Monday, January 19, 2004

The Sixteenth Street Missionary Baptist Church

Huntington, West Virginia

Theme: Continuing the Legacy and the Struggle for Justice and Equality in the 21st Century


Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor, The Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York, New York.

Rev. Reginald Hill, the Pastor of the Antioch Missinary Baptist Church introduced the speaker:

"Dr. Calvin O Butts III, Pastor of the nationally renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York City, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He returned to New York and earned a Master of Divinity Degree in Church History from the Union Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Church and Public Policy from Drew University. He has also received six honorary degrees. His pedagogical experiences include serving as an Adjunct Professor in the African Studies Department at City College, New York and instructing at Fordham University, teaching Urban Affairs and Black Church History, respectively.

In addition to his professional and religious avocations, Dr. Butts serves as President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of New York City, as a member of the leadership boards of the September 11th Fund, the Boy Scouts of America, Theodore Roosevelt Council, the American Baptist College and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island.

He is the Chairman of the National Affiliate Development Initiative of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and a founding member of the organization's Board of Commissioners. He has served as President of Africare, an independent organization dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life in rural Africa.

For his efforts and community activism, Dr. Butts has received more than 1,000 honors and commendations, including Man of the Year, Morehouse College Alumni Association; The Morehouse College Candle Award; The William M. Moss Distinguished Brotherhood Award; The Louise Fisher Morris Humanitarian Award. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Prince Hall Masons and has received the 33rd and final degree in Masonary. He has been recognized as a Living Treasure by the New York City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Dr. Butts presently serves as President of SUNY College at Old Westbury.

In every effort, his leadership has had a pervasive impact on such wide-ranging community development initiatives as education, homelessness, senior citizen and youth empowerment, cultural awareness and ecumenical outreach." Welcome Dr. Butts: (APPLAUSE).

Dr. Calvin O. Butts disarmed me, and gave me a lesson about judging too soon (in this instance the insincerities and apostasies of the American liberal establishment). During the introduction, watching Reverend Butts so-pridefully-it-seemed accepting these accolades, images and words kept spinning through my mind. Just as the most noted Jewish intellectuals were still playing the Holocaust card and ever exploiting the idea of anti-Semitism (ever learning, ever writing, ever lecturing, ever receiving honors and rewards, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth), using them to justify not only their own privileged places at the top of the political, religious and academic order of things, but the very existence of the Zionist state itself, so here was the creme of the Black intelligentsia still capitalizing on the Dream, with his Eyes still on the Prize--the prize he (and so few others) has so obviously already won, the American Prize...

I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one from another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God alone...(John 5:39-47).

But we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully...FOR WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES BUT (the mystery of) CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; AND OURSELVES YOUR SERVANTS FOR JESUS SAKE...(2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

Know ye not that friendship with (this) world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore shall be a friend of the world (this world) is the enemy of God...Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble...(James 4:1-6).

Calvin Butts began his talk this evening with the words:

But what went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?...

And from the days of John the Baptist until NOW the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force...(Matthew 11:7-19).

The allusion seemed clear. He was referring to the present powers-that-be in America. "Well, ok," I thought to myself.

"I would like to direct you to two separate texts in the scriptures," he said, "one from the Old Testament and one from the New. If you have a bible please turn to Genesis 11 and Luke, chapter 2."

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

AND IT CAME TO PASS, AS THEY JOURNEYED FROM THE EAST, that they found a plain in the land of Shi'nar; and they dwelt there.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar...

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off to build the city.

Therefore the name of it is called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth...(Genesis 11:1-9).

And then, The Slaying of the Innocents:

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not...(Luke 2:16-18).

And then, building upon these texts, Reverend Butts (waxing comical at first--warming to his subject--but eloquently serious in the end), went on to preach the most direct and meaningful sermon I have heard from any pulpit concerning the events of September 11, 2001.

The congregation was in his hands as he spoke of a cameo appearance he was to make in the Ric Burns PBS documentary on New York City, but of being initially insulted when he heard Burns say that New York City is a city that greed built. "Greed? That was my city he was talking about. I grew up there. Who wants their home town, no matter how big or small it is, badmouthed?...Well I wanted to see myself in that documentary--I have a little vain streak in me you know--but I turned it off." (Laughter).

"The more I thought about it, however"...(a rhetorical way of getting the congregation to think about what he was about to say), "I mean, those towers! How did they get built?" Throughout his sermon he repeated the words: "I see New York City as a metaphor for America, a microcosm of the entire nation." He spoke of the "rat race" in and out of the city each day, millions of people pouring in and out of the city every working day in the singular pursuit of money--money and things..."money, money, money...and the material things and pleasures that money can buy."

"On the Plain of Shinar they built One Tower," he said, "but here in America they built Two Towers...not to God's glory but to their own. Two Towers, mind you, so that they--the rich and powerful men of this nation--could make a name for themselves." Calvin Butts referred to those towers as two immense Phallic symbols reaching into the heavens, symbols of man's exaltation of "self" and ultimate defiance of God.

Leviticus 26; Proverbs 9:13-18.

"How were they able to do it? Can we realize how much energy and resources have to be brought together in one place, how much determination and resolve it required to accomplish such a feat?...How? They were of one language. They spoke the same language...THE LANGUAGE OF 'GREED'...THE LANGUAGE OF 'ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS.'

"There was once J. P. Morgan, and that was large enough. And there was Chase Manhattan. But now it is Morgan-Chase, and the two of them swiftly gobbled up Bank One...The language of Greed, the language of Acquisitions and Mergers."...

There were Giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, THE SAME BECAME MIGHTY MEN WHICH WERE OF OLD, MEN OF RENOWN...(Genesis 6:4)

Corporate Mergers Skyrocket
by Michael Renner
Vital Signs
Worldwatch Institute

The trend toward corporate consolidation gained significant momentum IN 1999, WHEN THE VALUE OF WORLDWIDE MERGERS REACHED A NEW RECORD of $3.4 trillion (in 1998 dollars). This was an astonishing 40-percent increase from the previous record of $2.5 trillion--established only in 1998. Since 1980, the annual value of mergers has risen 100-fold, reaching a cumulative $15 trillion. In 1999, more than 32,000 deals were announced, triple the number of 10 years earlier and more than 30 times as many as in 1981. In a sign of globalization gathering pace, the dollar value of mergers across national boundaries rose even more strongly than that of all mergers, almost doubling to $1.1 trillion in 1999. While cross-border mergers were typically below 20 percent of the value of all mergers in the early 1980s, today they represent 33 percent. The number of cross-border deals valued at more than $1 billion rose from 35 in 1997 to 89 in 1998.

Mergers are held to increase shareholder value and boost corporate efficiency. But evidence suggests that these expectations are not always fulfilled. From a broader vantage point, there is concern that mergers and a proliferation of strategic partnerships among corporations are leading to a greater degree of market concentration in many industries, giving a few producers an undue amount of influence on the market. Market power often also translates into political influence.

LARGE CORPORATIONS HAVE ENORMOUS INFLUENCE ON HOW BILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORK AND LIVE. In recent years, for instance, concern has risen about the push by biotech firms to manipulate the genetic makeup of food and plants, about media giants' control over the way we learn about global events, about highly mobile companies weakening labor's bargaining position, about civic culture coming under the sway of corporate advertisements and sponsorships, and about industry lobbyists influencing the outcome of elections and legislation. ULTIMATELY, CONSOLIDATION TRENDS may (there is no "may" about it) THREATEN DEMOCRATIC NORMS, LABOR STANDARDS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND ENVIRIONMENTAL QUALITY.

THE CURRENT MERGER FRENZY is such that yesterday's record-shattering deal looks almost quaint today. In 1998, the biggest announced acquisition--EXXON's purchase of MOBIL--was valued at $86 billion." In 1999, THE TELEPHONE GIANT MCI WORLDCOM proposed to buy its rival SPRINT for $108 billion. Early 2000 saw the announcement of the two largest combinations ever--between AMERICA ONLINE and TIME-WARNER for $165 billion, and between Britain's Vodafone Airtouch and Germany's Mannesmann for $183 billion. The merger record of 1999 is on track to be surpassed in 2000: the total value of announced deals just 11 weeks into the year is $864 billion--closing in on the total for 1995.

Recent deals have established NEW BEHEMOTHS in such diverse parts of the economy as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals oil, automobiles, and paper. In 1999, one third of the worldwide merger value was concentrated in just three sectors. The telecommunications industry, with $569 billion, was by far the leader, followed by commercial banking ($377 billion) and radio and television broadcasting ($246 billion). Among cross-border deals, telecommunications, too, is the leader, followed by the metals, oil and gas, and chemical industries.

Liberalization and privatization of telecommunications assets in many countries have triggered AN ENDLESS SERIES OF TAKEOVERS. For example, if the announced merger between MCI Worldcom and Sprint is approved, it will be the culmination of 18 successive mergers over the past two decades, 11 of which were MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR COMBINATIONS.

The media industry is being thoroughly reshaped by the growing integration of entertainment, news, publishing, and communications companies and by the rapid rise of the Internet and digital communications. JUST NINE CORPORATE GIANTS NOW DOMINATE THE WORLD MEDIA MARKET.

Companies in Western Europe and North America are by far the most active in acquiring firms elsewhere; firms from all other regions of the world, including even Japan, are comparatively small players. Developing-country enterprises play a minuscule role as buyers, although they have been important takeover targets during the 1990s.

Thomson Financial Securities Data reports that $487 billion worth of mergers, or 14 percent of the total in 1999, involved so-called hostile takeovers--offers that had initially been rejected by the target company. At more than four times the value of hostile deals during the previous peak year, 1988, this marked yet another record for 1999. CORPORATE RAIDING HAD BEEN RARE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, but is now spreading elsewhere: more than one third of the dollar volume of all European mergers in 1999 involved hostile acquisitions. Mergers in the 1980s were largely financed through 'leveraged buy-outs'--borrowed money--and acquired firms were often cannibalized. Today, mergers involve stock swaps rather than cash transactions. BLOATED STOCK MARKET VALUES HAVE MADE DEALS OF PREVIOUSLY UNIMAGINED SIZE POSSIBLE.

But the current cascade of mergers is also sustained by the broad trend toward privatization of state-owned companies and public infrastructure, deregulation, and the liberalization of trade, investments, and capital markets. IN AN AGE OF GLOBALIZATION, THE SIZE AND GEOGRAPHICAL REACH OF A FIRM ARE SEEN AS EVER MORE CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS. Increasingly, firms either achieve this objective by observing others, or they get swallowed up by competitors.

Cross-border mergers have been the main driving force of foreign direct investment (FDI) in recent years. This means that a considerable portion of private capital flows goes simply to changing ownership of existing factories and other businesses. While some acquisitions imply a long-term investment commitment, others may be little more than a prelude to asset-stripping--retaining the most valuable parts of a company and closing or selling off other parts.

The tidal wave of cross-border mergers implies that transnational corporations (TNCs), PARTICULARLY THE LARGEST ONES, WILL CONTINUE TO EXPAND THEIR ALREADY STRONG ROLE IN WORLD TRADE. Intra-firm trade--that is, the flow of raw materials, components, finished goods, and services from a subsidiary of a corporation in one country to another subsidiary in a second country--now accounts for roughly a third of world trade. The proportion rises to two thirds if what the World Investment Report 1999 calls "arm's-length trade associated with TNCs" is included.

Through mergers and other FDI flows, transnational corporations can supply domestic markets in numerous countries through a growing web of local factories and offices. At $11 trillion in 1998, sales of foreign affiliates of transnationals easily surpassed total world exports of $6.7 trillion. During the past decade, these sales have grown more strongly than either total world output or world trade.

And the Lord came down...

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills (the nations) moved and were shaken, because He was wroth.

There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

He bowed the heavens also, AND CAME DOWN: and darkness was under his Feet.



For a Fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the Foundations of the mountains.. (Deuteronomy 32:16-29; Revelation 18).

"It was early in the morning," Reverend Butts told the congregation, "...not unlike that Sunday morning sixty years ago when America was drawn into another War...Let me tell you," speaking of one of Harlem's favorite sons, "if Bill Clinton could have run again, he would have won. That man spoke the language...THE LANGUAGE OF UNPRECEDENTED PROSPERITY, THE LANGUAGE OF THE STOCK MARKET...MAKING MONEY...AND TELLING BLACK FOLKS THAT THEY BETTER CATCH UP...DIDN'T THEY KNOW: THAT, THAT MORNING THEIR SOULS WERE REQUIRED OF THEM!" Reverend Buttes quoted the scriptures which said:

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, AND BUILD GREATER; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

BUT GOD SAID UNTO HIM, THOU FOOL, THIS NIGHT THY SOUL SHALL BE REQUIRED OF THEE: then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided?...

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also...(Luke 12:15-34).


"God confounded the language of America on September 11th, and left the nation speechless," the Reverend Butts said. In one hour all the "self-absorbed, narcissistic, psycho-babble came crashing to the ground. The usual media spin would not work that day. America was tongue-tied and confused."

But how often are the innocents affected? "As God works in history, when the times of Messiah have come, innocents do die," he said...

Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and destruction shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know...(Isaiah 47:10-15).

"Don't accuse me of being un-American," Calvin Butts said, "Don't question my patriotism...I do love America. We heard that slogan 'Love it or leave it' all too often during this nation's previous unjust wars. It has been worn out. I am concerned about America--about the Soul of the nation itself--because I love my country....Duty and honor? Don't talk to me about these things. These things couldn't save America that morning. These things were already destroyed in this nation, by immoral men in positions of power, by unbridled sex and drugs and licentiousness everywhere..."


Friday, January 23, 2004


We're a group of mothers, fathers and grandparents who are outraged at the filth, violence, sex, vulgarity and worse that children see and hear every day. Are YOU as outraged as we are? For example:

Are you FED UP with TV's steamy unmarried sex situations, filthy jokes, foul language, violence, killings, perversion and worse? Are you DISMAYED that singing idols of children put out recordings and music lyrics that 'say' to our children pre-marital sex is normal and even encourage cop killing? Are you ANGRY at all the movies featuring nudity, graphic sex, rape, gratuitous violence and killing? Well, we finally have the way for you and we to end it. And here's how:



TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN...We are asking every reader of this ad to send in the Petition...Every week we at Parents and Grandparents Alliance will notify U.S. Senators and Congressmen of the numbers of Petitions received. They are going to KNOW American voters DEMAND THEY ACT...

And they worshipped (the Great Serpent--the collective Lower Consciousness of men) which gave power unto the Beast (the American economic and political order--the government)...(Revelation 13:4).

Such a petition will only empower the present American government to exercise more power over the lives of the people in the months to come than it is already planning to. The transformation begins within the heart and soul of the people themselves, it cannot be legislated or regulated from without, and certainly not by the lords of Darkness themselves:

Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH (governmental, political, economic and religious) PLACES...(Ephesians 6:10-19).

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents (because parents are disobedient to God), unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turnaway (and when this is a description of the most prominent leaders of the country, imagine what conditions the people themselves are fallen into)...(2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The Spirit was moving Calvin Butts as he said that the events of September 11th were a message from God to America. (A message that America obviously did not get). "The words and the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were also a message from God," he said. "Dr. King came to save the soul of America, to admonish the powerful, and to speak to the poor...Yet how often it is, that the message of nonviolence becomes a magnet for violence. But havn't all the prophets been murdered--John (the Baptist), Jesus and now Martin?...They came to teach us a new language, the language of Love, of justice and righteousness, and of cooperation...How can it be that America can find billions of dollars to wage an unprovoked war in Iraq, kill hundreds of other peoples' children, and can't find the money to afford its own people adequate health care and equal education? And what of those other innocents--our own sons and daughters, brothers and sisters--who are returning every day now, in body bags?...



ITAWI, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2003— Their embroidered caps, shredded with shrapnel, lay in the dust beside half a dozen children's rubber galoshes and caked pools of blood. Nine children died here Saturday morning in a United States air strike, and were still lying in the dust when American soldiers flew in by helicopter to investigate the consequences three hours later, villagers and U.S. soldiers at the scene said today. A young man of 25 was also killed, they said, while the intended target, a Taliban suspect, appeared to have gotten away.

"The boys were playing marbles," said one man, thrusting forward a gnarled hand with three chipped glass marbles he had picked up the from the dust. Seven boys, ages 8 to 12, were playing marbles in front of a house, and two girls ages 9 and 10 were fetching water from the stream alongside when the planes struck at 10:45 a.m.

Their rockets made 30 to 40 small craters in the ground around where the children died. The young man, their uncle, rushed toward the stream after the first plane struck and was cut down beside them, his mother said. Shocked and angry, villagers were mourning their children in this small hamlet some 300 kilometers south of Kabul in southeastern Afghanistan this afternoon, the men gathered in the open-air mosque and the women weeping inside the houses.

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not...(Matthew 2:18).

As the men showed journalists and a government delegation around the scene of the attack, they wondered aloud why the Americans attacked so indiscriminately when searching for just one man and why innocent civilians had to die when the man was not even in the village.

The attack, which does not seem to have netted the suspected Taliban member it was aiming at, raises questions as to the effectiveness of using air power to catch fugitive Taliban and Al Qaeda sheltering in villages. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said he was "profoundly shocked" at the deaths of nine children and said he had sent a delegation to investigate and offer help to the families, a presidential spokesman said. In an interview with the BBC he said future operations should be better coordinated with the Afghan government so it should never happen again.

Villagers and local officials echoed his sentiments. "They bombed this place and said we were giving sanctuary to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but there are no Taliban or Al Qaeda here," said Abdul Majid Farooqi, the school principal and local mullah. "We all support the government."

American officials have said the attack was aimed at a member of the Taliban, Mullah Wazir, who is believed to be behind a number of attacks on aid workers in the region and construction engineers working on the major United States project to rebuild the Kabul-Kandahar road. The United States ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said at a news conference today in Kabul THAT MULLAH WAZIR WAS A KNOWN "FINANCIER, ORGANIZER AND FACILITATOR OF ATTACKS ON AID WORKERS AND WORKERS ON THE HIGHWAYS."...

Villagers said Mullah Wazir did indeed live in the village but that he had left two weeks ago with his whole family after an earlier air strike when planes fired into the field. American soldiers pointed out Mullah Wazir's house, which they had searched, but was otherwise untouched by the bombardment. The children had been killed just 10 yards in front of the house by the stream.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in American air strikes in the two years since the United States launched its campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. After several disastrous raids last year when planes bombed officials loyal to the Karzai government and in one incident killed some 48 civilians in a raid on a wedding party in July last year, the United States military had appeared to restrict its air assaults to more precise attacks only when groups of militants were engaged by coalition troops.

Nevertheless, Saturday's attack was at least the fourth this year in which civilians have been killed or injured. Eleven members of one family were killed in April in Paktika in eastern Afghanistan when American forces called in air strikes on a group of militants escaping toward the Pakistani border and a bomb landed on a house. Eight people, including women and children, were killed in a village in the northern province of Nuristan on Oct. 30 when American planes bombarded their village at night. The military acknowledged the April bombing but has not confirmed responsibility for the Nuristan bombing.

This time American soldiers were sent into Pitawi within three hours of the air strike to assess the scene, Capt. Jorge Cordeiro, the company commander, said in an interview at the scene. Standing amid fruit trees in an orchard slightly away from the village, he spoke as a Chinook helicopter covered by an Apache came in to land. "We came in to secure the site and do an assessment and allow for another team to come in and do the investigation," he said.

The investigation team came in today and had left by midafternoon, he said. The rest of the company were ready to pull out too, he said, after his men had exploded a number of mines and bullets found in the village. The soldiers had also detained four armed men but said they thought they would be released since it appeared they had come from a nearby village to find out what had happened and assist the villagers.

There was no further official statement from the military pending the results of the investigation, but Mr. Khalilzad and Afghan interior minister Ahmed Ali Jalali both said today that Mullah Wazir had been killed. Yet on the ground in the village it did not appear to be the case.

Captain Cordeiro confirmed that they had found nine children killed and one adult, who could have been the suspect targeted, he said. But he admitted that they had not talked to villagers or actually identified the dead man.

Villagers, including the man's mother, said the dead man was Abdul Muhammad, 25, who had just returned from Iran 10 days ago, where he had been working for three years digging wells. She had finally arranged his wedding and he had returned for his engagement party, which was just five days away.

"I was so pleased to have my son back. And now he is dead," said his mother, Guldana, standing outside her simple home. She had lost not only her son but her two granddaughters, Bibi Toara, 10, and Bibi Tamama, 9, who were fetching water by the stream and were killed instantly.

Two brothers in the village, Sarwar Khan and Hamidullah, lost three children between them, they said. "The Americans are all the time making these mistakes," said Mr. Khan, who lost his two sons, Faizullah, 8, and Obeidullah, 10. "What kind of Al Qaeda are they? Look at their little shoes and hats. Are they terrorists?"

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

"I want a world wherein the Lamb can indeed lay down with the lion (applause), where men finally and truly beat their swords into ploughshares (applause), and where the River of Life runs through, watering the heart and soul of every man (applause)...We have to begin with THE RIGHT FOUNDATION...IF THIS DAY COMES IN MY LIFETIME..."

Will ye plead for the Master?

Harry Bellafonte, alluding to America as The Great Plantation, said that Colin Powell (and others), residing in the master's house as they do, are completely out of touch with reality and know nothing of the afflictions of those who work the field, and who are continually subject to the strokes of the master's whip. These would never criticize their own masters, at least not in their hearing (or in any meaningful way), but, coveting their own vested positions inside the house, betray themselves by trying to soften the master's dictates and rationalize them in the mind of the slaves:


By William Rasberry

WASHINGTON__"Every man knows enough Bible to fit his own pistol," my late father used to say: Or, I might amend, enough King. Dad's observation dates to the time when debaters would turn to the Scriptures for support of their point of view--whatever it happened to be--on the issue of the day. My amendment acknowledges that I may be doing something similar when I use the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous 1967 "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" as a commentary on America's presence in Iraq.

King, remember, was known until that 1967 sermon at New York's Riverside Church primarily as a civil rights leader. His Nobel Peace Prize, awarded three years earlier, was largely in recognition of his nonviolent advocacy on behalf of black and poor Americans. And he was roundly criticized by those, black and white, conservative and liberal, who thought he was overstepping his boundaries and jeapordizing the cause of civil rights.

King himself thought, as many of us do now, that it was the war that put the interests of the poor in jeapordy. Listen:

A few years ago there was a shining moment...It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor--both black and white--through the Poverty Program. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some DEMONIC destructive suction tube.

Even the harshest critics of the war in Iraq acknowledge that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a brute. But they also believe that our government made military action against him seem unavoidable when it might have been avoided. King saw the same thing--can it really be?--37 years ago when, as he put it, "America has spoken of peace and built up its forces...speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak, nation more than 8,000 miles from its shores."

King--even with a sympathetic audience--found it necessary to distinguish between opposition to the war and opposition to our troops:

I should make it clear that while I have tried here to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynacism to the process of death, for our troops must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.

Some critics of America's behavior in Iraq have expressed the fear that we may, however inadvertently, be fomenting a latter-day holy war. King quoted a letter from a Vietnamese Buddhist who complained that the Americans were "forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies...It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military vistory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

And finally, King's sermon has a word for those who think it silly, weak and maybe even unpatriotic to wonder why so many people in certain parts of the world hate US so.

How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence...while we pour new new weapons of death into their land?...Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence--when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know of his assessment or ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weakness of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.



by Jim Lobe

January 25, 2004

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni began warning that ousting Saddam Hussein, let alone invading Iraq, risked destabilizing the entire Middle East back in 1998, when he led U.S. Central Command and testified against the Iraq Liberation Act that made "regime change" official US policy. And just six months before the actual invasion last March, in October 2002, he told the annual Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy, "we are about to do something that will ignite a fuse in this region that we will rue the day we ever started."

While President George W. Bush tried hard to project a sense of confidence and control concerning Iraq and the larger Middle East in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, a careful look at the news this week suggested that Zinni's fears were not unfounded. Talk of possible civil war in Iraq finally reached the front pages of US newspapers, while reports that at least some elements of the administration are pushing for military action against Hezbollah in Lebanon and targets in Syria surfaced for the first time since last summer.

At the same time, by omitting any reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his speech, Bush indicated he has no intention of seriously pressing either party toward a cease-fire, let alone peace talks designed to meet the goal of the "roadmap": securing Palestinian statehood by next year. In other words, the outlook for the region between the eastern Mediterranean and Iran 10 months after US troops launched their drive from Kuwait to Iraq is for more – possibly a lot more – turbulence.

Long before this week, demands by Iraqi Kurds for virtually total autonomy, including the retention of their own "pesh merga" force, in a new, federal Iraq have been drawing grim warnings from neighboring Turkey, Iran and Syria – which all have large and restive Kurdish populations. But last week's rejection – by Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani – of a US plan to transfer sovereignty to a transitional government that will not be directly elected by the Iraqi people, has brought home the message that whatever progress Washington is making in suppressing the insurgency in the "Sunni Triangle" of central Iraq could very quickly be overwhelmed by the lack of a credible political strategy.

"CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war," was the lead sentence in a front-page article in the Philadelphia InquirerThursday. The article, written by veteran Knight-Ridder reporters who have consistently led the mainstream media in uncovering secrets the Bush administration would rather not have exposed, quoted senior US officials as saying that failure to satisfy demands for direct elections could spark an uprising by much of the heretofore friendly Shi'a population, who make up 60 percent or more of Iraq's 24 million people.

That message was underscored by the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Shiites in protest demonstrations over the past week – a display of discipline and organization that clearly surprised the administration. If the Shi'a turn against the U.S.-led coalition, "this would be like losing the Buddhists in Vietnam," Anthony Cordesman, a Mideast expert at the conservative Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) here, told the Financial Times Friday, referring to the US war against the Asian country in the 1960s and '70s. "It would mean losing the war."

However unattractive that option seems, holding the direct elections Sistani is demanding – which almost certainly would bring a Shi'a-dominated government to power – is also considered distinctly dangerous. "We can't simply walk away and let the Shi'a dictate the shape of the new government," warned John Hamre, deputy defense secretary under Bush's predecessor Bill Clinton, earlier this week, "because that will likely unleash a civil war in Iraq."

Hamre, who as CSIS' president led an independent task force to Iraq last August to review the situation at Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld's behest, described the administration as "caught in a box." A box with more than a few sharp edges, too. Sistani and his followers have made clear that they, as well as the Sunnis, strongly oppose a federal system that would give Kurds the autonomy they seek, particularly if the northerners were to claim oil-rich Kirkuk as theirs. Deadly clashes between the pesh merga and Turkomen and Arab residents in Kirkuk and parts of the northern Sunni Triangle have been a constant, albeit under-reported, feature of the landscape for months, but they might only be a warm-up to a much bigger struggle, unless the administration prevails on the Kurds to stand down. The fact that Washington has permitted the pesh merga to retain its arms has not helped matters.

Meanwhile, tensions between Shi'as and Sunnis, who have dominated Iraqi governments since independence, have mounted steadily since Dec. 9, when three Sunnis were killed in an explosion at a Baghdad mosque. While Washington says it agrees with Sistani that direct elections are best, it insists there is not enough time to hold them before the scheduled Jun. 30 turnover, a date that was decided more out of concern for Bush's reelection campaign than by a commitment to build viable democratic institutions in Iraq.

If the complicated "caucus" system that Washington proposed in November will not work, the administration appears poised to back the creation of an enlarged Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) as the transitional government, although there is no agreement on how its members would be chosen. Washington hopes that Sistani, who has indicated he will abide by the recommendations of U.N. experts as to how to proceed, will be willing to deal. In this context, the administration appears increasingly frantic about involving the United Nations, which plans to send a team to Iraq to assess the situation next week. While it hopes the world body can devise an agreement that will keep all parties calm and its transition timetable on track, Washington also clearly sees it as a convenient scapegoat if things go bad.

Not content with the mounting signs of civil war in Iraq, however, the Pentagon, presumably with the help of Vice President Dick Cheney's office, was reported this week by Jane's Intelligence Digest to be drawing up plans for carrying out raids on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Syria, in what would be a notable expansion of Bush's "war on terror." Some of the same personnel who worked in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (OSP), which reviewed intelligence for evidence allegedly linking Saddam to the al-Qaeda terrorist group and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs before the Iraq invasion, have reportedly been working on a similar effort regarding Syria. David Warmer, a neo-conservative who has long advocated destabilizing Damascus through Lebanon and Iraq, joined Cheney's staff as his Mideast adviser last September.

An administration ally, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, also suggested this week that Iraq's alleged WMD stockpiles were transported to Syria before the war. Most observers here believe the administration is unlikely to authorize such operations before the November presidential elections, if only because it would fuel voter concerns and Democratic charges that the president's conduct of the "war on terror" has been reckless and far too costly in blood, treasure and alliances.

They suggest the reports are being deliberately circulated to intimidate Syria's Assad regime into complying with a series of US demands, including cutting off aid to Hezbollah and Palestinian groups. Jane's noted, however, that US attacks against Hezbollah in Lebanon could well destabilize that country only a decade after its last civil war.

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