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January, 2003

2002-Not A Good Year To Review
By Karen Nakamura

Sometimes it's a good idea to review the past year's events to gain perspective.

Little babies are still screaming in terror as Israeli missiles explode above them in the West Bank and Gaza. That is if they're still alive. As of December 13, 2002, 1940 Palestinians had been killed since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000. Approximately 1/3rd of these were children. To deal with the challenge put forth by the world community, the Bush Administration, rather than acting as an honest broker, has given Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carte blanche. That is as long as he doesn't get in Bush's way.

Yasser Arafat has begun his second year under siege in what's left of the Palestinian Authority's compound. Most of his country is also under house arrest except for a few hours every day. According to the United Nations, Palestinian children are showing increasing signs of malnutrition. Most Americans don't really care.

Following the Nazi practice of walling in ghettos then leveling them slowly but surely, Ariel Sharon continues to carry out his fourth massacre, that of obliterating Palestine. Like the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinian held territory has steadily decreased under encroachment. Hotels are vying to build on confiscated lands. The Israeli government is spending huge sums on building its own wall around Palestine while its economy is on shaky ground and needs the Palestinian market it has locked up. It's become obvious in the past year that the majority of Israelis prefer land instead of peace and economic health.

Osama Bin Laden, the CIA and Saudi's former "man in Afghanistan" is still running wild and carrying out attacks. He may have been young in the Afghan/Russian war but he was the distributor of Saudi money. Another ex-friend of the CIA, Saddam Hussein, is a problem, at least for Texas oil companies. Panama's General Noreiga, and Haiti's Baby Doc are two other ex-friends of the CIA who have been demonized by the agency. However, no one, except those directly affected, is questioning whether all of this is a covert action to colonize the Middle East. It is, however, helping to sell military-industrial stocks. The whole of the Middle East is now in the sights of the new US hegemony policy. Taking up a Sharon policy, Bush has recently given the CIA the authority to assassinate.

The Enron scandal ramifications are still reverberating around the world and seriously undermining the economy of the United States. After being ripped off by Enron, Williams, El Paso and other Texas oil and gas companies, California went from surplus to crushing deficit as the federal government gave the breaks to oil. However, management of these companies has barely been touched.

Small businesses, once the darling of Republicans, have been left to dangle in the wind. Health care is threatened as HMOs withdraw coverage and funding shortages continue from both the government and the insurance industry. Pharmacy companies and for-profit hospitals raised prices by up to a third over the past year and became exclusive rather than inclusive. The White House slipped an item into the Homeland Security Act that forbids lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies making the small pox vaccine.

Schools and infrastructure have slid further into disrepair as every penny is diverted to the war effort. Firefighters and police officers, so respected by the American people since 9/11, have been denied salary increases. Local and state governments across the nation have been brought to the verge of bankruptcy by having to use their already tight budgets to cover the extra expense of defending against terrorist attacks. The federal government still hasn't forwarded the funding.

What's also new this year is the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been seriously attacked and, in certain instances, wiped out. American's right to privacy no longer exist. The checks and balances of the executive, congressional and judicial branches have been negated. The rule of law has been swept aside in the pursuit of military gains.

The US has its finger in destabilization efforts in South America, the Middle East, the Philippines and Asia. America's prestige has slid into a downward spiral. Between 50-80% of the population of those countries who are suppose to be our friends are against the war in Iraq and see America as the aggressor.

Projections are that the coming year is going to see even more erosion if we, the American people, allow it.

 

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