Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Japan Times Online

The Japan Times Online

The idea that the reconstruction of Iraq is based on the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after the second World War is so stupid it is impossible to take it seriously. And the idea that the rest of the world won't notice how stupid it is just shows... Anyway a little article about it.

It is often said that those who don't remember history are fated to repeat it.
A corollary must be added. Those who misconstrue history can make an awful mess of things.

I knew it!

 This is the second or third mention I have seen of this subject. I am positive there is much more being hidden. Here is the quote from the article:
"Official statistics do not include casualties among non-U.S. nationals who sign up to serve in the American armed forces in order to get a U.S. `green card.' According to reliable information the share of non-Americans in the U.S. force in Iraq may be as high as 60 per cent," the source said. "The real number of U.S. losses may be as high as 2,000 casualties and up to 12,000 wounded," the military diplomat said.

Someday there may be a final accounting. Or, we will go on to the next pre-emption without ever knowing what truly happened, or what the true cost was.
  The "news" is not concerned with the facts, or information that might allow us to know anything. Their concern is to shape the story according to a pre-determined narrative. And stuff like green-card cannon fodder doesn't fit in, so it just ain't there. Or maybe the report is wrong.
 It's an ugly thought: soldiers in the Army in hopes of receiving American citizenship, whose deaths are not even worth reporting.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Cheap Hubris

A nice little synopsis of "Imperial Hubris" the book by Anonymous, which gives some of the salient points. Find it here. The article is in the form of twenty paragraphs, each summarising the main points from a chapter, or part of a chapter. Here's an example:

Page "223-5: Scheuer scoffs at our love of coalition-building. Bringing other nations into Afghanistan ensured that the military would fight too cautiously to really destroy al-Qaida and the Taliban. Coalition-building also gave cover to murderous "terror wars" by the Chinese and Russians, who joined our cause with ulterior motives. Scheuer compares American presidents to "teenage girls who cannot possibly go to the restroom in a public venue without the accompaniment of their closest girlfriends.""

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

A loud 'no' to delaying the election - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - July 13, 2004

A loud 'no' to delaying the election - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - July 13, 2004

"In the aftermath of September 11, we need to prepare for contingency plans for various situations," said Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican and chairman of the Committee on House Administration, "but I have very serious concerns about giving one federal official or even a particular federal body the power to postpone or cancel a national election.

This is a perfect example. "In the aftermath of September 11,..." What the hell does that mean? Sure, it rolls smoothly off the tongue- but what is he talking about? He's not referring to the rebuilding of the WTC, or "Freedom Towers" is he? And I'm sure he is not referring to the victims, or the relatives and friends who are still grieving. They will vote or not, as they choose. Is he saying that since 9-11, there has been no change in security, and hijackers can waltz right on to, and take over airplanes again, while NORAD sits with the proverbial thumb-in-rectum? Even Pres Bush might be more decisive in the event of,- of what, exactly? Does he mean that the war on Afghanistan had no effect on terrorists ability to train and organise?
Well, better not go there, since as far as I have read, 9-11 was plotted in Hamburg, and training took place (for the pilots at least) in Arizona and Florida.

Yes, all an official has to do is refer to "September 11th" and any vestige of critical thinking, heck, of common sense leaves the vicinity, and we are supposed to be reduced to a quivering mass of Chicken Littles, looking anxiously at the sky for runaway airliners. So all the reductions in freedom, all the inconveinience, all the bearucratic fol-de-rol imposed on us, all the suspicion, the roundups of Muslims, the totalatarianising of the borders is all for naught?

Look, I grew up during the 50's, 60's, and 70's (it took a long time) when an attack by the Soviet Union (remember them?) was used to the same effect. Only that was real. Really real. The USSR could, if it got up on the wrong side of the Volga, incinerate the US any old day, with an overkill factor of, I believe, ten. And the answering assured destruction from the US would more'n likely, have finished off life on earth, except, we were always told, for the roaches and earwigs. The 9-11 attacks coming off at all, let alone so (from the attackers point of view) so sucessfully was the result of an fantastic concombination of circumstances, if not some combination much more sinister. Remember the first WTC bombing, which was supposed to bring down the building? Killed 6 people, if memory serves.

The 9-11 hijackers did not discover some new principle of nature, or never-before-utilised technique, which leaves us frantically looking for a suitable defensive measure, and I'm tired of officials invoking it as an excuse for, well, anything. If they want to invoke 9-11 why don't they invoke it as an example of how ignoring the procedures already in place can lead, along with some bad breaks, to a terrible tragedy. But that would mean somebody would have to take responsibility for the lapses, and that ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Reason

Reason
Ah yes, here it is,quoted from the article linked above, the thought that, inchoate, has been rattling around my head:

"True, Kerry doesn't owe anything to the religious right, and you can't blame him for the torture at Abu Ghraib. Other than that, he's not much of an improvement.

Yet I find myself hoping the guy wins. Not because I'm sure he'll be better than the current executive, but because the incumbent so richly deserves to be punished at the polls. Making me root for a sanctimonious statist blowhard like Kerry isn't the worst thing Bush has done to the country. But it's the offense that I take most personally."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The New Republic Online: July Surprise?

The New Republic Online: July Surprise?

But The New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs by the election. According to one source in Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), "The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections." Introducing target dates for Al Qaeda captures is a new twist in U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism relations--according to a recently departed intelligence official, "no timetable[s]" were discussed in 2002 or 2003--but the November election is apparently bringing a new deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is responsible for internal security, explains, "The Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail them out when they are facing hard times in the coming elections."

Read the article- they tell them what day the high value targets should be killed or captured. Of course, the days of the Dem. convention are ideal. And the payoff? Weapons for Pakistan. Our foreign policy is now hostage to the re-selection effort.
They live in a dream world. A world in which everyone dances to their tune. The Pope needs to get the Bishops "with them" on issues. American Protestant denominations should act as RNC outposts and organisers. Bin Ladden better turn up on time.
At least they don't have to worry about the US media. They do what they're told.
Now if only they could get those darn soldiers to stop dying, all 1,001 of them. Don't they know it's bad publicity?

Iraq is Now Another Palestine

Iraq is Now Another Palestine This was like a punch in the gut:

"The world again seems powerless to influence the US in the face of the even more rapid growth of anti-western sentiment resulting from the current war. There is no graver challenge than stemming the growth of terrorism practiced by aggrieved Muslims. The rise of such militancy is driven by US policies and cannot be glossed over with self-serving assertions that "they" hate western freedoms and are inherently barbaric and uncivilized. Beheadings are indeed so, but so is the killing of over 600 innocent Fallujans in a week of aerial bombing, or the death of 500,000 children through UN sanctions."

"The depth of this anti-US animus is recent. Muslims and Arabs gravitated towards the US for decades, and worked closely with Washington to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But even the most moderate now see the US as bent on crushing Islam."

"Muslims and Arabs gravitated towards the US for decades, and worked closely with Washington to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan." So after the fall of the Soviet Union we had every chance to acheive good relations with the Muslim world. Remember the "Freedom Fighters"? The "moral equivalent of our founding fathers" was good enough for Pres. Reagan. Yes, some concessions would be required from Israel, but it was within our grasp. Bin Laden was the Muslim equivalent of our neo-cons, eager for conflict, not terms and 9-11 was a provocation, not an attempt at any kind of a military victory. Hell I'm just ranting here, but I have no doubt there was a conscious decision to make the muslims the new Soviet Union... And we bought it...

Haaretz - Israel News - The price of brainwashing

Haaretz - Israel News - The price of brainwashing Gee, maybe I'm back in style. I always thought the settlers were a bunch of extremists at best, and thugs at worst. I always thought what they were doing was the worst thing possible for Israel. But then, I'm a 'bad Jew' or maybe 'self-hating' because I think that Jews are just like other people, human beings with shortcomings which leave us far from being able to claim that, for instance, we know Gods will.
Of course, this article mostly talks about French Jews, and in spite of being Jewish, they're still French.

Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, who took part in the discussions, was shocked by the hostility directed at him. Whenever he spoke in favor of a peace agreement, he was interrupted and heckled. Whenever he spoke about how Israelis need peace, he was shut up by the audience. When he dared to say the Palestinians are also human beings, hecklers whistled to drown him out. "Have you gone mad?" he asked the hundreds of Jews who gathered in the luxurious community center. "Women and children are being killed in terror attacks, our young boys are being killed in the territories, and you make a farce of the entire thing, as if we are living in some stage production for your sake!"

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Informed Comment

Informed Comment: Prof. Cole provides some intelligence. "US observers keep expressing puzzlement as to why the killing of hundreds or thousands of insurgents has not had an impact in repressing the guerrillas. They don't seem to get it that Iraqi clans still matter and that when they kill an Iraqi, they anger the man's brothers, uncles, and first and second cousins, some of whom step forward to take his place. In the US a lot of people don't even know their cousins and certainly would not sacrifice their lives to avenge one. Iraq is not like that. So, it isn't really even a matter of ideologies, necessarily. The US military has incurred enough clan feuds to keep the insurgencies going. And, of course, Iraqi and Arab nationalisms are powerful enough that people hate seeing Western troops in their country. The line between being angry about it and being angry enough to pick up a gun is a thin one."

And he figured that out without torturing anybody!
But by all means, go to Mr. Coles site. Read him every day, if you want to gain an understanding of the conflict through the eyes of an educated and knowledgeable man who cares deeply about both America and the people of the region. Or you could watch Fox News and curse the towelheads when things don't go like the Neo-cons say they're 'sposed to.

TomDispatch

TomDispatchVery well done. Good readin', and the point: no matter who wins next election, there is no exit strategy, unless there is a total turnaround in the publics thinking. Think about it. There will be a draft, just to relieve our exhausted army, just to keep our present commitments. Can you imagine Kerry asking for a draft to get us out of Iraq? And if Kerry just says "that's enough, we're done, let's get out of here" the Repubs will make life miserable for him. Can't you hear them calling? "We were just about to win!" Scumbags.
And once again, George leaves a mess for others to clean up.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Rape Nation

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Rape Nation

"...The military could stop it if they want to, but they don't want to. They're socializing men into doing this."

Fellas, don't snicker. They rape men, too.

A male veteran who was sexually abused in the military said that "soldiers are trained to take whatever they want, whether from fellow servicemen or Iraqi detainees, and they know they will be protected."

But going back to man-on-woman rape, I can see some possible advantages to drafting women. If soldiers rape women in towns, say near the base, well, that could be trouble. If there is a plentiful supply of women on the base, the Army (or Air Force, or Navy) has control over the victim

In 1992, Mackey quit the service, mainly because of the repeated incidences of sexual assault and domestic violence and other wrong-doing that she had seen go unpunished on the base. In 1994 she filed a civil lawsuit in a district court in Dayton, Ohio against the specific men who had assaulted her, including the superiors who abused her when she tried to report the previous assaults. The Justice Department decided to represent the defendants, so the case was moved to federal court. The Department of Justice attorney said the case should not be brought to trial on the grounds that it constituted a threat to national security, representing a "disruption of good order, morale and discipline."


How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen Abu Ghraib?
Look, I'm really sorry about this.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Pentagon Alerted to Trouble in Ranks

Pentagon Alerted to Trouble in Ranks

In a 1986 case, the Navy gave a PRP clearance to a man known to be a suspect in an unsolved murder. Three years later, when the man was a fire control technician on a nuclear submarine, he was charged in the murder of an elderly couple while off duty. He was later convicted

They always meet their recruiting goals. Maybe this is how.