BCP&J E-Newsletter –- May 30, 2008

 

Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice

175 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

 

Contents (Click on the link)

 

                                            Upcoming BCP&J Events

     
                                           
Location of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Pittsfield

 

                                            Descriptions of Upcoming Thursday Night Videos
 

                                                 June, July, and August Videos

                                                     - June 5, Occupation 101

                                                     - June 19, first 2 (of 9) ACLU videos: "Freedom from Abuse of Power - Torture and

                                                        Unlawful Imprisonment" plus "Freedom from Government Spying - Surveillance."

                                                     - July 3, three more ACLU videos: "Freedom to Marry - Same Sex Couples,"

                                                        "Freedom to Parent - Lesbian and Gay Families," and "Freedom to Know - Sex

                                                        Education."

                                                     - July 17, two ACLU videos: "Freedom to Live - The Death Penalty," and "Freedom

                                                        to Vote - Protecting the Ballot."

                                                     - July 31, the last two in the 9-part series of ACLU videos: "Freedom to Dream - The

                                                        Rights of Immigrants" and "Freedom to Learn - The School to Prisoon Pipeline."

                                                     - August 7, "White Light - Black Rain."

                                                    

                                            Notes from the May 8 and May 22 meetings
   

                                            Berkshire Community College Events
                                                    - Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO) meetings (Off for summer.)
  

                                            ACLU's new nine-part series of videos on various freedoms [NEW]

                                                  

                                            Quotes -- Two Refreshers:
                                                     - 1. Looking Back at Progress in Iraq: Five Years Since "Mission Accomplished" [New]
                                                     - 2. Who said what on Iraq & WMDs, from April 2002 to Feb. 2004 [New]
  
 
                                            About Peaceplans

  

                                            Cost of Iraq War [UPDATED: as of May 24, 2008]

  

                                                    - Bush's request for new war funding for the end of FY 2008 and start of FY 2009
   

                                            About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice (BCP&J)
  

                                            Contact Information
   

                                            Fair Use Notice

 

 

 

Upcoming BCP&J Events

Text Box: Weekly Peace Vigil each Thursday at Park Square in Pittsfield, 5 to 6 P.M.  The Vigils are held in cooperation with Berkshire Community College’s Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO).

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 5 -- Video followed by discussion.  Toniight's video will be Occupation 101 Last Thursday [May 29] we watched "Blood and Tears."  We scheduled that film because it attempts to present an impartial view of the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine.  Some viewers, however, feel "Blood and Tears" is tilted toward support for the Israeli position.  Accordingly, on June 5 BCP&J will show "Occupation 101", an award-winning film subtitled "Voices of the Silenced Majority,"  This film does not lean in a pro-Israeli direction.  According to its jacket comments, "the film details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles which stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace."  The jacket further claims that the film examines "the roots of the conflict" and explains them through "commentaries from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media."

 

Thursday, June 12 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.

 

Thursday, June 19 -- Videos followed by discussion.  Tonnight there will be two videos with discussion following each.  The two videos tonight are both ACLU productions: "Freedom from Abuse of Power - Torture and Unlawful Imprisonment" plus "Freedom from Government Spying - Surveillance."  Videos start at 7:30 pm at the UU Church in Pittsfield.

 

Thursday, June 26 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.

 

Thursday, July 3 -- Tonight there will be three videos with discussion following each film.  The three videos are ACLU productions: "Freedom to Marry - Same Sex Couples," "Freedom to Parent - Lesbian and Gay Families," and "Freedom to Know - Sex Education."  Videos start at 7:30 pm at the UU Church in Pittsfield.

 

Thursday, July 10 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.

 

Thursday, July 17 -- Videos followed by discussion.  Tonight there will be two ACLU videos, "Freedom to Live - The Death Penalty," and "Freedom to Vote - Protecting the Ballot."  Videos start at 7:30 pm at the UU Church in Pittsfield.

 

Thursday, July 24 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.

 

Thursday, July 31 -- Videos followed by discussion.  Tonnight there will be two videos with discussion following each.  The two videos tonight are both ACLU productions: "Freedom to Dream - The Rights of Immigrants" and "Freedom to Learn - The School to Prison Pipeline."  Videos start at 7:30 pm at the UU Church in Pittsfield.

 

Thursday, August 7 -- Video followed by discussion.  Toniight we'll watch "White Light - Black Rain," perhaps the most complete account available of the story of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by a U.S. government bent on ending the bloodshed in the Pacific.  Video starts at 7:30 pm at the UU Church in Pittsfield.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

Descriptions of Upcoming Thursday Videos

 

Videos are shown on first and third Thursdays of each month (and on most
5th Thursdays in months having them).  Discussion follows the showing of
each video.  Videos are shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church
at 175 Wendell Ave. in Pittsfield.  All are welcome.  There is no charge.

  
   

June 5 -  On May 29 we watched Blood and Tears.  We scheduled that film because it attempts to present an impartial view of the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine.  Some viewers, however, feel Blood and Tears is tilted toward support for the Israeli position.  Accordingly, on June 5 BCP&J will show "Occupation 101," an award-winning film subtitled "Voices of the Silenced Majority,"  This film does not lean in a pro-Israeli direction.  According to its jacket comments, "the film details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles which stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace."  The jacket further claims that the film examines "the roots of the conflict" and explains them through "commentaries from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media."

 

Next in line for BCP&J film presentations will be nine selections from ACLU's second series of "Freedom Files."  Some time ago we presented the ACLU's first series of films, which was in ten parts.  That set was much appreciated, and we are eager to share this second group of investigative videos.

 

On June 19, we will show "Freedom from Abuse of Power -- Torture and Unlawful Imprisonment" plus "Freedom from Government Spying -- Surveillance."  This pair of films documents a number of frightening activities paid for by the tax dollars of American citizens and yet which many of us feel are generally contrary to the best interests of those  same citizens.

 

On July 3, BCP&J will offer a trio of ACLU films.  The first, entitled "Freedom to Marry -- Same Sex Couples," is a particularly relevant video in light of the recent action by the California Supreme Court validating same-sex marriages.  The second companion film will be "Freedom to Parent -- Lesbian and Gay Families."  The same evening we will show "Freedom to Know -- Sex Education," a somewhat different topic dealing with issues surrounding sex-education in public schools.

 

On July 17, "Freedom to Live -- The Death Penalty," and "Freedom to Vote -- Protecting the Ballot" will introduce two stimulating topics for discussion.  Those of you who saw "Uncounted" will not likely be bored by this second look at the election process culminating in November and gaining so much attention through HBO's recent presentation of "Recount."

 

July 31 will feature the last two films in the ACLU series, "Freedom to Dream -- The Rights of Immigrants" and "Freedom to Learn -- The School to Prison Pipeline."  Both of these films raise currently significant issues, one the results of failing schools and the other the clouded issue of how a nation of immigrants does and should relate to its current immigrant population.

 

All of these films are produced by the hard-hitting film maker, Robert Greenwald, so many of whose films have been viewed by BCP&J's audiences in the past.  All films will  be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian/Universalist Church at 175 Wendell Ave. in Pittsfield, MA

 

Following this Series, BCP&J will present the remarkable new HBO film, "White Light - Black Rain" on Thursday, August 7, midway between Hiroshima Day (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki Day (Aug. 9).  This is perhaps the most complete account available of the story of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by a U.S. government bent on ending the bloodshed in the Pacific, while exercising questionable judgment in killing many tens of thousands of ordinary civilians.  As with all presentations, vigorous and informative discussion will follow the film.


Back to Upcoming BCP&J Events

Back to Contents

 

 

 

Notes from recent business meetings

 

May 8 business meeting


    Major items of discussion were:

 

May 22 business meeting


    Major items of discussion were:

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

 

Berkshire Community College Events

 

 

All are welcome to attend meetings of GIRO (Global Issues Resource Organization).  Meetings are now being held on Mondays at 12:00 noon in room 104 of Melville Hall.  GIRO MEETINGS OFF FOR SUMMER BREAK.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

 

Some Other Events (Non-BCP&J and Non-BCC)

 

 

Back to Contents


 

About Peaceplans

 

Peaceplans is a web site for posting information about peace-related events and issues in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Joining Peaceplans is a good way to stay in touch with events in the area. To join Peaceplans, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/

Once you have joined, make it a habit to regularly check the latest messages at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/messages

 

You will also be able to post messages yourself.

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

 

Cost of Iraq War as of May 24, 2008


Costs of the war in Iraq so far

 

According to CNN, there have been 4,391 coalition deaths - 4,079 Americans, two Australians, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, four Georgians, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 22 Poles, three Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians - in the war in Iraq as of May 23, 2008.  In addition, according to the Pentagon, at least 30,112 U.S. troops have been wounded in action.  There have been more than 900 civilian contractor deaths, and more than 200 NGO (non-governmental organization) deaths.  The direct financial cost of the war to U.S. taxpayers as of May 24, 2008 is $422.4 billion.

  

(For more information on the cost of the war in Iraq, see www.costofiraqwar.org and http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home)

 

 

Direct Financial Cost of the War in Iraq as of May 24, 2008

  
Money authorized and spent as of May 24, 2008 (The money spent on the war in Iraq
to date is 99.33% of the $525.9 billion that has already been authorized.)

 

    Entire Nation   Massachusetts   Pittsfield
             
  Cost of war in Iraq $522,400,000,000   $14,760,000,000   $75,190,000
           
  Number of children for whom we could have
paid the cost of one
year of Head Start
71,700,000   1,770,000   8,990
           
  Number of children who could have been provided health care for one year 230,000,000   5,530,000   28,200
           
  Number of elementary teachers who could have been paid for one year (includes benefits) 8,580,000   211,000   1,076
           
  Number of students who could have been provided full one-year scholarships at public universities 80,800,000   1,540,000   7,830
           
  Number of affordable family housing units that could have been built 4,060,000   98,400   501
           
  Number of homes which could have been provided renewable electricity 541,000,000   23,000,000   117,000
           
  Number of elementary schools which could have been built 39,000   1,104   5.6
 
Affordable housing figures for Massachusetts and Pittsfield are based on an average
cost of $150,000 per unit. All elementary school building figures are based on an
average cost of $13,400,000 per school. All other figures are based entirely on data
from http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar/

  

 

Trade-offs: How Pittsfield's share of the $425.9 billion already authorized
for the war in Iraq might have been better spent:

   

Taxpayers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will pay $75.7 million as their share of the total Iraq war
spending authorized to date.  For the same amount of money, the following could have been
provided:

For the Methodology of the National Priorities Project, see below or go to
http://www.nationalpriorities.org/cms/content/notes-and-sources-tradeoffs

 

    President's New War Request: Local Costs Updated
    
                              (Data from http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar0508)

As Congress considers additional war funding, NPP offers [on its website] a state-level table and breakdowns of the President's proposed Iraq war spending by congressional district, county and city.
  
The table below shows, for each state, how much money has already been allocated to the Iraq war, what the additional amount under consideration will cost, and what that money could buy in local services instead. For congressional district, county, and city data, click here.
  
Congress is currently considering a request for additional funding for the end of FY 2008 and beginning of FY 2009. NPP's analysis shows that of the President's $178 billion war spending request, $135.4 billion is dedicated to the Iraq War, with close to $83.7 billion allocated for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2008 and $51.7 billion allocated for the first three months of Fiscal Year 2009. The remainder of the $178 billion in war funding is for Afghanistan and other Global War on Terror activities.

 
  Cost of Iraq War to States What just the New Proposed Funding Could Buy:
States and US Total Iraq War Funding Approved to Date   President's New Funding Request (partial FY08 and FY09) Affordable Housing Units, OR Elementary School Teachers, OR Health Coverage for Children and Adults
United States 525,900,000,000   135,421,191,000 1,053,429 2,224,578 39,912,404
Alabama 4,818,118,588   1,240,683,319 15,047 24,945 517,104
Alaska 899,964,448   231,744,167 1,468 3,263 32,569
Arizona 7,240,543,756   1,864,466,741 14,194 42,111 421,262
Arkansas 4,925,669,004   1,268,377,948 18,851 26,542 838,741
California 66,619,758,891   17,154,833,796 51,350 246,389 7,060,707
Colorado 8,039,336,113   2,070,158,721 10,961 36,770 630,187
Connecticut 12,843,364,730   3,307,213,821 15,840 45,656 1,092,680
Delaware 3,296,178,459   848,778,119 5,524 13,900 230,078
District Of Columbia 2,258,014,498   581,447,067 2,019 9,522 148,788
Florida 28,852,908,375   7,429,730,397 54,793 126,679 2,621,474
Georgia 15,170,839,097   3,906,547,060 32,325 66,836 993,795
Hawaii 1,700,448,944   437,871,879 1,371 8,097 146,136
Idaho 1,429,371,573   368,068,456 3,390 6,527 101,450
Illinois 28,476,876,662   7,332,900,843 53,167 112,705 3,063,148
Indiana 8,007,600,228   2,061,986,613 21,589 36,120 610,802
Iowa 3,981,859,531   1,025,343,526 12,759 22,958 306,861
Kansas 4,149,603,280   1,068,538,160 12,838 22,979 341,715
Kentucky 4,037,951,374   1,039,787,382 12,107 20,136 286,617
Louisiana 4,003,788,928   1,030,990,426 12,388 21,041 307,578
Maine 1,415,578,038   364,516,569 2,848 6,874 114,740
Maryland 10,192,361,421   2,624,570,684 14,076 41,569 515,415
Massachusetts 14,860,068,528   3,826,522,492 13,291 54,753 1,146,864
Michigan 13,974,312,367   3,598,437,011 29,007 50,834 1,352,989
Minnesota 12,629,660,460   3,252,184,182 20,768 55,736 935,544
Mississippi 2,046,351,722   526,943,121 7,760 10,812 118,519
Missouri 8,019,567,388   2,065,068,201 20,735 40,974 775,400
Montana 805,380,642   207,388,488 1,986 4,676 37,289
Nebraska 3,781,318,492   973,703,468 10,853 18,149 268,063
Nevada 4,711,096,077   1,213,124,628 6,476 25,695 278,070
New Hampshire 2,150,284,671   553,706,239 2,892 9,578 146,201
New Jersey 24,021,901,050   6,185,728,181 24,589 87,975 568,018
New Mexico 1,600,810,234   412,214,543 4,205 8,006 110,123
New York 47,177,392,597   12,148,352,717 69,058 140,708 2,240,327
North Carolina 14,235,116,438   3,665,595,022 34,692 76,010 785,042
North Dakota 634,583,040   163,407,475 2,309 3,364 50,216
Ohio 18,445,890,559   4,749,884,899 44,299 75,695 1,683,556
Oklahoma 7,988,073,299   2,056,958,357 29,157 47,505 1,020,099
Oregon 4,235,091,786   1,090,551,766 6,750 18,606 221,870
Pennsylvania 20,053,253,367   5,163,786,755 52,483 81,851 1,275,337
Rhode Island 2,105,613,582   542,203,269 2,504 7,849 184,816
South Carolina 3,854,351,514   992,509,740 9,706 19,179 532,000
South Dakota 799,819,343   205,956,433 2,557 4,833 81,112
Tennessee 8,108,494,383   2,087,967,230 21,714 41,906 435,808
Texas 43,014,415,698   11,076,370,800 132,053 207,714 2,529,383
Utah 2,821,333,669   726,503,833 5,156 13,911 248,242
Vermont 764,666,482   196,904,441 1,444 3,513 64,584
Virginia 14,243,852,487   3,667,844,587 23,934 53,399 1,027,039
Washington 11,942,149,141   3,075,147,480 16,990 50,289 487,832
West Virginia 1,436,159,489   369,816,369 5,233 7,443 116,245
Wisconsin 8,387,335,888   2,159,769,947 18,018 37,676 1,392,502
Wyoming 902,671,956   232,441,360 2,152 4,256 63,286

 

Back to Contents

 

 

  

New ACLU Videos

 

We have received from the ACLU its new nine-part series of videos on various freedoms, and we'll be showing the entire series on our Thursday video nights.  Below is a listing of the titles and subjects of the nine new videos.  For more information and the schedule of showings, see the section on upcoming videos.

 

1.  "Freedom from Abuse of Power -- Torture and Unlawful Imprisonment"

2.  "Freedom from Government Spying -- Surveillance"  

3.  "Freedom to Marry -- Same Sex Couples"

4.  "Freedom to Parent -- Lesbian and Gay Families"

5.  "Freedom to Know -- Sex Education"

6.  "Freedom to Live -- The Death Penalty"

7.  "Freedom to Vote -- Protecting the Ballot"

8.  "Freedom to Dream -- The Rights of Immigrants"

9.  "Freedom to Learn -- The School to Prison Pipeline"

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

Some Useful Links


None currently listed here

 

 

 

 

Text Box: The above links are provided as a convenience. However, as the updating of web pages can affect links, it may occasionally happen that a link provided in this newsletter will not work.
 

 

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes: Two Refreshers


 

1.  Looking Back on Progress in Iraq:

   

Five years since “mission accomplished”

  

May 1, 2008

 

 

May 1, 2008 marks the fifth anniversary since George Bush, the US president, declared all major military operations in Iraq to be over, in a speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln warship as a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished" hung in the background.



   

Anti-war activists have used the now infamous slogan for their own campaign [GALLO/GETTY]

 

However, five years on from the declaration, there have been more than 4,000 US military deaths and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or fled the country while the fighting against the presence of US-led troops in the country is ongoing.

 

Here is a selection of comments from George Bush and other senior White House figures on the aftermath of the war in Iraq.

 

 

George Bush, US president

 

"Good news to the men and women who fought ... their mission is complete."  --  May 1, 2003, on the USS Abraham Lincoln, announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq

 

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on."  --  May 1, 2003, on the USS Abraham Lincoln, announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq

 

"There are some who feel like - that the conditions are such that they can attack us there [in Iraq]. My answer is, bring 'em on! We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."  --  July 2, 2003

 

"A turning point will come two weeks from today."  --  June 16, 2004

 

"Tomorrow the world will witness a turning point in the history of Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom, and a crucial advance in the war on terror."  --  January 29, 2005, one day before Iraq elections

 

"I'm absolutely confident that the actions we took in Iraq are influencing reformers and freedom lovers in the greater Middle East. And I believe that you're going to see the rise of democracy in many countries in the broader Middle East, which will lay the foundation for peace."  --  June 2005

 

"2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq ... and the history of freedom."  --  December 12, 2005

 

"I think - tide turning - see, as I remember - I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of - it's easy to see a tide turn - did I say those words?"  --  June 14, 2006

 

"Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way."  --  January 2007

 

"I want to say a word to our troops and civilians in Iraq. You've performed with incredible skill under demanding circumstances. The turnaround you have made possible in Iraq is a brilliant achievement in American history.

 

"And while this war is difficult, it is not endless."  --  April 10, 2008
 


     

Bush: Iraq war is "difficult, not endless" [EPA]

 

 

Dick Cheney, US vice president

 

"When you think about what we've accomplished in terms of ... launching an attack into Iraq, destroying the Iraqi armed forces, taking down the government of Iraq, getting rid of Saddam Hussein, capturing 42 out of the 55 top leaders, and beginning what I think has been fairly significant success in terms of putting Iraq back together again, the price that we've had to pay is not out of line, and certainly wouldn’t lead me to suggest or think that the strategy is flawed or needs to be changed."  --  September 14, 2003

 

"What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action. The world is far safer today because Saddam Hussein is in jail, his government is no longer in power. And we did exactly the right thing."  --  October 7, 2004

 

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."  --  June 24, 2005

 

"We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story."  --  June 24, 2005

 

"[If US forces withdrew from Iraq] we would simply validate the terrorists' strategy that says the Americans will not stay to complete the task ... that we don't have the stomach for the fight. That's the biggest threat."  --  January 25, 2007

 

"There's problems - ongoing problems. But we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime and there is a new regime in place that's been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys [journalists] to write them off."  --  January 25, 2007

 

"Well, I look at it and see it [British troops withdrawing from Iraq] is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well."  --  February 21, 2007

 

Cheney: "On the security front, I think there's a general consensus that we've made major progress, that the surge has worked. That's been a major success."

Interviewer: Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting.

Cheney: So?

Interviewer: So? You don't care what the American people think?

Cheney: "No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls."  --  March 19, 2008

 

      

Cheney: US has made "major progress" in Iraq [AFP]

 

 

Donald Rumsfeld, former US secretary of defense

 

"I don't do quagmires."  --  July 24, 2003

 

"Why the intelligence [on weapons of mass destruction] proved wrong, I'm not in a position to say. I simply don't know. But the world is a lot better off with Saddam Hussein in jail than they were with him in power."  --  October 5, 2004

 

"We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years."  --  June 27, 2005

 

"The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case."  --  March 19, 2006

 

 

Dana Perino, White House press secretary

 

 

"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, 'mission accomplished for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission'."  --  April 30, 2008

 

"We have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year."  --  April 30, 2008

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

2.  Who said what: before, during, and shortly
after the March 19, 2003 invasion of Iraq

  

(Quotes are from April 10, 2002, to February 8, 2004.)

 


The war on Iraq was based on an assortment of claims made by the United States and the UK, contesting that Iraq posed a threat to world security because of its illicit weapons program.
 

Yet one year later, neither weapons of mass destruction have been located nor have banned weapons programs been recovered.

 

The following is a brief guide to who said what regarding Iraq's alleged WMD, before, during and after the war on Iraq. The date range for this collection is from April 10, 2002, to February 8, 2004.

 

10 April 2002, House of Commons, British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "Saddam Hussein's regime is despicable, he is developing weapons of mass destruction, and we cannot leave him doing so unchecked ... he is a threat to his own people and to the region and, if allowed to develop these weapons, a threat to us also."
 
26 August 2002, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction; there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

 

24 September 2002, House of Commons, Blair: "It [the intelligence service] concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population; and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability..."
 
24 September 2002, Foreword to U.K. government assessment of Iraqi WMD, Blair: "What I believe the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and that he has been able to extend the range of his ballistic missile program."

 

7 October 2002, U.S. President George Bush: "America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud...the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

 

"Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahidin' - his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past.

 

"Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons...if the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed."

 

29 January 2003, state of the union address, Bush: "Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological and nuclear weapons even while inspectors were in his country..."

 

7 February 2003, statement to U.N., Bush: "The (Iraqi) regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons."
 
25 February 2003, House of Commons, Blair: "The intelligence is clear: (Saddam) continues to believe his WMD program is essential both for internal repression and for external aggression...the biological agents we believe Iraq can produce include anthrax, botulinum, toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. All eventually result in excruciatingly painful death."
 
11 March 2003, MTV debate, Blair: "If we don't act now, then we will go back to what has happened before and then of course the whole thing begins again and he carries on developing these weapons and these are dangerous weapons, particularly if they fall into the hands of terrorists who we know want to use these weapons if they can get them."
 
12 March 2003, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "He claims to have no chemical or biological weapons, yet we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighborhoods."
 
18 March 2003, House of Commons, Blair: "We are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years - contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence - Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd."

 

10 April 2003, radio speech to the Iraqi people, Blair: "We did not want this war. But in refusing to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam gave us no choice but to act."

 

4 June 2003, House of Commons, Blair: "There are literally thousands of sites. As I was told in Iraq, information is coming in the entire time, but it is only now that the Iraq survey group has been put together that a dedicated team of people, which includes former UN inspectors, scientists and experts, will be able to go in and do the job properly...as I have said throughout, I have no doubt that they will find the clearest possible evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction."

8 July 2003, evidence to Commons liaison committee, Blair: "I don't concede it at all that the intelligence at the time was wrong....I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction programs."

 

10 July 2003, report to U.S. Senate armed services committee, Rumsfeld: "The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light - through the prism of our experience on 9/11."

 

12 October 2003, BBC interview, chief U.S. arms investigator in Iraq, David Kay: "We've found a strong body of evidence with regard to the intentions of Saddam Hussein to continue to attempt to acquire WMD... No one doubts that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction pre-1991. But 13 years of UN activity, including Dr. Blix, was unable to confirm that the Iraqis had actually gotten rid of all those weapons as they claim."

 

16 December 2003, interview with British Forces Broadcasting Service, Blair: "The Iraq survey group has already found massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories, workings by scientists, plans to develop long-range ballistic missiles."

 

11 January 2004, interview with BBC Breakfast with Frost, Blair: "What you can say is that we received that intelligence about Saddam's program and about his weapons that we acted on that, it's the case throughout the whole of the conflict .. And what I do know is that the group of people that are in there now, this Iraq survey group, they produced an interim report."

 

25 January 2004, U.S. National Public Radio interview, Kay: "I don't think they [Iraqi WMD] exist... I actually think the intelligence community owes the president [an apology], rather than the president owing the American people."

 

25 January 2004, interview in the Observer newspaper, Blair: "I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the intelligence was genuine... It is absurd to say in respect of any intelligence that it is infallible, but if you ask me what I believe, I believe the intelligence was correct, and I think in the end we will have an explanation."

 

28 Jan 2004, U.S. Congress, David Kay: "We were almost all wrong" in assuming Iraq had illicit weapons.
 
6 February 2004, after launching inquiry into WMD intelligence to figure out why no weapons were found, Bush
: "We're also determined to make sure that American intelligence is as accurate as possible for every challenge in the future."

 

8 February 2004, interview on American television, NBC's 'Meet the Press', Bush: "First of all, I expected to find the weapons. I based my decision on the best intelligence possible, intelligence that had been gathered over the years, intelligence that not only our analysts thought was valid but analysts from other countries thought was valid."

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice

 

BCP&J is open to all people interested in promoting peace and justice who live, work, vacation in, or visit Berkshire County.

 

REGULAR MEETINGS are held every Thursday, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, 175 Wendell Avenue (one block up Broad St. from Rt. 7 & 20, and on the corner of Wendell Avenue and Broad St.).  Meetings on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (and some 5th Thursdays) are devoted to showing educational films/videos followed by discussion.

 

A representative sample of our other activities has included:

 

·         helping to clean up a Pittsfield neighborhood;

·         organizing bus trips to demonstrations in Washington, DC, and bus/train trips to demonstrations in NY City;

·         organizing and participating in demonstrations and events promoting peace & justice;

·         cooperating with GIRO to put on a program, "Is the military your best option?," which compared what the military says about itself - especially to potential recruits - with some of the realities of life in the military;

·         arranging and hosting workshops on the Selective Service System and conscientious objection;

·         [successfully] petitioning the Pittsfield City Council to go on record in opposition to harmful elements of the Patriot Act, and in opposition to the war in Iraq;

·         participating as a contingent in Pittsfield’s 4th of July parade;

·         working [successfully] to have the Pittsfield Public School System change its way of handling the No Child Left Behind Act's opt-out provision;

·         visiting local high schools in order to provide interested students with important career information, including information about military service that the recruiters don’t mention;

·         [successfully] encouraging Mayor James Ruberto of Pittsfield to support Mayors for Peace;

·         holding a “Peace Tea” so that people from area groups with interests similar to ours could meet each other;

·         arranging talks at the Berkshire Athenaeum on reductions in veterans’ benefits, and on the first hand experiences of an Israeli woman and American man in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

·         helping to collect donated goods and packing them into four shipping containers (each 40’ x 8’ x 8’) for shipment to Honduras to aid the poor; and

·         serving as the local facilitating group for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Eyes Wide Open exhibit;

·         going on a field trip to Brattleboro to congratulate the town for voting to criminally indict Bush and Cheney, and to congratulate 200+ high school students for conducting a school walkout peace rally on the steps of their high school;

·         conducting a march and moving church service marking the fifth anniversary of the war against Iraq; reading the names of the home towns of all service men and women who were killed in Iraq during 2007, and displaying a map marked with pins to show the large scale and wide distribution of tragedy across the USA;

·         supporting petition campaigns to help guide legislators on important issues;

·         creating and distributing pamphlets and other literature on issues related to peace and justice; and

·         writing letters to newspaper editors.

 

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

Contact Information

                                                                                                                                       

For comments or questions regarding this newsletter, contact George Desnoyers at 443-4298 or gdesnoye@berkshire.rr.com

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

FAIR USE NOTICE. This newsletter may contain copyrighted material, and some uses of copyrighted material may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. All copyrighted material in this newsletter is provided without charge and for educational purposes -- to advance the understanding of topics and issues important to the advancement of peace and justice in our time. All copyrighted material is provided in the belief that its use in this newsletter constitutes a “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Determination of whether copyrighted material shall be used in this newsletter involves the consideration of the following factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. No copyrighted material in this newsletter should be reproduced or distributed if the reproduction or distribution would diminish the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. If you wish to use any copyrighted material provided in this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

 

 

Back to Contents

 

 

 

End of Newsletter