News Release Archive - 2003

A Bipartisan Lie — Rewriting History

“This nation is very reluctant to use military force…. Military action is the very last resort for us.”
— George W. Bush, October 28, 2003

“[Richard] Gephardt approved a Bush-Cheney policy where, for the first time in American history, we commit to war before exhausting our efforts to commit to peace.”
— Howard Dean Campaign Statement, November 16, 2003

Here are just a few of the facts about U.S. foreign policy contradicting such claims:

* In 1962, while trying to show that there were precedents for the use of armed force against Cuba, Secretary of State Dean Rusk produced for a Senate committee a list titled “Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad 1798-1945.” It listed 103 interventions between 1798 and 1895 alone.

* The United States invaded Cuba in 1898 — expelling Spain, installing a U.S. military base and keeping Cuba as an economic “protectorate” until 1933.

* In the Philippines, 1898-1908, the U.S. waged war to suppress the independence movement, killing probably 600,000 Filipinos and establishing the Philippines as a U.S. colony until 1946. [Speaking before the Philippine National Congress, President Bush said on October 18: “America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people. Together our soldiers liberated the Philippines from colonial rule.”]

* Intervention and occupation: Nicaragua (1912-33); Haiti (1915-34); Dominican Republic (1916-33).

* Vietnam, intervention and bombing from 1960-1975; Laos and Cambodia also massively bombed.

* Lebanon bombed, 1983-84; Grenada invaded, 1983; Libya bombed, 1986; Panama invaded, 1989.

The following are available for interviews:

HOWARD ZINN
A widely read historian who has authored numerous books including A People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War, Zinn said today: “Instances of the U.S. government spurning peace efforts and going to war include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, the bombing of Afghanistan…. Colin Powell on November 12, responding to statements of the Mexican ambassador to the UN who had said the U.S. regards Mexico as a second-class country, remarked: ‘We never, ever, in any way would treat Mexico as some backyard or as a second-class nation. We have too much of a history that we have gone through together.’ That history includes invading Mexico, 1846-48, and taking half of its territory, bombarding the Mexican coast in 1914, killing several hundred Mexicans, and a long history of subordinating Mexican interests to our own.'” The Mexican ambassador who made the remarks, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, has been compelled to resign.
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ZOLTAN GROSSMAN
Grossman is assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and author of the article “From Wounded Knee to Iraq: A Century of U.S. Military Interventions.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Christmas and Chanukah: Interviews Available

JULIET SCHOR
Professor of sociology at Boston College, Schor is author of the books The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need and Do Americans Shop Too Much? She is available for a limited number of interviews until Thursday.

STAV ADIVI
Adivi is a major in the Israeli Defense Forces. He said today: “I am a Zionist and an Israeli patriot. I am one of 1,200 who are refusing service in the West Bank and Gaza…. Chanukah is a celebration of victory and freedom. About 2,100 years ago, Judah Maccabee led the Jewish fight against the Greeks who were occupying the Holy Land. At the time Antiochus of Greece was forcing the Jews to adopt Greek practices, even slaughtering pigs on the Temple Mount. In the end the Jewish resistance won the war and we got our freedom. As we are celebrating Chanukah, we are occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where Palestinians live. They deserve their freedom and their self-determination as well. I’m not considering every form of resistance legitimate — suicide bombings are morally wrong. But the occupation must end. It’s important that we realize that if Palestinians don’t have their freedom, Israelis will not either.”
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Rev. MITRI RAHEB
Raheb is pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, general director of the International Center of Bethlehem and author of the book I Am a Palestinian Christian. He said today: “Christmas has become the feast of a sort of peace that no one really can fully describe. In fact, it is kind of a cheap peace, which is something to preach about when one is not well prepared, or a bit of wishful thinking, when one is not ready to do much. Personally, I am bored with all of this talk about peace around Christmas time. Christmas has become a season for joyful peace talkers, rather than blessed peacemakers.

“In our Palestinian context, peace talk is often a good recipe for managing the conflict rather than resolving it. As the world continues to talk peace, Israel continues to build the wall, and while Christians continue singing ‘O little town of Bethlehem,’ Israel makes sure that this town stays as little as possible. As little as two square miles, surrounded with walls, fences and trenches, with no future expansion possibilities whatsoever.

“No one understood what peace really is, like St. Paul. He himself, a former Jewish leader, a zealot, a persecutor, and a hard liner; he committed himself to making sure that a wall of separation is built and kept between his community and its enemies. He was ready to attack and even terrorize whoever dared to question the importance of this wall for the security of his community. However, this same radical person was radically transformed. He had a unique encounter that made him discover what peace really means, and he described it as breaking down dividing walls of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).”

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Analysis on the Tenth Anniversary of NAFTA

New Year’s Day 2004 will mark the tenth anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The following critics of NAFTA are available for interviews:

ALEJANDRO NADAL
FRANCISCO AGUAYO
Nadal is the director of the Science and Technology program (PROCIENTEC) at El Colegio de Mexico and co-author of the article “Seven Myths About NAFTA and Three Lessons for Latin America.” He said today: “Between 1994-2003, minimum wages in Mexico lost 20 percent of their purchasing power.” Aguayo, a researcher at PROCIENTEC, said today: “Neither NAFTA nor the Free Trade Area of the Americas provide a means of addressing historical inequalities; both assume markets will take care of it. The newly agreed Central American Free Trade Agreement is reported as ‘modeled on NAFTA.'”
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MARTHA OJEDA
Ojeda is the director of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, a maquiladora worker and a union organizer for more than 20 years. She said today: “NAFTA was promoted as a way to good jobs and improved living conditions. Instead we got low wages, sexual harassment, environmental destruction and birth defects. Most maquiladora workers are very young, between 16 and 25, because their eyes, backs and hands haven’t given out yet — their hours are so long that their youth passes without seeing the sun.”
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ANTONIA JUHASZ
Juhasz, a project director with the International Forum on Globalization, said today: “CAFTA marks the path the Bush Administration intends to follow in the future — it will make deals only with those countries that agree to follow our rules.”
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DAVID BACON
Bacon is the author of the forthcoming book The Children of NAFTA. He said today: “NAFTA has a 10-year history of devastation, in both Mexico and the U.S…. The job picture for U.S. workers has been grim, but millions of Mexican workers lost their jobs too, while their incomes plummeted precipitously…. NAFTA’s boosters promised a new era of respect for labor rights in Mexico, but for 10 years unions have been broken and workers fired with impunity all along the border.”
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LAURA CARLSEN
Carlsen is the director of the Americas Program of the Interhemispheric Resource Center based in Mexico City. She said today: “NAFTA has displaced 1.75 million farmers from their land, forcing them to migrate to the cities or the United States. Farm prices, especially for maize [corn], have plummeted in the face of subsidized imports from the United States.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said today: “The new World Bank report calls NAFTA ‘positive for Mexico.’ In 10 years, income per person has grown by only 9 percent in Mexico, about a fifth of the growth in the 1960s and 1970s. No economist can honestly call that a success.”
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MARIA ELENA MARTINEZ
Martinez, an associate with the Center for the Study of the Americas, said today: “The Zapatista uprising, which started the day NAFTA was launched, is also entering its tenth year.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Venezuela * ‘Public Diplomacy’ * ‘Missile Defense’

GREGORY WILPERT
Wilpert is a journalist living in Venezuela and the author of an upcoming book on the Chavez presidency.
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot is currently in Venezuela. He said today: “Six months ago, when the opposition forces overthrew the democratically elected government of Venezuela and installed the head of the business federation as president, the Bush administration at first welcomed the coup, retreating the next day after it became clear that other countries in the Americas were not going to recognize the illegal government…. This time around, too, neither the White House nor the State Department has indicated that a coup would result in any diplomatic or commercial sanctions against an illegal government.”

* ‘Public Diplomacy’

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NANCY SNOW
The Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Charlotte Beers, is giving a repeatedly delayed address today at the National Press Building. Assistant professor in the College of Communications at Cal State Fullerton, Snow is author of Propaganda, Inc. and the forthcoming Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9/11.

* ‘Missile Defense’

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ALICE SLATER
The Bush administration has announced that it is committing to an initial “missile defense” system. President of the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Slater said today: “The tests are not hitting their targets, but that doesn’t seem to be dissuading the Pentagon from continuing to spend billions of dollars. What this will do is start an arms race in space. China has been putting forward resolutions at the UN to keep space free of weapons. The whole world votes for it except for the U.S. and Israel. But it is not accurate to call this ‘missile defense’ — it’s an offensive weapons system. The U.S. Space Command talks openly about dominating the world from the ‘high ground’ — that is, through a space-based weapons system as outlined in their ‘Visions for 2020’ report.” For a PDF file of this report, see: www.gsinstitute.org/resources/extras/vision_2020.pdf
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MICHELLE CIARROCCA
Ciarrocca is a research associate at the World Policy Institute and co-author of the report “Axis of Influence: Behind the Bush Administration’s Missile Defense Revival.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

New Developments in Case of U.S. Spying on U.N. Security Council: Former British Cabinet Minister Decries Prosecution of Whistleblower

Former British cabinet minister Tony Benn has criticized the prosecution of a woman charged with violating his country’s Official Secrets Act in connection with the leaking of a secret memorandum from the U.S. National Security Agency. The memo described wiretaps of home and office telephones along with surveillance of emails of six “swing vote” delegations from nations with votes on the U.N. Security Council early this year as the U.S. and British governments unsuccessfully sought a resolution authorizing war on Iraq.

Referring to Katharine Gun, who worked as a translator at Britain’s super-secret Government Communications Headquarters and now faces up to two years in prison, Benn said Tuesday in a live interview: “When somebody on the basis of moral principle puts their conscience before official secrets, they do society a — well, they perform an essential function. And I think it does raise the question as to whether if that woman is imprisoned it doesn’t throw doubt on the whole idea of the law being concerned with justice.”

Benn was appearing on a broadcast of the national U.S. radio and TV program “Democracy Now.” Also on the program was Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, whose piece in The Baltimore Sun on Sunday was the first substantive article about Katharine Gun to appear in the U.S. press.

The op-ed piece, distributed today by the LA Times – Washington Post wire service, includes these observations:

* “The case raises profound questions about democracy and the public’s right to know on both sides of the Atlantic.”

* “Some analysts cite the uproar from the leaked memo as a key factor in the U.S.-British failure to get Security Council approval of a pro-war resolution before the invasion began in late March.”

* “In this case, Ms. Gun’s conscience fully intersected with the needs of democracy and a free press. The British and American people had every right to know that their governments were involved in a high-stakes dirty tricks campaign at the United Nations. For democratic societies, a timely flow of information is the lifeblood of the body politic. As it happened, the illegal bugging of diplomats from three continents in Manhattan foreshadowed the illegality of the war that was to come.”

BULLETIN
Letters of support for Katharine Gun can now be sent to: kthgun@yahoo.co.uk

Audio of the interview with Benn and Solomon is posted at:
www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/12/16/164218

The Baltimore Sun article is posted at:
www.commondreams.org/views03/1214-07.htm

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Afghanistan Off the Radar?

MARIAM RAWI, [in Pakistan],
Rawi is a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. She said today: “We are not very hopeful of the outcome of the Loya Jirga currently convening in Kabul since it’s mainly composed of fundamentalists and warlords who continue to control most of the country. These men also had substantial influence in choosing the delegates. Women continue to be deprived of basic rights, and secular and democratic values are still gravely lacking in Afghanistan. Publications are banned and journalists imprisoned for criticizing the government. We are afraid to operate openly in our own country even though we are the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women. The Loya Jirga is supposed to decide on a constitution and an election process but how can free and fair elections be held under these conditions?”
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MEENA NANJI
Nanji is a film-maker working on a documentary about Afghan women. She said today: “When I visited in Afghanistan in March, the condition of women had improved little beyond surface changes. Certainly there was an improvement in women’s mobility, at least in Kabul, but mostly these were the exception rather than the rule…. Recently, a law prohibiting married women from attending high school was upheld by the Karzai government. Karzai also reappointed pro-Wahabbi Fazl Hadi Shinwari to the Supreme Court; he brought back the Taliban’s dreaded Department of Vice and Virtue, re-named the Ministry of Religious Affairs.”
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SONALI KOLHATKAR
Co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, Kolhatkar said today: “The expansion of the multilateral International Security Assistance Forces outside of Kabul, which could have reduced the power of the warlords, has been stymied by the U.S. despite warnings from the international community, NGOs, ordinary Afghans, and even Karzai…. Recently … the Bush administration pledged $1.2 billion to the reconstruction effort; however, this is in contrast to the $11 billion allocated for the military operations.”
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JAMES INGALLS
Ingalls is the author of the article “Buying Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan.” He said today: “Slowly and subtly, the U.S. is attempting to engineer a situation in which the only real choice for the Afghan electorate is Hamid Karzai. This means bolstering his standing with the people through increasing reconstruction projects. It also means eliminating any serious challengers to his candidacy…. Rarely mentioned is the fact that Karzai’s unelected cabinet contains five U.S. citizens…. The Bush administration is also reported to be considering placing up to 100 U.S. experts in key positions in Afghan government ministries.”

RITA LASAR
DERRILL BODLEY
Lasar and Bodley first traveled to Afghanistan in January 2002. Lasar lost her brother in the World Trade Center. Bodley lost his daughter, Deora, on Flight 93. Bodley will be returning to Kabul on January 4-13. Referring to the 15 Afghan children killed in U.S. bombing raids last week, Lasar said today: “When we were there two years ago, kids had been killed. When we left, kids were being killed. I mourn the kids killed in these recent attacks, but the media makes it sound like these deaths are something new. The reality is that kids have been killed as a result of military attacks for the past two years.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available on Hollywood and Baghdad

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which organized Sean Penn’s recent trip to Baghdad. Solomon will be returning from Baghdad late Tuesday afternoon.

NORMA BARZMAN
Author of the forthcoming The Red and the Blacklist: A Memoir of a Hollywood Insider, Barzman was blacklisted in 1949. She said today: “Since the blacklists, fear has been engendered into the American population.”

JACK SHAHEEN
Author of The TV Arab and Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, Shaheen said today: “It’s encouraging that some individuals working in Hollywood are speaking their minds on American policy in the Mideast. Regrettably, most voices remain mum. Most producers have yet to examine the roles they play in shaping images that teach viewers to hate people and their faiths, notably Arabs and Islam. Ever since the beginning of television, programs have presented Arabs and Muslims as villains. Since 9/11 TV has displayed even more harmful stereotypes, projecting America’s Arabs and Muslims as a threat to their country. More than a dozen Arab-bashing movies were produced in cooperation with the Pentagon, the most recent being ‘Rules of Engagement.’ As Jack Valenti says, ‘Washington and Hollywood share the same DNA.’ Is it only an accident that since two ancient TV series, ‘The Danny Thomas Show’ and ‘M*A*S*H,’ which featured Jamie Farr as Klinger, no TV series has featured a regular Arab American or Muslim American character? Why is that? Their invisibility is directly linked to prejudice, profiling, and their dehumanization.”

DAVID CLENNON
Clennon plays the CIA’s “art chief” on the CBS show “The Agency” and signed the recent “Win Without War” statement. He said today: “We’ve come to think of a major attack on Iraq as inevitable, but the script doesn’t have to play that way. The justification for massive war will wither away if we examine it. Bush the elder called Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait ‘naked aggression’ — and that’s what it will be if we attack Iraq now…. I regret that ‘The Agency’ — a fictional drama — has inadvertently served to reinforce the propaganda emanating from the White House, as it pushes our country toward war. Our show has lately echoed the portrayal of Iraq as a deadly threat to America. I do not believe that view. I don’t think the producers are out to bang the drums for war, but they lack an informed perspective on the Middle East and so they reinforce the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld black propaganda line. I think the show’s entertainment value is high, but I would ask viewers to do three things: 1) be very alert to the political assumptions and the political messages contained in each story; 2) do research in other mediums to come to your own conclusions on questions of war and peace; 3) let CBS know if you think our show is failing to present a balanced view of world affairs. As an actor I have little influence over the content of our show, but I will stay with ‘The Agency’ and I’ll continue to advocate for a political balance in the show’s depiction of our world.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Captive Saddam: Looking Deeper

DOUGLAS VALENTINE
Valentine is available to assess U.S. military operations in Iraq. He is author of the book The Phoenix Program, about U.S. “counter-insurgency” operations in Vietnam.
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MIKE LOPERCIO
Lopercio just returned from a fact-finding trip to Iraq where his son Anthony is a solider.
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ANAS SHALLAL
Shallal is co-founder of Iraqi Americans for Peaceful Alternatives and founder of the Mesopotamia Cultural Society. He said today: “Saddam Hussein has come to symbolize so many things in the Arab and Muslim world. He is seen as a hero (this speaks volumes about the deficit of leaders we have in the Arab world) — someone who has defied the U.S. and the West and their superior military. Photos of where he was hiding or with his mouth gaping open (the image of vulnerability is eerie) belied that image that most have of Saddam…. It is critical that his trial be open, public and transparent. I am troubled that the U.S. government just got the right to edit Wesley Clark’s testimony at The Hague. Getting the whole truth out in a trial of Hussein could mark the beginning of a solid healing process.”

KAREN PARKER
Parker is founder of the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers.
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Boyle is professor of International Law at the University of Illinois and author of Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11. He said today: “This is the 21st century equivalent of the Roman Emperor parading the defeated barbarian king before the assembled masses so that they might all shout in unison: Hail Caesar!”
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MICHAEL MANDEL
Co-chair of Lawyers Against the War, Mandel is a law professor at York University in Toronto. He said today: “Apart from America’s full legal and moral complicity in all the crimes for which they are now going to try Saddam Hussein, and apart from the hundreds of thousands who died from U.S.-imposed sanctions, this invasion has already taken about 20,000 Iraqi lives and brought nothing but chaos to Iraq, with no foreseeable end. The invasion was not only flagrantly illegal, it constituted the ‘supreme international crime’ and all the rest as well, including mass murder. Do these people seriously think they can mitigate their guilt or diminish their responsibility for all that by some farcical show trial of this creature of their own making? The effect of this pathetic exercise on George W. Bush’s re-election fortunes may be debatable, but it’s certain that it will further display the arrogance and hypocrisy of the U.S. government to the rest of the world. Frankenstein is now going to put another of his monsters on trial, but Frankenstein himself is still on the loose in the laboratory.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

After Sean Penn’s Visit to Iraq: Reflections and Possibilities

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which organized Sean Penn’s recent trip to Baghdad. “After accompanying Mr. Penn during his visit to Baghdad, I’m heartened by the evident value of dialogue in the midst of this extremely ominous crisis,” Solomon said today. “His visit could inspire many Americans from various walks of life to explore how they can impede the momentum toward war, whether in Baghdad or at home in the United States.”
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PAUL ROGAT LOEB
Author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time, Loeb said today: “It’s good that Sean Penn went to Iraq. We all should educate ourselves, we all should speak up. Unfortunately, we’re encouraged to dismiss anyone who challenges Bush’s march to war…. Ordinary citizens can’t speak up because they don’t know enough; young people are dismissed as naïve; older people we’re told are trying to re-live the ’60s; academics are just eggheads; religious people are unrealistic; immigrants are suspects; celebrities are airheads and so on. So basically everyone is written off except the people actually running the show.”
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WILLIAM CHRISTISON
Former director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, Christison said today: “When I was with the CIA, we thought the more you know, the better your decisions are. It’s good for all Americans to educate themselves about Iraq at this crucial time. We have an administration that has a lot of people in it who clearly want to go to war…. They have no interest in dialogue, sorting out the facts, giving clear reasons for policy or seeing weapons inspections work.”

JAMES ABOUREZK
A former U.S. Senator from South Dakota, Abourezk visited Iraq in September. He said today: “In an effort to silence opponents of Bush’s Iraq policy, Americans have had their patriotism called into question by those who want a major war. Rather than encouraging debate on the issue, Bush has used the element of fear to stifle discussion. The Bush administration is on a campaign to leak one story after another looking for a pretext to massively attack Iraq and frighten the American public into going along with an assault on a weakened Third World country — is that patriotic?”

EDWARD L. PECK
Peck is a former chief of mission to Iraq and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan Administration. He said today: “Dialogue is something that everyone should be for. It’s a shame that Penn could not go with persons from the U.S. government prepared to achieve legitimate objectives without the spilling of blood.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Text of Statement by Sean Penn At News Conference in Baghdad

The actor and director Sean Penn made the following statement at a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon:

I am a citizen of the United States of America. I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the American people. Ours is a government designed to function “of”-“by”-and-“for” the people. I am one of those people, and a privileged one.

I am privileged in particular to raise my children in a country of high standards in health, welfare, and safety. I am also privileged to have lived a life under our Constitution that has allowed me to dream and prosper. In response to these privileges I feel, both as an American and as a human being, the obligation to accept some level of personal accountability for the policies of my government, both those I support and any that I may not. Simply put, if there is a war or continued sanctions against Iraq, the blood of Americans and Iraqis alike will be on our hands.

My trip here is to personally record the human face of the Iraqi people so that their blood — along with that of American soldiers — would not be invisible on my own hands. I sit with you here today in the hopes that any of us present may contribute in any way to a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.

I thank Norman Solomon and the Institute for Public Accuracy for facilitating my visit.

Sean Penn
December 15, 2002