American Samizdat

Monday, March 31, 2003. *
. . . after having just been sacked a day or so ago by GE/NBC/MSNBC for telling Iraqi TV what any Iraqi would know if he or she were able to get a copy of the New Yorker . . . Funny thing is, when Americans complete their invasion and implant their "democracy" into Iraq, saying anything bad about the US on Iraq tv will still be a fireable offense. GE/NBC/MSNBC: "You dropped the pom-poms, asshole! Now, git!"
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:20 PM
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My 15 Minutes of Fame Are Up Over At Changesurfer Radio. I dunno. I don't think I sucked that bad. But like my last radio interview, uh, 17 years ago I think, I say "uh" way to much. It's almost like nervous punctuation. Thanks to my fellow Better Humans columnist James Hughes for letting me rant in public. Short version: I say nice things about Doc Menlo and Eric Blair and the Russian Spy Bloggers. I openly dis Glenn Reynolds, Pejman and Postrel. Good times, good times.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:10 PM
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When invading an oil-rich country like Iraq you might not want to name your helicopter bases in the country "Exxon" and "Shell" -- especially when some of world believes your war against terrorism is really a war for oil.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:42 PM
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Powell Booed by AIPAC
Powell did take pains to say that Israel as well as the Palestinians must make sacrifices for the sake of peace. To an unsurprisingly partisan audience, he said that terrorism against Israel must end (standing ovation), but also that “settlement activity in the occupied territories must end” (mixed claps and boos) and that Israel must help “diminish the daily humiliation of life under occupation” (hisses).

At the same speech,before a gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, "Israel’s most powerful lobby group in the United States", Powell warned Iran and Syria that they might be next if they did not drop support for Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
posted by A.Q. at 4:45 PM
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posted by A.Q. at 3:20 PM
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"President Bush's aides did not forcefully present him with dissenting views from CIA and State and Defense Department officials who warned that U.S.-led forces could face stiff resistance in Iraq, according to three senior administration officials. Instead, Bush embraced predictions of top administration hawks, beginning with Vice President Dick Cheney, who predicted Iraqis would joyously greet coalition troops as liberators and that the entire conflict might be over in a matter of weeks, the officials said."

Oh, really?

It's a narrow enough designation that I think you can say clearly that there simply aren't "three senior administration officials" at the State Department. Indeed, this has all the looks of a story leaked right out of the White House. Presumably, we can scratch Dick Cheney's name off the list since they finger him as the person most responsible for selling the president a bill of goods. Of course, we said months ago that Cheney was the living, breathing disaster at the heart of this administration. But we'll get back to that later.

Also see: OFFENSE AND DEFENSE: The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon (found on mousemusings)
posted by Joseph Matheny at 1:32 PM
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FAIR ACTION ALERT: Do Media Know That War Kills?
Despite daily reports about the "showdown" with Iraq, Americans hear very little from mainstream media about the most basic fact of war: People will be killed and civilian infrastructure will be destroyed, with devastating consequences for public health long after the fighting stops.

Since the beginning of the year, according to a search of the Nexis database (1/1/03-3/12/03), none of the three major television networks' nightly national newscasts-- ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News-- have examined in detail what long-term impact war will have on humanitarian conditions in Iraq. They've also downplayed the immediate civilian deaths that will be caused by a U.S. attack.
posted by A.Q. at 10:38 AM
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Sunday, March 30, 2003. *
There Is No End To This
"There's no end to this. What we are dealing with is guerilla warfare. Are we prepared to obliterate the whole country. You can call it 'Search and Destroy' or 'Seize and Destroy' . Either way it's 'Destroy and Destroy'. There is no good way to end it. — John Irving " A Prayer For Owen Meany" p.408
posted by Norm at 10:20 PM
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Evan Daze Threatened with Lawsuit
Evan Daze has been threatened with a lawsuit for linking: Vee Speers.

Which only leads us to proclaim, of course: Vee Speers, Vee Speers, Vee Speers!

posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:14 PM
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Patriotic Posters and Morans

More Patriotic War Posters!

And furthering the warblogger-mullet connection:

Ah-hah! So two can play at that "So Let's-Take-The-Silliest-Looking-Person-Of-Your-Entire-Point-Of-View-To-Embarass-The-Rest-Of-You" game!

(pic by way of gordon coale by way of dratfink)

posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:25 PM
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"We had a great day,

"We killed a lot of people."

"I'm sorry,

"But the chick was in the way."

[attention harbingers: if you want to link to any NYT article like this one, please use this id: drmenlo and this password: samizdat (readers please use this id and password, too). if anyone knows of a way to link to the NYT without signing in, please let me know - drmenlo -at- . . . I will add this information to the sidebar soon.]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:38 AM
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Dear God, please help George Bush in his holy quest to get more oil. I know that I am doing everything I can, including leaving my family behind possibly forever, facing death, hunger, sand storms and more, killing enemy soldiers and occasionally the civilian, too (I don't intend to! Honest to God, but combat is confusing, Lord, and can rouse the inner demon that is hard to control!) . . . I don't know how much more I can sacrifice for Bush, Lord, but if you give me a hint, I will certainly try. And just because the Republican-led House last week voted to cut veterans health care and benefits programs by nearly 25 billion over the next ten years, I know that doesn't mean that Bush doesn't love me, really I don't. He does--he just wants me to work harder for my health care, that's all. Maybe I can take a second a job at Kwiki-Mart when I get back in order to get me back some of them benefits and health care! Thank you Bush for making me be such a hard workin' honest man! Now, I'm gonna get back to the front lines now to help you secure your oil fields, sir, because I know you deserve them! And I know if you had another chance to be in the military and not go AWOL again, you'd do it, mister Commander-In-Chief! Ok, back to God: thank you God for another day. Thank you for having the Supreme Court install brave Bush into the White House and send us out here on this mission from you--I know the Pope is full of it, haw haw--You're talking to Bush, not the man with the funny hat, aintcha?? God Bless America, and God Bless George W. Bush!!!

It could happen?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:54 AM
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vietnam on internet time

I've noticed that this war has been unfolding very fast and, as much as the White House and the Pentagon are trying to hide things, Al-Jazeerah and the Intenet are accelerating the flow of information at a rate that is breathtaking. A comment at The Agonist used the term Vietnam on Internet time. So true.

For a continous war update: The Agonist
For analysis: dailyKOS and Talking Points Memo
For a blog of an unembedded journalist: Back to Iraq 2.0

Josh, at Talking Points Memo, is on a roll. These posts are all a must read: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
posted by Gordon at 10:13 AM
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Saturday, March 29, 2003. *
Tactic #1: All Bets Are Off
For years, small groups of activists have taunted police during political demonstrations, even tossing an occasional plastic water bottle or toilet-paper roll their way in hopes of provoking an aggressive response. But this time, instead of halting at the police line, the protesters gathered together and surged forward, phalanx-like, using their banners as a battering ram against the line of startled cops.
Tactic #2: How To Take Back America
Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater success if we also took control of the United States government?

. . . Thus, many progressives are suggesting that it's time for concerned Americans to reclaim Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Party. It may, in fact, be our only short-term hope to avoid a final total fascistic takeover of America and a third world war.

Well, as much as I can empathize with the passion of the frustrated-turned-hardcore protestors in Oregon, I have to say that I believe that that tactic will only give the authorities what they want: an excuse to go police state on your ass. Now, when in column A they are pushing within the new Patriot Act II to be given the right to revoke a US citizen's citizenship if found to be linked with a 'terrorist' organization, and in column B they're attempting to label environmentalists and peace protestors as 'terrorists'--then you have waiting in the wings of the synthesis a US of A that is not the land of the free at all, but the land of martial law and the virtual return of the Sedition Act.

On the other hand, the idea of infiltrating and taking over the currently defunct Democratic Party I found to have a certain and unexpected delicious appeal--first of all, we would give the walking papers to all the politicians who signed off on Bush's Empire Now! plan, and then we could seek the Bush junta's trial at the Hague, right after we enter the US into the World Criminal Court and resurrect the United Nations with a prolonged bout of diplomatic romance. Then we would seek to transform America into the leader of the world again--but this time not of blood, bombs, and bullshit, but of a secular humanist generousity intent on spreading health to humans, flora and fauna all around the world with a special emphasis on resurrecting the ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL CLAUSE, meaning NO GREEDY RICH ASSHOLES PREFERRED.

"Daschle, here's a box for your personal belongings. Fill it and get out. We'll send along your spine when we find it."

"Lieberman, we're trying you for the crimes of ethnic cleansing in connection with your unfailing efforts to support and fund the terrorist organization known as the IDF in their ongoing genocide against the Palestinians. Your police escort has arrived."

"Hilary, we're evicting you for the crime of lending comfort and aid to war criminal George W. Bush. Your political career is over. Dr. Menlo is in the house.

"The House of Representatives."

posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:45 PM
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Good Evening Mr. Hart,

I have a question for you:

Does your role in the Council on Foreign Relations make you privy to matters of Homeland Security that the rest of us are not?

For example, I am curious as to why you warned Condoleezza Rice on Sept. 6, 2001 of an impending terror attack.

I am also curious why you named specific cities (Denver, Dallas, and Cleveland) of a risk of smallpox attack "sooner rather than later".

I am also puzzled by some recent comments of yours such as: "Don’t be surprised if in the coming hours or days we go to Code Red, It is almost inevitable."

I was hoping that you could clear some of this up, as the safety of our families is at stake, and this topic will undoubtedly arise during your possible campaign.

Thank you for your time.
Now deleted. Seemed like a legitimate question to me.
posted by valis at 6:21 PM
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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon planners that substantially more troops and armor would be needed to fight a war in Iraq, New Yorker Magazine reported...

"He thought he knew better. He was the decision-maker at every turn," the article quoted an unidentified senior Pentagon planner as saying. "This is the mess Rummy put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground."

It also said Rumsfeld had overruled advice from war commander Gen. Tommy Franks to delay the invasion until troops denied access through Turkey could be brought in by another route and miscalculated the level of Iraqi resistance.

"They've got no resources. He was so focused on proving his point -- that the Iraqis were going to fall apart," the article, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, cited an unnamed former high-level intelligence official as saying.

A spokesman at the Pentagon declined to comment on the article.
posted by Norm at 5:05 PM
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If the US army believes the road to Baghdad lies through Jenin, there is reason for Iraqi civilians to be concerned. During fighting in the Jenin refugee camp last April, more than half the Palestinian dead were civilians. There was compelling evidence that Israeli soldiers targeted civilians, including Fadwa Jamma, a Palestinian nurse shot dead as she tried to treat a wounded man. A 14-year-old boy was killed by Israeli tank-fire in a crowded street after the curfew was lifted. A Palestinian in a wheelchair was shot dead, and his body was crushed by an Israeli tank.

Israeli soldiers prevented ambulances from reaching the wounded and refused the Red Cross access. Using bulldozers, the Israeli army demolished an entire neighbourhood – home to 800 Palestinian families – reducing it to dust and rubble.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history and strategy at Jerusalem's internationally respected Hebrew University, has told reporters that, following his advice to US Marines, the American military bought nine of the converted bulldozers used in the Jenin demolitions from Israel. [more]

See also: Jenin Jenin, the film.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:56 PM
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They say it's "for the families," but we know why they do it. Probably for the same reason they wouldn't want you to see this: US Marines Pay High Toll on Road to Baghdad, which includes this: "A number of burnt-out US armoured vehicles were clearly visible in television footage from Nasiriyah and at one point US troops could be seen coming under fire from Iraqi multi-barrelled rocket launchers, a weapon most likely to have belonged to Republican Guard units."

Now why wouldn't they want you to see that? Shouldn't Americans know the truth? How can you make any decisions if you don't know the truth--unless, of course, you're not the one making the decisions . . . did I just say that? Don't pay it no mind. What's on tv?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:27 PM
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THE US Marines have suffered an embarrassment with reports last night that one of their most prized investigators may have defected.
Takoma, the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, had been in Iraq for 48 hours when he went missing on his first operation to snoop out mines.
(looks like even the Dolphins think the reasons for this war suck...)
posted by Joseph Matheny at 12:06 PM
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Prowarriors discover economic sanctions

George Will was the first to do it. Now Tony Blair is citing the deadly effects of sanctions as justification for the war on Iraq.

Have they no shame?
posted by Bill at 11:50 AM
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Michael Moore: Starting a Ruckus Was The Right Thing to Do

Last nite the beautiful and talented Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! broadcast the rest of Michael Moore's speech that he wasn't allowed to give at the Oscars, and wherever he gave it this time, the crowd roared in approval. He then called the White House on his cell phone and had the crowd say, "Time's up!" in somewhat of a chaotic unison when the White House operator answered the phone. Me and Pagan were laughing hysterically at this point. Then Amy Goodman interviewed Moore, who explained a different perspective on the Yahoo news item titled "Moore Booed Off Oscar Stage" which got big play on blogdex the day after the awards--no doubt due to the warbloggers (I noticed that day that Yahoo ran 2 separate stories on the incident, one with the aformentioned title and another with a less anti-Moore title which reported that he received both boos and cheers--of course this story received less coverage). I also was surprised to notice that Variety magazine was virulently anti-Moore as well, featuring a headline yesterday which said something like [paraphrasing because I deleted the email]: "Moore plans to piss off more of Hollywood, which already hates him, due to his plans for his next film." Which is ironic--both the booing story and the Variety venom--because the Oscar community gave Michael Moore the Oscar. So why would they boo him afterward for saying just more of the stuff he said in his movie which he won the Oscar for?

Sometimes people get most attacked by the establishment because they're actually viewed of as an actual threat; right-wing hatchet campaigns which are ongoing include targets such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. Right wing hatchet campaigns which get initiated due to a recent turn of events include Helen Thomas, i.e. When the conservative US media takes it in their mind to attack somebody whom they do not like, their outlets and means to do so are overwhelming. While Chomsky, Moore, Thomas, and all the other wide array of right wing targets are no doubt human, and have not doubt erred somehow in their past, I will give them all a standing ovation anyday, should they come around this way, for speaking up against a dictator, a common bully who had he not been born a Bush would be selling propane with Hank Hill.

Viva Dissent!

See also: Michael Moore May Have Saved Your Life, by Harry and Helen Highwater

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:15 AM
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Friday, March 28, 2003. *
U.S. Orders 4-6 Day Pause in Iraq Advance-Officers
Sat March 29, 2003 12:02 AM ET
CENTRAL IRAQ (Reuters) - U.S. commanders have ordered a pause of between four to six days in a northwards push toward Baghdad because of supply shortages and stiff Iraqi resistance, U.S. military officers said on Saturday.

They said the "operational pause," ordered on Friday, meant that advances would be put on hold while the military sorted out logistics problems with long supply lines from Kuwait.

The invasion force would continue to attack Iraqi forces ahead of them with heavy air strikes during the pause, softening them up ahead of any eventual attack on Baghdad, said the officers, declining to be named.

Use of gas-guzzling armored vehicles has been restricted to save fuel and food is also in short supply. In one frontline infantry unit, for instance, soldiers have had their rations cut to one meal packet a day from three.
posted by Norm at 9:39 PM
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New Michael Moore film project to point to ties between Bush, bin Ladens
Moore is making a deal with Mel Gibson’s Icon Prods. to finance “Fahrenheit 911,” a documentary that will trace why the U.S. has become a target for hatred and terrorism. It will also depict alleged dealings between two generations of the Bush and bin Laden clans that led to George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden becoming mortal enemies.

“The primary thrust of the new film is what has happened to the country since Sept. 11, and how the Bush administration used this tragic event to push its agenda,” Moore said. “It certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties. It asks a number of questions that I don’t have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out.” (via)
posted by New World at 8:08 PM
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Haaretz this morning:
"Syrian President Bashar Assad was quoted in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir Thursday as hinting that Syria expects to be the next target of coalition forces.

"We will not wait until we become the next target," Assad was quoted as saying, adding that the attack on Iraq is aimed at other countries as well."
AP report later in the day:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stern warning to Syria on Friday to stop sending military equipment to Iraqi forces, saying such shipments have included night-vision goggles.

"We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian government responsible for the incidents," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing.


Asked if the United States was threatening military action against Syria, Rumsfeld said: "I'm saying exactly what I'm saying. It was carefully phrased."
The cakewalk continues...
posted by Grady at 12:21 PM
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Quote of the Day

" What good is a smart bomb if you have a dumb president"—BOONDOCKS
posted by Norm at 10:18 AM
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This is a must read...

Practice to Deceive
Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.
By Joshua Micah Marshall

Imagine it's six months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are watching, and waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence--talk that is further inflaming the region. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.

To most Americans, this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. But to the Bush administration hawks who are guiding American foreign policy, this isn't the nightmare scenario. It's everything going as anticipated.
posted by Gordon at 4:42 AM
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Thursday, March 27, 2003. *
In my ongoing search for really good comics/satirists who are also radical small d democratics and humanists, I've always liked Barry Crimmins, but wished he'd be a little less folksy and a lot more angry and edgy. Crimmins, though, has usually reminded me too much of Jim Hightower, someone I practically always agree with, but whose style doesn't cut sharply enough. Finally I have my wish, as witnessed by Crimmins' brilliant laceration of NPR, or National Plutocrat Radio as he calls it (I'd say National Pretentious Radio), and its slick, self-satisfied brand of milquetoast intellectual respectability.
posted by Phil at 3:14 PM
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Bush Look-Alike Suspected

Guardian Story

You may think the air of extreme witlessness impossible to mimic, but is the man on the podium the authentic Dubya, a trained stand-in or an animatronic lookalike?

Yesterday President George Bush made his first public appearance since the start of the war, speaking to service personnel at the MacDill airforce base in Tampa in an obvious bid to reassure Americans and boost the morale of the armed forces. But how do we know this is the real George Bush?
posted by Norm at 2:22 PM
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After Iraq, US may turn to China: Analysts
The Iraq war has convinced the Chinese Communist Party leadership that some form of confrontation with the United States could come earlier than expected, media analysts say.

Chinese strategists also believe that if the US can score a relatively quick victory over Baghdad, it will soon turn to Asia to control it and begin efforts to tame China.

Pakistan could be next target, warns MMA
"They (US and Britain) can come here on the pretext of pursuing of Al Qaida leaders in Pakistan," he said.

"They can falsely prove the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan as they did in the case of Iraq which they accused of having weapons of mass destruction."

Assad: Syria fears becoming next coalition target
Syrian President Bashar Assad was quoted in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir Thursday as hinting that Syria expects to be the next target of coalition forces.

"We will not wait until we become the next target," Assad was quoted as saying, adding that the attack on Iraq is aimed at other countries as well.

Gulf States May Be Next: British MP
“Here in the Houses of Parliament there are people who have never set foot in an Arab country openly discussing the partition of Gulf states,” he said in a telephone interview from London.

“They talk about whether it should be one country, two countries, three countries, even four countries. They openly discuss changing the boundaries of old countries, creating new countries — removing this and that leader,” he added.

U.S. planning more invasions, McGovern says
Former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern charged Wednesday that President Bush intends to invade North Korea and Iran after finishing with Iraq.

"Even now, these wars are being planned by the current administration," McGovern said. "I'm positive, based on conversations with people close to the White House, that plans are in place for the next invasions."
posted by New World at 12:38 PM
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Fearing public backlash, bodies of 500 US, UK soldiers still on ice in Pakistan
Around 500 dead bodies of American and British soldiers killed during military operation in Afghanistan after September 11 blitz have been lying in a morgue at Shebhaz Airbase in Jacobabad.

American and British authorities because of fear of strong reaction from their masses had kept the dead bodies of as many as 500 soldiers in a morgue established at Jacobabad Airbase instead of shifting them to their own countries, credible sources informed Online here Tuesday.
posted by New World at 12:27 PM
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Marines losing the battle for hearts and minds
Hopes of a joyful liberation of a grateful Iraq by US and British armies are evaporating fast in the Euphrates valley as a sense of bitterness, germinated from blood spilled and humiliations endured, begins to grow in the hearts of invaded and invader alike.

Watching from behind a barbed wire barrier as hundreds of the marines' ammunition trucks, armoured amphibious vehicles, tankers, tanks and trucks lumbered past through clouds of dust as fine as talcum powder, Mr Ali asked why such a huge army was needed just to catch a sin gle man. "We don't want Saddam, but we don't want them [the Americans] to stay afterwards," he said. "Like they entered into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar and didn't leave, they will do here. They are fighting Islam. They're entering under the pretext of targeting Ba'ath, but they won't leave."
posted by New World at 11:46 AM
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Top neocon ideologues part of an extended clan
What do William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Elliot Abrams, and Robert Kagan have in common? Yes, they are all die-hard hawks who have gained control of U.S. foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks. But they are also part of one big neoconservative family – an extended clan of spouses, children, and friends who have known each other for generations.

This list of intricate, overlapping connections is hardly exhaustive or perhaps even surprising. But it helps to reveal an important fact. Contrary to appearances, the neocons do not constitute a powerful mass political movement. They are instead a small, tighly-knit clan whose incestuous familial and personal connections, both within and outside the Bush administration, have allowed them grab control of the future of American foreign policy.
posted by New World at 11:08 AM
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Wounded U.S. Soldiers Shocked at Iraqi Resistance
We were very surprised. We were told when we were going through Nassiriya that we would see little to no resistance," Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Menard told a news conference at the U.S. military's medical facilities at Landstuhl, Germany.

A group of Iraqis in civilian clothes opened fire on Menard as he and six other marines approached them on a bridge near Nassiriya on Sunday, he said.

"We were more prepared for what happened in the Gulf War when they turned over and surrendered most of the time... They weren't rolling over like we thought they would," Menard, 21, from Houston, Texas, said, with his left hand bandaged.
posted by New World at 11:01 AM
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Wednesday, March 26, 2003. *
"We tend to overlook a basic rule: that people prefer bad rule by their own kind to good rule by somebody else" — Boston University historian David Fromkin
posted by Norm at 11:09 PM
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Bush Administration Readying For 2004 Invasion Of Iran

Who's gonna stop this empire?

All of us. The world will stop this handful of evil men.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:08 PM
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How to keep your war film within budget

Another leaked memo from a media company... (source)

Timely Studios
Location shooting for Codename Courage
TO: Anita Lavine, Sr. VP Production
FROM: Taylor Donahue, VP Production
SUBJECT: Location shooting for Codename Courage

Assuming the current situation with Iraq leads to combat activity by US troops, I suggest we get a small film crew credentialed as press to shoot over there. This will solve some of the budget vs. production value problems we?ve discussed. In the best case scenario we can also get one or two of our leads over there in costume to do a scene with the mayhem of real war as a backdrop. [Take a look at pages 65, 72-74, and 96 for examples that lend themselves.]
Failing this, we can have the war as a back plate to use with blue screen of our actors or to add CGI on.
We?ll be the only movie with a multi billion dollar effects budget.

posted by Joseph Matheny at 4:40 PM
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Bay of Basra?

LiberalOasis has a baaaad feeling about Basra.

Rumsfeld briefing yesterday afternoon, a reporter posed an ominous question:

Mr. Secretary, there is reported to be a popular uprising in Basra, but the popular uprising apparently is not only targeting some of the Iraqi forces but also some of the coalition forces Can you comment?

Rumsfeld didn’t answer directly, but the questioner seems to be on to something.
posted by Norm at 11:38 AM
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Pope Accused of Trying to Delay Carnage

The Pope, in collusion with God, has been accused of trying to delay carnage in Baghdad by whipping up serious sandstorms.

An unidentified Pentagon spokesman explained: ‘Ever since the Pope came out against the President, we have been monitoring him closely. After spotting him using French Wine and French Vanilla Wafers during the Eucharist, we knew it was just a matter of time before he tried to use the Red Phone.’

The Pope replied: ‘I only use the Red Phone in emergencies. I would say this qualifies.’

According to the Unidentified Pentagon Spokesman: The Pope had indeed made contact with God…but fortunately we were able to jam the signals before the Two of them could do any more damage to freedom than just sandstorms. Unfortunately, we were unable to trace the exact coordinates of God. However, we did send a few precise smart bombs in the general direction.’

President Bush was too busy mooning over a texas tortilla that had mysteriously taken the shape of Jesus in full military garb to comment. However, some close to the President say they heard the words ‘Moab..Moab..Moab’ coming from his beatific lips.

Too preoccupied primping for the cameras and plotting the next step in the Plan for the New American Century with Richard Perle, Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and the board of directors of Halliburton, the Devil had no comment.

Al Pacino has already agreed to play him in the movie. Francis Ford Coppola said that the Catholic Church is very very important to gangster movies. The contrast between the beauty of the sacrament and the horror of cold-blooded killing is essential to the creation of art.’

Martin Sheen replied: Still in Baghdad. Shit.

When Citizen Murdoch was asked if he’d ever seen Citizen Kane, Murdoch replied:

‘Kiss my Rosebud! There is only one true God…and it’s time everbody realized that!’

posted by rays at 11:14 AM
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Bush's Iraq plan includes $10 billion for Israel, close to 15% of total war budget
The entire measure totals 74.7 billion dollars. The Israel appropriation comes with an explicit request not to use the money for settlements or any other activity not within Israel's 1967 borders. Israel has ignored such requests in the past.
posted by A.Q. at 10:11 AM
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US general with Iraq role linked to hardline Israelis
The retired general named as civilian governor of occupied Iraq has visited Israel on a trip paid for by a right-wing group that strongly backs an American military presence in the Middle East.
posted by A.Q. at 9:46 AM
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Bill To Define Protesters as Terrorists and Put Them in Camps Meets Opposition

Some legal theater on the road to tyranny:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. John Minnis said he introduced the measure to put all crimes that could be construed as terrorism into a single law with tough punishment guidelines, and to require Oregon police agencies to cooperate with federal investigations into terrorists.

But the wording of the bill left many concerned that it could be applied to relatively minor acts of vandalism or misbehavior during a demonstration. The bill applies to acts of violence committed while someone is disrupting commerce, transportation, schools or universities.

Anyone convicted of terrorism would get an automatic life sentence (at a "forest or work camp") with a 25-year minimum before being considered for parole.
Activities included under Section 19, chapter 666 include Theft, Unauthorized use of a vehicle, Forgery, Prostitution, Cheating, Dogfighting, Unlawful distribution of cigarettes, Unauthorized use of a livestock animal, Interference with livestock production, and even Unlawful labeling of a sound recording.

Don't believe me? Read Oregon Senate Bill 742 yourself: PDF | HTML

And yes, if a group is protesting, and any participants begin vandalism or what not (Unlawful labeling of a sound recording), the entire group could be detained and charged with said crime:
SECTION 1. (1) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt: ....
"The ironic thing is, this bill is so broadly written that passage of the bill itself could qualify as an act of terrorism." - from the forum

Also see: FEMA Detention Camps: Re-inventing the Mousetrap
posted by valis at 6:34 AM
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Martyrs, whiskey and sandstorms

Although both the U.S. and Iraq are secular states, many politicians, soldiers and civilians on both sides believe they have God on their side. With the U.S. forces near the holy Shi'ite city of Karbala, I wonder if and how the Iraqi regime will try to exploit this. An Iraqi spokesman already claimed that the "downed" Apache helicopter crashed because it was flying near Karbala with a bottle of whiskey on board.

According to Al-Hayat newspaper, some analysts are speculating that the Iraqi regime wants to turn Karbala into a main battlefield, hoping that a mass slaughter of Iraqi soldiers there will instil the image of heroic martyrs fighting against tiranny into the minds of devout Shia Muslims.

Karbala is the city where Hussein, the third Imam, grandson of prophet Mohammed, died a tragic death in the year 680. More...
posted by Igor at 5:47 AM
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Woman Vaccinated Against Smallpox Dies

Federal officials are investigating whether the smallpox vaccine contributed to the heart attack death of a Maryland woman and brought on heart problems in six others.

The vaccination has never been associated with heart problems before, but health officials are now recommending that people with a history of heart trouble refrain from being vaccinated while authorities investigate a possible link.
Study: Smallpox-vaccinated doctors may infect patients
More than half of all New York state hospital patients may face an increased risk of complications from contact with smallpox-vaccinated health care workers, a study suggests.
FLASHBACK: Smallpox Gunmen Deputized to Secure Vaccination Areas: Resistance Mounts to FEMAs Involvement in Public Health Plan
Dec. 19, 2002 -- Sandpoint, ID -- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are directing police chiefs nationwide to search local gun owner records to identify and train civilian deputies to secure smallpox vaccination sites. According to documents forwarded to civil rights groups by police chiefs engaged in a growing smallpox vaccination resistance movement, the plan calls for armed civilian security guards to maintain the peace in every room the vaccine will be given.
"Public health officials want to shut down roads and airports, herd people into sports stadiums and, if needed, quarantine entire cities in the event of a smallpox attack".- Boston Herald, Nov. 8, 2001

You Heard Them Right, the National Guard Is Considering Shooting Old Ladies
"Would a National Guardsman," he asked, "shoot a grandmother trying to evade quarantine?"

"Maybe", Gostin said. "You have to use all reasonable force. Sometimes", he added, "that could mean lethal force."
To learn the truth about smallpox, visit
posted by valis at 12:38 AM
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Tuesday, March 25, 2003. *
Gulf War 2 (aka World War 2.5) -FLASH
This is a projection of the most likely outcome of a new war in the Gulf. I used sophisticated temporal algorithms and historical semiotic analysis to achieve an accuracy rating of 99.999%. If you like this, try out John Ashcroft's new ISP, "Ashcroft Online"'s almost as scary as AOL! |
posted by Joseph Matheny at 6:59 PM
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Operation Iraqi Oil Freedom
On 18 March, the New York Times reported: "Military and allied officials familiar with the planning of the upcoming campaign say they hope that a successful and 'benign' occupation of Basra that results in flag-waving crowds hugging British and American soldiers will create an immediate and positive image worldwide while also undermining Iraqi resistance elsewhere."

The fact is that Basra is not undergoing a benign occupation. It has just been declared a military target by British forces which have come under attack from inside.

More images you won't see on CNN here: TheMemoryHole
posted by A.Q. at 9:19 AM
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Do You Think Bush Should be Impeached? John Conyers Wants to know!
Conyers Seeks Impeachment Tally
House Representative Congressman John Conyers on the Judicial Committee is asking you to, through his legislative assistant Alexia, fax or email if you want Bush impeached.

Message from Alexia:
The phones are currently ringing off the hook, so please send a brief message stating whether you are for or against impeachment via email or fax.

To Send an e-mail:
To Send a fax the number is: (313) 226-2085
posted by Joseph Matheny at 9:07 AM
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War Pictures Cause Yellowtimes.Org To Be Shut Down
Here, at, we did not want these stories to go untold. We wanted to bring the horrors of war inflicted on all sides. We condemn killing, we condemn war, and we certainly condemn persecution and torture.

We also condemn the intentional absence of truth.

However, there are some who would prefer we did not publish and inform the public.

Consequently, as of this afternoon, March 24, 2003, we were shut down.
posted by New World at 12:30 AM
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Monday, March 24, 2003. *
Crimes of War, What the Public Should Know

Excellent resource! I recommend keeping this handy. It appears to have sections, links, and articles updated frequently. Be sure to explore the site.
Crimes of War was conceived as a handbook for reporters. But just as war is too important to be left to the generals, war coverage is too important to be left uncritically to the news media. The general public, too, should know the moral and legal benchmarks contained in the law. One reason for a commonality of interest is that coverage of contemporary conflicts increasingly is available to the public without a filter or a framework or context. A second is that every close observer has a restricted field of vision.

Journalists who cover wars and humanitarian emergencies of the post- Cold War world know far better than their audiences or their critics how much they are operating in uncharted territory. Understanding what is going on in the midst of all the havoc, confusion, and disinformation is anything but simple. And almost nothing in their training prepares reporters to be able make the necessary distinctions between legal, illegal, and criminal acts.
via Electronic Iraq

posted by Cyndy at 5:30 AM
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This war came from a think tank

PNAC, the real terrorist
Results for query "Project for the New American Century".....
The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no
point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in
history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them,
been more absolutely required.

William Rivers Pitt: 02/25/03

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based
think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one
thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of
all nations. They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last
remaining superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military
force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new
socio-economic Pax Americana.

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper
produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines
what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:
* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia
and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft,
submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a
strategic dominance of space;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic
product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.

Most ominously, this PNAC document described four "Core Missions" for the
American military. The two central requirements are for American forces to
"fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and
to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions." Note well that PNAC does not want America
to be prepared to fight simultaneous major wars. That is old school. In
order to bring this plan to fruition, the military must fight these wars
one way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.

Why is this important? After all, wacky think tanks are a cottage industry
in Washington, DC. They are a dime a dozen. In what way does PNAC stand
above the other groups that would set American foreign policy if they could?
Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the
disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th.
When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the
imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense
Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw,
at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive

Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the
group. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official for
Ronald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position
with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

PNAC is staffed by men who previously served with groups like Friends of
the Democratic Center in Central America, which supported America's bloody
gamesmanship in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with groups like The
Committee for the Present Danger, which spent years advocating that a
nuclear war with the Soviet Union was "winnable."

PNAC has recently given birth to a new group, The Committee for the
Liberation of Iraq, which met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice in order to formulate a plan to "educate" the American populace about
the need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to
support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir presumptive, Ahmed
Chalabi. Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court in 1992 to
22 years in prison for bank fraud after the collapse of Petra Bank, which
he founded in 1977. Chalabi has not set foot in Iraq since 1956, but his
Enron-like business credentials apparently make him a good match for the
Bush administration's plans.

PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report is the institutionalization
of plans and ideologies that have been formulated for decades by the men
currently running American government. The PNAC Statement of Principles is
signed by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb
Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, and many
others. William Kristol, famed conservative writer for the Weekly Standard,
is also a co-founder of the group. The Weekly Standard is owned by Ruppert
Murdoch, who also owns international media giant Fox News.

The desire for these freshly empowered PNAC men to extend American hegemony
by force of arms across the globe has been there since day one of the Bush
administration, and is in no small part a central reason for the Florida
electoral battle in 2000. Note that while many have said that Gore and Bush
are ideologically identical, Mr. Gore had no ties whatsoever to the fellows
at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that election by any means necessary,
and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the perfect position to ensure the rise
to prominence of his fellow imperialists. Desire for such action, however,
is by no means translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their
comforts, but don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.

On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open
wide before them, and stormed right through it.

Bush released on September 20th 2001 the "National Security Strategy of the
United States of America." It is an ideological match to PNAC's "Rebuilding
America's Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many places, it uses
exactly the same language to describe America's new place in the world.

Recall that PNAC demanded an increase in defense spending to at least 3.8%
of GDP. Bush's proposed budget for next year asks for $379 billion in
defense spending, almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.

In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard
Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand
Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final
slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi
Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that would
purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's weapons. Bush
has deployed massive forces into the Mideast region, while simultaneously
engaging American forces in the Philippines and playing nuclear chicken
with North Korea. Somewhere in all this lurks at least one of the "major
theater wars" desired by the September 2000 PNAC report.

Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a
central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent military bases
in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in
the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows. The nations in that
region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off point for
American forces to invade any nation in that region they choose to. The
American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of exit plan after America
defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is planned.

All of the horses are traveling together at speed here. The defense
contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for
arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news media
will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the
stratosphere when there is combat to be shown. Those within the
administration who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon
laying waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their
dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana at
gunpoint will see their plans unfold. Through it all, the bankrollers from
the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the entire
planet. This last aspect of the plan is pivotal, and is best described in
the newly revised version of Greg Palast's masterpiece, "The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy."

There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average Americans
are suffering as they smother behind yards of plastic sheeting and duct
tape will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth
new terrorist attacks against the homeland. These attacks will require the
implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an augmentation of the
previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The sun will set on the
Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense
spending, and by the aforementioned "constabulary" duties in Iraq,
Afghanistan and elsewhere. Former allies will turn on us. Germany, France
and the other nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of this game
plan. They are not acting out of cowardice or because they love Saddam
Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising American empire, lest
they face economic and military serfdom at the hands of George W. Bush.
Richard Perle has already stated that France is no longer an American ally.

As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric and their resistance will
become more agitated and dangerous.

Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want,
from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways
that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS
seem tame by comparison.

This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now
control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it. For
them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.

The plan was running smoothly until those two icebergs collided. Millions
and millions of ordinary people are making it very difficult for Bush's
international allies to keep to the script. PNAC may have designs for the
control of the "International Commons" of the Internet, but for now it is
the staging ground for a movement that would see empire take a back seat to
a wise peace, human rights, equal protection under the law, and the
preponderance of a justice that will, if properly applied, do away forever
with the anger and hatred that gives birth to terrorism in the first place.
Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched with his
countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism," he said, "by creating more
justice in the world."

The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no
point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in
history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them,
been more absolutely required. The tide can be stopped, and the men who
desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already begun, but it
must not cease. These are men of will, and they do not intend to fail.

posted by cynthia korzekwa at 1:04 AM
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Sunday, March 23, 2003. *
In Iraq Crisis, Networks Are Megaphones for Official Views

Of course, this is a no-brainer to any of us who have watched even a sliver of the tv coverage of war here in America, but it's nice to see this study by FAIR in case anyone needs it pointed out. I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about what little I've seen from the official corporate news war 'reporting,' but it's too late, I'm too tired and frankly, I'm almost overwhelmingly sickened.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:14 PM
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Moments after I saw these pics of Iraqi casualties courtesy of Aljazeera I went to Warblogger Watch to see the same pics posted by our friend Amir Butler. In the comments section our friend Philip Shropshire said what I was thinking in between holding down the urge to upend this day's meal: "I guess this is what they mean by liberating the Iraqi people." Of their lives, of their brains, of their hearts and most importantly--of their oil.

Now the mass murderer known as Bush stretches out at Camp David because, how did they put it? "Life must go on"--? For some people, we guess. It must be taxing to be the first dictator of the world. The sheer weight of the historical importance of the post alone is enough to make you reach for the couch, the pretzels, and the remote control. How many years of civilizations have reduced us to this?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:59 PM
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War getting you down need something to laugh about Try this
posted by Norm at 1:01 PM
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War Coverage

Reuters seems to be doing one of the better jobs reporting the war, unlike the CNN and Fox News embedded propagandists. This Reuters report portends a much longer and more difficult war than many had predicted.

Avoiding Big Pitched Battles, Iraqis Slow Advance

DOHA, Qatar (Reuters) - Iraqi forces apparently operating in small pockets or hit-and-run raids held up the U.S.-led advance into Iraq in at least four places on Sunday and captured their first U.S. prisoners on the fourth day of the war...

In Kuwait, former oil minister Ali al-Baghli, a Shi'ite, said he suspected the time taken to capture Umm Qasr might undermine any faith ordinary Iraqis had that the Americans had the ability to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The picture, despite some Iraqi surrenders, was of a more spirited fight by Iraq's troops than some analysts had predicted, slowing the invading forces' sweep from Kuwait through southern Iraq toward Baghdad.
"We are astonished that there is still resistance in Umm Qasr after all this time. It is a very small place.

"If it takes them this long to capture Umm Qasr, how long will it take to capture Tikrit or Baghdad?"
posted by Norm at 10:36 AM
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"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, Nuremberg......via gmtPlus9
posted by cynthia korzekwa at 9:51 AM
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You Break It You Buy It

Iraq occupation a legal minefield

When the U.S. military reaches Baghdad and hostilities cease, it will become an occupying force, required to follow a system of international law and treaties, some of which could be applied for the first time in history.
posted by Norm at 7:42 AM
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Saturday, March 22, 2003. *
Saddam, The Media and Us:
Test Your Knowledge
By Michel Collon
In 1991, the mainstream media in Europe as well as in the US funneled an accumulation of media lies intended to convince public opinion to support a war against Iraq. Today, many European governments have distanced themselves from Bush's tactics. Can we assume that the European media will tell us the whole truth right now? Have they subjected all the information that has been trotted out over the last twelve years to a critical evaluation? Here is a media test.

Answer the following questions:

1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?

1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

FALSE: The US Congress first decided to impose an embargo against Iraq in 1989 after he had made an appeal to the countries of the Middle East to unite in order to become more independent of the USA.
Why have the mainstream Western media carefully hidden the history of Kuwait? It had always been part of Iraq. But British colonialists granted it independence in 1920 "in order to weaken Iraq and to deprive it of access to the sea" (quoted from a letter written by the British governor at the time). No country in the region recognized this separation. And all the successive Iraqi regimes have sought ways to regain this lost province.

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).

FALSE: It’s true that Saddam unleashed this war, unfortunately, after Iranian provocations, one of which was the attempted assassination of Tariq Aziz. It was Iran’s leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, who refused to sign a peace treaty and made the war last eight years.
But most important here is the diabolical strategy of the United States: divide and conquer. The US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that he hoped that this war "would last as long as possible and that the greatest possible number of people die on both sides." In fact, the USA never tolerated a Middle Eastern state that had the means to resist Israel, and it has attacked Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians… And Iraq has faithfully supported the Palestinians.

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.

DOUBTFUL: Let us recall the numerous media lies that were launched in 1991 when the USA and Europe attacked Iraq: incubators supposedly stolen by the Iraqi army from Kuwait City, the oil lake attributed to Saddam (but which was in reality the work of the US army) the alleged torture of Western pilots who were taken prisoner, the nonsense about the "fourth largest army in the world" presented as if it were a threat to all of us…. All of these charges collapsed (see Attention, médias! Les mediamensonges du Golfe, EPO, Bruxelles, see
As far as Halabja is concerned, in the January 31, 2003 edition of The New York Times, Stephen C. Pelletiere, a CIA officer in charge of following this war, and professor of the U.S. Army War College, refuted Bush, pointing out that 1) the gassing occurred by mistake during a battle between the Iraqi and Iranian armies; and 2) it was almost certainly the work of the Iranian army, the only one that possessed this type of gas (cyanide-based) used in the battle. His conclusion: "There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them."
Whatever one may think of it, what would people say if Cuba bombed Washington because the United States had committed serial war crimes, attempted to assassinate Castro and to invade the island, and had accumulated weapons of mass destruction in Guantanomo Bay?

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).

FALSE: Israel clandestinely acquired and illegally possesses 200 nuclear warheads, and denies it and refuses any inspection. Israel has imprisoned Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli engineer who was courageous enough to reveal the existence of this nuclear arsenal. This is the great taboo for the Western media. Why must Iraq, a sovereign state, disarm itself when Israel threatens the entire region?
But the greatest danger comes from the USA itself, which has used nuclear weapons (Hiroshima), chemical weapons (Vietnam – Agent Orange) and bacteriological weapons (Cuba). Today, the USA refuses to commit itself to not using nuclear weapons, even against a non-nuclear country. Under the pretext of a "threat." Hitler was also claiming to be "threatened" by Poland.
It's worth noting that even in 1991, when he was attacked by the West, Saddam did not use chemical weapons.

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.

HYPOCRITICAL: The United States has supported and still supports the worst dictators on the planet: Mobutu, Pinochet, all the dictators in Latin America, and Turkish generals…. because they serve the United States' economic interests.
The true objective of the USA was defined in July 2002 by one of Bush's close aides, Senator Lugar: "[W]e are going to run the oil business. We are going to run it well, we are going to make money; and it's going to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq because there is money there."
Esso, Shell and BP rank among the TOP 15 multi-national corporations. Before 1958, they colonized and pillaged Iraq. Driven out by a revolution of national liberation, they have never stopped wanting to recapture the second largest oil reserves in the world. And they want to oust their French and Russian competitors (Total and Lukoil, respectively). Washington wants to use total blackmail to control the energy supplies of its rivals: Europe and Japan.
The United States' economy is in bankruptcy: imports exceed exports by $450 billion per year. It is holding up only because of German and Japanese loans. And by confiscating petro-dollars from the Middle East, thanks to corrupt emirs and sheiks they impose on puppet states in the Gulf.

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.

ANSWER: Saddam represents the Iraqi nationalist bourgeoisie, which drove British colonialists out of the country in 1958. Because of this, he presents two different faces.
On the one hand, he certainly does not represent a "model for society" for those who advocate a socialist society and democracy as the only means of assuring the well being of the entire population.
But, compared to the other regimes in the Middle East, his balance sheet is much more positive: instead of pouring petro-dollars back into US multi-national corporations, he used them — and all Western observers have recognized this — to develop education, health care and, in general, the economy of his country.
Iraq is also the only secular state in the Middle East. In his administration, it is not unusual to see women holding important positions, and men working for them. Compare that to the other neighboring countries…

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.

ANSWER: We must start with facts, with economic reality. The aggravation of the crisis and the global economic war push the multi-national corporations of wealthy countries to leave the capitalist class in each third-world country nothing more than crumbs from the cake. They know how to take complete control of a strategic country, with its enterprises, and its raw materials.
In order to survive, the local bourgeoisie often has no recourse other than opposing imperialism. Its resistance has the effect of involving the largest part of the population in the struggle. However, in order to resist a planetary threat which is today represented by the United States and its allies, it is in the interest of the people that the anti-imperialist front be as large as possible.
What is the principal contradiction in Iraq today? That between the country and the threat of imperialist occupation. To bring another conflict into the foreground, the one between the Iraqi bourgeoisie and its population, plays into Bush's hands.
Imagine a man and his wife having a fight. A thief appears who wants to seize their property and set fire to their home. Which task has priority? Continuing the argument or putting out the fire?

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.

ANSWER: Good for whom? At this moment, Saddam represents the independence of his country, that is to say the right to refuse to give oil away for free to multi-national corporations. Any "imported" leader — whether he is brought in by bombs or by blackmail — will be a puppet. To say "we must replace Saddam", amounts, in the current balance of power, to letting the ruling class of the United States and Europe do whatever it wants.
To replace rebels with puppets is the global strategy of re-colonization. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's Secretary of State, stated: "Saddam's Iraq as well as Arafat's Palestinians need new leaders … capable of leading reforms as in Serbia and in Afghanistan." Let's take a look at the results. In Afghanistan, ten ministers out of sixteen carry a US passport, and President Karzaï is a hired hand of the US multi-national oil company, Unocal. In Serbia, the price of a loaf of bread has gone from four to thirty dinars; the cost of electricity has increased fourfold, depriving people of electric power as well as heating (170,000 families in Belgrade alone). The IMF has demanded that 800,000 workers be let go from firms before privatizing everything for the exclusive benefit of multi-nationals.
Such made-in-the-USA "democratic leaders" are spearheading the re-colonization of the world. It is a merciless process for the country's workers and farmers.

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!

ANSWER: The first question for any anti-imperialist is: Must everything possible be done to prevent the United States from completely dominating the world, yes or no? The answer is of course, yes. Because, if we let the balance of power deteriorate further to their advantage, it will result in a new fascism that will threaten all the peoples of the world.
When Hitler and Mussolini were menacing the world, it was necessary to support all those who resisted them. Including, for example, the Ethiopian dictator, Haile Selassie, who opposed the Italian invasion.
Is it then necessary to support the resistance of the Iraqi people and their leaders against invasion? The answer is also yes.
After Iraq, Bush will seize Iran, Syria, or even Saudi Arabia. If Washington completely controls the Middle East (and the other great strategic regions: Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central Africa, Maghreb, the northern part of Latin America…), the balance of power will be even more disadvantageous during the next wars planned by Bush.
And when the USA occupies a region, the conditions of the struggle become much worse for all the people living there, whether it's the struggle for the right to eat, the struggle for democracy, for the environment or for the solidarity of peoples. A US military occupation is the worst of catastrophes for these various peoples, and for the balance of power in the world. If Iraqi leaders resist US imperialism, is it a good thing to do for their people? Yes.
A Communist Iraqi fled Saddam and took Algerian citizenship. He returned in April 2002 with our mission as an "Inspector of Peace," and stated clearly: "Today, my duty as a Communist is to defend my country and its raw materials from the USA. With the present regime, if necessary. As soon as the threat has been neutralized, it will be up to the Iraqi people to decide whether to transform the regime or to replace it. To let wealthy countries decide instead is merely paternalistic colonialism."
The imperialist countries advocate the suppression of the sovereignty of third-world states in order to justify their rapacious interference, and they are able to threaten all people who resist globalization. But the right to sovereignty is something acquired by the anti-colonial struggle, and it is necessary to preserve it.
This is why the global interest of peoples is to support the countries and leaders who resist seizure by the United States. This does not imply approval of all of their actions, past or present, nor the rest of their political program. But its counter-productive to place such criticism in the foreground at the moment when Bush is looking for a way to swing international public opinion in his favor.

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?

ANSWER: This is what the dominant tendency in the Left in Europe has been inclined to say for the last twelve years, and it has borne extremely negative consequences.
In 1991, under the slogan of "Neither Bush nor Saddam," it said "no" to war but "yes" to an embargo against Iraq. In reality, it was another form of warfare: and soon there were two million victims.
In 1995 and 1999, with the slogan of "Neither NATO nor Milosevic," it approved (and in some cases even demanded) NATO bombardments. It was a prelude to imposing an IMF government and a NATO occupation in Kosovo, which today lives under a reign of terror led by the Albanian mafia and the ethnic cleansing of the national minorities: Serbs, Roma, Jews, Muslims, Turks, etc.
In 2001, with "Neither Bush nor the Taliban," they shut their eyes to the neocolonial occupation of Afghanistan, whose goal is to construct a US pipeline and the installation of military bases in the heart of Central Asia. We have heard "Neither Sharon nor Arafat" many times.
Tomorrow, we will hear more "Neither … nor …" propositions when Washington attacks Iran, Korea, Colombia (where a war has already started), the Philippines or other countries. It will always be done with the same humanitarian pretexts; it will always be done with media lies to demonize those who put up resistance. Now is the time to return to the true fundamental position of the Left, which must of necessity be anti-colonialism: the aggressor and the victim of aggression must never be put on the same footing; the war propaganda and media lies disseminated by the ruling class must be unmasked; and most of all, the hidden economic interests behind each war must be denounced.
Subsequently, the only possible anti-imperialist position is to say "no" to the global war and to support the resistance people put up against it. The "Neither … nor …" proposition is condemned to paralysis. The "Neither … nor …" proposition prevents the growth and unification of resistance to US imperialism.

Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich

posted by Norm at 8:06 PM
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Planning for martial law?
Civil libertarians say the Bush administration may give the military scary new police powers in its secret planning for a bunker-based, post-disaster shadow government.

When the Washington Post revealed the existence of an American "shadow government," operating secretly in Tora Bora-style mountain bunkers over the six months since Sept. 11, it shocked even some congressional leaders, who learned about it March 1 from the Post, not the Bush administration.

Now civil libertarians on the left and right are raising new questions about the shadow government -- about its secrecy, its leadership, and the way it involves the military in domestic roles. In particular, plans to have the military assume domestic police functions in case of national emergency alarm some scholars and advocates, who believe the shadow government could be an early step on the way to martial law.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 3:52 PM
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Take a Look, George

"One of the first American casualties in the war against Iraq is a Baltimore man, and his family shared their feelings about the war Friday...He is identified as Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Waters-Bey, 29, of northeast Baltimore, WBAL-TV 11 NEWS reported.

"As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey's father, Michael, said: 'I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son.' He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him."

"It's all for nothing, that war could have been prevented," said Waters-Bey's sister, Michelle. "Now, we're out of a brother. [President] Bush is not out of a brother. We are."
posted by Bill at 1:33 PM
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The Moron Majority, by Ted Rall
Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN's poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51 percent of the public believe that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

. . . Furthermore, no one really believes that the GOP is interested in liberating the oppressed people of Iraq. America's role in the world, after all, typically involves funding dictators--as Bush is currently doing in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan---not democrats.

Great points. America's pathetic public education system only leads to a nation of the easily-led. When you look at cuts in education, censorship in education (no Howard Zinn! He's "anti-american!"), or changes in education such as those sought from the barely-concealed fundamentalist 'intelligent design' group, you are looking at one of the most subtle yet highly effective means of repression any dictatorial power has. Conversely, free computers, free uncensored net access, and a passionate, ongoing encouragement to all Americans--especially young--to get into the free flow and exchange of information and ideas is one of the most rebellious actions Americans can take right now in their efforts to usurp the present global dictatorship of George W. Bush. Now more than ever, America should know what the rest of the world already understands: the US corporate media is nothing but an extension of the White House--and the White House is nothing but a megalomaniacal mass murderer and thief which cloaks itself in the language of the free. Swallow or spin.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:02 AM
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We Are In A Nation Ruled By Madmen Who Will Bury The U.N.
Before announcing a state of war Bush pumps his fist and boasts, "Feels good."

Donald Rumsfeld walks around quoting Al Capone.

Richard Perle calls an internationally respected journalist a terrorist for disclosing how Perle would profit from an Iraq war.

And then Richard Perle celebrates the death of the U.N.

Like it's yet unleashed Guernica-bombing campaign, touted as "Shock and Awe" the brazen, thuggish extremism of the Bush administration is meant to numb the American public into submission.

And, for the most part, the strategy has succeeded. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:37 AM
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Friday, March 21, 2003. *
CNN censors war reporting

I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile.

But I don't want let you down -- I'm chronicling the events of my war experiences, the same as I always have, and hope to come to agreement with CNN in the near future to make them available to you in some shape or form, perhaps on this site.

In the meantime, thanks for participating in this remarkable forum. It's been a remarkable experience to be your witness here.

-- Kevin Sites.
posted by Norm at 5:26 PM
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Operation Stupid Fuck gets rollin'
The war has begun.

I'm utterly disgusted by Bush and the Rumsfeld Crony Machine and everything on down to those weaselly brown-nosers at NPR, formerly a place where you could get a fair amount of semi-balanced news in this godforsaken media snowjob of a navel-gazing Hamburglar nation.

I've protested and waved my signs (downloaded off of like the one you see here), done "online activism," called my Congresspeople, circulated my petitions, written letters to the editors, and all that cheesy stuff that's preaching to the choir. How adorable. Does it do any fucking good? Probably not. I just don't know what to do instead.

Anyone have an opinion on whether we should just glide into the Silent Zombie Mode preferred by most Americans, leave the whole debate up to the transfixed Right Wing nutbars who let AM Radio talk shows tell them what to believe? Or some overexcited, self-important "anarchists" in black hoodies: closing down local bridges, throwing a rock at a local bookstore -- is this the way to effect real political change or is this masturbatory, violent bullshit? When evil assholes are in power (not that evil assholes aren't usually in power), what should one DO about it? Sit around going, "There isn't anything we can do about it. Please pass the Twinkies." ??

Seriously. What do we do about it? Like a good little ultra-entitled, middle class, educated, pretentious white girl, I'm getting out of the USA. Assuming I don't get nuked in some terrorist action at LAX on the way out, I'll talk to y'all when I get back. We'll solve the world's problems. No, really.

Peace out, maaaaan.



magdalen a t

There's a nice rant on the STARE blog (formerly IncuBLOGula) by Dr.Menlo. Read it over yonder at Incunabula. Much less whiny than mine.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:05 PM
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Raimondo excoriates the breakaway extra-legal actions by black bloc anarchists and others in San Francisco and elsewhere yesterday as off the wall theatrical adventurism which will discredit the anti-interventionsist movement. Scott Handlemann calls the same tactcis by militant queers and other "small mobile clusters" "fourth generation protest", a creative breakthrough. My head is with the Raimondo position. If (as it appears) the U.S. government under Bush &cohorts really has gone around the bend on the way to 5-10 years of semi-continual "small wars" varying between low and high-intensity, covert and overt, then an opposition needs to be running to run a marathon. That means being disciplined, patient and concentrating its energies on steady education and mass legal and peaceful protests. Yet I can't but find Handleman's perception that just repeating demonstrations will not be enough when you have a regime essentially deaf to protest. I guess it's just the praxis action vs. action faction conundrum all over again (though I'm too young to have been "of age" in the late 60s early 70s). I'm not about to go the Handleman route, but the the question of how to really effectively face and overcome this "small war" mad government persists.
posted by Phil at 12:29 PM
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Robert Fisk is in Baghdad: check out the right column of this page for frequent blog-like updates.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:40 AM
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China denounces Iraqi War:

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the beginning of the attack took place "in disregard for the opposition of the international community." "Military action against Iraq is violating the norms of international behavior," Kong said

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that China "strongly urged an end to military actions against Iraq so as to avoid hurting innocent people," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Tang also told Powell that China is "deeply worried about humanitarian disasters, regional turbulence" and other ramifications of the war, the report said.

I snorted over how the invaders, occupiers, and plunderers of Tibet, who have presided over revolting human rights abuses, could say all this with a straight face.

And then I realized that for generations to come, that's just how seriously anyone else in the world will take U.S. criticism of other nations' unprovoked aggression.

posted by Zed at 9:07 AM
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Haven't found anything corroborating it other than the piece excerpted below, but last night on NPR Adam Shapiro or one of his affiliates said that a vigil honoring Rachel Corrie had been broken up by Israeli Army troop and armor - allegedly including the same bulldozer which killed Corrie. The activist said that an identification number painted on the vehicle was identical to the one emblazoned on the bulldozer which felled Corrie. This from the International Solidarity Movement:

The mourners then marched to the barbed wire fenced that marks the boundary between the Occupied Gaza Strip and Egypt where they mounted the ISM banner and placed more flowers on the ground.

The tank was then joined by two others and three bulldozers. When the Rafah activists saw that one of the bulldozers was the same one that was used to murder Rachel several of them began to weep.

The tanks and bulldozers then began to drive around the crowd at high spee’ forcing several people to jump out of their way to avoid being run over. As they did this they also flung sound grenades and tear gas canisters into the crowd but fortunately the tear gas dispersed harmlessly in the stiff wind. The mourners refused to surrender to the intimidation and again laid their flowers and posters on the war machine’ [sic] which left the area after a few minute' [sic] leaving only the original tank.
posted by Grady at 7:17 AM
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Round-up of some anti-war moods as the obscene travesty of the junta ( er, administration's) war of conquest (excuse me, glorious democratic liberation) begins:

crotchety (and I think prophetic)
intrepidly muckracking
probably bombed (and unfortunately I don't mean drunk)
apologetic (sic)
morally ambivalent
righteously pissed
spaced out
still officially a hawk but coming to his senses
posted by Phil at 6:50 AM
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Illness as Metaphor: "Is the war making you ill? In San Francisco, a group called Direct Action to Stop the War put out the call to call in sick the day the United States invades Iraq. Most peace demos thus far have been held after work and on weekends in order to guarantee higher turnouts and to avoid interfering with the working day, but the rapidly maturing anti-war movement is looking for ways to dust off the old connections between war and capitalism by monkeywrenching the economy." Village Voice
posted by Anonymous at 3:47 AM
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"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."

— Samuel P. Huntington

posted by Anonymous at 3:40 AM
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Military Sites in the US of A 'A' to 'Z', letter 'C' ('D' to follow shortly). Ummm, do with these what you will. For instance, there might be some civil disobedience happening at one of these facilities, and you could go down there to watch. E-Journal of Modern Strategy
posted by Anonymous at 3:38 AM
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Thursday, March 20, 2003. *

One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
posted by Norm at 7:01 PM
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Ari's Spin Zone

Before I take your questions, there's one item I would like to point out to you. The President would like to thank the growing number of nations that have joined in the coalition of the willing to disarm Saddam Hussein. As of today, there are more than 35 countries currently committed to the coalition, and that number is growing. Contributions from nations include direct military participation; logistical, intelligence and political support; specialized chemical and biological response teams; over-flight rights; and humanitarian and other aid. [emphasis mine]

The text above is a portion of Ari's statement at today's press conference. I've often wanted to be one of the press allowed to ask a question. Here is a possible exchange I would have had today with Ari.

Q I have a question and a follow up.
Mr. Fleischer: Go ahead
Q Am I correct in assuming that countries such as Turkey are members of the coalition because they are allowing over-flight rights?
Mr. Fleischer: Yes that is correct.
Q Since France is allowing over-flight rights do you also consider them a member of the coalition?
Mr. Fleischer: Well that's a complicated question ... next question please.
posted by Norm at 3:43 PM
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