Tuesday, April 15, 2003

All quiet on the protest front

Ah, yes, the yipping poodle-dogs of war seem to think that winning a ridiculous ground war against a pitiful and demoralized people somehow proves that they were right and war opponents were wrong. "We won!" you gloat.

I never said we would lose on the battle field, did I? Though I did make the case that our soldiers are in an increasingly untenable situation, being too few to police the nation, but unable to leave for fear of utter social entropy and implosion.

And now the administration is sabre rattling against Syria. Umm, guys? Would you like to pay attention to the domestic economy for a few minutes? Ah, but why should they since that is a losing election issue and killing dark-skinned people who pray to weird gods makes us feel manly and virile, like we just fucked a good looking chick or something.

The US has committed an incredible violation of international law, and all the average moron in America can comprehend is "But we *won*!" It will be interesting to see what happens in the next six months, as the true results of our incursion become known. Not that you will make a connection since you have no historical sense beyond the news clips on FOX from the last two hours.

This is so wrong on so many levels, with repercussions that won't be felt for months and years, and the average Yahoo Murrikan is Too Fucking Stupid to understand. And too self-obsessed to care. Now, now, does your dick feel bigger, harder, and more appreciated now that you've watched FOX news misreport everything and you can think your nation will simply butcher whomever they wish? Do you have a single clue that this act of military masturbation does nothing to address terrorism, international instability, or the proliferation of bio and chemical weapons? Does it occur to you that because the UN has been doing its job over the last decade, Saddam did not have these horrific weapons to use against my soldiers?

No, of course not. That would take thinking, and why think when you can listen to the talking heads preach violence against what ever offends you?

How's your job security, by the way? Received a raise lately? Have your benefits increased? Is the real, material well-being of you and your family more secure now than it was a month ago? A year ago? Before the chimp took power?

Of course, you can't think, so you can't figure that much out, either. You'll just blame someone else.


Thursday, April 10, 2003


And Turkey has made the first move in preparing for its own invasion of northern Iraq. Hey, if the US can unilaterally invade a country for reasons of national self-defense, then why can't other nations do so as well?

Turkish Leaders Sending Military Observers to Kirkuk Link to a NYT article.

"URGUP, Turkey, April 10 — Turkish leaders said today that they were sending military observers to monitor Kurdish forces in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, while American officials worked to discourage Turkey from any steps more provocative than that.

On a day of potentially critical developments for the stability of northern Iraq, Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said that he had sought fresh assurances from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that coalition forces would control Kirkuk.

"We have reminded them of their guarantee," Mr. Gul pointedly told reporters, referring to American vows that the oil-rich northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk would not be controlled by Iraqi Kurds, as seemed to be the case today.

Mr. Gul added that Mr. Powell, who placed a telephone call to him, pledged to send American forces into Kirkuk within hours. Mr. Gul said that Turkish leaders felt "no reason for any concerns" about the solidness of that promise.

But in other comments throughout a tense day in Turkey, Mr. Gul and Turkish leaders also made clear that Turkey would be willing to send its own troops into northern Iraq if it felt that such an action was vital to Turkish interests."
(more in the full article)

OK, kids, listen up. We set a bad example. On what grounds shall we oppose Turkey moving to defend its own domestic stability? Of course, if Turkey invades, well, kiss NATO good-bye, and the EU begins to be threatened. Not that Bush-baby and his pack of thugs, neo-imperialists, and cronies would mind seeing international unions and organizations crumble, oh no. All the less to get in our rapacious way, my dear.

The US needs to get the fuck out of Iraq, and the UN needs to step in (and into Afghanistan, too) and give the populations of the countries a fighting chance to establish ordinary lives. Hell, the UN should go into the West Bank and make the "settlers" (squatters, thieves, invaders) get the fuck off of the Palestinians' property. Returning those few hundred square miles of land to its rightful owners would go a very long way to clearing up a great deal of the trouble in the region.

But right now Turkey is the big issue, because it has already said it will invade if it feels threatened. The world is never as simple as it looks from the end of a gun or the inside of a Bradley.


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

We won the battle

I don't really think we can dignify the police action in Iraq as a "war". Though it serves as an excellent opening salvo in the neo-imperialist imposition of the rule of Halliburton.

Robert Fisk's latest

"Yes, they all say the war will be over soon. There will be a homecoming no doubt for Corporal Breeze and I suppose I admired his innocence despite the deadly realities that await America in this dangerous, cruel land. For even as the marine tanks thrashed and ground down the highway, there were men and women who saw them and stood, the women scarved, the men observing the soldiers with the most acute attention, who spoke of their fear for the future, who talked of how Iraq could never be ruled by foreigners.

"You'll see the celebrations and we will be happy Saddam has gone," one of them said to me. "But we will then want to rid ourselves of the Americans and we will want to keep our oil and there will be resistance and then they will call us "terrorists". Nor did the Americans look happy "liberators". They pointed their rifles at the pavements and screamed at motorists to stop – one who did not, an old man in an old car, was shot in the head in front of two French journalists.

The war-supporters are gloating now. I ask them - do you know what is going on in Afghanistan right now? Do you know that the Taliban is resurgent, Al-Qaeda travels freely, and the country outside of downtown Kabul is in a condition of anarchy? Ah, yes, such is the fallout of our last little adventure in this part of the world.

Now Rummy is eyeing Syria, and will offer the argument that obviously the weapons of mass destructions we KNOW Saddam had (How do we know? Because we sold them to him!) must have been smuggled into Syria. And when we lay waste that ancient nation (and find nothing), well, we will just have to go blast apart Iran, because them weapons have to be somewhere, and we know all them A-rabs are just the same (except for the loyal leaders of Saudi Arabia who would never do us harm. We'll just ignore where Osama bin Laden gets most of his funding...) and so on in a vast shell game.

But, by God, in the name of God, we WON! We won! We won! No, fools, we and the rest of humanity have lost.


Sunday, April 06, 2003

Maybe I'm just dense

...but why would the military want to brag about killing thousands of Iraqis in the heart of Baghdad?

Umm, wouldn't that mean you've killed a significant portion of civilians? doesn't that mean you are conducting a bloody fight in the most densely populated area of the country?

The Iraqi regime is just a pack of thieves, liars and thugs. There can be no doubt. We on the left have been saying this for YEARS. Long before Gulf War I, we were saying that Hussein was a criminal, butchering dictator. He should have gone years ago, not been catered to by the military-industrial complex.

Even so, is it so difficult to understand that the average Iraqi-in-the-street, no matter how much s/he may loathe Hussein, might not be exactly happy that the US has invaded? That's patriotism. You know, like the way the Republicans say anyone who dares to criticize Dubya in a time of war is a traitor? How come that holds in the US, but if it happens in Iraq it is just another example of the imposition of dictatorial rule?

Sauce for the goose and all that, y'know.

Anyway, I can hate my imposed leader and still love my country. I can think Dubya deserves to be deposed, and be willing to take up a rifle to kill someone who tries to invade. Why is it so difficult to see that the same applies to the average Iraqi?

So, why are we bragging about killing people, some of whom are loyalists to Hussein, some of whom are patriots repelling an invading force, and some of whom just were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got killed? I should think we would be glad for our defeat of Hussein's special forces, but should be sorrowed at the rest. No. We just crow about the body counts.

Where else did we brag about high body counts? Are we counting the US & Kurdish soldiers one of our yahoo "Top Guns" killed up in Northern Iraq? I mean, they're dead - why not count them?

We've won the war, folks. It is *over*. What is left is the mop-up in Baghdad. There is no more Iraqi army to speak of. There are some isolated units that will be targeted and wiped out. This went even faster than Gulf War I. Of course, we've been starving and harassing the nation for the last ten years, and we made sure that the chemical and bio weapons were destroyed before we went in, and they have never rebuilt from the last war. I should fucking hope we would win this in short order.

Now we only have the rise of a new pan-Arabism to deal with, the rise of Islamic militant activity, and continued destabilization of Asia Minor. Cheney & Bush-baby think they are going to roll into Syria and Iran, I believe. Iran, which has the only democratically elected government in the region. Sigh.

Anybody checked in on how the US-sponsored nation building in Afghanistan is going? No? Really? Gee, I'm so surprised.


Saturday, April 05, 2003

Ah, yes, with open arms

Try reading Robert Fisk's many brilliant articles in The Independent for an unvarnished look at the Iraq war. This is the reporter who first told the world about Saddam Hussein's use of gas and chemical weapons in the war against Iran back when Hussein was our good buddy. He was smeared by the Brits back then, and then it was shown to be true. He also reported on the NATO bombing of Albanian civilians in the Kosovo war. NATO smeared him then, and then had to retract their statements when he physically dug up the bomb remains with his own hands and showed the serial numbers on the casings. Now, he is proving cruise missiles in Baghdad markets and cluster bombs in civilian villages. He is, of course, being smeared - but he has the physical evidence.

The Guardian UK has much more balanced reporting than anything in the US.

The Washington Post has some decent US mainstream reporting on the war. Still too much concerned with having dramatic imagery than solid reporting, however.

The worst thing I have read was in the New York Times this morning, however: Barrage of Fire, Trail of Death. An article describing the ground level reality of the US first incursion into Baghdad. A few more assaults like this and there won't be many open arms for the "liberators".

Warfare IS killing human beings. That is it. There is nothing "clean" or "efficient" about it. It is killing people on either side until one side gives up. Modern warfare means that pitched battles are grossly one sided, not that they are better than non-modern methods.

What is coming out - mostly in international reporting - is the over-whelming evidence of systematic and horrific human rights abuses by the Hussein regime. The warehouse of bodies. Boxes of torture records. All the fortified torture centers (for each neighborhood! How thoughtful...). As if there wasn't clear evidence of all of this back when he was our "friend". As if we haven't, don't and shan't continue to turn a blind eye to exactly the same kind of activities by dictators who are our "friends". As if the neo-imperialists wouldn't be perfectly happy to have such things happen world-wide, as long as they could be in charge.

Hussein is ghastly. But those who have cozened him for decades are worse.

Where oh where are the purported weapons of mass destruction? Where are the stockpiles of nerve agents, bio-weapons, atomic materials? Gee, perhaps the weapons inspections did their job and functionally disarmed the bastard. International non-combative intervention worked. Now, if we could only have prevented George Bush I from fortifying Hussein in the first place and ensuring his despotic grip on the country, perhaps an indigenous opposition could have been in place to take advantage of the UN intervention.

And the neo-imperialists sit in Kuwait and divvy up the spoils, declaring who the new government shall be (Until someone we like can be "elected") - a motley gathering of shysters, warlords, and unsavory characters who are little differentiated from Hussein himself. Indeed, most are his former allies and co-conspirators in the authoritarian regime, the very people we used to use to keep Hussein in power, and who ended up fleeing because they angered the dictator. Gee, I wonder what the brutalized population is going to think of this game of musical chairs - same chairs, same tune, different people trying to sit, same long term outcome. Except that wholesale oil prices may be lower.

And, finally, the real war (this little police action is nothing to be get all hot-n-bothered about) is poised to begin. Who shall set the terms of "peace" in Iraq? The US and its corporate (oil) interests, or the EU and it corporate (Trade & oil) interests, or the UN and its anti-Western-domination, no more IMF & World Bank interests?

Is anyone watching North Korea in all this? Or Pakistan?


Friday, April 04, 2003

It's the economy, stupid

Paul Krugman has written another brilliant piece for the New York Times on the bad state of the American economy. He appears to be one of the few columnists today who can draw sound connections between economics, administrative policy and international politics.

It's the global economy, stupid.

Gee, SARS is based in one of the major high-tech manufacturing regions of the world. Hmm, I wonder what this will do to the promises of robust recovery once the war is "finished"? Krugman notes:

Optimists now place their faith in the supposed salutary effects of victory in Iraq. The theory is that businesses have been postponing investments until uncertainty over the war is resolved, and that once that happens there will be a great surge of pent-up demand. I'm skeptical: I think the main barriers to an investment revival are excess capacity, corporate debt and fear of accounting scandals. (The revelations about HealthSouth suggest that there is still plenty of undiscovered corporate malfeasance.) I also wonder whether victory in Iraq will mark the end of uncertainty, or the beginning of even more uncertainty. Are we on the road to Damascus (or Tehran, or Yongbyon)?


Our government is intent on imposing a Pax Americana when it can't even feed all of the children in Mississippi. The comics have it right:

"In a speech earlier today President Bush said if Iraq gets rid of Saddam Hussein, he will help the Iraqi people with food, medicine, supplies, housing, education - anything that's needed. Isn't that amazing? He finally comes up with a domestic agenda - and it's for Iraq. Maybe we could bring that here if it works out." -- Jay Leno

But, the sad thing is, we know it is all bullshit, precisely because he lacks the will to bring it even to his own nation. In this the economic policy and the foreign policy are identical - the insistence of how they want the theories to play out rather than a hard-nosed appraisal of what the theories are doing to reality.

So, we're closing in on Baghdad, huzzah, huzzah. We do have the best trained volunteer mass army in the world, though I would worry if we had to fight the Swiss, so this is not to be wondered at. We will take the city, we will declare victory, we'll probably kill Hussein somewhere along the line (not many will shed any tears for that). Shall we find ourselves (like Saul, like Lawrence) on the road to Damascus? What enlightenment shall we find if we take upon ourselves the duties and burdens of that trek?

Any bully can impose order and compliance for a certain period of time, but long term stability comes from within. Where is that to come from?


Tuesday, April 01, 2003

And They Start

The atrocities start.

A terrible miscalculation at a checkpoint - children not just killed but mangled in heavy cannon fire. An unarmed man shot dead. What will the next report be of?

We are set up for ghastly failure by our own leaders. Saddam Hussein is letting us hang ourselves. If he dies now, he is a martyr.

To be clear - we will "win" on the ground. We will take control of the nation. We will remove the current regime.

And we will lose the long, bloody, guerrilla war that will follow. The Guardian has an excellent article by George Monbiot on three very likely outcomes of the current fighting.

This invasion is the triumph of thoughtless imperialism and domestic political venality over anything resembling intelligence, or even rational self-interest. Remember Viet Nam? Afghanistan? Lebanon? Somalia? What were the outcomes of these various invasions of a backwards nation by an over-whelming power? Dirty wars, human rights atrocities, and humiliation for the imperial power.

This is not some weak-kneed, granola-crunching, "Give peace a chance", tie-dyed fantasy here. I'm talking about preserving the long-term self-interest of my country. I think we have a good military and we should use it. Not like this, however. Not in a way that sets our nation up (once again) for failure and for wrong-doing. Not another endless endeavor that makes criminals of our soldiers so that our administration can stay in control of the domestic government. The criminal calculation of the Bush administration is so crude, I can't believe even the yahoos from Texas are falling for it, but they are.

Of course, humor may be the only way to deal with this quagmire for the time being. Accounts will be settled over time, make no mistake:

Sing along to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it"

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me
'Cos it's all the proof I need
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he tried to kill your dad),
Bomb Iraq.

If your corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding ain't that easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows no borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.