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Volume 8, Issue 39: September 25, 2006

  1. Sex Strike in Colombia
  2. Intelligence Director Spins Agencies' Report Saying Iraq War Has Spread Radical Islam
  3. Unveiling Iraq War's Expenses and Excuses
  4. The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War

1) Sex Strike in Colombia

A group of women in the city of Pereira, Colombia, have gone on a sex strike to pressure their husbands and boyfriends to give up their violent ways. This story, which echoes of Aristophanes' play "Lysistrata," offers a key lesson that extends far beyond ancient Greece or modern South America -- namely, it underscores the important role that grass-roots activism can play in combatting violence and other anti-social phenomena, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

"The ultimate hope for halting indiscriminate violence lies in civil society," writes Vargas Llosa. His latest column uses the case of the Pereira strike to remind us of how citizen action has defeated violence in other times and places. Through grass-roots measures, Peruvian peasants, for example, successfully confronted the Maoist Shining Path guerillas in the 1990s. Similarly, Venezuelans rich and poor defeated Castro-inspired guerillas in the 1960s. And civic associations in Spain helped force the Basque separatist group ETA to make concessions.

The phenomenon of civil society challenging -- and defeating -- violence and terrorism is probably far more common than most people recognize: "This quiet, grass-roots heroism is more difficult to detect than military budgets, so analysts often fail to look beyond the obvious," Vargas Llosa concludes.

"The Sex Strike," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (Washington Post Writers Group, 9/20/06)
"Huelga de sexo"

LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute


2) Intelligence Director Spins Agencies' Report Saying Iraq War Has Spread Radical Islam

A classified National Intelligence Estimate, leaked to the press last week, purportedly shows that the U.S. intelligence community believes that the Iraq war has worsened radical Islamic terrorism around the world. The leak has John Negroponte, the Bush-appointed Director of National Intelligence, in damage-control mode, arguing that the report's conclusions represent only "a fraction of judgments" that can easily be taken out of context. According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland, however, Negroponte is speaking in Washingtonian gobbledygook, because National Intelligence Estimates represent not a "fraction of judgments," but instead report the consensus view of all 16 agencies that comprise the official intelligence community.

"In reality, Negroponte, without much of a defense for the colossally horrendous ill–effects of the Iraq invasion, is attempting the age–old Washington trick of throwing out arguments, no matter how lame or twisted, to muddy the waters when really bad news has hit the media," writes Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

Eland attributes the leak to the hostility that much of the intelligence community feels toward the Bush administration due to manipulation of pre-war intelligence and other grievances. "Now the administration is learning that paybacks from spy agencies are hell, especially during an election year," Eland concludes.

"Negroponte Tries to Cloud Intelligence Analysis on the War on Terror," by Ivan Eland (9/25/06)


THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


3) Unveiling Iraq War's Expenses and Excuses

Unrest in Iraq may account for as much as a $20 to $25 increase in the price of a barrel of crude oil. Together, the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns cost the United States about $1.5 billion per week. These costs are quickly increasing a national debt that one well-known academic economist puts at nearly $9 trillion. Even if that estimate is overly pessimistic, Americans should expect higher taxes, "regardless of what our political leaders say," writes Paul Sullivan, an economics professor at the National Defense University and a research fellow at the Independent Institute, in a recent op-ed.

Whereas Sullivan weighs in on the expenses of the Iraq War, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs debunks many claims made on behalf of the war. On 9/11/06 Higgs Googled the term "War is horrible, but . . ." and got 1,450 returns, of which he critiques 14 different recurring types of responses. Typically the rationales offered in the "war is horrible but . . ." format were not serious and honest, but instead amounted to mere rhetorical propaganda. But at other times, the rationales were awash in logical and historical fallacies.

"Often the case for war rests on ill-founded speculation about what will happen if we do not go to war," writes Higgs in his latest essay. "If someone demands that the skeptic about war offer constructive criticism, here is my proposal: always insist that the burden of proof rest heavily on the war monger. . . . Given its horrors, which in reality are much greater than most people appreciate, it only makes sense that those who propose to enter into those horrors make a very, very strong case for doing so. If they cannot -- and I submit that they almost never can -- then people will serve their interests best by declining an invitation to war. As a rule, the most rational, humane, and auspicious course of action is indeed to give peace a chance."

"The Costs of an Expanding Long War," by Paul Sullivan (9/19/06)
"Los costos de una larga guerra en continua expansión"

"War Is Horrible, but . . .," by Robert Higgs (9/16/06)


RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE: The Crisis since 9/11, by Robert Higgs


4) The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War

The elections in Iraq have not resolved the main problems there -- a constitutional crisis, continued terrorism, a potent Sunni rebellion, and fighting between religious and ethnic groups that could result in a full-blown civil war.

Is the Iraq war a hopeless quagmire that has been lost, or can the U.S. still foster a united, peaceful and prosperous Iraq? If the latter, how can this be achieved? Should the Iraqi constitution be revised and, if so, how? Should the U.S. withdraw its forces -- with Iraq partitioned -- or use the threat of withdrawal to pressure Iraqi groups into a negotiated settlement? Should the U.S. extract troops rapidly, pull them out gradually, stay the course with current Bush administration policy, or escalate its involvement?

This very timely policy forum, with a panel of distinguished scholars, will address these thorny issues and propose varied and innovative solutions for Iraq.


-- MARK DANNER is Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College as well as the author of THE SECRET WAY TO WAR: The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History, and TORTURE AND TRUTH: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror, both published by The New York Review of Books.

-- IVAN ELAND is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at The Independent Institute and author of, THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, published by The Independent Institute, 2004.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Reception and book signing: 6:30 p.m.
Program: 7:00 p.m.

The Independent Institute Conference Center
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
For a map and directions, see

TICKETS: $15 per person ($10 for Independent Institute Members). Special Offer: Admission and a copy of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: $35 ($30 for members). Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366 or ordering online at

Praise for THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland:

“I can honestly say I found THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES to be factually well grounded and extremely well thought out. The logic is sound as is the scholarship from my perspective. The Independent Institute should be commended for its role is supporting neutral research which is driven neither by the politics of the left or the right.”
--RINALDO S. BRUTOCO, President, The World Business Academy

“In THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES, Dr. Eland shows that the concept of empire is wholly contrary to the principles of liberals and conservatives alike and makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers’ vision for a free republic.”
--RON PAUL, U.S. Congressman

For information about THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES, see

For more information about this event, see


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