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World Views Bush Admin. With Disdain And Fear

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Between The Lines
http://www.btlonline.org
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Between the Lines Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release Sept. 21, 2004
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Much of the World Views Bush Administration Policies with Disdain and Fear

- Interview with David Cadman, deputy mayor of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, conducted by Scott Harris

Listen in RealAudio: http://www.btlonline.org/cadman092404.ram

From Sept. 9 to 11, New Haven, Conn., hosted the 17th annual assembly of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. About 90 cities have been recognized by the United Nations Secretary General for excellence in working for peace. These cities have undertaken projects ranging from including a peace curricula in their schools to fighting Star Wars, the Reagan-era missile shield proposal that has been resurrected by President George W. Bush.

The focus of this year's assembly is the abolition of nuclear weapons.

One of the attendees at the assembly was David Cadman, deputy mayor of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. His city is at the forefront in working for peaceful settlement of conflicts, dedicating resources to human development and establishing alternatives to incarceration. Cadman was at the founding conference of the Peace Messenger Cities in 1989 and spends a lot of his time traveling the world to attend peace conferences.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with David Cadman while on a bus from New Haven to New York, where delegates to the conference visited the United Nations and attended forums on the UN's role in peace and development. He discusses an outsider's view of the United States after the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq and some of the peace projects his city has undertaken.

David Cadman: Well, I think most people feel the U.S. is becoming belligerent and no longer participating in the world community. They are going it alone and that’s been accentuated since Sept. 11, and they feel they can do whatever they want, wherever they want, regardless of the international body politic and what the international community thinks. And I think as a consequence, America is alienating itself from the global community. Certainly, as Canadians, we are appalled at the kind of positions the Americans have taken. I’ve just been in Europe and the Europeans are appalled. My friends in Latin America and Africa can’t believe that in the 21st century that a leading superpower is so unsophisticated as to believe they can go it alone.

Between The Lines: Canada did not support the war, and Canada has no troops in Iraq, right? So obviously this isn’t a domestic issue so much in Canada if the people are opposed to the war but the government is also opposed to the war. But have there been any public expressions of anti-war sentiment? You know, in the U.S. there have been thousands of demonstrations in big cities and little towns where people are out…

David Cadman: In Vancouver, there’s a weekly demonstration in opposition to the war in Iraq. There was a march, I forget what day, it was coordinated and there were 75,000 people out to that. Canada basically believes in working within the U.N. framework. And when the Americans say, "We’re not going to work within the U.N. framework," we say, "Well, you’re on your own then. We’re not going to go with you." So, I think clearly this was a case where we thought Hans Blix was getting to the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that was going to interrupt the ability of the Bush administration to do what they wanted to do, and what they wanted to do since they got elected, which was to go in and get rid of Saddam Hussein.

Between The Lines: Do Canadians believe there’s any connection between 9/11 and Iraq and Saddam Hussein?

David Cadman: No, none. They know perfectly well there was absolutely no connection there. What is appalling to us, in fact, is to look at the American media and the way it deceives the American people. And that the American people are, for an international superpower, are, quite frankly, some of the dumbest people on international relations that I know of.

Between The Lines: By dumb, ignorant? Because people just have no clue.

David Cadman: Well, yeah, they’re uninformed, and the world is seen through a very narrow telescope. The focus is solely on American issues and doesn’t look at the larger international context within which they’re operating.

Between The Lines: What do you see as the value of the peace messenger cities?

David Cadman: Well, I think both the Mayors for Peace and the Peace Messenger Cities, are the locus now of where people live. Fifty percent of the world’s people live in cities. Most of those cities are cities that in case of war are targeted. And more and more and more, the issues that need to be resolved both from a health, social, construction perspective, exist in cities, and the cities are being starved of the resources to do that in order to feed a military-industrial complex. And I think there’s the possibility around a civic unity, of beginning to push back. The statement that was made by the U.S. mayors’ congress on nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty…those things are important. And I think as cities we can begin to drive a national agenda for peace, and say, you know, the cold war’s over, and it’s time not to start another war…the Fourth World War, as the Bush Administration has declared it. It’s time to begin to build a framework for peace and take the resources we have to better humankind.

Between The Lines: So what are some of the peace issues that you’re working on in Vancouver?

David Cadman: I chair the Peace and Justice Committee for the City of Vancouver. And essentially, we’ve come out very strongly in opposition to Star Wars. We’ve led a campaign nationally on that, and I think there are now some 80 Canadian cities that have signed on to that. It forced the incoming Prime Minister to put that question on his website, and he put it on, and the response was 87 percent of the population was opposed to Canada participating.

Between The Lines: What’s the role of Canada right now in this?

David Cadman: Well, Canada is sort of being brought into the discussions because of their membership in NORAD, North American Air Defense. The theory is that the missile shield is part of that. And so it’s very hard to be part of NORAD, and part of a North American air defense, and not enter into the discussions about what role this would play in air defense. But the Canadian public is very, very clearly opposed. We’ve got a minority government nationally right now, where the balance of power is held by a social democratic or democratic socialist party, and, quite frankly, it is an issue that will bring down the government if they pursue it, and they know it.

Contact David Cadman via email at cityforpeace@peaceandjustice.ca

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Melinda Tuhus is a producer of Between The Lines, which can be heard on more than 35 radio stations. This interview excerpt was featured on the award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines ( http://www.btlonline.org) for the week ending Sept. 24, 2004. This Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Melinda Tuhus and Anna Manzo.

PRINT INFORMATION: For reprint permission, please email betweenthelines@snet.net.


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