New Internationalist

Tales from the front

February 2004

Seriously’s quote of 2003 comes from a 40-year-old veteran of the US Marine Corps in a letter to anti-war comedian Michael Moore: ‘No wonder the world hates us, who do they get to see? Young assholes in uniforms with guns, and rich, old, white tourists! Christ, could we put up a worse first impression?’

Runner-up quote of the year goes to a Specialist in the US Army, who also wrote to Mike Moore about the capture of Saddam Hussein: ‘Wow, 130,000 troops on the ground, nearly 500 deaths and over a billion dollars a day, but they caught a guy living in a hole. Am I supposed to be dazzled?’

Read more of these extraordinary letters at [ soldierletters/index.php] (

Tales of sheer front

Meanwhile, another kind of effrontery has been going on in the state of California where an internal American Chemistry Council (ACC) memo has been leaked to campaigners in the Environmental Working Group. The memo exposes PR firm Nichols-Dezenhall’s proposal to create a phoney ‘front group’ that could forestall attempts to regulate the chemical industry.

The front group, the memo says, would be a ‘watchdog group to act as an information clearinghouse and criticize the [Precautionary Principle] in public and media forums?’ but would appear to be independent from the chemical industry. The Precautionary Principle is a policy that says new chemicals should not be allowed on the market unless they have been proven safe. Over 100 companies are members of the ACC, including Dow, Du Pont, Bayer, BASF and Monsanto.

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 364 This column was published in the February 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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