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Editorial correspondence | Back to Politics | Back to the world news

Howard Dean, sore loser
What Bush has accomplished
The Reagans miniseries: a sinister precedent
A new theory on Kennedy's assassination
Bush friends get people's taxmoney: what's new?
And, as we enter the reelection campaign, guess what...
Will the Democratic Party lose another election?
Justice in America
The state of the economy and the case for protectionism
What we need: a Department of Nation Building
Shame on the Lockerbie families
Clowns and actors in California
The NRA on a rampage
Bush bribes his way to reelection
What's the secret all about?
Ashcroft's crusade for injustice
Why the tax-cut is bad for you
Why Bush won and why he could lose
Tom Delay, anti-American terrorist
Bad terrorists and good terrorists
Attitudes towards Europe in the Bush administration
Anti-French racism
Dick Cheney: criminal or idiot?
The best Senate in generations?
Bush's reasons to go to war
What Americans should learn from history
A new space policy after the shuttle disaster
Older articles

    Click here for 2004 articles

  • (December 2003) Howard Dean, sore loser. Howard Dean seems to be destined to become the Democratic candidate for president of the USA. Over the last few years, the Democratic Party has specialized in losing elections that could have easily won: Gore lost to Bush despite eight years of economic boom, the Democracts lost Congress and Senate despite being favorites, and Davis lost California to an Austrian actor despite California being the most Democratic state in the country. They seem bent on doing it again. A man who basically sides with Saddam Hussein is not worth the time that the media give him. He should not even be considered for a lower-level job. The Democratic Party is embarrassing itself and its ideological legacy by betting on a man who seems to have an infinite level of tolerance for fascists and communists. Dean stands pretty much for the opposite of what the Democratic Party used to stand for.
    As the entire world celebrated the capture of Saddam Hussein, Dean did not have the guts to say "I was wrong on the war, it was a good war, and we are accomplishing a lot". He repeated that, if it had been up to him, Saddam would still be in power and would have remained in power, probably until the last day of his life. Dean repeated that he could care less about the Iraqi people and, for that matter, for all the people of this planet. Dictators worldwide would feel safer in a world ruled by Howard Dean.
    Send Howard Dean to North Korea or Cuba, where he will certainly be welcome, but nominate a candidate who is not just a pathetic loser.
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  • (November 2003) What Bush has accomplished
    • The longest economic depression since 1929
    • The most divisive policies since the Civil War
    • The deepest hostility against the USA around the world
    • The weakest dollar since Reagan
    • The largest deficit since Reagan
    • The lowest point of human rights in the USA since McCarthy's witch hunts
    • The biggest government spending of all times (the four biggest spending figures in the entire history of the USA occurred in the four years of the Bush presidency)
    • The highest tax increase for the middle class in the history of the USA (because his tax cut benefits only the rich, and it leaves states and local governments without money, thus forcing them to raise taxes)
    • The highest health-care costs of all times and the highest number of uninsured Americans of all times (the health-care situation for the middle class is now worse than in several third-world countries)
    • The worst educational record in recent times (call it "every child left behind")
    • The least degree of information to the public (for example, by keeping suspected terrorists in Guantanamo, and members of Saddam's regime in undisclosed locations, i.e. away from the public and the media)
    • The worst environmental record since the 1960s (read on The Bush administration's environmental agenda by the NRDC)
    • The most corrupt government ever, run by special-interest groups and driven by pork-barrel projects like never before (e.g., a Medicare reform that costs half a billion dollars but benefits mainly the health-care industry, not the elderly)
    Domestically, the USA has never been so divided as it is in 2003.
    Internationally, the USA has never been so distrusted and hated.
    Bush's worst sin may have been to assume that his elections gave him a mandate (any mandate). He quickly forgot that his opponent (Al Gore) got half a million more votes than him, and that his liberal opponents (Gore and Nader combined) got about two million more votes than him and the other conservative (Buchanan). The USA was not split at all: it was widely against Bush's policies. On the contrary, Bush interpreted his fortuitous election as a mandate to push a conservative agenda. It is not that Bush did not propose solutions to problems: he did, but the solutions that he proposed were from his viewpoint, and he forgot that his viewpoint was the viewpoint of a minority, not a majority (the majority had voted against him). This was not only undemocratic: it was plain stupid.
    For those morally inclined (e.g., in the South), a quick reminder: this is the first president ever to enter office with a criminal record (driving under the influence), he was a drug user who refused to take a drug test, he avoided combat duty in Vietnam by pretending to serve in the National Guard, his oil company went bankrupt shortly after he sold all his stock, he set the world record for most corporate campaign donations and notably among them Enron, he hired more convicted criminals than any president in USA history, the members of his cabinet are the richest of any administration in USA history, he made Texas the most polluted state in the USA and Huston the most polluted city in the USA, he made Texas the third place for executions in the world after China and Iran.
    This is a low point in the history of the USA. Thanks for liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, but it's time to turn page.
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  • (November 2003) The Reagans miniseries: a sinister precedent. Under terrifying pressure from a right-wing coalition of politicians and priests, CBS decided to abort a miniseries devoted to former president Reagan. Right-wing groups had planned several forms of boycott. Even more important, they had monopolized entire tv and radio networks to spread the news that CBS was going to smear a good president, Ronald Reagan, who cannot defend himself because he has Parkinson disease.
    While the series has been variously described as "historically inaccurate", the only item that keeps surfacing is a conversation about AIDS in which Reagan is quoted as having said "those who live in sin, shall die in sin".
    Friends, relatives and assorted right-wing pundits claimed that this is not only inaccurate but plain insulting. We only wish it were so. Ronald Reagan authorized a biography in which he is quoted as having said "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague," because "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments". This sentence was authorized by Reagan himself, who evidently didn't think it was "insulting" or "inaccurate".
    This is not terribly different from what the CBS writers put in his mouth. In fact, we all know that this is precisely what most Christian fundamentalists think: AIDS is God's punishment for decadent people's sins. Reagan was one such fundamentalist, and noone is surprised to hear that Reagan thought decadent people were going to be punished by God.
    There is another point. Inaccurate films are broadcasted daily all over the USA. There are countless inaccurate films about the Soviet Union, Japan and even modern history. There are countless inaccurate films about living people. We only wish that similar campaigns had been mounted against all those films. The right-wing groups who conspired to kill this miniseries have never protested against any other film, and would probably not complain about a film that misrepresents Saddam Hussein or Fidel Castro.
    So the USA is basically controlled by right-wing groups that decided what "inaccurate" information can be fed to the people.
    Let's admit it: that "was" precisely the issue here. The people who want to distort history are precisely the people who killed this miniseries.
    The people who are trying to rewrite history and change the facts are the people who aborted this miniseries. They would like us to believe that Reagan was a competent leader. Reagan's incompetent policies created the biggest budget deficit in the history of the USA, caused two recessions and left the USA lagging behind the rest of the world in growth and wealth. Those were the years when suddenly Japan and western Europe became prohibitive for American consumers: their currencies skyrocketed against the dollar, their incomes skyrocketed against USA salaries. By the end of the Reagan era, Americans were poorer than they had been since the Great Depression.
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  • (November 2003) A new theory on Kennedy's assassination. Each generation had its theory, which happened to match its ideals: Kennedy was killed by the mafia, Kennedy was killed by Castro, Kennedy was killed by the CIA. The new generation (who lives in an anti-American world led by France and is obsessed by international terrorists) just found a new theory. In their book "Triangle of Death", O'Leary and Seymour advance the theory that Kennedy was killed by (yet another) conspiracy, this time between the government of South Vietnam, the French heroin magia and the New Orleans mafia. The physical killer was a French terrorist, a member of the "Organisation de l'Armee Secrete", deserters of the French Army who fought against Degaulle. According to the book, Kennedy was punished by the Vietnamese for having engineered the murder of Vietnamese president Diem (which occurred just a few days before Kennedy's own assassination). According to the book, the Kennedy administration covered up the investigation and even protected and escorted out of the USA the French killer because Robert Kennedy (the president's brother) wanted to protect the reputation of the dead president. Yeah, sure.
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  • (November 2003) Bush friends get people's taxmoney: what's new? In october 2003, a report by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that several companies awarded billion-dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan (without any competitive bids) have been major campaign donors to President Bush and they employ former high-ranking government officials, or executives with close ties to members of Congress (in some cases they even have ties with the agencies awarding the contracts themselves).
    Most of the money to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry went to Halliburton, which used to be headed by vice-president Dick Cheney. Second was Bechtel, which boasts former secretary of state George Shultz on its board of directors and is run by two executives who advise the Bush administration on trade and defense issues.
    Contracts for several billion dollars are being awarded to U.S. companies close to the Bush administration, while tax-payers will have to pay for 87 billion dollars for the "reconstruction" of Iraq.
    A president was impeached for lying about his sex life. One wonders what is worse: a president who has an affair with an intern, or a president who takes money from ordinary Americans under the pretense of helping the Iraqi people and then gives that money to the people who help his political campaign. Isn't this called "corruption"? Isn't corruption also a form of "treason" in times of war? Isn't treason the real reason that impeachment was invented for?
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  • (November 2003) And, as we enter the reelection campaign, guess what... In october 2003, the US economy grew by 7.2%, thus outperforming China's, India's and the entire world. Six months from now so many jobs will be created that Bush will enter the reelection campaign as Caesar entered Rome after passing the Rubicone.
    And the whole world has been so dumb to let this happen and pay for it. The trick that Bush's economy team used is the oldest trick in the world: it pushed the dollar down and down and down (while the Europacifists, who never miss an opportunity to prove how dumb they are, were clamoring that the war in Iraq was meant to boost the dollar - just the opposite, dude). Because the dollar went down 26% against the euro, every item sold to Europe counts 26% more. Thus most American companies are now posting a significant increase in revenues while candidly admitting that their unit sales have not changed: US sales hardly higher than last year, as are European/Japanese sales (in units). But the latter account for 26% more, and the grand total is therefore greater than zero.
    What happens to dumb Europeans? Well, it's a mixture of corruption, idiocy and self-interest. Europe benefits from a weak dollar because, unlike the USA (which produces 50% of its oil), Europe has to import all of its oil and oil is conveniently priced in dollars. European countries are getting a 26% discount on the oil that they import. They don't pass this discount to the citizens, of course: they use it a) to pay interests on their colossal debt so they don't go bankrupt; and b) to let people who control the economy get richer by paying less for making goods while European citizens pay the same price for buying those goods. Of course, the higher euro means that Americans are buying less European goods, and European economies depend on exports (the 5% of trade with the USA determines if the European countries are in a recession or a recovery). Well, too bad: millions of European workers will pay for this scheme.
    So, basically, Europeans are paying for the Bush recovery, and it's tacitly agreed by their governments. (Now, to be fair to the criminals who run the European governments and the European bank, there is an economic school that says "no European recovery without an American recovery" - that school justifies any sacrifice to help the American economy get out of its troubles so that two years later American imports will increase and create a recovery also in Europe, but it is not very flattering that these economists think of mighty Europe as a mere parasite).
    The Arabs are happy too. They took advantage of the weak dollar to increase the price of oil. They basically told the Europeans "hey, we want a cut too". So they basically split the 26% discount in half: half went to Europe and half was consumed in a 13% increase of oil prices (it fluctuates daily, but take the yearly average, it wwent down from 33 to 29, which is about 13%).
    And China is happy because its products are now getting so cheap in euros that even the European tariffs will not be able to stop a flood of Chinese goods into Europe: after conquering the USA, the Chinese can now conquer Europe.
    The weak dollar forces countries like China and Japan to buy dollars, which these countries invest in the USA stock market (the natural place to invest dollars), which in turn is experiencing a boom. So they even get a neat return on the dollars that they purchase. Yes, the Bush administration is causing them a problem that they need to solve by buying dollars, but, on the other hand, that causes a surge in the stock market that translates into a gain for them.
    So everybdoy is happy. European countries get a lease on life. Arabs get richer. And Bush gets reelected.
    The real losers are ordinary people, who are told of a recovery that exists only for accountants. No real wealth is being created, and the consequences of this deal (an abnormally high Dow Jones with a P/E ration that is already 29, billions of dollars moving abroad in order to boost the weaken the dollar, higher than reasonable oil prices) might cause a gigantic crash that will hurt everybody. Everybody except, of course, the people who get reelected and the people who get richer.
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  • (October 2003) Will the Democratic Party lose another election? The Democratic Party has been losing one election after the other. That would noe be unusual (there are many parties that lost many elections), except that the Democratic Party was the favorite going into each of those elections: Gore was a clear favorite (longest period of ecomic growth in the history of the USA), Democratic representatives and senators were forecast to reconquer both houses from the Republicans, and 44% of California voters are registered Democrats (which makes California the most socialist country in the world). They lost each of them. (In november 2003, the Democrats also lost the elections for governor Kentucky, for the first time in 30 years). It would be improper to say that the Republicans won them: it was for the Democrats to lose them.
    There might be many subtle reasons why the Democrats consistently lose elections, even though every poll shows that the majority of Americans side with their view of the key issues (gun control, health care, social secutiry, and the even the war in Iraq). But there is one obvious one, that doesn't require too much political knowledge: the Democratic Party tends to offer poor choices to its constituency. Gore was not the most exciting of candidates. Many Democratic candidates for senator and representative were corrupt, dishonest or plain dead. The Democratic Party doesn't seem able to reform itself from within, remove all the mafia-style barons from power (which includes many of its most famous senators and governors), and simply offer the American voters politicians who truly believe in the issues that the Democratic Party claims to be fighting for. The Democratic Party has consistently lost the elections because American voters vote for the politician, not for the ideology, and Republican politicians have been consistently "less worse" than Democratic politicians.
    Now poll after poll is showing George W Bush very vulnerable, both on the economy and on foreign policy. When is the last time that a president has ranked so low on both fronts? Any Democratic candidate should have an easy time defeating Bush. Let's see how the Democratic Party loses this one. To start with, the nine Democratic contenders are showing a lot of skills at criticizing Bush (and at criticizing each other) but almost zero vision about the future of the USA. Will the people of the USA vote for a president whom they dislike but has a vision, or for a Democratic nominee without a vision? The Democratic Party is probably already setting the foundations for another defeat, and for Bush's reelection.
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  • (October 2003) Justice in America. The Internet has helped publicize cases of innocents wrongfully convicted to long sentences and even to death. A justice that makes so many mistakes is not justice. It could happen to you.
    In july 2003, 25 death-row inmates were exonerated in Florida (alas, one was exonerated after he was executed): witness recanted, prosecutors chose not to retry the inmate, evidence couldn't be found, etc.
    As of october 2003, DNA tests have helped free more than 300 men and women serving sentences for crimes they did not commit. Examples: Lonnie Erby in Missouri after serving 17 years of a 115 year sentence; Nicholas James Yarris of Philadelphia after waiting on death row for 21 years; Jimmy Ray Bromgard of Montana after serving 15 years of a 40 year sentence; four men in Chicago accused of rapind and killing a woman in 1986;
    DNA evidence is available in only about 15% of cases, which means that in 85% of cases DNA testing cannot be used. If 300 people have been exonerated by DNA of the crime they were accused of, there must be about 2000 innocents in jail who cannot use DNA testing to prove their innocence.
    In particular, 85% of death-penalty cases cannot be truly proved. We are killing them simply because they have no way of proving if they are innocent.
    As of october 2003, 111 death-row inmates had been freed because they simply did not commit the crime. One wonders how many were sent to the electrical chair before they could prove their innocence. The reason so many officials and politicians try to hasten the execution of an inmate is precisely the fear that the inmate will be able to prove her/his innocence. Once they are fried on the electrical chair, it is very unlikely that attorneys will continue to prove their innocence.
    In some cases (see Jeffrey MacDonald), the prosecutor even knew that the man was innocent, but just went ahead with prosecuting him (it's his job: he gets a promotion if the man is convicted). Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted to a triple-life sentence for murdering his wife and children in 1970, despite the fact that there was virtually no evidence against him and that his version of the facts (he had witnessed the murder) matched the available evidence. We now know that there was actually evidence to prove his innocence, but first the prosecutor (a Brian Murtagh) hid such evidence and then the judges (in particular a Franklin Dupree) forbad MacDonald from presenting it. The case became a farce when not only the facts proved that someone else did it but... the killers themselves confessed! As of october 2003, MacDonald remains in jail, while the corrupt sordid attorneys and judges who fabricated the whole case enjoyed successful careers (well, not all of them: several of them ended up in jail for other crimes). Another villain in this story is the media. A writer, Joe McGinniss, is our favorite villain, and perhaps a worse man than the prosecutors and the judges themselves. He had a chance to write the truth about the MacDonald case when he interviewed him. Instead, this McGinniss decided to write a fictional account of the case (basically, he was trying to make money by fabricating a plot for Hollywood). The result, "Fatal Vision", stands as one of the most ludicrous books ever published in America, and a clear example of the fact that the real terrorists live among us, not in Afghanistan.
    And, talking of people who help create terrorism at home, read this: "I was the governor of a state that had a death penalty and, as far as I was concerned, I reviewed every case and I was confident that every person that had been put to death received full rights and was guilty of the crime charged." (George W Bush, 11 may 2001)
    This website lists news of wrongfully convicted innocents.
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  • (September 2003) The state of the economy and the case for protectionism. We certainly live in a dangerous age. First the bubble bursted. Actually, the "bubbles" (plural) bursted: the dotcom bubble, the stock-market bubble, the dollar bubble (and, still to come, the real-estate bubble). Then Bush enacted an economic policy based on gigantic and amoral tax cuts that has mostly been a colossal failure. Finally, and still unnoticed to many people, there is a serious problem with "free trade". While heralded by the USA and Europe as heaven on Earth, free trade is largely responsible for many of the evils that afflict the sick economies of the developed world. Free trade made a lot of sense when one developed economy (the USA) was trading with another developed region (Europe and Japan). USA consumers benefited from lower prices while EUropean and Japanese economies benefited from booming manufacturing. It makes a lot less sense now that the USA trades with extremely cheap and large countries such as India and China, plus dozens of smaller countries that all compete for lower labor costs. The net result is a flow of jobs from the USA to the rest of the world. Thus the "jobless recovery" that the USA is experiencing. Because of the Internet and because of the widespread adoption of the English language, the jobs that are migrating to poor countries include white-collar jobs and even managerial jobs. The combination of China's/India's population and of the new economy make it simply suicidal for the West to conduct "free trade" with the rest of the world. It is only a matter of time before free trade is curtailed by the very countries that invented it, defended it and promoted it.
    One of the effects of free trade has been to turn the USA from the world's greatest creditor to the world's greatest debtor. Every month the trade deficit increases by record amounts. In 2002 the USA exported less than one trillion dollars worth of goods and imported 1.4 trillion dollars worth of goods. Total U.S. debt to the rest of the world has passed 25% of GDP, and it is now growing at the rate of 5% a year (another record). If the USA wanted to repay its debt to foreign countries entirely, every American would have to give 25% of her/his salary for one year. That has a side effect that is scary to say the least: the USA is, de facto, the only economic engine of the world. Its trade deficit propels the economies of the rest of the world. Without American's huge appetite for foreign goods, those foreign goods would remain unsold, or would not exist at all. A survey by the Economist highlights that since 1995 the USA has accounted for about 60% of the increase in world production. That has created jobs and wealth in just about every country of the world except Iran and North Korea.
    A low dollar has created the illusion of a recovery in the USA. The truth is that sales have not increased, but the value of foreign sales has increased because the value of foreign currencies has increased. Bush has used an old trick of third-world countries.
    Unfortunately, that illusion of a recovery has sent the stock market up again. The price/earning ratio is now 29, the highest since (guess) 1929. In the meantime, unemployment keeps growing, as more and more projects are outsourced to developing countries (the USA is creating millions of jobs, but abroad). But free trade, on the other hand, helps keep inflation low, which benefits the consumers who do have a job.
    Unemployment is an even bigger problem in Europe. A weak dollar is likely to hurt the European economies, and thus increase unemployment (despite a decreasing population, European countries can't create jobs).
    So there is probably a limit to how low the dollar can go and how long the dollar can stay low. Then there will be precious little that governments can do. The USA has accumulated a huge budget deficit that keeps it from boosting the economy with public projects. The USA government is running a yearly deficit of about $450 billion, and is likely to increase to about 6% of GDP. Most of the money has been squandered in a tax cut that never produced a single job in America: corporations used the tax refund to invest in India and China; rich individuals bought villas in France and islands in Belize. At the same time, the Federal Reserve has already lowered interest rates to historical levels, and can't really lower them much more. Neither the Bush administration nor the Federal Reserve can do much to help the economy if the economy falls into another recession.
    If all hell breaks loose and the world economies start collapsing one on top of the other, the easier way out of this trap is protectionism. Protectionism (the opposite of free trade) would lead to the creation of million of jobs in the USA, as manufacturing and white-collar jobs return to America. This would increase consumer confidence and lead to a real recovery. Sure, it would also lead to higher prices and thus to inflation. But that is not entirely bad, as inflation helps reduce the real debt of individuals and corporations (many families got rich in the 1970s when inflation made it easier to pay their fixed-rate mortgages). Sure, it also leads to higher interest rates, but that would lead to a stronger dollar, which the American public would welcome. So a backlash against free trade is likely to occur, and protectionism is likely to return, in one form or another.
    After all, the USA has already betrayed the principles of free-trade to save the profits of pharmaceutical companies: US citizens are not allowed to purchase prescription drugs from Canada. So much for free trade. If protectionism is legitimate to protect the profits of a company, shouldn't it be legitimate also to protect the jobs of millions of Americans?
    Protectionism sounds like a good idea: bring back jobs to the USA and raise salaries of USA employees. Unfortunately, it comes with several prices: inflation (goods such as stereos and shoes would double in price), decline of the stock market (foreigners own a large portion of it) and decline of real estate (foreigners invest in real estate the money they earn from trade with the USA). So protectionism would mean more jobs for Americans, but the average American family, whose main values are mutual funds and the house they live in, would lose a lot of wealth, and have to pay higher prices for just about everything.
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  • (August 2003) What we need: a Department of Nation Building. Both Afghanistan and Iraq have showed the USA's inability to rebuild a nation. This is a task that the USA are reluctant to take on because, first and foremost, they are not good at it. USA soldiers are trained to fight wars, not to fix power plant and aqueducts. There is no question that the USA as a whole has the skills, resources and money to rebuild a nation, but there is no centralized authority that can harvest and coordinate those resources. In other words, there is no department of "nation building".
    There should be one. Such a department would provide a mighty civilian counterpart to the mighty USA army: the USA army fights the war, and the Department of Nation Building builds a new nation on the ruins of the previous one. This approach would yield a number of advantages over the current situation.
    First of all, it would probably reduce the duration of USA occupation. If Iraq had been rebuilt in a shorter timeframe, it would now be a much more stable country. The presence of USA troops would not be necessary for much longer. Instead, the longer it takes to rebuild Iraq the longer USA troops will have to stay. The cost of creating a Department of Nation Building would be clearly offset by the saving of shorter military interventions.
    Terrorists thrive in anarchy, as both Afghanistan and Iraq are proving. A faster rebuilding process would greatly reduce the window of opportunity for terrorists.
    The USA would not need to beg the United Nations for help, an action that was, at best, a little humiliating (after having declared the United Nations "irrelevant").
    Domestically, it would create jobs: thousands of Americans would be needed to restore power, water, and communications. The new Department of Nation Building would need to continuously train American engineers and workers. Indirectly, it would create a population of skilled and experienced workers, with a global experience that they would never acquire in the USA. In the long run, this new class of "nation builders" would constitute a competitive advantage for the USA economy.
    LAst but not least, this work of nation building would greatly enhance the image of the USA abroad, and the people who have been "liberated" would certainly feel more grateful than they feel now.
    Leaving reconstruction in the hands of Defense boss Rumsfeld is an oxymoron: it is not his job. Rumselfd is not paid to be popular around the world: he is paid to intimidate the rest of the world.
    We need a counterpart to Rumsfeld who will become an icon of American generosity, and help build democracy and freedom while Rumsfeld destroys the enemy of democracy and freedom.
    Right now we are only doing half of the job.
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  • (August 2003) Shame on the Lockerbie families. In december 1988, terrorists of the PFLP-GC backed by Libya blew up a Pan Am plane over Scotland (Lockerbie) killing 270 people, probably in retaliation for the accidental downing by the USA of an Iranian civilian plane (290 passengers died). The USA applied sanctions against Libya that are still in place. The condition to restore normal relations with Libya was not a democratic election or the resignations of dictator Qaddafi, but the payment of compensations to the families of the victims (many of the victims were children).
    In august 2003, Libya has finally agreed to pay 2.7 billion dollars to the Lockerbie families (note that the USA has never paid compensation to the families of the victims of the Iranian plane, nor has it delivered to Iran the captain who ordered the downing of that plane).
    Justice has been done, so the Lockerbie families say. For the rest of the world, it sounds like the parents of the children who died at Lockerbie are simply getting enormously rich thanks to their children's death. What are they going to do now? Celebrate the death of their children in the most expensive hotel of the Caribbeans?
    The attitude of these families is a scandal that simply proves to the world how greedy Americans are, willing to profit even from their children's death. Anything is good to make money.
    The amount (2.7 billion dollars) would be enough to save the lives of one million children in developing countries (many of whom are dying because the USA supported crazy dictators or bloody wars). Has anyone thought of having Libya donate the money to humanitarian organizations rather than giving it to the families of the victims?
    The greed of these families is simply disgusting. We are making Qaddafi look like a nice guy.
    Now, George W Bush, how about the USA taking responsibility for the downing of the Iranian jet and paying compensation to the families of the 290 Iranians who were killed by that U.S. missile?
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  • (August 2003) Clowns and actors in California. Arnold Terminator has immediately become the center of attention in California's 2003 recall/election farce. He is quite typical of three aspects of modern politics: 1. name recognition matters more than competence or agendas; 2. the only thing that matters more than name recognition is money; 3. Terminator basically admits (by not answering the questions) that he has no idea how solve any of the problems, and (surprise) that is a plus (if you have solutions, electors get scared that you will take action; if you don't have solutions, electors feel comfortable that there will be no action). If you add the three together, it is not surprising that the people who are running for governor of California are either clowns (the current governor being a particularly dull one) or actors (almost all of them, not just Terminator).
    It is amazing how out of touch these candidates are with the real issues of the people. Ask anyone in California (or, for that matter, in most of the USA) what is the most annoying factor of their daily lives and "spam" (unwanted email) will rank first or second: not a single candidate has tackled the problem of spam. The reason is very simple: these clowns and actors have never used a computer in their life. The California election is a devastating sign of where democracy stands today: the people who want to run the country are totally incompetent to run the country, or even to just understand what the people of the country want.
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  • (July 2003) The NRA on a rampage. In july 2003, two major shootings (in California and Mississippi) killed a dozen people who were guilty only of living in a country where the NRA has so much political power. The shootings were in many ways similar to the coordinated, simultaneous attacks that are usually staged by Al Qaeda terrorists, except this time the hand behind them was not Osama's, it was the NRA. By granting all citizens the right to shoot, anywhere and anytime, the NRA is de facto organizing coordinated, simultaneous attacks against the citizens of the USA. Only a few of them make the headlines. Thousands of Americans are killed every month by the weapons that circulate thanks to the NRA. Pro-gun policies supported by the NRA and its Washington cronies are killing more Americans than Osama ever dreamed of. Know who your real enemy is. (See also The largest terrorist organization in the world strikes again).
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  • (June 2003) Bush bribes his way to reelection. Modern politicians have invented a new concept of democracy: rule of the richest. They are very aware that the candidate with the most campaign funding tends to become president (any exceptions?) even when he loses the elections (Bush got about 100,000 votes less than his rival Gore, and way less than 50% of the overall votes). So the new political campaign is not about convincing voters but about convincing donors. The way you convince a corporation to help you become president is very simple: promise the corporation a substantial share of the country's wealth. Bush has been promoting policies that have helped all sorts of corporations, and in return they will generously contribute to his reelection campaign. One of Bush's co-conspirators, Grover Norquist, has managed to place Republican activists in juist about every Washington lobby. They routinely collect money in return for favors. The money goes to the Bush reelection campaign, the laws go in favor of the corporations and organizations represented by those lobbies. This scheme is nothing new: it used to be called "mafia" in Italy and prospered for centuries. The mafia came to rule every single aspect of southern Italy.
    Tom DeLay, the boss of all bosses, has stated: "The amoung of money that candidates raise in our democracy is a reflection of the amount of support they have around the country". He and his supporters are obviously not familiar with speeches given in court by mafia defendants. He almost echoed them word by word.
    This presidential election is not going to be about issues, personality or programs. It is going to be decided by money. It may have already been decided before a single vote is cast. The founding fathers of this democracy must be turning in their graves.
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  • (June 2003) What's the secret all about? Two years after September 11, journalists are still forbidden from interviewing the people detained in Guantanamo.
    After the liberation of Iraq, the USA has captured almost all of the most wanted Baath leaders who are still alive, but we know almost nothing about how they were captured and what they are telling.
    Why all the secret?
    Is it because both Al Qaeda and Iraqi leaders know stories that would be very embarrassing to the Bush administration? Or just a bad habit of keeping the truth from the people?
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  • (June 2003) Ashcroft's crusade for injustice. Despite Ashcroft's anti-Arab crusade, not a single man who has been arrested in the USA since September 2001 was found guilty of association with the September 11 terrorists. Massaoui ("the 20th terrorist") was discredited by his own Al Qaeda affiliates (basically, he was expelled from Al Qaeda because he was a crazy nut). The Arabs who had been arrested in September 2001 for suspicious behavior have all been released. The Arabs who were arrested later (for visiting Afghanistan) were either released or held on minor immigration-related crimes.
    Early in 2002, a son of Saddam Hussein was arrested in the USA. After suspecting (and trying to prove) all sorts of possible connections to Osama Bin Laden, the man was simply released: he had simply overstayed a regular visa and had no connection with Osama Bin Laden or even his father.
    In August 2002, four Arabs were arrested in Detroit for plotting all sorts of terrorist attacks. The only evidence that is surfaced since then is a list of possible (not even proven) connections with possible (not even proven) Al Qaeda operatives.
    In September 2002, young Arabs were arrested in Florida for talking aloud about a possible new attack on America. They were chased by police that even shut down an entire highway, fearing they had explosives on board. It turned out they had no explosives, they had broken no law, they were medical students, and they had no connection whatsoever with terrorists. They have all been released.
    In September 2002, again, six Yemeni-Americans were arrested in upstate New York as members of Al Qaeda. One of them has already been released. The only evidence against them is that they traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They did visit an Al Qaeda camp and met with Osama Bin Laden, but so did thousands of people, including countless journalists.
    In October 2002, four American-born Arabs were arrested in Oregon for plotting against the USA. The accusation is correct, but they began plotting after September 11, in retaliation for the USA's bombing of Afghanistan, which they saw as an aggression.
    Each time John Ashcroft made a big deal of the arrests, as if dramatic progress was being made in scouring the "sleeping cells" of Al Qaeda in the USA. The truth is that the vast majority of these cases have been dropped, many are considered dubious even by the judges in charge, and the only ones that resulted in convictions were not related to September 11.
    The only significant arrests of Al Kaeda members came from foreign countries (mainly France and Pakistan).
    There doesn't seem to be an Al Qaeda terrorist in the USA, or, if there are any, we haven't found them. John Ashcroft seems to be more interested in a scare tactic against the American public than in a scare tactic against Osama Bin Laden.
    The witch hunt unleashed in the USA by Ashcroft captured no terrorist. It captured a lot of innocent and America-loving immigrants. It had two devastating effects: 1. those immigrants and their families are far less in love with America; and 2. Arab immigrants are so scared of Ashcroft's tactics that they would never volunteer information even if they had it.
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  • (May 2003) Why the tax-cut is bad for you. George W Bush basically got the tax-cut that he wanted: he asked for a billion dollar, Congress officially approved $318 billion dollars, but careful accounting shows that the tax cut will cost the U.S. government about $800 billion. This is a gigantic cost for a country that last year posted over $200 billion in deficit.
    It is the second Bush tax-cut after the famous 2001 tax-cut. In 2001, Bush announced that the tax-cut would create one million jobs and restore economic growth. Two years later, one million jobs have been lost, the economy is still stagnating (with fears of deflation for the first time in 70 years) and the dollar has collapsed 25% against the euro (Americans are 25% compared with Europeans). When Bush announced his tax-cut, we predicted the worst world-wide recession in modern times. That is were the world is today.
    This new tax-cut is supposed to (guess) create a million jobs and boost the economy.
    Where did the tax-cut go wrong the first time around? Bush's tax-cut went mostly to the rich. In fact, ordinary Americans paid higher taxes in 2001 and 2002: they got a refund from the government, but all local taxes (for example, county and state) and a lot of indirect expenses (from schools to health care) went up dramatically. When the USA government does not have money to help, then counties, states, schools, etc have to increase their taxes or fees.
    Bush's rationale was that the rich would invest the money and create jobs. That was correct: they did. The problem is that large corporations are spread worldwide, and they tend to create jobs elsewhere. If a large corporation has to open a new plant, they's rather open it in the cheapest place, which is certainly not the USA. Bush's tax-cut may have well created a million jobs: in Asia and South America. Bush's tax-cuts give almost no money to the people who would, indeed, spend it in the USA: consumers. It is not that tax-cuts cannot help the economy: they could. But Bush's tax-cut only help the rich.
    For this reason alone the new tax-cut is as bad as the previous one. It will mainly reward large corporations that have no interest in investing in the USA.
    Small and mid-size corporations are the ones that drive the USA economy and the ones who cannot afford to move operations overseas: they have to create jobs in the USA if they want to grow. Unfortunately, Bush's tax-cut does very little for them.
    Then there are millions of middle-class families: they will get almost nothing from the tax-cut. In fact, the tax-cut will leave the USA even more in the red, and therefore will force counties and states to increase their own taxes. Middle-class families are the ones that buy USA products and services. It is pointless to boost the economy so it can produce more if the consumers have to money to purchase those products.
    (In june 2003 Ray Scheppach, director of the group of U.S. governors, announced that this is "the worst year since we've keeping statistics", i.e. 1812, in terms of state deficits. The states are broke and they are planning large tax increases).
    Last but not least, this tax-cut will inflate the USA deficit, which is already near an all-time high. Bush's economic policies have eroded the surplus of the Clinton era and created a huge deficit. What is dangerous about that deficit is that it is "structural". There is nothing wrong with the government spending money to help the economy (something that, alas, this administration is not doing), and thus creating a temporary deficit; but Bush's deficit is due to tax-cuts and spending that are to be permanent: they will return to haunt this and future administrations, year after year. This is precisely the problem that Europe has been grapping with. This is precisely the reason that some third-world countries default on their debt. Do you really want the USA to become a huge unmanageable bureaucrary like Europe or to become one of those third-world countries that can't pay their debt?

    The 2001 cost one million jobs. Brace yourself for the 2003 tax cut: it may cost several million jobs. As we predicted in 2001, How Bush started the longest world-wide economic crisis of modern times.
    This tax cut is a death wish for America.

    See also The Bush tax cut and the art of deception.
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  • (May 2003) Why Bush won and why he could lose. Let us not forget that George W Bush won the 2000 election thanks to an odd combination of sheer luck, sheer luck and sheer luck:
    • The American public was fed up with the Clinton scandals
    • Ralph Nader took enough votes to make Gore lose key electoral votes
    • A technicality in the electoral law made Bush president even if Gore had won more votes
    The odds that all three factors occur again in 2004 are low:
    • the Clinton scandals have been largely forgotten (people almost miss the good old days when the country's only problem was Clinton's philandering life, and people have realized that Bush's tax-cuts are not any more moral than Clinton's love affairs)
    • Nader is unlikely to win significant votes in an election that will be mainly a referendum on Bush
    • What are the odds that a candidate loses the popular vote but wins the electoral vote twice in a row?
    So Bush is not the favorite at all. Whether he can win more votes than last time will largely depend on who the Democrats will candidate. Hilary Clinton, for example, could decimate Bush: she represents the era of balanced budgets, of skyrocketing stock markets, of job creation and of world peace (yes, I know, it was not Clinton's merit, and each of those things were problems in the making); she is a woman, and women would vote massively for the first woman with a chance to become president. She has the record and the stigmata of someone who can restore dignity to the White House (no love affairs and no tax-cuts for the rich). She projects the image of someone who would be highly respected around the world (not despised like Bush) and would recreate harmony with the European allies. And she has done extremely well as senator of New York, convincing even her opponents. (Last but not least, it would be amusing to hear Osama's reaction when he learns that the most powerful man on Earth is now a... woman! How un-Islamic).
    On the other hand, the one hundred Democrats who are quarreling right now over pointless issues such as the Iraq war would certainly have a tough time convincing the American public that they are a) more honest than Bush and b) more competent than Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld.
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  • (May 2003) Tom Delay, anti-American terrorist. Tom DeLay, one of the leaders of the Republic Party, stated publicly that he will do everything he can to repeal the ban on semi-automatic guns. Guns are killing many more Americans than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of killing, and Saddam would have to use his best weapons of mass destruction to cause the same number of casualties that the NRA (National Rifle Association) causes to the USA every single year. Tom DeLay ignored the outrage among police officers (the people who risk their lives to fight crime, not the people who sit in Congress and get a fat salary for their speeches) when statistics revealed that 25% of police officers killed on dury were killed by semi-automatic weapons (no, they were not killed by criminals: they were killed by the guns, i.e. by the NRA). While we are fighting across the globe a bloody war against terrorism we should not forget our enemies here at home.
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  • (April 2003) Bad terrorists and good terrorists. One of the first political acts carried out by the Bush administration in Iraq has been a "peace treaty" signed with MuJahedeen Khalq, a terrorist group that is listed in the Bush administration's list of world terrorist groups. This group has been fighting the Iranian government from bases inside Iraq. Apparently, the USA army wants to avoid opening a new front of operation and has therefore signed this cease-fire agreement with the terrorist group. Imagine if France signed a cease-fire agreement with Al Qaeda... No surprise, thus, that Iran was infuriated. Iran has fully cooperated with the USA in its war against terrorist. In fact, Iran has delivered to the USA more Al Qaeda terrorists (about 500) than any other country in the world. It is a little hypocritical that the USA has a chance to wipe out a terrorist group and, instead, decides to sign a cease-fire with it, only because it is not threatened by it. Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and most European countries are not threatened by Al Qaeda: should they too sign cease-fire agreements with Al Qaeda and let Osama use their countries as bases of operation?
    On May 11 the USA signed a further agreement with this terrorist group that sheds new light on the deal: the group has agreed to fully disarm. What looked like an affront to Iran now looks like a secret deal between the USA and Iran: clearly Iran stands to benefit from the disarmament of the largest group fighting against the ayatollahs.
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  • (April 2003) Attitudes towards Europe in the Bush administration:
    • Condoleeza Rice: Europe has to understand that the colonial world is dead, and in the new world Europe is only a very nice museum of antiquities.
    • Powell: We need Europe to do the kind of humanitarian jobs that we Americans are not good at but that are key to developing the social fabric of the countries we liberate.
    • Rumsfeld: We don't need Europe. Let's move on.
    • Kissinger: Defending Europe has a cost and creates anti-American sentiment. We should move our military bases elsewhere and let the Europeans take care of their own security.
    • Greenspan: Europe has been for 50 years the beneficiary of the USA trade deficit and a net investor in the USA economy. We need Europe to sustain our stock market and the value of the dollar. Also, Europeans screw up more often than us, which makes us look like competent people.
    • Rove: Dealing or not dealing with Europe has no effect on approval-rating polls in the USA, so I suggest we focus on something else.
    • Bush: They don't believe in God, hence they have no moral standards and no Biblical mission. (And, by the way, where is Iurope?)

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  • (March 2003) The best Senate in generations? When the Republican Party won the elections in 2002 and proceeded to take the majority of both Congress and Senate, it was widely believed that the next two years would amount to all but a Bush dictatorship. Having both houses on his side, he was in a position to pass just about any law he liked to. One expected massive tax cuts for the rich of America, drilling oil all over natural parks, abolition of abortion, etc. It turns out that the senators who were elected by the American people are much wiser than the president that was elected by a technicality.
    Despite huge lobbying by the oil industry, the USA Senate voted against drilling in Alaska, the single greatest victory by environmental concerns over business concerns in the history of oil drilling. One can only imagine the pressure that these senators were under, considering the millions of dollars that the oil industry spends in lobbying politicians. Nonetheless, they voted against Bush's proposed rape of Alaska.
    Then came the new tax cut proposed by Bush. That tax cut would have put additional millions of dollars in the pockets of rich Americans and left the USA government virtually broke (poor Americans would have eventually lost pensions and health care). Surprisingly again, the Senate dramatically altered that tax cut, reducing it to a symbolic (albeit no less reckless and shameless) tax cut.
    Anti-abortion fanatics were also put aside. A law was passed, but, again, it was mainly symbolic: it prohibits abortion only in a particular case that occurs very rarely.
    All in all, this Senate seems more responsible and objective than the previous one.
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  • (March 2003) Dick Cheney: criminal or idiot? If one man deserves to lose his job on the basis of incompetence (if not fraudulence) alone, that ought to be USA's vice-president Dick Cheney. During California's energy crisis of 2001, Cheney came up with a "study" (drafted by his friends in the energy industry, of course) that allegedly proved the USA was running out of energy and a new plant every week was needed for sheer survival reasons. Cheney's incompetence (or fraudulence) became obvious when California solved its problems by simply conserving energy. Now (march 2003) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued the results of its investigation on the facts of 2001: the energy crisis was largely caused by speculation (or, better, market manipulation). The very energy industry, that Cheney was relying on to prove his theory, was manipulating the markets in order to drive up prices and profits. So far one could speculate that Cheney was merely a corrupt politician, a fact that would not surprise anyone who is familiar with his record. But today we also know that energy companies have lost value because there has been a capacity glut (too much energy available compared with the demand) and all analysts agree that this is a long-term problem: in other words, the USA has too much energy, and this is causing energy companies to go bankrupt. Cheney was fooled or blinded by the industry (or he tried to fool and blind the American people). There was no energy crisis. There was a criminal act committed against the people of California. Hopefully, the criminals who architected it will go to jail and the people who were duped by it (such as Cheney) will lose their job.
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  • (March 2003) Anti-French racism is not a solution. Chirac can pride himself with having created a strong anti-French sentiment in the USA, despite the fact that, initially, more than 60% of Americans were in agreement with the Europacifists (i.e., skeptic about invading Iraq). Basically, Chirac has helped Bush win over the majority of Americans for a war against Iraq. Arafat, Osama and Chirac have definitely something in common: their reckless politics helps their adversaries.
    There is little question that the real problem is Chirac, not Saddam, but it would be a mistake for Americans to blame the entire French people, or even the entire French civilization (as some are doing), for the actions of the "leader" that they happen to have in 2003, and who happens to be a strong friend of dictators around the world.
    Americans, too, have a "leader" who got elected by accident, without winning the majority of votes. Americans should not forget that Bush won 48% of the American vote. At least, the French have the excuse that Chirac only got 19% of the French vote. Bush is more representative of the USA than Chirac is of France (this is *not* a compliment to the USA). They both got elected because of technicalities in the constitutions of the respective countries. Neither constitution is perfect, and both should be changed to avoid the results that brought Bush and Chirac to power (despite being despised by the majority of their voters).
    Displaying anti-French sentiment would simply help Chirac get more consensus among the French voters who did *not* vote for him, i.e. it would do for Chirac what Chirac has done for Bush. Americans should refrain from helping Chirac remain in power.
    Bush's tax-cut was the biggest theft that any western leader has committed against his own people over the last decade, and, as far as I am concerned, qualifies as high treason and calls for impeachment. It has devastated cities, counties and states, it has caused the longest world-wide economic crisis of modern times, and it has put a trillion dollars in the pockets of rich Americans. Bush is also the man who used to be governor of Texas, a state that executes more people than Saddam's Iraq and Castro's Cuba, and is second only to China and Iran.
    Both Bush and Chirac are dishonest politicians who are more interested in their personal interests than in their people's well-being. Do not blame their peoples for what their leaders happen to be in 2003, due to technicalities that did *not* reflect the will of those two peoples.
    It just so happens that, right now, Chirac is defending a dictator and Bush wants to remove that dictator. The last thing Americans should assume, though, is that Bush would remove all the dictators in the world. In fact, Bush has no intention of removing dictators that are as brutal as Saddam Hussein, including the dictators of the Arab countries that funded and staffed Osama bin Laden's terrorism.
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  • (February 2003) What Americans should learn from history. A long time ago the USA supported a totalitarian regime in Iran, headed by the Shah. In 1978 the Iranian people staged a revolution, overthrew the Shah and installed an Islamic Republic. The USA became Iran's main enemy, and Iran became the USA's main enemy. Two years later the crazy dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, declared war to Iran. Ronald Reagan was president of the USA. Since your enemy's enemies are your friends, Ronald Reagan decided to side with Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein managed to kill one million people and proudly experimented with the chemical weapons that Western countries had helped him acquire. The war lasted till 1988, when Saddam finally gave up. Ronald Reagan did not issue a single condemnation of Saddam Hussein's aggression of Iran or of Saddam Hussein's atrocities against his own people. On the contrary, Reagan accused Iran of sending children to die in the war (Iran had no choice). On the contrary, a missile fired by a USA warship stationed in the Gulf downed an Iranian civilian plane (mistaking it for a warplane) and killed all 290 passengers. Needless to say, this did not make the USA popular in Iran, and it helped Saddam Hussein stay in power in Iraq.
    At about the same time, Ronald Reagan helped Saudi Arabia and Pakistan set up a special Islamic brigade to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Reagan asked the Saudis to provide a charismatic leader, and Saudi Arabia came up with a young man, the son of one of Saudi Arabia's most famous tycoons: Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was trained and funded by the CIA (directly or indirectly) and began his terrorist campaign against the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan, Osama helped a group of religious extremists, the Taliban, to seize power and install an Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime was recognized only by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, both allies of the USA.
    In the meantime, Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait. The West had watched silently when he invaded Iran, so he figured that it was ok to invade other countries. Unfortunately for him, this time he invaded a country that was a friend of the USA. The new USA president, George Bush, organized a massive coalition to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. In order to do so, Bush stationed American troops in Saudi Arabia.
    Osama bin Laden's reason to fight the Soviet Union had been to expel an infidel from a Muslim country. From his point of view, the USA troops stationed in Saudi Arabia were equivalent to the Soviet troops stationed in Afghanistan. If the holy war was justified against the Soviet Union, the same holy war was justified against the USA. Osama bin Laden could also take advantage of Afghanistan, a country kindly abandoned by the USA after the end of the war against the Soviet Union. That is how Osama bin Laden became the USA's number-one enemy.
    In the meantime, the USA was supporting the dictatorships of "friendly" Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Disaffected Arabs from those countries joined Osama bin Laden's crusade against the USA. The terrorists of September 11 were from those "friendly" Arab countries and used Afghanistan as a base.
    Today, the USA is fighting two wars: one against Osama bin Laden's terrorism and one against Saddam Hussein's regime. Hopefully Americans are learning from their mistakes: both enemies were created by American actions. In fact, both were created by the same president: Ronald Reagan. It is ironic that so many Americans have never blamed Ronald Reagan for September 11 and for the Gulf War, when he (or, better, his reckless stupidity) was in fact the main cause of both.
    Lessons learned:
    • Study history and geography.
    • Make sure you know what your president is doing on your behalf around the world
    • Trust historians and scientists, not politicians.
    • Do not sell weapons to other countries (they may some day use them against you)
    • Never support dictatorships, because a) the people who get oppressed by those dictators will hate the USA, b) sooner or later those dictators will turn against you, c) the crimes of those dictators will come back to haunt you, d) you lose your moral right to preach other countries
    • Invest in health care, gun control, education, science, music, arts and space exploration, the money that today we spend supporting the Arab dictators: the USA became the world's superpower because it was the best country to live in, and attracted the best people from all over the world , and fought (not supported) the craziest dictators in the world
    • Get rid of the oil economy

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  • (February 2003) Bush's reasons to go to war. Almost nobody believes that Bush wants to remove Saddam Hussein because of humanitarian reasons. But the oil alone is not a good reason either: this war will cost too much, be too risky and return very little (the Iraqi oil is not that much compared with what the USA already has: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, all the Gulf emirates, all of Central Asia). Other reasons could be:
    1. Distract the American public that is increasingly concerned about the longest world-wide economic crisis of modern times, largely caused by Bush's economic policies.
    2. Distract the American public that must not be terribly happy to know that, two years later, Osama bin Laden is still alive and free. The war against terrorism has not been all that successful.
    3. Pull out USA troops from Saudi Arabia. This is the very reason that started Osama bin Laden's terrorist campaign. His primary goal has always been to kick out the infidels from the holy land. This would not be the first time that the USA solves a problem by surrendering. The USA fled both Lebanon and Somalia when it was faced with a guerrilla/terrorist-style enemy. Once Saddam Hussein has been removed, the USA will be able to relocate its troops from Saudi Arabia to Iraq without admitting that is doing what Osama demanded.
    4. Stabilize the Middle East. Once a friendly regime is installed in Iraq, the Middle East is likely to become a much more peaceful region. It will be a very different Middle East: instead of one USA ally (Israel) being surrounded by enemies, there will be two USA enemies (Syria and Iran) almost completely surrounded by USA allies (Syria will be surrounded by Turkey, Israel and Iraq, while Iran will be surrounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq). Furthermore, democracy in Iraq is likely to foster democracy in Iran, where popular pressure is mounting on the ayatollahs to grant more freedom. Suddenly, the USA would enjoy support from regimes stretching from Egypt all the way to India. Even the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more likely to be solved in a Middle East that is stable and peaceful: the USA will not need Israel as badly as it does now, and thus will be finally able to put pressure on Israel's government, while, at the same time, there will be no Arab regime supporting Palestinian terrorism. Both the Israeli and Palestinian extremists will lose their supporters, and let the Israeli and Palestinian moderates talk peace.
    5. Quite simply, remove an enemy of the USA. As long as Saddam remains in power, the USA will have to worry about his moves. Patroling the skies of Iraq is not cheap and it is not fun.
    6. Teach another lesson to the enemies of the USA: this is what we do to you if you attack us or even just think of attacking us. For at least one generation, all the dictators in the world will be very careful about what they say and do.

    The oil is not a major reason to go to war: the USA already controls the vast majority of oil reserves in the Middle East, via Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, and now can also benefit from the oil of Central Asia, thanks to friendly regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in any case imports only 50% of its oil needs and in any case imports mainly from Canada and Mexico (oil statistics). And, even if the USA benefits from Iraqi oil, it would take decades just to pay for the cost of the war.

    (See also The Iraqi liberation war: an assessment)
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  • (January 2003) A new space policy after the shuttle disaster. The USA needs a new epic mission. It is losing its mythical carisma as the leader of economic, political and technological progress. The moon landing was in many ways a defining moment for the West: it proved that "we" were winning against the Soviet Union. The whole free world celebrated that event, while the Soviet Union hardly congratulated and Mao even hid it from the Chinese people.
    Since 1969, the USA has become a much less "heroic" country. The citizens of the USA care more for their wealth and safety than for the wealth and safety of the planet. They care more for their salary than for the historical mission of their country.
    The space is an opportunity to recreate the "heroic" feeling, and to reaffirm the USA's moral, economic and technological leadership over planet Earth.
    The fall-out from the space race of the 1960s was immense. Technologies developed during the 1960s by NASA or NASA contractors are still fueling the USA economy today.
    The contribution to the economy was also incredible. The space race helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
    The USA needs all of these again. It needs a historical mission, it needs technological improvement, it needs economic stimulus. A new space race would solve a lot of problems.
    The USA should restart the exploration of the universe. First, build a station on the Moon and set up a regular shuttle between Earth and Moon. It could be used for all sorts of scientific experiments by all the countries on the planet, and it would eventually also become a tourist destination.
    Second, work out a ten-year plan for a Mars landing. The technology is available. The USA is in a better position in 2003 to reach Mars than in was in 1961 to reach the Moon. When Kennedy launched the Moon program, the USA did not have any of the components needed to put a man on the Moon. Today, the USA has all of the components needed to put a man on Mars. What is missing is not technology: it is money and determination.
    If their deaths will help the USA public to start dreaming again, these seven astronauts will not have died in vain.
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  • January-December 2002
  • January-December 2001
  • January-December 2000
  • January-December 1999

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