Do not fear the lack of knowledge, fear false knowledge. All evil in this world comes from false knowledge. - Leo Tolstoy

Rambo Bush

An Art Key Gallery


Care In Whos Loves Torture

Compassionate Conservative

Angry Duck

Suggested Use of Duct Tape

Hero Barbara Lee


The A List

Minister of Satan

Stuck Here In The Middle With You

Steve Bell cartoon = ...and Bush created Democracy
Steve Bell

Five years after 9/11, philosopher Andre Glucksmann looks at the logic of the new Chicago, asking how we will face today's world of extended gang warfare.

The attack on the World Trade Center is never-ending. The horrors of September 11 still set hearts and minds aquiver. Increasing numbers of Americans (79 percent compared with 72 percent a year ago) and Europeans (66 percent, up from 58 percent in 2005) consider international terrorism a "massive threat" (according to a survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund and the Italian San Paolo society). With the end of the Cold War, humanity believed it was moving towards a global and ever more permanent peace. But in 2001, the world went off the rails, and today there is no more naive talk of the "end of history" with no major threats.

Such a radical shift in public opinion leaves the politicians guessing. The same survey shows Europeans are increasingly mistrustful of the United States, which is not to say the old continent shares one and the same pacifist ideology. On the subject of Iran, 54 percent of Americans, but also 53 percent of French people are in favour of military intervention if diplomacy fails to curb Iran. A similar dichotomy permeates everyday life. Despite the general concern, the economy, after a brief moment of abeyance, has started up again, as if nothing had happened. Even the most vulnerable industries - air traffic and worldwide tourism - are showing triumphant growth rates. Fear is a constant travel companion, but panic is not. And if, even in his private and family life, someone admits that the danger is growing, he still hopes to get through unharmed.

The unease has touched everything. In the media, the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington often turned into an exorcism seance with George Bush as the perfect whipping boy. When attacks and threats increase, he is to blame. When terrorists here and at the other end of the world engage in unscrupulous murderers, this is his sorry legacy. When in Iraq the faith war swells, when Muslims in Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan and Indonesia slaughter each other, when Iran builds nuclear weapons, then they don't look for those responsible, it is Bush and Bush again. It was he who backed the war in Lebanon, who instigated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and when Putin sets the Caucasus on fire, or uses gas to blackmail the Georgians or Ukrainians, then they are quite happy to believe that the Kremlin was simply responding to the "provocations" from Washington. Do you get it? The three thousand September 11 martyrs were the victims of American "arrogance". Five years down the line the victim has turned henchman.

In the past, people used to stick dolls with pins to ward off bad luck and kill evil spirits. In our day we apostrophise the supposed master of the world, accusing him of abusing his "superpowers". He is the cause of all our evils. If he disappeared, universal harmony would be re-established. Our magical behaviour wins on two counts. While our finger points to the cause of world chaos, our angelic smile assures that once the evil power has been paralysed, everything - the dove and the snake, the lion and the lamb - will coexist in harmony. Five years ago, public opinion was riveted on the mastermind of the largest terrorist attack in the history of the world. Now, however, on September 11, 2006, all eyes are on the abominable Bush and the lunatic America. The bloody instigators of the massacre fade from memory, to the point that they desperately attempt to get back into the limelight with video cassettes drawing attention to their presence, claiming the copyrights that are being stolen from them. In vain: all the good spirits conclude that Washington, with its dark designs, is keeping them out of the picture.

But let's be serious. Whatever his trials and whatever his errors, Bush did not invent the planetary extension of a terrorism that existed well before he came to power, and will continue no matter who succeeds him. The Cold War stopped with the fall of the Soviet empire, but the cold warriors have been there all along. They emancipated themselves, and extended the rule of the knife, the machete and the Kalashnikov to the four corners of the world. This rule was by no means the exclusive privilege of the Islamists. While the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) went after intellectuals and women, and massacred farmers en masse in Algeria, in Europe, the terrorism of ethnic cleansing (Milosevic) was opposing the democratic way (Vaclav Havel). The machete swingers in Liberia and Sierra Leone were delighted when the genocide of a million Tutsis moved on like the brown death to Congo, where civilians died in even greater numbers. The wars and massacres of Saddam Hussein, the bloody joys of Khomeinism, the killings in Timor, the atrocities of the Tamil Tigers, the ruins of Grozny and the hecatombs of Darfur give ample evidence for how the end of the blocs liberated not only the democracies, but also homicidal and genocidal impulses, with the blessing of diverse religious, nationalist and racist ideologies.

Regular or irregular soldiers, in civilian clothing or uniforms, t-shirts, caftans or three piece suits, the fanatic post-Cold-War warriors are cutting themselves a place in the sun with fire or metal, to gain houses, benefits, women, generals' stripes or absolute power. The colour of the flag is irrelevant, provided it legitimises the faculty for unchecked killing. In certain months, the number of Muslims killed by Iraqi terrorism outstrips all the GIs killed since beginning of the offensive against Baghdad! This is not a new Vietnam, but a new "Chicago", an ethnic-theological version of Mafia and gang war, laying claim to territories through ethnic purification. The fall of communism allows Milosevic to perpetrate his crimes against humanity, and Putin to quash Chechnya. This is not a reason to deplore the collapse of the totalitarian, European regimes with many millions of souls on their conscience. The fall of Saddam, a millionaire in terms of civilian lives, allowed bloody religious militias to flourish. This should be a reason to help the floundering American coalition, whose departure no sensible person would want to hurry.

What should we think, once we've rid ourselves of the fantasy of an all-powerful America and a satanic Bush? We must return to the principle of reality, and see the world as it is: fragile and chaotic, peopled with individuals and peoples who are prisoner to a dramatic period of transition. They can no longer follow the millenarian norms which their ancestors respected with their eyes closed; the violence of modern centuries has gone the last step in effacing their traditional bearings. But neither can they rely as we do on the rule of law, which doesn't exist in their countries (not yet, say the optimists). In this period of transition, terrorists of all stripes proclaim: "we will win because you love life, while we are not afraid of death." The fall of the Twin Towers illustrates their challenge. Who will take the day? The nihilistic combatants who practise homicide and suicide? Or the majority of honest people who aspire - as much in the slums as in the chic neighbourhoods - to live civilly? To accept, or not to accept, the law of the human bomb? That, I fear, will be the question for the children of the 21st century: the question of liberty, and of survival.

The article originally appeared in German on Perlentaucher on September 21, 2006

Andre Glucksmann
is a French philosopher who was active in the protest movement of the 1960s and opposed the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. His most recent book is "Une rage d'enfant". A German edition will be published soon by Nagel & Kimche Verlag.

Translation: lp, jab.


George Bush ist schuld. Besonders an unserer Blindheit für die Tatsachen.

Von Andre Glucksmann

Der Anschlag auf das World Trade Center nimmt kein Ende. Der Schrecken des 11. Septembers macht Herzen und Geistern noch immer zu schaffen. Immer mehr Amerikaner (79 Prozent gegen 72 Prozent vor noch einem Jahr) und Europäer (66 Prozent gegen 58 Prozent im Jahr 2005) halten den internationalen Terrorismus für eine "massive Bedrohung" (wie eine Umfrage des German Marshall Fund und der italienischen San Paolo Gesellschaft ergab). Seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges glaubte die Menschheit einem globalen und immer endgültigeren Frieden entgegenzuleben. Doch 2001 ist die Welt aus den Fugen geraten, und heute ist vom naiven Idyll eines "Endes der Geschichte" ohne größere Bedrohungen keine Rede mehr.

Ein solch radikaler Wandel in der öffentlichen Meinung lässt die Politiker ratlos zurück. Dieselbe Umfrage zeigt, dass die Europäer den Vereinigten Staaten gegenüber immer misstrauischer werden, was nicht heißen soll, dass der alte Kontinent ein- und dieselbe pazifistische Ideologie vertritt. Hinsichtlich des Irans sprechen sich 54 Prozent der Amerikaner, aber auch 53 Prozent der Franzosen für eine militärische Intervention aus, sollte die Diplomatie in ihrem Versuch scheitern, dem Iran Einhalt zu gebieten. Auch durch das alltägliche Leben weht ein ähnlicher Zwiespalt. Trotz der allgemeinen Sorge ist die Wirtschaft, nach einem kurzen Moment der Schwebe, wieder angelaufen, als sei nichts geschehen. Selbst die anfälligsten Branchen - der Flugverkehr und der weltweite Tourismus - verzeichnen triumphierende Wachstumsraten. Die Angst fliegt mit, ja. Aber nicht die Panik. Und wenn ein jeder auch in seinem Privat- und Familienleben eingesteht, dass die Gefahr wächst, so hofft er doch, ungeschoren davonzukommen.

Das Unbehagen hat alles erfasst. In den Medien geriet das Gedenken zum 5. Jahrestag der Anschläge auf New York und Washington oftmals zu einer Art exorzistischen Sitzung, bei der George Bush als perfekter Sündenbock fungierte. Wenn Angriffe und beträchtliche Drohungen sich mehren, dann ist das seine Schuld. Wenn die Terroristen sowohl hier als auch am anderen Ende der Welt skrupellose Mörder anheuern, so ist dies seine traurige Bilanz. Wenn im Irak ein Glaubenskrieg schwelt, wenn Muslime sich in Marokko, Algerien, Afghanistan oder Indonesien gegenseitig abschlachten, wenn der Iran atomar aufrüstet, dann suchen Sie nicht nach den Hintermännern, es ist Bush, Bush und nochmals Bush. Er ist der Geldgeber im Libanon, der Anstifter des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts, und wenn Putin den Kaukausus in Brand setzt oder die Ukrainer und die Georgier mit seinem Gas erpresst, dann glauben Sie ruhig, dass der Kreml dabei lediglich auf die "Provokationen" aus Washington antwortet. Begreifen Sie? Die dreitausend Gemarterten des 11. Septembers hat die amerikanische "Arroganz" geopfert; fünf Jahre danach ist das Opfer zum Henker geworden.

Einst stieß man Nadeln in eine Puppe, um das Unglück abzuwenden und aus der Ferne die bösen Geister zu töten. Heute wendet man sich an den angeblichen Weltherrscher und wirft ihm vor, seine Übermacht auf absurde Weise zu gebrauchen. Er ist der Quell all unserer Qualen. Sein Verschwinden würde die universelle Eintracht wiederherstellen. Unser magisches Verhalten macht uns gleich in zweierlei Hinsicht zu Gewinnern: Unser Zeigefinger deutet auf die Ursache des weltweiten Chaos; unser Engelslächeln will weismachen, dass wenn erst die böse Macht gelähmt ist, alles gut wird, und Taube und Schlange, Löwe und Lamm in Harmonie miteinander leben werden. Vor fünf Jahren starrte die Öffentlichkeit auf den Anstifter des größten Terrorattentates der Geschichte. Der 11. September 2006 hingegen hat nur Augen für den abscheulichen Bush, das wahnsinnige Amerika und verdrängt die blutrünstigen Drahtzieher des Massakers. So sehr, dass diese unseligen Fürsten verzweifelt versuchten, die Aufmerksamkeit wieder auf sich zu ziehen, und per Videobotschaft kundtaten, dass sie immer noch da seien. Gerade noch rechtzeitig beanspruchten sie jene Autorenrechte, die man ihnen streitig macht. Vergebliche Liebesmüh, denn die Gutmenschen schließen, dass es Washington ist, das sie mit seinen finsteren Absichten in Atem hält.

Aber ganz im Ernst, ganz gleich wie sehr er im Dunkeln getappt ist und welche Fehler er sich hat zuschulden kommen lassen, George Bush hat die weltweite Ausdehnung des Terrorismus nicht erfunden, eines Terrorismus wohlgemerkt, der schon lange vor seiner Zeit existierte und der, wer auch immer sein Nachfolger sein wird, fortdauern wird. Nach dem Zusammenbruch des Sowjetimperiums hat der Kalte Krieg aufgehört, aber uns seine Krieger hinterlassen. Sie haben sich emanzipiert und in allen möglichen Ecken der Welt die Herrschaft des Messers, der Machete und der Kalaschnikow errichtet. Und dies war keineswegs nur den Islamisten vorbehalten. Als in Algerien die GIA Intellektuelle und Frauen ins Visier nahm und massenhaft Bauern niedermetzelte, stand in Europa dem demokratischen Weg (siehe Vaclav Havel) der Terrorismus und die ethnische Säuberung gegenüber (siehe Milosevic). Die Enthaupter und Verstümmler in Liberia und Sierra Leone frohlockten, als der Völkermord an einer Million Tutsi von einer braunen Pest im Kongo abgelöst wurde, die noch zahlreichere Opfer unter der Zivilbevölkerung forderte. Die Kriege und die Massaker Saddam Husseins, die blutigen Scherze des Khomeinismus, die Gemetzel im Timor, die Gräueltaten der Tamilen-Tiger, die Ruinen von Grosny und die Massengräber in Darfur demonstrieren zur Genüge, wie das Ende der verfeindeten Blöcke die Demokraten befreite, aber auch Mord- und Völkermordtriebe entfesselte. Mit dem Segen diverser religiöser, nationalistischer oder rassistischer Ideologien.

Ob als Berufssoldaten oder Reservisten, in Zivil oder in Uniform, im T-shirt, im Kaftan oder im Dreiteiler, die fanatischen Krieger, die der Kalte Krieg hinterlassen hat, sind begierig, sich einen Platz an der Sonne zu verschaffen, indem sie mit Klinge und Feuer Wohnungen, Pfründe, Frauen, Dienstgrade oder absolute Macht erobern. Es kommt ihnen nicht auf ihre Fahne an, wenn sie nur gewährleistet, entfesselt morden zu können. In manchen Monaten übersteigt die Anzahl der vom irakischen Terror getöteten muslimischen Opfer die gesamte Zahl der seit der Bagdad-Offensive gefallenen GIs! Dabei handelt es sich nicht um ein neues Vietnam, sondern um ein neues "Chicago", um die ethno-theologische Version eines Banden- und Mafiakriegs, in dem man sich durch ethnische Säuberung Gebiete aneignet. Der Sturz des Kommunismus ermöglichte Milosevic, seine Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit zu verüben, und Putin, Tschetschenien zu unterwerfen, was aber kein Grund ist, den Zusammenbruch von Europas totalitären Regimes, die millionenfach gemordet haben, zu bedauern. Der Sturz Saddams, der für den Tod von Millionen von Zivilisten verantwortlich ist, rief blutrünstige Milizen auf den Plan, und das sollte ein Grund sein, der verstrickten amerikanischen Koalition zu helfen, denn ihren überstürzten Abzug kann kein verstandesbegabter Mensch für richtig halten.

Doch was und wie sollen wir denken, wenn erst einmal das Hirngespinst eines allmächtigen Amerikas und eines satanischen George Bush beiseitegeräumt ist? Wir müssen zum Prinzip Wirklichkeit zurückkehren und die Welt so betrachten wie sie nun einmal läuft: unsicher, chaotisch, von Individuen und Völkern bewohnt, die in einem dramatischen Moment des Übergangs gefangen sind. Sie können sich nicht mehr nach den Jahrtausende alten Normen richten, die ihre Ahnen blind befolgten. Die Gewalttätigkeit der modernen Jahrhunderte hat die überlieferten Orientierungspunkte endgültig entwurzelt. Doch ebensowenig können sie sich wie wir in die Rechtsstaaten integrieren, die es bei ihnen nicht gibt (noch nicht, sagen die Optimisten). In diesem Moment des Übergangs verkünden Terroristen unterschiedlichster Couleur: "Wir werden siegen, weil ihr das Leben liebt und wir den Tod nicht fürchten". Und der Einsturz der Twin Towers veranschaulicht diese herausfordernde Kampfansage. Wer wird siegen? Jene nihilistischen Kämpfer, die den Tod und den Selbstmord verherrlichen? Oder die Mehrheit der ehrlichen Leute, die es versteht - ob in Slums oder in schicken Wohngegenden - auf zivile Weise zu leben? Das Gesetz der menschlichen Bomben zu akzeptieren oder auch nicht, dies wird, befürchte ich, für das Kind unserer Zeit die Frage aller Fragen sein, die Frage nach Freiheit und Überleben.

Andre Glucksmann

Aus dem Franzöischen von Barbara Jantzen.

Transatlantic Trends Overview: 2006

Transatlantic Trends is an annual public opinion survey examining American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship. A project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo, with additional support provided by Fundação Luso-Americana, Fundación BBVA, and the Tipping Point Foundation, this year’s survey examines what citizens on both sides of the Atlantic think about a broad range of topics, including:

• The state of transatlantic relations five years after 9/11

• The ability of the U.S. and Europe to cooperate on international threats and challenges like a nuclear Iran, the rising power of China, and Islamic fundamentalism.

• European feelings about the EU after a year of “reflection” following the failure of referenda on the EU Constitutional Treaty

• Democracy promotion as a foreign policy goal

• The compatibility of Islam and democracy

• The tradeoff between civil liberties and homeland security

• Turkey’s accession to the European Union and changing geo-strategic orientation

• The role of NATO and the United Nations

Transatlantic Trends 2006 was conducted by TNS Opinion. Data for the survey was collected in the United States and twelve European countries: Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Advisory Committee: Pierangelo Isernia, Professor of Political Science at the University of Siena (Italy); Philip Everts, Director of the Institute of International Studies at the University of Leiden (Netherlands); and Richard Eichenberg, Professor of Political Science at Tufts University.

Research Eliminated 40 Years ago

On October 6, 1966 LSD was outlawed in California by people who are very similar to those in control of the United States government today ('Those who say one thing and do another'.)

Psychedelic Review 1963

It was a sad day from a research point of view, because LSD looked promising as a cure for alcoholism and other problems.

A minimalist picture of who these anti-LSD culprits are is located: [click here].

In memory of this day, there is a new addition to the Podcast page by Rusty Gauthier and Friends. It is short (686,528 bytes) and worth a listen (-;

Hippies, Rejoice: Marijuana May Stave Off Alzheimers

Marijuana may stave off Alzheimer's

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) -- Good news for aging hippies: Smoking pot may stave off Alzheimer's disease.

New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of the disease by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function.

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs.

THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The researchers said their discovery could lead to more effective drug treatment for Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia among the elderly.

Those afflicted with Alzheimer's suffer from memory loss, impaired decision-making, and diminished language and movement skills. The ultimate cause of the disease is unknown, though it is believed to be hereditary.

Marijuana is used to relieve glaucoma and can help reduce side effects from cancer and AIDS treatment.

Possessing marijuana for recreational use is illegal in many parts of the world, including the United States, though some states allow possession for medical purposes.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.

Robert Anton Wilson Needs Our Help

I hope people I've inspired with my work would band together to help me out in my later years if I needed it. Which is at least part of the reason why I'm sending what I can to support cosmic thinking patriarch Robert Anton Wilson, whose infirmity and depleted finances have put him in the precarious position of not being able to meet next month's rent.

In case the name doesn't immediately ring a bell, Bob is the guy who wrote Cosmic Trigger - still the best narrative on how to enter and navigate the psycho-spiritual realm, and co-wrote the Illuminatus Trilogy, an epic work that pushes beyond conspiracy theory into conspiracy practice. Robert Anton Wilson will one day be remembered alongside such literary philosophers as Aldous Huxley and James Joyce.

But right now, Bob is a human being in a rather painful fleshsuit, who needs our help. I refuse for the history books to say he died alone and destitute, for I want future generations to know we appreciated Robert Anton Wilson while he was alive.

Let me add, on a personal note, that Bob is the only one of my heroes who I was not disappointed to actually meet in person. He was of tremendous support to me along my road, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to be of some support on his. Please Visit:



Back By Popular Demand: For those Horney, Page Hungry, DC 'Publicans
(4,588,755 bytes)

Mirrored from an old, currently, non working link:

AFP - President George W. Bush insisted that US troops would not pull out of Iraq before "the terrorists are defeated," a day after acknowledging a possible parallel between violence there and the Tet Offensive during the US war in Vietnam.

PRISON PLANET - Government Targets American Bloggers As Enemy Propagandists - Military, Homeland Security, Bush White House strategy sharpen knives against anyone critical of the "war on terror" by Paul Joseph Watson

Steve Bell cartoon  "Flickering Flame"
Steve Bell

'Beginning of the end of America'

Keith Olbermann addresses the Military Commissions Act in a special comment

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

[Continue reading at]:

America ended on October 17, 2006

Diary Entry by Mary Shaw

I'm talking about the America that I had come to know and love -- the America that stands for human rights, moral values, goodness and decency.

On Tuesday, October 17, at 9:35 a.m., George W. Bush will sign the Military Commissions Act and abolish some important rights that our founding fathers had placed at the heart of our democracy.

Thereafter, Bush and his agents will have the power to arbitrarily decide that you may be a threat to this nation. They can then lock you up and throw away the key. They don't have to tell you why you're being detained. They can torture you, as long as they don't call it that. They don't have to reveal whatever evidence they might have against you, so there is no way that you'll ever be able to dispute that secret evidence or prove your innocence. You're at their mercy.

This sounds like the kind of thing that goes on in brutal third-world dictatorships. But soon it will be the new American way.

[Note: If one can stand an altered form of Science Fiction, it is perhaps a good time to listen to this MP3 = Rebirth of Evil = (click graphic to play = 18,371,504 bytes) and discover what the 4th Reich is currently doing]



Michael Waldman, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Professor Waldman's vita

Sean Nicholson, Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University and NBER, Sean's vita

Nodir Adilov, Department of Economics, Indiana University-Purdue University, Nodir's vita

Download the paper from Site 1 or Site 2:

Doubts over Iraq drive a volatile U.S. campaign

Steve Bell cartoon "NOT CREDIBLE" 655,000 IRAQIS DEAD
Steve Bell

Doubts over Iraq drive a volatile U.S. campaign
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

With three weeks left in a volatile U.S. election campaign, growing public unhappiness with the Iraq war has become the top obstacle for Republicans in their fight to keep control of Congress, pollsters and analysts said.

While a Capitol Hill sex scandal shook up Republicans and President George W. Bush's sinking popularity is weighing them down, public concern over Iraq is the dominant factor driving voters toward Democrats in the November 7 election.

"This election has become a referendum on Bush and a referendum on his principal policy, which in the minds of voters is Iraq," said pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center.

"It is clear the public is angry with President Bush and therefore with Republicans for a war that has his name on it," he said.

Iraq has been a critical theme on the campaign trail all year, with Republicans frequently on the defensive over Democratic calls for a change of course and charges the Republicans are rubber-stamps for Bush's decisions.

Republican supporters of Bush's argument that Iraq is a central front in the broader war against terrorism now find themselves part of a national minority, according to recent polls.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 57 percent of registered voters did not believe America's safety from terrorism depended on success in Iraq -- a direct refutation of Bush's argument for staying the course.

The percentage of voters who thought the Iraq war could actually hurt U.S. efforts against terrorism jumped to 46 percent from 32 percent in one month, while 61 percent said Iraq was in the midst of a civil war, the same survey found.

A flurry of other polls showed Bush and Republicans falling to new lows amid the unfolding scandal over former Republican Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record)'s lewd messages to male teen-age congressional aides.

Most of those polls also found the war was the top issue driving voters in the November 7 elections, when Democrats must pick up 15 seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate to win control of Congress.


"If the spotlight is on Iraq for much of the final stage of the campaign, the Republicans could well lose both chambers," political analyst Charlie Cook of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said in a column.

Democrats were favored over Republicans by 17 percentage points in a USA Today/Gallup poll asking which party could better handle Iraq, and the traditional Republican advantage on fighting terrorism vanished in the same poll, with Democrats ahead by 5 points.

Cook said the Foley scandal was a problem for Republicans, "but in the larger scheme of things, the fact that this election is becoming a referendum on the war in Iraq is the real nightmare for the Republican Party."

As the Foley scandal broke, Bush and Republicans already were on the defensive over a government report saying the Iraq war actually fueled Islamic extremism and over a new book by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post that said the White House bungled the war.

Amid a surge of violence and signs the country is drifting toward civil war, Britain's army chief said last week that postwar planning in Iraq was poor and British troops should leave Iraq soon because their presence was worsening security.

Bush renewed his message of economic improvement and his charges Democrats are weak on terrorism during a midweek news conference, but it was soon drowned out by the drumbeat of news on the Foley scandal, Iraq and a North Korea nuclear test.

"I've never seen anything like it," independent pollster Dick Bennett of American Research Group said of the combination of anger and uncertainty among the public. The topic of Iraq dominates focus groups he conducts with voters, he said.

"What people want is some hope for the future. Who will make this better? They aren't hearing much of that," he said. "Aside from gasoline prices, nothing is getting better for Republicans."

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