It is precisely the fact that military spending has not been a significant factor in the economy in the post-Cold War decade that gives new incentives for new violent conflicts. Military spending has always had an international strategic dimension. Reagan used it in Star Wars to bankrupt the USSR, paying the price of record high deficits and national debts. After the Cold War, the US economy was fueled by neo-liberal globalization of trade and finance, which went bust in 1997. With global trade contracting, and anticipated recovery delayed, military spending takes on new importance.

Defense spending is now again a necessary option, but it takes time and eventually it will take a total war to work as it did in World War II. The NMD and TMD systems are part of the developing trend. For FY2003, defense spending with military and homeland security expenditure represents 17 percent of the federal budget. It will rise to 22 percent by 2007 under current projections. Regional conflicts such as Afghanistan and Kosovo ran at about $100 million a day in the first phase and $200 million in the intensive later phases. For Iraq, an expenditure of over $1 billion a day is being bantered about. It has been announced that the Defense Department plans to deploy a barrage of 400 cruise missiles a day on the opening days of the Iraq offensive, which at $2 million each, would incur a cost of $800 million a day just for cruise missiles. Pretty soon, that adds up to a lot of money, even though it pales against the $8 trillion loss of market capitalization since the beginning of 2000.

The reason defense spending at this moment in history contributes relatively little to US GDP is because the US economy is so much bigger than those of its perceived adversaries. In that sense, it is correct to observe that the role of defense spending has shifted from one of domestic economic stimulant to global geopolitical weaponry. But the very nature of war has changed, the link between economic warfare and physical conflicts has become continuous. Neither Russia or China, or even the European Union or Japan can afford an arms race with the US, so NMD and TMD will go forward, but not to completion for lack of a credible adversary. The EU is on record in opposing the two systems. As for the so-called rogue states, their identities are quite whimsical and they may well change before the systems are operational. But the nature of armament has again fundamentally changed with the arrival of the age of biological and chemical weapons. The nature of the threat has changed. The logic of TMD and NMD is fundamentally faulty: why should terrorists resort to ICBMs that are costly and difficult to launch when a small bottle of biological agent can do more damage at a tiny fraction of the cost? A recent NATO study shows that the costs of conventional weapons ($2,000), nuclear armaments ($800), and chemical agents ($600) would far outstrip the bargain basement price of biological weapons ($1) to produce 50 percent casualties per square kilometer (1969 dollars).

Terrorism can only be fought with the removal of injustice, not by anti-ballistic missiles and smart bombs. It is a straw-man argument to assert the principle of refusal to yield to terrorist demands. It is a suicidal policy to refuse to negotiate with terrorists until terrorism stops, for the political aim of all terrorism is to force the otherwise powerful opponent to address the terrorists’ grievances by starting new negotiations under new terms. The solution lies in denying terrorism any stake in destruction and increasing its stake in dialogue. This is done with an inclusive economy and a just world order in which it would be clear that terrorist destruction of any part of the world would simply impoverish all, including those whom terrorists try to help. The US can increase its own security and the security of the world by adopting foreign and trade policies more in tune with its professed values of peace and justice for all.

NRO presents Zarkawi "in his own words"

The source for this is no less than neocon propaganda outfit National Review Online (Feb 12, 2004) . . . so take this "original document" with a grain of salt.

Zarkawi's Cry: A Terrorist's Words of Despair

(NRO EDITOR'S NOTE: Earlier this week, Coalition officials discovered a letter believed to have been written by terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to al Qaeda operatives (see Michael Ledeen here). Below is the text of the letter, as translated and distributed by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

1. The foreign Mujahidin: Their numbers continue to be small, compared to the large nature of the expected battle. We know that there are enough good groups and jihad is continuing, despite the negative rumors. What is preventing us from making a general call to arms is the fact that the country of Iraq has no mountains in which to seek refuge, or forest in which to hide. Our presence is apparent and our movement is out in the open. Eyes are everywhere. The enemy is before us and the sea is behind us. Many Iraqis would honor you as a guest and give you refuge, for you are a Muslim brother; however, they will not allow you to make their homes a base for operations or a safe house. People who will allow you to do such things are very rare, rarer than red sulfur. Therefore, it has been extremely difficult to lodge and keep safe a number of brothers, and also train new recruits. Praised be to Allah, however, with relentless effort and searching we have acquired some places and their numbers are increasing, to become base points for the brothers who will spark war and bring the people of this country into a real battle with god's will.

2. The present and future: there is no doubt that American losses were significant because they are spread thin amongst the people and because it is easy to get weapons. This is a fact that makes them easy targets, attractive for the believers. America, however, has no intention of leaving, no matter how many wounded nor how bloody it becomes. It is looking to a near future, when it will remain safe in its bases, while handing over control of Iraq to a bastard government with an army and police force that will bring back the time of (saddam) Husayn and his cohorts. (headquarters comment: it is not clear to whom "it" is referring, but it appears to mean the united states.) There is no doubt that our field of movement is shrinking and the grip around the throat of the Mujahidin has begun to tighten. With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening.

3. So where are we? Despite few supporters, lack of friends, and tough times, god has blessed us with victories against the enemy. We were involved in all the martyrdom operations - in terms of overseeing, preparing, and planning - that took place in this country except for the operations that took place in the north. Praised be to Allah, i have completed 25 of these operations, some of them against the Shi'a and their leaders, the Americans and their military, the police, the military, and the coalition forces. There will be more in the future, god willing. We did not want to publicly claim these operations until we become more powerful and were ready for the consequences. We need to show up strong and avoid getting hurt, now that we have made great strides and taken important steps forward. As we get closer to the decisive moment, we feel that our entity is spreading within the security void existing in Iraq, something that will allow us to secure bases on the ground, these bases that will be the jump start of a serious revival, god willing.

4. Plan of action: after much inquiry and discussion, we have narrowed our enemy to four groups:

A. Americans as you know, these are the biggest cowards that god has created and the easiest target. And we ask god to allow us to kill, and detain them, so that we can exchange them with our arrested shaykhs and brothers.

B. Kurds these are a pain and a thorn, and it is not time yet to deal with them. They are last on our list, even though we are trying to get to some of their leaders. God willing.
C. The Iraqi troops, police, and agents these are the eyes, ears, and hand of the occupier. With god's permission, we are determined to target them with force in the near future, before their power strengthens.

D. The Shi'a in our opinion, these are the key to change. Targeting and striking their religious, political, and military symbols, will make them show their rage against the Sunnis and bear their inner vengeance. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of these Sabeans, i.e., the Shi'a. Despite their weakness, the Sunnis are strong-willed and honest and different from the coward and deceitful Shi'a, who only attack the weak. Most of the Sunnis are aware of the danger of these people and they fear them. If it were not for those disappointing shaykhs, Sufis, and Muslim brothers, Sunnis would have a different attitude.

5. Way of action: As we have mentioned to you, our situation demands that we treat the issue with courage and clarity. So the solution, and god only knows, is that we need to bring the Shi'a into the battle because it is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. We need to do that because:

A. The Shi'a have declared a subtle war against Islam. They are the close, dangerous enemy of the Sunnis. Even if the Americans are also an archenemy, the Shi'a are a greater danger and their harm more destructive to the nation than that of the Americans who are anyway the original enemy by consensus.

B. They have supported the Americans, helped them, and stand with them against the Mujahidin. They work and continue to work towards the destruction of the Mujahidin.

C. Fighting the Shi'a is the way to take the nation to battle. The Shi'a have taken on the dress of the army, police, and the Iraqi security forces, and have raised the banner of protecting the nation, and the citizens. Under this banner, they have begun to assassinate the Sunnis under the pretense that they are saboteurs, vestiges of the Ba'th, or terrorists who spread perversion in the country. This is being done with strong media support directed by the governing council and the Americans, and they have succeeded in splitting the regular Sunni from the Mujahidin. For example, in what they call the Sunni triangle, the army and police are spreading out in these regions, putting in charge Sunnis from the same region. Therefore, the problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood, and appearance to the people of the region. This region is our base of operations from where we depart and to where we return. When the Americans withdraw, and they have already started doing that, they get replaced by these agents who are intimately linked to the people of this region. What will happen to us, if we fight them, and we have to fight them, is one of only two choices:

1) if we fight them, that will be difficult because there will be a schism between us and the people of the region. How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext, after the Americans start withdrawing? The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority. This is the democracy, we will have no pretext.

2) we can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like it has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By god, this is suffocation! We will be on the roads again. People follow their leaders, their hearts may be with you, but their swords are with their kings. So i say again, the only solution is to strike the religious, military, and other cadres of the Shi'a so that they revolt against the Sunnis. Some people will say, that this will be a reckless and irresponsible action that will bring the Islamic nation to a battle for which the Islamic nation is unprepared. Souls will perish and blood will be spilled. This is, however, exactly what we want, as there is nothing to win or lose in our situation. The Shi'a destroyed the balance, and the religion of god is worth more than lives. Until the majority stands up for the truth, we have to make sacrifices for this religion, and blood has to be spilled. For those who are good, we will speed up their trip to paradise, and the others, we will get rid of them.

By god, the religion of god is more precious than anything else. We have many rounds, attacks, and black nights with the Shi'a, and we cannot delay this. Their menace is looming and this is a fact that we should not fear, because they are the most cowardly people god has created. Killing their leaders will weaken them and with the death of the head, the whole group dies. They are not like the Sunnis. If you knew the fear in the souls of the Sunnis and their people, you would weep in sadness. How many of the mosques have they have turned in to Shi'a mosques ("husayniyas")? How many houses they have destroyed with their owners inside? How many brothers have they killed? How many sisters have been raped at the hands of those vile infidels?

If we are able to deal them blow after painful blow so that they engage in a battle, we will be able to reshuffle the cards so there will remain no value or influence for the ruling council, or even for the Americans who will enter into a second battle with the Shi'a. This is what we want. Then, the Sunni will have no choice but to support us in many of the Sunni regions. When the Mujahidin would have secured a land they can use as a base to hit the Shi'a inside their own lands, with a directed media and a strategic action, there will be a continuation between the Mujahidin inside and outside of Iraq. We are racing against time, in order to create squads of Mujahidin who seek refuge in secure places, spy on neighborhoods, and work on hunting down the enemies. The enemies are the Americans, police, and army. We have been training these people and augmenting their numbers.

As far as the Shi'a, we will undertake suicide operations and use car bombs to harm them. We have been working on monitoring the area and choosing the right people, looking for those who are on the straight path, so we can cooperate with them. We hope that we have made progress, and perhaps we will soon decide to go public - even if gradually - to display ourselves in full view. We have been hiding for a long time, and now we are seriously working on preparing a media outlet to reveal the truth, enflame zeal, and become an outlet for jihad in which the sword and the pen can turn into one. Along with this, we strive to illuminate the hindering errors of Islamic law and the clarifications of Islamic legal precepts by way of tapes, lessons, and courses which people will come to understand.

The suggested time for execution: we are hoping that we will soon start working on creating squads and brigades of individuals who have experience and expertise. We have to get to the zero-hour in order to openly begin controlling the land by night and after that by day, god willing. The zero-hour needs to be at least four months before the new government gets in place. As we see we are racing time, and if we succeed, which we are hoping, we will turn the tables on them and thwart their plan. If, god forbid, the government is successful and takes control of the country, we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again, where we can raise the flag again or die, if god chooses us.

6. What about you? You, noble brothers, leaders of jihad, we do not consider ourselves those who would compete against you, nor would we ever aim to achieve glory for ourselves like you did. The only thing we want is to be the head of the spear, assisting and providing a bridge over which the Muslim nation can cross to promised victory and a better tomorrow. As we have explained, this is our belief. So if you agree with it and are convinced of the idea of killing the perverse sects, we stand ready as an army for you, to work under your guidance and yield to your command. Indeed, we openly and publicly swear allegiance to you by using the media, in order to exasperate the infidels and confirm to the adherents of faith that one day, the believers will revel in god's victory. If you think otherwise, we will remain brothers, and disagreement will not destroy our cooperation and undermine our working together for what is best. We support jihad and wait for your response. May god keep for you the keys of goodness and preserve Islam and his people. Amen, amen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

MSM under the Microscope; or "When Wolves Attack"

Media analyst Danny Schechter provides a "post-mortum" on the 2004 election coverage:

In it's final days, Campaign 2004 has become even nastier. At the core of this devolution of our politics process sits the campaign media -- a mob of reporters too overworked to stray from the campaigns' master script of attack and counter. Character assassinations meant to further polarize American voters, have taken center stage in our 24-hours news cylce, with the candidates' stances on the issues -- healthcare, education, the economy, anyone? -- shoved to the margins.

The latest GOP ad on the air in Colorado and other battleground states features bloodthirsty wolves as the terrorist threat from which the Bush campaign claims it's saving America. It is yet another representation of the fear mongering that drives their last-minute rush to November 2. Such negative ads are everywhere with few correctives in the news.

Ad watcher Kathleen Hall Jamison says, according to Fred Brown of the Denver Post that impact of negative advertising may be a primal survival instinct. "People remember what's bad -- the negative -- because it's more likely to hurt them or eat them." Eat them?

Mike Cummings at the University of Colorado says that campaigning is more negative than ever and candidates are less shy about "savaging" their opponents.

The viciousness on TV is not confined to the TV screens. A local story reports that "Littleton teenager Aaron Oster-Beal: awoke to the find the family's Kerry Edwards yard sale covered with a rude surprise -- a pile of dog excrement."

Talk about a campaign that's become, to put it bluntly if crudely: full of shit.

And where is the news media while all of this is going on. They are selling the ads and fanning the flames with more heat than light.

Election coverage has a dynamic that goes largely unchanged year after year. Just like in the war coverage of Iraq there is a "master narrative" driving the reporting. This year's master narrative revolves around the dirty back and forth between the campaigns, a process made simple for journalists by a coterie of campaign operatives on hand to deliver the latest jab.

It is widely assumed that our media operates outside the political system as a watchdog, a "fourth estate." But like in the Iraq War in which CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks assigned the media a role in his war plan as "the fourth front, " the role of the media has changed. Media today is an integral part of the political process as well, a key component in what I call our "Mediaocracy."

After the 2000 election, I co-edited a book challenging the simplistic belief that George Bush and Bush alone "stole" the election. In "Hail to the Thief." (Innovatio) I argued that we can only understand what happened in that election by understanding the role, function and performance of the media that covered and mis-covered it.

In February 2001, red-faced media executive admitted to a Congressional committee that their election eve forecasts, which influenced the outcome, were deeply flawed.

So sorry!

I wrote then. "The counting and undercounting of the election ballots, the mistaken votes and bizarre 'overvotes' was a scandal seen around the world, Rarely seen and poorly covered in the media was another scandal within that scandal -- the role played by the media itself."

That scandal was not a crude conspiracy nor is it a simple accidental occurrence Its roots can be found in the corporate media environment that has been changing for years as well as in the increasing corporatization of politics itself.

It reflects a growing symbiotic relationship between increasingly interlocking media elites and political elites. Together they form a powerful interdependent system in which overt ideology and shared worldviews mask more covert subservience to corporate agendas. Together these two forces form a Mediaocracy -- a political system tethered to a media system

After every election, journalists do post-mortems acknowledging their own limits and mistakes. The honest ones admit there was a uniformity of outlook in which the horse race and scandals are over covered and the issues under covered.

They concede that there was a focus on polls without explaining their limits adequately or how polls in turn are affected by the volume and slant of media coverage. There were criticisms of how entertainment values infiltrated election coverage, what TIME magazine calls "Electotainment" They bemoan the fact that were was more spin and "opinionizing" than investigative reporting.

Has this changed in election 2004 or is it more of the same? While others forecast the results, I can safely predict that these deeply institutionalized media failures will once again be acknowledged and decried in this year's post-mortems.

When will the media perform its own pre-mortem?