Headline news — June 2004

Is Iraq's interim government only cosmetic?

Patrick Cockburn says the war in Iraq has failed, and the transition is a sham

Posted June 27, 2004 8:05AM PDT

After the occupation of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) made mistakes. They disbanded the Iraqi army, alienated 80 percent of the population, and resistance to the occupation is getting stronger:

It is a miserable record. Isolated behind the concrete walls of the green zone, Paul Bremer, the CPA head, presided over a sort of Washington‑on‑Tigris, visibly out of touch with the political realities of Iraq. — After the handover: White House election worries fuel a cosmetic transition, Patrick Cockburn, Seattle Post‑intelligencer, June 27, 2004

Despite this, the CPA will hand over power to the Iraqi interim government and hope to bring order out of chaos. According to Cockburn, their motive is to stage a sweeping victory for the Bush Administration come November:

The White House wants to win the presidential election by showing it has Iraq under control but its many enemies here intend to prove the opposite. A bloody summer is likely to be followed by an even bloodier autumn. — After the handover: White House election worries fuel a cosmetic transition, Patrick Cockburn, Seattle Post‑intelligencer, June 27, 2004

Would a successful transition help Bush win re‑election? Sure it would. But to portray it as a political ploy—a "cosmetic transition," nothing more—is mean‑spirited and wrong, despite that Cockburn, who writes for the Independent, makes several valid points.

If war is a bloody business, then nation‑building is a risky business. Nobody wants a foreign power to come in and tell them what to do, yet that is precisely what the CPA is doing. Without a doubt, most Iraqis see Paul Bremer as a meddling outsider, and they're upset about it. The transition has been hard, and more tough times are ahead. But that, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out, is nothing new:

You must read this LIFE magazine story from January 7, 1946: "Americans are Losing the Victory in Europe." There's literally been no change in the mainstream media's pessimistic, blame‑America attitude. Their coverage of the WWII aftermath and the occupation of Germany, is almost identical to their coverage of Iraq. — Then and Now, Rush Limbaugh, June 4, 2004

Nit‑picking norrmal

Like war, nation‑building is fraught with risk, nothing ever goes precisely as planned, and many of the people whose nation is being rebuilt feel angry, anything but grateful, and they just want us out of there. That's to be expected. What else we should expect is that the mainstream press will pick every nit they can find, because pessimism sells and serves their political agenda. Unfortunately, this is normal, and characteristic of both the liberal and conservative media. Many picked pessimistic nits during the Clinton Administration, too:

The great historian Gabriel Kolko, in his book Century of War, writes: "War, in essence, has always been an adventure intrinsically beset with surprises and false expectations, its total outcome unpredictable to all those who have engaged in it."

Bill Clinton is finding this out the hard way. His ill‑conceived decision to prod NATO into bombing Yugoslavia in March has wreaked havoc. The hundreds of thousands of refugees, the civilians killed by NATO bombs, the U.S. soldiers captured, the solidification of domestic support for Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the dangerous chill in U.S.‑Russian relations—all these have come to pass since Clinton made his fateful decision. — Bill Clinton's War, Comment, The Progressive, May 1999

Critics claimed that Clinton went to war in an effort to prop up his beleaguered Administration, take attention off of the Lewinsky scandal, and help Al Gore win the 2000 election. Moreover, many of the same accusations brought against the Bush Administration today were said about Clinton just five years ago:

By choosing to act without United Nations support, Clinton has undermined the ability of the Security Council to mobilize the international community for future peacemaking operations. As a result, we may face recurring humanitarian crises in which the U.N. is unable to act and Washington must choose between inaction and unilateral intervention. — Michael T. Klare, Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, quoted in Bill Clinton's War, Comment, The Progressive, May 1999

Founded on Fear

A lot of the criticism over both Clinton's and Bush's wars stem from fear. The kind of fear that leads to indecision, paralysis and stagnation. The fear of unknown consequences. We all know what that feels like. "If I ask her out, what if she rejects me?" "If I speak up, what if I choke and everybody laughs at me?" It's easy to get overwhelmed by the pessimism fostered by that kind of fear. But regardless of whether it's warranted, when we're in the middle of rebuilding a nation is not the time to let ourselves be bogged down by it.

But for the "anybody but Bush" crowd, that seems to be precisely what they want us to do, get bogged down, because so far neither they nor their candidates have offered any solutions, only complaints and mumbled suggestions that they'd do what Bush is doing.

The Bush Administration undertook to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Mission accomplished. Now we're rebuilding Iraq, outcome yet to be seen. Would it help President Bush get re‑elected if the transition goes well? You bet! But to portray our hope for a good end as nothing but a political ploy, as Cockburn does in his article, is mean‑spirited, fearful and wrong. As one Iraqi citizen notes, the return of their sovereignty has already begun:

"People say sovereignty means nobody can have power [over] you," [Qassim Fadhil] said, "but then I have it now—I can express my opinions and nobody can stop me. That is sovereignty." — Hand‑over nears; Iraqis wary, by Evan Osnos, Chicago Tribune, June 21, 2004

Returning power to the people is no political ploy, but the beginning of a good end.

Does blatant lying reflect the core values of today's Democrat Party?

Posted June 25, 2004 5:30AM PDT

A staff report from the 9/11 Commission revealed that Saddam Hussein had no direct involvement in 9/11.

The panel said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." — 9/11 panel: Al Qaeda planned to hijack 10 planes: Commissioner: Myths will be dispelled in Thursday hearing, CNN, June 17, 2004

The president does not dispute this:

"There's no dispute as to whether or not I think there is evidence that Saddam Hussein ordered the 9/11 attacks or collaborated on the attacks," Bush said. "No one has ever suggested that. What we did say is that there were terrorists in and out of Iraq." — "Fahrenheit 9/11" critics turn up heat, Chris McGann, Seattle Post‑Intelligencer, June 19, 2004

To Al Gore, this is irrelevant:

WASHINGTON ‑ Al Gore on Thursday accused President Bush of lying about a link between al‑Qaida and Saddam Hussein and said the president refuses to back down from that position to avoid political fallout.

"They dare not admit the truth lest they look like complete fools for launching our country into a reckless, discretionary war against a nation that posed no immediate threat to us whatsoever," Gore, the former vice president who lost the presidency to Bush in 2000, said during a speech at Georgetown University Law Center.

Gore then added: "So when the bipartisan 9/11 commission issued its report finding 'no credible evidence' of an Iraq-al‑Qaida connection, it should not have come as a surprise. It should not have caught the White House off guard." — Bush deceived U.S. on Iraq, Gore charges , Liz Sidoti; The Associated Press, Tacoma News Tribune

Of course, it did not catch the White House by surprise because, as statements Colin Powell made more than a year ago demonstrate, this is not their claim:

In February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations that Iraq was harboring Abu Musab Zarqawi, a "collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants," and he said Iraq's denials of ties to al Qaeda "are simply not credible." — 9/11 panel: Al Qaeda planned to hijack 10 planes: Commissioner: Myths will be dispelled in Thursday hearing, CNN, June 17, 2004

So why is Gore lying about it, instead of attacking on legitimate issues? The center of any group is typically defined by the fringe. So, to understand why a member of the Democrat Party elite would stoop to such blatant lying, ordinarily all you have to do is look at what their fringe members are saying. But Democrats near the center are looking more and more like fringe wackos, these days:

Could you envision a scenario between now and November where Bush&Co. see the electoral handwriting on the wall, that they're going to lose big time, and declare martial law and call off the election? Or, lose the election on November 2 and then declare martial law and indefinitely postpone the transfer of power to a new president?

They believe that a few more shock‑and‑awe invasions—including the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, and backed up with the re‑starting of the draft to get the troops required for such global policing—should finally get the message out to those who would oppose American power. — Shallow Throat to Kerry: Don't Torture Bush, Just Abuse Him, by Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers, June 25, 2004

Bernard Weiner is former writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and a contributing author to Big Bush Lies. Weiner is not out on the fringe, somewhere. He may be a wacko, but his conspiracy theory raving reflects an attitude very close to the core of the Democrat Party's "Anybody but Bush" mentality, which explains why somebody like Al Gore, who is at the very heart of the Party, can glibly mouth such blatant lies.

The only thing we have with which to counter this, is the truth.

The Three Stooges: Assault on America?

Posted June 22, 2004 4:45AM PDT

On the eve of the national release of Fahrenheit 9/11, a film in which Michael Moore joins Senator John Kerry to accuse President Bush of creating a "culture of fear," Senator Edward M. Kennedy is spreading a little fear, himself:

WASHINGTON ‑ America is at greater risk of a nuclear attack from terrorists because of the Bush administration's "single-minded focus on Iraq," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said.

"Instead of leading the world against the real threat of Iran's nuclear program, the president chose to lead America alone into the quicksand to counter the mirage of a threat in Iraq," Kennedy said in the remarks, prepared for a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. — Kennedy: America at Risk of Nuke Attack, by Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press, Washington Post, June 22, 2004

Evidently, Senator Kennedy would rather we had invaded Iran. Or is he just trying to scare us? Why would he do that? Why would he want to scare us with such alarmist rhetoric? The obvious aside—to frighten us away from Bush—could there be other reasons, of the kind that Michael Moore attributes to President Bush?

In October 2001, Michael Moore claimed that Bush "and his buddies want us all in such a state of fear and panic that we would gladly give up the cherished freedoms." (For full quote, see below.) In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore develops his case for this even further. But is he really talking about Bush, or is he outlining the Democrat agenda, projecting it onto the Bush Administration as a ploy to distract us?

Maybe Conservatives need to make a movie, a comedy in which, led by Kerry, Kennedy and Moore, Hollywood tries to take over the world, starting with America. "The Three Amigos"? More like "The Three Stooges."

Is Michael Moore a bully?

Posted June 21, 2004 4:50AM PDT

Does Michael Moore plan to "censor" his critics?

Mr. Moore is ... threatening to go one step further, saying he has consulted with lawyers who can bring defamation suits against anyone who maligns the film or damages his reputation. — Will Michael Moore's Facts Check Out?, by Philip Shenon, New York Times, June 20, 2004

Legally, Defamation of Character is very narrowly defined, as Moore well knows:

"Any attempts to libel me will be met by force," he said, not an ounce of humor in his familiar voice. "If they persist in telling lies, knowingly telling a lie with malice, then I'll take them to court." — Will Michael Moore's Facts Check Out?, by Philip Shenon, New York Times, June 20, 2004

Having been victimized by libelous comments myself, I would never oppose Moore's right to defend himself against lies. However, it should be noted that his threats, combined with his wealth and the high‑priced lawyers he can afford, will have a chilling affect on legitimate criticism, and by his own loose definition, that is tantamount to censorship.

Does that expose Moore as a bully? I think it does.

A "culture of fear"?

Posted June 20, 2004 11AM PDT

John Kerry: I'm an Internationalist. According to the presumptive Democrat candidate for president, John Kerry, President George W. Bush is guilty of creating a "culture of fear":

A confident John Kerry, settings (SIC) his sights on President Bush, vowed on Monday to stand up to Republican efforts to portray Democrats as weak on national security, arguing that the GOP spreads "the culture of fear." ... "That's what they do best is spread the culture of fear," the four‑term Massachusetts senator said. — Kerry Predicts a Bush Defeat, in Rhyme, by Mike Glover, February 3, 2004, reprinted by John Kerry for President, Inc.

In his movie that is being censored, which is why Fahrenheit 9/11 opens in American theaters everywhere on June 25th, Michael Moore adds his well‑fed voice to the chorus of claims that President Bush is spreading fear:

His film, which won top honors in May at the Cannes Film Festival, charges that the Bush administration acted ineptly before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, then played on the public's fear of future terrorism to gain support for the war against Iraq. It opens nationwide next Friday. — 'Fahrenheit 451' author demands Moore change his film's title, by Paul Chavez, KATU News, June 19, 2004

From the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, to the posting of "National Threat Levels," from the invasion of Afghanistan to the invasion of Iraq, Leftists blame Bush for spreading fear:

Bush is not making this stuff up; these things really happen in Iraq. But mass fear is the goal of this style of speech. When I listen to Bush, I flash back to my Reagan‑era adolescence. Like Bush, Reagan was a fearmonger with low IQ scores who had a way with the masses. — Heaven & Hell: The scary reality in Iraq serves George W. Bush's fearmongering purposes, by Emily White, The Stranger, March 27, 2003

Well, okay, maybe he is, although people don't appear to be frightened by threat alerts, and only extremists, on both the right and the left, seem to feel threatened by the Patriot Act. Come to think of it, this says a lot about the character of the American people, that most of us are not afraid, despite the numerous Islamo‑Fascist terrorist attacks on America:

  • Highjacking of TWA Flight 847 — June 1985
  • Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland — December 1988
  • First World Trade Center Bombing — February 1993
  • Planned Explosion of Pacific Airliners — January 1995
  • Khobar Towers — June 25, 1996
  • Millennium Terror Plot — December 1999
  • Bombing of the USS Cole — October 2000
  • U.S. Embassy Attacks in Kenya and Tanzania — May 2001
  • 9‑11 — September 2001

Source: Terrorist Attacks on Americans: A survey of recent developments, by David Johnson, Information Please

So maybe President Bush is not a fearmonger, maybe there is no "culture of fear," and maybe most Americans understand that the president is simply telling us the truth. But if President Bush is not creating a "culture of fear," then where are all the dire warnings coming from? Look to the Left.

Michael Moore: Fearmonger?

Most of the warnings that we need to be afraid are coming from the Left, and, despite all his complaints about President Bush, Michael Moore, himself, may well be America's number one fearmonger. Remember how, in 2000, he told us we were all falling victim to a "new oligarchy"?

Six companies run by six men control the majority of the news we now get from newspapers, television, radio and the Internet. ... I fear the cement on this new oligarchy of power is quickly drying, and when it is finished hardening, we are finished. — Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph, by Michael Moore, July 19, 2000

That prediction, of course, failed with the investigation of Enron, which was followed by the investigation and prosecution of executives at several large corporations, including a number of the telecommunications giants. Less than a month after that flub, Moore expressed his fear of a possible Bush presidency:

I have received a lot of mail in the last few week's from people who have decided to vote for Al Gore out of fear. I can certainly understand this. Many fear that if Baby Bush is elected, a woman's right to choose would be eliminated, not to mention the other havoc he will create. — Using the Supreme Court to Scare Me Into Voting for Gore, by Michael Moore, August 9, 2000

He immediately followed that with assurances that there was no way George W. Bush could ever become president:

(T)here is no way W. is going to win—he is TOO stupid and the American people are TOO smart to allow that to happen... — Travels with Ralph, by Michael Moore, September 27, 2000

Poor Michael. Maybe he was shocked—certainly outraged—when Bush won the electoral college vote, but, perhaps to rationalize the virtual tie between Bush and Gore that created so much controversy, Moore then stated that there was no real difference between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush:

But, please, let's cut the crap and tell the truth: George W. Bush has done little more than CONTINUE the policies of the last eight years of the Clinton/Gore administration. — Why Don't We All Just Cut the Crap Right Now, by Michael Moore, May 1, 2001

Then came that fateful day in September, and once he got over the shock we all shared following that day, he issued another dire prediction of dread and doom:

Michael Moore: Americans are possibly the dumbest people on the planet. I feel I have a responsibility as one of those Americans who doesn't feel good right now to speak out and say what needs to be said: That we, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants. I know it's a hard thing to hear right now, but if I and others don't say it, I fear we will soon be in a war that will do NOTHING to protect us from the next terrorist attack. — Somewhere in the Land of Enchantment, by Michael Moore, September 15, 2001

Ironically, a few weeks later he turned around and accused President Bush of spreading fear and panic:

Big Brother, in order to control the population, knew that it was necessary for the people to always believe they were in a state of siege, that the enemy was getting closer and closer, and that the war would take a very long time. ... That is EXACTLY what George W. Bush said in his speech to Congress, and the reason he said it is because he and his buddies want us all in such a state of fear and panic that we would gladly give up the cherished freedoms that our fathers and those before them fought and died for. — All I Am Saying Is Give War a Chance, by Michael Moore, October 8, 2001

Maybe he said this because this is precisely what the Democrats tried to do in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter tried to invoke a "moral equivalent of war":

Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the "moral equivalent of war" — except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy. — The President's Proposed Energy Policy, by Jimmy Carter, April 18, 1977

Carter's invocation was based on a 1906 speech by the eminent American philosopher and psychologist, William James, in which James argued in favor of instituting a civil service draft:

Such a conscription, with the state of public opinion that would have required it, and the many moral fruits it would bear, would preserve in the midst of a pacific civilization the manly virtues which the military party is so afraid of seeing disappear in peace. We should get toughness without callousness, authority with as little criminal cruelty as possible, and painful work done cheerily because the duty is temporary, and threatens not, as now, to degrade the whole remainder of one's life. I spoke of the "moral equivalent" of war. So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until and equivalent discipline is organized, I believe that war must have its way. But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type. It is but a question of time, of skilful propogandism, and of opinion-making men seizing historic opportunities. — The Moral Equivalent of War, by William James, Stanford University, 1906

Perceiving, as many of us did, that 9‑11 provided the Bush Administration with an opportunity to mobilize America in what could amount to a bloodless coup, Moore went on a rampage, fomenting fear of American patriotism:

I'd like to tell you a little tale, a personal story of what it is like to fear losing your freedom of speech, how it feels to be drowned in a wave of patriotism which threatens with all its might to suffocate your ideas and stifle dissent. — Fahrenheit 911, by Michael Moore, February 5, 2002

Next, he urged parents to fear for the safety of their children:

Yes, our children ARE not safe. They have not been safe for some time. — "Your Children Are Not Safe." Yes, Indeed., by Michael Moore, October 23, 2002

Following the release, on October 11, 2002, of Bowling for Columbine, which, despite that it's not a documentary, won an Oscar for best documentary, Moore all but accused the NRA of being a terrorist organization:

The sheer power and threat of the NRA is reason enough to strike fear in any movie studio or theater chain. The NRA will go after you without mercy if they think there's half a chance of destroying you. That's why we don't have better gun laws in this country — every member of Congress is scared to death of them. — How to Deal with the Lies and the Lying Liars When They Lie about "Bowling for Columbine", by Michael Moore

Fast‑forward to 2004, Moore emphatically states that we ought to fear President Bush:

I applaud (Dennis Kucinich) for all his other stands against the war, and I am certain (Howard Dean) no longer believes we have nothing to fear about Bush. — I'll Be Voting For Wesley Clark / Good-Bye Mr. Bush, by Michael Moore, January 14th, 2004

And the winner is,...

Michael Moore: We live in fictitious times. Since 1985, America has been the target of at least 8 attacks from Islamo‑fascist terrorists, 4 of them during the Clinton Administration. The policy of treating these as criminal acts failed to stop them. So why continue? As Albert Einstein noted, insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Recognizing that treating terrorism as a criminal matter had failed, President Bush escalated our response, and made it a military matter. In the process, he did not stage a bloodless coup, he did not set himself up as dictator, he did not invade Afghanistan and Iraq with the intention to conquer them, he is rebuilding both nations, he is restoring international respect for America, and he is right to do so.

During all of this, the Bush Administration has exercised prudence in alerting the public to potential threats. They have provided us with such information as can be gleaned from the million bits of intelligence through which Homeland Security diligently sifts for clues. This is not fearmongering, but good and responsible leadership.

If anybody can be called a fearmonger, it is the people who fill our world with dire warnings about President Bush. And if the Academy Awards offered an Oscar for Fearmongering and "Skilful Propogandism," without a doubt Michael Moore would take the prize.

Bush to blame for Enron?

Posted June 16, 2004 4:45AM PDT

The spin‑doctors at the Seattle P‑I are at it again, blaming Enron on the Bush Administration:

A couple familiar names crop up in thinking about how to get to the bottom of (Enron's) great 2000‑2001 power rip‑off, and make amends: One is Ronald Reagan, the other George W. Bush. — In The Northwest: It's time for consumers to get angry at the FERC, by Joel Connelly, Seattle P‑I, June 16, 2004

I don't like companies like Enron, whose top executives lied to the public, lied to their customers and lied to their employees, all while reaping profits of the kind that make con‑artists smile. The 1990s produced a lot of corporate scandals like Enron. And that's important to remember: most of them developed during the 1990s.

Liberals and Democrats have laid so many problems from the 1990s, like Enron, at the doorstep of President Bush: In the case of Enron, the Seattle P-I's Joel Connelly makes a case for collusion between Bush and Lay:

Enron Chairman Ken Lay and wife, Linda, gave more than $1 million to (President Bush's) political coffers in years (SIC) before the Houston-based energy trading company went bankrupt late in 2001.

The Lays are No. 10 on a recently compiled list of big-money Bush donors known as "Pioneers."

Lay was part of the Energy Department transition team. He met with Vice President Dick Cheney to make inputs on energy policy. — In The Northwest: It's time for consumers to get angry at the FERC, by Joel Connelly, Seattle P‑I, June 16, 2004

No doubt, all of that is true. What else is true, however, is that, for Enron, this was just business as usual:

Enron also cultivated relationships with Democrats, however. Lay played golf in Vail, Colo., with President Bill Clinton, and Enron gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaign committees and Democrats in the House and Senate, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Martin Frost (Tex.), the ranking minority member on the House Rules Committee. — Campaign Gifts, Lobbying Built Enron's Power In Washington, by Dan Morgan and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writers, Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Enron was founded as a pipeline business in 1985, during the Reagan Administration, but they didn't start trading electricity until 1994.

In September 2000, just a few months before the election, Enron began contributing money to the Bush campaign. But in October of that same year, they hired Linda Robertson, from the Clinton administration, as vice president for federal government affairs. A year later, and only 11 months after George W. Bush was elected, their dirty deals were exposed. (Source: Timeline of Enron's Collapse, Washington Post, January 27, 2004)

The scandal didn't evolve during the first 11 months of the Bush administration, but took several years to develop, most of it during the Clinton watch. Does this implicate the Clinton Administration? Maybe. What's certain, however, is that, given the many years the crooks at Enron ran their schemes during the Clinton Administration, only a liar or an incompetent investigator who hasn't done their research would, as Joel Connelly does, blame Bush:

Our manipulated power shortage of 2000‑2001 sent jolts through the economy for which the Northwest is still paying. Just ask the aluminum smelter workers who lost family‑wage jobs...Instead of shaking down rich Republicans in Spokane this week, George W. Bush should sit down with laid‑off Kaiser Aluminum workers and learn what it is like to lose a living wage. — In The Northwest: It's time for consumers to get angry at the FERC, by Joel Connelly, Seattle P‑I, June 16, 2004

So which is it, Mr. Connelly? Are you a liar, or simply incompetent?

Leftists lie about nuclear clean‑up plan

Posted June 15, 2004 4:45AM PDT

Almost 53 million gallons of toxic nuclear waste is stored at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. It's pretty bad stuff:

This waste is a witches' brew of liquids and sludge so radioactive that workers must be shielded from it by several feet of steel-reinforced concrete. — Three Mile Island a million times over, by Brian Barry, Portland Oregonian, June 03, 2004

The most effective way to dispose of this is to bury it:

Scientists have concluded that deep geologic burial, a half mile below the earth's surface, is the only feasible way to permanently isolate this poisonous material from humans and the environment. — Three Mile Island a million times over, by Brian Barry, Portland Oregonian, June 03, 2004

But because it's so toxic, and there's so much of it, the process has taken decades, and will take decades more:

The cleanup at sites in Washington, Idaho, South Carolina and New York is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars and take decades. — Energy Dept. threatens no nuclear cleanup, by H. Josef Herbert, The Guardian, April 7, 2004

So, according to Brian Barry, the Bush Administration proposes to "abandon" the waste where it will leach into the Columbia River:

The Bush administration is now pushing for disposal of about 30 million curies of nuclear waste at the Hanford site, near the Columbia River, under a scheme to "reclassify" high-level radioactive waste. ... Scientific studies showed that groundwater a half mile below Hanford would transport deeply buried nuclear waste to the Columbia River within a few thousand years—long before radioactive decay rendered it harmless. Legislation now before Congress, where the issue is heating up this week, would rename this lethal waste and leave it in surface trenches, threatening Northwest citizens, their agricultural base and water supplies. — Three Mile Island a million times over, by Brian Barry, Portland Oregonian, June 03, 2004

This is a lie, or, at the least, a very slanted view of the truth. Under the current clean‑up plan, the worst of the waste will sit where it is for decades, slowly leaking into the surrounding environment while the Department of Energy works through it. According to Jessie Roberson, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, U. S. Department of Energy, the Administration's plan would prevent that from happening and speed up the process, sorting through the waste by composition, and reclassify it on that basis:

"Historically we've taken a simplistic approach to managing (such) waste," she maintained. The tank waste has been classified as "high level" because of its origin and not its composition, she argued, and Congress should change that to allow quicker and cheaper cleanup without reduced safety. — Energy Dept. threatens no nuclear cleanup, by H. Josef Herbert, The Guardian, April 7, 2004

In other words, the Bush Administration proposes is to figure out which containers pose the greatest threat, give them top priority, and downgrade the rest. This is a far cry from what the leftists accuse, but they don't like it because it will cost less, speed clean‑up, and makes good sense.

Copyright © 2004 by Rod Van Mechelen all rights reserved.
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