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by and

Not just inquiring minds, but now everybody wants to know: "Where exactly are those weapons of mass destruction?" The Bushites have been scrambling furiously to find answers, and they've come up with a few lame excuses. Yet I suspect that somehow, somewhere they will find something on which to pin the WMD label.

Meanwhile, Bushite spokespersons have found clever ways of obscuring the issue by making repeated references to the evils of Saddam from which they "liberated" the Iraqi people. But many Americans

As the search for WMDs continues, other nagging questions remain unarticulated, let alone unanswered by the American mainstream media
and most of the world have not forgotten that Saddam's alleged WMDs were the stated key motive for this illegal preemptive attack, a motive never clearly justified nor accepted by world opinion.

As the search for WMDs continues, other nagging questions remain unarticulated, let alone unanswered by the American mainstream media, dutifully playing its servile role to the Bush Imperium.

1. With 3,240 Iraqi civilian deaths and still counting, the Associated Press recently stated that the "death toll may never be known." Why not? Why can't our government conduct a more complete and accurate count of how many civilians, including women and children, were killed by American bullets, bombs, and bunker busters?

2. What was the full extent and impact of the destruction by U.S. forces of vital civilian infrastructure such as water, electricity, sanitation, hospitals, and other support systems?

3. Why didn't American forces protect or prevent the looting and wanton destruction of financial institutions such as banks and title companies upon which rests the legal foundation of the Iraqi economy?

4. Why, despite clear and timely prior warnings, didn't American forces respond to urgent Iraqi requests for protection from the looting of priceless and irreplaceable cultural resources from institutions such as museums, libraries, universities, and Saddam's palaces, which rightfully belong to the Iraqi people?

5. Why did US forces unnecessarily restrict, harass, and even violently attack foreign journalists in Iraq, firing tank missiles at the Palestine hotel where journalists stayed, and bombing the Al-Jazeera headquarters in Baghdad, thereby killing an Arab journalist, despite the fact that they had been given its exact coordinates so as to prevent an "accidental" bombing?

6. How and why were Iraqi protesters killed by U.S. soldiers, and what are these thousands of Iraqi protesters demanding concerning the U.S. occupation, the general disorder, and the lack of adequate food, water, and security?

7. Why didn't the U.S. Occupying Forces (USOF) protect and prevent the deliberate and organized looting of very sensitive nuclear material from Iraqi sites, when one of the stated motives for this war was to prevent WMDs and related material from falling into the hands of terrorists?

8. Since we are supposedly bringing liberation and democracy for all Iraqis, what will the USOF do about the deteriorating status of women, some now forced to wear veils, losing their freedom of mobility and other rights they had secured even under the evil Saddam?

9. Why the extended delays and the stubborn resistance by the USOF in permitting Iraqi leaders to gain control over their own country, especially regarding the making of critical political, economic, and cultural decisions over which, by international law, only Iraqis should have sovereignty?

10. Why have the Bushites completely shut out U.N. weapons inspectors from doing their legitimate work in Iraq when they can better conduct a more credible, complete, and unbiased investigation than could the Bushites with their prejudiced and preconceived notions?

Any genuine discussion of the above questions could raise very urgent and disturbing concerns about the incompetence, ulterior motives, and Machiavellian machinations of the Bush administration. Yet, they represent only some of the legitimate issues which scream out for attention as media manipulators talk about everything else.

The mainstream media fabrication of the staged "rescue" of PFC Jessica Lynch when no Iraqi military were even around, and from a civilian hospital where she was treated kindly, and the inordinate attention and heroic gloating which followed this event, has now strangely become a befitting metaphor for this entire Iraqi War.

Hopefully, some in the Democratic party leadership are slowly beginning to raise hard questions about WMDs and other moral and logical inconsistencies underlying this aggressive foreign intervention. Maybe they will also talk about the connections between the economic and political costs of this war and the difficult situation here at home. If they don't, then the Bush Imperium will continue its relentless march towards Armageddon, and everybody's security will be damned. •

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