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Think tanks wrap-up

  |   Oct. 3, 2002 at 7:54 PM
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The UPI think tank wrap-up is a daily digest covering opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events and position statements released by various think tanks. This is the first of two wrap-ups for Oct. 3, 2002.


The Institute for Public Accuracy

(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)

WASHINGTON -- Iraq: U.S. Demanding an 'Occupation Arrangement'?

-- James Paul, executive director of Global Policy Forum and author of several recent papers on Iraq.

"The U.S./U.K. draft of a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution, leaked to The New York Times (published in the Oct. 2 edition), says that 'Iraq shall provide ... immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities,...' and 'Any permanent member of the Security Council may request to be represented on

any inspection team with the same right and protections....' This is one of several booby traps in the text to make sure that the Iraqis don't accept it. The idea is that the United States and Britain can put their people on the team and can be present anywhere, anytime in Iraq. When the Security Council created the new inspection regime, UNMOVIC (U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission)], it was seen as intended to be free of the taint of espionage and other covert operations, primarily by the United States, that destroyed the credibility of UNSCOM. This resolution totally undermines that. The text also says: 'Teams shall be accompanied at the bases by sufficient U.N. security forces,... shall have the right to declare for the purposes of this resolution no-fly/no-drive zones, exclusion zones, and/or ground- and air-transit corridors, which shall be enforced by U.N. security forces or by members of the Council;...' What they are talking about is an occupation arrangement, similar to demands made at Rambouillet on Yugoslavia. Since the government of Iraq will not accept that, Iraqi rejection will be used as a pretext for war. The resolution further says that if Iraq does not comply, member states can use 'all necessary means' -- a green light for the use of force."

-- John Quigley, professor of international law at Ohio State University.

"The U.S. should not be seeking to disrupt an agreement between the United Nations . and Iraq on how this should be resolved ... The U.S./U.K. resolution says that 'failure by Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully in accordance with the provisions laid out in this resolution, shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations, and that such breach authorizes member states to use all necessary means ...' It's saying

that any violation, even an insignificant or accidental one, could be used as a pretext for invasion. It also says that member states can make such determination. You should have some mechanism, such as further consideration by the Security Council. This is really just a blank check for an armed attack on Iraq."

-- Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law

"The resolution is just a pretext for war. No way Iraq, or any other state, could accept such a resolution.... The U.S. government is (currently) violating the U.N. Charter ... by using military force to allegedly 'police' the illegal 'no-fly' zones..."


WASHINGTON -- Ways out of war? U.S. public, dialogue, peace studies

-- Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, which

just released a report entitled "Americans on the Conflict With Iraq." Among the findings of the poll: 68 percent agreed more with the statement "If Iraq allows the United Nations to conduct unrestricted inspections, the United States should agree to not invade Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein as long as Iraq continues to cooperate, because we should only go to war as a last resort"; 30 percent agreed more with "The United States should invade Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, whether he cooperates with U.N. inspectors or not, because the U.N. inspectors might not find all his weapons."

-- Mark Lance, associate professor of justice and peace at Georgetown University.

"There are real options to going to war. Most obviously, the U.S. should work through the U.N. legal system, allow inspectors to do their work and bring alleged violations to the appropriate legal bodies. Long term we should work with regional organizations like the Arab League to address the militarization of the region, which should include Israel's nuclear arsenal, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, as well as India's and Pakistan's arsenals. Working for disarmament on a regional and world scale is the responsible and morally consistent way to lessen these types of dangers."


The Pacific Research Institute

(PRI promotes individual freedom and personal responsibility as the cornerstones of a civil society, best achieved through a free-market economy, limited government, and private initiative. PRI researches and analyzes critical issues facing California and the nation, and crafts strategies for policy reform.)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Capital Ideas: Killer Party

By K. Lloyd Billingsley

Conservatives are used to being called callous and uncaring, wanting to throw grandmother out in the snow, starve school kids, cut down every tree in sight, poison all the rivers and lakes, bomb the Third World, lock up minorities, and so on. But up until now the full evil of conservatism has been successfully concealed: conservative rule makes more people want to kill themselves.

"Suicide Rises Under Conservative Rule," says a Sept. 20 headline on nature.com, the website of Nature magazine. "A nation's suicide rate increases under right-wing governments according to two studies that have looked at Australia and Britain over the past century."

No, as the old saying goes, we're not making this up. (You have to read it, not to believe it: www.nature.com/nsu/020916/020916-17.html.)

"Conservative rule," of course, has seldom dismantled nanny-state programs launched by liberals, such as government health care in Britain. But never mind such troubling details. Here is more from this path-breaking scientific research: "Alienation and isolation may run higher in societies driven by competitive market forces, suggest the teams behind the findings. Left-wing rule, focusing more on equality, might put people under less pressure."

Never mind the gender gap -- now liberals have the "suicide gap" to crow about. In total, one study found, in Britain there were 35,000 more suicides under Conservative governments in the 20th century than there would have been had the Labour Party been in power for the entire century. Of course, fancy statistical regressions can't handle counterfactual scenarios, such as the economic suicide that perpetual Labour Party rule would have brought to Britain.

But this is a mere quibble. The ultimate conservative strategy for suppressing liberal turnout (you don't think those suicides are conservative voters, do you?) and reducing welfare spending has been exposed. How long before Jesse Jackson adds this to his repertoire about genocidal conservatives? And surely it is only a matter of weeks before the left-leaning public health lobby starts to demand that a new category of cause of mortality be added to death certificates: "Died of conservative governance." And think of the class action lawsuit the trial lawyers can bring; why, it gives a whole new meaning to "ambulance chasing."

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, during his 1984 political juggernaut that swept him to victory in Minnesota and Washington, D.C. against Ronald Reagan, proclaimed that, among the other constituency groups he embraced, he wanted to represent "the sad."

Now, thanks to Nature magazine, we can see that he was just ahead of his time.

Of course, an alternative theory needs to be studied: Conservatives may just be happier people, less prone to suicidal despair when liberals come to power. The empirical evidence here is abundant: How often do you hear Rush Limbaugh laugh, and how often do you hear Mario Cuomo or Bill Press chuckle? Is the fact that Al Gore and Tom Daschle look like morticians merely a coincidence, or rather a good fit for their followers?

It will be interesting to see which politician is the first to cite the suicide study, and if he or she does so with a straight face. Meanwhile, we await Nature's definitive scientific study of suicide in Sweden, North Korea, the U.S.S.R. and Poland under Soviet occupation.

(K. Lloyd Billingsley is the editorial director of the Pacific Research Institute.)

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