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Going after the real weapons of mass destruction

Our president must be increasingly frustrated over the inability of his minions to find the weapons of mass destruction that, if memory serves, were the motivating force behind our invasion of Iraq.

Despite an apparently determined search, nothing much has been discovered. An empty canister here, an abandoned truck that possibly was a mobile lab S but we’re not too sure … over there.

It is enough to make a world leader do something foolish like dress up as a fighter pilot and swagger around the deck of an aircraft carrier.



In the hope of dissuading President George Bush from other equally desperate actions, I offer the following list of WMDs.

Just in case we don’t find anything in Baghdad, the president might direct his passion for eradication against these very observable, easily recognizable and most certainly dangerous WMDs that threaten the health and well-being of all of us.



n “Every 14 seconds an African child loses a parent to AIDS. Whole villages are inhabited only by orphans. No other social problem can be addressed in Africa until AIDS is addressed. In April, World Vision launched the Hope Initiative, designed to increase awareness of the AIDS crisis. 

“The campaign includes a Global AIDS Forum in Washington, D.C., June 11-12. “The greatest weapon of mass destruction in the world right now is AIDS,’ says Richard Stearns, president of World Vision.” (The Christian Century, May 3, 2003.)

n Do you remember the “Kyoto Agreement?” I should say “Disagreement.” The vast majority of reputable scientific scholarship indicates the importance of dramatic environmental protective action. Without it many believe our entire planet is in jeopardy. Talk about your WMD. “The Kyoto Protocol is now a watered-down agreement: industrialized countries will not cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels, as originally foreseen.

“The reasons are well known: The nonparticipation of the U.S., the difficulties in accurately measuring the forestry and agricultural sinks and the presence of Russian “hot air’ – excess emission reduction credits that are due to the collapse of Russia’s economy since 1991.

“But the -5.2 percent figure was never going to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at a safe level, which is the ultimate aim of the international climate negotiations. The real importance of the Kyoto Protocol is rather the establishment of the international architecture that can lead to further reductions in the future.” (Center for European Policy Studies, November 2001.)

n Robert Redford found a WMD very near to the White House. In a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, two years ago today, he outlined his discovery: “Sadly, since assuming the Interior secretary post, you have compiled an abysmal record of capitulating to big businesses at the expense of the nation’s public health, public lands and wildlife. Among the most telling actions at the Interior Department in recent weeks: the indication that the Interior Department plans to weaken important environmental protections for hard rock mining; the open solicitation of suggestions for how to reduce the size of National Monuments and reduce the protections they afford; the brazen advocacy for a budget rider blocking the ability of citizens to have courts enforce key provisions to protect wildlife under the Endangered Species Act; your continuing efforts to open America’s most spectacular wildlife refuge, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil and gas development; your support for off-shore oil exploration and development in ecologically important areas like the waters off Florida’s West Coast; the rejection of plans to re-introduce grizzly bears into federal wild lands in Idaho and Montana; the virulent opposition to the appointment of environmental moderates to key Interior Department positions and; the diligent efforts to secure the nomination of industry advocates to key Interior Department posts, including the nomination of a lobbyist for the mining, oil, and gas industry as your second in command.

“Taking all of this into consideration, I’m sure you might understand why your assertion that somehow we share the same environmental philosophy becomes for me, a disingenuous notion.

“For my part, I thank you for your kind invitation to a condor release press event and I hope you understand that I am not inclined to join such an event. Rather, I intend to use what time I have to do what I can to focus on the devastating environmental repercussions of the agenda you and President Bush embrace, and the decisions you are now making in your current capacity at the Interior Department.” (truthout.com)

Keep up the good work, Mr. President. Just don’t stop with Baghdad. 

Columnist Rich Mayfield writes a regular Saturday column that, so far, has not been classified a WMD.


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