Thursday, November 30, 2006
FROM TEHRAN TO THE US
IRAN PRESIDENT WRITES LETTER TO AMERICAN PEOPLE
US governs by coercion, Iran Leader writes.
In open letter to the American people, Ahmadinejad urges pullout from Iraq
Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images file (Photo above)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shown delivering a speech in Tehran on Nov. 26, has written a letter to the American people.
View related photos
UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a letter to the American people on Wednesday, accused their government of “coercion, force and injustice” and urged the United States to pull out of Iraq.
Ahmadinejad’s five-page letter also called on Washington to recognize a Palestinian state and cautioned the Democratic Party that, after gaining control of the U.S. Congress, they would be “held to account by the people and by history.”
The letter was given to the press by Iran’s Mission to the United Nations.
The Iranian leader, who wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush in May that Bush never responded to, said he was now writing to the American people in friendship because Iran and the United States shared a responsibility “to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity.”
“Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the U.S. administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
U.S. can govern with justice, Iranian leader writes“It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice,” Ahmadinejad said.
On Iraq, he said that with a constitution and government now in place, “would it not be more beneficial to bring the U.S. officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical U.S. military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people?”
“As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness,” he said.
Average Iranians were disappointed by the cold response to the May letter, the first official communication between the two countries’ presidents since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad said he was planning to write a letter to Americans.
“Many American people asked me to talk to them in order to explain the views of the Iranian people,” Ahmadinejad told reporters, referring to his visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly session in September 2005.
There is nothing in the letter discussing the possible role of Iran in helping to bring peace to Iraq, as some had suggested.
Ahmadinejad essentially says the U.S. should leave, that it rid Iraq of Saddam and that was good, and it set up a constitutional government and that was good, but the time has come to leave.
Bottom line: This will embolden those in the Bush administration who say the U.S. should not negotiate with Iran or Syria. They will note that there is little of substance in the letter and that it shows the Iranian president to be unhelpful and worse, particularly in his attacks on "Zionists" both in Israel and in the U.S.
— Robert Windrem, NBC correspondent Ahmadinejad has alienated many Americans by calling for Israel’s destruction and repeatedly dismissing the Holocaust as a myth. He also strongly supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese faction Hezbollah, which the U.S. State Department lists as terrorist organizations. [WHAT DOES WINDREM EXPECT?
That Ahmadinejad should outline a complete and perfect solution to the problem? "...little of substance..."? The entire letter contains inalienable truths about this administration and its policies. Ofcourse the Bushcos will denigrate the letter. ]
Twice this year, Iran has proposed talks with the United States over Iraq, but Ahmadinejad has said that for such negotiations to take place, Washington must change its behavior. On Sunday, he said Iran was ready to help the United States get out of the “Iraqi quagmire if the U.S. changes its bullying policy toward Iran.”
Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when, after the Islamic revolution, militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and kept 52 people hostage for 444 days.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
TEXT OF THE LETTER:
• Ahmadinejad sends letter to American people
Updated: 12:18 p.m. CT Nov 29, 2006
Message of H.E. Dr. Mahmoud AhmadinejadPresident of the Islamic Republic of IranTo the American People
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.
Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries;
Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking, while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities;
And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity;
Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.
While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together.
Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.
Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity, and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies.
We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need.
We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples' rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings.
We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty.
The pure human essence of the two great nations of Iran and the United States testify to the veracity of these statements.
Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world.
Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society. Our people have been in contact with you over the past many years and have maintained these contacts despite the unnecessary restrictions of US authorities.
As mentioned, we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world.
We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. In broad day-light, in front of cameras and before the eyes of the world, they are bombarding innocent defenseless civilians, bulldozing houses, firing machine guns at students in the streets and alleys, and subjecting their families to endless grief.
CONTINUED: 'Broken promises and grave injustices'
No day goes by without a new crime.
Palestinian mothers, just like Iranian and American mothers, love their children, and are painfully bereaved by the imprisonment, wounding and murder of their children. What mother wouldn't?
For 60 years, the Zionist regime has driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes. Many of these refugees have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps. Their children have spent their youth in these camps and are aging while still in the hope of returning to homeland.
You know well that the US administration has persistently provided blind and blanket support to the Zionist regime, has emboldened it to continue its crimes, and has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning it.
Who can deny such broken promises and grave injustices towards humanity by the US administration?
Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the US administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let's take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.
Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.
In Iraq, about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.
Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq.
I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.
You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed "war on terror." But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.
The US administration's illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of "the war on terror," civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.
I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.
The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.
The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices.
Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.
My questions are the following:
Is there not a better approach to governance?
Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?
We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.
But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?
If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?
The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.
CONTINUED: 'A word to the winners of the recent elections'
What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people? It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world.
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?
I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum. This will benefit everyone.
Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness.
I'd also like to say a word to the winners of the recent elections in the US:
The United States has had many administrations; some who have left a positive legacy, and others that are neither remembered fondly by the American people nor by other nations.
Now that you control an important branch of the US Government, you will also be held to account by the people and by history.
If the US Government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and Justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America. But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration's policies. These issues had been extensively dealt with in my letter to President Bush earlier this year.
To sum up:
It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.
It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.
It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.
It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.
Then, the American people, who are God-fearing and followers of Divine religions, will overcome every difficulty.
What I stated represents some of my anxieties and concerns.
I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world. The promises of the Almighty and His prophets will certainly be realized, Justice and Truth will prevail and all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity.
The US governing establishment, the authorities and the powerful should not choose irreversible paths. As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise. Today, the path of return to faith and spirituality is open and unimpeded.
We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur'an:
"But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him." (28:67-68)
I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success.
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
29 November 2006
The Right Way to Treat Others and to Win Hearts and Minds
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Winning Their Hearts and Minds ??
YouTube™ – Broadcast Yourself
I want to share the following video with you:
Video Description: U.S. Soldiers Offer Clean Water to Iraqi Children. Winning Their Hearts and Minds? How Do You Think These Children Regard the Americans After Being Taunted With a False Promise of Fresh, Clean Water? This is Despicable Cruelty - and They LAUGH at the Desperate Children. Watch How Far The Last Child Ran After the Proffered Bottle of Water. ONE BOTTLE OF WATER!! WHAT IF THAT WAS YOUR CHILD?? WA
(from the blogger who posted the video)
Lets make things clear, I have never been to Iraq let alone set foot out of the borders of the US. I received this video from someone who was over there. The person I got it from did not make the disk, they got it from a friend they met while over there. So there's no telling how many times this was handed down.
So stop sending me messages telling me to burn in hell. I will just ignore you and then block you.
If you work for the media and you want more info, I don't have it. What I do have are dozen of other short videos that where on the DVD that I received from the source. The other videos might shed some light and help answer some questions. Just put the pieces together and you might see the picture you're after.
Now excuse me, I have a bloated inbox to clean out. :-s
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
U.S. War Crimes Revisited
The U.S. continues to deny that Agent Orange was the causative factor for the genetic defects that abound in present day Vietnam. How many decades later, if ever, will our government accept responsibility for the increasing cases of cancers, leukemias, and birth defects in Iraq, Kosevo, and other hot spots around the world that suffered American military interventions using DUs, as well as incidences among our own troops who served in those places? WA
30 year after the war, Vietnam suffers toxic legacy. Officials move to remove lingering effects of toxic Agent Orange contamination.
Pham Van Xong and his 9-year-old son Truc, who local medical officials say is a victim of Agent Orange. Truc suffers genetic damage from his parents eating contaminated fish.
By Anthony Faiola
Updated: 7:42 a.m. CT Nov 13, 2006
DA NANG, Vietnam - For a stark reminder of the Vietnam War, people living near the airport in this central industrial city can still stroll along the old stone walls that once surrounded a U.S. military base. But Luu Thi Nguyen, a 31-year-old homemaker, needs only to look into the face of her young daughter.
Van, 5, spends her days at home, playing by herself on the concrete floor because local school officials say her appearance frightens other children. She has an oversize head and a severely deformed mouth, and her upper body is covered in a rash so severe her skin appears to have been boiled. According to Vietnamese medical authorities, she is part of a new generation of Agent Orange victims, forever scarred by the U.S.-made herbicide containing dioxin, one of the world's most toxic pollutants.
For decades, the United States and Vietnam have wrangled over the question of responsibility for the U.S. military's deployment of Agent Orange. But officials say they are now moving to jointly address at least one important aspect of the spraying's aftermath -- environmental damage at Vietnamese "hot spots" such as Nguyen's city, Da Nang -- that are still contaminated with dioxin 31 years after the fall of Saigon.
Though neither Nguyen nor her husband was exposed to the Agent Orange sprayed by U.S. forces from 1962 to 1971, officials here say they believe the couple genetically passed on dioxin's side effects after eating fish from contaminated canals. "I am not interested in blaming anyone at this point," the soft-spoken Nguyen said on a recent day, stroking her daughter's face. "But the contamination should not keep doing this to our children. It must be cleaned up."
'Concrete actions'Vietnamese and U.S. officials last year conducted their first joint scientific research project related to Agent Orange. Testing of the soil near Da Nang's airport, where farmers say they have been unable to grow rice or fruit trees for decades, showed dioxin levels there as much as 100 times above acceptable international standards.
Now the United States is planning to co-fund a project to remove massive amounts of the chemical from the soil. A senior U.S. official involved in Vietnam policy said the plan is evidence that the two countries, having embarked on a new era of economic cooperation, are finally collaborating to address the problem.
"The need to deal with environmental cleanup is increasingly clear, and we're moving forward from talking to taking concrete actions to respond to the issue," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the project has not yet been publicly announced.
The more politically sensitive issues of responsibility and direct compensation for victims remain unresolved. Although medical authorities here estimate that there are more than 4 million suspected dioxin victims in Vietnam, the United States maintains that there are no conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the severe health problems and birth defects that the Vietnamese attribute to dioxin.
Still, with a much-changed Vietnam now among Asia's most dynamic economies -- the French luxury house Louis Vuitton has opened a branch in Hanoi, and the hottest nightspot in the capital is a glitzy disco called Apocalypse Now -- both sides appear more willing to seek common ground. Ahead of President Bush's first official visit to Vietnam this week, some also express hope that they are taking the first steps toward a reconciliation on their most divisive wartime issue.
Coming togetherDuring the war, American forces sprayed about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange over the jungle canopies and jade-green highlands of Vietnam. The most toxic of the herbicides used for military purposes, it defoliated countless trees in areas where the communist North Vietnamese troops hid supply lines and conducted guerrilla warfare.
Because Vietnam lacked the resources to conduct its own environmental cleanup, dioxin-related birth defects have been diagnosed in thousands of children whose parents were not exposed during the war. In many cases, families such as the Nguyens were not warned of the hazard until it was too late.
After doctors told them their daughter, Van, was a dioxin victim, the Nguyens cemented over the small garden in their front yard and stopped eating fish from nearby canals. Even now, however, many of their neighbors remain unaware of the danger.
"What could any of us do anyway?" asked Luu Thi Nguyen, whose family survives on the $1.50 a day her husband makes as a day laborer. "None of us can afford to move. Now I know the soil is contaminated. My daughter has already suffered from this, and I worry about what this soil might still be doing to all of us."
Vietnamese officials estimate the cost of cleaning up the country's three worst hot spots -- including the area near the old U.S. military base in Da Nang that is now the city's main airport -- will be as much as $60 million. Before year's end, they hope to launch the first phase, the development of a plan for cleanup and land use in the city, with an initial contribution of about $300,000 from the U.S. government.
That kind of cooperation has appeared to give new momentum to the issue on other fronts. On Thursday, the Ford Foundation announced that it is putting $2.2 million toward environmental restoration, contamination education and victim relief projects related to Agent Orange. The United Nations Development Program is also set to piggyback with a major grant in coming weeks that would provide additional research funding for the cleanup effort, which Vietnamese officials hope to complete by 2010.
"Vietnam is developing economically very rapidly, and I think the passage of time has played a role in both sides coming together," said Charles R. Bailey, the Vietnam director of the Ford Foundation, which has also funded key studies used to identify the country's most contaminated areas. "There is a sense that this is the last piece of unfinished business between the two countries. It is finally starting to be bridged."
But many here stress that the United States still needs to do far more to right past wrongs, and some are anticipating that Bush will offer a measure of apology for Agent Orange's wartime use when he visits.
"There are new signs that we are moving forward on cooperation with the U.S. on technical issues," said Le Ke Son, Vietnam's top official on Agent Orange. "It is very important to close the past, to close the war between Vietnam and the United States. But for that to happen, the U.S. must agree to cooperate with us in a bigger way."
Push for compensationWhat many Vietnamese are waiting for is direct compensation for victims of Agent Orange as well as an unambiguous admission of responsibility from the U.S. government.
In 1991, Congress authorized assistance for American veterans believed to be suffering from dioxin side effects, but at the same time, the legislation noted that conclusive links between illnesses and the herbicide remained "presumptive." That allowed U.S. officials to effectively sidestep a de facto admission of guilt in Vietnam and avoid offering compensation to Vietnamese victims.
At least one group of victims has already made a formal push for compensation, filing a lawsuit in New York against the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange, including Dow Chemical and Monsanto. In the late 1970s, U.S. veterans filed a similar case and settled out of court in 1984 for a $180 million payment. The Vietnamese case was dismissed last year, but an appeal hearing is expected next month.
The recent advances toward cleaning up the environment are of little solace to these Vietnamese. In a country where birth defects are considered by some an embarrassing reflection of the ill deeds of ancestors, many of the children born with the most severe defects end up abandoned or living in squalid conditions with families too poor to pay for adequate care.
The lucky ones end up in the Peace Village ward for Agent Orange victims at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. In rooms filled with stricken children, nurses tend to patients including a 2-year-old boy born without eyes and a 14-year-old girl whose head has grown bigger than her torso. Many of the 60 young patients have severely limited mental faculties, but existence appears tougher for those who are still alert.
U.S. officials have argued that Vietnam has exaggerated the extent of Agent Orange's effect, blaming the herbicide for birth defects that may have other genetic or environmental roots. But it's the kind of argument that infuriates people such as Duc Nguyen, 25, who began life as a conjoined twin.
Nguyen, born in the south-central town of Sathay, an area heavily sprayed by Agent Orange during the war, was separated from his brother, Viet Nguyen, at age 7. Doctors here say that soon after their birth, their mother's tissues were found to contain high levels of dioxin. These days, Duc Nguyen, who has one leg and severe bone distortions, works as Peace Village's information technology specialist. He spends his days in an office one floor below his noncognitive brother, who is kept tied to a bed most of the time, unable to move his stump-like body and reflexively gargling on his own saliva.
A 2004 study by the Vietnamese government indicated that birth defects in Sathay were 10 to 20 times more common than the national average. Duc Nguyen is engaged to be married next month to a beautiful young woman he met through his work at the hospital. But he is still far from finding peace.
"I find it ironic that on one hand you put [Saddam Hussein] on trial for using biological warfare, but in another country where you sprayed chemicals for warfare, you neglect your responsibility," said Duc Nguyen, who is not related to Luu Thi Nguyen in Da Nang.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Saturday, November 11, 2006
THIS IS WAR! NOTICE TO READERS
THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG IS "THIS IS WAR", AND ITS PURPOSE IS TO BRING TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PUBLIC THE CRUEL VICIOUSNESS AND DESTRUCTION OF WAR.
THIS BLOG DEALS WITH WAR PRIMARILY FROM THE ARAB EXPERIENCE, ALTHOUGH OTHER NATIONS WILL BE PRESENTED ALSO. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO INDICATE A BIAS AGAINST OR FOR ANY NATION.
This blogger is pro-humanity and anti-war. This blog presents the inhumanity of war.There will be fewer posts re: the Israeli involvement and their position. The Israelis, like the U.S., allows few photos of their wounded or dead to be published. The media, partial to the shock value of atrocities, concentrates more on the Arab death and destruction, so fewer sites are found regarding the Israelis in Lebanon or the US in Iraq.
A blog presenting the American and Coalition experience may be found at http://imperial-sacrifices.blogspot.com/This blog is not a pleasant one. It isn't meant to be. Some sites contain graphic, horrific photos.
THIS IS WAR !!
Friday, November 03, 2006
More on U.S. Use of DU
===Allen L Roland : America's Greatest Crime: Military Use Of DU: American Use Of DU is "A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time." US Iraq Military Vets "are on DU death row, waiting to die."http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/2006/10/31.html
Living Inside Hell on Earth
By Manuel Valenzuela
The Iraq Genocide is a curse upon us all, a shame for all humanity, a crime of the highest order that should bring those responsible to deserved justice. In a more perfect world, there would be confidence that criminals and murderers and malfeasant authoritarians would be brought to justice. In the real world, however, they are promoted, elected and made much more powerful. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15356.htm