In email with a UK aid worker, and in conversation here with friends involved with community work, I've been exploring an alternative criteria for policy ... harm reduction through appropriate response to emergent situations ... anti-biotics now rather than amputation next week.
CAFOD's Focus on Iraq carries this description of their "Iraq Appeal" - "War on Iraq has prompted a humanitarian catastrophe that could leave more than 20 million men, women and children desperately short of water, food and medical supplies.
CAFOD has launched an appeal to make sure that emergency provisions and medical supplies get through to those who need them most."
A site to make regular: OneWorld.net
Misha’an Juburi declared himself governor of the northern oil city of Mosul on Tuesday with the apparent blessing of the US forces who entered the city last week. Reporters in Mosul said Juburi had been “installed” by the United States, and US troops protected him as he came under attack from angry townspeople after making a speech promising democracy.
A native of Mosul province, Juburi was initially a member of Saddam’s personal guard but later joined his motorcycle escort. In 1991, he led an army unit that participated in the suppression of the popular uprising in southern Iraq following Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait. He formed a close relationship with the president’s homicidal older son, Odey Saddam Hussein, and after his defection to the liberated Kurdish region of northern Iraq reportedly made a fortune by trading with money amassed during his friendship with Odey. Some Iraqi exiles believe his relationship with Odey continued even after his defection.
"Misha’an Juburi is one of the butchers,” claimed Ghanem Jawad, head of the human rights department of the London based KHOEI Foundation, a Shia Philanthropic organisation. “People are very afraid of him. In 1992, soon after his defection, he told a meeting of Iraqi opposition Leaders in Salaheddine in Northern Iraq: ‘I am a Sunni, head of a powerfull Sunni Tribe. We have killed thousands and thousands of Shia.’ He thought this was a way of impressing his importance on the opposition.”
IWPR's Iraq page
From Save the Children Fund (UK), this bit of news: Plane carrying vital medical supplies refused permission to land in Iraq by coalition forces - "Coalition forces have failed to give Save the Children permission to land a plane carrying enough medical supplies to treat 40,000 people in northern Iraq. Save the Children have been trying for more than a week to fly vital medical supplies and emergency feeding kits for malnourished children into the northern town of Erbil.
Save the Children Emergency Programme Manager Rob MacGillivray said: “The doctors we are trying to help in Mosul have been struggling against the odds for weeks to continue saving lives, but now the help we have promised them is being endlessly delayed. The lack of co-operation from the US military is a breach of the Geneva Conventions and its protocols but more importantly the time now being wasted is costing children their lives.”
From one-star Vince up through Wolfowitz and that wrteched Perle to Rumsfeld himself ... mere incompetence? or a malevalently hard-hearted intentional concentration on power and control?
"Why Export Democracy?: The 'Hidden Grand Strategy' of American Foreign Policy'" - "The "hidden grand strategy" of American foreign policy is reemerging into plain view after a long Cold War hibernation.
To hear critics tell it, the American preoccupation with promoting democracy around the world is the product of a dangerous idealistic impulse. In his recent book, Diplomacy (1995), Henry Kissinger cautions against this neo-Wilsonian impulse, under which American foreign policy is shaped more by values than by interests. He joins a long line of American writers, from Walter Lippmann to George Kennan to Charles Krauthammer, who call on the United States to check its idealism at the water's edge and accept the necessity of a more sober pursuit of American national interests abroad. At best, in their view, the American democratic impulse is a distraction, a nettlesome inconvenience that forces the nation's leaders to dress up needed measures in democratic rhetoric. At worst, it unleashes a dangerous and overweening moralistic zeal, oblivious to or ignorant of how international politics really operates. It fuels periodic American "crusades" to remake the world, which, as President Woodrow Wilson discovered after World War I, can land the country in serious trouble."
I started the day off readin A Critique of Absolute Will: Kantian versus non-Kantian moratily ... is what makes me such a fun, easy-going guy, yaa? *grin*
So this thing with the police conspiring to knock off Catholics in Northern Ireland ... and we're re-positioning Saddam's police in Baghdad? Gee, who'd be doing that?! Let's look ... oh ya, the GIs who stood by while the world's history was pillaged and trashed, yaa ... the Pentagon, ok there's Rumsfeld ... ya, ok, that bunch ... Wofowitz and Perle hanging from the rafters.
And the Bechtel contracts? Well, we can see what Cheney's been busy with.
There's no whore like an old whore, and there's no ?what? mafiosi like American mafiosi. (Did you know that Saddam's cabal were self-identified as "the household" or something? Isn't that quaint? warm and charming, evuhn?)
The study, entitled "Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?," looks at how this leverage applies to each current member of the UN Security Council. It also analyzes the power the U.S. government exerts over the broader group of countries that the Bush Administration has dubbed the "Coalition of the Willing." Although the Administration refuses to release a list of the members of this coalition, the authors compiled a list of 34 nations cited in press reports as supporters of the U.S. position on Iraq.
* Foreign Policy in Focus - Focus on Iraq
* Project Against the Present Danger; Standing in defense of international law, international cooperation, and multilateralism.
* Interhemispheric Resource Center; Promoting citizen-based agendas for global affairs.
Is America Becoming Fascist? [counterpunch.org] - " ... No doubt, fascism is a descriptor too carelessly thrown around; but Nixon and Reagan, no matter how reprehensible their politics, were not quite fascist. Bush is the most dangerous man in contemporary history: Hitler didn't have access to weapons that could blow up the world, and no American or other leader since World War II with access to such weapons has been as out of control. Perhaps a non-controversial statement may be that the fascist tendency always exists, at the very least latent and dormant. But when more and more of the latency becomes actualized, there comes a point when the nature of the problem has to be redefined. We may already have crossed that point. As Eco notes, "Ur-Fascism can still return in the most innocent of guises. Our duty is to unmask it and to point the finger at each of its new forms - every day, in every part of the world." And as Eco reminds us, Roosevelt issued a similar warning."
Exposing Karl Rove - ... "If you're not with me, you're against me." Bush's binary view of "good and evil" and "friend and enemy" sits well with the Rove strategy. Georgia's conservative but libertarian-minded Representative Bob Barr found out about this in last August's primary when his GOP primary opponent John Linder began spreading around stories that Barr was "soft on terrorism." Because Barr was skeptical about a number of aspects of the Bush-Ashcroft USA PATRIOT Act, he became a target for the Rove machine. However, it was likely that Barr became a target earlier on when he supported Steve Forbes against Bush in the 2000 primary. Bush apparently means to say, "If you've not always been with me, you're against me."
Library books, letters and priceless documents are set ablaze in final chapter of the sacking of Baghdad [Independent | Argument | Commentators] - "... Then the library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze.
I saw the looters. One of them cursed me when I tried to reclaim a book of Islamic law from a boy of no more than 10. Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad.
And the Americans did nothing. ..."
I heard two interviews with ICG spokes today ... very sensible, they seemed to me.
International Crisis Group report: "Voices from the Iraqi Street" [casi]
International Crisis Group - publications
Iraq / Gulf area reports
War in Iraq: Managing Humanitarian Relief - "The impassioned controversy that surrounded the decision to invade Iraq had the unfortunate consequence of impeding coordination of humanitarian relief operations. Now that the war has begun, it is important to deal with the urgent task of meeting the needs of the Iraqi people. That will require steps by those who were opposed to the war, in particular European governments and NGOs, to agree to work in close coordination with the United States and put their plans and their funding on the table. And it will require steps by the United States to eschew a dominant role in the post-conflict humanitarian effort and hand it over to the United Nations.
The scale of the humanitarian consequences of the war in Iraq is still unclear. But regardless of the war’s intensity or duration, there are bound to be new tragedies – to add to the devastation of Iraq’s economy and social fabric already caused by two earlier wars, twelve years of sanctions and an authoritarian government far more intent on its survival than on the well-being of its people.
Largely as a result of the political controversy and uncertainty that preceded the war, planning and preparations for relief efforts have been plagued by inadequate coordination. Today, the fears are of inadequate funding, excessive U.S. control over the relief effort and, within that, the unfortunate appearance (if not reality) of military preeminence, and the exclusion of European and other international NGOs that have considerable on-the-ground experience and of the Iraqi institutions with which they worked."
"The UN is best placed to rebuild Iraq" - "The US has made absolutely clear that it does not want the United Nations to assume overall responsibility for civil administration in postwar Iraq. On his visit to Europe last week, Colin Powell, US secretary of state, did nothing to soften his position that the US would not relinquish "significant dominating control" to anyone else. Yes, the UN can co-ordinate some humanitarian relief, and hopefully will come to bless a US-installed interim Iraqi government - but as for a more substantial role, forget it.
A more substantial and central role here is exactly, however, what the UN should be playing. As soon as conditions permit, the Security Council, with US support, should establish its own transitional civil authority - with full executive and legislative powers but, for administrative implementation, relying to the maximum extent possible on local professionals and civil servants, as well as experts from the Iraqi diaspora. Such an authority would operate alongside a separately constituted security force, which would no doubt be US-led but ideally would itself be given Security Council endorsement as a multinational force."
Funny thing is, I was just going to blog this item:
Reluctant Pentagon steps up police role [SanFran Chronicle] - "U.S. sending in more peacekeeping forces" "Even as it insists that its soldiers aren't cut out for police work, the Pentagon is increasing its peacekeeping role in Iraq and bringing more military police and civil affairs units into the country."
with the comment, "Well that sure beats including the community of nations ... countries with decades of experience on the ground with peace-keeping just don't qualify, right?
What kind of sense is there in that? What does the USofA have to teach anyone about common sense or know how, since it has become so addicted on buying the game and just plain cheating. (How did MicroSoft get to where it is? Easy to explain, if you know about FUD ... don't know about FUD? google it ... it's like dealing from the bottom of the deck ... how to invalidate entrepreneurial activity in 3 easy steps ... Gates' strong suit: don't rely on good products ... like energy management by Enron, or democracy by Rumsfeld / Cheney / Wolfowitz / Perle ... cheat, lie, whatever, because ultimately might makes right, right?
What a bunch of sickos."
That's what I was going to blog ... and then I discovered that blogger.com, the sweet little company that just got bought up, couldn't do its thing. How totally lame. But hey! There's always the 4th Infantry Division, and that's a pretty fine way to settle any sort of dispute!
not because there are people who are evil
but because there are people who do nothing about it."
Some folks actually do their bit: International Solidarity
April 10, 2003: Tom Hurndall; shot in the head by Israeli sniper
April 5, 2003: Brian Avery; shot in the face by Israeli Forces
March 16, 2003: Rachel Corrie; run over and crushed by Israeli bulldozer
What you do do to get an Israeli sniper to shoot you in the head? try to rescue a kid or two.
"Not again" [electronicintifada.net] - Eyewitness Joe Smith writes about the shooting of Tom Hurndall " ... There was one boy, however, that Tab noticed was too frightened to move. Instinctually, he quickly removed him from the area, as he observed shots land around the small and fragile innocent. After successfully evacuating him, he was about to leave when he noticed two small girls down in front of the roadblock, right in the line of fire.
He was going to help them escape when the Israeli soldier in the tower took his aim, and fired a large calibre sniper bullet directly into Tab's head. He was in full view of the tower, and like Laura was wearing the high visibility gear. Our embassies had been informed of our presence in the area, and they had informed the Israeli military."
Authorities knew ahead of time that the Baghdad museum was in danger from looting ... and American troops knew it was being looted ... and they did nothing. When it comes to a dissident who goes unarmed to evacuate children, wouldn't they actually issue the orders to shoot?
In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy [counterpunch.org] - "Now, at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy.
Civilian manufacturing industries are being swept away as a war-focused White House and a compliant Congress sponsor deindustrialization of the U.S. (1) They favor production--in Mexico and China, where government powers bar independent unions. As production of both consumer goods and capital goods is moved out of America, unions and whole communities are decimated. ...
[I]t it should come as no surprise that there is no public "space" for dialogue on how to improve the quality of our lives. Such topics are subordinate to "how to make war". Congress under both Republican and Democratic control has voted the same war priorities into the federal budget.
Bob Herbert, the New York Times columnist, reports on 5.5 million young Americans age 16 to 24--without work in 2003--undereducated, disconnected from society's mainstream, restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad. (4) This population, 5.5 million and growing, is the product of America's national politics that has stripped away as too costly the very things that might rescue this abandoned generation and train it for productive work. But that sort of thing is now treated as too costly. So this abandoned generation is now left to perform as fodder for well-budgeted police SWAT teams. ...
Seymour Melman is emeritus proessor of Industrial Engineeering at Columbia University.His latest book is After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Democracy. Visit his website: After Capitalism.
Also from CounterPunch:
Contract with Iraq - "They put US troops round the Oil Ministry and the headquarters of the Secret Police, but stood aside as the mobs looted Baghdad's Archaeological Museum and torched the National Library. It sounds like something right out of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, only here the troops protecting the American Petroleum Institute are lobbyists and politicians, lobbing tax breaks over the wall."
Post-War Iraq; Asking the right questions - " ... Ever since the UN Security Council refused to endorse the U.S. contention that Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002) authorized military action if Saddam Hussein failed to actively cooperate with UN inspectors, administration spokespersons have insisted that members of the military "coalition" would be the dominant contributors in Iraq's reconstruction and re-integration into the world community. Despite Mr. Blair's attempted gloss concerning the depth of UN involvement in the process the U.S. would allow, President Bush was quite explicit in the limits he envisaged. While praising as "a positive step" the appointment by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan of a "personal representative to the process," Bush essentially relegated the UN to a subordinate role. "Well, it'd be a vital role as an agent to help people live freely. That's a vital role, and that means food. That means medicine. That means a place where people can give their contributions. That means suggesting people for the IIA [Iraqi Interim Authority]. That means being, you know, a party to the progress being made in Iraq."
The Permanent War Campaign [motherjones.com] - "President Bush seems to be planning to run on Sept. 11 and its aftershocks straight through the 2004 election."
"Back in 1980, a little-known writer named Sidney Blumenthal published a small book called "The Permanent Campaign." Much of what Blumenthal laid out in that book about the evolution of political image-making has long since been accepted as conventional wisdom, and Blumenthal himself went from being an outsider at the Boston Phoenix to one of the more infamous Clinton White House insiders."
[ cato.org responds with "Contains no data" ... WTH?!]
Permanent War State [Charlie Reese] - " ... [I]n addition to being the world's chief arms peddler, we also train the military personnel in more than 70 countries and have our own troops stationed in nearly 100 foreign countries. It has not been unusual for Americans to end up fighting people with American equipment and American training. The missiles on the wings of the Chinese fighter plane that collided with our intelligence aircraft were Israeli copies of American missiles. People trained and armed by the CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan founded much of al-Qaida."
Permanent War; Permanent state of emergency [blackcommentator.com] - "George Bush has embarked on a strategy of permanent war abroad. The inevitable result will be a permanent state of emergency within the borders of the United States. There is no possibility of separating the two. And permanent domestic emergency will certainly mean a permanent state of siege for Black America, the permanent domestic enemy.
... According to the logic of the New American Century, it does not matter what Iraq, Iran or North Korea do, or whether they even speak to one another. The "Axis" countries share one thing only - a presumed willingness and capability to resist the U.S. - and must be deprived of that capability by all means necessary. Their mere capacity to deter U.S. intervention in their regions puts them in Washington's cross hairs. The report says this plainly, and lays out in detail the permanent deployment of U.S. forces to suppress such capability anywhere it appears."
George Bush's Permanent War [progressive.org] - "There was something almost pathetic about George W. Bush's attempt to make his fight against terrorism akin to the fight against the Nazis.
... Congress did not give him carte blanche to wage war against any and all terrorists everywhere, or against regimes that seek chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. He has taken that power unto himself, as he enunciates the Bush doctrine of permanent war.
It's a war that won't risk global annihilation, like World War II or the Cold War did. That is some solace. "A common danger is erasing old rivalries. America is working with Russia, China, and India in ways we have never before to achieve peace and prosperity," he said. The bouquet to China was well-thrown, since Bush's missile defense plans, reiterated in his speech, look ominous to Beijing.
But Bush's permanent war will likely sow seeds of discord among our European allies and stir pots of resentment throughout the Islamic world."
[N.B.: This was written in January of 2002!]
The Permanent War Machine and the Rise of Deathwashing [greens.org] - "The collapse of the Soviet Union and explosion of the computer age have propelled the world into the era of the Permanent War Machine. Since the 1970s, the US has sought to overcome the "Vietnam Syndrome"- the unwillingness of people to march mindlessly to war. This syndrome was exacerbated by a vacuum of enemies when the Soviet Union was gone.
A few years later computer technology decisively altered complexities of the military-industrial complex. Just as research makes software obsolete within months, microchips spawned an incredibly rapid turnover in war technology. Redesigned weapons systems cannot be assumed to work simply because an abstract simulation says they will. They require real homes to destroy and actual human flesh to burn. A new war must happen every few years.
The Permanent War Machine and the Rise of Deathwashing As this millennium closes, the Permanent War Machine is characterized by its continual creation of new images of Evil against which breakthroughs in killing technologies can be tested."
My life has involved an ongoing battle against resentment: I stepped away from the rank and status games that surround conventional success, partly from principle [my Zen precepts included 1) do not make a livelihood from selling the wines of delusion, and 2) do not abet what makes the untrue appear true] but mostly from self-preservation; I felt those games would leave me spineless, feckless, cynical and pessimistic, sophistic and jaded. The peers I see enjoying their material success are, to a greater or lesser degree, spineless, feckless, cynical and pessimistic, sophistic and jaded. And that makes me very angry with them. And I need to ride that ... but I can't say, "Thanks" because they are, most sadly, bereft of the foundations for solidarity.
I am not totally without sympathy for those whose view of liberal democracy are consonant with such as Fukuyama, but I do wish they were not such wingeing whiners.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe Second Coming -- W. B. Yeats
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, [not universally!] while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
EU Summit Marred by Riots
also from SkyNews: Iraq's Plan for the Future - "Iraqis have drawn up a 13-point plan to rebuild their country following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime." This, so far as I can tell, is a flat out lie. There was agreement to re-convene the meeting (which, let's face is, is a step) but the 13-point plan? Most had no idea who drew it up, and "Jay" Garner's staff would not confirm its provenance.
Given the concern for democratic governance, matters such as authorship are salient, yes? What do we call those who perpetuate distortions and un-truths?
For one perspective on Iraq, see Istanbul Independent Media Center (Turkish and English; masses of photography)
A new phrase for you: "the world's cultural catastrophe" ... and the Secretary of State waved his hands in the air, mocking, "Henny Penny! The sky is falling! You see a clip of a guy stealing a vase twenty-one times ... how many vases do they have?)
Well, Rumsfeld, you prick, the number is something like 200,000 ... that's the number of items lost, with more smashed. I had been saying 50,000. I was wrong.
CentCom spokes "One Star Vince" said nobody expected the antiquities to be looted (very neatly including the phrase "by the Iraqis themselves" ... another prick!), so we can add this young officer to the list of liars: UNICEF had long ago made arrangements for security; more recently, SecState had been approached, but those arrangements went nowhere; the museum curator in Baghdad pleaded with forces on the ground, at the time ... and was ignored.
A detail: there is a UNICEF accord against trade in antiquities of this sort ... Uncle Sam decided he didn't need such an obstacle to business, and did not sign.
On what does the USofA base its claim to legitimacy, apart from armed might ... anything at all? Ohhhh yes ... there's always marketing. And bribery. And fraud. And Enron accounting. Those are legitimate, right? right? right?
Jobs for the boys: the reconstruction billions - "Questions over favoured firms' links to Bush administration"
"Anti-war protesters in San Francisco recently barricaded the gates of Bechtel, the engineering group that oversaw the construction of the Channel tunnel. The protesters set aside the usual rallying cry: the war in Iraq was not all about oil, they noted, it was also about building roads and schools, and getting power and water services back in operation in a country ravaged by years of underinvestment as well as war.
Contracts worth billions of dollars for the reconstruction of Iraq are already being handed out by the US government, offering huge profits to a few, favoured companies, many with high-level contacts in the Bush administration and a history of donations to the Republican party. The contracts are being awarded exclusively to US firms and, instead of the usual tendering process, are by invitation only. Bechtel is one of six construction firms chosen to bid."
According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the invited bidders together contributed almost $3.6m during the current election cycle, mostly to the Republicans. The amounts, though individually not large, are part of the process of ensuring a seat at the table, said Charles Tiefer, professor of law at Baltimore University and an expert in government contracting.
He said the administration faced a "credibility gap" by awarding the contracts behind closed doors. "I see the Halliburton/Cheney connection as revealing of a broader pattern in this administration rather than something unusual or surprising," he said. "This is not corruption in terms of actually breaking the law but a pattern of favouring and influence." The connections between the companies invited and the administration run deep.
Art falls prey to war - "The British Museum is to help Iraq protect its treasures"
"The British Museum is to hold a top-level meeting of curators and scholars this month in a bid to help museums in Iraq protect and restore their ancient treasures.
Anxiety about the country's priceless cultural heritage has been increased by reports that American art dealers have been lobbying US state department and defence officials for an easing of strict export laws under whatever government replaces the Saddam regime."
Ancient archive lost in Baghdad library blaze - ""As flames engulfed Baghdad's National Library yesterday, destroying manuscripts many centuries old, the Pentagon admitted that it had been caught unprepared by the widespread looting of antiquities, despite months of warnings from American archaeologists. [emph added]
Calling the looting of historical artefacts "a catastrophe for the cultural heritage of Iraq", Mounir Bouchenaki, the deputy director-general of the UN cultural body Unesco, announced an emergency summit of archaeologists in Paris on Thursday.
In Washington Colin Powell, the secretary of state, said the US "will be working with a number of individuals and organisations to not only secure the facility, but to recover that which has been taken, and also to participate in restoring that which has been broken _ the United States understands its obligations and will be taking a leading role with respect to antiquities in general, but [the museum] in particular".
A Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no plans had been made to protect antiquities from looters, as opposed to ensuring that historical sites were not caught up in the fighting itself."
[Such sophistry! Troops were within 300 yards ... and arrangements made through SecState Powell never reached implementation!]
Coalition in the dock - "There is a strong war crimes case against US and British leaders, but big powers have immunity"
"War crimes are always perpetrated by the loser in war. Though both sides may commit crimes, the victors have always been able to turn might into right, ignoring their own violations and penalising their enemy. ...
It is not difficult to imagine how the case for the prosecution against the coalition might be constructed. An indictment would have three main elements. In the first place, Britain and the US have waged an illegal war, without the sanction of a UN resolution (in itself of dubious legality when it comes to a war launched in violation of the UN charter and fought on this scale). Any argument that Saddam's failure to disarm fast enough justified the invasion of his state, the destruction of Iraq's major cities and the killing of thousands of Iraqis fails on the legal concept of proportionality. In British law, a householder may not cut an intruder to shreds with an axe on suspicion of burglary; if he does so, he becomes the object of prosecution. The suspected - but as yet unproven - violations of disarmament resolutions should not justify in international law the massive destruction and dislocation of the entire Iraqi state.
Ironically, the one instrument the Allies could find in 1945 to explain that Hitler's wars were illegal was the Kellogg-Briand pact, signed in Paris in 1928 at the behest of the then American secretary of state. The pact had outlawed war as an instrument of policy for all the signatory powers, including Britain and the US, but its precise status in international law was open to dispute. At Nuremberg, the American chief prosecutor, Justice Jackson, insisted on using it as the foundation for the whole case against Hitler. It could still be the foundation of the case against British and American belligerence. "
Who was it good for? - "The war in Iraq has been a predictably grim business, full of death, destruction and now rampant looting. But it hasn't been miserable for everyone. Sally Weale finds some unlikely winners in the conflict"
N.B.While I was cutting this together, a whole new cluster has arrived on Guardian's Iraq Coverage
US officials are to hold talks today with around 75 Iraqis near the southern city of Nassiriya, the first in a series of meetings to decide the shape of the Iraqi interim authority. ... Today's meeting represented "the start of a national dialogue among Iraqis about the future of their country", one US government official said. "We would like to set up an interim authority as quickly as possible. We are talking about weeks, not a lot longer than that."
US and British officials have acknowledged that some Iraqis may not take part in the meeting because of disputes with others who have been invited. Officials said simply holding the meeting would be a mark of success in itself.
Iraq's main Shia Muslim opposition group said yesterday it would boycott the gathering because it would not benefit Iraqi people. A spokesman for the Iranian-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq said: "From the beginning, independence has been our manifesto. We don't accept a US umbrella or anybody else's. The Iraq nation refuses any dependency."
Despite intense pressure from Britain and other security council members, France and Russia, it is increasingly clear that the UN will not play a major role in the political process. "We do think there is a UN role here; it is just that they won't be managing partners," the senior US official said. No UN officials were invited to today's meeting."
" ... I am very worried about future government. To be honest, I don't think the coalition forces know what they want to happen next. My work at the IPO will involve monitoring the transition to democracy: we need to work with the American generals as well as establishing an Iraqi transitional government. We are also campaigning to cancel the $400bn loans against Iraq, so that we can have a chance of rebuilding.
I just ask people hostile to this war to be realistic. Seeing the scenes of jubilation, I think it is clear there is no way the US forces could have entered these cities if the Iraqi people did not want them to.
There has been sporadic fighting, but my friend in Hilla said many non-Iraqis were fighting on Saddam's side. In 1914, when British forces claimed Iraq during the first world war, Iraqis delayed their passage from Basra to Baghdad by using stones, sticks, anything that they could get their hands on. "
I was only asking - "In the second of his dispatches from the million-dollar media centre at Qatar, Michael Wolff recounts how he angered the US right"
"The sandstorms blowing through Iraq left a kind of mustard cloud over the desert flats of Qatar, creating a fair approximation of the end of the earth. Serendipitously, Midnight at the Oasis was playing on the car radio as I came up to the camp gate just before 5am - my 10th day in Doha. Then the cellphone was ringing with a nervous producer from CNN in New York [...] We had reached the point where reporters were interviewing other reporters in the most media scrutinised war ever fought. But even among the over-exposed, I was - because of the irritable question I'd asked at a daily briefing and over international television - on the verge of a special status: becoming the wise-ass of the war.
And Rush gave out my email address. Almost immediately, the 3,000 emails, full of righteous fury, started to come.
Which all, in some way, helps explain why we are in Iraq. Now, when you suddenly get 3,000 emails excoriating you and your fealty, you can begin to think that the media may in fact be a hostile, negative, unloved and unwanted presence. (My al-Jazeera colleagues, singled out for showing bloody pictures during war, certainly felt this, too.) But, of course, the opposite is true - we are, even al-Jazeera, a vital, mostly cooperative, part of the war effort. So when, in response to my question, General Brooks said that I was here of my own volition and, if it wasn't satisfactory to me, I should go home, this was far from a statement of policy.
The last thing the Pentagon wanted was for the media to go home. Indeed, Centcom refused to confirm or deny what everyone could see for themselves: that chairs were being removed from the briefing every day (in one day alone, six chairs were removed) so that, as numbers dwindled, empty seats would not be shown to the world. This was a serious problem. What if you gave a war and the media didn't come?
Clearly marked as the rabble-rouser of the get-out-of-Doha movement, I was approached by some enforcer types. The first person was a version of a Graham Greene character. He represented the White House, he said. Wasn't of the military. Although, he said, he was embedded here ("sleeping with a lot of flatulent officers," he said). He was incredibly conspiratorial. Smooth but creepy: "If you had to write the memo about media relations, what would be your bullet points?"
The next person to buttonhole me was the Centcom uber-civilian, a thirty-ish Republican operative. He was more full-metal-jacket in his approach (although he was a civilian he was, inexplicably, in uniform - making him, I suppose a sort of para-military figure): "I have a brother who is in a Hummer at the front, so don't talk to me about too much fucking air-conditioning." And: "A lot of people don't like you." And then: "Don't fuck with things you don't understand." And too: "This is fucking war, asshole." And finally: "No more questions for you."
I had been warned.
I finally got to the x-ray machine on the way through the guard house to my CNN interview. Lots of other reporters were arriving at this early hour for their primetime spots. Every- body was making Doha jokes. I was talking about my run-in with the scary White House guys. "You've met the Hitler youth," said another reporter. Everybody laughed. This was grim, but it was funny. The camaraderie of people who understood the joke - who were part of the joke - was very reassuring and comfortable. ..."
"The Bush people [...] -- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
-- - -- - -- - -- - -- - --
-- - - -- - - -- - - -- - - --
Reagan blasts Bush [a $remium $alon.com item] Yes, that's the view of former President Ronald Reagan's son, Ron Jr.
The complete excerpt reads as follows:
"The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he's in now," he said during a recent interview with Salon. "Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the '80s. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's -- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."
Rumsfeld should be fired for incompetence; Franks should be demoted; "Jay" should have his feet put to the fire.
The Secretary of State of the United States of America was sand-bagged by administration fascists; as a consequence, billions of dollars of antiquities were stolen or trashed, tens of thousands of items representing six millenia of historty. Business as usua for whom?
No-one subject to the Eagle Empire has any reason to rest easy ... even its administrators do no know security ... like Kruschev under Stalin.
"The essential ambiguity of literature is neither arbitrary nor unclear"
"Many years ago my father-in-law, who had been a British prisoner of war in Japan, gave me a small pocket anthology, The Knapsack, edited by the undeservedly forgotten Herbert Read. The book (which I have since passed on to my daughter) had been put together for the Ministry of War to be given to its soldiers: its proclaimed intention was "to celebrate the genius of Mars."
... The merits of courage, the choice of an honourable death, the obligation to fight for the fatherland and other rhetorical commonplaces appeared in many of those pages, but also the horrors of the massacres, the agonies of loss, the arrogance and greed of certain leaders. A page by Montaigne, "On the punishment merited for defending a fort with no good reason," held the following line: "There are those who have such a high opinion of themselves and of their own resources that they believe it is absurd that anyone in the world should oppose them." Montaigne had in mind not only the tyrants of his own century." [emph. added ... h_b]
stevenberlinjohnson.com: Baghdad Falls ... a blog entry c/w comments.
*This here sound like fighting words to me!*
[Leftist] Globalthink's Perils - article by Daniel Pipes " ... Although forwarded by progressives and garbed in post-modern lingo, Fonte shows that bureaucratic leftism represents a throwback to a pre-modern age in Europe when rulers were unelected. Today's bureaucrats effectively fill the role of yesteryear's kings.
Predictably, the left's newest project is having more success in Western countries other than the United States - Canada, France, Israel and New Zealand come to mind. Fonte implies that Americans will end up with the main burden of fending off this ugly system, just as it did fascism and communism - and is now doing with militant Islam.
Only by recognizing bureaucratic leftism for what it is can it be stopped before its malign ideas have a chance to do real damage." [emph. added h_b]
Addend: OMFG! The penny just dropped! Colin L. Powell is seen as a limp-wristed transnational progressive by Rumsfeld and the other troglodytes!! And so that's why they trip him up anytime he does something gay like try to save 6,000 years of antiquities!
Foreign Affairs Council | Task Force Report: Secretary Powell's State Department " ... Seven blue-ribbon panels between 1998 and January 2001 detailed the disastrous impacts of 1990s budget cuts that reduced funding for the administration of foreign affairs from $5.05 billion in 1994 to $3.98 billion in 1996 to $3.64 billion in 2000 (expressed in constant 1996 dollars). For example, the 1998 Stimson Center report focused on State's "woefully inadequate" information technology. The 1999 OPAP report highlighted "decrepit facilities" that placed America's overseas presence "near a state of crisis". The January 2001 CFR-CSIS report detailed "serious workforce shortfalls" that left State "short in mission, organization, and skills relative to what is needed to navigate our way sensibly through the new international universe." [emph. added h_b]
Glossary of blog-isms [samizdat.net] ... heh heh ... occassionally crass, but good for a laugh or two.
Troops fire on protesters: report - "US troops opened fire on a crowd hostile to the new pro-US governor in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today, killing at least 10 people and injuring as many as 100, witnesses and doctors said.
The incident overshadowed the start of US-brokered talks aimed at sketching out a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq and could ignite anti-US sentiment sparked in protests in Baghdad and at the talks in the southern city of Nasiriyah.
Witnesses reported that US troops had fired into a crowd which was becoming increasingly hostile towards the new governor in the northern oil city, Mashaan al-Juburi, as he was making a pro-US speech."
["New governor?! Well that seems pretty quick!]
This just in: troops fire into the crowd protesting against the Mosul "regime change" meetings [unconfirmed].
Oh, and while I'm at it, one of the newest shows on CBC Radio already has a good archive and deserves attention in its own right: The Current.
"The United States is on the verge of committing itself to a post-Saddam plan for a military government in Baghdad with Americans appointed to head Iraqi ministries, and American soldiers to patrol the streets of Iraqi cities.
The plan, as dictated to the Iraqi opposition in Ankara last week by a United States-led delegation, further envisages the appointment by the US of an unknown number of Iraqi quislings palatable to the Arab countries of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia as a council of advisers to this military government.
The plan reverses a decade-long moral and financial commitment by the US to the Iraqi opposition, and is guaranteed to turn that opposition from the close ally it has always been during the 1990s into an opponent of the United States on the streets of Baghdad the day after liberation."
Three other articles by Kanan Makiya:
* This way to the promised land - Globe and Mail, April 10, 2003
* Iraqis Must Share in Their Liberation - Washington Post, March 30, 2003
* A Model for Post-Saddam Iraq - American Enterprise Institute, October 3, 2002
This just in: some groups are boycotting "Jay" Garner's Chalabi coming out party.
What is totse.com?!
totse.com | The Long Road to Baghdad
"American Dreamers" - "As US-led forces prepare to storm Iraq, former Washington correspondent Jonathan Holmes looks at what's driving America... and finds it's more than weapons or oil. " (Links and Resoucres)
The `Ignoble Liars' Behind Bush's Deadly Iraq War - "On Sunday, March 16, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney emerged from his cave to appear on the NBC News "Meet the Press" show, for a one-hour interview with Tim Russert. In the course of the hour, Cheney all-but-announced that there was nothing that Saddam Hussein could do to avert an unprovoked and unjustifiable American military invasion of Iraq. Cheney repeatedly referred to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the "historic watershed" that, for the first time, justified an American unilateral preventive war. Yet Cheney himself, a dozen years earlier, had embraced the idea of preventive war—not against a Saddam Hussein who had been armed by the Reagan and Bush Administrations with weapons of mass destruction, but against any nation or combination of nations that challenged American global military primacy in the post-Soviet world. On the pivotal issue of preventive war, Cheney was lying, willfully. But that was just the tip of the iceberg."
Also from Executive Intelligence Review: "Behind the Iraq Dossier Hoax: Intelligence Was Cooked in Israel"
A new site for me:
Arab American Institute's Iraq page
[Jesus H.!! There were suggestions that needed to be ruled out?!]
" ... In the past few weeks, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, ordered contingency plans for a war on Syria to be reviewed following the fall of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, his undersecretary for policy, Doug Feith, and William Luti, the head of the Pentagon's office of special plans, were asked to put together a briefing paper on the case for war against Syria, outlining its role in supplying weapons to Saddam Hussein, its links with Middle East terrorist groups and its allegedly advanced chemical weapons programme. Mr Feith and Mr Luti were both instrumental in persuading the White House to go to war in Iraq.
Mr Feith and other conservatives now playing important roles in the Bush administration, advised the Israeli government in 1996 that it could "shape its strategic environment... by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria".
It is a disastrous thing,
to be Machiavelli without virtu."
[this is a substantial description of Bush's "Future of Iraq Project."]
"The project has involved working with free Iraqis, experts and knowledgeable persons outside Saddam's grip. They have been assisting in addressing seventeen areas that will be crucial to a postwar Iraq: Transitional Justice, Public Finance, Democratic Principles, Public Health and Humanitarian Issues, Public Outreach, Water, Agriculture and the Environment, Economy and Infrastructure, Local Government, Defense Policy, Oil and Energy, Education, Anti-Corruption Issues, Civil Society--Capacity Building, Building a Free Media, Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons, Foreign Policy, and Preservation of Iraq's Cultural Heritage."
America's Checkered and Uneven History of Nation Building - The United States has a long history, but a mixed record, of building other nations. Clearly, our greatest successes are Japan and Germany - not to overlook the Marshall Plan's positive impact on all the European nations.
But in recent times, particularly in the decade since the end of the Cold War, we have failed. As one observer noted: "We said we'd bring order to Somalia, but we left chaos. We went to Haiti to restore democracy, but left tyranny. We intervened in Kosovo to create a multiethnic democracy, but we may become embroiled in renewed strife and bloodshed." To this list must be added Afghanistan, where we are failing terribly at present.
Postwar Plan Worries Legal Community -
"Iraqi Lawyers, Judges Object to Interim Authority, Propose Rules for Elections"
"A group of exiled Iraqi lawyers and judges yesterday expressed concern about the Bush administration's plans for creating an interim authority in postwar Iraq and said that anyone appointed to serve in a transitional government should be barred from running in the country's first elections.
"We are concerned about the [way] that the reconstruction efforts and a post-Saddam civilian authority is being handled," said Sermid D. Al Sarraf, an Iraqi American lawyer from Los Angeles.
He also said the group believes that the interim government should be made up of "technical people," rather than political activists, to ensure that they are working "strictly to serve the country and not for political ambitions." Sarraf said the group's opinions had been formally communicated to the State Department.
Mohamed Al Jabiri, another participant in the workshop and a former Iraqi diplomat who was jailed by Hussein for two years, said that the United States "must be very careful about any moves to establish the civil and political system in Iraq." He said that "we hope the Pentagon will listen to the State Department . . . that has the knowledge about what is going on in Iraq and how to handle the situation."
The Pentagon and the State Department have clashed over how to create a transitional government in Iraq at war's end. The Pentagon has proposed a civil administration composed of U.S. citizens who would report to a military governor, as well as an interim political authority made up of exiled Iraqis. The State Department is wary of some of those exiled leaders, who have lived outside Iraq for decades, and prefers a larger role for the United Nations."
U.S. `viceroy' no stranger to Iraq - "Ex-general to rule post-war nation"
"Aid organizations have complained that making them operate under the wing of man who once wore a military uniform and will answer to U.S. commander Gen. Tommy Franks will complicate the task of providing vital humanitarian assistance.
At the United Nations, which worries it will be cut out of a major role in Iraq by Washington, some diplomats are suspicious of Garner's military past, his defence industry links, and his reported favouring of the exiled Iraqi National Congress opposition group as a force for a future Iraq.
Garner's formal title is director, Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Post-war Iraq, or ORHA, the Pentagon-based agency charged with initially running a post-Saddam Iraq, including managing its oil riches.
News reports prefer shorter titles, variously describing him as Iraq's president-in-waiting, a viceroy, a proconsul, a king, and even as the "sheriff of Baghdad."
[ ... "British and Australian officials will also have places on the team, but are a minority." ... description of team members; Gen. Buck Walters, retired Gen. Bruce Moor, ormer U.S. ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine, George Ward, Lewis Lucke, Michael Mobbs, James Woolsey ... ] Garner is a friend of U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, one of the administration's main hawks.
Garner went on to serve in the "Star Wars" strategic missile defence program and retired from the army in 1996 as assistant vice chief of staff, with the rank of lieutenant-general. He has since been president of SY Coleman, a defence contractor based in Arlington, Va., that specializes in missile defence technology. He is on a leave of absence from that job.
Garner, a Florida native, was fixing his boat deck when the call came to turn his attention to rebuilding Iraq, the Orlando Sentinel reported last month. "I'm going to be away for a while," the newspaper quoted him as telling a family friend. "I have to do a little work for Donald Rumsfeld."
WTF?! Daniel Pipes was nomination to the U.S. Institute of Peace board of directors?!! Holy shit!
Okay ... let's see ... so the cabal is planning to gang-bang the civilized world .. sooooo *Think multi-dimensionally, now. One has to get into non-linear dynamical systems ... ya gotta have a grasp of fractals and self-similarity to grok the dialectical nature of hisotry; "cycles" doesn't mean "circles" except to a brain-dead mechanist.* I'm guessing it'll come down to a squabble between the brown-shirts and the black-shirts, when the lesser evils gag in nausea. And that'll be the moment of decisions. God, I really don't know that I have the energy to hassle Gestapo / SS ... my feet hurt *a lot!* and I'm nearly broke. *sigh ... how did this one slip past me?!*
If nothing else, this obscenity really shows that Dubya is brain-damaged.
Addend: Foreign policy scholars criticize Pipes' nomination - " The flutter was considerable when George Bush picked a hawk for the board of a peace institute.
Foreign policy hands and Middle East pundits responded with surprise and disbelief this week to the presidential nomination of Daniel Pipes, an outspoken Middle East hawk, to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, a federal institution dedicated to preventing, managing and peacefully resolving international conflicts.
Some scholars say that there is talk of organizing an effort among academics to oppose the nomination, either through a letter-writing campaign or congressional testimony.
When asked about the nomination, many experts on Middle East and international conflict resolution used adjectives ranging from "bewildering" to "preposterous." Most declined to speak for attribution, however, variously citing an unwillingness to engage in ad hominem attacks, reluctance to criticize a presidential appointment and fears of souring ties with the institute, an important source of research grant money.
William Quandt, a professor of political science at the University of Virginia, who headed the Middle East desk at the National Security Council during the Carter administration, said he worried that if Pipes is confirmed, the appointment would send a discouraging message to scholars applying for institute grants.
Pipes recently launched Campus-Watch, an initiative dedicated to monitoring college campuses for alleged pro-Arab academic bias. Some pro-Israel activists welcomed the initiative, while critics described it as a modern-day form of McCarthyism. "
[my emphasis h_b]
U.S. Dept. of State - Hinchey Report (CIA Activities in Chile)
Support for Coup in 1970.Support for Coup in 1970. Under “Track II” of the strategy, CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende from taking office after he won a plurality in the 4 September election and before, as Constitutionally required because he did not win an absolute majority, the Chilean Congress reaffirmed his victory. CIA was working with three different groups of plotters. All three groups made it clear that any coup would require the kidnapping of Army Commander Rene Schneider, who felt deeply that the Constitution required that the Army allow Allende to assume power. CIA agreed with that assessment. Although CIA provided weapons to one of the groups, we have found no information that the plotters’ or CIA’s intention was for the general to be killed. Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early on because of its extremist tendencies. CIA provided tear gas, submachine-guns and ammunition to the second group. The third group attempted to kidnap Schneider, mortally wounding him in the attack. CIA had previously encouraged this group to launch a coup but withdrew support four days before the attack because, in CIA’s assessment, the group could not carry it out successfully.
U.S. Dept. of State - Church Report (CIA Activities in Chile 1963-73)
When senior officials in Washington perceived special dangers, or opportunities, in Chile, special CIA projects were developed, often as part of a larger package of U.S. actions. For instance, the CIA spent over three million dollars in an election program in 1964.
Half a decade later, in 1970, the CIA engaged in another special effort, this time at the express request of President Nixon and under the injunction not to inform the Departments of State or Defense or the Ambassador of the project. Nor was the 40 Committee ever informed. The CIA attempted, directly, to foment a military coup in Chile. It passed three weapons to a group of Chilean officers who plotted a coup. Beginning with the kidnaping of Chilean Army Commander-in-Chief Rene Schneider. However, those guns were returned. The group which staged the abortive kidnap of Schneider, which resulted in his death, apparently was not the same as the group which received CIA weapons.
When the coup attempt failed and Allende was inaugurated President, the CIA was authorized by the 40 Committee to fund groups in opposition to Allende in Chile. The effort was massive. Eight million dollars was spent in the three years between the 1970 election and the military coup in September 1973. Money was furnished to media organizations, to opposition political parties and, in limited amounts, to private sector organizations.
[N.B.: since the report is dated December 18, 1975, I assume expenditures are in 1975 dollars. h_b]
Cooperation for the Safeguarding of Iraqi Antiquities and Cultural Property "The people of the United States value the archeological and cultural heritage of Iraq that documents over 10,000 years of the development of civilization. In recent days, the National Museums in Baghdad and Mosul have been looted, as well as other cultural institutions and archeological sites. Such looting causes irretrievable loss to the understanding of history and the efforts of Iraqi and international scholars to study and gain new insight into our past.
In addition to the well-reported efforts made to protect cultural, religious and historic sites in Iraq, CENTCOM has issued instructions to all troops inside Iraq to protect museums and antiquities throughout Iraq."
[Rumsfeld / Franks / CENTCOM dropped the ball ... if they ever planned to handle it at all. Perhaps they were afraid Powell and EU / UN reps might manage some decency?
Vandals! Barbarians! 50,000 items missing or destroyed!!]
CiC / President Colin L. Powell!
Halliburton, Dick Cheney, and Wartime Spoils "... The Cheney-Halliburton story is the classic military-industrial revolving door tale. As Secretary of Defense under Bush I, Cheney paid Brown and Root services (now Kellogg Brown and Root) $3.9 million to report on how private companies could help the U.S. Army as Cheney cut hundreds of thousands of Army jobs. Then Brown and Root won a five-year contract to provide logistics for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers all over the globe. In 1995, Cheney became CEO and Halliburton jumped from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon's list of top contractors, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
It's time for civilized nations to put together the appropriate methods and procedures to facilitate re-organization of Iraqi civil society. Let the US veto the Security Council ...
What are the US/UK forces saying they invaded for? To liberate Iraq.
How are groups selected for attendance to preliminary meetings? By invitation of Jay Garner.
Are local entities enabled? No. Attendance is restricted.
Are proceedings open? No, proceedings are closed.
Are reporters allowed? Some, yes.
Some reporters are allowed?! Does that mean that a limited number on the ground are allowed to cover the event? No. It means that some pre-selected reporters are being flown in from Doha
Why did US/UK forces invade Iraq? To liberate the people and the country.
Let me try a different tack ... who is getting reconstruction contracts, and by what process? American corporations only. Without open bids. In secret.
You know what you are? Yes. I'm a shit-eating dog.
Deadly Indifference [rabble.ca] "Why don't we care about Sudan?" - "In late January, Mel Middleton, founder of Alberta-based human rights organization Freedom Quest International, travelled to Sudan on a fact-finding mission. What he found was shocking — fields littered with human remains. An estimated 2000 to 3000 civilians had been massacred. Upon his return to Canada, Middleton was intent on publicizing his findings. But save a handful of newspapers and radio stations, the Canadian media has shown little interest. Why?"
World Bank, IMF admit aid failings [theage.com.au] - "World financial leaders have acknowledged that they are in danger of losing "the other war", conceding that their failure to follow through on past pledges is contributing to global poverty, health crises and other ills.
Members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank ended their spring meetings in Washington at the weekend with fresh promises to participate in rebuilding Iraq.
But their enthusiasm was tempered by a recognition that the postwar rebuilding program could drain resources from efforts to assist other countries in need."
Also from theage.com.au: The trashing of civilisation - "The allies must make every effort to piece together the fragments of Iraq's heritage ... This is a tragedy with echoes of past catastrophes: the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258, and the fifth-century destruction of the library of Alexandria. For the loss is not just Iraq's but ours, too. Iraq has not been called the cradle of civilisation for nothing. Five thousand years ago it was the birthplace of writing, cities, codified law, mathematics, medicine and astronomy.
UNESCO is holding an emergency meeting on Iraq next week. The US authorities must allow it into the country as soon as possible to begin working with Iraqi archaeologists and curators to reconstruct the shattered remnants of Iraq's heritage and rebuild links in the chain between past, present and future."
[How is it sensible that UNESCO should have to ask for permission, since US troops were leaning on their packs while the museums were being ransacked, pillaged, and vandalized?!]
White House Hubris Will End With Domino Effect of Iraq War [The Salt Lake Tribune] - "A reader's letter published in the Los Angeles Times last week said it all: "We have learned two things from the war in Iraq. We have learned that the Tigris flows through Baghdad, and the Hubris flows through the White House." Hubris -- the belief that you are so clever and so powerful that you can get away with anything -- is certainly the prevailing state of mind in Washington this week as the Iraqi regime collapses before the U.S. onslaught. So where is the next war?
"Consider the remarks of former Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, a Bush administration insider who was recently mentioned in a leaked Pentagon document as one of the possible administrators of post-war Iraq. Last week in Los Angeles, he described the war in Iraq as the start of the Fourth World War (the Cold War being the third), and warned his audience that "this Fourth orld War will last considerably longer than either the First or Second World Wars did for us."
The real enemies this time, he explained, were the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and the Islamic extremists of al-Qaeda. He made no distinctions between them (though in real life they have very little in common), and he promised a long crusade against them. There was no suggestion that the US would bother to get legal authority from the United Nations before attacking the sovereign states on his list."
IMF, World Bank Meeting Ends with Agreement on Iraq [voanews.com] - "The International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting ended in Washington Sunday with agreement to assess the reconstruction needs of Iraq and to expand the amount of cash available to the world's poorest countries.
The IMF and World Bank will be sending a mission to Iraq in the next few weeks to find out what needs to be done to help in the reconstruction of oil-rich Iraq.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn says he's not worried that money for Iraq will diminish the flow of resources to poor countries. He is skeptical of reports that Iraq needs $20 billion in immediate aid. "I don't think anybody has been explicit as to where the $20 billion would come from, if it is $20 billion. There are those who think it will come from oil revenue and most people think it will come from somebody else," says Mr. Wolfensohn. "So, I think we're at the beginning of that negotiation, of which we're quite familiar."
Why the Sam Hell is Tony Blair now speaking out against "splits" and "polarization" and "rivalry"? There's a single power, right? Just one super-power, right? The world is unipolar, with an unrivalled center, right?
To his credit, he's advocating partnership and collaboration. Apparently Blair has clued into the fact that he has been dancing with megalomaniacs. see PM: A Strategy for Peace in Iraq [10 Downing Street]
A new site for me: Justice not Vengeance; Active Resistance to the Roots of War (ARROW) - Humanitarian consequences of war
Also, the very very very busy Stop the War Coalition (UK)
From Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans' Letter to the President
Dear Mr. President:
We, the undersigned veterans who have served our country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the 1991 Gulf War and other military conflicts, respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you about the threat of war between the United States and Iraq.
Mr. President, we are patriotic citizens and veterans who respect the office of the President and the ethics and values binding us together as Americans.
As such, we feel duty-bound to share with you our serious concerns regarding issues of national security, the appropriate use of our military strength, and the health and welfare of our active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Those of us who are veterans of the 1991 Gulf War can offer particular insight into the ongoing troubles in the Middle East, and the likely consequences of another war in that volatile region. ... "
Sign on to EPIC's Emergency Humanitarian Campaign - "We, the undersigned citizens of the United States, fear the current U.S. war against Iraq will result in disastrous humanitarian consequences. While this war is fought, it jeopardizes the lives of 24 million Iraqi civilians, over half of whom are children.
We call upon all parties involved in the military conflict to respect the laws of war and take every possible step to protect civilians and noncombatants.
We call upon the United States to safeguard civilians by guaranteeing access, impartiality, and adequate funding for emergency humanitarian assistance.
We call upon the U.S. Administration to ensure as soon as possible that humanitarian aid and reconstruction are administered by civilian authorities under the leadership of the United Nations - not the U.S. military. ..."
On April 6, deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled it out: there will be no role for the UN in setting up an interim government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last at least six months, "probably longer than that". And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government, the key economic decisions about their country's future will have been made by their occupiers. "There has to be an effective administration from day one," Wolfowitz said. "People need water and food and medicine, and the sewers have to work, the electricity has to work. And that's coalition responsibility."
The process of how they will get all this infrastructure to work is usually called "reconstruction". But American plans for Iraq's future economy go well beyond that. Rather than rebuilding, the country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neo-liberals can design their dream economy: fully privatised, foreign-owned and open for business."
[Did you catch that bit from Wolfie? "effective administration from day one; that's a coalition responsibility"?! I really for the life of me can't figure out if the cabal is just massively incompetent, or hugely villainous and corrupt. In any case, they remain deserving of "Criminal Negligence Causing Death"; callous disregard for human welfare.]
* GN Online: Empires rise and fall - |Since U.S. President George W. Bush seems determined to make America a full-fledged empire, he should start familiarising himself with the history of the world's greatest empires. Bush would be well served to look at the lessons of the rise and evolution of great empires such as the Greek, Roman, Persian and Muslim."
* The new Moguls: Marching to Baghdad - "The heroic resistance of Iraqis against the most powerful military coalition in human history is nothing short of extraordinary — and completely unexpected on the part of those who began this immoral campaign. Given the vastly unequal resources involved, two weeks of unremitting resistance is a long time, an object of awe and inspiration to small, oppressed nations everywhere.
But with or without strongmen of dubious character like Saddam Hussein, Iraq's history is full of heroic resistance fuelled by national pride."
What a freakin' mess ...
The war over the peace "The Pentagon, the State Department and the U.N. are fighting over who controls postwar Iraq. It's a battle that could be more critical than the military campaign."
How neoconservatives conquered Washington -- and launched a war [salon.com] - By Michael Lind "First they converted an ignorant, inexperienced president to their pro-Israel, hawkish worldview. Then 9/11 allowed them to claim Iraq threatened the U.S. The rest is on CNN tonight. [I still like my idea of them having constructed and then let Hussein loose to provide a solid pretext. h_b]
America's allies and enemies alike are baffled. What is going on in the United States? Who is making foreign policy? And what are they trying to achieve? Quasi-Marxist explanations involving big oil or American capitalism are mistaken. Yes, American oil companies and contractors will accept the spoils of the kill in Iraq. But the oil business, with its Arabist bias, did not push for this war any more than it supports the Bush administration's close alliance with Ariel Sharon. Further, President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not genuine "Texas oil men" but career politicians who, in between stints in public life, would have used their connections to enrich themselves as figureheads in the wheat business, if they had been residents of Kansas, or in tech companies, had they been Californians."
I suggest you give this one a good read. And with this *doffs hat*, good night.
Exile Group's Militia to Move Into Baghdad To Help U.S. [washingtonpost.com] - The Pentagon has ordered U.S. forces here to quickly deploy a U.S.-sponsored opposition militia to Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, U.S. and Iraqi exile sources said today.
The lightly armed Free Iraqi Forces, part of the Iraqi National Congress exile group, will be assigned to help U.S. troops impose order on the chaotic Iraqi capital. But the move to Baghdad also could provide a potentially controversial boost for the Iraqi National Congress as U.S. and Iraqi figures lay the groundwork for an interim administration of the country and, eventually, a new government."
FROM THE DIPLOMACY OF IMPERIALISM p.157-160 "Europeans in Turkey have agreed that the immediate aim of the agitators was to incite disorder, bring about inhuman reprisals, and so provoke the intervention of the powers. For that reason, it was said that, they operated by preference in areas where the Armenians were in hopelessly minority, so that reprisals would be certain. One of the revolutionaries told Dr. Hamlin, the founder of Robert College, that Henchak bands would:
"watch their opportunity to kill Turks and Kurds, set fire to their villages, and then make their escape into the mountains.
The enraged Moslems will then rise, and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession."
Ohhhh right! "Henny Penny" Rumsfeld is in charge of things now!!
U.S. Forces Provoke Civil War In Baghdad: Fisk " ... There is no electricity in Baghdad - as there is no water and no law and no order - and so "we stumbled in the darkness of the museum basement, tripping over toppled statues and stumbling into broken winged bulls. When I shone my torch over one far shelf, I drew in my breath. Every pot and jar - "3,500 BC" it said on one shelf corner - had been bashed to pieces."
"Why? How could they do this? Why, when the city was already burning, when anarchy had been let loose - and less than three months after U.S. archaeologists and Pentagon officials met to discuss the country's treasures and put the Baghdad Archaeological Museum on a military data-base," Fisk wondered.
"Did the Americans allow the mobs to destroy the priceless heritage of ancient Mesopotamia? And all this happened while U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was sneering at the press for claiming that anarchy had broken out in Baghdad."
Rumsfeld flaps his hands around saying, "Henny Penny! The sky is falling!" ... guess what, ass-hole: you actually did make the sky fall for a whole lot of people ... Ba'athists, sadists, innocents, journalists, soldiers, little children, loving parents ... you sad sick cynical hard-hearted bastard.
For the record: the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America is a shit-eating scum bag. And he fixed it so that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons. Get it? Get it?? Do you understand why New York City was a target? Don't you have clue #1?! Your administration has just made it plausible to argue for National Missile Defense aka "Star Wars". Oh ya, by the way, it's a scam. *!Duhh!* Ain't that some coincidence. (Say, I wonder if "Jay" buddy is in on that action.)
Are Americans congenitally stunned? or perhaps it's mere opportunism ... I can't figure which has an optimistic option.
I've come back to revisit this item and add a couple of things ... multi-tasking just now ... let me get serial
- I imagined how that young marine feels today ... the one who sat and told the peace-maker in downtown Baghdad, "One of the fellas opened up on this car as it approached ... the little kid survived, but both its parents were dead ... he cudda shot out the tires. Some just want to kill." My advice? Suck it back, young man ... do the arithmatic (see below)
- I imagined how Powell must be feeling ... Jesus and Mary ... naive? heroic? as corrupt as the rest of the cabal? My advice: Suck it back, sir ... remind yourself of the foundation upon which you stand ... do not sicken ... do the arithmatic (see below)
- I imagined what Dubya Bush might be working with right now .... I don't advise you do this! Sir: do you really and truly have shit for brains?! My advice: ponder what St Paul was up to while his name was still Saul of Tarsus. If you don't, someone may just get the notion to brick you upside the head, with the best of intentions. Or they'll buy you a bag of pretzels. Sorry ... that was cruel.
- Rumsfeld: gadd ... you're so past it that likely you'll come back as yet a more malevolent influence ... gadd ... what an image of hopelessness you are!
- My anti-Americanism: if I were anti-American I would be write quite different material. For e.g., last time a big ship came into harbour I had a bang-up time with the bunch of Marines that showed up at my local pub. Met this Sgt (lotsa stripes ... your ranks make no sense to me ... kinda like Warrant Officer, I bet.) I managed to get him to play pool /just one more time/ haahahaha, his guys loved it ... he beat me pretty well, but I gave him a good run. Anyway, point is, y'all have been fucking this planet and its people since as long as I can remember. [BTW, the "y'all" is actually how I talk, FWIW.] You're a buncha greedy bullies, get it? And those of you who aren't greedy bullies and just stunningly ignorant. Not that you have a monopoly on these, of course ... but let's just say that "The Ugly American" isn't a product of some Holywood fiction writer. Are you capable of a single thought on your own? Is any of this within your grasp? (Of course I know not all Americans are this way ... only the vast majority that I've met in my 48 years. Suck that back!)
I trained airborne infantry and communications so I could do my damndest to make the world safe for democracy, but turned out it was the GD f'n Yanks that were knocking over democratically elected governments. [google "cocaine politics" just for the perverse joy of unvarnished truth about the noble USofA] Boy, was I shocked the day that came clear! [Know that a "candy-stripe" mission is? You really don't know a whole helluva lot about anything except how to make the next buck, do you ...] I kinda lost my mind ... I had swallowed notions of democratic industrialized nations hook line and sinker, and within less than two hours I had all of that hauled out of my guts in one long pull ... that hook tore me open as it came up ... I imagine there was a fair chunka guts on it when it came up, too. But I was free ... because democracy and liberalism and honesty and civil society and decency and integrity are not just empty abstract concepts: they occupy space, if only in our minds ... and they take up time and energy, if only in our personal lives.
So, in a period of time after the end of the war in Vietnam, in another theatre entirely, I saw the simple proof that $$$ drives America, that it is not actually the home of the brave and land of the free, that the cold war was being fought between two different bands of thugs. (Look at that again, and try to have a thought all on your own ... $$$ ... do you see it? The sign of the beast isn't 666, it's $$$ ... or maybe the fact that something works as a truth isn't enough? You need someone to tell you whether that thought is okay or not? So, really and in fact, you have been enslaved by the American Taliban ... you've already traded your soul; what do you have left to barter? [trick question: you're still whole, because the basis of human rights are inalienable ... recognize: it's the same as the Holywood / Washington / Disneyland mind-phuk; like voodoo, it only works because you believe it works! Think about something, sometime, would you? Please ... ok?]) IMNSHO the American body politic is the single most compelling argument against American consummer culture.
So anyhow, my country and your country and our countries are all phoney fronts for big business, and whether another country is socialist or fascist or participatory and democratic or stalinist communist or state capitalist or Mooeny or Ba'ath or Baboon or whatever really doesn't matter ... any will be supported, and any will be tumbled, depending on whether or not they ensure the business managers and owners get their blood.
"I spent thrity-three years and four months in the Marine Corps.... [D]uring that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business and Wall Street and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism."You see, kiddies, your country is being run by vampires, and I'm a we'er-wolf. (Read a book, wudya?!)
Major General Smedley Butler.
Bottom line: I looked at 2+2 and figured it to be 4. I did that, and I've tried to make a habit of it ... but fact is I don't think you have what it takes. I think you'll say 2+2 is whatever the boss-man sez it is ... just like Enron's accountants; you've had your soul juices sucked right out of you ... but I haven't. So I got some vampire hunting to do ... cuz ruining people's lives for money is a nasty thing to do. And I don't let nasty things just happen while I look away, like your big-brave "We come as liberators and friends, not conquering invaders" soldiers did. Simply truth, of course, is that only conquering invaders would have watched as hospitals were trashed ... but that's 2+2, and war-mongers are allergic to that sort of thinking.
Hey Rumsfeld! Say your "Henny Penny" again, I double-triple dare ya! But here's a serious warning: not twice more ... cuz when you say that Henny Penny thing too often, it's going to come true ... and I want you to be pure and saintly and happy before you die, lest you reincarnate as an even more malevolent bag of pus than you are now! Rumsfeld is going to be into collaboration, and cooperation, and mutual security, and decremental security, and all of those things, because his heart of hearts knows that he's one life away from beings something aweful .... and he knows that, because in this very life he is working for the Prince of Confusion ... and one day, maybe not too long from now, he is going to shit himself from fear. But maybe the Pres has to find a brain for that to happen ... things are inter-related, you know.
So y'all be good to one another, hear? And stop splattering little kidz with their mommies' brains, ok?
</rant> We now return you to regular programming.
Does The Project for the New American Century ring any bells? "Full Spectrum Dominance"? How about The Pentagon's New Map? okay, so how about "military operations other than war"? Yaaa ... precisely.
Democracy American Style: The latest fig leaf of imperialism? - " ... The US mission in the Middle East today comprises the implementation of the "Full Spectrum Dominance" vision of the Project for a New American Century, a think-tank with clout. Its founding members and guiding intellectuals are well-represented in the current administration of George W. Bush, who has happily executed their blueprint, one that aims to ensure and guarantee long-term and unchallenged US military, economic, and political dominance of the entire world.
Oil's role in this blueprint is central, much more so than any bogus claims about fostering democracy in the Middle East at gunpoint, under the merciless bombardments of civilian populations. To dominate the world, one must first control world access to oil, not spread the word about the mechanisms of electoral politics. Given today's US troop movements near Baghdad, capital of the second-largest oil producing state in the world, it appears that the US is on the verge of realizing the key component of its new imperial mission.
America's new mission, that of Full Spectrum Dominance, has never been put to a public referendum. If they were fully apprised of what this global imperialism will cost -- materially, morally, financially, and in terms of lost US lives -- most Americans would probably prefer not to pursue it. The processes by which the Bush administration has decided to pursue its new civilizing mission with such evangelical fervor have been long on rhetoric, and very short on genuine democratic participation. These are the ideas and visions of a very small group of highly committed individuals who show a callous disregard for international law, US public opinion, multilateralism abroad or participatory decision making at home. They have the Truth, the Light and the Way. They are not to be contradicted or challenged."
Perhaps the President should read the headlines, or watch the news on TV? *Ooops* Sorry, sorry, wait, no no no ... I guess he shouldn't do that ... you know what happens when Dubya tries to watch TV and swallow at the same time.
With respect, I differ with the President of Lebanon on one matter of substance in this matter: I suggest that UN activity in Iraq is in no way contingent on US approval, so whether the Americans "pave the way" or not is beside the point. The UN need not ask, since the US has no right to obstruct, since it had no right to invade.
As for the prospect of US forces drawing down on UN Blue Berets, they have already developed the nasty habit of going blue-on-blue ... and then sweeping the matter under the carpet. (If you don't know, then don't form an opinion!)
Lahoud tells Americans to make room for UN in post-war Iraq - Lebanese President warns of global tension should washington act alone
"President Emile Lahoud urged Washington Friday to make room for the United Nations in post-war Iraq, saying sidelining the international body would create tension across the globe.
In meeting with law and political science students, Lahoud said the United States should “pave the way for the United Nations to resume its role in Iraq, because ignoring that role would have negative implication on international opinion toward the United States.”
He added that trivializing the UN’s role would undermine global and regional security by taking the world back to the “mentality of the Middle Ages and the law of the jungle.”
Lahoud told the students that the US-led war on Iraq had not lessened Lebanon’s commitment to UN resolutions and international law. Lebanon, he said, doesn’t believe in an international peace based on the force of a single powerful country."
Actually, while I think of it, another aspect of this came up as I pondered the article here ... another advantage. I turned away from the red-carpet offer in 1973 (let's see: 3 or 4 years university and officer training, then special training in Pensacola, Scotland, and NZ, then 2 or 3 years playing silly bugger with the Evuhl Empyre, then doing com-cen with diplomatic ... I could have retired on full pension 5 years ago!) and have always felt this saved me from something. Formulating it now, I'd conceptualize it this way: you think yourselves refined and superior because you know exactly what fork to use when you eat shit. Yaaaa ... right ... precisely.
I had "Henny Penny" Rumsfeld and Perles pegged as pathologically averse to liberalism and civil society, and Dubya is brain-damaged ("dry drunk syndrome"), and Powell ... well ... *Gasp!!* ... what can one say of the naive? But Wolfowitz I couldn't figure. *Slaps forehead* Of course; self-loathing!
Jews out of court [Al-Ahram Weekly | Opinion] - Josh Ruebner, in an open letter, calls upon Paul Wolfowitz to resign, now. [The writer is the co-founder of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) and a former analyst in Middle East Affairs at the Congressional Research Service (CRS).]
" ... "Court Jew" is a term that originates in the context of anti-Semitism in "enlightened" Europe. On that blood- soaked continent, the reigning monarchs and other despotic rulers thought up an ingenious system to perpetuate their oppressive systems of government. These shrewd, Machiavellian rulers made a psychologically brilliant pact with an elite, assimilationist group of Jewish subjects who craved nothing more than acceptance by the power structure of society.
Often, these ambitious Jews were so eager to serve the interests of the rulers so that they could ease their feelings of internalised self- hatred. They viewed serving the power structure as a way to overcome the marginality and stigmas associated with being Jewish which were built into the very fabric of society by the power structure to begin with. The rulers understood this yearning to enter the halls of power and took advantage of it by dangling a carrot of illusional power before the hungry eyes of this wayward Jewish elite."
Perles was acting as chairman of the defense committee while in conflict of interest. He has stepped down ... as chairman. His business relations have not changed, but he still sits on the committee ... unpaid, no doubt.
VP Cheney's last civilian job was CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton was one of the first [the first?] corporations to land Iraqi reconstruction contracts [without even filing a bid, I've heard] ... revenue from this deal is estimated at US$7B; US$2B over the first two years.
What's this I hear about Iraq's new Czar, "Jay" Garner, being connected with the corporation that builds the Patriot missile system?
This optional war was about democracy, wasn't it?
Scandal-hit US firm wins key contracts - "A US military contractor accused of human rights violations has won a multi-million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq ... DynCorp, which has donated more than £100,000 to the Republican Party, began recruiting for a private police force in Iraq last week on behalf of the US State Department.
Despite DynCorp's demands for US citizens only, it is offering the private contracts through its British office in Aldershot. Former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle said last night: 'I find it difficult to believe that, at a time when bringing law and order to Iraq needs to be handled with delicacy and sensitivity, a private American firm like DynCorp is entrusted with this job.'
DynCorp's advert, posted on a US website and headed 'Iraq mission', stated that it was acting on behalf of the US Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. It was seeking 'individuals with appropriate experience and expertise to participate in an international effort to re-establish police, justice and prison functions in post-conflict Iraq'.
DynCorp personnel contracted to the United Nations police service in Bosnia were implicated in buying and selling prostitutes, including a girl as young as 12. Several DynCorp employees were also accused of videotaping the rape of one of the women.
Welcome aboard the Iraqi gravy train - "Well the war has been a huge success, and I guess it's time for congratulations all round. And wow! It's hard to know where to begin.
I'd also like to add congratulations to Dick Cheney, who was chief executive of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and who currently receives a cheque for $1 million a year from his old company. I guess he may find there's a little surprise bonus in there this year. Well done, Dick.
Congratulations, too, to former Secretary of State, George Schultz. He's not only on the board of Bechtel, he's also chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a group with close ties to the White House committed to reconstructing the Iraqi economy through war. You're doing a grand job, George, and I'm sure material benefits will be coming your way, as sure as the Devil lives in Texas.
It's so neat it makes you want to run out and buy shares in Fluor. As one of the world's biggest procurement and construction companies, it recently hired Kenneth J. Oscar, who, as acting assistant secretary of the army, took care of the Pentagon's $35bn-a-year procurement budget. So there could also be some nice extra business coming its way soon. Bully for them."
We know that bin Ladin is a dangerously deranged man, of course ... but damn, I sure do wish Bush et al would stop proving him right!!
Dear Friends,Hello Friends, April 10, 2003
It was with great relief that we received an update from Kathy today. Only through unreliable satellite connection have we received sporadic word from our team still in Baghdad. We think Kathy's letter which follows, speaks volumes to the current tragedy playing itself out on the streets of Baghdad and undoubtedly, throughout Iraq. Please bear with us as we discern next steps, not just with our team in Iraq but here at home as well. As government and media pundits alike insist that this war is "ending," we urge the doubling of efforts to call attention to the fact that war doesn't end for those who have lost limbs, loved ones, homes, and precious sense of security to blind greed.
Early this morning, Umm Zainab sat quietly in the Al Fanar lobby staring at the parade of tanks, APCs and Humvees that slowly rolled into position along Abu Nuwas Street. Tears streamed down her face. "I am very sad," she told me. "Never I thought this would happen to my country. Now, I think, my sadness will never go away."
Wanting to give Umm Zainab some quiet time, I took her two toddlers, Zainab and Miladh, outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Several soldiers stood guard not far from me and the children. I wanted to bring the children over to them, to let them behold these tiny beauties. But, no, too much of a risk-what if it would add to Umm Zaineb's pain?
Eun Ha Yoo, our Korean Peace Team friend, unrolled a huge artwork created by a Korean artist, Chae Pyong Doh, and sweetly laid it out in the intersection just outside the Al Fanar. As I write, Neville Watson and Cathy Breen are taking their turns sitting in the middle of it.
A map of the world covers the top third; grieving victims of war fill the middle third; piles of ugly weapons with various flags scattered over them bulge out of the bottom third. Neville has set up his prayer stool and a small wooden cross where he sits. Cathy is wearing her "War Is Not The Answer" t-shirt.
At least a dozen soldiers have stopped to talk with us since we began the vigil at 3 this afternoon. "OK, can you tell us your side of the story?" asked one young man. "Can I sit there with you for awhile?" asked another.
Each of them has assured us that they didn't want to kill anyone. One young man said he was desperate for financial aid to care for his wife and child while struggling to complete college studies and work full time. He felt he could gain some respect in this world and also help his family by joining the Marines. He's relieved that he was stationed at the rear of a line coming up from the south. His role was to guard prisoners. He didn't shoot anyone. But he saw US soldiers shoot at a civilian car with three passengers as it approached. The child in the car survived - both of his parents were immediately killed. "They could have shot the tires," said the soldier. "Some just want to kill."
One soldier offered earnest concern for us, saying "You're sitting in a dangerous place." We smiled. "Thanks," I said, "But we've been in a dangerous place for the past three weeks." He was puzzled. "What do they mean," said a soldier standing next to him, "is that they've been here all through three weeks of bombing."
"Do you try to put yourselves in our shoes?" asked one soldier after he'd respectfully listened to me explain major contradictions between US rhetoric and practice regarding Iraq. "Well, yes," I said, "We try. We're taking the same risk as you by being here, and perhaps an even greater risk since we're unarmed and unprotected. Actually, just now we're lucky not to be burdened by all that heavy gear." "Yeah," said the soldier, "It's really hot. I don't have much of an appetite. I just give away most of my rations, - give 'em to these people."
Hassan, one of the shoeshine boys, came over to join us, carrying a ration packet. He opened it, came across processed apple spread, and a few other curious items, then decided to donate it to us. Now the flies have discovered it.
It looks like we're on "lock-down" for a while longer. Iraqi minders are gone -- US soldiers are here. They're uncoiling barbed wire at the intersection. Anyone wanting to walk across the street is stopped, questioned and searched. Since I began this letter, there have been four huge explosions nearby. Looting and burning continue, here in Baghdad. I'm sick of war-disgusted to the point of nausea. I think all of us at this intersection, residents of the Al Fanar, journalists in the Palestine Hotel next door, and soldiers on patrol, share the same queasy ill feeling. The line, "War is the health of the state" makes no sense whatsoever here.
To be charged with Criminal Negligence Causing Death: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perles ... those who pressed their view that only prideful unilaterally assertive individualism is valid.I know that you support authoritarians because they provide pretexts for your lazy greed. But, like a Saddamite after the statue fell, the jig is up! You, as a literate citizen of a democratic nation, enjoy the gains and share the responsibility because (and this is the public secret behind it all) you share the action and the consequences. For you to shirk your responsibility as a citizen and as a human being is for you to throw the door open to the newest form of fascism. Do you value anything above your slothful self-indulgence? Do you acknowledge any real basis to your self-esteem, ignoring your entirely fictitious material success?
Everything is in play: the incompetent governor turns to the crowd and asks who shall be set free, and who cruficied? Last time, you chose Barabas. Will you free Barabas yet again? (Bear this in mind: while types like me have been, month after year after decade, telling you about Pinochet, and Noriega, and Hussein, you were paying highly educated sophists to feed you deniability; the blood is already on your hands.)
GO AS YOU PLEASE: Now, for the real war - "The war in Iraq is all over, bar the shouting. Brutal, bizarre and poignant images remain: young children kneeling in terror, hands raised; a looter carting off a grand piano; Iraqis stomping on Saddam's toppled statue; the Iraqi minister of information, fantasising in deep denial, as if fed on a daily diet of the Executive Intelligence Review. The Saddamites around the world will be gnashing their teeth: their hero is gone. Most of us have mixed feelings, as probably do the Iraqi people: shell-shock from the horrors of war; joyous relief to be rid of a bloody tyrant; deep disquiet about the future. But the real war is now being joined."
Polls and interviews show that in their goal of making Americans less rattled by battle, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney have succeeded: most Americans are showing a stoic attitude about the dead and the wounded so far. (Perhaps the American tolerance for pain is owed to the fact that much of the pain is not shown on television, embeddedness notwithstanding.) [nota: Al-Jazeera's more documentary approached was met with contempt and condemnation ... and with a missile in Baghdad.]
Wolfowitz of Arabia and the other administration hawks are thrilled with U.S. hawkishness. When Mr. Wolfowitz was on "Meet the Press" on Sunday his aides sat in the green room watching the monitor and high-fiving their boss's performance. [nota: An officer in Central Command commented on people raiding relief trucks in Basra that it's kind of wonderful that already they've started to act like caplitalists; aid workers decried the fact that Iraqis were being stripped of their dignity.]
Mr. Wolfowitz played the diplomat on Sunday, gliding past Tim Russert's probing on whether the neo-cons' dreams of other campaigns in Syria, Iran and North Korea would come true. Pressed, he said, "There's got to be change in Syria as well."
And the Times's David Sanger reported that when a Bush aide stepped into the Oval Office recently to tell the president that the hard-boiled Rummy had also been shaking a fist at Syria, Mr. Bush smiled and said one word: "Good."
''There's gotta be something more to this than putting out a few wells,'' said Ed Porter, a senior researcher at the American Petroleum Institute. ''I've never seen a contract [summary] like this. There's really not much information there.''
N.B.: All of this (I've read that Halliburton didn't even need to put in a bid!) and the fact that VP Cheney was Halliburton CEO is the story that the Washington Times' editor in chief considers silly. Go figure.
This piece of trash by the editor in chief of the Washington Times (itself a piece of trash) shows just how virulent is the pathology of the American elite. France, Germany, and Russia should be put in charge of changing Iraqi bed-pans? Oh, oh, oh! I can see where "Henny Penny" Rumsfeld gets his material!
IRAQ: Activists Stunned by U.S. Debt Forgiveness Plan - " ... ”It's clearly self-serving,” said Soren Ambrose from the 50 Years is Enough network.
The U.S. government has steadfastly opposed cancelling debts in the rest of the world, he added, ”even in cases as egregious as the apartheid government's debts in South Africa and Mobutu's debts in Zaire (known now as Congo)”.
Ambrose said it would be a highly political matter if the choice were made to save the Iraqis alone. ”It's an absolute travesty,” he said."
G-7 Agrees That Iraq Needs Help With Debt - " ... The need for debt forgiveness has become an increasingly urgent refrain of the Bush administration. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said last week that the best way France, Germany and Russia could help Iraq is to write off the money they "lent to the dictator to buy weapons and to build palaces."
European irritation with U.S. pressure was evident yesterday, even though officials acknowledged that, as stated in the G-7 communique, the debt issue would need to be addressed at the Paris Club, an organization of creditor nations that negotiates debt deals with financially strapped governments.
"Any speculation about debt forgiveness is very, very premature, to put it in cautious terms," Hans Eichel, the German finance minister, said at a news conference. Eichel, whose nation is owed about $4 billion, also noted that the Paris Club handles mostly restructuring of debt rather than outright forgiveness."
Iraqi economy to hit friction - "The Bush administration hopes to start marshaling international support behind its reconstruction plans for the Iraqi economy, including forgiveness of much of the country's debts, at meetings this weekend of top economic policy-makers from around the world. But even before the meetings get under way, the U.S. effort is running afoul of the divisions that plagued Washington's drive to unseat the regime of Saddam Hussein.
World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said that in the absence of a United Nations resolution affording legitimacy to a new authority in Baghdad, the bank can't even send a mission to Iraq unless its major shareholder countries give the go-ahead -- a stance that drew a rebuke from [Treasury Secretary John W.] Snow, who pronounced himself "baffled."
[Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told] a Senate hearing: "I hope they (Paris, Moscow and Berlin) will think about how they can contribute to helping the Iraq people get on their feet. ... I hope, for example, they'll think about the very large debts that come from money that was lent to the dictator to buy weapons and to build palaces."
Russia summit calls for U.N. lead in Iraq - "French, German and Russian leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in St. Petersburg Saturday with renewed calls for the United Nations to assume a central role in reconstructing Iraq, a prospect Washington appears likely to eschew.
The hastily arranged three-way meeting -- French President Jacques Chirac was added on to a previously scheduled encounter between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder -- was the first gathering of Europe's anti-war heavyweights since the beginning of the conflict against Baghdad.
"Tomorrow, after the necessary phase of securization, the United Nations should play a central role to assure the return of Iraq's sovereignty and render to the Iraqi people its dignity and its re-found liberty," Chirac said, in remarks broadcast on French television.
Putin said he believed the Iraq war coalition "is doing its best to prevent the humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq," according to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass. "But the scale of the tragedy is so considerable that it is real that the coalition cannot cope with its consequences alone."
However, some 200 miles away in Moscow, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin shot down the U.S. suggestion that Russia forgive Iraq's debts when a new government assumed control of the country. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made comments earlier this week that suggested Russia forgive the $8 million debt in an effort to unburden a fledgling Iraqi authority."