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The nightmares that fill the Baghdad night

Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi-born novelist and former prisoner of Saddam's regime. The following, also published at Comment is Free, is a moving and very personal reminder of the darkness that overshadows the cradle of civilisation. Her last article on Webdiary was Death of a Professor: assassinations in Iraq. Thank you Haifa for sending this to us.

Iraq: the Women's Story was shown on Channel 4 last night. To protect the identity of the filmmaker, who lives in Baghdad and fears reprisals, she was given the name Zeina.

Zeina had sent me an email before the film was shown, saying:

Dear Haifa, I hope this letter finds you very well, also your family. I am writing to tell you that the film on the Iraqi woman is going to be shown today. I am interested in your opinion. Best and greetings, Zeina.

Immediately after watching the film, I emailed her my opinion. I received two replies. The first was brief:

I am happy you find it excellent. Thanks, Zeina.

PS: Intisar's brother was killed. She found his body in the hospital's fridge. He was slaughtered. She said that she is leaving. Well, sorry to tell you this, but you know how the situation is."

Intisar is the pharmacist who accompanied Zeina while shooting the film in Qaiem.

I did not reply. I could not. Words, just like Iraqi young men, went missing. Kidnapped, shot in the head, killed, slaughtered , tortured, drilled, bound and gagged, bodies, disappeared ... Silence replaced emotions. Silence became our way to mourn our dead: brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands and children; our unnamed, uncounted dead. Unless ...

Despite my silence, I received her second email this morning:

Thank you, Haifa, I am happy that you still have hope. The resistance, and the spirit of resistance, will go on. History says so. But it tears my heart every moment to see the wonderful Iraqi young men slaughtered like sheep - even worse, like insects.

It tortures me, like all Iraqi mothers, to wait by seconds for my daughters to come back home from college. Nightmares fill our nights. And what is there on the horizon? Nothing. Just dark, bleak pictures of smaller, powerless, backward entities controlled by you-know-who ... This is the future of Iraq ... Actually, there will be no more Iraq: they have to find another name.

I wish I could have more hope; at least to feel better than I do. But I read almost all the Iraqi papers every day. I listen to people talk, and I watch. It is difficult for me to find hope in what I see. As a woman, I can tell you that we have no hope, no matter what.

Sorry again for this very down feeling. I wrote this reply yesterday very late at night but decided not to send it. I thought that maybe I would feel better in the morning and write in a better way. But it was not the night: it was the reality, which is darker than Baghdad's night these days. Well, I think you already know what I've just said. Best, Zeina.

Despite her "very down feeling", I know that Zeina will continue her work. She is one of the few independent journalists still working in Iraq defying the occupation forces as well as their puppet regime, with its sectarian and ethnic militias. More than 100 Iraqi journalists have been killed since the invasion in March 2003. Women journalists, academics, and doctors have not been spared.

Sabah Ali, an independent Iraqi journalist who reports occasionally for the Brussells Tribunal, wrote on May 8:

The Iraqi journalists union published a report and lists of the Iraqi journalists killed in the last three years. The list took five months of working on the ground, documenting when, where, how and by whom the journalists were killed. It is as follows: 69 journalists were killed by militias or unknown armed men; 21 were killed in explosions or fighting; 17 were shot by the American troops; and two were shot by the Iraqi troops.

Sabah Ali also provides us with a list of names of the killed journalists with detailed information regarding the circumstances of their deaths.

On October 27 2004, Liqa Abdul Razaq, a newsreader at al-Sharqiya TV, was shot with her two-month-old baby in the Aldoura district of Baghdad; Layla al-Saad, dean of law at Mosul University, was slaughtered in her house; Maha Ibrahim, editor in chief of Baghdad TV, was killed on July 3 2005, shot by US military gunfire.

The Iraqi journalist Raeda Mohammed Wageh Wazzan of the regional public TV station Iraqiya was found dead on February 25, five days after masked gunmen had kidnapped her and her son in the centre of the northern city of Mosul. She was shot in the head.

The cruel murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country's top television journalists, was the latest.

Those women were killed for giving a voice to the voiceless, but other women are differently abused in the "new Iraq". Under the democracy that is still so highly acclaimed by Bush and Blair, women face arrest just for complaining.

Here is an example: On May 3, US forces arrested Sanaa al-Badri, a woman doctor, in Dhuluiya, 25 miles north of Baghdad, a day after she accused US forces of stealing $4,000 (£2,145) in gold during a raid on her house, officials said.

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When they kill civilians, we support the ideals not the methods

Roslyn Ross: "I think too one must give some allowance to those nations which are not free and democratic and that includes all of the Arab nations."

Does that mean that undemocratic governments are not as accountable for their failings as democratic governments?

That we should "give allowance" to their repeated failures?

That's an interesting line of argument, not unlike the sort of excuses trundled out from time to time by, say, the corrupt and incompetent communist Cuban regime.

And it is worth pointing out, too, that Iraq and the Palestinian Authority do have elected governments.

Iraq's even going to the remarkable extent of repeatedly offering amnesties to the very terrorist organisations trying to overthrow the democractically elected government of that country and inviting its opponents (representing a reactionary and recalcitrant minority) to participate in the democratic process.

And it's an odd distinction to make in the context of any discussion about the Palestinian authority (which has an elected President and recently elected Hamas to government) - and indeed governments in general.

Roslyn Ross: “I support the right of the Iraqis to fight for their freedom. I don't support the violence of methods used.”

Another moot distinction.

In practical terms, what distinguishes a political movement from the methods it uses?

The rhetoric it espouses? Or propaganda, as we call it?

"About 85 workers thought to be mostly Shi'ite have been abducted as they left work at an industrial plant north of Baghdad, police and a witness said."

These men will be murdered by the "resistance" of course. How consoling for them and their families that while we support the "resistance" we don't support the methods used against them by the "resistance".

Whatever that could mean?

Windbags suffer from gas - despite 'Feeling Lucky'

Roslyn Ross: "Mike: You have not yet posted those stats on the quality of life and standard of living experienced by Palestinians under occupation. Or have you changed your mind about that?"

Hi, Roslyn. I have previously posted a survey of attitudes amongst Iraqis to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the current security situation in Iraq - commissioned by BBC, ABC News and other international media - and asked you to respond to it.

Or have you changed your mind about that?

Michael Coleman "I can only assume this is a new discovery because I cannot see how the venturi effect, which describes the flow of fluid through a restriction in a pipe, could possibly apply to an explosion outside a building."

As usual, of course, you are wrong.

Actually, the venturi effect is concerned with the sum of partial pressures in any fluid, gaseous or liquid.

The venturi effect, amongst other things, explains how aircraft wings generate lift - and it's not by creating a restriction in a pipe.

If the partial pressures around a building were altered, by an explosion say, the sum of the partial pressures would remain the same, just as they do around an aircraft wing.

So, if the pressure outside a building wall was lowered, by a blast, the air pressure inside the same building would be increased (the sum of the partial pressures remaining constant) and so the wall would have lower pressure on the outside, higher pressure on the inside.

And if the difference is enough, it topples the way.

Just a tip, Michael. When you Google some topic in which you have absolutely no formal education, that's good - so long as you read enough of the hits.

Otherwise, get a basic high school science text book.

Re: Windbags suffer from gas - despite 'Feeling Lucky'

Quote: "The venturi effect, amongst other things, explains how aircraft wings generate lift - and it's not by creating a restriction in a pipe."

'Scuse pliz: I don't think the above is a correct statement.

From the referred-to Wiki article (under 'Common misconceptions'):
"Venturi nozzle
Many web sites claim that an airfoil can be analyzed as a Venturi nozzle. The mass flow rate through a Venturi nozzle is constant, so the air must flow faster over the top of the wing. Therefore, there is a lower pressure over the top of the wing, producing lift. However, a Venturi nozzle requires that air is squeezed between surfaces. The top of a wing is only one surface, and the air is not confined above the wing. A wing is therefore not a Venturi nozzle, and thus it is incorrect to analyze it as such."

OK so far; the quote did say "it's not by creating a restriction in a pipe," so it did not say that a wing was a Venturi nozzle. But the quote did say: "The venturi effect ... explains how aircraft wings generate lift." Sooo, we now need to ask, can we have a venturi effect without a nozzle?

From a corresponding Wiki article 'Venturi effect':
"The Venturi effect is a special case of Bernoulli's principle, in the case of fluid or air flow through a tube or pipe with a constriction in it."

Ahhh, QED; this last directly contradicts the quote, vis: "The Venturi effect ... a tube or pipe with a constriction in it" directly ties 'Venturi effect' with 'constriction'. No constriction (Venturi nozzle), no Venturi effect ... and as we know from above, a wing is not a nozzle; there'd be no lift from the Venturi effect - one might'a thunk. Hmmm?

Perhaps what was meant, was 'Bernoulli's principle': "One common and correct way of understanding how an airfoil develops lift relies upon the pressure differential above and below a wing. In this model the pressures can be calculated by finding the velocities around the wing and using Bernoulli's equation."

This could'a been the source of the quote's error; "Bernoulli's principle" goes on to say "A common model used to demonstrate the Bernoulli effect is a convergent, divergent nozzle also called a venturi." Whereas both a wing and a nozzle rely on Bernoulli, the wing doesn't rely on Venturi. A bit (too?) subtle perhaps; should we score the original quote as 2/10?

Whatever. Anyone got a basic high school science text book?


Basically, daaarlings, it doesn't matter - much. It's one thing to fool around with physics for fun or enlightenment, but quite another to apply science to the grisly business of murdering for oil. Hmmm, again?

Very strange, but here you go again:

I linked to the site of the Palestinian Authority on this yesterday, Roslyn, but I see that the post was not accepted for some reason. I will find that again for you shortly. I also previously posted the following (a few weeks ago, in another thread), from a UN site. These are the Human Development Project numbers (rankings) reflecting living standards in various countries. Note that "BEST PERFORMER OF ARAB STATES" goes to "OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES."

Saudi Arabia 32 14.9
Best performer in Arab States (Occupied Palestinian Territories) 7 6.5
Worst performer in Arab States (Yemen) 77 40.3
Best performer in the world (Uruguay) 1 3.6
Worst performer in the world (Niger) 103 64.4

Mike's stats ,a closer look at the rich lifestyle of the Palesti

Hi Mike, regarding the stats you posted and the claim that the Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza) have the best living conditions of the Arab world /Middle East equiv.

I found this concept to be questionable so checked up on the stats you posted.The table that you linked to is a combination figure made of a combination of factors/data from year (?) maybe 1997 or 2003, with different weighting. You actually quoted the human poverty index (HPI - no data on exact raw calculation or exact variable used). I note the real GDP growth rate weighting would dramatically skew the results.

From your link:"... The HDI measures the average progress of a country in human development. Human Development Report 1997 introduced the human poverty index (HPI), which focuses on the proportion of people below a threshold level in basic dimensions of human development - living a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living, much as the poverty headcount measures the proportion of people below a certain income level. The HPI-1 measures human poverty in developing countries..."

Then comes the table you drew. Thanks...but...

I do think this is misleading when one looks at the raw data. Things such as GDP (real growth rate), GDP/capita, Unemployment rate and Population percentage below the poverty line one gets a clear picture of what a disaster is unfolding in Palestinian Territories, especially in Gaza.

Population below the poverty line 2005 (%)http://www.photius.com/rankings/economy/population_below_poverty_line_2005_1.html

Gaza 81

West Bank 59

Jordan 30

Lebanon 28

Libya na

Kuwait na

Oman na

Qatar na

Rwanda for ep [respective is 60

Saudi na

(Sudan 40)

UAE na

Yemen 45.2


Unemployment rate (percentage)http://www.photius.com/rankings/economy/unemployment_rate_2005_1.html

Gaza strip 50

West Bank 27.2

Bahrain 15

Israel 10.7

Jordan 15

Kuwait 2.2!

Oman 15Qatar 2.7

Saudi Arabia 25

Sudan 18

UAE 2.4

Yemen 35


GDP real growth 2005 rate percentage   http://www.photius.com/rankings/economy/gdp_real_growth_rate_2005_1.html 

In brackets is GDP per capita

Gaza 4.5(600) (143 place in the world)

West Bank6 (West bank 800)

(Israel 3.9)(20,000)

Jordan 5, 1(5000)

Kuwait 6.8(21,300)

Libya 4.9(6,700)

Oman 1.9(13,100)

Qatar 8.7(23,200)

Saudi 5(12000)

UAE 5.7(25,200)

Bahrain (19200)

Australia (30,700) number 14

Luxembourg (58,900) number 1! (? tax haven?)

These are the basic statistics of population study for "standard of living".

You can see I just added a few luxury countries for comparison. I would prefer median data but could find one; also the lowest 10% household data was incomplete in this area we are considering. there was no data I could find fro percentage household owning plasma TV bigger than the youngest child.

I hope this makes it clear how it is easy to find oneself misled by the original table posted and find the wrong conclusions and this is a pity about that site, but I am grateful to your bringing it up as I had no idea what a basket case the ME is economically when there is such rich resources and has been for so long. This is criminal that the people there have not benefited from such wealth despite it pouring into the west for the last 40years plus.

This becomes a tinderbox and it is foolish to think otherwise, I would not be building bases there until such was improved especially employment which makes a huge difference for stability. Note the incredibly low level of unemployment in Qatar and UAE, where there is much building air bases going on and service industry a la Dick Cheney’s group. Huge amounts of money have been spent there on bases that is not well published.

So, although the ME is a basket case, when one compares basic parameters of unemployment rate, GDP per capita, and percentage of population below the poverty line, it seems that of all there in most categories, the Palestinians are the worst off, especially for the Gaza strip. Thank goodness for the UN relief agencies. Although Israel is not that well off either, the stark comparison in standard is typical of occupier and occupied, and only makes things worse.

Really, was it so necessary to do so much to damage Gaza's hope regarding the greenhouses, and taking the West Bank arable west land with the wall will result in a dramatic change in the stats there next year.  Each orange/olive grove bulldozed is another drop in quality of living, acutely for those who lost their orchards and those employed there.

The situation is inhumane: ye who have eyes, see and ye who have ears, hear and ye who can help, do so. These are people just like us and children who love to play just like ours do but are becoming damaged by the violence and deprivation ,just as ours would. Whom can that possibly ever benefit?


Thanks Angela.

As you noted, in terms of living a long and healthy life, having access to education, and a decent standard of living, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (note that Gaza is no longer occupied)  is rated "Best Performer" in the Arab world. I don't dispute the unemployment stats you cited and it is very surprising to me that the Occupied Territories got the "Best Performer" award on this measure. Perhaps it has something to do with all that aid flowing in over the years from the US and EU?

Not singular to the Arabs

Angela:     Good post and you make a good point in regard to the poverty with which people in rich countries live. However, this is not singular to the oil-rich Arabs. You will find similar situations in Africa, India and South America, and I might add, in the world's richest countries, the United States, which has extremely and one would say, shamefully high poverty levels.

I think too one must give some allowance to those nations which are not free and democratic and that includes all of the Arab nations. That is not to condone what happens there but merely to say it is much harder for people to change their circumstances when they do not have the freedom to do so.

Look at the US. They have the freedom to do so and still do not act. Then again, in the US people believe that poverty is, in the main, self inflicted. But that's another issue.

One could perhaps also argue that Israel is culpable in that it draws in massive amounts of money for the US and spends most of it on the military. Poverty rates in Israel are also high and increasing.

As Max Hastings said in an article in yesterday's Guardian:

In some respects, this reflects a situation Amos Oz prophesied. "People like you," he said to me almost 30 years ago, "who want Israel to go on behaving like a European society, are heading for disappointment. Israel is becoming a Middle Eastern country. In future, I hope that it will not behave worse than other Middle Eastern countries, but I doubt that it will behave any better."

One of the tragedies for Israel and its people is that the quality of life and standard of living are not as great as they should be because of the massive amounts of money spent on maintaining the occupation and extending the colonisation.

Some reality behind statistics

Mike: The really impressive thing is how the Palestinians have managed to maintain some standards despite the brutality of Israel's occupation and their continued dispossession. Full credit to them particularly when one looks at the reality of their lives. The mere fact that they manage in such misery and deprivation is a credit to their integrity, intelligence, organisation and strength. The quality of their lives has deteriorated increasingly under occupation but they have managed to endure. And they have done it in spite of the Israeli occupation which is destructive, not constructive in their lives. One of the strengths of Hamas has been this capacity to organise and provide assistance in the most deprived of circumstances.

Quality of life in Palestine according to UNICEF.

Excerpt: The decline in the wellbeing and quality of life of Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) over the past two years has been rapid and profound. This is directly linked to the violence and mobility restrictions children experience daily, including death and injury to family and friends, damage to their property, and the frustration and poverty they sustain through stifling closures, curfews and home confinement. Children are paying a heavy and disproportionate price for this conflict - many with their lives. More than 500 children have been killed since the beginning of the Intifada, 448 Palestinian and 92 Israeli children, and more than 9,000 Palestinian children have been injured with several hundred now living with permanent disabilities

WHO report

Excerpt: health services on the verge of collapse 

Roslyn, the reality is

that in terms of average life expectancy and standard of living, being occupied by Israel is significantly better than living under ANY Arab government today. Case closed.

Case is very much open

Mike: The case is very much open as you would have seen from reading the WHO and UNICEF links I posted and reading the detailed material from Angela.

Thanks Angela. I am in the middle of packing and did not have time to do the rigorous work you did. I also regard this claim of Mike's as a distraction and time-waster but it was good to see you put it so soundly to rest.

But as I said Mike  in the other post, the issue is the wrong of occupation and colonisation. Trying to make an impossible case that life under brutal occupation and colonisation is better than elsewhere is not only trite but tasteless.

CP, I believe you have

CP, I believe you have confused Bernoulli's Principle and the venturi effect.

I admit that I have only two years of physics in my BSc, however, nothing you have written to date about explosions on the outside of a building convinces me that the venturi effect is significant, as you insist, in the outwards collapse of the walls of that building.

Would you be so kind as to point me to either your original research into this phenomenon or some credible peer-reviewed paper that supports your argument.

Or are you making it up as you go along.

Why the women's movement supports the Iraqi 'resistance'

Roslyn Ross: "As part of a cross-country trip, Eman spoke at Maui Community College on April 5, telling students and guests that conditions in Iraq are far worse now than when Saddam Hussein ruled.

“At least it was safe then,” said Khamas. “There’s a complete absence of security now.”



He sensed it at the so-called Olympic Centre, offices used by Saddam Hussein's son Uday to torture and murder opponents and keep young girls. "The gardener told us that when Uday's thugs turned up when the bombing started, there were 23 in the cells under this place. Two dead.

"The girls were aged between 10 and 12. All naked. Kept in a red room with a red bulb for Uday's pleasure. I went down and found this room, and it had the most profound sense of evil. It was like the worst B-grade horror flick imaginable.”

Life expectancy - highest in Arab world

Roslyn, check out the Palestinian Territory Health Ministry for the stats on this. Average life expectancy at birth in the occupied Palestinian territories is the highest in the Arab world at 72.3 years.


I have posted this before, perhaps you missed that discussion.

Why we support the Iraqi "resistance"

Angela Ryan: "Just what are the planned means in a densely populated city of 400,000? "surgical strikes"? ..."

Well, guess what Angela....

"Yesterday, gunmen seized 10 workers from a bakery in a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood in Baghdad, police said, a day after a mortar shell hit a well-known market in the area, killing four people. Elsewhere in the capital, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of 10 men who had apparently been tortured."

Were the resistance doing a "surgical strike" in a fruit market?

Desparately seeking conspiracy theory. Any crackpot welcome.

Angela Ryan: "There is no report that I have seen describing taking him out of the rubble (two bombs remember too), do you have one? "

Yes, this was widely reported here on Planet Earth at the time.

"The first people on the scene were the Iraqi police."

"They had found him and put him into some kind of gurney stretcher kind of thing, and then American -- coalition forces arrived immediately thereafter on site. They immediately went to the person in the stretcher, were able to start to identify him by some distinguishing marks on his body. They had some kind of visual facial recognition."

"According to the person on the ground, Zarqawi attempted to sort of turn away off the stretcher. They -- everybody resecured him back onto the stretcher, but he died almost immediately thereafter from the wounds he had received from the airstrike. As far as anybody else, again, the report says nobody else survived."

- Maj. Gen. Bill Caldwell

Also, I should point out that another way your lungs can collapse is by a puncture from outside the thoracic cavity.

Your lungs are actually held up inside your lungs because of lowered pressure between your thoracic cavity interior and the mucosa around your lungs.

If air gets in there from outside, it will depressurise (equalise) both inside and outside the lungs, and they peel off the thoracic cavity. Imagine two pieces of glass held together by, I dunno, jam or something.

Then imagine a bubble forming between the sheets of glass, and spreading through between the jam, making them fall apart.

This can even happen spontaneously and is known as a "spontaneous pnuemo thorax" and is common even among otherwise uninjured people.

Drop into your local thoracic ward and check this out. It's loads of fun.

Fragments or shards penetrating your chest, they need only be small, will do that.

That's the most common way people die in car crashes, and is a common battle field outcome for wounded.

Why we support the Palestinian Authority

Angela Ryan quoting an Israeli commentator;

"...The only possible explanation left for this bombing, is to say it is an act of retribution against a criminal. In more direct terms, civilians were directly targeted for death as part of an act of revenge on the part of the Israeli government. This is exactly the justification Hamas et al use for their military actions against Israeli civilians. They say the adults killed in their activities are people who perpetrate the murderous occupation against the Palestinians."

..... "civilians were directly targeted for death as part of an act of revenge on the part of the Israeli government"

Could you provide evidence to support this claim?


Keep in mind, now, that Hamas is the elected Palestinian Authority.

Their conducting war from behind the cover of civilians is a war crime.

Their targetting innocent civilians ( they don't even deny, and indeed brag about doing this) is a war crime.

Anyone supporting them in this is by their own admission complicit in the deliberate tragetting of civilians.

Why do the pinko pseudo-intelligentsia of the west go on supporting the racist murderers of Hamas?



Venture effect - sum of partial pressures

Angela Ryan: "If lowered pressure, don't you mean collapse inwards?"

No, not if the ordnance detonates adjacent to a building. The force of the explosion itself is often not enough to collapse the walls. But the expansion of gasses lowers the pressure around it. As air comes in to fill the part-vacuum, it pushes the walls over. And out, if the mass of air in the building contributes to the "re-pressurisation" of the blast site.

It all depends on where the bomb explodes, whether in or outside the building, how close to the external walls, all sorts of variables.

It certainly doesn't surprise me that someone near a bomb blast would suffer collapsed lungs. That's a very common outcome.

Also, it is noteworthy that the US Army pulled Zarqawi out of the rubble and stretchered him. I'm sure they would indeed have preferred him alive.

But hey, he's not one of my personal heros or role models, so I don't give a rats he died.

Ask Socialist Alliance. They support the "resistance". I support majority rule.

Nobel Prize For Physics?

CP, please tell us more about the discovery of the "venture effect" and how it relates to the "sum of partial pressures".

I can only assume this is a new discovery because I cannot see how the venturi effect, which describes the flow of fluid through a restriction in a pipe, could possibly apply to an explosion outside a building.

Perhaps you can also explain how the walls on the far side of the explosion would fall away from the partial vacuum you describe.

Do you stand by your inference that more force is exerted by the "re-pressurisation" than by the shock wave of the bomb blast?

Angela, the bomb camera footage released by the US and played many times on TV clearly showed smoke being blown out through doors and windows. The highly directional pattern of the blast smoke could not have been caused by an explosion external to the building IMO.

Is the nightmare real?

C Parsons that is your best post in a long time.More like your best in AIG discussions.There is no report that I have seen describing taking him out of the rubble (two bombs remember too), do you have one?

Coincidence he was the only survivor if he was in the house at the time which logically I doubt very much.The photos of the hits leave little to the imagination.

Analysis suggests he was already outside at the time,

-either by "luck" and missed the quick exit of this life that his child and wife had,and was then found, harmed by either the blast or the finders.

-Or as he was already detained and in custody held outside to watch his family blown away and then beaten to death/killed somehow. The latter would fit with the eyewitness "Ahmed Mahomed" account. It was also explicitly stated that many US military personel were already in the area ,including three blacked out vans prior to the attack,but the conventionalforce commander gives a different account,claiming to arrive after the bombing. was he lying or not put fully in the picture?

There are a number of possible scenarions on analysis. You are welcome to your own,but I am wodnering about the folowing:

He was already in custody,explains the intelligence already gathered and raids already planned that occured incoordination across Sunni Iraq just after the bombing. Thus no warning for the raids,claimed to be done from computer disc information from the bombed house-clearly a lie from the destruction of the house .

In order to  fit the picture and gain PR spin without having to produce a live Al Zarkawi( whose words may be embarassing on trial),he had to be found dead.or be seen to die from the blast . This would also protect the covert agents from  accusations of murder of his wife and child by the laser guided bombs that would have  followed,while also sending a warning for those in the know who may be thinking of misbehaving, hence the killing of all with all evidence erased by the level of destruction of two bombs which was then followed by a bulldozer,I kid you not!  A bulldozer . Even more sinisterly.he may have been made to watch as such can be the way of some in the business of torture and murder even for the best of "moral equivalent" motives, perhaps for a final bit of information. Nice.

Previous deeds show nothing is beyond such people, they have totally dehumanised their victim so one must consdier such in analysis..

Further data ,by the facial photos ,is the erasing of the date of the photo and no time given.there are trauma of different ages present apparently .IOne would need proper access to the bodyto make accurate conclusions,I wonder the Iraq government didn't?

Officially medics had an hour to diagnose and treat "double Pneumothoraces" ,as the official cause of death goes,so I would sack them as I would not want ot be on the battle field with medic that can't put in a chest tube to fix this problem instantly and save one. The medic described rapid shallow breathing just before death. Discuss this with a medical friend,or perhaps Geoff could help as to what else this suggests as a few choices. we have no acces to the official autopsy report but as it is by the military ,as JFK's was,I doubt we will have a reliable conclusion.( I am only going on OliverStones moive as have never investigated Kenedys death,nor has the US government properly it seems but that is a redherring ).

I wonder really whether AL Zarkawi was a wahabist with his wearing of jewellry etc. I suspect ,like so many players ,there were backers who may be glad he is silenced. How ridiculously stupid of the US to bomb away their best source of covert information,if they did believe he was real and how stupid of us to believe they would. .And for those who think they were protecting their troops from a firefight,consider that the troops went in  all the raids that night elsewhere to wrap up his alleged network. And then again two days later i think it was to do more raids and take mnay for questioning, or is that a new tactic just learned that day?

Death of Al Zarkawi and his network ,results? It certainly benefits US imperial aims and Iraqi selfgovernment as a unified nation  to have this person killed and his network disabled. It may benefit if the tale of him being a PR tool turns out to be true,as written recently and openly .  The boogey man when needed. such as when fallujah was obliterated.

Wars within wars methinks.Governments within governments as someone now dead then blamed 911 upon.....Now consider that a letter was "found" in that conflagration and then assess it's import.

 Always did love join-the-dots. Trouble is one's imagination could make all kinds of monsters,so it is best to stick to the official numbers,anything else can be too disturbing. One can still just play with the logics of thinking..data dots by number. But what if the nightmare is real? Can we do anything about it?Should we?



PS C Parsons, I am glad that you support majority rule. that is what democarcy is about.But what if majority rule chose a government that is not acceptable nor willing to align with US interests or even a threat to the same? Would you still support it in principle or prefer regime change by various covert /open military means?  Are other natons allowed to do that here?

War criminals

John Pratt: "Does war need to be declared to make mass murder a war crime?  Sounds like a legal loophole to me."

"The House calls on the Prime Minister Bob Hawke to act immediately to put pressure on Australia's allies to intervene in Iraq to stop the slaughter of the Kurds and establish their right to self-determination ... we're in the disgusting position of sitting on our hands while these people are absolutely slaughtered - the least we can do is get our Prime Minister to speak up and put the full weight of this country towards the protection of these innocents."

Senator Bob Brown

Invasion of a sovereign state is not an act of war?

Malcolm, only a lawyer would be happy with this statement.  "Invasion is not a war it is simply unsanctioned aggression against a sovereign state."

In other words invasion is not an act of war?

Does war need to be declared to make mass murder a war crime?  Sounds like a legal loophole to me.

Naughty John Pratt

You missed the article "the" at the beginning of your (I hope not mischievious - as my grandmother used to say)  quote.   "The invasion" i.e. this paticular invasion.    There has been no declaration of war - just an invasion - unsanctioned aggression - far more terrible than war.

Sorry Malcolm

Malcolm, sorry if I missed “The” I was trying to make the point that “War Crimes” have been committed by the invasion forces in Iraq.

I don’t think the declaration of war is necessary but even if it was Bush has declared war. Remember Iraq is part of the “War on Terror”

Definition of a war crime here:

“More recently, definitions of war crimes have been codified in international statutes, such as those creating the International Criminal Court and the war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, for use in international war crimes tribunals. In contrast to earlier definitions, modern definitions are more expansive and criminalize certain behaviours committed by civilians as well as by military personnel.”

Moral equivalence as a propaganda tool

Roslyn Ross: "Zargawi may have been many things but he was never the leader of the Iraqi resistance and that's because resistance, by its nature, has many leaders."

Okay, well there's this alternative view of course.....

"A spokesman for the leading Sunni Arab insurgent group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, has hailed slain al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a martyr and vowed to continue the fight..."

So, Roslyn, just as a matter of interest, could you name any other "leaders" of the Iraqi "resistance"?

And which one's should enlightened, progressive people like you support?

And do you deny that  the Islamic Army in Iraq and Abu Musab al Zarqawi played any significant or leading role in the "resistance"?

And what do you think of the sectarian attacks acrried out in his name? Like, bombing Shi'ite mosques and the like?

Roslyn Ross: "Of course there are mixed views but do you honestly believe that anyone prefers occupation, particularly an occupation that has made their lives more dangerous and more difficult than any suffering they experienced under Saddam?"

That's odd, Roslyn.

You said specifically: "The Iraqis may have hated Saddam but they hate the Americans and Allies even more."

I have actually provided you with survey evidence to the contrary - a BBC, ABC News and other international media put before you?

It seems in response you have withdrawn into merely reiterating corroborating your opinion with a selection of impressionistic accounts by other individuals - while not even attempting to respond to the poll of Iraqis?

Why is that?

As you said, earlier, Roslyn, June 14, 2006 - 11:04pm;


"Perhaps your brain 'wipes' pre-consciousness, things which do not fit your argument."

Roslyn Ross: "The point was, that the US was screaming about how 'tasteless' it was to show pictures of the dead, something actually not uncommon in the Middle East or other parts of the world, and then it did the same thing."

So, if it is not uncommon to show pictures of the dead in the Middle East, why was it "tasteless" to show pictures of Zaqarwi dead?

Tasteless to whom?

You? Or the people of the Middle East?

Roslyn Ross: "Videos and photographs of the beheadings were tasteless in the extreme."

How about the beheadings themselves?

Were they "tsateless"?

Roslyn Ross: "We cannot call others to account for their behaviour when ours is as culpable or tasteless."

So, are you here saying showing pictures of Zaqarwi's body  is as "culpable" and "tasteless" as the actual beheadings of civilian hostages by Zaqarwi?

Once again

C. Parsons:   I have responded to these issues before. I will do so once again but no more.

I said Zargawi was not THE leader of the Iraqi resistance. He was the leader of one group fighting the occupiers.

I support the right of the Iraqis to fight for their freedom. I don't support the violence of methods used.

I responded to the media report. You dismissed what I posted. You also provided no evidence as to who carried out the poll, where it was carried out, who was polled and in what sort of numbers. Given the impossibility of moving around Iraq such polls must come from the Occupation forces. Biased of course.

That's why better sources of information are Iraqis who write, type, phone, or talk about their beliefs and circumstances.

You said: As you said, earlier, Roslyn, June 14, 2006 - 11:04pm;

Yes, and what on earth are you talking about? Your point would be?

You said: So, if it is not uncommon to show pictures of the dead in the Middle East, why was it "tasteless" to show pictures of Zaqarwi dead?

Again, I explained all of this. Right, once again and slowly this time...... the US condemns the use of photos of the dead, right? The US won't allow photographs of coffins because they 'say' it is offensive? Hmmmm. Okay, so US policy is that such things are tasteless, disrespectful, whatever......

So, when the US does what it condemns others for doing it is acting in a tasteless way.

Now, when people do it who do not have a problem with showing pictures of the dead it is not tasteless to them although it would be tasteless to those who oppose it like the Americans.

So, the Americans are appalled if Iraqis show photos of American dead but they are happy to show photos of Iraqi dead! I presume that since you support this photographing of the dead you will be happy to see the Iraqis photograph and frame the faces of dead Americans?

The Americans are tasteless and hypocritical because they do something they condemn in others.

The beheadings were barbaric.

You said: So, are you here saying showing pictures of Zaqarwi's body  is as "culpable" and "tasteless" as the actual beheadings of civilian hostages by Zaqarwi?

No, I did not say that, nor infer it. Read above and read slowly and carefully.

You are dishonest to exaggerate in this way but that reflects on you not me.

More horrors in Iraq,watch Ramadi.more nightmares cometh

Further consdieation for Moral equivalence


the US miliatry have encircled Ramadi and blocked all the exits.Teh civilains have been told to stay indoors.Right.Ramadi is a city of 400,000 people,like say NewcastleNSW.but more densely populated,like inner city. Just how are the US planning to sort out the opposition/resistance/terrorists/freedomfighters/illegal combatants/nontaxpayers what ever you want to call them? "come put please,we want to play wargames/cowboys and iraqis" whatever?

And what of food and water and medical care and daily needs of the popuation there adn what of their safety ? What has happened before?Think of Fallujah and Al qaim etc

Just what are the planned means ,in a densely populated city of 400,000? "surgical strikes"? Yep, anyone who survives sure needs surgery.House to house ? Yep, there are plenty of discriptions how that wipes out families by trigger happy scared shtls drugged up corp with no proper supervision and the on camera Mosque ,murder suggest we won't have embedded journos this time.(much as I hate to consder the allegaitons of drug and booze proven there seems to be consistent reports of such abuse,the US should sort this out as it makes for crap soldiers) and severe problems of discipline(euphemism for murderous criminals shaming the name of the military)?

And are they properly trained? Some think not,including an ADF who served in Iraq,Warrant officer interviewd on the ABC yesterday, out of their depth.Or are they planning to send in  the Kurds fully armed to the teeth first as has happened elsewhere with predictable results.Not exactly careful descriminatory fire there last time..

And will there be fletchette devices/new improved more stickier napalm /phosphorus that burns through bones /clusterbombings/heavy missile loads/armed bulldozing regardless of occupants/destruction of the hospital at the beginning of the offensive-really well targeted that one,blowing in half parents trying to carry their children to safety? Who can forget the waist severed corpses of the father carrying  the child,with nothing left below,left lying in the street.

How on earth can they dare set the scene for another Fallujah? AlQaim?etc it is because of moral equivalence discussions instead of warcrimes. The US people must take their military commanders to task. Most of the German commanders were hung,but I don't believe in the death penalty myself. 

Even moral equivalence equated terrorist actions with state terrorism. It seems al Zarkawi is only surpassed in scale by the ruthless military planners of the US and their questionable real goals.

It is time they were taken to task to explaing how these actions help gain peace,or is there another agenda,as there always seemed to be from the start by these people. I bet the average marine was not told of this agenda, I bet they were told they are liberating and will be welcome.Infact I know that is exactly what they were told. jin the dots about the real agenda some in the military planners have put in place from the start.

 Pity about the napalm, cluster bombs etc and excessive force,negligent excessive civilian casualties and maiming and deliberate damage to utilities and torture/murder scandals at Abughraib,and live arms shooting into protestors etc....Think of little armless Ali who lost all his family by  US "targeted" bombing,and then remember that there are 5 to twenty maimed for each death from military/sectarian/terrorist violence and consider how many Ali s there are now in Iraq due to excessive force and the moral equivalence in terrorism such produces/encourages. 30,000 to 250,000 dead depending on what one uses makes for a huge never mentioned maimed population, "many" "many"" most" are  children by demographics and hospital reports and according to the talk by the Iraqi doctor visiting Australia last month..

For Humanity and US sake ,let us hope sense prevails and some smarter military grab the reigns from those who seem hell bent upon wrecking any hope of peaceful economic pillaging of Iraq. I hope the planners of this approaching action have been able to explain their rational to any patriots left in the US military.And I hope they see their day in court,rather than be a targeted assasination that kills all around. I hope the Iraqi people get to see an accounting for what has been done .

Watch Ramadi,and hope sense prevails and proper US justice will one day follow the changes needed at the top.

 More nightmares cometh and they are we.



Moral equivalence ,the Buzz word,thought provoking

Hi C Parsons, once again you talk of "moral equivalency " and feeling my ignorance,I did a google and wow,it certainly seems to be the buzz word at the moment.

There was an Israeli blogger who discusses with realtion to what he sees and military actions which  had some "resonance" (another new word for my lexicon thanks CP) with my thougts,but he puts it so much better and clearer.


In talking about yet another IDF excessively violent (in my personal view,please decide for yourself,as one does) assasination which killas and maims those around yet again(test yourself,would it be done on an Israeli street? Would the Americans bomb houses in New York to get a terrorist? Some lifes have more vlue but do read the blog he discusses it from an israeli point of view,to be fair to him,and we in Australia have not yet had such security issues,how would we behave? Decide now.)

"...The only possible explanation left for this bombing, is to say it is an act of retribution against a criminal. In more direct terms, civilians were directly targeted for death as part of an act of revenge on the part of the Israeli government. This is exactly the justification Hamas et al use for their military actions against Israeli civilians. They say the adults killed in their activities are people who perpetrate the murderous occupation against the Palestinians. They say these Israelis deserve to die just like Shehada. If innocent dies as well, its just collateral damage. In essence we have reached moral equivalency. Those who care about the value of human life must clearly condemn the murderous violence on both sides, equally. Those who justify one side are also justifying the other....."

This can be extrapolated as C Parsons rightly does, to any situation where decisions are being made at such a scale and type,such as the US ocupation of Iraq,or even the Iraqi military action against Iraqis.

That is the beauty of webdiary,people can help on attain gems of wisdom even if that is not the initial intention,shairing of ideas. Thanks CP.


Links will be one eyed

Roslyn: I do not just dismiss links. When a poster takes a fairly strident one eyed stance on a subject the links given generally are of the same nature and do little in my view to foster objective discussion, so once one has accessed a few, it is just more and more of the same. I see the same problem on the Israel threads and I have long since stopped commenting on them.

With respect, that link you gave was full of the term protected person, which it did not define and if you cannot see a problem with that then so be it. As I said it is not worth pursuing as the rest of the link was patently more of the same. So just let it be.

As for Zarkawi. He was mostly blowing up Iraqis, not Americans. Why take it out on his own fellow Muslims? You may like to think he was the creation of the Americans, but I suggest he is the creation of the Osama bin Ladens of the world who specialise in blowing up innocent people because they do not subscribe to their twisted interpretation of Islam. As I said, we fool ourselves if we think they will just go away when the COW pull out of Iraq. These fanatics have clearly allied themselves with the disaffected henchmen of Saddam Hussein. They are opportunists and hopefully they will all meet the same fate as their late unlamented leader and the Iraqis will be able to have some peace in their own land. But we can be sure, more like them will then emerge somewhere else. No, they will not just go away. You only have to listen to Bashir to know that.

So Zarkawi was just a useful tool in the US propaganda was he? No Roslyn. He was a self appointed murderer who chose to murder mostly innocent Iraqis. He created his own image Roslyn. And the Arab media beamed that out to the world. And if he was not pursuing his evil deeds in Iraq he would be continuing in Jordan as he did before the Iraq war, and no doubt basing himself in Afghanistan along with bin Laden. Spare us from excuses for Zarkawi please. 

You cannot separate the act from the individual.  That to me is just nonsense. The individual commits the act. We do not prosecute the act, we prosecute and punish the individual for the act. Let us not play word games.

Daily war crimes. What is your evidence for daily war crimes? I do not disagree that war crimes have been committed by some US servicemen and women in Iraq. There are bad eggs in most armies and they have to be weeded out.  But daily war crimes? A link please to the evidence. 

You keep referring us to the Iraqi blogs for our source of information as to whether the Iraqis feel they were better off under Saddam than in the current situation. Well, I suggest that all blog sites are representative of the few who frequent them. Take WD for instance. Would you claim that as a blog site it is representative of a large body of opinion in Australia? Based on the comments of a dozen or so people who post there, I suggest that would be rather risky.  As you know, blog sites tend to fall into camps, with a few daring souls daring to oppose the group think that exists in those camps. And don't they get a drumming!

Given that the Iraqis are said to be mostly living in chaos without power and other services, I would suggest that the blog sites are representatvie of those who are likely better off and have the means and time to spend time blogging, like ourselves, while the voice of the vast majority of Iraqis is not heard. And I take little notice of surveys, which you yourself have dismissed. They are unreliable to say the least.

So I do not believe we have any reliable evidence as to what the majority of Iraqis feel about the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, or  how bad or not life really is. But by far the worst thing happening there seems to me to be Iraqis killing Iraqis. Not surprising. Hatred must run very deep between Sunni and Shia in Iraq. You only have to look to the mass graves to find the reason for that.

I have posted a few questions to you that got passed by. But no matter. You were travelling so let them go. I do not have time to go back and revisit them anyway.



Protected persons

Jenny:   Protected persons is a term generally applied to civilians. This was very easy to research.

Research? Should not be necessary

Roslyn: So the original link you gave requires one to access all that bureaucratic waffle in order to be understood it seems. That is another reason for not accessing all the links, and I did not say I never access or read any of them. But a link should not require people to google all over the net to find lengthy definitions of a key word so that is makes sense. As to the definition, well it speaks for itself. If it takes that much to define it then I suggest there is considerable debate over the meaning. So, no. A link that demands that level of research for one key word will rarely get read by me.

Strident. You can research the various accepted meanings. What I was saying about links is that when a person takes a strident, and if you like shrill, radical, strong, forceful position on an issue, (which is not hard to detect!) you will often find they are pretty one eyed, and they will selectively find the links that will support that position. Hence the links can be as one eyed as the poster. And when a poster falls into that trap, they become incapable of objectivity and start to lose their reader very quickly. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that if that is how strongly they feel about an issue. But they will lose people they otherwise may have been able to sway.

Oh yes, I can be strident when I want to be. Get me onto animal cruelty! But I have found on that issue also, once I become strident I become less effective. The changes I was able to effect in the area of animal welfare came when I finally got down off my high horse. In the end I got respect from all sides of a very polarised debate and was invited to help re-write the legislation which I did. But I had to moderate the way I talked, wrote, argued to get there. And that is not easy to do if you are passionate about a cause.

If there is one thing I have learnt in life is that if you want to succeed in anything, convince anyone of anything, win a case at law then get your facts right, know your argument/case in all its strengths and more importantly its weaknesses, and then remove the emotion from the issue and start fighting for what it is you want to see happen/change. That philosophy has never let me down in fifty years, and believe me I have had some of the best legal minds in the business pitted against me more than once in that fifty years. My motto always was. Don't prepare you own case/argument first. Prepare the one for the other side, then work out how you are going to defeat it. Believe me, it worked to my/our favour every time.  

Try applying that in your discussions here and you might get a big surprise. 

I do not disrespect you or your views. You are obviously passionate about what you believe.  But you fail to convince me on many issues for the reasons I have set out here, and elswhere. That is not to say I do not accept anything you say. I do, on quite a lot of issues.

One question I did put while you were on the road was this. You said somewhere that Indonesia should never have been let to invade East Timor. My question was: How would have proposed it be stopped, given you are opposed to war?  Because it would in my view have meant taking on the TNI, and that would have led to war with Indonesia would it not?

But if you are travelling we can revisit that later. We too are off to the dustbowl out west and the phone/net line there is decidedly unreliable, and so slow it is rather pointless even trying to log on. Telstra for you!

Consistency is what matters

Jenny: I don't think the goal in such circumstances is to convince the other person but to encourage them to think outside their box. Yes, we all take certain positions and most of mine are based on principles of democracry, human rights, justice and plain old fashioned common sense. I realise that applying basic principles is not always easy or possible but I also believe they provide a solid foundation for an enlightened and civilized society.

Consistency in matters of policy, principle and approach are the best way to raise a child and I think, the best way to raise a nation and to create and maintain peace in the world.

In regard to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and my view it should not have been allowed, the fact is, I am talking from a position of principle and I and others who believed and believe as I did had no power to change anything.

But, if we had, I believe that there are many courses open to nations in terms of deterring others from action. The US in fact gave a silent seal of approval to Indonesia because it did a deal with the Indonesians on other issues ... what could we have done? Well, if we were not so sycophantically involved with the Americans we could have protested, we could have sought to raise international opposition to the invasion, we could have used peaceful methods of protest and pressure both against America and Indonesia.

The reality is that war is most often the result because nations are not prepared to stand up and be counted and to utilise all of the peaceful methods of protest and pressure which are available to them.

Even if we had done this we would probably have failed but at least we would have acted with integrity. That's the difference. We acted dishonourably, as did many others and so betrayed what I believe are basic principles of civilization and a belief in democratic freedom.

Protect me

Submitted by Roslyn Ross on June 19, 2006 - 8:19pm:  'Jenny:   Protected persons is a term generally applied to civilians. This was very easy to research."

It is relatively easy to research.   Please do so and admit that you are wrong. 

The net is a lifeline

Jenny:   I am presuming 'strident' means an opinion which differs to your own. It seems to me everyone here has had 'strident' moments in the true meaning of the word, including your good self, and that my posts hardly stand out. But all is perception and we see what we choose to see.

What you are saying in essence, is that when people present strong views with which you disagree you dismiss their sources. Fair enough but hardly fair.

Zargawi was first and foremost a 'creation' of invasion and occupation. He did not function in Iraq before this time. Therefore, he was a literal 'creation' of the US and allies and used as a propaganda creation, whatever else he may have been.

You may call him a fanatic and that may well be true. Would you also call the Americans fanatic for inflicting on an innocent people destruction and death far, far, far beyond anything a Zargawi could do? And I might add, doing it in the name of occupation.

I can separate the act from the individual even if you cannot. People are prosecuted for the act, certainly, but the system takes into account the individual and their experiences. i.e. women who murder husbands after years of abuse receive more lenient sentences for example. The act and the individual are taken into account, or rather the individual's circumstances. Ditto a child killing his or her father after growing up subjected to serious abuse.

Killing is always killing but it is not always murder. We condemn killing and we have rejected capital punishment. But, we do not punish the person who kills an ill relative in the same way we punish someone who kills in order to steal for instance. There is the act and there is the individual.

The person is prosecuted for the act. The act is not the person, that's why there is a belief in rehabilitation. If the individual and the act could not be separated there would be no belief in rehabilitation.

You said: what is your evidence for daily war crimes?

War crimes include violations of established protections of the laws of war such as those which apply to the Geneva Convention of which the US is a signatory, as are we.

It relates to mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians and instances of mass murder.

The US has thousands of Iraqis imprisoned without charge or trial. A war crime.

The US is guilty of torture of prisoners. A war crime.

The US is guilty of mass murder, on the large scale, Fallujah, on the smaller, Haditha. War crimes.

The US maintains facilities and utilities for itself while the Iraqi people have limited power, water and services. War crime.

The US attacks hospitals and ambulances. War crime.

The US prevents civilians getting access to medical care. War crime.

The use of phosphorus as a chemical weapon: War crime.

Collective punishment of the population: War crime.

I could go on but you get the picture. These war crimes are not done by 'bad eggs' but result from US policy. In fact, there has been plenty of evidence posted here regarding US policy in Iraq to shoot first and ask questions later. 

On a daily basis the US shoots and bombs civilians, imprisons without charge or trial, limits health care and services to the Iraqis and terrorises the population. War crimes on a daily basis.

As to the Iraqi blogs, they are not in the form of Webdiary but are personal blogs. No, Webdiary is not representative of Australia but personal blogs in Australia are more so. Ditto Iraq.

And if you are going to dismiss such personal records then you would also dismiss such records as Anne Frank's Diary. She was educated, she could write and afford pens and paper..... does that make her record either untrue or irrelevant? I do not think so.

Yes, the access to the net is limited but when people are virtually imprisoned in their homes and desperate to make contact I am sure they find the time. In the same way people during the Second World War spent hours trying to find news services on primitive and often home-made radios. It was their only link to the world. Ditto the net today for Iraqis.

They may only have power for a few hours a day, as we often did in Africa, but that is when you make use of it and given that their ability to leave home is limited because of the violence, they, no doubt, like Anne Frank, have more time than one might think to write.

You may not believe there is any reliable evidence as to how Iraqis feel about occupation or their lives but there is plenty of information out there. Apart from blogs, there are still some brave journalists who leave the green zone, there are still telephones and Iraqis can contact people outside from time to time and the Arab press and Al Jazeera and the open minded Western press run stories on how they feel. They hate the occupation, they hate the violence, some are glad Saddam is gone, some are not, many believe life is worse under the Americans and most of them blame the Americans for their current misery. Most of them want freedom and most of them want peace.

The worst thing happening is not Iraqis killing Iraqis it is people being killed because of the Occupation. Before the invasion this was not happening. After the invasion this is the reality. The cause was the invasion and the occupation.

And, while some Iraqis may be killing Iraqis as part of sectarian violence, other Iraqis are members of American supported death squads. The American backed mercenaries are a law unto themselves and a law above Iraqi law thanks to Paul Bremer. American bombs and American bullets are still killing more people overall. Which brings us back to the cause of the problem .... the occupation.

If you read what many Iraqis say hatred does not run that deep between Sunni and Shia in Iraq. But all of these links have been posted and as you admit, you have not read them so you have limited your information resource. Many Iraqis believe the US is pushing for civil war. They may well be as it makes occupying long term easier.  Iraqis have said that the resistance is made up of all Iraqis. History shows that Sunnis and Shias in Iraq have gotten on much better than elsewhere.

But there is no point posting links or re-posting them because you don't read them.

As to your questions missed. Sorry I missed them. I do try to respond as you know. Yes I was away for a week and am about to travel again.

Caught out

"Jenny, if you accessed the link, as I suggested to Malcolm, you can see the reference to 'protected person' comes in reference to the Geneva Convention."

Er, no, it doesn't - to suggest it does and to ignore my direct challenge to point to the definition in your referred link is quite simply (as you often acuse other people of being) untruthful and/or deceptive.

 I note also that you are now a self-confessed journalist.   Well that obviates the necessity for any form of truth, integrity, ethics or balance doesn't it?   Or do you assert you are an "ethical" journalist?   If so, please post a copy of your ethics and their source; you can find mine enshrined in the Legal Profession Act 2004, the Bar Rules, various High Court decisions noted on the NSW Bar Association website and my day to day practice.

No Roslyn I feel nothing

Roslyn, yes we differ a lot. I cannot confess one iota of grief over the death of Zarkawi and I think he made it quite clear in his publicity tapes how sacred he thought life was. The man was pure evil. Call him damaged if you like but we cannot make excuses for people just because they might be damaged. The courts here may take account of a person's troubled family history, but they do not then exonerate them from a murderous deed, nor should they. But these killers are all too often from middle class or privileged backgrounds and are simply religious zealots, nothing more, nothing less. One does not necessarily have to be damaged to be a relgious zealot, nor a murdering one.

I find it incredible that people here keep on trying to find ways to lay everything at the feet of the US even to a point of saying they are responsible for creating Zarkawi.  In his last tape Zarkawi specifically included the Shias as people to be condemned by him to whatever fate he chose for them. No the Zarkawis of the world do not need the US as an excuse to blow people up, including fellow Iraqis, and we fool ourselves if we think they will go away if the US would just withdraw from Iraq.

I see an attempt on this thread already to suggest Zarkawi's death was not as it seemed. I could not care less how or when he died. Just so long as he is dead. That is all that matters and I would be most surprised if he was being mourned by many in Iraq.

I did read your link and I agree with Malcom. If you post these links then they have to make sense and without defining a protected person, then that link was meaningless. One does not want to chase to other sites to try and understand a link, and should not have to. The link anyway was just more of the same one eyed stuff on this thread. So I will let it go. Not worth bothering with really.


Read both sides

Jenny:     Having different views is fine. I have told you mine in an effort to show the place from which I come, so to speak. It is offered merely as a measure of greater understanding rather than a directive that all should think or feel the same.

Having some idea of what others believe helps us to understand why they take the position that they do. Any understanding is a plus.

I can understand why you see what you believe Zargawi to be in the way that you do. I merely suggest that what we know of him has come to us through various sources and that, at the end of the day, none of us know with certainty, that he was as bad as they say, did what they say he did, or event he man who died.

But let's say it is all true. I would still condemn the act not the individual and I don't care where he or she comes from. I believe we are all souls in human form and that is deserving of respect no matter what we do. Condemn the act, not the individual, punish the act, certainly, but seek to understand why it happened and treat the individual with compassion even as they are punished.

People seem to have a problem with making the distinction between the act and the individual. Of course society must punish crime but that does not mean we should become criminal in the way we treat those who have committed crimes. And it is only in understanding how people become what they become that we can hope to change it and create a better world.

Punishment without understanding is backward and often barbaric. It was the way the world was. We have become more enlightened and being enlightened means we can make a distinction between act and individual.

Just as a Zargawi needs to be understood so do the American soldiers who commit daily human rights abuses in Iraq and regular war crimes. We need to understand what creates My Lai's and Hadithas as much as we need to understand what creates Zargawi's. Otherwise we learn nothing.

You say the Zargawi's of the world do not need the US as an excuse to blow people up so then how do you explain that no-one was being blown up in Iraq before the US invasion and occupation?

 You said: I see an attempt on this thread already to suggest Zarkawi's death was not as it seemed. 

That's because there has been a lot written, even before his death, about Zargawi and how he was not the mighty leader and great threat as presented by the US and allies but merely a useful 'tool' in their propaganda war.

You said: I did read your link and I agree with Malcom. If you post these links then they have to make sense and without defining a protected person, then that link was meaningless.

No, it was not meaningless, you and Malcolm just missed the point. The point was the debate in the US about war crimes committed in Iraq. The list quoted showed American guilt in that regard. Any reference to protected persons was one small and insignifant part of it. The post was not about protected persons. You and Malcolm latched onto that. The post was about US war crimes. Protected persons may be interesting but they are a distraction. I imagine, given the references were to the Geneva Convention that the term originates there, but, because it was not relevant to the focus of my post I did not explore it.

you may if you choose. As you say, it all takes time. I took the time to post something which I believed supported my view that the US is guilty of war crimes in Iraq. No-one has challenged that aspect so I can only presume you agree with it, whatever 'protected person' means.

And if you dismiss links posted by others as one-eyed then there is no debate. I am beginning to think that is the case. I have noticed that questions get asked, evidence gets posted and the questioner remains silent. One presumes because they have no case and no further argument.

The difference is that I do read both sides. That is the only way one can form an opinion.

No, just read

Your post and its link asserted that the US had breached the Geneva Convention by breaching a specific article.    In not pointing out that the only breach of that article is one committed against  a protected person and impliedly generalising to "war crimes" (whatever they may be) it was disingenuous.

If you want to point to a war crime, define what it means and give specific examples.   In my view there are no war crimes being committed because the invasion is not a war it is simply unsanctioned aggresson against a sovereign state.    That may constitute murder, assault or any number of other things but it does not constitute some amorphous emotive drivel encompassed in a wooly expression like "war crimes." 

That is my view and I do not wish to continue an endless correspondence over erroneous characterisations of legal concepts.   My further silence (if any) ought not to be construed as assent to or agreement with anything you say. 

The master of euphemism

Malcolm:   You have surpassed yourself in double-speak.

There are no war crimes because it is not war but 'unsanctioned aggression against a sovereign State.'

So now that we have no war anyone can attack anyone without sanction  and there will never be any war crimes because there is no war.

Hitler would have loved that. I take it that the Japanese attack on Australia was also 'unscantioned aggression against a sovereign State.' Or how would you describe it? And what makes it different?

PS the UN Human Development Report

stating that the Occupied Palestinian Territories enjoy the highest standard of living in the Arab world can be found here: http://hdr.undp.org/statistics/data/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_SAU.html

I love Eric Blair - er, as a writer that is

Ignoring, as usual, your selective quotation of what I said, I rather think you will find that the Japanese did declare war on Australia and that the Commonwealth was in a state of war against Germany in WWII.

A declaration of war or entry into a state of war has always been sanctioned.   I cannot see your point.   A state of war does not need to exist for people to be legitimately tried by the lex loci for, amongst other things, murder.

To take Hitler, always a difficult subject, when the Wehrmacht waged war and killed fellow combatants in the course of it, it was, horrific as it might have been, all terribly regular.   When they (and they didn't often) or the SS (and they did often) burnt people to death in their places of worship or hung them on  piano wire or raped them, they oversetpped the mark - those are war crimes.     Nuremburg and the "war-crimes" trials that hanged the Japanese miscreants were actually crimes against humanity (whatever they may be).   They are things that still get prosecuted at the Hague - they are not necessarily the result of acts committed following declarations of war.

What makes it different is that there are different standards of proof and different levels of punishment.

The evidence

Will, further information supporting my claim that Iraqis hate Americans more than Saddam.

How Iraqis see the American occupation.

Of course there are mixed views but do you honestly believe that anyone prefers occupation, particularly an occupation that has made their lives more dangerous and more difficult than any suffering they experienced under Saddam?

If you want to know what ordinary Iraqis think then spend time on the blogs. They think life was better under Saddam, the Americans intend to stay permanently as an occupying force, the Americans are fomenting civil war and the plan is to kill as many Iraqis as possible and divide the country to make it easier to control the oil.

Excerpt: Who honestly believes that the friends and family members of those who were killed and maimed in Haditha are likely to say, "We hate America not because of what they did at Haditha and the rest of Iraq but because of America's First Amendment and rock and roll"?

Iraqi voice

Excerpt: But for many Iraqis, who have watched in horror as tens of thousands of their countrymen have died since the 2003 invasion, hopes for the future are muted, or gone. US promises of freedom and democratic rule after the tyranny of Saddam Hussein have instead given way to Iraqi anger at US invaders and Iraqi insurgents.

Another Iraqi voice

Excerpt: Eman Ahmad Khamas is a member of a delegation of Iraqi women brought to the U.S. for Women’s Month by the Global Exchange and Code Pink. While in the U.S., the delegation met with U.S. officials to call for an end to the U.S. military presence in their country. As part of a cross-country trip, Eman spoke at Maui Community College on April 5, telling students and guests that conditions in Iraq are far worse now than when Saddam Hussein ruled.

“At least it was safe then,” said Khamas. “There’s a complete absence of security now.”

Why life is worse under American occupation:

Medea Benjamin: Two of the women who we wanted to bring here were women whose entire families were killed by the U.S. military. As they were driving in their cars to get away from the violence, the tanks came and shot into their cars. One woman talks about her little boy on her lap and seeing the bullet go right through his forehead, her other two children killed, her husband killed, and her left in the car with the bloody bodies.

What Iraqis really believe:

Excerpt: And what about the civil war? Somebody is pushing the country to, you know, to get the option of civil war. Why? Who is the benefit? Iraqis are against civil war. If you have the chance to go to move in the streets of Iraqis and asking everyone, "Are you with the civil war?" they will say, "No." OK, if you have like official meeting with the leaders of religion and political parties and social parties and everything, they will say, "No."

So the question is: Who is pushing the country to choose civil war? It's just to taunt the society and to destroy the race of Iraq? This is strange point, but the people thought that. The only one who will benefit from this civil war is the occupation force, because it will give them the justification to stay forever in Iraq. They are building army bases to stay in Iraq. So, we have no other explanation.

UN survey finds Iraqis endure worse conditions than under Saddam.

Why it will only get worse.

Excerpt: They’re going to have to employ the same strategy in Samarra, in Baquba, in Bayji, in Mosul and even in parts of Baghdad. It’s a strategy that the U.S. military has been using since almost the beginning of the occupation--using very heavy-handed tactics to fight the resistance. But by doing so, they’re just spreading the resistance to other areas around the city or the country, and essentially creating more resistance.

Life for Iraqi women was better under Saddam:

Excerpt: Iraqi women were treated far more better during the Saddam Hussein era, and their rights were much more respected, local rights NGOs concluded after an extensive survey in Iraq.

Re: The Evidence

Roslyn Ross: "further information supporting my claim that Iraqis hate Americans more than Saddam."

That was C Parsons asking for that information.

Whether Iraqis hate the Americans more than they hated Saddam is hard to say, since it's difficult to get reliable information on how much they hated Saddam. Clearly they have mixed feelings toward the Coalition forces, but it was my understanding most Iraqis want the COTW forces to leave only after the country had stabilised.

And yes I understand the tension between the presence of COTW forces and the restoration of stability.


Will, so sorry to mix you up with C. Parsons.  

Double exposure. Double standard.

Roslyn Ross: "What was truly tasteless was photographing and framing the body whether it was the body of Zargawi or someone else."

How "tasteful" was Zarqawi having himself videotaped hacking off Nick Berg's head and those of other hostages.

Oh, of course. I forgot. That was just trick photography, wasn't it ?


Hypocrites again

C. Parsons;  The point was, that the US was screaming about how 'tasteless' it was to show pictures of the dead, something actually not uncommon in the Middle East or other parts of the world, and then it did the same thing.

Videos and photographs of the beheadings were tasteless in the extreme.

To labour the point since you seem always to wilfully miss it, is, when we criticise people for doing something and then turn around and do it ourselves we show ourselves to be the most egregious hypocrites.

We cannot call others to account for their behaviour when ours is as culpable or tasteless.

Will have to leave town for a week or two....

Roslyn Ross: "The Iraqis may have hated Saddam but they hate the Americans and Allies even more."

Actually, Roslyn. I'd be interested in any evidence you have to support your opinion on that point.

Perhaps something since this poll of Iraqi opinions on that topic commissioned by the BBC, ABC News and other international media; and conducted last December.

"An overwhelming majority of those questioned said they considered improved national security to be the main priority for the next 12 months, although many felt secure in their own neighbourhoods "

"And while many wanted to see American and other foreign forces leaving Iraqi soil, a majority said they should not go until security had been restored, or until the Iraqi security forces were able to operate independently." 

"Asked about the current situation in Iraq, 53% said it was bad and 44% good.  But looking forward, there is a remarkable level of optimism" 

"More than two thirds (72%) said things were very good or quite good in their lives these days (70% in 2004) and 64% thought their lives overal would be better in a year from now." 

So, apart from your own opinion,do you have any evidence to support your claim?

loving the occupation and buying up at walmart

Thanks C Parsons for the link discussing the results. This part was curious:

"..Compared with a survey of such items in 2003, ownership of televisions has risen from 89% to 99%; satellite dishes for televisions from 32% to 86%; mobile phones from 5% to 62%; cars from 38% to 55%; and fixed line telephones from 26% to 38%..."

So what is this we hear about no work and high unemployment or is it the credit card companies doing well?  Or was the group chosen just a little bit skewed towards those doing well with the occupation?

Surveys can make any result a reality, just ask the right people the right questions. The BBC etc no doubt chose a reputable group to avoid this, but I missed if and where this detail was reported. 

Fukuyama on Radio National

Radio National's Background Briefing had Francis Fukuyama on recently.

Their blurb says "The man who wrote The End of History? is now disenchanted with American foreign policy.

Fukuyama remains a conservative, but has strong views on what has gone wrong. He sees a need to demilitarise the struggle against violent fundamentalism.

This talk was given at the Philadelphia Free Library."

He had some very astute and perceptive comments, in my opinion.

Worth reading, Will

Will Howard, thanks for the link. The Fukuyama talk was worth reading in transcript. If you have not seen it, Alan Johnson’s interview with Paul Berman at the Democratiya site brings out another interesting perspective on Iraq and terrorism.


Michael Park, factions of the Far Right in the US have been tearing into one another for donkey’s years with the true fervour of sectarian zealots. It is all rather like the inter-sectarian and inter-groupuscular rivalries of the organised Far Left, not to mention the disputes between rival Protestant sects in Britain and elsewhere that continued from the Reformation to at least the middle of the 20th Century. It all follows from the nature of sectarianism in my opinion, with its  stress on the issues that demarcate the sect and justify its separate existence – which are commonly trivial and/or incomprehensible to outsiders. Sectarians mindful of the need for doctrinal purity, become highly gifted in detection of those who in their wavering and vacillation are taking their first steps down the track to outright heresy. I once saw a headline in some US far right magazine headed “Is Barry Goldwater really a Conservative?” (Might as well have been “Is the Pope a Presbyterian?”)


Running a sect is a bit like running an orchard. When you are not recruiting (ie planting) new trees, you are disciplining (pruning) or purging (ripping out) those so far gone as to be beyond salvation.

Also worth reading

Thanks, Ian MacDougall for the link to the Berman interview. See also Marko Attila Hoare's "Occidentalism and 'Anti-Imperialism'" in the same issue. It's a review of Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit's book "Occidentalism," and also makes a number of excellent points.

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