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They Legalised Murder

Chris Saliba is a Webdiary contributor. His archive is here. His last Webdiary piece was his review of Tanya Levin's 'People in glass houses'. His blog is here.

Matt Howard from Iraq Veterans Against The War (left in picture) is in Australia at the moment speaking out about his involvement in the Iraq war. A public meeting was held at Melbourne University on Thursday 23rd August to hear Matt discuss his experiences of the war and the US military, with question time afterwards.  

The meeting was held by Unity For Peace, who tried to get Matt Howard’s visit covered by the major newspapers. Unfortunately, the print media showed no interest in this compelling story. Except for ABC radio.  

Professor Gerry Simpson, who has just published a book called Law, War and Crime, introduced Matt’s talk by discussing what he sees as the twin paradigms of the war in Iraq. On the one hand we have those who see war as the answer, UN or no UN. And then there is another group who are committed to the rule of law.  

Professor Simpson reminded us that all the architects of the war will soon be out of office. Blair is gone, Bush is going, and Howard’s future doesn’t look so crash hot. What path will the new leaders travel, by the rule of law, or will they choose unruly war? 

Matt Howard looks very much like your average college student. He’s young, doesn’t look a day over twenty-five, sports a spiffy pair of glasses and wears a baseball cap. He’s the casual young type you always see on a tram or a bike up Swanston Street on the way to a lecture at Melbourne Uni. The only difference is he’s seen the horrors of war. I don’t know Matt Howard, but after having heard him talk about his experiences, I wish he hadn’t seen what he’d seen.  

During the talk he looked down a lot, and he spoke in a halted and troubled voice. You wondered if he was going to break down at any minute as he described scenes that belonged in Picasso’s Guernica.  

It was frustrating, we were told, to have the US media always frame the war in Iraq in a certain light, describing the war as a failure, a mistake, a series of miscalculations, an unfortunate blunder, ‘as if this somehow implies that had we done it right then everything would be okay’. 

But this type of thinking is wrong, and that even had the US gone in, ousted Saddam Hussein, and left, the war would still be immoral. 

Howard’s descriptions of the way the US military operates are probably the most chilling. So called rules of engagement are thrown out the window once you are involved in battle in a foreign country, where even innocent children are considered the enemy. The fighting was more or less one sided, heavy handed, and all coming from the US services. 

‘They changed the rules of engagement, they legalised murder. Usually we operate under strict guidelines.’ Yet Howard was advised that he could fire on unarmed people. Or to summarise the ethos that prevailed amongst marines, ‘If it moves, you fire on it.’ 

‘It was how we conducted ourselves during that initial push to Baghdad that set the tone, that laid the ground work for four years of brutal occupation. It was instantly apparent to myself that this war had nothing to do with liberation and everything to do with subjugation and domination of the Iraqi people.’ 

Matt Howard knew he was not there to help the people of Iraq because one of the first missions he was assigned once Bagdad had been won was to secure the oil fields. This operation was called Operation Crown Jewel.

The idea behind this operation was the overriding ethos of his whole time in Iraq, the former marine maintains. 

Describing the aftermath of a battle, Howard painted a gruesome picture of men, women and children dead. ‘It was the most grotesque scene I had seen, up to that point in my life.’ 

We were also given a chilling description of US firepower: 

‘I don’t think anybody in the public has any idea of the true fire power these weapons present. You know, a fifty calibre machine gun round doesn’t even need to hit you to kill you, it can pass a metre away and your stomach will be ripped up by the velocity of that round and you will be dead.’ 

Many marines showed their boredom by trashing everything in sight, and wanting to shoot for thrills. 'The mentality was to destroy anything and everything.’ 

‘We just wanna get some,’ was a common refrain amongst those serving in Iraq. 

Amazingly, the army didn’t even have any translators. When Howard asked about translators he was told, ‘What the hell do you need a translator for when you have an M16?’   

‘That weapon proved to be the communication tool of choice for the US Marine Corps’ 

When providing food and water, humanitarian rations, to Iraqi children, his first sergeant told him not to distribute any more food. Eventually all of those supplies would have to be buried in the ground. When he took the issue up with his high commander he was told: ‘The top brass did not want to give the Iraqis the wrong impression about why we were there’  

After the war, Howard moved to Canada to try and forget the war, but he found the more he tried to forget the more he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He headed back to the US and found the Iraq Veterans Against the War. This group, he claimed, saved his life. 

Matt took questions for about half an hour after his speech, not nearly enough time to answer all the questions that were asked. How to end it all, how to end it all? was a common question. Our speaker didn’t really have a clue, besides the firm knowledge that it was the people themselves who had to stop our leaders.  

The question still is, how do we do this?   

Unity For Peace will be holding a public meeting titled Report Back From Apec on 13 September, 7pm, at Trades Hall. The Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt, will be speaking.

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Curtain down on War of Many Friedmans

It seems Thomas ‘Give War A Chance’ Friedman may finally have moved on:

Obviously, no one wants to just pick up and leave, and leave behind some kind of humanitarian disaster. But at the same time, just kind of dragging it out and waiting for the Iraqis to figure it out on their own also strikes me as slightly irresponsible.
  (Lateline, 20/09/2007)

But it’s been a long road for Friedman:

The next six months in Iraq — which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there — are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time.
  (New York Times, 30/11/2003)

What I absolutely don’t understand is just at the moment when we finally have a UN-approved Iraqi-caretaker government made up of — I know a lot of these guys — reasonably decent people and more than reasonably decent people, everyone wants to declare it’s over. I don’t get it. It might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what’s the rush? Can we let this play out, please?
  (NPR’s Fresh Air, 3/06/2004)

What we’re gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war.
  (CBS’s Face the Nation, 3/10/2004)

Improv time is over. This is crunch time. Iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. But it won’t be won with high rhetoric. It will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile.
  (New York Times, 28/11/2004)

I think we’re in the end game now... I think we’re in a six-month window here where it’s going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt I think the next congressional election — that’s my own feeling — let alone the presidential one.
  (NBC’s Meet the Press, 25/09/2005)

Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won’t, then we are wasting our time.
  (New York Times, 28/09/2005)

We’ve teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it’s going to come together.
  (CBS’s Face the Nation, 18/12/2005)

We’re at the beginning of I think the decisive I would say six months in Iraq, OK, because I feel like this election—you know, I felt from the beginning Iraq was going to be ultimately, Charlie, what Iraqis make of it.
  (PBS’s Charlie Rose Show, 20/12/2005)

The only thing I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it—and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful.
  (New York Times, 21/12/2005)

I think that we’re going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. In which case, I think the American people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool’s errand.
  (Oprah Winfrey Show, 23/01/2006)

I think we’re in the end game there, in the next three to six months, Bob. We’ve got for the first time an Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi constitution. Either they’re going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case America will stick with it, or they’re not, in which case I think the bottom’s going to fall out.
  (CBS, 31/01/2006)

I think we are in the end game. The next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in Iraq.
  (NBC’s Today, 2/03/2006)

Can Iraqis get this government together? If they do, I think the American public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent, stable Iraq. But if they don’t, then I think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole Iraq endeavor. So one way or another, I think we’re in the end game in the sense it’s going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there’s an Iraq there worth investing in. And that is something only Iraqis can tell us.
  (CNN, 23/04/2006)

Well, I think that we’re going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months — probably sooner — whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we’re going to have to just let this play out.
  (MSNBC’s Hardball, 11/05/2006)

(via FAIR)


Theatre of the delusional.

Tom Engelhardt introduces a piece by Ira Chernus on images and reality.

Sidney Blumenthal - Bush's stairway to paradise.

On those "contractors":

Robert Scheer

Richard Lardner

Korea and Iraq, wrong comparison? 

The killing continues. 

Another betrayal.

Fiona has posted an article header on the betrayal of the Australian people. Betrayal, it seems, is far too common as this George Lakoff article points out.

Betrayal is everywhere in the news. We learned from the Washington Post that Alan Greenspan said, in his new book, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Not keeping our country safe, as the troops were told. Not democracy. Not Weapons of Mass Destruction. Not al Qaeda. Oil! All those lives and maimings about oil! Are you shocked, shocked? It is Betrayal of Trust of the highest order: "Politically inconvenient ... everyone knows..." Oil was not discussed at the Petraeus hearings. The silence in Washington has been polite.


MoveOn's "General Betray Us?" ad has raised vital questions that need a thorough and open discussion. The ad worked brilliantly to reveal, via its framing, an essential but previously hidden truth: the Bush Administration and its active supporters have betrayed the trust of the troops and the American people.

MoveOn hit a nerve. In the face of truth, the right-wing has been forced to change the subject -- away from the administration's betrayal of trust and the escalating tragedy of the occupation to of all things, an ad! To take the focus off maiming and death and the breaking of our military, they talk about etiquette. The truth has reduced them to whining: MoveOn was impolite. Rather than face the truth, they use character assassination against an organization whose three million members stand for the highest patriotic principles of this country, the first of which is a commitment to truth.

Greg Palast shakes out a sheik who wasn't

Monday, September 17, 2007 -- Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the U.S. against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.

Bush shook Abu Risha's hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.

Here's what you need to know that NPR won't tell you.

1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn't a sheik.
2. He wasn't killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik -- and a murderous deceit.

People aren't always who what they are said to be. 

As for trust, you can't just talk about it. You have to earn it. And the Commander's trust account is in deficit.

If only ...

Indeed, Angela, if only they had not had an agenda. Here's the banality of evil revisited.

Frank Rich

O Canada.

"Hanging on a cross of iron" . Quite so.

Okay, I misspoke

Greenspan actually said the Iraq war was "largely" about oil.

All about, largely about
Let's call the whole thing off...

RIchard:  It was pleasing to see that gaffe presented on Letterman as a QED. 

Oh, and Greenspan says Iraq was "all about oil"

You omitted that little detail, Margo.

But who'd have thought Greenspan was a purveyor of hatespeak.

Scott Burchill recommends

Scott Burchill recommends Iraq conflict has cost 1.2 million lives, claims civilian survey:

A startling new household survey of Iraqis released last week claims as many as 1.2 million people may have died because of the conflict in Iraq - apparently lending weight to a 2006 survey in the Lancet that reported similarly high levels.

More than one million deaths were already being suggested by anti-war campaigners, but such high counts have consistently been rejected by US and UK officials. The estimates, extrapolated from a sample of 1,461 adults around the country, were collected by a British polling agency, ORB, which asked Iraqis how many people living in their household had died as a result of the violence rather than from natural causes.

Previous estimates, most prominently collected by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, reported in Lancet in October 2006, suggested almost half this number, 654,965, as a likely figure in a possible range of 390,000 to 940,000...

Democracy as fought for by antidemocrats

Also worth reading is Paul Berman's latest piece for the discussion of the Iraq War in Dissent at http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=774

"...To hurl curses and insults at the Bush administration is a worthy, right, and just thing to do; and yet there is no reason to trip all over ourselves in acknowledging that Bush and his administration did sincerely desire to achieve a democratic outcome in Iraq. For some sixty years before the Iraq War, American policy in the Middle East had nothing to do with democracy. American policy was based on a principle of malign stability, conducted in the belief that stable dictatorships would guarantee American interests.

The pursuit of malign stability governed America’s Iraq policy over the decades, and the results were unusually hideous, given that Baathism is a kind of fascism, and Baathist Iraq was an exceptionally murderous totalitarian state. The pursuit of stability led the United States to abandon the Iraqi Kurds in the mid-1970s; to support Saddam against the Iranians in the 1980s; to follow a policy of hands-off, see-no-evil serenity, even in 1988, when Saddam was once again massacring Kurds, this time at a more gigantic level than before, sometimes by means of poison gas, no less. And, in keeping with this same malign policy, the United States decided to leave Saddam in power after the 1991 war, even while applying sanctions and conducting a permanent mini-war, in order to prevent the dictatorship from starting up yet another war. The policy of malign stability grew, in short, ever more malign, until, in the years after 1991, we ourselves were inflicting damage on the Iraqi people with our sanctions. Iraqi society fell into a dreadful downward spiral, and the results were ghastly.

Sixty years of this policy produced no stability at all in the larger Arab world, as we eventually discovered. And so, like it or not, the Bush administration announced a change..."

One of the problems of modern electoral democracy, for which I can see no easy solution, is that pretty well invariably the people who put themselves up for election and win high office are not themselves democrats. Proof of this is the sort of regimes they are prepared to give aid and comfort to via foreign policy, and the dictators and autocrats they are prepared to play hail-fellow-well-met with. Paul Keating was no democrat: even his admirer Tom Uren said as much on p.417 of his own autobiography Straight Left (Vintage ,995). John Howard (&/or wife) considers himself (&/or herself) not only superior to the rabble out there beyond Kirribilli House, but to all previous prime ministers (&/or wives). Hence the unprecedented occupation of said house in Kirribilli over the last 11 years.

Howard's line of "I will stay as long as the party wants me" has not put him beyond games of manipulation to defy the polls, and that will probably blow the Liberal Party out of office at the next election. The system selects in the power-hungry of both sides of politics and the survivors in the ruthless clamber up the scramble nets to power.

Kevin Rudd is no different in this respect from Howard, and is a worthy successor to Hawke and Keating in the battle to strangle democratic control of policymaking within the ALP.

Returning to Berman's theme: to say then that MIddle Eastern politics is all about oil is not to say much at all. What is emerging is how the policies followed by the antidemocratic leaders of the democratic west have backfired so spectacularly and tragically, with nothing in the way of policy options now that will not lead to further bloodshed, (nor options in 2003 that would not have done so also.) The decision by the Ottoman Turks to back the wrong side in WW1 led directly to the setting up of Israel in 1947 and the ongoing Levantine tragedy. The decision in 1954 by the US and Britain to overthrow the elected government of Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran and replace him with the Shah led to Khomeini and the present hostile regime in Tehran.

A carefully crafted and well resourced foreign policy that gives pre-eminence to encouraging liberalism could possibly emerge out of the current mess the US finds itself in. But don't hold your breath.

Saddam into exile would have been so much cheaper

One must remember from every injury from explosions there are 5 to 10 casualties, in this case usually severe burns. One can only imagine the torment for any Iraqi injured in post hospital collapse Iraq. The suffering of the US soldiers is bad enough with the top possible care and immediate flying out.

I remember an incident with Australians injured and the US refused to call in the chopper to E-vac them. I forget whether he said Afghanistan or Iraq. they had to drive to a British post.

War is hell. Beware the MIC. Controlled so much since Eisenhower, despite his warning to beware of them. Jackson is the one I would study. Very closely.

Deaths from violence, and now count the injuries too.

Imagine if they had accepted the deal offered for Saddam to step down and go into exile. But think of all the profits lost then.


Follow the money.

But if you don't know where it went and no one wants to provide answers, then questions arise ...

Here is a story from Vanity Fair about the $9 Billion that went missing under the CPA in Iraq.

Waste and more waste and the internal war.

But some harbour ambitious delusions

Petraeus may fancy himself a latter-day Eisenhower. But he has shown none of the wisdom of the man who, recognizing the folly of turning the Cold War into a hot fight, campaigned for the presidency in 1952 on a promise to end the bloodshed on the Korean Peninsula -- and, when elected, did so quickly and honorably.

To those who suggested in 1953 that it was necessary to wage an endless ground and air war against Chinese communists who were portrayed as being every bit as diabolical as the targets of the "war on terror," Eisenhower responded, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. [...] This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."

Six years later, as he was finishing a presidency that had, for the most part, maintained the peace, Eisenhower counseled against paying too much heed to the pleading of generals and politicians for new fights.

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments," Ike told British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. "Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."

Not, from recent experience, in a hurry to get out of the way and let the people prevail.


The general, ambassador and the Commander have spoken ... now for some reactions.

A roundup of press reactions

Leon Hadar

Robert Scheer

Aaron Glantz

And another attempt to count the human cost

Iraqi assessment

Mission Accomplished? Mission  in transition?  Chaos and carnage as an excuse for a continued presence?

Selling the surge. Or not..

A surge - in marketing. Tom Engelhardt looks at how the how the Administration is trying to sell its case and provides his own progress report.

Scott Ritter - Reporting from Baghdad.

Senator Biden in Gen Petraeus' assessment.

How is the PR campaign going with the public?

Most Americans think this week's report from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus will exaggerate progress in Iraq, and few expect it to result in a major shift in President Bush's policy. But despite skepticism about the Petraeus testimony and majority support for a U.S. troop reduction in Iraq, there has also been a slight increase in the number who see the situation there as improving.

Something's not working. Well, lots of things aren't working.


Scott Burchill recommends Among Top Officials, 'Surge' Has Sparked Dissent, Infighting:

For two hours, President Bush listened to contrasting visions of the U.S. future in Iraq. Gen. David H. Petraeus dominated the conversation by video link from Baghdad, making the case to keep as many troops as long as possible to cement any security progress. Adm. William J. Fallon, his superior, argued instead for accepting more risks in Iraq, officials said, in order to have enough forces available to confront other potential threats in the region.

The polite discussion in the White House Situation Room a week ago masked a sharper clash over the U.S. venture in Iraq, one that has been building since Fallon, chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations, sent a rear admiral to Baghdad this summer to gather information. Soon afterward, officials said, Fallon began developing plans to redefine the U.S. mission and radically draw down troops.

One of those plans, according to a Centcom officer, involved slashing U.S. combat forces in Iraq by three-quarters by 2010. In an interview, Fallon disputed that description but declined to offer details. Nonetheless, his efforts offended Petraeus's team, which saw them as unwelcome intrusion on their own long-term planning. The profoundly different views of the U.S. role in Iraq only exacerbated the schism between the two men.

"Bad relations?" said a senior civilian official with a laugh. "That's the understatement of the century. . . . If you think Armageddon was a riot, that's one way of looking at it." ...

bin Laden is still bin Laden

Though I don't have much sympathy for Howard and Bush in their present mutual effort to get each other over a forthcoming electoral hurdle, I don't have much for The Chaser in his allegedly humourous APEC stunts either.

For those Webdiarists prepared to read why (at the anathematatical Weekly Standard site) it's at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=14088&R=114FC10FE 

The shell game.

Recalling an extract from the Keith Olbermann Special Comment I linked 3 days ago where the Commander told a biographer:

“I'm playing for October-November," Mr. Bush said to Draper. That, evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real plan, which is “to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence."

Here is a report on a later Olbermann program (with video). Some extracts:

In an interview with USA Today
on Wednesday, White House chief of staff John Bolten confirmed that
"Bush wants to make 'it possible for his successor — whichever party
that successor is from — to have a sustained presence in the Middle

"America's purpose in Iraq now officially, just to be in Iraq," Olbermann commented...

Olbermann reminded viewers of events last fall, when Bush indicated
he was taking the Baker-Hamilton Report seriously and considering all
options, including the possibility of a drawdown. White House press
secretary Tony Snow promised reporters, "Wait until you see the whole
package, and then the debate will begin." But just days later, the
surge was announced, effectively forestalling debate of any kind.

The same thing is happening now with the build-up to the Petraeus
Report. "The administration is expected to cite a 75% decrease in
sectarian attacks in Iraq," Olbermann stated. "That sounds great, does
it not? But it appears to have been accomplished by severely tightening
the definition of a sectarian attack." For example, mass bombings are
no longer counted in the totals, only isolated murders.

And we Austrians are hosting the Commander at the OPEC, oops, APEC meeting. Watch that first step ...

Link to Bin Laden

Link to Bin Laden speech. Must have been a glitch, I did add the link

Convert to Islam?

So Bin Laden calls on the US to embrace Islam. Well that just shows how living in a cave can affect the mind.

The man probably does not pull much weight anymore, if he ever did. And I doubt even when he has gone his minders will want the world to know so he will just fade into oblivion. And that would be the best thing. Let not this man be remembered for other than what he was, a man who distorted his faith and trained and urged his followers to become mass murderers.  A man whose followers do not even distinguish between those of their own faith and the so called infidels. 

Nothing to admire in the fellow, nothing at all.

Justice and Diplomacy not bombs and soldiers.

Osama Bin Laden tells the American people that they have failed to persuade the Bush administration to stop the war in Iraq.

"You made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war," the speaker in the tape says, according to the transcript obtained by ABC News.

 "You permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you... to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan".

The speaker tells the American public that there are two ways to end the war in Iraq: "The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you."

The second way, he continues, is to reject America's democratic system and convert to Islam.

This chilling statement from Bin Laden is a reminder that we have achieved nothing since his attack on New York.  I hope, this is not a warning of more attacks, to come. Military power, especially air power, cannot defeat an ideology. We must take a serious look at the mistakes that have been made in the Middle East, over the last century or so, and come up with a peace that is equitable to the Muslim world.  The defeat of Bin Laden demands justice and diplomacy, not bombs and soldiers.

Margo: link?

Roman Catholic Church bankrupt over abuse.

Speaking of the value of Human life, in July, the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles agreed a record $660m deal to settle 508 abuse cases, some going back to the 1940s.


Link to this Roman Catholic Church settlement also dropped off somehow.

Margo: I think because you'd cut and pasted something, I put it into Notepad to get rid of the style, but it didn't pick up the link.

$61.8 million for 248 Iranians and $2.65 billion for 241 marines

On February 22, 1996 the United States of America under presidency of Bill Clinton agreed to pay Iran and victims of Flight 655 US$61.8 million in compensation ($300,000 per wage-earning victim, $150,000 per non-wage-earner) for the 248 Iranians killed in the shoot-down. This was an agreed settlement to discontinue a case brought by Iran in 1989 against the U.S. in the International Court of Justice. The payment of compensation was explicitly characterized as being on an "ex gratia" basis, and the U.S. denied having any responsibility or liability for the incident.

Today a US federal court judge has ordered Iran to pay $2.65 billion to families of the 241 marines killed in the bombing of their Beirut barracks in 1983. Roughly $11 million per marine.

Why is an US marine worth 36 times an Iranian citizen? I suppose it depends of who does the arithmetic.

How much does the US owe for 77,852 Iraqi's killed since the invasion?

facts are facts

Eliot Ramsey, cherry pick this with your blind right wing neo con bias.

"The Bush administration [has] sent U.S. technology to the Iraqi military and to many Iraqi military factories, despite over-whelming evidence showing that Iraq intended to use the technology in its clandestine nuclear, chemical, biological, and long-range missile programs."

This is a quote from the Congressional Record dated July 27, 1992, they are the words of the late Texas Congressman Henry Gonzalez.

In June 1982 then President Reagan issued a National Security Decision Directive during the Iraq-Iran war. An affidavit by former National Security Council official Howard Teicher, from 1982 on the White House states, "the USA supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing U.S. military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required."

Then defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 1983 and 1984, went to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein. Teicher, travelled to Baghdad with Rumsfeld, ans said of the mission: " Here was the U.S. government coming hat-in-hands to Saddam Hussein and saying, 'We respect you, we respect you. How can we help you? Let us help you.' " Rumsfeld's trips were at a time when the U.S. knew Iraq had already begun gassing Iranians. In 1985, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control sent samples of an Israeli strain of West Nile virus to a microbiologist at Basra University in Iraq. The U.S. would also send over "various toxins and bacteria," including botulin's and E. coli.

In 1986, Teicher said, "President Reagan sent a secret message to Saddam Hussein telling him that Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran. This message was delivered by Vice President Bush who communicated it to Egyptian President Mubarak, who in turn passed the message to Saddam Hussein." The U.S. throughout the 1980's backed Hussein by providing military assistance and diplomatic cover for Iraq war crimes.

In 1984, the State Department arranged for the sale of 45 Bell 214ST helicopters to Iraq. Four years later The Los Angeles Times reported, "American-built helicopters" were used to gas Kurdish civilians. In March 1988 up to 6,800 Kurds were gassed to death in Halabja by Hussein's troops. In response the U.S. State Department attempted, according to a recent report in The International Herald Tribune, to place blame for the gassing also on the Iranians despite no evidence of Iranian involvement. When the UN Security Council passed a resolution to censure the Halabja attack it called on "both sides to refrain from the future use of chemical weapons."

In July 1990, days before Iraq invaded Kuwait, U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein and gave him what many believe to be a green light for invading Kuwait.

Speaking for President Bush, Glaspie said, "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." Hussein invaded Kuwait beginning a war that has yet to end. Leading the fight then Secretary of Defence was Dick Cheney.

While the Gulf War marked the end of U.S. support for Hussein, private U.S. corporations continued trading with Iraq through foreign subsidiaries. Among those profiting most was Cheney himself. In 1995, Cheney took over as CEO of Halliburton, a Dallas-based oil-field supply corporation. According to The Washington Post, two Halliburton foreign subsidiaries sold more than $73 million in oil production equipment and supplies to Iraq under Cheney's command. Cheney helped Halliburton become the biggest U.S. oil contractor for Iraq.

What does the Jury Think?

Let's consider what we have been told by the venal media so far.

  • Bush and Howard are an "item" on "wars without end".
  • Bush needs Howard and any other puppet government to support his illegal occupation of Iraq.
  • At the moment, our combat contribution to Iraq is reported to be 550 (that is 550 too many).
  • I would suggest that Mark Latham was absolutely right to claim that our support in the Iraq invasion was "symbolic".
  • Howard has obeyed Bush's description of "Deputy Sheriff" by sending troops and police to Pacific Islands (with Downer's heavy-handed behaviour).
  • While China brings a fortune into Australia, the U.S. takes it out under Howard's FTA.
  • Howard boasts of his recent armament "deal" with Bush.  Will that mean we buy more 30 year old tanks?
  • Howard enters Australia into more fixed and disadvantaged contracts with the Bush administration.
  • Bush says he will repay Howard's servitude by allowing him access to some of the U.S. military secrets.  Fair dinkum?

Although Bush has said that nothing of importance will happen from this APEC meeting it seems that Howard's chances in the election and his continued military commitments to Bush are certainly there.

All countries of the "Coalition of the Willing" except Australia have withdrawn or intend to withdraw their involvement due to their national interests.

So, apart from mutual military and election possibilities, Austalia comes out being used merely for the political benefit of the spiteful little schoolboy.

So the list of my warnings of Howard's re-election "mandates" are:

  • "Necessary" conscription and the use of Reservists for U.S. occupation forces.
  • Further underfunding States, Education and Health.
  • Increasing WorkChoices and again removing the "fairness test".
  • Obeying Bush's requirements for the countries entitled to our Uranium, the Nuclear Reactors, where they will be situated and where to dump the Nuclear Waste.
  • Continuing to buy the outdated U.S. military equipment.
  • Increasing the censorship laws.

That's just a few.  Howard will consider a success in this election as the death knell of democracy in Australia - by "choice".

Meanwhile, let's keep our eyes on the ball.




Ok ,we accept all the freebies the other guys give

Angela Ryan

Actually Ernest, It wasn't "military secrets" ,one could easily make the argument that our installations and Indonesian etc spy platforms are more valuable to them than anything they give to us. 

It was "access to purchase military equipement.....hohoho.  Whatcha mean outdated?. They were just stripped of their U-beaut DU lining to make em lighter and faster for the races. Did you say aircraft carrier? Heck let's get three, according to Lowy institute specialist visitor,,bugger the cost eh? They ,er,..don't still sell Exocets do they to our future enemies? Who will they be again, I thought we stopped cold war stuff,and aren't; allowed to say Crus----, so er, is it those of energy depletion status? Or just all the  people who wear ,um, how about red,no , had that last time, how about Green, yeah, Green is the enemy colours, die South's old and new enemy coloured ones.

Wouldn't it be nice if they would just be clear who we are supposed to hate in a proper Jesus manner? Thinking is so hard for us during the sport season ie overlapping Cricket and Footy.

I think all we allies should just demand to get it for free like Israel. Imagine what we could play with  ,what toys for our boys if we had 30billion given to us...How much do we charge ,by the way, for Pine Gap?  Zilch.  Heck ,people even get arrested when they go up to collect the toll in a good Christian manner, that was what Brian et al were doing, non? All landlords have the right to inspect.hadn't they picked up their pizza boxes for a few days?

So..me too , me too, we want mega billions for friendship's sake. And we won't even sink their ships, napalm them or bomb their people. Or make rude jokes about their leaders...well, actually...can't have everything. We are much more valuable to the US and much less a liability.  And have better beaches.  And better names for our forests.  And with Indonesia now being armed by Russia and China and our mates in the EU we are much more vulnerable although so far less hated,so far,go Johnny, so far, and our resources make us more valuable.  Heck we are just the best ...there, is that enough Chutzpah? Oh and we run the US senate,..... er, whereever they want to go when they visit here, and the biggest media Moghul was,er, born Aussie, our heroes always die in dumb ways and we celebrate our stupidest defeats and ignore the bravest victories, and we can beat the world at Netball. There ,that oughtta do it.

At least they can pay us to be slaves of the empire.

Cheers ,Admiral Angela

 ps i luv luv The Chaser.

Richard:  It would be really interesting to hear other people's opinion on The Chaser's APEC arrests.

Richard, re The Chaser Caper.

I wrote the following comment:

Regarding the breach itself, I believe that it was a very foolish stunt that could have ended with someone being badly hurt, even the Police whose job it was to prevent such activities.

To me, it is no more clever or different than putting on a Police Uniform and wearing a false I.D. and would be punished very heavily if that was done. 

In a real democracy, there are identifying clothes, uniforms, medals and distinctions that deserve recognition.  I consider that copying those identifying items is neither clever nor brave.  Just useless acts of profit-making stupidity.

We all know that there is no such thing as "perfect" security.  Any determined criminal, especially one who is prepared to sacrifice his or her own lives to breach some area, may well succeed in doing so.

However, I don't think the pranksters are really that brave.

Cheers Ern G.

The Russians armed Saddam

Alga Kavanagh says:

" It was also the USA who armed Saddam...."

Actually, the USA had hardly any role whatsoever in the arming of Saddam, whose armed forces were overwhleming supplied by Russia, France and China amongst others.

You might be forgiven, Alga, for believing he had been armed by the USA, given the relentless way that particular piece of disinformation is incessantly peddled by the Left Lying Tendency, but it's not true.

Even the most ardent cherry-picking of the data fails to conceal the documented facts about this.

Moomintroll strikes at peace

Well ,there was I feeling a bit down and I thought I'd read this article. Oh ,Matt ,what you went through. how hard to keep one's sanity and humanity . So often the old soldiers had stories that they would only talk about to their fellow travellers.Who would understand?

I think I can understand how doing something about what happened is helping Matt.  It gives purpose and energy,it gives a redemption. A bit like Neimoller .

A friend of mine was also in the marines, at the battle for the airport. He still can't talk of it all. At least he missed the horrors of occupation.

Anyways, here is a bit of perhaps good news...groups have been meeting in Finland( why? when they could come to Sydney!) and with the guidance of a number of illustrious peace makers have come to aggreements that are quite startling in their progress.

[Al Jazeerah extract}

South Africa was represented by members of Nelson Mandela's first unity government following the end of apartheid, African National Congress activist Mac Maharaj and National party reformer Roelf Meyer. Political objectives agreed to include moving away from sectarian and ethnic disputes, ending the displacement of Iraqi refugees, and terminating the presence of foreign troops according to a "realistic timetable".

The participants also agreed to deal with militias by arming and training security forces to become "an effective national force", while fostering economic development across the country.

Members of armed groups that "are not classified as terrorist" would be encouraged to adopt "peaceful political means" and given jobs within the state administration.

CMI, overseen by Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, has facilitated peace talks for other conflicts....."

I like the "terminating the presence of foreign troops".

The land of MoominTroll strikes another blow for peace.  


Bush speak - a Special Comment.

The Commander went to Iraq and told US personnel:

 ... continued gains in security in Iraq could allow for a reduction in U.S. troops ...

He has also spoken to a biographer and Keith Olbermann has a Special Comment on the matter. Video and transcript. Here is a taste:

He presumably did not know that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper's book “Dead Certain."

playing for October-November," Mr. Bush said to Draper. That,
evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real
plan, which is “to get us in a position where the presidential
candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence."

Comfortable, that is, with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, “stay... longer."

there it is.  We've caught you. Your goal is not to bring some troops
home, maybe, if we let you have your way now. Your goal is not to set
the stage for eventual withdrawal. You are, to use your own
disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican
nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us
with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and
another, and anon.

you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a
deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal
goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely.

War today, war tomorrow, war forever!

And you are playing at it! Playing!

Ideological fantasy

Please John, make rational sense. I don't think any one should be killed, war or no war. But I'm rational enough realise ideological fantasy land is just that, fantasy land, where one thing is said or promised and the opposite happens.

All wars are the same, they all randomly or deliberately massacre and destroy, so there's no difference in the outcome. Name one war that's adhered to the supposed rules of war, the Geneva convention, UN dictates, or any former historically recognised rules of conflict. Take a closer look and you'll see the UN sits back and watches most of the time, or creates more problems.

Not only that, you may like to look at who actually controls the UN, provides it's policies, weapons and supplies. They are same countries who are supplying all the worlds conflicts. The UN chooses its wars according to its vested interests at the time, whilst in other places, genocide and destructive ideological dictatorships continue unabated. World arms sales are evenly spilt between all major arms producing countries, (G8). But top of the list sits the corporate monopoly, Halliburton, its cohorts and subsidiaries.

The only reason warmongers don't wipe out the population, is if they need them to work for the invaders, the women used to repopulate with the controlling ideology gene pool or propaganda purposes. If you start a war or support one for any reason, other than in actual defence, then it should be a war crime. I see no difference between those who break the law and kill someone with a weapon, or their car and those who set out to murder or create war, except for the penalty. Name a war where they haven't targeted or included civilians deaths as acceptable for the outcome.

Your own champion political party did and still supports the invasion of Iraq. Your prepared to denounce Howard and Co, yet your own ideological misfits are no different. How about we charge the  lot with war crimes and clean our political system out, so we can start again rationally and logically?

Australian Iron made into Chinese weapons for the Taleban.

The Taleban have recently begun boasting that they have now got hold of much more sophisticated weaponry although they refused to say from where.

Afghan officials have also privately confirmed to the BBC that sophisticated Chinese weapons are now in the hands of the Taleban. They said these included Chines-made surface=to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs.

The war lords meeting in Sydney must be happy with this arrangement. Australia mines the iron and coal, we sell it to China.

The Chinese manufacture the weapons and sell them to the Taleban.  The Taleban use them against Australian troops all in the name of profit. (Or should that be "the profit")

Prosecute the guilty.

Mike Lyvers, you wrote:

And yes, the indiscriminate use of air power in Afghanistan or
elsewhere is counterproductive and a crime against humanity when
innocents are targeted and killed.

Based on that stated opinion, can I assume that you would support the prosecution of any persons against whom a case might be made that they are responsible for such crimes, including in the US and Israel (Bush, Olmert for example) and including actions  pertaining to Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon?

delusional blankness

Indiscriminate bombing which kills innocent women and children is a crime against humanity and should be made illegal.”

John Pratt, your above statement is naive and fails in the face of reality. War is war and those implementing it use whatever means they have at their disposal. Illegal or otherwise, it's of no consequence to them. After all, it's not them who take the brunt of their decisions and actions, but others. I bet “all the way with Jonny”, water it down Rudd, will revert to the same status quo as Howard, once and if he is elected. We are seeing the signs already, of his steadfast religiously conservative economic stance. Rudd, Howard and all their religious ilk, are for legalised murder if it fulfils their agenda. Apec is a prime example, as is all the political platforms of both parties, their only interest is their ideological economic enslavement and their controlling corporate and religious masters.

Considering it was a large USA arms corporation, who provided Iran with nuclear equipment and that corporation, also controls many supplies to Australian forces. Then the only outcome is the use of many armaments as possible, to maintain corporate economic growth targets. We see this in the failing of weaponry in coalition forces, malfunctioning weapons, means more sales and replacement income. It's also the same companies who supplied the hundreds of thousands of AK47's and munitions that've disappeared in Iraq supposedly supplied to the new Iraq army. Or the number of other USA and coalition armaments, being used against coalition forces. It was also the USA who armed Saddam, the Iranians, the Taliban, the Lebanese, the Jews, the Balkans, you name the conflict and the USA has supplied it, with the full sanction of government. Until we bring in accountability in government and bring people like Bush, Blair, (who has slipped away and got his reward for his barbarity), Howard, Rudd and all their cronies supporting the ongoing world economic barbarity to real justice, nothing will change. Only fools, or the unevolved, could see it any other way. But I suppose, if your looking at a blank wall after tying yourself to idealogical insanity, then all you see is delusional blankness.

War is War and that is reality?

Alga Kavanagh: Do you think that the indiscriminate killing of women and children, once someone has declared war is acceptable? 

You say my thoughts are naive.  You wrote "War is war and those implementing it use whatever means they have at their disposal. Illegal or otherwise" First of all wars are not all the same. There are legal wars sanctioned by the UN and those not sanctioned such as the invasion of Iraq. Once a war is declared there are rules of war . 

The first rule is civilians should not be attacked. So when I say that the killing of women and children in an unsanctioned war should be counted a war crime it's not such a naive idea.

In fact, it comes from the most sophisticated ideas of war, we humans have managed to develop. If we lived by the rules of the UN, we might eventually see the end of war, especially if those persecuting illegal wars where punished.

Air Power the rich man's terror attacks

Bob Wall: thanks for the link on the air war. This is an extract.

"A senior British commander," according to the New York Times, has pressed U.S. Special Forces (SF) to leave southern Afghanistan because their use of air power was alienating the local people. SFs work in small teams and are dependent on air power for support.

SFs called in an air strike last November near Kandahar that killed 31 nomads. This past April, a similar air strike in Western Afghanistan killed 57 villagers, half of them women and children. Coalition forces are now killing more Afghan civilians than the Taliban are. The escalating death toll has thrown the government of Hamid Karzai into a crisis and the NATO governments into turmoil. "We need to understand that preventing civilian casualties is crucially important in sustaining the support of the population," British Defense Minister Des Browne told the Financial Times.

The use of air power in Iraq and Afghanistan is turning the civilian populations against the coalition it is really the rich man's form of terrorism.  Indiscriminate bombing which kills innocent women and children is a crime against humanity and should be made illegal.  The pilots taking part in this aerial warfare and those who order these attacks are war criminals no different to the suicide bomber. Just less guts.

John Pratt you are right.

Osama bin Laden is (or was) by all accounts a very rich man. And the Sept. 11 2001 terror attacks definitely used air power. So you are correct in saying that "air power is the rich man's terror attacks."

And yes, the indiscriminate use of air power in Afghanistan or elsewhere is counterproductive and a crime against humanity when innocents are targeted and killed.

Lies, then and now, and "Look at at the pretty planes."

Remember those Iraqi drones?

In a town hall meeting in Bloomsburg,
Pa. this week, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, said
that shortly before Congress was scheduled to vote on authorizing
military force against Iraq, top officials of the CIA showed
select members of Congress three photographs it alleged were
Iraqi Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones.
Kanjorski said he was told that the drones were capable of carrying
nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, and could strike 1,000
miles inland of east coast or west coast cities.

Kanjorski said he and four
or five other congressmen in the room were told UAVs could be
on freighters headed to the U.S. Both secretary of state Condoleezza
Rice and President Bush wandered into and out of the briefing
room, Kanjorski said.

Kanjorski said it was the second
time he was called to the White House for a briefing. He had
opposed giving the President the powers to go to war, and said
that he hadn't changed his mind after a first meeting. Until
he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, "I hadn't thought that
Iraq was a threat." That second meeting changed everything.
After he left that meeting, said Kanjorski, he was willing to
give the President the authorization he wanted since the drones
"represented an imminent danger."

Kanjorski said he went to see
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel. Murtha, said
Kanjorski, "turned white" when told about the drones;
Murtha, a former intelligence officer, believed that such information
was classified.

Several years later, Kanjorski
said he learned that the pictures were "a god-damned lie,"
apparently taken by CIA photographers in the desert in the southwest
of the U.S. The drone story itself had already been disproved,
although not many major media carried that story.

Add that one to the long list. Of course when they talk of the success of the surge, who could doubt them? 

Some people must want to believe.

John, things do not look good in either Iraq or Afghanistan. So, go aerial.

These assaults
are part of what may be the best kept secret of the Iraq-Afghanistan
conflicts: an enormous intensification of US bombardments in these and
other countries in the region, the increasing number of civilian
casualties such a strategy entails, and the growing role of pilot-less
killers in the conflict.

According to Associated Press,
there has been a five-fold increase in the number of bombs dropped on
Iraq during the first six months of 2007 over the same period in 2006.
More than 30 tons of those have been cluster weapons, which take an
especially heavy toll on civilians.


It has also
opened up the allies to the charge of war crimes. In a recent air
attack in southern Afghanistan that killed 25 civilians, NATO spokesman
Lt. Col Mike Smith said the Taliban were responsible because they were
hiding among the civilian population.

But Article 48 of the
Geneva Conventions clearly states: "The Parties to the conflict shall
at all times distinguish between the civilian population and
combatants."  Article 50
dictates that "The presence within the civilian population of
individuals who do not come within the definition of civilian does not
deprive the population of its civilian character." 

The stepped-up air war in both countries has less to do with a
strategic military decision than the reality that the occupations are
coming apart at the seams.

For all intents and purposes, the U.S. Army in Iraq is broken, the
victim of multiple tours, inadequate forces, and the kind of war Iraq
has become: a conflict of shadows, low-tech but highly effective
roadside bombs, and a population which is either hostile to the
occupation or at least sympathetic to the resistance.

It is much the same in Afghanistan. Lord Inge, the former British
chief of staff, recently said, "The situation in Afghanistan is much
worse than many people recognize…it is much more serious that people
want to recognize." A well-placed military source told the Observer,
"If you talk privately to the generals, they are very worried." Faced
with defeat or bloody stalemate on the ground, the allies have turned
to air power, much as the U.S. did in Vietnam. But, as in Vietnam, the
terrible toll bombing inflicts on civilians all but guarantees
long-term failure.

Let us not forget other activities, and a recently departed US A-G's role in them. 

The resignation of the torturer in chief was noted by his patron,
the president, as an unfortunate day for American democracy. “It’s sad
that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like
Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good
name was dragged through the mud for political reasons,” President Bush
lamented on Monday.

What good name? After all, Bush picked Gonzales to be the nation’s
highest law enforcement official only after Gonzales had proved his
mettle for the job as White House counsel. His legal advice to the
president was that torture is a legitimate option, because Bush’s
self-defined “war on terror” wiped out all prior legal restraint and in
particular “renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning
of enemy prisoners.”

Gonzales’ infamous memo to the president from Jan. 25, 2002, also
rendered obsolete, among other constitutional safeguards, the division
of powers that provides a congressional check on the executive branch.
According to Gonzales’ professional judgment, the president was no
longer bound to observe the 1996 War Crimes Act, which allows criminal
prosecution of Americans for violating the Geneva Conventions and for
“outrages upon personal dignity.” According to that law, both the
president and his attorney general potentially would be subject to
severe penalties, including death, for the systematic torture they

 And two wars might not be enough for them. The Iran issue is being covered on Craig Rowley's What if ...? thread.

Intelligent and accomplished ...

Dylan Kissane, could it not also be said that Josef Goebbels was an intelligent and accomplished person? 

Richard, news in tonight that Bush has been to Iraq on his way to APEC.

Nelson claims a positive effect in Iraq. What about Afghanistan?

A year after Canadian and American forces drove hundreds of Taliban fighters from the area, the Panjwai and Zhare districts southwest of Kandahar, the rebels are back and have adopted new tactics. Carrying out guerrilla attacks after NATO troops partly withdrew in July, they overran isolated police posts and are now operating in areas where they can mount attacks on Kandahar, the south’s largest city.

Nelson claims a positive effect in Iraq, meanwhile, what is happening in Afghanistan? We are losing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. These conflicts can only be resolved by the locals. All the coalition is doing is prolonging the agony?

Nelson thinks a high Iraqi death toll is a positive effect.

The US troop surge in Iraq is having a positive effect with the overall number of attacks at the lowest level for a year, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said.

Civilian deaths rose in August to their second-highest monthly level this year, according to figures compiled Saturday by The Associated Press. That raises questions about whether U.S. strategy is working days before Congress receives landmark reports that will decide the course of the war.

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson thinks, a high civilian death toll in Iraq, is a positive effect. That must be really comforting to the families of the dead. This is the worst kind of spin and misinformation.

Plan to annihilate Iran's military

The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1200 targets in Iran to annihilate the Iranians' military capability in three days, a security expert says.



Scott Burchill recommends As Her Star Wanes, Rice Tries to Reshape Legacy:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 - On May 25, Stanford University's student newspaper, The Stanford Daily, devoted the bulk of its front page to the university's former provost, who is on leave while she serves out her term as secretary of state. "Condi Eyes Return," read the headline, "but in What Role?"

Within hours, the letters to the editor started coming in. "Condoleezza Rice serves an administration that has trashed the basic values of academia: reason, science, expertise, and honesty. Stanford should not welcome her back," wrote Don Ornstein, identified by the newspaper as an emeritus professor of mathematics in a letter published May 31.

Online comments on the newspaper's Web site were even harsher, a veritable stream of vitriol. One of the milder posts came from Jon Wu, who did not give an affiliation: "Please go away, Rice. We don't want someone who is responsible for the slaughter of an entire nation teaching at our school."

There was a time when, perhaps more than Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice seemed to have the best shot at becoming the first woman or the first African-American to be president. But that was before she sounded public alarms based on faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war, telling CNN, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." It was before a former top Bush administration colleague, David Kay, charged with finding unconventional weapons after the Iraq invasion, referred to Ms. Rice in Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" as "probably the worst national security adviser since the office was created."...

Other responses to Condi

Margo, I went to the article references in the NYT article and the report in the Times was accurate - to a point. The response on the web which was quoted was as described but - as suggested - the one included by the NYT was among the most tame.

The Stanford Daily article was followed by comments that included:

  • comparing her to a serial killer
  • describing her as a woman who got her job by being a "good little minority" and learning how to dress and talk like she belongs
  • accusing her of offering sexual favours in exchange for promotion
  • questioning her sexuality
  • comparing her to a Josef Geobbels

It's sad to see an intelligent and accomplished person being attacked like this - sad, too, that the NYT chose to report only the "milder" ones and leave the impression that the responses from the Daily's readers was reasoned.

I Hope Nothing Happens

But anything is possible. But you have to wonder at the brilliance of those supposedly caring for us. The no-fly zone is a fascinating exercise with the threat to shoot down any wandering aircraft.

Should the unthinkable happen it would give city living a new meaning whether it's a 727 or light aircraft. The thought of a dog-fight and then a blazing aeroplane disintegrating over Darling Harbour and perhaps into the Star Casino would be spectacular.

I bet the water cannon gets used.

 Richard: Michael, we're on the same train of thought.  Swing over to the APEC thread and give us a hand!

Propaganda In Overdive

In today's atmosphere of current madness of hype in overdrive as we see with the APEC so-called security measures, recent events have been forgotten in all the hullabaloo about Dr Haneef.

Not one shred of proof has been offered about the abandoned car outside a London nightclub to link it with the 4 wheel drive that crashed into the Glasgow airport gates.

Although the Glasgow incident is reported as being a "bomb" ( as was the nightclub vehicle) not a single shred of evidence has been offered to prove this was so. Now the driver of that vehicle has died we are told he apparently "emailed" his plans to others.

The media went on a reporting rampage over these 2 events-linking them together and extrapolating a vast conspiracy-all on the so-say of UK police who already have shown that not only were they prepared to continue a pattern a lying about the innocent de-Menezes shooting  until caught out),but were confident that no-one would be charged with his murder.

As with Dr Haneef- a conspiracy of lies have been told beforehand and after to justify incompetency and a desire to politically profit from tragic events and the media shown to be willing handmaidens in this and the slandering of Muslims.

It was Haneef's lawyer who brought the doctor's case undone by releasing interview transcripts. No newspaper could afford to let that scoop go by yet we are now in an atmosphere where even old lefties like me somehow should feel gratitude to the Australian for printing these transcripts and for once, actually exposing the whole charade.

This time.

 Richard: The beauty with the Haneef story was it matched those "counterterrorism expert" claims of a 10% chance of Al Qaeda carrying out simultaneous multiple attacks on Australian cities during APEC.

You noticed of course, Michael, that once the second transcript came out the whole story was dropped and Howard picked up the protestor-villifying ball and ran with it?  And don't forget that Andrews has until September 10 to lodge his appeal, just in time for September 11.  It's not over yet.  I just hope events won't unfold to "prove Andrews right."

Ideology and murder go together.

Can someone name for me, one ideology throughout history, that hasn't resorted to despotic violence and destruction, during it's final ascendancy and subsequent collapse?

The problem is, the more ideologies fail, the more violent they get. They can, have and do justify every form of depravity, torture and carnage ever created, yet always acceptable in the name of their illusional ideological elitism and belief. Sadly, it's all you can expect from primitive minds, filled with delusional egocentricity.

History attests to those facts.

Legalised murder of children

According to Palestinian medical officials, eight children have now been killed by Israeli military operations in Gaza and the West Bank in just over a week.
Where is the public outcry? If this was happening in London or New York it would be front page news. These are war crimes and the perpetuators should be brought to justice.

Bush has authorised military commanders to confront Tehran.

"I have authorised our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities," he said.

The BBC's Justin Webb, in Washington, says this looks like a conscious effort by the White House to elevate the tension between Washington and Teheran to a new level.

Such an effort might be designed to avoid the need for armed conflict or might equally be an effort to bring that conflict about, our correspondent says.

Shortly after Mr Bush made his address, Iranian officials reported that seven Iranians working for the country's electricity ministry had been arrested in Baghdad by US forces.

Bush is trying to escalate the conflict by kidnapping seven Iranian electricity workers. Will we soon be at war with Iran? It is looking more likely by the day. If the US can't win in Iraq or Afghanistan, a conflict that includes Iran will be a nightmare with millions of lives lost.

The nuclear-powered USS Enterprise and its strike group will join the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz in the navy's Fifth Fleet area of operation, which includes Gulf waters off Iran.

'The Enterprise is heading to Fifth Fleet waters and is not replacing any other ships in the area,' a US Navy spokesperson told Agence France-Presse without elaborating.

The US Navy has significantly beefed up its presence in the region recently amid growing concerns in the West that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapons programme -- an accusation Tehran strongly denies.


Opium poppy production in Afghanistan has hit record levels despite the presence of 5,000 British troops, figures revealed last night.

Helmand Province, where UK soldiers are battling the Taliban, is now the biggest single heroin crop-producing area in the world.

The Conservatives yesterday accused the Government of a "spectacular failure" as the figures were published by the United Nations, amid fears of cheap heroin flooding Europe.

I Failed the Australian Values Test

I don't know anything about Don Bradman.

Taliban controls worlds heroin supply which funds terrorism

Opium is a major source of financing for the Taliban, who gain public support by protecting farmers’ fields from eradication, according to American officials. They also receive a cut of the trade from traffickers they protect.

In Taliban-controlled areas, traffickers have opened more labs that process raw opium into heroin, vastly increasing its value. The number of drug labs in Helmand rose to roughly 50 from 30 the year before, and about 16 metric tons of chemicals used in heroin production have been confiscated this year....in Helmand, the breadth of the poppy trade is staggering. A sparsely populated desert province twice the size of Maryland, Helmand produces more narcotics than any country on earth, including Myanmar, Morocco and Colombia. Rampant poverty, corruption among local officials, a Taliban resurgence and spreading lawlessness have turned the province into a narcotics juggernaut.

Allowing the Taliban to control the world's heroin supply is one reason why the US is loosing the War on Terror. As Bush increases the troop numbers in Iraq, the Taliban gets stronger and much more financial in Afghanistan. If we want to survive the clash of civilisations, we really have to change our strategies. 

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Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago