Last week, the news was particularly shameful--and the "hell," though fresh indeed, was in no way metaphorical. For last week saw two new examples of the Regime's most egregious ongoing crime against humanity--its cold, calculated, covert war against the world's poor.
Although it's being waged with words and policies--and not the flesh-devouring hardware now massing on Iraq's borders--make no mistake: Bush's war on the poor is a real war, with real casualties, and death tolls in the tens of thousands. It's war on a global scale, on many fronts, but it's being fought for two reasons only: personal political ambition and financial profit.
Ever since he seized office, Bush has taken every opportunity to derail or destroy UN efforts to provide reproductive health services to the world's poorest women. He has filled American delegations to policy-setting conferences on these issues with religious extremists from his devoted "Christian Right" political base. He has arbitrarily cut off funding to the UN's family planning program for developing nations: money that health experts say could have prevented 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant and child deaths in the past year alone.
But this Herodian slaughter means nothing to Bush; what's important is that he secures his "base" for the 2004 election. And so last week he launched a fresh assault on the poor and vulnerable. His fundamentalist minions sought to kneecap a UN conference on family planning in Asia, standing adamant--and alone--against the final resolution of a plan to guide policy and determine funding for a range of international health programs for women,