Saturday, April 17, 2004
The reason we got into so much trouble in Vietnam, and why we are in so much trouble in Iraq now, is that we never learned to use the proper language when referring to these military misadventures. While Democrats and Republicans fight over who best to stick with the blame for our Southeast Asian ass-whipping, both sides remain completely blind to the fact that Vietnam was not really Johnson's or Nixon's Vietnam, any more than Iraq is Bush's Iraq. Vietnam was, first and foremost, Vietnam's Vietnam—and the current absurd debate about the comparison between the two wars has proven that the vast majority of Americans still have trouble grasping that fact.
...If anyone needs a hint as to why the rest of the world hates us so much, this is why. Thirty years after the fact, America still insists on looking at Vietnam as "our national tragedy," the tragedy apparently being 58,000 dead, a regrettable loss of public confidence in the institution of the presidency, a brief period of political turmoil on American campuses, an enduring hesitancy to use military force. Just look at our movies about Vietnam: the tragedy is always the poor Vietnam vet who comes home and suffers through a long period of monosyllabic turmoil and intermittent employment, doomed to live out his days limping around his hometown in boots and a shabby field jacket, wondering where his life went so wrong.
Right. That's the tragedy. Not the indiscriminate murder of one-sixth of Laos. Not the saturation bombing of wide swaths of rural Indochina. Not the turning of ancient cultures into moonscapes. Not the napalming of children or the dropping of mines and CBUs into civilian villages for scare value.
This process is starting all over again. With 58,000 looming in the background, we are starting a new count, which is up to about 640 as of this writing. Do we even count the number of Iraqi dead? Maybe in the daily battle reports, but you have to really look for a running total. I've seen numbers ranging from 10,000 to 15,000, but it's never anything like the concrete numbers we grimly and tearfully assign to coalition deaths. As in the past, we're content to let that other figure drift off into an estimate.
When this whole mess is over, I'm sure we can expect more of the same. With half of Mesopotamia turned to glass, we will build a sunken wall to our boys and give an Oscar to the first director with enough balls to do Saving Private Lynch. We have no shame in this country. [more]
Woodward's Plan of Attack
Woodward's Plan of Attack
Continuing where Bush At War
left off, Bob Woodward is set to release a new book which probes George Bush's handling of the Iraq mess. The major revelation thus far is that Bush charged Rumsfeld with drawing up a war plan as early as November 2001
, something done outside the purview of Congress and even some members of Bush's cabinet. The plan also drew on funds that were actually allocated for operations in Afghanistan
An extended article
about Woodward's findings from the Washington Post
outlines some of the faultlines in the administration, most of which have been reported (or at least hinted at) elsewhere: Powell hates Cheney; a possessed Cheney and his minions (Wolfowitz, Feith, and Libby) led the march to war; Condi Rice was in the dark for quite a while.
Interestingly, the Post
article even reveals Powell felt Cheney and his boys "had established what amounted to a separate government" with Doug Feith's Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, which eventually mutated into the Office of Special Plans
. Powell went as far as to call Feith's setup a "Gestapo" office.
Nonetheless, the Good General decided to throw his hat into the ring by lobbying for the war before the UN in February 2003, armed with "slam dunk" evidence against Hussein's regime provided by Tenet's CIA. And, well, we all know how that turned out
The book, titled Plan of Attack
, is set for release next week. Woodward will do the customary appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes
this Sunday, and will likely unveil further details, most of which do not portray the administration in glowing terms and confirm for the umpeenth time that Iraq was in the crosshairs all along.
The funny thing about Woodward is that while he's an establishment journalist who has been given unprecedented access to the Bush administration because he can be frequently relied upon to fawn in the face of power
, it looks like there might be enough material in this new book alone to start impeachment proceedings
. Of course, that won't happen, but I suppose we can dream.
Alec of la vie viennoise
comes up with his own sequel to the LGF Quiz
. Thanks, Alec!
Friday, April 16, 2004
"I've been called a traitor and a turncoat for mentioning these things," said Zinni, 60. The problems in Iraq are being caused, he said, by poor planning and shortsightedness, such as disbanding the Iraqi army and being unable to provide security.
Zinni said the United States must now rely on the U.N. to pull its "chestnuts out of the fire in Iraq."
"We're betting on the U.N., who we blew off and ridiculed during the run-up to the war," Zinni said. "Now we're back with hat in hand. It would be funny if not for the lives lost."
This is an interesting essay about how the political pendulum in the United States swung from liberals to conservatives in 40 years or so. And, moreover, how the pendulum will presumably swing back as movement conservatism collapses in on itself.
Paul Farmer reports from the forgotten land of Haiti. Remember when everyone was in an uproar about the US-aided and abetted coup? Seems so long ago...
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Truth is staring us all in the face...watch video
"In the war against the militias every door American troops crash through, every civilian bystander shot,there will be many,will make matters worse, for a while. Nevertheless, the first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence."--George WillGeorge Will, like many of his ilk did not serve his country when called; yet another right-wing chicken hawk.
I have come across the George Will quote offered above, twice- here
. Both articles are relatively short and bear reading.
In light of the above links I offer "Frequently Asked Questions on Occupation" linked from Human Rights Watch
Senior Commanders of the British military in Iraq have cited US Military treatment of Iraqis as "heavy handed and disproportionate
", even "tragic".
The officer explained that, under British military rules of war, British troops would never be given clearance to carry out attacks similar to those being conducted by the US military, in which helicopter gunships have been used to fire on targets in urban areas.
British rules of engagement only allow troops to open fire when attacked, using the minimum force necessary and only at identified targets.
The American approach was markedly different: "When US troops are attacked with mortars in Baghdad, they use mortar-locating radar to find the firing point and then attack the general area with artillery, even though the area they are attacking may be in the middle of a densely populated residential area.
Case in Point: The Iraqi Town of Falluja
I am just going to give you links to follow to look into American use of force. I offer no judgement, having no more insight than you into just what is happening there.
"Sarajevo on the Euphrates: An Eyewitness Account From Inside the US siege of Falluja
" by Dahr Jamail"Eyewitness Report from Falluja"
by Jo Wilding
The two accounts above seem to be by people who experienced Falluja together.
"Fallujah Refugees Describe Horrors of U.S. Siege
" Aaron Glantz "Report from Fallujah -- Destroying a Town in Order to Save it"
by Rahul Mahajan
After reading those accounts you may get the sense that the US military is emulating the brutal tactics used by the Israeli Defense Force
in Occupied Palestine. It seems the US is getting training from Israeli advisors
in "urban warfare".
Compare the eyewitness accounts of Falluja with the anecdotal evidence
of what Shimon Peres termed a massacre
, the Israeli Defense Forces "Operation Defensive Shield" in Jenin
which was launched this time two years ago in the Occupied Territories. Much like Falluja it is an example of your tax dollars at work. In fairness I offer the first person account of a bulldozer driver who spent 75 straight hours on a US made bulldozer drinking whisky and knocking down Palestinian houses
Many people where inside houses we demolish. They would come out of the houses we where working on. I didn't see, with my own eyes, people dying under the blade of the D-9. and I didn't see house falling down on live people. But if there were any, I wouldn't care at all. I am sure people died inside these houses, but it was difficult to see, there was lots of dust everywhere, and we worked a lot at night. I found joy with every house that came down, because I knew they didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you knocked down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down.
Iraqi folks have seen this style of occupation for years on their tv sets.
"Moreover, the problem no one really seems to want to address is the Iraqi perception that the US uncritically backs Israel and has strong anti-Islamic elements, and that Iraqis see constant images of Israelis attacking Palestinians on Arab satellite TV."
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, as Ghandi put it.
"On Sunday, a Marine tank fired 18 rounds into a house a suspected insurgent was firing from, said Jeremiah Day, a combat engineer from Minnetonka, Minn. 'And afterwards the guy was still standing,' Corporal Day said. 'It was like Scarface or something.'
"That same day, Brent Bourgeois, a 20-year-old lance corporal from Kenner, La., said he had seen an American helicopter fire a missile at a man with a slingshot. 'Crazy, huh?' the corporal said."
These two lines were quoted on Danny Schechter's News Dissector weblog
. While I searched for the Times story in which these quotes appeared, I found Jeffrey Gettelman's report from Sunday: "War's Full Fury Is Suddenly Everywhere"
"Insurgents flooded onto the roadway, masks over their faces, machine guns in their hands. They began to fire at approaching Humvees. The neighborhood around us scattered into a mosaic of panic. Women slammed gates behind them. Cars shot gravel from their tires as they raced away. And we were just 20 minutes outside the [Baghdad] city center in a place that up until the last few days was as safe as any.
"In Kufa, a palm-lined town on the Euphrates, bearded Shiite militiamen who swear their allegiance to a rebel cleric are driving around in police cars. American officials had just bought those police cars. American soldiers had just trained the policemen who had been riding in them.
"In the Khadamiya neighborhood, one of the prettiest spots in Baghdad, men passed out grenades where just days ago children sat under umbrellas, licking ice cream. It was stunning how natural it looked, how quickly armed men seemed the norm, how nobody seemed to bat an eye, even though the heart of Baghdad now looked like the heart of Kabul.
"The atmosphere in Iraq has completely changed. In just a week, a fading guerrilla war has exploded into a popular uprising. 'Six months of work is completely gone,' said a State Department official working in southern Iraq. 'There is nothing to show for it.'"
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Some say he dazzled, others say he fizzled. But nearly everyone agrees that during his Tuesday night news conference, President Bush managed to mesmerize America with his tie. His cobalt tie with white diamonds offered viewers a "Lucy in the Sky With ... " sort of hallucinatory experience.Summing up The Bush Faux Press ConferenceThe morning after a fake press conference, the press is still asleep.A Busy Person's Guide to the Bush Press Conference
In a historic policy shift, President Bush on Thursday endorsed Israel's plan to hold on to part of the West Bank in any final peace settlement with the Palestinians. Bush also ruled out Palestinian refugees returning to Israel, bringing strong criticism from the Palestinians.
An elated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his plan to pull back from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, hailed by Bush, would create "a new and better reality for the state of Israel."
A fascinating look into the destruction of the West Bank, its culture, institutions and society. A must read for those interested in the practical effects of occupation, terrorism, and war.
It is not without some justification they call Gaza the "world's biggest prison" - 1.3 million people crammed into an area only 360 km square.
Since the beginning of the second Intifada, or popular uprising, in September 2000, it has been virtually impossible for many Gazans to travel outside the occupied territory because of strict Israeli frontier controls.
Even moving within Gaza, from north to south, is a nightmare because of military checkpoints around Israeli settlements like Netzarim and the Gush Katif bloc.
But will all this change under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement plan" for Gaza? It appears not.
While virtually all Palestinians welcome Mr Sharon's plan to withdraw troops and some 7,000 settlers from Gaza, they remain deeply suspicious of his motives and doubt if there will be any greater freedoms arising from the initiative.
Indeed, Israel is threatening to tighten its stranglehold around the Gaza Strip.
Mr Sharon says he will also keep control over Gaza's southern border with Egypt and will deny the Gazans the right to rebuild their airport and develop a commercial port.
Palestinian leaders have already warned that such moves will seriously inhibit the ability for social and economic development in Gaza, where male unemployment runs at about 60% and the United Nations says 70% of people live in poverty.
"The bulk of eminent legal opinion in the West has long agreed that the invasion of Iraq was unlawful. One of the architects of the war, Paul Wolfowitz, has admitted 'it was probably illegal.' Former Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix does not 'buy the argument' that Iraq’s violation of previous resolutions makes the war legitimate. Even the British Foreign Office, it now turns out, sent a secret memo to Tony Blair’s Cabinet advising that resolution 1441 failed to justify war. Blair’s attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, also voiced concerns that the war lacked legality without a second UN resolution.
"Last year, more than 40 Australian experts on international law and human rights signed a joint statement that the invasion of Iraq is a “fundamental violation” of international law that could involve war crimes and crimes against humanity. Robert Black QC, Professor of Scots law at Edinburgh University, and a key figure in the Lockerbie trial in The Hague, has written: 'It is perfectly plain that none of the Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq authorised armed intervention. It's possible to cobble together what looks like a legal argument, but the real test of any legal argument is whether a court would accept that argument.' Black weighed up the odds of the International Court of Justice supporting the Blair Government’s case. In his view, 'the odds against it are greater than 10 to one.'"
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Can That Asshole Answer One Question?
OK, you ask me a question and I'll pretend I'm Bush:
You: Mr. President, can you ever admit to making any mistakes?
Me as the President: Saddam Hussein was a bad man. A real evildoer. And we're about freedom. Terrorists don't like freedom. Freedom makes terrorists feel all sick inside, like they got the flu and the mumps combined. That's why we need the Patriot Act. For the freedom of all Americans and the world. We don't want to feel like we got the mumps and flu, either. Nobody wants that. Especially the people that Saddam Hussein gassed--his own people. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I think about is freedom. And then I think about Fruit Loops. But freedom, first. Freedom always comes first. Even before Fruit Loops.
We just happened to watch the "press conference" on CBS, so Dan Rather comes on after with his assessment: "The President was steady and confident."
Nice blowjob, Dan. What the President was
was forthcoming only on his stupidity and ability to repeat several key phrases, as the last questioner aptly pointed out. Most chilling moment: when Bush mentions the "All-mighty."
But the President is right about one thing: the American people can vote him out this Fall . . . unless, of course, they're using the GOP-controlled Diebold machines to vote. Then they've got no choice at all.
A journalist blogs from Baghad and Fallujah. Via Democracy Now
Is the Bush administration secretly planting WMDs in Iraq?
he Tehran Times is reporting that over the last 50 days, U.S. forces have been involved in a highly secret operation to plant WMDs in Iraq:
BASRA, April 12 (MNA) -- Fifty days after the first reports that the U.S. forces were unloading weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in southern Iraq, new reports about the movement of these weapons have been disclosed.T
Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious shipments of WMD into the country.
his report follows their earlier (March 13th) report describing the unloading of these materials from cargo ships in southern Iraq. Both Monday's report and the earlier March 13th report are reproduced in their entirety at Benedict@Large (for archival purposes). Also linked to the Benedict@Large
article is a Common Dreams report documenting the total blackout of the March 13th report in the American press.
Note that if you previously bookmarked the March 13th report, that link has changed. The new link for it can also be found at Benedict@Large.
Ode to the August PDB
The infamous August PDB has been declassified and released and the Bush & Co excuses continue:
Ode to the August PDB
By Madeleine Begun Kane
When Condoleezza Rice speaks out
Does anybody buy her?
It's hard to fathom how she fumbled warnings, oh so dire.
"Historic," Condoleezza shouts
About that August briefing.
I guess that's why that PDB did catch the Bushies sleeping.
The rest of my Ode to the August PDB is here.
Where it concerns April, T. S. Eliot Was Right
ike's back with an Easter Sunday rant against his usual suspects: The Bush Crime Family. Square in his sights is Condi's "I don't feel like answering questions today" appearance before the 9-11 commission, a menu of options for Iraq, and of course the Bush&PuppetMaster mystery visit to the 9-11 committee.
Be sure to also head on over to The White Rose Society, where Mike Malloy's professional "Demo" CD has just been posted (about half-way down) for your downloading pleasure. White Rose also has the "Heretic Cut" Malloy CD posted, as well as archives of Malloy Shows back to 12/15/2003. Toss a few bucks at White Rose webmaster Ben Burch if you can while you're there. Your contributions are the only way Ben keeps White Rose alive.
With Israel's controversial separation barrier expanding south, Bethlehem is next and the mayor says he fears for the future of the town.
The barrier will eventually ring Bethlehem on three sides and slice off about 2000 hectares of farmland, Mayor Hanna Nasir said. Maps provided by Israeli authorities confirmed his description.
"This wall will stop all kinds of natural growth," Nasir said, noting that 70% of the work force depend on tourism. "This is a serious blow to the future of Bethlehem."
Mr. President, can you joke about them six hundred plus American kids you sent off to die some more? That sure is some funny stuff! And all them dead Iraqis, too? Hee-haw! I'm busting a gut over here, pardner!
The Photo They Don't Want You to See ... The "Dover Effect"
Monday, April 12, 2004
An Al-Jazeera Roundup of Iraq Developments:
Russians taken hostage in Baghdad
. An overview of the hostage-taking and releasing situation as it's developed.US discloses heavy casualty toll
. This month is almost certainly going to end up as the bloodiest for US troops since Junior Caligula's war began. As we're only less than halfway through the month, it may turn out to be the bloodiest overall for the "Coalition." And that doesn't even begin to address the civilians who have been, for lack of a better word, massacred in the process. Welcome to the occupation, indeed.US to 'capture or kill' Muqtada al-Sadr
. Looks like al-Sadr could well become a martyr during what is arguably already an extremely volatile situation.Falluja under siege
. A photo essay that captures some of the essence of the occupation's Falluja massacre.Faces and Voices: US Elections and Iraq
. Not exactly a fair and balanced peek at the mind of the US electorate. Merely a reminder that there are rumblings of dissent here in the States.Highway to Hell: The Road to Falluja
. Features an interview with one of the insurgents and offers his point of view.Iraq's postwar kidnapping crime wave
. Turns out that Iraqi women have been especially vulnerable to kidnappings since the occupation began.
From what I've read, I'd say that Kurt Nimmo
has hit it on the head with regard to the situation in Falluja in particular:
Falluga, a city with a population 18 times the size of Jenin Camp (Jenin camp's population was approx. 14,000, Falluga's is 232,000), is now undergoing a parallel trauma, but with a larger, more powerful, better armed enemy, which has carpet bombed, recently and historically when the war-heat has forced land-troops to retreat," Paola Gaspiroli and Ewa Jasiewicz wrote last week. "This is another Jenin. This is another massacre. We have to do what we can in solidarity with the dying and the bereaved and those still struggling, defending, fighting back. Resistance is dignity, is the honor of fighting back. Iraq is on fire. The Iraqi intifada is raging. We cannot be silent. Stop the massacre in Falluga. Remember the massacre in Jenin. Never Again."
If the American people re-elect Bush in November, they will be guilty of supporting a war criminal in the same way the Israeli people are guilty of supporting the war criminal Ariel Sharon.
Something to think about.
ibertarian Charley Reese is at it again:
The Bush administration, I fear, is severely learning-disabled.I
Rational people, acting as individuals or as a group, learn from their mistakes. They gather data, they make decisions, and they take actions. Then they assess the feedback from reality and adjust.
* * *Well, I hope you share the president's faith. The same people who failed to protect us in September 2001 are still where they were. So is Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the Iraq War, who said we would be greeted with flowers and dancing in the streets. Bush ought to put him in charge of Iraq. He deserves to live in Baghdad for the rest of his life.
'm telling you, there's trouble brewing with Georgie's home boys!
And Charley? I'm with you on Wolfie as Ambassodor to Iraq! They greeted him so warmly last time he visited.
So where's Paragould? A very red state.
As I write this, civil war is about to erupt in Iraq -- a pending conflict stemming from a Bush-waged war based on a family vendetta and oil-based greed. In the meantime, a disproportionately funded force in Afghanistan is making little to no headway in its search for the true villain of the modern world.
* * *Nixon must be rolling in his grave -- and offering Bush a nod of approval.
... but this explains everything: Hey, Condi! Maybe this even explains why you
couldn't get anything done for the first 233 days?
... and did you see this?
Judge Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore's
Top 15 Reasons
why you should vote for him for president
instead of George Bush.
"Warring Somalis ought to learn a lesson from this. I have brought together hawks, cats, chicken, cattle, goats and a hyena who are all sworn enemies and they are all living harmoniously in one place. It's time Somalis reflected and thought of their interests and stopped feuding."
I put up a mirror here in case the geocities site goes down.
Come on guys, the LGF Quiz is currently number two on the blogdex
--with your help we can bump it to number one!
Link the original: http://www.geocities.com/lgf_critic/
Then give my mirror just in case: http://www.drmenlo.com/lgfquiz/
Sunday, April 11, 2004
To see how many US and UK soldiers Bush has killed in Iraq with his lies, click here
Cost of the War in Iraq
"America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
"Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless versimilitude can set that line straight."
--James Ellroy, American Tabloid