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"After the slaughter, sickening jubilation"

 

© Steve Bell 2008

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After the slaughter, mental disorder

Roughly one in every five U.S. troops who have survived the bombs and other dangers of Iraq and Afghanistan now suffers from major depression or post-traumatic stress, an independent study said Thursday. It estimated the toll at 300,000 or more.

If that's the figure for US troops, what would it be for Iraqi and Afghan civilians who have survived the bombs and other dangers?

Iraqi troops flee.

Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front.

“If you turn around and go back up the street those soldiers will follow you,” Captain Veath said. “If you tuck tail and cowardly run away they will follow up that way, too.”

Captain Veath’s pleas failed, and senior American and Iraqi commanders mounted an urgent effort to regain the lost ground. An elite Iraqi unit was rushed in and with the support of the Americans began to fight its way north.

Gee the Iraqis won't fight for truth, justice and the American way.

Victoria Cross for sale.

During the Vietnam war, the Australian soldier Major Peter Badcoe was killed in action at the age of 33 and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest award for gallantry. Now his family has decided to sell his medals, but it's the letters and tapes he sent home which are included in the sale that paint the most detailed picture of the man.

A moving story on Radio National's Breakfast show this morning. A family selling their father's Victoria Cross. Let's hope it is bought by the Canberra War Museum where it has been on display for some time.

It is interesting that Major Badcoe told a story of US marines napalming a Vietnam village to which Australian troops had been providing civil aid. His description of the US marine corp is an indictment of US military training or lack of training and not much has been learnt in the last 40 years.

Peace bride murdered

How sad is this?

An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.

The naked body of Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, 33, known as Pippa Bacca, was found in bushes near the northern city of Gebze on Friday.

She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.

Questions on the future of the Iraq war

My questions:

1. General Petraeus, in the spring of 2003, on your first tour of duty in Iraq, you remarked to a reporter, “Tell me how this ends.” You are now on your third tour and the war is in its sixth year. Please tell us how this war ends.

2. In addition, please provide an approximation of when it will end. With the war costing the United States $3 billion per week and 30 to 40 American lives per month, how many more years (or decades) will elapse before one of your successors is able to report that the mission in Iraq has been accomplished?

3. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have openly expressed their concern that the Army and Marine Corps are badly overstretched. How much longer can our ground forces sustain these demands and what actions would you propose to alleviate the pressure?

ANDREW J. BACEVICH is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

Professor Bacevich asks some critical questions on the future of the war in Iraq. Just how long can these questions go unanswered?

Iraq is fragile and any progress could be reversible?

Despite an improvement in security in parts of Iraq, General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "Nonetheless, the situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory and innumerable challenges remain."

"Moreover, as events in the past two weeks have reminded us, and as I have repeatedly cautioned, the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible," he said.

After five years of war any progress made could be reversible. Will another five years make any difference? When will we admit that the war has been lost and withdraw all troops?

Will Crocker give Congress a crock'a ...

... what should go in one of these: [

(and for those without the Hygiene font set that character is a Toilet).

The editors of Israeli "open source military intelligence website" DEBKAfile must think so.

They're saying Crocker and Petraeus will "stress in their report to Congress that Iran is waging war on America in Iraq" [at least so says their "sources in Washington, London and Baghdad"].

Another test this Tuesday

The latest assessment of the US occupation of Iraq will be delivered on Tuesday when US ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus address the American Senate.

With perception management top of their mind, no doubt the assessment will be:

C  not D

Stuffed

Moot, it's an old Scottish word I think.

A body or channel of water surrounding a castle or something like that.

Of course the English have another definition but the English are stupid, everyone knows that.

The English and Scots actually went to war to settle on the definition of the word.

This period was called The Semantic War and  came to an end when someone finally drained the moot.

Unfortunatley another war started when a Highlander shared a tall story with an English fop.

Fop replied:   you  cant  be  serious.

And it started all over again.

This period was called The Great Pubic War and only ended because everybody was too stuffed to carry on.

No Point Shooting The Messenger

Craig Rowley

Great! As it's a moot point it's an issue open for debate and only able to be definitively determined by "the people" (in this case 'Diarists),

People all over the globe can determine whatever they wish on this particular subject - it won't though give it anymore legal validity - hence it is a moot point. So use freedom of speech and debate away; freedom of opinion is after all what it's all about. Probably the only objection I've had is when people such as the professional linker confuse fact with the hypothetical, and demand answers based around it (hypothetical). Demanding such pattern answers is not propaganda, and it's most definitely not scholastic.

the illegal invasion's chief promoters: Pentagon hawk Richard Perle.

If Mr Perle were the judge in a legally convened court; it would mean the Iraq adventure was most definitely illegal - and the use of the word illegal would have a legal validity. Since he's not, it doesn't, and it means his opinion has no more or less validity than anyone else's.

Prince of Darkness Confesses

"If Mr Perle were the judge in a legally convened court ..."

Ahhh, but “Prince of Darkness” Richard Perle, chairman of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board in the years leading up to the Iraq War, made what approximates to a confession.

So the more accurate analogy is:

If Mr Perle was in the dock in a legally convened court ...

Yum yum yum what a feast -

Yum yum yum what a feast - thanks Fiona

Cancerian nah - I'm an albatross -  with the heart of a lion. 

And with aged wings and aged heart I'm afraid my appetite for this topic has become somewhat retarded - N

Fiona do they come in red?

Thanks Fiona, but life's too short to do the - word-cut-paste -thing; however in WD (wingding) world it does look rather appetising.

Do they come in red?

aaaaaaaaaaa

Chacun a son gout ...

... so I suspect you would prefer this:

 ô

 Meanwhile, back to the topic please ... N

Any colour, as long as it's ...

Are you a Cancerian too, Justin?

J a J a J a J

One on moi

Scott; another wandering albratross, how wonderful. Your post has my beak grinning from wing to wing. Deltaliteful.

Catch ya on the thermals and cross winds; good places for wandering and wondering alike; and to simply be.

Cheers.

Paul, your Fox post was mostly excellent. I actually wrote quite a long reply but the preview thingy stuffed up and lost the lot. O well that's cyberlife.

I now have a choice, rewrite or retire for a drinky - um - err 

Cheers old boy and have one on me - 27 if you wish ;-)

The Great Lawyers Friend: Thy Name Is Ambiguity

Craig Rowley: "1. It would have at least made it legal."

Possibly - the legality of the US action is a moot point.

Due to the fact that the USA has both UN veto power, and has along with Russia, and Japan, not signed ratification of the ICJ, the legality of this particular action should (I find it impossible to believe any US Administration will change their tune on the issue) forever remain ambiguous.

And before you begin on the "links"; what is used in the world of the internet, as proof of "illegal", are numerous non binding advisory opinions. Which of course can, and do, work both ways - leaving the debate in the realms of "my non binding advisory opinion is bigger than your non binding advisory opinion" - which does of course make it a moot point.

Great

Great! As it's a moot point it's an issue open for debate and only able to be definitively determined by "the people" (in this case 'Diarists), so let's start with the opinion of one of the illegal invasion's chief promoters: Pentagon hawk Richard Perle.

He conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal.

Emotional power of certain stories

It's good that the conversation on this thread is firmly focused on what is and is not being seen when various people look at what is happening in Iraq (and who seeks to try to control that, and why they want to control it).

Same goes for what we hear about events over there.

Precisely five years ago the US media were transfixed on the story of an army private. Remember "her" story?

It wasn't exactly her story.

The invasion of Iraq had just started to run into some difficulties – amid signs that Americans might not be greeted with flowers after all – and the story about this soldier would help rally the country.

Someone wanted that to happen.

And they certainly didn't want anyone to see the truth of what was really happening.

Emotional Power Of Certain Stories - Multiplied

For Craig Rowley and interested others. A few weeks ago an event took place ... The 2008 Winter Soldier Hearings. It was totally ignored by the world's mainstream media ... so if you didn't hear of it it's not surprising.

I spent the weekend listening to these truly heroic testimonies shedding more than a few tears along the way.

By coincidence whilst I was listening I was trying my hand at my first Webdiary thread topic (still a possibility) [Fiona: Good - keep at it, Simon] ... My thread topic as it happened deals with the so called "watchdog" of "democracy" ... The Fourth Estate ... How appropriate I thought! ... This event was truly amazing and I recommend anyone who has the time to download and listen to these testimonies ...

Following are a couple of excerpts from my (unfinished) thread starter:

.... "Has anyone heard of or know anything about for example; KPFA 94.1 FM, The War Comes Home.Org, IVAW or MediaLens, Znet or (WebDiary)?
… I’d be surprised if you had; “Why is it so”?

 (See my comment: WD thread “Das Es, das Ich, das Über-Ich ... Das Schloß.” On March 14 at 12:14pm for an explanation)

Has anyone heard of New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, SMH, The Australian, The Age, Channels 7,9,10,

… I’d be surprised if you hadn’t; “Why is it so?”

Have you ever watched those occasional programs on media introspection, by media “insiders” (professionals), that crop up from time to time on ABC, SBS …but, never the “commercials”? … Did you come away “unsatisfied” with the outcomes (if any) that the program/s generated? Did / has anything manifestly change/d? (within the MSM media.) ” Why is it so?”

The following is a critique of a new book “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davies, an “insider” journalist with UK “Guardian” newspaper, by an “obscure” web site in the UK called MediaLens.

(I would recommend anyone interested to read this critique)

and an excerpt from the end:

....." Remember, at the start, I mentioned some pretty obscure web sites … KPFA 94.1 FM, The War Comes Home .Org, IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War)

Unless you followed my links on the aforementioned WD comment, you will still be unaware of their significance to this topic.

These sites have been conducting an event called “The Winter Soldier Hearings” . This event over the last few days (14th to 16th) has been devoted to the US Iraq War Veterans own and very personal stories, of their involvement in the illegal war and subsequent illegal occupations, by the US/UK Govt /Military/Corporations (predominately) of Iraq and Afghanistan (and other places) … I have spent most of this weekend listening to these compelling testimonies … So what, some on WD will say. But I defy anyone not to be moved to tears and anger by these personal admissions.

 When I first went to these sites and attempted to listen to the streaming audio, to my surprise I found they had been overwhelmed by site traffic and the system was struggling to cope with the interest shown. (and has been, most of the weekend).

I subsequently had to download as podcasts, which seemed to work OK. Albeit slowly.

If you are interested, here is a link to one of the testimonies: Mike Prysner’s (selected at random by me as being fairly representative).

The point of all this is two-fold:

1.) There was overwhelming interest (worldwide)

2.) This event has been totally ignored by mainstream media! (as far as I’m currently aware during composition of this piece)

and still is !

…” Why is it so?”

Is it not time, to enquire, as what has happened to the so-called “fourth-estate”, (from its inception/conception) and the so-called “democracies” it purports to watch over and do something about it!

 …Or, as good little “brainwashed, all consuming sheeple” … Let the status quo triumph? …. And go down the proverbial gurgler with them?

The choice, if we have any, seems to be … ours! "

I am afraid I just cannot come to terms with the fact that considering the coverage 11th September got ... ie months if not years and still ongoing when "only" 3000 (of their "own" ie US) were killed and there has not been a mention of this event which covers the deaths of over 4000 of "their" own ie US "heroes" ... Truly remarkable ! ... Why is it so?

Winter Soldier Videos

Simon, I only heard about those "hearings" via a rather good video/politics blog: HotAir.com.

HotAir has a video up (produced by the YAF) which depicts some of the testifying soldiers responding to a common question: Would you sign a sworn affidavit detailing the alleged war atrocities?. The response might not be what some imagine.

You might also be interested in another HotAir/YAF video filmed in advance of the WSII "hearings" that offers a short on-the-run interview with original Winter Soldier John Kerry.

Produced by the Conservative Movement

That video, kindly shared by Dylan Kissane, was produced by the Young America's Foundation, which is the "principal outreach organization" of the Conservative Movement.

So there you have it. "Principal outreach organization" is what they call a propaganda unit these days.

And?

Craig, if you can point to any reason to suggest that that the people interviewed in either video were being misrepresented then I would appreciate seeing it.

Actually, if you had anything to say about the actual content of the videos instead of attempting what you must imagine is a smear of the producers then I would love to hear that, too.

Mattera and the Conservative Movement

Sure, Dylan, it's my pleasure to point to several ways in which the the Conservative Movement propaganda unit's video producers may have been misrepresenting the people "interviewed."

Here's a couple to kick things off:

1. It is not footage of interviews.  As the whole exchange of questions and answers wasn't included, what we have instead is "special correspondent" Jason Mattera telling us what question he put, (i.e. would you sign a sworn affidavit detailing your war crimes?), and then footage of people who may or may not be responding to that particular question.  In short, we see only the product of the editing by Jason Mattera and his friends (who are declared right wing activists).

2. The people shown on Jason Mattera's video were certainly not the sum total of all those providing Winter Soldier testimony.  Even if those people were responding to the particular question Jason Mattera tells us he asked them, his sampling of respondents may not be (most likely is not) representative. Again, we see only the product of the editing by Jason Mattera and friends.

And Jason Mattera and friends have a declared purpose

Truth ? .... ummmn ?

Thanks Craig Rowley for leaping to my defence! I endorse your replies.

Dylan, why should the IVAW veterans (who would face very real legal ramifications if they did) respond to a "perfectly simple and reasonable" question put by a "right-wing" loonie !

I don't seem to recall Lt William Calley (of the Mai Lai Massacre) tripping over himself in eagerness to swear on oath (pre-trial) about his role in the massacre. Nor did North and Poindexter, in Iran Conta affair

Ditto, the defendants at Nuremberg or even Saddam etc (ad-infinitum)?

Regarding the "videos". I would suggest you send the Young America Foundation and Jason Matterra a donation, so as they at least could afford a reasonably "believable" production, rather than the cheap effort Matterra offers up ...I guess they must have blown all their money on their website .... a very "professional" effort.

So until you can offer any better criticism / evidence I will continue to stand by the IVAW testimonies, and not rely on my information coming from such a tacky, sensationalist (IMO) site such as Hot Air, who obviously don't waste an enormous amount of time on verifying the integrity of what they put up.

Meanwhile Dylan, the "real" war criminals / human-right abusers get away with it ! ... i.e. Bush, Blair and the coalition of the meek and mild ! ... ummmnn ?

Do you reckon there's much chance they'll fess up?

Very interested ... thanks Simon

I'm looking forward to your post, Simon.

When that thread starts I might take each of the following 10 reasons Iraq Veterans Against the War give for being against it and talk about how each is covered (or not) by the MSM.

  1. The Iraq war is based on lies and deception.
  2. The Iraq war violates international law.
  3. Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq.
  4. Overwhelming civilian casualties are a daily occurrence in Iraq.
  5. Soldiers have the right to refuse illegal war.
  6. Service members are facing serious health consequences due to our Government's negligence.
  7. The war in Iraq is tearing our families apart.
  8. The Iraq war is robbing us of funding sorely needed here at home.
  9. The war dehumanizes Iraqis and denies them their right to self-determination.
  10. Our military is being exhausted by repeated deployments, involuntary extensions, and activations of the Reserve and National Guard.

Who Shot The Fox?

Fiona Reynolds: "This was one reason why the USA explicitly “embedded” journalists with the troops – and those journalists were the ones on the mainstream media like the Dirty Digger’s Fox, so what middle America was fed since 2003 was a pro-US, pro-war line."

Sure, they were a willing tool for propaganda purposes - and it's not something I'd dispute. It's however up to media outlets (hardly babes in the woods), to mark that particular line (independence) in the sand.

The media isn't of course the only industry to blur the vision. Take for example brokerage firms that "were" apparently giving independent ratings for Enron etc. Or the medical industry that happens to enjoy the patronage of medical supply companies, insurance companies etc. And on, and on, and on.

Fox was invented to find the missing audience - the middle class types that didn't respond to CNN (meaning they wouldn't watch it). Far from Fox shaping the views of the audience, Fox gave their audience the things they wanted to see. That's called business, and the guy heading this particular one is very successful at it. He once took a poorly performing London union newspaper and placed in topless chicks, and horse racing form. Call it tits and tips - whatever you choose; it turned into a huge winner - and winners are what the shareholders want.

Fiona, people for the most part don't want independence. They tend to seek out views that reflect their own - belief preservation - and it can cause emotional hurt for some people when it is dented. Fox and any other "large" businesses survival depend on keeping this preservation well sated - and that's why the continual high budget of market surveys is not intended as mere a tax write off. From a little reading of late (regarding this site) there appears to be at least a few ex viewers wanting a Fox network of all their own - right here as matter of fact.

As a legal person you most probably work backward by taking your opponent's position first - the insight of a walk in the opposition's shoes and all that. Most people aren't trained (or even consider) this relatively simple and effective way of thought - hence the existence of the [non] independent, and profit making, Fox Network.

Emotional Power of Photography

For Paul Morrella and interested others.

From an article Emotional Power of Photography by Gary Olson, Ph.D., chair of the Political Science department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA:

"....And therein resides both an intractable indictment and a vexing question. What are the odds of an Iraqi Kim Phuc's image being published today? We know that photographers are routinely banned from the battle zone while others are pressured into self-censorship. But we might speculate on the powerful impact such images would evoke within American society, how our now well documented evolutionary and biological capacity for empathy might be engaged to pressure policymakers. Photo journalist Mary Anne Golon believes images have power because they "serve as evidence for accusations of wrong doing." Perhaps that explains their absence today. "

No warning necessary

More Proof Of Authenticity Please

Paul, I agree, the pics may have been just a Photoshop generated simulation prepared by a tool that had nothing better to. Whoever prepared those simulations did a reasonably good job don't you think?

At least without proof we can rest assured that no innocent people were killed in the production of those pics.

I suppose one way in which you may decide whether those pics depict reality would be to travel to the war zone and observe the relationship between things that go bang and human flesh. Let me know the results for I have yet to witness (in person) the effects of a 5,000 pound bomb on human beings.

Of course you could also request the lads at Mythbusters (who just love things that go bang) to do experiments with 5,000 pound bombs and rocket propelled grenades etc. and their effects on dead pigs.

It would be interesting to see if there were any similarities at all with the simulations Craig and me linked too.

I'm with you on this one Paul; however I will leave the onus of proof or disproof up to you. Happy travels but it would be advisable to make sure your “will” is in order.

In the meantime here are another couple of images/videos dedicated to the child in all of us: from one side of our globe to the other (no warning necessary), enjoy:

Cut and paste the following into the search field at YouTube:

You're beautiful... (Sierra Leone)

Flower Child: Beautiful Poetry For Beautiful Children

“Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.”

The Representive Of The Undemocratic

Fiona Reynolds: "What do you mean by the words "if you believe in the US action", Paul Morrella? That the action occurred? Or something else?"

It means that you either believe that the Iraq war was justified or you don't. The UN and the decisions made by this unelected and unaccountable (often corrupt) body should make little difference to belief. If the UN had said the war was justified would this all of a sudden make it right?

If more time was spent by the United States, and France, talking together rather than attempting to bribe and cajole votes (to placate this bizarre notion of world government), perhaps things would've turned out differently.

The United States should withdraw from the UN, and forthwith withdraw US taxpayers' hard earned funds from this body. It ceased to be of a benefit to US taxpayers at the finish of the Cold War. Nations such as Australia (among others) would probably opt out of the UN if this step was taken. This would also benefit Australian taxpayers.

The UN is anti-democratic and leadership by default. An abrogation of a nations leaders democratic responsibilities. Along with an abrogation of a nations right to self determination.

The UN

If the UN had said the war was justified would this all of a sudden make it right?

1. It would have at least made it legal.

2. It would have put command in the hands of the UN.

3. It may have meant a very different strategy and associated set of tactics in the execution of the invasion.

But more to the point, and shifting off the framing provided (i.e. the UNSC saying that  that measures provided for in Article 41 military action against Ba'athist Iraq could proceed in accordance with Article 42), the UNSC was most likely to have decided to let UNMOVIC make further progress (as it had been making good progress) because there was certainly no need to take action under Article 42 in March 2003.

Progress

Then again there is a brighter side, Father Park.

We seem to have moved on from the culture of political preciousness where any criticism of the Prime Minister was met with accusations of Howard- Rudd-hating irrationalism.

Australia seems to have matured as a nation in these few short months.

It Never Really Changes

Craig Rowley: "Which brings me all the way back to the point I've been making about the unilateral resort to armed force by a group of states outside the framework of the UN Charter."

You either believe in the USA's action or you don't. People fought and lost their lives for the freedom of opinion. Why don't you at least take up the gift.

If you were to place one hundred drug and alcohol dependents in a room, the final resolution would be to get stoned - irrespective of the original question. I always envisage that when I see "UN" types.

I seriously believe that at least 40% of the UN is a dilution of the human gene pool. And I most certainly wouldn't be putting anything like faith in them - charging a slightly higher interest rate, yes - that, though, is a different question.

The politicians that decided to "rock the boat" (causing conditions that would see many children killed in Iraq)

Again, with the attempted emotional propaganda.

sure did set a terrible precedent that could (probably will) return to bite, yes?

Not any sort of precedent that hasn't already been set. Ask your local Library for some reading material on the subject.

And?

What do you mean by the words "if you believe in the US action", Paul Morrella? That the action occurred? Or something else?

Please explain. 

The Road to Hell . . .

... is paved with good intentions:

In November 2007 in Kermanshah [Iran], Makwan Mouloudzadeh, 20, faced the death penalty on false charges of raping several boys seven years before.

His accusers retracted their claims. No evidence suggested he had committed any crime under Iranian law.

However, European activists wildly seized on him as another “gay” victim. They organised a mass petition to Ahmadinejad for mercy for “the young Iranian gay”.

Their pleas sent an inadvertent message: Makwan was innocent of one capital crime, but Europe believed him guilty of another.

On December 5, Makwan Mouloudzadeh, probably neither gay nor a rapist, went to the gallows.

A distinctly possible future in the ME

Jacob, the case you cite of Makwan Mouloudzadeh, the 20 year old Iranian charged with raping several boys seven years before (ie when Mouloudzadeh was about 13) whose prosecutors' case was dismissed but who went to the gallows anyway thanks to the 'support' of the European gay lobby, shows well the dismal nature of the present Iranian regime. That regime is the product of the 1979 revolution that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power, and Khomeini's revolution was a reaction against the rule of the Shah. From Wikipedia :

"While a Muslim himself, the Shah gradually lost support from Muhammad Zain Elahi the great Shi'a clergy of Iran, particularly due to his strong policy of Westernization and recognition of Israel. Clashes with the religious right, increased communist activity, Western interference in the economy, and a 1953 period of political disagreements with Mohammad Mossadegh , eventually leading to Mossadegh's ousting, would cause an increasingly autocratic rule. In 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright stated:

"In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs."

It is also easy to see why British and American (for the British Government played a significant role in the ousting of the popular Mossadeq) values of liberalism and concepts of individual rights have not gained much traction in Iran. People supporting them are open to accusations of being pro-American and anti-Muslim.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the present stand-off between the Iraqi Army and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army highlights the present American problem. From this review of Patrick Cockburn's new biography of al-Sadr:

"As to which of the many factions competing for political supremacy in Iraq will ultimately prevail, the recent eruption of violence in Basra between government forces and militias loyal to the radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is an indication of the fragility that underlies Iraq's current political accommodation."

The Americans face a classic problem straight out of the plot of many a Western. The hero in the white hat rides into the town, and puts out of business the gang that has been terrorising the defenceless citizens. But what do those citizens do when the hero rides on?

It would appear that many Iraqis are only too well aware of the political pressure building up in the West to force the CoW nations one by one to withdraw, till ultimately the Americans are left to switch off the lights and close the door. Many of the Iraqi professionals (something like 40%) and liberals have left already for a new life abroad. Many others no doubt see the eventual triumph of a pro-Iranian Sadr regime, and do not at this stage want to be perceived as off-side with it.

I think the likely outcome of a Sadr triumph will be an Iran-Iraq alliance, posing the greatest threat yet to Israel. Such if it occurred would likely lead to a Middle Eastern arms race, with high probability in turn of Israeli pre-emptive strikes on Iranian-Iraqi WMD preparations.

'Volatile' and 'intolerant' would be words in constant use.

Distinctly possible

Indeed that is a distinctly possible future scenario, Ian.

So applying that Utilitarian approach to ethical considerations you've been using to judge the illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003, do you now see that the set of potential (and highly probable) negative consequences outweighed the potential (and low probability) positive set?

OK

Scott, OK ;-(

What happened to Wing Dings?

Justin, my fellow albatross, (I'm of the wandering kind). Your punctuation had me puzzled for a while then I applied lateral thinking, quite literally, I turned my head on its side. There it was, a doleful face. I thought to myself "I can help you out there, I used to muck around with this stuff big time; let's see if Wing Dings trasnslates to XML, not that I know stuff all about it". No such luck. Things have changed since the days when I programmed in VB, Access and Word, the character map has gone and Webdings aren't the same. Can anyone help me out here? Bugger Microsoft; they can never leave a good thing alone and we're stuck with permanent Beta versions. Pretty much the same way I view humanity only in our case I think we're God's Delta version. (Imagine a smiley face.)

Wingdings

Scott and Justin, now see this - works if you paste from Word: J

Return to bite

Paul Morrella: "... it doesn't serve a purpose for any politician (ever) to rock the boat through the making of precedents that could return to bite."

Which brings me all the way back to the point I've been making about the unilateral resort to armed force by a group of states outside the framework of the UN Charter.

The politicians that decided to "rock the boat" (causing conditions that would see many children killed in Iraq) sure did set a terrible precedent that could (probably will) return to bite, yes?

Iraqi soldiers not so keen to fight for "Freedom".

More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.

It seems Iraqi soldiers are not so willing to fight for their "freedom". Tell me again, why are we in Iraq?

Iraq

John Pratt, why aren't you ranting and raving to Rudd to bring us out of Iraq? He did promise to do that during the Election campaign. So what if a few towelheads are killing themselves in Iraq? We have enough problems here in NSW with the Iemma mob to keep Rudd and his cronies busy.

Yo Alan!

...why aren't you ranting and raving to Rudd to bring us out of Iraq? He did promise to do that during the Election campaign. So what if a few towelheads are killing themselves in Iraq?

Oh dear. Is this what we are reduced to?

Nothing as stimulating as thoughtful, informed debate.

The Circle Can Begin Again Another Time

Jacob A. Stam: "Well sure, if such material will add anything to the topic, bring it on."

It doesn't add to the topic, and it won't add to the site.

I'm sure you yourself don't need reminding, Paul, but I've seen a lot of pro-war 'commentary' along the lines of "kick Saddam's butt", "whip Saddam", etc., which is the kind of thing that sanitises the reality of what's being contemplated.

People say all kinds of things, and that is part of being in a free society. I'd say the people that go in for that type of simplification are well sanitized - and they're not going to be de-programmed.

I'm certainly no 'saint', indeed I (and others) have been effectively denounced as objectively pro-Saddam the Monster.

I'm denounced apparently, as a propagandist for murder to enable American oil theft (the fact that no such theft has yet taken place is not relevant apparently), on at least a monthly basis. Both you, and I, together, I'm sure, can deal with these "terrible" slings and arrows.

I (and others) have put the case, to which the essential response has been "ding dong the witch is dead", so now I'm out of here. If I'm wrong, then like Tony Blair I'll answer to my Maker, and just thank God I'm just some slob in suburban Melbourne with no power.

And the reality is that they are right - certainly there'll never be any prosecutions - politics is always self serving - and it doesn't serve a purpose for any politician (ever) to rock the boat through the making of precedents that could return to bite.

Well, propaganda is a "tool" to modulate and control public perceptions. The issues are why the Americans have been using it, to what ends, etc. It's up for discussion, but I'm out of here.

Like every person in the world, individuals ultimately feel they are right - no matter what they believe in - probably the reason so many wars are fought.

Just wondering

I suppose those who voted for John Howard in the elections of 01 and 04 (by default) also supported the slaughter of women and children, or at least put same way down their list of priorities.

Why did John Howard win those elections?

Because we were more concerned with our hip pockets than others people's children.

Are we really any better than Dick Cheney?

Not Commenting, Reading... oh hell!!

Paul Morrella: "I'm not."

No worries, thanks for confirming my original assertion.

I just can't wait for the Hamas suicide bombing after pics, and the Kurdish pics...

Well sure, if such material will add anything to the topic, bring it on.

Just to be reminded, like some kind of complete dolt, that war actually causes carnage.

I'm sure you yourself don't need reminding, Paul, but I've seen a lot of pro-war 'commentary' along the lines of "kick Saddam's butt", "whip Saddam", etc., which is the kind of thing that sanitises the reality of what's being contemplated.

Or am I meant to personally feel morally ashamed of something or another? Or perhaps feel that others are morally superior to me or something?

This is a general discussion of some fundamental issues pertaining to a major event of our time. No personal judgement is intended, but such will inevitably be inferred by all 'sides' given those issues.

I'm certainly no 'saint', indeed I (and others) have been effectively denounced as objectively pro-Saddam the Monster. Probably, in some rarefied ivory tower of abstractions, that could be proved categorically; but my contention on this thread has been that whatever the advantages have been of 'removing' Saddam have not been worth the cost, and that there were viable alternatives to invasion.

I (and others) have put the case, to which the essential response has been "ding dong the witch is dead", so now I'm out of here. If I'm wrong, then like Tony Blair I'll answer to my Maker, and just thank God I'm just some slob in suburban Melbourne with no power.

This sort of thing may have conned you; it never conned me.

No, it didn't con me either. I suspect it may have conned quite a few people, however, and together with stuff like the fictitious WMD arsenal and al-Qaeda linkages, tipped many into a position of acquiescence, if not overt support.

Propaganda is a major "tool" of war ... and Americans are not the only people using it.

Well, propaganda is a "tool" to modulate and control public perceptions. The issues are why the Americans have been using it, to what ends, etc. It's up for discussion, but I'm out of here.

And now adieu, adieu, to yieu en yieu en yieu...

The Age Of Saints

Jacob A. Stam: "I wouldn't suggest for a second that Paul and others are "for" the appalling carnage depicted."

I'm not.

It's useful, however, to be reminded that the kind of action they support, however qualifiedly, entails what's graphically depicted in that sort of material.

I just can't wait for the Hamas suicide bombing after pics, and the Kurdish pics, and the.............Just to be reminded, like some kind of complete dolt, that war actually causes carnage. Or am I meant to personally feel morally ashamed of something or another? Or perhaps feel that others are morally superior to me or something?

In selling a war such as this, we're soothed by propaganda about "taking out" the dictator, if not by a nice clean shot, then by the wonders of "surgical warfare".

This sort of thing may have conned you; it never conned me.

The latter is, of course, a pernicious myth that should by now at last be laid to rest. Sadly, the whole thing from inception was marked by a pathological inability on the part of the 'architects' to level with us plebs.

Propaganda is a major "tool" of war (for all sides). Always has been, and always will be. Americans didn't invent it, and Americans are not the only people using it.

Is it possible to move on?

As a matter of fact, Richard, I was going to suggest that - since the material originally linked by Craig, and now that by Justin, have both been called into question by Paul - Craig's original link should be re-instated, as it is now a matter of dispute and should therefore be available for scrutiny by readers.

Paul makes the point that such images are "an emotional propaganda tool to silence critics of what your particular spin happens to be. ... If you are against me you are for this etc..."

I wouldn't suggest for a second that Paul and others are "for" the appalling carnage depicted. It's useful, however, to be reminded that the kind of action they support, however qualifiedly, entails what's graphically depicted in that sort of material.

In selling a war such as this, we're soothed by propaganda about "taking out" the dictator, if not by a nice clean shot, then by the wonders of "surgical warfare". The latter is, of course, a pernicious myth that should by now at last be laid to rest. Sadly, the whole thing from inception was marked by a pathological inability on the part of the 'architects' to level with us plebs.

Now, I see Ian has posted yet more material excusing this disaster as having led, however desultorily, to liberation from the monster Saddam.

Yep, no further comment. Adieu again.

Last word # 62,573

"Now, I see Ian has posted yet more material excusing this disaster as having led, however desultorily, to liberation from the monster Saddam."

Well that's one way of looking at it, Jacob. Another is through admitting that whatever was done, or not done, it would of necessity involve disaster for a significant number of people in Iraq, necessitating excusing rationalisation on somebody's part.

My own philosophy is that:

1. A more even distribution of wealth and income across a society and the world is preferable to a less even one, though answers vary as to how the former might be achieved. I am disinclined to support the privileged against the less privileged.

2. Whether or not one should intervene in a violent dispute is generally dependent on one's assesment of the disputants in the following terms: a. closeness of biological relationship; b. felt moral obligation; c. geographic proximity; d. probable consequences either way and e. their age. Thus a fight between one's own children in a next door neighbour's back yard compels one's intervention. The obligation is still very high if they are somebody else's children, the more if there is no one else to do so. If there is a loud argument between husband and wife next door (say) one is not likely to intervene, but once pots, mirrors and windows start smashing and cries for help are heard, 'don't get involved' starts to give way to 'do something', at the very least by notifying the police. One might read about an axe murder in Iceland without thinking 'perhaps I should have done something', but dismiss the thought as impractical. But for the above reasons, an Australian intervention in East Timor was in my view more compelling than one in Iraq.

3. In relation to 2 above, a domestic argument next can be intervened in by the police because the soverignty of the state does not stop at their front fence. Unfortunately there is no international police force with meaningful powers to deal with genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, East Timor etc; nor with mass murder by an armed and trained minority in (say) Iraq against an unarmed and defenceless majority. Nor will one be fast in coming.

4. Political organisation on a world basis is likely to come about, if at all, by the same sorts of processes that have led to the formation of the European Union, but from a number of separate initiatives taken on a wider scale. It will not happen until the advantages of federation outweigh those perceived to accrue from independent sovereignty. But in any sort of federation on EU lines extending across the Middle East, Saddam's Iraq would probably have been admitted last.

5. Thus the problem remains: invasion of Iraq by the UN would have probably had similar consequences as the one by the CoW.

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