News Release

Responses to State of the Union Address

IPA has a PDF critique of the State of the Union for public distribution here.

CELESTE ZAPPALA
A member of Gold Star Families Speak Out, Zappala’s eldest son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in combat since World War II. He was killed in action in Baghdad on April 26, 2004, while searching for weapons of mass destruction.

She said today: “Yesterday George Bush spoke with unsubstantiated optimism about the war in Iraq; yesterday another U.S. soldier was killed, bringing the total to 2,243. If all of the families of all of those soldiers had been sitting in the chamber, could Bush’s self-serving comments about sacrifice have been heard above the cries of grief and anguish?”
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KATHY KELLY
Co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly said today: “President Bush states that ‘The only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead.’ This president led the U.S. into an immoral, illegal war against Iraq based on lies and deception. The president worries that ‘a sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison.’ He does not mention that U.S. forces are imprisoning 16,000 Iraqis, many of them held without charges. The British medical journal The Lancet reported in October 2004 that the U.S. invasion and occupation have cost the lives of 100,000 Iraqis.”
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TALAT HAMDANI
Hamdani is the mother of Mohammad Salman Hamdani, who was a New York City police cadet killed in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. She is available to discuss Bush’s continuing references to 9/11.
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RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber said today: “President Bush said that ‘violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s.’ This is true only if you look at violent street crime and ignore the violent corporate crime that results in pollution, worker and consumer deaths. The rate of violent corporate crime is by all indications on the increase. But we don’t know for sure, for while President Bush’s FBI tracks street crime district by district, the FBI does not track corporate crime and violence.”
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QUENTIN YOUNG
Young is coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program. He said today: “The speech was monumentally cynical from beginning to end. He didn’t say much on healthcare, and what he did say was useless. The medical savings accounts he talks about have no way of improving coverage and access to healthcare; or lowering costs.

“Bush claimed: ‘Our government has a responsibility to help provide healthcare for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility.’ That’s an absolute lie. Under his watch, there are ongoing brutal slashes in Medicaid.”

Added Young, “You also had a cynical invocation of helping AIDS victims in Africa; but Bush has backed off from prior commitments on that after garnishing applause for those promises like he did last night.”
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TYSON SLOCUM
Acting director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Slocum said today: “Bush didn’t talk about scaling back demand at all; we need to greatly expand our public transportation systems. He talked about hydrogen, but he used the same rhetoric in 2003. The plans for hydrogen fuel actually involve it coming from coal fire power plants. This means using a high pollution process to create ‘clean’ energy.

“Bush made no mention of the comprehensive energy bill he recently signed. That makes sense; the lobbyists went wild with it, the oil companies got $5 billion, $8 billion for coal, $12 billion for nuclear and only $3 billion for renewables. Oil companies are posting record profits.

“We should tax the oil companies to pay to develop renewables and programs like giving people a financial incentive to weatherize their homes so we conserve more fuel.”
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MARY OLSON
Olson is with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. She said today: “The administration has been desperate to find a nuclear waste solution in order to resuscitate the moribund and unpopular nuclear power industry. … Its latest scheme is reprocessing of irradiated commercial fuel, one of the dirtiest and most proliferation-vulnerable processes in the nuclear fuel chain.”
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PRATAP CHATTERJEE
Bush stated yesterday: “We are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom.”

Chatterjee is executive director for CorpWatch. He said today: “Bush’s claim that the United States plans to continue reconstruction in Iraq is a cleverly worded lie. The government has no plans to ask for new money in the February budget. The contractors are already shutting down their work even though some of the original $18.4 billion allocated for reconstruction over two years ago has not been spent and half of the money spent so far has either been spent on insurance and private security or worst of all diverted to other schemes such as the building of a new United States embassy.”

Chatterjee, who wrote the book Iraq Inc.: A Profitable Occupation, added: “Much of the money taken from Iraq’s coffers has been used to swell American corporate coffers or even stolen by corrupt American officials. Meanwhile the people of Iraq have less electricity, less water and more sewage than before the 2003 invasion.”
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AS’AD ABUKHALIL
AbuKhalil is author of the book The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power, professor in the Department of Politics at California State University, Stanislaus, and visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bush stated yesterday: “We accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace. … And we do not forget the other half — in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran.”

AbuKhalil responded: “Bush left out from that list … oppressive countries that are aligned with the U.S. (Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, Oman, Jordan, Libya, Algeria, Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, etc.).”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Bush said: “Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you. … And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.”

Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said today: “If this is really the case, why did the United States overthrow Iran’s last democratic government, that of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh? If the United States really respects the rights of the Iranian people to choose their own future, why did successive U.S. administrations support the tyrannical regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi, installed by the United States following Mossadegh’s ouster, whose dreaded CIA-trained SAVAK secret police tortured and murdered thousands of dissidents, thereby spawning the Islamist revolution that has since come to power?”
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JACQUELINE CABASSO
Executive director of the California-based Western States Legal Foundation, Cabasso has written many articles assessing nuclear policy. She said today: “While the United States accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons and President Bush declares that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose ‘a grave threat to the security of the world’ (the same language he used prior to attacking Iraq), the U.S. is retooling its own nuclear weapons research, design, and production infrastructure to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons for many decades to come, while enabling the production of new nuclear weapons for ‘post-Cold War’ missions envisioned by U.S. war planners. Following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration openly declared the potential first use of nuclear weapons — even against those countries that don’t have them. The 2002 Nuclear Posture Review revealed U.S. plans for first use of nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks or threats involving biological or chemical weapons or ‘surprising military developments’ and targeted countries including Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Syria, and Libya.

“The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) … codified a pledge by the U.S., Britain, Soviet Union, France and China to negotiate ‘in good faith’ the end of the nuclear arms race and the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. States that agreed to forswear nuclear weapons were guaranteed ‘the inalienable right’ to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, ‘without discrimination.’ … The U.S. and the other nuclear weapon states have failed to live up to their disarmament obligations, establishing a de facto international system of ‘nuclear apartheid,’ in which they claim the exclusive right to determine who may possess (and threaten to use) nuclear weapons. They also have been responsible for spreading ‘peaceful’ nuclear technology around the globe, ensuring the possibility of nuclear proliferation.

“Now the Bush administration wants to add a second tier to its nuclear double standard by denying uranium enrichment technology — usable for both nuclear power and weapons — to countries that don’t already have it. Iran will be the test case. But just beyond Iran’s border, the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye towards Israel’s sizable undeclared nuclear arsenal.”
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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