Easter Lemming Liberal News

Monday, March 31, 2003

Great Writer - I have friends that I think agree with this

History - would you have supported Clinton Invading Afghanistan in 1999 to eliminate Osama bin Laden? Proteus would in a second, at least now he would.

I see this as an argument that Bush has the right to take down regimes that can harm American citizens. Not pose a serious threat to the United States, even with no sanctions and 50 years Iraq couldn't pose a threat, but could develop something that he can slip to someone who might kill some U.S. citizens, someday.

I'm sorry, this argument is insane.

He also doesn't recognize that Iraq has had no nuclear program since it ceased being an ally of the United States and it remains unproven that he has developed chemical and biological weapons since then. I admit it is likely he has chemical weapons, which have existed for a hundred years and are not a major threat to peace.

His argument is that the U.S. should become the equivalent of Larry Niven's ARM (Amalgamated Regional Militia)- an all powerful international police force that eliminates all threats to the general public on its own authority. And while where at it we should start making sure all those other countries become good.

Proteus sure makes it sound purty and patriotic and freedom loving, though. All countries have to drive men to war for great idealistic reasons. Proteus is trying to provide some for Bush.



Salon - Getting Naked for Peace, a Personal Story

Another in my series of keeping up with nude protests.



Interesting analysis by Mickey Kaus on War Plans

Go down to Sunday, March 30, 2003 - What Was Rumfeld Thinking (sorry, no internal links in his blog.)

Did he provide the minimum number of troops to show that the U.S. can do it again against any country?

Seperately the Pakistan Daily Times has the report that Wolfowitz denies authorship of controversial 1991 Iraq memo advocating going to war then to assure U.S. oil. He says he thinks someone in his staff wrote it but indicates it was a good idea for many reasons.

North Korea has learned the lesson, is it the one Bush wanted to teach? North Korea says based on Iraq's experience it will never agree to disarm.




NBC, MSNBC terminate Arnett

NBC and MSNBC on Monday said they had terminated their relationship with Peter Arnett after the journalist told state-run Iraqi TV that the U.S.-led coalition’s initial war plan had failed and that reports from Baghdad about civilian casualties had helped antiwar protesters undermine the Bush administration’s strategy.


2 US Dead in Afghanistan as New Offensives Planned


Irish Examiner - A rocket also hit the headquarters of the international peacekeeping force that patrols Kabul, the Afghan capital. No injuries were reported there.

A Special Forces soldier and an airman were killed and another Special Forces trooper wounded when their four-vehicle convoy was ambushed on a reconnaissance patrol. Three Afghan soldiers were also wounded.



Mubarak says Iraq war to produce ''100 new bin Ladens''


Albawaba.com: President Mubarak rejected a call by many Arabs that he close the Suez Canal to military vessals: "Crossing of ships of the Suez Canal is a right for all countries and is an international commitment that cannot be trampled with."



Finish Quickly -- does this make me pro-war?

While I was opposed to this war and feel it has created many, many, problems, in looking at possible endings the one with the fewest problems has to be a victory over Saddam with the fewest possible casualties on both sides. This war must totally remove the Baath party and establish a democratic government. I do not see how even that will help the increased terrorist threat to the United States caused by this war or recover U.S. standing in the world but all other endings appear worse.

This was a dangerous, stupid, misguided war and tis best be done quickly now that it has started.

Pulling our troops out now won't happen and a negotiated settlement that leaves the Baath party in place could have more long term damage then a victory with low loss of life on both sides. With enough pressure, Bush might fullfill his promise to rebuild Iraq and establish democracy. A quick withdrawal from Iraq after the war might even go a long way to rebuilding the United States' reputation. We accomplished our mission and we left.

One thing I really fear is that most people in the United States still support Bush after his incompetent leadership.


Sunday, March 30, 2003

HOUSE REPUBLICANS SLASHES VETS' AID FOR TAX CUTS

Occasionally the real stories gets picked up in the heartland, this is a news roundup for populists.



Meet the Carlyle Group and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

My ex-wife was asking me where to invest for her IRA this year. I suggested the Carlyle Group, political insiders profiting from a more warlike world. She settled for one-half gold and one-half dividend paying stocks. (The gold will amount to less than 5% of her total investments.)

Recommended Reading: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Wealth and Democracy. From the latter: Most American conservatives take it as an article of faith that the less governmental involvement in affairs of the market and pocketbook the better. The rich do not, whatever they might say--for much of their wealth comes from the "power and preferment of government."

Another one to try is by Bill Gates' father: Wealth and Our Commonwealth : Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.




Kucinich Still Against The War

“This Administration has never made its case for war against Iraq. It is an unjustified war, which the Administration continues to misrepresent and exaggerate.




Author Of Japan Occupation History Warns "Iraq is not Japan"

''Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II'' reportedly is required reading in the Bush White House.

There is a famous temple called Kiyomizu-dera on a steep hillside in Kyoto, and on the eve of Pearl Harbor Tojo realized that he had gotten himself into a terrible predicament, and he said, ''Well, sometimes you just have to close your eyes and leap off the veranda at Kiyomizu-dera.'' Why did he have to take the plunge then? Because the weather was going to be bad in Southeast Asia, the troops had already been mobilized and he had pumped up his rhetoric.


Kurds Destroy Terror Camp - Powell's Chem Factory Still Looks Like Communication Shack

Ansar al-Islam, an extremist Iraqi group with alleged ties to the al Qaeda terror network, built its training camps on mountain slopes near the Iranian border.

At one of the biggest craters was the long, low and all-but-obliterated building that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell -- while displaying a satellite view before the U.N. Security Council last month -- called a poison factory. When Ansar opened the building to journalists a few days later, it appeared to be a video and audio recording center. Today, crushed circuit boards and loudspeakers were piled at the edge of the crater.


Being Busted For Protesting Pays Off

L.A. Board of Supervisors agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the cyclists for $2.75 million -- that's $70,000 each for the 23 women and $5,000 each for the 48 men.

The cyclists also have another lawsuit pending for false arrest. None of the riders was charged.



News on a roll


Worldwide Anti-war protests again, US military bases in Germany blocked.

CSM - It's the Republicans engaged in class warfare by combining budget cuts with tax breaks. Points out that three-quarters of seniors have no dividend income at all.

Pentagon claims to have destroyed "massive terrorist facility" used by al-Qaeda to make chemical weapons. This is the same camp with dirt floors, no running water, no electricity that journalists toured before the war.

By opting to join the American hard right, Tony Blair has made the gravest mistake of his political life. Astute analysis of the rise of American conservative dominance.

Before the war started, John Robb analysed the Bush doctrine. He has been right so far. The problem, he sees it ending in a nuclear bomb going off in the US. He also agrees with me on the two major arguments for the war, eliminating WMD and liberating Iraq, and how Bush policy is wrong.

Saddam: I'll hit the US and UK with terror squads as US troops prepare for Baghdad.

The latest Iraqi explosion in a marketplace looks like a US HARM missile. I don't want to post the links because the idiots claim the British journalist that found a fragment with a part number probably planted it.

The Nation - Vietnam Dispatch -- Gerald Herman, an American businessman and entrepreneur who has lived in Vietnam for ten years, says that what is especially poignant about the Vietnamese is not their reaction to the war in Iraq but their sympathy for Americans after 9/11. "Every single Vietnamese I know, including two young men I had to fire from my company, got in touch then to offer condolences," Herman said. "I expected at least one person to tell me, 'Now you know what it feels like,' but no one did. Knowing I was from New York, people were asking me if I had friends or relatives in the twin towers. It was remarkable, profound compassion. Now we've totally squandered that." He asks us to consider "our participatory role in what is happening while we descend, in the fashion of ancient Rome, from a republic to an empire."



25 years of a Changed Racial Policy


Report card on equality in US 25 years after ending quotas. Only colleges still strive for diversity and only the percentage of black professionals has shown a dramactic increase.


1978 -- 2003
Life expectancy of a black child Five years shorter than a white child Six years shorter
Risk of a black woman dying during childbirth Three times as likely 3-1/2 times as likely
Infant mortality rate for blacks Twice that of whites Slightly more than twice
Black families below the poverty line Four times the number of white families Unchanged
Unemployment rate for black adults Twice that of whites Unchanged
Unemployment rate for black teens Three times that of whites Unchanged
Median income of a black family 60 percent of a white family's 66 percent
Lawyers and judges 1.2 percent black 5.1 percent
Physicians 2.0 percent black 5.6 percent
Engineers 1.1 percent black 5.5 percent
College and university professors 2.6 percent black 6.1 percent
Percenage of Population 11.5 percent black 12.3 percent

Statistics from the Christian Science Monitor.


COOK: BRING OUR LADS HOME


Sunday_Mirror -- I just hope those who expected a quick victory are proved right. I have already had my fill of this bloody and unnecessary war.

...Personally I would like to volunteer Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz to be "embedded" alongside the journalists with the forward units.

...A better way could have been not to start a war which was never necessary and is turning out to be badly planned.

The Labor opposition seems to have a new leader, Blair's Foreign Secretary until a few days ago.



A Plan Under Attack


Newsweek -- Less than two weeks into the second gulf war, does Operation Iraqi Freedom risk blowing up into a Middle East war?

Last Wednesday, CIA officials gave a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill about the rising tide of anti-Americanism sweeping the Arab world. Particular emphasis was placed on Jordan and Egypt. As agency officials discussed the depth of hatred for U.S. actions, the senators fell silent. There were delicate discussions about the uncertainty, if the war was protracted, of “regime stability.” After the briefing, “there were senators who were ashen-faced,” said one staff member. “They were absolutely depressed.” Much of what the agency briefed would not have been news to any close watcher of the BBC or almost any foreign news broadcast. “But they [the senators] only watch American TV,” said the staffer.

Just by watching and reading international sources you have to know that Arab and Muslim anger has gone white-hot. We can win the military battle but the political war, why we fought, appears doomed.



Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall


TPM -- Email from an expert:

This is an email I received this evening from a former career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to a Muslim country. He also studied military strategy at the National War College with retired four-stars like Wes Clark, Hugh Shelton, and others.

Three Scenarios:

1. We will have to engage in major bombing in Baghdad, including in civilian areas. To use the Vietnam era phrase, "we had to destroy the village in order to save it." International outrage will be overwhelming, and we will pay the price in the Arab and Muslim worlds for years to come. Operation Iraqi Freedom becomes Operation Iraqi Conquest.

2. We will have to retreat from the city, bloodied and demoralized -- to borrow your phrase, this is the chickenhawk down scenario. There will be calls from within the US (and certainly from Britain) to pull out of Iraq all together, because the mission has failed. How do you spell "Dunkirk?"

3. This is what I think is the most likely scenario. Cooler heads such as Colin Powell and our senior military leaders will be able to convince Bush that Option 1 and 2 are not "viable." We will need to surround the city, secure the rest of the country, and then play the game of "political standoff."

I disagree here that Bush will agree to end the standoff by making a deal with Saddam for robust inspections. Bush is willing to have this be his Vietnam.

We have a great, fantastic military. We owe them far better civilian leaders.




Gary Hart's words may haunt us - again


Denver Post -- Gary Hart warned us that a 9/11 would happen and we would need a department of homeland security. Now it turns out he warned about going into Iraq.



CBS News -- Rumsfeld Plays Defense


CBS -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has flatly denied reports that he rejected requests from U.S. military planners for additional troops for the war in Iraq.

On the lie scale this is awfully big. There have been military and intelligence people before and after the war saying how plan after plan was rejected as Rumsfeld felt it was "old style" and relied on lumbering tanks.


Pope Hopes That War Doesn't Bring 'Religious Catastrophe'


Washington Post -- Pope John Paul II said today he hoped that the human tragedy of the war in Iraq would not set Christians and Muslims against each other. The pope is opposed to the war in Iraq and led a Vatican diplomatic campaign to avert it. The Iraq conflict has put the Vatican at odds with the Bush administration because the pope has refused to bless the conflict as a "just war."



Russian Army Intelligence Summaries


Information Clearing House -- Russian Military Briefings on Iraq Situation - You don't see this on CNN and the laughable Allied official briefings. Sure it is very slanted the other way, but the Centcom, Pentagon and British briefings are by PR guys who are there to never give bad news. This sounds like what I would expect from a Russian military briefing but this is the internet, who knows?

Original Source: According to Russian Army Intelligence on March 25 "A particular point of concern for the US command is the huge overuse of precision-guided munitions and cruise missiles. Already the supply of heavy cruise missiles like the "Tomahawk" has been reduced by a third and, at the current rate of use, in three weeks the US will be left only with the untouchable strategic supply of these missiles. A similar situation exists with other types of precision-guided munitions. "The rate of their use is incompatible with the obtained results. We are literally dropping gold into the mud!" said Gen. Richard Mayers during a meeting in Pentagon yesterday morning. [reverse translation from Russian]

The US experts already call this war a "crisis". "It was enough for the enemy to show a little resistance and some creative thinking as our technological superiority begun to quickly lose all its meaning. Our expenses are not justified by the obtained results. The enemy is using an order of magnitude cheaper weapons to reach the same goals for which we spend billions on technological whims of the defense industry!" said Gen. Stanley McCrystal during the same Pentagon meeting. [reverse translation from Russian]

Since the early morning today the coalition high command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in an online conference joined by the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This meeting immediately follows an earlier meeting last night at the White House. During the night meeting with President Bush emergency actions were outlined to resolve the standstill in Iraq. The existing course of actions is viewed as "ineffective and leading to a crisis". The Secretary of State Collin Powell warned that, if the war in Iraq continues for more than a month, it might lead to unpredictable consequences in international politics.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Mayers reported on the proposed actions and corrections to the plan of the operation in Iraq. George Bush demanded that the military breaks the standstill in Iraq and within a week achieves significant military progress. A particular attention, according to Bush, should be paid to finding and eliminating the top Iraqi political and military leadership. Bush believes that Saddam Hussein and his closest aides are the cornerstone of the Iraqi defense.

The first lessons the Russians derive from the early phase of the war are interesting.

www.iraqwar.ru or the other links as long as they are available. They have reported denial of service attacks from the US. Huge thanks to Tom at Information Clearing House for this source.



New York Times - Dowd -- Back Off Syria and Iraq

As Gomer Pyle might say about this war, "Why, surprise, surprise, surprise."

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Quick Updates



For radical and liberal news check out the Online Journal.

CBS News - Not taking No for an Answer, White House Still Seeking Ways to Drill In Alaskan Refuge

New Yorker - Rumsfeld Ignored Pentagon Advice on Iraq

Yahoo AFP -- Iraqi civilians feed hungry US marines




MJ -- The Line Blurs - Why Iraqi's Fight

In much of the Islamic world, the past decade has been marked by growing tensions between moderate, liberal, and radical political movements. Fawaz Gerges argues that the war in Iraq has "blurred the lines" between those movements. The Bush administration's single-minded pursuit of war, Gerges warns, has "alienated many of the important moderate voices, both secular and religious, which until now had been unwilling to join militant anti-American forces."

"Bin Laden must be laughing in either his grave or cave. His strategic goal was to mobilise Muslims worldwide to heed his call for jihad. But his apocalyptic nightmare initially fell on deaf ears. Then, leading Muslim clerics cautioned young men not to be swayed by the calls for jihad from fringe groups such as al-Qaeda and said that only legitimate institutions and accredited scholars should be heeded.

Yet what was unthinkable 18 months ago has happened. The US has alienated those in the Islamic community who were its best hope. The challenge now is to limit the damage."



Houston Press -- Local Dems Caught Between Iraq and a Hard Place

As the first missiles struck Baghdad last Wednesday, local Democrats were quick to back the troops, but mostly silent on the larger issues posed by the first pre-emptive war in U.S. history.

Preventative, not pre-emptive, the Democrats could take lessons from the Republicans on managing talking points. Pre-emptive means we know they are going to attack and strike first, preventative means we think that in a year or more they could attack.

This is all we can do," Ryan says while admitting that it "might be tilting at windmills." "Pre-emptive war is an unworkable concept. I wish the world was as simple as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the president think it is, with 'We're the good guys and they're the bad guys.'

"If we think we are the Lone Ranger who knows what the law is and what the future holds, and we don't really care who's riding with us, that's a huge change in what I think is a very complex world."



Second Toronto area hospital isolated because of further spread of SARS


News Canada -- The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, north of the city, potentially exposes additional large numbers of people to the disease. Hospital staff, anyone who has been a patient there or has visited the facility since March 16 will be expected to join thousands of others advised to go into a voluntary 10-day quarantine in their homes.



More On Cheney's Daughter To Be Human Shield In Baghdad?

The story that Mary Cheney was going to Baghdad to be a human shield is still generating controversy. While the initial story was denied by the Vice President's office, the UAE semi-official newspaper Alittihad reports that another daughter has arrived in Jordan as part of an American delegation amid rumours that she will attempt to talk to Mary who is reportedly staying in Amman.



Fear of Respiratory Disease Grips Hong Kong


WashPost -- The first doctor to realize that the world was dealing with an unfamiliar disease died of the illness in Thailand on Saturday. Italian Dr. Carlo Urbani, 46, a World Health Organization expert on communicable diseases, became infected while working in Vietnam, where he diagnosed an American businessman hospitalized in Hanoi, Vietnam, the U.N. agency said. The businessman later died.

Fear gripped Hong Kong as the number of people suffering from a deadly flu-like disease increased sharply Saturday. Thousands of people donned surgical masks but many more refused to venture out and activity in the usually bustling city ground to a halt.

Nations across Asia are fighting to contain the illness. Singapore, which has had two deaths, nearly doubled the number of people quarantined to more than 1,500 on Friday.

Nine Hong Kong doctors, nurses and medical students who had the disease and were discharged Saturday said they are living proof that SARS isn't unbeatable.

Dr. Raymond Wong said he wanted to tell Hong Kong that "this is not an incurable disease."

The illness appears to have originated in mainland China, which has been criticized for being slow in reporting some 800 cases and 34 deaths.

This is another huge hit for airlines as well as a likely pandemic.



Daschle regrets timing of comments


Zwire -- Typical pattern, as soon as the Republicans say bad boy, Daschle backs down when he was right. Link from BuzzFlash



Bush Proposal Would Alter Eligibility for Overtime


LATimes -- Proposed federal regulations released Thursday would bring sweeping changes to the way managers and executives are defined, shifting who is and isn't eligible for overtime pay.

The administration says it will help workers - look out!



Even if he wins the war, Blair has been humiliated

British Press accuse Bush of playing Blair for a fool.

"It is mortifying to behold, a British PM risking everything in the hope that he can nudge an instinctively unilateralist Republican president toward processes and institutions he and his team either doubt or mock."



War-Gamed - Saddam's Tactics was Predicted then Disallowed

SLATE -- Much has been made of Thursday's remark by Lt. Gen. William Wallace, commander of U.S. Army forces in the Persian Gulf. Talking about the fierce and guerrilla-style resistance of Iraqi militia groups, Wallace said, "The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against."

In fact, however, militia fighters did play a crucial role in a major war game designed to simulate combat in Iraq—but the Pentagon officials who managed the game simply disregarded or overruled the militias' most devastating moves.




Plan's Defect: No Defectors


LATimes -- A highly publicized U.S. campaign to persuade senior Iraqi military and civilian leaders to surrender has failed to produce any significant defections, and U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that those closest to President Saddam Hussein are unlikely to give up.

The effort now appears to be one of several miscalculations in a high-stakes U.S. strategy to use bombing, secret contacts and inducements -- including cash payments -- to key Iraqi leaders to quickly overthrow Hussein.


NYTimes -- Antiwar Effort Emphasizes Civility Over Confrontation


Antiwar Effort Emphasizes Civility Over ConfrontationNew York Times Beach Protest Picture

At least for now, the more mainstream groups have gained the upper hand. They have sought to cast their movement as the loyal opposition, embracing the troops but condemning the war.

The Internet would prove crucial to both organizing and media. United for Peace and Justice said 40,000 people signed up for e-mail bulletins about actions against the war. Win Without War says its e-mail list includes more than two million addresses. Earlier this month, Win Without War created a worldwide candlelight vigil online, allowing people to enter their ZIP codes to find the nearest one.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Uncle Saddam - Everything You Always Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask

From the People's Republic of Seabrook - A satirical documentary that portrays Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) as a personal hygiene fanatic who likes to fish with grenades is getting a timely first time DVD release in the United States next week.

"Uncle Saddam," made by French freelance journalist Joel Soler in 2000, received critical acclaim at international film festivals two years ago and resulted in death threats against Soler at his Los Angeles area home.



Walter Cronkite excoriates Bush but supports troops


Hanover Eagle -- Cronkite said he is very disappointed and "considerably worried" that affairs had come to this pass. He said that, as always, the military is more confident than perhaps it should be. He nevertheless predicted the military will perform its mission quickly, and with a minimum of casualties. What concerns him most is the aftermath of our "adventure in Iraq."

Allies in Western Europe have turned their backs on us, Cronkite said, but we will need their moral support, and their financial help, when Iraq's new government is set up. He said Bush's "arrogance" in addressing our allies "has been exceptional," and they have taken "great umbrage" with this. Without their help, Cronkite said, it will be hard to maintain that the U.S. went into Iraq with the mission of liberating its people from a cruel dictator, and did not simply have the intention of taking over the country.

"The cost of this episode, this adventure, is going to be terribly severe," Cronkite said. He blamed Congress for not demanding an accounting of the expense involved. He said that as the troops are paid, as equipment is replaced when the sands destroy it, and as Navy ships have been deployed and waiting out at sea for months, Congress should be doing its job and calling out these expenses.

He added gravely, however, that this new paradigm, this "theory of preventive war" undertaken "without being attacked," is setting an example for the troubled countries of the world, especially in the case of African border wars - and perhaps imparting a lesson on the importance of owning weapons of mass destruction.



I don't want to be heard. I want the policies to change, the killing to stop, the living to start


Geov Parrish -- Until two weeks ago, there was a clear alternative to war: the inspection process, which at minimum bought time, at best was a path out of an artificially induced, but nonetheless real, crisis. When that was lost, so too were many members of the new anti-war movement, because there was no "next step," no contingency plans in the peace movement's demands beyond lame and hypocritical calls to "support the troops." Possibilities abound, from a movement to have the U.N., rather than United States, take part or all of the post-invasion administration of Iraq, to a concerted push to unseat Bush in 2004. Yet at the moment more protesters are trying to impeach Bush (which is not, repeat not, repeat not going to happen) than to elect a Democratic president in less than 20 months.

I guarantee, for example, that 1,000 people registering new anti-war voters would get far more attention and respect, with more lasting impact, than last week's protests – from the public, from decision-makers, and from those numbers opposed to the war and to freeway blockades.

Similarly Salon has Rage or Reason?

"I think looking at the big picture is what's vitally important," Blades[, a MoveOn founder,] says. "That means getting involved in the long run to make sure our government does not have a policy of preemptive wars. We want the rule of law and United Nations participation."

And the group wants to make sure that's a major issue in the next election. "That's the beauty of the American system," she says. "We are supposed to be electing people that govern in a way that we do support. If we don't get involved, we're betraying ourselves and betraying our country."



Joe Conason - What Changes are Needed After The War?


Working for Change - Administration must reassure allies about our intentions in Iraq


www.back-to-iraq.com

Allbritton is in Syria heading for Iraq - he raised over $10,000 from web donations to blog the war.



Molly Ivins - "Today would be a good day to put out any bad news you have."


Working for Change -- In a wide-ranging column she points outs burying bad news with war news and the nutcase Scalia.

In a speech to the Cleveland City Club (where he received the Citadel of Free Speech Award although he refused to allow C-SPAN to broadcast his remarks), Scalia said that government can scale back individual rights during wartime. "The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."

Good grief. This man's job is to uphold and defend the Constitution. Absolutely nothing in the Constitution limits rights in wartime. (Unless you want to count Amendment III: No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.) Neither the text nor the original intent of the Founders bears any resemblance to this man's notion that the Bill of Rights is a set of minimums, and Amendment IX specifically says so. It is appalling that a Supreme Court justice would say such a thing.



Salon: Straight Talk and Cakewalk


The Bush and Blair show
The president has the reputation for straight talk, but it's his British ally who actually delivers it.


Even with no requirements for participation on the coalition list, several of those countries have expressed issues with their inclusion on the list.

Of the 48 countries on the White House list, only nine have expelled their Iraqi diplomats, as the U.S. requested. And of those nine, Jordan has said that Iraq can send replacements at any time.

Who said or implied this would be a "Cakewalk"

Richard Perle
Ken Adelman
Vice President Dick Cheney
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Christopher Hitchens



Iraqi power structure seems to remain intact


CSM - US officials still aren't entirely sure about the state of Saddam Hussein's health. But 10 days after a salvo of missiles intended for the Iraqi leadership slammed into a Baghdad bunker, one thing seems clear: Someone in Iraq is still in control, and fighting back.

The political structure that has kept Mr. Hussein in power - the Baath Party and its associated inner networks of militia and paramilitary units - does not appear to have cracked under the concerted US assault. It is these forces, more than the vaunted Republican Guards, that have been at the center of Baghdad's hit-and-run counterattack strategy.



Arianna Huffington -- Having Your Souffle And Eating It Too

This article written before Perles resignation of chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defense Policy Board explains why, it is plan D to react to stories about his business dealings.



Bush faces terrible choices

Bush is caught in an iron triangle of competing imperatives. He wants a quick war, with minimum coalition casualties and minimum Iraqi casualties. As long as Iraq's army keeps fighting as it has this week, he cannot have all three. Either the war will be slow, or it will be bloody for one side or both. If the Iraqi forces fight very well, it is just possible that the war might be all three.

One week's sustained resistance by Iraq's soldiers is surprising enough. For them to keep it up for months against a really determined US assault would be almost unthinkable.

A US-occupied Iraq could become like Afghanistan under Soviet occupation, a focus for Arab and Islamic resentment of the West, and a magnet for violent fundamentalists.

I wonder what Osama bin Laden is thinking?



War must end immediately: Russian President Putin

"The only means to resolve the Iraqi problem is an immediate halt to hostilities and the resumption of efforts to find a peaceful settlement within the UN Security Council," Interfax quoted Putin as telling the leaders of the political parties in the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, yesterday.



CIA warned about Fedeyeen and Guerilla Tactics Before War

Intelligence analysts warned senior Pentagon officials before the war in Iraq began that Iraqi paramilitary units would fight back and could pose a significant threat to American-led coalition forces, officials said on Thursday.

The Central Intelligence Agency issued a report last month that said that paramilitary units fanatically loyal to Saddam Hussein could threaten rear areas during an allied advance. The agency report also raised concerns about the possibility that the paramilitary forces could mount attacks against Iraqi civilians and use other irregular methods to try to tie down coalition forces.

Analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency also voiced concerns about the paramilitary forces in the months leading up to war with Iraq, and warned the military leadership about the threat from guerrilla-style attacks. Officials said the issue was also raised by analysts at the National Ground Intelligence Center, another branch of military intelligence.

The optimism of the [civilian] political leadership at the Pentagon [Rumsfeld and his crew] that Saddam's government would quickly collapse in the face of an American-led invasion may also have overridden concerns among analysts about the possibility that Iraqi forces would use guerrilla tactics.

Warnings that two paramilitary groups close to Hussein — the Fedayeen Saddam and the Special Security Organization — might fight were also raised last October in a National Intelligence Estimate, a classified document that offered a consensus view of the entire intelligence community on the problems American forces might face in ground combat in Iraq.



Weight of the war takes toll on Bush


Toronto Star -- Not much is going according to plan in Iraq for the U.S. administration and the pressure showed yesterday, from an irritated president and hunkered-down defence secretary to a U.N. ambassador storming out of a meeting.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said bluntly that the U.S. could allow only a limited role for the U.N.

"We didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have a significant dominating control over how it unfolds in the future," he told a congressional committee.

"We would not support ... essentially handing everything over to the U.N. for someone designated by the U.N. to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation," said Powell.



Rumsfeld Warns Syria, Iran About Helping Iraq in War Effort

VOA - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Syria of allowing shipments of military equipment to cross into Iraq, where they could endanger the lives of coalition forces.

Secretary Rumsfeld issued a strong warning to Syria to stop allowing the shipments of military equipment across the border with Iraq.

Secretary Rumsfeld also warned Iran not to let armed fighters cross its borders with Iraq. He said such fighters would have to be treated as combatants.

The defense secretary said there are already hundreds of Iranian-sponsored fighters inside Iraq.

Is the US prepared to start a shooting war with the Iran And Syria now and hope it can drag NATO with us?



Scott Ritter: US defeat in Iraq 'inevitable'

The United States does not have the military means to take over Baghdad and will lose the war against Iraq, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter said.

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win."



Gore Criticizes Major Media War Coverage


College Paper MTSU Sidelines -

President Al Gore criticized the media and the current administration's war on Iraq and suggested an "unhealthy relationship" between the two at Tuesday's Seigenthaler Lecture.

"I admire these journalists who are covering this war who are embedded, but I don't want the owners of the companies they work for to be in bed with the government," Gore said.

Citing the continued deregulation of the media industry as a major problem, Gore held the media responsible for the role it played in the months leading up to the war.

"The relative intolerance of dissent on the part of the media in America led to a completely inadequate debate prior to the beginning of this war," Gore said.


Chaos Looms as Aid Is Delivered to Safwan

The car reached the road. Left was Safwan, population perhaps 20,000.

Right was Basra, population perhaps 1.3 million. The car turned to the left, while Nunn looked to the right.

"Can you imagine what will happen in Basra?" he said. "Can you imagine this on a larger scale?"




India Wonders If We Consider All Of Our Soldiers Private Ryan

Indian Express: A large body (at least a company, if not more) of British Royal Marines, with tanks, lay pinned down, around it. Journalists embedded with the unit spoke, for hours, on the deadly resistance being put up by the Iraqis. Marines crawled and manoeuvred themselves from one safe vantage point to another, but never got any closer to the house of the defenders even after mortar shells had gone through it. They waited, instead, for the Harriers to arrive and put a 500-pound bomb into it.

It was stirring television, particularly so early in the war which was never expected to be fought. But it wasn’t stirring warfighting. If an army with a superiority of 20 to 1, with total air dominance, the finest in smart weapons, bristling with technology and body armour which would make it impossible for the enemy to kill you unless he actually hit you on your nose or some place like that, has to wait a whole day to clear out one little machine-gun nest, it would be a long time before it can neutralise any significant challenge from the defenders. And this, mind you, were the British who have shown greater spunk in the firefights so far than the Americans.

Why yes, I do hope that we consider every soldier the most expensive and valuable military equipment we have -- designed for years of service unless misused. I will also note I saw this criticism on Fox Network where an old Republican geezer was saying this was a war of wusses, probably another chickenhawk.



Michael Moore - Starting a Ruckus Was The Right Thing to Do

A word of advice to future Oscar winners: Don't begin Oscar day by going to church.

That is where I found myself this past Sunday morning, at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Santa Monica Boulevard, at Mass with my sister and my dad. My problem with the Catholic Mass is that sometimes I find my mind wandering after I hear something the priest says, and I start thinking all these crazy thoughts like how it is wrong to kill people and that you are not allowed to use violence upon another human being unless it is in true self-defense.

Diane Lane opened the envelope and announced the winner: "Bowling for Columbine." The entire main floor rose to its feet for a standing ovation. I was immeasurably moved and humbled as I motioned for the other nominees to join my wife (the film's producer) and me up on the stage.

I then said what I had been saying all week at those other awards ceremonies. I guess a few other people had heard me say those things too because before I had finished my first sentence about the fictitious president, a couple of men (some reported it was "stagehands" just to the left of me) near a microphone started some loud yelling. Then a group in the upper balcony joined in. What was so confusing to me, as I continued my remarks, was that I could hear this noise but, looking out on the main floor, I didn't see a single person booing.

But then the majority in the balcony - who were in support of my remarks - started booing the booers.

It all turned into one humongous cacophony of yells. And all I'm thinking is: Hey, I put on a tux for this?





NYTimes: Consumer Sentiment at Near - Decade Low

They can't say since the previous Bush was president?
Consumer sentiment indicates how long it will be before the economy will get better. The wrong tax cuts, the wrong war, the wrong spending, the wrong energy policies, the wrong spending cuts...



U.S. Army General Upsets White House

The war in Iraq is about to get even tougher for Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace. He ignited the ire of the White House by observing publicly that Pentagon war strategists had misunderstood the combativeness of Iraqi fighters. The miscalculation, he said, had stalled the coalition's drive toward Baghdad.

``The enemy we're fighting against is different from the one we'd war-gamed against,'' Wallace, commander of V Corps, told The New York Times and The Washington Post on Thursday.




NYTimes -- Red Cross Worker Is Killed in Afghanistan

Gunmen killed a Red Cross worker in southern Afghanistan in an attack by Taliban loyalists opposed to the Afghan government and the international presence in Afghanistan, Red Cross and Afghan officials said today.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was temporarily suspending all operations across the country.

The incident has shaken members of aid organizations working in Afghanistan. Some agencies had pulled their staff members out of the southern region before the war in Iraq began because they feared an increase in violence.

American forces have increased their operations in the southern areas, conducting broad sweeps of mountainous regions where rebels are thought to be hiding. An operation is continuing east of Kandahar near the Pakistani border.

But the killing on Thursday has illustrated how armed groups are still moving unchecked across the region.



The Onion - Special Coverage: The War on Iraq

Operation Piss Off The Planet
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New Bomb Capable Of Creating 1,500 New Terrorists In Single Blast

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U.S. Draws Up Plan For Post-War Transitional Dictatorship In Iraq

and more.




Washington Post Slams War Propaganda Qatar Office

The war in Iraq is a grim reality, but it is more than 350 miles north of Doha. Most of the uniforms in this corner of the U.S. Central Command belong to public affairs officers, and their mission is image.

Inside, at daily news conferences and private briefings, senior Centcom officials have been more determined to paint Iraqi forces in the darkest possible hues than to shed light on the difficult progress of the military campaign that began nine days ago.

The army's senior ground commander in Iraq, Lt. General William W. Wallace, on Thursday added his voice to those officers saying that the war could last longer than strategists anticipated because of over-extended supply lines and unexpectedly stiff opposition from Iraqis using unconventional tactics.

So today, it fell to Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, with one star on his shoulders, to go before the cameras and effectively dismiss the statements of an officer with three stars on his-and one who had the advantage of being on the battlefield in Iraq.

Another senior Centcom official was less diplomatic in speaking with reporters. He cast those reports as the ill-informed musing of former officers. In a background briefing, the senior Centcom official said, "Retired military officials, the day they retire become out of date." When it was pointed out that the concerns had been raised by active military officers, this Centcom official said, "If ever I meet a senior military official, I'm going to kick their butt. They talk a lot."

Centcom officials are far more enthusiastic about using the podium day after day to spotlight reported abuses by President Saddam Hussein's government, a public relations strategy that officials said was worked out with the White House Office of Global Communications.

The Washington Post has been pro-war on their editorial page and at least half of their stories. At a "so-called briefing" yesterday the reporters cheered when one asked Why the Army had spend a million dollars on a information complex that gave no new information as all the news was released at the Pentagon or from local cammanders.



Evangelist who called Islam 'wicked' is ready to bring spiritual and humanitarian aid to Muslims in Iraq.

Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham and one of the nation’s most outspoken critics of Islam, said Wednesday he has relief workers "poised and ready" to roll into Iraq to provide for the population’s post-war physical and spiritual needs.

On Wednesday, Graham was unusually guarded in his comments about Islam, saying only that “when people ask, I let them know I don’t believe in their God. But I respect their right to believe whatever they want to believe.” Two months after September 11, however, he called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.” Last summer he said Muslims hadn't sufficiently apologized for the terrorist attacks--and he challenged Muslim leaders to offer to help rebuild Lower Manhattan or compensate the families of victims to show they condemn terrorism.

That comment followed a string of remarks about Islam and Muslims, as Graham promoted his book, “The Name.” In it, Graham wrote that "Islam--unlike Christianity--has among its basic teachings a deep intolerance for those who follow other faiths." Then, in an interview with Beliefnet, he reiterated his opinion, saying, "I believe the Qur'an teaches violence, not peace." In an indirect criticism of President Bush, Graham at the time told Beliefnet that after September 11, "there was this hoo-rah around Islam being a peaceful religion--but then you start having suicide bombers, and people start saying, 'Wait a minute, something doesn’t add up here.'"

But Graham is only the most significant leader of a widespread and rapidly growing effort by conservative American Christians to criticize Islam—and attempt to convert its followers. Since 1990, the number of missionaries in Islamic countries has quadrupled. Mission experts estimate they have spoken to or given Christian material to at least 334 million people in that time.



Poll: Public Backs Senate Plan to Slash Tax Cut

Bush Support Strong, but U.N. Role in Postwar Iraq Wanted

The survey found that 65 percent of the public favors the Senate-passed plan to reduce Bush's $726 billion tax cut by more than half in order to pay for the war, shore up Social Security and reduce the deficit-a view shared equally by Republicans as well as by Democrats and political independents.

Nearly three in 10 would eliminate the tax cut entirely, the poll found.



World Media Not Breaking Geneva Convention

Article 13 of the third Geneva convention says PoWs must be humanely treated and "protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity". But the article does not prevent all photographs of prisoners, and newspapers and TV companies are not bound by the convention, which applies only to states or "detaining powers".



Interesting comment on just who is in charge from Elton Beard

A man who can tell the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ignore the (ostensible) Commander in Chief's direct request for information is a man in control. To him Bush is an inferior, whose order can be countermanded. Which means that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, described by no less and expert than Henry Kissinger as "the most ruthless man I ever met", is the real President of the United States.

I also suspect Cheney. A man who Bush appoints to pick his Vice President and who then names himself and gets Bush to agree...

Check out the picture above too - "I'm from the U.S. Government, and I'm here to help you."

Compassionate Conservative my ass, that was a focus group test phrase that played well.




Canada Debates Expelling or Censuring U.S. Ambasador

U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci's was apparently acting under instructions from Washington when he criticized Canada for not supporting the war against Iraq.



Exiles Return Home to Defend Iraq

So people who are not under Saddam's thumb, people who had escaped the brutal dictator, return home to defend their homeland against invaders. Am I the only one not surprised? According to the media I am.



Rumsfeld presses Franks to attack after shorting him the arms

So it apparently falls to one heavy Army division, one light Army division and a division-plus force of Marine infantry to destroy at least two and possibly more Republican Guard tank divisions dug in and blocking the approaches to Baghdad.

Their numbers are wrong - it is not 100,000 U.S. vs. 30,000 Iraqis under this plan. Try roughly 55,000 vs. 45,000 plus irregulars in an urban setting.

The 3rd Infantry was sent to war with only one battalion of MLRS rocket-launched artillery, a powerful long-range system that can reach out 30 miles and obliterate more than a third of a square mile of enemy soldiers or enemy tanks. Usually, it would have brought about six battalions.

Urgent orders have gone out to airlift elements of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Polk, La., to the war zone - and to divert 2,000 Marines from the Horn of Africa to Iraq.

The men of the 4th Infantry, the 101st Airborne Division and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force can only hope that Rumsfeld and his aides are correct that air power, precision-guided munitions and high technology have made old-fashioned rockets, long-range artillery and tanks unnecessary.

Hell, my nephew is in this debacle.


Syria's top religious leader has called for suicide bombings against the United States and its allies fighting Iraq.

No, that one wasn't hypothetical. Our bombing their civilians in a bus trying to get back to Syria has really inflamed matters. If I was on an American ship in the Med I would keep a sharp eye on the radar.



Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.

Even I will have to digest this, this is likely what will happen but is this their plan? To what ends will they manipulate events in order to democratize Iran, Syria, and North Korea? Good closing quote:

Ending Saddam Hussein's regime and replacing it with something stable and democratic was always going to be a difficult task, even with the most able leadership and the broadest coalition. But doing it as the Bush administration now intends is something like going outside and giving a few good whacks to a hornets' nest because you want to get them out in the open and have it out with them once and for all. Ridding the world of Islamic terrorism by rooting out its ultimate sources--Muslim fundamentalism and the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, and poverty--might work. But the costs will be immense. Whether the danger is sufficient and the costs worth incurring would make for an interesting public debate. The problem is that once it's just us and the hornets, we really won't have any choice.



Missteps With Turkey Prove Costly

Diplomatic Debacle Denied U.S. a Strong Northern Thrust in Iraq

I have been saying for months this administration is incompetent up and down the line, except for Rove, of course..



From Catch-22 - How to Greet Liberators


I was a fascist when Mussolini was on top, and I an an anti-fascist now that he has been deposed. I was fanatically pro-German when the Germans were here to protect us against the Americans, and now that the Americans are here to protect us against the Germans I am fanatically pro-American. I can assure you, my outraged young friend" - the old man's knowing, disdainful eyes shown even more effervescently as Nately's stuttering dismay increased - "that you and your country will have no more loyal partisan in Italy than me - but only as long as you remain in Italy."

"But," Nately cried out in disbelief, "you're a turncoat! A time-server! A shameful, unscrupulous opportunist!"

"I am a hundred and seven years old," the old man reminded him suavely.

"I can't believe it," Nately remarked grudgingly.

"But it's all perfectly true. When the Germans marched into the city, I danced in the streets like a youthful ballerina and shouted 'Heil Hitler' until my lungs were hoarse. I even waved a small Nazi flag that I had snatched away from a beautiful little girl while her mother was looking the other way. When the Germans left the city, I rushed out to welcome the Americans with a bottle of excellent brandy and a basket of flowers. The brandy was for myself, of course, and the flowers were to sprinkle upon our liberators. There was a very stiff and stuffy old major riding in the first car, and I hit him squarely in the eye with a red rose. A marvelous shot! You should have seen him wince."

Via the watch from Busy,Busy,Busy.

Also on BBBusy is Daniel Ellsberg cleverly responding to CNN's "fair, balanced and very, very thoughtful" Aaron Brown.


Why You Aren't Seeing and Hearing Voices of Dissent

Many stations employ news consultants to offer advice about programming, promotion and on-air personnel. Theses consultants are saying wave the flag and ignore protests to improve the bottom line.



How anti-war protest movements have made the U.S. stronger

Protesting war isn't some Vietnam-era relic, like love beads or Country Joe McDonald, but an American democratic tradition.

When President William McKinley opted to annex the Philippines—he wanted, he said, "to educate the Filipinos and uplift and Christianize them"—a motley array of critics from Andrew Carnegie to Mark Twain objected. William Jennings Bryan used his dissenting stance as the centerpiece of his (losing) 1900 presidential campaign.

During World War I, critics excoriated Woodrow Wilson—who had run for re-election in 1916 on the slogan "He kept us out of war"—for entangling America in a bloody European conflict.

In fact, the only major war that lacked an organized bloc of dissenters was World War II: Pearl Harbor had made an isolationist stance untenable. On the right, congressional Republicans launched an investigation of Pearl Harbor, with some implying that Franklin Roosevelt had foreknowledge of the attack.

Far from showing their patriotism, critics who muzzle themselves in wartime are abdicating a democratic responsibility.


Slate also quotes some of the funny and ridiculous arguments when The Supreme Court Tries Sodomy… and discovers that Texas is confused about it too.




Cheney's History of Bad Judgement

The lastest Krugman from the NYTimes: Delusions of Power.

"In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again — on energy, on the economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes — and the mistakes keep getting bigger."




Supreme Court Seems Set to Reverse a Sodomy Law


NYTimes -- A majority of the Supreme Court appeared ready today to overturn a Texas "homosexual conduct" law that criminalizes sexual practices between same-sex couples that are lawful in the state when performed by a man and a woman.


Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Top 15 Misreported Stories


1. Saddam may well have been killed in the first night's surprise attack (March 20).

2. Even if he wasn't killed, Iraqi command and control was no doubt "decapitated" (March 22).

3. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 22).

4. Most Iraqis soldiers will not fight for Saddam and instead are surrendering in droves (March 22).

5. Iraqi citizens are greeting Americans as liberators (March 22).

6. An entire division of 8,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered en masse near Basra (March 23).

7. Several Scud missiles, banned weapons, have been launched against U.S. forces in Kuwait (March 23).

8. Saddam's Fedayeen militia are few in number and do not pose a serious threat (March 23).

9. Basra has been taken (March 23).

10. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 23).

11. A captured chemical plant likely produced chemical weapons (March 23).

12. Nassiriya has been taken (March 23).

13. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 24).

14. The Iraqi government faces a "major rebellion" of anti-Saddam citizens in Basra (March 24).

15. A convoy of 1,000 Iraqi vehicles and Republican Guards are speeding south from Baghdad to engage U.S. troops (March 25).

We no longer have a good media. The first thing you are taught in journalism school is that people lie. The second thing is that governments lie even more. You are not a jounalist if you simply parrot what a government spokesperson has said.




Three soldiers tell of close calls in combat

I saw the interviews. They are heroes, "men distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength." At this time we have the best military in the world.

But is this the only thing we should be known for?



God Bless Me, The Hell With You


I went out to dinner last night. Japanese with my brother, his wife, her sister, my ex-wife, and a friend of Jim's - Juan. Great food. I was wearing the title of this blog as a button. I also wore a peace symbol button with the words - "It is still a good idea." Surprisingly, all shared my sentiments on this war - a terrible, misguided mistake.

House Approves National Day of Prayer. I was reminded of Mark Twain's The War Prayer.

Twain apparently dictated "The War Prayer" around 1904-05; it was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. The story is in response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902. Actually, the fighting between American and the Filipinos lasted 16 years (1899-1914).

I had mentioned that war in talking to my brother and Pat last night - the last imperialistic war we had. A quick decisive victory against the corrupt and decadent Spanish to free the people and bring them the benefits of American democracy and capitalism. In the end, we lost many, many times the men we lost during the war in the following years to prevent the Filipinos from kicking us out

Maybe Tom Friedman is right, I am just cynical. But I don't know what to call him for his declaration in his "No problem with a war for oil" column that it "would be quite legitimate" if, after bombing and conquering the country, the US helped "Iraqis build a more progressive, democratizing Arab state." Naive dreamer, unworldly idealist, jingo chauvinist, liberal apologist?


Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Who Is this Carlyle Group?

Sometimes called the Ex-Presidents Club, Carlyle has a glittering array of ex-politicians and big league bankers on its board. Former secretary of state James Baker is managing director while ex-secretary of defence Frank Carlucci is chairman. George Bush senior is an adviser. John Major heads up its European operations. To give the conspiracy theorists plenty of ammunition, US newspapers have also highlighted the fact that current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was a wrestling partner of Carlucci's at Princeton and the two have remained close friends ever since.

'I do not exaggerate when I say that Carlyle is taking over the world in government contract work, particularly defence work,' one employee told Briody.



Letter From Washington: HOW IT CAME TO WAR

I disagree with things accepted as facts in this letter but it does seem to represent the view of top Washington foreign policy makers. The end is a bit chilling:

Washington has stopped debating the merits of the real war in Iraq (that’s one for demonstrators in the streets, not policymakers in offices) and has begun to focus on a possible one in North Korea.



Security Council calls open meeting on Iraq as Baghdad waits

As allied forces are forced to change their strategy (NYTimes) and Baghdad waits under a "storm from God."

"The storm is from God," [a resident] said, looking out his trembling window. "Until the aggression started, never in my life did I see a storm like this. We all believe in God, we all have faith in God. And God is setting obstacles against the Americans."

"You can't surrender easily; we should fight," said Ahmed, the man at the barber shop. "Our religion says we should fight for our honor. We fear God. We're more afraid of God than we're afraid of the Americans."


Tuesday, March 25, 2003



OpEd News -- Time For Continuous Presence Quiet Protests?

Mass assemblages are good. They convey powerful messages, but it is time a continuous presence declaring opposition to the war and the Bush Crime Regime.

Huge malls and subways make the most sense. It is likely that the corporate owners of these malls and subways will attempt to block access. It will be necessary to fight this in the courts.

But the malls and subways are the contemporary common grounds commercial town meeting place of the masses. We have a right to be there and should be.

One way to do it might be to wear Tee Shirts with the Messages we seek to convey. If four or five people wear the same shirts (probably red white and blue, to counter right wingers who claim opposition to war is unpatriotic) they will stand out. Imagine a shirt that says:

AntiWar
Anti Bush
Ask Why
What Do You Think?



Presidential candidate Dean = "West Wing" President Bartlet ?

Carla Marinucci, SF Chronicle

-- The motto for the "West Wing" president: "Bartlet for America." The motto for Dean's campaign: "Dean for America."

-- Dean is the former modest-in-stature liberal Democratic governor of a small New England state (Vermont). Bartlet is the former modest-in-stature liberal Democratic governor of a small New England state (New Hampshire).

-- Their wives -- the real Dr. Judith Steinberg and the fictional Abbie Bartlet -- are physicians.

-- Both are doctors -- TV's Bartlet is a Ph.D, Dean an M.D.



Senate votes to cut Bush's tax cut in half


SFGate -- The Senate voted Tuesday to slash President Bush's proposed $726 billion tax-cutting package in half, handing the president a defeat on the foundation of his plan to awaken the nation's slumbering economy. [That's what they said about his first huge tax cut.- EL]

The vote to shrink the tax reduction to $350 billion through 2013 was a major coup for Democrats. Joined by a handful of moderate Republicans, they have been trying to shoot down the president's proposed tax cuts or make them smaller, arguing they make no sense with an expensive war with Iraq under way and federal deficits expected to soar to new records.

The Senate's 51-48 vote came the same day Bush formally asked Congress to rush him $74.7 billion to pay for the initial costs of the Iraqi war and other expenses of the U.S. war against terrorism.

In addition, there is growing consensus that a second midyear spending bill is likely this year for reconstruction of Iraq and other post-war costs. That bill could become home to an airline bailout, added domestic spending, or other items that might slow down the current war package.

Bush is alreay past the record for deficit spending in a year and is shooting for $500 billion.


Newsweek -- Trapped in Southern Iraq

The few troops the Allied army has in Iraq are spread thin and leaving supply lines vulnerable as these reporters find out.



U.S. Army Documents Warn of Occupation Hazards

According to recent unpublicized U.S. Army War College studies being read with increasing interest by some Pentagon planners, "The possibility of the United States winning the war and losing the peace in Iraq is real and serious."

One study broaches the subject of suicide attacks against U.S. soldiers. "The impact of suicide bombing attacks in Israel goes beyond their numbers," it says, "and this fact will also capture the imagination of would-be Iraqi terrorists."

Nuff said.




Bush's Forbidden Video

Like Ronald Reagan, Dubya may become known for his unathorized satellite feeds as he prepares for speeches.



New CD from Jim Hightower and Today's Commentary

Jim Hightower's new CD: The People Are Revolting! (in the very best sense of the word)
Out this March from Alternative Tentacles

"Don't mess with Texas!" Isn't just Dubya's catchphrase-you better not mess with Jim Hightower, America's #1 Populist and proud Texan! The acclaimed radio commentator and author of If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates has been "battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought to Be" for decades and now he¹s out with his very own full-length CD from Alternative Tentacles.

From the commentary section:

So here's my plan: Let's import CEOs! We can get them a whole lot cheaper from abroad – and get good ones, too. Did you know that the top bosses of major corporations in Europe, Japan, Latin America and elsewhere are delighted to do CEO work for only a million or two a year.

American corporate bosses now are hauling away about 500 times the pay of a typical worker in their corporations – not exactly a plus for company morale. But the ethic in other countries is much more fair – bosses in Mexico, for example, are paid only 45 times what the typical worker makes, in England it's 25 times, and Japan it's 10 times.



Salon -- Yellow Times Shut Down Again

After recently being forced to move because of political content, Yellow Times is again forced to move because of carrying the Arab pictures of dead American soldiers.




European Arms Embargo Affecting Israel's Nuclear Capability


Al Bawaba -- The unofficial but rapidly growing British and European embargo on supply of military equipment to Israel is causing grave concern to Israeli military planners. Following the refusal of Germany to provide critical parts for the local production of the Israeli Army's Merkava battle tanks, a British embargo on ejector seat parts is threatening to seriously damage Israel's much feared nuclear capability.

Some experts explain that the reason the Phantom is still in service with Israel is its apparent nuclear capability. As early as the 1973 October War, Israeli Phantoms were armed with nuclear bombs and prepared to deliver an Atomic attack as Syrian and Egyptian forces defeated Israeli troops on the frontline. In September 2002, former senior U.S. officials told The Washington Times how eight Israeli Phantoms were set to attack the military headquarters near Damascus and Cairo with nuclear weapons.

It must also be realized that despite its age, the Phantom is still a highly capable bomber, with the extremely long range needed to attack countries such as Iraq and Iran.

This is not a totally reliable source, seems to often be about the equivalent of Israel's Debka Files, very nationalistic, prone to carrying rumours.



Creator of "Shock and Awe" Doctrine Doesn't Support the War

"Where we are is where we are, and this is not a criticism and don't write it as such, but if it had been up to me I would have waited months, perhaps, to get a second resolution, when it would have been clear that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction," he says. "I don't agree with the administration view that Iraq is a clear and present danger, an imminent threat."



Protesters Shifting to Government Buildings and War Profiteers

While the demonstration at the Federal Building was going on, other protesters were at the Transamerica Pyramid to focus on the Carlyle Group, whose investor roster ranges from former President George H.W. Bush to the Saudi family of Osama bin Laden.



Disappointed in War So Far, Kurds Wait and Watch


New Zealand News -- The Kurds, with perhaps 70,000 peshmerga under their command, believe that the longer the war goes on the more likely it is that the US will need them to open a northern front against Saddam.

Disappointment with allied performance is widespread. In Sifaya, a village of smugglers and farmers 1.6km from Government-controlled territory, people watch every step of the war on television. They think Saddam is a long way from falling.

Even in Kurdistan there are flickers of Iraqi patriotism. A Kurdish official, who has spent years opposing Baghdad, admitted: "Iraqis won't like to see American soldiers ripping down posters of Saddam Hussein, though they might like to do it themselves. They didn't enjoy watching the Stars and Stripes being raised near Umm Qasr."



UK Guardian -- US is Violating 13 Articles of the Geneva Convention

The US government broke the first of these (article 13) as soon as the prisoners arrived, by displaying them, just as the Iraqis have done, on television ... They were then interned in a penitentiary (against article 22), where they were denied proper mess facilities (26), canteens (28), religious premises (34), opportunities for physical exercise (38), access to the text of the convention (41), freedom to write to their families (70 and 71) and parcels of food and books (72).

They were not "released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities" (118), because, the US authorities say, their interrogation might, one day, reveal interesting information about al-Qaida. Article 17 rules that captives are obliged to give only their name, rank, number and date of birth. No "coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever".

The US government claims that these men are not subject to the Geneva conventions, as they are not "prisoners of war", but "unlawful combatants". The same claim could be made, with rather more justice, by the Iraqis holding the US soldiers who illegally invaded their country. But this redefinition is itself a breach of article 4 of the third convention, under which people detained as suspected members of a militia (the Taliban) or a volunteer corps (al-Qaida) must be regarded as prisoners of war.

Via the daily Kos.


Cheney's gay daughter becoming a human shield?


Al Bawaba is reporting that Cheney's daughter is arriving to become a human shield in Baghdad. This story is apparently sweeping the Arab world but has not been comfirmed.



Live From Baghdad, an Un-Embedded Journalist

Robert Fisk on Washington’s ‘Quagmire’ in Iraq, Civilian Deaths and the Fallacy of Bush’s ‘War of Liberation’

DEMOCRACY NOW! MARCH 25, 2003

There are many people in this country who would love to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I’m sure, but they don’t want to live under American occupation.

I don’t think it’s the job of a journalist to run away when war comes just because it happens to be his own side doing the bombing. I’ve been bombed by the British and Americans so many times that it’s not ‘shock and awe’ anymore, it’s ‘shock and bore’, frankly.



Atrios on Warbloggers needing professional help

"You see, Saddam is trying to kill us because the anti-war folk make our country wimpy because they care about casualties. If only we didn't care about casualties, Saddam would have no reason to kill us so he wouldn't."






Boycott of American Goods Over Iraq War Gains Pace


Asia: Reuters -- No more Coca-Cola or Budweiser, no Marlboro, no American whiskey or even American Express cards -- a growing number of restaurants in Germany are taking everything American off their menus to protest the Iraq war.

The boycotts appear to be part of a nascent worldwide movement. One Web site, www.consumers-against-war.de, calls for boycotts of 27 top American firms from Microsoft to Kodak while another, www.adbusters.org, urges the "millions of people against the war" to "Boycott Brand America."

Some German bakeries have renamed a local cake known as "Amerikaner" -- a disk-shaped pastry with icing on top -- as "Peace-ies," bearing a peace sign piped in chocolate sauce.

In Zurich, travel agents said some clients who usually take holidays in the United States are changing their destinations.

"Some of the most loyal customers who have been traveling to the United States for years have changed their plans because they don't like what Bush is doing," Lucia Zeller, director of the Travac travel agency, told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

Article has a few reports of non-European boycotts. A previous boycott started last summer in Arab states -- Mecca-Cola vs. Coca-Cola. Do you think Bush is bad for business?



Michael Moore Acceptence Speech

Whoa.

On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to - they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction.

We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush.

Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up.

Thank you very much.

From an email I received.



Allies Risk 3000 Casualties in Baghdad


Asia:Reuters -- The U.S.-led force in Iraq risks as many as 3,000 casualties in the battle for Baghdad and Washington has underestimated the number of troops needed, a top former commander from the 1991 Gulf War said on Monday.





Reporting Reflects Anxiety, The Shifting Tone of War Coverage


The NYTimes has an interesting article analyzing the shifting choices of words in newspapers, television and blogs.


Al-Qaida Message Advises Iraq Muslims on Terror Tactics


NBC has a typical slanted headline, which I changed above, but an interesting article on an al-qaida web site suggesting tactics that worked in Afghanistan to Iraqi Muslims. It suggest small teams, traps, rocket launchers, explosives, and using pick-up trucks and small cars.



Debate over religion's use in war


MSNBC has a timely report: Which side is God on? Some of the Bush supporters think they know.




UK Guardian: Five PoWs are mistreated in Iraq and the US cries foul. What about Guantanamo Bay?

Both CNN and MSNBC have often been using the split screen to keep up with all the stories. While Rumsfeld was angrily protesting pictures of U.S. POWs appearing on Arab television, the split screen was pictures of Iraqi POWs. At least our networks weren't doing the "up-close-and-personal" stupid questioning the Iraqi state television was doing and normally the U.S. television media is known for.



The Big Winner in the Iraqi War: Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this. A mere 18 months after he boosted the US to a peak of worldwide sympathy unprecedented since Pearl Harbor, that international goodwill has been squandered to near zero. Bin Laden must be beside himself with glee. And the infidels are now walking right into the Iraq trap.

Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for Iraq, but he never posed a threat outside his immediate neighbourhood. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. And a dream for Bin Laden.

The left British view.




Surprise, surprise, even people under a brutal dictatorship fight for their country against foreign invaders.

The Soviets defended their country for Stalin, the Germans for Hitler and the Mexicans for Santa Anna, all brutal dictators with two things in common: an invading army to portray as a threat to the homeland, and a populace terrified of retribution should the government survive.

"The most famous poster from World War II is a poster of a mother and it says, `Defend the motherland,' '' said Michael McFaul, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an expert on Russia. "It's not to defend Stalin, it's not to defend communism, even.. That was an interesting change in the rhetoric at the time. It was, 'Our country has just been invaded.' ''

That very sentiment appears to be taking hold in Iraq.

It is a little frustrating being reduced to saying "I told you so." To me, the rhetoric from the neo-cons about transforming the Middle East by establishing a domino effect of democracies taking hold among a grateful populace was ahistorical fantasies of the worst idealistic kind. Oh well, it is early yet, and perhaps worst-case scenarios can still be avoided.



Risky Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle Strategy Becoming Obvious

The military plan being pursued by the U.S. is coming under fire as overly optimistic assumptions have been revealed.

Knowledgeable defense and administration officials say Rumsfeld and his civilian aides at first wanted to commit no more than 60,000 American troops to the war on the assumption that the Iraqis would capitulate in two days.

"If these guys fight and fight hard for Baghdad, with embedded Baathists stiffening their resistance at the point of a gun, then we are up the creek," said one retired general.

Dr. John Collins, a retired Army colonel and former chief researcher for the Library of Congress, said the worst scenario would be sending American troops to fight for Baghdad. He said every military commander since Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist, has hated urban warfare.

The New York Times reveals the current battle for Baghdad strategy..

There is criticism expressed or implied in both articles of the attack helicopter attack on the Republican guard that resulted in the loss of one and damage to thirty.



NYTimes: House Democrat Requests an Investigation of Perle Business Dealings

It seems pointless to say under a democratic administration Republicans would be jumping all over the conflicts of interests and the shady people Perle, a principle creator of current U.S. foreign policy, is associating with.


NYTimes: U.S. will administer Iraq itself

As previously reported, the U.S. will bypass the U.N. and will establish a new government in Iraq under the military control of General Frank and Bush appointed U.S. civilian authorities.




NYTimes: Latest Krugman

He is repeating what has been known for some time but not usually acknowledged - most pro-war rallies are sponsered and supplied with flags by a massive radio conglomerate with ties to Republicans.



Time: Why Saddam's Not Done Yet

Good articles and photos in Time covering the war.

Time Magazine


Monday, March 24, 2003

Syria Attacks 7th Fleet, Several Ships Sunk


After being repeatedly ignored in its call for the U.S. and the U.K. to stop the "barbaric aggression to which our Iraqi brethren are being subjected" Syrian air, naval and missile forces struck U.S. carriers and ships in the Mediterrean sinking several and others reportedly on fire. American planes and missiles retaliated against Syria but it unknown what damage they caused. Pentagon sources say that the ground troops currently in Iraq are not sufficient to deal with both the Syrian and Iraqi threats. More follows+++

Just preparing you, wars never go as planned.

Update: This is obviously not true but a warning. I guess I should point out that it is extremely unlikely that Syria would attack U.S. forces. It knows that the U.S. is the only superpower as well as the U.S. having a treaty alliance with NATO and a good relationship with Israel, both very strong military powers within striking distance of Syria.


Freedom of the Press Applies to Those Who Own One - Liberal Columnist Fired

This was my last column to appear in the Star Community Newspaper cluster. It is ironic that after writing a forceful essay in support of the first amendment, my column was cancelled. from the preface to Who are the real, useful idiots? by Brent Flynn. Link from BuzzFlash.

"No, the protesters aren't unpatriotic, un-American or useful idiots, but people who criticize them for practicing democracy in its purest form have a few things to learn about citizenship in a democratic republic. It is not merely your right to dissent when you disagree with your government's policies, IT IS YOUR CIVIC OBLIGATION.

"Before the Bush hawks start exporting democracy to the Middle East through the use of military force, maybe we should make sure we've got it right in America."



I went to the Memory Hole and what did I find - Bush says Iraq has NO LINK TO 9/11

Somehow I don't recall this covered in the media in January this year. Over 50% of Americans think there is a link.



American Empire For Dummies


"Those who think history has left us helpless should recall the abolitionist of 1830, the feminist of 1870, the labor organizer of 1890, and the gay or lesbian writer of 1910. They, like us, did not get to choose their time in history but they, like us, did get to choose what they did with it." He then asks: Knowing what we know now about how certain things turned out, but also knowing how long it took, would we have been abolitionists in 1830, or feminists in 1870, and so on?

Another older Znet, this time a transcript of a talk given by William Blum


You can't run an empire by republican rules


You can not yoke a government whose fundamental maxim is that of liberty to a government whose first law is that of force and hope to preserve the former. -- Sen. William Borah, November 19, 1919

An older Znet history article which mentions how the Henry Cabot Lodge Republicans, because they wanted an Empire, and the Western Republicans because they were true conservative isolationists, kept the U.S. out of the League of Nations.

America has been taken over by the imperial Republicans.



BuzzFlash interviews Garofalo -- Pt. 2

"Well, I always have been active in feminist causes. And the more people bash feminism -- women included, which is strange -- the more motivated I become to fight for women's issues. Because being a feminist means that you believe in civil rights and social justice. The right has been able to redefine that word, just as they've been able to redefine patriotism. They've been able to redefine 'fair and balanced' and 'compassion.' I think it's important that we get those words back -- you can't just take a word, redefine it and use it against people. "



How To Take Back America by Thom Hartmann

Here is a clear workable plan to follow to take back America. The article also has some discussion of my friend Peter's beef about the American system of democracy which is no longer followed by most countries.



Not Following The Script and the Children's Crusade


Znet has an interesting article by Robert Jensen on being interviewed on NPR. His implied thesis is liberals who are reluctantly for the war are now running the show. I was wondering if this explained Salon's stance where since the war they have run articles critical of the anti-war movement. Mainstream liberals are trying to categorize the remaining American opposition to the war as pacifists, radicals, or naive.

I don't accept that. I don't agree with the extreme pacifist and anti-capitalist elements of the antiwar movement, who will always be there, but knowledgeable people know that this is a war under false pretenses and could be the makings of a major world changing disaster.

The New York Times Magazine had an article by one of the mainstream liberals who support the war despite hating the rest of Bush's policies because he thinks we can create freedom in Iraq. I fear he is as sadly mistaken and naive as the young people in the children's crusade.



To Get Peace Message Heard, Call Our Leaders Misguided, Not Evil

Eric Alterman points to some difficult but good advice, Bush should be called misguided, not evil.



Washington Post Pulls Article Noting That Bush is Getting Known as a Bully

Dana Milbank is the best known reporter critical of Bush but the paper has grown increasingly conservative. I hadn't thought of it but Bush 1 was sometimes portrayed as a wimp and Dana is right, his son is now getting known as a bully.



Egypt Torturing Anti-War Activists


Yahoo News: Anti-war activists and protesters detained by Egyptian authorities in recent days are being tortured by police, Human Rights Watch (HRW) charged Monday in a detailed release that includes accounts by eyewitnesses and activists.

Is Egypt about to go the way of Iran?



BBC -- Arab League Minus Kuwait Says Stop

However, the U.S. can add 200 Polish troops to it's coalition. They will even go on offense. After calling Bush an "insane cowboy" an Indonesian group is about to send several hundred volunteers to the other side so the balance remains the same.




Anti-US sentiment in Arab world soars to new heights


Al Jazeera is running a story on the Zogby Arab poll I had blogged before. It was frightening, the poll was taken before the war and before Saddam's latest speech after some limited Iraqi successes which has reported really fanned the flames further.

On the issue of whether war will reduce terrorism, an average of 83% said that war will actually increase the prospect of terrorism, including 97% of Saudis, 87% of Moroccans, 81% of Lebanese, 74% of Egyptians, and 78% of Jordanians.

More than 75% of all those polled feel that war in Iraq will bring worse prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. Again, the Saudis topped the list at 97%, followed by Moroccans (85%), Lebanese (82%), Jordanians (79%), and Egyptians (67%). On the prospect of a new Iraq catalyzing democracy throughout the region, 95% of Saudis, 66% of Moroccans, 60% of Egyptians, 58% of Jordanians, and 74% of Lebanese feel that a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein will bring less regional democracy.




US troops arrive in Iraq's northern front


CSMonitor Airstrikes and airborne forces mark the start of a small northern front.




Iraq Equals Vietnam?


Daily Bulletin: "Asked whether the U.S. was wading into another Vietnam, Abizaid said no."

Massive anti-war protests in the streets, a country becoming polarized between hawks and doves, disgruntled soldiers fragging their commanders, a war where civilians we hope to democratize provide cover for enemy troops, limited international support for a war, an administration refusal to use the U.N. for a negotiated settlement, an administration that creates fake evidence for war, where have we seen all this before?

There has been a hard-core group of conservatives who believed we lost Vietnam because of the pussy liberals. They are now in power and see this as their chance.

Sure, they argue about 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction but before they would have been arguing about domino theory and stopping the spread of communism.

Hawks argue there is once difference, this time we were attacked on our soil and we must, again, make the world safe for democracy. Doves argue that 9/11 is the administration's Tonkin Gulf incident, the country we are attacking had nothing to do with the incident.

What do you wanna bet we discover democracy is messy and try to prop up new corrupt dictators while a gorilla war wages for years.

This time the hawks will be harder to stop. It was hard enough last time. Now they have a stronger position in the media, the churches, the corporations, and they control all the branches of government. The only thing the doves have is most of the people in the world.

It is hard to believe I am writing stuff I would have ignored or dismissed as too radical a few years ago. The only position that hasn't changed is I knew years ago that even if we had invaded North Vietnam we would have still lost the war. Capturing the cities does not stop a war when most of the people think you are foreign invaders. I see no difference in Iraq.


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