July 01, 2004
Open Thread II
While Billlmon recharges his batteries...
Posted by b on July 1, 2004 at 02:52 AM | Permalink
Some unsorted splitters:
Slaughter Battle of the Somme: 1 July - 13 November 1916
The British suffered around 420,000 casualties, the French 195,000 and the Germans around 650,000. Only in the sense of relieving the French at Verdun can the British have claimed any measure of success.
Gretchen Morgenson (I love that name) on Greenspan:
As Greenspan Chases Inflation, Critics Shout, 'Faster!'
The Fed say: "Although incoming inflation data are somewhat elevated, a portion of the increase in recent months appears to have been due to transitory factors," Do these people ever go shopping?
NYT Op-Editorial by Barbara Ehrenreich (temporary for Friedman): Dude,">http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/01/opinion/01EHRE.html">Dude, Where's That Elite?
I meant to comment on [Michael Moores] movie, too, but the lines at my local theater are still prohibitively long.
To jumpstart an economy, use KBR slaves Underclass of Workers Created in Iraq
WaPo OpEd bashing F9/11: Baloney, Moore or Less
the stunning box-office success of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is not, as proclaimed, a sure sign that Bush is on his way out but is instead a warning to the Democrats to keep the loony left at a safe distance."
And my cat has decided to rest on the keyboard for now - no chance to win that fight.
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 1, 2004 3:57:03 AM | 2
Mine @ 3.58am - assif!
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 3:59:17 AM | 4
Reading that I fail to understand the difference between Bush and Kerry in foreign policy. When Kerry says: "I am committed to having a military that is second to nobody in the world." and Well, you’re going to have to be prepared to be tough with Syria. and But you have to do what you have to do to protect the security of the world and our country. And I would do that. And I would have a number of moves up my sleeve that I wouldn’t advertise right now. and I have voted for the largest military budgets in American history.
Essentially he sounds like: "Same policy, better execution". sigh
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 1, 2004 4:10:17 AM | 5
Apologies re misleading link title: please note that one of the contractors who have died in Iraq is said to have died from natural causes while one other was taken ill during a dive and died. 103 have been killed, 2 have died from other causes.
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 4:31:16 AM | 7
Government attacks on area specialists called disservice to U.S. Middle East policy
Rashid Khalidi sees perils for the U.S. in empire building while ignoring its own professional Middle East experts and the history of the region.
The heart of the matter, and related to my concerns about Kerry – who is framing US foreign policy and what information are they basing their policies on? If the opinions of experts and intelligence analysts are constantly discounted – who is in control? And is Kerry going to proceed in a direction that wiser counsels are declaring to be seriously flawed? If he has a clear foreign policy it should include avoiding the mistakes of the past and addressing their consequences, but I don't hear anything like that coming from his words to date.
"We are seeing a fact-free, faith-based approach to Middle East policymaking."
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 4:47:30 AM | 8
And while everyone’s attention is diverted by the start of the ‘show trials’ process, the raiding and the bloodletting continues, unnoticed, uncriticized, unrelentingly.
RAFAH Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Israeli forces shot dead a 9-year-old Palestinian boy playing soccer in a Gaza refugee camp on Thursday as tanks rolled in to search for tunnels used by militants, witnesses said.
"We were playing soccer when Israeli tanks ... started firing inside the camp and toward us," said Bashir Abu Jlidan, 18, a resident of Rafah refugee camp.
He said Omar Zara'an, 9, fell to the ground bleeding. Doctors at Rafah hospital pronounced the boy dead after trying to revive him.
Raiding Israeli forces kill 9 year old Gaza boy - witnesses
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 5:12:36 AM | 9
Ah, Helpful Spook, tis truly a pleasure to see your text again :)
Posted by: Outraged | Jul 1, 2004 6:57:36 AM | 11
Great comment from a former POW on torture and the Geneva convention:
Prisoner abuse: America pays the price
As a former POW in Vietnam, I know what life in a foreign prison is like. To a large degree, I credit the Geneva Conventions for my survival. While the Vietnamese rarely abided by the rules, the international pressure on them to do so forced them to walk a line that ensured they did not perpetrate the sort of shocking abuses at Abu Ghraib.
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 1, 2004 9:11:21 AM | 12
18 artillery rounds of mustard and sarin.
Now that would really slow down a mechanized force trained to operate in a CBR environment.
Wonder if the found any sling shots or pea shooters. Article didn't say.
Posted by: FLASHHARRY | Jul 1, 2004 1:51:31 PM | 14
@ Flash Harry
Personally I think that all these 'Iraq - al-Qaeda link' and 'WMD' stories are being pumped out merely to keep doubt alive in the run up to November.
Each time an Iraq / al-Qaeda 'link' is discredited they come up with a new one, each time 'WMD' (and shells are battlefield items and not, technically, WMD), items are 'discovered' and found to contain inert, decomposed and degraded smears of mush the 'maybe there's buried treasure' speculation starts all over again. 'We have reports that they moved them to Syria' is the fallback position as it provides an excuse for non-discovery in Iraq and adds to the demonizing of Syria.
You can bet that tales of these shells - whatever condition they're in and whatever retraction / qualification might be issued when thorough testing has been carried out - will circulate through the Republican camp and become 'proof' inside a day or two.
Just enough hints, rumors and blurred misrepresentation of facts are being churned out to sow 'told you so' and 'we were right all along'lines to the Republican base and keep the media confused enough that it can't (won't?) declare with absolute certainty that the al-Qaeda link and the WMD stories are just so much bullsh*t.
It's all an exercise in avoiding responsibility, accountability and honesty but unfortunately it will feed the needs of the people who so desperately want to believe in fairy tales.
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 2:27:22 PM | 15
Totally with you, especially the build up of "material" against Syria. First on dubious Israeli website "Saddam shipped his WMD to Syria", last week an article in LA Times on "spinning centrifuges" in Syria - totally unbelivable and denied by the IAEA.
A good bloog on Syria is
Syria Comment - Thoughts on Syrian politics, history and religion.
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 1, 2004 2:41:26 PM | 16
"I would not mind America wielding the biggest Excalibur sword in the world," said the African official, "but for God's sake, put a King Arthur in the White House, with a good Round Table."
The rest ist here is also interessting World turns wary of nation it long admired
Posted by: Fran | Jul 1, 2004 2:44:19 PM | 17
The headline on my server mainpage in Switzerland:
Saddam showed him self to be selfconfident, denied everything. For him George W. Bush is the "true" criminal.
Posted by: Fran | Jul 1, 2004 2:53:42 PM | 18
Now that's Funny!
I could suggest that the Queen(Hillary)should sit at the head of the table. But round tables don't have heads: so I won't.
Hold down the fort in "Old" Europe.
Posted by: FLASHHARRY | Jul 1, 2004 8:13:08 PM | 19
@Bernard and Helpful Spook:
Re:Your last posts
Would enjoy continuing this discussion another day.
In your "splitters" post at the top of the thread, Bernard, it seems you have indulged in a bit of gratuitous Brit-bashing.
Give me a pint of H&H, and I will be happy to argue that General Sir Douglas Haig's tactical finesse and strategic appreciation was surpassed by no other general in the Great War.
And again Bernard, thank you for creating this site!
Posted by: FLASHHARRY | Jul 1, 2004 9:06:10 PM | 20
@ Outraged, Bernhard and Flashharry,
It is good to see familiar faces. Perhaps when the 'hiatus' has passed we will be able to trade more thoughts about events of the day.
I was interested to read that the American public seems not to have swallowed the 'few bad apples' theory but puzzled that there appears almost to be a resigned acceptance of the lies that they have been told. So America's people register 'no surprise' to learn that torture was authorized from the top down and believe awareness of it to be common knowledge throughout senior military ranks while at the same time there seems to be an absence of the fury that ought to accompany such understanding. Is this because there is a tacit, although unspoken, acceptance of 'the need for torture'?
I am aware that certain journalists, groups and individuals have worked hard to expose the crimes committed against helpless Iraqi men, women and children (and aware also of the journalists, groups and individuals who have tried to demonize the unfortunate innocents who were swept up into the torture net), but the relative passivity of the majority of the American people canvassed is strange when set against their obvious cynicism about the 'official version'.
Is it perhaps a majority opinion in America that 'we know they did it but deep down we think it's OK'?
One in two Americans think Rumsfeld knew of prisoner torture
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 10:12:31 PM | 21
Posted this over at the annex, cross posting here.
Joe Bageant in good form -- note the ending.
now for those of you/us resident in the US, fess up. have you thought about "getting the flock outta here" (to quote the kinetic Mel in one of his earlier flicks)? be honest.
Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 1, 2004 10:34:57 PM | 22
Fairy tales from the Brothers Grim -small dreams of psychopaths
A fairy story from Dick Cheney –the Iraq war has made the USA and the rest of the world a safer place
Meanwhile Rumsfeld’s earlier ‘WMD found!’ story is going down like a punctured weather balloon…
WASHINGTON(Reuters) - About a dozen artillery shells found in Iraq by Polish troops are being checked for sarin after initial tests were positive for the nerve agent, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
The shells, which date from before Iraq's 1991 invasion of Kuwait, were undergoing further testing because initial tests can sometimes be misleading, a U.S. intelligence official said.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with San Diego, California, radio station KOGO on Wednesday, said he was told by Poland's defense minister at the NATO summit in Turkey last weekend that Polish troops had discovered 16 or 17 warheads that contained sarin and mustard gas.
”Now these are weapons that we always knew Saddam Hussein had that he had not declared, and they have tested them and I have not seen them and I have not tested them, but they believe that they are correct that these, in fact, were undeclared chemical weapons -- sarin and mustard gas -- quite lethal and that is a discovery that just occurred within the last period of days," Rumsfeld said, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Pentagon on Thursday.
The intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said early indications were the shells had sarin and not mustard gas.
The discovery of these shells also does not answer the question of whether Iraq produced chemical weapons after the 1991 Gulf War...
A fairy story from Donald Rumsfeld – we’ve found WMD in Iraq!
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 1, 2004 10:39:20 PM | 23
Krugman has finally spoken up about Fahrenheit 9/11. It seems to me he makes a good point when he acknowledges that Moore does something nobody else does as well as he does it: reach out to average Americans and give them information they simply do not have in a way they can relate to. Indeed, why are so many so keen on distancing themselves from Moore without acknowledging his positive achievements?
Posted by: teuton | Jul 2, 2004 12:30:12 AM | 24
Josh Marshall says the now famous aluminium tubes which were said to be for nuclear centrifuges on Iraq were indentified as such by somebody who was hired for the CIA and then was asked to deliver exactly the outcome they needed.
Remember those aluminum tubes?
I am all for free enterprise but outsourcing intelligence work, prison interogation and military logistics can only lead to bad results.
You cannot outsource stuff when the econommical interest of the people you do outsource to gives initiatives to prolong and expand their task.
An enterprise that manages prisons does have no interest to have less prisoners. It will make sure that those who are in prison today will come back after being released from their original penelty. Is this a big factor behind the high rate of prisoners in the US?
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 2, 2004 2:19:16 AM | 25
The Columbia Journalism Review has put together a summary on How Chalabi Played the Press. Reading it and seeing how a small organization like the Chalabis INC could play the strings so well, I do wonder how well other organizations, like probably the intelligence agencies of some Middle East democracy, are able to make the press play their tune.
Posted by: Bernhard | Jul 2, 2004 3:23:55 AM | 26
It is a good article, few Western journalists emerge with credit bar one or two like Jonathan Landay. It reminds me of Edward Behr's book titled Anyone here been raped & speaks English? where he wrote of foreign correspondents and their 'skills'.
The INC operation was aimed at the Western media and inept, lazy journalism and zero language ability saw many gullible journalists sacrifice all objectivity in their hunger for a 'scoop'. They thought they were on the 'inside track' but they were more like electric hares at a greyhound track, spinning around and around on the course that the INC had laid out for them.
The miniscule number of INC 'plants' in Arab media sources would confirm that the entire pitch was to create an echo chamber in Western media and intelligence circles. The US taxpayer paid for this travesty and the world was betrayed three times: by the INC who peddled lies, by the US administration figures that worked with them in disseminating those lies and by the Western media that reported things as fact without any of the professional rigor and scrutiny that should be imperative when dealing with issues that can and did tip the world into chaos.
Whether it was egotism on behalf of those journalists who believed they were in touch with the murky world of defectors and secret intelligence, and therefore somehow possessed of real secrets, or gullibility or woeful research and assessment skills, or whether it was a case of administration figures working in concert with the INC to plant and 'confirm' stories is perhaps something we will never know. Probably the answer is a combination of all those circumstances.
A con man can only fool a fool who wants to believe in the con and the fact that journalists with absolutely no training or knowledge of weaponry, chemisty, biology, physics or nuclear science were permitted to be the arbiters of the truth of Chalabi's horse medicine salesmen's claims is disgusting and also frightening. That American public opinion and understanding of life and death issues can be fashioned by fools using the words of fakes is something that calls for more than editorial apologies.
To lament, as some (not all!), journalists do that they were 'had' would be fine if they had merely backed a lying tipster's lame horse in a race and the 'harm' was slight and personal. Beyond the damage to their credibility and egos lie the thousands of dead, the thousands of maimed, the thousands imprisoned, made homeless, jobless, bereaved and traumatized as a result of the 'wrong calls'.
How incestuous the connections between Western journalists, intelligence sources and administration officials are I do not know. But there is no honor due to any who were complicit in weaving a lie out of the ambitions of deceitful, power hungry and callous men.
Could it happen again? Judging by the 'stories' making allegations against Syria and Iran that are surfacing with almost monotonous regularity it would appear that a similar operation is already underway.
What 'failsafe procedures' could media editors introduce to ensure that they are not being used as adjuncts of foreign policy / intelligence manipulators from their own nation? Does the possibility that attempts are made in this regard not occur to them? Or do they see theur function as one of serving state interests, and so the truth or the search for it is irrelevant?
The horror of the INC 'operation' is not just that it happened but that something like it is still routinely accepted in the America media. It is the case that CIA sponsored terror in Iraq led to repression and the semblance of 'internal opposition' that perfectly framed the context of the blind acceptance of defectors' tales and the rush to war. None of that was accidental and the architects of the process have apparently got away with it.
And while Americans are drip fed half a story they should remember that the people of the Middle East have witnessed and experienced the application of CIA gameplaying and malign American interference in the region for decades. The 'con job' is being done on the Western people who are routinely sensitized to accept whatever lies their leaders wish them to absorb.
Not all killers are terrorists and car bombers - the climate for mass murder can be created from the safety of a keyboard in the service of monsters just as effectively.
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 2, 2004 4:16:38 AM | 27
After initially denying it and trying to blame Iraqi Civil Defense Forces, the US military finally owns up…
FORT CARSON, Colorado. - Four soldiers have been charged in the drowning death of an Iraqi forced to jump off a bridge in Samarra, north of Baghdad, according to media reports.
The soldiers, all from Fort Carson, were reportedly part of a patrol that detained two Iraqi men in January and ordered them to jump off a bridge into the Tigris River. One man survived.
Three of the soldiers have been charged with manslaughter and the fourth with assault, according to the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and KUSA-TV, all citing unnamed sources….
…In separate cases involving Fort Carson soldiers, Chief Warrant Officers Lewis Welshofer and Jeff Williams were reprimanded and forbidden from conducting further interrogations after the death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush.
Mowhoush died from asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression, according to Pentagon documents obtained by the Post. The newspaper has reported that the military plans to charge Welshofer and Williams. …
US soldiers charged in connection with drowned Iraqi
Early report of the actual drowning incident here
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 2, 2004 4:20:06 AM | 28
Assif! Mine @ 4.46am
Posted by: Helpful Spook | Jul 2, 2004 4:49:03 AM | 30
I have a serious question for you serious posters here
Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 2, 2004 5:08:41 AM | 31