a left leaning political blog -- it's not really about pie
a political blog, mostly, with a few cat pictures

Tuesday, April 29, 2003




Reason for War?

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks changed everything, including the Bush administration's thinking about the Middle East — and not just Saddam Hussein.

Senior officials decided that unless action was taken, the Middle East would continue to be a breeding ground for terrorists. Officials feared that young Arabs, angry about their lives and without hope, would always looking for someone to hate — and that someone would always be Israel and the United States.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target.

Other countries have such weapons, yet the United States did not go to war with them. And though Saddam oppressed and tortured his own people, other tyrants have done the same without incurring U.S. military action. Finally, Saddam had ties to terrorists — but so have several countries that the United States did not fight.

But Saddam was guilty of all these things and he met another requirement as well — a prime location, in the heart of the Middle East, between Syria and Iran, two countries the United States wanted to send a message to.


In other words: "We are America. If you fuck with us, we will kick your ass.

"Okay, maybe not your ass. But we will kick some ass. Maybe it will be your freind or neighbor. It might be someone in your region, or just somewhere that has people that we think look like you. But someone is certainly going to get a major ass kicking if we are fucked with."

It's the doctrine of intimidation. Lovely.





Thursday, April 24, 2003


AWOL

Looks like I will be away from the computer until at least monday. Go read Eschaton, Skippy, The Rittenhouse Review and xymphora.





Monday, April 21, 2003


Bush Goes AWOL

In the Orwellian universe of the "liberal media," Bush can inspire new terrorist threats, ignore the ones we already face and evade responsibility for both because he is "tough" enough to spit in the face of world opinion.





Saturday, April 19, 2003


Too bad for Zimbabweans that they don't have any oil.

Under cover of war, Mugabe unleashes a new reign of terror

Hidden from a world whose gaze has been fixed on Iraq, a full-scale reign of terror has been unleashed on opponents of the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Zimbabweans were arrested and tortured as Mr Mugabe, apparently taking advantage of the lull in international scrutiny, stepped up his campaign of repression during the three weeks of the United States' war on Saddam Hussein.

The 79-year-old President marked the 23rd anniversary of independence yesterday with a speech in which he warned that he would tolerate no challenge to his rule. He accused Britain and the US of attempting to "recolonise" Zimbabwe because they opposed his seizures of white-owned land.

State newspapers carried full-page advertisements calling on Zimbabweans to shun "mass violence" by "terrorists and thugs". But during the period leading to the fall of Baghdad, more than 1,000 opposition supporters were arrested, detained in prison and tortured, claims the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The numbers arrested in the past month are unprecedented, and for the first time the focus of intimidation has shifted from the rural areas to opposition supporters in towns. Many victims have been forced to sit on hot electric stoves and fires, says the MDC, which is publishing newspaper advertisements showing pictures of the tortured and injured.

The notorious "Green Bombers", Mr Mugabe's youth militias, have also intensified their intimidation campaign in the countryside, seeking out MDC sympathisers, burning homes, raping and beating. Many victims are thought to have been beaten to death.

But the latest massive government clampdown is aimed at the middle and higher levels of the MDC and, unusually, is being conducted in Harare and the other cities. Some of Mr Mugabe's opponents say they have been forced to have sex with their children.





Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Rescued from the Google cache

Statement of Mindy Kleinberg to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Read the whole thing. It was taken from this site, but it was only posted for a few days.





Tuesday, April 15, 2003


The Crusades, Part II

Onward Christian soldiers

You have to wonder how things can get any worse. Conservative fundamentalists with close ties to President Bush, who believe that God condemns those that oppose the war, are planning to win the souls of the Iraqi people for Jesus, whether they like it or not.

Yeah, that'll work out well. Idiots.





Saturday, April 12, 2003


Outrageous.

We can protect oil wells, so what's the problem?

Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure

Officials with crumpled spirits fought back tears and anger at American troops, as they ran down an inventory of the most storied items that they said had been carried away by the thousands of looters who poured into the museum after daybreak on Thursday and remained until dusk on Friday, with only one intervention by American troops, lasting about half an hour, at lunchtime on Thursday.

Nothing remained, museum officials said, at least nothing of real value, from a museum that had been regarded by archaeologists and other specialists as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East.


Update:

Limbaugh actually said the following today in regards to the museum looting:

"What culture? What cars have they invented? How many Nobel Prizes have they won?"


(from eschaton comments)





Friday, April 11, 2003


Blix: US was bent on war

War against Iraq was a foregone conclusion months before the first shot was fired, the chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has claimed.
In a scathing attack on Britain and the US, Mr Blix accused them of planning the war "well in advance" and of "fabricating" evidence against Iraq to justify their campaign.

Letting rip after months of frustration, he told the Spanish daily El Pais: "There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the [weapons] inspections."

Mr Blix said Iraq was paying a "a very high price in terms of human lives and the destruction of a country" when the threat of banned weapons could have been contained by UN inspections.





What a nightmare

Eyewitness: Baghdad, city of barricades

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power must ensure law and order, so that the sick and injured can receive treatment.





Don't be fooled by joyous scenes, says refugee

"Sooner or later, the Americans will face the revolutionary anger and aggressiveness of the Iraqi people."


Thanks, Cursor.






The Iraqi killing fields

"They organize columns of 40 to 50 armored vehicles. Up front, M1 Abrams tanks, followed by Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees. They roll with two tanks up front, occupying the whole road. They shoot everything in sight, everything suspicious. It's 'fire at will'. They love shooting Saddam portraits with 25 mm cannons. They have no fire discipline. The initiative is left to the soldiers, 20-year-old kids. That's the reason why they also shoot civilians. An European army would never behave like this. By better controlling its troops, the British army kills considerably less civilians."

~~~~~~~~~~~~


On his way to Baghdad from Mahmudiyah, Debay saw dozens of burning civilian vehicles, all of their passengers dead. He volunteers an explanation for the indiscriminate killing: "They [the Americans] have two problems. They are still taking revenge for September 11, and there are no sanctions when a soldier kills a civilian. Their objective is not to kill civilians, but they behave like cowboys. They even shoot cows ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Before the war I did not regard America as my enemy. Now I do. There are military and there are civilians. War should be against the military. America is killing civilians."


Thanks, xymphora





Thursday, April 10, 2003


To Corporal Chin:

You are a complete dipshit. The whole world gasped in horror when you put the American flag on the face of the Saddam statue. What were you thinking? "Liberation, not invasion," remember? You got on the front page of every paper in the Middle East with your stupid stunt.

Thanks to you, there's just a little bit more hatred towards The US in the world. Thanks to you, the world is just a little bit less safe for myself and my family. Way to go, asshole.

Sorry, but I'm pissed.

And BTW, the event was staged.





Monday, April 07, 2003


ACTION ALERT

On April 2, 2003, the House Committee on Resources approved provisions to the omnibus energy legislation (“Energy Security Act of 2003"). These provisions would allow the development and production of oil and natural gas resources in the coastal plain of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Opening the ANWR to oil and gas exploration will endanger a fragile ecosystem. Proponents argue that opening ANWR to will help the U.S. reduce its dependence on imported oil. However, the amount of oil and gas at stake is very small in relation to overall U.S. oil consumption and would be quickly exhausted, whereas the impact on this pristine ecosystem would be significant, harmful, and permanent. There are far better ways to reduce U.S. oil dependency–through conservation, improving energy efficiency, the development of renewable energy sources, and expanded use of public transportation.

ACTION: Please contact your representative today. Urge her or him to oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. Drilling in the ANWR will lessen the country’s enormous dependence on foreign oil for only a short time, but it will permanently scar a fragile ecosystem. In the long term, more drilling is not the answer to the problem of U.S. oil dependency. To reduce U.S. dependence on oil, Congress should promote energy policies that would dramatically reduce U.S. consumption of nonrenewable, polluting fossil fuels. This can be done by promoting and expanding transportation alternatives to gas-guzzling cars and trucks and by investing more in research and development of renewable sources of energy and energy conservation technologies.

You can reach you members of Congress by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or enter your ZIP code here.





Saturday, April 05, 2003


Now my blood is really boiling.

Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths

Apparently the Army's official religion is christianity.

CAMP BUSHMASTER, Iraq - In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.

It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity.

''It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,'' he said.

And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks.

''They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed,'' Llano said.

First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano's hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.


Thanks, Eschaton.





Friday, April 04, 2003


Even more disgusting

US heavy-handedness baffles British

British troops who have witnessed the Americans at close quarters in this war are baffled at their approach to Iraqi civilians. One captain in the Royal Marines, watching a US unit monitor a checkpoint, said: "The Americans are still behaving like invaders, not liberators. They behave as if they hate these people."

Many American troops speak as though they do. You often hear them describe "Eye-rakis" in disparaging language. One US officer in charge of delivering humanitarian aid earlier this week likened the crush of people waiting to get hold of food and water to a pack of stray dogs.

His troops lashed at those pushing to the front with fists and rifle butts, even firing shots into the air.

British commanders are appalled at how the Americans pulverise anything from afar before daring to set foot out of their armoured vehicles.

The rhetoric of US soldiers is often provocative. An American colonel, asked what the role of the Fifth Corps would be, replied: "We are going in there. We are going to root out the bad guys and kill them." His men whooped and punched the air as if they were watching a football match.





Thursday, April 03, 2003


Disgusting.

Deal to sell water all wet, critics charge

The U.S. military came up with a solution yesterday for the penniless people of this port town begging for water: Sell it.
Despite general mayhem at distribution points - including knife fights - the Army has struck a hasty agreement with local Iraqis to expedite distribution of water to the roughly 40,000 living here.

Under the deal, the military will provide water free to locals with access to tanker trucks, who then will be allowed to sell the water for a "reasonable" fee.

"We're permitting them to charge a small fee for water," said Army Col. David Bassert.

"This provides them with an incentive to hustle and to work," said Bassert, an assistant commander with the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade.





'fuck you'


Iraqis giving the "up yours" sign to a British soldier. That's right, in the ME, thumbs up is not a good thing. Someone tell CNN.





Wednesday, April 02, 2003


Only marginally proud to be an American these days

Remember the story the other day about the 11 women and children who were gunned down at a coalition check point? The official story said that we gave them a verbal warning to stop, fired warning shots, fired shots into the vehicles radiator, and only then shot into the vehicle. Let's look at another account of that incident:

As an unidentified four-wheel-drive vehicle came barreling toward an intersection held by troops of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, Capt. Ronny Johnson grew increasingly alarmed. From his position at the intersection, he was heard radioing to one of his forward platoons of M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to alert it to what he described as a potential threat.

"Fire a warning shot," he ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. "Stop [messing] around!" Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken. Finally, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Stop him, Red 1, stop him!"

That order was immediately followed by the loud reports of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of the platoon's Bradleys. About half a dozen shots were heard in all.

"Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"


Why would something like this happen? Some credit it to "fog of war," although I have to admit that I have no idea what that means. Could it be a nice way of saying that our troops are not adequately trained for the situations they are finding themselves in? They are "foggy" because their training didn't cover that situation.

I think that is the most generous possible explanation for this incident. There are other, darker theories. Theories that make me only marginally proud to be an American.

Gore Vidal says "It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life." People with "conspiracy theories" are regarded as suspect. Only a few of the liberal bloggers I read will go near anything conspiratorial, at least not without the obligatory joke about "tin foil hats."

Which is why I like to read xymphora.

It seems much more likely that the Official Story has been created for American domestic consumption, and the real story is that the soldiers were looking for an opportunity to shoot a civilian vehicle in revenge for the suicide attack (I can imagine them discussing it at night, waiting for the next chance at revenge). Referring to other soldiers, the Washington Post article said: "Several said they accepted the platoon leader's explanation to Johnson on the military radio that he had, in fact, fired two warning shots, but that the driver failed to stop." That's a nice way of saying that most of them didn't accept his story. I can understand their fear, but state again that they have no moral excuse for anything they do, as all their actions are based on an illegal and immoral foundation.


You hate to think about American soldiers looking for an opportunity to get revenge for the suicide bomber that attacked only a few days earlier in the same area. Unfortunately, I have met people in this country who seem capable of that kind of stupid behavior. I would like to think that our military trains people better than that. Hopefully, our soldiers just were just worried that the women and children were trying to blow them up. But that does seems like a incredibly stupid assumption. Why send eleven women and children to do a suicide bombing, when one will suffice?

To try to prevent a recurrence, Johnson ordered that signs be posted in Arabic to warn people to stop well short of the Bradley guarding the eastern approach to the intersection.


Too bad they didn't they think to do this before people died. It seems like such an obvious thing to do.





A picture worth 700 words

I just wrote a 700 word post, but my notetab pro made it go away before I could post it. Here's a funny picture instead.

Bush endures another tedious meeting with (left to right) Vice-President Dick Cheney, CIA director George Tenet, and Chief of Staff Andrew Card.


Thanks, cursor.





Apparently Blogger is now giving me a choice of either having archives, or having the ability to update my template, so I'm working on the switch to MT. I may or may not be posting for a few days, depending on how time consuming the switch is.









a