FEATURE Goodbye, Levi by Karen Olsson 8 As the plants close and the laid-off workers go elsewhere, the company that was Levi Strauss looks for answers. They can downsize, they can run overseas, but can they ever bring the jeans-makers and the jeans-wearers together again? THIS ISSUE 18 BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Garden Time Poetry by Jean Emerson & Robert Phillips DEPARTMENTS Dialogue 2 Editorial 3 Hard Rain Over Iraq by Michael King Left Field 5 Bad Hair Daze, Free Americans, The Bush Beat, NASA, Inc.? & Slipped Discs Capitol Offenses CHIP Shot by Louis Dubose 14 Death Tax by Robert Bryce 15 Bad Bills 16 Political Intelligence 17 Molly Ivins W.W.F. News Jim Hightower 19 A Crude Lawsuit, Beverly Hills Pelt Posse & More Hogwash Welfare Deform 25 by Robert Fisher Send in the Clones 28 Book Review by James A. Wood Afterword 30 Requiem for a Heavyweight by Luis Del Bosque Cover art by Harrison Saunders and Michael Krone 24 The Back Page 32 Suzie Get Your Gun EDITORIAL, 1 Silence is Complicity s this week’s Dialogue suggests, until recently there has been a virtual unanimity of national opinion on U.S. policy in Iraq. We must be vigilant, the argument goes, because \(in a favorite his cage” would have devastating consequences for the region, potentially for the world. He has defied the United Nations in its righteous search for weapons of mass destruction, and only sanctions and the military power of “the allies” \(now reduced to him from spreading war and pestilence once again. While it is true that the eight years of economic sanctions \(which prohibit nearly all basic necessities from the Iraqi people by U.N. estimates, more than 1.5 million dead, more than half of those, young children in the words of Secretary of State Albright, “We think the price is worth it.” Proponents of sanctions remain convinced that Hussein is diverting U.N. Oil-for-Food money to his own ends and ignoring the suffering of his people. As for the bombing attacks now an almost daily occurrence barely noticed in the U.S. press they are necessary to maintain sanctions and prevent the regime from rebuilding its military capabilities. Hoping to determine how closely this version of events corresponds with the truth, Alan Pogue last month the Observer helped sponsor the Austin visit of Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, and Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute for Policy Studies. Last October, Halliday resigned his position to protest the sanctions; Bennis has written several books on the Middle East and the U.N. Prior to their well-attended presentation at the LBJ School, they spoke to the Observer at length about the current situation in Iraq, the background of U.S. policy, and the prospects for change. They sharply criticized the prevailing U.S. mythologies. Among their most important points: Rather than weakening Hussein, the sanctions and bombings undermine resis tance and make him a sympathetic figure, not only in Iraq but in other Arab countries. \(Iraq’s neighbors, presumably the chief beneficiaries of the military containment, recently called for an end to the bombings “While, in Iraq, people understand that this is not a good or progressive regime, or one that they want to maintain,” Bennis said, “they are becoming more dependent upon it, through the sanctions program…. That’s not a recipe for trying to challenge the government. In the rest of the Arab world, where people might not be aware how repressive that government really is, what they see is that this is the man being demonized by the United States, and is standing up to them.” Rather than hurt Hussein or his regime, the economic sanctions strike directly at the civilian population, with devastating results. “Politically, Hussein cannot afford to starve his own people,” Halliday said. “The only constant thing in their lives is the food supply [and] there’s only a few months they get an absolutely full supply. We’re not talking fancy food; we’re talking basic wheat, flour, rice, tea, sugar, cooking oil, soap, lentils, beans…. And there isn’t a soul in Iraq who hasn’t seen a son or a daughter, a niece or a nephew, some relative, dying unnecessarily.” While the regime obtains some illicit funding primarily, Halliday believes, MARCH 19, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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