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Democracy Now! March 18, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 18, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 
PZ0517.121
Description: 

Hour 1: President Bush vows to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein doesn t flee within 48 hours: Democracy Now talks to response Dennis Halliday, Ralph Nader, Leslie Cagan and Jeremy Scahill; With 300,000 troops set to invade Iraq, Gulf War veterans are concerned the safety of US forces may be compromised: We talk to Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Resource Center; U.S. government executes celebrated Gulf War veteran: Did exposure to nerve agents lead Louis Jones, Jr. to kill?; Oil, security and world domination: Professor Michael Klare discusses how the U.S. is working to redraw the strategic map of the Middle East Hour 2: President Bush vows to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein doesn t flee within 48 hours: protests intensify around the world & British government in uproar as senior officials resign; Vandenberg Air Force Base authorizes 'deadly force' against protesters: protesters aren t deterred; 300 New Yorkers protest the Israeli military killing of U.S. citizen Rachel Corrie: they demand a Congressional investigation

8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20 President Bush gives Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a 48-hour deadline to leave Iraq or face: We hear response from Dennis Halliday, Ralph Nader, Leslie Cagan and Jeremy Scahill President Bush last night vowed to attack Iraq if President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not flee the country within 48 hours. The Iraqi government immediately rejected the ultimatum. Bush also told Iraqi soldiers not to fight for a "dying regime" - and not to destroy Iraq s oil wells. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ordered the evacuation of the weapons inspectors and humanitarian staff from the country. The first wave of UN workers has already landed in Cyprus. Annan also suspended the oil-for-food program. Bush s speech came just hours after the US and Britain admitted they had failed to win United Nations Security Council backing for war. They pulled the second U.N. resolution without taking a vote. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan challenged the legitimacy of unilateral military action but refrained from branding it illegal. In Britain, three ministers have already resigned. The leader of the British House of Commons Robin Cook resigned just after the US and Britain pulled the UN resolution. His resignation speech late last night was met with an unprecedented round of applause and a standing ovation by some Members of Parliament. Today, Home Office Minister John Denham and Health Minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath also resigned. But International Development Secretary Clare Short announced she would stay in her cabinet post despite earlier threats to resign. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a peaceful resolution said a U.S. attack would have the "gravest consequences." Meanwhile, the Russian parliament delayed ratification of a major nuclear disarmament treaty with the US. A parliamentary spokesman said the decision was made after Bush s declaration and in the conditions of the massive US pressure on the international community. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin denounced the United States, for pulling the resolution from the U.N. He said a wide majority of the 15 members of the Security Council oppose the US. He said the US, Britain and Spain are resorting to force "despite the clearly expressed will of the international community. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said today there is no justification for war that will bring certain death to thousands of innocent men, women and children. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao opposed Bush's ultimatum to Hussein, and held out hope of a diplomatic solution. Meanwhile the U.S. government raised its terrorist threat level to orange, or "high risk," last night as President Bush was delivering his speech on Iraq. Top federal officials asked states to deploy the National Guard or state police to protect sensitive sites across the nation from possible attack. Tape: President George Bush, recorded March 17, 2003 Tape: Denis Halliday, ex-Director of UN Humanitarian Program for Iraq 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 With 300,000 troops set to invade Iraq, Gulf War veterans are concerned the safety of US forces may be compromised: We talk to Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Resource Center People in the US like to think of the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein as a sweeping victory, obliterating Iraqi forces while costing a minimal loss of U.S. lives. But ask many veterans of that war, and they say casualties can't be measured by the 148 who died or the 500 wounded in battle. In the 12 years since, nearly 164,000 Gulf veterans, about 28 percent of those who served, have been certified by government doctors for service-related medical claims more than twice the rate of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Veterans Administration doesn't track how many of those are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. But the government's own studies consistently show that up to 30 percent of Gulf vets are sufferers. Now, as some 300,000 troops await orders to strike Iraq again, a cadre of Gulf veterans worry that the same epidemic of unexplained illnesses threatens a new generation of soldiers. And, perhaps, their children. Guest: Steve Robinson, Executive Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center Contact: http://www.ngwrc.org 8:30-8:40 U.S. government executes celebrated Gulf War veteran: Did exposure to nerve agents lead Louis Jones, Jr. to kill? This morning at 7:00 a.m. a decorated Gulf War veteran Louis Jones Jr., was executed in Terre Haute, Indiana. Last night President Bush denied the request for clemency by Jones and his lawyers. The U.S. Supreme Court also refused to block the execution yesterday. Jones, convicted of kidnapping, rape and the murder of a fellow army officer in Texas, in 1995, was exposed to chemical agents as a soldier in the Persian Gulf war. In 2000, he received a letter from the Pentagon telling him that he had been exposed to nerve agents. The chemicals were released when the Army demolished a munitions plant in Khamisiyah, Iraq, in March 1991. The Pentagon has since said the chemicals were the nerve agents sarin and cyclosarin. The evidence of Jones's exposure to nerve agents was not available at his trial in 1995, though the defense did argue that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. In a letter to President Bush, Mr. Jones did not deny his crime and admitted that he "wantonly took" a "precious life, "I think of the marine she was engaged to," he wrote of his victim. "I think of the children she could have had. Her son could have discovered a cure for a disease of our time." Mr. Jones, who wrote that he had become a Christian, asked for clemency so that he could minister to other prisoners for the rest of his life. This morning, about a dozen death penalty opponents held a candlelight vigil just a quarter-mile from the prison. A sign leaning against a fence in front of the group said, ``The tragic irony: As we rush recklessly to war with Iraq we are killing a veteran of the first Gulf War.'' Guest: Dick Burr, lawyer for Louis Jones and federal death penalty expert 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58 Oil, security and world domination: Professor Michael Klare discusses how the U.S. is working to redraw the strategic map of the Middle East A recent piece by Michael Klare titled, New Global Hot Spot - Iraq War Will Redraw Strategic Map begins: The old Cold War theaters of Europe and the Far East are being replaced in strategic importance by the Persian Gulf basin, where the desires of Russia, China and the United States for oil, security and geopolitical advantage could collide. By invading Iraq, the United States will do far more than topple an odious regime that has resisted American policy goals for the past 10 years -- it will redraw the global strategic map in a way that has not occurred in more than half a century. Ever since the end of World War II, the two most important theaters of international political and military competition have been Europe and the Far East. These are the regions that attracted the greatest attention from U.S. and Soviet strategists during the Cold War period and housed the largest concentration of military forces. Most of the major confrontations of the Cold War era -- the various Berlin crises, the Korean War and the Vietnam War -- also occurred in these areas. But now, with the invasion of Iraq, these two areas are being supplanted by the Persian Gulf basin as the central cockpit of global political competition. From now on, relations between the world's great powers -- especially the United States, Russia, and China -- will be defined by their relative geo-strategic position in this vital region. The greater Gulf region, including the Caspian Sea basin (which stretches to within a few hundred miles of Baghdad), houses over two-thirds of the world's known petroleum reserves and will become ever more important to the world economy as oil supplies in other areas, including the United States, the North Sea and China become depleted. We go now to a recent speech Klare gave this weekend at the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York. Tape: Michael Klare, the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, based at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: President Bush last night vowed to attack Iraq if President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not flee the country within 48 hours. He said: All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals, including journalists and inspectors, should leave Iraq immediately. The Iraqi government immediately rejected the ultimatum. Bush also told Iraqi soldiers not to fight for a "dying regime" - and not to destroy Iraq s oil wells. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ordered the evacuation of the weapons inspectors and humanitarian staff from the country. The first wave of UN workers has already landed in Cyprus. Bush s speech came just hours after the US and Britain admitted they had failed to win United Nations Security Council backing for war. They pulled the second U.N. resolution without taking a vote. Guest: President Bush, speaking in a televised, primetime address to the nation, March 17, 2003 Guest: Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent who recently left Baghdad Contact: http://www.iraqjournal.org, www.democracynow.org Guest: Ralph Nader, former Green Party Presidential Candidate Guest: Leslie Cagan, organizer with United for Peace and Justice and chair of the Pacifica Radio Foundation Contact: http://www.unitedforpeace.org, www.pacifica.org The leader of the British House of Commons Robin Cook resigned just after the US and Britain pulled the UN resolution. His resignation speech late last night was met with an unprecedented round of applause and a standing ovation by some Members of Parliament. Guest: Robin Cook, leader of the British House of Commons, delivering his resignation speech to Parliament on March 17, 2003 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:30: Meanwhile, protests are intensifying around the globe. Over 50 people were arrested in Washington, D.C. yesterday, and dozens more were arrested at the United Nations in New York City and in San Francisco. In Australia, one man in the public gallery of Parliament screamed "murderer!" as Prime Minister John Howard, announced his decision to commit 2,000 troops to an invasion of Iraq. He was dragged from the chamber by security guards. Activists painted a ten-foot high "no war" sign across the top of part of Sydney s Opera House. In Tokyo, just hours after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi backed the Bush administration, peace activists began a hunger strike outside the US embassy. In Britain, the Stop the War Coalition is calling for people to stage walkouts, and occupy city centers and hold sit-ins at schools, colleges and universities. On the day of the first attack, protesters will occupy Parliament Square with the intention of bringing the government to a halt. Guest: Mike Marqusee, organizer with Stop the War Coalition, speaking to us from London Guest: Mairead McGuire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Northern Ireland Guest: Beth Rosedatter, arrested on Sunday at an Army depot near Richmond, Kentucky. She and two others were held overnight. 9:30-9:40 Vandenberg Air Force Base authorizes 'deadly force' against protesters US military officials say security forces at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California may use "deadly force" against protesters if they infiltrate the base in wartime. Vandenberg officials said Friday military police may shoot to kill, in order to protect equipment at the base. But activists say the threat will not deter them. They are planning continuous civil disobedience at the base if the US attacks Iraq. On Friday, a man sprayed the entrance sign at the base with his own blood. Guest: Peter Lumsdaine, co-founder of the Vandenberg Action Coalition and coordinator of the Military Globalization Project, a research/education/organizing group focused on the connections between US global economic policy and military policy Contact: (831) 457 9914 or 805 688 7610 (contact for peace camp itself); www.mgpnofate.org; see also: www.vandenberg.af.mil Guest: Dennis Apel, arrested on Friday at the Air Force base 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:53 Pinwheel of protest: from San Francisco to Tuscon to Austin to Kansas And other actions are taking place around the country as well, from San Francisco, Denver, Tucson and Austin to Cleveland, Kansas, Washington, D.C. and New York. Tape: Pinwheel of Protest , recorded March 17, 2003. 9:53-9:58: Some 300 New Yorkers gathered yesterday to protest the death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American woman who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer on Sunday in the Gaza Strip. The protest was organized by Jews Against the Occupation. Protesters carried gravestones in a symbolic funeral procession. They marched in front of Senators Hillary Clinton s and Chuck Schumer s office. They demanded the formation of a Congressional Council to go to Israel and Palestine and investigate how and why such unnecessary deaths occur in Gaza. On Sunday, Israeli forces ran over Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer as she protested the demolition of houses in the Gaza town of Rafah. Corrie was set to graduate from Evergreen State College in Olympia this spring. She became the first international protester killed by Israeli forces since the start of the second intifada. We now go to Angela Bukowy, who spoke at yesterday s protest. Angela is a member of Direct Action Palestine and the International Solidarity Movement. She recently spent one month in Rafah. She begins by describing the ongoing intimidation and danger that Palestinians endure. Tape: Angela Bukowy, member of the International Solidarity Movement and Direct Action Palestine, speaking on March 17, 2003 at a rally organized by Jews Against the Occupation Contact: www.jewsagainsttheoccupation.org, www.palsolidarity.org 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
March 18, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 18, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
Keywords: 
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Distributor: 
WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 18, 2003
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