Nelson Mandela has called America a "threat to world peace" and labelled Dick Cheney a "dinosaur". He is not a man who holds a grudge or loses his temper easily, but he is angry at the way in which the U.S. is exploiting its overwhelming military might.
"What right has Bush to say that Iraq's offer is not genuine?" he asked recently. "We must condemn that very strongly. No country, however strong, is entitled to comment adversely in the way the U.S. has done. They think they're the only power in the world. They're not and they're following a dangerous policy. One country wants to bully the world."
Towering like a moral colossus over the late 20th century, Mandela's voice carries an ethical weight like no other.
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, which includes Ben Cohen (co-founder of ice cream company Ben & Jerry's) and dozens of company presidents and chief executives, took a full page ad in the New York Times. It showed Pres. Bush, Dick Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld under the slogan:
"They're selling the war . . .we're not buying."
"Think about what our leaders are saying. More and more of the world is being designated a dark force by our leaders. Does anyone wonder where all these dark forces suddenly came from? No. We just take it for granted that they are out there. Obviously the events of 9/11 have a lot to do with this acceptance. We are willing to blindly accept the naked words of our leaders and forget our duty as citizens to wonder and question. . .we might want to believe that it is okay to turn our heads away and not look too hard at what our President is suggestion: the willful unprovoked destruction of another nation."
"They think we are rich, greedy and powerful. They think we are morally undisciplined, live profligate lives, parade and prostitute our women and children, rape the land, steal from the poor -- of other countries -- and protect the wrongdoers. Is this what the other half of the world -- the Islamic half -- thinks of us? Well, they are just plain wrong, aren't they? Or or they?"
". . .the more invested we are in the picture we have of ourselves as good people, the harder it becomes to see our faults. The less we look at our faults, the more we blame others. The more we blame others, the more rage we will elicit in those we blame. The more we do this without allowing those we blame to be heard, the closer to mutual destruction we are."
Actor Sean Penn took out a large ad in the Washington Post to attack the war "as a father and an American".
A full-page ad against war in Iraq was placed in the New York Times by the group, Not In Our Name. It was signed by such well-known names as Susan Sarandon, Robert Altman, Marisa Tomei, Oliver Stone, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Fonda, Alice Walker, Steve Earle, Claes Oldenberg, Gore Vidal and hundreds of others from the arts and academia.
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war reach a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has 'closed', the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
"I don't believe we should be bombing cities in our quest for one man. We've killed a million Iraqis since the start of the Gulf War -- mostly by blocking humanitarian aid. Let's stop now."
"I remember playing basketball with an Iraqi in the late '80s while Iran and Iraq were at war. I didn't know at the time that the U.S. and Britain were supplying weapons to both sides. I asked why they were always at war with each other and he said something that stayed with me: 'If it were up to the people, there would be peace. It's the governments that create war.' And now my government is creating its second war in less than a year. No. War requires two combatants, so I should say 'its second bombing campaign.'"
"I am a father, and no amount of propaganda can convince me that half a million dead children is acceptable 'collateral damage'. The fact is that Saddam Hussein was our boy. The CIA helped him to power, as they did the Shah of Iran and Noriega and Marcos and the Taliban and countless other brutal tyrants. The fact is that George Bush Sr. continued to supply nerve gas and technology to Saddam, even after he used it on Iran and then the Kurds in Iraq. While the Amnesty International report listing countless Saddam atrocities, including gassing and torturing Kurds, was sitting on his desk, Bush Sr. pushed through a $2 billion 'agricultural' loan and Thatcher gave hundreds of millions in export credit to Saddam. The elder Bush then had the audacity to quote the Amnesty reports to garner support for his oil war.
"A decade later, Shrub follows the same line: 'We have no quarrel with the Iraqi people." I'm sure half a million Iraqi parents are scratching their heads over that. I'm an American tired of lies. And with our government, it's mostly lies."
"This is a racist and imperialist war. The warmongers who stole the White House. . .have hijacked a nation's grief and turned it into a perpetual war on any non-white country they choose to describe as terrorist."
". . .in wartime people lose their senses. There are flags and yellow ribbons and posters and every media outlet is beating the war drum and even sensible people can hear nothing else. In the U.S., God forbid you should suggest the war is unjust or that dropping cluster bombs from 30,000 ft. on a city is a cowardly act. When TV satirist Bill Maher made some dissenting remarks about the bombing of Afghanistan, Disney pulled the plug on him. In a country that lauds its freedom of speech, a word of dissent can cost you your job."
Woody Harrelson says: Easy. I'd honour Kyoto. Join the world court. I'd stop subsidising earth rapers like Monsanto, Dupont and Exxon. I'd shut down the nuclear power plants. So I already have $200 billion saved from corporate welfare. I'd save another $100 billion by stopping the war on non-corporate drugs. And I'd cut the defence budget in half so they'd have to get by on a measly $200 billion a year. I've already saved half a trillion bucks by saying no to polluters and warmongers.
Then I'd give $300 billion back to the taxpayers. I'd take the rest and pay the people teaching our children what they deserve. I'd put $100 billion into alternative fuels and renewable energy. I'd revive the Chemurgy movement, which made the farmer the root of the economy, and make paper and fuel from wheat straw, rice straw and hemp. Not only would I attend, I'd sponsor the next Earth Summit.
And, of course, I'd give myself a fat raise.
"For those of us who think Bush's pending war against Iraq is reckless madness, it's tempting to retreat into bitter despair after the Senate vote giving him a blank check to attack. Like Dickens orphans pleading for gruel, the Democratic leadership politely requested that Bush consult them, work with the U.N. and other allies, and exhaust all diplomatic means before going to war. Then they caved and gave Bush -- and men like Richard Perle, who believed in winnable nuclear wars, and Dick Cheney, who opposed the freeing of Nelson Mandela -- the power to lead us into a war that will fuel rage and resentment throughout the Islamic world and beyond."
"Now, in a time when Bush audaciously claims that 'America speaks with one voice,' we must make our voices heard even more."
"Public courage can be contagious, much like public cowardice. Seattle congressman Jim McDermott made national news by journeying to Iraq and challenging Bush's actions. He went, in part, because so many citizens asked, again and again, that he take a stand. In turn, McDermott helped inspire opposition from other Washington congressmen, and one of our senators, Patty Murray."
"We need discussion and debate, teach-ins and vigils. We need to reach out in our local churches and temples, PTAs, city council meetings, Rotary Clubs, colleges, high schools, and with co-workers, neighbours and friends."
"The puppet Bush regime is using new, aggressive forms of brainwashing to change the very way Americans think and feel. This is the psychological dimension of the 'high cabal's' general onslaught against American workers, just as the 'war on terrorism' is the military dimension and corporate crime and tax cuts for the rich comprise the economic dimension. We are living under the beginning stages of a military dictatorship. . ."
"New propaganda slogans are being overtly and subliminally implanted by Bush and his gang through their speeches and actions: dissent is treason; Constitutional liberties are less important than security; the 'war on terrorism' excuses any attack on civil liberties; the Bush administration has the right and the duty to bring about 'regime change' in any nation it chooses; the economy is basically sound; only a few bad apples are found in the corporate barrel, which requires no new oversight laws; and if Bush and Cheney say they're not guilty of corporate crimes, then believe it and shut up."
"Some of these mind-programming tactics are so subtle that they can be overlooked in the hubbub of everyday life. For example, have you been aware that the very way in which the 'public discourse' is being carried on is a subtle brainwashing strategy? In 2002, the Congress, the media, the man and woman on the street are encouraged to ask only this question: How should the U.S. conduct its war against Iraq?
"What about the questions: Should the U.S. start a second war with Iraq? Does an unelected American president have the right to force a 'regime change' on another nation? Why aren't Americans up in arms about Bush starting a second battle in his 'war against terrorism?' Why should American military personnel die merely for Bush's insane quest for world domination and oil?"
"The way in which the Bush junta is conducting itself is an interesting brainwashing technique in itself: Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and the others continually commit outrages, but don't excuse them, explain them, or invite reflection on these affronts to morality and sanity. In fact, when some timid media voice criticizes the Bush junta, the person is demonized as questioning behavior which is beyond reproach. Americans are being brainwashed to ask only the questions the Bushites allow and they are programmed to see everything the Bush junta does as unquestionably correct. The brainwashing has gone so far that Americans no longer see what has happened to our country."