News Release

Behind Bush’s “National Strategy” on Iraq

CLOVIS MAKSOUD
Maksoud is just back from Cairo, where he met with Iraqis participating in the recent Arab League meeting. He is former ambassador of the Arab League to the United Nations and is currently director of the Center for the Global South at American University. Maksoud said today: “President Bush is clearly trying to defuse the growing opposition to the war; among other things, he is not facing the fact that war made Iraq a breeding ground for terrorism….

“The Cairo meeting got the Arab League out of marginality. It injected itself into Iraq late, but better late than never. All the Iraqis there called for a timeline to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq; a clear distinction was made between legitimate resistance to occupation and illegitimate terrorism; agreement was achieved that the term Arab was identified with citizenship of an Arab state rather than membership to an ethnic or religious group.” Maksoud, who is co-author of the UN’s Arab Human Development Report, can also comment on the recent Egyptian election.

SAM HUSSEINI
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said: “Bush today once again used the rhetoric of ‘freedom’ to justify the continued occupation of Iraq. Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams have been abducted in Iraq. That group helped show that the mark of the U.S. occupation is not freedom, but oppression; before the pictures from Abu Gharib were leaked, the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq was documenting — by actually listening to Iraqi survivors — the brutality in the prisons.”
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Abunimah is founder of ElectronicIntifada.net and ElectronicIraq.net. He said today: “Across the political spectrum in Palestine the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams is widely known and respected. Their members have stood in the way of the occupation and have risked their lives in the face of the Israeli military.”
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JOSEPH GERSON
Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Peace and Economic Security Program, Gerson said today: “Lowering the number of U.S. troops in conjunction with a more violent air war and creation of an Iraqi client military, as some are suggesting, will likely increase the number of Iraqis killed. This would in effect be ‘changing the color of the corpses’ in order to make the continuing war more palatable to the U.S. public.” Gerson is author of the book With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination.
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JEREMY SCAHILL
The British government is currently threatening to prosecute media outlets that publish a memo which allegedly documents Bush suggesting to Tony Blair that Al Jazeera’s headquarters be bombed. In his recent piece “Beyond That Memo: Bush Wanted Al Jazeera Gone,” Scahill wrote: “At the time of Bush’s White House meeting with Blair, the Bush administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place on April 16 [2004], at the peak of the first U.S. siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was there to witness the assault and the fierce resistance.” [Also see: “Don’t Bomb Us — A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers“] More Information
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WILLIAM D. HARTUNG
FRIDA BERRIGAN
Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Hartung said: “Today’s speech by President Bush is woefully out of touch with the realities on the ground in Iraq. A prolonged U.S. presence will … serve as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and related global terrorist networks. A majority of Iraqis want U.S. forces out within a year, and key political leaders from all Iraqi factions now favor a negotiated settlement to that nation’s internal conflict. If ‘victory’ is the goal, it should be based on respecting the wishes of the Iraqi people, not a plan made in Washington that is long on rhetoric…”

Senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center, Berrigan said today: “At his Naval Academy speech this morning, President Bush announced the release of a 35-page National Strategy for Victory in Iraq that he claimed would give Americans ‘a clear understanding of this strategy.’ … The much-hyped strategy reads more like a pep talk than an actual strategy document — there are no benchmarks for success, no goals or objectives, no timetable for withdrawal and there is no definition of victory or success in Iraq, despite the title.”
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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